Skip to comments.The U.S. Faces Serious Risks of Brownouts or Blackouts in 2009, Study Warns
Posted on 10/11/2008 9:51:24 AM PDT by AuntB
Enviro Group Lawsuits, Cost Concerns, Climate Regulation Uncertainty Cited As Major Obstacles To Grid Improvements
Denver, CO (Oct. 1, 2008) -- A new study released this week highlights what experts have been saying for years: the U.S. faces significant risk of power brownouts and blackouts as early as next summer that may cost tens of billions of dollars and threaten lives.
The study, "Lights Out In 2009?" warns that the U.S. "faces potentially crippling electricity brownouts and blackouts beginning in the summer of 2009, which may cost tens of billions of dollars and threaten lives."
"If particularly vulnerable regions, like the Western U.S., experience unusually hot temperatures for prolonged periods of time in 2009, the potential for local brownouts or blackouts is high, with significant risk that local disruptions could cascade into regional outages that could cost the economy tens of billions of dollars," the report warned.
U.S. baseload generation capacity reserve margins "have declined precipitously to 17 percent in 2007, from 30-40 percent in the early 1990s," according to the study. A 12-15 percent capacity reserve margin is the minimum required to ensure reliability and stability of the nations electricity system. Compounding this capacity deficiency, the projected U.S. demand in the next ten years is forecast to grow by 18 percent, far exceeding the projected eight percent growth in baseload generation capacity between now and 2016.
The study, which can be downloaded here, estimated that the U.S. will require about 120 gigawatts (GW) of new generation just to maintain a 15 percent reserve margin. That will require at least $300 billion in generation and transmission facility investments by 2016.
"The facts presented in this study should stimulate a call for action by policymakers everywhere. Our nation's electricity system is clearly in trouble and we need to take rapid steps as soon as possible to remedy the situation," said Bob Hanfling, Chairman of the non-profit NextGen Energy Council, which conducted the study. "This isn't the first study to come to these conclusions, and it won't be the last. We hope it illuminates current policy debates, from those on climate change to resource development to infrastructure build-out to national security. We also hope it will sound the alarm for every elected official, policymaker, business leader and citizen concerned about the future prosperity and security of our nation."
The study also identified the primary barriers to getting new power plants and transmission lines built. Chief among these is the "opposition of well-funded environmental groups that oppose and file lawsuits against virtually every new infrastructure project proposed."
Other obstacles include opposition to natural gas production, which is needed to fuel the growing reliance on natural-gas fired power plants; challenges associated with putting more intermittent renewable power sources on the grid; regulatory uncertainty associated with climate change policy development; reluctance by state regulators to approve rate increases related to the imposition of new environmental or climate-related regulation; and the relatively shorter-term approach to resource planning and acquisition that industry has been forced to adopt because of all of the above factors.
Among its other findings were these:
* The U.S. will require more than 14,500 miles of new electricity transmission lines by 2016. Regions represented by the Florida Reliability Coordination Council (FRCC) and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) may require less than 400 miles of new transmission lines, while the Southeast Reliability Council (SERC) may require nearly 2,300 miles. The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) may require nearly 7,000 miles.
* Substantial increases in wind turbine orders, and new wind capacity, has been slowed by a worldwide turbine shortage and local opposition to wind projects. Since wind generation is expected to grow substantially throughout the U.S., the integration of intermittent resources into the bulk power system is becoming increasingly complex and difficult.
* While renewable energy proponents, and some elected officials, are saying that the U.S. needs to only add renewable power facilities such as wind farms, the annual capacity factor of wind generators is typically about 25 - 35 percent. However, the probability that wind generators are available at their rated value during annual peak periods is only between 5 - 20 percent and varies greatly from year to year and region to region. Wind cannot be considered a reliable baseload capacity resource.
* Rapidly increasing demand for steel and copper has caused spot scarcity of the resources required to manufacture key electrical components, and this commodity demand has increased the theft of critical system components. Manufacturers have attempted to eliminate excess inventories and capacity to increase productivity of their assets, but they are reluctant to add more capacity until they can be certain about future industry investments.
The study also presented a survey of political developments and trends that amount to "structural political barriers being erected to system reliability." It pointed to the fact that "environmental activist groups" are now:
* Suing to block the construction of virtually every single baseload coal-fired power plant, in spite of advanced environmental technologies these plants would deploy.
