Study says wind farms can potentially be self sustaining

Sept. 14, 2009
Here are some steps the wind industry can take to make it without legislative handouts.

Two Northeastern University researchers think that wind farms could be self-sustaining operations even if the current governmental production tax credit, which pays 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, were eliminated. Anand Venkateswaran, assistant professor of finance and insurance, and Jonathan Welch, a member of the business faculty from 1977 until his death in 2009, collected and analyzed 15 years of data from approximately sixty 100-turbine wind farms. Noting that a productive wind farm generates electricity 40% of the time, or 12 days a month, Venkateswaran suggested that increasing productivity to 53%, or 16 days a month, would eliminate the need for subsidies typically needed to keep such operations afloat.

Other suggestions: “Lighter blades on the turbines would be one way to improve efficiency; siting farms in windier spots would be another," he says. "And the profitability of wind farms could also be improved if the cost of turbines, which averages approximately $3.2 million per unit, were reduced," he said.

Their work appeared in the May 2009 issue of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VMY-4SPSF2R-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1011192005&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=daf6ab00f97f27b4356efe4186df4210

A Northeastern University news article about the work is here:

http://www.northeastern.edu/news/stories/2009/09/windfarms.html

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