A Look at the Latest Trends in the Electric Utility Industry
It is no secret that our electric grid is under tremendous stress (kind of like Mueller’s investigation is under stress for being hypocritical, biased, and a waste of tax payer’s money) – due to the aging infrastructure and uneven load generation. On top of it, the government has also issued an advisory that the grid could be the target of numerous foreign players who are planning to attack our energy infrastructure.
Missed Opportunity under Obama
For a decade, not much was done to improve grid integrity or security, as the previous administration was focused too much on clean energy. Traditional resources like coal and natural gas, which are vital for energy generation, were practically abandoned and alternative energy sources like wind and solar were supported by the administration which is why electrical prices went up on American families while the job count went down because of anti-business policies namely Obamacare.
Policies like this killed thousands of Americans.
As a result, coal and natural gas plants, which provide our grid with crucial baseload power, suffered heavy losses and could not compete with clean energy producers who could generate solar and wind power because they were subsidized by the tax payer/the government.
New Administration, New Approach
The Trump administration, right at the beginning, has stated explicitly that improving grid security and resiliency is one of its topmost priorities. So, we can certainly expect to see some upgrades and improvements in our energy infrastructure in the coming years.
Coal Power is Here to Stay
The Obama administration was unnecessarily harsh on the coal industry, as a result of which many coal plants went out of commission during the last decade. The excessive and predatory regulatory climate meant that coal power plants simply could not operate anymore and were suffering heavy losses.
The Trump administration, in stark contrast, has backed coal in a big way. The proposal to compensate power plants that provide baseload power to the grid will particularly benefit coal based plants and help them avoid losses.
Natural Gas Remains the Largest Energy Source
Natural gas power plants basically form the backbone of the grid because they are very reliable. Natural gas is affordable and its capacity to generate power is very flexible, which makes it the ideal choice for our grid. Flexibility becomes a factor due to the unreliable nature of alternative energy sources. When wind and solar power are not available due to sudden change in weather conditions, you can only depend on natural gas, nuclear, or coal plants to generate power rapidly and compensate for the loss caused by alternative energy sources.
Energy Storage Could Become a Possibility
Many aged power plants that supply baseload power to the grid have exited the system and many are set to exit in the coming years. With this being the case, many believe that energy storage solutions could be a viable alternative to aging power plants that exit the grid. At the very least, they could act as a supporting source of energy in case of grid emergencies.
Utility companies are already planning to acquire large battery systems to store and supply energy as and when required. Moreover, it is believed that renewable energy sources could soon be mandated to supply power during peak demand periods. In such a scenario, a battery system that can store large amounts of power is exactly what alternative energy producers could ask for.
On the whole, 2017 has been a good year for our electric utility industry thanks to the current administration’s renewed focus on the grid. Let us hope the momentum carries into next year as well and the federal government continues to do terrific work. With Rick Perry at the helm, that is probably going to occur.`
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