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Building wind farms for profit, not need  

I have a few comments concerning proposed wind farms in the area. I’ll try to keep it short and simple.

There is a map called the “Illinois Wind Resource Map.” This map shows the areas of the best wind. The best wind in Illinois is Class 4, which is 15.7 to 16.8 mph at 50 meters high and is shown as the pink areas of the map. Most of the state is Class 2 and 3 winds. Class 2 and 3 winds are 12.5 to 15.7 mph at 50 meters high.

There is a project called the Oak Prairie Wind farm to be located a few miles to the southwest of Nora, Illinois. If you check the wind resource map you’ll see that it is to be built in an area of Class 2 and 3 winds rather than the Class 4 which is also available in Jo Daviess County. The developer did not install a wind speed-testing tower in the area of this project. He knows the wind is not strong enough to justify his project.

To figure the output for a turbine placed in this area of low wind, simply look at the performance power curve at the turbine manufacturers Website. I found the chart for their 2MW turbines at www.suzlon.com.

A 2MW(2000 kilowatt) turbine will only produce about 150 to 400 kilowatts in Class 2 and 3 winds. This is far from the 2MW for which it is rated and promoted. This relates to a capacity factor from almost 10 percent to about 20 percent maximum, or an average of about 15 percent capacity.

If a Class 4 wind location is used, a 2MW turbine will produce about 400 to 600 kilowatts. Relating to a capacity factor of about 20 percent to 30 percent for a 25 percent average.

Simply put the Oak Prairie wind farm is a good example of how developers and the county boards are ripping off the American taxpayers who fund these projects through subsidies. They are simply locating these projects wherever they can find a farmer/landowner who does not care about his neighbors and they think the resistance will be light (low income areas). There is no concern for power output. This is costing us all millions of dollars; many MW’s of energy and gives the wind power industry poor performance numbers.

Remember, when you support wind power the support should be for the locations and not the turbines themselves. A multi million dollar turbine placed in an area of low wind does no good to anyone, except those who profit from the subsidies.

*Information is from the Illinois wind resource map and the Suzlon website.

Steve Holesinger


The Journal-Standard

10 July 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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