It’s all about diversity. Whether in biology, in culture, in training, or in technology, when conditions change a system survives if there is sufficient diversity to adapt. Otherwise it dies. And things always change.
This is no less true for electricity production. Having a diverse energy mix is key to a society surviving changes in demographics, government, geologic processes and natural disasters, supply disruption during war, and extreme weather changes.
This concept was in full display last week during our run-in with a certain polar vortex. In which nuclear and wind stepped up to the plate to relieve natural gas and coal when they failed to deliver on demand.
Polar vortex, a new buzzword in the news, is really an old term. Just ask Al Roker! Polar vortex is a term for a high altitude low-pressure system that hovers over the Arctic in winter, spinning in place above the north pole like a bowl. The vortex determines how much cold air escapes from the Arctic and makes its way through Canada into the United States during the winter (NPR).