UPDATE and BUMPED TO TOP: 7:08am January 20, just saw a commercial for the “Pickens Plan.” It promoted natural gas only with no mention at all wind energy.
The Wall Street Journal has an article (subscription may be required) in today’s issue reporting that Boone Pickens has officially ended his “Pickens Plan” to put a huge wind farm near Pampa, Texas.
While there were elements of the Pickens Plan (such as significantly increasing natural gas use for automotive fleets) that made a great deal of sense, the abandonment of the centerpiece of the plan, the huge wind energy farm, is yet another indication that wind power is “not ready for prime time” and will not be with the current level of technology. Wind generators seem to suffer from reliability problems, the wind itself is not dependable (making it unreliable to electric utilities), and the process of generating alternating current (AC), converting it to direct current, then back to AC is so inefficient that a great deal of the wind-generated power is lost. These problems will have to be solved for wind to play a significant, let alone major, role in the power mix.
I am a big fan of nuclear and solar energy playing larger roles (eventually much larger roles) in our energy future.
Originally posted: January 14th, 5:31pm.