It is fascinating to see how “public” opinion shifts over time. I remember when college campuses were considered really good cogeneration candidates, especially if they had medical facilities. It used to be that true economics and operating complexity were the underlying fatal flaws. Now it appears that greener alternatives are the competitor.
Read the Energy Central article about Duke University here.
Once again, however, a holistic point of view seems missing. As I have blogged over and over again, there is a huge difference between energy and capacity. Solar and wind are energy … not capacity. There are times when you need power that doesn’t coincide with the sun shining and wind blowing.
Then of course, there is a huge difference between the control systems to assure power reliability and power quality on a campus like this. Cogeneration is synchronized with the grid and does not produce harmonics. Wind and solar are inverted from DC sources … there are serious problems here with a system at this scale when you try to run it together.
If you want to build a wind farm somewhere in the woods, go ahead. To me, it is clear that the protesting students are not studying electrical engineering or engineering of any kind.