Thursday, September 6, 2007

Keep the electricity covered…

…to keep politicians from sticking their fingers in the socket. From the World Energy Council (PDF):

The bulk of electric power cannot currently be stored in an economically feasible way. It has to be generated at the same time it is used, and electricity grids require power to be supplied at the rated frequency and voltage, free from harmonics, voltage surges and interruptions. A modern industrialised society depends heavily on stable and high quality power supplies to run industrial processes and information technology. There are, therefore, a number of operational aspects which have to be taken into account when specific energy targets are considered. For the deployment of renewables on a large scale, these include the intermittent nature of leading sources, the related problems of full integration with grids, low capacity factors and the need for back-up power.

When renewable energy targets are aimed at the reduction of GHG emissions, broad technical issues should be taken into consideration. For example, emissions per kilowatt-hour from conventional power stations are reduced by maximising their base-load operation; however, integration of some renewable generating capacities into the grid can increase frequency fluctuations, thus raising the overall emissions levels. Another issue, which in many cases is not fully taken into account, is back-up capacity to provide electricity at short notice, which most often relies on diesel or coal-fired generating units.
Via email from Blowing Our Tax Dollars on Wind Farms