When the lights go out: Inter-linked wind farms fail to provide “base load” electricity (Australia)

Aug 1, 2013

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Editor’s note:  Wind developers gin up politicians by claiming that connecting widely dispersed “wind farms” in a daisy chain is sufficient to keep up with energy demand (called “base load”) and maintain grid stability.  According to this research paper published in “Energy & Environment,” it’s “baloney!”—if you want to skip reading the paper and get directly to the punchline.

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“Wind farms in eastern Australia: Recent lessons”

Author: Miskelly, Paul

ABSTRACT: Academic discussion continues as to whether a fleet of grid-connected wind farms, widely dispersed across a single grid network, can provide a reliable electricity supply. One opinion is that wide geographical dispersion of wind farms provides sufficient smoothing of the intermittent and highly variable output of individual wind farms enabling the wind farm fleet to provide for base load demand. In an examination of the 5-minute time-averaged wind farm operational data for 21 large wind farms connected to the eastern Australian grid – geographically the largest, most widely dispersed, single interconnected grid in the world – this paper challenges that opinion. The findings also suggest that the connection of such a wind farm fleet, even one that is widely dispersed, poses significant security and reliability concerns to the eastern Australian grid. These findings have similar implications for the impact of wind farms on the security of electricity grids worldwide.

Energy & Environment · Vol. 23, No. 8, 2012

Click here for the paper.

 

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