Critics of solar and wind power often point out they are intermittent power sources, and they are correct about that. Cloudy and still days mean low or no energy and that is the major drawback of solar and wind power. However, new hybrid solar and wind power systems in California may offer a viable alternative.
The 140-megawatt Pacific Wind Farm is in the Tehachapi-Mojave region. It is already operational and supplying electricity to SDG&E customers. The wind facility uses 70 German-built REpower MM92 turbines and is located on about 8,000 acres in Antelope Valley. EDF constructed the plant and operates it.
Nearby, a 143-megawatt Catalina solar power station is being finished and should be running by the end of 2012. When the wind is blowing, the turbines will generate electricity. (In California, winds usually are stronger at night.) During daylight hours, the solar plant will generate electricity. On days when there is strong wind and sunlight they will be active simultaneously, to the tune of about 283 MW of capacity. Also, having them close together allows EDF to take advantage of a new transmission line to send electricity to western population centers.
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EDF isn’t done in the region, though — it is beginning to construct another renewable energy plant employing both wind and solar with a capacity of about 300 MW. 200MW will be from wind and the remainder from solar power. The Avalon energy plant will use the same transmission line the Pacific Wind Farm and Catalina Solar do. EDF explained, “Avalon Wind Project will connect into the 230kV transmission line that is currently under construction for the Catalina Solar and Pacific Wind Energy Projects, ultimately connecting to the SCE Whirlwind Substation located at the corner of Rosamond Avenue and 170th Avenue.”
Image Credit: Jw4nvc, Wiki Commons