Climate change skeptics love to criticize renewable power sources like solar, wind, and geothermal. They often claim that green energy simply doesn’t work, citing huge failures like Solyndra as prime examples. These critics conveniently ignore major fossil fuel disasters like the Exxon Valdez or Deepwater Horizon.
But we digress.
Climate change skeptics are free to believe whatever they want – no matter how dangerous those beliefs may be.
But it’s hard to ignore the facts.
Let’s take a closer look.
How California Created So Much Green Power
On October 11, 2016, California generated 149,982 MWh of clean electricity from a combination of hydroelectricity, wind energy, geothermal energy, and solar power.
The wind energy component was probably the most surprising – since production increased more than 100% from the day prior. But the largest single component of this green power came from solar – at roughly 63,492 MWh. And what’s truly amazing is that this wasn’t a sunny summer day – it was the middle of October.
The numbers get a little more interesting when you realize these stats come from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) – an organization that only looks at large-scale renewable energy installations.
Missing from these stats are all the smaller, residential PV installations that keep cropping up all over the state. And there are a lot of these. When you throw those into the equation, California generated far more than the 150 GWh currently being touted. Perhaps we even reached 200+ gigawatt-hours.
No one knows for sure.
Making the Most of These Green Power Milestones
The more renewable energy we bring online, the less reliant we become on dirtier forms of power like oil, natural gas, and coal. This means less pollution, a cleaner planet, and healthier lifestyles.
But managing renewable energy isn’t easy.
That’s because green sources like wind and solar are intermittent, meaning it’s difficult to know (in advance) how much energy you’ll get. The sun isn’t always “sunny” and the wind isn’t always “windy.” And unfortunately, it’s difficult for utility operators to store excess energy for later.
But this is changing.
As battery technology becomes more affordable and powerful, it’s becoming easier to soak up excess clean power when consumer demand is low – and redirect that renewable energy when demand goes back up. And with enough storage capacity throughout the grid, green power intermittency becomes irrelevant.
It may take a while for battery technology to become truly mainstream. But once it does, America will have little reason to continue using power sources that cause irreparable harm to the environment. We’ll be able to generate and store all the clean electricity we need.
To learn more about green power – especially solar energy – contact us today for a free consultation.