Offshore Wind: The Enormously Expensive Energy Alternative

By Steve Goreham

Originally published by The Washington Times

Offshore wind turbines at Barrow Offshore Wind...

Offshore wind turbines at Barrow Offshore Wind off Walney Island in the Irish Sea Unusually good weather for April! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US Department of the Interior announced the first offshore wind energy lease sale earlier this month. Interior plans a July auction of 164,750 acres off the southern coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts for commercial wind farms. But why are federal and state governments promoting expensive offshore wind energy?

The auction is a continuation of the “Smart from the Start” program for expediting offshore wind begun by former Energy Secretary Steven Chu and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in 2011. Sally Jewell, the new Secretary of the Interior, has embraced the program, stating, “This is history in the making as we mark yet another major milestone in the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy. Today we are moving closer to tapping into the enormous potential offered by offshore wind to create jobs, increase our sustainability, and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier.”

Several governors joined the chorus for offshore wind. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick supports the program, “The U.S. Department of Energy projects 20,000 jobs by 2020 in offshore wind. Why not host those jobs here in Massachusetts?” Maryland governor Martin O’Malley agreed, “Offshore wind is a potential win-win-win for Maryland. Today’s vote positions our State for greater job creation and opportunity, while moving us forward toward securing a more sustainable energy future.”

Governors also voicing strong support are Paul LePage of Maine, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, and even Ted Strickland of Ohio, who would place wind turbines in Lake Erie. In 2010, governors from ten states, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to promote offshore wind development.

Unfortunately, offshore wind is enormously expensive. The US Department of Energy (DOE) estimates the levelized cost of wind-generated electricity at more than double the cost of coal-fired electricity and more than three times the cost of power from natural gas. For example, the proposed Cape Wind project off the coast of southeast Massachusetts will initially deliver electricity at 18.7 cents per kilowatt-hour with a built-in increase of 3.5 percent per year over a fifteen-year contract. This is more than triple the wholesale cost of electricity in New England.

Offshore wind is only possible because of generous subsidies, tax breaks, and mandates from government. Today, 38 states offer property tax incentives, 28 states offer sales tax incentives, and 24 states offer tax credits for renewable energy sources. Twenty-nine states have Renewable Portfolio Standards laws requiring utilities to buy an increasing share of electricity from renewable sources, including all ten states in the Offshore Wind Energy Consortium.

At the start of the year, the US government extended the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), providing 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated from wind. The PTC will cost taxpayers $12 billion this year. Look for the DOE to offer loan guarantees to offshore wind developers. Altogether, government incentives pay 30 to 50 percent of the cost of a wind installation.

The consumer pays twice for offshore wind. First, consumer taxes fund wind energy subsidies and tax breaks. Second, states like Massachusetts force utilities to buy high-cost offshore wind electricity, which then increase electricity rates so the consumer pays again.

At the same time, we’re in the midst of a hydrocarbon revolution. Advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling will provide more than 100 years of natural gas at current usage rates. With electricity from natural gas at less than one-third the price of offshore wind, why the support for offshore wind from our political leaders?

Electricity from your wall outlet is standard voltage and current. No one can tell the difference between electricity from hydrocarbon sources or “green” sources such as wind. Would governors Patrick and O’Malley repurchase their current car at three times the price?

Wind energy backers claim that if the government subsidizes wind systems, the cost will come down. But that idea is false. Wind turbines are not new technology. After 25 years of installations, about 185,000 wind turbine towers were operating across the world at the end of 2011. Wind technology is already well down the cost learning curve.

In fact, data from the DOE shows that the installed cost of US wind systems has been rising, not falling. Installed costs have risen 65 percent over the last six years, from $1,300 per kilowatt in 2004 to over $2,100 per kilowatt in 2010.

clip_image004

Underlying the push for offshore wind is the ideology of Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate. But anyone who believes that building offshore wind turbines will stop the oceans from rising, make the hurricanes less severe, and save polar bears needs to reconsider. Suppose we invest in cost-effective electricity sources, rather than offshore wind?

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the new book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Energy, wind power and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

103 Responses to Offshore Wind: The Enormously Expensive Energy Alternative

  1. AndyG55 says:

    A dread to think what the harmonics of the blades will do to marine species that use sonar etc for location.

    But that is NOT important to the greenies and the environMENTALists.

  2. Kaboom says:

    That’s what goes for progress in green circles, the same product at three times the cost but without the reliability. They should be made to sign onto a health care plan like that.

  3. Ian W says:

    These are not ‘Energy Alternatives’ they are subsidy farms. You can tell subsidy farms as they are usually marked by windmills. When the subsidies are farmed out, the subsidy farming company moves on or declares ‘bankruptcy’ and the windmills are left to corrode. The subsidy farmers then move on to another subsidy rich area and begin subsidy farming again. Google: Abandoned windmills

    This happens because the contracts for windfarms (and all ‘green energy) are full of get out clauses and have no real performance requirements. So the windmills will be allowed to kill and maim wildlife without penalty; they do not have to supply electricity to receive payment; when the windmills fail after 10 years into a 15 year contract there will be no penalties; there is no requirement to remove these industrial installations and make good the area at the end of their ‘useful life’; there is no risk for the supplier at all only for the taxpayer or end user of energy. Experience in UK is that the reason these green contracts are so soft and generous is that normally they are money laundering exercises allowing politicians to transfer taxpayer and consumer funds to their friends, families and political donors, .

  4. AB says:

    Some refreshing truth on wind energy from of all things, a politician!
    http://tinyurl.com/nv6po2h

  5. David Brewer says:

    It’s actually a lot worse than Steve Goreham thinks.

