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Scenario

Background

Your region’s electrical transmission and distribution system has evolved significantly over the last two decades. Subsidies have led consumers to invest heavily in rooftop solar panels and energy efficient appliances. These same subsidies have motivated energy companies to construct large solar and wind farms tied directly to the region’s transmission system.

Dilemma:

Even though the region has become more populated, it appears as if the overall demand for energy has decreased when it has actually increased. Additionally, these resources have made it difficult to manage power flow on the transmission system when rapid variations in wind and cloud cover occur.

Proposed Solution:

To ensure grid reliability, the RTO believes local officials should support the following two initiatives:

1. Allow the RTO to dispatch large solar and wind farm output in the same manner they currently dispatch traditional sources of generation. This means that there will be instances when solar and wind farms will have their output limited.

2. Allow transmission and distribution companies to limit the output of roof-top solar panels remotely. This would mean installing cut-off switches on roof-top solar panels so that transmission and distribution companies can place them in and out of service as needed

The Community

There is division in the community regarding the proposed solution:

· On one side, members of the community are concerned that these actions would artificially limit the benefits of renewable energy. Additionally, those with roof-top solar panels are concerned that they will not be able to recoup their investment.

· On the other side, members of the community are concerned that if the impact of wind and solar energy is left unchecked, the region will become increasingly susceptible to grid disturbances. All indications are that solar panels and wind farms will continue to increase in popularity.

Additional Concern

To add to the dilemma at hand, the area will undergo a total solar eclipse next August during a period of peak demand. During the solar eclipse, solar panel output will decrease rapidly to zero and subsequently increase rapidly as the solar eclipse passes. (Libra, et al., 2016)

Instructions

“The RTO should not limit the output of large solar and wind farms unless there are extenuating circumstances, and under no circumstances should transmission and distribution companies be allowed to control roof-top solar panels. The benefits of these resources outweigh the risks. Additionally, treating wind and solar the same as traditional sources of generation is unfair in that these technologies are still in their infancy.”

Construct and post an argument that supports your assigned position. Focus your argument on how your position will affect the community and the implications it would have on transmission and distribution equipment. Utilize and cite at least one peer-reviewed journal article retrieved from the Excelsior Public Library to support your assigned position.

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