Press releases in the wind industry have the annoying habit of gleefully reporting the output of a wind farm in terms of how many average homes it could power. A recent press release, for example, announced that a 150 MW wind farm will produce enough power for 55,000 average homes. One blogger (https://goo.gl/BBdQ4u) pointed out that the number really depends on the frugality of the residence (Scotland) or the climate in which the house is built (Australia).
A better idea for gauging wind farm output in 2017 and beyond recently came from Dong Energy’s Lee Rollanson during a show on YouTube. Rollanson was giving a helicopter tour over an offshore wind farm at Burbo Bank in the U.K. with Fully charged show host Robert Llewellyn. Rollanson remarked that the wind farm has enough capacity to charge eight billion Teslas in a year. Llewellyn was duly impressed, and so was I. (His video is here: Tinyurl.com/wf-output )
And what a great idea. The number of homes a wind farm can power is a slippery figure at best. How many EVs a wind farm could charge is more easily quantified. Tesla’s model 3 or GM’s Bolt will be good charge units. Each has about a 50 or 60-kWh battery.
Let’s play that game. As the power source, we’ll plug into the recently completed Block Island, a 30-MW, U.S. offshore wind farm.
Let’s assume that Block Island is working at 50% capacity, so it’s output is a steady 15 MW. Over the course of a year it will produce:
P = 15 MW x 24 h/day x 365 day/yr
P = 131,400 MWh/yr or
= 131,400,000 kWh/yr
Then, if an average EV charge is about half of full capacity, or 30 kWh, the real metric of Block Island is:
N = (131,400,000 kWh/yr ) / (30 kWh/EV)
= 4,380,000 EVs per year, or about 4.4 million vehicle charges yearly. Now we’re talking. That’s a number you can drive with.
What metric would you suggest?
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