Sustaining a reliable electric system

Posted on Apr 05 2023 in Boone REMC

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” This adage is often used when someone is about to do something risky. If a person heeds this advice, it means they did not commit to “one basket,” and hedged their bets with more than one option. 

This strategy is one way to describe Boone REMC’s approach to the current energy transition. We know that consumer interest in renewable energy continues to grow. 

Advances in renewable energy technologies have led to decreases in costs, making renewables more feasible, accessible and scalable. Over the last few years, our wholesale power provider, Wabash Valley Power Alliance, has adjusted its fuel mix by utilizing more renewables, including solar, wind and landfill gas. Today, renewables make up about 17 percent of our fuel mix, which is a 10 percent increase from five years ago.

Nationally, there is increasing reliance on renewable energy sources as fossil fuel plants are taken offline, often ahead of schedule. We also are seeing more pressure on the electric grid due to the increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events and rising electricity demand.

Competing pressures 

So, how do we reconcile the challenges of grid pressure and a changing fuel mix? Solar and wind energy are beneficial for the environment, but they are limited resources, because the sun does not always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow. Our primary responsibility is to provide electricity 24/7 to you and our community. To do this, we need reliable sources of power that will meet all the peaks and valleys of on-demand energy.

This is where that familiar adage comes into play. While the utilization of renewables is increasing, we still need other forms of energy in the mix to ensure reliable service. That’s why we spread our eggs into multiple baskets. There is value in maintaining a diverse mix of fuel sources to ensure reliability and to meet the growing demand for electricity. 

The bottom line

As dependence on electricity increases, we remain focused on providing our members with reliable, affordable energy — and that’s why fuel diversity is essential. Our diverse fuel mix helps us balance environmental stewardship with affordability and reliability. 

Fuel Mix Graphic