The capacity factors and useful service lives of industrial wind turbines are important determinants of levelized wind energy costs. Some recent studies have brought to light the capacity factors are less and useful service lives are shorter than typically used in spreadsheet-based analysis by IWT promoters to obtain bank financing and governmental approvals and sway the lay public, including legislators. 

 

Lesser IWT Capacity Factors: Based on analyses of actual IWT production results, it appears the capacity factors of wind energy projects in many areas of the world are much less than estimated by project developers. As a result, the capital costs and environmental impacts of implementation would be much greater, because a greater capacity of wind turbines and transmission systems would be required to generate the same quantity of energy. See detailed explanation below.


Shorter IWT Useful Service Lives: in this article, a 20-year life is assumed, instead of the 25 years typically used by IWT project developers to obtain bank financing, federal and state subsidies and "Certificate of Public Good" approvals. 


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9770837/Wind-farm-turbines-wear-sooner-than-expected-says-study.html

 

https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/rethinking-winds-impact-on-emissions-and-cycling-costs/

 

http://docs.wind-watch.org/global-wind-resource-overestimated.pdf

 

NREL WIND ENERGY VISION

 

The US-DOE is envisioning the US having at least 20% of its energy from IWTs by 2050. Most of the wind turbines would be located in the Great Plains, where are the good to excellent winds. Currently, about 90% of wind turbine capacity, generating at least 95% of wind energy, is located west of Chicago.

 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratories, NRELs, have proposed multiple corridors with High Voltage Direct Current, HVDC, lines from the Great Plains to the East Coast, where the people are. Those lines have much less line losses than HVDC  lines, and can be buried, or on pylons, as needed, to satisfy NIMBY concerns.

 

The implementation of at least 20% wind energy would have major impacts on the US electric power system and would require trillions of dollars.

 

Wind Energy Production and Transmission: About 90% of all wind turbines are west of Chicago. Transmitting their energy from the Great Plains to the East Coast via the envisioned seven (7) HVDC lines incurs energy losses.

 

Energy has to be gathered from wind turbines and brought to a substations to raise its AC voltage to the AC transmission level, then it is transmitted to other substations to raise the voltage to that of the HVDC line, then the AC is converted to DC, then the DC is sent to the East Coast via the east-west HVDC lines, then to the north-south HVDC line, then the DC is converted to AC, then the voltage is stepped down to the AC transmission level, then via substations to the distribution systems.

 

The AC/DC units and transformers will see loads from 0% (wind-still days) to up to 90 - 100% (strong wind days) with an annual average of about 36% (the capacity factor), i.e., at part-load the efficiency of the AC/DC units and transformers is less than at rated load.

 

This means multiple AC/DC units and transformers at each end of the HVDC lines to minimize losses.

 

This also means the entire system has to be designed for 100% of the wind turbine capacity, but will be utilized at an annual average of only 36%, much less than the normal 60% for transmission systems. 

 

Below is a list of assumptions to estimate the overall loss, on an A to Z basis:

 

Average Capacity factor, CF, of all wind turbines......................................0.360

Loss due to gather wind energy to existing and new HVAC lines..................0.990

Loss due to step up Great Plains AC voltage..............................................0.985

Loss due to HVAC transmission to west-east HVDC lines.............................0.990

Loss due to step up to HVDC voltage.........................................................0.985

Loss due to AC to DC conversion...............................................................0.980

Loss due to HVDC transmission to East Coast north-south HVDC backbone...0.970

Loss due to DC to AC conversion...............................................................0.980

Loss due to step down the East Coast HVAC voltage...................................0.985

Loss due to HVAC transmission on East Coast............................................0.980

Loss due to distribution.............................................................................0.960

 

Net CF at user's meter...............................................................................0.296

 

As a result of the above losses, the average CF of 0.360 at the wind turbine is reduced to about 0.296 at the user’s meter, for a 17.9% loss!! This compares with a US grid loss of 6.7%, on an A to Z basis.

 

There are additional energy and wear-and-tear losses to accommodate wind energy to the grid:

 

- increased plant capacity and increased hours of part-load-ramping operation to balance the variable wind energy. 

- increased plant capacity and increased hours of 3,600 rpm spinning operations, which requires about 8% of the fuel consumption at rated output, to instantly provide energy when significant wind energy ebbing occurs. 

- increased plant capacity and increased frequency of plant start/stop operations, to provide energy when significant wind energy ebbs or surges are predicted to occur.

 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated

 

Wind Turbine Replacement Scenario: As the above NREL-envisioned IWT build-out proceeds to achieve 20% wind energy by 2052, and assuming a 20-year life, almost all of the existing 52,000 MW of IWTs would need to be refurbished or replaced during 2012 - 2032, if economically/technically viable, plus the new IWTs built during 2012 - 2032 would need to be refurbished or replaced during 2032 - 2052, etc.

 

Wind Turbine Capacity: Assuming a life of 20 years, onshore capacity factor of 0.30 and offshore of 0.38, energy production growth at 0.9%/yr (due to electric vehicles?), a spreadsheet-based analysis shows, it would take about 425,000 MW of IWTs, onshore and offshore, to provide about 1,170 TWh in 2052, about 20% of the total US production in that year.

 

Wind Turbine O & M Costs: Below URLs show 2011 estimates of US wind turbine O & M varying by region: about $26,000/MW in Texas and Southwest; about $30,000 - $32,000 in the Great Plains and Midwest; about $40,000/MW in Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, etc. Offshore would be about $50,000 - 60,000/MW. 

 

These US costs have been steadily rising from an average of about $22,000/MW in 2008 to an average of about $31,000/MW in 2011, despite claims they would be declining by wind energy proponents.

 

Note: For proper comparison, O & M cost should include variable costs, such as labor, parts, crane rental, consumables, etc., plus fixed costs, such as insurance, administation, etc.

 

Note: Other major O & M costs result from increased spinning, start/stop, balancing and grid operations due to wind energy being on the grid.

 

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/03/08/rising-wind-farm-om-costs/ 

http://www.windpowerengineering.com/maintenance/report-om-costs-headed-up/

http://nawindpower.com/digitaleditions/Main.php?MagID=2&MagNo=39&Page=1

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy08osti/40581.pdf

.

Grid Level Costs: As RE build-outs take place, more becomes known regarding grid level costs. The below OECD study quantified the levelized costs of the grid level effects of variable energy, such as wind and solar, on the grid. It includes the costs of wind energy balancing, PLUS the costs of grid connection, reinforcement and extension, PLUS the costs of back-up (adequacy), i.e., keeping almost all EXISTING generators fueled, staffed, and in good working order to provide energy when wind energy is minimal, about 30% of the hours of the year in NE, about 10-15% of the hours of the year in the US.

