“Instead of the grid operator telling the power plant when to run and how much, the power plant gets to tell the grid operator, ‘We’re going to run this much,’” Gomberg says. “So there’s some legacy contract issues in place that don’t give the grid operator as much control over coal power plants as they do over wind power plants.”
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Repowering of power generation facilities can provide an aging plant with a new lease on life. But there’s more to it than just extending an installation’s operational lifecycle; repowering can increase power generation capacity, the efficiency of electricity output, and can enable an existing facility to take advantage of new technologies, without the need to construct an entirely new power plant. Such an effort also enables a power plant to continue to benefit a community by creating jobs, bringing in tax revenue and other funds—and of course providing even more needed electricity.
A race to meet state climate goals — and to get expiring federal tax credits along the way — has led to a flurry of wind and solar activity.
One of the many complaints we hear about wind turbines from fossil fuel fans is that turbines have a high carbon footprint—thanks in part to the steel in their towers—so it is counterintuitive to invest in them. U.S. President Joe Biden’s notorious predecessor once complained, “The fumes coming up, if you are a believer in carbon emission, the fumes coming up to make these massive windmills is more than anything we are talking about with natural gas, which is very clean.” In fact, life cycle analyses give wind turbines a carbon footprint averaging 11 grams per kilowatt-hour—30% of which comes from the steel tower. (Natural gas is 450 grams per kilowatt-hour just from combustion.)
The Biden administration on Thursday gave final approval to a 416-mile electric transmission line that will help connect more wind and solar energy to the Western U.S. grid.
In his series, “Repowering the West,” L.A. Times’ Sammy Roth is taking us on a road trip through the western U.S. to explore the transition to clean energy.
Distributed wind could supply more than half of US electricity but needs policy support, NREL study finds
Distributed wind resources ranging from single wind turbines powering a private home, to community installations of up to 1 MW in size, could add nearly 1,400 GW to the U.S. power grid, more than half of U.S. current annual electricity consumption, according to a new analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Reporting on clean energy from my kitchen table is one thing. Standing atop the Continental Divide — wind whipping at my face, construction workers grading roads nearby, pronghorn jogging across the sagebrush landscape — is something else entirely.
About 17 nautical miles south of Nantucket, a half-dozen New England Aquarium researchers scrambled across this vessel’s icy deck. Clutching binoculars, clipboards and cameras, they strained to catch a glimpse and scribble notes about a pair of creatures they fear are disappearing from this world.