By the numbers: Lifetime Performance of World’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Decommissioning of world’s first offshore wind farm offers an opportunity to see how industry costs have changed over the past 25 years.

Guest essay by T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, CAPT, USN (ret.)

Lifetime Performance of World’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Decommissioning has started at the 26-year old Vindeby offshore project, one of the world’s first The 4.95MW Vindeby offshore project was installed in 1991 using 11 Bonus 450kW turbines. It operated 1.5-3.0km off the southern Danish coast.

The first offshore windfarm in the world has just been decommissioned and is now being torn down ( http://www.windpoweroffshore.com/article/1427436/dong-begins-vindeby-decommissioning-pictures ). Its lifetime performance specs are illuminating in comparison with recent wind industry data, and alternative generation options.

1991 Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm – Denmark

Years of Operation: 1991-2016 (25)

Capital Cost: 75M Kroner = $13M (1991USD) = $23M (2017USD)

Number of Turbines: 11 @ 450 kW

Lifetime Generation: 243 GWh

Nameplate Capacity: 4.9 MW

Average Power Output: 1.1 MW

Cost/Nampepate Capacity: $2.65/Watt (1991USD), $4.7/Watt (2017USD)

Lifetime Capacity Factor: 22%

Cost/Effective Output: $12/Watt (1991USD), $21/Watt (2017USD)

Levelized Capital Cost: $53/MWh (1991USD), $95/MWh (2017USD)

Levelized VOM Cost: $65/MWh (Estimated using $130/kw-hr industry figures for 2015)

Lower Bound of LCOE: $160/MWh (2017USD)

2015 Industry Performance Data for Offshore Wind (http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1380738/global-costs-analysis-year-offshore-wind-costs-fell ).

Cost/Nameplate Capacity: $5/Watt

Capacity Factor: 40%

Cost/Effective Output: $12.5/Watt

O&M Costs: $130/kW-yr

Lower bound of LCOE: $150/MWh (2015USD), $154/MWh (2017USD)

 

Conclusions:

1. While turbines are getting larger, able to operate at lower wind speeds, and improving their capacity factors, the total lifecycle cost per unit of energy provided from offshore wind has not perceptibly decreased from 1991 to 2015. Higher costs of O&M for larger turbines farther offshore seems to consume savings from higher capacity factors.

2. As it is uncontrollably variable and weather dependent, offshore wind generation remains uncompetitive with gas and coal which are half the cost (~ $70/MWh LCOE) while providing fully dispatchable and weather-independent power that is of much higher value to a power grid.

NOTE: Somehow, the original posting got deleted. I’m unsure how this happened. Unfortunately, comments that were linked to it disappeared as well. This is the second posting recovered from the original source. -Anthony

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110 thoughts on “By the numbers: Lifetime Performance of World’s First Offshore Wind Farm

  1. ,blockquote>NOTE: Somehow, the original posting got deleted. I’m unsure how this happened. Unfortunately, comments that were linked to it disappeared as well. This is the second posting recovered from the original source. -Anthony

    Sooo…”nothing to see here”? 8-)

  2. stand-by costs could add around 45% to the costs for onshore wind and 30% to offshore wind. If this were the case, and taking our afore-quoted near-term project, the cost of onshore wind would become quite uneconomic and offshore wind even more absurdly expensive, as shown in chart 3.

    (Source: p. 5 of Ruth Lea’s analysis here: The Folly of Windpower http://blackmain.taylorpartners.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Ruth-Lea-The-Folly-of-Wind-Power-2011-10.pdf )

    • There is much more than cost associated with sourcing energy. If the citizens of a country do not want nuclear energy then no matter how good the economic or environmental case, there will not be nuclear energy as it would be political suicide for the Government that sanctions it. Similar with all other types of energy generation, the public, holds a huge influence whether that influence is based on solid financial data or irrational perceived fears or purely on what it looks like in the landscape. Those making the decisions are voted in and out by the citizens and not by the accountants.

      • Your comment makes absolutely no sense. The government of South Australia is about to be voted out because it can not supply reliable electricity. The people of SA are almost begging for reliable coal or gas fired power.

  3. In the calculation, is that VOM for off shore wind farms or just wind farms generally?

    I have found it difficult to find audited VOM numbers.

    • This is specifically offshore wind data. Quoted from the Windpower Monthly article that is linked:

      . . . the median O&M figure for offshore wind has fallen significantly – from over $170/kW a year to $130/kW a year . . . .

  4. For the time being offshore windfarms in Denmark do not pay for connection to the grid. It is payed by Energinet and all consumers in the country. It is considered a common responcibility to make the connections to these unpredictable energy sources. In older times some windparks were compensated if the connection failed. It might have changed now, but i am not sure. It is anyway a part of the contract with the state for the conditions to build the park.
    It is interresting to se the data for this first windpark, and compare them in the future to newer parks.

    • Are you saying the numbers quoted in this article DO NOT include cost of connection? Even though it could include several miles of marine grade underwater cable or towers? And I guess I’m really asking for a much more detailed description of the costs shown. If I’m evaluating a money decision I want to know ALL costs, no matter who or what pays for it, and I can’t be sure we got that from these “official” figures.

