Wind turbine payback period claimed to be within 8 months

IMG_20140524_195347[1]From Inderscience Publishers , something sure to make greens go “See, I told you!”, except for that little fatal mistake at the end. Read on.

Wind turbine payback

US researchers have carried out an environmental lifecycle assessment of 2-megawatt wind turbines mooted for a large wind farm in the US Pacific Northwest. Writing in the International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, they conclude that in terms of cumulative energy payback, or the time to produce the amount of energy required of production and installation, a wind turbine with a working life of 20 years will offer a net benefit within five to eight months of being brought online.

Wind turbines are frequently touted as the answer to sustainable electricity production especially if coupled to high-capacity storage for times when the wind speed is either side of their working range. They offer a power source that has essentially zero carbon emissions.

Coupled lifecycle cost and environmental assessment in terms of energy use and emissions of manufacturing, installation, maintenance and turbine end-of-life processing seems to be limited in the discussions for and against these devices. “All forms of energy generation require the conversion of natural resource inputs, which are attendant with environmental impacts and costs that must be quantified to make appropriate energy system development decisions,” explain Karl Haapala and Preedanood Prempreeda of Oregon State University, in Corvallis.

The pair has carried out a life cycle assessment (LCA) of 2MW wind turbines in order to identify the net environmental impact of the production and use of such devices for electricity production. An LCA takes into account sourcing of key raw materials (steel, copper, fiberglass, plastics, concrete, and other materials), transport, manufacturing, installation of the turbine, ongoing maintenance through its anticipated two decades of useful life and, finally, the impacts of recycling and disposal at end-of-life.

Their analysis shows that the vast majority of predicted environmental impacts would be caused by materials production and manufacturing processes. However, the payback for the associated energy use is within about 6 months, the team found. It is likely that even in a worst case scenario, lifetime energy requirements for each turbine will be subsumed by the first year of active use. Thus, for the 19 subsequent years, each turbine will, in effect, power over 500 households without consuming electricity generated using conventional energy sources.

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Haapala, K.R. and Prempreeda, P. (2014) ‘Comparative life cycle assessment of 2.0 MW wind turbines’, Int. J. Sustainable Manufacturing, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.170-185.

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The mistake, or some might call it an inconvenient oversight:

Thus, for the 19 subsequent years, each turbine will, in effect, power over 500 households without consuming electricity generated using conventional energy sources.

The problem here is the assumption that a wind turbine is the equivalent of a conventional coal or nuclear power plant. It isn’t, and as we know wind is not a constant thing:

“My biggest fear is if you see 20 percent wind on your system, and then it comes off at a time period where you don’t have resources to replace it — that’s going to, could, result in a blackout situation,” he says.

If there was not a backup power source that could be controlled 24/7/365 for those 500 homes, they would be in the dark when the wind falls below minimum levels needed to operate the wind turbine.

For example, a popular wind Turbine, the Vesas V90-2.0 2 megawatt turbine says in the technical specifications:

VestasV90_specs

4 meters per second is equal to 8.9 miles per hour. By my own observation, I can say there are quite a number of days where wind is lower than that at ground level and even at tower height. Today for example, there is quite a number of areas with low or no wind in the United States. The blues are the low wind speed colors.

CONUS_Wind-6-16-14

Source: http://earth.nullschool.net/#2014/03/26/0900Z/wind/surface/level/equirectangular=-96.36,44.28,879

As we have seen before, when power is needed most, we can’t always count on the wind to blow at a level that will keep a wind turbine producing, requiring another power source to back it up. Thus, it is a blatant fallacy to claim:

…each turbine will, in effect, power over 500 households without consuming electricity generated using conventional energy sources.

 

 

 

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300 thoughts on “Wind turbine payback period claimed to be within 8 months

  1. “…a wind turbine with a working life of 20 years will offer a net benefit within five to eight months of being brought online.”
    ————
    Yeah right.

    Wind turbine payback is a mofo.

  2. Perhaps there should be two grids. One for wind turbine advocates, and one for old fossil fuel fools, with no interconnectors. Then we would see the true capabilities of the bird choppers.

  3. A 2 MW rated turbine will, according to data from existing installations, provide 360-480 kW of actual output.

  4. in the dark when the wind falls below minimum levels needed to operate the wind turbine….

    …or above

    It has to be in the sweet spot to work

  5. If the payback period is only 5-8 months, why do these things need a subsidy? In my business days, 12 months to positive returns was considered sufficient in many cases.

  6. I am a complete layman when it comes to wind power and power grids in general… It obviously can’t function as a replacement for traditional power sources, but the article seems to imply that a backup energy source can be used (as I would assume it could be) when the energy is unavailable. I give no credence to AGW on scientific grounds, but is there any downside to relying on this source of energy when it is temporarily available?

  7. They somehow forgot to work in capacity factor, which for wind turbine has been 25% typically, historically. Also just using energy costs leaves out a lot of the production costs, like transportation, engineering, overhead, tooling and other costs that add quite a bit to the costs. Frankly the best clue to how impractical wind turbines are is that when subsidies go away, so do the people who own the turbines, leaving nothing but rusty towers.

  8. Calm windless days in my neighbourhood are also the coldest
    days in winter, and the hottest days in summer. Subjective experience
    says they are far more common than days of wind ” 4 metres per
    second or greater.”

    Welcome back to the eighteenth century …
    Electrickery? Wazzat?

  9. And they still cost more than conventional, regardless of any electricity they may save.

    In the UK offshore wind receives a guaranteed strike price of £155/MWh v the wholesale market price of about £50.

  10. ChrisM says:
    June 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Perhaps there should be two grids. One for wind turbine advocates, and one for old fossil fuel fools, with no interconnectors. Then we would see the true capabilities of the bird choppers.

    Exactly

  11. That’s not the real mistake. The real mistake is that although the ENERGY payback for the raw materials and fabrication of the turbine may be less than 1 year, the cost of this energy is only a tiny fraction of the overall cost of the turbine. Cost payback times for wind turbines, even with massive subsidies, are typically in the 15-20 year range. Scale back the subsidies, and the payback time becomes infinite. All wind projects die out as soon as the government scales back a bit or limits purchase guarantees.

  12. Numbers seem wildly off. For example look at the energy cost for producing 700 tons of concrete. That may be the amount of electrical energy used to produce the concrete but no way reflects the total amount of energy required. 700 tons / 6(cement ratio) x 1.4 MWh (per ton of cement, via the Columbia.edu) is a lot more than .4 MWh. I assume the other numbers are also wildly off.

  13. It looks like they’re only comparing energy flows, not cash flows. They’re saying that the energy used in creating the turbine is similar to the amount of energy created by the turbine in 8 months, so after that the turbine is creating new energy. It is not saying that the cost in money is replaced in 8 months.

  14. they also do not include all of the extras required for “reliability” purposes that scheduling “wind power” has burdened the rest of the energy users, most notably the person turning on the lights at home. Extras that are required and paid for by everyone but the “wind generators” so that when the “wind energy” doesn’t show up like required there will not be a brown out or black out, an under frequency situation or other unacceptable to reliable power grid situation. I would ask that all the proponents of “wind and solar power” have to use only wind and solar and be treated only at hospitals that use wind and solar as there only source of power. Might as well throw in that they can only be served by ambulances and fire trucks that use wind or solar power too.

  15. AndyZ :

    At June 16, 2014 at 11:14 am you ask

    I am a complete layman when it comes to wind power and power grids in general… It obviously can’t function as a replacement for traditional power sources, but the article seems to imply that a backup energy source can be used (as I would assume it could be) when the energy is unavailable. I give no credence to AGW on scientific grounds, but is there any downside to relying on this source of energy when it is temporarily available?

    Yes!
    The “downside” is more expensive electricity, more fuel used for power generation, and more emissions from electricity generation.

    Windfarms for power generation provide intermittent power so they merely displace thermal power stations onto standby mode or to operate at reduced efficiency while the thermal power stations wait for the wind to change. They make no significant reduction to pollution because thermal power stations continue to use their fuel and to produce their emissions while operating in standby mode or with reduced efficiency that can increase their emissions at low output. And this need for continuously operating backup means that windfarms can only provide negligible useful electricity to electricity grid supply systems. But the large scale use of windfarms requires upgrading of an electricity grid, more complex grid management, and operation of additional thermal power stations to protect against power cuts in time of supply failure. These effects increase the cost of electricity supplied by the grid in addition to the capital, maintenance and operating costs of the windfarms themselves. And the windfarms cause significant environmental damage.

    A more full explanation of these effects is provided by this

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    I hope this helps.

    Richard

  16. Summary of errors:

    1. “Energy payback” doesn’t seem to properly factor in downtime with wind variability
    2. The article makes it sound like there is a monetary payback, but no monetary payback is mentioned
    3. No baseline was given for the time it takes a coal, nuclear, or natural gas plant to produce as much energy as it took to consume
    4. Combine 2 and 3

    Conclusion: The article gives meaningless information in an attempt to elicit a positive emotional response about green energy.

  17. I guess this was their “talking Points” response to the mockery of economics.
    The wind turbines will be exceptional if they return the true energy cost in their life time.
    This kind of truth smarts, the scammers hate it and the eco-nasties go rabid when forced to acknowledge it.The energy costs are skewed.
    Cost to mine and refine materials, check.
    Cost to manufacture, check.
    Cost to install, check.
    Cost to maintain,
    cost to remove and remediate site.
    Versus actual usable electricity generated.
    Using every weasel clause in the book, you get the lie promoted above.

  18. Wasn’t there a fairly recent report which said that wind turbines life cycle energy costs were 2 to 3 times the energy they produced.

  19. If it’s such a good deal, I hope the authors invest their entire life savings in the technology. Surely, that would be like minting money.

  20. If backup capacity essentially equal to what would be needed without the turbines has to be maintained then the payback period would approach the event horizon; just another government black hole of graft.

  21. It’s all really just another real-world demo of how hard it is for people to believe TANSTAAFL.

  22. Local high school has a turbine installed about one year ago at cost of 4.3 million, said to save the school almost 20,000 per year.

  23. This is great news! We need to end all subsidies for wind now because obviously they don’t need it when they pay out in 6 months. If you achieved an average of 6 month payouts on large oil and gas projects you’d be an industry rock star! And the extra $2/kw.h I pay for electricity since my state mandated wind farms provide a portion of the state’s energy, we don’t need that anymore. Great news indeed in the land of alternate reality.

  24. The article seems to be paywalled. A pity, since the results sound revolutionary. Does anybody know where a full text is available?

  25. I love green economics, where the cost of money is always ZERO.

    And this large scale power storage… I want to see that.
    And I would like the wind and solar producers to PAY for that storage they require.

  26. If this is even close to the truth, then no further subsidies are required….. Great IMO……

  27. The article is talking about energy production not cost. They are saying that it takes 6 months to a year to for the turbine to produce the amount of energy equal to that use to manufacture, install, and maintain the turbine through its life. I agree with Anthony that they do not include the energy costs of backup power production. They also do not state how they calculate the energy production of the wind turbine, are they using the rated capacity or some fraction of the rated capacity? Energy is a small fraction of the total actual cost of a turbine and ironically I beleive enrgy from a wind turbine would be too erratic to be used in the production of a wind turbine. This is a classic misdirection.

  28. 1. Including subsidies?
    2. Production, installation, and maintenance costs should also include the fact that not all turbines are running at the same time or same speed. Did they calculate the result based on full installation of all turbines and running at projected speed and hours? We know that in real life, this isn’t happening. Turbine farms do not run at the before-going-online projected speed and hours.

    They should use an existing farm’s total output dollar cost including subsidies (a subsidy is not income, it is a cost) compared to the incoming total energy unsubsidized dollars to determine when they are profitable. Profitable in their own right, not padded by my tax dollars. In fact all energy sources should be thusly calculated. Oil is no sacred cow to me.

    And I am not saying we should not subsidize energy. We subsidize other infrastructure necessities that help us as a country of businesses to make and sell products. It just needs to be considered a cost, not an income source by those who want to dig oil or catch the wind.

  29. And how much does construction of each windmill cost? How much does maintenance cost? (including subsidies for each). I don’t see either in the article. Just a hunch, but I don’t think it ever recovers it’s cost.

  30. Average household power use is 1KW. The windmill is 2000KW. With a capacity factor of 25%, average output is 500KW, exactly what 500 households use.

  31. battman says:

    June 16, 2014 at 11:36 am
    Local high school has a turbine installed about one year ago at cost of 4.3 million, said to save the school almost 20,000 per year.
    ===========

    Do you think the school will be around in 215 years to see the payback? No math classes at that school?

  32. This report is a bit of sleight of hand- a magical illusion to keep people from noticing that their wallets are being picked from their pockets by windmill promoters.
    Even if the report’s basics were accurate: that the *energy costs* of manufacture can be recovered relatively quickly, what about paying for the materials, labor, overhead, transporation, construction, grid hookup, operating costs of maintenance and repair, the costs of having backup power ready at a moment’s notice, etc.?
    The windmill financial viability studies I have seen show that most windills do not pay for their own depreciation, and barely cover operating expenses. And would fail that without legally required buy-ins of wind power and tax payer direct subsidies.

  33. Richard:

    That helps immensely. I learned a great deal from that paper. Thanks for the info.

    andy

  34. The variability of wind is a known factor: years of wind data are available to be evaluated. The wind data can be applied to proposed turbines to estimate a future power output and the fluctuations.

    Modulations of power production to match fluctuating demands is an every minute occurrence: operation of power systems is a technical problem that is there in the system, faced every day whether there is wind energy as part of the system or not.

    The variations needed in conventional power plants to accommodate wind are changing conditions that can be projected in advance: the loss of efficiency in fuel use by reductions in output can be projected.

    The characteristics of wind power are known. Large electric utilities that already have wind power installations, know the trade-offs, both the benefits and the draw-backs, the capital and the operating costs. These large electric utilities are evaluating wind power and are adding more. They are not naive users, they are sophisticated producers and distributors of electricity. They do their own evaluations. They know about standby requirements. They know about the changes in efficiency with modulating production. They know about power surges. They know how the wind changes. They evaluate all these, use their own capital and add more wind power, and compete for sites.

    The technical requirements mentioned in this thread are known. Yet private producers have evaluated all these technical problems and invest their own capital, sign long term agreements for the use of the land with payments to the owners. This should give pause to those who raise these technical objections. Maybe those who deal with power generation everyday know a little more than you do.

    It is unfortunate that the analysis is skewed by government subsidy, but when private enterprise commits it’s own funds there is a good chance that the technical problems are not unsolvable.

  35. @ tomcourt –

    700 tons of concrete? As the foundation for a 2 MW wind turbine? By my incredibly loose calculations, that’s about 200 cubic yards, or 20 transit mixers’ worth of concrete. Maybe in ideal conditions where there’s a minimum of topsoil to displace, but I’d bet that the real average concrete required to anchor a turbine that big is at least double that 700 ton estimate.

  36. A possible solution to the problem of intermittent or insufficient winds to power the turbines.
    Place the majority of wind turbines outside congress and leave the doors open. Enough Hot Air there to power a small country if properly harnessed

  37. @ Eric Gisin –

    That’s fantastic… now show me a perfect, lossless storage and recovery method to smooth out the power demand of your ‘average’ house to something approaching 1 kW.

    I know that my electric bill goes through a distinct cycle where peak summer usage is roughly double peak winter usage, and about five times what I use in the spring and fall when lighting and HVAC use bottom out at the same time.

  38. Warren Buffett, who lost $900 million on the TXU energy bankruptcy, may be wrong again if he assumes government will guarantee him a profit for his wind and solar investments.

    “Warren Buffett briefly lost track of how many billions of dollars his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is spending to build wind and solar power in the U.S. That didn’t stop him from vowing to double the outlay. [...]

    “Berkshire has been able to plow so much into renewable energy because it can use tax credits to offset profit at other businesses, Abel, the 52-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, said yesterday. Units at Buffett’s company include auto insurer Geico, Dairy Queen, Shaw carpet and T-shirt maker Fruit of the Loom.

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-06-10/buffett-ready-to-double-15-billion-solar-wind-bet

  39. The biggest criticism of windmills is seldom the amount of energy required to build them, and any associated emissions. It is the high cost of producing power.
    Here is one of the most comprehensive analyses I’ve come across :

    http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Hidden-Cost.pdf

    In this analysis the cost depends upon what type of backup energy is being used : coal or natural gas. It only cares about the monetary cost of building the machines,not how much energy is expended in doing so. The business about electrical storage availability being a solution for wind’s unreliability is absurd. The wind can disappear for days, even weeks, far beyond not only the capacity of any storage system, but the ability for the wind power to ever fill that capacity and simultaneously provide the power expected by the grid. The environmental footprint of a wind system is apparently huge – I have seen estimates that almost 300,000 acres would normally be required to site enough turbines to produce the same gross amount of power as a 1200 MW nuclear power plant.

  40. Chris4692 says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I work for one of those “Large Electric Utilities” that generated it’s own power. A while ago, legislation was passed forcing divestature of much of the existing generation facilities into private facilities and opening up the energy market to competition (ALA ENRON). This created an artificial increase in energy prices as the facilities were no longer under the control of a regulated Utility. My County is now being forced into a CO-OP situation with an agregated GREEN Generating Company. We can’t Opt in, we must Opt out.

    What I can say is thet, IF Wind and Solar generation is so “Cost Effective” then why arent there Solar Panels being installed at the local offices for the Utility? I can understand On Sight wind generation not being installed within city limits though. Who wants to live next to one of those?

  41. I work for one of those “Large Electric Utilities” that generated its own power. A while ago, legislation was passed forcing divestiture of much of the existing generation facilities into private facilities and opening up the energy market to competition (ALA ENRON). This created an artificial increase in energy prices as the facilities were no longer under the control of a regulated Utility. My County is now being forced into a CO-OP situation with an aggregated GREEN Generating Company. We can’t Opt in, we must Opt out.
    What I can say is that, IF Wind and Solar generation is so “Cost Effective” then why aren’t there Solar Panels being installed at the local offices for the Utility? I can understand On Sight wind generation not being installed within city limits though. Who wants to live next to one of those?

  42. Eric Gisin says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    The grid does not run on average power. It runs on instantaneous power. Your house will be dark from 100 KW for two days and 0 KW for 8. Average power 10KW.

  43. This is one of the most egregious examples of blowing smoke I’ve ever seen. They present a new metric which proves that wind generation is economical because it outputs as much power in a few months as is spent on it over its lifecycle. By their own standards I can then “prove” that dynamite will have a “net benefit” within one second, orders of magnitude better than wind power. As the article and several here have pointed out, continuously usable energy over the long haul apparently doesn’t figure into the equation. Anybody know how I can go about applying for federal funding for more studies on this?

  44. Chris4692 says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    It is unfortunate that the analysis is skewed by government subsidy, but when private enterprise commits it’s own funds there is a good chance that the technical problems are not unsolvable.

    Or the subsidy and MANDATES are irresistible. We did this once before with housing loans. It did not turn out well.

  45. LeeHarvey says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    @ tomcourt –

    700 tons of concrete? As the foundation for a 2 MW wind turbine? By my incredibly loose calculations, that’s about 200 cubic yards, or 20 transit mixers’ worth of concrete. Maybe in ideal conditions where there’s a minimum of topsoil to displace, but I’d bet that the real average concrete required to anchor a turbine that big is at least double that 700 ton estimate.

    I get 700 tons = 345 cubic yards (at 150 lb/cubic foot)

    Guessing 30 ft diameter base, that would be 13 feet deep. Which seems small to me, though they may not have to keep the foundation at that large a diameter the whole way down. I’ve not seen that part of the construction so I don’t know what kind of a foundation they use.

  46. Adding to the negatives, turbines have been fingered for the destruction of large numbers of
    flying creatures, most notably bats, which are very beneficial for agriculture. Also raptors and one interested bird lover believes that the endangered Whooping Crane population has suffered
    recent severe losses, which he hypothesizes was due to wind turbines. Those studies of massive bat kills around turbine sites led to the idea of shutting down the turbines during certain times of the day and night. Apparently they believe that won’t totally eliminate the slaughter, but will reduce it substantially. It will also increase the cost of wind generated power even more.