 

In the US, the costs of the 3 PLUSSES for onshore IWTs are minimal when the annual wind energy on the grid is only a few percent, because most grids have some spare capacity to absorb variable wind energy. As the wind energy percentage nears 3 - 5%, the spare capacity is used up and the costs of the 3 PLUSSES are about $7.5/MWh at 5%, about $16.30/MWh at 10%, and about 19.84/MWh at 30%. This is significantly greater than the about $5/MWh usually mentioned by IWT promoters. See page 8 of below URL. Corresponding costs for offshore wind turbine plants would be significantly greater.


These costs are a significant part of the US annual average grid price of about 5 c/kWh. Mostly, they are "socialized", i.e., charged to rate payers, not to wind turbine owners. As a result, wind turbine owners, with help of other subsidies, such as the 2.3 c/kWh production tax credit, can underbid other low-cost producers, causing them to sell less energy and become less viable over time, i.e., future investors would be less willing to invest in such producers, unless compensated with "capacity payments", that also will be charged to rate payers, not wind turbine owners.

 

http://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/reports/2012/system-effects-exec-sum.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source 


The 40-year cost for new, refurbished and replaced IWTs, back-up (adequacy), balancing, grid connection, grid reinforcement and extension would be about $2 TRILLION, unsubsidized, with further annual capital costs after 2052 to maintain the 425,000 MW of IWTs as an on-going energy producer. 

 

Economic Impact of NREL Build-out: The increased capital cost of IWT build-outs, refurbishments/replacements, balancing plants and grid reorganization, and the impact of the lesser CFs and shorter lives would greatly increase the US levelized cost of energy.

 

If US wind energy goals were increased to 30% or even 40%, levelized costs, and various other adverse impacts, would be proportionately greater.

 

Unless developing nations, i.e., China, India, Brazil, etc., handicap themselves in a similar manner (which appears unlikely, based on the outcome of COP-18 in Dohu, Qatar, in 2012), the US, with a low-growth economy and huge trade and budget deficits, would be at an even relative greater economic disadvantage than at present.

 

Add to that situation wind energy not being anywhere nearly as effective regarding CO2 emission reduction as increased energy efficiency, one may wonder if the Western World is on the right course regarding CO2 emission reduction.

 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/151031/global-warming-targets-and-capital-costs-germany-s-energiewende

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/71771/energy-efficiency-first-renewables-later

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/46652/reducing-energy-use-houses 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated 

 

Note: It is common practice among utilities to perform levelized cost analyses of energy systems. The annual cost of (Owning + O&M) is estimated and summed for, say 20 years, and the annual energy production, MWh, is estimated and summed for 20 years to obtain the 20-year average or levelized cost, $/MWh. Such analyses become more complex, if various financing aspects, subsidies, depreciation, renewable energy credits, aging factors and replacements of equipment, etc, are applied.

 

WIND TURBINE PLANT ENERGY DENSITY

 

Wind turbine plant energy densities are less than 2 W/m2, as measured at the wind turbine, less losses to transmit the energy to the user. Here is an offshore example.

 

Offshore Example: The Anholt offshore wind power plant has 111 Siemens wind turbines, 3.6 MW each, for a total of about 400 MW, on 88 km2, 14 meter deep water, capital cost $1.65 billion; inaugurated on September 3, 2013; energy density = 400 MW x CF 0.40/88 km2 = about 1.82 W/m2; the CF of 0.40 as measured at the wind turbine is assumed, less losses to transmit energy to the user.

http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2013/09/denmarks-largest-offshore-wind-power-farm-is-inaugurated.html

 

Onshore Example West of Chicago: Onshore wind plants west of Chicago have an average CF of about 0.38, as measured at the wind turbine i.e., about 0.36/0.40 x 1.82 = 1.64 W/m2.

 

The capacity, MW, required for 50% of US energy from wind = (0.5 x 4,000 TWh/yr)/(8,760 hr/yr x {0.36 - 0.73 x 0.36 AC/DC conversion and HVDC transmission losses}) = about 878,000 MW. Land area required for proper wind turbine spacing would be 878,000/1.64 = 535,232 km2. 

 

Wind turbines have a life of about 20 years, so there will be a big replacement/repair industry to keep the entire enterprise going. The area would become unfit for human occupation. For health reasons, people's residences need to be about 2 miles from 3 MW turbines. Most fauna would avoid the area. Agriculture remains feasible. 

 

See David JC MacKay’s book “Sustainable energy; without the hot air”, pgs. 43 and 284 for more data about energy densities. 

 

GERMANY's RENEWABLE ENERGY

 

Germany has set the ambitious goals of increasing renewable energy to 35 percent of total power consumption by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 while phasing out all of Germany's nuclear power plants by 2022. RE was 20.3% in 2011, 21.9% in 2012.

 

Germany, after it closed about 50% of its nuclear plant capacity, is rapidly building out CO2-emitting coal and gas plants to offset the loss of the CO2-free nuclear energy, and rapidly building out renewable energy facilities.

 

At the end of 2012, Germany had about 31,000 MW of IWTs producing about 7.3% of its total generation and 32,800 MW of PV solar systems producing about 4.6% of its total generation.

 

Balancing Wind Energy: The domestic build-out of grid transmission and distribution systems and of balancing plant capacity to integrate the variable, intermittent RE, including offshore wind energy, are about 5-10 years behind schedule, because of NIMBY and huge costs, i.e., as the ENERGIEWENDE proceeds, Germany needs to increasingly rely on exports to and imports from nearby countries to use THEIR spare balancing capacity to balance its increasingly-erratic, domestic energy production. Current capital cost estimates for onshore grid expansion are about $26 billion. 

 

There exists a 580 km-long, underwater, HVDC line from the northern tip of Holland to the southern tip of Norway; capacity, 700 MW; voltage, 900,000 V; cable resistance at 50 degrees C, 29 ohm; cable losses at rated load, 2.5%; capital cost, 600 million euro; in service 6 May 2008.

 

When, on windy days, Germany sends its excess wind energy to the Netherlands to avoid disturbing its own grid too much, variations on the Dutch grid are sensed by the hydro plants in southern Norway. 

 

They reduce and modulate the flow to the hydro turbines to counter the variations; a part-load-ramping mode that saves water and is CO2-free. 

