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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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Just once, *just once*, I'd like to see someone outside an actual engineering journal write about electric generation without totally mangling the numbers and units. "generate 3.9 million megawatts of power per year" is obviously not correct. Presumably he means 3.9 million megawatt-hours per year, equal to 3.9 billion kilowatt-hours, a unit which ought to be familiar to all of us from our power bills. For a 602 MW plant, that would be a capacity factor of about 74%, which sounds reasonable.

Now, for example, if you planned to build a 100MW plant every year, you could say the generating capacity was increasing by 100 megawatts per year. One could, exactly the same way, figure out how many millions of horsepower per year worth of car engines were being built, but you wouldn't normally say anything about your particular car's horsepower per year.

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