Cape Wind Data Testing Delivers Strong Results

Battling oppressive heat and stifling humidity, the New England region reached all time highs for electricity usage on Tuesday, July 19. Developers of Cape Wind, the first proposed offshore wind farm in the U.S. used that context to show how their wind farm could have real and beneficial effects on boosting power supplies in the region.

On Tuesday, according to the developers, the wind was blowing at 22 MPH between 2PM and 3PM, which would have enabled Cape Wind’s proposed wind farm to provide 260 megawatts of clean electricity during the hour of historic peak for electric demand in New England. The wind measurement was recorded by Cape Wind’s Scientific Data Tower located on the site of the proposed offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. The managers of New England’s electric grid, the Independent System Operator of New England (ISO NE) announced that the hour ending at 3PM on July 19 set an all-time record for electric demand in New England, the previous record had been in August, 2002. ISO NE also stated that New England will face rolling blackouts as soon as 2008 if new electric generation is not added in New England. Currently, Cape Wind is the only electric power project proposal in the midst of a permitting review in the New England region. In average wind conditions, Cape Wind will supply 170 megawatts which is nearly 75% of the average electric demand of Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB), which approved Cape Wind’s electric transmission line in May of this year, wrote in their report that “the power from the wind farm is needed on reliability and economic grounds.” The EFSB report noted that Cape Wind would reduce energy costs in New England up to $25 million per year because wind power projects are less expensive to operate than fossil fuel power plants. The spot market price of electricity on July 19 shot up along with the rising electric demand as some of the most expensive fossil fuel electric units were called upon to run. Cape Wind’s data tower reported that wind speeds picked up in the afternoon of July 19, just as electric demand was rising and reaching its historic high.
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