Wind Farms Taken Off-Grid Because of Too Much ... Wind

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I work in the energy industry. Wind is suitable for, say, an individual farm, or a small utility with a load-following contract with major energy providers, such as TVA or BPA. That would mean that they only pay the utility for what they use, so, if the wind blows, they could just switch to their windmills for some of their power (a literal "windfall"). But, for the majors, like TVA and BPA, that's insane: Wind is notoriously unpredictable and the forecasts are measured in minutes (20' is standard), where hydro is forecasted out 20 years and oil/gas likewise. All that wind coming on line means is that transmission lines have to be held to lower capacity, so as to allow headroom for the unpredictable wind power, which is trivial compared to the other sources of energy, but certainly does have the power to blow a line. So, yes, most of the time, BPA switches the wind off. In fact they have taken over management of some of the "private" wind farms and now routinely shut them off as soon as they start to turn.

This is one of the stupidest boondoggles to come around, surpassed, maybe, by ethanol.

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