The first year of Iceland’s experiment with wind power is showing some promising returns. The National Power Company of Iceland is now looking into expanding operations.
Two windmills which were raised in February 2013 in Hafið – a lava field near Búrfell, in the south of Iceland – have shown a capacity factor that exceeds even global standards. According to an environmental report from the National Power Company on their wind power experiment over the course of 2013, “the average capacity factor for the wind turbines is approx. 40%, which exceeds all expectations. In comparison, the average capacity factor worldwide is approximately 28%.”
One factor in how the two windmills perform is their location, as Hafið forms “a natural wind tunnel”, but is also “not in close proximity to any residential areas but is close to necessary infrastructure such as high voltage transmission lines and main roads.” The distance from residential areas has rendered high noise levels an almost non-existent factor. The location also, fortunately, has little to no impact on the migratory paths and nesting areas of native bird species.
“The efficiency ratio of the wind turbines has been good,” the report states. “Up-time is the period of time that wind turbines are in operation (any ‘down-time’ as a result of maintenance work is excluded). Up-time is expected to be 98% and one of the wind turbines has fulfilled these expectations.”
The report concludes that the success of the wind power experiments means “[a]n analysis on the possible size and location of potential wind farms will be conducted for the first time in Iceland.”