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Interest in the #solar thread was so strong that I decided to pull together some info on #wind as well. And actually use some #hashtags to make it easier to search.
So with that, on with some windy thoughts from a this particular blowhard:
Like #solar, #wind power faces intermittency problems, so it MUST be paired w conventional power generation unless u r ok having your electricity supply die with the wind. This is particularly the case w old-style 40m turbines in many early-adopter locations like #PalmSprings
Wind’s #sitingrestrictions r different from solar. #Turbines CAN b installed above crops.
Wind CANNOT b installed on slopes (winds r 2erratic, so things alternate between no power & snapped towers) nor above 10k feet (thin air = less force on the turbine blades).
#Wind has 2 things going for it #solar doesnt. 1st, the wind blows at night. Peak #electricity demand is typically 6p-9p, but peak solar supply is 11a-3p - solar’s of limited use in addressing #baseload or #peak needs. Wind is more reliable, so can provide SOME help w baseload
2nd, while solar redesigns can take years, it easyish to put up a taller #turbine. 80m turbines -industry norm for years- tap stronger, more reliable currents so can supply baseload power demand. 90m towers r starting 2go up now. Engineers have 100m towers in their sights.
Like these in my home state of Iowa.
#Iowa and #NorthDakota are the top US states in terms of % of power used that’s from wind.
#Texas (where I live) is the top US state in terms of volume of power gained from wind.

The other problem w #wind is #transmission. In US we consider 500miles the max distance we’ll wire power before the cost gets crazy. For comparison, wiring that distance in a perfect system costs about as much as traditional #coal based #electricity does all-in.
Its me, so some maps.
1st, #solar review:
Solar only makes economic sense in the red, & #environmental sense in the red & orange. Solar in the light green zones INCREASES ur #carbonfootprint 'cause ull never generate enough power 2pay off the sunk #carbon costs of installation
Now wind. Same ideas.
#Wind only makes economic sense in the red, and #environmental sense in the red and orange.
Unlike #solar -w whom the environmentalist community has a love affair- Greens to recognize putting turbines in places with no wind is stupid so it doesn’t happen
Now let’s combine the maps:
These are the places that #wind and #solar make good #economic AND #environmental sense in an ideal system. Blue for wind, green for solar, dark green for both.
Note that we’ve already eliminated over 90% of the Earth’s surface. #OceansSuck
We’re not done. We must account 4siting concerns: no #solar on cropland, no #wind at high elevation, no generation >1k miles from metro regions, no transit thru barriers (Himalayas, #failedstates, etc). That removes >half of what’s left. Check out #China -green leader my ass.
Few places do #wind or #solar well - much less wind AND solar. Places like #Libya #WesternSahara #Namibia or #Somalia are…blammy. That leaves us w wind in #Ireland #UK & #Denmark, solar in #Mexico; both in #SouthAfrica, #Argentina & #US. And that’s about it.
Yet because #wind doesn’t face the same reliability/baseload limitations as #solar, wind is almost ALWAYS better. Check the data: The US has spent about $106 billion on utility-level solar & $168 billion on utility-level wind.
With those investments solar generates 1.3% of US electricity and wind 6.3%. Wind is ~3x as cost effective as solar AND can be used for baseload AND doesn’t generate instability in the grid because of intermittency.
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