Wind power fails in Canada – a 23 year life span not likely to be replaced

From the Calgary Herald and the “waiting of the government cash cow” department:

Oldest commercial wind farm in Canada headed for scrapyard after 23 years


A line of turbines on metal lattice legs catch the breeze at the Cowley Ridge wind farm in southern Alberta. The 23-year-old facility, Canada’s first commercial wind project, is being decommissioned. TED RHODES / CALGARY HERALD

The oldest commercial wind power facility in Canada has been shut down and faces demolition after 23 years of transforming brisk southern Alberta breezes into electricity — and its owner says building a replacement depends on the next moves of the provincial NDP government.

TransAlta Corp. said Tuesday the blades on 57 turbines at its Cowley Ridge facility near Pincher Creek have already been halted and the towers are to be toppled and recycled for scrap metal this spring. The company inherited the now-obsolete facility, built between 1993 and 1994, as part of its $1.6-billion hostile takeover of Calgary-based Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. in 2009.

“TransAlta is very interested in repowering this site. Unfortunately, right now, it’s not economically feasible,” Wayne Oliver, operations supervisor for TransAlta’s wind operations in Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod, said in an interview.

“We’re anxiously waiting to see what incentives might come from our new government. . . . Alberta is an open market and the wholesale price when it’s windy is quite low, so there’s just not the return on investment in today’s situation. So, if there is an incentive, we’d jump all over that.”

Full story:

I’ll bet they would. Does anyone need any more proof that wind power just isn’t economically feasible on large scales without subsidies?

Coal and nuclear plants last longer and provide far more power…and production isn’t tied to the vagaries of wind and weather.

265 thoughts on “Wind power fails in Canada – a 23 year life span not likely to be replaced

      • It is really sad when the governments preferred source of power can’t produce a ROI that pays for itself but rather requires vasts sums of Tax $$$ to even operate at a loss

      • Alberta has over 100 billion barrels of oil as well as gas and high quality coal. They let a bunch of “Griffs” work out how to screw that up!

      • Extending Bryan A’s comment …
        The energy burden required to construct and then dismantle these turbines falls squarely on existing ‘traditional’ energy sources. This should reinforce the notion that dismantling existing power plants should not be the first step towards anything. We need to leverage the current energy supply to power through any future transition deemed worthy.

      • Well as usual everyone will be ranting their own preconceived option on wind power and ignoring the rest of the article.
        This article and the source report lacks any useful information except that it is closing. NO DATA at all .
        Apparently they are being decommissioned because it is getting hard to find parts for these old model of turbine, despite the maintenance crews just having got several back on line. This would have been a good point to get some data on total production over the 20 odd years, mean load factor achieved and then look at ROI instead of just ranting that it was not economic in a fact-free void.

      • Note that this was part of a predatory take over. Such operations are usually followed by asses stripping and job losses. They seem more interested in the real estate and scrap value of 680,000 tons of steel; or demolishing in order to such up some more grant money than limited income from the existing site.
        This has little to do with whether the site has given a ROI since its constructions, it is an asset stripping manoeuvre. No more.

      • “This has little to do with whether the site has given a ROI since its constructions, it is an asset stripping manoeuvre. No more.”
        Still though, it would appear that the installation must have a scrap value higher than it’s value as an operating electricity generator. It appears that no one wants to step up and buy the facility at what would presumably be a bargain basement price. (Actually, this looks more like extortion than looting — nice wind farm your province used to have there, be a shame if something happened to it).

      • Greg
        Not a single wind farm would have been built in the UK in the last few years without massive subsidies, that’s why they had to be given.
        As I repeatedly point out, I have no objection to any technology. I just don’t want to subsidise it

      • The article does have more information than just that the site is closing. It states that the company kept the site going for three years past the initial lifespan, so it wasn’t purely asset stripping.
        As for data analysis, there is this:
        “TransAlta is very interested in repowering this site. Unfortunately, right now, it’s not economically feasible,”
        It wasn’t the people pointing out the shortcomings of wind power that ignored the article in favor of stating preconceived notions of what happened.

      • TransAlta also operates a large IWT project at Wolfe Island, which is near Kingston, Ontario
        Ontario has high feed-in-tariffs for wind & solar projects with 20 year power purchase agreements.
        More money to be made from IWT projects in Ontario.
        IWT power purchase agreements lower in Alberta?

      • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Ottawa, Oct.9, 2012
        Joint Review Panel: Jackpine Mine Expansion Project
        “Re: Earthjustice and ecojustice written submission to the Jackpine Mine Expansion Project”
        Earthjustice HQ is in San Francisco, Calif. EcoJustice HQ is in Vancouver, B.C.
        Last I checked, these two organizations have interlocking Boards.
        Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is now disbanded according to internet information.
        Alberta has had its share of outsiders coming into the province.
        Also internet search: Earthjustice + Canada

      • Greg
        Wow. So you’ve read minds and determined there’s bad faith about the de-commissioning.
        Assuming you actually believe that, why don’t you and your friends buy the place and run it as a show-piece if renewable technology? You could even post “the number” here every now and then just to impress us.

      • Greg,

        Note that this was part of a predatory take over. Such operations are usually followed by asses stripping…

        Asses stripping? Not sure why this would be par of a predatory take over, but I’m all for it. Might even donate a dollar or two.
        [The mods recommend leaving all donkeys to stripe in pieces and quiet. .mod]

      • “Greg June 13, 2017 at 11:33 am
        Well as usual everyone will be ranting their own preconceived option on wind power and ignoring the rest of the article.
        This article and the source report lacks any useful information except that it is closing. NO DATA at all .
        Apparently they are being decommissioned because it is getting hard to find parts for these old model of turbine, despite the maintenance crews just having got several back on line. This would have been a good point to get some data on total production over the 20 odd years, mean load factor achieved and then look at ROI instead of just ranting that it was not economic in a fact-free void.”

        Total ROI.
        Why haven’t you wondered why the ROI has not already been tallied and published?
        How does a relic wind farm show a positive ROI?
        Total construction costs.
        Total maintenance costs.
        Total workhorse required to maintain.
        Total costs for support vehicles.
        Total costs for energy conversion to grid compatible energy.
        Total costs for energy maintenance relative to energy quality and frequency.
        Total removal and reclamation costs.
        Minus all subsidies.
        A comparison to what local land in that area normally earns.
        Along with total energy produced.
        Percentage of local energy demand.
        Percentage of energy produced compared to capacity.
        Total energy contribution to local electrical grids.
        Determination whether the wind farm allowed any reduction of other energy producers.
        An honest CPA could tally it all up right quick. All they would need is accurate and complete data.
        It is very curious that the companies involved, utility industry or Canadian Government haven’t published thee ROI… Isn’t it, or NOT!

      • Greg. You need to do some research on how the existing wind farms in Alberta were subsidized, not just with sweet heart power first and huge sale price advantages but from “out of country” Green Fund credits and contributions from places like California for their “Carbon ” which are no longer available.
        The Left wing NDP government has promised to fund wind and solar using their new Cabon Tax but so far they are long on promises ans short on delivery.
        They have a program for replacing light incandescent light bulbs worth LED’s and domestic hit water heaters with tankless heaters and putting more insulation in your home … BUT YOU CAN’T DO IT YOURSELF!!!!
        You have to use one of their “approved” suppliers/contractors. Smell anything fishy yet.
        I have already done all that and more myself at a fraction of the new “government contracted” costs and even with the grants you are still way way in the hole. Same goes for their solar panel grants. Remember this is a province that regularly hits 30 below, snows and very little sun for half a year. I put my two tankless heaters in for about 30% of the government program with rebates.
        Only the rich and upper class can afford their generosity.
        As for Wind Farms, some got a pretty sweet deal. The future however is Unknown and some say the best sites are already taken.
        Time will tell.
        On the otherhand, my auto start 12 kW propane generator ran for four hours during last week’s windstorm that knocked out power all across the rural area where I live.
        Horses for courses. Pick your poison. And have a back up plan. Governments often forget to do that. No one source of power will ever be “THE ONE” in what’s left of my life time.

      • I searched hard trying to find data so I could at least guestimate the average cost of energy from the facility. Could find a little on production/output, but nothing on construction costs or maintenance. I suspect ATheoK is right and that we would see more information if it supported wind.
        Perhaps with subsidies the decision to build Cowley Ridge with a 20 to 25 year life-span may have made sense. But I doubt that when the facility was built it’s life was projected to be that short. Unfortunately far too often we see “lifetime” skewed comparisons of renewable facilities which typically have shorter than expected lifespans to traditional plants with much longer life spans, that in reality often exceed what’s projected .

