Not to be missed dept.: Why wind's variability isn't a problem

Not to be missed dept.: Why wind's variability isn't a problem

Chris Varrone, Founder and President of Riverview Consulting and former Chief Strategist, Technology R&D, for Vestas Wind Systems, did a nice takedown over at Cleantechnica yesterday of various wind naysayers, including Fox Business News' Stuart Varney and the Manhattan Institute's Robert Bryce.  His focus?  Wind energy's variability and why it is not a serious problem.

Mr. Varrone explains in very simple terms how the electric utility system works and how it deals with the addition of a variable energy source like wind. Key takeaways:

  • Energy markets are already accounting for the extra cost of handling wind's variability.
  • That cost is modest–about 4/10 of a cent per kilowatt-hour of wind-generated electricity.
  • The European electric utility system is dealing with large amounts of new wind generation without adding fossil-fueled generating capacity to “back it up.”

More reading:

Mythbusting fact: Wind power is valuable even if the wind doesn't blow all the time, April 20, 2011
How wind energy is integrated on the grid
Wind Energy and Energy Storage, fact sheet
Wind Energy: Clean and Reliable, fact sheet
Backup Power and Emissions, fact sheet
Wind Power Myths Debunked, article by Milligan et al, Power Engineering magazine



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