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Capacity factor of wind power realized values vs. estimates

Authors
Journal
Energy Policy
0301-4215
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
37
Issue
7
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2009.02.046
Keywords
  • Electricity
  • Renewables
  • Planning
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract For two decades now, the capacity factor of wind power measuring the average energy delivered has been assumed in the 30–35% range of the name plate capacity. Yet, the mean realized value for Europe over the last five years is below 21%; accordingly private cost is two-third higher and the reduction of carbon emissions is 40% less than previously expected. We document this discrepancy and offer rationalizations that emphasize the long term variations of wind speeds, the behavior of the wind power industry, political interference and the mode of finance. We conclude with the consequences of the capacity factor miscalculation and some policy recommendations.

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