Three days ago, much of the American East Coast experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. Fortunately there was not much damage, but the ghost of energy blackouts reared its ugly face when nuclear reactors in Virginia were powered off automatically by safety systems. Meanwhile, wind turbines continued to spin away, producing electricity.
“Having a reliable power system comes from a diverse portfolio of resources”, Michael Goggin, of the American Wind Energy Association, told Energy Refuge in the wake of the earthquake. “We’ve seen a number of examples in recent months. In Texas in February, it was extremely cold and it took offline a number of coal and gas power plants which caused regular blackouts. Wind power helped keep the lights on in a million houses”, he said.
What about flooding? “It depends where the project is built. Usually wind farms are built on fairly high points, so naturally it would tend to be pretty immune to flooding. Obviously a natural disaster is unpredictable and it can affect anything, but it would be pretty unlikely” Michael said.
If there one may lesson we can take from this week’s East Coast earthquake is that we need a diverse portfolio of resources and wind energy is part of that. “People have misconceptions that wind is not reliable and other sources of generation are always there. But we have seen in recent cases that is not necessarily the case; they weren’t there when the grid operator needed them most and in a number of incidents while wind energy was”, he added.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.
A good example of how diverse, yet interconnected generating capacity will be necessary to move beyond coal. Distributed v centralized generation along with an improved and updated grid will, in my opinion, be the way to go.
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