Our Electric Grid is Cracking

Delaware's Grid Needs to be Modernized

Posted by dave on August 02, 2023

During the recent heat wave, our grid was definitely stressed. PJM declared a level-one emergency and Delaware Electric Cooperative triggered seven Beat The Peak events as wholesale prices spiked up. But we didn't experience any backouts. The market worked. The higher prices attracted the needed additional power and we could run our air conditioners. All was well. Kudos to PJM!

But here's the thing. I was informed by Clean Energy USA that the distribution grid in Lewes can't handle any more roof-top solar. It is closed to new solar installations, as are other large areas in Delaware. We've reached the back-feed capacity limit of our substation and can't add more solar! Something just doesn't add up. We're paying high prices to bulk generators while cutting off renewables! With all the new home construction in Kent and Sussex, there's a huge potential supply of solar energy.

To be fair, the grid was designed for electrical power to flow one way, from big generators to homes, not from homes to homes, or homes to generators. Our current grid is reaching its limits, fast. We've pushed it as far as we can. As the sun rains energy, the grid closes its doors.

My dream of owning a solar home with a couple of Tesla Powerwalls in the garage has come to an abrupt end. Instead, I'll be installing a gas backup generator. Just in caseā€¦

It is imperative that the "powers that be" expedite the modernization of the grid in Delaware to further enable the growth of roof-top solar and community solar. Distributed renewable electricity needs to be treated as an equal partner on the grid.