MYTH: Wind turbine energy will reduce local electric bills.
FACT: Wind turbine energy will not reduce local electric bills in any way. In fact, some traditional power companies are considering a surcharge on power bills to accommodate wind generation facilities' integration into the grid. The electricity generated is simply sold on the grid and shipped to the highest bidder.
MYTH: Wind turbines will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
FACT: There is no tie between the crude oil market and wind power. Wind power will not reduce the consumption of petroleum. A waste product generated during the refining process known as petroleum coke can be blended in with coal in small concentrations to be used as a fuel. Crude oil is not intentionally refined into petroleum coke as the economics do not justify this.
MYTH: Wind turbines are nice to look at.
FACT: The turbines proposed are not picturesque "windmills." They are massive, industrial power facilities, with fences, access roads and high voltage feeder lines. Each turbine is over 400 feet tall and has FAA lights flashing day and night, which will alter the views and sight lines for hundreds, if not thousands of County residents. It's also important to consider that if you say "yes" to wind turbines, you also say "yes" to the eventual above ground transmission towers and lines, clear-cutting, soil mitigation issues, road damage, site-fencing and associated security lighting. Not to mention the hundreds of gallons of hazardous fluids each turbine contains including lubricating oils, dielectric oils, hydraulic fluids, anti-freeze, etc.
MYTH: Turbines are efficient.
FACT: Developers over sell the efficiency of the turbines. They are linked to the intermittency problem; no wind = no electricity. The turbines are designed to supply power to the grid can't work without taking electricity from the grid. They produce on average 30%-35% of rated capacities. They are using electricity 100% of the time.
Wind Power Conversion
The amount of power in the wind varies greatly as the speed of the wind increases or decreases. Wind speed is extremely important for the amount of energy a wind turbine can convert to electricity: The energy content of the wind varies with the cube (the third power) of the average wind speed, e.g. if the wind speed is twice as high it contains 2 x 2 x 2 = eight times as much energy.
A given wind turbine has a "design point" that generally defines its peak efficiency at the wind speed for which the system is designed. At wind speeds above and below the design speed the efficiency is the same or less - maybe much less. If a turbine's best efficiency is 40% at a wind velocity of 20 mph, it will be 40% only at that wind speed. At all other wind speeds it will be something worse. That wind turbine will generally operate at lower than its best efficiency, because wind speeds are never constant or average.
The electric power actually produced will be still lower because the generator efficiencies are also less than 100% (generally in the mid- or low-90's at best), and there are further losses in the conversion electronics and lines. When all these losses are figured in, you might, if you are lucky, be getting 35% or so of the wind's energy actually delivered as useful electrical energy to the end user in the very best conditions. The average might only be in the twenties or lower depending on the wind.
The best case scenario.
1) A modern wind turbine has a maximum capacity of around 2000 kilowatts (kW) or 2 Megawatts (MW)
2) There are 8760 hours in a year (365 days x 24 hours)
3) A 2 MW wind turbine will generate around 30% of its maximum theoretical capacity resulting in 5256 Megawatt hours (MWh) per year if the wind speeds that year closely match the design point speeds.
4) The amount of money that a 2 MW wind turbine will generate each year will depend upon the Purchase Power Agreement that you are able to obtain. I believe at best you will get 3.7 cents a kilowatt hour. That would mean revenues per 2 MW installed of $194472 dollars per year. You would have to get almost 7 cents a kilowatt hour just to get revenues sufficient to pay back the initial investment in ten years without interest.
Presently wind turbines of the 2 MW capacity range cost $3 million to $3.5 million dollars each.
True Cost of Wind Decommissioning
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Goodhue Wind is assuming a decommissioning cost of 58,000 per turbine.