Duke Energy Apologises for Winter Storm Renewable Energy Failure, Rolling Blackouts

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From Watts Up With That?

h/t Rich Lambert – “… solar generation performed as expected but was not available to meet the peak demand since the peak occurred before sunrise. …”

Apologies and acceptance from Duke Energy over recent rolling blackouts

JANUARY 3, 2023

  • A series of systemic failures in Duke Energy’s two utilities triggered outages over Christmas across North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • Duke Energy’s “nuclear fleet” was reliable, but solar generation was unable to meet peak demand because it occurred before sunrise.

Duke Energy executives repeatedly apologized and owned up to the situation that caused thousands in North and South Carolina to be without power during a bitter cold snap leading up to the Christmas holiday weekend. The admissions came during a hearing Tuesday before the North Carolina Utilities Commission

According to testimony before the NCUC, high winds had already left 300,000 without power during the day of Dec. 23 before a severe cold snap later that night and into Dec. 24. Company officials called the weather combination “unique,” saying they used rolling blackouts for the first time in the utility company’s history. 

“I want to express how sorry we are for what our customers experienced,” said Julie Janson, executive vice president, and CEO, of Duke Energy Carolinas. “Winter storm Elliott was an extremely powerful event with a unique confluence of high winds, extreme temperature drops, and other conditions that forced us to curtail power as a last resort. We regret not being able to provide customers as much advance notice of the outages as we would have liked, and we acknowledge that the outages themselves lasted far longer than we expected.”

“The power that we purchased did not show up, therefore, we were confronted with the hard truth that our energy demand would soon be eclipsed by our capacity,” stated Bowman. “At that time, we made the only decision that we could. For the first time in our company’s history, we began rolling service disruptions.” 

Duke Energy’s “nuclear fleet” was reliable during the storm, according to Preston Gillespie, Duke Energy’s executive vice president and chief generation officer. Still, he said, in a few cases, insulation and heat tracing did not prevent instrumentation lines from freezing which caused a reduction in generation. 

…Read more: https://www.carolinajournal.com/apologies-and-acceptance-from-duke-energy-over-recent-rolling-blackouts/

To her credit Duke Energy’s CEO Julie Janson seems genuinely contrite for failing her customers.

Let us hope Duke Energy and North and South Carolina learns from this experience, and they ditch the useless solar energy and build more “reliable” nuclear power plants.

Renewable advocates in other states should also take note. You cannot rely on power purchased from other providers, when others are struggling with their own power shortages, and you can’t rely on renewable energy – it always lets you down when you need it most, like just before sunrise on a bitterly cold December morning.

Update (EW): Fixed a typo in the title, changed “Apologies” to “Apologises”.