Today's heat wave and Cape Wind

Strong Sea Breeze Powers When Electric Demand is Highest

Project would have provided significant power as region's electric demand peaked Tuesday afternoon

The operators of Cape Wind report that as the temperature in Boston climbed to 95 degrees and New England's electric demand reached its peak so far this year at 3PM yesterday, the sea breeze on Nantucket Sound would have allowed Cape Wind to supply 300 megawatts (71% of total capacity) of electricity during that crucial hour, according to data collected at Cape Wind's Scientific Data Tower on Horseshoe Shoal.

The report found that the sea breeze effect was largely responsible for strong offshore winds in Nantucket Sound during hot summer afternoons which coincide with the times that electric demand is at its highest

While yesterday's peak electric demand was the highest for 2009, it still fell well short of New England's all time peak electric demand which occurred on August 2, 2006 and when Cape Wind would have produced 339 megawatts (81% of total capacity) during the hour of maximum demand.

In July, 2007, Cape Wind published a report entitled, "Comparison of Cape Wind Scientific Data Tower Wind Speed Data with ISO New England List of Top Ten Electric Demand Days", which can be downloaded here.

The report found that the sea breeze effect was largely responsible for strong offshore winds in Nantucket Sound during hot summer afternoons which coincide with the times that electric demand is at its highest. The 2007 report found that Cape Wind would have produced an average of 321 megawatts per hour when electric demand was at its peak hour during each of the past ten record-setting electric demand days as recorded at that time by the Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE), the region's electric grid manager.

"The abundance of the offshore wind resource in reasonable proximity to the areas of greatest population density and electric demand combined with the strong performance of that clean energy resource during times of greatest system need underscores the value of building projects like Cape Wind." - Jim Gordon.

Days that experience record electric demand tend also to be days when air quality alerts are issued by environmental agencies and when wholesale spot market electricity prices are at their height because older, less-efficient, highly polluting and expensive backup power generators are operating. Taking advantage of the sea breeze cleanly provides electricity that would otherwise need to be provided by these high polluting and expensive sources during times of high demand.

Previously, the US Department of Energy reported that Cape Wind would have been at full production during almost the entire 3-day sub-zero cold snap in January, 2004 when electric grid managers were considering the need for a rolling blackout due to a shortage of natural gas available for electrical generation because of elevated demand for gas heat.

"The abundance of the offshore wind resource in reasonable proximity to the areas of greatest population density and electric demand combined with the strong performance of that clean energy resource during times of greatest system need underscores the value of building projects like Cape Wind," stated Cape Wind President Jim Gordon.

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