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Wind Turbines: Alternative Energy Source in Curacao
Curaçao is going green. With advancements in wind-powered energy, the island is working towards reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Wind turbines generate electricity using specially designed blades to catch wind. This then rotates the blades at a low speed. The blades are connected to an alternator that creates an electrical current .
Curaçao's primary source of energy comes from the combustion of fossil fuels. The large refinery on the island, Isla Refinery, is a major contributor to the emission of greenhouse gases. KODELA (renamed Aqualectra in 2001) is the islands main utility provider. In 1993, the company was granted permission to build a wind power plant on the north side of the island. The wind power plant, Tera Kòrá, consists of 12 wind turbines with 250 kilowatts each. Within the first year, the plant supplied 1.1 percent of Curaçao's electricity. An additional wind farm, Playa Kanoa, was installed in 2001. Playa Kanoa consists of 18 wind turbines with 500 kilowatts each.
Cost and Efficiency
Tera Kòrá produces a total of 3 megawatts of electricity and Playa Kanoa produces 9 megawatts . Together, the two wind plants supply 7 percent of total energy demand on the island. As of January 2011, Aqualectra has begun a new project that will expand and upgrade the wind power plants to generate more electricity. The Tera Kòrá turbines will increase capacity to 9 megawatts and the Playa Kanoa turbines will increase to 21 megawatts. It is calculated that supply will increase from 7 percent to 30 percent of total electricity demand. The new wind farms will be equipped with three-bladed turbines 80 meters in height. The project entails concrete foundation construction, installation of a control building and cable connection. The wind farms are estimated to operate at 50 percent capacity. The project is estimated to cost $77.26 million .
The people of Curaçao want to encourage clean and renewable methods of producing energy. They hope to rely on wind and solar energy in the future. The prevention of greenhouse gases will protect the environment and the health of their people.