VMarcHart wrote:I'm totally splitting hairs, and I know you're making educated guesses, but...
I think wind NCF is below 35%, closer to 30% than to 35%. I'm working on a project in Wisconsin that we'll be lucky if the real, produced NCF breaks 30%.
It could be. The farms referenced in the Stanford paper I linked earlier had pretty high capacity factors, around 40% IIRC. The only way to figure it in practice is to go project by project, kind of a pain, or just use the EIA's numbers once new additions are a relatively small part of the total installed capacity. As of 2008, wind had a capacity factor of ~25%, but that includes all the new generation, especially the stuff added in the fourth quarter, that gets counted as capacity but only generates for a fraction, sometimes a small fraction, or the year. In that case, ~15+% of wind in 2008 wasn't counted because it had no time to generate and the rest was still ham-stringed being put in whenever it was during the first three quarters.
VMarcHart wrote:Then there's population growth, energy demand growth, and in all reality, there will be changes in life-styles, smart grids, EVs* storage, etc, to balance the energy lust, but something will have to power them. In terms of supplying baseload --the "~800,000 1.5MW wind turbines"--, let's just round that number to 1,000,000 1.5MW turbines. That's 1,500 GWs. Again, lots of splitting hairs.
Energy demand growth isn't too hard to deal with, and cheaper than any new sources to a certain extent. Kaliforniastan
has had per capita electricity flatline because they figured out it's cheaper to invest a couple cents/kWh in public awareness, efficiency regulations, and programs to reduce demand via rebates on more energy efficient products, than it is to pay for new generation/transmission. Given the concern over GHG emissions, we might see the U.S. per capita electricity consumption flatline too. Population is expected to reach ~400 million in 40 years, increasing total electricity use by ~33% even if per capita remains flat. If you're really including change in lifestyle, smart grids, and EVs (with whatever other storage), then we won't need 800,00 turbines. It'll be closer to 400,000, or 500,000 if you wanna round up.
The conservative spacing rule of thumb still is 100 acres per turbine. That's 100,000,000 acres. Kansas has 52,657,279 acres. Two Kansas to displace coal wind wind. Let's say I'm off by 50% in terms of installed capacity and turbine nameplate, so we just need one Kansas to displace coal. Then there's the other white elephant, nucular
, and the smaller, more domesticated animal, NG.
Are you counting all the space between the turbines? AFAIK a turbine only takes up a half an acre. The rest (spacing between turbines) can still be used (Nothing, farming, other stuff), even if it isn't. It's not like paved surfaces, where the total area would be ranked ~25th as a state, and that's all covered in something. Even if you count the space between turbines as used by a turbine, Kansas is about 50 million acres, while the area devoted to farmland in the country is about 2,250 million acres. I'm pretty sure we can figure out where to put some turbines in some of those 2,000+ million acres. Who knows, the economics for offshore may even be favorable by the time we get to ~20% wind. Nuclear is probably going to maintain it's share of generation because it's not as costly as coal, and nat gas is very much load following, so I imagine it can be replaced by more than just wind, although coal is still first on the chopping block. Keep in mind that if we replaced coal w/ interconnected baseload wind, the total net generation from wind would be almost all of what we consume right now from Nukes, NG, coal, hydro, and so on combined, because I assumed all of what's generated by coal to be baseload, obviously not true given the capacity factor of all coal, and in order to get all of what coal makes (~half of total generation) as baseload we would need to make twice as much from wind.
VMarcHart wrote:Nobody's saying it impossible, and the alternative is even worse, but it's not something that will happen overnight.
Very few good things happen overnight. If you're using that as a factor, most of what you've restricted yourself to is natural disasters.
Like everything else, it'll take time, just like oil depletion and a lot of other things will take time.
VMarcHart wrote:*EV storage: I wonder how many EVs would be required to act as a functional and reliable form of readily available power.
That's even harder to figure out than how much coal baseload we actually have. It depends on the EV pack chemistry, connection points, charging/discharging window, kWh of storage, generation profile of the generators, and so on. A robust A123 pack that can be charged/discharged many times w/ little capacity loss and is grid connected at home and at work could be as good as ~5-10+ LG packs that are only connected at night.