SEARCH BLOG: ENERGY
Now that the Obama administration has decided to aggressively shut down coal-fired power plants and make new coal-fired power plants prohibitively expensive by circumventing Congress and using EPA regulations... can other sources of electricity make up the difference and, if not, what are the consequences?
For now, it appears that natural gas is abundant and cheap enough to take up the lost capacity from coal. That would be an environmentally and economically good alternative [except in the coal producing states where the Federal government is about to cause economic chaos]. The push to solar and wind represents high risk alternatives. Why high risk? Because solar and wind are, at best, intermittent sources of power. Any major commitment to solar and wind powered electricity requires another significant investment in backup power... an economically unjustified strategy.
What would happen if the grid became unreliable because electricity sources were unreliable? Perhaps this:
The outage ... directly affected some 400 million people-more than the combined populations of the US and Canada...
City water treatment plants were shut down and airport and hospital services switched over to generators to partially restore services, a move which only added to the oppressive heat and worrisomely high levels of pollution.
The chaos generated by these frequent power cuts- know euphemistically as ‘load shedding’- lead frequently to protests and unrest on the streets.
This, in turn also resulted in a shortage of water as it could not be pumped up to overhead tanks, further fuelling their rage. [full article]