Thursday, August 28, 2008
Clean Energy's Dirty Little Secret
Experts say that without a solution to the grid problem, effective use of wind power on a wide scale is likely to remain a dream.
From NY Times Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid's Limits
Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.
The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.
What is the problem?
The basic problem is that many transmission lines, and the connections between them, are simply too small for the amount of power companies would like to squeeze through them. The difficulty is most acute for long-distance transmission, but shows up at times even over distances of a few hundred miles
How can it be solved?
“We need an interstate transmission superhighway system,” said Suedeen G. Kelly, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“The windiest sites have not been built, because there is no way to move that electricity from there to the load centers,” Gabriel Alonso said.
In Texas, T. Boone Pickens, the oilman building the world’s largest wind farm, plans to tackle the grid problem by using a right of way he is developing for water pipelines for a 250-mile transmission line from the Panhandle to the Dallas market