Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not there when you need it - Texas wind energy fails during power emergency

First let us say, we are supporters of wind energy, solar pv, and solar thermal energy ... as well as fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources.  We support what makes long-term and short-term economic sense, with consideration for the environment as well.  And we realize that not everything makes economic sense, initially.  Often, in any fledgling industry, "loss leaders" and development time are required before economic benefits are realized.  However, folks who exclusively support "clean energy" or "renewables" need to realize the limitations thereof - both from an economic standpoint and from an absolute "energy availability" standpoint.

Here's a good example:

Texas has 10,135 megawatts (MW) of installed wind generating capacity, nearly three times that of any other state.  On August 24, 2011, ERCOT, the state's grid operator, declared a power emergency due to the excessive electrical demands brought about by the extreme temperatures.  At that time, this 10,135 MW wind generation capacity was only able to muster 880 MW, or about 8.7 % of the capacity.  Since low winds are the result of high atmospheric pressure conditions, which in turn result in high temperatures, and thereby create record electrical usage ... this scenario can be expected over, and over again.  This is why natural gas or other conventional fossil fuel or nuclear generation must be "paired" with wind generation, in order to call it "real" capacity. 

Source of story, here, courtesy Garrett M.:

National Review, 8-29-2011: Texas Wind Energy Fails, Again.

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