Washington State’s Approaching Energy Crisis – Good Intentions Gone Wrong? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Washington State’s Approaching Energy Crisis – Good Intentions Gone Wrong?

Washington State has trouble on the horizon – trouble with its electrical grid. Trouble as in not being reliable. Trouble as in risk of rolling blackouts.

“In our kind of zeal to remove CO2 emissions and aim for this 100% clean energy, we’re creating a reliability crisis, potentially,” Benton County PUD General Manager Rick Dunn told the Lens News. “We need to get more serious about securing our future supply of electricity.”

Dunn warns that Washington faces a large gap between grid demand on the coldest and hottest days and the availability of dependable electrical generation over the next decade. After nearly two decades of relatively flat growth, both annual and peak electricity loads are forecasted to increase in the region by 5 or 6%, even after accounting for increased energy efficiency.

A similar warning came from the Northwest Power Pool. They conducted a study which showed that the situation could bring an end to a period of stability dating back to the end of the ENRON-precipitated Western energy crisis of 2000.

The Northwest Power Pool considers an outage risk of <5% to be safe, but the study warns that the state faces a 26% probability of an outage from insufficient generation to meet an increased load. That increased load-to-generation ratio will come from the loss of remaining coal plants, an increase in electric vehicle use and a slow increase in population.

On top of this, there is a serious push to decommission four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River, which would put further strain on the grid by removing over 8 billion kWh/year of reliable green energy, requiring over seven thousand MW of new wind turbines, as many as presently exist in the entire State, or two new gas plants, or one new pack of small modular nuclear reactors.