Gone with the wind

The Globe and Mail has this opinion piece (free registration may be required) talking about the disappointing performance at some wind installations in Quebec. It’s a sobering reminder that wind, while a terrific renewable, isn’t always reliable and that it’s crucial to locate these projects in the right areas. Is wind overhyped? I don’t think the potential is overhyped, but certainly we have to be careful about making big promises that don’t deliver and that fly in the face of sound economics.

I’m curious to know your views on this…

5 thoughts on “Gone with the wind”

  1. Offshore wind is the only reliable wind source. The Europeans are going to offshore wind because they have tapped most onshore wind but also because wind yields are much, much higher than onshore and there is a lot less NIMBY.

  2. In 2004(?) Stanford University created a wind energy map finding that North America has the world’s greatest wind energy potential, and that the Great Lakes Basin has the highest power producing winds in NA. The numbers were based on off-shore lake-based installations.

  3. I’m a real fan of wind, but it serves little purpose until you have the ability to store the power it produces. You can count on the average, but without storage you cannot use it for base load. The new flow battery installation in Ireland (IIRC) is a VERY big deal.


  4. Wind is a fantastic clean energy source, but has to be paired with a storable source. Fortunately Ontario has vast water power resources which can be paired with wind today (it would help if our politicians and regulators shared this vision). In the future we could replace decommissioned nuclear and coal with CHP and/or dedicated combined cycle natural gas plants (with sequestration) and twin these “storable” sources with wind and solar. The more intermittent sources you have, and the more spread out they are, and the smarter your grid becomes, the more the intermittent sources begin to behave like firm power. If we want it, the Ontario grid could be 80-90% from renewable sources with no coal and no nuclear within 20 years…. The question isn’t “can Ontario have clean electricity generation?”, the quesiton is “do we want to have clean electricity generation?”

  5. The “need for storage” myth continues. Until wind approaches 15-20% load, there’s simply no need for storage. But the unfounded myth will no doubt continue.

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