Wind Power Math

Doing the Math in Washington State

Hydro and Wind Compete for the sales

The circle represents a geographical area  in Washington State where we have cheap and abundant Green Hydro AND Wind Power.

Some of us will see both of these products as being green and little different than other commodities we might find on the grocery shelf.

During a good portion of our year, we are able to generate hydro power that will fill the grid tie to capacity. Since hydro is a use it or lose it proposition during a significant portion of our year, and it is far cheaper, does it make sense to spill water over the dam in order to make room for the far more expensive wind turbine power during the winter and spring months when we have an abundance of it?

When our Governor and proponents of Wind Energy sided with Wind Energy developers, did they back out these months of power production noting the obvious conflicts here, or did they sell the wind farm project based on some trumped up power production figure?

Wouldn’t this be a great study for an honest News organization? King 5, Komo 4, Kiro 7? Perhaps  they’re way too busy covering the Arts to make time for this?

So who is making money off wind energy and how? did any of the power companies invest in wind and why?




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2 Responses to Wind Power Math

  1. Bill knighton says:

    I wonder what is the physics of long distance power transmission. There is the pacific dc intertie that takes power from the northwest a thousand miles to a different power grid in California. I think it’s a half gigwatt of dc. If the conductor is increased by 4x could they shoot it 4000 miles instead? If 10x then 10,000 miles and so on? I read a book called “a thread across the ocean” about the laying of the first telegraph cables across the Atlantic. They were using sail and steam and lacked completely the resources of our time have. Think of insulating cable against salt water before rubber and plastic! I think engineers and labor of that time would accomplish a lot with our technology and the billions the governement spends on energy policy, but without getting much done. The point is: could this excess power be shipped around the nation and even the world if money wasted on supposed energy policy were not squandered on projects that do not ever need to show an energy profit like the national ingition facility or the 10’s of billions wasted on other fusion research. It has become almost impossible to build a new nuclear plant even though the technology is decades old and there’s more than a thousand years of fission fuel to be mined.
    I guess I am frustrated and ramble. I think for the the price of what is pissed away power could be produced and surplus power distributed all over the earth.

    • George B. says:

      Before you get the energy to a transmission line like you mention, you need get it out of the generating facility. According to sources, there’s no feeder that will haul all the hydro capacity yet alone hydro+wind out of this area it’s generated in.

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