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Friday, January 25, 2019

How Reliable is Renewable Energy in the Winter?


Idyllic night scene of a snowy neighborhood in the mountains

Across the U.S., winter weather has wreaked havoc on many communities recently. With disruptions like school cancellations, road closures, difficult travel, and power outages, just getting through the winter months can sometimes be challenging. 

Ice accumulating on power lines, hazardous road conditions, high-speed winds, deep snow, and extreme cold can all be taxing on the electrical grid. 

Fortunately, when the power goes out, renewable energy is just as reliable–and less at risk–than fossil fuel generated electricity. 

Communities, airports, and even hospitals are switching to renewable energy as a better way to make sure they have power, even in the worst weather. Here’s why… 

Renewable Energy is Reliable Energy–and Less Risky than Fossil Fuels

Evidence increasingly shows that relying more on renewable energy like solar and wind makes America’s electrical grid both more secure and more resilient to interruption; not less. 

Diversifying our nation’s electricity sources makes the entire grid more resistant to disruption and catastrophe. Why? Because solar and wind power plants don’t depend on pipelines and valves that can fail. Plus, solar and wind farms can be sited anywhere in the country, and work even through cold weather and dark days. They are not prone to burst pipes, oil spills, or other cold-weather disasters that can take out coal, oil, and natural gas plants. 

During a massive storm or other event that cuts off the power supply, bringing coal, natural gas, or oil operations back online is a massive undertaking. In the worst-case scenario, a natural gas or oil spill (or of their byproducts) both disrupts the electrical grid and can also poison the land and water around it (like the faulty natural gas valve in Massachusetts that knocked out power for thousands of people recently). 

When an electrical grid depends on solar panels and wind turbines, it’s far less likely that one event could take out all power suppliers. And even if it does, it’s a lot easier and safer to get a wind turbine or solar panel operational again than fixing a gas pipeline or coal plant. In fact, grids that rely on power from renewable sources tend to be more integrated, more secure, and more resilient than traditional power grids. That means that, when power does go out, it goes out for fewer customers, and for shorter lengths of time, than when a fossil fuel outage happens. 

It’s Time for a Modern Electrical Grid with More Renewable Energy 

Updating the power grid to accommodate more renewable energy and new technologies will also help improve the country’s aging electrical infrastructure.  

The more people switch to renewable energy, the safer and more resilient the country will be in the instances of power outages, from winter weather, and from the climate change that can worsen the dramatic weather to begin with. The best way to keep the lights on, our homes snug, and our airports, hospitals, and schools working is to rely on cleaner, more reliable energy sources like sun and wind power. 

You can take your first step toward a smarter, healthier, safer, and cleaner world today by signing up for clean, renewable energy with CleanChoice Energy. We supply green electricity to homes and businesses sourced from wind and solar power. Learn how you can switch your home to 100% pollution-free clean energy today!


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