Production Update Jan-Apr 2008

The first 4 months of production has been completed at Ravenswood.  It is probably too early to establish long term patterns to compare Ravenswood and Ferndale, but it is worth looking at anyways.

Ravenswood was completed on Jan 23, although there were a few turbines operating before this time.  New wind farms go through some teething pains early on.  In particular, the 3 month service, which includes a check of the torque on the bolts in the tower results in some service downtime.  The 9.9 MW Ravenswood wind farm produced 9,206,000 kWh during its first 4 months.   This works out to a capacity factor (if you assume that we could produce for all of January) of 32%.  That’s not too shabby for a new farm, including a partial month, and in a time frame that had its first major service cycle completed.

The 5.1 MW Ferndale wind farm produced 5,584,435 kWh over the same timeframe, for a capacity factor of 38%.  But of course Ferndale was producting for the full 121 days.

The difference between the two wind farms is interesting.  Ferndale has 2 V82’s, and one V80, whereas Ravenswood has 6 V82’s.  The V82’s will produce more than a V80 in normal Ontario winds, because it has larger blades, and so catches more wind.  But Ravenswood outperformed by more than just equipment differences in February and March.  Ravenswood produced 2,448,967 kWh in February, compared to 1,218,199 in Ferndale.  In March, Ravenswood produced 2,738,795 kWh, compared to only 1,177,119 in Ferndale.  But in April, Ferndale came back, producing 1,426,456 KWh compared to 2,423,963 in Ravenswood.

Much of the quarterly service work was done in April in Ravenswood, and there were a lot of power outages in Ferndale in February, which explains some of the difference.  But I think a lot of the difference was the strange winter we had.  Ferndale did not have a very hard winter, and this is demonstrated by the production.  The output of Ferndale was 5,584,435 kWh in 2008 compared to 6,389,000 kWh in 2007, a drop of 13%.  Most of the storms tracked to the south, and the wind went with the storms.  Ravenswood had a much harder winter, as it accepted the storms first while they were on the way to Toronto.

It certainly demonstrates the desirability of geographic dispersion of wind farms.  Even the 250 km of distance between Ferndale and Ravenswood, when the wind farms are on the same lake, makes a big difference to the pattern of production.  And the output of 2 wind farms is less variable than the output of 1.

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