[ RadSafe ] World's Biggest Wind Park -Capacity Factor vs. Nu clear

Dukelow, James S Jr jim.dukelow at pnl.gov
Tue Feb 21 17:07:03 CST 2006

On the other hand, some localities come already provided with ample
energy storage, like the Pacific NW in the US.  Our three or four dozen
large hydroelectric facilities in the Columbia River drainage can be
used to "fill" when the 500 or so new 1 MW wind turbines are not
producing.  The wind turbines are mostly located along the Columbia
River Gorge, one of the premier wind surfing locations in the world.  In
January, one of the small local wind farms had a 56% capacity factor.
That was exceptional, and I one who lives on the side of a mountain and
almost got blown off the mountain in January, I am glad it was

Three or four years ago, the Bonneville Power Authority engineer in
charge of coordinating construction and utilization of wind power within
the BPA system told a local meeting of the IEEE that bus-bar cost of
wind power in the PNW was a bit more than 4 cents per kwhr.  The local
wind farms are privately financed with Florida Power and Light having a
large share of the ownership.

Another mitigating factor: On many days the wind will be sporadic.  With
the wind turbines spread over hundreds of square miles, sporadic wind
means some of the turbines are delivering power all the time.

Best regards.

Jim Dukelow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA
Jim.dukelow at pnl.gov

These comments are mine and have not been reviewed and/or approved by my
management or by the U.S. Department of Energy

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Franta, Jaroslav
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 11:14 AM
To: 'radsafe at radlab.nl'
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] World's Biggest Wind Park -Capacity Factor vs.
Nu clear

Supplemental to my previous message, here is a comment from a


From: 	Whitlock, Jeremy  
Sent:	February 21, 2006 12:46 PM
Subject:	RE: Public Consultations

I note that this Radsafe message inadvertently perpetuates a myth about
wind farms -- that to "equal the output" of a nuclear plant all they
have to increase their installed nameplate capacity by a ratio of
This would be true if the low inherent CF of wind turbines was due
mainly to maintenance outages.  However, since it's due to wind
variability, which affects large geographical areas and multiple wind
farms simultaneously (as experienced by the Germans utilities),
installing X times as many wind turbines will more than likely give you
X times as many wind turbines tripping simultaneously due to low or high
wind speed.  The German experience shows that the more you try to do
this, the broader the effect it has on the reliability of the grid
itself, leading to a decreasing "effective CF" with installed wind
capacity -- estimated at about 8% currently in Germany and predicted to
fall to around 4% after new projects are completed.

In short, "equalling the output" really means a lot more than getting to
the same number of integrated MWh over the year.  Defining "output" only
as integrated energy does make a point, but it can lead to dangerous
policy decisions if people start deluding themselves that all they have
to do is build more.


Another colleague added:
The idea of simply "building more" wind farms would be a valid argument
if energy storage was built along with it (eg. pumped storage, giant
tanks of compressed air, or huge banks of batteries or capacitors).
However, this would drive up the cost of electricity so much that no
utility or investor would bother to enter the wind power business.  
Energy storage is the weak link for wind power development.


-----Original Message-----
From: Franta, Jaroslav
Sent: February 21, 2006 1:16 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] World's Biggest Wind Park -Capacity Factor vs.

Thanks Stewart.

Just a minor note -- your figure of 13.14 TWh is the max. theoretical
generation at 100% CF. 
The article states that "the three wind parks, called Havsul I, II and
would generate a total of 4.2 terawatt hours of electricity annually."
Dividing 4.2 by 13.14 gives your (correct) figure of 32%CF.

Here in Canada the CFs so far have been around 20% or less, but
now requires/ assumes 36% CF for new projects -- it remains to be seen
whether Nature will cooperate -- and what the consequences will be of
supply planning based on such bogus numbers....

In Ontario, OPA (Ontario Power Authority) assumed a capacity factor of
for wind turbines when it projected that Canada needed a "minimal"
capacity of 3,000 megawatts in wind turbines by 2025. 
The two major wind-farm operators in Ontario, OPG and Huron Wind (part
Bruce Power), have both claimed 40-45% capacity factors in their
The mistake has been recognized by Huron Wind, but they still have these
files on their website and on their billboard beside the Bruce windfarm
throughout the material in their visitor's centre. 
They claim that it would be expensive to correct since the information
repeated in all their PR material, so it has to wait until the next
overhaul of everything (not likely soon). 
In the meantime, the OPA disseminates the incorrect figures to millions

Germany's wind generation capacity is the largest in the world, at
megawatts - 11.5% of its total capacity.
But at an average of only 15% to 17.5% capacity factor, this produces
15.8 to 18.4 terawatt-hours of energy in a year. 
So the entire national German wind power production represents only
22% of the 79TWh of the Province of Ontario's nuclear production.



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