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re: wind energy = cheapest form of electricity with or without subsidies?
29 apr 2003
daestrom  wrote re:

>> >> ...with enough dispersed windmills, you can guarantee 99.999%,
>> >> as you might with any other source(s), using nothing but wind.

this is axiomatic. i'm amazed that anyone doubts it. power fails
whenever we flip 17 heads in a row...

>...your poor application of probability theory does *not* consider the
>quite highly probable event of a common mode failure (i.e. all the windmills
>in a 900 square mile area being shutdown at the same time).

au contraire. it's an excellent model, given "enough dispersed windmills"
as an assumption. we could complicate this with non-independent failures,
but there's little point in doing so until a) we (all of us) understand
the simple version and b) we have more wind data. 

>a loss of wind to a group of windmills is a form of 'shutdown' that is *not*
>independent of another windmill's [likelyhood] of being shutdown.

of course, if they are insufficiently dispersed.

>the numbers you've posted in the past use a form of [probablilty] that
>*assumes* each outage is a totally independent, random event.

they can be, if sufficiently dispersed, but that is not a requirement,
just a simpler way to understand the concept. 
 
>until you consider the common mode failure of low wind speed in an entire
>geographical region, you're just spouting meaningless [drival].

i disagree. btw, you might consider a [spellchecker] :-)

>got any data about the coincidence of wind patterns in an area the size
>of half the state of pa?

nope.

>given the geography across the [appalachia's], this is probably one of
>the few states that does have enough variation.

i doubt it.

>but even then, the eastern half would need enough capacity to power
>the eastern *and* western half for those times the western half doesn't
>have enough wind (and vice versa).

too black and white. btw, wires are cheap, at today's interest rates. 
 
>not to mention the quite common situation where the wind dies down at
>sundown and then rises up after sundown.  what do we do every evening around
>sundown?

candles.

>[wholescale] wind production and pricing would need to consider backup
>generation, over-sized capacity funding, and possibly short-term storage.
>when you fully burden wind generation with these other costs that are not
>needed to the same degree with conventional, wind is *not* cost competitive.

too cut and dried. would you have any evidence for this article of faith?
please consider interest rates and fuel costs, if not "externalities."

nick




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