"America's First Offshore Wind Farm Is Nearly Ready"… Get ready for Euro-sized electricity bills!

Guest post by David Middleton

BIWF

Deepwater Wind LLC is on the verge of completing the first offshore wind farm in U.S. waters, a milestone for an industry that has struggled for a more than decade to build in North America.

Workers have installed blades on four of the five 589-foot turbines at the site off the coast of Rhode Island and construction may be complete as early as this week, according to Chief Executive Officer Jeff Grybowski. The 30-megawatt, $300 million project is expected to begin commercial operation in early November.

“We will finish in advance of our original schedule,” Grybowski said in an interview at a dock on Block Island. “And we are in-line with our budget.”

After years of false starts, the offshore wind industry appears to be gaining momentum in the U.S. The federal government has awarded 11 leases to companies to develop projects along the East Coast, off New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia. This month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill requiring utilities to buy 1,600 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind farms over the next decade. And in the coming weeks, New York State plans to release a long-range plan to develop wind farms off the coast of Long Island.

[…]

Bloomberg

$300,000,000 / 30 MW = $10,000,000/MW

Nuclear power plants can be built for less than $6,000,000/MW.  Combined cycle natural gas power plants cost less than $1,000,000/MW.  And… nuclear and natural gas can operate at 85-90% of capacity.  While offshore wind turbines can only be expected to operate at less than 50% of capacity.

The economics of offshore wind don’t make any sense at all unless electricity prices are well over 20¢/kWh… like they are in much of Europe.

Fortunately for the owners of the Block Island Wind Farm, they will be getting Euro-sized electricity prices…

Under the contract, National Grid will pay Deepwater a maximum of 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour for the electricity in its first full year of operation. After that, the price will increase 3.5 percent per year – theoretically to 25.3 cents in the second year, 26.1 cents in the third year, etc.

One difference between the agreement approved Wednesday and the one the PUC rejected in March is that the new deal is “open book,” which means any cost savings Deepwater achieves while building the wind farm will be passed on to ratepayers in the form of a lower electricity price.

Q&A: How the Deepwater Wind deal works

Onshore wind power is relatively cheap and works very well in some places, like Texas, where the physical geography enables fairly high capacity factors.  Texas has more wind generation capacity than most countries, yet the average residential electricity rate is only about 11¢/kWh.  New Englanders are already paying over 19¢/kWh… Why would they want to pay more?

Oh yeah… I forgot.  They want to fight climate change.  Which, if there actually was a need to fight climate change and they were serious about fighting it, they would be pursuing an N2N strategy (natural gas to nuclear).  The fastest, most cost effective, way to reduce carbon emissions would be to transition from coal to natural gas and nuclear power.

252491_5_

Real Clear Energy

Source of featured image

Advertisements

193 thoughts on “"America's First Offshore Wind Farm Is Nearly Ready"… Get ready for Euro-sized electricity bills!

      • And none of that will matter after the first big ‘Noreaster whacks these things out of commission. Just a matter of time really.
        And the advertised premise itself is a lie. from their web page: http://dwwind.com/project/block-island-wind-farm/
        “No longer will this beautiful island community have to rely on diesel energy. ”
        Riiight. They aren’t going to get rid of the diesel plant, they need it for times when the wind doesn’t blow, or blow enough to meet demand.

      • Mr. Sowell… You’re right about the economics. I didn’t discount the $300 million investment and revenue.
        The 48% capacity factor for BIWF is Deepwater Wind’s estimate and inline with European offshore wind farms. The 85-90% capacity factors for natural gas and nuclear are the DOE’s average values in their LCOE tables.

      • “Riiight. They aren’t going to get rid of the diesel plant, they need it for times when the wind doesn’t blow, or blow enough to meet demand.” or the wind blows to much, or they need unplanned maintenance or even planned maintenance or if there is a transmission problem. Their diesel days are far from over.

      • Anthony Watts August 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm
        ‘Noreaster whacks these things out of commission. Just a matter of time really.
        Ah Anthony that area gets ah,, hurricanes. Hurricane alley, I grew up in Conn.
        Can we start a “pool”?
        I mean with over a decade with no good sized hurricanes there, my relations are due for one. (they like me have been through many and would do fine) New Englanders on the Coast get a grim bit of humor out of people who construct things where nature objects.
        michael duhancik

      • With all due respect, Anthony, the wind turbine generators (WTG) were designed to withstand far stronger winds than the nor’easters have produced in the past 70 years. The design sustained wind is 112 miles per hour, and the design gust is 157 mph, approximately 3.3 and 4.4 times the recent experience, respectively (using Superstorm Sandy 2012 as reference).
        “Hurricanes:
        DWBI (Deep Water Block Island) has conducted extensive meteorological and oceanographic research within the
        BIWF (Block Island Wind Farm) Project Area to ensure that a long-term, worst-case environmental design basis is
        used for the BIWF. Based on these studies, technologies and turbines have been
        selected that are suited to the climatic conditions of the BIWF. The shortlisted BIWF
        WTG design specifications allow for maximum sustained winds of 112 miles per hour
        (mph) (50 meters per second [m/s]) and maximum wind gusts of 157 mph (70 m/s).
        This not only exceeds all historical site conditions and the statistically-generated
        “100-Year” storm, but also exceeds the worst storms experienced in the Northeast
        over the past 70 years, including the recent 2012 Superstorm Sandy.”
        — source: page 21 of the Approved Department of the Army Environmental Assessment for application numbers NAE-2009-789 and NAE-20 12-2724
        http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Portals/74/docs/Topics/DeepwaterWind/EA17Sep2014.pdf
        A bit of research from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center turned up the following for Superstorm Sandy in the northeastern US: maximum sustained winds 75 mph, and maximum gust 96 mph. These wind speeds are well below the BIWF design parameters. With the force of wind varying as the cube of wind speed, the sustained wind design force is 3.3 times what Sandy produced, and the gust design is 4.4 times. Perhaps those over-design factors are insufficient for some critics, but time will provide the answer.
        As to the diesel power no longer needed, it is very likely that the undersea power cable from the island to the mainland will allow power to flow to the island, if and when it is needed. Rhode Island would be rather dim not to take advantage of an undersea power line to the island.
        –Roger

      • For Middleton,
        Re “Nuclear power plants can be built for less than $6,000,000/MW.”
        No, they can’t, not in the US where we pay laborers far more than do the Chinese. Recent as-built cost in the US is not yet known because the fiascos being built at Vogtle and Sumner are still having substantial delays and huge cost over-runs. The costs are approximately $9,000 to $10,000 per kWe. Also, the UK’s proposed Hinkley Point C twin-reactor plant is already published as costing $8500 per kWe. With a decade or more of troubled construction ahead, it will no doubt cost at least $10,000 per kWe when (if) it is ever finished.
        “Combined cycle natural gas power plants cost less than $1,000,000/MW.”
        That statement is true, even for plants designed expressly to load follow quickly when on a grid with wind-turbines.
        “And… nuclear and natural gas can operate at 85-90% of capacity. While offshore wind turbines can only be expected to operate at less than 50% of capacity.”
        Natural gas power plants may operate at 90 percent, but on average, they don’t. The US published data from EIA for natural gas power plants (Table 6.7.A of Electric Power Monthly) shows CCGT capacity for the US at 48.2 percent (2013), 48.3 percent (2014), and 56.3 percent (2015, as coal plants retired due to refusal to install pollution controls).
        Simple cycle gas power plants’ annual capacity factor is approximately 5 percent of rated capacity. Steam turbine plants using natural gas as fuel annual capacity factor is approximately 11 percent of rated capacity Overall, natural gas power plants operate at far less than 48 percent of rated capacity.

      • Superstorm Sandy is a “Superstorm” largely because there’s no good term for a Category 1 hurricane that is transitioning to a post-tropical/extratropical storm.

