Longtime Slashdot reader WindBourne writes: “A shroud of smoke has sent solar power generation in parts of the eastern US plummeting by more than 50% as wildfires rage in Canada,” reports Bloomberg. “Solar farms powering New England were producing 56% less energy at times of peak demand compared with the week before, according to the region’s grid operator. Electricity generated by solar across the territory serviced by PJM Interconnection LLC, which spans Illinois to North Carolina, was down about 25% from the previous week.”
Not mentioned in the article is that the wind generator output has also dropped. [“Wind power also dropped to 5% of total generation so far this week versus a recent high of 12% during the windy week ended May 12,” reports Reuters. “That forced power generators to boost the amount of electricity generated by gas to 45% this week, up from around 40% in recent weeks.”]
If forest fires can cut PV output by 50%, what would happen in real disasters when a nation most needs their electricity — especially as we convert from fossil fuels (stored energy) to electricity? This will hopefully have politicians thinking in terms of national security, as well as anthropogenic global warming, when it comes to western grids.