      • Bryan, not only can it not pay for itself, but it can’t even produce enough revenue to justify keeping already existing sites running.

      • Ted, you left out the “We’re anxiously waiting to see what incentives might come from our new government. . .” and “… if there is an incentive, we’d jump all over that.”

      • Greg at 11:40am – suggest you redo the maths on how much steel is contained in just 57 wind turbines. I think 680,000 tons might be 2 orders of magnitude over the actual quantity.

        • Crispin in Waterloo

          Material mass of a wind turbine is about 125 tons per MW capacity.

          Does that 125 tons per MW include the concrete and steel rebars in the foundation? The earth and road debris displaced from the “hole” that must be removed (and placed on topsoil elsewhere) to load the steel and concrete in the opening for the foundation?
          Note: A 750 MW gas turbine plant does NOT require 750 x 125 tons of material to run 24 x 365 generating that 750 MW! (And that 1 MW windmill is only (on average) generating 16-20% of its 1 MW requiring those 125 tons of material – all of which need to be moved, lifted, processed, and shipped and shortly after construction recycled …. all by fossil fuels.)

      • Indeed, graft it is. How would you like it if the next time you checked out at your grocery store the bill was increased by 25%, 100%, or whatever amount as a subsidy to the grocery store chain.
        And when you asked why you ran into a government brick wall.
        Same for every other purchase. Also how would you like it if a company was allowed to come and deliberately kill thousands and thousands of eagles, hawks, songbirds, bats and so on every year for 25 years or so over a large land area near you. Wind farms have been exempted from the laws and they do slaughter uncountable numbers of birds for the life of their installations.

    • Tom, if wind is subsidy farming so too is nuclear. The UK’s Hinkley Point reactors will be receiving a guarnateed price of about 100 dollars per MWh generated. Meanwhile offshore wind projects in the North Sea are coming in with strike prices of 60 dollars or less per MWh.

    • Unfortunately, what the general population doesn’t realize, is that the coal/gas powered plants have to stay at between 80 and 90 percent capacity even with the wind running at maximum, because if the wind dies down, it takes them too long to get up to steam so to speak, and there would be brown or black outs. So even with the wind running well, we’re saving only a small percent of power. Mostly this just gives libs a warm, fuzzy feeling. sorry!

      • “I’ll let up a blow torch and let you repeat that experiment.”
        That effect would be thermal energy almost certainly from a burning fossil fuel.
        The effect of the kinetic energy in the wind would be orders of magnitude smaller.

    • There’s also an old engineer’s joke that “Anything you can move your hand through this easily (wave hand in front of face) is a very poor source of energy”.

      • One can wave their hand through hydrogen, natural gas, propane, acetylene, even a bucket of gasoline just as easily.
        I doubt many engineers, especially old ones, find that joke amusing. Maybe if it was more specific and detailed a joke?

    • Greg,
      In a normal business model the company would look at the cost of maintaining/re-fitting/upgrading/redesigning and the likelyhood of being able to pay for it in a reasonable timeframe. If the wind turbines were turning a profit from the electricity generated then this should be be a simple decision. But given that the company specifically mentioned they are “waiting to see what incentives might come from our new government”, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that cost of maintaining/re-fitting/upgrading/redesigning exceeds the likely revenue the turbines would generate. Thus they are “worth” more as scrap than as a power generation system.
      Many years ago I worked on a small part of a upgrade/redesign for a Ethylene plant in Texas. The company that owned the plant was spending $500,000,000 on the redesign in hopes of saving $0.005(.5 cents) per ton in production cost. They expected to have that half billion dollars paid back in 5 years time.
      The new owner is making a decision based on solid economics. That is how business works in the real world. Good intentions and warm happy thoughts don’t make the payroll.

      • I lived near the Tehachapi windfarm for about 20 years. During that time, many of the old 30KW mills were pulled and replaced with 1.5MW mills. That’s each new one equal to 50 of the old ones. Maintenance costs certainly favor the new, big ones. Of course, that doesn’t raise the capital for the new ones.

