>> Of course, it would make sense to integrate water and wind plants,
> probably even using the wind 
>>turbines to power the pumps directly. But that's a problem with politics,
> not technology.

> I beg to differ.  The obvious problem is geography.  Pump storage is highly
> used in Switzerland, and they have moutainous terrain and have hydroelectric
> dams which are perfect for combined generation/pump storage.  But, most good
> windfarm locations are offshore or on the plains (e.g. Iowa or the Panhandle
> of TX) where high winds blow.  The energy from a wind turbine is
> porportional to the cube of the velocity of the wind.  Yes, there is high

Only for an ideal wind turbine. In real life, current designs have to
be turned out of the wind if the wind gets strong. They actually have
a rather small range of wind speeds in which they can operate; both
weak and strong wind is a problem.

Vertical wind turbines, like the Savonius design, are less efficient,
but can cope with a wider range of wind speed (including weaker wind
and turbulent wind). Advocates of vertical wind turbines often cite
conspiracy theories as the reason for the limited use of these designs
in large scales.

> wind on ridge lines, but I've seen windmills there, and there is just one
> line, not row after row.  So, pump storage needs to be located in very
> specific geographical locations (wherever there is a quick change in
> elevation from one large area to another....mountaintops aren't good because
> you can't put a big lake there), while the flat plains and the oceans, seas,
> and the Great Lakes are the best place to locate wind turbines. If it were
> easy, the German company that already has 10% of its nameplate capacity in
> wind would be doing water storage already.

Nope. In Germany, political reasons are the real reasons, not common
sense. Electricity from wind turbines was highly subsidized, with the
result that it became "commercially efficient" to erect wind parks at
location which made absolutely no sense. After this had been found
out, the subsidies have been reduced. But still you can make more
money by producing electricity than by pumping water.

- Klaus


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