Garkane has received notice from its power supplier, Deseret Power, to prepare for the possibility of blackouts during the upcoming hot summer months and periods of extremely high market pricing for power.
The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) has also issued notice of possible grid-based power limitations this summer and the need for careful planning in the future.
Additionally, the California Independent System Operator (CASIO) issued a report stating that “Extreme drought, increased demand and the continued potential for widespread heating events and other disruptions continue to leave the ISO grid with a high degree of vulnerability for reliability during the summer months.
Capacity shortfalls in the regions around Utah have left the state vulnerable to temporary, controlled outages to preserve the integrity of the bulk electric system. An unusual hot summer may stress the grid with forecasts requiring more power than can be reliably generated. Hot weather isn’t the only reason Garkane Energy and other Utah utilities could face electricity shortfalls this summer.
As traditional power plants are being shut down and grid operators rely more and more on non-dispatchable renewable energy sources, it is proving to have a larger effect on utilities, which is why Garkane is seeking to be prepared.
Solar and wind are highly dependent on external factors, which makes it more difficult to forecast and plan. Garkane CEO Dan McClendon said, “Non-dispatchable energy sources like wind and solar are great for reducing our carbon footprint, but they don’t have the capability to generate power 24-hours a day, nor can they be dispatched exactly when power is needed.
“To alleviate this problem, batteries are needed to store energy for later use, but that technology does not currently have the capacity to meet the energy demand. With battery prices far outpacing traditional power generation sources like coal and natural gas, it creates a problem for grid operators. If we want to avoid rolling blackouts, we need to find a more balanced approach.”
In an effort to be prepared, Garkane has created a campaign called “High-Five Alert” to help alleviate some of the grid pressures during peak times, particularly in the summer months. As the summer progresses, the grid operators are expected to provide Garkane a day-ahead notice of potential short falls of generating capacity and extreme market conditions, and Garkane will in turn, provide its members one day’s notice as well. Although we hope our notices and alerts are rare, whenever you see or hear our “High-Five Alert” either by Facebook, radio, text or email, we ask that you turn your thermostat up five degrees … it’s that simple.
By increasing the temperature in your home or business by five degrees for one day and by sacrificing a little comfort for a short period of time, you will be helping ensure that you and your neighbor will avoid a rolling blackout situation. With everyone’s willing participation, we can cooperatively pull together and literally “high-five” our way out of the blackout alert times.