June 17, 2010
More than you probably ever wanter to know...facts about wind power, but in one graphic.
One important fact to keep in mind: The NAMEPLATE rating is not the output that can be expected from a wind turbine. The NAMEPLATE rating must be multiplied by a capacity factor (typically 20% - 35% for wind turbines/farms) to account for the time that the wind is too weak or too strong to generate electricity or when the turbine is out of service for maintenance. So, the output over time of a wind turbine with a NAMEPLATE capacity of 4 megawatts is likely to be 0.8 to 1.4 megawatts.
We would be better served if the popular media were clear about this when they report the true capacity of a wind farm. Instead, they resort to statements such as 'the wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.' We are left wondering if they used NAMEPLATE rating or the far more realistic NAMEPLATE x capacity factor in their reporting. The difference is huge.