Intermittent renewable generating technologies (i.e. wind and solar) are causing havoc with electric grid operations because these technologies cannot be controlled by the operators of the electricity grid due to the fact that their generation depends on the wind blowing and the sun shining. Thus, the independent system operator in charge of running the grid must be ready to either drive down the generation of traditional technologies (i.e. natural gas and coal) when intermittent renewable generating capacity starts producing power or ramp up generation from more reliable technologies when intermittent renewable generating capacity shuts down. This means that the independent system operator needs an arsenal of flexible generating technologies to come to the rescue in order for electric consumers to receive electricity at the touch of a switch as they have been accustomed to.
Some countries, such as Germany, have built such a great deal of intermittent renewable generating capacity that their traditional generating technologies are not bringing in enough revenue to survive, which means either consumers will need to make adjustments regarding how they use electricity or government regulators will need to make adjustments regarding how electricity is priced to pay for the flexibility needed. Regardless, electric customers should expect changes in the future—either in price or in availability of electricity—or both—to deal with the increased advent of intermittent renewable generation.
IER has discussed this issue with respect to wind power whose construction largely preceded solar power due to its lower cost. But, now system operators are preparing for the advent of increased solar power and its potential havoc on the grid, including solar on residential rooftops and businesses.
Source: Duck Curves getting Nessie Necks