November 26, 2007

Continuing discussion of an $80 billion Wind powered supergrid

The $80 billion european wind powered electrical supergrid would make wind energy more practical I think this project makes sense and a similar power grid build out would be good for North America as well. It would work in combination with nuclear power and anything that is not coal or oil.

The average price of the electricity generated would be just 4.6 euro cents per kWh, competitive with today's rates. Europe's 1.25bn tons of annual CO2 output from electricity generation would be wiped out. High-voltage direct current (HVDC) lines, up to 100 times as long as the alternating current (AC) cables carried by the National Grid's pylons, would form the system's main arteries. While AC lines are the international standard, they leak energy. HVDC lines are three times as efficient, making them cost effective over distances above 50 miles.

"We have the technical abilities to build such a supergrid within three to five years," said Dr Gregor Czisch, an energy systems expert at the University of Kassel in Germany. "We just need to commit to this big long-term strategy."

Many supporters of renewable energy see it as a small-scale technology, but Dr Gordon Edge of the British Wind Energy Association, said the megaproject was essential. "European policy is only just waking up to this," he said.

The supergrid would draw power from massed turbines in a band of countries to Europe's south and east that have above average wind potential, feeding it to the industrialised centres of Europe. The scale would overcome the biggest obstacle to wind power – its unreliability. In smaller networks, such as Britain's National Grid, calm weather could cut production to zero. But the supergrid would cover a region so large that the wind would always be blowing somewhere.


Al Fin said...

The idea sounds good. After all, the wind is always blowing someplace on the planet (or somewhere in Europe).

It reminds me of the idea to circle the moon with photovoltaic installations spaced every few hundred kilometers, and connected by underground superconductors. The sun is always shining on one half of the moon, so that half of your PV sites would be powering the global power net.

hdsolarguy said...

There is a new "world wide web" emerging right before our eyes.

It is a global energy network and, like the internet, it will change our culture, society and how we do business. More importantly, it will alter how we use, transform and exchange energy.

For more information, see