The long-time comedy TV show, The Simpsons, has just taken shots at one of the biggest crazes around the world right now, renewable energy. Watch the hilarious clip below.
The clip begins with Homer Simpson having some friends over to watch a football game, however, there is a caveat.
Homer announces, “Tonight’s game is brought to us by something special….the wind,” and proceeds to show his guests a massive wind turbine they have installed in their front yard, which powers their house.
As they turn on the television and proceed to begin watching the game, the power abruptly goes out, forcing Homer to investigate why the wind turbine is not delivering energy.
Homer walks outside to find the turbine still and complains, “What the…who turned off the wind?”
“Dad if we’re really off the grid, then we won’t get power when the air is still,” Lisa retorts.
The Simpsons point out a huge, obvious issue that cannot be avoided with certain forms of renewable energy, particularly wind and solar. It is that they only produce energy when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, unlike fossil fuel-based energy sources.
This disruption is known as “intermittency“, caused by the inconsistency of mother nature. Exemplifying this problem, a study found that wind farms only produce 80% of their potential power for less than one week annually. The study also concluded that they manage 90% output for only 17 hours a day.
Homer states in the segment, “I’m not crawling back to big energy. From now on the Simpsons are living intermittently,” meaning they will have power at the whim of their unreliable wind turbine.
So, this would pose a serious issue to a country’s power grid if wind energy were to be a substantial source of energy. There will inevitably be times where there is intermittency, which would add a great deal of entropy and uncertainty to an already fragile power grid in the U.S. This is not a problem with fossil fuels or nuclear energy, which produce nonstop, only experiencing shutdowns typically from natural disasters.
There would need to be a backup source that could provide energy during these intermittent periods, however, there isn’t a renewable option due to technological constraints.
Germany has been leading the globe in integrating renewable energy sources into their power grid, where in 2019, 46% of the country’s electricity mix came from renewables. Wind energy represented 24% of their total energy mix.
However, they relied on Russian imports of oil and gas as a significant source of their energy mix which has sparked an energy crisis following the war in Ukraine. Germany has embodied green energy policies while outsourcing fossil fuels, which is still the backbone of energy, to other countries.
Germany has had notable intermittency issues with their solar and wind. In 2021, data shows that wind power production was down 25% and there was too little sunlight to charge solar panels. As the renewable sources are proving to be insufficient at powering the country, energy prices are skyrocketing and could throw Germany into a deep recession. Also, they are having to fire up coal plants and nuclear power plants to avoid power outages looking ahead to winter when energy demand spikes.
Their push toward renewables while letting their production of fossil fuels and nuclear dwindle may have a lot of Germans living “intermittently” just like Homer Simpson.
Let Germany and Homer be an example that we should maintain reliable energy sources to power our country.
Featured Image from embedded video.
"*" indicates required fields