Kansas Wind Power Works Well for Brutal KC Summer

Kansas Wind Power Works Well for Brutal KC Summer

Wind farms in central and western Kansas would have substantially helped to meet high electricity loads during Kansas City’s hot summer of 2003, according to a new study.  Wind speeds, on average, were strong during July and August of 2003 when area utilities experienced record electricity demand.  Had they been in place at the time, wind farms with state-of-the-art turbines would have produced power at a level well above average at three sites studied.

The study was performed by analyzing newly available “tall tower” wind data measured at a height commensurate with the big turbines now being used in wind farms in the plains states.  The study was done in response to concerns expressed by Kansas utilities that wind power would not be available when they needed it the most, which is during summer heat waves.

The study was performed by Spectrum Technologists, a consultant to the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club and modeled the output of a 1.5 megawatt General Electric Wind turbine at sites in Kearny, Logan and EllsworthCounties in Kansas.  One particularly interesting result was that winds were, on average, stronger on the hottest days in July and August of 2003 than on other days.  Only on a few days would the turbines have performed poorly during the afternoon and evening time when loads become excessive on hot days.

“This study indicates that wind power could greatly reduce the need for high-cost natural gas and purchased power now used to meet high loads on hot days,” said Brooks Albery, spokesman for the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra club.  “That means wind power would have a high market value and save money for rate payers.”

Also natural gas is conserved for critical uses such as home heating.  A summary of the report and the full report can be obtained on the Kansas Chapter Website at http://kansas.sierraclub.org/wind/WindStudy.htm

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