Power needs and wind power as different as day and night.
Green technology (Research)
Solar energy (Research)
Wind power (Research)
|Publication:||Name: Agricultural Research Publisher: U.S. Government Printing Office Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Agricultural industry; Biotechnology industry; Business Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. Government Printing Office ISSN: 0002-161X|
|Issue:||Date: August, 2010 Source Volume: 58 Source Issue: 7|
|Topic:||Event Code: 310 Science & research|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Brian Vick found that, in parts of Texas and California, an almost
perfect match between wind-power production and peak energy demands can
be obtained by combining wind power with solar power, and by proper
storage of excess energy when power supply exceeds demand.
Vick is an agricultural engineer at the Agricultural Research Service's Renew-able Energy and Manure Management Research Unit in Bushland, Texas.
Vick found that in both the Texas Panhandle and California, there is almost an exact mismatch between wind-power production and peak energy demands over a 24-hour period. In these locations, at the tops of modern wind turbines, winds are lowest at midday, when power demands are greatest. In Texas, there is a seasonal mismatch as well: The winds are weakest in the summer, when power demands peak. But adding solar power helps because the sun's rays are most intense at midday and in summer months.
When wind or sun power generated exceeds demand, it's important to capture the energy and store it. The most efficient storage system is one being used in solar thermal power plants, where the sun's energy is used to heat water or other fluids. The fluids are kept hot long after the sun goes down and can be used later to produce steam to generate electricity. The excess electricity generated by wind in the late night and early morning hours could be pumped into the grid and stored to supply power when wind and solar power are insufficient.
Vick and colleagues at Bushland design and test wind/solar/biodiesel hybrid systems running on an experimental electric grid. They also operate modern turbines for wind-farm research for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Vick expects that a better blending of solar and wind power will increase the use of renewable energy for California, Texas, and the rest of the nation. Texas is the top state for wind-generated electricity production, with Iowa second and California third. California is the leader in solar-generated electricity production.--By Don Comis, ARS.
Brian D. Vick is in the USDA-ARS Renewable Energy and Manure Management Research Unit, 2300 Experiment Station Rd., Bushland, TX 79012-0010; (806) 356-5752, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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