Puerto Rico: Wind farm fiasco

Last week Bill Clinton was in PR saying that PR could lead the entire Caribbean toward a green future.

But not quite yet.

The Santa Isabel wind farm was shut down for a month and a half due to equipment modifications Siemens Energy had to make following malfunctions in the B53 blades at wind farms in Iowa and California. The blades are 170 feet long and weigh 10 tons apiece. 36 out of 44 aerogenerators are now functional.

Pattern Energy, which owns the wind farm, loses $1.5 million each month it can not sell electricity to the local utility, Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE).

The project has disappointed expectations. In addition to the above equipment problems and monetary loss, it is located in an area that is not windy, and it is serving 10,000 fewer customers than the 63,000 originally projected.

UPDATE:
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6 Responses to “Puerto Rico: Wind farm fiasco”

  1. Mr. Bingley Says:

    “…located in an area that is not windy…”

    That sort of sums up the entire Green Power Industry, doesn’t it?

  2. Fausta Says:

    Indeed – and figuring out which side of the 3,000 sq mile island is windiest is not rocket science, either.

  3. Gringo Says:

    “located in an area that is not windy.”

    Not too bright. I am reminded of the housing contractor in my hometown who built himself a house with solar energy. He placed the solar-collecting the panels on the NORTH side of the house. Any dummy knows that in the winter- at least in the northern hemisphere- the sun is in the southern part of the sky. All you have to do is look outside on a winter’s day. But the housing contractor didn’t know that.

    There is a place for wind energy, but it needs to be placed where there is wind. Think Great Plains[North Dakota, especially], not Georgia pine forest.

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  5. LR Says:

    Anyone that says the area is not windy has never been there. You don’t just put 400 feet tall monsters in areas where they won’t work. Wind power is not particularly efficient compared to other sources and those who expected anything better than the industry average of 20% was just dreaming.

  6. JB Says:

    I agree with LR above. Companies don’t put up expensive wind turbines without the certainty that they will produce power efficiently. More importantly, this and most wind projects are bank financed and the banks won’t finance these projects without seeing at least 1.5 years of wind resource assessment that meets a minimum criteria. Puerto Rica has extremely high energy costs so for better or worse, the island needs more renewables and wind is the cheapest of the renewables options.