Power grid is not ready for wind

The New York Times has a story about an emerging problem with wind power: the power grid can't handle it. Putting massive new energy generation sources out in the middle of nowhere won't work if you don't have high capacity power lines that can carry the electricity to where it is needed. So one of the hidden costs of wind power (or solar, or any other new generation source) is getting the power to the right place at the right time.

On a smaller scale, home-based electric generation projects (e.g. Vehicle To Grid (V2G), roof-mounted solar panels, etc.) are already looking at this problem. Design Nine is part of a team led by VPT Energy Systems that will be studying how to develop components and overall system designs for integrated energy systems that include plug-connected vehicles and distributed energy resources (supported by the Energy Department’s Sandia National Laboratories). Part of the solution, both on the small scale of home-based energy sources and on the large scale energy sources like wind farms and solar panel farms, is to have a robust and reliable broadband network that allows dynamic and interactive control of both electric loads and electric generation facilities.

Communities that begin addressing broadband and electric power as two parts of the same basic infrastructure challenge have a powerful economic development advantage, with the side benefit of potentially evolving quickly into a "green" community with renewable energy sources that help keep energy costs lower.

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