March 6, 2017: the California duck curve.
There was an article earlier today from The Los Angeles Times about the excess wind and solar electricity California had. I was curious how much all that "free" electricity was saving California in utility bills.
This is the story I was referring to but from a different source: how California utilities are managing excess solar power. The article begins:
The Golden State is ramping up renewable energy as it pledges to be a bulwark against the Trump administration's pro-fossil fuel policies. But first, it has to figure out what to do with all the excess power it generates when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.
California's solar farms create so much power during daylight hours that they often drive real-time wholesale prices in the state to zero. Meanwhile, the need for electricity can spike after sunset, sometimes sending real-time prices as high as $1,000 a megawatt-hour.And that, folks is the problem with non-dispatchable energy, also known as fool's gold, or solar energy. It takes a lot of "daytime FREE solar energy" to offset electricity that costs $1,000 a megawatt-hour at night. Hey, by the way, when do Tesla owners charge their coal-powered cars? Yup, at night. When do kids work on their computers at home? Yup, at night.
Some links on electricity rates across the US
Nebraska.gov, data for 2015, all states; least expensive to most expensive, some examples:
- Washington, #1: 7.41
- Wyoming, #4: 7.95
- Iowa, #8: 8.47
- Texas, #10: 8.63
- North Dakota, #13: 8.85
- Nevada, #22: 9.48
- Minnesota, #26: 9.69
- National average, between #31 and #32: 10.42
- New York, #41: 15.28
- California, #42: 15.50 (all that free solar and wind energy helping to keep prices down)
- Massachusetts, #44: 16.86 (wow)
- Connecticut, #46: 17.76 (wow)
- Hawaii, #48 (dead last -- due to some ties among states, on 48 positions): 26.17
- US average: 10.41 cents
- North Dakota: 8.75
- California: 15.42
- Minnesota: 9.53
- Iowa: 8.35
- Arkansas: 8.19
- Louisiana: 7.65
- New York: 15.28
- California: 15.42
- New Hampshire: 16.02
- Rhode Island: 17.01
- Connecticut: 17.77