Brace yourselves for a technical post!
Highly dependent on expensive imported Venezuelan oil, we’re constantly on the look-out for alternative, cleaner energy sources. We dabble in Solar (no large scale plants yet), but we tend to brag about our Wind Farms as ours continues to serve as an example for other Caribbean islands looking to run wind turbines (Cuba, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic).
We’ve used windmills (mulina di bientu) to pump ground water for centuries and many are still in use today. We built our first legitimate wind farm, Tera Kora, in 1993. It’s located in San Pedro (northeast side) where the wind averages a steady 19.7 miles per hour.
The farm consists of 12 250-kilowatt (kW) turbines and each turbine has a power penetration factor of 94% and a 38% capacity factor, meaning that its total power output amounts to 38% of 250-kW. Our capacity factor is at the top end for wind turbines (averages lie in the 25% – 35% of rated capacity)
Our Tera Kora wind farm is the only one in the world operating as a baseload power plant. The success of our first wind farm spurred the construction of a second one at Playa Konoa on our north side in 2001. 18 500-kW turbines spread along a line 3.5 kilometers long.
These two wind farms combined represent 12 megawatt (MW) [12 x 250 kW + 18 x 500 kW] in capacity. The plants produce an average of 100 MW [12 MW x 24 hours x 38% = 109 MW] per day, enough to power 6,000 households or 7% of our average electricity demand.