      • Mike the Morlock,
        New England likely gets more damage from nor’easters than hurricanes, though the last good batch of hurricanes in the 1950s occurred during the last waning AMO. We shall see. It strikes me as a bit odd that the BIWF had design goals based on sustained wind and gusts speeds. Hurricanes tend to come with rain, nor’easters have a wider repertoire that includes snow, freezing rain and sharks. Uh, no, those are in Sharknadoes. Haven’t seen a forecast for one of those yet.
        I’m looking forward to having off shore turbines in unstable air that’s visited by some of the most perverse weather this side of Mt Washington. (Arguably home to the world’s worst weather. Not really, but I’d go with the most amazing transition you can expect to see in a 12.2 km drive – if it isn’t closed.)
        More on nor’easters is at my https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/06/50-years-ago-the-great-atlantic-storm-of-1962/

      • Roger Sowell says:
        > Middleton is quite weak on the economics, and capacity factors are wrong.
        How do you know what the capacity factors will be? The only data they have to work with is from a meteorological tower that was 60 m tall and some airplane flights at 90 m. The nacelle is supposed to be around 100 m. While there are some predictions they can make, there’s also a lot of unknown territory to be explored.

      • Mr. Sowell,
        When natural gas plants don’t operate at 85-90% capacity factors, it’s usually due to demand, not operational readiness, particularly regarding newer plants.
        I didn’t state that nuclear power plants *are* being built for less than $6mm/MW… I stated that they *can* be.
        The ~40-yr hiatus in nuclear power plant construction in the US has effectively eliminated any benefits from economy of scale, a benefit of the doubt routinely and speculatively afforded solar and offshore wind.

      • For Ric Werme,
        Re “> Middleton is quite weak on the economics, and capacity factors are wrong.
        How do you know what the capacity factors will be? The only data they have to work with is from a meteorological tower that was 60 m tall and some airplane flights at 90 m. The nacelle is supposed to be around 100 m. While there are some predictions they can make, there’s also a lot of unknown territory to be explored.”
        I refer to the natural gas power plant capacities Middleton stated at 90 percent. Actual data from EIA shows far, far less.
        Regarding offshore wind capacity factors, we don’t know yet but there are fairly good correlations between surface measurements and winds aloft. Capacity factors are affected by other things, though, as Anthony highlighted a few articles back with an on-shore turbine that had miserable output. Turns out a main bearing was bad and was not noticed.
        Also, having only 5 wind turbines in one location is not a very good sample size to generalize about the success or failure of an industry. When there are 100, 200, or 500 turbines installed, we will have a much better idea of what offshore wind power can do. It is expected to exceed the onshore turbines.

      • For Middleton:
        “The ~40-yr hiatus in nuclear power plant construction in the US has effectively eliminated any benefits from economy of scale, a benefit of the doubt routinely and speculatively afforded solar and offshore wind.”
        No. Completely wrong.
        Economy of scale in nuclear plants has almost nothing to do with 40 year hiatus (and it’s been less than 30 years since 1988 when South Texas Nuclear Generating Station started up, one of the last ones). I addressed nuclear plant economy of scale in my Truth About Nuclear Power article Six, “Nuclear plants are huge to reduce costs.”
        “… attempts to reduce costs by three aspects of economy of scale (include)
        1) where bigger is cheaper if a manufacturing process is based on a circle or sphere;
        2) where mass production reduces costs; and
        3) where a learning curve makes future projects more efficiently constructed, in theory, at least. ”
        The article shows how each type is woefully absent in nuclear plants. Even type 3, a learning curve which is what I presume you refer to, is absent in US nuclear plant construction.
        http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-truth-about-nuclear-power-part-six.html
        There is zero doubt about solar power PV and onshore wind power having dramatic and continuous cost reductions. The only reason offshore wind power has not yet seen such cost reductions (in the US) is we have only just begun building them.

      • I refer to the natural gas power plant capacities Middleton stated at 90 percent. Actual data from EIA shows far, far less.

        More deflecting obfuscation by Roger Sowell.
        Many gas plants are running at lower than designed capacities due to interrupted operations by intermittent wind (and solar PV) farms output. Without this “assistance” the gas capacities would be in the range specified by David Middleton.
        This would be acceptable if wind (and solar PV) farm output could be scheduled as per a gas/coal/nuclear/hydro plant but it isn’t so the traditional generators must scramble to match their outputs to the demand that is not met by wind (and solar PV) farms, leading to operational inefficiencies for all except hydro.

      • From Roger Sowell:

        I refer to the natural gas power plant capacities Middleton stated at 90 percent. Actual data from EIA shows far, far less.

        I don’t have tools or data to dig in to all the plants, but I know in New Hampshire, given the ISO-NE has to take all the power the wind turbines here produce, they’ve assigned the task of load following to the biggest natural gas combined cycle plant. I hear the plant owners aren’t very happy about the “deal” or the stress of cycling up and down, but there’s not much that they can do about it.
        You’re trying to conflate too different things. First, the capacity of the wind farm. I don’t know what Deepwater is going to achieve and I don’t think you do either.
        Neither of us know how reliable the turbines will be. They are direct drive systems, so at least they don’t have a transmission to fail.
        Second, the capacity factor of our natural gas plant. Besides the load following, it reflects the excess capacity of the grid, the plant is easy to get online, necessary to have a reserve given the risk of failure or the trip-on-anything safety systems at Seabrook, the local nuke plant.

      • For Middleton,
        Actually, it is you who misrepresent the definition of capacity factor. I use the EIA’s definition:
        “Capacity factor: The ratio of the electrical energy produced by a generating unit for the period of time considered to the electrical energy that could have been produced at continuous full power operation during the same period.”
        Notice that demand has nothing to do with it.

      • Mr. Sowell,
        That is the mother of all strawmen. Natural gas plants don’t generate in excess of demand.
        Nondispatchable sources generate electricity only when available.

        • yes, nondispatchable power should sell at a discount, not a premium. Untill Roger Sowell can find a real world (yes, I know it’s hard) example of grid-scale power storage, wind and solar just do not work as a mainstay of a power grid.

      • For Analitik, you are way off on this.
        “Many gas plants are running at lower than designed capacities due to interrupted operations by intermittent wind (and solar PV) farms output. Without this “assistance” the gas capacities would be in the range specified by David Middleton.”
        One wonders how that could possibly be true, given (as so many on WUWT constantly complain) that wind power is a tiny amount, and solar power is even less, on an annual basis in the US. Even for a given utility where wind power is substantial, such as Iowa, or locally such as in Texas, the gas-fired power plants are doing just fine.
        “This would be acceptable if wind (and solar PV) farm output could be scheduled as per a gas/coal/nuclear/hydro plant but it isn’t so the traditional generators must scramble to match their outputs to the demand that is not met by wind (and solar PV) farms, leading to operational inefficiencies for all except hydro.”
        No. Natural gas power plants that use CCGT technology have very small efficiency losses at reduced output. Nuclear has major safety issues at reduced output, as widely stated by utilities. Load following for a nuclear plant is a scary thing.
        What most people don’t grasp is that the power plant generating capacity, overall, is much, much greater than the average so that a utility can meet the peak demand (usually summer but for some the peak is in winter). That fact necessitates that the overall capacity factor (using the EIA definition) for all power plant generating facilities is approximately 60 percent. Then, since nuclear plants refuse to budge and coal-fired plants made a strong case to operate as baseload, that leaves only the hydroelectric plants and natural gas plants to reduce their outputs to keep the grid balanced. Hydroelectric also has other issues, such as delivering water for irrigation, and having inadequate water in a drought. Georgia, Texas, and California come to mind as having recent droughts that limit hydroelectricity.
        That leaves natural gas power plants to increase and decrease output to meet the changing needs of the grid.
        For year 2014: here are the capacity factors for US plants, by fuel type (per EIA):
        Nuclear …………….92
        Coal………………….60
        Large Hydro……..37
        Wind ……………….34
        Natural Gas……..29
        US Average…….43.7

      • Ric Werme August 17, 2016 at 5:42 pm
        I agree, many of what I remember as hurricanes were no longer such by the time they reached us, but did they do destruction. I remember in the early 1980s a beach cottage newly constructed on Milford Ct shoreline. Just west of Silver Sands State Park. A hurricane side swiped us. The waves were coming between the cottages. I went with the owner of one to check on his rental property the waves came up to the first floor picture window. The next day the storm was gone along with the new cottage. All the others were fine of coarse. There are just some places you cannot build.
        michael

      • What most people don’t grasp is that the power plant generating capacity, overall, is much, much greater than the average so that a utility can meet the peak demand

        Are you including gas peaker plants in your evaluation of gas plant capacity factors, Roger. If so, then you are showing yourself to be a bigger fool than usual.
        If not, then you are talking about seasonal variations and with the reductions in coal and nuclear baseload, you have some sort of argument (since increase gas capacity has filled the baseload void). But it is then a strawman argument to say that gas plant capacity factor is low without taking the demand variation into account.
        We really need to talk available generation vs demand – then the achilles heel of renewables is clearly presented rather than being masked by capacity factor alone.

