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Green Blackouts?

Increasing renewable generation threatens reliability.

Fortnightly Magazine - August 2010

something to say about the reliability of those two grids, and any NERC standard requires their approval too for it to be legal and effective on a power grid where stresses don’t recognize legal jurisdictions.

Cost and jurisdictional hurdles aside, until a technically-sound and economically-rational standard is developed to properly address the North American power grids’ declining ability to proactively limit the size of very rapid power fluctuations, Obama administration policy of increasing the share of wind, solar, and tidal generation on the U.S. portion of those power grids will definitely increase the likelihood of blackouts.



1. Automated frequency relays are safety devices to disconnect a turbine if frequency ever lowers near the point of causing turbine blades to vibrate enough that the turbine would otherwise explode and project pieces more than a mile away.  Transmission relays disconnect power lines if frequency ever rises near the point of overloading transmission lines with “surge”.

2. FERC Docket No. RM06-16-010, Mandatory Reliability Standards for the Bulk Power System, Order Setting Deadline for Compliance , 130 FERC ¶ 61,218, March 18, 2010.

3. American National Standards Institute

4. FERC Docket No. RM06-16-010, Request of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation for Clarification and Rehearing of the Order Setting Deadline for Compliance , April 19, 2010.

5. FERC Docket No. RM06-16-010, Order Granting Rehearing for Further Consideration and Scheduling Technical Conference , 131 FERC ¶ 61,136, May 13. 2010.