* Gearing up to block construction of any baseload nuclear power plants across the West.
* Suing or protesting virtually every proposed lease on public lands in the Rocky Mountains for natural gas drilling.
* Working to slow or stop the completion of the two main multi-year, stakeholder-based transmission corridor processes that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress approved as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
* Pushing for additional endangered species designations, which will make siting and construction of both power plants and transmission lines difficult.
* Pressuring government leaders to limit access by larger, baseload technologies to the region's high-voltage transmission grid and, instead proposing to artificially favor non-baseload, intermittent power facilities that will (at some point) further stress the reliability of the entire Western grid.
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The NextGen Energy Council is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization comprised of a wide variety of energy and technology leaders and companies that work collaboratively with Governors, federal and state officials, academic institutions and others to promote the rapid development and commercialization of cutting-edge energy technologies.
So much for those electric cars.
Something like this would devastate the southwest during the summer months.
“So much for those electric cars.”
It’s quite amazing. Last week on CBS they had several spots promoting electric cars. The media and the left are the ones that insist on breaching our dams. The irony is disgusting.
If B. Hussein Obama is elected President, this will be known as the “George Bush Republican Blackout” in the media and in Congress.
If John McCain is elected President, this will be known as the “John McCain Republican Blackout” in the media and in Congress.
Heck, I’m more concerned about Brownshirts and Blackshirts.
The biggest mistake this country made was making the EPA a cabinet post, another Nixon screw up.
Wrong problem. His solution for THIS problem will most likely be candles, for which you will have a carbon tax added.
· President 0bama
· Rolling blackouts and brownouts
· Economy in the hole
· Confiscation of rifles, shotguns, and handguns from private citizens.
· 0bama Youth
“The biggest mistake this country made was making the EPA a cabinet post, another Nixon screw up.”
His signing the Endangered species Act really started a downhill slide. Attorneys (which most enviro’s are) can have all their fees paid by taxpayers for suing anyone to comply.
It’s become quite a racket.
One more reason for Texas to secede. We have our own nuke power plants and a series of damns down the Colorado River.
That’s why I have two generators. Small generators but enough to do what I want. The only problem would be getting gas for them. I even had my well wired so I could plug one generator into it. I need water not only for us but for our horses. I would suggest that people look into having a generator around. Well worth the investment.....even if it’s for peace of mind. I can’t run our home heater but I have a wood stove. Air Conditioner....I don’t worry about that. Just the basics. The new generators today run for quite a while on a small amount of gas. Something to think about. Become as independent as possible.
It for the fish, man...the fish are hurtin.
Damns gotta go...dam the people.
Are the inviros/left in cahoots with these people?
<*>Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less!!<*>
BUILD NUKE POWER PLANTS AND BUILD THEM NOW!!! IF WE ARE GOING TO ACT LIKE, AND BE LIKE FRANCE, BUILD NUKE PLANTS. 70% OF THEIR POWER COMES FROM NUKES!!!
Oh gosh... expect another round of "RACISM!" from Obama's camp if McCain mentions this remark.
I think most Americans who vote democrat are SO stupid that it will take serious problems to wake them up
Even 4.50 gas didnt wake them up it seems to the folly of their policies since the 70s on drilling and reifineries
Yes, but when he speaks on the day before the election, everyone, including staunch Republicans will want to vote for him.
That’s how good he/they are at convincing you that you are victims that need to be taken care of and he is the only one who can do ALL these things.
I promise you.
With no oil drilling nor refining, we won't even have kerosene for lamps or wax for candles. How do we heat? Burn the furniture until it's gone... We will become like a third-world country.
Environmentalists need to get their own country! They want to destroy this one and are so far getting their way.
We will save much power when we stop watching TV, listening to the radio, and tracking news and opinion on the internet, ONCE THE “FAIRNESS DOCTRINE” HAS BEEN IMPOSED!!!
Democrats Will just snivel, whine and blame conservatives for their misery. >:-}
“The U.S. Faces Serious Risks of Brownouts or Blackouts in 2009, Study Warns
Oh gosh... expect another round of “RACISM!” from Obama’s camp if McCain mentions this remark.”
