Saturday, May 02, 2009

Fed Energy Commish: Fuggedabout Reliability

This fellow is daft.

No new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said today.

"We may not need any, ever," Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum.

Others, who actually know something about the topic, disagree.

Jay Apt, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Electricity Industry Center, expressed skepticism about the feasibility of relying so heavily on renewable energy. "I don't think we're where Chairman Wellinghoff would like us to be," Apt said. "You need firm power to fill in when the wind doesn't blow. There is just no getting around that."

Some combination of more gas- or coal-fired generation, or nuclear power, will be needed, he said. "Demand response can provide a significant buffering of the power fluctuations coming from wind. Interacting widely scattered wind farms cannot provide smooth power."

I can just hear the weather forecasts in 2020. "Occasional electricity today with light variable winds. Electricity on the weekend will be steady, as a front passes through....."

Wellinghoff's theory is interesting, anyway.

"I think baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism," he said. "Baseload capacity really used to only mean in an economic dispatch, which you dispatch first, what would be the cheapest thing to do. Well, ultimately wind's going to be the cheapest thing to do, so you'll dispatch that first."

He added, "People talk about, 'Oh, we need baseload.' It's like people saying we need more computing power, we need mainframes. We don't need mainframes, we have distributed computing."

Tell that to Metavante, or FiServ.

Wellinghoff's plan? A LOT more transmission towers and wires.

"Number two, if you have wide interconnections across the entire interconnect, you're going to have a lot of diversity with that wind. Not all the wind is going to stop at once. You'll have some of it stop, some of it start, and all of that diversity is going to help you, as well."

I smell "Boondoggle" Pickens in the FERC boardroom.

1 comment:

Deekaman said...

Wellinghoff clearly has no clue how this electricity stuff works. Or for that matter, how computing works. SAP doesn't run off a distributed network.

In the same manner, manufacturing can't possibly run off a distributed energy network. first, not enough energy, second, reliability is a must.

Oh, but the Left wants to get rid of manufacturing. It pollutes.