In the Eclectic Vehicle discussion, I mentioned the Orkney Islands case in regards to the gird capacity challenge. I initially heard about this case in a YouTube video and I want to elaborate on this because it is pretty interesting. [Tom Scott - The Islands With Too Much Power https://youtu.be/8UmsfXWzvEA ]
The Orkney Islands are located off of the northern coast of Scotland. The Orkney Islands have some of the best renewable energy generation potentials, and there are a lot of them on the Islands. The islands are windswept year-round, and the population density is very low. A lot of homes have their own wind turbines to sustain their own electricity needs. Commercial wind turbines need to be turned off sometimes because they are producing so much electricity that the grid cannot handle the load. Offshore wind turbines near The Orkney Islands produce 17,000 megawatts of electricity per year which is far more than what the islands need, not to mention wave and tidal generation, which add another 2,000 megawatts. The grid cable between The Orkney Islands and the British mainland can only handle 40 megawatts because it was built back in the days where it was simply used for sending coal-generated electricity from the British mainland to the Orkney Islands. Excess electricity becomes a problem because they can’t use it nor send it anywhere. Building a better grid cable that can send all of the electricity back to the mainland is extremely costly, at half a billion pounds, but is already on the agenda. The Islands are looking for more ways to use electricity, such as storing them and powering the ferries between the Islands and the mainland. These changes are slowly and surely happening. This is a perfect example of the grid capacity challenge. Similar stories can be found in the US as well, and I have another good video to accompany with it [Vox - Why the US isn't ready for clean energy https://youtu.be/s3ScJ_FwaZk ]
The main challenge for using renewable energy in the US is transmission. In northern Vermont, near the Canadian border, a solar farm project was denied because it would have generated too much power that the old grid in the small town could not handle. In general, whether they are solar farms or offshore wind turbines, a better grid system is essential to send the power to where it is needed. However, it is complex and expensive. I highly recommend you watch these two videos if you are interested in this topic. I was surprised that the grid capacity challenge group had the least people during the discussion. It may be more complex than other challenges, but not anymore after you watch these two videos!