Renewable energy. Green power. Solar. Wind. We have all heard the discussion and the debates between the value and benefit of renewable energy sources vs. the more traditional forms of base load generation – coal and nuclear being the main two. Should renewable energy be subsidized? Should we eliminate subsidies for coal and oil? These questions have stirred a lot of debate and passion from both sides. Regardless of which school of thought you support, I don't think anyone can argue that renewable sources will play an increasing role in the U.S. and global power grids.
This growth in renewables really hit me on my last trip. I was flying out of a Midwest airport that I had not flow out of in a while. As I was driving to the airport, I was amazed at the number of wind turbines that have been installed in a fairly short time. And this got me to thinking about how diesel generator sets will fit into this renewable future.
Renewables, by themselves, are ideal solutions for any power grid. If the wind isn't blowing, or the sun isn't shining, then power isn't available. So some sort of additional base load power generation is needed, which today takes the form of large coal, nuclear, or natural gas generating stations. But the renewable sources (possibly coupled with utility scale energy storage) give us the opportunity to decrease our reliance on the large base load plants.
So as we add these renewable sources, do you see the overall grid reliability increasing?
Can we get to the point where standby power generation, as it exists today, is no longer needed? Or will diesel generator sets play a larger role in the future as localized distributed generation units?
And what about gas generator sets? Do you see these playing a larger role in the standby / distributed generation market?
I am interested in hearing your thoughts. Please post them below.