      • Actually his figures are about right on! Energy density/production capacitance, as I am sure you know, is matter of averages and driven by the amount of down time and inefficient production time!. Output will vacillate between 65% and 40% for the first year! with 4-5 days at 0% 2 times per year.
        Furthermore, turbulent winds will have an effect in turbine and gear/transmission life span. Doubling necessary quarterly maintenance. In my opinion.
        OMG $0.25/kW Hr. That is insane.. They have NO investment in infrastructure so that is not a delivered price. RI cares NOT for the cost to citizens. They could get 7 to 8 times the output with %0.08/kW Hr delivered for the same price and NOT kill thousands of birds a year .
        Oh ya, these large systems produce a very low frequency sound that will make some people crazy, literally! I personally don’t mind at night but my daughter can’t take it. God bless ALL

      • My bet is a slow moving cat 2 or anything stronger will take this out. At least the fishing should be good across the new artificial reef. Designing for wind is one thing but add waves and current and we’ll see how good the calculations are.

        • The RMS Titanic was unsinkable, as proven in the engineering test data. Therefore, she must have been scuttled.

      • you are right. Typical real life capacity factors for offshore windfarms are mich less. 27-33% is the normal range.

    • Tom, there’s an upside to this; it’s in Rhode Island. If it were off the coast of Santa Barbara we’d have something to worry about.
      This travesty will fail quietly, the US Government will spread the loss equally among all participants, and if we’re lucky enough to vote in a Libertarian government in a few months it will never happen again.
      And so goes the march of science.

      • So Marcus, you’re saying if I don’t vote for the hairpiece we’re all hosed?
        You could have a point. If Johnson doesn’t make it to the debates I’ll reconsider, but I’m a libertarian and I’ll continue to campaign and vote for libertarians, thanks for playing. 60% of US voters are independent and I’m frankly sick of voting for the Uniparty. I’m not voting the “lesser” of two evils anymore because there isn’t one; they’re both atrocious.
        Gary Johnson in 2016. It’s him or Cthulu.

  1. We always laughed at the USSR where politicians tried to direct the economy and there were perpetual shortages of essentials. Now the US is doing it.

  2. Colossal waste of money on a pipe dream that will never produce enough energy to be worth the investment. Use that money to feed our poor. Oh wait, that makes too much sense.

  3. Nuclear will be much less expensive with 4th generation Molten Salt Reactors; low pressure means no pressure dome or 150 atmosphere plumbing, greater thermal efficiency and its use in Petrochemical process without emissions. egeneration.org

  4. I do hope they construct them well because the rest of us don’t want to hear the whining and crying about unprecedented storms to get federal funds to repair them. Keep your policy misadventures in the northeast and the rest of us will take low bid utility scale solar and shale gas.

    • I’m sure they will be constructed using similar standards as offshore oil & gas production platforms and be very well-built. However, hurricanes have totally destroyed more than a few very expensive, very well-built and very expensive production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Nor’easters aren’t much friendlier than hurricanes.
      Also, marine environments tend to cause a lot of wear and tear. Maintenance is not cheap and can’t be skimped on.
      And… insurance for these sorts of things is likely to be every bit as expensive as it is for offshore drilling rigs and platforms.

      • I’m just waiting for the first of those long promised and oft predicted Catagory 3 or 4 whoppers to develop and run up the east coast (ala Long Island Express) Perhaps Fiona will Blossom

      • Hurricanes usually whistle by southern New England in a few hours rather than hang around like in the Gulf. Likewise, their strength usually is diminishing as they move over colder waters. Still I’m expecting some wind damage to these seagull choppers, but more so from saltwater corrosion.

  5. Apparently in a warming world there will be no problem with ice accumulating on the blades.

    • They have to shut the turbines down when temperatures drop below 14°F.

      To deal with any more extreme weather, engineers can either lock the blades into a set motion when winds get too unpredictable or shut them down altogether. In addition to that, they’ll automatically stop if the weather gets below 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature in Providence, R.I. in January is 21 degrees, so they should be able to operate year round.

      Except when the temperature drops 7°F below average or the winds “get too unpredictable.”
      14°F is well above the record lows for every meteorological winter day in Providence RI.

      • The renewables crowd loves averaging – it’s their tactic for dismissing every issue that gets brought up about them (aside from wild life kills)

      • Block Island is a dozen miles off the southern RI coast and the ocean effect keeps it warmer in the winter. There was a surface station in operation at the airport with better data than that from Providence.

  6. Out of curiosity, do other forms of power generation get guaranteed sales, prices, and rate increases?

  7. The persistent hum and low-frequency vibrations will be very distressing to our right whale friends…

    • Any guesses as to whether or not they have to hire cetacean watchers like we have to do with seismic survey vessels?
      We have to shut down the airguns when whales are sighted. I think it’s a safe bet that they won’t have to feather the turbines when whales are around.

      • There will be a whole new industry from which college professors can claim grants: The first paper? “The Impact of Low Frequency Vibratory Cetacean Anxiety on Global Warming”. Should be worth a $100,000 grant.

      • Why would they? Whales are only harmed by things that really hurt them, not imaginary made up harms. Well, unless you’d like to provide some references to information suggesting that whales would be harmed by the wind turbines…

  8. Ratepayers and taxpayers will be paying for that boondoggle, and any others Big Wind can manage to fawn off on them.

  9. Mr. Sowell, when (in a couple hours) you respond, please factor in the cost of the back-up system O & M costs and necessarily higher rates to cover the intermittent operations … include profit for the owners of the back-up system, ’cause if there is none (owned by government or regulated so as to not allow for profit) then the failure of the back-up/redundant system will be greater; then you’ll also factor in the value of the increased lives lost as a result of the death(s) by cold.
    I know different systems (transportation, insurance, etc) put different cost/value analysis on deaths that will undoubtedly occur as a result of that system operation. What would you suggest for the analysis monetary value of a life, as associated with an energy/grid system, so as to optimize the system efficiency?
    Keep in mind that when it gets below 14 degrees the power generation ceases … just when demand is highest, the likelihood of death(s) is greatest, and the need for redundant/back-up power generation is most needed.
    Thanks in advance Mr. Sowell.

    • No need to worry about any of that. The local utility commission, like all such agencies, demands and requires that the grid be safe, reliable, power be affordable, and environmentally responsible.
      The 30 MW of wind power from Block Island is just a start, and will have a negligible effect on the grid itself.
      Only when wind power reaches 30 percent of grid output or a bit higher, do any concerns arise about ramping up one or more power plants when wind drops off.
      The actual experience to demonstrate this is Iowa, with more than 30 percent wind power on an annual basis. Some days, it is more. At least ten US states already have 10 percent wind power, or more than 10 percent. Nobody dies.

      • The local utility commission, like all such agencies, demands and requires that the grid be safe, reliable, power be affordable, and environmentally responsible.

        Yes probably true, if only other government agencies (EPA for example), group think global warming politics felt the same way. Especially about the reliable, affordable parts.
        Maybe nobody dies, but common sense sure does when you go using averages again. It doesn’t matter what the output is annually, if wind powers up on any given day power plants have to power down and vice versa. Only in a Renewables Disney land can wind stay stable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
        Good to know $300 million has a negligible effect on the grid that power brokers are forced to buy at a government fixed price. Nothing like replacing an open and competitive marketplace for energy with a communist one, comrade.

      • Roger Sowell
        August 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm
        ……Only when wind power reaches 30 percent of grid output or a bit higher, do any concerns arise about ramping up one or more power plants when wind drops off.
        The actual experience to demonstrate this is Iowa, with more than 30 percent wind power on an annual basis. Some days, it is more. At least ten US states already have 10 percent wind power, or more than 10 percent. Nobody dies.

