Friday's HOT MIC
If only there had been some way to see this coming.
The eclipse set to darken skies next month threatens to sideline solar farms and rooftop panels in a wide swath of the U.S., wiping out enough power generation to supply about 7 million homes.
This rare event, during which the moon will completely obscure the sun, will cast a shadow along a 70-mile-wide (113-kilometer) corridor stretching from Oregon to South Carolina on Aug. 21. Based on a Bloomberg calculation of grid forecasts, more than 9,000 megawatts of solar power may go down. That’s the equivalent of about nine nuclear reactors.
The impact is a testament to the ninefold increase in solar installed in the U.S. since 2012 and highlights the risks associated with relying on an intermittent resource such as the sun for power. The onslaught of wind and solar resources is already regularly contributing to wild swings in power supplies across grids, sending wholesale electricity prices below zero on some days.
Before we understood little things like orbital mechanics and the Copernican solar system, humans lived in fear that unpredictable forces -- like a solar eclipse -- would plunge the world into darkness.
Leave it to our progressive friends to take primitive fears and turn them into modern reality.