Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

28 February 2015

Simple Illustration of the Limits of Alternative Power for the Electric Grid

The Institute for Energy Research has just put out a new report: Assessing Emerging Policy Threats to the U. S. Power Grid by Travis Fisher.  There are two graphs that quickly illustrate some of the critical limits on using solar and wind power generation on the electric power grid.  The first important plot is the daily average power output of the alternative energy sources:


Here one can easily see that the average daily output of electric power generated by solar power is a very small fraction of its peak output at the time of day when the electric power need is at its peak, namely at 5:53 PM.  This plot makes it hard to see whether wind power generation is a good actor.  With wind the time of day average is more of a problem than the above graph makes it appear and the time of year average changes are even worse.  To see this, examine the plot below:


This graph shows that the summer electric power usage greatly exceeds the average annual electric power usage for all hours of the day as shown in the black solid and dashed curves, respectively.  The red dashed curve shows the average annual wind generation percentage by hour of the day.  It has a minimum when the average annual power need has a maximum.  This problem is greatly increased in the summer months because except for a few hours in the night, summer wind power generation is less than the annual average.  That decrease relative to the annual average is the most dramatic during the peak electric power usage hours of the day.  Thus the seasonal peak load is in the summer, while the seasonal minimum in wind availability is also in the summer, creating a catastrophic disconnect.

We must not also forget that there are large variations in the availability of wind at any time of the year.  Wind speeds are often below their average or at speeds in excess of those for safe operation of a wind generator.  As for solar, well cloud cover is highly variable.  These are inherently very unreliable sources of energy.

The technology to store massive amounts of power from solar energy and wind generation inexpensively through the daily cycle for use when needed does not exist.  Of course then it also does not exist to deal with the seasonal changes in electric power use and generation by solar or wind as well.

This will never stop the green socialists from insisting that we stop using reliable and inexpensive fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, which we have in abundance in the U.S.  No, they are very willing to proceed with the destruction of a vital source of our standard of living.  It must be because they wish to condemn mankind to a hell on Earth because their religion holds man to be the murderer of Mother Nature.  No matter how long the surface temperature of the Earth fails to rise in accord with their climate computer models, they will not admit to the failure of their alarmist belief in the claim of catastrophic man-made global warming.  That claim is just too useful to their need for more political power and control of the lives of the People.  It does not matter either that they have no practical alternative source of power for the fossil fuels for which they have an unreasoning hatred. 

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