    “Levelized costs”, applied to wind energy, are a scam. Intermittent and unpredictable energy from wind is a different product from dispatchable – ready when needed – energy from gas or coal.

    Whether wind is worth it or not has got nothing to do with the per-kilowatt cost of wind vs. other energy. The correct equation is the cost of wind compared to its own value, i.e. its price on the market.

    On this basis, wind is an inherent dud, since whenever it is available, it pushes down its own price.

    Huge investments in wind power in Europe and Australia have sent electricity prices though the roof. Wind energy is not just useless, it pours money down the drain.

    See the excellent paper on this by Prof. Gordon Hughes: http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2012/08/Hughes-Evidence.pdf

    or articles by Prof. Paul Joskow of MIT/Sloan, e.g.: http://www.energypolicyblog.com/2010/10/16/don%E2%80%99t-levelize-wind-and-solar-energy/

  6. Joe Public says:

    Think of all that free power they’ll generate during a hurricane!

  7. NZ Willy says:

    The “installed cost” has been rising for the simple reason that *actual* costs are comprising an increasing percentage of the calculation compared with *projected* costs. The estimates for offshore wind energy costs are, of course, all *projected*. The *actual* costs will be higher, far higher, ludicrously higher. Lunatics in charge.

  8. Shona says:

    This idea is so ridiculous with current technology. I would love to see a breakdown of how much energy it takes to keep these things up and running (literally), just the human maintenance cost must be astronomical (technicians can’t live on site because of the noise, they have to boat out and back every day). I bet it’s close to their output.

    I have a friend who thinks windmills are great, ‘just hide them out to sea’. As I said ‘have you ever been on the high seas eg the North Sea?’. The answer was no of course.

  9. Old'un says:

    Ian W. – The Prime Minister’s father-in-law is an example: A couple of years ago he said that he makes a ‘modest income’ of some £300k per year from the wind turbines on his land!

  10. Allan M says:

    “Smart from the Start.”

    Good job I’d finished drinking my morning tea*. Still have a dry keyboard.

    * a British perversion.

  11. DirkH says:

    Are geneticists already looking for changes to sea bird genomes enabling them to avoid getting wacked? There should be a high selection pressure.

  12. SAMURAI says:

    The name of this inane program should be changed from, “Smart from the Start” to “Bungled from the Beginning”……

    Wind energy destroys jobs, makes US goods uncompetitive, is expensive, diffuse, intermittent, inefficient, ineffective, UNsustainable and, well, stupid.

    And what’s with the President’s “All of the Above” strategy. If you try such a stupid strategy to a multiple choice test, you get an “F” on the exam, which is the grade I’d BHO’s energy policy.

    If I were President for a day, My first act would be to abolish the unconstitutional departments of EPA and Energy and let the states to decide their own environmental standards and let the market decide what energy sources to utilize.

    I’d then establish the necessary rules, regulations and standards for Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors to be built and offer a $1 billion prize to the first company that could build and operate a LFTR capable of producing electricity at an all-in cost of $0.03/kWh.

    The current political and economic disasters we’re facing reminds me of a corollary to Woody Allen’s famous line, “Those that can, do. Those that can’t teach, and those that can’t teach become politicians…”

  13. RSS numbers are out for May, and show a similar drop to UAH.

    Current temperatures are effectively the same as the 1981-2010 average.

    Global warming?

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/rss-figures-for-may/

  14. Ian E says:

    ‘Kaboom says: June 8, 2013 at 12:25 am
    That’s what goes for progress in green circles, the same product at three times the cost but without the reliability. They should be made to sign onto a health care plan like that.’

    We have one of those in the UK : it’s called the NHS; then there’s the media plan – called the BBC.

  15. Richard111 says:

    Tripling the cost of energy improves competitiveness. Got it.

  16. Sasha says:

    In the UK, the cost of generating a unit of electricity worth £1 from a coal-fired power station costs £24 when generated from an offshore wind turbine. That’s why we have the highest electricity bills and yet the most unstable electricity supplies in the EU. Last March, the coldest on record, we were down to 3 days supply of natural gas.

  17. johnmarshall says:

    Catastrophically costly madness. How are they in hurricanes? I hear that the US east coast gets a few of those. They do not cure the problem either. Oh I forgot, there is no problem just mad politicians who love spending tax dollars, ie., YOUR money.

  18. Martin Clark says:

    Wondering what happens when a hurricane passes by? Do NH hurricanes have the same propensities as SH cyclones, eg concentrated vortices, high-low-high pressure effects?
    I assume that these things get shut down, but a bit difficult to imagine how they are going to stay in one piece.

  19. johnofenfield says:

    Windmills are NOT an alternative source of electricity by any criterion. They produce the wrong sort of electricity at the wrong time. Their output is completely unpredictable and is useless, in fact damaging, in a modern generating & grid system.

    About all they are useful for is grinding corn and mincing bird meat. Costs don’t even come into it.

  20. Bruce Cobb says:

    It’s wonderful having thieves, liars and nincompoops in charge of energy policy, and paying more because of it. Anger is a good motivator.

  21. And if NexTerror NextEra (formerly known as Florida Power and Light) happens to be the supplier of choice, you’d better mind your manners and not complain about these useless landscape-blighting, budget-busting, fuel-poverty inducing bird-mincers.

    ‘Cuz if you do complain, this Big Wind bully will eventually SLAPP you with a lawsuit.

    and

  22. richard verney says:

    Having had about 30 years experience in shipping, I am quite convinced that the rigours of a harsh off-shore environment have been underestimated. I suspect that the cost effective life expectancy will be far less than assumed and that the costs of maintenance (and the difficulties involved) have also been very much under-estimated.

