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The power of multiples: Connecting wind farms can make a more reliable - and cheaper - power source
Date:11/21/2007

in the study.

Another benefit of connecting multiple wind farms is reducing the total distance that all the power has to travel from the multiple points of origin to the destination point. Interconnecting multiple wind farms to a common point and then connecting that point to a far-away city reduces the cost of transmission.

Its the same as having lots of streams and creeks join together to form a river that flows out to sea, rather than having each creek flow all the way to the coast by carving out its own little channel.

Another type of cost saving also results when the power combines to flow in a single transmission line. Explains Archer: Suppose a power company wanted to bring power from several independent farmseach with a maximum capacity of, say, 1,500 kilowatts (kW) from the Midwest to California. Each farm would need a short transmission line of 1,500 kW brought to a common point in the Midwest. Then they would need a larger transmission line between the common point and Californiatypically with a total capacity of 1,500 kW multiplied by the number of independent farms connected.

However, with geographically dispersed farms, it is unlikely that they would simultaneously be experiencing strong enough winds to each produce their 1,500kW maximum output at the same time. Thus, the capacity of the long-distance transmission line could be reduced significantly with only a small loss in overall delivered power.

The more wind farms connected to the common point in the Midwest, the greater the reduction in long-distance transmission capacity that is possible.

Due to the high cost of long-distance transmission, a 20 percent reduction in transmission capacity with little delivered power loss would notably reduce the cost of wind energy, added Archer, who calculated the decrease in delivered power to be only about 1.6 percent.

With only one farm, a 20 percent reduction in long-distance transmission
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Contact: Stephanie Kenitzer
kenitzer@ametsoc.org
425-432-2192
American Meteorological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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