  5. as far as i can see, the LCOE can be what ever you want it to be. eg the Australian climate council consider the LCOE to be higher for coal now than wind, which is typical of the lies being spread by them and nearly everybody else in the so called renewables industry.

    not only is the LCOE itself a fudge figure, the application of it is too. scam, scam, scam. it seems that none of the people that matter are able to see the simple fact that this is just a way of scamming more money from tax payers, or they just dont care and are complicit.

  6. re:

    improving their capacity factors

    You’ll need some mighty strong proof to establish that assertion to any meaningful degree. That is, given current wind power technology, any “improvement” is highly likely to be too small to be meaningful.

    Hm. Looks like ANOTHER article (like A. Comendador’s recent one promoting the “GW” of AGW) whose main point is not the stated one, but, rather, to push enviroprofiteering, here, Big Wind.

  7. I refer to wind and solar as “grid disrupters”. That’s about all they do. They have negative value.

    • tabnumlock:

      You rightly say

      I refer to wind and solar as “grid disrupters”. That’s about all they do. They have negative value.

      People wanting explanations of your statements can find them here.

      Richard

      • Nowhere is that more true than in the Pacific NW, where we can’t optimize our enormous hydropower because of the demands of the dark, satanic windmills using the same grid.

    • Unless coupled with sufficient storage to firm up and time shift their output, I’d have to agree. And any storage, of course, pushes them further out of economic competitiveness with dispatchable thermal generation.

      • Storage does not fix the low energy output nor the need for many, many acres of land, wildlife deaths, etc. A 19th century energy source for a 21st century world is not doable with anything but utter inefficiency.

  8. Need to study the difference between MW capacity and MWh energy.

    Construction ratios are couched in terms of capacity, $/MW or $/kW. $2.65/W = $2,650/kW. Need to compare based on same ratios. Power industry uses $/kW.

    Production is energy, $/kWh etc. At the facility O&M expenses are $/MWh. Your home bill is $/kWh. Demand charges are in kW.

    It’s the difference from the monthly car payment (demand, capacity) and the monthly gasoline bill (energy).

    I can’t tell if the authors have no idea or just conflate the terms to confuse.

    Too many of these studies are done by youngsters fresh out of somewhere with no editor who understands the topic.

    • @ Nicholas S.
      I’m in the industry. I know the diff between power and energy, capacity and generation. Would you kindly point out specifically what mistake you think I have made above?

    • O&M for wind and solar are normally calculated per MW-yr, not MWh. This is because these sources do not have fuel costs that are proportional to MWh as fossil fuel generation does. They have relatively flat annual costs proportional to the fixed size of their plants, and the O&M contracts are typically a flat fee per MWh with an annual escalator for inflation.

  9. Those figures for wind may not contain side effect costs because its power must be backed up by reliable capacity.
    And Moltex Energy is estimating a levelized cost of production for their molten salt reactors as “significantly less than $40 per MWhr.” And that is valuable power that can be produced on demand
    and it can load follow as well. Its power has a value far, far greater than wind power.

    • Yes the real question is what is the cost of these unreliables should they more correctly only be permitted to tender electrons to the grid that they can guarantee 24/7 all year round (ie short of mechanical breakdown). The molten salt and battery sectors would want answers to that as much as the thermal generators but most importantly electricity users. It’s the fundamental question the unreliable spruikers ignore for the obvious but the outcomes like South Australia are increasingly begging the question.

  10. What to me is a telling tale is that the pylons are not being fitted with newer turbines. You would think with them in place the cost to keep going would be significantly less. Does this means that the infrastructure such as pylons do not last either?

  11. Before the original comments disappeared, Griff assured us that offshore windmill farms posed no threat to birds, because in future they would be positioned farther away from avian migratory paths. No comment on whether those bird-friendly positions also were windy.

    But last year a Scottish court disagreed with Griff’s anti-environmental wishful thinking:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/12/birds-scupper-2bn-offshore-wind-farm/

    Diving gannets are the coolest:

    But their swarming behavior around schools of fish give the lie to Griff’s lack of worry. Bird migration routes have nothing to do with it. Gannets go where the fish are.

    • Well I note that having examined the evidence, they did NOT build the windfarm

      so also they did NOT build the extension to the London array which was in the wintering grounds of the Red Throated Diver (Loon to US folk)

      Offshore wind planning also takes note of feeding and wintering bird populations as well as migration routes and coastal migration routes.

      They don’t put them where the birds go.

      (The sea between Norway/Sweden and Denmark is on a north/south non-seabird migration route)

      • Predicting exact migration routes and home domiciles of birds is not within human capability. As stated, the birds go where the fish are. If the turbines drive out or kill all the fish in the area, then the birds would probably stay away. Not sure killing or driving out fish is environmentally friendly, but whatever. Wind people seem determined to destroy the planet in order to save it.

      • So show us all these imaginary sites with a good wind profile but with no effect on resident or migratory birds. Then please factor in effects on marine life.

        Not to mention bats, which do follow their insect prey out to sea.

        There is no way around the fact that wind farms are ecological black holes, sucking ever more living things into their vortices of death and destruction.

    • Gannets are amazing. I especially like the way they follow each other in the middle picture.

      … only kidding.

  12. As far as an energy grid is concerned…………. Renewables = Scam.

    There’s not much else to say really.

