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October 5 2012

Solar and wind energy may stabilise the power grid


Renewable energies such as wind, sun and biogas are set to become increasingly important in generating electricity. If increasing numbers of wind turbines and photovoltaic systems feed electrical energy into the grid, it becomes denser and more distributed. Therefore, instead of a small number of large power plants, it links a larger number of small, decentralized power plants with the washing machines, computers and industrial machinery of consumers. Such a dense power grid, however may not be as vulnerable to power outages as some experts fear. One might assume that it is much harder to synchronize the many generators and machines of consumers, that is, to align them into one shared grid frequency, just as a conductor guides the musicians of an orchestra into synchronous harmony.

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