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Wind Energy

It's True: Wind Energy is Reliable

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The March 25th, 2008 issue of Renewable Energy Access counters the incorrect stereotype that wind is unreliable. Some facts:

  • Over 4.5 million U.S. homes get their power from wind energy.
  • According to energy reliability analysts, wind power flows into electric system operations reliably and economically.
  • Many countries and U.S. states use wind as a significant (and reliable) portion of their electricity power: Denmark 20%, Germany 7%, Spain/Portugal 20% for portions of 2007, and Minnesota and Iowa close to 5%.

Okay, so what happens when the wind doesn’t blow? Power dispatchers use other forms of electrical energy to power the grid.

“Paul Bonavia, Chief Operating Officer of Xcel Energy, one of the nation’s largest electric utility companies [reports]: ‘Wind energy is an integral piece of our power supply portfolio. It provides a hedge against fuel price volatility associated with other forms of electric generation. Our studies and experiences show that wind energy integrates effectively and reliably into our power systems with regional market operations to mitigate the impact of wind variability. ‘”

The electrical grid serves as a kind of storage system, and this is a good thing, since battery storage is still not cost-effective (unless you use your windmill to power your plug-in hybrid…..I confess this is stilly my dream electrical energy combination).


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Written By

Carol Gulyas is a leader in the renewable energy community in Illinois, where she serves as VP of the Board of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. Recently she co-founded EcoAchievers -- a provider of online education for the renewable energy and sustainable living community. She spent 18 years in the direct marketing industry in New York and Chicago, and is currently a teaching librarian at Columbia College Chicago. Carol grew up in a small town in central Indiana, then lived in the Pacific Northwest, Lima, Peru, and New York City. She is inspired by reducing energy consumption through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building technology.

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