Rooftop solar boosts grid reliability in fossil-dependent New England

Solar systems on roofs in the region are helping to shut down a large gas-fired power plant. Meanwhile, utility-scale solar is keeping the lights on as Texas swelters.

On The Carbon Copy podcast this week:

For years, rooftop solar was overlooked as a reliability solution in New England. But in a very sudden reversal, the region’s grid operator now says it’s critical to keep the lights on.

New England doesn’t have its own fossil resources, so the region is dependent on oil and natural gas imported from other parts of the country. Over the last decade and a half, a number of aging coal, nuclear and oil-fired units have been retired. Because of interconnection constraints and lots of NIMBYism, gas, rather than utility-scale renewables, has mostly filled in the gap. 

But distributed solar is suddenly providing a benefit for the New England system operator that will help it close an aging, expensive gas power plant that has been kept in operation for reliability reasons. 

This week, we talk with reporter Ben Storrow about his reporting on the value of solar. First, we’ll look at what’s changed in New England. Then we’ll turn our attention to Texas, where renewables have been critical for managing the grid during a sweltering summer that has brought record-breaking power demand.

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The Carbon Copy is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

This podcast is brought to you by KORE Power, an American manufacturer of battery cells for electric vehicles and stationary storage. Stay tuned to the end of the episode for a conversation with KORE CEO Lindsay Gorrill about how America can slash its dependence on imported critical minerals and batteries.

Carbon Copy is supported by FischTank PR, a specialized climatetech PR firm dedicated to bringing meaningful results for companies in sectors spanning grid edge, solar, energy storage, battery, EVs, alternative fuels, VC and green buildings. FischTank helps clients stand out in an increasingly competitive and noisy space. Visit FischTank PR to learn more.

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