Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Energy
Department of Energy
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8/23/18  8:34 pm
Commenter: Henk, engineer

we need reliable dense energy, lets experiment with wind

Shall we agree on our basic facts?

  • We need reliable energy.
  • We need controllable energy.
  • We need a safe Earth to live on.
  • We need 10400 Watts for each person in the USA, each second of every day  (ref: IEA).
  • We want dense energy in order to use less resources.
  • We want high quality energy.
  • We want portable energy.
  • We want reasons for wise choices.
  • We want to safely dispose of wastes; there is always waste.
  • We don't want disasters like the Fukushima Nuclear Tsunami, Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island.

At 10400 Watts, how quickly do we use up energy? When a resource contains dense energy, a small amount provides for a long time.

One helpful way to view energy density is to consider an 80 year life in the USA. The total energy required for one person's 80-year lifetime is equal to:

  • 200,000 gallons of oil, or
  • 420 tons of coal, or
  • 300 grams of Uranium_235, that is 2/3 pound. This mass of uranium equals the mass of 55 USA quarters. Much, much less resources than coal, oil or gas.

From the above we grasp energy density. Uranium energy is 1 million times more dense than oil. Petroleum energy is over a hundred times denser than batteries. Batteries are denser than wind or solar.

I am keen on wind power and solar power. I support wind and solar. Yet in Virginia we must admit that wind and solar are not controllable, not reliable, and not dense.

For wind and solar power, we can grasp energy density by how much flat surface area is needed for one person at 10400 Watts. In the proposed Virginia BVG Wind Power, each person needs the base area equal to 60% of a football field. As for solar, Spain has a state-of-the-art solar energy plant. Each person would need the base area larger than a baseball diamond under full sun, 24 hours a day.

Solar power maxes between 10am and 3pm. With clouds or haze, solar electric power capacity decreases to zero. Wind power maxes at designed wind speed. Above the maximum wind speed, power goes to zero because the turbines are in danger. If the wind falls below the design wind speed, power capacity decreases. When wind changes direction, power decreases.

An electric surge like a lightning strike causes the power grid to become unstable and blackout. We don't want the grid to go down. Wind and solar power cause power surges because winds gust and clouds move. Our homes can handle small surges, but the grid cannot handle large surges.

So we need to ensure that solar and wind do not cause power blackouts. While I was writing this, the power at my home blacked out 9 times within two hours. Why? The day was clear and calm. Blackouts are rare, but they still happen. When a power surge causes a blackout, it lasts for hours.

Before we ask Dominion to take our home grown solar or wind power, we need Dominion to assure us that our contributions will not cause grid blackouts which hurt everyone.

Please do research, Dominion. Virginia proposes offshore wind power tests with BVG. Let's try it!

Thank you for asking for our input as citizens. I am an engineer.


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