Wind Power Generation

NP's Wind turbine at Rankin Inlet

Background: In the nineties NP’s predecessor the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) had been under pressure from customers, its shareholder, environmental regulators and the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to generate power utilizing wind. Wind energy is being used increasingly in other parts of the world and it was felt that it would be a less expensive form of power than diesel. In response to these requests the Board of Directors of NTPC approved a developmental wind program in 1996. At that time it was recognized that wind generation would not be cost effective compared to diesel. Wind power has a low operational cost but the high capital cost relative to the output makes wind power more expensive than diesel. However, the program was approved to gain practical experience with wind energy in the North so that when it became cost effective the Corporation would be ready to adopt it on a large-scale basis for the benefit of its customers. NP is now involved in three wind farms. As a small utility, the wind turbines NP requires are very small by industry standards. There are only two suppliers of turbines less that 100 kW that NP can make use of and NP has utilized both suppliers with limited success. They have not been able to supply equipment when promised resulting in significant project delays. In order for wind energy to be successful in the long-term NP will need to identify a reliable supplier of equipment.


One of the communities required that we move the units after installation had begum even though the community had approved the original site. While small by industry standards. it will require better control systems to ensure that they integrate efficiently with the diesel power plant. the reliability of the community's power and the cost of the remaining diesel power. As the load on the diesel engines fluctuates they do not run as efficiently as they could resulting in higher diesel costs.The units do not operate reliably in cold weather so they require regular maintenance and parts to ensure continued operation of the turbines. Support from southern Canada is too expensive and slow. In order for wind energy to be successful in the long-term it must be ensured that the community fully understands and supports the project before it is undertaken. As wind fluctuates. The suppliers are mainly interested in supplying turbines and not in their operation and maintenance. The cost of relocating turbines makes expensive projects even more so. Once these units have operated for another 12-24 months and there is better information on the on-going costs and reliability the need for additional projects will be reviewed. In order for wind energy to be successful in the long-term. For example. the economics of wind energy need to dramatically improve for it to become a viable source of power in the long-term for all Nunavut customers. In order for wind energy to be successful. operation must become more reliable and this will require training of NP or local contractors to maintain the turbines. the turbines nevertheless represent a large percentage of the generation for small communities. having this much power rising and falling can impact the quality of power. Finally. the two 80 kW units in Kugluktuk could provide up to 60% of the communities generation at some time of the day. The Corporation has gained valuable experience so far from its developmental wind program that will assist when wind energy becomes a viable source of power in the long-term. 4/24/02 . A desire by customers for higher priced green power will be required for wind energy to be economic in all markets in Nunavut. For now NP will monitor the three wind farms in place and continue to develop solutions for the problems identified so that when wind energy is economic it will be a reliable source of power.

2002. The production. making the current rate for power purchase attractive for the current and future years.191 Production from the Cambridge Bay machine suffered during temperatures lower than -35°C.7644/litre.048 19.108 40. The current price of production fuel in Cambridge Bay is $0. This information represents the most recent available information.040 30.355 24.522 33.610 72. Using the 1997/98fuel rate of 3.20/kWh. The rate for purchasing energy from the unit is set at $0.206/kWh. purchase payments.080 155.425 12.413 19.7644/litre 4/24/02 .416 15. and fuel displaced are shown in the following table.576 21. this translates to a fuel cost of $0.097 31. Note 1 Based on the 1997/98 Plant Efficiency of 3.6276/litre $0. which expires September 30.364 150.71 kWh/litre. Production was also sensitive to maintenance. and suffered whenever the Dutch Industries maintainer was out of town or too busy with his other duties to carry out the necessary routine maintenance.435 14.71 kWh/l Note 2 Based on 1994-96 Fuel Price 1997-98 Fuel Price 1999 Fuel Price 2000 Fuel Price $0.385 8.538 122.877 22.Current Projects: Cambridge Bay Turbine Type: Lagerwey LW18/80 Rated Output: 80 kW In-service Date: September 1994 The Cambridge Bay wind project is owned and operated by Dutch Industries Ltd.5881/litre $0.067 Payments Fuel Displaced Fuel Displaced ($) (Litres) note 1 ($) note 2 11. The energy produced by the turbine is purchased by the Corporation in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in a power purchase agreement. Year 1994 1995 1996 1998 1999 Production (kWh) 57.073 41.5263/litre $0.

