A long time ago, it seems, those who questioned intermittent electricity like wind and solar thought it was impossible for a power grid to handle more than 2%, then 5% then 10% and 20%, etc – you get the point. Today the argument in academic circles is around what happens after 80% solar+wind – and at the end of March, in the tweet below, we saw the Southwest Power Pool (an electricity ISO that serves a healthy chunk of the midwest) break 62% from wind for a magical moment.
Yes, these are smaller states in the wind heavy Midwest, so not every place can have t like the Midwest – but what matters here is that our engineers are able to manage the power grid even with these ‘unpredictable’ electricity sources coming to dominate.
SOURCE: A report by the American Wind Association showed Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota all getting greater than 30% or more of their electricity come from wind power. The report also states that wind power generated a record 6.3 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017. The wind power industry employed a record 105,500 men and women in the United States. The United States installed 7,017 megawatts (MW) of wind in 2017, increased wind power capacity by nine percent last year and bringing the total of installed wind power to 88,973 MW. Approximately 54,000 wind turbines operate in 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
SPP set a new #wind-penetration record of 62.13 percent at 1:54 a.m., March 31. Wind served 14,451.8 MW of the 23,262 MW total load. We also set a #renewable-penetration record of 64.7 percent at the same time. pic.twitter.com/w1nLkHVm3Q
— Southwest Power Pool (@SPPorg) April 3, 2018