Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Energy Info Source

This article shows both the promise and the problems of wind power:

As strong winds blew across Texas this week, electricity produced for TXU Energy customers from wind power set a Texas record.

"For the first time, TXU Energy wind power provided enough energy this week to equal a natural gas power plant," said Carl Bracy, TXU Energy Senior Vice President. "On several days, our electricity from wind energy equaled nearly 400 megawatts per hour -- more than twice the normal amount."

TXU Energy is the largest purchaser and provider of wind energy in Texas. The company obtains this power from 625 wind turbines -- primarily in West Texas.

"Electricity from wind power is highly variable -- when the wind doesn't blow we can't get this type of energy," said Bracy. "This past week, we had the resources in place and the wind kept blowing."

There is no source of energy that completely replace the energy capacity and the ease of use that oil has provided. Wind power is variable, and with apologies to Bob Dylan, it doesn't take a weatherman to know when the wind doesn't blow. Furthermore, it took 625 wind turbines to equal one gas fired power plant, even in a strong wind. The number of turbines that would be needed to meet the country's electricity needs would run into six figures.

This is part of the dilemma we face as peak oil production draws near and we try to move toward a sustainable society. The carrying capacity of the land will become an ever more important subject.


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