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Performance of TVA's Buffalo Mountain Wind Power Plant

The Bottom Line

October 7, 2003

For data recently released by TVA, through August 31, 2003

Capacity Factor versus Time
The figure above and table below summarize the plant's historical electricity production, based on the recently released update from TVA (PDF format).

As always, TVA still refuses to provide timely or detailed information regarding the performance of their wind power plant, even when requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

After last report's unprecedented reporting of data on the same date as a previous year, TVA returned to their previous inconsistent reporting pattern, and even stooped to a new low. This time they reported data for a four month period, the longest period yet, since initial operations from October 2000 through March 2001. Despite the efforts to obscure the data, simple interpolation between July and October 2002 (during the low production period) yields the following results.

Annual energy production from August 31, 2002 to August 31, 2003 was approximately 3.66 million kilowatt hours, which is down slightly from last report (3.74 million kilowatt hours, for April 2002 to April 2003). Compare this production with TVA's original announced, annual goal (pre-operations) of 6 million kilowatt hours, and TVA's announced revised annual goal (2002) of 4.6 million kilowatt hours. They need to achieve 27% capacity factor to meet the revised goal.

Despite the extended, four-month reporting period, the capacity factor, at about 13.9%, was about tied for second worst performance reported so far. Average lifetime capacity factor has about stabilized at 20-22%, with the latest value of 21.0%

The interesting question is how often, and for how long at a time, the windmills actually produce zero power. TVA has not released that information to my knowledge, but I was in the vicinity during an obvious zero-power time period this July. I think it occurs more often than one would guess, which is why TVA does its best to hide the data.


Date
Actual
Total
Production
Million
Kilowatt
hours
Theoretical
Capacity
Million
Kilowatt
hours

Lifetime
Capacity
Factor
%
Capacity
Factor
For
Period
%
Days
Since
Start
November 1, 2000 - "Operational Date"
(Actual Start of Operations - Oct. 12)
0
0
n/a
n/a
0
March 31, 2001
1.2
7.2
16
16
151
June 30, 2001
2.1
11.5
19
22
242
September 30, 2001
2.6
15.9
16
9
334
December 31, 2001
3.9
20.2
19
30
426
February 28, 2002
4.8
23.0
21
33
485
April 30, 2002  
5.8
25.9
22
33
546
July 31, 2002  
6.4
30.3
21
16
638
October 31, 2002  
7.0
34.7
20
13
730
January 31, 2003
8.3
39.1
21
30
822
April 30, 2003
9.5
43.3
22
27
911
August 31, 2003 (PDF)
10.3
49.1
21
14
1034

Previous Bottom Line Reports:
July 2003
April 2003
December 2002
October 2002
June 2002
April 2002
March 2002
January 2002
November 2001

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Quote of the moment
Liberty: The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.
~ Woodrow Wilson ---Address to New York Press Club, September 9, 1912. ~
Thanks to Highland Media

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Disclaimer Fine Print: This site is personal, and is independent of TVA or any other organization. Use of the abbreviation "TVA" is purely for descriptive purposes (for example, to distinguish from wind power plants on Buffalo Ridge in Minnesota). No endorsement, no approval, and no involvement by TVA is implied.

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