NICK: Too many problems exist with solar power | Community

Thanks to LDN for its article (LDN, June 23) covering the Angelina County meeting of June 22, including the public hearing about zoning for the Azalea Springs solar power park.

There were two main concerns in my discussion and questions at that meeting. First, although solar power does have merit, there are too many problems with trying to apply it in a “Green New Deal” to change the electrical supply grid to get rid of present generators and fuel systems, especially being pushed too fast and not allowing reasonable time for development to see how it may or may not work. My second concern is the hard-and-fast attempts to force-feed radical changes to the American people as part of the sad and present dangerous reality that is the totalitarian, Marxist, communistic takeover of our government.

Some comments by Jared Hibshman (Azalea Springs) were encouraging, saying no batteries will be used initially and the power will be fed to the grid with no delay to assist the power needs only during hours of good sunlight. But that still leaves the doubt about whether the inverter outputs will be compatible with the grid, to maintain synchronization and not upset the grid.

In that regard, my shallow opinion not only has doubts about solar, but also about wind energy, with the probability that the crush of forces between needs of the grid against the inertia of the turbine-gearbox-generator, compounded by unstable wind gusts, could cause gearbox failure or structural damage (maybe need a softening hydraulic coupling in gearbox), resulting in grid problems.

For the past 100 years or so, the electrical grid has used rotating turbines or engines (mostly steam turbines for nuclear or coal-fired plants and lately adding gas turbines) driving rotating generators, which, with driver fuel being controlled in “droop” mode (local monitoring of the grid and local control of generator by slight variations of driver rotation speed) and other local controls to simultaneously match generator output (voltage, power factor, etc) and provide power flow to or from the grid as needed together has been a superbly resilient and compatible set of machinery to generate electricity to the power-sharing grid.

Although it seems many of our present generating stations may be operating with some central control management connected by the internet (which opens up dangerous possibilities that the grid could fall victim to hackers or other electronic interference), it would be wise to remember the present grid system can still operate with no internet, using the freedom of only local control.

One of the main features of the present system is the “droop” mode, which allows the generator stations to operate with only local control (either local dedicated computers or local old-fashioned analog controls) and still perform load- sharing with the grid.

The concept of freedom under our nation’s Constitution limits the power of the central government and gives most governmental power to a more localized control by the respective states and to other local governments, near to the locality of the people, all of those governments being subject to the will of the people operating in their individual rights under that constitutional law (and that law and the people being compatible with the grace of God).

We need to be very careful to maintain the freedom of local control — to avoid loss of the electrical grid and other blessings, which could put us on a jagged edge of civilization.

Charles Nick of Lufkin is a regular contributor to The Lufkin Daily News’ Opinion page.