        I don’t believe that the grid operators have a 30% margin to play with – too inefficient. More likely they have an arrangement to import power from out of state, effectively hiding any deficit, just as South Australia does in Oz.
        What are the backups in those “at least ten” states?
        SteveT

      • When local utility commissions are allowed to make decisions based on efficiency and safety then they can make good decisions. When the efficiency/safety input parameters are skewed for political purposes the outcome will also be skewed away from “safe, reliable, affordable, environmental responsible, etc.”
        (An expert such as yourself should know … hydro is off the table as a renewable … can you (will you) tell me why?),

  10. Does anybody know who is paying the capital costs? Who is on the hook the project does not pan out, like if the turbines get wrecked somehow?
    I know the ratepayers are on the hook for electric, while the project is functional. But how about if it gets wrecked?
    I will just take a wild guess and say TonyTaxpayer pays.

    • Construction financing of $290 Million by Societe Generale and KeyBank National Association.

      • Thanks, Steve.
        I wonder if there is any govt. backed loan guarantees or other such floating around behind the scenes.
        I know they have been very popular with “renewables” development in MA in the past.
        In the state of MA, the “Public/Private Partnership” has been raised to a high art form. Profits are assigned to the Private part of the Partnership, while while losses are assigned to the Public part. And before you can say “Boondoggle”, the taxpayers are on the hook again.
        It is a wonder of modern technology to behold a “Public/Private Partnership” assigning profits to the Private part and losses to the Public part at the same time.
        Please do not hold it against me if I seem a bit wary and suspicious, after all our electric rates went up 40% in just one jump last spring. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is just now taking off and as they say “The best is yet to come”.

  11. The fallacy of wind turbines is revealed with simple arithmetic.
    30 mW wind turbine, avg output 48% of nameplate, 20 yr life, electricity @ wholesale $30 per mwh produces $75.7E6.
    Installed cost $300E6. Add the cost of standby CCGT for low wind periods. Add the cost of land lease, maintenance, administration.
    Solar voltaic and solar thermal are even worse.
    The dollar relation is a proxy for energy relation. Bottom line, the energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables appears to exceed the energy they produce in their lifetime. Without the energy provided by other sources these renewables could not exist.

  12. I believe Joe Ryan is mistaken. I have to assume that the “30 MW” wind farm is quoting nameplate capacity, not actual capacity. Offshore wind usually runs more than onshore and I would venture a guess of
    33% to 40% actual capacity, or , for the sake of argumet, assume that the farm can produce, on average, 10 MW of power. That changes the build economcs to $30 million per MW, or #30 billion+ for output
    comparable to today’s gigawatt plus nuclear plants, which all have nameplate and actual capacities well over a gigawatt and usually near or over 100% as actually operated. My estimate, therefore, is that the wind farms are 5 times more expensive to build than a nuclear power plant. They will not outlive the 60 plus years of exprected lifespan of a nuclear plant, that’s for certain.
    A molten salt nuclear plant can be built for about 40% of the costs of today’s light water Gen 3+ reactors, which makes them probably 12 times cheaper to build than offshore wind. They also have, for all intents and purposes, zero fuel costs (they burn nuclear wastes and can extract over 95% of the energy from uranium, producing almost 50 times the energy of a light water reactor, whose fuel costs are 3/4 of a cent per kilowatt hour these days). They also can burn Thorium. Their lifespan will easilly surpass the 60 to 70 years expected for today’s typical large nuclear plants. Molten salt reactors have no need for shutdown to refuel, so they can run at 100% capacity is desired.
    If utilities are required to buy wind output in preference to nuclear output, that will drive up the costs of nuclear power, since virtually all of the costs of building and operating a nuclear plant has nothing to do with fuel costs (nor could much fuel be saved anyway, since light water nuclear plants cannot load follow – i.e. their output cannot quickly be ramped up or down. Right now this is happening in the Midwest, leading nuclear plant owners threatening to shut down their plants unless they are paid enough to remain profitable. Obviously, shutting down nuclear plants destroys any gains in carbon free power coming from renewables and removes reliable power in favor of unreliable power, and has to be replaced somehow
    but the replacement must be reliable and thus cannot be renewable.
    So there you have it – pay for wind and then as a result, nuclear power (and, to not as great an extent) other fossil fuel power costs go up. Thus cost per average kilowatthour goes up.
    The decree that “1600 Megawatts” of power be bought from wind farms is vague – you buy megawatt hours, not megawatts. So that needs clarification, although likely is another case of politicians having no clue as to what they are doing.

    • 30 MW is the name plate capacity. It is also the actual capacity.
      The capacity factor is the percentage of time that a power plant delivers electricity at its full capacity.
      Onshore wind generally has a 25-50% capacity factor. Although, some Texas wind farms achieve >80% for short periods of time.
      Offshore wind generally has a 40-50% capacity factor.

      • The capacity factor is the percentage of time that a power plant delivers electricity at its full capacity.
        No it isn’t
        Its the average amount of energy it delivers compared to what it would have if it had delivered its nameplate capacity.
        by your definition, the actual capacity factor of a typical windmill is zero, because they never ever deliver exactly full output 😉
        .

  13. “This month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill requiring utilities to buy 1,600 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind farms over the next decade”.
    How do you sell or buy 1600 megawatts when the wind isn’t blowing. Some one needs some instruction on the definition of megawatts and megawatt hours.
    By the way 1600 megawatt hours over 10 years is an average output of 18,264 watts of power or an average of 438 kilowatt hours per day from the 5 wind generators. These numbers don’t make sense. Perhaps some one can explain this.

    • The first question is, “How do you sell or buy 1600 megawatts when” only 30 exist and those 30 MW have already been sold?

      • Leo Smith
        August 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm
        actually the first question is how do you buy power from a windmill that delivers energy…

        Intermittently! 🙂
        SteveT

    • That statement about the MA utilities wind energy purchasing requirements sent me reeling too. How the hell are the utilities supposed to get that much wind energy when they don’t have any control over how much the wind blows and where and when it blows? And if the MA utilities are competing with other utilities for that wind energy on the open market, isn’t that going to drive up the price for ratepayers?
      I’m actually looking foward to a good laugh when the first NE nor’easter knocks these contraptions out.
      Unbelieveably stupid.

      • These things were designed by engineers. Unlike climate scientists, engineers tend to get their numbers right more often than not because people may not notice a tenth of a degree of warming but they definitely notice when stuff falls down. If the engineers were allowed to do their jobs and design properly for the conditions then I’d say the chances are very good that these things will survive even a serious blow. However if political or managerial pressure was applied to the engineers in the interests of expediting the project or cutting costs, then all bets are off.

      • they may be designed by engineers, but they are designed to a political specification, not an engineering one.
        The an purpose, as all engineers know (and eny fule kno), of a wind turbine, is to stand their harvesting tax dollars and signalling virtue to any passing urban liberal…
        …generating electricity is a somewhat unnecessary side effect.

  14. David: Discussing the high construction cost for off-shore wind, ignoring the absence of fuel costs and other costs doesn’t make for a convincing post. Paying $0.25/kW-h is convincing and possibly more for the transmission lines to connect the off-shore wind farm is convincing.
    The interesting question is what lifetime (and gearbox replacement) went into deciding upon this price

    • O&M includes fuel and other operating & maintenance costs. These have generally been in the range of €30-40/MWh in Europe.
      I don’t know if the $300 million included transmission costs.

    • If you are referring to the fuel costs for natural gas and nuclear, those aren’t capital investments. Fuel costs are operating expenses.
      Operating expenses are incurred as electricity is generated.
      At $3/mcf, natural gas fuel costs are about $30 per MWh.

  15. If something looks, smells and sounds like Crony Capitalism, it’s because it is.

    • prezactly.
      Windmills aren’t energy generators.They are rent seeking virtue signalling tax harvesters

  16. The economics or service factor does not matter one whit with the Administration. It does not matter to them how high electricity costs go up for the common folk, they will subsidize their voters who do not work or pay taxes. Many Americans are living too good a life anyway
    I have been by the wind turbines in Atlantic city and they are often not turning, maybe because they are old.
    The other factor is that the turbines have to be shut off when the winds are too high like during a Hurricane.
    No worry about loosing electricity during the storm because it WILL be shut off unless there is fossil fuel backup somewhere.

