Wind power in Texas

And the US government will make sure it gets to the grid. A step in the right direction.


for more on what Texas electric co-ops are doing with wind power go to recent articles have described where and how wind generators are being built, as well as the problems involved in storage and delivery of that power, and the environmental impact of the towers themselves

Wind power subsidies are a perversion. I would rather keep my tax money.

If we could harness the power of hot air generated by politicians…

my brother has made the valid point that there is also an energy source, methane, emitted from the other end. the problem will be, as with wind, solar and other alternative sources, collection and delivery.

Hmmm… I am not sure that methane collected from living animals will ever be economically viable. We currently burn off the methane produced by landfills, and I think this would be easier to collect.

Windpower in the US is economically viable right now. Yes, the electrical grid needs improvement, but that is doable if the government gets involved. The real problem facing wind power is lack of efficient electrical storage for those times when the wind doesn’t blow.

In just three hours, grid operators at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas watched wind power output fall by 1,400 megawatts – power needed to supply roughly 600,000 homes. Following emergency procedures, a blackout was avoided by quickly cutting power to several industrial customers.

But the incident highlighted renewable energy’s Achilles’ heel: Intermittent solar and wind power requires backups. It’s not a big problem today with solar, wind, and other renewable energies supplying less than 3 percent of the energy needs in the United States. Yet it could be a big problem in the not-so-distant future.

If wind power supplies 20 percent or more of the nation’s power by 2020, as a US Department of Energy study last year said it could, storing backup electricity becomes critical to grid stability, experts say.

Current battery technology is too inefficient to be a reliable backup for wind power when the winds die down. But the article mentions efforts at devising improved technology.

^I don’t think winds will ever die down here in Texas!!

“Yes, the electrical grid needs improvement, but that is doable if the government gets involved.”

Your statement made me chuckle. It is odd to see someone speak with such confidence on a topic in which they seem to be lacking some fundamental knowledge.

Regions relying on intermittent sources of power need hydroelectric power also (or some other power source that can rapidly go up and down w.r.t. generation level). The two complement each other. “Grid”, or transmission line, improvements are not the way to make wind more useful - and the government is not the answer. By the way, why does the government need to subsidize it if it is already viable, as you say.

I’m surprised you would say such a thing - you’ve been a member here for several months. :stuck_out_tongue:

The problem with the US electrical grid is that it isn’t set up to transfer wind generated electricity from the the states which produce it (typically on the Great Plains) to the states which would use it.

The government doesn’t need to subsidize wind power, nor did I say that it should. The US government needs to get involved in maintaining the electrical grid because utility companies haven’t been able to get the job done and it has become increasingly unreliable. Much of the grid was built in the 1960s and is nearing the end of its life.

A Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Centre report mentioned four problems:

  1. The restructuring of the electricity industry in the U.S., starting with FERC Order 888. This restructuring allowed open access to transmission capacity, resulting in additional use of transmission resources for long distance transfers. This might have decreased availability of the lines and in this way increased blackout risk.
  1. Inadequate investments in transmission network infrastructure. Although investments in the transmission grid have increased fairly steadily since 1999, they are still insufficient. This is borne out by the fact that availability of transmission capacity continues to decrease. The authors of the paper stress that building new lines is not the only way of enhancing the availability of the grid. Other measures are also possible. These include such things as composite conductors to increase thermal ratings of lines and phase-shifting transformers to relieve bottleneck constraints.
  1. Insufficient system-wide management of the electricity network. A systems approach to risk mitigation is lacking, as are enforceable reliability rules.
  1. Poor alignment of protective systems design. The design of protection systems in electrical power networks is poorly aligned with the main objective of the system: delivering energy to customers. It is mainly designed to minimise equipment damage, which may often result in sub-optimal performance with respect to reliability of supply.

A little here and a little there all adds up. We have lately received permits here in south Texas to build a new nuke plant, on of the first in a decades in the U.S. If one wants power, they must build plants. It is simply not right to take the “not in my backyard” attitude and expect others to supply your state’s grid.

I am in the industry, and not on the fringes of it. Wind gets subsidized, power prices go negative especially during the off peak, unsubsidized generators go out of business. Intermitent power is a problem and the government subsidizing it is a perversion.

There is already a mechanism for financing and developing new transmission lines. You want the government to wreck that by getting more involved?

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