Wind Myths: Busted

Posted on November 23, 2009. Filed under: Wind |


From a post by Tom Gray on Into the Wind Blog hosted by the American Wind Energy Association:

[I recently] referred to a . . . special issue of Power & Energy on wind energy. Power & Energy is the magazine of the Power Engineering Society (PES) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and in recent years, it has devoted one issue every two years to assembling many of the foremost experts in the field to examine the status of wind technology and its use by electric utilities.

The magazine’s editors have been kind enough to provide free access to two articles from the special issue here. Most significantly, one of the two is “Wind Power Myths Debunked,” by Michael Milligan, Kevin Porter, Edgar DeMeo, Paul Denholm, Hannele Holttinen, Brendan Kirby, Nicholas Miller, Andrew Mills, Mark O’Malley, Matthew Schuerger, and Lennart Soder.

The Milligan et al article looks at a variety of mythic questions (e.g., “Doesn’t wind power need backup generation?”) and addresses them in detail with appropriate graphics. I’m not going to go through them here, but I do want to call attention to the article’s conclusions, which I am going to list here in a modified, bulleted format for clarity:

– “Although wind is a variable resource, grid [utility system] operators have experience with managing variability that comes from handling the variability of load [customer electricity demand]. As a result, in many instances the power system is equipped to handle variability.

– “Wind power is not expensive to integrate …

– “…nor does it require dedicated backup generation or storage.

– “Developments in tools such as wind forecasting also aid in integrating wind power.

– “Integration wind can be aided by enlarging balancing areas and moving to subhourly scheduling, which enable grid operators to access a deeper stack of generating resources and take advantage of the smoothing of wind output due to geographic diversity.

– “Continued improvements in new conventional-generation technologies and the emergence of demand response, smart grids, and new technologies such as plug-in hybrids will also help with wind integration.”

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