    • Funny thing about hurricanes and nor’easters: the power goes out because the land-based power lines are blown down. Utilities then reduce their generating output. If and when a nor’easter hits the Block Island site, the turbines will likely feather to avoid wind damage, and the load from onshore will be reduced as the grid goes out.
      I’ve been through hurricanes. Power is out for days and days.

      • Offhore wind routinely achieves this without hurricanes or Nor’easters. It can achieve this fete without any wind at all.

  17. The comparison of nameplate generating capacity costs should be modified further based on California’s experience. People use GWh’s of power, not megawatts of capacity. According to the latest published figures, 2015, in the Energy Almanac published by the California government (not a friend to nuclear power) 2,323 MW of nuclear nameplate capacity produced 18,525 GWh of power. 6,288 MW of nameplate capacity wind generation produced 11,856 GWh of power.This only includes commercial wind generation with greater then 1 MW nameplate capacity. Most of this capacity is located in the best locations for steady wind energy, This gives nuclear four times the usable power output per unit of nameplate capacity.
    Source: http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/electric_generation_capacity.html
    Remember this when someone says that they will shut down a 2,000 MW nuclear plant and replace it with 2,000 MW of windmills.

  18. The naysayers perhaps should look at offshore wind power in this way: the industry is in its beginning stages, much like commercial air travel was in 1960. (first commercial jet was in 1958 by Pan Am). Until then, airplanes were piston-powered, slow, had short range, and had few people on board. Air travel was very expensive, for the wealthy.
    Technology advances (jets instead of pistons, wide bodies, jumbo jets, more efficient engines, more reliable engines) brought down the cost of air travel over the succeeding 5 decades.
    In the same way, offshore wind power will see massive cost decreases, improved efficiencies (flexible blades that allow continued operation in high winds), and much larger turbines (Sandia Lab has a 50 MW design in the works). The US has at least 900,000 MW of wind power available along the coasts, with half of that along the north and mid-Atlantic seaboard.
    Wind power brings cleaner air as coal and gas-fired plants will not run as much.
    Wind power prolongs the life of natural gas supplies and the life of the gas fired power plants.
    Grid-scale electricity storage is available and will also have massive cost reductions, as above.

    • The “yeahsayers” need to understand that technology can’t overcome capacity factor limitations… and, despite all engineering efforts since the first offshore well, the oceans are unforgiving to anything made by man.

      • You have that David. I have seen the pictures of the various attempts to use wave power. No matter what they try the ocean pounds it to crap in short order.

    • Utter tripe by Roger as always.
      Wind turbines are a mature technology. Improvements will be incremental at best. Jet engines are an entirely different technology to piston engines. IF a wind equivalent can be produced, then there MAY be cost effective wind electricity generation in the FUTURE.
      Wind power is highly intermittent so fossil fuel plants cannot run as efficiently as designed, making fuel saving and emissions reductions marginal. Then factor in the resources used the produce and deploy the wind turbines…
      Grid-scale electricity storage is not available except in the form of very expensive pumped hydro schemes and these will have no major cost reductions.

      • The thing with offshore wind isn’t so much turbine costs as it is building structures offshore. Most of the cost reduction achievements of the oil industry won’t be applicable to wind.
        Subsea tiebacks – no.
        Directional drilling – no.
        Floating production units – probably not.
        Geophysical identification of bypassed wind resources – ROTFLMFAO.

      • Hence the deployment being mentioned along with production for wind turbines – deployment is what makes offshore wind hugely expensive even totally disregarding intermittency.

      • For Analitik, such BS. The DoE storage website lists dozens of technologies, installed worldwide.
        Viable grid-scale storage includes conventional pumped storage hydroelectric with two fresh water lakes, the Okinawa storage with the ocean as the lower reservoir and a seawater lake elevated onshore, the MIT underwater spheres in shallow coastal waters, rail gravity systems in the low hills, and the new HPA batteries (Halogenated Poly-Acetylene) patented by BioSolar, and many more.

      • Viable grid-scale storage includes conventional pumped storage hydroelectric with two fresh water lakes, the Okinawa storage with the ocean as the lower reservoir and a seawater lake elevated onshore, the MIT underwater spheres in shallow coastal waters, rail gravity systems in the low hills, and the new HPA batteries (Halogenated Poly-Acetylene) patented by BioSolar, and many more.

        Exists and proven
        Pumped storage – massively expensive on any grid-sized scale and locally environmentally catastrophic
        Mooted concepts
        MIT underwater spheres in shallow coastal waters – conceptual only, huge engineering challenges
        rail gravity systems in the low hills – massively expensive on any grid-sized scale (ARES is for balancing only), huge maintenance costs
        HPA batteries – not commerically available and still massively expensive on any grid-sized scale
        and many more – please specify

        • To illustrate. So-called “MegaWatt-sized” ultra-low vacuum spinning magnetic storage units are actually only good for 1-2 minutes of power drain, with banks of them used as a transition source ONLY in the minutes between loss of power and the pickup load from a diesel=powered generator. And those banks of spinning gyroscopes? They need to be buried below ground in case of failure so the exploding remnants are trapped by the dirt, and not thrown out and through nearby buildings , homes and people.
          Pumped storage is viable. And is all built-up in the few places where it is viable. Enviro’s don’t want even single lakes and dams now, much less many thousands more lakes in the future.

    • In a free country, wind and other options should be optional, people like you can buy it at 25 cents per kwh and I can buy coal at 10 cents per kwh. When the wind stops, no electricity for you.
      Sound stupid, yes like forcing me to subsidize a weak source then driving the electricity cost throug the ceiling as promised on the false claim that 15th century technology will improve like magic.
      I have worked in private industry and subsidized alternative fuels for over 50 years, and have never seen a project in private infustry approved by management that depends on hopeful improvements without a clear path to those improvements. On the otherhand all the subsidized alternative fuels that never made sense failed. Google Range Fuels if you want some data.

    • Roger: The world’s first off-shore wind farm was built in 1991. See link. It is a quarter of a century later. The first Boeing 747 jet was flown in 1970, only 12 years after the first commercial jet service began. A quarter century after the first commercial jet flight, 747-300’s were introduced. 747’s are still being built today. Reasoning by analogy with the aircraft industry, we should expect to have seen most of the major advances in off-shore wind turbines, though further refinement and new material may lower costs somewhat.
      BTW, the world first off-shore wind farm is being decommissioned.
      http://www.dongenergy.com/en/media/newsroom/news/articles/worlds-first-offshore-wind-farm-on-its-last-turn
      “Wind power brings cleaner air as coal and gas-fired plants will not run as much.” Sure, but it will be more expensive to operate per MW-h produced, since capital costs and operating costs – but not fuel costs – will still need to be paid. You certainly won’t be paying staff by the hour to operate such a plant and wind and solar output are not very predictable a day ahead of time. And some fuel will be wasted operating in spinning reserve for times when the wind slackens. When a wind turbine is providing intermittent power right now, that doesn’t mean that customers aren’t paying a lot of money for reliable backup power from natural gas.”
      “Wind power prolongs the life of natural gas supplies and the life of the gas fired power plants.” Sorry, wind power means that gas-fired power plants will the ramped up and shut down a lot more, reducing their lifetime, decreasing efficiency and increasing pollution.
      “Grid-scale electricity storage is available and will also have massive cost reductions, as above.” Sorry. Wind averages 30% of nameplate output. If you want a 100 MW of peak output capacity, it is currently cheaper to build more than 1000 MW of wind nameplate capacity (enough to meet demand operating at 10% of nameplate capacity), than it is to build grid scale storage. So we pay more than necessary to generate power from wind (rather than gas) and then we pay twice as much to store that power until we need it and half of it is wasted because it arrives when we can’t use it or store it!

    • Those technological advances were accomplished by the private sector. When a technology requires massive amounts of taxpayer subsidies, I question the move and the motive.
      “Wind power brings cleaner air as coal and gas-fired plants will not run as much.
      Wind power prolongs the life of natural gas supplies and the life of the gas fired power plants.”
      And that same wind power will greatly clutter the landscape – those wind turbines are grossly ugly. To your last quoted sentence, I would add, “…and shorten the life of many trees that are doomed to be consumed in wood stoves”.

