Vampire Turbines In July
Monday, August 6, 2012
I decided to investigate the performance of an industrial wind turbine project in Ontario comprised of 110 of the Vestas V82 turbines; Enbridge’s Underwood turbines in Bruce County.
110 turbines potentially each drawing 50kW means that at times when all Enbridge’s turbines are still, the draw would be ~5.5MW. In the parlance of the Ministry of Energy, and the renewables lobby, a draw of 5.5 MW is enough to prevent power being provided to over 4000 homes.
In Ontario, we know that wind is least productive in July – so the topic of how much “parasitic” load is present when turbines are unproductive is particularly relevant here.
The poor performance of industrial wind turbines during Ontario’s summer is well known, but there are also week periods of production in the winter. Over the past couple of years, the least productive winter week for wind (treating weeks as Wednesday – Tuesday) is also one of the highest average demand weeks in Ontario.
The review of data for Enbridge’s project therefore ends up emphasizing the same issues as many other reviews of many other data sources.
While wind produces very little in terms of emissions, it also produces very little in terms of value. Unable to displace other capacity, it is inappropriate to measure the costs of wind generation without accounting for the negative impact it has on other generators.