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Yes they can.

Wind is actually a part of the baseload production, in that it does not have the flexibility to provide peak power. However, up to at least 20% of power provided, the cost for the network to accomodate the intermittent nature of wind power is negligible, and easily absorbed by the network, as demonstrated in Denmark and Germany and by studies by network operators all around (I don't have handy links, but have repeatedly seen presentations on that topic)

20% of power (in kWh) is A LOT of wind. Let's get there before we complain about the intermittence of the source. Maybe by then we'll have managed to develop better (i.e. not too expensive) storage facilities that allow wind power plants to provide their power on a more regular basis, to take over a bigger chunk of production.

I hear your arguments about nuclear, especially in relation to coal, but you are, imo, too dismissive of windpower.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 04:18:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate the correction.

As you know, I am in favor of wind power--thanks in part to your persuasive diaries and sobriety.

If I sound dismissive it is because many people have an idea that you just simply eliminate fossil fuel and nuclear and run our civilization on wind and solar power.  I hope some day that will be the case.  But right now that's magical thinking.  And we need practical solutions that can be put in place now.

I am not advocating for nuclear power to replace renewables.  I am advocating for renewables and nuclear--a mature technology without a storage problem yet to be solved--to replace all fossil fuel generation in the long term.  It is unrealistic to assume that as a short-term goal.

The best we can hope for is improvement of coal technology and strict control of emissions.  

I have a feeling of urgency as I continue to hear daily about the destruction of the environment as we know it.  We are facing a terrible problem. We have workable solutions which need to be implemented as soon as possible, and we have solutions in progress which also need to be supported.

What do you think?  Aren't we on the same page here?

by Plan9 on Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 09:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're mostly on the same page, in that I agree that nuclear is the less bad of the main available sources of power for baseload in the medium term. What I am critical of in your eloquent posts is that I think you are in general too dismissive of wind and other renewables, including as a baseload source.

  • A pretty big chunk of the baseload needs can be provided by wind today at little cost to the network, so we should focus on this first;

  • Focus R&D efforts to find some smart storage/battery technology cheap enough to associate with wind locally to eliminate the problem of intermittence;

  • in  the meantime, I agree that we should focus on the elimination of coal powered plants before nuclear powered plants.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 23rd, 2005 at 09:47:49 AM EST
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