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Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

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View Poll Results: Is the Obama administration doing enough to promote green energy?
Yes 2 16.67%
No 10 83.33%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:51 AM
Shiba3420 Shiba3420 is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

Even as a big supporter of wind, I have to point out a few shortcomings of the article. With wind nearly doubling in installed capacity every year, you would think that this year we would be able to install nearly nothing but wind and meet increasing demand...after if wind was 40% last last year, shouldn't we be at 80 to 100% this year?...However that is based of faceplate capacity....the maximum the system can generate. You can only expect wind to generate about 25 to 33% faceplate on average (deep water turbines can get up to 33 to 50%). So really the wind installed last year only represented about 1/7 or 14% capacity installed. However its clear that wind can make a significant contribution....its just a matter of time and policies.

Elixer, I don't understand your 60Hz comment....long distance power distribution is usually done on 230k to 800k lines, and I believe there are lines of much higher voltage planned.. At the higher voltages, cross country transmission is possible. HVDC is useful because you don't have to worry about getting the frequency right between the broadcasting and receiving ends, so integration of the transmitted power is much easier, although power losses are also less.
However, keep in mind that power would rarely be sent from one end of the country to the other.
Consider this simplified example....Country in 3 pieces (east, mid, west). Mid has just enough wind, east has abundance of wind, west has shortage of wind. You don't have to transmit the power from east to west. Instead you transmit from mid to west, and from east to mid. The total distance that power is pushed is dramatically reduced.

Besides all this, from what I have read, the grid we have is out of date, and we need to make a major overhaul. That was material we were reading even before renewables came back on the scene in such a big way. If you have to do that anyway, why not spend additional money to bring to give it the ability to deal with the new sceneries that renewable present? Its cheaper now than later.

That said, until we reach our goals, we can always do more. I voted no, but even if we just manage to keep the policies now in place long enough, I think wind will reach its full potential.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:20 AM
phoebeisis phoebeisis is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

Anyone have any rule of thumb for what percent of power is lost in a 'typical " 100 mile transmission line?
500 mile line?
How about a 1000 mile line?

Charlie
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:37 AM
paratwa paratwa is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
Anyone have any rule of thumb for what percent of power is lost in a 'typical " 100 mile transmission line?
500 mile line?
How about a 1000 mile line?

Charlie
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri...mission#Losses
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:02 PM
phoebeisis phoebeisis is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

paratwa,
Thanks.

"As of 1980 the longest distance that electricity can be economically transmitted is 7000 km(4000 mile) but the longest actual transmission distance is considerably shorter".According to the article the longest distance is 1500 miles or so??

It also stated that in the USA about 7.2% of the energy is lost in transmission.

What is the big deal??? Why are folks whining about transmission losses? Lots of wind is right on the coast-lots of big cities are ON THE COASTS. Wind alley in TX OK etc is no more than 700 miles from the megapolis of DFW(5,000,000 or so folks) and only 1000 miles from Houston-another 5000000 or so. Amarillo,OKC are also close.

LA and NYC are only about 1200 miles(LA) and maybe 1600 miles(NYC) from TX wind alley.
I'm not generally a fan of H2 as an energy source, but certainly excess wind energy could be used to split water and make H2. Heck, maybe future hybrids could be battery fuel cell electrics. Take on 200 lbs of H2 and a 500 lb battery pack.

Yes, wind is more expensive than coal, and maybe more than oil(depends on how you decide what oil costs-military etc-we sure wouldn't give a crap about the ME if it didn't have oil). But, if we want to get off foreign oil-for national policy reasons-WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO DEVELOPE SOMETHING ELSE TO POWER OUR ECONOMY(AND CARS).Wind is the most mature alternative right now.

Charlie

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Old 06-24-2009, 01:05 PM
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Radio_tec Radio_tec is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

I voted no. President Obama has certainly done more than the previous two presidents on renewable energy but much more needs to be done if were to preserve the semblence of a climate that has sustained civilization, albeit with some downturns, for the last 7000 years.
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Old 06-24-2009, 02:05 PM
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Radio_tec Radio_tec is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

Phoebeisis,

You raised a number of interesting questions which I will answer in this post.

The efficiency of the US electrical grid is 92%. Line voltages will run from 115 kV to 765 kV depending on the country. The highest voltage of any AC transmission line was a Russian one built during Soviet times and it is rated at 1,150 KV and is located in Kazakhstan. Although it was designed to handle that amount of voltage it typically runs at 400 KV. The capacitance between the phase lines and coronal arching limit the amount of voltage that can be sent through the lines.

Power can be transmitted over distances greater than the 300 to 500 miles of the current AC high tension lines with the use of High Voltage DC power lines. These lines can extend the range of your power up to 3000 miles so if you properly site wind turbines in the wind corridor of the Midwest you can certainly power the cities in the east from Chicago to New York. HVDC has current losses lower than AC due to the reduction in current resistance losses you get from running high voltages in a steady on state and the elimination of losses characteristic of AC systems like capacitance loss between phase lines. Also HVDC transmission can be cheaper than AC transmission lines if you are transmitting over very long distances. The cost of running the converter stations at each end of the High Voltage DC transmission are offset by the cheaper construction costs of HVDC and electrical losses that are lower than their AC line equivalents.

When it comes to power loss, the biggest source of loss in power generation is from waste heat in nuclear and coal plants. Coal fired power plants are around 30% efficient and the other 70% is up the flue as waste heat. I don’t' have efficiency numbers for nuclear but it is low. Its inefficiency is aptly demonstrated when you look at the large cooling towers and the large quantities of water required to keep the reactor cool enough to operate. Natural gas plants are likely to be around 50% efficient.

Wind intermittency can be managed with the use of a smart grid. Because wind forecasting can be predicted with an accuracy of 90% you can switch in wind turbines in the active areas and switch out those that aren't. Enough wind turbines can be sited to offset power from those that are not. Wind is not the only solution for providing renewable energy but it will play a significant part of it.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:36 PM
worthywads worthywads is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_tec View Post
Wind intermittency can be managed with the use of a smart grid. Because wind forecasting can be predicted with an accuracy of 90% you can switch in wind turbines in the active areas and switch out those that aren't. Enough wind turbines can be sited to offset power from those that are not. Wind is not the only solution for providing renewable energy but it will play a significant part of it.
That's where it can get's expensive. Even if we can be 90% accurate, if the forecast is no wind at 75% of the wind generators we still need to kick in the backup fossil fuel at the ready.

In a situation where we actually have 25% reliance on wind would there every be a time when we wouldn't be trying to generate every last bit of that capacity? What do you mean by switch in/out?
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:54 PM
phoebeisis phoebeisis is offline
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Re: Can Wind Power Get Up to Speed?

Radiotec,
Thanks for the info.

Yes,occasionally you'll have to kick in turbine(jet engines) driven with methane to make up for no wind..Maybe it would make sense to store excess wind energy as H2-and use it to drive the turbines.
A properly designed wind system should have maybe 4X the nameplate capacity ,and they should be spread out geographically, so even if you have 75% down because of no wind, you still have enough capacity. There will have to be a way to store wind energy-pump water uphill or convert it to H2-so we can use all the potential energy the wind turbines can capture. If you spend all that money building the turbines, you should get max benefit from them.

Charlie
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