 

The Dutch have a large component of gas turbines on their grid that also reduce their outputs and modulate; a part-load-ramping mode that is inefficient (more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh) and  NOT CO2-free.

 

NOTE: Denmark has been using the hydro plants of Norway/Sweden for that purpose for at least 4 decades. On windy days, it has much excess energy, which it exports to Norway/Sweden at low prices, after subsidizing it at high prices!! No wonder household electric rates, about 31.5 eurocent/kWh, are the highest in Europe.

 

Impact on Electric Rates: As a result of the existing RE build-outs, German household rates increased from 13.94 to 28.50 eurocent/kWh, from 2010 to 2012, a 104.4% increase, and industrial rates increased from 6.05 to 16.10 eurocent/kWh, from 2010 to 2012, a 166% increase. According to a recent study for the federal government, electricity will cost up to 40 eurocents/kWh by 2020, a 40% increase over 2012 prices.

 

Among european nations, German households have the second highest electric rates; 28.5 eurocent/kWh (energy, plus fees, plus taxes), after Denmark (32 eurocent/kWh), courtesy of RE. US low electric rates are the envy of heavy industry elsewhere, including Germany. France’s are among has the lowest.

 

EEG Payments and Charges: EEG payments to RE generators are rapidly increasing. They were 5.6, 7.6, 8.8, 10.5, and 12.8 billion euros from 2006 to 2010; estimated at 23.6 b in 2014.

 

The 2011 charges, a.k.a. “apportionments”, reflect the energy production of the renewable systems installed PRIOR to 2011.

 

The EEG apportionments on household electric bills were 0.8, 1.0, 1.1, 1.3, 2.05, 3.53, 3.592, 5.227, 6.24 eurocent/kWh, excl. 19% VAT, from 2006 to 2014, with  annual increases of 1.5-2.5 eurocent/kWh to follow.

 

http://www.iva.se/PageFiles/17858/Franks%20Behrendt%20presentation.pdf

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Half-yearly_electricity_and_gas_prices.png&filetimestamp=20130305151126 

http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/green-energy-bust-in-germany

 

The below 3-part article by DER SPIEGEL staff reveals much of what is wrong with Germany’s ENERGIEWENDE.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/high-costs-and-errors-of-german-transition-to-renewable-energy-a-920288.html

 

Germany's Wind Energy: Energy transmission facilities between North Germany and South Germany were not that important before the IWT build-out in North Germany and the PV solar system build-out in South Germany. As a result of these build-outs, there frequently is excess wind energy in the North and excess solar energy in the South.

 

Germany is planning to build HVDC lines from North Germany to South Germany. Because of NIMBY concerns, these lines are about 10 years overdue. There will be losses similar to the above NREL scheme.

 

Germany had been dumping its excess wind energy into the Polish grid, i.e., "unplanned energy flows", for some years AND NOT PAYING FOR THE BALANCING which cost Poland money AND destabilized its largely coal-based grid. Poland told Germany it would build a big switch unless it stopped.

 

They finally agreed: Two GERMAN grid operators, who were causing the problems, are paying for the transformers at the border; at least 15 million dollars. Poland, the innocent party, is paying nothing. Poland will be getting excess wind energy from Germany, only if and when it agrees and its system can take it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-22/germany-poland-sign-deal-to-boost-grid-security-power-trade.html 

 

Germany exports a significant quantity of its variable wind energy (17.54 TWh during Jan-Oct 2012) at very low prices to the Netherlands, because it cannot use it on its own grid. Fortunately, the Netherlands has a large capacity of CCGTs and OCGTs for balancing it.

 

Germany already practices curtailment of wind energy production, but IWT owners, a politically well-connected group, have complained about losing revenues, and CCGT plant owners have complained about their reduced outputs, inefficiently produced, adversely affecting their plants' economic viability.

 

Germany's Solar Energy: About 22,000 MW of Germany’s 32,800 MW of PV solar systems (end 2012) are in South Germany. On a sunny summer day, from an output of about 0 MW at 6 AM, the PV solar output increases to about 16,000 MW at about noon, and back down to about 0 MW at 6 PM. As this would create major disturbances on the grid and, as PV solar panels cannot be turned off, Germany has to export part of the PV solar energy from about 10 AM to about 2 PM.

 

Germany has been exporting the excess PV solar energy to France and the Czech Republic at very low prices, after subsidizing it at 30 - 60 eurocent/kWh; France and Czech Republic net energy exports to Germany were 10.3 TWh and 4.8 TWh, respectively, during Jan-Oct 2012. 

 

France has a significant hydro capacity for balancing part of the excess PV solar energy, but the Czech Republic is building a big switch. Any excess energy not wanted gets grounded!!!


http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated

http://theenergycollective.com/barrybrook/206306/can-household-solar-photovoltaics-provide-primary-source-low-emission-power 


DANISH WIND ENERGY EXPORTS

 

Energy Flows: The Danish Wind Energy Association claims all wind energy is consumed in Denmark. That claim is invalid, according to NORPOOL grid energy flow analyses. 

 

This study shows, during 2005 wind energy production was 18.7% of Danish demand, wind energy consumption in Denmark was 13.6% of demand, with the difference 5.1% exported, or 5.1/18.7 = 27% of the wind energy is exported. For 2006, the corresponding numbers were 17%, 10.3%, 6.7%, 6.7/17 = 39%. 

http://docs.wind-watch.org/dk-analysis-wind.pdf

 

However, whereas energy is exported to the NORPOOL grid during strong-wind periods, energy, mostly from Norway’s hydro plants and Sweden’s hydro and nuclear plants, is imported from NORPOOL during other periods. During more windy years, Denmark may have a surplus energy trade balance, during less windy years, a deficit. 

 

During strong-wind periods, traditional generation and its fuel consumption would show reductions, based on hourly or 15-minute records, if all wind energy stayed in Denmark. However, the Danish system cannot ramp up and down, i.e., lacks sufficient flexibility, to keep pace with all the wind energy variations, especially during strong-wind periods; the energy the Danish system cannot, or for various reasons, does not balance, is exported to NORPOOL; the hydro plants of Norway (98% hydro) and Sweden (53% hydro) perform most of the balancing function of NORPOOL. 

 

As Denmark rapidly increases its future wind energy production to meet RE goals, the energy consumed within Denmark would not materially change, i.e., exports to NORPOOL and other grids would have to increase, unless Danish energy consumption is augmented by measures, such as adding electrically-heated hotwater storage tanks to district heating systems, charging several hundred thousand plug-in hybrids, increasing electric space heating, increasing supply management (reduce outputs of traditional generators, feathering turbine rotors) and demand management (varying hybrid vehicle charging rate, turning on/off selected demands of users), etc. 

