Did that get your attention? Good! Because earlier today, we commented on an article posted yesterday at OregonLive – Wind farm faces Oregon fight: Union joins the resistance to turbines that seemed to imply the other extreme – 100% output v capacity.
We found another article published today at the democratherald online edition –Small Ore. town frets over wind farm proposal – which pulled its information from the OregonLive article to further enhance the myth.
This is the erroneous statement made in the OregonLive article and then repeated, as fact, in the democratherald and, by now … who knows:
“Oregon has embraced wind energy as a source of renewable energy and jobs. The state has spent tens of millions of dollars as part of its Business Energy Tax Credit program to attract wind developers.
As a result, Oregon now has nearly 1,200 wind turbines on more than a dozen wind farms, producing 1,758 megawatts. That ranks it sixth in the nation in wind-energy production, behind Texas, Iowa, California, Washington and Minnesota, said Christine Real de Azua of the American Wind Energy Association in Washington, D.C.”
You see, Oregon does have installed capacity rated at 1,758 megawatts as totaled from the nameplates of its nearly 1,200 wind turbines. They actually don’t produce anywhere near that amount however. I suppose OregonLive simply pulled the number off out of another article or, perhaps, off the AWEA web site and plugged it into the article, presumably not really interested in what the number meant. You see, industrial wind plants are said to produce in the neighborhood of 25% of their rated capacity and folks, 25% is not 100%. Take a look at this commentary last month from Dennis Avery, over at the Center for Global Food Issues, for example:
Out in Oregon, General Electric has just announced a big wind project: 338 turbines, rated at 845 MW. GE claims it will power for 235,000 homes, and is applying for the appropriate federal subsidies.
Will the wind turbines power 235,000 homes? Don’t bet on it. My friend Donald Hertzmark—an energy economist—warns the power deliveries from this wind project are likely to average only 25 percent of its rated capacity. That would serve only 58,000 homes, not 235,000.
But Hertzmark says even this is too high because the wind is highly variable. The Texas power grid’s experience is to rely on no more than 9 percent of the wind farm’s rated capacity. That would reduce GE’s real subsidy claim to about 21,000 households.
Let’s repeat that: The Texas power grid’s experience is to rely on no more than 9 percent of the wind farm’s rated capacity.
I waited for a correction to come in the comments section since yesterday at OregonLive. But what appeared there was the typical back and forth and name calling. Only a few truly interested folks from both sides tried to stay on point, but were “shouted down” by those seeming to simply like to see their name in print.
No correction to the 1,758 MW statement came from the AWEA, the developer – Horizon Wind Energy of Houston – a subsidiary of EDP Renováveis of Portugal, the Oregon Department of Energy, or even the Renewable Northwest Project, a Portland-based coalition of companies and groups that promotes renewable energy. But then it is possible they don’t read OregonLive. Some organizations actually have their folks watch to see if the group’s name shows up on the web, but I guess these groups are not among them.
And that’s a shame, because they probably won’t even respond when I counter the OregonLive reporters statement in the article that the Antelope project “at 300 megawatts, it would produce enough power for about 90,000 homes“ with my suggestion that it is more likely the turbines operating at 9 to 25% of the 300 megawatt capacity would produce enough power for somewhere between 9,000 to 23,000 homes – provided the wind is blowing, of course.
And, since these groups don’t seem to read OregonLive, there’s no way they will comment at my dinky blog to counter my suggestion that: based on the expected output of 9 to 25% of the rated nameplate capacity for the Antelope project’s 182 turbines, between 136 and 164 turbines, at any given time, effectively serve no purpose.
Gee! I wish they would comment. Then we could also have a talk about the 47,000 acres of land and who knows how much air space these things will consume when, in reality there’s little gained, at least for the taxpayers or the ratepayers.
Maybe then I could ask the group why they don’t make actual output against nameplate capacity as transparently available for taxpayers and ratepayers here in the states as the the good people of Ontario receive from their Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Perhaps the numbers are not be something the AWEA and wind developers want you to see. But you would think the Oregon Department of Energy would certainly want the Oregon taxpayers to see this kind of information, wouldn’t you? Why don’t you folks in Oregon ask them to take a look at this, and demand the Oregon DOE require their grid operators to publish something similar. They do, after all, have the information.
But then, the wind industry never seems to feel the need to explain. They typically rely on someone who bought their boilerplate hype to do their work for them. But I look forward to the day when someone in Washington has to answer this plea: “Why don’t politicians listen to engineers? Why do engineers cave in to politically inspired financing? Merely to join the green daydreaming? I am an engineer; I want to be proud of my profession.” Then, it’s all going to change!