A way to make wind power smoother and more efficient that exploits
the inertia of a wind turbine rotor could help solve the problem of
wind speed variation, according to research published in the International Journal of Power Electronics.Image
power is being touted as a clean and inexhaustible energy source across
the globe, but the wind is intermittent, and changes based on the location and the weather unless the towers are at an extreme height. The means that the power output of wind
farms can be variable.
Measures to smooth these power
fluctuations usually involve batteries or
capacitors to store electricity on good days and release their energy
on still days or at times when wind speeds are too high for system
stability.Thisof course, does nothing to increase output but simply keeps the flow of power steady.
How significate could wind really be as a source of power in the US? Are we talking about a significant source of power or just a minor one?
A report from the US Department of Energy suggests that installed wind
energy capacity could reach 300 gigawatts by 2030 to meet a fifth of
the US electricity demand.
Now, Asghar Abedini, Goran Mandic
and Adel Nasiri at the Department of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science, Power Electronics and Motor Drives Laboratory,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, have devised a solution to the
electricity grid susceptibility to changes in wind speed, and given us the ability to make these clean power dreams into clean power reality. They can mitigate power
fluctuations using the inertia of the wind turbine's rotor as an energy
storage component. Basically it is a braking control
algorithm that adjusts the rotor speed so that when incoming wind power
is greater than the average power, the rotor is allowed to speed up so
that it can store the excess energy as kinetic energy rather than
generating electricity. This energy is then released when the wind
power falls below average.