December 19th, 2008 - posted by James Zhen

This winter’s first major snowstorm is currently dumping half a foot of snow across southern New England, and the meteorological tower installed in the middle of Nantucket Sound by Cape Wind Associates continues to collect data.

According to the Cape Windwebsite, the average wind speed over the past hour has been 35 knots, with the highest sustained wind gust at 43 knots. By Cape Wind’s calculations, the proposed wind farm would have generated 422 MWh, which is close to the maximum 468 MW of power that Cape Wind is rated to produce. For comparison’s sake, Cape Wind is expected to average 170 MW of power.

But would the turbines be able to generate power when the winds are blowing as hard as they currently are? According to the American Wind Energy Association, the answer is yes. Turbine manufacturers design their turbines to withstand wind speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. In more extreme weather conditions, the turbine blades turn out of the wind, thus slowing down the rotation of the blades.

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