Business, Energy

1,500 MW Wind Power Purchase

12.23.06 | Comment?

This week, Southern California Edison signed an agreement with Alta Windpower Development, LLC. (subsidiary of Australia’s Allco Finance Group) to purchase the output of an aggregation of projects to produce some 1,500MW of electricity from turbines located in Tehacapi. That’s renewable at utility scale and it’s very exciting to see. I strongly suspect that a large portion of that 1,500MW is power that will be displaced when sites in Tehacapi are “repowered” – taking older, smaller turbines down and replacing them with larger, more efficient models. Regardless, it’s encouraging to see renewable projects on this scale.

To put 1,500MW into perspective, the average wind turbine has a capacity factor of 30% meaning the net average generation capacity at any point in time would be around 450MW flowing onto the grid. As a reminder, a MW of capacity is capable of generating a MW per time period, say an hour, to get megawatt hours (MWh.) A MW at 100% capacity and availability would be able to generate 8,760 MWh (non-leap year) or 8,760,000 kilowatt hours. This project will generate approximately 3.9 gigawatt hours per year (3,900,000,000 KWh.) Check your electric bill, it’s metered and billed in KWh, most households in the US consuming around 1,000 KWh per month. The net is, that’s alot of power coming from a renewable resource. Very encouraging.

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