New technique 'banks' wind farm
Jan 8, 2009 - UPI
A high-tech way of "banking" extra energy from high
winds can improve wind power's ups and downs and
make it more efficient, U.S. university researchers
The method uses an algorithm, or sequence of finite
instructions, to take advantage of high winds and
wind gusts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee electrical
engineers and computer scientists said in the International
Journal of Power Electronics.
The algorithm adjusts a wind turbine's rotor speed
so that when wind speeds are greater than average,
the rotor speeds up and stores the excess energy,
This energy is then released when the wind power
falls below average.
The approach ends any need for external batteries
or capacitors to store electricity for bad days
and the additional infrastructure and engineering
they entail, the researchers said.
The method also captures wind energy more effectively
and therefore improves wind farming's overall efficiency,
potentially reducing the number of turbines required
on a given wind farm, they said.
The United States has added more wind energy to
its grid than any other country, growing 45 percent
to 16.8 gigawatts in 2007 and is now the world's
largest wind power producer, due in part to its
better average winds.
U.S. wind-power capacity could reach 300 gigawatts
-- or 300 billion watts -- by 2030, meeting a fifth
of all U.S. electricity demand, the U.S. Department
of Energy says.