When you need to shut down the grid, it’s time to get your shingles shutters on
The American Wind Energy Association is urging lawmakers to approve legislation that would end a decades-old practice in California that allows owners to shut off wind turbines to reduce the risk of a solar storm.
In a letter to members of the California legislature, the AA said the new rules, which were approved by the state’s utility commission in late January, have “devastated our ability to meet our needs for energy and have had devastating impacts on California’s environment and economy.”
“We know that shutting down wind turbines could result in significant energy costs and harm California’s climate,” the letter said.
“The industry should immediately end its practice of using wind energy as a scapegoat for California’s energy challenges.”
The letter was signed by the American Wind and Solar Institute, the Sierra Club, the Wind Power Association and California Wind Energy Alliance.
It said the changes would save the state $150 million over the next four years.
Under the new rule, wind turbine owners would have to install a generator to make electricity when the turbines are shut off, and they could shut off the turbines when the wind is off, but only if they get approval from the grid operator, or the electric utility, or both.
Under existing law, owners can use wind energy to meet their electricity needs without having to buy generators, which are more expensive to build and maintain.
The California Wind and Power Association, which represents wind farms in the state, said in a statement that it is disappointed the commission approved the proposal, but noted that the proposed changes “will not make wind energy more affordable, but will make it less safe.”
The industry’s proposal is backed by several solar industry groups, including the American Solar Association, American Wind Power Alliance and Solar Energy Industries Association.
The groups said in the letter that they “have always advocated for and are committed to continuing to work with regulators to protect our energy supply and to provide safe and reliable power to the public.”