Solar Plugging Holes on Texas Grid

August 6, 2022

Working as designed.

On low wind days, the strong sun is filling the gaps. With more solar, and battery – buildout, Texas grid will become more stable in coming years. KHOU in Houston interviews Rice University’s Daniel Cohan.

2 Responses to “Solar Plugging Holes on Texas Grid”

  1. John Oneill Says:

    Averaged over the last 5 years, the carbon intensity of the Texas Ercot grid was 370 grams CO2 per kilowatt hour. Over the last year, it was 334 g/kWh. Those five years saw wind capacity go up by about 50%, to about 35 GW, whereas solar grew about six-fold, to around 10 GW. Carbon reduction will get harder as capacity increases; the intermittent renewables will crowd each other out on the good days, leaving sizeable periods of calm nights and cloudy days, for coal and gas to stay in the game. Battery capacity in the State is still less than one GW, for a few hours, compared to daily peak demand ~75 GW.
    Meanwhile there have been a number of multi-gigawatt new gas turbine plant proposals, and coal prices are booming – the fossil fuel vendors don’t act like they expect to go out of business anytime soon. There are a couple of dabs of lipstick on the pig – a 50 MW oxyfueled supercritical CO2 plant at La Porte, near Houston, that emits only pressurised CO2 ready for geological sequestration, and some that claim to be suitable for hydrogen burning, should some hydrogen appear at affordable prices. Who knows, with more LNG exports to sky-high European and Asian gas markets, maybe hydrogen won’t look so bad after all.
    John O’Neill

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    The use of extra fossil fuel to burn fossil fuel to capture a small part of the CO2 released by burning it suitable for enhanced oil recovery more likely negates the whole idea.

    With use of all the possibilities–and aren’t the nuke shdullps always going on about that?–west Texas wind can take care of overnight needs; bifacial 2 way tracking solar–entirely on rooftops, parking lots, and land wrecked by fossil fuels–can meet daytime needs; and eastern Texas and offshore Gulf wind and a tiny bit o storage can take care of the duck curve afternoons and evenings.

    The thing the ERCOT egomaniacs won’t do, because it opens them to federal oversight that would make them stop neglecting their customers and infrastructure, is connect to the 2 grids beyond Texas. As it is, they can sit back and wait like spiders and every year or 3 now, their grid fails and they get to grossly overcharge everyone. Just like the US and other oligarchs could solve the world’s problems but won’t give up even a little of their privilege, the A’s of Texas could solve all of Texas’ problems, but they refuse to.

    The world only has one problem, and everyone’s refusal to admit what it is has them scrambling to solve everything it isn’t.

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