Harnessing Wind Energy

I just realized that Texas has the largest Wind Turbine Capacity in USA. 

We were driving along Interstate Highway I-10, when we saw rows and rows of wind turbines along the road. Even though this technology has been around for quite some time, we were quite amazed to see wind turbines along the highways. A rough estimation would be at least 50 wind turbines.

Current U.S. wind power capacity is over 11,600 MW, or enough to serve the equivalent of 3 million average households. *WOW*

I knew that wind turbine technology is getting common, but I did not know that it is currently powering that many homes. Europe has 48,000 MW wind power capacity & India with 7000 MW wind power capacity (not take into account of capacity & availability factors).

I was browsing through some information on the Denmark Offshore Wind Farms (Horns Reef) – Awesome. This is a video that my colleague shared with me, showing how these Gigantic Wind Turbines were manufactured and mounted on the North Sea. 

From Manufacturing & Assembly point of view -> Very Impressive! The sheer size the offshore wind turbines, *WOW* even though they might look very small from the ocean view.  

Also in Malaysia, there is a 150kW Wind Turbine built in Layang-Layang Sabah (haven been able to find reports on how successful this project is). And not forgetting Bahrain’s World Trade Centre. I had the opportunity to see these twin towers with 3 wind turbines sandwitched in between. Once operational, the wind turbines will deliver approximately 11-15% of the energy needs of the building, or 1100 to 1300 megawatt-hours per year — enough to provide light in 300 homes for over a year. I am not sure how practical it is (there is not much wind at the bay when we were there), but it is certainly COOL!

Trying to put things from a $$$ perspective, I use Singapore’s Energy Consumption pattern as an example, since I spent a good 11 years of my life there. (by no means making suggestions that Singapore should harness Wind Energy). 

 After doing some math shown below (with some assumptions),   The Cost of Electricity using Natural Gas is 6.23 cents per KWH. The Cost of Electricity using Wind Energy is 5 cents per KWH. 

This means that, if Singapore were to consume Electricity at the rate it did in 2005, it would have cost Singapore US$340 million less (0.3% of Singapore’s 2006 GDP) by using Wind Energy.

If the estimation calculation is not too far from true, I guess we could see more of this technology in the future! Imagine if we can have one of these turbines on top of every building powering up the whole building. Not sure whether the Architects will like this idea (Good Luck to the Birds too), but it guess it could save us some oil & gas. =)


————————– Estimation Calculation————————

2005 Singapore Electricity Consumption – 34 Billion KWH (80% generated by Natural Gas) & 6.4 Billion Cubic Meter of Natural Gas

If all Electricity Consumption is generated 100% by Natural Gas, 8 Billion Cubic Meter of Natural Gas Consumption in year 2005 (Assuming all Natural Gas consumption is used to generate Electricity) 


Price of Natural Gas  US$0.265 per cubic meter

8 Billion Cubic Meter of Natural Gas (producing 34 billion KWH) Costs US$2.12 Billion (Assuming that processing, distribution & other cost negligible)

Cost of 1 kWH of Electricity from Natural Gas = 6.23 cents

Cost of 1 kWH of Electricity from Wind Turbines = 5 cents


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