Wind Turbines: The 30% Capacity Factor Myth
I don't know about you, but I am getting really tired of large corporate bodies continually peddling half-truths and even outright lies in order to service their own greed.
Take the wind industry for example. Especially with the way they try to big up the ludicrous ineffectiveness of their money machines.
Truly, if it was not for the fact that they get paid (at least) twice for their intermittent and unreliable production of electricity, these ugly white elephants would be abandoned and left to rot.
Whenever the wind industry talks about the capacity factor (that's the actual averaged output over a year compared to the maximum turbine rating) the wind industry always try and pretend that this capacity factor is 30%.
While this may sound low, it is actually a massive exaggeration on the real figures.
Unfortunately, the wind industry have repeated the lie so many times it is often taken as" a given" by organisations that should know better.
So what is the capacity factor for on-shore wind turbines?
Luckily there are people like Professor Michael Jefferson who has has done an analysis of the exaggerated claims of the wind industry.
His presentation is available Here
While his presentation truly demolishes the mythical 30%, it is just one of the many false claims he debunks. His presentation is well worth a read.
Look at this for 2009: (taken from Professor Jeffersons presentation)
In 2009, the real capacity factor for on-shore turbines was 21% NOT 30% Only 7.5% achieved the mythical 30% capacity factor. In other words 92.5% of on-shore turbines in 2009 failed to reach the 30% capacity factor that is promoted by the wind industry. Remember, since 2009, it has got even less windy.
Even in 2008, which was an abnormally windy year, over 81% of on-shore turbines failed to chalk up a 30% capacity factor. In fact in 2008, the windiest year in recent history, the real on-shore average capacity factor was 23%.
So when is the wind industry going to stop telling lies?
When are they going to confess that the real output from these monstrous money making machines is much less then the figures they ritually push?
If you are waiting for the truth from the wind industry, I wouldn't hold your breath.
But even this farcically low capacity factor hides the true hideously ineffectiveness of these white elephants.
Always remember when comparing capacity factors of generating equipment that wind power is intermittent. With wind, most of the energy arrives in infrequent, irregular and unpredictable bursts. Most of the time their actual output is much less than even the real dismally low capacity factor.
But more on this in a future post.