Maine Wind Sites Production for entire year 2012

We have final figures for the major industrial wind sites in Maine for the entire year 2012.  We continue to track what is miserably poor production, with the exception of Mars Hill, the only project in Maine that comes near the output touted by the wind industry.  Wondering why Spruce Mountain Wind in Woodstock does not appear?  We finally have the answer:  projects of 20 MW rating or less are not required to report to FERC.  Aha!  Spruce Mt. is 20 MW and its owner, Patriot Renewables, will not post the data.  Just look at Record Hill and Spruce Mt. is likely to perform similarly.

Remember, this data comes from the FERC website and is information that comes from the wind industry itself.  Again, the ARRA Section 1603 giveaway of taxpayer dollars is included.  So much money spent for so little return!  If you wish to have a copy of the spreadsheet for this or the one that also includes 4th quarter 2011, please contact me.  Brad

 

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Comment by Willem Post on March 27, 2013 at 9:05am
Brad,

I just prepared a spreadsheet that accounts for aging, life being shorter, CF being less, grid inefficiencies. It shows IWT promoters over claim by a factor of about 4.

Aging, maintenance-dependent, ranges from 0.5 - 2 percent per year, based on various studies; I assumed 0.75%

IWT promoters claim 25 years, reality is about 15 -20 years, based on studies of UK and Denmark experience; I assumed 18

IWT promoters claim ridge line CFs of 0.32 or better; I assumed 0.25, based on Maine experience

IWT promoters claim no or minimal grid inefficiencies; I use 0.532, based on various studies.

I would like to send you the spreadsheet, but cannot find your email. It is buried somewhere in one of my forty or so lists.
Comment by Dan McKay on March 2, 2013 at 8:21am

Thank you, Willem. And all this taking place in an environment of harsh weather conditions, extreme temperature swings and  and a multitude of corrosive elements. The useful life of these machines is aligned well with our throw-away society.     

Comment by Willem Post on March 1, 2013 at 4:55pm
Here are some factors that reduce CFs from this article
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/169521/wind-turbine-ener...

CAUSES OF LESSER CAPACITY FACTORS

The lesser, real-world CFs are likely due to:
 
- Winds entering 373-ft diameter rotors varying in speed AND direction under all conditions; less so in the Great Plains and offshore, more so, if arriving from irregular upstream or hilly terrain. 

- Turbine performance curves being based on idealized conditions, i.e., uniform wind vectors perpendicularly entering rotors; those curves are poor predictors of ACTUAL CFs.

- Wind testing towers using anemometers about 8 inch in diameter; an inadequate way to predict what a number of 373-ft diameter rotors on a 2,500-ft high ridge line might do, i.e., the wind-tower-test-predicted CFs of 0.32 or better are likely too optimistic.

- Rotor-starting wind speeds being greater than IWT vendor brochure values, because of irregular winds entering the rotors; for the 3 MW Lowell Mountain IWTs rotor-starting speed with undisturbed winds is about 7.5 mph, greater with irregular winds.

- IWT self-use energy consumption up to about:

4% for various IWT electrical needs during non-production hours; 30% of the hours of the year in New England due to wind speeds being too low or too high, and due to outages. This energy is drawn from the grid and treated as an expense by the owner, unless it is a utility-provided freebie.

8% for various IWT electrical needs during production hours; power factor correction, heating, dehumidifying, lighting, machinery operation, controls, etc. 

Note: In case of the 63 MW Lowell Mountain, Vermont, ridge line IWT system, a $10.5 million synchronous-condenser system to correct power factors was required, by order of the grid operator ISO-NE, to minimize voltage variations that would have destabilized the local rural grid; self-use energy about 3% of production, reducing the IWT CF of about 0.25 or less, to about 0.2425 or less.

http://windfarmrealities.org/u-minn-and-vestas-reality-check/
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/53258/examples-wind-powe...

- CFs declining up to 2%/yr, based on UK and Denmark experience, due to aging IWTs having increased maintenance outages, just as a car.

- Reduced production for various other reasons, such as:

* Curtailment due to the grid’s instability/capacity criteria being exceeded
* Curtailment due to excessive noise; nearby people need restful sleep for good health
* Curtailment due to excessive bat or bird kill
* Flow of an upwind turbine interfering with a downwind turbine’s flow. As a general rule, the distance between IWTs:

- in the prevailing wind direction should be at least seven rotor diameters
- perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction should be at least three rotor diameters.

