Aside from carbon emission savings, another intuitive benefit of wind energy would be to improve the performance of the current electrical grid – things like closing fossil fuel plants and improving the security of our supply. As usual, the devil is in the details. I am no expert on the electrical grid, but from my research the ability of wind power to join the current grid has three general aspects: reliable supply (or Capacity Credit), grid integration, and delivery during peak demand. I have separate posts on each of them. If you don’t want to wade into the details, I can safely summarize that wind energy has in practice been a pain for the grid operators, and provides little, if any, benefits.
- NY Times article, November 2009, another good article from them, this one about grid integration issues in California.
- Poyry Intermittency Summary, August 2009, a very detailed look at the effect of wind on the British and Irish grids.
- NERC Report, April 2009.
- IESO Report, December 2007, The IESO makes mention of grid problems.
- CANwea Task Force Report, 1.0mb, Recommendations from the industry.
- California Report, tells what CA must do to accommodate wind.
- IEA variability, tells what Europe must do to accommodate wind.
- UK intermittency, the large and important UKREC study, that reviews the evidence. Unfortunately, just as the U.S.’s NREL is compromised by politics, so is the UKREC. Still, it has valuable information.
- German capacity, the results of which are discussed in a later posting.
- UWIG integration
- EWEA grid report
- Minnesota integration