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Study says wind farms can potentially be self sustaining

Two Northeastern University researchers think that wind farms could be self-sustaining operations even if the current governmental production tax credit, which pays 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, were eliminated. Anand Venkateswaran, assistant professor of finance and insurance, and Jonathan Welch, a member of the business faculty from 1977 until his death in 2009, collected and analyzed 15 years of data from approximately sixty 100-turbine wind farms. Noting that a productive wind farm generates electricity 40% of the time, or 12 days a month, Venkateswaran suggested that increasing productivity to 53%, or 16 days a month, would eliminate the need for subsidies typically needed to keep such operations afloat.

Other suggestions: “Lighter blades on the turbines would be one way to improve efficiency; siting farms in windier spots would be another," he says. "And the profitability of wind farms could also be improved if the cost of turbines, which averages approximately $3.2 million per unit, were reduced," he said.

Their work appeared in the May 2009 issue of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VMY-4SPSF2R-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1011192005&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=daf6ab00f97f27b4356efe4186df4210

A Northeastern University news article about the work is here:

http://www.northeastern.edu/news/stories/2009/09/windfarms.html

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