From a new study by the University of Wyoming:
The wind in Wyoming tends to blow more during the winter and afternoon. California tends to be windier during the summer and at night, according to the report for the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority by Jonathan Naughton of the university’s Wind Energy Research Center.
That the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun doesn’t shine at night or on cloudy days are two of the biggest shortcomings of those renewable energy sources. But spreading renewable power out across the grid can make renewable energy generally more viable.
Chances are, if the wind isn’t blowing in one region, it’s gusty somewhere else.
The study compared wind patterns at California wind farms to those at sites with wind potential in Wyoming, including an approximately 1,000-turbine wind farm in south-central Wyoming that the Denver-based Anschutz Corp. plans to build to export electricity to California.
The Anschutz plant in particular will take years more to permit plus connect to transmission. But the study points to the need for better cooperation among western states to balance the plentiful renewable energy. California can’t do it alone, even with better demand response and energy storage technology. Ultimately, transmission and smart state policies will be key.