When Wind Dies Down or Stops Blowing What Happens

This blog entry was written by Allie Chocolate-brown, former Make clean Free energy Advancement Manager at SACE.


| October 27, 2014


| Free energy Policy, Wind

It’southward likely you lot’ve heard the argument that renewable energy is unreliable because the current of air doesn’t always blow and the sunday doesn’t always shine. It’s true that renewable resource are variable. We can’t make the wind accident and the sun shine 24 hours a day. That’s only nature. Only, does this mean that large amounts of solar and wind can’t be incorporated into the grid?

It’south fourth dimension to set up the record straight.

Renewables, like solar and wind, are already providing clean, reliable electricity across the country. At the 2d half of 2014, the U.S. had well-nigh 16 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) installed. The U.Southward. currently has over 62 gigawatts of current of air energy installed with almost xiii,600 megawatts currently nether structure. In 2013, Iowa and S Dakota produced more than 25% of their total electricity from current of air energy. In Europe, countries are taking renewable energy to a new level. Kingdom of denmark, with ambitious goals to attain 100% renewable energy past 2050, currently produces over 40% of its energy from renewables. In Apr 2013, Kingdom of spain produced 54% of its electricity from renewable sources. Solar met over 50% of Germany’s total electric demand on an afternoon in June of this twelvemonth. This demonstrates that it is possible for renewable energy to pay a primal role in our electricity sector.

Wind and solar can integrate effectively and reliably into the grid regardless of the variability of the resource. Grid operators take various tools to maintain the balance of electricity supply and demand. The variability of current of air and solar resource are typically pretty predictable. With accurate forecasts and years of data, grid operations are equipped to residue diverse resources and can adjust as needed. Additionally, while the wind isn’t always bravado in one area, it’s typically blowing somewhere. Geographic diversity of air current resources helps lower the variability of the resource. Wind and solar resource are likewise very compatible. Solar tends to height in the daytime, while wind typically blows the hardest in the mornings and evenings (although the sea breeze effect in coastal areas flips this thinking on its head).

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In many cases, renewable energy can actually strengthen the grid and lower costs for ratepayers. Recent farthermost weather events accept proven that wind free energy can provide very valuable electricity and avoid power outages. According to the American Wind Energy Association(AWEA), during the Polar Vortex with its record-breaking freezing temperatures this wintertime, “wind energy’s output provided the disquisitional difference that allowed filigree operators to keep supply and demand in balance and the lights on.” At times in the Mid-Atlantic during January’s Polar Vortex, wind free energy was estimated to relieve ratepayers to the tune of $ane.5 1000000 to $2 million per hour. Recently in the U.K., wind energy filled the gap in generation when a fire at a gas power plant and four nuclear reactors unexpectedly close off. Just last week, the Georgia Public Service Commission unanimously canonical Georgia Power’s plans to build solar arrays at three military bases. The Ground forces stressed the importance of access to power in times of emergencies.

Wind energy has also proven to help utilities avoid costly spikes in electricity during elevation demand hours. A recent SACE study demonstrated that air current energy could supply cost effective electricity for loftier electrical need across the Southeast during the summer. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia’s costal and offshore air current resources are positively correlated with peak electricity demand hours in summer months because of the ocean cakewalk effect. Replacing peaking generation, which tin be very expensive, with a goose egg-fuel-cost resources similar wind or solar may be able to reduce ratepayer costs.

It’s clear solar and wind can rapidly expand across the U.S. by using existing technologies. Current of air-integration studies take shown that the current grid can handle a much greater corporeality of wind energy without jeopardizing reliability. PJM, the world’s largest utility, released a study last year highlighting that xxx% more renewables could exist reliably added to the grid and could save the utility up to 15 billion a year. Hereafter innovations, like creating energy storage technologies and building new manual lines, will assist to further heave renewables energy down the road.

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Using large quantities of renewable energy is no longer theory, information technology’s fact in places like Iowa and Texas. When the wind doesn’t blow, or the sun doesn’t shine, other power sources are used. A written report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests that the U.s. could power itself with approximately 80% renewable energy, relatively easily. Utilities do have to ensure reliability and then far, then good, when it comes to incorporating renewable energy.

This blog entry focuses more than on current of air energy. To observe out what happens when the sun doesn’t shine, cheque out an earlier weblog postal service by SACE’s Renewable Energy Manager, Charlie Coggeshall, hither.

When Wind Dies Down or Stops Blowing What Happens

Source: https://cleanenergy.org/blog/what-happens-when-the-wind-doesnt-blow/