Too hot to work?

Several Keyser, WV residents were surprised that during the recent spell of very … very hot days, the 23 massive wind turbines of the Pinnacle wind plant in Mineral County WV sat idle for much of the time.  One would think the blades would be constantly spinning during this period of obvious high demand for electricity.  But then, that’s the problem with very hot days … there’s little wind.

In a recent article, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell noted that, on the 11 hottest days in Washington last year, Dominion – which supplies electricity to the Virginia suburbs – was able to average just 1 MW from its nearby 182 MW wind farm.

As Rick Webb of VA Wind noted, “during the peak demand period (usually the hottest days of summer), when generation capacity needs are established (and when PJM determines “capacity credit”), this large Dominion project had a capacity factor of 0.5%.”

And what do we sacrifice for industrial wind’s incredibly poor performance?

This entry was posted in Allegheny Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, industrial wind failure, industrial wind poor performance, Virginia Wind, West Virginia Wind and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Too hot to work?

  1. John Terry says:

    Looking out my window at the AES Laurel Mountain wind facility near Elkins, West Virginia, it’s interesting to note that no wind turbines have turned in my view for the past two hours even though this is an unseasonably cool day (in the mid 70s).

    Having a “close-up” view of this facility, I’m able to observe the turbine’s habitual starts and stops as they are controlled by the weather. There are two states exhibited by these wind turbines, “slow turning” and “no turning”.

    Understanding that the breeze blows stronger at higher elevations, it is possible to draw some conclusions using the monthly weather data available from NOAA on line at: By watching the turbines, it appears that they operate at their very slowest speeds for short times or not at all on days where NOAA’s weather station in Elkins, WV gives a daily average wind speed of 2.0 or less. This month, July 2013, for instance, NOAA posts 7 days with an average wind speed of less than 2.0.

    Last August there were 6 such low wind days in July, 12 in August, 13 in September, 7 in October, a staggering 14 in October and 11 in December. In 2013, the count of extremely low wind days is 4 in January, 2 in February, 2 in March, 2 in April, 5 in May and 5 in June.

    It never ceases to amaze me when state and national politicians, as well as some extreme conservation groups, promote wind energy saying either that they support ALL forms of energy production or that they support locating wind farms in areas such as this where their chance of generating a meaningful amount of carbon free electricity is so poor.

    John Terry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s