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That is better than unpredictable, but the demand must be met. Any power plant may fail, although failure rates are different. Nevertheless wind can't do it at all.
by oliver on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 11:45:27 AM EST
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Can't do what at all?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 11:58:12 AM EST
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Wind cannot provide controllable output. If the wind does not blow, there is no electricity.

From an economic viewpoint wind is baseload, as the fuel is free. But its reliability is many orders of magnitude lower than in conventional sources.
So essentially the more capacity based on wind you have in the system the more intermediate and peak capacity you need.
But the utilisation of the capacity will go down.

by oliver on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 12:43:41 PM EST
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Since some of us have looked at europe-wide super-grid studies for just wind alone, perhaps you could provide us with the studies on which you base the above arguments.

not that anyone in their right mind expect wind to be alone in a sustainable grid.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 12:53:59 PM EST
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Also, he should define "reliability". The common understanding of the word would be the difference between expected production and actual production. For wind and solar, that would be the difference of the two graphs at the EEX tracking page. However, oliver seems to have mixed up intermittency with that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 03:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Physics mixes it up. If more is consumed than produced, power fails. A fully predictable shortfall is still not acceptable.

It is easier to find countermeasures, but that needs more reserves.

by oliver on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 09:23:22 AM EST
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But there is plenty of peak capacity. Plenty of plant that currently runs more or less in baseload mode burning fossil fuels. Increased intermittent capacity, whether wind or solar, obviously has to take priority because, as you note, the fuel is free.

All that is required is to lower the average load factor of the fossil fuel plants, i.e. burn less fossil fuels in order to burn more solar and wind. Financial compensations are no doubt needed to those plants, to cover the sunk capital costs.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 09:37:57 AM EST
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Physics mixes it up. If more is consumed than produced, power fails.

That's not a mix-up and not physics, but the separate issue of providing balancing capacity to meet the difference of demand and total baseload production. And how does that not apply to conventional baseload? Baseload never meets demand anywhere near 100% of the time, and the difference can be rather big on occasion (be it a cold spell in a region with lots of electric heating boosting demand like in France in February this year, or a total shutdown of 52 nuclear plants following a natural disaster and subsequent safety concerns like in Japan earlier this year).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 06:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
whoever asked wind to do it all?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 12:22:35 PM EST
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Theoretically wind could probably "do it all", if the area of your grid is large enough. Nobody intends that though, so why this strawman?
by Katrin on Fri Aug 3rd, 2012 at 12:31:51 PM EST
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