Wind Beats Natural Gas
As Nicaragua is heavily investing in wind energy to satisfy its future electricty needs, this article is of interest. It is about how in 2012 there was more new energy capacity installed in the US based on wind sources than from natural gas. While wind capacity is big news in Nicaragua, it seems to be all but ignored in the US.
The article does point out that the table shows installed capacity. Typical output for wind plants is a much lower percentage of the maximum than with natural gas. With the virtual constant wind where the new Nicaraguan wind farms are located, I wonder how the numbers comapre?
From the article:
One thing to note here is the issue of capacity factor: That’s how much power an installation actually produces as a percentage of its theoretical capacity. (Which is what’s listed in the table.) Natural gas plants do quite well in this regard: Their median performance tends to come out to at least 80 percent, and they max out at 93 percent, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s cost database.
Unfortunately, wind power doesn’t perform as well, due to the intermittency of, well, wind. Its median tends to be around 40 percent offshore. Onshore it’s been at 30 percent, though arguably onshore performance is pulling alongside offshore. And both max out at 50 to 54 percent. So even though wind beat out natural gas for new capacity in 2012, the new natural gas installation will almost certainly wind up generating more total electricity.