    To give just one example, due to health & safety considerations, it will not be permissible to work on these structures in adverse weather (heavy rain and wind). These farms are, for obvious reasons, sited in areas which are more windy the norm. This may be good for electricity generation but will make maintenance more difficult. Since weather is notoriously difficult to predict, it will not be known the dates when a weather window opportunity will open up permitting maintenance to be carried out. This presents logistical problems with the chartering in of supply vessels, or vessels with cranes. Say that in June one takes a decision to carry out maintenance in the second week of July. The estimated duration of the required maintenance is one week. Vessels are chartered in and arrive say on 8th July. Unfortunately bad weather sets in and does not clear until 17th July. But the vessel has only been fixed for 8th to 15th July so has to be released, and a new arrangement made for a later date. Perhaps the vessel is not released but continuesd on site and maintenance commences on 17th July but weather again sets in on 22nd July and the job in the end is not completed until 31st July. In this scenario, the supply vessel will be cartered not for one week but for 24 days. Hire will have to be paid for 24 days not just 7 days. The shipowner may have another contract that he was contracted to perform on say 16th July. He may have to pay damages for the failure to perform that contract. The windfarm will have to pay damages to the shipowner to cover that loss. There may be penalty provisions for over-runs etc. The upshot is that since the weather is fickle, pre-planned maintenance will be difficult and is likely to prove expensive.

    Of course, the windfarm may wis to spot charter vessels as and when a weather window is open. But spot chartering on this basis carries with it premium hire rates.

    This type of problem may of course involve the chartering in of helicopters paying men for standby time/idle time etc.

    One final point is that carrying out maintenance at sea is always much more difficult compared to land. Just imagine the difficulties of precision engineering requiring the use of a crane. On land, everything is static and hence the job is straight forward. However at sea, there will be picth and roll as the vessels bobs up and down in the swell and waves.

    To conclude, all of this will prove very expensive and will act as a disentive to carry out maintenance. I suspect that it will soon be discovered that carrying out maintenance is not cost effective and instead turbines will stand idle/not working. This will have a significant bearing on the cost effectiveness of an off-shore facility

  23. Disputin says:

    Winston Churchill is quoted as saying “America can always be trusted to do the right thing – once they’ve tried everything else”.
    Don’t your people ever look around at others’ experience? Try the Netherlands, Germany and UK for a start.

  24. gbaikie says:

    This is the sort of thing which makes members of Congress very rich.
    And makes a boom town in areas in Washington DC, while continuing longest national recession
    in history.

  25. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Interior plans a July auction of 164,750 acres off the southern coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts for commercial wind farms.

    Good thing there’s no tourism industry up there, with many thousands of tourists wanting their unobstructed ocean views.

    Nor any commercial fishermen, or fishing period, as it’d be deemed too hazardous to have nets and ropes and lines around the pilings. No boats at all would be best, due to the possibility of being suddenly violently hit with chunks of former seagulls.

    Thankfully it’d do wonders for the local shark populations, who will learn to listen for lots of whooshing as an indicator there may soon be a lot of chum raining down from the sky.

    Will the buyers have to put up a bond for each turbine to ensure they will be removed after they eventually die? It will be preferred to remove these hazards to navigation in case boat traffic is allowed to resume someday. And it needs to be the full amount up front, not a bank certificate that will mature to that amount “after 30 yrs at the expected end of life”. Ocean storms thrash the brand new as well as the old, they don’t care if they’ve irreparably broken something commissioned only a month ago, or that’s still under construction.

  26. Rod says:

    Talking with fire fighters using monsoon bucket filled in the sea. Every time the helicopter refuelled, they had to clean the blades. Why? because salt crystals on the blade reduce the lift by 400KG (880lbs) and this on a 4 seat helicopter. Not sure what % but it’s significant.
    So what does this mean for offshore wind power? Big inefficiency because salt on the blades significantly reduce lift and therefore power generated. Wind turbines aren’t blown around, they use lift to power them. Reduce lift, reduce power for generation.
    Who would have thought, salt crystals at sea?!

  27. Bob says:

    You folks seem to be confusing installed costs with generating costs. According to IEA http://www.iea.org/textbase/npsum/ElecCostSUM.pdf, installed costs estimates are coal, $1500/kWh, nuclear and (on shore) wind are estimated to have about the same installed cost ranging up to $2,000/kWh. Generating costs: coal $35-$60/MWh, Nuclear $30-$50/MWh, wind $45-$140/MWh. Natural gas is ~$800/MWh with generation costs are <$40-$60/MWh because of lower natural gas prices. Diesel-electric peaking can be installed for something in the neighborhood of $1000-$1500/kWh, but the costs are dependent on oil and right now are about $250/MWh. Renewable (other than wind) installed costs are all over the map. Landfill-gas-to-electricity projects can be installed for $700/kWh, but the preferred equipment runs the installed costs to $2500/kWh. Generating costs are somewhere around $30-$50/MWh. Most renewable energy have capacity factors that limit their usefulness and have a significant impact on costs. Also, generating capacity for renewables is quite low. I've been supported by renewable (landfill gas to electricity) for over a decade. As long as the gas is cheap energy, it probably works. I do not see the economics in wind and solar, nor do I see the viability of other renewable combustion. You cannot grow enough biomass to make these any more than interesting sideshows.

  28. H.R. says:

    Offshore windmills? They’ll make great artificial fishing reefs when they collapse. However I think the better way to make the reefs would be to just take the windmills out to sea and dump them. All that erection cost is just so much wasted money. Let’s make this a cost effective boondoggle, eh? ;o)

  29. JohnH says:

    (Cash) Cost is a concern, of course, but I would like to see cost-benefit analysis in CO2 cost (and CO2 benefit) terms published openly and in detai for any intended scheme, so that any flaws can be pointed out and the analysis corrected. My fear is that schemes which actually make things worse in CO2 terms may be undertaken.

