It's 19 degrees and overcast in Dallas today, so no solar power is being generated. The wind is out of the north at 6 mph, a couple of miles per hour below the minimum threshold for un-iced wind turbines to "cut-in" and generate electric power. Even if the wind picks up,delivering industrial quantities of electricity from thousands of low-power turbines distributed over hundreds of square miles will be challenging as blades ice up, transmissions freeze and vents clog with snow.
Due to weather-related failures in conventional power plants--the kind that generate power when consumers want it rather than when nature happens to be cooperating--the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is instituting rolling blackouts today to keep the grid from collapsing in the wake of demand for heat from local residents.
In the State of the Union address last week, President Obama called for moving 80 percent of US electric generation to "renewable" sources by 2035. There is simply no way to reach this goal and run a modern industrial civilization on wind and solar. Nuclear energy is the only viable option and would require a massive construction effort beginning today, not the lip-service we've seen so far from the Administration.
Is the President serious about a renewables definition that includes nuclear power generation, or are we going to have to get used to being a lot colder in winter and hotter in summer?