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Eclipse Causes Less Power Loss Than Expected for Solar Generation

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By Editors of Power Generation

Utilities and analysts alike said the August 21 eclipse didn’t cause any major problems for U.S. electrical generation, Bloomberg reported.

“It’s been smooth sailing,” said David Shepheard, managing director at consultant Accenture Plc. “Everyone I talked to so far said there were no unexpected impacts.”

Audrey Lee, vice president of grid services at Sunrun Inc., said the eclipse was “similar to the fog coming into San Francisco."

The California Independent System Operator reported 3,400 MW of solar came off the system during the eclipse, which was less than the forecast of 4,600 MW. Similarly, Duke Energy Co. reported a loss of 1,700 MW of solar in North Carolina compared to a prediction of 2,000 MW, and the ERCOT region in Texas lost 461 MW, compared to a prediction of 600 MW.

The Southwest Power Pool noted electrical demand dropped by 2,500 MW below their forecast due to “irregular human behavior patterns” than expected on a hot day.

The Energy Information Administration reported only 17 solar generators, mostly in Oregon, were in the path of total sun blockage during the eclipse. Hundreds of plants totaling 4 GW, mostly in North Carolina and Georgia, were at least 90 percent obscured. Another 2.2 GW and 3.9 GW are in areas that were at least 80 percent and 70 percent obscured, respectively.

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