Connecting wind farms can make a more reliable and cheaper power source

From Science Daily comes word of a study done at Stanford University that showed how connecting wind power farms throughout a geographic area with transmission lines will combine the outputs of all the farms into one very powerful energy source that is cheaper and more reliable than present wind power sources. The interconnection of the wind power farms reduces the power swings caused by wind variability and makes a significant portion of the wind power “just as consistent a power source as a coal power plant.”

‘”This study implies that, if interconnected wind is used on a large scale, a third or more of its energy can be used for reliable electric power, and the remaining intermittent portion can be used for transportation, allowing wind to solve energy, climate and air pollution problems simultaneously,” said Archer, the study’s lead author and a consulting assistant professor in Stanford’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and research associate in the Department of Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institution.’

The study draws an comparison to the idea of a whole bunch of hamsters in separate cages. At any given point in time, some of the hamsters will be sleeping or eating, but some will be running on their treadmills. If you have enough hamsters, you will always have some hamsters running – and when you equate that to windmills, those hamsters running would be generating the “reliable baseload power.”

Other savings would be realized because the power would be combined to flow in a single transmission line from the combined wind farms to where it will be consumed.

Click the link above to see the full Science Daily article.

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