Note: In case of the 63 MW Lowell Mountain, Vermont, ridge line system, 21 IWTs, with 373 diameter rotors, are placed on 3.5 miles of 2,500-ft high ridge line, for a 5,280 x 3.5/20 spaces = 924 ft IWT spacing, or 2.47 rotor diameters. New England ridge line directions are from SW to NE, as are the prevailing winds. Significant wind flow interference, increased noise, increased wear and tear, and lesser CFs will be the result. GMP opting for the greater diameter rotor will likely not result in a net CF increase, but will likely increase lower frequency noises that are not measured with standard dBA testing.

http://www.wwindea.org/technology/ch02/en/2_4_1.html
http://www.windpowerengineering.com/construction/wider-spacing-lead...

Note: US bird kill = 1 bird/day x 39,000 IWTs x 365 days/yr = 14,235,000 birds/yr. US bat kill = 2 bats/day, or 28,470,000 bats/yr, for a total of 42,705,000 animals/yr.

The net effect of all factors shows up as real-world ridge line CFs of 0.25 or less, instead of the vendor-predicted 0.32 or greater, i.e., much less than estimated by IWT project developers to obtain financing and approvals. 

Note: Irregular air flows to the rotor cause significant levels of unusual noises, mostly at night, that disturb nearby people. Details in this article.
http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise...  
Comment by Martha thacker on February 27, 2013 at 7:54am

Hi Harry

I appreciate your keeping up with the UMPI outputs.Who knows, one day your statistics could play a part in the removal of every turbine in Maine. For now, you have my gratitude. When Stetson I was turned on, I could hear it 2.5 miles away. In the winter , with the windows down, of course, and a noise maker right by my ear. My neighbor kept a migraine headache, her dog paced night and day. It only lasted two weeks. That is why I think our wind farms are using power, not producing. Have not heard it like that since..One of the posts below shows that First Wind thinks it is a good thing. The money is in Renewable Energy Credits. First Wind's SEC report stated that high electricity rates were one reason we were chosen. That and our laws on renewable energy.. Another SEC report stated that they didn't have to produce power to make money if they sold to a foreign country...Canada. I went back and tried to find that statement all day yesterday and couldn't to put up a link. Several years ago, when I first saw it..did not catch the foreign country part. A reporter at pine tree watch dog, Naomi Schalit looked into it. I was chagrined that I overlooked an important part of the statement. But still, it shows why we are so inundated with wind farms here..plus our grid being full. 

Comment by Harrison Roper on February 26, 2013 at 5:32pm

Martha, I have noticed that the UMPI turbine does not generate power until it is at 28.5 rpm, and also I have noticed it at 28.5 rpm when it is generating a lot of power, or a little.  I don't think I have noticed rpm faster than 28.5.  Hi, Martha!    Harry Roper  

Comment by Martha thacker on February 26, 2013 at 3:45pm

One more thing..from First Wind's SEC report ..this excerpt explains why we don't have transmissio lines to the little power that wind farms generate..and how it works out great for the wind farms and those trading in RECs , but not so well for rate payers. I feel positively squeezed. 

Northeast

        We believe the Northeast is one of the most attractive wind energy markets in the continental U.S. due to the region's high electricity prices and decreasing energy reserve margins, as well as the region's limited utility-scale development opportunities and transmission limitations that constrain future increases of capacity in the region. In this region, FERC has approved ISOs in New York ("NYISO") and New England ("ISO-NE") to administer wholesale electric energy markets in their respective regions. The ISOs also control access to and the operation of the transmission grid used for wholesale power sales within their respective regions. In addition, capacity markets have developed in the region to promote the development and continued operation of capacity sufficient to meet regional load and reserve requirements. These markets have been established to ensure that generators receive capacity payments based on their availability to generate electricity.