    • Renewables = Scam

      I wouldn’t go that far. In a place with low population in a very windy location backed up by copious hydro they almost make sense. The ones in New Zealand seem to be doing OK.

      It isn’t hard to make wind economic. You just need to get rid of most of your population, move your country to the roaring forties, turn up the annual rainfall level, and install a few extra mountain ranges with massive hydro schemes. Easy.

  13. One of the main objectives of renewables is to save the use of fossil fuels. Does anyone have any figures on the actual amount of fossil fuel that is saved when all factors such as fuel used to build the renewable and the actual fuel saved by the electrical load being reduced by the renewables? My understanding that the throttle down of a conventional power plant doesn’t save much fuel.

    • Indeed, a coal-fired plant has to just keep going, notwithstanding the transient contributions from wind turbine/bird killers and solar panels.

    • James Francisco:

      You say

      My understanding that the throttle down of a conventional power plant doesn’t save much fuel.

      It is often worse than that. Throttle down of a conventional power plant reduces the plant’s efficiency and, therefore, the plant then usually increases its fuel consumption although it produces less electricity.

      Emissions are proportional to fuel used. In 2003 David Tolley (the then Head of Networks and Ancillary Services, Innogy (a subsidiary of the German energy consortium RWE) said of windfarms in the UK,

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

      Coal plant will be part-loaded such that the loss of a generating unit can swiftly be replaced by bringing other units on to full load.

      In addition to increased costs of holding reserve in this manner, it has been estimated that the entire benefit of reduced emissions from the renewables programme has been negated by the increased emissions from part-loaded plant under NETA.

      (NETA is the New Electricity Trading Arrangements, the UK’s deregulated power market.)

      Richard

      • And, of course, this is what the greenies want people to do for “Earth Hour”, failing to understand that power plants don’t just STOP. So all those deluded people out there ‘doing their part for the planet’ are actually WASTING fossil fuel.

  14. I find the great irony is that Wind Turbines can’t even make themselves. I would also like some scrutiny on these figures particularly in regard to the economic life.

  15. “2015 Industry Performance Data for Offshore Wind”

    The numbers used for the linked article are drawn from IEA “International Energy Agency” reports. An agency that proactively supports wind and solar power.

    One of the alleged attempts to summarize “subsidies” for “fossil fuels” is a report by the IEA where incredible reaches of reason along with gross assumptions are used to assign costs as fossil fuel subsidies. Including social costs of carbon, tax rebates to renewables and other absurdities.

    Any numbers drawn from IEA reports require thorough vetting from initial source to final assignation. Until verified, treat IEA numbers with extreme suspicion.

  16. “I’m in the industry. ”

    So Ike what do you do in the industry?

    If I sound skeptical, it is because I was a nuke officer and power in the nuclear power industry from 1980. My father was also in navy anti-sub aviation from 1937 for 40 years.

    The latter taught me to know BS when I hear it. Not that I do not love a good sea story.

    The former makes me wonder why anyone would bother to analysis 1991 offshore wind.

    However, I was surprised the numbers were as good they were. I was expecting a lot worse.

    • @Retired Kit P,
      The numbers are not meant to meant to be all-inclusive. They ignore the offloaded costs of buffering and backup (spinning reserve, contingency reserve, ramping peaker plants) and grid integration (new transmission lines, ancillary grid services such as storage, etc.). The intent of the post was to do an apples-to-apples comparison across 25 years. Using IEA/ Wind Power Monthly cost figures was intentional so as to give the most favorable case for current performance. The key takeaway was that, with these very generous conditions, offshore wind power is found to have made almost zero progress in becoming more economical in a quarter of a century.

      I appreciate your skepticism and your Navy service. I earned my enlisted Dolphins on USS Pollack (SSN-603) in 1985. Brief bio:

      Director of government relations and economic development for East Mississippi Electric Power Association and president of North Lauderdale Water Association. Career in public utilities follows 25 years as a naval officer and aviator. Has degrees in physics, strategy, and military history, and diverse military experience that spans airborne electronic warfare, nuclear submarines, operational flight test, particle accelerators, Pentagon Joint Staff strategic planning, and Air War College faculty. Deployed eight times to the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Spent 22 months on the ground in Iraq and Commanded Al Asad Air Base and Training Squadron NINE. Author of several published papers on energy and energy security.

      • Ike, thanks for your response. My first watch station as a machinist mate was TG watch on a WWII tin can in 1971. I learned I had a passion for making electricity. The navy sent me back to college under the NESEP program.

        There is a huge difference between producing power and grid interaction and small public utilities that distribute power from the grid. Ike you should stop claiming experience that you do not have.

        From Ike’s bio I see he is good at avoiding direct questions too. Even more curious why someone in in East Mississippi would care about EU offshore wind.

        Providing power is a public service and not a free market. It is my opinion, that if the public wants renewable energy, it is the job of the power industry to provide it.

        That is something Ike has experience with and I would like his views.

        Ike and I share the benefits of common experience with lessons learned. The SSN Thresher sinking during sea trials, the the fire on the USS Forrestal, and TMI changed how the navy and the nuclear industry did things.

