Wind Limitations (Tom Wind, Energy Consultant)
Are the answers to our energy problems blowin' in the wind? Tom Wind (yes that's his real name) evaluates the resource.
Transcript: Wind Limitations
There are some limits to the use of windpower and the biggest issue is intermittency. It's the fact that the wind doesn't always blow at a steady rate. Sometimes it just doesn't blow. When that happens, [the wind turbines] don't generate any power, so you have to rely on other generators that can be controlled such as coal fired plants, or gas fired combustion turbines, or oil fired diesel generators. Because of this intermittency issue, there's an economic limit to how much you can do. We think here in the U.S. it's about 10%. It might be a little higher than that. Until we find a way to store power, we're going to be limited to the range of about 10-15%.of the other. Another issue that can limit the amount of wind generation you can use is the fact that you can't control how much power comes out of the wind turbine. For example, as the wind increases and decreases right here before us, the wind, the power coming out of these wind turbines, is varying all the time -- every second it varies -- every minute it varies -- and you can't control it. Because you can't control it, other generators that are connected to the electric grid have to compensate for the variations in the wind turbine output. So it takes a little extra effort for those other generators to kind of accommodate the changes in the wind output here.