         Pricing characteristics.    In the Northeast, natural gas and duel fuel oil/gas generation provide approximately 41% and 54% of the ISO-NE and NYISO generation capacity, respectively, and natural gas prices in the U.S. have increased from $2.465/MMBtu to $7.483/MMBtu over the five-year period ended December 31, 2007, representing a CAGR of 25%. Prices have increased significantly since December 31, 2007 and, as of June 30, 2008, natural gas prices in the U.S. were $13.35/MMBtu. In addition, given the density of the population in the Northeast, it is difficult to locate utility-scale development opportunities in the region. Reserve margins have declined in the markets served by ISO-NE in recent years, and the NERC projects that reserve margins will continue to decline in these markets as peak demand grows at an expected annual rate of 1.9% through 2013. Reserve margins have similarly declined in the markets served by NYISO, and the NERC projects that reserve margins will continue to decline in these markets as peak demand grows at an expected annual rate of 1.2% through 2013. Decreasing reserve margins may lead to higher prices and will require new capacity as there are minimal opportunities to import capacity into ISO-NE and NYISO markets due to transmission constraints.

 

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1434804/000104746908008563/a2186834zs-1.htm#dk77801_unaudited_pro_forma_financial_information

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Comment by Martha thacker on February 26, 2013 at 3:36pm

Oh..one more thing. Several years ago, I told Gary Steinberg that the blades on Stetson's turbines always turned at the same speed, no matter how the wind was blowing. Gary said , "they are using power." I respect his assessment then and now. 

Comment by Martha thacker on February 26, 2013 at 3:32pm
Brad says, "We have final figures for the major industrial wind sites in Maine for the entire year 2012.We continue to track what is miserably poor production with the exception of Mars Hill." 
The people in Mars Hill determined that their power went north into Canada..First Wind did not want to admit it..but finally had to. There is no place for extra power to go south for export past Orrington. Maybe this is the reason that the Stetson and Rollins wind farms are using so much power and have low outputs? Below is an excerpt from US vs FERC re. the building of Stetson Mt wind farm. Reason being the grid was at capacity.The original document that I read as well as a few others stated there was a bottleneck in Orrington.(This is where the new upgrades that we are already being charged for starts)."The overlapping impact analysis determined that one interface internal to the Maine Load Zone would be overloaded after the addition of the Stetson Wind Farm project. The ISO has determined that the upgrades associated with the transmission project cannot be reasonably expected to be completed by the start of the Capacity Commitment Period beginning June 1, 2010.....The maximum capacity for the Maine export-constrained Load Zone is 3,855 MW....Because Maine is export constrained, the Maine Load Zone will modified as a seperate Capacity Zone. "
Keep in mind that the turbines have a 20 year life span that we have paid dearly to erect.
Number 6 Filing, ...Specifically, ISO -NE determined that the Orrington South interface would be overloaded after the addition of the Stetson Wind Farm Project.
"Consumers will pay for capacity that is not useful to them, and the reliability of the system will be a casualty."
Now if the Orrington South interface would be overloaded with the first Stetson Wind farm...wonder what is going on now? With the addition of Stetson II and Rollins? Could this be the reason that these wind farms are using so much electricity, just to keep them operational? And maybe the reliability of the system is now a casuality.
 
Comment by Dan McKay on February 23, 2013 at 8:26am

It has often been said that making jobs by erecting wind machines is worse than making jobs digging a hole then filling it in. At least the excavation job doesn't continue to hang around to excessively raise our electric bill. And what's even worse, our government who can see how this works, seems to think it gives them the right to add a tax to our rising electric bill. ( behind our backs, of course ). 

Comment by Harrison Roper on February 23, 2013 at 8:14am

Dan McKay correctly brings our attention to the grid power that is used to keep the turbines operating at times when there is not enough wind to generate power.  The amount of power drawn from the grid is a mystery, with the exception of the UMPI turbine, which uses net metering and reports to its website every ten seconds.  Whenever there is not enough wind to generate any power at all, the UMPI website dutifully reports "power" as a minus figure; that minus power is from the grid.  

  This morning I have observed 4 and 6.5 mph wind velocity and - .3 and - 2.k kW.   In my years of observing the website, this "power" figure has been momentarily as high as - 32 kW, but most of the time it sits at around -.3 kW .

   In the past 24 hours the UMPI turbine has generated net 81 kWh. With a perfect wind "installed capacity" would be achieved.  Installed Capacity is 600 kW, or 14,400 kWh per day. So that's a Capacity Factor of .0056.

 In observations of the website during that 24 hours I never once found any power being produced; "power" figures reported were: -.7, -.5, -.3, -.5, -2.4,  -.7, and -.3.   

Harrison Roper  Houlton/Danforth

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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