        The USSR did not learn from the lessons from TMI, because we were stupid and they were not. As a result, Chernobyl did not have an emergency plan to avoid exposure after a reactor accident. However, at a US nuke plant I received a week training concerning the lesson learned from Chernobyl.

        As an engineer, I do not think wind and solar is a good way to make electricity. If society wants wind and solar, so be it.

      • Ike you should stop claiming experience that you do not have.

        From Ike’s bio I see he is good at avoiding direct questions too. Even more curious why someone in in East Mississippi would care about EU offshore wind.

        @Kit,
        Condescending stabs from across the ether are beneath our dignity, as are backhanded appeals to authority and ad hominem attacks. If you want to test what I know, ask a specific question. If you dispute a claim I have made, offer up your evidence.

        I also advise caution in denigrating local power companies and co-ops. They are the ones who have to answer to the end customers, and it behooves them to keep abreast of what goes on in the board rooms of their wholesale suppliers, as well as in the halls of government. They have to make wholesale power purchase contract decisions with 10-year lead times, so the community tends to keep track of the supplier’s generation fleet composition and dispatch profile and fuel switching, and even debt load and pension liabilities. Local power companies watch commodity prices and upstream energy activities, as well as policy and regulation that affect G&T as well as D. What happens at FERC and NERC and EPA and DOE touches local power companies directly and indirectly. They also watch emerging technology and are the first to feel changes in the power consumer’s tastes and desires. America’s 900 rural power co-ops are some of the most politically active and well-informed institutions in the nation.

    • Intriguing and small world.

      My Brother enlisted in the early 1970s, qualified to run a nuclear power plant, was assigned to SSN-690 USS Philadelphia.

      He left our nuclear Navy service just before 1980.

  17. 25 years is that it? A coal, gas or nuclear plant would last much longer, produce much more power from the investment and not need coal gas or nuclear to be running alongside to back it up for when the wind’s too strong or not blowing.
    Colour me unimpressed.

    James Bull

    • No, they are dismantling the lot.

      So all you posters endlessly on about how the landscape will be permanently disfigured by end of life wind turbines, please note.

      • Googling abandoned wind plants will yield some interesting results, which do not agree with Griff. (Since Google rarely “shares” such info, I take that to be a sign that there’s a lot more abandoning going on than Griff lets on to.)

      • Would that include the rock berm at Kentish Flats now awash at low tide? Bit of a shock if you encounter it late at night in what was safe deep water for a yacht.

      • If they ever are dismantled fully, which I doubt, since the power companies required by law to do so will just declare BK, the vast, hideous, mass-murderous wind “farms” in my region will cost more than the value of the energy they produced during their environmentally destructive life times.

      • They will remain eyesores and blots upon the landscape forever. Not to mention taking high quality farmland out of production. Monuments to Leftwing Lunatic folly.

      • “No, they are dismantling the lot.”

        Skanky, YOU don’t know anything of the kind, and nobody else believes you know anything of the kind.

        Apart from the financial gain, why do you lie on behalf of spivs like “Sir” Reg Sheffield, “Lord” Deben, Chris Huhne and a myriad other dishonest trough-snouting scum who couldn’t care less about the damage they do to the environment and the suffering and death they cause to the weak, the poor and the elderly?

        Don’t you realise what sort of an impression of you that produces?

        Now go and apologise to Dr. Crockford for lying about her in order to please you spiv paymasters.

  18. A real good ( 100%) demolition would cost millions per unit.
    Perhaps Retired Kit P has a brother, in the demolition business ( ha, ha )

  19. So in summary, this offshore wind farm:

    1. Produced electricity costing more than twice as much as coal or gas fuelled power stations
    2. It only lasted 25 years
    3. The 2x costs did not include the cost of connection to the grid
    4. The 2x costs did not include the cost of backup/reserve to cover intermittency
    5. The capacity factor is just 22% of nameplate

    So its very expensive, unable to run a grid and the stated capacity has little relation to what it can actually generate. Trading standards anyone, next time a green says we can run our grid on “renewables”?

    The one reported factor not listed is how many birds this installation killed over its lifetime. Of course the beauty of offshore windfarms is that they don’t leave any birdkill evidence….

  20. Just a thought – if ALL the offshore windfarms on the planet were dismantled – assuming output at 22% of nameplate capacity – I wonder what would be the impact on worldwide electricity generation..?

    Mmmmmm….??

    • sherlock1:

      You ask

      if ALL the offshore windfarms on the planet were dismantled – assuming output at 22% of nameplate capacity – I wonder what would be the impact on worldwide electricity generation..?

      I answer.
      It would be cheaper.</b

      Richard

    • Since windfarms require dispatchable backup 24/7 there would be little to no impact as the capacity would exist, at least in a rationally managed scenario as opposed to that in NSW Australia.

  21. When you have a new technology entering an existing market it usually competes on its own merits/advantages/profit potential against an established market dynamic of price/profit/consumer base and choice. With such a big investment as is needed to enter said market, protection is needed or the existing market will adjust to make it hard/impossible for the new tech to succeed – it fails and investors lose and go do something else. So the protection comes in the form of guarantees and subsidies. This needs be done before the new technology goes ahead.
    Now with the political/financial profile of this industry and the fact that only the rich and politically connected can get this ‘opportunity’ going, you get projections of costs etc. The new technology will cost as much as it projects it can get away with charging – all along the € chain, particularly with the fat cats and political interests getting their cut by inflating margins of profitability, some hidden, having confidence of same by said guarantees and subsidies. There are deals struck that inflate cost estimates to make sure everyone involved gets paid, some significantly so.