 

Money Flows: Energy flows have time-varying prices. As wind energy is generated mostly at night, it is likely, Denmark exports energy at low prices at night and imports at high prices during the day, which, depending on the quantities and prices, may yield a dollar deficit or surplus for a year.

 

CALIFORNIA's WIND AND SOLAR ENERGY

 

Sometimes California wind speeds suddenly decrease to near zero, or a cloud bank passes over solar arrays in the desert. The result is a rapid decrease in wind or solar energy that could cause instabilities and blackouts in the grid.

 

To prevent such instabilities and blackouts, quick-ramping OCGTs are kept in synchronous spinning mode (3,600 rpm), i.e., consuming fuel at about 6 to 8 percent of consumption at rated output, but not sending energy to the grid, to instantly make up for the missing energy.

 

Some generators, such as OCGTs and slower-ramping CCGTs, are started and stopped more frequently and/or operated in part-load-ramping mode 24/7/365 (instead of more steadily, near rated output), due to the variable, intermittent wind and solar energy.

 

The increased spinning, start/stop and part-load-ramping operations 24/7/365 have high Btus/kWh and high CO2 emissions/kWh. The extra fuel and extra emissions offset a significant part of what wind and solar energy was meant to reduce.

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/09/local/la-me-unreliable-power-20121210

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated

 

AUSTRALIAN WIND ENERGY

 

A study was performed of the performance of the 21 IWT facilities on eastern Australian grid which is geographically, the largest, most widely dispersed, single interconnected grid in the world. 


http://aefweb.info/data/Wind%20farming%20in%20SE%20Australia.pdf

http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/f1734hj8j458n4j7/

 

Whereas, the NRELs rely on subjective computer models to “predict” IWT wind energy production over large areas, this study (second URL, behind a paywall) relies on 5-minute, time-averaged, operational data. The results are grim, but not unexpected.

 

The study focuses on the year 2010, which was, apparently, not significantly different from other years. The study:

 

- uses an unusually low wind energy production standard of 2% of installed capacity for the Minimum Acceptable Level (MAL).  

- relies on data provided by the grid operator that covers average power output over five minutes. Shorter time periods are preferable and instantaneous output is ideal.

 

For 2010, the combined output of all 21 IWT facilities failed to produce 2% of installed capacity 109 times. The longest period was for 70 minutes. One wind farm, described as typical, failed 559 times in the six months. The longest period was for 2.8 days. 

 

Not only does the entire fleet fail frequently, but also it fails throughout the year. Clearly, such performance would be unacceptable for any traditional method of generating electrical power.

 

After analyzing the data, the authors stated wind energy cannot be used for base load, and that the installed capacity of required back-up must be at least 80% of IWT installed capacity. 

 

In Eastern Australia the required back up is OCGTs which are far less efficient than CCGTs. As CCGTs are less quick-reacting than OCGTs, the latter need to operate in synchronous spinning mode 24/7/365 (using 6-8 % of their rated fuel consumption while sending no energy to the grid) to instantly provide energy when wind energy is ebbing. 

 

WORLDWIDE WIND ENERGY CAPACITY FACTORS


Danish Offshore: Offshore turbines are located in very windy areas. Their capacity factors range from 0.235 to 0.484, with an average of 0.391. 

http://energynumbers.info/capacity-factors-at-danish-offshore-wind-farms

 

CFs in Europe: This URL has detailed information regarding energy conditions, wind energy, CFs in Europe.

http://pfbach.dk/firma_pfb/statistical_survey_2012.pdf

 

Below are the averaged CFs in some widely-dispersed geographical areas for the 2006 - 2011 period.

http://www.coalitionforenergysolutions.org/wind_5-yr_avg_cfs-1.pdf

 

Sample calculation: US wind energy CF in 2011 = 119,747 MWh/(46,919 MW, end 2011 + 40,180 MW, end 2010)/2 x 8,760 hr/yr) = 0.314; based on AVERAGE installed capacity. The US 6-yr average CF, similarly calculated, is 0.289; this is a more accurate value, as it evens out varying winds from year to year.

 

Germany, onshore                   0.187; dismal, but rising due to offshore IWTs

Denmark, including offshore     0.251; rising due to offshore IWTs

The Netherlands                      0.228

The US                                    0.289; a high value due to excellent winds in the Great Plains.

Texas                                      0.225

Ireland                                     0.283; Ireland and Scotland have the best winds in Europe.                 Spain                                       0.241

China                                       2009, 0.153; 2010, 0.152; 2011, 0.161; 2012, 0.166

Australia                                  0.300

UK, 2012                                 0.275; rising due to offshore IWTs


https://restats.decc.gov.uk/cms/load-factors/

 

http://euanmearns.com/the-efficiency-of-wind-power/


US AND NORTHEAST CAPACITY FACTORS

 

All US IWT owners connected to the grid have to report their quarterly outputs, MWh, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC. The data is posted on the FERC website, and, with some effort, can be deciphered.

 

Most Northeast wind turbine project owners claim CFs of about 0.32 or better to make their proposed projects look good on paper, to get government approvals and subsidies, and to delude lay legislators and lay public. Usually, real world CFs are less.

 

The AWEA, EIA, NREL and US-DOE all publish CFs of 0.25-0.30 for the Northeast, New York and Pennsylvania, based on actual production data. There are a few sites with better than average wind conditions, such as Marsh Hill, MA, and Lempster, NH, with CFs greater than 0.30. See below. 

 

U.S. average annual capacity factors for 2011

https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/u-s-wind-capacity-factors-2011/ 

 

U.S. average annual capacity factors by project and state for 2011 and 2012

http://www.windaction.org/documents/38449

 

The 2011 CFs of the NE states were: MA, 0.177; ME, 0.276; NH, 0.314; RI, 0.222; VT, 0.206.

The 2012 CFs of the NE states were: MA, N/A ; ME, 0.243; NH, N/A ; RI, N/A ; VT, 0.231

 

New York: 19 facilities; 2009, 0.189; 2010, 0.227; 2011, 0.236; 2012, 0.235

http://www.windaction.org/documents/38237

 

Pennsylvania: 17 facilities, 789 MW end 2011, 0.273; 23 facilities, 1335 MW end 2012: 0.300 (estimate)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Pennsylvania  

 

New Hampshire: Lempster Wind LLC; 24 MW; 66,092 MWh (2011); CF 0.314

 

Rhode Island: Portsmouth Wind Turbine; 1.5 MW; 2,912 MWh (2011); CF 0.222

 

Maine: Maine's plans to have 2,000 MW of IWTs by 2015 and 3,000 MW by 2020 may need to be reviewed, as energy production is well below expectations. About 400 MW was in operation at the end of 2012.

