On the Energy Foundation website, I found a great link to an article on wind energy, “Wind Power Myths Debunked“, from Power & Energy. It’s not light reading, but it touches on some important questions with understandable answers. The summary, from the article:
The natural variability of wind power makes it different from other generating technologies, which can give rise to questions about how wind power can be integrated into the grid successfully. This article aims to answer several important questions that can be raised with regard to wind power. Although wind is a variable resource, grid operators have experience with managing variability that comes from handling the variability of load. As a result, in many instances the power system is equipped to handle variability. Wind power is not expensive to integrate, nor does it require dedicated backup generation or storage. Developments in tools such as wind forecasting also aid in integrating wind power. Integrating wind can be aided by enlarging balancing areas and moving to subhourly scheduling, which enable grid operators to access a deeper stack of generating resources and take advantage of the smoothing of wind output due to geographic diversity. Continued improvements in new conventional-generation technologies and the emergence of demand response, smart grids, and new technologies such as plug-in hybrids will also help with wind integration.