    My point here is that cost/profits/viability/perceptions are all artificial, even in the existing market. Industry in Germany pays half the domestic cost per unit, 15c/kWh – that is for 3/4 of total production/consumption of electricity as I understand it. Domestic is 1/4. Yet only the Domestic high price is quoted and commented on. It’s all artificial/contrived – you cannot put wind/solar down on costing.
    Those who choose to criticize and find fault in cost terms, backup needs, etc have already missed the real fault and are simply catching the fallout after all the fat cats/politicoes have made their money and gone home, so to speak. The fault is not of the technology and xls of costs, it is of the artificial nature and the abuse/misuse or otherwise of that established market, its structure and the €persons, deviously, making a quick and not so quick profit. There is also the priority of concerns to consider and what you/someone is prepared to pay for those. This comes down to market choice, which there is not much of even tho there are attempts to create virtual choice in the monopoly.
    You could have something like the economy7 rates. This is where electricity at night was/is charged at 1/3rd the usual rate per kWh. What if those who are for wind/solar are charged a wind solar rate when wind is blowing/sun shining and a coal/gas rate when not. The coal/gas rate could be different to that paid by those opting for continuous coal/gas produced electric. This is not difficult to arrange and would not only allow you to have the power source you want, but create a market force that establishes a competitive price structure within its own distribution.
    There is a company that installed a windmill to generate, say a 100kW, I’m not sure nr East Anglia, UK. The days the wind blew, it saved on its electric bill. Big time. Period.

    • Neillusion:

      You say

      Those who choose to criticize and find fault in cost terms, backup needs, etc have already missed the real fault and are simply catching the fallout after all the fat cats/politicoes have made their money and gone home, so to speak. The fault is not of the technology and xls of costs, it is of the artificial nature and the abuse/misuse or otherwise of that established market, its structure and the €persons, deviously, making a quick and not so quick profit.

      NO! You are wrong!

      Wind powered subsidy farms are expensive, environmentally damaging, polluting, bird swatters that only produce electricity when the wind is strong enough but not too strong, and they do not provide electricity of use to an electricity grid at any time.
      This is fully explained here.

      Until you have read the link you may care to consider that
      oil tankers would be sailing ships if wind power were economic and reliable.

      Richard

  22. From the article: “Schneiderman’s office attempted to justify this by saying that it had emailed Exxon its request for more documents and “Receiv[ed] no timely response…” But Schneiderman’s office fails to mention it emailed Exxon only mere hours before it went to court and to the press. That’s a pretty strange interpretation of “timely.”

    I wouldn’t call that strange. It is a deliberate attempt to short-circuit justice. I would think a Federal Judge would have a problem with Schneiderman’s blatant deception.

  23. It would be interesting to look at lifecycle energy input – including steel manufacture, maintenance, backup and decommissioning. I recall an energy study of a land farm in Germany in which energy used exceeded energy generated. (Via NoTricksZone)

  24. IDK how the skyline is affected offshore but Southern Alberta skyline is ruined in a lot of open areas with these bird blenders and bat killing abominations

  25. I may be missing something but there seems to be no maintenance charges included. or as others have mentioned standby plant costs or if the grid cost to connect the towers.

    I just watched a documentary which had 5 windmills on one of the canary islands pump water to a desal plant then to a elevated reservoir. neat idea but I doubt the population of 10,000 paid for it. And diesel plants are not the most cost effective but still cheaper than the wind power. no numbers were given in the documentary which is also an indication that they don’t want to talk about that side of green energy.

    • You have hit upon one of the great ironies of “renewable” energy, it is weather-dependent. Extreme weather and shifting weather patterns are the new norm according to climate alarmists, so why would we want to tie our whole energy economy to vagaries of wind and sun and sea level? The solution to climate change is mitigation by building bountiful, reliable, weather-independent generation that can survive any storms and changes to provide civilization the energy to endure and grow.

      A related irony is that “renewable” energy places the greatest burden on the biosphere, because that is where the energy is being extracted. We are deforesting and plowing under and paving over and industrializing huge swaths of land for relatively few MWh of power. Our high-density and high-intensity energy demands are more than can be met by low-density, low-intensity natural sources. Corn ethanol produces .03 Watt/m2, wind 1.1 W/m2, and solar 6.0 W/m2 compared to 90 W/m2 for a stripper oil well and 300W/m2 for a Marcellus shale gas well, while Manhattan consumes 500W/m2, and a Google data center consumes 2,500 W/m2.

  26. Anyone care to figure out what the public (households) paid for the 243 GWh over the years? Please have Anthony put it in there in the piece itself.

    Oddgeir

  27. @Ike

    “I also advise caution in denigrating local power companies and co-ops.”

    I think I spent too much time flying without an oxygen mask!

    Calling ‘small public utilities’ small is not ‘denigrating local power companies and co-ops’. As far as ‘caution’ goes I have denigrated Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS aka wooops), TVA, BPA, and Seattle City Light numerous times for bad management. There have been no repercussions.

