Solar energy creating a problem for California
California's power-grid operators are dealing with a glut of daytime electricity produced by household, government, business and industrial solar installations.The proponents of alternative energy have still not been able to modulate the flow of energy the way you can with fossil fuels to meet demand. At best, solar and wind energy are supplemental energy providers at this point and if government pushes them to 50 percent as California is considering, they will like alternate between oversupply and not enough depending on teh time of day and other weather conditions.
This forces the electricity prices on state's real-time marketplace to plummet, leading some power-plant operators to shut down until demand catches up with supply later in the day.
And increasing amounts of wind and solar energy are being wasted or "curtailed," as they call it, because no one can use it, according to data obtained from the California Independent System Operator ( Cal ISO).
Last year 305,241 megawatt hours of solar and wind electricity were curtailed -- a loss of enough carbon-free electricity that could have powered about 45,000 California homes for a year. This was almost double the amount of clean power that was lost through curtailment in 2015.
This energy loss coincided with a 28 percent yearly increase in electricity produced from large-scale solar plants on the state's control grid, according to the data. The grid system, which excludes Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Imperial Valley area utilities, last year got 11.9 percent of its electricity from solar plants, up from 9 percent in 2015 and 6.3 percent in 2014.
The waste could increase unless changes are made. State power officials are pushing to get 50 percent of power from renewable sources by 2030 as required by state law.