 

Production and CFs for 2012, as reported by IEA/DOE.

 

Mars Hill        42 MW         133,284 MWh          CF 0.3613

Stetson I       57 MW         107,152 MWh          CF 0.2140

Stetson II       26 MW           41,943 MWh         CF 0.1837

Kibby Mtn    132 MW         264,180 MWh          CF 0.2278

Rollins            60 MW        126,887 MWh          CF 0.2408

Record Hill     50.5 MW      110,099 MWh          CF 0.2487

 

Total            367.5 MW      783,545 MWh         CF 0.2427

 

Note:

- CF reduction due to aging is not yet a major factor, as all these IWTs were installed in the past 5 years.

- Only projects with at least a full year of operation are included.

- Excludes: Fox Islands 4.5 MW; Beaver Ridge 4.5 MW; Bull Hill 34.2 MW, on line October 31, 2012

 

http://www.coalitionforenergysolutions.org/maine_wind_thru_3q2012m1.pdf 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/maine-wind-sites-production-for-entire-year-2012 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Maine 

 

CAUSES OF CAPACITY FACTORS LESS THAN PROMISED

 

CFs less than promised are likely due to:

 

- Turbulent winds entering 373-ft diameter rotors varying in speed AND direction under all conditions; less turbulent in the Great Plains and offshore, more turbulent, if arriving from irregular upstream or hilly terrain. 

 

- Turbine performance curves being based on idealized conditions, i.e., uniform wind vectors perpendicularly entering rotors; those curves are poor predictors of ACTUAL CFs.

 

- Wind testing towers using anemometers about 8 inch in diameter; an inadequate way to predict what a number of 373-ft diameter rotors on a 2,500 ft-high ridge line might do, i.e., the wind-tower-test-predicted CFs of 0.32 or better are likely too optimistic.

 

- Rotor-starting wind speeds being greater than IWT vendor brochure values, because of turbulent winds entering the rotors; for the 3 MW Lowell Mountain IWTs rotor-starting wind speed with undisturbed winds is about 7.5 mph, greater with turbulent winds.

 

- IWT self-use energy consumption up to about:

 

up to 4% for various IWT electrical needs during non-production hours; in New England, about 30% of the hours of the year (mostly during dawn and dusk hours, and most of the summer), due to wind speeds being too low or too high, and due to outages. This energy is drawn from the grid and treated as an expense by the owner, unless the utility provides it for free. 

 

up to 8% for various IWT electrical needs during production hours; power factor correction, heating, dehumidifying, lighting, machinery operation, controls, etc. 

 

Note: In case of the 63 MW Lowell Mountain, Vermont, ridge line IWT system, a $10.5 million synchronous-condenser system to correct power factors was required, by order of the grid operator ISO-NE, to minimize voltage variations that would have destabilized the local rural grid; self-use energy about 3% of production, reducing the IWT CF of about 0.25 or less, to about 0.2425 or less.

 

http://windfarmrealities.org/u-minn-and-vestas-reality-check/

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/53258/examples-wind-power-learn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronous_condenser

 

- CFs declining up to 1%/yr, based on UK and Denmark experience, due to aging IWTs having increased maintenance outages, just as a car.

 

http://www.nrel.gov/wind/pdfs/day1_sessioniv_04_shermco_alewine.pdf

  

- Reduced production occurs due to various other reasons, such as:

 

* Curtailment due to the grid’s instability/capacity criteria being exceeded

* Curtailment due to excessive noise; nearby people need restful sleep for good health

* Curtailment due to excessive bat or bird kill

* Upstream, hilly terrain causing irregular wind speeds and directions entering the rotors

* Flow of an upwind turbine interfering with downwind turbine’s flow. As a general rule, the distance between IWTs: 

 

- In the prevailing wind direction should be at least 7 rotor diameters 

- Perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction should be at least 3 rotor diameters. 

 

Note:  In case of the 63 MW Lowell Mountain, Vermont, ridge line system, 21 IWTs, with 373-ft diameter rotors, are placed on about 3.5 miles of 2,500-ft high ridge line. Construction drawings indicate the spacing varies from about 740 ft to about 920 ft, or 1.96 to 2.47 rotor diameters.

 

Lowell has less than 3 diameters, hence there is flow interference. It it true, the interference is minimal, if the wind is perpendicular to the ridgeline, but during many hours of the year that is not the case. See URLs.

 

http://sustainability.williams.edu/files/2010/08/jj_wind.pdf

http://iberdrolarenewables.us/wildmeadows/nhsec/2-Wild-Meadows-Wind-SEC-Application-and-Pre-Filed-Testimony-Final.pdf

http://psb.vermont.gov/sites/psb/files/docket/Zimmerman_PFT.pdf

 

Flow interference, increased noise, increased wear and tear, such as rotor bearing failures, and lesser CFs will be the result.

 

GMP opting for the greater diameter rotor, to increase the CF, worsened interference losses, i.e., likely no net CF increase, but an increase in lower frequency noises that are not measured with standard dBA testing.

 

http://www.wwindea.org/technology/ch02/en/2_4_1.html

http://www.windpowerengineering.com/construction/wider-spacing-leads-to-greater-farm-efficiency-says-cfd-study/

http://www.nrel.gov/wind/pdfs/day1_sessioniv_04_shermco_alewine.pdf


Note: 

US bird kill = 1 bird/day x 39,000 IWTs x 365 days/yr = 14,235,000 birds/yr.

US bat kill = 2 bats/day, or 28,470,000 bats/yr, for a total of 42,705,000 animals/yr.

 

http://www.cfact.org/2013/03/18/wind-turbines-kill-up-to-39-million-birds-a-year/

 

Note: Irregular air flows to the rotor cause significant levels of unusual noises, mostly at night, that disturb nearby people. Details in this article.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise-and-air-pressure-pulses  

 

The net effect of all factors shows up as real-world ridge line CFs of 0.25 or less, instead of the vendor- predicted 0.32 or greater, i.e., much less than estimated by IWT project developers to obtain financing and approvals. 

