Academic journal article The Science Teacher

More Wind Power Feasible

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

More Wind Power Feasible

Article excerpt

Injecting large amounts of offshore wind power into the U.S. electrical grid will cut electricity costs and reduce pollution compared to current fossil fuel sources, according to researchers.

The researchers consulted with a grid operator supplying electricity to more than 60 million people in 14 states to develop a computer model that simulates how the electric grid would respond to injections of wind power from offshore wind farms along the East Coast at five build-out levels, between 7 and 70 gigawatts of installed capacity.

One hurdle grid operators face is how to integrate increasing amounts of naturally fluctuating offshore wind into a network that has to deliver reliable power to customers 24-7. The researchers showed conservatively that, with some upgrades to transmission lines but without any need for added storage, the operator's grid can handle over 35 gigawatts of offshore wind, enough to power an estimated 10 million homes. They also found that the grid could one day handle twice that amount, up to 70 gigawatts, as wind forecasting improves, allowing the power operator to better predict and harness more wind.

"Our goal was to replicate this very human-made energy system under all kinds of scenarios," said researcher Cristina Archer. …

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