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I found some more on this subject.

Warren Frost, vice-president for operations and reliability at the Alberta Electric System Operator, said studies done over the past couple of years showed there can be problems when wind contributes more than about 10 per cent of the province's electricity -- about 900 MW -- because of the chance the wind could stop at any time.

[...]

There are a number of ways to allow wind power to make up a greater proportion of the electricity supply, but they require more study, Mr. Frost said. First, he said, the province can develop more sophisticated ways of forecasting the wind so the power it generates is more predictable.

The province could also build more plants that can quickly respond if the wind dies down during a peak period, for example. But building new gas-powered plants merely to help handle the variability of wind is certain to raise the ire of environmentalists.

The province could also increase its connections to other jurisdictions, where it would buy surplus power when needed. Alberta is already looking at links with some northwestern U.S. states, including Montana.

[...]

Mr. Frost, of the Alberta system operator, said European countries such as Denmark and Germany have been able to maintain a high proportion of wind power in their electricity systems mainly because they have multiple connections to other countries' power grids. That gives them substantial flexibility to import or export power to compensate for wind fluctuation.

Germany, for example, has 39 international interconnections, he said, making variable wind conditions much easier to manage.



Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 10:18:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds coherent with what I wrote. 9,000 MW is a pretty small system and it's not surprising that it would find it slightly harder to cope with intermittence. Also, I suspect that seasonal swings of demand in Alberta are pretty massive for weather reasons.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 1st, 2006 at 11:26:53 AM EST
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