 

Government Regulator Lack of Due Diligence: It appears regulators: 

 

- Did not ask the right questions on their own (likely due to a lack of due diligence and knowledge of power systems), or 

- Ignored/brushed aside the engineering professionals, who gave them testimony or advised them what to ask, or 

- Received invalid/deceptive answers from subsidy-chasing IWT project developers and promoters, or 

- Kowtowed to wind energy-favoring politicians allied with wind energy oligarchs, i.e., not hinder IWT build-outs, or 

- Did all of the above.

 

The developers told Maine regulators their IWT projects would have CFs of 0.32 or greater, and 25-year lives, to more easily obtain bank financing, federal and state subsidies, and "Certificate of Public Good" approvals. Once they get approval, there is no accountability for poor performance. Meaningful players in the IWT smoke-and-mirrors game, including regulators, know this. All understand IWTs are about subsidy chasing and tax sheltering, not about efficient, high-quality energy production. 

 

Because of subsidy-chasing by IWT project developers, and politicians wanting to be seen as doing something about climate change and global warming, the vetting process of proposed IWT projects by boards of political appointees is much compromised, which is creating distrust, resentment, anxiety and division among the lay public, and especially among the many thousands of people "living" nearby the IWTs, whose quality of life is greatly compromised.


http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/98061/irelands-wind-energy-export-plan

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wind-turbine-facility-vermont 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise-and-air-pressure-pulses


VERMONT RIDGE LINE WIND ENERGY CAPACITY FACTORS

 

Bolton Valley Ski Resort 

 

Since October 2009, the Bolton Valley Ski Resort has had a Vermont-made, 100 kW “community” wind turbine, project capital cost $800,000 (includes a $250,000 gift from the Clean Energy Development Fund); vendor-predicted energy production 300,000 kWh/yr, for a CF = 0.34; vendor-predicted estimated useful service life 20 years. 

 

A recent check of the Bolton Valley website in January 2013 indicates actual energy production from October 2009 to-date (39 months or 3.25 yrs) was 509,447 kWh, for an actual CF = 509,447 kWh/(3.25 yr x 100 kW x 8,760 hr/yr) = 0.179, 47.4% less than the vendor-predicted CF of 0.34 to obtain VT-PSB approval. Like selling a car and telling the new owner it will do 34 mpg, whereas it actually does only 18 mpg. Also, an early red-flag indication of poor CFs on Vermont ridge lines that should have been heeded by the VT-PSB and VT-DPS. 

 

Value of energy produced = (509,447 kWh x $0.125/kWh)/3.25 yr = $19,594/yr; if annual O&M and financing costs, amortized over 15 - 20 years, are subtracted, this value will likely be negative, i.e., a CEDF-subsidized, money-losing project. 

 

Sheffield Mountain


Vermont Electric Cooperative, VEC, purchased energy from the Sheffield Wind LLC project (16 IWTs, each 2.5 MW = 40 MW) since it came on line in October 2011.

 

Under two Power Purchase Agreements, PPAs, VEC purchased 2 x 20,124 MWh in 2012, for a VEC-calculated CF = 0.23, less than the vendor-predicted CF of 0.32 or better, to obtain VT-PSB approval. In Mar 2013, CF = 0.249, a winter month.

 

Note: The Maine ridge line IWTs had a 2012 CF = 0.234; data source FERC website. See above.

 

VEC paid 10 c/kWh for the energy and received 5.5 c/kWh by selling Renewable Energy Credits, RECs, to out-of-state entities that should have reduced their CO2 emissions, but likely did not want IWTs to destroy their ridge lines.  

 

Lowell Mountain


The Green Mountain Power 63 MW Lowell Mountain wind turbine facility with (21) 3 MW Danish, Vestas V-112 wind turbines, 367.5-ft (112 m) rotor diameter, 275.6-ft (84 m) hub height, total height (275.6 + 367.5/2) = 459.3 ft, stretched along about 3.5 miles on 2,600 ft high ridge lines, has nothing to do with community-scale wind, everything with industrial, utility-scale wind. The housings, 13 ft x 13 ft x 47 ft (3.9 m x 3.9 m x 14 m), on top of the 280-ft towers, are much larger than a Greyhound bus.

 

Gaz Metro of Quebec, Canada, owns GMP (and CVPS). It recently acquired Central Vermont Public Service Corporation. It now controls at least 70% of Vermont’s electrical energy market.

 

The GMP name for this facility is “Kingdom Community Wind”. GMP is using blatantly deceptive PR to soft-soap/deceive 

Vermonters.

 

Exclusion Zone: The blasting, clearing, road building, and foundation areas of the Lowell project directly impacts 159 acres of land. The Lowell project land area includes a total of about 2,700 acres that remain undisturbed and acts as a buffer zone.

 

As wind turbines’ capacity, MW, increased from 500 KW to 3,000 kW, their environmental impact is much greater. About a 1.25 mile (2 km) distance from a residence is needed for IWTs 2 MW and up to minimize adverse:

 

- infrasound and low frequency noise impacts on nearby people, especially pregnant women and children.

- impacts on the ambiance, quality of life and property values of nearby residences. 

http://www.windaction.org/posts/38768-vermont-grievance-decision-turbine-noise-reduces-residential-property-value#.UllQ5hxiCtB

 

Lowell would need an exclusion zone of (3.5 m + 2.5 m), length x 2.5 m, width x 640 acres/sq m = 8,125 acres. 

 

Example of Property Value Degradation: Assessment reduction due to Georgia Mountain wind turbine noise = $409,900 – $360,712 = $49,188

http://www.windaction.org/posts/38768-vermont-grievance-decision-turbine-noise-reduces-residential-property-value#.Ulk9TlB9CtI

 

Lowell and the Grid: GMP claims to be all about renewables, but it recently entered into an agreement with the Seabrook nuclear power plant to buy 60 MW of steady, near-CO2-free nuclear energy at 4.66 cents/kWh, much less than the cost of the HEAVILY-SUBSIDIZED Lowell wind energy, which is variable and intermittent energy, i.e., junk energy, and only partially CO2-free. To make the wind energy useful on the NEK grid, it requires:

 

- voltage regulation

- extra, quick-ramping/quick-starting, OCGT spinning plant capacity*

- extra OCGT/CCGT balancing plant capacity*

- grid modifications

 

* Because the annual wind energy percent on the NE grid is small, about 1%, the owners of existing generators do not yet “see” adverse impacts on their operations. As the percent increases, owners will “see” increasingly adverse impacts and will demand to be compensated, as happened on other grids with a greater percent, say 3-4 %, i.e., present owners are free-loading off other generator owners.

