I read the wind farm article with great interest. When I moved to Surfside in 1978, there were some decapitated wind turbine towers along the beach road. When I was out sailing, I could see those towers a long way off. I was told the salt air corroded them so fast they could not be maintained.
The statement, “… enough electricity to service between 240,000 and 450,000 homes” caught my attention because there are only 90,000 households in Brazoria County. Galveston County has 140,000 housing units. So Patrick Buckley is saying his proposed wind farm can provide electricity for every household in both counties. Not possible.
A home with an electric bill of $250 uses about 2,800 watts (2.8 kilowatts) on average (think two space heaters) and up to 15,000 watts if the central air, water heater, clothes dryer, microwave, hair dryer and oven are all on (that is about 60 amps flowing into the house through the typical 100-amp breaker box).
That means the typical 2.8-megawatt wind turbine can provide power to about 1,000 houses using 2.8 kilowatts – when the wind is blowing hard enough to spin the blades. And the speed needed for that is about 15 mph.
The websiteweatherspark.com shows the mean wind speed at Galveston is 11 mph. Many days and most nights have too little wind to spin a turbine. The coastal winds almost stop most evenings as the sun sets, just when everyone is cranking up their air conditioning and stoves. During those times, the power will flow from the nuclear plant in Matagorda County.
The bottom line is a 62-turbine wind farm could provide all the power for 62,000 houses for maybe eight hours, or one-third of the day. So our existing power plants will see a net reduction of 62,000 divided by three, or about 20,000 households. This is less than one-tenth of what Mr. Buckley is claiming.
Bruce A. Warren is a Lake Jackson resident.
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