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Turbines, toasters and televisions

Last updated on 11/05/2016
The newly approved Cam Burn wind farm near Aghadowey will produce enough electricity to light up and power all the devices in 7,900 homes. That’s the claim by developer TCI Renewables. How do they work that out?

They start off with the installed capacity of the wind farm. That’s 13.8 megawatts. In theory if the wind blew all the time you could expect to get 13.8 megawatt hours of electricity every hour. But of course even in Ireland the wind drops occasionally. 

They assume they’ll get way less than the theoretical maximum. Contrast that with a fossil fuel fired power station which can generate its full output hour after hour. In this case of Cam Burn wind farm they reckon they’ll get roughly speaking 30% of maximum output on average over the year. 

That works out at just over 36,000 megawatt hours. For some reason, I can’t quite fathom, the developers assume that average household electricity consumption is 4,700 kilowatt hours a year. Normally it’s reckoned to be around 3000 kilowatt hours or 3 megawatt hours. Anyway using the Cam Burn assumption, drawn they say from figures compiled by the British Wind Energy Association, one can see how they reach the conclusion that their turbines will produce enough energy to light and power up close to 8000 homes. So there you have it.

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