    • Sorry Roger but we have been developing wind power for over 10.000 years. there is no quantum leap in wind efficiency going to show up. That ship sailed long ago. 🙂 Grid level storage is also a pipe dream. Even if we used the entire Great Lakes there wouldn’t be enough to last three days at US grid usage levels. Wind and Solar are both useless technology’s for supplying electrical power in most instances mainly due to the lack of energy density. The wind and sun just don’t supply enough energy in a small enough package.

    • Trying to compare the development of wind turbines with that of air travel is another red herring. No matter how efficient wind turbines become they will STILL be subject to variations in output dependent on the weather. Can you imagine being a passenger on an airliner when the captain announces that the expected 8 hours endurance has suddenly dropped to 2 hours, and he is desperately looking for a suitable place to land? I suppose you could try and claim that “the wind is always blowing somewhere” and have commercial airliners linked together with long cables, so that when one runs out of fuel, the others will pull it to its destination…

    • Roger: You need to check your aviation history. BOAC introduced international jet service (London to Johannesburg) on May 2, 1952 although the planes had structural issues which caused them to be withdrawn from service in two years. Aeroflot was flying TU-104’s on long internal flights in 1955 and international flights shortly thereafter. Pan Am was the first US airline to offer International jet service in 1958. Pan Am quite rightly jump-started commercial passenger aviation the US.

    • Wind power prolongs the life of birds by providing them convenient perches upon which to rest their weary [SMACK!] … oops. Never mind.

    • wind energy has been with us for 1000 years T0 say that its in its infancy is not a mistake, its a deliberate lie.
      even electrical generating wind turbines are well over 25 years old.
      there
      are no cost reductions and there never have been in the last 15 years.

  19. The following is a copy of a post I made last night in response to the “Wind power fiercer than expected ” post. I doubt many people will see it, so I’m repeating it here:
    I’m mostly curious about how nor’easters and icing will impact Deepwater Wind than I am about wind flow. However, a query from an Email list I’m on inspired me to hunt down the paper an take a closer look. The paper is available at http://www.windaction.org/posts/45573-on-the-predominance-of-unstable-atmospheric-conditions-in-the-marine-boundary-layer-offshore-of-the-u-s-northeastern-coast Not firewalled!
    The paper uses data from low level airplane flights and the Cape Wind Met (Meteorological) tower, which was not as tall as the planned turbines. The paper refers to instruments at 20, 41, and 60 meters above MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water, a term I haven’t encountered before), the Deepwater wind turbines are said to be 270 feet (82m or so) tall, but that has to be the tower height, and even that’s too low.
    https://www.gerenewableenergy.com/content/dam/gepower-renewables/global/en_US/documents/haliade-offshore-wind-turbine.pdf says “Hub height 100 m (or site-specific)” and “Rotor diameter 150.95m”. That means the blade tips will be shuttling between 25m and 175m, way in excess of the Cape Wind Met tower. BTW, these are 6 MW turbines with blade lengths 50% longer than any land based turbine I’m familiar with.
    I imagine the Cape Wind folks figured their Met tower would cover the boundary zone over the rotor’s swept area and that air flow would be steady above the boundary zone.
    The paper says that the air flow is more complex than that. The paper looks at data recorded from an airplane at flight levels 30 – 90 meters, so those are below the nacelle too!
    All in all, I really don’t know what the implications are from this. A steady, stable air flow will have wind sheer, with significantly lower wind speed at the bottom of the rotor than at the top. An unstable air flow has much less sheer, but will have quite a bit of random motion, left, right, forward, backward and even up and down. Either way they’ll have some interesting forces, they may have more trouble dealing with the random, turbulent wind.

    • For Mike Borgelt,
      Yes, there are multiple technologies in several sizes installed around the world. DoE has a website with a searchable database.
      Viable grid-scale storage includes conventional pumped storage hydroelectric with two fresh water lakes, the Okinawa-style storage with the ocean as the lower reservoir and a seawater lake elevated onshore, the MIT underwater spheres in shallow coastal waters, rail gravity systems in the low hills, and the new HPA batteries (Halogenated Poly-Acetylene) patented by BioSolar.

      • Exists and proven
        Pumped storage – massively expensive on any grid-sized scale and locally environmentally catastrophic
        Mooted concepts
        MIT underwater spheres in shallow coastal waters – conceptual only, huge engineering challenges
        rail gravity systems in the low hills – massively expensive on any grid-sized scale (ARES is for balancing only), huge maintenance costs
        HPA batteries – not commerically available and still massively expensive on any grid-sized scale
        and many more – please specify

    • Easy.
      All currently operating US wind farms are onshore, mostly in places with abundant wind resource potential.

      • It’s easy on ratepayers in Texas. Although, it is kind of rough on the owners of nuclear. coal and natural gas plants. ERCOT puts the burden of failed wind power delivery on them.

    • For one thing, there’s no mention of the federal subsides to build the turbines and the Renewable Energy Credits that can be sold for generated power. Those are the main things that makes wind power economic to build.
      Also, most turbines are out in the plains on flat land. Easy to build, though they need low wires. Farmers think it they’re a good deal at first. but learn otherwise later.
      Turbines in New England are a lot more expensive, build on mountain ridges, a lot of people impacted, and rather inhospitable conditions.

  20. It’s the Grapes of Wrath for the middle class and poor in the northeast. Give the out-migrants aid as they pass your area and show them your utility bill, housing costs, tax rates, and savings rates. Show them the job opportunities in your area also. Do the same for small business owners as they exit for the same reasons.

    • Seeing the above picture brings a question to mind.
      I know there is a wind speed difference from top to bottom, but has anybody worked out the difference in rotor speed taking into account all that water impacting the blades?
      Just a thought.
      SteveT

    • Just for information, the operating wind speed of the units is 6.7 mph to 56 mph.

      Good. So they can “operate” over a wider wind speed band than other models.
      Now, over a year’s operation, can they actually dispatch more than 20% of their theoretical rated capacity? If so, they’d be better than any other facility worldwide.

  21. Whether or not these off shore wind farms produce much electricity is a moot point. They will slow down the wind and provide excellent shore protection for the residents and a place for barnacles to grow.
    (Do I really need a tag on the above? ;-D )

    • Sailors will find there is no more wind to fill the sails and more use of fossil fuels and the earth will warm.

  22. Perhaps Massachusetts is trying to emulate Ontario with all it’s wind energy and policies that have resulted in 226,000 people not paying their 2015 power bills. 567,000 customers are in arrears. When the choice is between food and electricity, food wins every time. Guess who gets hurt the most? The poor, especially the rural poor in Ontario where distribution costs for rural customers are huge.
    http://globalnews.ca/search/hydro/

    Hydro One, which serves 1.3 million customers primarily in rural Ontario, reported the number of residential customers in arrears increased from 183,934 in 2013 to 225,952 in 2015, an increase of 22.8 per cent. According to the OEB, “arrears” is classified as an account that is 46 days past the payment period.

    That means about 17% of that utilities customers are having trouble paying their bills. Winter is coming. Folks will be cutting more wood, using less utility power making costs for those still using it more expensive. A never ending rabbit hole.

    • I live in Ontario and even I am thinking about shutting off the grid supply and generating my power with natural gas. It will be interesting to see how much it costs per month. I only need about 5KW to run my house as the water heater, stove and furnace are all gas.

