Laredo, Texas. – the next The month of October, the state’s electrical network It could be tested again after the ongoing heatwave this summer, but it is now a fait accompli Solar eclipse Which will force almost all solar farms in Texas to stop generating electricity in the middle of the day.
Eclipse can impact Producing renewable energy and subjecting this beleaguered grid, which has received multiple warnings in this hot season, to an unprecedented test.
Just Wednesday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) declared a Level 2 emergency because backup capacity fell below 1,750 megawatts. According to the network operator, the network’s heart rate, measured in hertz – kilohertz, megahertz, etc. – was at a dangerously low level. These conditions and the rapid escalation of the grid emergency shocked generators, consumers and energy experts alike.
This is the first summer that Texas has switched to regular use of renewable energy to meet peak demand, which generally occurs during daylight hours when the sun is intense – orthogonal irradiation -, then bringing back-up generation online – primarily with use from natural gas – to fill The resulting drop in solar energy declines quickly in the evening. The eclipse will be a faster version of this phenomenon at noon.
During the eclipse, the sun is expected to begin going dark at 10:15 a.m. Central Time on October 14, and end at 1:40 p.m. Areas of the largest blockage will extend from West Texas to the southeastern portion of the Gulf Coast, although the entire state will be affected.
At its peak, the sun will be blocked by 76 to 90 percent, depending on location. That will result in the solar panels having only 13 percent of “clear sky capacity” at the peak of the eclipse at 11:50 a.m., an ERCOT executive said.
Next month’s eclipse represents an unprecedented challenge for the Texas grid, which has struggled to increase solar development in recent years. ERCOT currently has about 22 gigawatts of solar generating capacity, nearly 13 of which are operating during the sunny hours of the day this week.
ERCOT’s concerns are such that it is already working with solar forecast providers to create a special model for Oct. 14, ready to quickly bring backup supplies online during the event and then gradually adjust them once the sun’s shadow appears. It passes the ecliptic cone. The network operator hopes to start sharing details about its plan on October 5.
A solar eclipse is uniqueBut it represents a serious challenge that grids can face every day when unexpectedly cloudy conditions reduce electricity production from solar panels.