Phrase of the Day: Duck Curve

The problem with solar power on a state wide basis is that it peaks at mid day while “everyone” is at work and no one is doing laundry or cooking dinner or turning on the A/C at the end of a long hot day at work or school.

There is a real risk of overgeneration which means you need to dump electricity somewhere or quickly shutdown any non-solar power you can.

And then kids start coming home from school and then the sun starts to go down and the parents come home and put something in the oven and maybe do a load of laundry and plug in the hybrid car.

And suddenly you need 13,000MW of power to pump into the grid.

And the demand curve looks like a duck.

The surge in intermittent solar power will test the statewide electricity grid because it exacerbates the need for alternative sources such as gas outside of daylight hours. Regulators have warned it’ll make California more vulnerable to price spikes and power disruptions.

4CAISO03-16-2014