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California is Paying Other States to Take Its Excess Solar Power

Matt Z. QC, Canada 0 Ratings 9 Discussions 32 Group posts

Posted by: Matt Z. // Student

California is Paying Other States to Take Its Excess Solar Power

California’s solar power has been booming in recent years. In 2010, only 0.5% of electricity in California was produced by solar power. In 2016, solar power, from both rooftop panels and solar facilities, accounted for nearly 15% of all Californian power needs. As Jack Sawyer said in his discussion “California's Excellent Problem - Excess Solar Energy!,” California has recently been producing excess solar energy, and is sending some of it to surrounding states such as Nevada and Arizona. Excess solar energy may sound like a purely positive problem to have to deal with, but when too much electricity flows back into the grid, it can overload the transmission lines and lead to blackouts. So when California produces more solar energy than it needs, it sends the excess to Arizona. However, when this happens, Arizona needs to curtail its own energy sources, which can cost them money. So, as an economic incentive, California is paying Arizona to take their excess solar power.

Is seems contradictory to pay someone and simultaneously provide them with a resource, but if it helped decrease the need for fossil fuel based energy sources, then wouldn’t it be worth it?

The ironic thing is that when Arizona is provided with this solar energy, it curtails its own renewable energy instead of reducing its use of fossil fuels. So sending this excess renewable energy to Arizona is not helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this light, California’s excess renewable energy does not necessarily sound positive at all.

The solution to this problem lies in being better able to store this excess solar energy. Currently, it’s too expensive to store all this energy in batteries and save it for a day when the sun isn’t shining and the solar panels aren’t producing enough energy. But the technology is quickly advancing, and is expected to be able to reliably work with renewables within 10 to 20 years. If this all falls into place, California should easily be able to fix its excess solar energy problem, and also reach its goal to work 50% on renewables by 2025.


For more information on California’s solar power: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-electricity-solar/

To read Jack’s article “California's Excellent Problem - Excess Solar Energy!”: http://www.rateitgreen.com/green-building-community/groups/posts/california-s-excellent-problem/1167

Reply
Devotion 0 Ratings 1 Discussions 0 Group posts

Devotion // Sustainable Design Education

The fact is we have put the proverbial cart before the horse. We are creating ways to harness and create renewable energy, yet haven't walked through what we are going to do to USE it properly. This is where the old guard should have trained the new guard. New guard = innovation. Old guard = planning and strategy. The only true solution is to combine the two....but they don't play well together. So, we pay others to take a service that will help our planet, which they use to stop using the service that they have to help the planet. This way, the planet isn't saved, but Cali (who is so bankrupt they gave IOUs to their people for state refunds in 2008) is spending more money that they don't have to another state to NOT use their renewable energy. So...a lose/lose. Yay?

Allison Friedman Weston, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 218 Discussions 640 Group posts

Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

Update - Amid community concern and an awareness that the state may have overbuilt its capacity, a natural gas plant plan has been withdrawn (after commissioners also issued a statement recommending denial of the permit). http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-puente-gas-plant-20171016-story.html I want to say its a great move to reduce pollution, but the truth is that we may not really know, because you are right - we're not making decisions strategically. We all want cleaner air and water, and many of us are so concerned about energy and emissions - and yet, how many people are really taking steps to reduce our energy use? We must all work together - and we don't yet.

On: 10/16/2017 Devotion wrote:

The fact is we have put the proverbial cart before the horse. We are creating ways to harness and create renewable energy, yet haven't walked through what we are going to do to USE it properly. This is where the old guard should have trained the new …

 

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