John Petersen at Seeking Alpha has being doing his homework on the wind-advocates’ claims that intermittency is easily solved by spreading wind farms over more geography. Like David MacKay, John examined the numbers. In this case the real-world wind power outputs reported literally across the planet, “over 17 timezones and two hemispheres”.
If you are skeptical, you can invest a few hours on Excel to test John’s analysis for yourself. John downloaded the public data from five power authorities in Pacific Northwest,
Australia, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, and Ireland. Then he synthesized a global electric grid connecting these five regions into a single power supply. You really can’t ask for a more perfect test of the validity of “geographic smoothing”. These following two sample graphics illustrate the reality — that even with this hopelessly optimistic global grid, there will be periods where the wind output is tiny – periods that are too long to compensate with any affordable energy storage option.
Please do read the whole thing. For another in-depth look at geographical smoothing, please see the two BNC guest posts by Finnish physicist Jani-Petri Martikainen, discussed in my earlier post “High renewables penetration means eye-watering costs and massive overbuilding“:
There are two posts, intended to be read in the following order, where the first analysis examines unreliable wind added to an existing reliable grid, the second analysis adds solar to the mix:
Based upon real-world data sets, with the data chosen to be extremely favorable to wind and solar, the simulations indicate that an idealized case of optimal solar/wind deployment requires a massive overbuilding of dispatchable power sources.