The Renewables Symphony

Renewable sources of power are often called "intermittent" because wind blows most strongly in the afternoon and at night, while the sun shines only during the day. However, demand for energy – e.g., the switching on and off of lights or the plugging and unplugging of electronic devices throughout the day – can also be said to be intermittent. In fact, on aggregate, demand for power and supply of renewables follow a similar pattern. Based on summertime data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, this graph (included in the task force report) demonstrates that the shape of the load (demand) curve – which declines as people sleep at night, then rises gradually throughout the day – mirrors that of the renewables curve, because solar generation picks up during the day just as West Texas winds die down, and South Texas and coastal winds peak as the sun begins to wane. Moreover, as Michael Osborne points out, the same force that drives these wind and solar patterns drives the demand pattern as well, particularly in the summer – namely, the sun. In a nod to this harmony, he refers to the combination of solar and winds from around the state as the "renewables symphony."

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Nora Ankrum
Stressed Out? Let Your Freak-Out Flag Fly!
Stressed Out? Let Your Freak-Out Flag Fly!
Making stress into a friend instead of a foe

Oct. 2, 2020

Tilling the Soil of Tomorrow
Tilling the Soil of Tomorrow
How one design firm is tackling technology gaps to build the farm of the future

March 11, 2016

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle