Solar and wind power an epic failure?

Parent Category: Editorials Written by Rob Viehman Hits: 618

    “The ability of some companies that generate the power has been frozen. This includes the natural gas & coal generators.” (Governor Gregg Abbot February 15th, 2021) The article published in the November 2021 Rural Missouri is filled with misinformation along with some flat out lies.

“When the ERCOT grid was on the brink of collapse on Feb. 15th…there was no solar production, and of the 31,000 megawatts of wind….only about 5,400 megawatts, or roughly 17 percent of that capacity, was available.” I assumed that such a bold statement, so prominently placed on the page, would be explained in detail in the four-page article. It was not, and for good reason. Money. To be more specific, your money, my money, your neighbor’s money. We have been handing over money for their product for a long time and they do not want that to change.
    Texas produces more wind power than any other state at about 20 percent. Wind power in Missouri makes up 1.3 percent of our total production. Turbines in West Texas are known to not spin to their full generation capacity in February. Turbines installed in colder climates are routinely equipped with warming systems that stop ice buildup. Guess what happens when temperatures are below freezing, and it rains. Basically, winterizing a windmill is an insurance policy on your asset. ERCOT chose not to invest in their asset which ultimately killed 57 people and left over two million without power. ERCOT has no financial incentive to winterize their wind turbines and no penalties or oversite to not do so. ERCOT’s negligence is now on full display, and they are quickly trying to cover it up with articles like this. Turbines don’t kill people; people kill people.
    Solar power in Texas and Missouri makes up less than 1 percent of total generation. Average snowfall in Texas is 0.1” (not to be confused with 1”), so solar systems in Texas are designed for typical Texas weather. Snow and clouds impact solar production and reduce solar output. Let me say it again. Snow and clouds impact solar production. Who knew…? In Texas, on February 15th and 16th, solar production was reduced by roughly 60 percent because it was cloudy and snowing. How could they have ever known what the weather would be in the future? The SMA Energy app installed on my phone projects my solar production two days in advance. I find it hard to believe that ERCOT doesn’t know how solar will perform days or even weeks in advance using future weather predictions. To say that “there was no solar production” on February 15th in Texas would be a somewhat truthful statement. With solar making up less than 1 percent of their production, I have trouble lumping it in with the “Epic Failure” of the power supply in Texas.
    On February 15th Crawford Electric posted the following: “Members, your help is needed! Subzero temps are stressing the interconnected power-supply meters across the U.S. There is an urgent need to reduce electricity use.” Not soon after this post, I received a picture from a friend of her solar panels pumping power into the grid within Crawford County. Do you know why she was able to produce power for her friends and neighbors on February 15th? Because the sun was out, and the skies were blue in Missouri. Who knew…? This was the inspiration I needed to invest in my own energy independence.
    This October was my first full month with a solar array on my property. My bill from Crawford Electric was $28.00 which includes the service availability fee and Operation Round Up. I also have a -$14.28 credit on my account which means that I produced more power than I consumed in the month of October. Do you know who got this excess of power? You! My excess production was billed to you at the RETAIL rate, while I was only given the WHOLESALE rate for my production. I also will never see an actual dollar for any energy I produce. I will gladly pay my fair portion of any fee imposed for grid upkeep and maintenance. The current fee is $0.921 per day, per meter. Crawford Electric has over 20,000 meters. This is over $6.7 million in funds generated so they can provide reliable power. $6.7 million in fees divided by their 60 employees would be a salary of over $100,000 per year. $6.7 million divided by the 3,000 miles of distribution line is over $2,200 per mile per year. The $6.7 million doesn’t even include the massive amounts of money generated from buying wholesale and selling it retail back to us.
    Representative Jason Chipman cosponsored House Bill 340 which reads: “An energy supplier may charge an owner or operator who becomes a customer-generator recurring monthly grid usage fee not to exceed 75 percent of the supplier's recurring monthly fixed customer or service availability charge to other customers. However, no customer-generator receiving service under a net metering tariff shall be charged the recurring monthly grid usage fee. Any excess energy generated by a customer-generator shall be applied to the customer-generator's own monthly grid usage fee with any remainder applied to the following billing period.” Jason would like to penalize individuals and business who choose to make the economic and social decision to go solar. How is this fair or equitable and who do you work for Jason?
    The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and their “member” co-ops would like you to believe that investing in onsite fossil fuel storage and rescinding renewable tax credits are key parts to the “Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability”. This is a lie! They would also like you to believe that connecting solar and wind to their grid is expensive and time consuming. It it’s not. In less than an hour my system was connected to the grid by Crawford Electric. The goal of big energy is to solidify your dependence on their product. Energy prices will continue to rise as fossil fuels become scarcer. When you are no longer able to afford their product, they will shut it off with indifference. And on the day, they shut your power off, a sheriff’s deputy will be posted at their office to discourage you from acting on the desperation you feel. Missouri’s “Epic Failure” is yet to come, but when it does, blaming solar and wind will not bring back the lives that will be lost. Crawford Electric and Show-Me Power publicly discourage residential solar and wind but, in the background, they continue to build as many solar and wind farms as possible. Why? They want your money today. They want your money tomorrow. Who knew…?
Daniel J. Tracy