Misunderstood in Australia

The author writes that Windpower Monthly's report on the workshop at Monash University in Victoria, Australia (January 1999) misrepresented his presentation. He covers the focal points of his speech.

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Your report on the workshop at Monash University in Victoria, Australia (Windpower Monthly, January 1999) misrepresented my presentation. I made no mention of 500 kW wind turbines available on the Australian market. What I said was that based on large wind farm projects, 500 kW of wind farm capacity was a convenient size to indicate embodied energy, energy output, energy pay back and energy cost. These indicators were my main points of focus, since they have been raised as obstacles to wind energy use in New Zealand.

There were two wind industry representatives (but not Monash University's Peter Freere, as you reported) who suggested that the quoted price of A$800,000 for this capacity was far too low. (The A$600,000 you reported was only for the non-installed turbine capacity.) For an installed capacity of 500 kW, however, A$800,000 translates to A$1600/kW and is significantly higher than what has already been achieved at the Tararua Wind Farm in New Zealand, which will have an installed cost of approximately A$1330/kW. This point was missed in your report.

Another point missed was that with the mean wind speeds available at the best Australian sites, the energy pay back and the cost of energy would be in the order of three months and A$0.06/kWh, respectively.

The main thrust of my presentation was that large, well engineered wind farms with good wind resources are becoming very competitive in this part of the world.

We regret the misrepresentations,-----Ed.

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