  47. I am a believer in monetary costs roughly reflecting the energy/resource costs when it comes to energy and resource production. If the energy payout is only 6-8 months then someone is making huge margins in the manufacturing and installation of wind farms. More likely the time for energy payout is closer to the monetary payout.

    Some quick calculations assuming a 25% operating capacity and $2.4 million price tag for each turbine the payout on a turbine is about 5.5 years. The time to payoff is longer once you consider maintenance cost, which also increases the energy required to create the electricity. Maintenance is cheap on these farms, simply Google “lighting strikes wind farms” for a clue on how much a wind farm costs to keep operating.

  48. –AnonyMoose says:
    June 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

    It looks like they’re only comparing energy flows, not cash flows. They’re saying that the energy used in creating the turbine is similar to the amount of energy created by the turbine in 8 months, so after that the turbine is creating new energy. It is not saying that the cost in money is replaced in 8 months.–

    Yeah I think this is what is meant. As I vaguely recall PV panels take twice as long. Or energy consumed to make a PV requires about 1 1/2 years of energy that PV panel could make- but I don’t think that includes everything such as installation costs.
    So in terms of energy used to make the thing which makes electrical power, wind mills are better than solar panels. But this is not too surprising as the manufacture of PV panels requires far more energy than most people imagine.

  49. “Is the obsession with “climate change” turning out to be the most costly scientific
    Blunder in history?”……Christopher Booker

  50. ChrisM says:

    Perhaps there should be two grids. One for wind turbine advocates, and one for old fossil fuel fools, with no interconnectors. Then we would see the true capabilities of the bird choppers.

    Where would nuclear, regular hydro and pumped hydro go? Presumably the wind turbine one would get solar too. Though my money’s on it being useless without some gas turbine backup anyway.

  51. Though in solar capitial of world beging such bad place to generate electical I would not be surprised is solar panels never return the electrical energy they consumed making them and all the other electrical cost they consume. Or they sort of like charging a battery once, then tossing it away..Or they like buying non rechargeable batteries as crazy idea to generate electrical power.

  52. Still waiting for the day “wind farm” meansputting in energy to generate air circulation to counteract mankind’s use of tall buildings disrupting the North American airflow. The “Stagnation Alarmists” will no doubt cite large city core decreases in wind speeds and not wish to notice the pristine sites where wind speeds are unaffected.

  53. battman says:

    Local high school has a turbine installed about one year ago at cost of 4.3 million, said to save the school almost 20,000 per year.

    Any examples of machines which work perfectly for 215 years? Or is that 20,000 per anum after the annual maintanance cost has been factored in.

  54. Hey – this article is discussing the “Energy” payback time period – NOT the economic payback time. BIG difference. So this misleading article is talking about how long until the wind turbine produces the electrical ENERGY amount used to create and erect the turbine. Who cares if it only takes 6-9 months to pay back (generate) the same amount of electricity used to build this, if the cost to the consumer for each KWH is 8-10 times that from hydro or gas-fired power plants. The consumer is still screwed into paying HUGE electric bills, for intermittent power, which still has to have a full capacity power plant “hot & spinning” to take over WHEN the wind stops blowing. Operation and maintenance costs are many times greater than for fixed traditional power plants, which contribute to the very high cost of each KWH produced by these bird/bat choppers.
    Why pay 40 cents/KWH for wind power, when conventional hydro and nuclear power is in the 5-6 cents/KWH range? It’s all about forcing us to use the energy source the global warming alarmists, activists and politicians want us to use to further their agenda.

  55. I think there is an error even earlier. How can the working life of a turbine impact the payback time?
    If it is 5 to 8 months, then it shouldn’t matter if the turbine is failing in 2 years. You have already been paid back. One suspects they are doing some sort of fuzzy math, that required them to stretch out to 20 years.

  56. And the “net energy cost” to drill an oil well can be very low or zero also… just use flare gas from adjacent wells within the same field to generate the power required plus a little extra for the grid. These kinds of calculations are senseless… simply fodder for useful idiots.

  57. Good spots. Read this tripe before commenting.
    Three fundamental errors that should never have passed peer review. First, paying back electrical energy is not paying back all energy. concrete and steel are made using a lot more than just electrical energy. Wrote my undergrad thesis on that concerning nuclear rather than wind, a long, long time ago. Second, used nameplate capacity without adjusting for capacity factor. Last year US CF was 31%, UK was 24. Third, ignored the backup capacity, which operates on average about 75 % of the time to make up nameplate. (Actuals are less and the real calculation is more complex, but this heuristic gives the directional idea). That backup is INCREMENTAL to what the grid would otherwise require. It’s cost is left out of the new DOE and EIA levelized cost estimates, which have to be roughly doubled. And the energy cost of making those is left out, also.
    Wind will never be able to compete, even with nuclear, without subsidies that can never end. Yet still better than grid solar.

  58. Back in my “previous life”, the major utility I worked for was “beaten up” by the state regulators, and to install a certain amount of gas turbine peakers (needed for growth, summers) they had to “subsidize” 100 Megawatts of wind turbines (100 units that is.). That they did, placing them in the WINDIEST PLACE in the STATE (clue, somewhere near, around the Dakotas, a very open and windy area.) Subsequent to development, and for the next 10 years, I was able to watch the Grid Operations System (GOS) system,and see the amount generated. Yep, after 10 years of operation, the wonderful wind power (“free”, don’t you know) produced an AVERAGE of 8.7 Megawatts, orr 8.7% capacity factor. (The gas turbines, of course, produced about a 99% cap factor, not “free”.) Now, what of this? Despite the FIGHT the utility had to go through with the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) the cost figures came out. Installed, each unit was a little under $2 Million. Using STANDARD industrial amortization, the net cost during that 10 years, was…hang on to your hat, about $1.65 per KWHr. If you had a standard cost of $100 a month for your electricity, if you had WIND power you could be paying $2000 a month. Wonderful way to personal bankruptcy and national bankruptcy.

  59. Intermittence, as annoying as it may be, is a distraction and is not, in and of itself a deal killer.

    As others have pointed out, the key to this discussion is that they are talking about energy payback, not economic payback. Two very different things.

  60. ” ChrisM says:
    June 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Perhaps there should be two grids.”

    Indeed.

    I would also like there to be two healthcare systems here in Ontario, Canada: one for those who believe in wacky medicine like chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Medicine or other such woo (which I am FORCED to pay for in our wonderful socialized nation), and one for those of us who are rather ok with science-based medicine.

    You sign up for one or the other. If you believe in homeopathy, you can’t go to a modern hospital. Ever. In fact, all alternative medical places should only have alternative green power running them…

  61. Real life often differs from what your book says and unfortunately there are quite a few people (in gov) out there who are educated but have no real life experience to back it.
    Our school dept set up an entire energy efficient school once during a fed induced grant frenzy. Its system was supposed to be self contained and provide the heating and cooling for said school. The school itself is buried into the ground with a grass roof. We live in an area with volcanic rock below dirt, so digging it in to the ground cost 5x what was projected. Then as a result of the dirt and grass over the building they were getting poisoned inside.. and the problems with the heat/cool system were endless. Well 10+ yrs or so later the bill came in for all the constant maintenance, constant replacement of parts, The bill also included additional “support” air conditioning and heating units, purchased because the engineers design would totally fail during too hot or too cold of weather and when it was switched for season changes.
    Well as it turns out they spent more cash on electricity, equipment and maintenance in the “green school” then any other building in the entire district, and almost as much as the rest of the schools combined. So this year they scrapped they green and put in an old fashion boiler and some roof AC units… and the lesson learned here? Just cause the engineer thinks its possible, doesn’t necessarily make it possible. It was not a total loss though, I think the building itself might be a good alternative to a square one in tornado alley. :)

  62. It should be noted that the specs indicate there is also a cut-out speed of 25 m/s (56 mph). So when the wind blows too strongly, the turbines aren’t generating.

  63. climatereflections says: June 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Intermittence, as annoying as it may be, is a distraction and is not, in and of itself a deal killer.

    As others have pointed out, the key to this discussion is that they are talking about energy payback, not economic payback. Two very different things.

    Energy payback is a meaningless metric. I would bet they made it up, hoping the public can’t discern the difference.

  64. sounds like it means payback for the energy used in 8 months assuming that initial cost is free and maintenance is free and one doesn’t have to include rotating backup systems. Otherwise, I don’t think the darned things have yet been able to break even in operating cost without subsidies.

  65. Col Mosby says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm


    The environmental footprint of a wind system is apparently huge – I have seen estimates that almost 300,000 acres would normally be required to site enough turbines to produce the same gross amount of power as a 1200 MW nuclear power plant.

    By way of comparison, the campus for Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle is 3,100 acres and has two operational 1,215 MW reactors with two additional AP1000 reactors (1,250 MW gross, 1,117 MW net) approved and under construction. If the above figure is correct, it would take 1,200,000 acres of wind turbines to equal the output of Plant Vogtle alone.

  66. Do they mean 8 months of run time or 8 months straight? Here in the NW where the authors of the study live, we have enough windmills to power 3 Seattle’s. The problem? They are always turned off. So to get that 8 months of run time might require 100 or more years at that rate. Note, I’m an avid paraglider and I need plenty of wind to fly. We tend to fly at these windmill sites because there is always a good wind and the windmills are never running. We fly around them all the time!

  67. A working life of 20 years? With how many bearing and gearboxes plus the occasional blade being replaced in that time? And what then ? Total replacement?
    The word from the maintenance engineers for the vast array of large Vestas here in Godzone is that there is plenty of work keeping them going, but the owners are not making any money.
    Mind you, this is a subsidy- free environment, and the competition (complement?) is large amounts of hydro.
    And the lines company is still trying to get the remote 33,000 volt switch ( that had to be installed to accommodate the whirly-gigs intermittent output) to listen to the dispatchers.

  68. Would somebody please explain to me why I am subsidizing Berkshire Hathaway’s massive wind turbine investment.

    The last time I checked, Berkshire Hathaway didn’t appear to be in need of subsidies.

    (in full disclosure, I am a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder).

  69. In addition the payback period is based on 2MW generation over the period, but in actuality, this will be stretched out much longer because the average output is much less.

  70. climatereflections:

    At June 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm you assert

    Intermittence, as annoying as it may be, is a distraction and is not, in and of itself a deal killer.

    Merely “annoying”? “Not a deal killer”? Surely, you jest!

    The intermittence provides need for back-up and combined with the little power available in normal winds to make it very difficult for windpower to recover its capital costs in the absence of subsidies.

    Windpower was used to power shipping and to operate mills for millenia. But windpower was displaced when the steam engine enabled use of greater energy intensity in fossil fuels to provide greater and continuous and controllable power.

    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.

    Richard

  71. Allready mining for rear earth minerals to use in magnets, devestate large areas in China.
    If windmills shall cover f.ex 10% of the needed electricity, mining has to be increased more then 10 times compared to current mining. Added to that a ton of copper is needed in each and 15-16 ton steel. Large scale windmills just make no sence.

  72. That is quite preposterous. I was looking at UK power production a few days ago, their 5,000+ wind turbines were operating at 2.5% of capacity at the time. The UK is a windy place yet, their wind farms operate
    below 20% of capacity more than half of the time,
    below 10% of capacity one third of the time
    below 2,5% of capacity one day in twelve
    below 1.25% of capacity just under one day per month.
    And the wind tends not to blow when power demand is highest, when temperatures are either very hot or very cold. Wind tends to blow more at night, when power demand is lower

  73. Another hidden cost to wind turbine generated electricity supplied to the grid is the additional uncertainty it adds to natural gas contracts. Usually contracts are set a day in advance for delivery but utilities are often forced to buy all available wind without regard to gas in the pipe. When the deal for delivery is made the gas comes out of the ground and it has to go somewhere (the utility owns it and has to take it). When short term storage at the utility is exceeded the gas is vented to ambient. When wind came on line here our rates increased plus a wind surcharge was added to the bill. It is wind on the fast track but permitting for utilities to increase NG storage reservoirs is slow. (Look Ma no commas)

  74. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    the campus for Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle is 3,100 acres and has two operational 1,215 MW reactors with two additional AP1000 reactors (1,250 MW gross, 1,117 MW net)
    ..
    ..
    Any clue how much land is required for the mining, refining and processing of the uranium fuel?

  75. Portsmouth RI took out a $3 million loan to install a wind turbine and sell the power to the National Grid. Five years later the turbine’s gear box failed. Estimated cost of repair: $580,000 to $730,000. As of 2013, the turbine had not been repaired and the town still owed $2.3 million.

    Ask them about payback.

    Expected life of complete turbine is 20-25 years, but gearboxes typically fail every 7-10 years.

  76. I bet that the analysis in regards to paying off the power “debt” in producing a windmill is correct. I also noticed that the return on investment numbers for the payoff of the windmill were admittedly missing.

    There is a fair sized wind farm between Indianapolis and Chicago. Last time I was through there my guess, three quarters of the windmills weren’t turning. Why would one windmill be running and the windmills all around it not be running? As a matter of fact the windmills that weren’t running appeared to me, a layman, to be “feathered” like they used to do with prop driven airplanes with a bad engine.

    I hear that with electricity prices being what they are in the US power companies can’t justify repairing a broken windmill. The government paid to buy the windmills to start with so they run ‘em till they break then let ‘em sit. I also understand that underwriters are reluctant to insure a windmill, odds are good that there will be a weather event bad enough to damage or destroy the windmill before it’s paid off.

  77. Are any wind turbines manufactured by factories powered 100% by the wind?
    Are any solar arrays manufactured in factories powered 100% by the sun?

  78. I interpret: at a 22% faceplate efficiency (Euro experience) creation energy return is 3.5 to 5.0 years (5 X 6-12 months). Now you have 15.0 to 16.5 years of operating life. At 22% operation, the operating life will be greater than 16 years but it will not be 5 X: things machinery standing idle still age

    What’s the real median operating life of a wind turbine? 45 years at 22%? 10 years? Of which 9 are paying not just operating costs but material and labour costs of manufacturing.

    It is obvious why subsidies are required for wind turbines. The operating efficiency and decay normal to operating outside of a Clean Roon kill profitability.

  79. @John W. Garrett at 2:27 pm: I am subsidizing you and other Berkshire Hathaway shareholders: you wisely invest only in heavily subsidized industries.

  80. Please keep in mind this is energy usage not cost. The abstract doesn’t list the exact figures used in calculations either. EROI is not the same as ROI.

  81. Geoff says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    That is quite preposterous. I was looking at UK power production a few days ago, their 5,000+ wind turbines were operating at 2.5% of capacity at the time. The UK is a windy place yet, their wind farms operate
    below 20% of capacity more than half of the time,
    below 10% of capacity one third of the time
    below 2,5% of capacity one day in twelve
    below 1.25% of capacity just under one day per month.
    And the wind tends not to blow when power demand is highest, when temperatures are either very hot or very cold. Wind tends to blow more at night, when power demand is lower ” )
    • •
    John adds-
    According to the wind industry, UK currently has 1,278 Windfarms (may 2014) comprising –
    9,912 Turbines, + approx 18,000 small units,
    Total Capacity = 23 GW
    See – http://www.renewableuk.com/en/renewable-energy/wind-energy/uk-wind-energy-database/index.cfm/maplarge/1

    As I write this UK wind is contributing (2 GW ) a mere 5% to our grid demand !! (we are importing more than that from France & Holland) & is operating at just 9% of its capacity !!…a tad better than the last 2 weeks !! – Look here – http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
    Also – http://www.ukpowergeneration.info/

    ( for the French grid See – http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/ ) •

    Weather systems can be huge, Europe has had high pressure dominating for weeks, so sod all wind from Ireland to Poland, Italy to Scotland.

    See the live production from your local RWE windfarm – http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/206488/rwe-innogy/sites/production-data-live/rwe-renewable-energy-live/ (a minus fig indicates them taking power from grid to rotate blades) Note: capacity in MW but output in kW, so ÷ output by 1,000 to compare.

    And this is how much EXTRA we pay per mth for low density intermittent ‘green’ energy – http://www.variablepitch.co.uk/finance/ & yes the figs are £millions/mth.

    Lots more info from-
    Department of Energy & Climate Change ( DECC ) & Grid figs
    ( Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics ( DUKES)
    http://tinyurl.com/n4k7n8 )

    Do you really think that’s a sensible way to use precious resources ??

    I won’t even start on the ‘community benefits’ scam.

    It is a very dangerous world, when politics trump science & engineering facts.

  82. Claudius:

    At June 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm you ask

    There is a fair sized wind farm between Indianapolis and Chicago. Last time I was through there my guess, three quarters of the windmills weren’t turning. Why would one windmill be running and the windmills all around it not be running? As a matter of fact the windmills that weren’t running appeared to me, a layman, to be “feathered” like they used to do with prop driven airplanes with a bad engine.

    The turbines only operate when the wind is sufficiently strong but not too strong. But they must rotate at frequent intervals. The turbine blades are on one end of the shaft so their weight loads the bearings and bends the shaft. This squeezes lubricant from bearing surfaces and provides creep distortion to the shaft. Hence, failure to turn the turbine for long periods provides serious damage to the turbine when it restarts: inadequately lubricated bearing surface suffers wear and distorted shaft provides unacceptable vibration.

    Therefore, if there is a long period when the wind is not turning the turbine then its generator operates in reverse by taking electricity from the grid and acting as a motor to turn the turbine.

    Richard

    Footnote
    Creep is permanent distortion under load. For example, the weight of a chair compresses carpet beneath its legs. The compression provides elastic distortion of the carpet which recovers if the chair is often moved. But if the chair is not moved for a long time the carpet creeps to also obtain permanent distortion and observable depressions in the carpet remain when the chair is moved.

  83. Eric Gisin says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm
    Average household power use is 1KW. The windmill is 2000KW. With a capacity factor of 25%, average output is 500KW, exactly what 500 households use
    =============================================================================
    Maybe after midnight in Uganda. 500 electric ranges using one large burner on high rated at 1.5KW shuts down the grid. They would have to cook in shifts and run the heat pumps in shifts. Better figure a grid that can supply up to 5KW for instantaneous use for those 500 homes or live with brownouts and blackouts.

  84. Great news. If they’re getting that kind of payback, they don’t need subsidies.

  85. If they are such great practically perpetual motion energy producers, why are there 14,000 ABANDONED wind turbines in CA alone? Oh, that’s right–the subsidies ran out.

  86. John W. Garrett says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm
    Would somebody please explain to me why I am subsidizing Berkshire Hathaway’s massive wind turbine investment.
    The last time I checked, Berkshire Hathaway didn’t appear to be in need of subsidies.
    ——————————-
    John, I don’t think you understand how business works. Federal laws give benefits and subsidies for many type of projects and business. Only a “fool” would consider constructing a wind farm and selling the output w/o the Federal and State subsidies. And if they did, I can guarantee you, no power company would buy it. That’s why they are FORCED to buy it, even with the subsidies it is expensive. Buffet is no fool. He knows how to make money. And he is happy to take it from the gov’t. It’s legal. In fact it’s Mandated, thanks to the legions of useful idiots and dreamers in this world.
    Here is a turbo tax article, but the money goes much deeper than this.

    http://alturl.com/dmemd

    See, the thing is, our society can subsidize many thing that provide benefits to it citizens. But you CAN NOT under any circumstances create ENERGY out of MONEY!!!!! It is ENERGY that is used to create MONEY. This is key, but it take a lot of study and the ability to believe what many find unbelievable, that is, “everybody” is wrong. Even the smart, caring people.

  87. They are essentially saying that wind turbines do not need any subsidy as they pay for themselves within a year.

    So all of the subsidies are pure profiteering.

    Not a great surprise. Stealing from the poor and giving to the rich is the whole essence of ‘fighting climate change’. I often think that those that profit from wind turbines are the slimiest humans on the planet. They claim moral superiority for ‘saving the planet’ but I never heard of a ‘not for profit’ installation!

  88. A payback period of only 8 months is impossible if normal business financial method s are used.
    This claim must be based on ‘pie in the sky’ factors such as:
    1. Regarding taxpayer funded subsidies to wind farms being regarded as income.
    2. Ignoring the time-cost of money and/or interest charges.
    3. The real time useful output of any wind turbine is less than a quarter of it’s rated output.
    4. The real costs of construction and end of life disposal are probably ignored.
    Anyone can make up a fairytale payback period to support anything involved in CAGW especially if they don’t publish their calculations so we can all see how they arrived at their claim.
    Also, an earlier comment on this topic stated:
    Local high school has a turbine installed about one year ago at cost of $4.3 million, said to save the school almost $20,000 per year. That’s a payback period of 2,150 years!

  89. Take a journey in the facts of the “land of the absurd”.
    The Irish wind assoc states they have 210 wind farms. 2600 MW of capacity which is about 1600 wind turbines. (dependent on size)

    http://www.iwea.com/_windenergy_onshore

    Now look at what they are doing.

    http://www.eirgrid.com/operations/systemperformancedata/windgeneration/

    Today, June 16, they are putting out about 250MW or 10% of capacity. Scroll back through previous days and you’ll see many days are even less than that.
    Look at how the output can change 20% in just a few hours.
    A good % of this energy is wasted, the grid operators know that, they are not going to allow a blackout to occur. Using wind to power a grid is like a family of 5 using a Corvette on a driving summer vacation. It sounds cool, but makes no sense whatsover.

  90. Claudius says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    There is a fair sized wind farm between Indianapolis and Chicago. Last time I was through there my guess, three quarters of the windmills weren’t turning. Why would one windmill be running and the windmills all around it not be running? As a matter of fact the windmills that weren’t running appeared to me, a layman, to be “feathered” like they used to do with prop driven airplanes with a bad engine.

    I hear that with electricity prices being what they are in the US power companies can’t justify repairing a broken windmill. The government paid to buy the windmills to start with so they run ‘em till they break then let ‘em sit. I also understand that underwriters are reluctant to insure a windmill, odds are good that there will be a weather event bad enough to damage or destroy the windmill before it’s paid off.

    As Mr Courtney said, long shafts cannot be allowed to sit in one position for long time periods. It is also the case that when the wind improves from too calm to a productive velocity the turbines are brought on line in steps, a few at a time to moderate the changes on the system.

    In the US, the only Federal subsidy for wind power is a tax credit of $0.023 per kw-hour produced. There is no Federal subsidy for construction. Therefore, there is no incentive to let a wind tower sit without repairing it. If there is no production there is no subsidy.

    There may be a state subsidy for construction in your state. If so, my sympathies.

  91. Wind Propaganda! The pay back is in six months as long as electric Feed In Tariffs (FIT) are applied giving the operators $.30 kw/hr as they are in Vermont. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6221

    Reliability studies for larger turbines show they have higher sub-component failure rates. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/59111.pdf
    As the turbines and their components age the failure rates and downtime increase.

    The ratepayers get hosed as the crooks supporting this scheme suck up taxpayer money.

  92. The trixy they pulled was in the “large wind farm in the US Pacific Northwest”. That is one of the very few locations in the world where you can have somewhat reliable wind backstopped by large-scale hydro. In that case, it just may pencil out.

    But not many other locations.

    • Norway in that case is perfect,. and even there only a few windfarms comes close to produsing what was planed.

  93. Doug Proctor says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I interpret: at a 22% faceplate efficiency (Euro experience) creation energy return is 3.5 to 5.0 years (5 X 6-12 months). Now you have 15.0 to 16.5 years of operating life. At 22% operation, the operating life will be greater than 16 years but it will not be 5 X: things machinery standing idle still age

    What’s the real median operating life of a wind turbine? 45 years at 22%? 10 years? Of which 9 are paying not just operating costs but material and labour costs of manufacturing.

    There are two parts to the life of a wind turbine. Based on my experience, which has to do with water towers (a similar structure), the tower and the foundation of a wind turbine would have an expected life of 50 years.

    The turbine itself would have an expected life of 10 to 15 years. After the turbine reached its expected life or for some reason needed repair too frequently (a lemon) it would be lifted off the tower and a new or rebuilt turbine put on. The old one would be rebuilt and placed on another tower. I know of pumps that lasted as many as 40 years, though they were rebuilt several times.

    The electrical infrastructure would be similar. Parts would have very long life (wiring etc), Parts would have a lesser life (transformers, switching gear, controls). The short lived stuff would be repaired or replaced as needed, the long-lived stuff would continue in service.

    The evaluation of whether it is economical to continue would be done at each major repair, and possibly more frequently. That’s why there are engineers.

  94. “Therefore, if there is a long period when the wind is not turning the turbine then its generator operates in reverse by taking electricity from the grid and acting as a motor to turn the turbine.
    Richard.”

    That’ll be why one of the big Vestas that I can see from here, that has only two of its three blades intact (and has been that way for months), sometimes does a little rotation.

  95. Kjetil Nesheim says:
    June 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm
    “Norway in that case is perfect,. ”

    N.Z. also , only much windier.

  96. Harold says:
    June 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm
    The trixy they pulled was in the “large wind farm in the US Pacific Northwest”. That is one of the very few locations in the world where you can have somewhat reliable wind backstopped by large-scale hydro. In that case, it just may pencil out.

    But not many other locations.

    Harold, the difficulty is that these windmills in the NW are turned off (feathered) most of the time. As I noted in my post above, I paraglide these sites all the time. Plenty of wind for me to fly (which is much more wind than needed to operation these windfarms which add up to nearly 6 gig of power…that’s 6 GIG!!! of power), yet they are hardly ever operated. (I noted that have been running for 5 out of 7 days now, which is exceedingly rare, still more power from all the dams, excess as it turns out so I still don’t even know why they put up windmills to begin with.

    Here is the realtime generation of these windmills in the NW on a graph showing the Hydro and Thermal outputs too pulse the actual demand. Note that the hydro more than meets the demand. What isn’t on the graph is the nuke plant which puts out as much power as the 6k or so windmills in these farms (still working out how cost effective they are compared to that one nuke plant)….

    http://transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/wind/baltwg.aspx

  97. An excellent site to see just how variable and ineffective wind power actually is, is the privately developed site which uses the Australian Energy Market Organisation [ AEMO ] data in graph form to show the performance or more accurately the lack of performance of the entire wind farm generation capacity of SE Australia.
    To give some perspective and remembering that the conterminous states of the USA are almost identical in area to the Australian continent, the area covered is about a 1500 kms across in both east / west and north / south distances.

    http://windfarmperformance.info/?date=2014-06-15

    Dates can be selected as can both the combined wind generation performance of individual states as well as for individual wind farms.
    [ June 16th data at time of posting appears to be down for some reason ]

    Further as alluded to in an above post, wind turbines need considerable amounts of power when not operating. Power which is drawn from the grid and used for the blade angles and blade feathering motors, the motors used to turn the whole blade / gearbox / generator capsule at the top of the tower to follow the wind direction, the electronics, the heating of blades in winter ice conditions which doesn’t apply everywhere of course plus heating gearbox oil in the colder climes.
    Then there is the slow turning of the blades using the generator as a motor to prevent creep in the composite fibre constructed blades due to their size and weight and to prevent distortion of the critical blade supporting bearing from the immense loads imposed by the blade weight along with the need to prevent distortion of the huge main blade support bearings due to the weight of the blade structures.

    In all it appears that the wind turbines over their operating life use about 13% or more, some calculations go as high as 18% of the power they actually produce to maintain the essential operating systems of the turbines when they are not producing power due to low wind conditions or conversely when the wind conditions too strong for safe turbine operation.
    This power is of course drawn back from the grid when the turbines are not operating. I
    It is doubtful that this power as drawn from the grid by the non operating turbines is actually metered which if so is a 13% to 18% free kick at once again the consumers expense to the profits of the turbine companies.
    Another question would be, is the entire output of an operating turbine metered and sold but even when operating, the operating power requirements of the turbine as above are drawn back from the grid rather than just deducted off the power being generated and sold?
    Probably another very profitable lurk exploited by the avaricious carpet baggers of the wind turbine industry.

    If we had set out to find the two most inefficient, unreliable and most costly forms of energy production achievable to power our civilisation we could not have done much better than we have with the wind and solar energy industries .
    Again we have to thank the climate catastrophe cultists and the green environmental loons for once again coming up with the most expensive, most unreliable and most inefficient solution to a a non problem it is possible to dream up in our civilisation.

  98. “battman says:

    June 16, 2014 at 11:36 am
    Local high school has a turbine installed about one year ago at cost of 4.3 million, said to save the school almost 20,000 per year.
    ===========

    Do you think the school will be around in 215 years to see the payback? No math classes at that school?”
    =================================================================

    Do the math kids. A loan of 4.3 million costing 5% per year is about 215,000 per year. So, if you borrow the money, you will spend 215,000 per year to “own” that thing, without paying off any principle. By quick calculation (feel free to check my math), to pay that thing off in 20 years would require a payment each year of about 350,000 dollars. That is, you pay 7 million dollars over 20 years. Cost savings? $400,000. This doesn’t count maintenance. Then, at the end of 20 years that thing is worthless, and you have to pay somebody to haul it away.

    Now, who thinks the moon is made of cheese, Mr. O ?

    .

  99. Remember this is the environmental payback. Ie how long it would take to replace the embodied energy of the thing. Assuming 25% uptime it becomes more like 4 years before the thing is even net positive on energy. This has nothing to do with dollars. Except of course that the financial payback is so long that no investor would ever put money into it unless it was subsidised to make the dollar payback less than 5 years at the most.

  100. Joel Hammer,

    Right. Their numbers are preposterous.

    Let’s say I have $10,000 USD to invest. With a payback of 8 months, my money would double in ⅔ of a year. In 20 years I would be a multimillionaire.

  101. Industrial power prices are lower than average in the US states with substantial wind: in cents per kWh: Iowa, 5.45, South Dakota, 7.03, Texas 6.4, and US avg 7.12 cents per kWh for industrial price in Feb 2014, latest figures from EIA. Industrial prices best represent the cost of power production, since there is very little added for transmission and distribution costs. Iowa and South Dakota each have more than 25 percent wind power on their grids at the present. Texas has only about 9 percent grid power, but has the most wind energy of any state at this time, at 12,000 MW.

    Funny how that economic stuff works.

    Regarding intermittency, Texas shows that a substantial portion of wind energy is sufficiently reliable to be named effective load carrying capacity. In Texas, the regulating body is ERCOT. Their considered assessment of wind energy plants in Texas is that almost 10 percent of installed wind capacity can be included as dispatchable, what they refer to as ELCC, effective load-carrying capability. This (8.7 percent) is presently at 920 MW out of an installed base of 12,000 MW wind energy. That 920 MW is non-trivial, almost equivalent to one nuclear power plant. Not much pumped storage hydropower going on in Texas.

    Funny how that works.

    Finally, wind is “so expensive,” many of the US nuclear plants are giving up and calling it quits. They simply cannot compete with wind or natural gas-based power. See links below.

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/gone-with-wind-nuclear-bye-bye.html and

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-one.html

  102. READ the B/S propaganda again. It says that the ENERGY expended in creating the Wind Turbine will be paid back in five to eight months. That is an absurd measurement and worthless information. It then says that it only looks at “Key Components.” Well what about the rare earth elements used in the generator? What about the “maintenance energy? what about the energy needed to operate the Win Turbine? What about the _____________ (ill in the blank?

    I once worked at a facility where after using sheets of 1 inch thick 4 ft X 8 ft plywood for scaffolding flooring, they would throw it away, because the man-hour cost of removing the approximate dozen nails (that had the double heads designed for easy removal), and re-warehousing the material was more than the cost of a sheet of new material. How much “hidden” costs like this are ignored in their calculations?

  103. Another reply to AndyZ who says:
    June 16, 2014 at 11:14 am
    I am a complete layman when it comes to wind power and power grids in general… It obviously can’t function as a replacement for traditional power sources, but the article seems to imply that a backup energy source can be used (as I would assume it could be) when the energy is unavailable. I give no credence to AGW on scientific grounds, but is there any downside to relying on this source of energy when it is temporarily available?

    The problem, Andy Z , is that you still need to build, pay for and maintain power sources capable of supplying 100% of your needs 100% of the time as wind cannot do that. If conventional sources are capable of supplying power to the grid 100% of the time cheaper than so – called renewables you would only shift to renewables for non – economic reasons.

  104. Excluding taxes and profits, the cost of a windmill is a measure of the energy it took to produce it. The actual raw materials themselves, such as iron and copper are free. what cost the money is the energy to get them out of the ground, refine them and shape them into a windmill. Now this energy might be human or it might be machines, but in either case the cost of using them is factored into the final price.

    So no, you will not get an 8 month payback, or we would see windmills in every backyard.

  105. for 20 years I sailed around the world. Sailboats typically use wind generators or solar panels to try and keep the batteries topped up. until you’ve actually lived off the grid you have no idea how pitiful wind and solar power is compared to diesel.

    Yes, in a stiff breeze our $20 thousand dollars worth of sails could outperform our $5 thousand dollar diesel engine. But anyone that thinks the wind is free has never replaced a set of sails. It is almost always cheaper to buy diesel for the engine than to buy Dacron for the sails.

    the reason you use sails is because in a small boat you cannot carry enough fuel to cross oceans. with sails you are not tied to the fuel barge. but you will spend a lot of days on deck with a needle and thread making repairs.

  106. The WSJ had a piece about wind energy a while ago. Nobody would build these things if not for government subsidies. That’s the whole game. For utilities, it’s useless power. Utilities have to provide PEAK power. Generating power at night when power load is a minimum only works to destabilize the grid.

  107. Try thinking of energy production as employees that you need to get on with the business that is your life.
    Coal and nuclear are the union workers that work their shifts 24/7/365. However, they only work in 8 hour shifts so you have to plan accordingly. They may be crude and rough, but they do 60% of all the work that is done.
    Natural Gas are the on call workers than you need when you have high demand, they are ready to work any time, day or night. They do about 27% of the work.
    Wind and solar would be the the guys who show up only when the wind blows just right or the sun shines high in the sky. They do just as good a job and don’t make a mess, but when they show up on a job, the on call workers don’t get paid, but must hang around just in case the renewable guys decide to stop working.
    Which guys would you center your business model around?

  108. M Simon says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm
    Sound power 104dB – that is VERY loud.

    On a very windy day at Cape Nelson Victoria we could hear and feel the turbines 600 metres UPWIND.

  109. Twenty years ago the subject of my unpublished master thesis was anaerobic digestion of dairy farm manure. I started out as a skeptic and became a believer. I did not finish my master’s degree because I turned it into a business plan for my company.

    The purpose of LCA is to help to help decision makers make good environmental choices. If the same amount of money that was spent on 6000 MWe of wind turbines has been on handling manure in the semi-arid PNW, there would be a huge improvement for the environment.

    The basic problem with the AGW crowd is that they suck the money away from real environmental problems that we can actually make things better.

  110. Roger Sowell says:
    June 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    “Industrial power prices are lower than average in the US states with substantial wind: in cents per kWh: Iowa, 5.45, South Dakota, 7.03, Texas 6.4, and US avg 7.12 cents per kWh for industrial price in Feb 2014, latest figures from EIA. ….” Etc.

    So are you saying (in this article) that with the cost of these windmills at ~$2,200,000 USD each, that the article is accurate, and that they pay for themselves in up to 8 months??.

    I know you have a whole website about it, but my hunch is that if we had built some (a lot more) nuclear plants since the 70’s or whenever we stopped, nuclear would be a clear winner in providing cheap energy to the people of the United States. Windmills are a “white elephant” as far as I can see in providing cheap energy.

    I’m talking about Initial cost, Maintenance costs, and all the other costs which others on this tread have outlined. I don’t think wind-farms would exist without government subsidies. I guess the same could be said about nuclear, but overall I think nuclear would be cheaper…

    Respectfully,
    JPP

  111. After serious consideration, I think 8 months is about right: for the manufacturer!
    Notice: the purchaser, hereinafter referred to as The User … (aka Sucker) is NOT
    important.

    Six weeks to receive, and bank cheque
    Six months to receive and bank subsidies
    One week to counterfeit passports
    One week to withdraw cash, book plane tickets, hotels, and:
    Flee.

  112. “Here in the NW where the authors of the study live”

    Last I checked there were no wind farms anywhere near Corvallis or Seattle. This is case of left coast rain forest greens thinking that wind farms enhance the beauty of the semi-arid PNW. I have a sail boat 200 miles inland and the wind is great in the spring and fall when the power is need least. I have been working in the power industry for 40 years and the hard days are cold winter nights and hot summer days.

    “Any clue how much land is required for the mining, refining and processing of the uranium fuel?”

    Yes actually! Almost none.

  113. Geof quotes the British nationalaized power authority witht real world experience as to real world capacity factors. They are abysmal.

    And much lower than 25%. their experience repots 8% is much more accurate reality.
    The wind turbine maker quotes a windspeed of 25 m/s as as cutoff. That is fantasy land. In reality, a windmill is a fatigue tester par excellence, for thrust bearings and the working windmill airfoil blades. The life expectancy of a turbine blade is not some distinct number. it is a varying number depending on the strength of the wind impulse. It might be 10 years at 12 mph, but only 8 years at 15 mph and 5 years at at 20mph. But only A FEW SECONDS At 55 mph. The last thing you want is a some two ton windmill blade tearing off and flying through the air.

    The British nationalized power Authoriity,with no axe to grind, reports in that in its own user experience operating several thousand windmills, it has a Total MTBF of about 9 years. By that time the bearings, turbine blades blades and associated equipment stuck up on a pole exposed to the elements requires such a complex rebuild/maintenance cycle as to be cheaper to totally replace with a new unit, IOW, the typical unit should be scrapped! Even though the finance types estimate it is financed with a nominal life expectancy of 30 years.

    The power density and intermitancy create enormous other costs. A given power grid geography is subject to ‘ringing’ and instabilities as the power sloshes about first in one direction down a high tension wire and then back. It overloads transformers and switching gear the failure of which can create wild oscillations, equipment failures, and blackouts. Indeed I did nothing else for several years except calculate the effects of adding or removing generators to a grid. This is a common professional task and effort of power Engineers. In general you can’t absorb much beyond 15-20% intermittancy into a grid without causing massive problems.

    Now the green watermelons in their over–schooled and under-educated way, want to add large amounts of intermitant generators to such grids, and in their ignorance, perceive no problem.

    Oh how I would like to charge the know-it-all lawyers and assorted over schooled fools with the tree costs of their folly of practicing engineering without a license.

  114. you do know the author of the study doesn’t care if WUWT debunks their premise.

    They just will repeat the lie over and over.

    the blogs preach to the choir and the majority of the world don’t read the blogs …especially if dancing with the stars is on.

    you do know we need to break out of this defensive reaction to the leftists / socialists / communists. we need to refer to them as communists and collectivists.

    ….and windmills do not make it anywhere near 20 years without 2 or 3 gearbox changes which put them done for months and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    it is a hoax and a scam and we the taxpayer and electrical rate payers are funding this.

  115. When I went to work for Gulf States Utilities in Beaumont, TX in 1981, they had just installed a 25kw wind turbine at Sabine Pass on the Gulf Coast beach , one of the windiest places in the USA. It produced 7 kw average, 28% of rated capacity. Required backup fossil fuel capacity to keep the lights on costs just as much as normal power plants, and mostly just sits there idling until called upon as the wind dies. Wind turbines would bankrupt any nation competing with China/Vietnam/Myanmar/Indonesia/Malaysia and/or India! Cost, as anyone who has ever worked in industry knows, makes the success or failure of the venture…

  116. Ric Werme,

    Questionable at best! Only the people who actually are paying the bills/turning on and off the generators could certify this. Typically a utility will never reveal such important figures, wonder who gathered these numbers?

  117. From what I have heard the cost of reforming the rare earth magnets is roughly the same as original manufacture, with similar environmental impacts.

  118. Ed says:
    June 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    If they are such great practically perpetual motion energy producers, why are there 14,000 ABANDONED wind turbines in CA alone? Oh, that’s right–the subsidies ran out.

    I cited that 14,000 abandoned figure myself a year or two ago, got called on it, researched it, and discovered that it is an Internet myth. The true number is something like 900 nationwide.

  119. richardscourtney:

    “Merely “annoying”? “Not a deal killer”? Surely, you jest!”

    I am cognizant of the challenges of integrating intermittent wind energy into the overall grid system. It is an important issue, and one that is often glossed over by renewable energy proponents. Solar suffers a similar problem.

    That said, skeptics of wind/solar seem to go a bridge too far in their claims about the difficulties of integration. They certainly go a bridge too far if they claim integration is a deal killer. A number of large grid areas (think California) already integrate wind and solar into the mix, notwithstanding the significant intermittent nature of those two sources. Skeptics protest a bit too much when they spend a lot of energy harping on the difficulties of integration, particularly in the face of actual, existing integrated systems.

    Is the integration efficient? Does it cause challenges for the grid? Does the existence of wind and solar production obviate the need for constructing additional traditional power stations, or must the intermittent sources be completely and fully backed up by traditional sources? Are some grid systems less effective at integration than others, and if so, why?

    These are all interesting and important questions — technologically, economically and politically. But the fact remains that these intermittent wind and solar sources have been, and are being, integrated into grids on a large scale basis. Is it the right thing to do? Does it make economic sense? I don’t know. But the observable fact is that they are being integrated. Thus, intermittence is, not in and of itself, a deal killer for wind systems.

    There are, in my humble opinion, better reasons to question the wisdom of large scale wind projects than the technological challenge of integration.

  120. “Thus, it is a blatant fallacy to claim:

    …each turbine will, in effect, power over 500 households without consuming electricity generated using conventional energy sources.”

    ====

    No, this article is misleading by taking the phrase out of context.

    The study is looking at the grey energy involved in the production and maintenance of the turbine. It is NOT suggesting that the 500 homes will not consume conventional energy for 19 years, that is a statement that is made about the TURBINE.

    The part I always get very suspicious about when seeing sort of “will power x,000 homes” type claims is they never state what this new energy unit “home” is nor whether they are using a realistic capacity factor or taking the boiler plate “power” of the installation.

    That is where the real deception is likely to be

    Eric Gisin says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Average household power use is 1KW. The windmill is 2000KW. With a capacity factor of 25%, average output is 500KW, exactly what 500 households use.
    ===

    Where do you get that figure? What “household”. The average american household with two large refrigerators and chest freezer probably consume that much just to keep the beer cool. ;)

    Seriously:

    http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/average-household-electricity-consumption

    From those figures US/Canada conso is about 1.3kW averaged over the year. Slightly higher than Eric’s figure. That probably means they are using a capacity factor of about 30%. Reasonable enough according to the graph Ric Werme linked to. US average seems to be in range 25-30%.

    At least they are not using the boiler plate figure.

    So the criticism of the article is unfounded. It is not an “inconvenient oversight”, it is simply not what the study was studying. It did not attempt to look at cost , it did not attempt to look at network infrastructure. It assessed one aspect, as it clearly stated it was doing.

    That one aspect provides useful input to anyone doing a broader study.

    It is pretty much a straw man argument to suggest they were studying something were not and then bash them for not doing it.

  121. “Today for example, there is quite a number of areas with low or no wind in the United States. The blues are the low wind speed colors.”

    Right, which is one reason why wind turbines are not sighted just anywhere. Like a nuclear plant needs to be coastal or near a major river, to dump all the energy it wastes. Any kind of installation needs appropriate siting. There are plenty of valid arguments to be made about wind power. This article is just pointless turbine bashing and shows the author’s less than objective stance on the subject.

  122. Greg Goodman says:
    June 16, 2014 at 10:08 pm
    “Today for example, there is quite a number of areas with low or no wind in the United States. The blues are the low wind speed colors.”

    Right, which is one reason why wind turbines are not sighted just anywhere. Like a nuclear plant needs to be coastal or near a major river, to dump all the energy it wastes. Any kind of installation needs appropriate siting. There are plenty of valid arguments to be made about wind power. This article is just pointless turbine bashing and shows the author’s less than objective stance on the subject.

    THEN WHY DO THEY NEED TO BE SUBSIDIZED

  123. As a person who maintains these wonderful devices there are a few problems with this article.
    1. The life cycle is 20 years of a 2 MW unit. We are lucky to get more than 6 years of operation or 50000 turning hours out of the windmills before a total overhaul is performed. During the overhaul we are finding that the drive shafts, head bearings and gearboxes are cheaper to replace outright rather than to refurbish. You can refurbish these parts but the are more prone to failure in a shorter time frame during the next operation cycle.
    2. The wind does not blow all the time. So when the wind does not blow the windmill requires power from the grid. Oil pumps must run to lubricate the bearings. Heaters are on the heat the enclosure, the oil and the generator windings so they do not absorb moisture. There is also navigation lights and control power needed all the time.
    3. The turn down of the power production is a very complex process. When the wind reaches the threshold in either direction the windmill is either started or stopped. If the wind ramps up and stays up then some other generator on the grid will be backed out to allow for the wind production to take over. This causes other more efficient and reliable power sources to be allocated to an area of operation where they are not so efficient which wastes energy. There have been cases where the wind stops or drops off fast and the only thing that is able to pick up the power production loss is smaller gas turbine units or hydro plants.

  124. Oh look it uses a computer model. When will people finally learn that a computer model is great for evaluating simple closed systems but sucks at evaluating anything complex?

  125. Greg writes, “Like a nuclear plant needs to be coastal or near a major river, to dump all the energy it wastes.”

    I have worked at many nukes that did not use river or ocean water for cooling. Furthermore no energy is wasted. A heat engine works based on the temperature difference extracting the change in kinetic energy. Hydroelectric and wind works by extracting some of the kinetic energy from water and wind. To suggest that not using all the kinetic is a waste would be silly.

    The first rule of citing a power plant is to not put them near people like Greg.

  126. Will Nelson says:

    “Usually contracts are set a day in advance for delivery but utilities are often forced to buy all available wind without regard to gas in the pipe. When the deal for delivery is made the gas comes out of the ground and it has to go somewhere (the utility owns it and has to take it). When short term storage at the utility is exceeded the gas is vented to ambient.”

    Anybody know if this is actually true? If so it might explain why methane in the atmosphere is increasing again. It stopped rising after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when gas pipelines there begun being properly maintained, but it has started rising again in the last few years.

  127. Greg says
    “Like a nuclear plant needs to be coastal or near a major river, to dump all the energy it wastes.”

    Never seen a cooling tower? You know those big funnel-like things that MSM loves to phootgraph in back lighting so it looks like it’s smoke coming out rather than pure steam.

    Incidentally nukes don’t “waste” any energy in the ordinary sense. No heat engine is ever 100% efficient unless:
    a) the maximum cycle temperature is infinite or:
    b) the minimum cycle temperature is absolute zero or:
    c) both a) and b)

    Both a) and b) are currently unfeasible from an engineering standpoint and extremely likely to remain so.

  128. “Kit P says:
    June 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm
    “Here in the NW where the authors of the study live”
    Last I checked there were no wind farms anywhere near Corvallis or Seattle.”

    What is near? East of Seattle about 80 miles – have a look with Google Earth:
    47.163, -120.7
    Many more as one goes East. The Columbia river to the south has a bunch.
    The energy of those that feed into the BPA can be monitored here:

    http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx

    Beginning Thursday, June 12, the wind in our area has been a bit much (mostly above 20 mph with gusts about twice that). This is expected to continue for 2 more days.

  129. I understand the power of the wind varies as the CUBE of the wind speed. Double the speed and you get EIGHT times the power. HALF the speed and you get ONE EIGHTH the power. Certainly not a linear power source. Also any turbines in the wake of other turbines suffer power loss from turbulence. Just out of curiosity, where is the oldest wind turbine installation and what is the current performance level?

  130. As for the lightning strike in year 4 – after the insurance company has declined to provide further lightning insurance cover…

  131. When the means of generating is intermittent, like wind follies, it is deceitful to use ‘households’ supplied as a means of calculating usefulness. As clearly not one single household can rely on it’s supply in this way. The only method used should be MW’s, and this does not compare well with conventional generation.

  132. Geez these guys don’t know how to compute payback period.
    Given:
    U.S. power cost = 13 cents/kwh; Wind turbine capital cost = $3.50/watt; Capacity factor = 30%

    Compute payback period:
    Annual operating time = 365 days x 24 hours x 30% capacity factor = 2628 hours
    Energy produced per watt capacity = 1 watt/1000 x 2628 hours = 2.628 kwh/year
    Cost of energy produced = 13 cents/kwh x 2.628 kwh/year = 34 cents/year
    Payback period = ($3.50/watt) / (34 cents/year) = 10.2 years

    So it’s over a decade without subsidy and excluding operating and maintenance costs.

  133. climatereflections:

    Thankyou for your reply to my post at June 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm which ishere.

    In your reply at June 16, 2014 at 9:45 pm you say

    I am cognizant of the challenges of integrating intermittent wind energy into the overall grid system. It is an important issue, and one that is often glossed over by renewable energy proponents. Solar suffers a similar problem.

    That said, skeptics of wind/solar seem to go a bridge too far in their claims about the difficulties of integration. They certainly go a bridge too far if they claim integration is a deal killer. A number of large grid areas (think California) already integrate wind and solar into the mix, notwithstanding the significant intermittent nature of those two sources. Skeptics protest a bit too much when they spend a lot of energy harping on the difficulties of integration, particularly in the face of actual, existing integrated systems.

    Sorry, but that is misleading.
    Intermittency is a means that on its own “integration is a deal killer” when the intermittent supply source approaches 20% of grid demand. This is because the problems of risk management increase exponentially when risk increases linearly. A good and simple explanation of this is provided in this thread by stas peterson in his excellent post at June 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm which is here.

    But I did not say that in my post you have answered (although I explain it in my lecture which I linked for AndyZ in my post at June 16, 2014 at 11:26 am).

    I wrote

    The intermittence provides need for back-up and combined with the little power available in normal winds to make it very difficult for windpower to recover its capital costs in the absence of subsidies.
    Windpower was used to power shipping and to operate mills for millenia. But windpower was displaced when the steam engine enabled use of greater energy intensity in fossil fuels to provide greater and continuous and controllable power.
    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.

    Perhaps you would be willing to provide your explanation of why oil tankers are not sailing ships?

    Richard

  134. There are two factors that are usually glossed over when calculating total electric energy for a given lifetime of a wind turbine , one is the degradation in actual performane over it’s lifetime, there was some discussion about it a year or two ago at the Bishop Hill website, when a Dr. Gordon Hughes came out with a report that concluded that for the first 10 years of it’s life a turbine would on the average gradually loose 3% of its generating max capacity each year, so its max generating capability at the 11’th year would only be around 2/3 of the orginal naplate capacity. Now Dr. Hughes is well known to be very critical of the wind energy bug that has infected the government of his country, and his report was soon follwed by another one from the pro-Wind camp , saying that his report’s conclusion were all wrong and not to be taken seriously as the performance degradtion was only a measly 1.6% per annum, and thus was nothing to skout out a bout !!!. But anyway both reports agreed on the conclusion tha there is an performance degradtion factor proportional to turbine age present and the only diffred on it’s magnitude, and in my mind it’s size is not insignificant at 16% over a ten year period and it should be incorporated in any lifetime enegry generation accounting.
    The other factor is how much of the wind energy generated can be put to practical use , i.e. there are times when the wind turbines are working at near full capacity ,and there is no way to put their output to practical use because the timing of the production does not sync with the demand , a case in point is Denmark where there is is enough wind capacity to produce up to 40% og their total demand , and yet they have on the average only been able to successfully exploit around half of it at max production times, and so instead of feathering the turbines at such times their windfarm pump the overproduction into the grid interconnections to Sweden and Norway who have agreed to take it as a gift ( or at grealtly reduced price ) if they can put it to some use ( or dump it somwhere otherwise ) , because the feed-in money and other state subsidies to the windfarms are caluculated on basis of total output metered at the sites grid connection, regardless of if it is generated at any time where it can be usfully exploited.

  135. Björn:

    Your post at June 17, 2014 at 1:40 am (which is http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/16/wind-turbine-payback-period-claimed-to-be-within-8-months/#comment-1663858>here) provides much good information but its language misleads when it says

    The other factor is how much of the wind energy generated can be put to practical use , i.e. there are times when the wind turbines are working at near full capacity ,and there is no way to put their output to practical use because the timing of the production does not sync with the demand , a case in point is Denmark where there is is enough wind capacity to produce up to 40% og their total demand , and yet they have on the average only been able to successfully exploit around half of it at max production times, and so instead of feathering the turbines at such times their windfarm pump the overproduction into the grid interconnections to Sweden and Norway who have agreed to take it as a gift ( or at grealtly reduced price ) if they can put it to some use ( or dump it somwhere otherwise ) , because the feed-in money and other state subsidies to the windfarms are caluculated on basis of total output metered at the sites grid connection, regardless of if it is generated at any time where it can be usfully exploited.

    It matters little whether the electricity can be “usefully exploited” when its provision is not useful to meeting demand, and the intermittent power from e.g. windfarms is not useful to a grid supply system at any time.

    This is because the grid has provision to obtain electricity to match demand at all times. Windfarms add to this provision only at times when the wind is enabling them to generate electricity. Therefore, the windpower displaces the power stations which need to operate when the windfarms don’t, and thermal power stations need to keep operating while the windfarms operate.

    Hence, the windfarms provide no economically useful electricity at any time. Their contribution to the electricity supply system only consists of additional cost.

    Richard

  136. Pamela Gray says:
    June 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm
    Let’s be addin in the energy it takes to provide the subsidy.
    ____________________
    A really excellent point and one that should be followed up and the energy required to produce the economic value of the wind power subsidies should be included in any calculations of wind power energy out versus external energy required to both build as well as operate a wind turbine.
    The results would then be even worse, perhaps far worse for the economics of wind power than the already pretty horrendous inefficiency of wind power. These wind turbine building energy costs have to come from always on power generators producing cheap power as the processing of all the components of a wind turbine / wind farm require or demand a continuous supply of completely reliable energy for the processing of the metals and the various FRP products for blades and etc.

    Then there are the energy costs of building the access roads, the concrete and steel in the foundations, the actual energy costs of the construction of the foundations and the entire mechanical components of the turbine and it’s blades, the FRP processing for the blade construction [ which is a high energy cost process for the resins and glass and carbon and kevlar fibres used in the construction of the blades ] . transport to the site, mining and processing of the copper and transformers and collectors for the power cables, installation of the power cabling systems and then the grid extensions which are not included in the economic or energy costs of the wind power as that is the problem of the grid operators and owners to provide the connections to the wind farms.

    With an economic life of perhaps some 12 to 15 years maximum, the energy out from a wind Turbine compared to the energy in to build and construct and connect it to the grid and maintain it over those 12 to 15 years would have a high probability of being negative just like solar when it is installed anywhere further north or south of the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer.

    Plus of course the environmental cost in bat and bird kills [ bats are killed by the decompression of the blades passing which destroys their lungs . They don’t even have to be hit by the blades.

    [ Reported to me anecdotally as the wind power companies deny everything. Locally some 4000 bats of a not very common species were found dead at a new wind farm. In the following year only about 40 kills of bats were found. The wind turbines had almost wiped the local bat population out in the first year of operation ]

    From the human health aspect where it seems about 20% of the population are both physically and psychologically affected, some seriously by the very low frequency infra-sound given off the blade tip vortices every time a blades passes through at speeds of 300 or 400 kph.
    If you have ever stood close to a large helicopter winding it’s rotor up to take off RPM’s and heard the rapid heavy and deep thump and whup, whup of the blades as they go past which on a helicopter are the pressure changes from the blade tip vortices where high pressure air under the lifting blade flows at close to supersonic speeds around the tip of the blade / wing to the low pressure air on top of the lifting blade or wing are often felt as much as heard, the identical effect arises but a frequencies lower than human hearing but with much, much higher energy levels from the tips of the wind turbine blades.

    Aircraft have the winglets on the wing tips to gain efficiency of the wings by reducing the loss of lift from the wing tips via the tip vortices phenomena.
    The turbine blades have problems fitting winglets due to the extra weight and centripetal forces and extra twisting of the blades due to aerodynamic forces which impose extra fatigue problems on the FRP construction of the blades so infra-sound problems, some serious depending on the make of turbine and therefore the aerodynamics of it’s blade profile, continue for any rural residents who are forced to live close to wind turbines.
    When I see unsubsidised wind turbines being built in the wealthy, highly paid, green voting, renewable energy toting, inner city latte sipper’s precincts then I will accept wind turbines as a viable energy production technology.

  137. When analysing renewable resources like wind it is always important to distinguish between power and energy. I assume they meant that in energy terms it would supply 500 homes per year.

    Almost all analysis that I have seen (particularly critical ones) nearly always focuses on power and not energy as that is where renewables are weakest. But that is not exactly being very intellectually honest.

    Wind is more expensive than gas per kWh produced but there is no gainsaying that wind is a net producer, diversifies the electricity generation portfolio and reduces dependence on foreign imports of energy for many economies that currently rely on politically unstable energy sources such as gas in Western Europe.

  138. Hop Lite:

    You conclude your post saying June 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

    … there is no gainsaying that wind is a net producer, diversifies the electricity generation portfolio and reduces dependence on foreign imports of energy for many economies that currently rely on politically unstable energy sources such as gas in Western Europe.

    I deny it because it is not true.

    The output from windfarms increases fuel use and, therefore, emissions from thermal power stations which the windfarms displace from the grid when the windfarms operate. This reduces the efficiency of the thermal power stations so they use MORE fuel to produce less electricity.

    When David Tolley was Head of Networks and Ancillary Services of Innogy (a subsidiary of the German energy consortium RWE) he said of windfarms in the UK

    When [thermal] plant is de-loaded to balance the system, it results in a significant proportion of deloaded plant which operates relatively inefficiently.

    Coal plant will be part-loaded such that the loss of a generating unit can swiftly be replaced by bringing other units on to full load. In addition to increased costs of holding reserve in this manner, it has been estimated that the entire benefit of reduced emissions from the renewables programme has been negated by the increased emissions from part-loaded plant under NETA.

    (NETA is the New Electricity Trading Arrangements in the UK)

    Richard

  139. “Perhaps there should be two grids. One for wind turbine advocates, and one for old fossil fuel fools, with no interconnectors. Then we would see the true capabilities of the bird choppers.”

    Much as I hate the idea of “Smart Meters”, they could deal with the above without needing a second grid. Simply arrange for any household signed up to a “Green” tariff to lose their supply when insufficient wind and/or solar power is being produced. The rest of us continue to get a supply.

    It wouldn’t take very long for reality to set in…

  140. GREAT! time to stop the subsidies. The only way I can see these wind turbines working as they claim without blackouts, is when the utilities have ‘smart’ appliances and meters mandated wherein the utilities can turn off our appliances as they see fit to lower demand.

  141. chuck says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:
    June 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    the campus for Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle is 3,100 acres and has two operational 1,215 MW reactors with two additional AP1000 reactors (1,250 MW gross, 1,117 MW net)
    ..
    ..

    Any clue how much land is required for the mining, refining and processing of the uranium fuel?

    Given the amount of uranium is so small for the energy produced (less than a millionth the weight of coal to produce the same thermal output), the land area devoted to uranium mining and refining has to be minor when compared to that of even a single gigawatt wind farm (if the figure supplied by Col Mosby above is correct), but I do not have exact figures.

  142. @ Chris4692 –

    Dammit… I always get thrown off by the fact that an English ton is 2000 of the everyday weight unit, while a metric ton is 1000 of the everyday ‘weight’ unit.

    Either way, a 30 ft dia. foundation 13 feet deep doesn’t seem like it’s even remotely close to what would be required to anchor a 50 ton gen set 150 feet in the air.

  143. Solar and wind energy should only be considered as “additive” energy sources and not “replacement” or” alternative” sources when shutting down base grid power sources like coal . If US is thinking of replacing the 25000 MW of coal generated electricity lost due to the latest EPA regulation changes with wind and solar, there could be major blackouts coming for many areas affected . It will be difficult to control the grid with such a large variable power component constantly fluctuating .Mixed major power grids are less efficient as any of the efficiencies gained by the use of renewable sources are soon lost by the inefficiencies caused to the back up sources which have to operate at less than the peak or efficient level for standby purposes.

  144. Clif Westin says:
    June 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm…
    … I still don’t even know why they put up windmills to begin with.
    ————————————————————–
    Because of CAGW we have to put up thousands of wind turbines.
    Wind turbines kill lots of birds.
    They need a way to kill lots of birds so they can claim that “birds are going extinct due to man made global warming.”
    Oh noes! I’m starting to think like a NGO.

    Also note:
    Buffett doesn’t need subsidies.
    The wind turbine industry needs subsidies.
    Buffett is a business man, and a good one at that.
    cn

  145. Kaboom says:
    “A 2 MW rated turbine will, according to data from existing installations, provide 360-480 kW of actual output.”

    That is in line with the UK experience: 12-14% of nameplate rating. Most of the time it is underperforming.

    If one wanted to have 100% power from wind it would require massive storage and about 8 times as much generator capacity as would otherwise be needed. That means the real cost would be 8 times as much and the repayment cost much more (because of interest or opportunity costs for the use of capital). Let’s say it paid back in 10 years. Isn’t it true these things last about 7 years on average?

    Storage is only practical as water elevated to height (pumped storage). That has to be built and preferably nearby. Hydro generators have to be built as well, of equal capacity to run on that pumped water. The pumped storage system efficiency would be 70% at max so multiply everything again by 1.43. 14.3 years if nothing breaks. I don’t think this is going to work.

  146. They left out the cost of amenity loss, ie habitat destruction, which the Greens in other cases routinely overestimate. And then there is the loss of tourism where these mostrosities are planted, and the diminution in quality of life. Add those costs and the picture starts to get a little more real.

  147. Energy, smenergy. I would argue that dollar costs more closely approximate total energy costs of any project than will any other detailed computation.

    Take labor costs of construction, just as one example. Labor requires regular feeding, housing, transport, etc. Each of these has an energy component, and when you really get down to it, most of the cost of anything is energy in the end. Is the rent for growing food an energy cost? Why not, since the entire purpose of that rent is to control the land that allows the capture of all that “free” sunshine so that crops will grow. Try growing them inside and watch energy bills escalate. (Pot growers are the experts; ask them.)

    Labor requires transport. Does the energy calculation in this article include the energy to fuel that transport, or the energy required to build that transport and the energy required to mine the materials in that transport?

    It’s silly to try to do an energy calculation of the sort done in this article. Just break it down in terms of dollars and cents and that will tell you whether you’re coming out ahead or behind. Then, as others have said, deduct the subsidies to see where you really stand.

  148. Hydraulic hybrids on UPS trucks and big trash collection trucks are expensive and the payback time is on the order of 10 or more years, it just does not pay. People will go green if it pays green.

  149. Roger Sowell says:
    June 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Iowa and South Dakota each have more than 25 percent wind power on their grids at the present. Texas has only about 9 percent grid power, but has the most wind energy of any state at this time, at 12,000 MW.

    Is that 25 percent in terms of installed max capacity or in terms of actual production? When I see those numbers, the source is either one that I don’t trust to know the difference, or the language is not clear enough to tell.

  150. K.de Groot &C.le Pair in a study called THE HIDDEN COSTS OF WIND GENERATED ELECTRICITY said

    “Wind generated electricity requires back-up capacity of conventional power stations. This capacity is required to deliver electricity to consumers when wind supply is falling short. To have the non-wind power stations ramp up or down to compensate for the stochastic wind variations causes extra efficiency loss for such power stations. How much efficiency is lost in this way and how much extra fuel is required for this extra balancing of supply and demand is unknown. In this article we attempt to make an educated guess.
    The extra fuel required for the efficiency loss must be added to the fuel required for building and installing the wind turbines and the additions to the power cable network. While these extra requirements may be too small to notice when the installed wind power is a small fraction of the total capacity, matters change when wind capacity becomes significant. Based on the German situation with 23 GW of installed wind power, we show that it becomes doubtful whether wind energy results in any fuel saving and CO2 emission reduction. What remains are the extra investments in wind energy. ”

    Their study showed that if the efficiency the conventional plants that provide back up power to the wind turbines drops below 45%, the fuel savings could become negative and there is an extra fossil fuel demand and wind produced electricity now requires the production of extra co2 . In some cases, if the back up source is gas turbine , the efficiencies can fall as low as 30%, the article claims . Each case is different and it is not wise to generalize , but the exercise illustrates what can happen, namely that without the proper and complete analysis, . wind generated gains both in co2 and fuel usage can be voided by losses at back up plants. .making the entire use of wind turbines a negative cost upgrade .

  151. Fossil fuel production is also subsidized. I would imagine we could come up with an average cost of tax money (including the energy costs to make a dollar to give to energy companies) being given to this industry per watt generated. I would also imagine that this administration is happily giving a bunch more money to wind and solar per watt than the fossil fuel industry is getting. But I have no data so it is only speculation.

    Next, I wonder how you would calculate the btu’s of a single tower versus fossil fuel btu’s? I can convert fossil fuel btu’s into watts and use that as the unit. By determining the watts generated by a single tower I could then determine how much fossil fuel I would need to generate the same amount of watts.

    Now having equivalent watts produced I would then calculate the total energy cost needed to produce the same amount of watts, including energy to do maintenance over say 50 years, and including subsidy energy cost for each watt produced. Simple comparison would reveal which is the more energy expensive watt unit to produce over a 50 year time span.

  152. I would expect that site selection would include obtaining a ‘typical’ 24/365 wind speed record in order to 8estimate8 the amount of time that the system would be on and working productively, as well as an estimate of the possibility of a catastrophic wind speed event. I have not been able to find either on any site.
    The latter is NOT trivial. I lived in Amarillo TX for 13 years, and in that time I personally saw at least 4 separate events involving funnel clouds within city limits. Destructive downburst winds were even more common. A funnel cloud doesn’t need to become a tornado to destroy a wind-catcher 125m high. Debris from one rotor could easily become a missile to destroy another rotor. If I were an insurer, the premium on a wind turbine in such areas would be large enough to seriously impact the payback period.

  153. I have never had any use for these monster wind mills, but I was unaware that the maximum sound level produced by these things was rated at 104 dB! If you lived within any reasonable range of these “farms,” I would think the noise level every time the wind blew hard enough to wind these things up near capacity would deafen you over time.

  154. Steve Keohane:

    “Energy payback is a meaningless metric. I would bet they made it up, hoping the public can’t discern the difference.”

    They didn’t make it up.

    LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) based on an energy payback metric is a common analysis done on renewable energy projects. How useful the energy payback number may be is a separate question.

    I think energy payback time is an interesting data point; and it may even be useful in certain situations. Often though, it is swamped by the much more significant — and pressing — economic LCA, with the energy payback being little more than a ‘feel-good’ footnote.

    I fear you may be correct, however, that the public generally doesn’t understand the difference. That leaves the door open for certain proponents of renewables to make claims that sound really good, but that don’t mean much in the larger scheme of things.

  155. An essential element of this analysis is “sustainable electricity production especially if coupled to high-capacity storage for times when the wind speed is either side of their working range.” Unfortunately for that scenario there is no such thing as “high-capacity storage for times when the wind speed is either side of their working range.” Nice to know that academics still work on virtual solutions to problems then promote those as viable and can find an outlet to publish their ruminations. It is the kind of puff that keeps them in business.

  156. Pamela Gray:

    It seems you are overlooking an important point in your post at June 17, 2014 at 8:27 am which attempts to compare costs of fossil fuel electricity and windfarm electricity.
    1.
    The fossil fuel or other conventional plant is necessary to provide all the electricity needs of a grid whether or not the windfarms exist.
    2.
    Windfarms provide an additional electricity supply to the grid which displaces some of the conventional plant when the wind is sufficiently strong but not too strong for the windfarms to operate.
    3.
    Therefore, the cost of the fossil fuel or other conventional plant is needed whether or not the windfarms exist.
    4.
    And the windfarms provide cost which is an unnecessary additional cost to the cost of the electricity which is and could be provided by the fossil fuel or other conventional plant.

    Richard

  157. richardscourtney on June 17, 2014 at 1:17 am:

    Thank you for your response. I suspect we are not that far apart in actual substance.
    You write:
    “Intermittency is a means that on its own “integration is a deal killer” when the intermittent supply source approaches 20% of grid demand. This is because the problems of risk management increase exponentially when risk increases linearly.”

    Yes, I agree that in certain circumstances intermittency is unacceptable. We obviously cannot have a grid that is completely composed of intermittent sources. Probably not even one that is half composed of intermittent sources. Yet the fact remains that several thousand megawatts of wind and solar are being integrated into the California grid system every single day. Intermittence has not, and is not, a deal killer for that integration.

    Are they going to be able to get to the 1/3 renewables goal the state has mandated? I don’t know. Doing so would probably require more and better capabilities of fast-start/fast-stop conventional generation. They are already reaching close to 1/3 renewables at the peak renewables output. I haven’t run the numbers to see what that amounts to across the 24-hour period — just eyeballing the daily graph CAISO puts out, I would say maybe 10-12%. Perhaps your 20% limitation is accurate and the state’s goal of 1/3 is completely out of reach. But even if that is true, we still haven’t gotten to your 20% yet, so the system can almost certainly still handle more wind/solar.

    Again, are there legitimate issues with integrating intermittent sources into the grid? Sure. Is there a limit to the % of intermittent generation that can be handled? Almost certainly. Are people who dream of a 100% renewable grid out to lunch? Definitely. (Unless they are willing to start counting large hydro, nuclear, etc. as renewable).

    But the immediate and vociferous complaints about the evils of intermittence that skeptics seem to harp on whenever a large wind or solar project is announced go beyond the mark and, frankly, distract from more salient points. Beyond recognizing that intermittent sources can only compose a certain % of total production — a point you make well and that most careful thinkers, including proponents of intermittent sources accept — much more significant issues can be raised on the economic side of the equation. No-one is realistically proposing a 100% intermittent-sourced grid, so the issue comes down to percentages, technological feasibility of fast-start/fast-stop conventional backup, ability to forecast supply and demand — issues that are much more nuanced than a simple “intermittent sources are bad” mentality.

    You also write (a second time):

    “Perhaps you would be willing to provide your explanation of why oil tankers are not sailing ships?”

    I didn’t address it the first time, because, pardon me, it is just silly.

    No rational person is suggesting that there is no place for conventional fossil fuel use in the world’s energy mix. No-one is saying that if one wind turbine is accepted then we have to use wind for everything in the world. No-one is claiming that large ships or airplanes can run solely on wind power. Your question is a complete red herring.

    The question is whether intermittent sources can make a meaningful contribution to the overall energy mix. And if so, what are the challenges, technologically and economically, of doing so. Those are legitimate and more nuanced questions that deserve careful thought.

    General complaints about intermittence or red herring questions about sailing ships do not serve the discussion well.

  158. The give away is in para two “especially if coupled to high-capacity storage”. This means the analysis is based on perfect utility. All energy between 4-25 mph winds (tech statement) is utilized.
    The entire problem of energy when needed is avoided. No such technology exists. Decades and billions in research has occurred and no such technology is even on the horizon. (better flashlight batteries don’t count.) Perhaps they can do a followup paper examining the benefits of Star Trek dilithium crystals.

  159. tadchem says:
    June 17, 2014 at 8:28 am

    I would expect that site selection would include obtaining a ‘typical’ 24/365 wind speed record in order to 8estimate8 the amount of time that the system would be on and working productively, as well as an estimate of the possibility of a catastrophic wind speed event. I have not been able to find either on any site.
    The latter is NOT trivial. I lived in Amarillo TX for 13 years, and in that time I personally saw at least 4 separate events involving funnel clouds within city limits. Destructive downburst winds were even more common. A funnel cloud doesn’t need to become a tornado to destroy a wind-catcher 125m high. Debris from one rotor could easily become a missile to destroy another rotor. If I were an insurer, the premium on a wind turbine in such areas would be large enough to seriously impact the payback period.

    The wind speed record is available for any NOAA site that records it, and is summarized as a “wind rose”. I have no problem finding a wind rose in my area, though it is from a site derived from NOAA data, and not from NOAA itself. Sometimes temporary towers are put up to monitor wind speed at height in evaluation of a specific site, though that would be proprietary.

    Civil Engineering structures (water towers, stoplights, etc) here (US midwest) are routinely designed for a 100 mph wind. Beyond that there is only so much that can be economically done in design. That may vary regionally: check the building code. Building codes do apply to wind towers.

    In the case of a tornado as applied to a wind farm, It is not economical to construct a wind turbine, radio tower, water tower, or a structure of similar size to reliably withstand a direct hit by a tornado. Coal and other power generating facilities are also subject to being hit by such an extreme event. In the case of a tornado hitting a wind farm, a monster tornado is a mile wide, most tornadoes are much smaller. A wind farm is many miles wide, so only a small part of the area would be affected. Similarly a downburst also tends to affect an area smaller than the size of a wind farm.

  160. Tom O says:
    June 17, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I have never had any use for these monster wind mills, but I was unaware that the maximum sound level produced by these things was rated at 104 dB! If you lived within any reasonable range of these “farms,” I would think the noise level every time the wind blew hard enough to wind these things up near capacity would deafen you over time.

    I have been around wind farms, driven through on a transect, getting out and stopping occasionally, trying to find that noise. I have never experienced it at any easily noticeable level. There may be some conditions where it exists, but it isn’t all conditions all the time.

  161. climatereflections:

    Your reply to me at June 17, 2014 at 9:24 am says

    You also write (a second time):

    “Perhaps you would be willing to provide your explanation of why oil tankers are not sailing ships?”

    I didn’t address it the first time, because, pardon me, it is just silly.

    No rational person is suggesting that there is no place for conventional fossil fuel use in the world’s energy mix. No-one is saying that if one wind turbine is accepted then we have to use wind for everything in the world. No-one is claiming that large ships or airplanes can run solely on wind power. Your question is a complete red herring.

    The question is whether intermittent sources can make a meaningful contribution to the overall energy mix. And if so, what are the challenges, technologically and economically, of doing so. Those are legitimate and more nuanced questions that deserve careful thought.

    General complaints about intermittence or red herring questions about sailing ships do not serve the discussion well.

    I do not “pardon” your attempt to evade my clear and rational point by saying it is “silly” then ignoring the argument which poses the question.

    I present the argument to you for the third time so onlookers can have no suspicion that you are accidentally missing it.

    The intermittence provides need for back-up and combines with the little power available in normal winds to make it very difficult for windpower to recover its capital costs in the absence of subsidies.
    Windpower was used to power shipping and to operate mills for millenia. But windpower was displaced when the steam engine enabled use of greater energy intensity in fossil fuels to provide greater and continuous and controllable power.

    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.

    Perhaps you would be willing to provide your explanation of why oil tankers are not sailing ships?

    Richard

  162. Chris 4692:

    The below pages from Iowa may be another good source to look at. Matches Roger’s 25% claim (24.76%).

    Incidentally, based on a quick back-of-the-envelope, it looks like the generation numbers they are reporting are about 25-30% of nameplate (with a lower 17% in 2008 for some reason). 25-30% of nameplate seems a bit high to me, but I don’t have other data to dispute those numbers. If they are getting 25% on average, that is pretty good.

    http://www.state.ia.us/government/com/util/energy/wind_generation.html

    http://www.state.ia.us/government/com/util/energy/electric_profile.html

  163. Col Mosby says:
    June 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm
    “—-
    The environmental footprint of a wind system is apparently huge – I have seen estimates that almost 300,000 acres would normally be required to site enough turbines to produce the same gross amount of power as a 1200 MW nuclear power plant.
    —-”
    300 thousand acres area needed for a capacity equivalent to a 1200 MW nuclear plant is probably a very extreme case rather than a normal. At least I recall having read that in a good flat terrain with a suitable wind profile the ideal siting distance between turbines is a 10 by 3 times diameter ( = 2 x blade length) of the sweep area. Typical blade length for a 2.5 MW (nameplate power) turbine is 150 feet , thus 3 such beasts could be planted on a rectangular plot (3×300) feet x (10 x 300 )feet = 2.7 million square feet or ~ 62 acres, and that comes out as 62 / 7.5 ~ 8.3 acres per each nameplate MW , and ( optimistically ) assuming average 33% load factor triples that area for any real life MW going into the grid . so at an ideal siting you would need about 25 acres per MW which translate to 25 x 1200 = 30000 acres for 1200 MW not 300000 . And the I also remember the article ( whose title though I do not remember, unfortunately ) where I read this also stating that at not so ideal terrain the area requirement could be up to 3 times more, or 90000 acres in such cases. Mind you those area requirements though being 1/3 to 1/10 of the number you stated are by no means small , 30 thousand acres is ~ 47 square miles so ( pretending intermittency and other various drawbacks are no or minor problems ) you wanted to replace the 1 million plus MW capacity now installed in the US you would need to cover an area equal to 47×1000000/1.2 ~ 39.2 million square miles or around 2/3 of the earths total land area, if you put them all onshore or 28 % of the oceans surface if you tried to put them all offshore. And if you wanted match our world installed 5.5 billion Kw of power generating capacity with wind you would need to carpet every square mile ( and then find some extra 40000 square miles somewhere) of both the land and the oceans with the bird blenders, assuming that all areas. And that is assuming that all of the earths surface is ideally suited for turbine installment, which of course would not be the case in real life and then your area requirement shoots up to an extra earth or two. Pure Madness I think we here have!!!

  164. I for one am relieved to know that subsidies and credits and mandates and offsets are no longer necessary. No power generating company could refuse an 8-month payback. (Not only does something smell – it smells deep.)

  165. Richard (yet again):

    “Perhaps you would be willing to provide your explanation of why oil tankers are not sailing ships?”

    Richard, I have a great respect for your opinion, the valuable insights you have posted on WUWT over the years, and your good arguments. The above is not one of them.

    The question is most definitely *not* whether wind power is a good option as a *sole source, 24/7, level-power generation* for an isolated vessel traveling across the open ocean. The question is whether wind can be a *fractional contributing source to a larger energy mix* in a connected grid with other balancing sources.

    Please understand the difference. Please recognize the nuance of the point. I have not argued that wind turbines are a panacea; I have not argued that it makes economic sense to build large scale wind farms; I have not argued that they save net energy when everything else is factored in.

    I have simply pointed out the fact — readily available from many publicly-available sources — that intermittent sources of energy can be, and are in fact being, incorporated into the energy mix of grids. Whether this makes economic sense, whether other offsetting costs are involved, whether it is the right thing to do are all excellent questions.

    Why oil tankers are not sailing ships is not.

  166. Richard you are too funny.

    I didn’t overlook any part of your statements. In fact, I would have to respond thusly:

    Duh.
    Wait…how to I bold that?

  167. climatereflections:

    I am replying to your post at June 17, 2014 at 10:48 am.

    This will be my final iteration of my basic and extremely important point so if you again respond then you will have the ‘last word’ on the matter.

    You again ignore my argument, provide much irrelevant waffle then say

    I have simply pointed out the fact — readily available from many publicly-available sources — that intermittent sources of energy can be, and are in fact being, incorporated into the energy mix of grids. Whether this makes economic sense, whether other offsetting costs are involved, whether it is the right thing to do are all excellent questions.

    Why oil tankers are not sailing ships is not.

    Yes, “intermittent sources of energy can be, and are in fact being, incorporated into the energy mix of grids” but it makes NO economic sense and is the WRONG “thing to do” for a variety of reasons.

    Considering those realities as being “questions” casts doubt on those facts.

    And, as I have repeatedly explained,
    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.

    Your failure to provide an alternative understanding of why shipping does not use windpower demonstrates that you know windpower is NOT economic and is NOT reliable.

    Windfarms should be called subsidy-farms because the reaping of subsidies is their only reason for existence.

    Richard

  168. richardscourtney: If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.

    That is an interesting comment. How about, “If nuclear power were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be powered by nuclear power”. You could put in “coal” for nuclear or wind in that sentence.

    In the US it is natural gas that undercuts the price of wind power; shouldn’t oil tankers be powered by natural gas if natural gas were economical?

    There are places in the world where the wind supply is less unreliable than the oil, coal and natural gas supplies. I don’t know if that is true anywhere in the US, but it is true in large areas in Asia and Africa. Wind power should be considered in those places.

  169. Pamela Gray:

    re your post at June 17, 2014 at 10:57 am.

    Pamela, you are too funny.

    You say

    I didn’t overlook any part of your statements.

    I did not say, imply or suggest that you did.

    If you were to think about issues instead of personalities then perhaps your suggested analysis would not have overlooked the issues I stated in my post you claim to be replying .

    Richard

  170. Thus, for the 19 subsequent years, each turbine will, in effect, power over 500 households without consuming electricity generated using conventional energy sources.

    While they are in operation the wind turbines reduce the load on the conventional energy sources. I expect that this will extend the life of the conventional energy sources. I don’t claim that this by itself would justify the wind farms, but does anybody actually know?

  171. herkimer: Each case is different and it is not wise to generalize , but the exercise illustrates what can happen, namely that without the proper and complete analysis, . wind generated gains both in co2 and fuel usage can be voided by losses at back up plants. .making the entire use of wind turbines a negative cost upgrade .

    Excellent comment. Do you have a link to the paper, or a complete reference?

  172. Matthew R Marler:

    re your post at June 17, 2014 at 11:07 am.

    Your substitutions are not valid.
    Wind was displaced by fossil fuels – originally coal – as the power source for shipping.

    Wind is innately the most efficient form of motive power for shipping because ALL the collected wind energy acts to push the ship without mechanical loss. But wind was displaced by fossil fuels because fossil fueled power is more economic and reliable.

    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would still be sailing ships.

    Richard

  173. richardscourtney says:
    June 17, 2014 at 11:19 am (replying to)
    climatereflections:
    Matthew R Marler:

    Hmmmn.

    That a parasite can be survived without killing its victim is NOT evidence that the parasite does no harm to its victim. One tapeworm, one whipworm or leech or one flea will not kill its victim – The person carrying that burden may not even notice.

    Are two also “harmless” or benign? Do you extrapolate that to 20,000 intestinal worms or two dozen leeches?

    At 1/2 of one percent, the vagrancies of a infinitely-mandated, infinitely and randomly variable wind turbine mix can be tolerated with care by the operators. At 10%, the grid cannot sustain the changes safely and reliably. That a company faced with political suicide for opposing a vengeful, venial ansd foolishly blind administration armed with their tax codes and regulators submits to the pressure is not surprising.

  174. A nuclear-powered ship IS more economical than a diesel – See air craft carriers and submarines! BUT – That economic assessment of requirements MUST change based on the mission and the requirements: A single oil tanker crewed by 12 cannot be nuclear driven, a single wind turbine farm CANNOT drive an economy, but will suck it dry.

  175. On a related note: Electrical production peaked … in 2007. Right before Obama took over as dictator.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/price-electricity-hit-record-may

    “The electricity price index and the average price for a kilowatthour (KWH) of electricity both hit records for May, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The average price for a KWH hit 13.6 cents during the month, up about 3.8 percent from 13.1 cents in May 2013.

    The seasonally adjusted electricity price index rose from 201.431 in May 2013 to 208.655 in May 2014—an increase of about 3.6 percent.

    Per capita production of electricity in the United States peaked in 2007. Since then it has generally been on downward trend. In 2013, the U.S. produced less electricity per person than it did 1996.

  176. Wind Turbin Farms are powered in fact by the redistribution of your wealth by your tax money and your tax money is a % of your life, wind turbin farms take life..

  177. “Is the obsession with “climate change” turning out to be the most costly scientific
    Blunder in history?”

    I don’t see how, c – it’s a blunder of epic proportions (or, more likely, deliberate), but it’s hardly scientific.

  178. climatereflections says:
    June 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Richard (yet again):

    “Perhaps you would be willing to provide your explanation of why oil tankers are not sailing ships?”

    Richard, I have a great respect for your opinion, the valuable insights you have posted on WUWT over the years, and your good arguments. The above is not one of them.

    Mr. Courtney has a tendency to overgeneralize. Others have that problem as well. It is a hazard of being passionate.

  179. Chris4692:

    re your post at June 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm.

    Perhaps I do “overgeneralize”, but certainly NOT in this case. As I keep saying very specifically

    Wind was displaced by fossil fuels – originally coal – as the power source for shipping.

    Wind is innately the most efficient form of motive power for shipping because ALL the collected wind energy acts to push the ship without mechanical loss. But wind was displaced by fossil fuels because fossil fueled power is more economic and reliable.

    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would still be sailing ships.

    That is NOT a “generalisation”. It is an illustration of the reality that windpower is not economic and is not reliable.

    The clarity of the illustration is why windpower advocates have repeatedly tried to claim it is “not a good argument” (but they fail to counter it), have attempted to misrepresent it, and now claim it is a generalisation (when it is a specific example).

    The only valid argument that could be made against the illustration is the opposite of your claim that I “overgeneralize”: it could be stated that one cannot generalise from the specific and my illustration is too specific for it to be an example of the general case. However, I keep pressing the point BECAUSE it is so clear an illustration, and it challenges windpower advocates to show why it cannot be generalised to cover the problems of reliability and economics applicable to windfarms.

    Richard

  180. richardscourtney says:
    June 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm
    “…If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would still be sailing ships…”

    I agree with Richard. If windpower is so great, all ships at sea would be sailing ships, not just the oil tankers. Wind was replaced by fossil fuels, so his illustration is right on:

    “…It is an illustration of the reality that windpower is not economic and is not reliable…”

  181. Richard:

    Thank you for offering me the last word. I will take the opportunity so that we can end the specific discussion on a logical note.

    “Your failure to provide an alternative understanding of why shipping does not use windpower demonstrates that you know windpower is NOT economic and is NOT reliable.”

    False. Complete non sequitur.

    Let’s step back for a moment to some elementary logic:

    Question 1: Is intermittent wind power a good sole source of energy for an isolated vessel on the open ocean that needs 24/7, level-powered energy?

    Question 2: Can intermittent wind power successfully contribute to a larger energy grid mix when it is not the sole source (indeed, when it is only a fraction of the total) and when other leveling sources are available?

    These are two separate questions. It is logically possible that the answer to the first question could be “No” and the answer to the second question could be “Yes.” You are conflating two very different questions with your example of oil tankers (an example you are quite fond of and have no doubt used elsewhere with just as much fanfare and zeal as in the present exchange). My apologies if no-one has ever called you on it before. But the fact remains that we can logically answer the second question with a different answer than the first. Thus, by simple force of logic, it does not follow that if wind power is a poor choice for oil tankers on the open ocean then it is also a poor choice in other applications.

    (Incidentally, as another commenter noted above, we could use your oil tanker example and reference any other source of energy instead of wind — nuclear, hydro, coal, etc. — and the example would be precisely the same. This simple exercise should give us a hint that there is a fundamental logical problem with the example.)

    It may well be that wind power is a terrible idea for large scale electricity grids. It may well be that building wind farms is a waste of money and resources. It may well be that no net energy is saved. If you would carefully read my comments you would see I have made no claims to the contrary.

    But let’s have arguments based on the specifics of the large scale electricity grid, not some irrelevant, red-herring, non-sequitur about oil tankers not being sailing ships.

    Cheers,

  182. J. Philip Peterson says:
    June 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    richardscourtney says:
    June 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm
    “…If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would still be sailing ships…”

    I agree with Richard. If windpower is so great, all ships at sea would be sailing ships, not just the oil tankers. Wind was replaced by fossil fuels, so his illustration is right on:

    “…It is an illustration of the reality that windpower is not economic and is not reliable…”

    On a seaship powered by wind, the ship has to move both with and against the wind, running with, tacking against. It also has to deal with calm. The ship also must keep a schedule. If the ship is going to have electricity, or hydraulics, or for lights or to pressurize a water system or ventilation system, there has to be a generator. If it is calm, there is no wind to operate a separate turbine for electricity, if you are running with the wind the effectiveness of a separate turbine to generate electricity would be reduced. If you are going to make the schedule you also have to have your standby power on board to drive the props.

    For a wind farm on land, the wind mills can be pointed into the wind, whatever direction it coming from, just point in the right direction. If the wind isn’t blowing, the backup generation can be a hundred miles away, or it can be several units, on a hundred miles east, another a hundred miles west, another a hundred miles to the northwest. The backup generation would be what you would build anyway near the population centers. Electronics needed for controls, or oil pumps, or lights or whatever power needed can be drawn from the grid. If it is calm a while, the unit can be shut down to wait better conditions.

    The situations are exactly analogous, until you think about the differences.

  183. Sure.
    If you need hot air, call a politician.

    If you don’t need electric power, you can always rely on a windmill.

    If you only need a little bit of power, you can trust the sun to rise tomorrow morning, and give you a little bit of power for 1/4 of the day. Maybe.

    If you actually need power all the time, call an engineer.

  184. RHS says:

    June 16, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I’m sure Spain would beg to differ about the payback time…

    Exactly. Promised subsidies have been reduced and everyone involved from large companies to small investors are screaming blue murder.

  185. I’ve taken a lead from Anthony and installed Pv generation on our roof. My particular bugbear is the cost of new nuclear power in the UK running into many billions of pound which is being passed onto the consumer who gets none of the profits. I’d rather see tidal energy developed if we are talking of that level of cost.

  186. Chris4692:

    Thankyou for so very clearly making my point – indeed, spelling out my point – concerning economics and reliability in your post at June 17, 2014 at 7:39 pm .

    Richard

    PS Sails can rotate to provide power from the wind from any direction. Indeed, as you say, wind turbines are sails which do this.

  187. richardscourtney says:
    June 17, 2014 at 3:15 am
    Hop Lite:

    You conclude your post saying June 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

    … there is no gainsaying that wind is a net producer, diversifies the electricity generation portfolio and reduces dependence on foreign imports of energy for many economies that currently rely on politically unstable energy sources such as gas in Western Europe.

    I deny it because it is not true.
    ______________________________________________________

    I have not seen any reputable study showing that having wind on a power grid increases fossil fuel usage. This point, if true, would be a devastating blow to the wind industry and completely remove its raison d’etre. Why has this study not yet been done given it is quite straightforward to do? If you know of any can you give me references to them?

    Why do oil tankers not use wind power? A variety of reasons but predictability of passage times is one major reason. To successfully use a hybrid wind/oil system in the supertanker business (overcoming the predictablity issue) would require a number of hurdles to overcome including vessel design, storm survivablity, experienced crews, increased manning levels on vessels etc. They would end up more expensive for all these reasons but that doesn’t negate the fact that considerably less fuel would be used in the passage compared with oil-only powered vessel.

    Wind is more expensive today than fossil fuels on electricity grids but the real issue is energy security and long term energy sustainability. For countries like Ireland or the UK using the energy sources on our doorsteps makes sense. (Unless of course you can point to a reputable study that shows that wind increases fossil fuel usage!).

  188. Hop Lite:

    At June 18, 2014 at 2:23 am you say to me

    Wind is more expensive today than fossil fuels on electricity grids but the real issue is energy security and long term energy sustainability. For countries like Ireland or the UK using the energy sources on our doorsteps makes sense. (Unless of course you can point to a reputable study that shows that wind increases fossil fuel usage!).

    My post at June 17, 2014 at 3:15 am was addressed to you and your post I am answering purports to be a response to it. My post is here and it included this

    When David Tolley was Head of Networks and Ancillary Services of Innogy (a subsidiary of the German energy consortium RWE) he said of windfarms in the UK

    When [thermal] plant is de-loaded to balance the system, it results in a significant proportion of deloaded plant which operates relatively inefficiently.

    Coal plant will be part-loaded such that the loss of a generating unit can swiftly be replaced by bringing other units on to full load. In addition to increased costs of holding reserve in this manner, it has been estimated that the entire benefit of reduced emissions from the renewables programme has been negated by the increased emissions from part-loaded plant under NETA.

    (NETA is the New Electricity Trading Arrangements in the UK)

    He said this in his keynote address, to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on January 15, 2003 which is long time ago but it was not then disputed and has been disputed by nobody since then.

    After you have demonstrated that David Tolley did not present a “reputable study” then we can move on.

    Richard

    PS I thank you for also providing explanation which shows my oil tanker illustration is correct.

  189. Richard

    I’m sorry but you are going to have to do better than that! Please indicate what study was done by him where he published it etc etc. Even global warming alarmists are not so insouciant in their style of referencing published work as you appear to be! Please provide a proper reference to a published study into this issue that demonstrates (with numbers!) that wind penetration in power gird increases fossil fuel usage. The electric power industry has had a lot of resistance to wind power as early wind turbines were poorly behaved and also it just kind of messed up the power engineers traditional world and most people dislike and resist change. I know the thinking in that industry well as I was associated with it for many years. Many of the power industry fears have proven to be unfounded.

    I’m really uncertain what point you think you are winning wrt to oil tankers and sails. It really is not an analogous example and I am really confused as to how you think it is.

  190. Hop Lite says:

    Please provide a proper reference to a published study into this issue that demonstrates (with numbers!) that wind penetration in power gird increases fossil fuel usage.

    Hop must be a newbie here. That info has been posted repeatedly. Like ethanol production, building windmills requires immense fossil fuel resources.

    There is a search box; Hop Lite should use it, rather than demanding that others help him get up to speed on the subject.

  191. Hop Lite:

    re your post at June 18, 2014 at 3:00 am.

    You say you are “confused”. I had noticed.

    And you say you want “numbers”. But you are the one claiming “energy security” from reduced fuel use: I did not mention it. And you say the numbers “should be easy to obtain”.

    I am certain that your claims are rubbish because those who operate windfarms and other power generation systems do not claim it and – as I stated and referenced – at least one refutes the claim.

    If your claim is true and the numbers are available then provide them. Frankly, I think your assertion of significant reduction to fuel use has no relation to reality because if it were true then windpower advocates would be trumpeting it.

    Richard

  192. dbstealey says:
    June 18, 2014 at 3:19 am

    ‘building windmills requires immense fossil fuel resources.’ – not sure why it would be immense as both the materials and construction are standard. However, many studies have indeed taken these capex energy usage into account.

    ‘There is a search box; Hop Lite should use it, rather than demanding that others help him get up to speed on the subject.’ – so asking someone to back up an assertion they are making with a citation is just being lazy? Well I never – must remember that for the future.

    Thanks for the warm welcome onto this website dbstealey – clearly you went to the Basil Fawlty school of hospitality!

  193. richardscourtney says:
    June 18, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Sorry Richard but you are now making absolutely no sense and posting a load of non sequitor nonsense replies to the points that I make – haven’t the time for that.

    I asked you to give here an actual proper citation to your claim that grid wind power results in increased fossil fuel usage. You have not done so – I am pretty certain I know why.

  194. We make dynamometers & testing equipment. One small side business is test facilities for the speed-up gear box re-builders. The mean time to failure of this Achilles Heal for these things is 6 to 18 months. Count the non-working windmills in any large wind farm. Each 50,000# (or larger) gearbox typically exacts a greater cost to take down, replace, rebuild than it produces. All of the models showing return on these things ignore the real life of the thing. The real life results in a 10X un-subsidized real cost compared to conventional. BTW One additional item neglected in the models is the line loss from Iowa to Chicago etc.
    Some people want to stick these things in the Great Lakes. Consider the insult to the over all system in costs, pollution, spills, port construction, transmission, to add ships and crews to maintain these machines at sea. I’m sure that these costs are also ignored.

  195. Hop Lite:

    Your offensive and silly post at June 18, 2014 at 3:39 am says in total

    Sorry Richard but you are now making absolutely no sense and posting a load of non sequitor nonsense replies to the points that I make – haven’t the time for that.

    I asked you to give here an actual proper citation to your claim that grid wind power results in increased fossil fuel usage. You have not done so – I am pretty certain I know why.

    Bollocks! How dare you?!

    I have made perfect sense and you do not cite anything I said which does not.
    I have NOT posted any non sequitor.
    I have answered each and every of your points.

    I have twice given you a proper citation that grid wind power results in increased fossil fuel usage.

    You say you want ME to provide additional information to justify YOUR assertion that windfarms would provide so large a reduction to fossil fuel usage that they would increase energy security. I refused, pointed out that I had provided evidence to support my view and it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to provide evidence to support your assertion.

    dbstealey pointed out that that your demand for me to fulfill your responsibility is ridiculous and your reply was to feign offence at his comment. I am certain I know why you pretended to be offended.

    Richard

  196. dbstealey says:
    June 18, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Thanks db – some interesting exchanges that give me a good idea of the style of Richard. It must be hard and exhausting for him to be permanently outraged and indignant!

    I see a lot of sound and fury in those exchanges but hard facts are more scarce – a shame really given the great work many are doing here exposing the GW twaddle.

  197. Hop Lite:

    OK. I have read your tripe at June 18, 2014 at 4:25 am .

    Your “style” is to state falsehoods and to demand that others provide information to support your falsehoods. In other words, you are merely another anonymous troll attempting to disrupt rational debate.

    My “style” is to provide rational argument, information and evidence and to debate it if necessary. For example, my first post in this thread is at June 16, 2014 at 11:26 am here and AndyZ responded at June 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm saying in total

    Richard:
    That helps immensely. I learned a great deal from that paper. Thanks for the info.
    andy

    But – as your posts demonstrate – learning is not the purpose of anonymous trolls employed to spread pro-windfarm propaganda.

    Richard

  198. battman says:

    “Local high school has a turbine installed about one year ago at cost of 4.3 million, said to save the school almost 20,000 per year.2

    4.3 million (USD?) seems very high for a high school turbine. The smaller junior school that backed on to where I used to live wanted to install a 6kW wind turbine in the school playground as part of a UK/EU ‘sustainable refurbishment’ project (wood chip burners, solar panels, wind turbines et al) at a cost of around £25,000 to provide 10 kWhr of the 10,000 kWhr they used per annum. Many local residents protested including me. I communicated with the school governors and head teacher and objected because I calculated they would be lucky to get 1-2 kWHr and what about the safety of children going out to play under 1.5 tonnes of rotating machinery and were there any safety barriers? I got no direct reply from the school but they passed me the reply from their ‘Energy Consultants’ saying it was difficult to calculate the exact output but they ‘expected’ to get 3.5 – 5kWhrs – so not 10! Also they queried and didn’t understand my safety concerns. In the event their planning application went to appeal and the UK planning authority rejected it mainly on safety concerns (and good for them). This just shows the gullibility, and danger, of institutions wanting to tick ‘green’ boxes without actually understanding, and making no effort to understand, what they are getting.

  199. richardscourtney: If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would still be sailing ships.

    I see that you revised your statement in response to my criticism, even though you deemed my analogies not valid. That was a good thing to do, but it still isn’t correct. You ought to have written: If windpower were economic and reliable for powering ships, then oil tankers would still be sailing ships.

    You did not dispute my claim that in some places fuel deliveries are less reliable than wind (earlier I wrote it “wind is less unreliable than [fuel deliveries]“.) Do you think it is false?

  200. RACookPE1978: That economic assessment of requirements MUST change based on the mission and the requirements:

    On that, you and I agree. But I would add in other factors. Where there is no grid, for example, the problems that wind turbines cause to grids does not matter. Similarly, where there are no fuel deliveries, the intermittency of the wind is less of a problem.

  201. RACookPE1978: That a parasite can be survived without killing its victim is NOT evidence that the parasite does no harm to its victim. One tapeworm, one whipworm or leech or one flea will not kill its victim – The person carrying that burden may not even notice.

    When is tax subsidized or legally mandated infrastructure like a tapeworm? Airports and roads? Turn signals and brake lights on automobiles? Flame resistant roofs?

  202. RACookPE1978: Per capita production of electricity in the United States peaked in 2007. Since then it has generally been on downward trend. In 2013, the U.S. produced less electricity per person than it did 1996.

    You and I agree on the need for more and cheaper electricity. Since the passage of the electricity “deregulation” (*) bill under Governor Pete Wilson, the State of California has installed more generating capacity than it did in the previous 30+ years; most of that being natural-gas powered of many sizes, at least three plants near 1000 MW. It’s a shame we import so much of our natural gas instead of developing our own; and it is a shame that the San Onofre power plants shut down. The renewable fuel standard in CA is a bad policy.

    *I put the word “deregulation” in quotes because the bill was undermined by some of the regulations that were in it that made the Electricity Crisis worse than it would have been.

  203. Matthew R Marler:

    I am replying to your post at June 18, 2014 at 8:46 am because it asks me a specific question and I do not want trolls to say I failed to answer. However, I point out that I was sincere in giving the ‘last word’ to climatereflections and, therefore, my answer is very constrained to your specific points.

    Your semantic assertions are not relevant so my not addressing them has no affect on the logic.

    You make two points which are not merely rhetorical and I answer them. They are

    You ought to have written: If windpower were economic and reliable for powering ships, then oil tankers would still be sailing ships.

    You did not dispute my claim that in some places fuel deliveries are less reliable than wind (earlier I wrote it “wind is less unreliable than [fuel deliveries]“.) Do you think it is false?

    No, I “ought to have written” what I intended to write, and I did.
    I wrote If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would still be sailing ships.

    It seems you are willing to agree that sailing ships are not used as oil tankers because windpower is not economic and reliable. But you want to claim windpower is economic and reliable for electricity generation. Well, no. Show how the issues listed by Chris4692 at June 17, 2014 at 7:39 pm do not apply to electricity generation. The issues are THE SAME and THEY HAVE THE SAME EFFECTS.

    I have searched the thread to find your point about “fuel deliveries” and I have failed to find it. Importantly, I don’t understand it. Are you really trying to claim that fuel deliveries are less reliable than the wind which often stops? And if you are then claiming that then so what? Fuels can be – and are – stored and stockpiled, but wind has to be used when it blows or not at all.

    Richard

  204. Freaking idiots.
    Wind power is absolutely useless as it disturbs the markets and bankrupts our conventional power plants that are only allowed on the grid for back up power generation.

    But wasn’t bankrupting the West the inevitable move to establish corporate, read fascist Gobal Governance?

    http://green-agenda.com and UN Agenda 21

    Just screw the bastards.

    Tar and feathers is what we need.

  205. Drop the oil tanker analogy. It is invalid for many reasons, but the main is simple geometry. The diffuse power available to any wind catcher is based on its effective cross sectional area. A ship, however, is a three dimensional object. There was/is an effective maximum size to a cargo carrying sailing ship because its displacement volume increases faster than the cross sectional area its sails can bring to bear on the wind. Economics of scale favor large cargo ships and high density energy sources allow for powerful engines that can push huge cargo ships through the water.
    There are many reasons wind farms are not economical, but they do not suffer the area/volume issue that oil tankers do. QED.

  206. I. got an answer to makelly,s question from one of their students. Using a calculator he laughingly replied. …. well its more than 20 years.

  207. richardscourtney: It seems you are willing to agree that sailing ships are not used as oil tankers because windpower is not economic and reliable. But you want to claim windpower is economic and reliable for electricity generation.

    I am willing to agree that sailing ships are not used as oil tankers because windpower is not economic and reliable for transporting oil.

    I have searched the thread to find your point about “fuel deliveries” and I have failed to find it. Importantly, I don’t understand it. Are you really trying to claim that fuel deliveries are less reliable than the wind which often stops? And if you are then claiming that then so what? Fuels can be – and are – stored and stockpiled, but wind has to be used when it blows or not at all.

    My first reference used something other than “fuel deliveries”, which is why I wrote [fuel deliveries] when referring to it. Yes, there are places in the world where wind is less unreliable than fuel deliveries: places with bad roads, fuel pirates and other sources of poor supply. It might still be the case that a wind turbine is uneconomical for a small isolated village, but it is not as easy to steal and resell a wind turbine as liquid fuel and the electrical wires and pylons of the grid.

  208. Nope. But, I’m saying a ship has a volumetric displacement and a wind farm doesn’t. The ship’s mass (related to displacement) has to be big enough to support its sails. Therefore, the cross sectional area of a ship’s sails are tightly constrained in a way that, unfortunately, the size of a wind farm is not. The comparison is invalid.

  209. rhchardscourtney: Your semantic assertions are not relevant so my not addressing them has no affect on the logic.

    What does that refer to? You wrote a plain overgeneralization that you are now defending.

  210. I’ve spoken to greenie believers about wind power subsidies and their answer is always the same: “Oh, but look at all the oil company subsidies”. That’s as far as they can take it.

  211. I work in the power industry, and within the last year visited a site where 8 new GE LMS-100 gas turbines had been installed as backup generation in the midst of a huge wind farm in California. Those turbines are simple-cycle, which means that their 1000-degree, CO-2 rich exhaust vents directly to atmosphere. Also, the parasitic load for the turning gear (turbine rotors must turn constantly to avoid bowing from their own weight), lube oil pumps and heaters, and other auxiliary systems can amount to as much as a thousand home’s worth of energy per turbine. That parasitic load is 24-7, BTW. I understand that China is installing lots of wind turbines in their northern provinces, backed up by new coal generation. I have spoken with people that build and test those plants; they come with the normal emissions control systems, which are commissioned for testing. Once the owners take over the scrubbers and precipitators are shut off and never run again. Would someone explain to me why this is a sensible approach?

  212. @ Chris4692

    The figures for each state are percent of total kWh sold in a recent year. Iowa will soon pass 30 percent as Buffett installs yet another set of profitable wind turbines. Low electricity prices, yet substantial wind energy.

    Texas has more than 12,000 MW of installed wind capacity. Their state’s demand is large so even 12,000 MW gives them only about 9 percent of all grid power sold. Texas will soon pass the 10 percent mark.

  213. Wind turbine payback period claimed to be within 8 months

    ===========================================================================
    “Wind turbine drawback period claimed to be within 8 months”
    (I fixed the typo in the headline.8-)

  214. richardscourtney says June 17, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Wind is innately the most efficient form of motive power for shipping because ALL the collected wind energy acts to push the ship without mechanical loss.

    One may be overlooking reality here; all practical sailing is not downwind, therefore, the ‘sailing’ losses involved when tacking into the wind must be considered.

    .

  215. re: knuckledragger says June 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Once the owners take over the scrubbers and precipitators are shut off and never run again. Would someone explain to me why this is a sensible approach?

    Wow. That reduces costs (operating manpower, material, energy and maintenance) considerably. Not the most ‘honest’ though …

    .

  216. Roger Sowell:
    Your argument that “wind must be good because they are building them” is flawed because of government interference in the market.
    The state of Iowa has its own production tax credit (PTC) and kicks in 1.2 cents per KWH on top of the federal 2.1 cents per KWH. There are other incentives as well designed to lure permanent jobs into the state.
    The “business” decision to build wind turbines is biased by the PTC and because the utilities are mandated to have a minimum percent of renewable energy. When the PTC are rumored to not be renewed the orders for more new turbines go away.
    The production tax credits sunset after the years, we’ll see how many old turbines continue to spin. Repair and maintenance becomes very expensive after the profit margins sunset.

  217. Scott Wendt and Matthew R Marler:

    I am replying to your responses in this one post. I intend no insult to anyone by this: I do it for convenience of onlookers because we are discussing one subject.

    Scott Wendt, thankyou for your posts at June 18, 2014 at 11:13 am and June 18, 2014 at 11:33 am. The latter is intended as clarification of the first and says

    Nope. But, I’m saying a ship has a volumetric displacement and a wind farm doesn’t. The ship’s mass (related to displacement) has to be big enough to support its sails. Therefore, the cross sectional area of a ship’s sails are tightly constrained in a way that, unfortunately, the size of a wind farm is not. The comparison is invalid.

    Sorry, but I fail to understand how the ship having “a volumetric displacement” is relevant. At issue is the amount of power which can be collected from the wind, at what cost, and with what reliability. An individual ship’s sail can be larger than the blade area of an individual wind turbine.

    If a single sail provides little and intermittent power so is uneconomic, then then a single wind turbine will also provide uneconomic power for the same reason. Adding more wind turbines does not change that.

    So, I see no reason why you assert “The comparison is invalid”. Please explain.

    (I do understand that hypothetically one could build giant wind turbines with blade area larger than a tall ship’s sail, but none exist and none are likely to exist).

    Matthew R Marler, at June 18, 2014 at 11:26 am you say

    I am willing to agree that sailing ships are not used as oil tankers because windpower is not economic and reliable for transporting oil.

    Thankyou.
    Now please explain why and how you think windpower could be economic and reliable for electricity generation when windturbines suffer the same issues of economics and reliability that exist for sailing ships. All we have had from you is arm-waving that in some way they are different, but it seems you don’t know how they are differeent. Scott Wendt was willing to try and imagine a significant difference but you have yet to try.

    And you assert to me

    Yes, there are places in the world where wind is less unreliable than fuel deliveries: places with bad roads, fuel pirates and other sources of poor supply. It might still be the case that a wind turbine is uneconomical for a small isolated village, but it is not as easy to steal and resell a wind turbine as liquid fuel and the electrical wires and pylons of the grid

    Alan Robertson refuted that nonsense in his post at June 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm where he provided this link which reports you are plain wrong.

    http://www.france24.com/en/20140528-france-metal-organised-thefts-wind-turbines-copper/

    And at June 18, 2014 at 11:33 am you assert

    You wrote a plain overgeneralization that you are now defending.

    Absolutely not!
    I bluntly refuted that idiotic assertion in my post at June 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm because I have made a specific statement and I continue to PROMOTE IT.

    I have no need to defend it because the only attempt to refute its applicability is from Scott Wendt whose assertion I do not understand (and I suspect he does not understand it, either).

    Richard

  218. @ J Philip Peterson at June 16. 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Re wind turbine payout.

    Wind turbines do not have a single payout period. As with most any project, the payout period depends on installed costs and annual revenue.

    Where the wind is good and steady, and wind turbines are installed on flat or gently rolling ground (as in Iowa), payout periods are around 10 years.

    An 8 month payout period is not reasonable with existing economics:

    With installed cost of $2000 per kW
    Annual capacity factor of 33 percent
    Sales price of 7 cents per kWH,

    Payout period is 10 years.

    As to nuclear power, it could never pay off the investment at a sales price of 7 cents per kWh.

    Severance has an excellent article on the economics of nuclear power plants. Note that Severance’s costs are low by 5 years of inflation, and did not include costs for withstanding the impact of a large aircraft on cooling systems and fuel storage areas.

    http://www.nirs.org/neconomics/nuclearcosts2009.pdf

    I wrote in detail on this at

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-three.html

  219. _Jim:

    Yes, you are right in your post at June 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm.

    Thankyou for correcting me

    However, one could replace sails with windturbines connected to drive screws although – as you rightly say – that would reduced the mechanical advantage of sails.

    Again, thankyou.

    Richard

  220. re: Roger Sowell says June 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Finally, wind is “so expensive,” many of the US nuclear plants are giving up and calling it quits. They simply cannot compete with wind or natural gas-based power. See links below.

    Thanks, but no thanks. Based on previous ‘encounters’ with you, it is known your figures are suspect and your intentions are purely anti-nuclear, without good reason.

    One may search WUWT using this string entered in a Google search bar:

    . . . “Roger Sowell” nuclear site:wattsupwiththat.com

    and see previous refutation of your work.

    .

  221. @ Jim, June 18 at 2:09 pm,

    My published articles on Truth About Nuclear Power contain documented facts. There are presently 21 published out of 30 articles in the series.

    There are more than 100 documented facts in those articles showing nuclear power is unsafe and uneconomic.

    If you care to refute any or all of them, l’m sure WUWT host would publish the refutation.

    Many people do not know the truth about nuclear, which is why I am writing those articles.

  222. @ richardscourtney
    There are many reasons why sailing ships do not haul commercial cargo anymore.
    1) Economy of scale – You can’t make sails big enough to move huge sailing ships because they would either capsize or would never move. You’re fighting volumetric (x^3) increases in weight with x^2 increases in sail area. (If sails go too high, or too wide, masts break or the ship capsizes.)
    2) To move big, economic cargo ships you need powerful engines burning energy dense fuel.
    3) Wind is too diffuse.
    4) Wind is too intermittent.
    5) Wind is inefficient because it is not always blowing in the direction you want to go. (Placing a wind turbine on a ship is the most inefficient way to use the wind.)
    You weaken your position when comparing wind farms to oil tankers. It is worse than an “apples to oranges comparison” for the reasons I mentioned. Mainly, a stationary, land based wind farm does not have the constraints that a ship, or any moving item has. They both share #3 & #4, but 1, 2 & 5 are huge factors that only apply to the ship.
    You need to find a new analogy.

  223. Scott Wendt:

    I see you have dropped your ‘effect of displacement’ argument in your post at June 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm. I admit to lack of surprise.

    Instead, you now provide a shopping list of reasons why oil tankers are not sailing ships.

    Only your point number 1 is specific to shipping but not windfarms and it is not valid because sailing ships did exist.

    All the other points in your list apply to wind turbines.

    Thankyou for supporting the illustration albeit inadvertently.

    Richard

  224. To ‘counter’ Roger Sowell (who seems to, and can apparently afford to, spend his professional life ripping nuclear power) one might also visit Rod Adams’ excellent website http://atomicinsights.com/ .

    Roger Sowell’s vendetta against all things nuclear could possibly be one of the biggest mistaken directions he ‘sends’ or directs people, with subtle spin also put on the economics and all meant to shy ppl and industry away from any consideration of nuclear.

    The total ‘cost’ picture including hedging against future fuel price spikes in natural gas you will NOT hear from Roger, since, his intent is not to educate, but to forcibly direct and distract. Any serious consideration of nuclear energy should avoid taking a peak at his site or his material until one is able to fully differentiate between ‘the wheat from the chaff’.

    .

  225. @richard…
    The effect of displacement is wrapped into both 1 and 2 … I’m sorry you don’t see that. The bigger and heavier your ship’s power plant (or sails), the bigger the ship has to be to in order to float (displacement), let alone still carry cargo. Sailing ships pretty much reached their maximum size before steam made them obsolete. Of course, they did exist, and still do, but they only make money in tourism, recreation, etc.
    Someone could build a fleet of sail powered oil tankers, but they would be small, slow, delayed often and need a proportionally bigger crew … that is what I mean by economy of scale.
    I’m sorry you don’t understand my points, I don’t know how to else to explain them. I provided a list, in order of importance, to try to better explain why it is a bad analogy. You mistook that as a sign of defeat (why?).
    I’m trying to help you make a better argument … I’m on your side opposing wind farms. Your ‘oil tanker’ analogy distracts because it is a weak analogy. There are too many other reasons why they don’t make wind powered oil tankers.

  226. @ Jim, re Adams and nuclear.

    Mr. Adams is the chief cheerleader for the nuclear bandwagon. I have crossed words with him before, and he is the worse for it. For those who don’t know, Mr. Adams’ stated preference for power generation is a small, modular nuclear plant in every neighborhood. He clearly wants to increase electricity prices by 10 to 20-fold, which is exactly what would result if he had his way.

    I prefer to keep electric prices as low as possible, so that the poor and those just barely scraping by will not be punished by outrageous power prices.

    Jim also brings up the recent lame excuse for the nuclear apologists: nuclear as a hedge against future price increases in natural gas. That is almost a winning argument, except that whenever natural gas prices have increased, savvy oil and gas men go drilling and find more and more. This brings the prices right back down again. On an inflation-adjusted basis, natural gas price in the US is today about half of what it was 34 years ago.

    Meanwhile, nuclear power plants just keep getting more and more expensive. They keep having massive meltdowns, so that more and more safety precautions must be installed – increasing the cost still more.

    The Truth About Nuclear Power series lays all this out, and much more.

  227. Scott Wendt:

    Thankyou for your explanation in your post at June 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm which at last explains your point that I was failing to grasp.

    It includes

    Someone could build a fleet of sail powered oil tankers, but they would be small, slow, delayed often and need a proportionally bigger crew … that is what I mean by economy of scale.

    Aha! I now ‘get it’. You are talking about costs of “a proportionally bigger crew” needed to operate a ship’s sails but not needed to operate wind turbines.

    Sorry, that is an error. Modern “sails” could be windturbines connected to drive screws with electronic controls similar to those of windfarm turbines. But you are saying the sails must be nineteenth century technology and not twentyfirst century technology. You are comparing ‘chalk and cheese’ as a method to argue the ‘chalk is inedible’.

    And the very many needed small oil tankers is a precise analogue of the very many needed wind turbines to provide power equivalent to output of a single power station.

    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.
    This is comprehensible to both numerate and innumerate people, it is true, and all your arguments about it emphasise its truth. It needs to be shouted because it can be understood by anybody.

    Richard

  228. Just for fun, I Googled ‘super tanker engine’ and found one that was 90,000 hp. That is equivalent to 67,000 kW or 67 MW. If someone tried to power a tanker with 3 MW wind turbines, they would need the output of 22 (!) running at maximum rpms.

  229. It’s not an error, at east not my error. Sails are pretty efficient at capturing the energy in wind and using it to move sailing ships, as long as the ship is going downwind. Converting wind energy to electricity that would then power the ships’ screws would be terribly inefficient. (The reason you need 22 turbines.) Nuclear powered and other steam powered ships do not make electricity first, they use steam turbines to drive the propellers. This is yet another problem with, and distraction to, your analogy. There is a reason why there are no moving vehicles powered directly by wind turbines, so why do you think it’s a good idea to suggest making the very first one?

  230. Also, trying to connect 22 wind turbines to directly drive 1, 2 or 22 propellers would be an engineering nightmare. There are too many reasons why a wind powered tanker is a bad idea. It’s your choice to keep shouting it, but I fear people ignore your analogy because they don’t want to spend hours listing and explaining the reasons it doesn’t apply.

  231. Did anyone read the article? The “payback time” was in reference to the amount of energy necessary to create the components, assemble the components, and transport, site, erect and connect the turbine. It is not the payback time for the approximately $3Million cost of installing a 2MW rated turbine.

    Real world numbers of onshore wind farms in west Texas and other places, compiled by NREL and Stanford University among other places, show a capacity function on a yearly basis of ~30% of rated capacity.

    This means that the 2MW turbine is actually a 600KW turbine averaged across all 8760 hours in a year. Thats 5.256 10E+6 kWh — over 25 years that is 131 Million Kilowatt Hours.

    Cost per kWh =

    $.023 — 2.3 cents much lower than a new coal fired plant or high efficiency NG plant.

    Stanford showed that interconnected wind farms can be used as dependable baseload power. —

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/aj07_jamc.pdf

  232. Scott Wendt:

    I am starting to think you are willfully misunderstanding.

    Your latest post at June 19, 2014 at 5:43 am says in total

    Also, trying to connect 22 wind turbines to directly drive 1, 2 or 22 propellers would be an engineering nightmare. There are too many reasons why a wind powered tanker is a bad idea. It’s your choice to keep shouting it, but I fear people ignore your analogy because they don’t want to spend hours listing and explaining the reasons it doesn’t apply.

    That is NOT what anybody would do. As YOU pointed out, a single oil tanker would be replaced by many smaller sailing ships: indeed, whale oil WAS conveyed by many smaller sailing ships. But nobody would choose to convey oil like that now.

    However, it is claimed that many small windturbines can replace a power station. The reasons that claim is a bad idea are THE SAME REASONS that many small sailing ships are a bad idea for replacing an oil tanker.

    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would be sailing ships.
    This is comprehensible to both numerate and innumerate people, it is true, and all your arguments about it emphasise its truth. It needs to be shouted because it can be understood by anybody.

    Richard

  233. Karl:

    re your assertions at June 19, 2014 at 6:01 am.

    Yes, everybody read the article and early in the thread several pointed out that energy return is a pointless metric.

    Your financial figures are wrong because you say they are “cost” but they are price.
    Cost = price + subsidy

    Richard

  234. @ richard

    Your argument that

    “The reasons that claim is a bad idea are THE SAME REASONS that many small sailing ships are a bad idea for replacing an oil tanker.”

    Is specious

    The only reason supertankers are used instead of numerous small ships — is because oil fields, pipelines and onload terminals are extremely small in number, and receiving facilities and refineries are the same. And economy of scale is important due to the geographic distances between supply and end user. Where pipelines acan be built they are.

    Multiple small power generation stations are much better than large ones — they make for a more resilient grid, both against natural disaster, and bad actors.

    A recent example — in 2011 a tornado damaged the interconnects to the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Station in Alabama USA. The majority of the residential connection grids were undamaged, however because of the highly centralized nature of the power station interconnects — Power was completely out to the majority of North Alabama for almost a week.

  235. @ richard — please cite the current subsidies for all power generation types in the US

    As in — don’t leave out the Free financing and loan guarantees for Nuclear Power Stations

    FYI — The wind production of $23 per Megawatt Hour tax credit has expired as of DEC 2013

    The $3 Million cost of Installation is cost in real dollars no subsidy

  236. Karl:

    You adopt a common tactic of windfarm salesmen when – in your post at June 19, 2014 at 6:20 am – you pretend one issue is a different issue.

    You say to me

    Multiple small power generation stations are much better than large ones — they make for a more resilient grid, both against natural disaster, and bad actors.

    Yes, distributed power generation does improve grid resilience.

    But the turbines of a windfarm or a collection of windfarms are not distributed generation: they are a single power source subject to possibility of failure. Indeed, the turbines ALL stop generating when the wind changes to become insufficiently strong or too strong so they provide the certainty of frequent total failures.

    Richard

  237. Once again a specios argument — nothing necessitates hundreds of turbines comprising a windfarm. — At hub height a 30% capacity factor is about the norm — just about everywhere.

    There are several installations throughout the Appalachian foothills that site a few turbines together, then a few miles away site some more, etc.

    Community based power generation where capacity factor is accounted for when sizing the distributed farm is not only smart — it is inevitable.

    Building integrated PV, along with community based small scale solar farms and a few turbines WILL HAPPEN — arguing that wind is not cheaper in the long term than coal or NG is just plain incorrect.

  238. Karl:

    re your post at June 19, 2014 at 6:25 am.

    You say

    FYI — The wind production of $23 per Megawatt Hour tax credit has expired as of DEC 2013

    Please state the ongoing benefit of that subsidy having reduced the payback time for the windfarms you are citing.

    Also, please state the value of any mandates for the grid to take the windpower.

    We can assess your sales pitch when you provide full and transparent information instead of the misleading propaganda you have posted in this thread so far.

    Richard

  239. Karl:

    I object to your post at June 19, 2014 at 6:33 am.

    You raised the “specious argument” of distributed generation.
    I pointed out your argument is specious.
    Your post I am answering again changes the subject and claims I made a “specious argument”!

    I suggest you report back to your employer and ask for the job to be undertaken by a more competent salesman for windpower.

    Your product is expensive and unreliable so is a hard sell. And the selling needs more competence than you are displaying.

    Richard

  240. Let’s try a similar question to the one you are so fond of. /Bold on “If diesel electric engines are so great (on locomotives), then they would build diesel electric oil tankers!” /Bold off

    Diesel electric engines ARE wonderful on locomotives. The ‘extra’ weight helps the engine pull the train.
    The constraints are much different for a ship. The extra weight is a killer. The direct coupling of the engine to the shaft is better, avoiding all the extra weight. (Reducing extra displacement needed to float the engine.)

    My question is bad at proving diesel electric is bad, because it is obviously wrong. Your shouted question is also bad because the conditions and constraints for floating engines are SO different than those for wind farms.

  241. What payback time are you talking about? Even if you added that $23/MWH production credit (that only lasted 10 years from startup when it was in effect) you get a cost of $.023 + .023($23/MWH) *10/25(subsidy years vs lifecycle) = $.0322

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

    Wind LCOE is less than coal — and less than 3 out of 5 types of NG fired plants

    And even cheaper than Nuclear — after taking into account the NUCLEAR Subsidy.

  242. Karl says:
    June 19, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Yes, and those single examples of low speed cut-in rates only illustrate that the high speed efficiency and high-speed cut-out rates and average (optimum speed) power generation efficiencies are lower as well.

    In the southeast US, right under the “near-doldrums” of the Bermuda high pressure system covering eastern TN, VA, NC, SC, GA, north FL, AL, and MS, calculate for me please how many 2 MWatt wind turbines over how many acres of clear-cut pine forest are needed to equal a single 600 MWatt combined cycle power plant running 24/7/365 running quietly and invisibly on only 30 acres.
    There are NO regional wind backups.
    Solar is cut out by the clouds, haze and humidity to 1/4 its clear sky intensity.

    Now, generate the power you claim you can.

  243. And based on real world advances in turbine technology and decreasing costs — coupled with real world increases in Nuclear, Coal, and NG plant construction and fuel costs — the numbers will be more in favor of Wind and PV as time goes by.

    FYI — UL listed PV panels for $.74 a watt (5 years ago it was $5 a watt)

    http://sunelec.com/

  244. Karl claims:
    June 19, 2014 at 6:51 am

    What payback time are you talking about? Even if you added that $23/MWH production credit (that only lasted 10 years from startup when it was in effect) you get a cost of $.023 + .023($23/MWH) *10/25(subsidy years vs lifecycle) = $.0322

    The actual cost of wind is 150.00/MWatt-Hr.

  245. @ RA COOK

    Why clear cut anything — the hub heights are 100 meters — much higher than any loblolly, white, or other eastern pine can ever hope to grow. The lumber industry especially in north carolina has created plenty of areas devoid of trees where turbines could be sited — and the roads as well.

    Alabama has plenty of cotton fields and cow fields ….

    FYI — Most of the “pine forests” you describe are only there because they were planted to support the paper and lumber industries and are at most a few decades old waiting to be cut down again.

    But to answer your question — Zero acres of clear cut forests are needed.

    Every state you mentioned has offshore wind resources that can more that meet your example of a single NG fired plant. (which does not have a 100% on station capacity)

    You underestimate the solar resource, lots of people here in Bama have PV installed.

    Offshore capacity – 35% 2MW = approximately 90 turbines (thats 630MW effective) at an installed cost of approximately $450 Million (5 million per because of offshore)

  246. RA COOK — EIA says 80 — and 96 for Nuclear (86 after subsidy) but ignore the citation all you want

  247. MISLEADING PAYBACK TIME.

    From the article:

    “However, the payback for the associated energy use is within about 6 months, the team found.”

    Translation, this is the payback time for the energy used (i.e. to become socalled “Carbon Nuetral” for the energy to manufacture install, etc), not the actual payback for the cost of the equipment.

    Sheds a different light on the findings than what they are trying to convince people to believe.

  248. @ Karl
    It’s true the federal production tax credit (PTC) expired Dec 2013 for NEW wind turbines.
    However, all existing turbines AND the turbines under construction will continue to soak up the subsidy (for their first 10 years of production).
    The proposed wind farm down the road from me built roads in November to the turbine sites so that they would qualify for the PTC.
    Iowa’s PTC did NOT expire, nor have the other incentive programs.

  249. @richardscourtney
    I finally thought of a good analogy/question for you.
    “If wind turbines are so effective, then why don’t people (and cities) use them to pump their water?”
    Wind mills used to be everywhere on the rural landscape pumping water for farms. As soon as the electric grid was expanded into the rural areas they became obsolete. Electric pumps powered from a stable power grid were much, much better. This is a better “apples to apples” comparison.

  250. Scott W:

    re your post at June 19, 2014 at 9:41 am.

    Wind turbines are used to pump water at locations distant from an electricity grid. This is one of the niche markets for wind power because reliability does not matter (water can be stored). Electricity grid supply is not such a niche market for wind power because reliability does matter (electricity cannot be stored in significant amounts so must all be used when generated).

    Richard

  251. Yes, all true. But, if a municipality tried to directly pump water with a modern wind mill (more efficient when skipping electric conversion), they would need many more water towers to build up the supply for when there is no wind. They could build a fleet of wind powered pumps linked to towers, OR they could just reply on electric pumps and a small number of water towers. This example illustrates the problem with wind power without all the extra problems in building/floating/moving a wind powered tanker.
    Hospitals have back up generators, either diesel or natural gas. You could also ask why they don’t use wind turbines. This too is fair comparison because it compares land based uses.

  252. Scott W:

    re your post at June 19, 2014 at 10:47 am.

    OK, if you think your illustration is useful then use it, but I think it will spread more confusion than information because it will engender the obvious response that, “Wind power IS used to pump water”.

    Personally, I will continue to use the accurate, true and undeniable statement; i.e.
    If windpower were economic and reliable then oil tankers would still be sailing ships.

    Indeed, if people try to deny it then that engenders response which demonstrates the issues of economics and reliability.

    Richard

  253. The technical answer to your question is that sailing ships FAIL the economy of scale test because wind energy is too DIFFUSE to power bigger, more efficient ships.
    But, have it your way. I fear you do more harm than good with that analogy. As you stated, wind pumped water is limited to niche markets. You and I know why. So, when someone challenges my analogy I’ll ask them why it is limited. And, since it often suggested that it would be good to use surplus wind energy to pump water uphill into storage tanks for later conversion to electricity, then I’ll ask why don’t municipal water utilities pump their water with wind? And, it would seem to be a good idea to combine those processes. Why not? We know. Wind energy is not dependable.
    One additional small critique of your analogy. You still say “sailing ships”, yet you challenged my explanation when I used sails. You should then drop “sailing” if you envision modern wind turbines sitting on the tanker’s deck.

  254. http://bergey.com/wind-school/articles/wind-electric-pumping-systems-for-communities-2

    http://www.cprl.ars.usda.gov/pdfs/Wind-Electric%20Water%20Pumping%20Systems%20for%20Rural%20Domestic.pdf

    as far as dependable baseload power — Stanford University did a study that proves through real world measurements at multiple farms that grid interconnected wind CAN be used as dependable baseload power — it is cited above

    If you choose to not read it and remain ignorant regarding the efficacy of wind as baseload power that is your right.

  255. Karl Heuer:

    In your post at June 20, 2014 at 8:25 am you write

    Stanford University did a study that proves through real world measurements at multiple farms that grid interconnected wind CAN be used as dependable baseload power — it is cited above

    If you choose to not read it and remain ignorant regarding the efficacy of wind as baseload power that is your right.

    Some stupid academic reports are published most days.

    The wind can stop blowing for several days over large areas. Windpower produces no electricity when there is no wind. Wind cannot be stored, and electricity cannot be stored in significant amounts.

    If you choose to pretend these facts are not reality and to believe in nonsense which suggests the wind can provide baseload power that is your right. But you should not be permitted to impose the effects of your irrational beliefs on others.

    Richard

  256. @ richard
    It was published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, a well respected peer review required publication.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2007JAMC1538.1

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/aj07_jamc.pdf‎ (paper)

    Read the paper — assess the materials and methods (they actually used hourly and daily wind speed measurements) then —

    Attempt to technically refute the study

    Scientifically — the onus is upon you to refute with a technically sound argument

  257. Karl Heuer:

    At June 20, 2014 at 11:02 am you say to me

    Scientifically — the onus is upon you to refute with a technically sound argument

    No!
    You tabled the paper, not me.
    You claim it says something, not me.

    Scientifically – the onus is on you to summarise its arguments if you want me to consider it.

    At present I only know you claim the paper attempts to show from theoretical considerations that something is possible when I have good reason to understand it is physically impossible.

    Baseload needs to be continuous. Wind and wind powered electricity are not continuous. Wind cannot be stored and electricity cannot be stored in large amounts.

    I have much better things to do than to read something which is so unrealistic that you have failed to explain it. I always adopt this scientifically proper response when somebody tells me the onus is on me to study e.g. a perpetual motion machine that they have asserted but not explained.

    Richard

  258. Links 1 & 2 are about pumping water for farms, not base load power. They only claim wind-electric is better than wind-mechanical. If farmers want to play around in this niche area it’s there choice.
    Link 3 talks about interconnecting wind farms to reduce transmission inefficiency and reduce issues when the wind doesn’t blow. Link 4 is broken.

    Not impressed. It is common for a large weather system to halt the wind across the entire state. Occasionally the entire Midwest is windless. It doesn’t matter that it only happens once a year.
    Linking the wind farms only means one can be back-up for the other, maybe (see above). Every KWH of wind still needs to be backed up by fossil. Wind can never be used for base load electric because it always has to be backed up.

  259. @ Karl Heuer
    These links are NOT what you claim.
    The abstract to #3 states that an AVERAGE of 33% wind power can be used as base load. (That means on AVERAGE for 67% of the installed capacity in not producing electricity. )
    The abstract also give a maximum of 47%. However, the ONLY important number is the minimum – because on the days when the minimum occurs back up power is needed for (100% – min).
    Please re-read the paper and share with us the minimum value and how often it occurred.
    And, then explain how anything more than that minimum can be claimed to be base load power?!

  260. Scott W:

    Thanks for your post at June 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm but I am not surprised.

    You went to the trouble of reading the paper and reporting it. I would not have bothered.

    I always assume a paper is rubbish when it is asserted to make an extraordinary claim which its proponent does not explain but asserts must be true because the paper is peer reviewed.

    I will examine anything – extraordinary or not – which is provided together with a plausible explanation whether or not it is peer reviewed.

    Richard

  261. Richard

    I was doing data collection where it takes ~2 minutes to save and reload for the next run. The run itself takes ~5 minutes, not enough time to work on anything complicated. Checking out his links was a welcome distraction.
    Academic studies are fine, but they are not PROVEN until someone in the REAL world takes the risk and implements them.

    Scott

  262. @ Scott — Denmark did — they get 28% of their electricity from Wind — I’m not doing the search to find what the continuous baseload power contribution was.

    The FACTS are that storage systems today: compressed air energy storage, pumped water storage, underground flywheel storage, ultracapacitors, and high density lI-ion batteries with charge discharge cycles in the tens of thousands — EXIST , and can easily ameliorate any “dead wind” time.

    Large Scale, Community, and Home based PV and Wind can and will supplant Centralized thermal power stations — it is inevitable both from a continuity of service, and national security standpoint.

    FYI — you can now get UL Listed PV panels for $0.34 per watt — 5 years ago the price was $5/watt

    http://sunelec.com/

  263. BDK:

    At June 29, 2014 at 10:45 pm you say in total

    Calculations may be off.
    Transport may not rely on windpower.
    Renewable power may not give you the stability you need.
    US power grids may be so poorly designed it hard to use.
    That does not mean its useless.

    http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/04/electricity-prices-fall-europe-german-renewable-energy-increases/

    That depends on your definition of “useless”.

    A vehicle is not made “useless” if it is provided with additional wheels that are made from solid gold. But the addition is expensive, pointless, reduces fuel efficiency, and has additional risks.

    Similarly, adding windpowered subsidy farms to an electricity grid system is expensive, pointless, reduces fuel efficiency, and has additional risks.

    Richard

  264. I will install three tomorrow and hand in my resignation at work. You can catch me in Alcapulco sipping cocktails by the sea.

  265. Read the article and you might notice that they assume “A 2.0 MW wind turbine would generate 6.12 GWh per year, assuming a 35% capacity factor”. Please correct your article accordingly.

  266. The only person you need to listen to are the people who have bought them installed them and are making money. Everyone else is a poser.

  267. @richard

    You can call it golden wheels or whatever you want. Meanwhile ill be laughing my ass off here in Europe as my electricity bill just got cheaper.

  268. BDK:

    At June 30, 2014 at 8:43 am you say

    @richard
    You can call it golden wheels or whatever you want. Meanwhile ill be laughing my ass off here in Europe as my electricity bill just got cheaper.

    Cheaper!? What part of Europe are you in?

    Here in the UK our electricity bills are soaring and we have thousands of excess deaths each winter as a result of fuel poverty. The windfarms are a significant contribution to this.

    Windpower is several times more expensive than thermal power and it is less reliable. That is why the power of the wind and the power of the muscles of animals and slaves were displaced when the great energy intensity in fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine.

    Richard

  269. thecrud:

    At June 30, 2014 at 8:42 am you say

    The only person you need to listen to are the people who have bought them installed them and are making money. Everyone else is a poser.

    OK. So you own some turbines and are reaping the subsidies that are obtained from people too poor to buy some turbines.

    Richard

  270. Great info! It’s a shame most people don’t understand the numbers although the truth how I see it is oil, gas, coal and nuclear companies, investors and EMPLOYEES, don’t want to see sustainable energies dominate the market because the people in or affiliated with the aforementioned industries feel their financial securities at risk instead of seeing the massive opportunities available when we live in a world with cheaper energy prices!

    If sustainable energies takeover forget the the environmental benefits it’s the new economy that gets me the most excited! A technological revolution would follow when energy prices fall. It’s a shame brainwashed people are still looking at things in a backwards fashion!

    Anyway if it’s meant to be it will happen!

  271. > steve (@RichinWriterss) says:
    >how I see it is oil, gas, coal and nuclear companies, investors and EMPLOYEES, don’t want to >see sustainable energies dominate the market

    None off the listed think that wind and/or solar energies will ever dominate the market. Storage system needed will cost much more than the wind and solar farms needed. Together with storage you’ll also need generators that can produce the same amount as the wind and solar farm can do.

    The math is simple when you can regulate the energy source you need 1 system. When the energy source is variable you need at least 3 systems. A singel system is a lot cheaper than a multisystem at equal capasity.

  272. Hmmm. The original statement seems to be correct, or near it. The original statement was:

    “Thus, for the 19 subsequent years, each turbine will, in effect, power over 500 households without consuming electricity generated using conventional energy sources.”

    According to the EIA, the average US household burns about 10 MWh per year (wow, here in Cannuckia it’s 2.5 times that!). A 2 MW wind generator with a CF of 0.25 will generate (24 x 356) x 0.25 x 2000 = 4,380,000 kWh a year. If a house burns 10,000, that’s 438 houses. Actually I’m not sure where that 0.25 number came from (it’s in the comments), as the average here in Ontario is .30, which gives us 5,256,000 kWh, which is indeed “over 500 households”.

    Every watt-hour that comes from a renewable really is a watt-hour that isn’t coming from a non-renewable. That’s pretty much the definition. So on that basis, the original statement is absolutely correct. Of course the argument here then shifts goalposts, to something the original authors did not say, or even imply. I see nothing in their work that suggests wind power *replaces* other forms, simply supplants it, and the conclusion quoted here doesn’t say what is being claimed. You do see that part about “in effect”, right? That’s what “in effect” means.

    So let’s examine the concern being raised here, using the example from the post that appears directly above this editing area:

    “Together with storage you’ll also need generators that can produce the same amount as the wind and solar farm can do”

    This is true, but it’s also true for practically all other forms of power. For instance, coal plants take hours to spool up or down, which is why they always relied on additional sources like hydro or natural gas to help out. Nuclear plants, at least the majority of them, have very little throttling capability, and relied on a battery of backup systems to provide averaging-out. Here in Ontario, for instance, we get just over 50% of our power from nuclear, which demanded we also build the largest coal plant in the western world (Nanticoke) to power through the daily peaks.

    In spite of the difference in technical terms being really nothing more than a matter of degree, in the larger debate nothing could be more blown out of proportion. Note, for instance, that no one mentions anything about storage or peaking issues for coal plants, which have reduced efficiency when changing load. But when discussing renewables, according to the detractors it is an insurmountable problem that will bankrupt the planet.

    As always, the truth lies between the extremes of the wedge. The grid always has lots of spare peaking capacity these days, thanks to the rapid uptake of NG turbines as a primary power source, so we have lots and lots of room for additional PV and wind. In the US the deployment curves are basically identical, between now and 12 months from now, new PV+wind ~= new NG. Either one of the sides of that equation is far, far larger than all other new generation sources put together.

    You can complain all you want, but you really are tilting at windmills. Wind, solar and NG are the fastest growing power sources on the planet, by far, and this growth shows no signs of changing any time soon. Complain all you want, but the power companies appear too busy actually fixing real problems to worry too much about made-up concerns.

  273. Maury Markowitz says:

    Wind, solar and NG are the fastest growing power sources on the planet, by far, and this growth shows no signs of changing any time soon.

    I agree. So long as immense taxpayer subsidies are shoveled into these extremely inefficient power sources, they will continue to grow. But the plain fact is that they would wither on the vine if the subsidies were cut off. That makes them completely different from conventional power sources such as coal or natgas.

    Really, the subsidies are unconscionable. They should be ended. Fossil fuels are by far the best power sources. The ‘reason’ for demonizing coal is because the enviro groups were convinced that CO2 — “carbon” — causes global warming. But since there is no evidence of that, and because global warming stopped 17+ years ago, it is time to stop the ‘alternative power’ nonsense.

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