 

http://energy.worldconstructionindustrynetwork.com/news/green_mountain_power_selects_vestas_turbines_for_kingdom_community_wind_project_110607/

http://www.vestas.com/Files/Filer/EN/Brochures/Vestas_V_112_web_100309.pdf

http://www.iso-ne.com/pubs/pubcomm/corr/2013/curtailment_summary_2013.pdf

 

http://www.nvda.net/files/NVDA%20Wind%20Study%20Meeting%203%20-%204.3.13.pdf

 

Voltage Regulating Facility: Lowell wind energy varies with the cube of the wind speed; double the wind speed, eight times the energy.  According to ISO-NE, because the variations of the wind energy voltage are too excessive for the NEK grid, a 27.5 MVAR voltage regulating facility needs to be installed by GMP. It will be located adjacent to the Jay Peak 46 kV Switching  Station, housed in a 40’ x 68’ x 45’5” tall building, surrounded by 70’ x 90’ x 8’ tall fencing.

 

The voltage regulating is performed by a Hyundai-supplied, 62-ton, synchronous-condenser system, operating at 3,600 rpm and at no load, 24/7/365 (high-speed idling, year-round), plus electrical systems to modify the variable wind energy by adding or subtracting reactive energy to satisfy below-criteria voltages on the 115 kV transmission system.

 

It requires an 800-hp motor to get it up to speed and maintain it there. The system will cost about $10.5 million and be operational by the Spring of 2014. During all of 2013 and part of 2014, Lowell will be operated in curtailed mode, as required by ISO-NE.

 

S-C systems have energy losses of about 3%, i.e., 97% efficient, plus the facility has its own levelized (Owning + O&M) costs, which will adversely affect the project economics. Energy loss of only the S-C system = 800 hp x .746 kW/hp x 8,760 hr/yr x 0.03 = 156,839 kWh/yr; that energy is subtracted from the energy fed to the grid.

 

http://psb.vermont.gov/sites/psb/files/248j/2013/02.%20Petition.pdf

*Newly-developed systems are available from GE, Siemens, Vestas, that perform two functions: vary the pitch of the blades, based on wind velocity, as measured at the nacelle, to more-efficiently obtain energy from the wind, and, using partially-charged batteries that absorb and supply energy, to reduce voltages variations. The resulting processed outputs are collected from each IWT and fed, via a substation, into the grid. The likely net effect, claimed by Vendors, is an increased CF and less disturbance of the grid.

 

Capital Cost: GMP calculated the Lowell capital cost at about $160 million, plus about $10.5 million for a synchronous-condenser system, per ISO-NE requirements, to minimize voltage variations and instabilities of the Northeast Kingdom grid, for a total of about $170.5 million.  

 

The above capital costs may not include transmission upgrades ($10,280,000) and substation upgrades ($3,160,000 or $17,420,000) of which Vermont Electric Cooperative paid 41% and GMP 59%. See page 14 of URL. 

 

http://psb.vermont.gov/sites/psb/files/docket/7628LowellWind/Testimony%20&%20Exhibits/VOLUME%201/03.%20Pughe/Exh.%20Pet.-CP-5%20GMP-VEC%20LOI.pdf

 

Lowell sends wind energy, via the upgraded transmission and upgraded Jay substation, into the often, heavily-loaded 115,000 V line between Highgate and Newport, north of Lowell, causing it to be overloaded. 

 

Transmission upgrades ($10,280,000) and substation upgrades ($3,160,000 or $17,420,000); Vermont Electric Cooperative paid 41% and GMP 59%. 

 

As a result of upgrading the 115,000 V line between Irasburg and Johnson (capital cost not yet published), south of Lowell, some wind energy can also be sent via that line. This eases the burden on the Highgate-Newport line, and thus Lowell can more often operate at a greater output.

 

On rare occasions, when the wind blows very hard, say about 30 MPH, the Lowell wind turbines may produce energy at a high MW (and make a lot of noise), but likely not at the rated value of 63 MW.

 

On many occasions, mostly during summer and at dawn and dusk, the Lowell turbines produce minimal energy. 

 

Because of variable wind conditions in New England, even on ridge lines, about 30% of the hours of the year, wind energy is minimal. 

 

This means it cannot be relied on, and almost all other generators need to be staffed, fueled, and kept in good operating condition to deliver energy to the grid when wind energy is minimal. 

 

http://energizevermont.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Exh.-Pet.-DPE-18-FINAL-ISO-Feasibility-Study-Queue_311_Feasibility_Report_Final.pdf

 

Production: GMP estimated the Lowell production at 63 MW x 8,760 hr/yr x CF 0.336 = 185,570 MWh; or 180,003 MWh, adjusted for 3% voltage regulation losses. It is unclear why this value is different from 2) below. 

http://vermontspeed.com/project-status/

 

Note: The $10.5 million synchronous-condenser plant is about 97% efficient, i.e., reduces the Lowell output by about 3%.

 

1) Production (standard rotor) = 63 MW x 8,760 hr/yr x CF 0.2842 = 156,844 MWh/yr; per GMP claim filed with PSB.

2) Production (large rotor) = 63 x 8,760 x 0.3587 = 197,959 MWh/yr; per GMP claim filed with PSB.

http://vce.org/2011-6-20_ALB-CFT_First_Comments_GMP_Filings(7628) 

 

More Likely Energy Production: Based on 5 years of Maine ridge line production results, the Lowell CF is likely to be about 0.25 or less. More likely production = 63 MW x 8,760 hr/yr x 0.25 x 0.97 = 133,831 MWh/yr, or 134/5,800 x 100% = 2.3% of Vermont’s annual consumption.

 

Wind Turbine O & M Cost: Below URLs show recent estimates of US wind turbine O & M varying by region: about $26,000/MW in Texas and Southwest; about $30,000 - $32,000 in the Great Plains and Midwest; about $40,000/MW in Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, etc.

 

Lowell = (63 MW x $40,000/yr)/(180 million kWh/yr) = 1.4 c/kWh, using GMP production estimates; 1.89 c/kWh, using a CF of 0.25.

 

Note: During the first 6 months of operation, the Lowell CFs were: 0.202; 0.218; 0.167; 0.162, 0.223; 0.195, for an average of 0.193, mostly due to ISO-NE-mandated curtailments, i.e., GMP has fewer RECs to sell, and higher maintenance costs per/kWh.

 

Other major O & M costs result from increased spinning, start/stop, balancing and grid operations due to wind energy being on the grid.

