Production Update Jan 2007

The wind farm performed well in Jan, with the original turbine requiring a repair on a hydraulic valve, which was accomplished in a time of low wind, and in less than a day, with very little production lost, and no other problems.  Net production was 1,683,000 kWh.

The two new turbines each produced 563,600 kWh, and the original turbine produced 555,800 kWh.  So the capacity factor of the new 1650 KW V82 turbines was  47.4%, and the capacity factor of the original 1800 KW V80 turbine was  41.7%.  This is strong evidence that equipment choice makes a major difference in capacity factor.  Different equipment at the same site will experience different capacity factor.  I’ve said it before, and I will say it again.  Capacity factor does not matter – kWh pays the bills, and the bills are determined by equipment and maintenance cost.

The overall capacity factor was 44.3%.  The wind farm produced at least some power 82% of the time.

To put the production in perspective, the average Ontario home consumes about 800 kWh/month.  So the wind farm supplied enough power to supply 2100 Ontario homes for the month.

The new turbines produced 1.4% more power than the original V80.  As mentioned in previous blog entries, the new turbines are expected to produce 3-5% more power than the orginal turbine.  This is because they have 5% more swept area.  They produce more power at lower wind speeds.  At higher wind speeds, the original V80 1800 kW machine will of course outperform the 1650 KW V82’s.  In addition to a higher maxiumum output, the V80 has a higher cut out wind speed of 25 m/sec, compared to the 20 m/sec cutout for the V82.

One would expect the new V82’s to underperform the V80 in a windy month.  January was windy, but not exceptionally so.  There was no wind event above 20 m/sec, and December production overall was higher.  So for the V82’s to outperform the V80 by about 1.4% is significant.  They should outperform the V80 by a much wider margin in the lighter summer breezes.

How do you measure good availability?  Snow clearance.  Snow arrived on the Peninsula around Jan 15, and hasn’t let up.  And there has been no service required since then.  So the roads to the turbines are nicely plugged up.  The snow is a very effective security mechanism.  I took a reporter out to the middle turbine today.  It was producing at capacity – he understood why the wind farm is in the Ferndale flats as he leaned into the strong winds, and turned away from the biting blowing snow.  It’s hard work walking through knee deep snow.

Wiarton Willie didn’t see his shadow, so spring is almost here.  Perhaps we will avoid the snow clearance budget altogether.  Except that Willie has been wrong before.

Leave a Reply