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Sat Mar 15, 2014, 02:56 PM

Offshore wind power's eye-popping capacity factors



Capacity factor, as many EarthTechling readers know, is a measure of how much energy a generator produces over a period of time as a percentage of the maximum it could produce. So you take the total amount of energy produced in, say, a year, and divide by the amount of power the generator would produce had it run continuously at 100 percent.

Wind power capacity factors vary considerably by site, but generally people think around 30 to 35 percent when they talk about capacity factors for wind. But in Denmark in 2013, 13 offshore wind farms, totaling installed capacity of 1,271 megawatts, together had a capacity factor of 42.7 percent.


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Reply Offshore wind power's eye-popping capacity factors (Original post)
jpak Mar 2014 OP
MindMover Mar 2014 #1
kristopher Mar 2014 #2
MindMover Mar 2014 #3

Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Mar 15, 2014, 03:03 PM

1. and instead of drilling for dinosaur juice in offshore waters ...

we could be installing ocean current generators ....

"The magic of ocean currents is that they surround every continent on Earth and they run all day, every day. That's what sets this energy source apart from wind, solar, tidal, or wave—all of which are cyclical, meaning that during certain periods they don't produce power.

The ocean-current generator we're planning to build would float 100 to 200 feet below the sea surface. The device is a 65-foot-diameter cylinder shaped to speed up water flow, with propeller blades attached to its frame. As water flows through, it strikes the blades and spins a rotor, which generates electricity. A 17-foot center opening would allow animals to pass through unharmed. We estimate that in the Gulf Stream, a few miles offshore from West Palm Beach, Florida, the five-knot current would turn the blades about eight times per minute, generating about a megawatt of power.

We are designing the turbine to steer itself into the best current so that it generates maximum power, which is principally why our small submersibles manufacturing group, Triton Submarines, is involved. To make the turbine float, we'd create it partly out of syntactic foam, a buoyant material that we can shape easily but won't collapse under high ocean pressures. The device would be tethered to the seafloor with a cable and adjustable straps that lengthen or shorten to move it in response to onboard water current, depth, and power output sensors.

The cable would then transmit power to a seafloor junction box, which would boost the voltage, convert it from AC to DC, and send it to a collection and distribution center onshore. In the future, we imagine an array of anywhere from 15 to 50 generators working together."


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Response to MindMover (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 12:17 AM

2. There really aren't very many locations for this type of underwater generation.

The Gulf stream as it moves through the straights off of Florida out to the Bahamas. It is the only significant resource we have, but it's potential is pretty large.

You might find this interesting; chapter 4 has an estimate of the size of that resource. It's a pretty large file if you have dialup.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 16, 2014, 12:36 AM

3. There are several different locations that have been researched and ...

Investments are in process ... engineers are looking at feasibility study ...

Ty for the info .

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