    I also have experience with well managed power companies both public and private, big and small small.

    “ad hominem attacks”

    The problem with trying to be civil is that it is a waste of time.

    Ike has no experience producing power. Ike has no experience with making electric with the wind. Ike has no experience with EU regulations and politics.

    “If you want to test what I know, ask a specific question.”

    At the risk of beating a dead horse and being perceived as condescending here is my specific.

    Ike, why do you write about a subject that you have no experience?

    I am serious! It is like GOOGLE thinking they could replace coal with PV. Being great at one thing, does not mean that you will be successful at something else.

    Ike might provide a very interesting essay on southwest utilities and renewable energy.

  28. Retired Kit P:

    You ask Ike

    why do you write about a subject that you have no experience?

    Before Ike attempts to answer your demand for him to say why he has not stopped beating his wife, I point out that your question is an ad hominem attack with no merit of any kind.

    You are attempting to ‘play the man and not the ball’. If you had a substantive criticism of his article you would make it, but you don’t offer any substantive criticism because you have nothing.

    I say to you what I said above to another excuser of wind powered subsidy farms.

    Wind powered subsidy farms are expensive, environmentally damaging, polluting, bird swatters that only produce electricity when the wind is strong enough but not too strong, and they do not provide electricity of use to an electricity grid at any time.
    This is fully explained here.

    Until you have read the link you may care to consider that
    oil tankers would be sailing ships if wind power were economic and reliable.

    Richard

  29. For Captain T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, if I may.

    A very misleading analysis above. To compare the first offshore project, Vindeby, to an average of current projects misses the mark. A better comparison would be for the first project, by definition the best at the time, to one of the best projects by today’s technology – all located in the same general area. I have done so below. The result is that today’s best project delivers power at less than half that of the Vindeby project. (Vindeby = 100, Nordsee One = 42)

    The Nordsee One offshore wind project is under construction and has ample information published by which to make the comparison. The project, off the coast of Germany, has 332 MW gross capacity with 54 turbines of 6.1 MW each. Published cost data shows US$978 million (2015) for a cost-per-kW of $2945. Annual capacity factor is expected to be 41.5 percent, based on the published anticipated production of 1.2 million MWh annually. http://www.nordseeone.com/wind-farm/power.html

    Plant:……………Nordsee One…………Vindeby
    Year…………………..2017…………………..1991
    MW …………………. 332…………………..4.95
    N Turbines……………54……………………..11
    Turbine size, MW…..6.1…………………….0.45
    Cap Cost (million)..$978……………………$23
    Cost/kW……………..2945…………………..4645
    Capacity Factor……41.5…………………..22
    MWh/y delivered….1.2…………………0.0095 (millions)
    Sales price for 10-year payout – 10 percent approximate Return on Investment
    ….. $/MWh………….81…………………….241
    O&M $/MWh……….35………………………35
    Total sales price
    …….$/MWh………..116……………………276

    Ratio, modern to old: (116/276) = 0.42

    This result is not surprising, given the known improvements in economy of scale, higher hub heights, much better capacity factors, and continued reduction in both installed costs per kW, and Operations plus Maintenance.

    The future is bright for offshore wind, with even larger turbines, higher hub heights, and improved capacity factors. See “Enormous Blades for Offshore Energy,” by Sandia National Laboratory.

    http://energy.gov/articles/enormous-blades-offshore-energy

    • Really, Roger? Then why are German citizens who can’t afford to pay their electric bills (which include mandatory wind and solar power source charges) being shut off for nonpayment???? I don’t give a crap what your not-yet-in-use tables show.

      I review my own electric bill every month to monitor my own usage. MY electricity charge is one-third per kilowatt hour of the same charge to German citizens. They pay $.30++/KWH. I pay $.113/KWH, and I do not have any solar or wind-related charges included in that, nor do I want them. That would drive my monthly bill to an unaffordable $150 PER MONTH.

      People like you think you have all the answers when in fact, you never have to pay the bill and the answers are utter BS. Oh, while I”m at it, the COST of constructing that wonderful wind turbine factor is born by the customers of the utility, NOT by the German government. Who do you think pays for the cost of a nuclear power plant over a period of 40 years? It sure as hell doesn’t come from Uncle Sam.

      • Well, Sara, I don’t know where you live nor from what utility you obtain electricity. However, in the US, and especially in California where I live, wind and solar power have had zero effect on the price that customers pay for electricity.

        Residential electricity prices in CA have barely kept pace with inflation, even with almost 10 GW of grid-scale solar power installed since 2005, and approximately 4 GW of wind power installed. see Figure 1 of this article:

        http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/06/california-electricity-rates.html

        I won’t speak to the German electricity market. I do note in passing that wind power at 11 cents US / kWh beats 30++ cents that you quoted. Perhaps Germany has 20 cents per kWh wrapped up in transmission and distribution. If so, then irate persons like yourself should investigate why those costs are so high.

