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Who needs solar? Traders burnt during the eclipse: No sun, but lots of cheap electricity

Posted By Jo Nova On August 27, 2017 @ 3:42 am In Free markets,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Remember the Electrical Eclipse-Fear? For months, people were coached to use less electricity during the eclipse for fear that the grid might fall over as marvelous new-revolution-solar stopped working. The media were selling the message that we might not cope without solar. I figured this would be as big a threat as a cloudy day (but easier to prepare for.).

So after all the spin, what happened? Electricity was massively oversupplied, and spot prices went negative.

Apparently people went outside to watch the sky. (At least that’s Southwest Power’s excuse.)

Most of the groups that hyped the fear don’t seem to have mentioned the failure so much:

 Why Energy Traders Got the Eclipse So Wrong — Bloomberg

Grid operators and traders thought they were totally prepped for the historic U.S. solar eclipse. There was just this one thing they didn’t completely factor in: “irregular human-behavior patterns.”

That’s the technical definition, from the folks who manage the electricity network at the Southwest Power Pool, for the conduct of millions of Americans who were outdoors ogling the moon shadowing the sun instead of cranking up the A/C in homes and offices.

This was a bummer for traders who’d bet prices would jump as a whole load of solar-produced megawatts faded to black.

Spot power in California fell to negative levels as the eclipse wiped out and restarted thousands of megawatts of solar power, and they also dipped from Texas to New York.

Then at 11:50 a.m. local time — as the sun started to reappear from behind the moon — the ramp-up in solar power sent prices to a low of minus $15.97.

…the next total eclipse in the U.S.: April 8, 2024.

The normal unpredictable variation of solar and wind power is far harder to deal with than the predictable dips from a solar eclipse.

PS: Find out when the next eclipse is in your neck of the woods.

h/t Andrew

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