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re: wind and solar power aren't just for tree-huggers anymore
4 oct 2002
"hatunen"  wrote in message

> that's the problem with most alternative  energy sources, even solar.
> every kilowatt of capacity has to have an equaivalent amount of backup
> in conventional sources...

this seems too black and white. for one thing, even conventional sources
have downtimes and failures. they need some overcapacity to account for
that, ie to provide some definite high system availability, eg 0.99999,
meaning power for all but 5 minutes per year, on average.

with alternative energy sources, we may need more total overcapacity to
provide the same availability, but it needn't be numerically equivalent,
especially with a large number of sources. 

a large enough number of sufficiently diverse alternative sources could
provide any specified availability, even with no conventional backup... 

nick




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