      • @Roger,
        Your claim that wind or solar have no effect on consumer rates is groundless. As one example for solar, PG&E is paying 18.5 UScent/kWh for wholesale power from Ivanpah. That is 3-4 times wholesale price for electricity from gas and 5 times coal. Almost all solar PPAs prior to 2016 are similarly priced at a significant premium. Those costs are being recovered from ratepayers. Wind is responsible for the bulk of the $7 billion per year in new transmission the U.S. has been building since 2005. All of those capital costs go into the rate base and are passed onto ratepayers as well. The national average cost of electricity has gone up faster than inflation since 2005 — only the second time in history this has been true. The first time was during the Carter-era period of solar and wind subsidies and mandates.

      • For Captain Kiefer, re

        “Your claim that wind or solar have no effect on consumer rates is groundless.”

        No, it’s not. California, with substantial wind and solar, has had residential rates that barely keep up with inflation, per published EIA data. See Figure 1 in

        http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2016/06/california-electricity-rates.html

        “As one example for solar, PG&E is paying 18.5 UScent/kWh for wholesale power from Ivanpah.”

        Once again, you pick the Ivanpah solar thermal with the power tower technology. That is an outlier with very low output and very high production costs, and will likely prove the last such plant of its type. Grid-scale Solar PV is sold at far lower rates. In addition, solar from PV saves a utility from running marginal plants during the heat of the day.

        ” Wind is responsible for the bulk of the $7 billion per year in new transmission the U.S. has been building since 2005.”

        Now you complain about transmission lines built to support new generation. I see no such complaints about the transmission lines that connected Hoover Dam generators to Southern California, nor for those that connected Palo Verde Nuclear Plant near Phoenix across the desert to California, nor the long transmission lines that connect the hydropower in Washington State to Oregon and California.

        “All of those capital costs go into the rate base and are passed onto ratepayers as well.”

        No, the independent power producers that own the facilities take the risk of profit and loss from solar and wind. To the extent that a utility owns the assets, the asset value is rolled into the rate base.

        “The national average cost of electricity has gone up faster than inflation since 2005 — only the second time in history this has been true. The first time was during the Carter-era period of solar and wind subsidies and mandates.”

        Certainly not true in California, as I wrote above.

    • Roger Sowell:

      You usually provide misleading and untrue posts whenever the subject of wind powered subsidy farms is raised. Your post I am answering is typical.

      Capt. Kiefer provides a clear analysis of the lifetime performance of the first off-shore wind powered subsidy farm now it is being decommissioned. You cannot – and do not – dispute his findings but write

      A very misleading analysis above. To compare the first offshore project, Vindeby, to an average of current projects misses the mark. A better comparison would be for the first project, by definition the best at the time, to one of the best projects by today’s technology – all located in the same general area. I have done so below. The result is that today’s best project delivers power at less than half that of the Vindeby project. (Vindeby = 100, Nordsee One = 42)

      The analysius by Kiefer is factual and correct so CANNOT be “misleading”.

      Your so-called “analysis” is hypothetical and uses claimed future performances of a wind powered subsidy farm that is not yet built.

      And to date no wind powered subsidy farm has managed to perform as promised prior to its construction.

      Richard

      • Ah, it’s Richard, with whom I’ve had so much fun jousting over the years. Wrong, again, I’m afraid. The facts just do not support your wishful thinking.

        To wit: Actual reported annual capacity factors for Germany offshore wind, 2012-2015, have one below 40 percent, (38 percent) and the others range up to 52 percent. So much for your false statement that “no wind powered subsidy farm has managed to perform as promised prior to its construction.”

        And I believe that you are located in the UK? The Crown Estate offshore wind also has published data on performance vs expected. As experience was gained over the years, the wind farms offshore are performing exactly as expected. You could look it up.

        The economics of two wind farms, one with half the capital cost per kW of the other, and almost double the annual capacity factor, cannot possibly have the same cost of energy produced. Ask any economist worth his salt.

      • Let’s see if we can calculate the latest Offshore Wind capacity average factor for Germany.

        https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/en/documents/publications/studies/power-generation-from-renewable-energies-2016.pdf
        reports:
        “Offshore wind farms raised their production from 8 TWh in 2015 to 12 TWh in 2016… At the end of 2016, 45.5 GW wind onshore and 4.1 GW wind offshore were installed.”

        Unfortunately, we can’t calculate capacity factor from that, because it gives us end-of-year nameplate capacity but total-for-the-year actual production. What we need is 2016’s average nameplate capacity, not end-of-year nameplate capacity.

        My first thought was that the preceding report should have the end-of-2015 nameplate capacity figure:
        https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/en/documents/publications/studies/2016_01_13_Stromerzeugung_2015_en.pdf
        But it does not contain that figure.

        But if we assume from the 2015 vs 2016 offshore wind production figures (50% increase) that offshore wind nameplate capacity was increasing at about that rate, i.e., that it increased by 50% over 2016, then end-of-2015 nameplate was probably about 2/3 of 4.1 GW, and nameplate average capacity over the 2016 year was about (5/6) of 4.1 GW = 3.28 GW.

        2016 was a leap year, so it contained 366 × 24 hours = 8785 hours.

        At 100% capacity factor, 3.28 GW for 8785 hours would generate 3.28 × 8785= 28,815 GWh = 28.815 TWh.

        Actual was reported as 12 TWh, so 2016 German Offshore Wind capacity factor was about 12/28.815 = 41.6%.

