The secrets of wind power profits: location, location and location

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found even the worst-timed wind resource sites have a wholesale market value just 10 per cent below that of a flat block of baseload power; while the the best-timed sites had a wholesale market value of roughly 5 per cent above that of a flat block of power.

The research plan:Ryan Wiser and Matthias Fripp, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found wind farms in different locations produce their peak amounts of renewable electricity at different times of the day and year. It investigated whether this variation could make some wind sites in California and the Northwestern U.S. more profitable or more useful in helping meet peak loads in the electric power system than others. It also studied study which locations were affected most by the seasonal and diurnal timing of wind speeds, as well as the compatibility of wind resources in the Northwest and California with wholesale power prices and loads in either region. Finally, its asked if these questions can be answered using wind speeds estimated from a numerical weather model operated by AWS TrueWind. Results were:

•  Temporal patterns of wind production have a moderate impact on the wholesale market value of wind power and a larger impact on the capacity factor during peak load hours;

• Northwestern electricity loads appear to be well served by Northwestern wind and poorly served by California wind, but results were unclear for California loads, and

• TrueWind data generally agreed with anemometer measurements about the variation of wind speeds in most times and places, but disagreed about California’s summer afternoon wind speeds. f/l

The full report was available at: http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/60152.pdf For more information on the report, contact Ryan Wiser RHWiser@lbl.gov, 510-486-5474).

Erisk Net, 13/6/2006

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