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Is it REALLY the case that big is always better?

Yes, taller is always better, because the farther away from the ground the larger can the wind speeds be while staying within the laminar (as opposed to turbulent) boundary layer. The surface of the sea is smoother than the surface of land, which also helps.

The density per square kilometer is at least 1 MW/Km^2 (effective). Depending on the average capacity factor (25%, 30%, 40% - I think it is larger on the sea than on land) this is between 2.5 and 4 MW/Km^2 (nominal). But this is a function of wind speeds (goes as the cubic power), which are better at higher altitudes and on  water (back to boundary layers).

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 03:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Distance between turbines is usually 7 rotor diameters, i.e. less than a kilometer. So in that case that would give you 8MW nominal per sq.km, or close to 4MW real per sq. km.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 03:40:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The power depends only on the wind speed, given that the 7 diam rule is respected as the size of the turbine increases.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 03:44:06 PM EST
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