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Can our electricity grid cope with all the new wind power?

 
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Aurora



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 8501

PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:56 am    Post subject: Can our electricity grid cope with all the new wind power? Reply with quote

Quote:
The Ecologist - 27/04/10

Wind energy finally seems to be moving somewhere in the UK, but without some new techniques, our grid is simply not going to cope with this flood of new green power.

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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 14536
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simple answer: buy more stuff! Bigger TVs! Floodlight your house! Bigger fridge! More stuff on standby! Electric cars (don't forget to get a spare)! Gadgetry!

You know you wanna.
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Aurora



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 8501

PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
Simple answer: buy more stuff! Bigger TVs! Floodlight your house! Bigger fridge! More stuff on standby! Electric cars (don't forget to get a spare)! Gadgetry!

You know you wanna.

Laughing
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 7295
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The simple answer is that the grid can easily cope with the present levels of wind power, and with those expected in next few years.
In the longer term, if wind power increases at the forecast rate, then it could be an issue.

Wind is inherently variable, and in the absence of storage or demand side control, other power sources must be varied.

Hydroelectric, diesel, and natural gas power stations can vary there output rapidly as needs change, coal and nuclear are far less flexible in this respect.

In another thread, I suggested that surplus wind power could be used for electric heating, in place of gas.
That would be cheap and relatively simple.

Wind though variable can be forecast with increasing accuracy, therefore the national grid can plan a day or two in advance, and give istructions to coal burning plants as to whether or not they will be required.
Whilst the wind in any one place can fluctuate a lot, the average wind over the UK only changes relatively gradually.

In a few cases, existing hydro plants could be expanded, with larger or more numerous generators. This would not increase the total energy produced per year since this is limited by the amount of water available.
It would however increase the capacity at peak times.
800 MW for say 3 hours a day is a lot more valuable than 100MW for 24 hours a day.
Pumped storage is useful, but AFAIK the only suitable site is aleady in use.

Battery storage is useful for small plants in isolated places, but is unlikely to be viable on a national scale.
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