Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wind Power

This is interesting: wind power usually supplies about 4% of the Portland region's power. But during the big heat wave here two weeks ago, it failed for lack of wind.
...the heat wave also knocked out most of the region’s wind turbines. As the temperatures rose, the wind simply stopped blowing hard enough to spin the turbines. We’re now getting around 4 percent of our power from wind turbines, but they weren’t doing much of anything (during the heat),” Corson says.

Meanwhile, power demands were heavier than usual -- a record, in fact. Two regional coal-fired plants were off-line. (Perhaps coal is not the reliable backup for wind that skeptics claim.) The power company bought more electricity from California and such, so there were no blackouts. But this episode is making the company rethink its mix of wind- and coal-energy. The local Sierra Club says we just need more wind and solar.
“The wind is always blowing and the sun is always shining somewhere...”
Speaking of wind power, here's an imaginative view from a recent contest on redesigning suburbia (via IO9):


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rhhardin said...

Wind power doesn't help with the the peak power problem, but does offset carbon burning at the more or less planned rate.

On the other hand if you don't believe in global warming, that's not a particular plus either.