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Dispelling the onshore wind myth (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

In the tide of global net-zero carbon emission, many countries have started to take action to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050, and initiatives like Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism are helping to reach this goal faster. Fortunately, Taiwan being an island, has a strong northeast monsoon every year, with an average wind speed of more than 4 meters per second, and is rich in wind energy. However, Taiwan has many myths about wind power and fails to use this wind power efficiently. So, we at Arbon will help you to solve these problems. Based on the difficulty of the problem, we have divided the articles into three parts.

Q1. Why do we often see wind turbines that don’t revolve? Is it because of the high failure rate? Or is it because of the need for high wind power?

A1. The possible reasons are as follows.

i. It is in maintenance condition.

ii. It is in a windless condition.

iii. Disconnection due to Taipower's grid requirements (e.g., maintenance or accidents) to avoid island effect[1].

However, under normal operation conditions, the turbine will not be shut down, and the operation and maintenance manufacturers have a 95% utilization guarantee rate[2].

Q2. Does the turbine generate electromagnetic waves that affect human safety?

A2. The electromagnetic waves generated by wind turbines are in accordance with the "Guidelines for Exposure of Substations, Magnetic Fields and Electromagnetic Fields during Restricted Hours".

Q3. Taiwan's environment is often subject to typhoons, earthquakes, and high temperatures in summer. Could this damage or be dangerous to the turbine?

A3. The design and construction of the wind turbine are in line with the national building standards and can even resist earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 (horizontal acceleration 1.66g) in terms of tolerance factor. In terms of, wind resistance, Taiwan's onshore wind all use Class IA[3] or Class T[4] turbines, which can withstand wind speeds of up to 17 gusts or more, so wind turbines can withstand Taiwan's environment irrespective of many earthquakes and typhoons. As for the problem of high temperature and sun exposure, Taiwan's highest temperature and degree of sun exposure will not affect cars and buildings, and there will be no problem with the wind turbines.

Q4. Can the season influence the power generation of the wind turbine?

A4. All kind of renewable energy is prone to some climatic or natural hazards. For Taiwan's onshore wind, the power generation in winter accounts for about 70% of the annual power generation, and the 24-hour daytime power generation is about 40% higher than the nighttime power generation. In Taiwan, all types of renewable energy are affected by the nature and can’t be the same as a base-load power generation[5]unit. However, each additional 1 kWh of renewable energy reduces 1 kWh of thermal power generation. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the earth's environment and carbon reduction.

We believe that after the above solutions, everyone has a preliminary understanding of wind power generation. The next part will answer more myths about wind power generation, including the construction and materials of power grids and wind turbines, so stay tuned!

Reference [1] Island Effect: It is the condition in which a distributed generator (DG) continues to power a location even though external electrical grid power is no longer present. [2] Utilization guarantee Rate: The percentage of time that the equipment actually operates. [3] Class IA: Withstand wind speeds up to 50m/s, with a maximum instantaneous gust of 70m/s. [4] Class T: The maximum wind speed is increased to 57m/s, which can withstand winds equivalent to a strong typhoon of category 17. [5] Base-Load Power Generation: A stable supply of basic power sources, such as coal-fired thermal power or nuclear power, in Taiwan.

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