The New York Times’s Matthew Wald has highlighted an energy challenge facing wind power — not the building of turbines to generate power, but how to transmit from remote wind farms to huge population centers. His article sparked a flurry of blog comments on the argument that the necessary solution is expanding transmission capacity, which is expensive and unpopular for NIMBY and other political economy reasons.
Lynne Kiesling, writing in the blog Knowledge Problem, says the article fails to point out the true, underlying Achilles heel — energy storage. “If we had more efficient and distributed energy storage, then we could store wind-generated power near the source when lines are congested, and store it near demand by transmitting it when lines are not congested.”
Paul Baker, writing in Colorado Energy News, adds: “…unless construction of new transmission networks begins in earnest, much of the energy benefits from renewables will be wasted.”
Green Tech reports that Energy Storage and Power, of New Jersey, will spend $20 millionto develop an underground compressed-air storage system for wind turbines and other power sources.
Eco-Friendly America, another blog, adds a useful summary of the infrastructure problems facing wind power.