Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Texas And Pickens Plan Making Wind Energy Progress

A billionaire oilman and the 'Lone Star State' of Texas are driving wind to new heights of acceptance and growth in the United States.

Pickens Plan blog has a great story titled High Winds For Texas

Some highlights I found.
wind power
Or as put by Paul Sadler, executive director of The Wind Coalition, the decision solves the infamous ‘chicken and egg’ issue that stymies wind energy growth.

The resource needs transmission to grow, but transmission owners do not want to build unless they know for sure that wind generators will come on line.

At the same time, wind developers do not want to commit to projects unless they know the transmission will exist

Oil fields have a decline curve, a finite supply.

Pickens said that the development of wind power is critical as oil supplies decline. ‘You find an oilfield, it peaks and starts declining, and you’ve got to find another one to replace it’, Pickens said. ‘It can drive you crazy. With wind, there’s no decline curve

Pickens, and others pushing for an expanded transmission system, miss another key point, according to Kurt Yeager, former president and CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and now executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative.

Yeager says it is not enough to make the grid bigger, it needs to be better, specifically upgraded from a ‘dumb’ 1950s mechanical switch-based system to a digital technology befitting the times.

To that end, Yeager and former Motorola chief Robert Galvin are attempting to convince industry thought-leaders and policymakers that as a first step they need to pursue a smart grid, particularly on the distribution level

In today’s power system, the ability to accommodate that kind of intermittency is not possible unless we have large quantities of back-up power or storage.

In a smart grid, I can use silicon as my back up energy source’, Yeager said

Up-to-date digital controls and communications technology allows the grid to anticipate the natural fluctuations in wind and solar power and keep power supply in step with consumer demand, according to Yeager.

If such a system is developed, the US would find it could use the existing transmission system more, ‘rather than stretch new wires that nobody wants in their backyard’, Yeager said in an interview

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