      • I live in Ontario as well. The Liberal government’s restructuring of the hydro shell game here, has put me at upper limit of my sustainability for electrical power at home. Simply, as newly retired individual, I cannot afford further increases in electrical utility cost. As this juggernaut expands, the demographic that is being priced out of the electrical market, a serious matter in climates where winter temps regularly drop to -25C, will expand as well. The increasing power costs are not borne simply in electrical bills to the consumer – they are also passed through the entire supply chain. EVERYTHING gets more expensive. In Ontario, the exodus of industry with high electrical demand continues. For a good many Ontarioans who are feeling the energy pinch, there is little alternative choice. Capital expenditures on the home to use currently cheaper alternates is already problematic for those individuals cash strapped now for hydro payments and may not be able to satisfy debt service ratios to pay for home improvements.
        The increasing defaulting consumer base will increase debt service cost to the hydro industry, leading to further demands for even more price increases to offset. Ontario already has a massive debt service cost in it’s hydro utility monopoly. Government’s response will have to be a further subsidization of consumers and/ the utility monopoly or societal collapse is inevitable. Canada is not a country in which you can park your butt under a bush for 12 months of the year to lower costs like you can in many tropical and subtropical countries.
        It’s regularly forgotten by the greenies that Canada, for example, exists in the societal size and complexity that it does because of cheap energy. First it was the forests, then the coal and petroleum products, all with relatively high efficiencies compared to wind and solar. The net benefit of “sustainable” energy to Canada is negative. No amount of lipstick on that pig will change that unless we reduce infrastructure and population to that of the nation before the arrival of the Europeans. Ask the indigenes how comfortable this place was back then…

  23. I wonder what the acoustic signature is going to be. Has anyone studied it? I suspect there could be an impact on marine fauna.
    The more I look at these kinds of contraptions the more I think that, in the end, this really isn’t about the environment at all, but instead these are typically bureaucratic (hence unoriginal yet complex) vehicles to enable the rent seeking, crony capitalist, globalists to increase their multi-billion dollar portfolios on the backs of the little people.

  24. Windmills are a fool’s errand and a dead end. They are a diversion, a deadly diversion, from what we should really be doing to secure our energy future.

  25. As an EE engineer working with power systems in off-shore areas it has been my observation that the maintenance costs of off-shore systems are about 10x the cost of onshore systems. The overall environmental factors & the salt water environment conspire to degrade offshore installations at a very rapid pace. So assuming that one can keep the wind turbine/generators running long term – there is the maintenance factor to consider. Failures are to be expected in the worst of conditions & then you need to call on your maintenance crew to resolve problems and get things back on-line. I’m just glad that I don’t have to work in their eng. maintenace group. I don’t think I’d get much sleep.

  26. If these things are standing in 5 years, I’ll be amazed. We are so overdue for a large hurricane in the Northeast it’s approaching absurd. When it happens, these things will be on the bottom of the ocean and become artificial reefs.

      • The Perfect Storm really didn’t become perfect until it headed out to the north Atlantic, but it was a nearly perfect storm before then. This summary is decent, though it doesn’t mention the damage in Maine too.
        It does make me wonder if a rogue wave could reach the bottom of the turbines’ rotors. Probably not, but that would be neat.
        http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/perfect-storm-hits-north-atlantic says in part:

        On October 27, Hurricane Grace formed near Bermuda and moved north toward the coast of the southeastern United States. Two days later, Grace continued to move north, where it encountered a massive low pressure system moving south from Canada. The clash of systems over the Atlantic Ocean caused 40-to-80-foot waves on October 30—unconfirmed reports put the waves at more than 100 feet in some locations. This massive surf caused extensive coastal flooding, particularly in Massachusetts; damage was also sustained as far south as Jamaica and as far north as Newfoundland.
        The storm continued to churn in the Atlantic on October 31; it was nicknamed the “Halloween storm.” It came ashore on November 2 along the Nova Scotia coast, then, as it moved northeast over the Gulf Stream waters, it made a highly unusual transition into a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center made the decision not to name the storm for fear it would alarm and confuse local residents. It was only the eighth hurricane not given a name since the naming of hurricanes began in 1950.
        Meanwhile, as the storm developed, the crew of the 70-foot fishing boat Andrea Gail was fishing for swordfish in the Grand Banks of the North Atlantic. The Andrea Gail was last heard from on October 28. When the boat did not return to port on November 1 as scheduled, rescue teams were sent out.

    • Being overdue for a hurricane doesn’t increase the probability that we will have one. If anything, it suggests that long term climate change is reducing the hurricane risk.
      You’d do better drawing an analogy with the hurricanes of the 1950s during the end of the last warm phase of the AMO.

  27. Please please, get the terminology correct. There is nothing agricultural about a conglomeration of wind turbines. But I would accept wind plant.

    • The word “farm” is used because a field of turbines is harvesting wind power… It actually makes more sense to call this a wind farm than it does to call atmospheric retardation of radiative cooling a greenhouse effect.

      • FARM definition :
        NOUN
        1.an area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals, typically under the control of one owner or manager.
        synonyms: ranch · farmstead · plantation · estate · family farm ·
        [more]
        VERB
        1.make one’s living by growing crops or keeping livestock:
        “he has farmed organically for five years”
        synonyms: work the land · be a farmer · cultivate the land ·
        [more]
        2.(farm someone/something out)
        send out or subcontract work to others:
        “it saves time and money to farm out some writing work to specialized companies”
        synonyms: contract out · outsource · subcontract · delegate
        3.historical
        allow someone to collect and keep the revenues from (a tax) on payment of a fee:
        “the customs had been farmed to the collector for a fixed sum”
        Nothing about a wind facility, wind operation system, wind generator, wind plant, wind turbine, wind , wind, is a farm. Nothing.

      • Full Definition of farm
        1
        obsolete : a sum or due fixed in amount and payable at fixed intervals
        2
        : a letting out of revenues or taxes for a fixed sum to one authorized to collect and retain them
        3
        : a district or division of a country leased out for the collection of government revenues
        4
        : a tract of land devoted to agricultural purposes
        5
        a : a plot of land devoted to the raising of animals and especially domestic livestock
        b : a tract of water reserved for the artificial cultivation of some aquatic life form
        6
        : a minor-league team (as in baseball) associated with a major-league team as a subsidiary
        7:
        an area containing a number of similar structures or objects (as radio antennas or storage tanks)

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/farm

      • Okay Mr. Middleton,
        I’ll expand my thoughts just a bit.
        I propose we just delete every agricultural farm and replace them with JUST Wind Turbine ‘Farms’. ( you know,) the ones that will ‘free us’ from fossil fuels.
        We’re on our way to doing that right now, I can’t wait ! I’m so excited !
        We can then, harvest all the dead birds, bats, bees, butterflies, worms, and the scavengers of those dead, whom feed very well, – until the amount of nature is killed off to extinction. Also, we can just clear those agriculture area’s and buy our food from China. Yep, sounds great to me.
        Take that to your grocery store, please and thank you. : )

      • At least they would be eating their primary energy source rather than converting food into fuel.

  28. It would simplify our data comparisons if, instead of lengthy 1,000,000/MW and similar data we recognize that “M” stands for million and thus the cost of power plants can be in simple $/W.
    Speaking of capital (investment) costs it should be indicative of the actual annual (or longer) average output, that is power TO THE GRID. Here is an example of what I mean.
    The second unit at the Millstone Nuclear Plant Complex cost 0.5 $/W nameplate in 1975 which amounts to 4.45×0.5 = 2.2 $/W when adjusted for inflation to 2015. Adjusted for the downtime over the 40 years of operation leads to 2.4 $/W. That’s the number other power plants should be compared to. Then include longevity – in this case to 60 years before major re-built is required. The plant is still running today, 40 years later, at full capacity and CF of 88%.
    The nameplate rating is useful for comparing among nuclear plants but it is, of course, irrelevant when comparing with various other energy sources, such as solar that delivers only 1/7th of the nameplate power on the average and lasts 20 years. To match nuclear power plants, three sets of the solar or wind plants would need to be erected.
    So I believe that power plant projects should specify not just the nameplate power but also the “power to the grid” averaged over a year or more. Furthermore, unlike nuclear or fossil fuel plants, solar plants of the same nameplate will deliver better CF in one location (dry, sunny) than another (humid and cloudy). The same for windmills with their 1/4th of the nameplate power; their output also depends on location and elevation and so will deliver higher or lower percentage of the nameplate rating and that not just over a year but also from one year to the other. Higher power output in offshore locations do not necessary have any different $/W for the higher installation and maintenance costs. And like any aerodynamic structure, their life is relatively short in comparisons with nuclear.
    And let’s not forget the operation expenses, a unit watt/employee (or employee per watt) the watt being the actual power to the grid averaged over several years. Anyone has such numbers? I understand the new Georgia plant will be at 2000 kW/employee.

    • W, kW, MW, GW, TW… When you use W, the $$$’s shrink, but the W’s expand. When you use GW, the $$$’s expand, but the GW’s often drop below 1. I like using MW because it seems to be a happy middle ground.

