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Midnight surges and wind power  

Credit:  Monadnock Ledger-Transcript | Thursday, January 22, 2015 | (Published in print: Thursday, January 29, 2015) | www.ledgertranscript.com ~~

The meteorological data show that high winds at one weather station in New Hampshire generally means there are high winds at most/all the other stations in the state. Stronger than normal wind speeds on Mount Washington at 6,000 feet generally mean stronger than normal wind speeds even at Concord, in the valley.

This means that when one wind turbine in New Hampshire is generating its maximum power, it’s very likely all the other turbines in New Hampshire will be also. Since the independent system operator has a limit on the surge in power it can accommodate in the middle of the night, there is a serious limit on the number of wind facilities it can handle. The number is likely less than 100 total turbines (or less than 5 to 10 industrial wind facilities) in all of New Hampshire. The ISO needs to determine this number before any new wind facilities are approved.

But that isn’t the entire problem. When this maximum energy surge occurs, and can be accommodated by the overall grid, it’s likely to occur only in very specific weather situations. But these specific weather situations will require the ISO to use a specific mix of power generation sources. That means that there will be only a few geographical areas from which “extra” wind power can be usefully supplied to the grid. The placement of the 5 to 10 wind facilities which will serve the interests of the ISO in these specific weather situations will be critical, and needs to determined prior to the approval of any single facility.

The bottom line is that the Site Evaluation Committee needs to determine the maximum number of turbines (facilities) that the ISO can handle in the middle of a windy night, and where such chosen facilities can be located. And this determination needs to be made prior to approving any facility.

Fred Ward

Stoddard

Source:  Monadnock Ledger-Transcript | Thursday, January 22, 2015 | (Published in print: Thursday, January 29, 2015) | www.ledgertranscript.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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