Tony Anderson – Transmission (2010.08.23)

General Manager, Cherryland Electric Cooperative
View more information about Tony Anderson.

Transcript: : Tell me a little bit more about the transmission issue, because it seems to me that’s a really big one. I know that South Dakota… I mean I just moved here from Minnesota, and they kept pointing out to South Dakota and the winds blowing off the plains. Maybe you could be a little bit more focused just on that whole transmission issue in terms of as a general issue. I mean because there’s massive loss of power off the transmission process.

Tony : Yeah, there’s line loss at every level. Every time you put electricity on a wire, some of it’s going to drop off. That’s just the nature of the business. You certainly have to size the wire right. What you have when you have a wind farm, even in the Dakotas, the wind is only blowing 45% of the time. I grew up there, and I could have sworn it blew 100% of the time, but it’s, at best, 45% of the time. So when you have massive wind farms, and the wind is blowing, you have to have wire sized for that output. Then when the wind quits blowing, you’ve got wire and transmission towers that are literally doing nothing because they have no electricity to carry. So you’ve got an investment that’s only being used part of the time. Again, going to the 24/7 coal plant, nuclear plant, those transmission lines are used around the clock. That’s a pretty good investment. So your rate of return on transmission just for a wind farm has got to be a lot less. : It’s almost like having a factory that you’re running at half speed.

Tony : Yes. It’s not efficient. At some point we’ll learn that. At some point maybe we’ve got enough wind in the country because we can’t afford to put up the extra transmission lines and have them sitting there just for wind. It might be more cost effective to upgrade the present transmission lines we have for the coal plants, and just let a little bit of wind ride that highway. But there’s such a push to build all the wind possible that it’s going to come to a head at some point, because they’re going to need transmission to send it somewhere else.

Topics: In-Depth Interviews, Transmission — August 23rd by Tony Anderson

1 Comment

  • Comment by Jim MacInnes — October 24, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    “Mr. Anderson is mistaken when he says “What you have when you have a wind farm, even in the Dakotas, the wind is only blowing 45% of the time. I grew up there, and I could have sworn it blew 100% …of the time, but it’s, at best, 45% of the time.”

    His first instinct was right. A 45% capacity factor represents a THEORETICAL percentage of hours in a year that a wind turbine operates at 100% of nameplate capacity and not the ACTUAL percent of the time the wind was blowing and the generator was producing electricity. We know the wind speed isn’t always high enough to generate 100% power and there are hours it is running at less than full power and these hours also need to be counted. This means the wind turbine is actually generating electricity for a significantly higher percentage of the time than the THEORETICAL capacity factor might indicate.
    Here is a peer reviewed scientific report that explains this…see Box 2.4 on page 15.

    This also means that the transmission lines serving a wind project are ACTUALLY transmitting power a much higher percentage of the time than the capacity factor indicates.”



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