  30. Henry Galt says:

    Show me the jobs.

  31. Matthew W says:

    Hey Mosh,
    These are the kind of freeloading subsidy takers you should really be pissed off at, not BIG OIL.

  32. Snotrocket says:

    “Smart from the start”Dumb from the gun!

  33. Graeme No.3 says:

    Shona says:
    running costs: well the average wind turbine (2-2.5MW Nominal capacity) will use 1-3kW per hour when idle (around 30% of the time). That is for on-shore turbines. In light variable winds an offshore wind farm can be a net user of electricity as yaw motor draws from the grid ( ref. Horns Rev 1)

    They don’t take boats out for maintenance, as Richard Verney notes, you have to maintain when the weather is right or your turbine will be down for a long time. Usual is helicopter either landing, or winching maintenance men onto nacelle. Can’t help you on costs of helicopter (and wages of those willing to do job) but estimated in UK that maintenance absorbs 10% of revenue of on-shore turbines, and multiply by 2.5 times for offshore one (but allow for higher output). Also allow for much higher wear and tear on offshore units, hence shorter lifetime).

    Re enthusiasm by various State Governors – to translate into USA speak a comment by former Australian Federal Treasurer “never stand between a State Governor and a big bag of money”.

  34. Graham Green says:

    Here’s a fact.

    I live 10km from the Thanet Wind Farm – the biggest offshore project in Europe.

    Plate capacity 300 MW. Cost $1.4 billion (£900 M).

    It has bought exactly 25 jobs to Thanet all working for a foreign company.

    25 jobs. Count ‘em.

    The really funny thing is that they seem proud of it.

  35. “Smart from the Start”?
    Please correct the typo, it should read stupid, not smart.

  36. AB says:

    Wind farms can’t solve a non problem. This is worth watching.

  37. hunter says:

    Wow, why wouldn’t you want to build vulnerable windmills in a corrosive environment that is difficult to maintain, costs huge money to build operate and maintain, requires on going operating subsidies for the life of the project, is unscalable, and destroys the open vistas of the ocean?

  38. Doug Huffman says:

    Joe Public says: June 8, 2013 at 1:12 am “Think of all that free power they’ll generate during a hurricane!” There is good evidence, post here recently, that these windmills will not withstand a hurricane. See the Pareto Distribution.

    Post-modern windmills are a scam says Sancho PONZI squire to don Quixote.
    https://sslimgs.xkcd.com/comics/alternative_energy_revolution.jpg

  39. David says:

    richard verney has encapsulated the problems which I (as a retired mechanical engineer specialising in maintenance) have been banging on about for ages.
    I seem to recall one of these ‘learned’ governors (I think it was the Governor of Maryland) enthusing about the fact that the turbines would be ‘between ten and thirty miles offshore’…
    Now, I’m no expert in the weather of the North Atlantic – only insofar as us Brits ‘enjoy’ the tail-end of it – but I personally wouldn’t give a wind farm located in that area a cat-in-hell’s chance of surviving for more than five years…
    Nope – classic example of political enthusiasm ignoring engineering reality…

  40. Don Tabor says:

    There are consequences when the largest consumer economy does wasteful things
    http://tinyurl.com/wind-babies
    When the US Economy is dragged down by Ideological Climatism, other people pay the price.

  41. Melvyn says:

    From the state of the sea in the photo, no electricity is being produced.

  42. John Campbell says:

    Wind farms increase CO2 emissions. How? Well, the wind doesn’t blow all the time. So there has to be standby power available at very short notice. Stanby power is usually provided by a gas-fired power station. This will be running for around 30% of the time in standby mode (wind farm “efficiency” is about 30%) and such a mode emits more CO2 than if it were running at its normal rate. Thus windmills mean more CO2 emissions. Go figure!

  43. Mick says:

    ………and there’s the massive amount of CO2 released in the production of the concrete to bed each turbine to the sea floor! Do the people that support this kind of idea really care about the environment?

  44. Kaboom says:

    I propose the program be renamed to “Buggered by Bastards”. Excuse the french.

  45. arthur4563 says:

    So much for “the wind is free” arguments of yore.

  46. ferd berple says:

    Offshore wind farms have an enormous advantage over land based. Dead men tell no tales. Birds and bats killed by the farms are swept away by the currents and eventually sink out of sight.

  47. bernie1815 says:

    I am not sure what is more troubling, the impact of wind on overall energy costs or the stupidity of Governors who embrace this nonsense.

  48. chris y says:

    Josh had an excellent cartoon last year of the bucolic view before and after wind farms are deployed.

    http://www.epaw.org/images/Greening_the_land.png

    The cost of a wind farm needs to include the cost of a dispatchable power plant with equivalent nameplate capacity. Same for solar PV farms.
    I maintain that solar PV farms should be sited near natural gas pipelines, and include a natural gas plant with equivalent nameplate capacity on the same property.

    Then to save capital costs, drop the solar PV part…

  49. George says:

    Hey, at least it may reduce the number of bird strikes … jeez

    (that did get me thinking – do VAWTs have fewer bird strikes?)

  50. Doug Huffman says:

    Increase CO2 emissions: Consider industrial infrastructure as a zero-sum. Add alternative energy production device manufacturing and the fraction of CO2 emission due to alt. energy increases. Also the capacity for existing manufacture is reduced so overall capacity must be increased. Pollution emission must be integrated across all of technology and alternatives must be credited with their increase.

