Thursday, November 23, 2006
Windmills aren't the answer from Energy probe
Windmills aren't the answer by Colby Cosh
It's official: The glorious future of abundant free energy has been put on hold. In May, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) announced that the province's grid could not safely accommodate more than 900 megawatts of wind-power generation, a target that will be met late next year. Proposals for 3,000 more MW of production have been thrown into indefinite limbo at an estimated cost to producers of $6-billion; meanwhile, the province is already spending $1-billion to strengthen the transmission system so that even the 900-MW cap can be reached. In Ontario, meanwhile, the grid operator warned late last month that 5,000 MW – about one-fifth of the province's current peak consumption – is probably the absolute technological limit. (A total of 1,280 MW of wind capacity is already in operation or being built.)
I read this report last week and I must say I totally agree with this article by Energy probe after having read that report.
Well worth the read very informative and enlightening info in there about existing wind mill experiences and the possibility of future wind mill integration into the grid.
This report just highlights the need for a national power corridor so peak times can be better spread out across the country seeing as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West and the different parts of the country have different demands at different times. Also Solar and wind generation are tied to the time of day as is the demand so the better you can spread this generation across the country the better you will be able to meet the peaks. Because it isn't that we don't have enough generation but rather the peaks are the real conundrum and by having a national power corridor and allowing wheeling across provincial borders these peaks can be better handled with renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
This is a big boost for the go ahead of the Lower Churchill and the Height of lands wind project as well because the best partnering of wind energy is hydro due to the fast start up of hydro to pick up any decrease in wind output.
There are some concerns with this on off hydro concept though. Some studies have been done which show that by not having a consistant flow of water fish habitat and patterns can be adversely affected and regulations have be implemented to mitigate these. Personally I think a fish ladder would be a good mitigating strategy for these draw backs. In fact any and every hydro dam should have a fish ladder whether the fish were able to traverse the falls before or not. Obviously studies and impact evaluations would need to be done to understand the effects of allowing what might be foreign species to navigate what was previously a unnavigable falls by way of a fish ladder. I think the benefits would far out weigh the negative but people get paid to do these kinds of studies, hopefully they won't be bought off or have personal agendas and gain in mind.
I would also like to make a plug that all wind mills have their poles extend up past the turning radius of the blades so that birds of prey aren't tempted to fly through the blades to land on the generator capsule.
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