Location vs Location comparison

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The claim of the wind industry is that when the wind is low in one area, a distant area can make up for that lack of wind.  This is just another falsehood.

Of course it all depends on the flow of a frontal system across Ontario. For example, we had windy days in the middle of Sept 2010 as a low pressure system came through.  The eye of that low came right over the center of Southern Ontario, no wind for some 12 hours, then it picked up again on the trailing edge.  As a frontal system moves across, generally from west to east (occasionally we get them come up from the US), then each wind farm will encounter the front at different times, and exit in the same sequence. Thus the differences between the locations is more of a wave of change in wind speed than physical distance, and which increases first is dependant on the originating frontal system.

However, when a high pressure cell settled over the province, the entire set of farms can be down at the same time.

Using the Amaranth in the middle of the area and comparing it to the furthest away farm (Wolfe Island) for the entire time the two have matching dates we get this scatter plot.

Each dot is an hour of that time span that Wolfe has been operational.  The values are all Hourly Capacity Factors.  Notice the symmetry of the scatter.  The majority of the time when Amaranth is low so is Wolfe Island.  In fact, we can add those hours up.  How many hours is Wolfe Island at each percent of HCF when Amaranth is below 10% HCF?  In other words, how often when Amaranth is poor is Wolfe good?

% Hours Wolfe
71.6% 0-10%
15.0% 10-20%
6.9% 20-30%
2.8% 30-40%
1.5% 40-50%
0.9% 50-60%
0.4% 60-70%
0.6% 70-80%
0.2% 80-90%
0.0% 90-100%

So 72% of the time Wolfe Island is also producing less than 10% name plate each hour when Amaranth is less than 10%.  15% of the time Wolfe Island is between 10 and 20% name plate.  And it drops off quickly from there. Expect this to be even worse for the summer months.

The next test was to see what Wolfe was doing on an HCF basis when Amaranth was below 5% HCF, and count the number of hours. Total hours is 2986 that have matching records.

  Amaranth
Wolfe 0 0.50% 1% 1.50% 2% 2.50% 3% 3.50% 4% 4.50%
0% 439 115 71 55 47 39 42 43 39 37
1% 101 19 17 12 13 13 17 13 5 9
2% 80 17 15 13 9 7 7 7 17 11
3% 61 21 22 9 10 7 9 12 11 6
4% 64 18 13 11 3 8 5 3 7 2
5% 35 13 11 10 6 8 7 4 6 6
6% 32 11 7 4 3 3 7 2 10 8
7% 32 14 8 9 7 6 2 3 5 5
8% 16 9 13 8 3 1 3 6 6 7
9% 26 11 6 3 5 4 3 4 10 4
10% 30 8 8 7 4 3 2 4 7 4
11% 21 10 4 6 5 3 5 4 4 3
12% 21 11 5 7 6 3 2 4 1 5
13% 22 4 4 4 4 4   2 1 4
14% 15 5 2 2 2 3 2 2 4 2
15% 13 5 5 5 4 5 2 5 1 2
16% 15 6 5 6 4 5 2 4 4 3
17% 12 5 2 2 1 4 3 4 5 7
18% 9 1 5 1 5 4 2 1 3 1
19% 13 4 2 2 3 1 1 4 1 4
20% 4 4 4 3   3     2  
21% 8 4 1 1 5 1 1 3   1
22% 7 4 2 2 3 1 1 2 8 1
23% 4 3 4 3 3   4 2   4
24% 4 5 5 1 1 2 1 5 1 2
25% 3 3 3 4 1   1 2   1
26% 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 2    
27% 4 2   3   2 1 1 1  
28% 3 3 1 1 1 1   1 1 1
29% 2 2 1 1 1   1 1 3 1
30% 1 1 1 4 1 1     1 1
31% 1 3 1 1 1 2   2   3
32% 4 2 2 1 1     2 1  
33%   1 1 1   2 1 1 1  
34% 1 2 1 1 1 2   2 1 1
35% 1 1 3 1 1     1    
36% 3   1     1 2 1 1 1
37% 3 1 2 1 1          
38% 3   1 1       2 1  
39%   1             1  
40% 2     1 1     1    
41% 1 2       2       1
42% 1 2     1          
43%     1 1   1        
44%       1   1        
45%       1     1     1
46% 2   2 2     2   1 2
47% 1     1            
48% 1         1     1 1
49%     1     1     1 1
50% 1 1   1         1  
51% 1                 1
52%       2   1 1      
54% 1     1   1     1 1
56%         1       1  
57% 1 1     1       2  
58% 1       1 2        
59% 1                  
60% 1 1     1   1     1
61% 1                  
65%         1 1        
68% 1                  
69%         1          
70% 1   1       1      
71% 1           1      
72%     1     1        
73%           1        
74% 3                 1
75% 4               1 1
76%                   2
78%   1 1         1   1
79%   1     1     1    
80%       1            
82%           1     1  
83% 1           1      
84% 2                  
86%         1          
87% 1                  
89% 1           1      
90% 1         1        
92%           1        

 Adding up the hours and getting the percent times at each of Wolfe’s HCF we find that 50% of the time when Amaranth is below 5% HCF, Wolfe is below 4%.  This means that half the time the two are in the same low output.  31% of the time Wolfe is zero when Amaranth is below 5%!  This is what the graph looks like plotting the percent of time (Y-Axis) vs Wolfe at each percent name plate (X-Axis) when Amaranth is below 5% name plate.

This is for the full 16 months of data combined (14-May-2009 to 26-Aug-2010).  The summers would be far worse than this.

Other locations could be compared, but the expected result would be very close to this.  Thus, the premise is false that when one location is low another distant location will be able to make up the difference. 


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