The Cold Truth About Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest

by Cliff Mass at

Over the weekend I received several messages from Puget Sound Energy to reduce my energy use, both gas and electric, with the implicit threats of potential blackouts (see below).

Avista Energy (eastern Washington/Idaho) and other utilities made similar requests from their customers.

The key reasons for the worries?    

The cold weather caused a large increase in energy demand and radically reduced the output of renewables (mainly wind in our region).   For a few hours, there was also a problem with PSE’s gas storage facility south of Olympia.

This blog will describe the situation and why renewable energy tends to plummet just when energy demand is highest.  It is also a warning that politicians and energy activists need to consider.