Duck Curves getting Nessie Necks

While I’m busy shoveling bits around… here’s an interesting article for folks to read about the impact of Solar Energy on TOD demand for other electricity sources.

It plots the “ramp” up from lowest demand at high sun to highest demand as folks expect to turn on the TV, cook dinner, and plug in that Tesla to charge after work and before the drive to the party…

Solar Energy’s Duck Curve
October 27, 2014

Intermittent renewable generating technologies (i.e. wind and solar) are causing havoc with electric grid operations because these technologies cannot be controlled by the operators of the electricity grid due to the fact that their generation depends on the wind blowing and the sun shining. Thus, the independent system operator in charge of running the grid must be ready to either drive down the generation of traditional technologies (i.e. natural gas and coal) when intermittent renewable generating capacity starts producing power or ramp up generation from more reliable technologies when intermittent renewable generating capacity shuts down. This means that the independent system operator needs an arsenal of flexible generating technologies to come to the rescue in order for electric consumers to receive electricity at the touch of a switch as they have been accustomed to.

Some countries, such as Germany, have built such a great deal of intermittent renewable generating capacity that their traditional generating technologies are not bringing in enough revenue to survive, which means either consumers will need to make adjustments regarding how they use electricity or government regulators will need to make adjustments regarding how electricity is priced to pay for the flexibility needed. Regardless, electric customers should expect changes in the future—either in price or in availability of electricity—or both—to deal with the increased advent of intermittent renewable generation.

IER has discussed this issue with respect to wind power whose construction largely preceded solar power due to its lower cost. But, now system operators are preparing for the advent of increased solar power and its potential havoc on the grid, including solar on residential rooftops and businesses.

Description of California’s ‘Duck Curve’

for the rest, hit the link… It’s well written and well worth it. Especially when they get to the Nessie curve… ;-)

Hawaii Is Already Confronting Its ‘Duck Curve’

California is not the only state that is facing the solar ‘duck curve’. Hawaii’s isolated and solar photovoltaic-rich grid is already seeing some days when non-solar demand drops below zero because of the amount of solar power being put onto the grid, which the state’s utilities and regulators have called the “Nessie curve” after the Loch Ness monster.

This was all back in 2014, so it will be worse now.

From the article, here’s the walks like a Duck and looks like a Duck chart:

Duck Curve set for 27 Oct 2014 showing big supply swing

Duck Curve set for 27 Oct 2014 showing big supply swing

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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8 Responses to Duck Curves getting Nessie Necks

  1. Mddwave says:

    This duck curve is a precursor to the future changes needed. I think homes will become DC voltage system matching electrical storage needs while electrical transmission will be high voltage AC to minimize power losses.

    Both Edison and Telsa were right

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting you would say that, At lower voltages, Incandescent lights are move efficient, also with DC the filaments last longer (not vibrating…). Thus the advantages of 12 VDC Track Lights.

    I’ve got DC lights over my garage workbench (car headlamps with ‘burned out’ low beams, but the highbeam is fine – on a 12 VDC power source) and I’ve got a 12 VDC ‘battery box’ and charger set for installation (after California’s last “Government Central Authority Controlling Electricity” debacle under Gov. Grey “out” Davis… but we recalled him prior to final assembly).

    I am figuring that given our present governmental insanity, it’s time to complete the system…

    So on my “someday” project list is to assemble the 12 VDC battery box, hook up my 1 kW inverter for those things needing it, and install the 12 VDC track lighting in living room and bedroom… A fairly simple DC to DC converter will supply the 5 VDC that just about all the electronic gizmos run on now (ALL my family telephony, tablets etc. etc. along with the Raspberry Pi computer on which I am typing this…).

    At that point, I’m trying to figure out what I need AC for other than a few large appliances (Stove, Fridge, A/C Furnace) and any misc. small appliance that only comes in AC (toaster). The entertainment center already plugs into a large UPS with 12 VDC in it… and an inverter to make the 110 AC.

    Essentially, my home is already in many ways running on DC, but with the conversion happening at the “wall wart”. I’m looking to move more of that to a DC / DC converter and some of the lighting as well. (LOTS of 12 VDC small appliances and lights are available in the RV marketplace and at Truckstops.) Kitchen likely to stay 110 VAC along with the hardwired major appliances (fridge, washer / dryer, HVAC); but the “general spaces”? Wall warts and lighting… and those are easily made DC.

    FWIW #2:

    I have the “hots” for an RV, so it is likely that much of the swap to DC will happen when I “move aboard” as opposed to retrofitting the house. Or maybe not… SWMBO has her own ideas about the RV idea ;-)

  3. Pingback: Duck Curves getting Nessie Necks | Petrossa's Blog

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    Recently my area was plagued by multiple long power outages. Had 6 of them in just a couple days, several of them over an hour in duration. Most likely due to a need to upgrade the local grid to support a new apartment complex being built nearby. I have long had a DC power pack built from two marine 12v deep cycle batteries (about 55 AH each) kept floating on a wall powered trickle charger. it was built originally for my ham radio gear but recently I added a small 475 watt DC/AC inverter and I keep a small desk light with a low power consumption LED bulb in it plugged into that inverter. This is the desk lamp that I always turn on when I go in the computer room for some general illumination so I can see the key board regardless of what is on the computer screen. I also installed two 1500 VA (900 watt) UPS on both computers.

    This was the first time I was home during a significant power outage and actually on the computers when the lights went out, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the system worked. The desk lamp stayed on so I never lost general room lighting, and both UPS system stepped in to service the load so fast the computers never noticed. When this model of UPS goes on battery the LCD display screen switches from line voltage to remaining minutes of power, and both of them picked up the load with 179 minutes of remaining power displayed. I had plenty of time to shut down one of the systems immediately after finishing some tasks I was in the middle of and saving everything. Then after about 30 minutes of on line browsing even though the commercial power was out I began to shut down the other one by turning off the screen display which cut power use about 50%.

    Power came back on with 59 minutes of power still remaining on that UPS. If I had switched over to my small laptop which only uses about 40 watts, I could have remained on line for much longer if I needed to.

    It was a nice test of the setup and it worked very well for that sort of situation.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    Think how long it would last with a 5 W Raspberry Pi :-)

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes that is why I bought the two Raspberry Pi’s. Biggest current draw would be the screen display.
    One other item with the router and cable modem on the same power strip as the computer, they never dropped the internet link so for a long term situation power down the computer but leave the modem and router hot, then every 30 minutes or so power up just long enough to see what the news is. I wonder how long the local fiber cable system can stand alone when commercial power is down. As I recall cell phone towers try for 24 hours self power backup batteries, but not sure if the fiber system has backup batteries at each cable box and fiber repeater or not. In my case cable never dropped if you had power to the cable modem to use it.

  7. Reminds me of Vernor Vinge’s The Peace War…where it was the old-tech displays that ate most of the power. He gave a talk back in ’93 on the Technological Singularity ( ) and apologizes at the end of the book for having to use a nuclear war to slow it down in the novel. Great read.

  8. Terry Jay says:

    If you are looking at RVs, try this site
    Also, this one

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