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Amount Of Power From Wind Turbines

I saw a story on one of the cable networks today about Wind Energy. When interviewing a technician in the field the gentleman stated that each turbine produced enough electricity to power 450 plus homes! 450 plus homes! Is this true or was he mistaken? Does anybody have a good number on that?

Re: Amount Of Power From Wind Turbines

450 homes, huh? Well that depends. It depends on what number you use for the average kWh consumption of a home. And it depends on the size of the wind turbine, or rather the anticipated energy production of a given wind turbine design at a given location.

The "number of homes" measurement that is so in vogue these days is usually meaningless, which is strange since it is used to try and give non-technical people a better feel for the amount of energy involved. To give true meaning, in the context of wind turbines, both the peak capacity in MW and the annual energy production should be stated along with the number of homes. Then one can figure out the average home's energy consumption to see if it is reasonable. Places with high electric heat penetration like Manitoba and Quebec will have higher average consumption than, say, PEI. This type of variation is another reason the "number of homes" measurement is useless.

If a 2 MW wind turbine operates with an annual capacity factor of 30%, then it would generate the same amount of energy consumed by supply 450 homes, if the average home consumed 11680 kWh/y. Note that I did not say the wind turbine would supply energy to 450 homes. This is an important distinction. Wind generation is intermittent and opportunistic, meaning one doesn't know when the wind is going to blow, but when it does the energy must be accepted by the grid. However many homes are referenced, those homes are supplied by a much larger power system, of which wind energy is playing a small part. Those average homes don't consume energy only when the wind is blowing.

So, Ray, the answer to your question is maybe.