Thermodynamic Wind Energy Analysis: Bonneville Power Administration

A thermodynamic paper on a renewable energy source on an economics blog? Seriously?  Yes seriously.

The paper is my first attempt at applying the principles of statistical economics into other fields. I model the consumption and production of various sources of electricity.  Electricity is a pure human creation for human use and is the defining characteristic of modern life.  So yes, it is all connected.

The results shocked me when I saw them. The power of the method is readily apparent and starts to lay bare our understanding or lack thereof of energy production and consumption.

Thermodynamic Wind Energy Analysis: Bonneville Power Administration

I look forward to your comments.

Defining Scieince

I often wondered about what is the nature and purpose of science. While researching what was to become the foundations of statistical economics, I stumbled across an author that I hadn’t heard of before, Edwin Jaynes.  His work has become a profound influence on my research and thinking.  In one of his works, he asks, “How shall we best think about Nature and most efficiently predict her behavior, given only our incomplete knowledge?” Continue reading

Measuring Privacy

Edward Snowden’s revelations about the scope of government surveillance made me think about how we can quantify privacy between each other and our government.  Here statistical economics can provide the framework needed to do so, through the use of measuring the index of probability of human action, and specifying that government knowledge of an individual cannot be less than some minimum index, without the use of a warrant to obtain specific information delineated in the warrant. Continue reading

The Second Law: The limited potential of wind energy

Cal Abel
23 March 2013

After watching An Inconvenient Truth and becoming aware of the push for renewable energy, I questioned the efficacy of renewable energy sources meeting global energy needs. I thought thermodynamics held the key in being able to understand this. Thus my quest began in January 2007. Today, I can report meaningful progress on this subject.

To build the appropriate model, I started with some publicly available fine grain data from the Bonneville Power Administration. I used data from January 1, 2007 00:00 to February 28, 2011 12:05 PST. The data is segregated into 5 minute blocks of the average power within that 5 minute period. Here is the excel file of the BPA wind power/capacity and grid load. You can verify this data by comparing the previous links. The date format is from Mathematica and is in “Absolute Time” : each full integer is 1 second. As a reference, 3376598400 is January 1, 2007 00:00:00 PST. The data is posted here in a parsed format only for your convenience and to aid in your analysis as the entirety of the modeling can readily be done in Excel if so desired. Continue reading