What does this change mean for people?
A small company named the “American Wind Energy Association” (AWEA) has a page about it, though its definition of wind energy is “an intermittent and high-energy source of energy produced by the wind,” and its “goal is to help people and businesses tap into the power of renewable energy.” It’s a big change for the world’s largest industry, and has been since we’ve known about it. What is AWEA’s strategy for this change?
“They’re trying to put it out there that wind energy can be an intermittent source of energy,” says Brian T. Moir at the University of Minnesota, the lead author of the article “Does Electricity From Wind Energy Change the Energy Supply System?” He explains it’s a way to gain marketing attention, and gain public acceptance. “When you’re talking to somebody and say that wind has this effect on the grid and has the potential to be a part of the grid, that can generate lots of publicity,” he says. But they need to get it right, he says, including the cost of investing in it, and how consumers are affected and how long it takes. What was that report from AWEA?
Brian T. Moir, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues found that a portion of the U.S. electricity grid – the “wind corridor” of the electricity grid – is sensitive to changes in the wind in the winter, especially during cold spells. In November 2012, they reported on the effect that wind, rather than natural variability, was causing the electricity grid.
The investigators had data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on wind direction and speeds over the whole country from 2011 to 2012. They focused on specific weather events, such as cold and windy nights, especially when they were especially high in the winter, especially when the energy from the cold fronts of the jet stream was hitting the western states. As they explained their findings to a group of wind energy experts at the conference International Congress of Electrical Engineers (ICE) in Vienna in July 2016:
By controlling for their wind direction and speed, we are able to estimate the impact of wind on the system. We estimated the effect of wind change on the grid’s operations.
In the words of Moir, “This was the first attempt to estimate the amount of electricity that is affected by the wind, and it was a real effort
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