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March 29, 2008

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Doug Cotton

A single 500 MW wind farm would be a large project, generating more than
the BEC could reasonably use. When the winds are blowing strongly, this
would more than completely displace all the generation capacity on New
Providence which would cause major system integration problems for BEC.

It seems to be set up more to sell power into the Florida market
although one would want to locate the wind farm closer to Florida - on
or next to Bimini in shallow water. With more than 1 farm, you would
have to sell power to Florida.

The major disconnect I see is with their wind power estimates. Their
data estimates higher levels of wind on Eleuthera than the NOAA data we
used in our report - a low of 4.1 to a high of 5.4 m/s, with about 4.5
m/s on average. One could argue that the NOAA data is not a reliable
indicator and site specific information may show different results, but
Cape Systems says that their data shows average wind speeds of about 4.5
m/s at 100 feet. As stated in our report, the typical cut-in speed for 2
MW turbines such as described in this proposal is 4 m/s so it is hard to
imagine they would obtain the capacity factor they cite.

Sara Parker

We are interested in building a windmill to run our house on the eastern tip of New Providence. Does anyone know of such a product in use here? (My grandparents used a simple one to pump water in Missouri.)

I have heard that wind fields are terribly destructive to bird life. Bill Bardelmeier has a very interesting alternative proposal.

larry smith

Compared to what? Hitting birds with automobiles (along with other wildlife)? Birds killed by cats? Birds hitting buildings or phone towers? Birds killed at airports? Quite possibly, a higher mortality of birds will be attached to the transmission wires needed to get the wind power to market.

In the United States, cars and trucks wipe out millions of birds each year, while 100 million to 1 billion birds collide with windows. According to the 2001 National Wind Coordinating Committee study, these non-wind mortalities compare with 2.19 bird deaths per turbine per year. That's a long way from the sum mortality caused by the other sources.

Please see this page...

http://www.awea.org/faq/sagrillo/swbirds.html

larry smith

As for single ghome wind turbines, see the following...

http://www.awea.org/faq/rsdntqa.html#TurbineSizing

Bob Knaus

Larry. You're a journalist. You know the principles of investigative reporting. You have a reputation as a tough reporter. That's why your column is named Tough Call, right?

So why do you keep swallowing the numbers presented by environmental advocates without questioning? For cryin' out loud, do some basic checking for math consistency and factual accuracy.

5.9 m/s is Class 2 not Class 4. Here's a link: http://www.awea.org/faq/basicwr.html

There are several others that will tell you the same thing. It's important, because available wind power varies with the cube of the wind speed. The northern Bahamas is not really that great of a spot for wind generation. I know; I spend a lot of time there listening to the one on my boat make electricity.

Speaking of which, in five years of more-or-less continuous operation, it has hit two seagulls that I know of. Didn't kill them; but in both cases it knocked enough primaries off a wing to make them unable to fly.

Art Sands

Bob thanks for the link according to the chart 5.6m/s to 6.0m/s at 10 meter measurement are class 4 winds.
Also to correct the intial article the 2 parks were to be connected from NP to Eleu to Abaco to GB to Flroida following the currentt routes that both BTC and Cable crossings use.

larry smith

In this case, Bob, I was merely reporting on the contents of a proposal document, not trying to analyse it. It did not occur to me that basic data would be falsified to risk a $2 billion investment.

I did, however, ask an independent expert to review, and Doug's comment is posted above.

I should have noted that the speeds lifted from the proposal refer to wind class at the 100 meter level and translate into over 14mph on average for Eleuthera and over 16mph on average for Abaco.

These are calculated speeds for that height based on average measured speeds of 12mph for Eleuthera and 14mph for Abaco at the 10 meter level.

The proposed turbines had a hub height of 100 meters and a rotor diameter of 80 meters.

Art may have additional information, but the document describes an undersea cable from Eleuthera to Nassau and from Abaco to Grand Bahama to Florida:

"If BEC does not commit to purchase the power from the Abaco project, WindΣrgy’s intent is to sell it to Florida Power & Light. To do so, would require negotiations with Grand Bahama Power to use its distribution lines to route the output to a substation to be built to terminate an undersea cable between Grand Bahama’s west end to West Palm Beach, Florida, paralleling the AT&T submarine fiber optic cable between those two points. Previously, Grand Bahama Power expressed a desire to purchase a limited quantity of the proposed Abaco wind project’s output.

"Conversely, WindΣrgy would build an undersea cable between Abaco’s BEC substation on its southwest end to a BEC Nassau load center."

If Art does have more info perhaps he could share it.


Bob Knaus

OK, so a bit more mental math... hub height of 100 meters and rotor diameter of 80 meters = 180 meter height. That's almost 600 feet tall. And there would be 250 of them. How far do you think they would be visible?

The lower Florida Keys have a better wind profile than the northern Bahamas. Wouldn't it be more efficient to locate the turbines there, if you're going to produce for the Florida market? What do you suppose would happen if someone proposed a chain of 600-foot wind turbines along the Keys? The residents would raise a ruckus! They might cite any number of causes, but fundamentally they would not want such huge machines to impinge on their view of the sea.

Should the Bahamas be the outsourcer for Florida's visual pollution?

What do you think the folks in Abaco and Eleuthera would do if this proposal started to get serious? Their #1 industry is tourism. Do you think they would be any happier than people in the Keys to see giant turbines sprouting along the coast?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all in favor of green power. I make most of my own. I just think it needs to be tempered with a dose of reality.

larry smith

Again, I was sharing the contents of a proposal - not necessarily advocating it.

Your point is obviously valid (and is the same argument used against siting LNG facilities off Bimini). But it has to be weighed against the cons for the Bahamas of continuing with conventional oil-fired generation.

larry smith

BTW, Bob, I believe you made at least one mathematical error. If the rotor hub (point of attachment to the support) is 100 metres and the rotor is 80 metres diameter (40 metres radius), the bottom tip of the rotor will be 60 metres above ground and the top tip of the rotor 140 metres above ground. It's still a big mother.

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