  51. arthur4563 says:

    I notice that South Carolina is building four new nuclear power plants (lifespans 60 years plus, making them cheaper to build than wind turbines, and with passive safety systems deemed thousands of times better than current reactors), which will give them 11, and boost their proportion of nuclear generated power from the current 53% to over 90%. Georgia is also building two new nuclear plants as well, and Florida is uprating most of their reactors. Northeastern Atlantic coast states are following their traditional paths, which requires low IQ citizenry electing equally low IQ politicians. In other words, the dumb demand leaders just as dumb.

  52. Doug Huffman says:

    arthur4563 says: June 8, 2013 at 6:35 am “I notice that South Carolina is building four new nuclear power plants …” Sumner 2 & 3, OK, what are the others please.

    South Carolina has deep experience with nuclear power, with lots of experience released to the market by BRAC03 closure of CNS.

  53. Allan MacRae says:

    “Wind Power – it doesn’t just blow – it SUCKS!”

    “Solar Power – Stick it where the Sun don’t shine!”

  54. Mike Smith says:

    Jeeze. Surely there is sufficient experience to show that wind power on land is a lousy economic proposition. The construction and maintenance of these things at sea is going to prove hugely expensive. The oil exploration companies will be perceived as biased but ironically they do actually understand the financial and engineering challenges involved with large metal structures at sea (i.e. oil rigs). The proponents really don’t appreciate the forces created by the waves and swell (yet alone storms). Or the issues with fatigue and corrosion. Or the challenges associated with performing maintenance.

  55. beng says:

    The stupid, it burns. Obummer et al don’t want oil exploration offshore, but those useless pinwheels are just fine.

  56. Gary says:

    Already so many Rhode Island residents can’t pay for electricity that NationalGrid begs for “Warm Thy Neighbor” donations with every winter bill. Now they are committed to rates that will rise to 23 cents per kwhr when the windmills are built. Most of the populace can’t do math or physics and elects a parasitic legislature to fleece them at ever turn. One town is facing a half million dollar charge to either fix or take down a windmill that failed after only a few years of operation. Smart people move away if they can.

  57. Taphonomic says:

    It does make one wonder which Friend Of Obama will be cashing in on this particular bit of crony capitalism (crapitalism).

  58. wws says:

    the WSJ has an article out this morning about how this month, Spain is going to slash solar power subsidies because the govm’t is broke and they can’t afford to pay them anymore. But this is probably going to bankrupt hundreds, if not thousands of spanish investors who pumped money into these projects on the basis of the subsidies. Of course these bankruptcies will damage Spain’s economy even more.

    But a true “Crisis” is when there are no good ways out of a situation – only a range of bad ones. This is what happens when all the money runs out and you’ve spent all your money on foolishness that isn’t returning anything to you. This is where the wonderful promise of “Green Energy” leads.

  59. _Jim says:

    Five (5) paragraphs in we get what should be the ‘take away’:

    Unfortunately, offshore wind is enormously expensive.

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) estimates the levelized cost of wind-generated electricity at more than double the cost of coal-fired electricity and more than three times the cost of power from natural gas.

    For example, the proposed Cape Wind project off the coast of southeast Massachusetts will initially deliver electricity at 18.7 cents per kilowatt-hour with a built-in increase of 3.5 percent per year over a fifteen-year contract.

    This is more than triple the wholesale cost of electricity in New England.

    Ian W has it right:

    Ian W says June 8, 2013 at 12:37 am

    These are not ‘Energy Alternatives’ they are subsidy farms. …

  60. WillR says:

    Ontario Canada was going to allow off-shore wind turbines in the Great Lakes — then there was a minor problem…
    http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2013/03/24/offshore-wind-moratorium-mixed-policy-and-politics-lawyer-argues/

    John Spears, Toronto Star
    Ontario’s Liberal government called a halt to off-shore wind farms in 2011 in order to improve its chances in the next election, a lawyer for Trillium Wind Power argued in court Friday. “This was done because they wanted to win three ridings in Lake Erie,” Morris Cooper told a three-judge Ontario Court of Appeal panel.

    But a government lawyer shrugged off the charge. “Decisions made for political expediency are what governments do,” Kim Twohig told the court, “They do it all the time.” There’s nothing wrong with governments changing unpopular policies, she said, and the courts are not the place to argue them. “If you don’t want these types of politically expedient decisions, the remedy is the ballot box,” she said.

    Trillium has brought a $2.25 billion claim against the province, which imposed a moratorium on offshore wind projects on Feb.11, 2011. Cooper said the announcement torpedoed a $26 million financing deal due to close later that day for a 420-megawatt wind project in Lake Ontario near Kingston.

    Of course some would argue that an awful lot of Liberal supporters had cottages on the shores of the great lakes and did not want their views ruined — was it that the NIMBY monster reared its ugly head? Was it the saving of the political base? Only the courts will tell us…

  61. AndyG35: you are correct. Construction and operation of offshore winf farms will violate the Marine Animal Protection Act. This law probably will not be enforced against the wind farms just like the plethora of laws that protect migratory birds and raptors are ignored.

    It is essential that theses points are raised in the environmental assessment process. The 2014 elections come soon. Green energy producers, environmental groups, climate alarmists should receive notoriety about their sins during the election campaigns.

  62. David Riser says:

    The salt water environment is one of the most corosive environments on the earth. The designers are going to end up spending a lot more money to build these things than land based or they will fail in 2-3 years. This might be a good thing in terms of a slap on the hand and a realization that this was a bad idea from the get go.
    I would say if you know any bird lovers let them know about this project, might generate some green hate and get this stopped before we spend the millions/billions to learn a hard lesson.

  63. pochas says:

    What will people own when our paper is worthless? Gold? No, Land!

  64. Mike M says:

    Joe Public says: “Think of all that free power they’ll generate during a hurricane!”

