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MIT Report on Grid Problems

January 3, 2012

The recent MIT report, The Future of the Electric Grid, establishes why changes are needed to the grid, i.e., to create the smart grid.

What’s remarkable about the MIT report is that it leads to conclusions that are opposite of the intent of the report.

The report establishes that policy decisions are at the root of problems with the grid.

Forcing the use of wind and solar onto the system is creating problems on the supply side, while another policy, the push for electric vehicles, is causing problems on the demand side.

The report says:

  • “One of the most important emerging challenges facing the grid is to incorporate more renewable generation in response to policy initiatives.”

And:

  • “Increased penetration of electric vehicles and other ongoing changes in electricity demand will, if measures are not taken, increase the ratio of peak to average demand and thus further reduce capacity utilization and raise rates.”

In other words, there would be fewer problems if it weren’t for these two policy decisions – forcing the use of wind and solar, and the use of electric vehicles.

In so far as the grid is concerned, we would be better off without wind and solar generated electricity and without electric vehicles.

Contrary to what is reported in the media, the MIT report says, “The U.S. electric grid is not broken today.” And, “The grid is currently functioning well.”

In essence: The grid is stable and reliable, unless we add wind and solar.

This doesn’t preclude improving the grid through the use of new sensing and communication technologies.

Improving the stability, reliability and efficiency of the grid, can be achieved by utilizing enhanced communications between all elements of the grid, with these improvements being the result of incredibly improved sensing and communication technologies.

Wind and solar are uneconomic and should  not be part of the problem in the first place, while problems associated with electric vehicles can be easily managed by restricting battery charging to off-peak hours. For example, battery charging can be restricted to off-peak hours if home charging systems control the hours during which charging can occur.

The MIT report says:

“Exploiting these variable energy resources [wind and solar] will require building more transmission than if fossil-fueled or nuclear generating plants, built relatively close to load centers, were driving system expansion. The use of very long transmission lines can cause technical problems and compromise system stability.”

One of the report’s recommendations is to recover fixed costs through fixed customer rates rather than charging customers based on usage.

This contradicts the long accepted idea that people should pay for what they use, and not be forced, in essence, to pay for what other people use.

Once again, green house gasses become central to the report’s conclusions, when it says a national policy is required for green house gas emissions. The report’s prejudice is revealed when it refers to “dirty diesel”. Only those with an agenda refer to fossil fuels as “dirty”.

And the report calls for the adoption of demand response, where utilities, and governments, have control over homeowners’ equipment, including air-conditioning units and refrigerators.

Most of the proposals in the MIT report are because of wind and solar on the supply side, and electric vehicles on the demand side. The purpose of the MIT report is to establish the actions that need to be taken because policy decisions are forcing the use of wind and solar and distributed generation on us.

The MIT report clearly demonstrates, once again, why wind and solar are bad for America.

 

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