As Expected: Energy Demand Surges, Wind Doesn’t Show Up To Work

The mercury never got above zero in Minnesota today, causing a surge in energy demand. For most of us, this probably means our natural gas, propane, and electric furnaces were working diligently to keep us warm despite sub-zero temperatures.

While 66 percent of Minnesotans heat their homes with natural gas, they still need electricity to power the blower fans on the furnace or circulate steam or hot water through radiators. This means having access to reliable electricity is more important on cold weather days like today than on an average day. The region’s coal, natural gas, and nuclear fleet rose to the challenge, but the wind turbines many people uncritically believe can power our lives were nowhere to be found.

Data from the grid operator’s website shows wind accounted for just 3.26 percent of energy demand at the time of this writing. Coal accounted for 55 percent, natural gas 24.6 percent, nuclear 14.8 percent.