In January 2009, Gov. Deval Patrick set a goal of developing 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity, enough to power 800,000 Massachusetts homes, by 2020. This post addresses unrealistic expectations of that goal in terms of onshore wind turbines. (The offshore case will be treated in separate posts.)
Acceptable Locations for Wind Turbines
In planning for wind development, the first task is to figure out the minimum wind speed needed by turbines, land areas where that speed is available, and the fraction of the time that it blows at that minimum level (known as the capacity factor). Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 meters per second at a 80 meter height and a capacity factor 30 percent generally are considered to have a suitable wind resource for development. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in conjunction with AWS True Power conducted this wind area analysis. These areas did not include parks, wilderness regions, urban areas, and water features (because of the not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) syndrome).
Based on this NREL analysis, the April 7 post will discuss unrealistic growth of wind turbines in Massachusetts as well as the incorrect number of homes that would be powered by them. The post of April 12 will highlight wind turbine issues associated with high capital costs and tax breaks. Summarized in the post of April 14 will be business-development issues related to the commercialization of wind turbines.Tags: AWS True Power, Decommissioning, Deval Patrick, Electricity, Electricity Capital Costs, Homes, Hub Height, Massachusetts, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NIMBY, Tax Breaks, Unpaid Costs, Wind Energy, Wind Locations, Wind Speed, Wind Turbines