 

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/03/08/rising-wind-farm-om-costs/ 

http://www.windpowerengineering.com/maintenance/report-om-costs-headed-up/ 

 

Energy Cost: GMP calculated the levelized Lowell energy costs, based on a vendor-provided CF of 0.336 and a vendor-provided 25-year life, at 10 c/kWh, heavily-subsidized; it would 15 c/kWh, unsubsidized, per AEI/US-DOE.

 

More Likely Energy Cost: A percentage of the 10 c/kWh, say 40%, is due to the site preperation (land acquisition, blasting, road building, foundations, site runoff, connection to the grid, etc.) and the rest, 60%, is due the IWTs (mast, nacelle, rotor, etc.). Only the part associated with the wind turbines is affected by a lesser CF and a shorter life.

 

More likely energy cost = (0.60 x 10 c/kWh x CF ratio 0.336/0.25 x Life ratio 25/20 x S-C system 1/1.03) + (0.40 x 10 c/kWh) = 14.1 c/kWh, heavily-subsidized; it would be 21.2 c/kWh, unsubsidized, per AEI/US-DOE.

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wind-turbine-facility-vermont

 

Note:

- NE grid prices have averaged about 5-6 c/kWh (there are occasional spikes, as shown by below ISO-NE data), have been at that level for about 3 years, are likely to stay there for some decades, as a result of abundant, domestic, low-cost, low-CO2-emitting natural gas.

http://www.ferc.gov/market-oversight/mkt-electric/new-england/elec-ne-rto-mth-pr.pdf

 

- Hydro Quebec and Vermont Yankee pricing is about 5.5-6 c/kWh, inflation and or grid price adjusted; 24/7/365, steady, near-CO2-free energy.

 

- GMP bought 60 MW of steady, near-CO2-free nuclear energy at 4.66 cents/kWh, inflation and or grid price adjusted. Smart move, now that Lowell has become a PR disaster and will likely be a financial fiasco as well.

 

CO2 Emission Reduction: GMP claimed 25-yr CO2 emission reduction, shown below, is based on 0.5 metric ton CO2/MWh, NE grid intensity, CF = 0.336 and 25 yr life.

 

Realistic 20-yr energy production, accounting for aging at 0.5%/yr, lesser CF of 0.25, shorter life of 20 years, 3% synchronous-condenser losses, is shown below. 

 

                                            Energy Production               CO2 Emission Reduction

                                                   MWh                                   metric ton                             

GMP 25-year Claim                   4,639,250                             2,319,625                  

 

Realistic 20-year                      2,522,860                             1,261,430

Less pre-production*                                                                100,000

Net**                                                                                    1,161,430

 

                                                                    

** Pre-production CO2 emissions are for mining, processing, manufacturing the wind turbines, excluding shipping, site preperation, erecting, interconnecting to the grid.

*  Not adjusted for wind energy-induced grid inefficiencies, because New England annual wind energy is only 1%. At future greater annual wind energy percent on the NE grid, CO2 emission reduction effectiveness declines, as confirmed by a study of the Irish grid which shows at 17% annual wind energy, effectiveness is 0.526, which would reduce the net CO2 emission from 1,161,430 to 563,512 metric ton.

 

Conclusion: The GMP CO2 emission reduction claim is at least 1.997 higher than the more likely reduction. In the future, with 17% annual wind energy on the NE grid, that claim will be even more extravagant, i.e., at least 4.116 higher than the more likely reduction. 

 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/wind-energy-co2-emissions-are-overstated

http://docs.wind-watch.org/Wheatley-Ireland-CO2.pdf

http://www.clepair.net/Udo201303payback.html  

 

GMP’s Optimistic Assumptions: GMP used a vendor-predicted CF of 0.336, but that value is much greater than the average CF of 0.234 of six ridge line IWT facilities in Maine, based on FERC production data. 

For comparison: New York State, 19 facilities    2009, 0.189; 2010, 0.227; 2011, 0.236; 2012, 0.235. See below URLs. 

 

GMP used a vendor-predicted 25 year life, instead of a 20 year life. 

 

GMP used optimistic vendor-predicted values to:

 

- obtain bank financing and federal and state subsidies  

- obtain "Certificate of Public Good" approvals from the VT-PSB

- make Lowell look good on paper to befuddle the gullable lay public, including legislators

- polish its “greenness” in the eyes of the public

 

Failure to base approval decisions on realistic spreadsheet-based analyses is a malfeasance of a public trust, which has legal consequences.

 

Note: CFs were a closely guarded business secret, until it became known IWT owners have to report quarterly energy production to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC.

 

Based on the FERC data, the CFs on ridge lines are about 0.25 or less, instead of the 0.32 or better claimed, largely due to overestimating wind speeds and quality, aging of the IWTs and various outages and curtailments. See URLs. 

 

http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-energy-capacity-less-estimated

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9770837/Wind-farm-turbines-wear-sooner-than-expected-says-study.html

 

GMP Made Whole, Others Pay: Whereas Lowell Mountain may have significantly greater levelized energy costs than the above 10c/kWh, this would not affect GMP's bottom line, as it would roll all its costs regarding Lowell Mountain mostly into its household rate schedules, subject to PSB approval, after pro forma hearings. 

 

Because the business records of this heavily-subsidized project are "proprietary", it is likely, the lay public will never learn what the real costs were, and legislators do not dare investigate lest they be seen as less green.

 

VT-PSB AND LACK OF DUE DILIGENCE


The VT-PSB, VT-DPS, etc., likely knew CFs on Vermont ridge lines would be less than the vendor-predicted values (the evidence was on the FERC website, and they are on my email distribution list), but rooted for and/or approved the above three projects anyway, after pro forma hearings.  

 

It should be obvious to the VT-PSB (it is supposed to serve/protect the public) and other government entities, whereas IWT project developers make claims of IWTs having:

 

- CFs of 0.32 or greater, this claim should be discounted to at most 0.25, based on real-world ridge line results in Maine and in Vermont.

 

- Useful service lives of 25 years, this claim should be discounted to at most 20 years, based on real-world useful service life results.

 

The spreadsheet levelized energy cost analyses prepared by IWT project developers, currently based on their dubious claims, should be revised to better reflect the real world, rather than an "Alice in Wonderland" world.

 

Failure to base approval decisions on real-world, spreadsheet-based analyses is, as a minimum, a lack of due diligence, or, if facts were known to the VT-DPS, as is the case with the Lowell Mountain and Sheffield Mountain approvals, a malfeasance of a public trust; both have legal consequences.