Solar and Wind Need a Larger Electric Grid—and California Might Just Create One

By LAURA WISLAND | [ Blog ] Union of Concerned Scientists Link to article

Over the past decade, thousands of megawatts of clean renewable energy have been installed in the West thanks to the declining cost of wind and solar power and state policies like the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). Since solar and wind power are by their nature intermittent, large quantities of weather-dependent generation require new solutions to maintain grid reliability while keeping costs low.

Right now, California relies heavily on natural gas to back up the grid during the times of day or seasons of the year when solar and wind power are not as readily available. But that’s not a sustainable solution both for climate change reasons, and because ramping the gas plants up and down frequently is not good for air quality or the people breathing that air.

In California, one better option to improve grid reliability, which is getting much attention from proponents and opponents right now, is regional energy market integration—also known as the creation of a western grid.  (Link to article)