March 23, 2007

Wind on grid does not displace other sources

Back to the fraud of industrial wind, a correspondent writes:

In most cases, when the wind energy is a small fraction (less than 5%) of the load, the grid probably does not throttle back other power sources, letting the line voltage go up within safe bounds. This means that when windmills suddenly drop off the grid like dominoes, which they are wont to do, the grid will not have to scramble to avoid a brownout.

In this case, there is no fuel saved, more power is used by customers due to the higher voltage, and the utility happily charges the customers. Since many electrical devices simply waste the extra energy, that energy is wasted to a great extent.

If a large fraction of the grid power is from wind, the situation is very unstable, so unless there is adequate water power to react quickly, it is necessary to have fossil fuel generation "spinning" in reserve to compensate for the sudden domino failure characteristics of windmills. Naturally this wastes considerable energy, so the wind energy never really displaces fossil fuel consumption in an adequate manner to be justified.

Finally it should be noted that all fossil fuel generation equipment has an optimal range of operating efficiency, usually near full load. If they have to reduce output, this generally means more coal, gas, or oil per kWh is consumed, thus there is no one-to-one relationship with any savings of fossil fuel from the use of windmills. ...

The bottom line is, attaching windmills to the grid is simply foolish. If you were an Inuit living in a remote part of Alaska, not connected to the grid, and you are used to being frequently without power, perhaps they would make sense to you . . . if they were subsidized.