as the units were relocated shortly after the foundation construction began.000. This unit has been repaired and is back in service. Purchased in July 1996. The second unit suffered a lightning strike earlier in July/2000. one of the machines fell from its tower after failure of several mounting bolts. and was the only one of the three locations approved by the Hamlet officials.500 was received from Dutch Industries for a re-conditioned turbine to replace the damaged unit. The capital cost for purchase and installation of these two machines in Kugluktuk was $580. Erection of these units was an expensive learning process for NTPC. with several extended periods of downtime. On July 19. 2000.298 fuel savings over 28 months. this location will require extremefuel cost escalation before wind energy is a viable alternative. Ongoing routine maintenance was also a problem in the first two years of operation. and is considered beyond repair. The original location was one of the three locations recommended by the supplier. After erection in the new location.Kugluktuk Turbine Type: 2 x Lagerwey LW18/80 Rated Output: 2 x 80 kW Installation Date: October 1996 In-service Date: April 1997 Total Generation to August 1999: 254.080 kWh Fuel Displaced (Litres): 68. these turbines were the first in NTPC’s wind energy program.670 litres Fuel Displaced ($): 41. With only $41. Update (Feb/2002): No further action on failed turbine.298 The turbines in Kugluktuk are owned and operated by NP. Cambridge Bay unit maintainer has indicated a desire to purchase units and relocate to Cambridge Bay. causing damage to some of the control circuitry. and resolution of these problems took time due to lack of after sales service from the manufacturer and supplier. Quote of $110. 4/24/02 . Further research by the Corporation into siting of locations led to agreement with opponents of the location that the location was too close to occupied buildings to guarantee an acceptable margin of safety. there were several problems encountered with the electronic control systems of the machines.

Government of Nunavut. The foundation and distribution extension for the Rankin turbine were completed in September 1998. and two community consultation/information meetings were held. and the turbine and tower were shipped there for installation in 1997. The construction was held up when the control building failed to make shipment into Rankin on the sealift.000 (2000price) The Rankin Inlet wind turbine was originally destined for Iqaluit. Arctic Airports.Rankin Inlet Wind Turbine 1 Rankin Inlet Turbine Type: Atlantic Orient AOC15/50 Rated Output: 66 kW Installation Date: September 2000 In-service Date: November 2000 Generation to Date: Not Available Estimated Annual Generation: 152. adding some 90 feet to the Minimum Descent Altitude allowed for the instrument approach in Rankin. Before the project could proceed further.000 kWh Annual Fuel Displacement: 41. Supplier problems delayed delivery of the blades until early 1998.100 litres Annual Fuel Savings: $24. advised that the location of the unit would interfere with aircraft approaches. 4/24/02 . At that time the decision was made to relocate the project to Rankin from Iqaluit. The shipper agreed to have the structure brought in to Rankin during the winter. It was decided that the turbine would be relocated to another location farther from the airport rather than risk having a negative impact on the community. Approvals for the site had been received from Transport Canada. mainly due to better economics.

Planning and Installation Even with attractive economics. and was ready for testing. It is obvious from these experiences that the installation of a wind turbine in a community cannot proceed along the same schedule as a diesel capacity increase. The equipment presently installed does not differentiate between down time due to unavailability and down time due to lack of sufficient wind. or even a plant upgrade. The Cambridge Bay unit demonstrates this. 23.The new site was chosen.3% It should be noted that not all unavailable hours were due to maintenance problems. In two of the three NTPC owned projects. (May 10/01 was the last recorded tip brake problem. 2000 to December 1. The power purchase price now appears to be better than our avoided cost of diesel. resulting in the unit being unavailable until June 20/01). This situation now exists in several locations with high wind potential.6% availability Mar 14/01 to June 20/01 the unit operated 229 hours out of 2352 for 9. Up until the most recent fuel price increase. The turbine was erected in September 2000. Benefits and Problems – Discussion: Economics Escalating fuel prices in the Corporation's service area are making wind energy appear more attractive than ever before. the output of this unit was being purchased at a loss. Nov 23/00 to Mar 14/01 turbine operated 895 hours out of 2664 for 33. 2001: Total Hours 8952 hours Running Hours 3250 hours Production 80. geophysical analysis carried out for design of the foundation. and pilings installed in early 2000. Several tip brake problems resulted in extensive down time in the first year of operation. 2000. June 20/01 to Dec 01/01 the unit operated 2126 hours out of 3936 for 54% availability. It should also be obvious that economic factors 4/24/02 . the turbines had to be relocated before erection was completed. wind turbine installations require extensive planning.7% availability. Update(Feb/2002): Turbine in service at end of November. For period Nov.000 kWh Overall Availability 36.

the difficulties involved in bringing the project to a successful completion are increased considerably. etc. A wind turbine project requires a minimum of one year pre-planning prior to even purchasing the unit. possible economic and environmental benefits. The economics also cannot support the machine being down for extensive periods of time because trained maintenance personnel are not available to put the units back into service. The economics of these machines on the Corporation's systems cannot support contract maintenance. 4/24/02 . some of the best wind resources are marginal overall. especially if the expertise must be flown in from the south. Because of these factors.alone do not make the project acceptable. effect on the electrical supply. as outlined by the manufacturer. In order to achieve the operational availability required to operate these machines economically. the maintenance must be carried out as required. The community must be fully involved. and possibly adjusted to meet the demands of the harsh operating climate the Corporation experiences. A preventive maintenance program. and be made fully aware of proposed location. must be strictly adhered to. Maintenance Wind turbines are machines that require constant monitoring and maintenance if full potential production is to be achieved. and by the Corporation's own resources. If the community does not fully buy in to the project.

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