Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brick Oven Endorses T. Boone Pickens

I was hard on T. Boone Pickens last month because of his TV commercials suggesting that wind power could solve our energy problems. I had said:

"I had previously speculated that 33% of electricity could be generated by wind. I reduce this percentage to 20% based on Denmark’s experience. Denmark has 15% of it’s electricity generated by wind and is beginning to have problems. Wind can stop for days at a time. Our wind would be spread over a wider region than Denmark, accounting for the extra 5%."

I retract my criticism of Mr. Pickens. His new commercials disclose that wind power can only provide 20% of our electricity. You heard it here first. But good for T. Boone, I hope he gets his $20,000/hr in incentives expanded past December 31st. It’s a decent use of our federal money.

He does not address the bigger issue of the necessity of nuclear power, but it is not his job to. So I’ll take that one on. The future is nuclear power plants and electric railroads. If we do not get off of our arse and fast-track nuclear power plants and electric railroads, our little experiment might just fall apart.

And then, in the recovery period, we might end up with nuclear locomotives, which really would present safety issues.

Thanks to T. Boone for incorporating the FOX News theme into his pictures. It makes it easier for me.


George said...

Oregon has a lot of wind turbines, presently capable of generating something on the order of 6,000 megawatts (equivalent to three large hydro dams).

A couple of weeks ago, an unexpected surge of wind caused over-generation, and before the turbines could be shut down, the PacNorWest electric grid was almost wrecked. There is a finite limit on how much power the grids will handle.

The disaster was averted ONLY by alert power technicians at Bonneville Dam, who opened emergency bypass valves to spill water that would have turned the dam's turbines. THOSE turbines could have been wrecked along with the grid.

It was a very close call, here in the NW we almost had the equivalent of an Armageddon event which would have resulted in no power for anyone for weeks.

Just throwing up wind turbines, like T.Boone Pickens wants to do, without PRIOR improvements in grid capacity, is foolish.

At the very least, a very smart computer which will sense and PREDICT wind flow will be needed, and EVERY turbine connected to it. That is a very sticky question right now, because the managers of those wind farms have but one goal: to send as many megawatts into the grid as possible all the time.

Until this overcapacity business is sorted out, T. Boone Pickens is too far ahead of his time, and so is his unwitting ally, Barack Obama.

Bill said...

That is very interesting George. One would have thought that the wind turbine guys would have installed some sort of speed generator into the design.

As electricity cannot be ‘stored’ in transmission lines, I think what would have happened if the wind power sent into the grid exceeded the amount of electricity being used, it would have caused the other generation turbines to spin backwards, which would have probably kept everybody in the dark for a good long while.

Good catch by the dam guys. People get used to having electricity.