    • @Roger Sowell,
      I think there is value in comparing old and new plants head to head as you suggest. However, it is much less useful to compare “expected” and “anticipated” numbers with actual historical data, unless even the most optimistic predictions still prove to bound the result in futility. For example, if you compare the Ivanpah thermal solar project actual production to its predicted production, there is a glaring shortfall. The most doubtful thing about the numbers you present is O&M. Where did you find the figure that you are using? Why is it the same for both Vindeby and Nordsee One? Why is it priced per MWh instead of per MW?

      The cost of maintaining 6-MW giants is unlikely to be the same as the 450-kW Vindeby turbines, especially since the former most likely require a dedicated custom ship for the purpose. I have been following the similar Gemini wind farm, and they have a dedicated O&M contract with Siemens along these lines. A conclusion in my original post was that the cost savings of improved capacity factor seem to be offset by the costs of maintaining the larger machines. I you have solid numbers for 4-6-MW offshore turbine O&M, please share them and their source. O&M data tends to be treated as proprietary and is very hard to find in open sources, so that is why I used the industry data in the original post, assuming that, if biased, it would be biased in favor of the industry and help illustrate the best case.

      • For Capt. Ike Kiefer,

        You asked me, “Where did you find the figure that you are using?”

        I used the figure you gave in your post, $130 ./ yr per kW installed capacity.

        “Why is it the same for both Vindeby and Nordsee One?”

        I used the same $/MWh result for both because that makes the Vindeby farm look as good as possible. However, using the same $130 / yr per kW installed, then dividing by the MWh/year production gives $35.76 for Nordsee One, and $67.46/MWh for Vindeby. I note that your post uses $65 for Vindeby.

        “Why is it priced per MWh instead of per MW?”

        When wind farms sell power, it is on a $/MWh basis. Fixed costs are rolled into that.

        Therefore, we can use the revised figures if you like, although Vindeby comes out looking worse by comparison.

        Nordsee One …….. $81 (capEx) plus $35 (O&M) = $116 / MWh
        Vindeby………………$241(capEx) plus $67 (O&M) = $308 / MWh

        Therefore, Nordsee One is expected to produce power at 38 percent the cost of the first plant. (116 / 308 = 0.377)

        I do agree with your paragraph just above on O&M costs, not by direct experience myself, but because that is a good paraphrase of the NREL document I referenced. In particular, section 5.2 “Operational Expenditures,” and section 4.5.2 “Maintenance Vessels and Logistics Trends.”

        Finally, the same analysis can be performed with a recent plant other than Nordsee One. The results will likely be essentially the same or better for modern plants. The analysis can be for a plant with 50 percent proven capacity factor, for example. There are three such wind farms in the NREL report on Figure 22, one each in Denmark, UK, and Germany.

        Re the Ivanpah Solar plant, the shortfall was short-term and fully anticipated, indeed, the plant owners stated at the outset they would require 2 years operation to fully fine-tune the plant. Such has occurred.

        As a retired Navy Captain, I suspect you fully appreciate the need to conduct sea trials for a new ship, to test all the systems and areas of the performance curves. That is even more important with a first-of-a-kind ship. Surely the Ivanpah solar plant should be accorded the same opportunity to test and fine-tune its first-of-a-kind performance.

      • @Roger,
        I am confused by your math. In your 25 March post above that I was questioning, you show

        O&M $/MWh……….35………………………35

        Clearly the same rates for both facilities. Then in your 28 March post you use different numbers. As discussed, treating O&M for wind like VOM is inappropriate.

        As to capacity factors, my comment on 28 March is relevant.

        For 30 offshore wind farms studied in Denmark, the normalized capacity factor fell from an average of 39% at age 0 to 15% at age 15. Clearly, maintenance was not keeping up. http://www.pfbach.dk/firma_pfb/gordon_hughes_wind_farm_perf_2012.pdf

  30. See the European offshore wind annual capacity factors (actual, not projected) in Figure 22. “Net capacity factor for selected European offshore wind projects (by country)”

    as shown in NREL “2014–2015 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report”, Technical Report
    NREL/TP-5000-64283, September 2015.

    It is notable from Figure 22 that Denmark (gray squares on the Figure) is achieving annual capacity factors in the high 40s to 50 percent for the past five years. The Nordsee One project will likely exceed the projected capacity factor of 41.5 percent.

    It is especially telling that the sole wind project that has 22 percent annual capacity factor shows a startup date of 1991, and is from Denmark. Very likely the Vindeby wind farm.

    Once again, the wishful thinking of so many WUWT commenters and article writers is disproved by the actual hard facts. Especially of one Richard S. Courtney.

  31. Sowell:

    Your sales propaganda fools nobody except the usual suckers.

    My post to you stated three undeniable facts and the only “wishful thinking” is your unjustified and unjustifiable flights of fancy about performances of wind powered subsidy farms.

    If your daft assertions were true then the subsidy farms would sell electricity in a competitive market instead of existing to reap subsidies.

    Richard

  32. I needed a glossary for a couple of the acronyms:

    O&M = non-fuel Operating & Maintenance costs
    VOM = Variable O&M costs
    FOM = Fixed O&M costs
    LCOE = Levelized Cost of Electricity or Levelized Cost of Energy

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