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Common sense isn't.

Performance of TVA's Buffalo Mountain Wind Power Plant
Year End 2001

Wind Speed for Buffalo Mountain As we wait for TVA's announcement page to be updated with fourth quarter 2001 results, we can ponder the weather data from the last few days of the year. As luck would have it, after a string of very windy days, the old year went out, and the new year came in, with a whimper (or low winds). Below about 4 meters/second (about 9 mph) the wind turbines can produce no power.

Temperature for Buffalo Mountain Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, the temperature was also quite low during this time of low wind. Wind turbines can produce more power with lower temperature, denser air. So, in a way the wind turbines like cold and windy weather best, unlike most people. The dense, cold air on the mountain was not being taken advantage of to make power at a time when power was needed for heating. In fact, we can be sure that the turbines themselves were consuming power to keep the precious components warm.

Relative Humidity for Buffalo Mountain You may explore the effect of varying temperature and humidity on the power produced by the turbines, using my TVA Buffalo Mountain wind power calculator. Of course, variations in temperature or humidity don't make much difference if the wind isn't blowing.

Thanks to NOAA for the weather data.

Previous Bottom Line Reports:

November 2001

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Common sense isn't.

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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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