Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Wind Energy Record

A few months ago, Germany set a record for solar power generation by generating, for a few sunny hours, more than half the that country’s electricity from solar power.

A similar record was set a few weeks earlier by the largest utility in Colorado, not with solar power, but with wind. In the pre-dawn hours of April 15, Xcel Energy generated more than half of its electricity from windmills. The wind energy share declined, of course, as the day got going and the electric consumption increased.

Solar and wind energy can be unpredictable, providing far more energy on some days than on others. The experiences in Colorado and Germany, though, show that these more fickle energy sources can provide most of an electric supply at their peak.