    Which brings up the cost of the underwater transmission line that must big enough to carry the maximum design generated load but, unlike any other power transmission line ever built, will sit there carrying less than ~20% capacity on average.

    A problem I think about is that the stanchions will automatically become artificial reefs attracting sea creatures which will then attract sea birds who will then get sliced and diced… attracting even more sea creatures!

    Taphonomic: or as Babawa Walters would say, “Cwapital Cwoanyism”

  65. WillR says:

    Joe Public says: “Think of all that free power they’ll generate during a hurricane!”

    Of course the Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT’s) are shut down during high wind — so much for a great idea!

  66. RockyRoad says:

    beng says:
    June 8, 2013 at 7:32 am

    The stupid, it burns. Obummer et al don’t want oil exploration offshore, but those useless pinwheels are just fine.

    They simply represent the middle digit that he’s been giving everybody lately, except his most “trusted” acolytes–those get promoted.

    In fact, the dems could use a miniature windmill mounted on said middle digit as their next “green” campaign icon.

    How fitting!

  67. Gary Pearse says:

    Steve, nice (un)common sense review. Is the $2100/kW for nameplate kW or should we multiply this by six?

  68. Jay says:

    The university created, tax funded green industry MUST HAVE a continuous stream of projects so all those graduates (rich kids) can walk into tax funded jobs..

    This is why the reality of the situation is so completely skewed..

    A shinning example of whats wrong with any form of government that starts to back fill its own propaganda with corruption.. They like to call it progress, but it never works out that way..

    Another way to get your politics, your supporters, in the bag, that’s inside the bag, that’s inside the bag.. So it becomes impossible to deconstruct without taking the whole house down..

    The Inca’s just disappeared? Rome just fell apart? No.. Stupid ideas that enriched / empowered the ruling class were sold as progress.. The more it failed the more addicted they became to it until there was nothing left to save, and nobody willing or able to do it anyway..

    Enter war to clear the slate and hide the incompetence, so we can do it all again.. Progress..

  69. Gary Pearse says:

    wws says:
    June 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

    “the WSJ has an article out this morning about how this month, Spain is going to slash solar power subsidies because the govm’t is broke and they can’t afford to pay them anymore. But this is probably going to bankrupt hundreds, if not thousands of spanish investors who pumped money into these projects on the basis of the subsidies. Of course these bankruptcies will damage Spain’s economy even more.”

    With ~30% unemployment, this may be a godsend for the economy of Spain. At last the Green Economy will kick in – paying workers to dismantle all this ridiculous (infrastructure seems wrong, how about:) ultrafolly.

  70. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    pochas said on June 8, 2013 at 8:17 am:

    What will people own when our paper is worthless? Gold? No, Land!

    Bah, people don’t own land anymore. The government mandates payments (property taxes), pay or the state will take your land. That’s leasing, not owning. They can regulate what you do with the land, require so much upkeep. They can declare eminent domain, take your land, toss you “fair market value”, then keep it for themselves or hand it off to cronies who will “make better use” of your former land.

    If you’re walking down the street, a politician accosts you, demands money to allow you to wear the shirt on your back, demands you rip off an unapproved logo, insists you fix a button immediately, then decides he’s just going to take the shirt and give you a buck since that’s what you’d get for it at a yard sale, all while a friendly armed police officer is standing behind you to ensure your compliance, do you own the shirt?

  71. Chad Wozniak says:

    @AB -
    And a perfect example of the despoliation of landscapes by wind turbines. How dare they mess up the beautiful English countryside like that!

    @Gary Pearse -
    Crony capitalism in its death throes, mehopes? How about we make George Soros and Jeffrey Immelt and Warren Buffett and Al Gore and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Gina McCarthy and Steven Chu and Lisa Jackson and Ernest Moniz and der Fuehrer himself pick up the tab for removing these destructive eyesores from our midst?.

  72. Bill from Nevada says:

    Kaboom says:
    June 8, 2013 at 12:25 am

    That’s what goes for progress in green circles, the same product at three times the cost but without the reliability. They should be made to sign onto a health care plan like that.

    =======
    They have been, it’s called ObamaCare.

  73. pochas says:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    June 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

    “They can declare eminent domain, take your land, toss you “fair market value”, then keep it for themselves or hand it off to cronies who will “make better use” of your former land.”

    That’s why you want to be “one of the cronies.”

  74. noaaprogrammer says:

    Start the following rumor: The ever increasing number of windmills will impede the wind so that the entire globe will be under a stationary high, causing extreme heating where it’s summer and extreme cooling where it’s winter!

  75. John F. Hultquist says:

    Joe Public says:
    June 8, 2013 at 1:12 am
    “Think of all that free power they’ll generate during a hurricane!

    Unless there is technology other than that used on land, during a hurricane (winds greater than 74 miles per hour) the power produced will be zero, zip, nothing, none! Below bold is mine.

    “They reach their peak of production at 31 mph and shut down at constant wind speeds above 56 mph.” from here
    http://www.pse.com/inyourcommunity/kittitas/Pages/Wild-Horse.aspx

  76. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    noaaprogrammer said on June 8, 2013 at 10:18 am:

    Start the following rumor: The ever increasing number of windmills will impede the wind so that the entire globe will be under a stationary high, causing extreme heating where it’s summer and extreme cooling where it’s winter!

    I got a similar one. The more windmills put up, the more energy is leeched from Coriolis effect winds, the faster the planet slows down as it loses momentum faster. You think it gets hot on bright summer days now? Wait until “day” is thirty hours long, you’d roast!

    Which like many believable rumors, does have a tiny sliver of truth. ;-)

  77. Janice Moore says:

    Did someone say JOBS? LOL.

    Boeing won’t be going where they use windmills to power airplane production lines.

