Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wind Powered Electricity - Some Clear Thinking!

Today there is some hope for sanity in the debate over how much wind powered electricity the UK can depend on.

The key to 34% reliance on wind power is, apparently, to be found in as yet unproven technology to store power for when the wind doesn't blow. That should make us all feel comfortable.

There are ways, of course, but they simply add on to the already prohibitive cost of wind generation. Remember that wind generated electricity is only viable with huge public subsidies. So the various ideas for storing energy that we might be able to come up with are simply going to add the cost.

Simple storage examples already exist but they require excess capacity at the generation stage and the potential for huge energy transmission losses. One possibility would be to link a wind farm to a hydro-electric plant. On windy days pump water from a lower reservoir back up to a higher reservoir and re-cycle the water through the hydro-electric turbines. But this would require extra capacity at the wind farm! One wonders if the politicians ever think things through!