[Watchdogs] Wind Energy
Merle L. Moden
mlmoden at texas-skies.com
Wed Jan 21 16:42:46 CST 2009
As you know, one of the most serious shortcomings regarding the
conventional generation of electricity is matching the sporadic
consumption of electricity with the constant production of electricity
with spinning generators. The utilization of wind generation tries to
match sporadic consumption with sporadic production. What is missing is
a means by which excess generation can be stored, instead of being lost,
and made available for use when needed. While ideas have surfaced to do
this, e.g., batteries, water pumped into an upstream lake, etc. we
appear unable to solve this major flaw in the efficient use of energy.
This is a particular problem with wind generation. The generators keep
spinning when fossil fuels are burned in boiler or turbines, but not
when the wind stops blowing. Were it possible to use wind generators to
produce electricity that could be stored, we would really have
something. Unfortunately, we are stuck with the problem of trying to
match the demand for electricity with the blowing of the wind -- a
daunting, and, perhaps, an uneconomical task.
Photovoltaics (PV) are another means to produce electricity onsite
without the need for offsite generators. The downside for PVs is the
initial cost. Although I'm not familiar with the performance of PVs, I
would assume that there is an issue with the variation in electrical
production between bright sunshine and completely overcast conditions.
We have devised numerous ways to spin generators to produce electricity
including hydroelectric plants; steam powered plants using as fuel wood
chips, coal, oil, natural gas, uranium oxide, etc.; gas turbines; and
wind. PVs provide electricity without the need for generators,
transmission lines, distribution lines, and transformance. I would
assume that PV installations have some battery backup system in place.
However, with the possible exception of PV systems, what they all have
in common is the inability to effectively store electricity when
production exceeds consumption. It's use it or lose it.
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