    “I notice that South Carolina is building four new nuclear power plants (lifespans 60 years plus,.. .” [Arthur #### at 6:35AM today]

    Maybe….. that is why the Boeing Corporation has moved several production lines to SC. That and SC’s refusal to let unions force their citizens to join them.

    If it were not for relatively cheap hydropower, Boeing would have left the union-strangled, Socialist State of Washington a long time ago.

    Perhaps, a new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory will open up, employing a few people. They’ll charge $20.00 a pint and all the Cult of Climatology members will drive up to their stores in their Holy Cars and buy it because it is HOLY ice cream. Yeah, lots of jobs from windmills. Giggle.

  78. Dave Wendt says:

    From the Interior Dept PR

    The Wind Energy Area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers about 164,750 acres and is located 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline. BOEM will auction the area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0486) and the South Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0487). The North Lease Area consists of about 97,500 acres and the South Lease Area covers about 67,250 acres.

    According to a report recently released by the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the North Lease Area has the potential for installed capacity of 1,955 megawatts (MW), and the South Lease Area, 1,440 MW. Together, these areas could support enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, a significant increase over what BOEM had originally estimated last year. For a map of the Wind Energy Area, click here.

    The lease areas will be auctioned simultaneously. Under the procedures, BOEM will consider nonmonetary (i.e., whether a bidder holds a Joint Development Agreement or a Power Purchase Agreement) and monetary (cash bid) factors. The nonmonetary phase of the auction will begin on July 29, 2013, and the monetary phase on July 31, 2013.

    BOEM will also host a mock auction for the following companies that have expressed an interest and BOEM has determined will be eligible to participate in the auction:

    Deepwater Wind New England, LLC
    EDF Renewable Development, Inc.
    Energy Management, Inc.
    Fishermen’s Energy, LLC
    IBERDROLA RENEWABLES, Inc.
    Neptune Wind, LLC
    Sea Breeze Energy, LLC
    U.S. Mainstream Renewable Power (Offshore) Inc.
    US Wind Inc.

    “After careful review, BOEM has determined that these companies are legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in the upcoming lease sale,” said Director Beaudreau. “They represent pioneers in a new energy frontier as participants in America’s first offshore wind energy auction this July. We congratulate them on their entrepreneurial spirit and look forward to overseeing a fair and competitive leasing process.”

    “Nonmonetary factors”? Can you say “the fix is in” I don’t have time to research the stakeholders in this eligible list, but for some reason I suspect they will share at least one thing in common i.e. the direction of their political contributions.

  79. Frank Kotler says:

    Some people define “boat” as “a hole in the ocean into which you pour money”. I can’t imagine a wind turbine is much cheaper to maintain.

    Wind power has been tried, and it works. We pretty much “conquered the world” with wind powered ships. Moved goods and people all over the world – ground a little grain with it, too. When more reliable methods (fossil fuels) became available, wind power was almost universally abandoned. Didn’t require a tax on wind for people to make the change. What would make us change back? Certainly not economics! Perhaps fear of the gulag?

  80. J Martin says:

    Wind farms don’t increase sustainability, they decrease sustainability.

  81. ShrNfr says:

    ” Allan M says:
    June 8, 2013 at 1:38 am

    “Smart from the Start.”

    Good job I’d finished drinking my morning tea*. Still have a dry keyboard.

    * a British perversion.

    No it isn’t, the perversion is putting milk into it.

  82. Janice Moore says:

    Re: Sure ‘Nuffer and Allan M –

    Born in the U.S.A., but, while I love the fragrant aroma of coffee, I think it tastes like dirt. Mocha ice cream is as much coffee as I will do. I MUCH prefer tea — every morning! (with Splenda — for sweetness (I need all I can get!) and because the flavor is thereby brought out better)

    Ya know, I can understand people enjoying the flavor of lots of stuff I don’t (fake raspberry or banana (ugh) flavoring, for example) but how can anyone’s taste buds actually LIKE the taste of coffee is amazing to me! Well, some people like the taste of liver, too. To each his or her own!

    [Notice: the following not for the faint of heart]

    When I was little, grandma would put milk into my tea and call it “Cambric Tea.” I still have that once in awhile. I won’t do it around you, ShrNfr (wouldn’t want to gross you out) #[:)].

  83. Bob said @ June 8, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I do not see the economics in wind and solar, nor do I see the viability of other renewable combustion. You cannot grow enough biomass to make these any more than interesting sideshows.

    Firewood works for me; it provides for more than 95% all of my space heating, cooking and hot water needs. When I purchase firewood from a neighbour, it costs me somewhat less than 3¢ AU per kwhr ($100 AU per tonne). What the cost is when I cut firewood from the trees I planted 30 years ago, I do not know; nor do I care. What I do care about is the rapidly increasing cost of electricity!

  84. Justthinkin says:

    Richard111 says:

    June 8, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Tripling the cost of energy improves competitiveness. Got it.

    It sure does. Unfortunately it improves it for China.

  85. ShrNfr said @ June 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    ” a British perversion.”
    No it isn’t, the perversion is putting milk into it.

    And sugar! [sipping on a cup of unadulterated Sikkim Estate Darjeeling tea]

  86. Janice Moore says:

    Re: Dave Wendt at 12:14 PM today — “…Can you say “the fix is in”… .”

    Yup.

    As in “join us or die [business-wise].”

    *******************************
    Nearly ONE MONTH, now, Mr. Git — you can do it! (and I’m praying for you quitters (or stoppers), too)

    (sorry if I disgusted you with my post about tea #[:)] — Yes, my name is Janice Moore and I’m a carboholic.) Darjeeling — mmm. I can almost smell it from here… .

