Thursday, June 28, 2012
UNT wind turbines producing energy more than expected
The optimal level of production for the community-scale turbines is reached when winds speeds are at about 33 mph.
The Eagle Point turbines near Apogee Stadium are currently producing and distributing energy at a rate of about 125,000 kilowatts a year, significantly more than UNT System Facilities expected. The estimated amount of yearly energy production is 450,000 kilowatts between the three community sized turbines.
“We fully expect this time of year for it to be ahead of schedule,” UNT Director of System Facilities Don Lynch said. “Spring was the windy time of year.”
Although the turbines have exceeded estimates, Lynch stressed that wind energy is not consistent and can’t be relied upon to always be producing.
“Right now we’re looking at a window of time that may or may not be accurate for what’s going to happen for the whole year,” Lynch said.
The three turbines, each measuring 120 feet high with three 30-foot-long blades, reach production limit at 100 kWh. The turbines begin to spin when winds reach 6 mph and brakes are activated by high wind speeds of 52 mph.
Wind speeds vary at different levels of the atmosphere – although there may be no breeze at ground level, the turbines could still be getting enough wind at 120 feet up to produce energy.
The optimal level of production for the community-scale turbines is reached when winds speeds are at about 33 mph. After speeds reach 35 mph their efficiency lowers to 95 percent.
UNT’s Office of Sustainability is expected to have a website up and running next week that will display the real-time production of each of the turbines, the wind speed, how much CO2 the green energy is preventing from entering the atmosphere and other related information.
Sustainability Outreach Coordinator Nicole Cocco said the site would be a useful educational tool for professors and students.
“It really gives [the students] the tools they need to use their innovation and their creativity to get a practical learning experience,” Cocco said.
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