Monday, August 11, 2008

What Happens When the Atom Doesn't Split?

One of the favorite whipping boys of anti-wind commentators is wind's variability: "What happens when the wind doesn't blow?"

As this news item makes clear, no power plant runs all of the time. Utility system operators must be prepared to compensate for the loss of one or more generating plants to balance supply and demand and ensure that the lights stay on.

Important excerpt:
Aug. 9--The Tennessee Valley Authority shut down Browns Ferry Unit 1 on Friday after reducing it and the other two units to half power Thursday.

TVA also shut down Watts Bar Nuclear Plant on Thursday after dropping it to half power Wednesday.

Of six nuclear plants in the TVA system, only two -- both at Sequoyah -- are operating at full power. Systemwide, TVA's nuclear power generation is at half-mast.

TVA took Browns Ferry Unit 1 offline Friday at 5:30 a.m. because of a steam leak in the thermal well, one of the devices that tracks the temperature of steam in the main steam tunnel.

Given a situation like this, talk about wind's "unreliability" must be viewed with a grain of salt.


No comments: