For disruption, Power grid braces as Panel approaches


Grid operators across North America are braced for a disturbance hitting channels, forcing them to take steps to ensure reliability as individuals marvel over the eclipse on Monday.

Since the moon places in a direct line between the ground and the sun, it will partly obscure the sunlight required almost 2,000 facilities including a number 2,300-megawatts of power in Ontario.

What Canada will see of this eclipse, and also how to watch it safely (The Globe and Mail)

For generators which lie in a whole eclipse’s path — that runs west-to-east from Oregon that the sun will be obscured for three minutes. The eclipse will last some three hours in North America, until its end in the east from its start on the west shore.

But, grid operators say they can manage any effect on photovoltaic (PV) generation by increasing reliance from different sources, particularly natural-gas plants that are typically utilised to meet swings in demand and supply.

“Although Ontario isn’t on the route of the whole eclipse, the eclipse may block up to 70 percent of sunlight across Ontario, which might lead to some potential impacts to the power grid,” Mary Bernard, spokeswoman for the state’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), stated in an email.

“Although we are expecting a decrease in the amount of solar energy during the eclipse, the machine will stay reliable and we anticipate no problems,” she said. “We have been monitoring this event for a while and have the advantage of knowing exactly when the eclipse will be occurring.”

Ontario has a surplus of power supply. But on often it imports electricity from neighbouring jurisdictions and Quebec. Solar generation can account for up to 10 percent of the supply of the province on 2,300-megawatts or a summer day, and that output could be reduced by the eclipse in its height by up to 70 per cent.

At the same time, demand could spike up to 1,500 MW as individuals turn on lights between 1 p.m. and two p.m., on account of the reduction of sunlight, the IESO stated.

The system operator says while it has demand management programs it can use to decrease consumption, it has suppliers prepared to grow their production as needed.

In the U.S., the eclipse will obscure sunlight for a few 1,900 utility-scale PV facilities, with large concentrations in California and eastern Oregon, in addition to North Carolina.

California is vulnerable to disturbance. The country has 10,000 MW of solar capacity that may generate up to 40 percent of loan to the Independent System Operator (ISO).

It is going to experience a decrease of 5,565 MW of energy including 1,365 MW from rooftop panels and 4,200 MW from production Though California isn’t in the path of this eclipse.

The ISO is currently preparing for a decrease and then increase during the eclipse which could stress the distribution and transmission systems.

Fortunately, the state has had a wet year and contains water stored behind its hydroelectric dams which will allow it to compensate for the reduction of solar energy, said Dave Quinn, a power market analyst in Genscape Inc., a market intelligence company. The challenges could have been much greater, if the eclipse had happened when the nation was experiencing a serious drought.

“It certainly will be a fun day but it feels like the ISO is ready for handling it,” Mr. Quinn said.

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