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The Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, Could Affect the U.S. Electrical Grid?

Total Solar Eclipse in the U.S. August 21, 2017.


As you may already know, the total solar eclipse that will occur on August 21, 2017, will cut the solar power production in several U.S. states.

The shadow of the Moon will be 70 miles wide and will travel over the country with a speed of 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 km/h) generating a cut of the solar power production in states such as Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina.

On its road, the total solar eclipse of August 21, will generate a loss of solar power production of 9,000 MW, which equals the energy production of 15 coal-fired power plants.

Luckily, the shadow of the Moon will cross the entire country in 1 hour and 33 minutes, and after that the production of solar power in the states affected by the eclipse will return to normal.

A loss of 9,000 MW (9 GW) across the entire country is nothing for the electrical grid (it usually faces much worse losses during the day), but even so, the grid will be prepared for the event and will use a diversity of energy sources to cover the loss.

The electrical grid will use low-carbon energy sources (nuclear power and generators running on natural gas) to cover the losses of solar power generated by the total solar eclipse.

The loss of solar power during the total solar eclipse will be higher if the weather will be sunny, and smaller or even negligible if the weather will be cloudy or rainy.

The electrical grid in the U.S. is not set up for a total solar eclipse, but because the event will occur pretty fast (only 93 minutes to cross the entire country from west to east) the losses of solar power will be minimal, and everything will return to normal right after the event.

During the eclipse, you can go outside to watch the event if the weather will be sunny, but only using solar eclipse glasses.

Don’t look at the Sun directly with the naked eyes during the eclipse! use glasses that are specially created for solar eclipses.

Magda Savin
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Magda Savin

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues.
I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people.
Magda Savin
Magda Savin
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One Response to "The Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, Could Affect the U.S. Electrical Grid?"

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