Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blow away the smoke

I still hear people (but more commonly oil company commercials) saying that wind can only provide 15 or 20% of the energy society consumes. But, of course, if you scale your electrical grid up to, say, the size of the North American continent, the wind never stops blowing simultaneously over the entire continent, and there's no reason you can't get 100%, 200%, 500% of your energy needs from the wind, depending on how big you scale it up. This article supports that point, but I'm not sure how much good it will do compared to the many hours of commercial messages from the oil companies that TV viewers have seen.

"...while it comes and goes locally, at this larger scale, the wind never really stops blowing.

The researchers studied five years of wind observations during different seasons from 11 monitoring stations along the coast and developed a hypothetical "Atlantic Transmission Grid" that would string together a thin line of off-shore windmills along the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Miami.

Their results show daily weather data along this experimental Atlantic Transmission Grid "yields uninterrupted power output." Such a grid would connect five-megawatt off-shore turbines such as these (pictured) off the coast of Belgium."

see also

Both of those publications are free to download in their entirety as PDFs.

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