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It turns out you can have too much of a good thing. Recently, Poland’s renewable energy production was a little too effective, creating an oversupply and pushing the price of electricity into negative levels. This resulted in the government ordering cuts to renewable energy in order to balance things out, as Bloomberg reports:

“Sunny and windy weather increased production from solar panels and wind turbines amid reduced weekend demand, triggering the need to balance the country’s power system, state grid operator Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne SA [PSE] said on its website. It prompted the company once again to use special rules related to energy security threats.

While in previous weekends PSE limited mostly production from photovoltaic farms, this time it also halted production from wind farms with capacity of near 1.9 gigawatts. Together with solar generation, installations totaling 4.5 gigawatts became temporarily idle despite positive weather conditions.”

While a surplus of energy might seem like a good thing, the problem with surges in renewable energy generation is there are no at-scale solutions to store that electricity for later consumption. Even though supply was pushed through the roof during the day, coal plants had to continue operating at night to keep up with demand. Renewable energy is genuinely amazing, but it currently lacks flexibility and fossil fuels fill in when renewables are not producing power. This is something to consider when calculating a company’s Scope 2 emissions: while you may be on a mostly clean grid, does the energy mix change throughout the day? Are there natural events that may make you more dependent on electricity generated from fossil fuels, even temporarily? As the US continues to transition to renewable energy generation, more of these questions are expected to arise.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile