Offshore Wind power: Even Germany Can't get it Right

Eric Worrall writes:

Bard_offshore1_aerialAccording to Breitbart, Germany’s flagship Bard 1 offshore wind farm has turned into a bottomless money pit, with stakeholders frantically lawyering up, scrambling to pin the blame and ongoing money hemorrhage onto other parties. BARD Offshore 1 is a 400 megawatt (MW) North Sea offshore wind farm encompassing 80 5-megawatt turbines. Construction was finished in July 2013 and the wind farm was officially inaugurated in August 2013. The wind farm is located 100 kilometres (62 mi) northwest of the isle Borkum in 40 metres (130 ft) deep water.

The magazine Windpower monthly reports that Bard Offshore 1, developed and built by Bard, is owned by project company Ocean Breeze, which in turn is owned by HypoVereinsbank. Getting it fully commissioned in August 2013 had taken more than three years, with many setbacks and cost overruns.

Breitbart reports that according to the German magazine Speigel “everything has turned to the question of who is responsible for the fiasco – and the costs.”

The project is estimated to have cost  €340 million in the last year alone, as investors struggle to salvage something of value, from a deeply flawed system which has never functioned as the designers intended. Full details at Breitbart.

My thought – if even the Germans, with their legendary high precision engineering skills, can’t make offshore wind work, surely it is time to pull the plug on this technically infeasible dead end?


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The distance offshore and the depth were attractive, as the further offshore and greater depth, the longer subsidies last.
“Base remuneration and initial remuneration.
The initial remuneration for offshore WTs is 15 ct/kWh and the base
remuneration thereafter is 3.5 ct/kWh. After start-up of an
offshore WT, the initial remuneration is prescribed for 12 years.
Thereafter the feed-in remuneration is reduced to a base remuneration.
Offshore WTs that are brought into operation up to
2017 are remunerated for 12 years with 15 ct/kWh and thereafter
with 3.5 ct/kWh. From 2018 onwards the remuneration
will decrease each year by 7% [53] …”
“Enhanced initial remuneration.
All offshore WTs that are
brought into operation up to the end of 2017 can apply for an
enhanced initial remuneration of 19 ct/kWh as an alternative to
the standard initial remuneration. In this case, the guaranteed
period for the initial remuneration is reduced to 8 years. In cases
where there is extension of the period of initial remuneration,
further initial remuneration of 15 ct/kWh is paid for several years
after elapse of the initial 8 year period, and this is followed by
payment of the base remuneration of 3.5 ct/kWh”
“Extension of the period of initial remuneration.
The initial remuneration period is extended for offshore WTs that
are constructed at least 12 nautical miles (ca. 22.2 km) out to
sea or in water depths of at least 20 m. For each whole nautcal
mile beyond the 12 nautical miles, the period is prolonged
by half a month and for each additional whole meter of water
depth the period is prolonged by 1.7 months. Figure 72 shows
the length of the period of initial remuneration as a function
of the distance from the shore and water depth [53]”


Interesting comment in the story, the windmills are losing $340 million a year in operating income but cost $1 to $2 million a day to service. Of course the high service costs could be related to the fact they do not work, but if it was just normal service the farm at best would break even and at worst lose twice its annual income.


Breitbart does not mention the nature of the maintenance problems. Could it be bearings as previously reported by WUWT? Could it be the simple fact that salt eats the —- out of everything as anybody who has ever dealt with ocean-going ships or had a boat on salt water surely knows. Could it be some other fundamental design problem? The world wants to know.

Mary Kay Barton

Could it be that that the whole industrial wind industry was designed specifically as a HUGE transfer of wealth scheme – intended just to siphon money out of taxpayers & ratepayers pockets, and into the pockets of ultra-rich corporate elites who don’t care about anything other than lining their own pockets at everybody else’s (and the environment’s) expense??? As I’ve been told by many an elected official and industrial wind advocate – “It’s ALL about the money!”
Industrial Wind – The Great American SWINDLE:


It could be and it is–a subsidy milking device. The fundamentals of wind power–high capital cost, low operating levels, erratic input that must be balanced by swing production–can’t possibly work, no matter what the engineering.




It is all about the money. As long as money can be made off from wind turbines it doesn’t matter if they work or not. These are investment opportunities plain and simple and mostly using someone else’s money either equity and/ or debt financing.
The “green” crowd makes plenty of money off from this in one way or another.


DHR September 13, 2014 at 5:14 am
Breitbart does not mention the nature of the maintenance problems. Could it be bearings as previously reported by WUWT?
Actually, it does mention the problem. It appears to be transmission, but does not elaborate.
The wind farm comprises 80 5MW turbines situated 100 km off the north German coastline. The difficulty facing engineers is how to get the electricity generated back to shore. So far, every attempt to turn on the turbines has resulted in overloaded and “gently smouldering” offshore converter stations.

400MW Offshore converter stations are a major problem in the power chain.. Its interesting because we have an ABB Variable Frequency Drive…
“ABB’s technology for the offshore wind power industry is essential in the transmission of high quality power with minimal loss. ABB is the world leader in the supply of electrical components, systems and services for the wind power industry, and is uniquely positioned with a complete portfolio of products and services that embraces everything from power semiconductors and high-voltage sea and land cables to complete AC and DC converter stations.”


As an aside, these are the bearings they use in the larger wind turbines. Less like a bearing, and more like a Swiss bank safe……


Those are tapered roller bearings. Each bearing carries the load at a single point and at any one time, only 2 or 3 bearings are loaded as the machine turns. They have minimal turning resistance and can be lubricated by a simple gravity feed system. But such bearings are a prescription for trouble considering the large and erratic load of the machine. Cylindrical (not tapered) bearings would carry the load better (loaded over a line instead of at a point) but would likely require a more robust lubrication system. The most reliable bearing would be a sleeve, aka journal, bearing but they would have more turning resistance and would need a high pressure lubrication system. Choices, choices, choices.

William Astley

The off shore maintenance costs will only increase. Off shore wind farms are not economical due to construction and servicing issues caused by off shore locations. The cost to replace a set of wind turbine bearing on a off shore wind turbine is comparable to the cost of the wind turbine due to access issues. (a massive specialized boat complete with crane is required, the job cost is high as the work stops when sea conditions are not idea.)
Fixing Wind-Turbine Gearbox Problems
Gearboxes in wind turbines, more than those in any other application, tend to fail prematurely. In fact, at some wind projects, up to half of all gearboxes fail within a few years. There are several reasons for this, including the relative newness of the industry, the rapid evolution of turbines to extra-large sizes, poor understanding of turbine loads, and an emerging (and largely unexplained) failure mode in turbine bearings called axial cracking.
Wind turbine load is chaotic as the wind speed is chaotic. Wind turbine bearing service is extreme and due to the rapidly changing load caused by wind speed variance (power output is proportional to the cube of wind speed) and due to attempt to increase efficiency and lower per wind turbine costs which has lead to the construction of larger and larger untested wind turbines designs.
P.S. The wind farms are quoted at 100% power. The actual available power is for Germany 17% of rated power. An additional issue is the wind does not necessarily blow to match peak daily power demand. There must therefore be complete backup rapid start back power generation.
Capacity factor
For example, the German nation-wide average wind power capacity factor over all of 2012 was just under 17.5% (45867 GW•h/yr / (29.9 GW × 24 × 366) = 0.1746),[63] and the capacity factor for Scottish wind farms averaged 24% between 2008 and 2010.[14] (William: Scotland is one of the best locations in the world for on shore wind farms. )


>>Those are tapered roller bearings. Each bearing carries the
>>load at a single point and at any one time.
No so. The bearing cage is tapered too, and so (if accurately made) the bearing load is carried across the entire width of the bearing.
The reason for using a taper bearing, is that it will take lateral loads as well as radial loads. A taper bearing is a half-way-house between a ball bearing and a roller bearing.

Those are some downright expensive looking tapered roller bearings! Quality bearings that I can hold in my hand can cost several hundred dollars; let alone ones I could stand in.

I’m pretty sure I can’t get one of those from Bunnings Hardware. Don’t tell me how much they cost. My heart couldn’t take it.

Just an engineer

Spherical roller bearings, self aligning and handle heavy axial and radial thrust.


As far as I know it’s in the first place not a mechanical problem, but how to transport the generated energy ashore!
To avoid the problems and losses of AC high voltage cables the current should have been rectified and led to the coast by a DC high voltage line! But the rectifier equipment still doesn’t work properly, instead it turned out that it was “gently smouldering”! No wonder, with the incoming fidgeting AC-current, which is difficult to control, because of its susceptibily to inaccurate phase and frequency!


I suspect a big grid tie inverter and all that entails, shunt circuits for under and over voltage conditions, capacitor filter banks. I bet the capacitors are as big as the drums on concrete trucks, for sure not easy to cool under load. I don’t even know how to build an oscillator Adler to handle megawatt loads. No wonder they shoulder. I bet the stage preceding the shouldering stage is more like a fireworks show.


@Barchester . . . absolutely correct, yet there are engineers inside the electrical energy system who are complicit in this political deception. I honestly thought we engineers were above this.


Corruption knows no bounds. Be it politicians, industry leaders, or engineers. Man can be corrupted. We all have our price, some are higher than others.


Willis E, and I – with approaching a century in shipping between us – both know that salty air, salty water, salty tools etc. do indeed ‘eat(s) the —- out of everything’ near the sea – exactly as you say.
Now, Mary K Barton and Barbara [also commenting above] appear to have hit the nail on the head: ‘follow the money’. Who profits? [my Latin was self taught, and decades ago – but wasn’t that ‘QUI BONO?’]


Hmm… 130 feet of water? So how much foundation for each turbine?

Oh, I’d imagine plenty for fish holding structure. A shame that the rig bottoms make trawling tough so us simple fishermen and ladies must check the fish populations with rod and reel.

Harry Passfield

I loved this quote from the Breitbart piece:

So far, every attempt to turn on the turbines has resulted in overloaded and “gently smouldering” offshore converter stations.

Oh dear – ‘gently smouldering…’ Such a shame. (tee hee)


I’m no fan of grid wind or solar (although I live off-grid and get 100% of my electrical needs from solar) but enjoying the shear waste is disturbing. The failures of these schemes could I suppose hasten the return of nukes which are and may always be the only solution to out needs.

Harry Passfield

Expat: ‘waste’ of what? As far as I can see there was nothing produced. Unless you are bemoaning the sheer waste of the billions spent building the darn (non-productive) wind-farms in the first place? In that case, I weep for the stupidity of it all and the folly of man that it could come to this.

John from the EU

The waste of resources to build this failure. And again to remove it all.

Harry is correct. Nothing is wasted.
Unknown to most, large scale loans are provided simply by the bank typing the numbers into an account (ie… Out of thin air, so to speak).
The amount they can lend in this manner is set by central banks.
It should also be noted that banks take (out of the money created from thin air) huge fees which constitute their profit source, and on each of the loans created they pay ridiculously generous bonuses to individual bankers.
It is primarily for this reason large scale projects are favoured by the banks. There is no more work in a billion dollar loan compared with a million dollar lian.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley

Christina Hendricks gently smouders.

See, she even affects my typing. Wish we had an edit facility on here!

Why? It still reads the same without the ‘L’; though I do question ‘gently’.


that’s a whole lot better than the old solid state high power controls. Those things explode sometimes – blowing the doors off the cabinets – or at least that is one of the things that could happen when controlling a megawatt with something the size of a hockey puck.

I recommend gentle smouldering for all my barbecues.

Walter Cronanty

Actual science and the efficacy of a supposed fix for a trumped-up crisis mean little to the green hysterics. Loss of other people’s money means even less.


Especially if the money w a s taxpayers’ . . . .


Someday those wind turbines will make great artificial reefs for fishing, and that someday will probably come much sooner than expected. Note that they could have saved a lot of money on artificial reefs if they had just taken the wind turbines out and sunk them right away.


I would prefer reading technical details about problems they have than about political squabble around it.It doesn’t look like the whole project is substantially wrong, just like there are some important details that were badly dimensioned. It’s not like germans are always perfect, they just make such impression. And even if these technical problems sink the whole project the experience can be used in future projects.
That does not make windfarms any cheaper, I’m just saying they’re not as completely bad as the article is trying to suggest.

Norman Milliard

“And even if these technical problems sink the whole project the experience can be used in future projects.” Sounds like a comment from someone use to spending someone else’s money. I imagine we could have learned the same lesson from building one windmill in 130 feet of seawater.


I do believe that we plan to build a wind farm off of Hampton Roads, VA. ‘Dominion Virginia Power has been awarded a $47 million federal grant to build two test wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach, a pilot project that could set the stage for a large wind power farm.
The company plans to install the two turbines – each more than 500 feet tall – 24 miles offshore and generate electricity starting in the summer of 2017.
The two 6-megawatt turbines are designed to produce enough electricity to power up to 3,000 homes, said John Larson, Dominion’s director of alternative energy solutions. Underground cables would come ashore and tie into existing power infrastructure.
The main goal of the project is to learn lessons to apply to a possible larger wind farm, he said.
“Really, the key thing is getting the most energy out of each turbine and reducing the installation costs,” he said.’


Sometimes the lesson learned is to never, ever do this again.


Have you ever heard of pilot schemes?

80 turbines 100kms offshore, some pilot project.

P@ Dolan

While I agree that nothing is a TOTAL waste (after all, it makes a good “bad example” for others to avoid), yes, wind farms are every bit as bad as the article makes out, and worse. Do you realize that while they’re not generating power, the turbines are using it? People drive by and see the blades spinning, even in light airs, and think that they’re generating power, but the truth is, power is required to keep them spinning at all times, because if you let them stop altogether, the weight damages bearings by creating flat spots, and you need much higher wind pressure to get them to spin then you do to keep them spinning, overcoming inertia. So at times when the wind isn’t strong enough to propel them fast enough to generate, they consume power.
It’s always feast or famine with a wind farm, and the other, thus-far insurmountable problem, is storage of power generated in excess of an immediate load requirement, and peak surge supply—which means that wind farms must always be tied to some other form of power generation both to keep them spinning, and to provide for the load during those peak hours when the wind is inconveniently absent.
The environmental toll on birds is shocking as well.
Given the current total lack of suitable power storage, the building of any wind-powered electrical generation sites on a commercial scale is a horrible waste of money better spent on other projects. This is a classic case of government/politics distorting the marketplace such that wealth is mis-allocated. And on an incredibly large scale. Projects of this sort, and the incredible waste they represent, is only the tip of the iceberg: by building all these “renewable” power generation stations without having engineered solutions to all the questions which MUST be answered before they can scaled to commercial use, governments have deliberately and/or inadvertently driven the costs of energy up to the point that it has real-world consequences. If the middle-class is feeling the strain of all that cost, what does it do to the worlds’ poor, who could little afford the expense, even a small one?
Increased poverty and the misery it brings, famine, sickness, and death are the real consequences, but little spoken of in government circles, of pursuing madness like these large-scale wind farms, trying to run before they can even crawl.
If history is any example, “renewable” power generation pursued for political reasons and subsidized by tax dollars will never work, and will continue to fail until a profit can be made from it without any government assistance at all.
Wind simply isn’t there yet. None of the “renewables” is, yet. As of this moment, if they require government subsidies, they’re all just so much phogiston and perpetual motion machinery, no matter how hopeful they appear.

P@ Dolan

Apologies: “phlogiston”.


I know of 2 small wind farms in southern Alberta that I drive by fairly often and we now have 3 of the stupid turbines out side our city (Medicine Hat). When the wind isn’t blowing, they aren’t turning.

So we are required to put fish screens on water intakes and hydro-electric projects to provide protection for even the smallest of fishes. How about we require screening on wind turbines to protect avian life?
Just kidding, but some body ought to raise the issue with EPA. If a snail darter can stop a dam project, surely the slaughtering of thousands of raptors ought to be cause for some concern? No? Killing in the name of Big Green is ok? Hmmm.


No wind farm with present techknowledgy, is economic over time. They are an eyesore and a bird killer. It’s hard to say it’s not all bad. I would be interested in that discussion.

They are worse than the article suggests, these devices have been around for well over 100 years and today only survive as a subsidised ” new” technology. The only way anyone would put these untested devices so far away from land is government money. A real business would of worked out details in a controlled enviornment, not 100 kms of shore where inspection, repairs and replacement is entirely at the mercy of the weather. Ships can not operate well in high winds and one would hope a windy area is where you would find wind ” farms”. The writer of this article is ass covering because they probably thought it was a reasonable idea at some point.


CMC Writes: –
“Ships can not operate well in high winds and one would hope a windy area is where you would find wind “farms”. ”
+10 to the power 10 to the power 10 [ad infinitum]
A cheap way of servicing things at sea is to use a small boat [‘small’ -<20 metres, 100 metres [>300 feet, yeah, I’m approximating, I’m a seaman] – priced at over USD $20,000 per day (whether the weather allows them to work or not . . . .) whilst they are on charter.
The really big jobs, which can work reasonably in Beaufort 7 (near gale) or Beaufort 8 (Gale) will set you pack nearer $100,000 US for every 24 hours – and even with these, approaching too close to a bird chopper is dangerous, as if their control falters, or the wind gusts badly, we are suddenly minus a bird chopper, but plus a fish reef.
It was nudged by 50,000 tonnes moving at >1 m/s.
Nuff said.


As a retired mechanical engineer who spent a goodly chunk of what is laughingly called a ‘career’ trying to maintain production machinery inside a nice warm building, firmly on land, and frequently failing, I wouldn’t touch the maintenance problems associated with offshore wind farms with the proverbial disinfected bargepole…


Right. I’ve said it before, pinwheels on land are stupid enough (and those w/easy access). Putting them offshore is stupid squared.


actually, it depends upon how close to the coast, not just offshore or onshore. we’ve got a few bird blenders down in this region. galvanizing and stainless steel last longer than iron but you’d be amazed at how poorly these perform over just a few years even further from the coast than the local wind farms. It’s amazing they have been able to break even with the subsidies. Without the subsidies, I don’t think they can produce enough income to actually cover maintenance costs.

High time to end this suicide enterprise!


High time to end the subsidies, at least. If it’s going to work, it’s time it stood on its own.



Agreed totally!

Uncle Gus

I find nothing to gloat about in the discovery that a (supposedly) cheap, clean and easy power source turns out to be unfeasible.
Getting a little tribal here, maybe?

Ed Barbar

I agree with the point. However, the impetus for the project (purportedly on account of closing nuclear power plants) does deserve contempt. There is a cheap power source in nuclear, but for some reason that’s not good enough. And it’s not on account of safety.


The Germans decided to close their nuclear power stations after seeing the results of the tsunami in Japan. You can’t be too careful even when your country is nowhere near an earthquake zone.


September 13, 2014 at 6:49 am
“The Germans decided to close their nuclear power stations after seeing the results of the tsunami in Japan. You can’t be too careful even when your country is nowhere near an earthquake zone.”
Well of course sabotage of a German nuclear power plant wouldn’t use a Tsunami.

Uncle Gus
You say

I find nothing to gloat about in the discovery that a (supposedly) cheap, clean and easy power source turns out to be unfeasible.
Getting a little tribal here, maybe?

Windpower is Bronze Age technology that had thousands of years of development until it was abandoned when the invention of the steam engine enabled the great energy density in fossil fuels to conduct work.
The resulting cheaper and more efficient energy supply enabled the end of slavery and growth of human wealth, health and well-being previously unimagined.
In recent decades some charlatans have conned gullible fools into thinking that a return to the latest version of the Bronze Age technology could provide “a (supposedly) cheap, clean and easy power source”. Some of the gullible fools are losing money in Germany where the concept of schadenfreude was defined.
People whose money was extracted from them by the charlatans and gullible fools are enjoying schadenfreude at the loss of money now also being experienced by the gullible fools. There is no “tribalism” involved.

Sam Hall

A hundred years ago, you would have found windmills all over Texas, and the smaller states :-), pumping water, a task to which they are well suited. Almost all of them have been replaced by electric pumps because of the high maintenance expense.
Now we have them producing electric power because of the subsidy.


Sam hall,
there are still windmills being put out in texas. we considered one. however the cost of the windmill equipment – especially for deeper wells like our’s can be more than the cost of our complete electric well – including the drilling and the equipment. And, it is easier to have a nice pressurized system like city water than it is to have a gravity pressure tank system – which can also be damaged by windstorms much easier. The tradeoff decision really seems to be whether there is electric power available at the site or how much it might cost to bring it in versus the added cost of the windmill and tank.


It was never “supposedly” cheap, as can be observed from the fact that it requires subsidies amounting to several times the price of on-shore coal and gas generated power.
As for “clean”, ask the Chinese neighbouring the neodymium mining and extraction facilities.
Plus, anyone who thinks any major industrial project tens of kilometres offshore in the North Sea is ever going to be anything but extremely difficult doesn’t get out much.


I agree!
North Sea has some of the worst storms in the world, on account of a shallow continental shelf and nasty tidal currents. At least one major oil rig was destroyed in a storm in that area.


catweazle666, DavidQ –
+ lots and Lots.
I’ve hit a wave in the North Sea that I reckon was 75 feet [23 metres] trough to crest.
Note – I’m a seaman, and I do ‘do’ “arm waving estimates”. As accurate as I can – but estimates, only estimates (aka ‘guided guesses’).
Please note well.
As this single wave combined three wave trains, from three separate storms, it was a short and very steep sea.
I was on an Emergency Support Vessel (current call sign V7IS9), with twin pontoons, and the bottom of the thwartships block about 15 metres/fifty feet out of the water.
On the bridge – five decks above – we took a green water wave over the wheelhouse, as our ship [15000 gross tons, deadweight perhaps a bit more] slid down a ‘hole in the water’ and was still going down when we hit a near vertical wall of water.
The bottom plating [remember, some fifty feet or fifteen metres above a (calm) sea level] was set up by a foot and a half/half a metre.
We had several naval architects on board on the first helicopter after the storm abated.
‘How did you do this to our ship? It can ride the hundred year wave!’
Explaining “adding waves” took several Master Mariners several lessons in controlling distaste.
“Anyone who thinks any major industrial project tens of kilometres offshore in the North Sea is ever going to be anything but extremely difficult doesn’t get out much.”
Absolutely true, but the actual situation at sea – certainly in bad weather – is simply too bad for most ‘land-lubbers’ (I hate that term, but it is a good shorthand) to imagine; and I have avoided all but the edges of a Hurricane/typhoon (we sheltered behind an island, on a nearly-new 25,000 tonne tanker).
And bankers or watermelons or politicians or visionaries or subsidy thieves [I’m never sure I can tell the difference] seem to think that wind power – out there – will solve our problems . . . . . . . .
I will avoid ad hominem commentary/abuse.
And tomorrow is Monday. Back on the commuter train and deal with problems on ships . . . . . . . . .

Is this the ship, Auto?

steve oregon

It didn’t just “turn out” to be “unfeasible”.
It was advocated, connived, lobbied, funded, hatched, launched and built in a cult like environment with unscrupulous people covering up every red flag and fatal flaw.


Or in other words, it was a criminal activity, which is sanctioned by politicians- and used to enrich themselves and their pals.

It is not tribal to be upset when organization take your money forcefully and spends it foolishly, while calling you ignorant for not believing their hype. The tribal approach involves pitchforks, clubs and lynch mob justice for the perpetrators of the scam. They tribes may be right on this one.


A lot to gloat actually, because engineers have been saying this for years, and now they are proven right. Gloat time!!

Ok, Uncle Gus, what is cheap, clean and easy about these things if you dig into their manufacture, waste, grid integration, maintenance and damage to raptors; never mind those that are near people. Spend some time reading about them. Not tribal at all. I looked at wind and solar for my farm. No payback. Nada. Even at doubled grid power prices, I am so much better off with grid in my location. Heck, they’d be all frozen up and snowed under for the last week anyway. Maybe in the southern US (Altamont) wind may be a good power source (but I suspect the raptors and bats aren’t impressed); and no doubt bird frying solar in the Mojave will work. Maybe.
Well off the break the ice off the water troughs.


Not at all. Many of us, engineers in the main, have pointed out for years that this is a mad waste of money and effort. The design parameters for offshore wind are unable to be met. Corrosion, wind, wave are all serious issues, add to that support access issues and you have a real problem child.
Ships are hard work to keep functioning and they pull into harbour from time to time and have a full time engineering crew onboard 24/7. These towers will rot and fail and can only be visited when the weather permits. Getting highly variable output to come into phase and be managed by sophisticated electronics at sea, interconnected with other large but variable machines is just not going to be reliable.
Bad ideas are just that. Ignoring sound engineering advice to make political statements is just a waste of other peoples money. Offshore wind is a mirage, as is wave power and tidal power. Materials science cannot overcome the challenges and engineering design will be overwhelmed by nature as we just don’t have sufficient data to base designs on. This is not about money it’s about reality.


It’s more than tribal. Two years ago I did a cross country trip. I was appalled at the eyesores out there. Beautiful landscapes ruined by those monstrosities that went on as far as the eye could see. Most of them could have been replaced by a nuclear plant that wouldn’t even have been visible from the road. Of a Natural gas plant. Or even a cola plant.
I can’t wait until they start coming down. Unfortunately, like many abandoned wind farms, they’ll probably just rust in place, awaiting time so slowly erode them. Unlike San Onofre, which we’ll pay $4.4B to decommission. Seems there is not such retirement planned for wind mills.

As soon as you read, “According to Breitbart” you have to stop and consider the source. It’s like claiming you are “fair and balanced”


The report is from Spiegel, German magazine. It is backed up by other documentation.
See for english, & for the original German.
For a discussion of HVDC power transmission vs HVAC, see

steve oregon

That’s the same ridiculous excuse used by every alarmist for ignoring the entirety of WUWT.

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

Well buckley, we can see that one thing you are NOT, is ‘fair and balanced.’ Especially, balanced.


You only do this for Breitbart? Good luck with that. Anytime you use the internet and read any site, you have to stop and consider the source. It’s like claiming you publish “All the News That’s Fit to Print” or that you “Lean Forward”.


A proper skeptic always considers the source. You, on the other hand, appear to consider the source only if you don’t like their politics. You should educate yourself about confirmation bias and embrace for the betterment of your education sources with whom you reflexively disagree. You will become better informed and infinitely more interesting.

Fair and balanced like UN publications?

Bill Vancouver

You prefer the right bashing msm more? How do you propose to balance the federal budget? How are things going in MI (Like Detroit) and murders in Chicago (Under years of corrupt liberal stiff gun control laws)? After years of D control many U.S. cities are bankrupt or nearly so.
Good luck in your tax, spend, and economy-killing liberal administrations.


So in other words, you can’t refute what was said. Got it.

“If you’ve got the impression that it’s all just one huge disorganised cluster f**k, that is haemorrhaging money left, right and centre, to no sane purpose, you’re right. You can smile and thank your lucky stars that but for the vagaries of some self-serving politics, there go us, but don’t get too comfortable. If your own government continues to pursue similar policies, you’ll end up exactly where the Germans are today, but just a few more years down the line.”
Germany is now finding out all about the downside of first mover advantage.


I think Spain found out first, but Germany thought they would do better than them.

Robin Hewitt

Look on it as a new and unique resource, an offshore, open cast neodymium mine.
The purity of the ore must make it a real winner.


Shouldn’t a proof-of-concept pilot windmill have been done first?


They’re wind turbines, not windmills. BTW
Now do you see anything that suggests that the “windmills” are not working? No.
Perhaps the 175 working “windmills” of the London array could be regarded as proof of concept.

Stephen Richards

September 13, 2014 at 6:29 am
That depends on whether you call the grinding of bearings, milling. As for the London array. Which concept do you think it proves.
That dynamos can produce electricity
That they make a pretty picture from the beach
That they produce useable electricity
That they represent a cheap CO² free source of electricity
That they have a whole cycle cost less than coal, gas, nuclear
That they are easier and cheaper to maintain than conventional power stations
I could go on but you clearly have no concept of concept projects so I would be wasting my time.

Mary Kay Barton

The main thing being produced by UK offshore Wind Farms – RUST….and CO2:
Wind turbines ‘only lasting for half as long as previously thought’ as study shows they show signs of wearing out after just 12 years:
Steel Winds in Lackawanna, NY, went down and was disassembled for repairs/replacement twice in first year of operation, and a number of them have been replaced again since, and more as we speak. See:
Steelwinds turbines undergo repair — again:


A quick check of UK National Grid Status is illustrative as to the meaning of ‘working’. Wind output for the entirety of the UK grid has been mostly under 1 gig since sept 1 with output having momentarily hit ~5 gig. Latest output of electricity for the entirety of the UK was .67 gig, barely that of the ‘London Array’ per
The mouseover explanation of wind component of the National Grid Status is interesting:
“Wind like nuclear, will sell into any market price because turbines are expensive, wind is not, and SUBSIDIES are always paid”
(my capitalization)
“Working” for wind evidently means blades turning at least some of the time, subsidies coming in regardless of power produced.

Especially if even one of them didn’t run on subsidies.


Your pedantry is showing. Windmill is an acceptable term as explained at Wikitedia and other sources:
You are tilting at windmills.

Eamon Butler

Here here, Greg. Yes, a ”Windmill” is something useful, unlike the turbines. I hate to see the two being confused.

A proof-of-concept windmill was done and sold long ago by CFO Sancho PONZI and his COO Don Quixote. Unfortunately the lessons of the past are disregarded and disparaged.
George Santayana wrote on point in 1905 in The Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense; “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual.”


It would be interesting to know what is wrong with the German project. Even the British managed to get their larger 650 MW system online, what happened to German reputation for engineering. Maybe like their power tools, they are all sub-contracted out and made in China !
Maybe Cameron is right for once. Britain ( or maybe soon Scotland ) is a better investment prospect if they have got is sussed and the Germans can’t work out what they’ve done wrong.
This probably something stupid like the Hubble space telescope getting ground to the wrong spec.

The project is estimated to have cost €340 million in the last year alone…

Typically dishonest and misleading selective quotation. It has not cost €340 million , it had failed to create that much in anticipated revenue.
If BP’s share dividend goes down you don’t say it has “cost you money” , because it paid you less than you had projected.
It has probably cost several million euro not hundreds of millions.
As ever, those who oppose wind power anyway are going snicker snicker.
A large part of the Breitbart article was about the working British London Array and projects but Eric Worrel does not even mention its existence.


I’m not sure, but 1 to 2 million a day for maintenance may well be called costs.
Transmission is a huge problem with this array. 100KM distance to shore I believe, and for difficulties with HVDC transmission, see above post.
HVAC is not suitable for transmission beyond about 40 KM IIRC.

There are undersea cables over 100 KM in operation today.


climbing the link chain: Notrickszone reports; “The extended shut down will mean a further financial blow to the project, with cost overruns reported to be already well in the double digit millions of euros.”


Maintenance goes on whether project is ‘shut down’ or not, otherwise the turbines quickly become garbage.
Core personnel keep receiving paychecks.
Extended shutdowns DO constitute a ‘further financial blow’
Cost overruns have already been experienced, with apparently more to come.
Please show how anything in your post above disputes the 340 Million euro previous year cost you seem to take issue with.

P@ Dolan

IMHO, I think you miss the point: investors are persuaded based on projected returns. And corporations base allocations on expected returns. If they lost a projected amount, it’s because they expected that, and had plans that had to stop because they didn’t earn it. This might mean they lost little, or it may mean they lost more than the amount quoted. Difficult to say. I’d guess more, in aggregate, because they weren’t the only ones losing: the people who expected that power had to get it elsewhere. Higher demand and less supply means the costs went up. People who paid for the installation of that wind farm got nothing on their investment, and taxpayers lost as well, both in the tax costs, and in the cost of higher power bills because of the rush to “renewables” and it’s failure.
Add in the maintenance costs which exist whether the farm is generating or not, and the cost to keep those turbines spinning when the wind cannot, and the remoteness of the region which means the costs of maintenance are far greater than a land-based facility…
The cost quoted may well be conservative.

Greg writes: “As ever, those who oppose wind power anyway are going snicker snicker.”
There is no human on this planet who opposes wind power. There are many who oppose expensive solutions to simple problems, and further oppose them when they are manifestly uneconomic, ugly, deadly to wildlife, and fail to resolve whatever problems they were meant to solve. If you can find a way to utilize wind power, or indeed any type of power generation, that is cheaper than coal or nuclear, that does not destroy wildlife on a massive scale, and does not destroy the natural beauty of the planet, there would be no opposition to it.
You presuppose that carbon dioxide is a danger that is more important than any other consideration. That is, I am afraid, a minority view, getting less popular by the day.

Share dividend?
The dividend paid to investors after all the company’s profits and losses are accounted for?
If the dividend went down, it is typical after the company posting the dividend had to use the cash to offset losses. Less profit equals less dividend.
Your odd accounting makes no sense.

Poorly engineered writes, however, that it is unlikely that the problem has to do with the HVDC technology, as it is successfully being used all over the world. The engineering magazine believes the problems likely stem from the technology that is placed just before the HVDC platform, which “was designed by Bard itself, and not by an experienced company like ABB, Siemens or General Electric.” (One can almost sense the schadenfreude).
So with all that expertise in world class electronics based in Germany why aren’t they using it?
This problem has nothing to do with “windmills” and probably not the transmission system.
Maybe “market forces” or corruption.


Or maybe a complete waste of time and money, based on a totally imaginary non-catastrophe.

The best engineering in they world will not turn a bad idea into good one.


Exactly. The current green zeitgeist is that any desired solution can be arrived at given sufficient money and pressure. Sorry but that is never going to work. Bad ideas are just that, bad ideas.


CMC writes
“The best engineering in they world will not turn a bad idea into good one.”
Agreed – + lots . . . . .
And –
Especially in the presence of sea air – with salt.
NaCl – with free oxygen – makes rust of an awful lot of what mankind has launched onto the seas.
Bird choppers do not do a separate branch of physics.
And these are ‘off-shore’ arrays.
. . . . . . and guess what about the proximity of salt?

Harry Passfield

Greg: You are a relentless supporter of wind ‘turbines’, aren’t you? But tell me, assume that all the engineering and design for this array was met to your satisfaction and, assuming that nothing broke down – though routine maintenance would have to continue, I think you’d agree, and assuming that all the electricity that could be generated was generated, do you still think a turbine array is value for money – compared to say, a land-based gas-fired generator of the same nameplate capacity – or even of the PF capacity (30% on a good day)?

Nancy C

Greg, I agree that there have to be unique implementation problems related to this specific installation. That doesn’t mean the problem has nothing to do with windmills as you assert. Large scale power generation at sea is a new thing and difficulties in implementation will naturally occur here and there. But why is this power plant being built at sea? It’s because it’s a power plant based on windmills. So that’s something to do with windmills. When generation goes down, what still has to be maintained and possibly kept spinning at cost? Windmills. Lastly, this being a windmill power plant, it has many many generators strewn over miles and miles of ocean, each of which has a much higher cost to output ratio than a typical steam power plant’s generators. That means opportunities for producing profit in periods when things do work are significantly reduced. I imagine that if this were a coal or gas burning plant at sea that experienced the same amount and type of whatever engineering problems this one is doing, it’s losses would be a great deal lower. If that’s true, then the problem is at least in part related to the generating method which is windmills.

It is all for the good. We need more clear evidence of failures like this one for the German people to get their fascination with green energy out of their system. On the bright side, this is much less damaging than starting a war, the appetite for which previous generations of Germans needed to get out of their system (I’m German myself and allowed to say that).


I’m not German and I am allowed to say the same.

Steve P

It is not so much any so-called appetite for war that gets nations in trouble, as it is their susceptibility to propaganda.



Michael Palmer
September 13, 2014 at 6:47 am
“On the bright side, this is much less damaging than starting a war, the appetite for which previous generations of Germans needed to get out of their system (I’m German myself and allowed to say that).”
I’m German and I’m happy to call you an asshole for saying that multiple generations of Germans (i.e. the common German people) wanted to start wars; EVEN without going into the details of who started what.


I’m a Brit, and I agree with you.
The – how the +*”^$*!:* do I phrase this? – hoi polloi/ordinary people/mass of the populace/non war-profiteers fairly obviously do not want ‘a war’ – as they (That’s “we”, for >98% of the readers of this blog) will be the poor sods fighting it, and so the souls exposed to the death and injury required from combatants.
See, for example, the Invictus Games just ending in London.
Did the average Potsdamer or Hamburger want a war in 1937 or 1938 or 1939? Of course not.
Blindingly obvious, really.
Yet they – and the souls from Peterborough, and Hampshire (and half the world) – got one in 1939.
However started . . . . . . . .

Well, in hindsight I have to say that my comment about starting a war, even if it wasn’t intended that way, was quite a troll post, as it made a statement about a controversial issue that managed to be sweeping and vague at the same time. It deservedly attracted a number of low-quality replies.
That said, Dirk H, you need to work on your manners. You don’t have the excuse of stupidity and are perfectly able to express your disagreement, anger, contempt etc. without resorting to name-calling.

Bill Illis

The total investment is said to be $3.8 billion (2.9 billion Euro).
I mean really – $3.8 billion can buy a lot of groceries. Normally, the big money people do not invest this much money in anything without going through every possible risk and putting in place a strategy to avoid it.


Did anyone think to build a trial or research wind farm maybe 1 or 8 turbines 100 km offshore so that they could find out if the idea was even workable in the real (N0 models) world? Or did they jump onto the gravy train of “guaranteed” profits at the expense of the users of the electricity as well as the taxpayers?
By the way, how much does it cost to keep each of the turbines turning when they are consuming rather than producing? Does the energy that turns the blades when not producing electricity come from power drained from the grid (which means from coal) or is gas or oil delivered to each turbine via ships?

Steve (Paris)
Pamela Gray

Anytime a subsidized industry fails to make projected earnings means a loss. And sometimes a direct cost. But only if the subsidized contract includes remuneration of failed projected income. If the subsidized contract penned by Germany has this clause, the failed projected income becomes a real part of overall cost.
Whoever is underwriting subsidies, which downstream is usually subsidized on the wallets of tax payers, is always immune from those costs being taken out of their own personal income. Which is a shame. If politicians pass a subsidized program, I think their own salaries ought to be included when the remuneration clause is activated. If projected income fails to materialize, those who supported the boondoggle ought to cough up their own income, all of it if necessary. I would imagine far fewer proposed subsidized programs would see the light of day in parliamentary procedures.

Maybe instead of Hindenburg technology, they have to think more in terms of Goodyear Blimp technology.
These things cost more than they create – in terms of energy and dollars (or euros).
Smaller versions could pump oil or water out of the ground for various purposes.


During the time of the Hindenburg there were no synthetic rubbers. The cells in the Zeppelins were hand-sewn from calf intestines. Comparing a Zeppelin to a Blimp is like comparing the first Motorola cell phone to an iPhone 6.

Maybe it’s a bad analogy, but it’s a disaster in the making…
(I particularly liked H.R.’s comment that if they wanted to make artificial reefs, they could have just towed them out and sunk them right away.)
H.R. September 13, 2014 at 5:54 am


Developers of Germany’s first commercial offshore wind farm, located in the North Sea off of Bockum, reportedly ran into unexploded ordnance from the Second World War. The explosives on the ocean floor were impeding completion of the connections between the turbines and their intended electricity customers on land.

Coach Springer

Assuming that wind and/or solar can overcome inherent disadvantages with techonolgy some day in the future, relying on wind significantly now is much like making people rely on air travel from the time that Da Vinci first mused about air travel.


No wonder Siemens is showing a loss for this quarter.


BARD 1 does not use Siemens converters to my knowledge.

richard verney

What may be easy and straight forward maintenance on land, becomes very difficult at sea as supply ships/ships with cranes heave up and down and roll from side to side in the swell and waves/wind conditions.
The problem is that maintenance at sea is very expensive. You cannot easily pre-plan maintenance since you do not know when there will be good weather windows that will permit maintenance work to be carried out, and in adverse weather conditions maintenance cannot be safely conducted.
Accordingly, there are huge standby costs, commissioning and decommisioning of supply vessels etc. anyone involved in the off-shore industry will be familiar with this.
The planners have grossly underestimated the harsh environment that these wind turbines are operating in and the toll that this takes on machinery (even the blades will be rough profiled within a short period as they get abrassed by salt air), and the diffiuclties of performing maintenance and hence they have grossly under-estimated the running costs and downtime.
Off shore wind was always mad. It was only proposed because of the eyesore that windfarms have on areas of natural beauty, the politicians though out of sight out of mind. But engineering wise, the decision is a disaster.

The better the location for wind “farms” , meaning a windy location, the more difficult the access for repairs, inspection etc. now if they built them in areas where there is not much wind repairs would be easier.

Thanks, Eric. I think it is not actually a “bottomless money pit”, it is only 40 meters deep.
But that’s enough. That money is lost, it will be turned into petroleum, together with birds killed, in a few millions years.

steve oregon

Contrast this “project” with the Three Gorges Dam. The outcome could not be more opposite.


The problem is electrical/electronical, and it is said that it is due to the unexperience of Bard on these issues. But it could be more fundamental; it seems that they have unexpected harmonics which trouble the AC/DC and DC/AC converters; perhaps a problem on the “mini grid” of the wind mills before the AC/DC converter which is not a problem when all the wind mills are connected directly on a huge normal grid.

Voluavent. The problem isn’t harmonics. It is something called ramp rates. The turbine blades are constantly adjusting to variation in wind speed, Ramping up and down to try to keep the generator at a constant loading. This is obviously not instantaneous, and introduces ramp rate fluctuations in the electricity. Think mini fast brownouts. With land based systems, these are compensated at the grid connection by statcomms or synchronous condensers that are necessary to stabilize the grid anyway. Cannot be done?/was not done$ out at sea with Bard 1.


Dear Rud
ramp rates are fluctuations of power; it creates effectively some problems on the grid, but I do not think that is the actual issue on Bard1; I suppose it is either a problem of the management of the reactiv component of the current or a problem of harmonics produced by the assembly of all the equipments (transformers, converters, filters, cables) coming from different suppliers which seem to be one of the well identified difficulties of such a system .(they speak of “wild currents”)
It is crucial for them to solve this, as the DC transmission is the key issue for the whole huge planned project for the future

Alan Robertson

For all the talk of losses, someone did make and someone still is making piles of money from this fiasco.


I get frustrated at the people who are blindly anti-fossil fuel as much as I get angry at people who are blindly anti-wind. Every technology in human history goes brought fits and starts until people learn from past mistakes and makes it better. More efficient, So, we shouldn’t be blindly crowing everytime a mishap or setback happens somewhere in this world.
All of this technology is ultimately going to lead to a better world to live in. We should all be enthusiastic for it and hopeful for its success.
That being said,it should be funded by (mostly) private interests and not propped up by illegitimate carbon taxing schemes. Then we have the duty to be openly critical.

richard verney

I am all for new technologies, but wind is not new technology and will never build a better world.
It was superseded and made redundant centuries ago.
It is extremely rarely the case that the way to the future, is back to the past, and if there were no subsidies, it would never have been given a second look in.


“All of this technology is ultimately going to lead to a better world to live in.”
That’s pretty naive.
Lots of technologies fail simply because they’re inefficient.

You say

All of this technology is ultimately going to lead to a better world to live in. We should all be enthusiastic for it and hopeful for its success.

A “better world to live in” was built by abandoning wind power in favour of fossil fuels when the steam engine enabled the great energy intensity in fossil fuels to do work.
A return to using the low energy intensity in normal winds can only remove the benefits gained from replacing wind power with fossil fuels. We should all be enthusiastic for opposition to the con-artists promoting a return to windpower and hopeful for their failure.

Steve P

There is no blind anti-wind. Wind turbines are a bad idea on land, and a much worse idea out to sea. Wind turbines cost more than they are worth.
The safest, most economical, some would say most abundant energy source is coal.
There is no reason to limit CO₂. Therefore, there is no valid reason not to burn all the coal we need to run our civilization, and carry on with the business of improving life for our species on this planet.
I suggest everyone abandon the incorrect terminology windmill, and use the more precise term wind turbine. I don’t care what Wikipedia says. I’d rather listen to this guy:
If words are not correct, then language will not be in accordance with the truth of things.
Kǒng fūzǐ


>That being said,it should be funded by (mostly) private interests and not propped up by illegitimate carbon taxing schemes.
That being said, do you really think any private interest is foolish enough to fund this nonsense??? The ONLY reason these are build is because of the public gravy trains and food for the useful idiots.

“That being said,it should be funded by (mostly) private interests and not propped up by illegitimate carbon taxing schemes. Then we have the duty to be openly critical.”
Absolutely Adam! I am all for that. Tell the governments that they should not use ‘our’ money, only yours and investors like you.


““All of this technology is ultimately going to lead to a better world to live in.”
Nope. Let me correct this: “All of this technology PUT TO BENEFICIAL USE is ultimately going to lead to a better world to live in.”
Technology is good/evil neutral. It is the application that makes the difference.


The problem is that BARD 1 bought a professionally designed AC to HVDC station from ABB but feeds it with a self-designed AC to AC voltage converter; BARD 1 was too cheap to outsource that one as well. I guess it is that ad hoc designed unit that is the cause of the problems.
This will be fixed eventually, there will be lawsuits, and somebody will go bankrupt. In either case, of course an offshore wind turbine park is far more expensive than a simple gas power plant, and far less useful as long as one has a supply of NatGas – which is currently jeopardized by USA/NATO strategy.


I somehow wonder if this is the ONLY problem. I don’t know of another system this large located this far from land. Any links to details? Also, any information as to why this location was chosen so far offshore?


Pierre has a good writeup as already mentioned by others.
Why so far offshore? Well Germany is desperate to cover every possible location with renewable energy contraptions. It’s not like we don’t already have near-shore wind parks, like Riffgat near Borkum.


german government gives longer larger guaranteed subsidies the further from shore and the deeper they are.
So built there to take maximum subsidy farming advantage

Get wind generated electricty to an electric meter, without any other coal, nuke, water, gas powered plant on line also,,, then we can talk.
These things are 100% carried by tax money or the other power sources used in the grid.
As of now little if any wind generated electricty gets to a meter ever.

The resistance is not so much a liberal vs conservative or such.
The transmission lines, the dristribution lines and the transformers are the “resistance”.
Keep it simple.


There is a large wind farm in the Smoky Hill region of central Kansas that I have driven past on I-70 and flown over on many occasions. An enormous network of service roads snakes through the wind farm. I can usually spot trucks parked next to the turbines which seem to require constant maintenance. Do they use electric vehicles to get around on these roads, or are their vehicles fossil fuel powered? If the vehicles are powered by diesel or gas, how much fuel do they expend on a monthly basis? Is this an ecologically sound practice?


And to all the Breitbart haters; they did a good job reporting it. I’ve been reading about the BARD 1 fiasco for months on notrickszone , Spiegel , Witschaftswoche, FWN and many more.
Because I cherish a good tech disaster.


I suppose that I am a pedant, a semantic pedant at that.
Be that as it may, I have to say that a turbine is built with a fixed nozzle ring to its outer casing that increases the velocity of a gas (superheated steam, for example) and impacts on a series of turbine blades that are individually fixed to a rotating shaft. There can be more than one row of nozzles, and, indeed of turbine blading.
There are no nozzle rings on wind propelled generators, and they are therefore not turbines.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to call them wind impellers, but for me, ‘windmills’ does the trick, and they will die a death just the same as their forbears for grinding grain.


It seems you don’t know much about Germans – they will just keep throwing money at it until it works 🙂


Wasn’t it Churchill who said “The Americans always do the right thing – after they’ve exhausted all the other possibilities.”
English-American here, living in Germany. I’ve seen all three approaches. The trouble is, the Greens (aka watermelons) seem to have an inborn aversion to maths. With their pie-in-the-sky poorly-planned schemes they always end up using someone else’s money to balance their equations (apologies to Margaret Thatcher on that one…).
Interesting too is the fact that ex-chancellor Schroeder played a large part in the (soon-to-be) fiasco of Germany’s dependence on Russian natural gas. With the Greens’ managing to get nuclear shut down, natural gas (along with coal, of course), becomes crucially important as an energy source, either for electricity production, or heading/fuel/etc. How convenient, then, for Herr Schroeder who is likely benefitting from his, cough, advisory role to Gazprom and Russia. With electricity prices rocketing upward, and the crises in eastern Europe, the coming winter looks to be very cold indeed.


The fact that Schroeder pushed through the construction of the Nordstream pipeline might be the only thing that saves us when NATO policies lead to a shutdown of gas transport through Ukraine and Poland.
Schroeder did not make us more dependent on Russia; we’ve been buying their oil and gas since the 1970ies. We would so LOVE to have a gas pipeline directly from the home of the free but UNFORTUNATELY geography doesn’t favor it. XXXXOOOO.


@Dirk, you’re right, I confused that with the other pipeline. Good thing then, that it’s an alternate source, although I wonder if (Ras)Putin would be inclined to turn off the tap anyway…lots of money to be made in wintertime 🙁 I do remember Schroeder going to Nordstream (of course the same thing happens in the US and other countries too…sort of a cronyistic cross-pollination of politicians). Wish I could strike oil (better yet, gold) in my backyard 🙂


“@Dirk, you’re right, I confused that with the other pipeline. Good thing then, that it’s an alternate source, although I wonder if (Ras)Putin would be inclined to turn off the tap anyway…”
A) Germany is dancing a complicated dance now; we must not anger the Americans who control NATO; and we want peaceful business with Russia at the same time
B) You might think calling Putin Rasputin is a kind of insult. In fact, Rasputin was a pacifist; he was murdered shortly before WW I so he would not be there to convince the Tzar to stay out of the war. In my book Rasputin was one of the sanest political advisors you could have.


As I recall, offshore wind usually attains somewhat less than 40% capacity. Let’s assume 40%, to be generous. That would make this offshore windfarm capable of 160 MWs, average. I assume many are not familiar with power plant capacities, but base load generators, like coal and nuclear typically run at 100% (sometimes more for nuclear – 110%) while they are online. Nuclear overall averages about mid 90 percent capacity, but that is because of downtime for refueling, but that is not an issue, since refueling always is scheduled for the time of the year when power consumption is much reduced (Spring and Fall) and closing the plant does no harm nor cause extra expense. In effect, nuclear plants run at 100% (or greater) capacity, almost always.
Total German (net) power capacity is aproximately 150,000 MW!! That should provide a picture of just how insignificant is the net power capacity of this windfarm (160MW). It’s NOTHING!! A tenth of one percent. It wouldn’t even rate a mention in any analysis of German power generation. A smaller-than-average closed cycle gas generator could replace the whole damn windfarm and probably be built in a week or so. And it wouldn’t need any additional generation capacity sitting around costing money, unike the windfarm.

Steve R

I really hate to see so much hand wringing and extra effort thrown in to make electrical generation so difficult. The whole idea is to make it cheap, easy, and get it to the customers in abundance. Economies grow strong with cheap abundant power!, why dick around with these windmills that suck more economic resources than they generate? Each dollar, or Euro, thrown into something wasteful is money that could have been used to grow the economy. How long do politicians who press this nonsense think we are going to tolerate this? How are we expected to remain inspired and productive when we see them throw hard earned money away. Why do we tolerate their insinuations about our patriotism and commitment when we are reluctant to turn over even more money?
/rant over/


With climate change, it’s the appearance of making an effort that counts. Build a few wind turbines and you can be forgiven for using massive amounts of your own coal.


The biggest problem with wind power is that it fails when either wind currents or subsidies stop flowing.


Breitbart article
Germany’s flagship Bard 1 offshore wind farm has been described as “a faulty total system” as technical problems continue to plague the project, casting major doubts on the feasibility of large scale offshore projects.
The wind farm was officially turned on in August last year but was shut down again almost immediately due to technical difficulties that have still not been resolved – and now lawyers are getting involved.
The wind farm comprises 80 5MW turbines situated 100 km off the north German coastline. The difficulty facing engineers is how to get the electricity generated back to shore. So far, every attempt to turn on the turbines has resulted in overloaded and “gently smouldering” offshore converter stations.
Built at a cost of hundreds of millions and costing between €1 and €2 million a day to service, the project is estimated to have cost €340 million in lost power generation over the last year alone. And if the problems with the technology are deemed not to be the fault of the operator, German taxpayers will be on the hook for the running and repair costs, thanks to the German Energy Act 2012.
Understandably, the project’s investors are becoming increasingly nervous, which is why lawyers are now scrambling to pin the blame elsewhere. According to the German magazine Speigel “everything has turned to the question of who is responsible for the fiasco – and the costs.”
Inevitably, the fiasco has brought into question the feasibility of the entire green energy industry. The Bard 1 project was designed to be the global leader in offshore wind design: a model for everyone else to follow. That it doesn’t work has already cast doubt on other projects. Energy company Trianel are concerned that their ‘Windpark Borkum’, Germany’s second largest major offshore project, will now not work when it comes online next month. And they have already shelved plans for a further 200MW offshore project until the technology can be proven.
Germany already has amongst the highest energy bills in the world, not helped by the EU’s commitment to carbon reduction measures at the behest of an increasingly hysterical climate change industry, and the rest of Europe fares no better. British and European climate change policies already add an extra ten percent to British householders’ energy bills, at a time when fuel poverty affects one in four people.
Offshore wind is often seen as the acceptable face of green energy. Earlier this year Conservative minister Michael Fallon announced that the party was planning to scrap subsidies for onshore wind farms, but they remain fully committed to offshore projects.
Opening the 175 turbine, 630MW capacity London Array wind farm, the world’s largest to date, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron said “This is a great day for Britain and a big win for renewable energy. London Array shows you can build large scale renewable energy projects right here in Britain. This is because when it comes to clean energy, the UK has one of the clearest investment climates globally.”
His support gives the lead for the rest of his party, with Conservatives of all ranks lining up to get behind offshore wind power.
In July, planning permission was granted by the government for a 175 turbine wind farm off the historic south coast of England, which will be seen from the newly created South Downs national park and tourist spots such as Beachy Head. The Rampion project will cost £2 billion to construct, and is expected to be handed £200 million a year in taxpayer subsidies. The local Conservative candidate for Lewes constituency, which runs along the affected coastline, wrote to her local paper to underline her support for the project, saying “I supported this scheme and actually voted for it as a local councillor when it was first proposed a few years ago. I was therefore delighted when the Conservative led Government approved the scheme earlier this year.
“The Rampion Wind farm will bring a much needed energy supply for the country but it will also be a huge boost to the local economy and that is why I voted for it in 2010 and why I still support it now.”
Likewise, Conservative MP Therese Coffey, whose Suffolk Coastal constituency is likely to be affected by a vast offshore wind farm project, has also written in support of offshore wind. An article on her website reads “Therese has welcomed the announcement from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills that an Offshore Wind Investment Organisation to boost levels of inward investment and to further stimulate jobs in the UK offshore wind industry, will be set up.
“Therese said: “The creation of the Offshore Wind Investment Organisation will help bring enormous economic benefit to our shores, supporting skilled jobs. … The formation of this industry-led partnership will boost the positive benefits that the offshore wind sector can bring to the UK economy”.”
However, with the Bild 1 turbines are already being tagged “white elephants in the North Sea” by sources such as the Economist, and with costs mounting and no end in sight, the question being asked, in Germany at least, is “Is the wind boom over before it even really began?”


Link to that article is already in headpost.


Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
Since it never had a chance to actually work (expect in some alternative reality) why is there any surprise?


Without cost-neutral (buffer)storage the german “Energiewende” is just an idiotic waste of energy-consumer money, initiated by “Green”politicians and lobbyists for their own benefit!They are still supported ideologically by climate alarmists, pseudoenvironmentalists and anti nuclear-power activists. This collective madness is hyped by “Green” journalists and morons who slept in their lessons of “Physics/Electricity”, thus they can’t understand the difference between – KW – and – KW/h- and certainly not the technique of high-voltage power grids and their requirements!
If the Wind Park owners/operators were paid only for a steadily! delivered certain amount of the maximum rated output energy (in KW) to satisfy the demand schedule, instead of being paid for useless KW/h s of fidget-current , the whole craziness would be dead at once!
Nearly every week I read such nonsens in the regional Newspapers like: ” The recently installed wind turbine will generate electric energy for xxx households!” —– Will? —- By the ghost of Sir Beaufort!– Would perhaps!
Nothing will go, when the wind doesn’t blow!


“Nearly every week I read such nonsens in the regional Newspapers like: ” The recently installed wind turbine will generate electric energy for xxx households!” ”
On average; and don’t forget to divide the number by 5, as the capacity factor of onshore wind is 20%. The journalists always use the name plate capacity when they write that. So it should read, will generate electricity for XXX households during the moments where full capacity is delivered, shortly before the wind gets just a bit too strong and the wind impellers will go into emergency shutoff. (as delivered energy is the 3rd power of the wind speed, those two points – 100% generation and shutoff – are right next to each other. The energy production time series of a wind impeller always looks very spikey for that reason.)

The average Capacity Factor for onshore wind in Ireland is a little over 29%. I have calculated it from the available wind production datasets from 2001 to 2013 (15 minute interval values). The standard deviation is around 3.6%. All annual capacity factors in that period have been between just under 22% up to 36%. In Germany the average figure is around 19-20% (and would be similar for continental Europe generally). Expected Capacity Factor for offshore is expected to be up to 50% (this is not wild speculation as the wind surveys would be statistically very robust). The unknown figure, however, is the availability level which will greatly affect that capacity factor but given the level of industry experience nowadays educated guesses could be made as to the likely availability figure achievable.


Thats exactly the point! Windmills deliver Now-And-Then-Occasionally-Current and are useless nowadays as their ancestors!(Sonne und Wind schicken keine Rechnung!—lol!)


Wind turbines will generate XXX energy for households is a “marketing” strategy fed to the public via the news media and by other means as well.


@ alacran – ‘“Green” journalists and morons who slept in their lessons of “Physics/Electricity”, thus they can’t understand the difference between – KW – and – KW/h’
Sorry to point out your error to you, and embarrass you in public, but the unit of energy in electrical systems is kWh not kW/h.
Absolutely no one claims or believes that wind power is reliable in the sense you mean. Ireland has the highest penetration of wind power in any large synchronous power system in the world, with as wide a spatial diversity as is possible, and even then the output is still at times next to zero. It seems to be the case that wind will always require next to 100% backup (this isn’t a surprise to those who were honest about it). However, largely unacknowledged on this website is the fact that, concomitant with the development of wind technology, the gas turbine technology developments have been very significant (as well as the developments in gas sourcing which are an unbelieveable paradigm shift in world energy markets: USA now No. 1 gas producer in the world! Who’d a thunk it 10 years ago?!). Gas generated electricity works very well with wind in terms of ramp rates, part load efficiency and capital costs. CCGT now can work at efficiencies close to 50% on loads as low as 20% of nameplate. I know and understand that electricity is more expensive with wind than without it but the issue was never about the cheapest source of electricity but energy security and sustainability (in terms of leaving something to the generations to follow us).


I would sure hate to be one of the ‘Engineers’ on this project.
Job interview time.
Interviewer: Whats the most expensive mistake you have made and how-much did it cost your company?
Applicant: errr… $3.8B tax payers money… it was a unicorn fart generator…..
Interviewer: Did you say 3.8 with a ‘B’
Applicant: err… err… yes…
Interviewer: Just a moment …. ‘click’ Security… Thank you and have nice day … next.
Having an educated does not mean you are smart.
You can’t fix stupid.


Oops … ‘Being educated’

The folly of Wind Follies. A system for making energy very expensively, very intermittently, with large amounts of material, to trash the environment, get in the way, bugger up radar, fall over, break up and catch fire, noisily……. But ultimately not work at all.
Thus proving the political strength of the mind virus driving them. Which even now deserves more sacrifice, and ever more, ever larger totems to the green goddess of de industrialised poverty and the saddling up of the four riders.

Harry Passfield

Bloody well said, Fen!!

Harry Passfield

My favourite comment of the week – from Bishop Hill’s blog (sorry) – was from a comment by Pointman. It was in the form of a quiz question:

Question: What did people in the UK use for illumination before candles?
Answer: Electricity!

(We’re talking 2014 here!)
I’ve made sure I have plenty of candles and a Tilley lamp ready for when the wind fails to hit the fan.