Wind Power Potential in Belize
Wind power is one of the fastest growing renewable energy technologies in the world, with an annual growth rate of 30.7 percent (Flomenhoft, 2007). Its popularity stems from its renewable characteristics, emission free properties and the cheap electricity that it produces. Thus far, Belize has not harnessed the wind energy in the country which I believe is unfortunate. Approximately 50% of Belize?s electricity production is imported from Mexico
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Though summer months have lower winds and winter months have higher winds, these trade winds are always present. Because the wind does not blow constantly at the full rated wind speed throughout the year, the wind turbines would have a much lower capacity factor of 25% (Swera, 2003) Data has shown that northern coast and northern cayes have more potential than the southern areas (Launchpad Consulting, 2003). Small islands that are off the northern coast have the most potential, such as Ambergris Caye (Launchpad Consulting, 2003). I personally thought that the coast would be the best place to develop wind power in Belize, however research shows that mountain pine ridge would be a more effective area due to the altitude.
Wind resources at mountain pine ridge are some of the most ideal conditions that one could ask for in terms of wind turbine potential (Launchpad Consulting, 2003). Wind speeds here average at 25 km throughout the year (Launchpad Consulting, 2003). Other benefits to this location are that it is not used for forestry nor is it home to any human settlements. It has been estimated that at least 20 MW can be developed at a sight called Baldy Beacon over a ten year period (Launchpad Consulting, 2003). At full capacity this project could potentially produce nearly a third of Belize?s electricity.
For a developing country it can be encouraging to look at other