The Ergosphere
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
 

Wind in Aruba: where's the beef?


Aruba is a very nice tourist destination.  It has sun, sand and water.  It also has trade winds, which lash the eastern shore with heavy waves.  These winds are the energy source for the Vader Piet wind farm, on Aruba's southeast shore.

Vader Piet exists because of a coup of clever financing.  Arranged during the credit crisis of 2008, Jerome Guillet managed to get the turbine vendor (Vestas) to back the deal.  According to what I can find, the project was completed in just over a year and went live in December 2009.

And then....

If everyone lived happily ever after, they're being awfully quiet about it.  I've done quite a bit of digging, but I can't find many generation figures for Vader Piet.  The follow-on wind farm that was rumored to be in planning has generated absolutely zero news that I've been able to discover.  Maybe it's just not in English, and is escaping my American-tuned search engine nets.

Or maybe it's just that these things don't exist.

The IEA has next to zero useful information on the former Netherlands Antilles, beyond the fact that their electric generation is entirely oil-fired.  That makes it easier to interpret the EIA data, which has a specific page on Aruba.

I recall rumors that the winds on Aruba allow a wonderfully high capacity factor, around 60%.  The 30 MW (10x 3 MW Vestas turbines) farm was expected to produce 18 MW average.  In its first year, it didn't do quite so well.  Between June 1 2010 and May 8 2011, Vader Piet produced as much as 60.8% and as little as 11.0% of monthly capacity, for an average of 41.5%.  That's an average of about 12.45 MW, or 109 GWh/yr.  Net generation rose slightly over the 2008-2012 interval, but not much:

109 GWh/yr is a big chunk of energy on a grid that produces just 920 GWh/yr.  At 30% efficiency, it's equivalent to 41.5 MW thermal or about 590 bbl/day of oil at 6.1 GJ/bbl.  That is about 20% of Aruba's net oil imports.  Do we see this happen between 2009 and 2010?  Not as I read the EIA data (which doesn't seem to be available as tables for some reason):

We get a significant drop, but not a very big one... and it doesn't seem to coincide with the year 2010.


There's a further confounding effect for Aruba:  in the same period as the Vater Piet installation, the island was installing some "RECIP" plants to increase the efficiency of the oil-fired electric generation.  This is probably what accounts for the other 140 MW of the 170 MW increase in nameplate generating capacity over the last few years.  How much of the decrease was due to better efficiency of the oil-burning generators, versus displacement by wind?  This page claims 30% greater efficiency of the new diesels vs. the old steam turbines.  That would produce the observed efficiency increase all by itself.

If wind is going to replace fossil fuels and eliminate carbon emissions, there should be few places it would work better than Aruba.  Despite this, the evidence that it is working in Aruba is spotty at best.  That is a mighty slim reed on which to hang the continued existence of industrial civilization and a liveable climate. 
Comments:
That slim reed vanishes when put in play in more conventional locations. Transportation costs are a large factor in remote locations and partly offset other considerations. When deployed in Germany, however, 'green' energy...wasn't up to the job.
Not that I buy into the climate alarm regardless. http://oldephartte.blogspot.ca/2014/05/responsible-climate-legislation-no.html
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Talk largely about energy and work, but also politics and other random thoughts


Mail Engineer-Poet

(If you're mailing a question, is it already in the FAQ?)

Important links

The FAQ
Glossary
The Reference Library

Blogchild of

Armed and Dangerous

Blogparent of

R-Squared




The best prospect for our energy future:
Flibe Energy

ARCHIVES
January 1990 / February 2004 / March 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / August 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / December 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 / March 2011 / April 2011 / May 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / April 2013 / November 2013 / December 2013 / January 2014 / February 2014 / March 2014 / April 2014 / July 2014 / August 2014 / September 2014 / October 2014 / November 2014 / February 2015 / April 2015 / October 2015 / March 2016 / April 2016 / May 2016 / June 2016 / July 2016 / November 2016 / December 2016 /


Powered by Blogger

RSS feed

Visits since 2006/05/11: