Questioned about the accuracy of this newspaper’s calculation of a $400,000 loss of revenue for a week of down time, Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. officials have reiterated that performances of wind farms are assessed from the long-term perspective, and all are subject to the weather.
“Canadian Hydro just wanted to offer insight for this story, not a quote or clarification. So, highs and lows average out over time. We’re in this for the long run. And, our business is weather-dependent, which is factored into our calculations,” said one head office official.
In previous interviews, CHD officials said there always are long-term, sitespecific wind studies conducted prior to any moves toward actual construction of wind farms.
Locally, project manager Geoff Carnegie said in effect that investors would not consider a project unless it could be show as profitable in the long haul. He said a plant would not be built unless its capacity factor (percentage of nameplate capacity) would be greater than 20 per cent.
For the Melancthon projects, the projected longterm capacity factor is in the order of 32 per cent or greater, even after down times for all reasons have been factored in.
A reader this week pointed out that there are various studies available showing a variety of results. That should be expected as meteorological conditions vary from one region to another.
And, as wind conditions vary seasonally, throughout the day, and at different elevations, among other things, officials appear reluctant to retrospectively calculate what the turbines would have generated had they been running on a specific date or time.
Last Sunday, when the Weather Network was saying the wind was blowing at only 7 km/h at Shelburne, the Melancthon I plant was generating 45 megawatts, or about 66 per cent of nameplate capacity.
As the Independent Electrical Systems Operators (IESO) publishes the hourly megawatt output for all Ontario generators feeding the Hydro One grid, it would seem a simple task to determine how well wind turbines are performing on average over any length of time.
By Wes Keller, Freelance Reporter
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