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# Solar Turbines: Large Wind Turbines Can Produce 1.5 MW Of Electrical Power. How Many Of The Homes That Require 1.2 KW Could Be? (5/2/2012)

Large wind turbines can produce 1.5 MW of electrical power. How many of the homes that require 1.2 kW could be powered by a big wind turbine? What are the limits of this type of power source?

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Richard May 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

If the homes require a consistent source of dependable power, then the answer is likely Zero.

If you were to just perform the simple math, then 1.5 MW divided by 1.2 kW would be 1250 homes.
But there is a “Capacity Factor” involved, and this question can not be accurately answered that way. The Capacity Factor of wind power is about 25% in the very best locations. Wind Power is not consistent. Where do the homes get power when the wind is not blowing? They don’t. The days when you need the most power for your A/C loads —- on very hot days, you likely won’t have any wind power. Hot days are hot for a reason — the reason being there is no breeze or wind to keep things cool. If there was a wind — the day wouldn’t be hot — it would be much cooler.

Wind Power has a Capacity Factor in its very best locations of about 25%. So if you put that 1.5 MW wind turbine in the best location, it would only produce an average of about 375 kW over the course of a month. The 375 kW x 720 hrs/ month = roughly 270,000 kWh each month. An average home will use about 500 kWh each month. So it will produce about enough energy to power 540 homes on average.

In addition to the cost of the wind turbine to provide power — you still need to invest big dollars into another natural gas turbine peaking power plant to produce reliable power when the wind is not blowing. Also wind turbines don’t really make economic sense unless you have wind speeds that average about 12 or 13 mph. Not many locations meet that criteria. It takes a wind speed of about 7 or 8 mph just to turn the blades of the wind turbine.

If there is no requirement for a dependable source of power, and power can be utilized when ever the wind is blowing — maybe agricultural water pumping for livestock ponds — then wind would maybe make sense. Wind just is not a dependable or consistent source of power.