Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Windstream Offshore: A Recap of the Day's Reports

This morning a press release announced that Windstream had signed a binding agreement with Siemens - either a very bold move considering the moratorium introduced on offshore wind projects prior to last year's election, or an indication that the moratorium was never anything but an election stunt to begin with.
WCO reported on that release here.

Within hours another article appeared, from The Canadian Press, which seemed to support the implication the moratorium was a stunt.  That release had the McGuinty government hallmark of questionable job claims and the location of assembly buildings.

Perhaps the most informative article appeared in an online renewables site, RECHARGE.  The article includes information on both the turbine selection, and a reported strategy Windstream is implementing in moving on the Feed-In Tariff contract they had been awarded prior to the moratorium.

On the turbines:
Siemens itself recommended that the project utilize the 2.3MW turbine, a small unit by global offshore standards, which the German company has employed as an onshore workhorse for years, says Baines. A key reason is that operating conditions offshore would be similar to those on Wolfe Island, where a project that Windstream helped develop utilizes 86 of the 2.3MW units. “Siemens knows the area,” he adds.
The historical data on the performance at the 197.8MW capacity Wolfe Island turbines indicate that is a very shaky claim.  Some Records from the highest demand hour of some of the months since Wolfe Island's IWT's started up:
December 17, 2009, Ontario Demand 21921 MW, WI output 0MW;
January 4, 2010,       Ontario Demand 22045 MW, WI output 1MW;
August 2, 2011,        Ontario Demand 22051 MW, WI output 2MW;
December 20, 2011, Ontario Demand 20204 MW, WI output 0 MW
According to IESO hourly data for wind generation, WI ouput 1 MW at 7am July 11th, and not another until over 72 hours later, ending July, the month where Ontario is most likely to hit peak demand, with a meager capacity factor of 12%.
There is no value in replicating the Wolfe Island project - it requires full complimentary production if we are to have power production when demand calls for it.

The RECHARGE article continues, noting; "Windstream has since proposed to work with provincial authorities to carry out the environmental studies, which Baines says the company would need to do in any case before the project could advance. “They need a project to study and we have one,” he notes, estimating that it would require two to three years."

I'll paraphrase that:  The government publicly claims an interest in determining the detrimental effects of offshore turbines on the environment, and Windstream wants to profit from offshore turbines regardless. 

$190/MWh even though the location is likely to be unproductive during many of our highest demand times

Scott Luft

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