  87. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From Dept of Int press release:

    According to a report recently released by the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the North Lease Area has the potential for installed capacity of 1,955 megawatts (MW), and the South Lease Area, 1,440 MW. Together, these areas could support enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, a significant increase over what BOEM had originally estimated last year.

    Wow, that’s a whole 3395 watts for each home if only 1 million homes. Enough for a coffeemaker, a microwave oven, computer and some lights. Well you won’t be using the microwave continuously, maybe you could use a small window air conditioner too, when the microwave is off.

    Or turn all of that off to use your electric stove to cook supper.

    Good thing you’re not using an electric water heater, or electric clothes dryer.

    Nobody needs electric heating, so don’t ask.

    Of course in the real world, you will never see the full nameplate wattage generated, and in general won’t see a third of it over time. In a million homes the residents will gather around a microwave making hot water for instant coffee, grateful for the light as they rub together their cold hands over the rear exhaust vent.

    The Wind Energy Area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers about 164,750 acres and is located 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline.

    3395 megawatts / 164750 acres = 20.6 kilowatts/acre.
    20.6kW/acre / (6.273*10^6 sq inches/acre) = 0.0033 w/ sq in, 3.3 milliwatts/sq in.

    This solar panel is used in RV/marine kits. It’s rated 100W, occupies 1300 sq in.
    100W / 1300 sq in = 0.0769 W/sq in, 76.9 mW/sq in.

    The solar panel has more than 23 times the “power per area” of wind power, by nameplate.

    Gee, they might as well knock off some “solar pontoon barges” instead, string them across the ocean. Anchor the strings, they’re built on sealed pontoons so they won’t sink in a storm. They’ll be better than wind, since battery storage can be directly built into the barges, they can supply current at night. In that application, the batteries are ballast.

    Maintenance is much simpler, you can get to them easier. If needed they could swap out a “bad” barge for a working one, tow it to the dock for repair.

    And getting rid of the installation is very easy, pull in the strings. That could be an option when a powerful storm is coming and you have some days of advance warning, remove it temporarily. Getting the turbines out of the way is much harder, takes a bit longer.

  88. Brian H says:

    JohnH — “makes things worse in CO2 terms” — and the agonizing irony is that CO2 is beneficial, a priceless planetary resource in short supply. So “CO2 worse” is actually better! The only benefit of the boondoggle.

  89. AB says:

    This what intermittent and unreliable renewables will do to the UK.
    MPs want to turn your lights off. A shame no one told you
    Within six years you could be expected to reduce your electricity consumption by a quarter
    http://tinyurl.com/lqq3osx

  90. eric1skeptic says:

    “Electricity from your wall outlet is standard voltage and current. No one can tell the difference between electricity from hydrocarbon sources or “green” sources such as wind.”

    Green electrons have extra spin.

  91. eric1skeptic said @ June 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Green electrons have extra spin.

    And a certain charm for the gullible ;-)

  92. Dave Wendt says:

    I did do a quick Google rummage through the list of “eligible” bidders for these leases. Most appear to be at best U.S. subsidiaries of British or Euro companies. So not only will we get hosed on the subsidies for this, but most of the financial benefits will be going overseas. At least if we were giving money to our own crony capitalists the bucks they blow supporting their Jolly Green Giant sized carbon footprints might have a chance of trickling down into our economy. As it is the only likely benefit we are apt to see is having the privilege of paying 3-4 times more for our electricity.
    BTW, one of the not so noticeable subsidies for wind energy is that the minimum bid price required by the government for offshore wind leases is about a hundredth of what they require in auctions for offshore oil leases, if they ever get around to holding any of those in the near future.
    And of course one of the added benefits of selling wind leases is that it pretty much removes the areas involved from any kind of oil or gas exploration. A win-win for them if not for us.

  93. Janice Moore says:

    “Jolly Green Giant sized carbon footprints… .” [Dave Wendt]

    YO, HO, HO! LOL — nice one.

    And grim-but-accurate observations, above, too.

  94. J Martin says:

    Surely wind turbines take energy from the spin of the Earth. So if we detect an unusual trend in lengthening of LOD then perhaps we need to be removing all wind turbines and skyscrapers.

  95. Mario Lento says:

    Regarding: “Offshore wind is a potential win-win-win for Maryland. Today’s vote positions our State for greater job creation and opportunity, while moving us forward toward securing a more sustainable energy future.”
    ++++++++++++
    If this is in fact a real win of any sort, why then does it need tax incentives and subsidies and a forcing of the public to pay higher energy costs to actually MAKE this happen? I call bunk on this sham.

  96. David Riser says:

    Well janice it is certainly true that Coffee is an aquired taste, unfortuneatly once you acquire it your done forever. My advice to you is stick to your tea and ill drink the Coffee!

  97. Dave says:

    So the takeaway from this is that we should be building onshore wind, because the levelized cost of that is now cheaper than coal? Excellent. ;-)

  98. Mindy says:

    <>

    What a coincidence. We now have a health care plan like that.

  99. James at 48 says:

    Driving down into Barrow, seeing all those windmills way out at sea is a bit romantic … until one seriously contemplates why they are there.

  100. Mark says:

    Sasha says:

    In the UK, the cost of generating a unit of electricity worth £1 from a coal-fired power station costs £24 when generated from an offshore wind turbine.

    This is after considering that a coal power station requires vast quantities of coal to be mined then transported to it. With an also large quantity of solid waste needing to be taken away.

  101. Tom Andersen says:

    Prices in Ontario Canada now go negative everytime the wind blows. http://www.theimo.com/imoweb/marketdata/marketToday.asp

    The ‘hilarious’ part of Wind in Ontario, is that we install wind while already having 80% carbon free electricity. Politicians are scary.

Comments are closed.