Renewable energy advocates say that Duke Energy needs to strengthen its interstate power transmission connections in order to avoid future severe-weather “rolling blackouts” like the utility experienced in late December. Renewable energy trade and environmental groups say that Duke needs to combine more renewable energy generating capacity with connection into regional electric grid agreements.
“There’s no individual utility territory that can grapple with that type of reliability event effectively. It takes something with a bigger footprint, with a bigger map in the control room. The weather is changing, and if we keep doing the same thing we’ve done before, we won’t dodge the bullet next time,” said Eddy Moore, the Coastal Conservation League’s energy senior program director.
Chris Carmody, executive director of the Carolinas Clean Energy Business Association, a renewable energy trade group, said that Duke’s loss of power from a coal plant and two natural gas plants during the December deep freeze helped show that natural gas-fired power plants don’t provide the reliability often touted by Duke Energy.
Instead, it’s renewable energy sources backed by utility-scale battery storage that have become the most reliable systems, especially when joined with improved transmission connections.