I’m surprised there hasn’t been a movement to change those politically incorrect terms!
“Environmentalists need to get their own country! They want to destroy this one and are so far getting their way.”
I nominate Mexico.
Good point. Thanks. I’m the type that hates doing things over and over.
Who is John Galt?
And I ain't going down without a fight.
Brownouts will be the least of our worries under an Obama Administration. By the end of 2009, millions of people won’t be able to afford any electricity. I’m going into the candle business. For country folk who depend on electricity to pump their water, I want to market a product called shower in a bottle, a one gallon jug of fragranced water that can be heated in sunshine and poured out through an adjustable shower lid. At the inflated dollar rate of 2009, I should be able to get $32.59 per bottle, and use the hand pump on my well to keep those showers coming.
I bet you Texans have a whole bunch of damns all over. Just damn. *\;-)
That's not in the nature of the parasite.
Please no posts about enviromentalists being the problem, or dumb mistakes by leaders on the left not understanding what they are doing.
They do know and understand better then most here what and why they do these things. It is all part of their plan to nationalize various segments of our economy.
They have with full intent and preplanning crashed our financial system and have succeeded in nationalizing part of that.
When oil was $145.00 a barrel some leftist members of congress spoke openly of nationalizing the oil industry. That trial ballon failed so he retracted the statement.
They have on purposw and with thw knowledge of what will happen stopped power development in America. One it will reduce production amd help China, Russia and other fellow traveling county’s a chance to get ahead of the US.
One of the things McCain doesn’t grasp is the concept of enemys within.
I tire hearing those who are unaware of what the root and goal of those who cause the problems point at who the distraction group is that was setup to do just that distract from the issue. So while most are deriding the enviro-wacko’s they can do their dirty work.
By the way....for those interested, Honda makes a good little generator for about a $1000.00. The smaller one is fine but not enough power for me. On the one I have, I can run the computer, TV, stereo, a couple of lights, coffee pot, refrigerator, freezer. Works great. The coffee pot is the most important item.
Ummm... why are you watching teeheevee at all?
Sign me up for one! Seems like the Y2Kers may just have been off by about 9 years.
Right now, the US is developing small nuclear reactors that are reasonably portable. While these are slated for 2013 or so, there is no practical reason for a delay in their production and manufacture. Both the South Africans and Japanese have practical small-sized reactors for at least a decade.
Importantly, such reactors *by themselves* can only support the electricity needs of a part of a major city. But that would not be their intended use here. They would be used to provide the “marginal” energy needs beyond the capability of the grid. Say, the additional 5% beyond 100%, giving the system 105% of what the grid can do by itself.
It doesn’t sound like much on the surface, but it is the difference between normal operations, and brownouts and blackouts.
Especially when they file allegations against a local government with no objectivity whatsoever!!! I know! I’ve been in “executive session” behind closed doors watching my colleagues wrestling with how to fight back on behalf of the county’s taxpayers against this insanity!!!
Extra ping for good measure!!!
For a second there, I thought that might be his rectal thermometer! Then finally my eyes focused correctly...
Yup. I've been saying this since the time of Gray-out Gray Davis of California.
And even some FReepers don't get it!
Their DRILL!!! DRILL!!!, DRILL!!! mantra as the only energy source needed in the country, is incredibly myopic.
They have no clue that non-hybrid electric cars need electrical power to charge the batteries.
"I'll get electricity for my electric car from lightning!"
True. But neither, Ford, Reagan, BushI, or BushII dissolved the agency.
If I sat in the big chair for one week, 2/3 of DC would be on unemployment.
About the only thing operating would be the Pentagon, and agencies directly related to national security, and immigration (which is related to national security).
Our country is being brought to its knees.
Congress will call the electricity producers on the carpet, blame them, and threaten to “socialize” them.
Wind energy is ridiculously inefficient and yet we continue to build wind farms in the Midwest. A good example of the consequences of relying on wind power happened in Texas on February 28, 2008 when a large weather front shutdown man of the states windmills and resulted in power cuts.
Living in tornado/hurricane land, we have two generators also. You couldn’t give better advice. They are a blessing when the power is out.
I forgot to mention...Buy generators B/4 they are needed. It’s one of the highest gouge rate items when there is an emergency!!!!
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