You would think solar power would be the prime green energy alternative in the Sunshine State. However, perhaps because of the enormous tax subsidies for wind projects, Florida Power & Light is trying to persuade the public to bet on wind. But FPL’s claims of the turbines powering 3,600 homes simply do not add up.
FPL plans to use the Siemens SWT-2.3-93 wind turbines. Using FPL’s generous “estimate” of Florida “offshore” winds of 14.5 mph and its generous estimate of a capacity factor of 19 percent, at best the total output of power from the six turbines (all together) is at most 2.6 megawatts. This would result in a production of 2.6 megawatts times 365 days times 24 hours, which equals 22,776 megawatt-hours per year.
Considering Florida consumption is more than 12.79 megawatt-hours per capita per year, the production of the six wind turbines – using FPL’s “ideal” wind speed of 14.5 mph – would power only about 890 homes, not the 3,600 as claimed by FPL.
Moreover, if you use our actual wind speeds of 9 mph, you will find that the power output for all six turbines will only be about 0.41 megawatts, assuming, of course, the winds will be horizontal and always coming from the east (not necessarily the case). This would result in a maximum theoretical production of 0.41 megawatts times 365 days times 24 hours, which equals 3,592 megawatt-hours per year.
Realistically, these turbines would only provide for the power needs of 281 people, or about 140 homes! Of course, since wind is intermittent and unreliable, those homes cannot count on this power.
The cost per home of this $45 million boondoggle to the rate and taxpayers of Florida? You do the math.
23 April 2008
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