      • It appears that the common and understandable way of expressing this is KW for nameplate capacity since this is the common rating for commercial power sources whether a 5KW gasoline generator or a 2,000KW reactor. A one KW nameplate power source operated at full nameplate capacity yields 8,766 KWh per year, i.e. one KWh for 8,766 hours per year. This is easier to express as 8.766 GWh.
        Again, per California’s Energy Almanac, nuclear operates at 90.97% of nameplate capacity and wind at 21.6% of nameplate capacity. The problem is that wind is not constantly generating 21.6% all year long, but that it generates nameplate capacity occasionally and no or very low power oftentimes. This defines the concept of baseload power and intermittent power.
        This is based on California state government numbers and I feel secure that they are not understating the amount of wind derived power.
        The daily power output from the South Australia wind farms demonstrates the variability of power availability from this source.
        References:
        California
        http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/electric_generation_capacity.html
        Australia (Non-Governmental Source)
        energy.anero.id.au/
        energy.anero.id.au/wind-energy/2016/august

  29. I still have a problem trying to resolve whether the likes of Roger Sowell are totally deluded individuals, out & out Liers or a mixture of the two.

    • All grid connected wind power, is, by definition, a wasted duplication of resources as it has to have a back-up. No modern society can forego that back-up. Falling costs or not, it is still an unnecessary wasteful duplication paid for by taxpayers.
      Meaningful wind power generation can only make sense off-grid or within the margins of balancing consistent with normal grid management ( < 10% ?)
      The only grid scale back-up that works for more than a few hours is pumped storage, but this is not possible for the vast majority of wind power production (cost, environment, geographical opportunity).
      Oh, and no Roger, we don't want to see your list of fantasy grid-scale storage methods again!
      SteveT

      • “All grid connected wind power, is, by definition, a wasted duplication of resources as it has to have a back-up.”
        No Steve, you just made that up. Wind reduces the amount of primarily natural used to make electricity. The fossil plant is already there. Depending on the long term availability of the fossil fuel resource, wind can actually make the fossil plant last longer.
        The flaw in the renewable energy argument is that fossil fuels are needed to make it work.
        Places that have run out of fossil fuel use nuclear designed for load following.

    • No. That assumes 100% capacity factor. They’ll be doing extremely well if the hit 30-40%. So figure $30million a megawatt or so.
      Offshore wind and long power cables (included in the 300 M$) ain’t cheap.
      Wind is free – it’s just that converting and piping the energy is expensive. 🙂

      • It’s $10 million per MW irrespective of the capacity factor.
        Capacity factor affects the MWh, not the MW.

      • Okay, but given they’ve paid 300 M$ and will average 10 MW out of it over time (your MWh for you), it’ll feel like $3-/MW and will generate about as much power as 2% of a decent sized natural gas plant.

  30. Below is an excerpt from previous post on land-based wind power.
    The real issue is not Capacity Factor – it is Substitution Capacity, due to intermittency.
    Forcing expensive intermittent wind and solar power into the grid ahead of less expensive reliable (and dispatchable) power from gas turbine generators is part of the game to artificially bias the alleged economics in favour of wind and solar power. Without this charade, wind and solar power would cost much more than is alleged.
    The concept of forcing non-dispatchable wind power into the grid while idling much cheaper dispatchable power is simply a way to fool and defraud the public.
    Regards, Allan
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/27/exxon-stands-up-to-the-green-bullies/comment-page-1/#comment-2154602
    [excerpt]
    On Grid-Connected Wind and Solar Power:
    Wind Power is what warmists typically embrace – trillions of dollars have been squandered on worthless grid-connected wind power schemes that require life-of-project subsidies and drive up energy costs.
    Some background on grid-connected wind power schemes:
    The Capacity Factor of wind power is typically a bit over 20%, but that is NOT the relevant factor.
    The real truth is told by the Substitution Capacity, which is dropping to as low as 4% in Germany – that is the amount of conventional generation that can be permanently retired when wind power is installed into the grid.
    The E.ON Netz Wind Report 2005 is an informative document:
    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf
    (apparently no longer available from E.ON Netz website).
    Figure 6 says Wind Power is too intermittent (and needs almost 100% spinning backup);
    and
    Figure 7 says it just gets worse and worse the more Wind Power you add to the grid (see Substitution Capacity dropping from 8% to 4%).
    The same story applies to grid-connected Solar Power (both in the absence of a “Super-Battery”).
    This was obvious to us decades ago.
    Trillions of dollars have been squandered globally on green energy that is not green and produces little useful energy.

  31. I’m in the wrong business! How can anyone produce something for 10 times the competitor’s cost and get paid more than market price?
    Madness. That so few see anything wrong with this reveals the deep cost of ignorance and the lack of return on our trillion dollar education system!

    • Agreed.
      The CF is supposed to be the average of several years existence (not just “performance”) and not selectively the best year as is often done. The CF in the 30th is correct. Then ad also the 5 % line loss before you get the true “CF to-the-grid” in the low 30s.

  32. Eventually the pink monkeys gave up on windmills and commercialized
    the taxpayer funded Gen III and Gen IV nuclear reactors ..

  33. Want to curb future CO2 emissions ??
    Then commercialize Gen III and Gen IV fission reactors ..
    I find it maddening that we have these advanced taxpayer
    funded reactors ready to go yet we fail to deploy them ..
    The technology is just too disruptive to the existing fossil fuel
    primary energy producers and they are doing everything
    in their power to ensure that these reactors never see the light of day ..
    The manufacturers of nuclear fuel assemblies to the existing
    fission fleet have no incentive to support these reactors either
    as their fuel cycles are radically different ..
    Instead we get increasing carbon taxes and token investments
    in orders of magnitude less efficient wind and solar ..
    Some of the features
    Significantly more efficient fuel utilization vs existing fission fleet
    Operate at atmospheric pressures
    Cheaper to build
    Can burn “spent” fuel from existing fission fleet
    Passively safe
    No possible meltdown
    No possible steam explosion
    Orders of magnitude less long lived waste
    Abundant energy for at least the next 5000 years
    No “new” science required prior to commercialization
    Check out Kirk Sorensen’s U-tube videos for the history of the MSBR
    Martingales ThorCon reactor ( MSR )
    Russian BN-850 reactor ( IFR )
    GE’s PRISM reactor ( IFR )

    • James you seem to be a little confused. We are building new reactors. I had been working in ‘new reactors’ division of my company since 2006. Just before retiring I was at plants under construction in China. One reactor just started up in the US and 4 are under construction.
      We build reactors to make electricity where it is needed. Not to reduce ghg. That is not a design criteria. As it happens, the ghg per kwh is much lower than wind and solar.
      I have also worked at a fuel assemble plant which included a specificity line. Each reload core is individually designed and manufactured. One or two truck are needed to transport.
      James seems to be disappointed that we are not building crazy idea reactors to match the crazy idea off shore wind farms or crazy idea solar.
      Working on proven ideas is just as interesting and rewarding crazy ideas.

  34. “the taxpayer funded Gen III and Gen IV nuclear reactor”
    Which taxpayers and which reactors? Idiots like James like to repeat thing they saw on a u-tube videos.
    Here is how it works in the US. A crazy idea gets promoted. It gets into an appropriations bill. Companies that build reactors bid on them.
    For example my company got cost sharing money to design a High temperature modular gas cooled reactor. The prototype was to be built in Idaho with commercialization set for 2025.
    The driving force was to produce hydrogen for fuel cells cars.
    Here is what happens to crazy ideas. Some of us more practical engineers will tell you they are crazy ideas but you insist on paying us anyway. So we work on crazy ideas for a while and during that time we just get paid and put out pretty color brochures so you will give more money.
    Meanwhile, another crazy idea comes along to capture the short attention span of the public and funding will stop.
    Some will that there is a conspiracy. It takes a lot of work to make good ideas work. It is really hard to make a crazy idea work.

  35. “fiascos being built at Vogtle and Sumner ”
    So Roger tell me about the offshore wind farms being built near San Diego!
    Location, location, location! Those are the three most important factors for deciding what kind of power plant to build.
    The first reason not build near Roger is Roger is against nuclear and anything near him. Second, no wind!

Comments are closed.