Last night, over 40% of wind energy produced was shutdown or curtailed during a spell of gale force winds across the island of Ireland. This episode clearly shows the limitations of relying too much on an intermittent source of energy like wind. Billions of euros worth of turbine installations become worthless at both low wind and at high wind.
As the gales gathered in strength on Sunday evening, maintaining the frequency of the grid became more difficult :
Figure 3 shows what happened when over 40% of the wind output was shutdown and there was more manageable levels of wind, in this case about 1,500MW. The frequency is very stable and there is little risk of blackouts. This has been normality in the grid for many years. Compare it with Figure 2. This is the future. It will certainly test engineering skills to it's limits. Gas turbines will have to function under greater strain than before. It will cost a lot of money. There can no longer be a guarantee that the electric kettle will boil when you want it to.
The other option Eirgrid have to maintain a stable frequency in these situations is to cut demand - which is in effect a blackout under another name. The future is renewable. The future is green. I'm at a loss to figure out how this is "progress".