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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Its hot cuz it ain’t windy! And it ain’t windy cuz its hot!

As I mentioned last week, we had record energy consumption here in Texas. How do you think all that wonderful wind energy investment is working out for us? Not so well as that darned physics just keeps getting in the way.

When I got extra hot and needed extra juice to cool off, why did the wind not blow? Because it was hot. Hot everywhere.

only about 5 percent of the state's installed wind capacity was available when Texans needed it most. Texans may brag about the size of their wind sector, but for all of that hot air, the wind business could only provide about 0.8 percent of the state's electricity needs when demand was peaking.

Why does Texas get so little juice from the wind when it really needs it? Well, one of the reasons Texas gets so hot in the summer is that the wind isn't blowing. Pressure gradients—differences in air pressure between two locations in the atmosphere—are largely responsible for the speed of the wind near the Earth's surface. The greater the differences in pressure, the harder the wind blows. During times of extreme heat these pressure gradients often are minimal. The result: wind turbines that don't turn.

One of my friend’s electric company is one of these wind outfits. I think I’ll ask him to pay my bill next month.

full article at Slate

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