ARS: Blending Wind and Solar Meets Peak
Aug 23, 2010 - M2 Presswire - Energy
In parts of Texas and California, a good
match between renewable energy production and peak energy
demands could be obtained by combining wind power with
solar power, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture
A better blending of solar and wind power,
combined with a way to store excess energy, should increase
the use of renewable energy for California, Texas and the
rest of the nation, according to a study by Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) agricultural engineer Brian Vick
at the agency's Renewable Energy and Manure Management
Research Unit in Bushland, Texas. ARS is USDA's principal
intramural scientific research agency.
Vick discovered that in the Texas Panhandle and West Texas,
as well as in northern and southern California, there is
almost an exact mismatch between wind power production
and peak energy demands over a 24-hour period. In these
locations, at the heights of modern wind turbines, winds
are lowest at mid-day, when power demands are greatest.
In Texas, there is also a seasonal mismatch: The winds
are weakest in the summer, when power demands are highest.
But the sun's rays are most intense at mid-day and in
Texas is the top state for wind-generated electricity
production, with Iowa ranking second and California third.
California is the leader in solar-generated electricity
The most efficient storage system is one being used in
solar thermal power plants, where the sun's heat is used
to heat water or other fluids. The fluids are kept hot
long after the sun goes down, ready to be used later to
produce steam to generate electricity.
The excess electricity generated by wind in the late night
and early morning hours could be pumped into the grid and
removed by storage facilities (like pumped-storage hydroelectricity
or compressed-air energy storage facilities) to match the
utility loading in the daytime.
Vick and colleagues at Bushland have tested and helped
on the design of wind turbines and hybrid wind/solar systems
for off-grid rural applications, residential grid systems
and wind farms for the U.S. Department of Energy. They
also have designed and tested wind/biodiesel hybrid systems
that powered simulated electrical grids of remote locations
like Alaskan fishing villages.
At this year's American Wind Energy Association conference
in Dallas, Texas, Vick presented results on combining wind
farms with solar thermal power plants, including storage
for the additional states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada,
New Mexico and Utah.
This research supports the USDA priority of developing
new sources of alternative energy.
CONTACT: Don Comis, Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Tel: +1 301 504 1625 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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