      In Southern Alberta, we have some of the most consistent winds on the planet, due to the Crow’s Nest Pass, a gap in the Rocky Mountains to the west. Wind power is (or was) paid 20 cents/KWh and receives this 24/7, even when the wind power is not needed – then we give the power to neighbouring states for free. Reliable coal or gas-fired power typically gets 2 to 4 cents per KWh. Do the math.
      Re backup, see below. Substitution Capacity is the key factor, and it is probably about 5% in Germany in 2016. That means they have to install 20 units of wind power to permanently replace 1 unit of coal or gas-fired power. As you can imagine, the economics are dismal.
      Regards, Allan
      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:
      (apparently no longer available from E.ON Netz website).
      Figure 6 says Wind Power is too intermittent (and needs almost 100% spinning backup);
      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.
      Regards, Allan

      • Yea, I live in the area of these and other windmills. The reality is, that the only way these damn things make money is through tax payers footing the bulk of the bill.Once that cash cow dries up, windmill farms will go bankrupt.

      • I want to know if these windy projects require a reclamation bond before construction to take care of demolition so they don’t end up as an eyesore boneyard.
        Mining typically requires such regulations but I have a sneaky feeling these monstrosities will be around longer than plastic.

  1. Wait till they realise how much it will cost to replace the offshore units. Won’t be long, a marine environment is not good for large rotating kit.

    • Green Sand
      + Shedloads of oodles.
      The marine environment is (Ahem!) not good for pretty much any sort of kit, and large, rotating [so bearings . . .] kit – definitely so.
      I appreciate technology advances, but the air is still moist and still laden with salt.
      And that is not good for pretty much any sort of kit, as noted.
      And in comparison with a rather dry (near-)desert – say, ooooh, southern Alberta with 10-25 inches a year, and not much salt – there can be a ve-ry marked contrast.

      • This particular pass is about as far as you can get from the marine environment. 8<) And it's failure bodes poorly for at-sea turbine lifetimes.

  2. LCOE of CCGT $56/MWh. LCOE of onshore wind $146/MWh. Calculation details based off corrected EIA estimates, using Texas ERCOT grid for intermittency and transmission. Details in guest post ‘True cost of wind’ at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

  3. These people have no shame. Begging for a government handout while admitting their product is not financially sound. .

    • Not necessarily begging, more like telling the Alberta government “if you want us to build a new wind farm you’re going to have to provide some incentives because wind farms are not economically viable without them

      • After the fits that were thrown when Trump refused to go along with the Paris Accord, I have no doubt Canada will keep right on putting up energy from weather projects to show how moral and caring they are.

    • ” I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” (sarc)
      Warren Buffet, CEO Berkshire Hathaway, annual investors meeting, May 2, 2015

  4. “We’re anxiously waiting to see what incentives might come from our new government. . . ”
    ..ROTFLMAO ….

  5. That’s quite the environmentally-friendly gauntlet.
    Nonrenewable converters of renewable drivers have their value, but the political myth of “green” technology is a first-order forcing of catastrophic anthropogenic technology and policy misalignment.

  6. In defense of alternative energy sources, there`s hardly any wind around Pincher Creek.
    Compared to, say, the surface of Jupiter.

      • blcjr
        I think we have “elastic” power cables, now.
        You may call them coiled.
        And how much boost to the incoming power will there be through the cables passing through [moving] solar wind magnetism?
        It’s ‘practically free’ electricity.
        And for the Earth end, I nominate Islington – a Great Red Spot! Make the Jovian negotiators feel right at home.
        Mods, of course this is Sarc . . . .

    • A chain hanging from a pole is called a “Pincher Creek Windsock”. If it’s at 45 degrees, that’s a fresh breeze.

      • Wind people reading this will be showing up soon. Wyoming wind used to be interesting—now it’s just a reminder of greed and environmental pillaging. I hate the wind because all I hear is GREED, GREED, GREED.

  7. to see what incentives might come from our new government. . .
    Anyone got a figure on how much “incentives” they’ve raked in in those 23 years?

      • And why did the original owners sell it off? Because it was next to worthless.
        Think of hedge funds who buy up junk bonds in the hope of making a quick buck

      • @Paul Homewood
        In the article it is clear that the original owners did *not* sell it. The whole company was bought and this came in as part of the assets.
        However Greg is talking nonsense when he says that the current owners have gained nothing from 23 years’ of subsidies. Those subsidies will have been part of the income of the company that was taken over, and without them that company would have been worth less.

      • The article says they acquired the site in 2009. That is 7-8 years of subsidies received under TransAlta.

  8. Okay, benben (he’s lurking about somewhere, I’m sure….), so you don’t have to GOOGLE it this time (eye roll):
    Sample quote:

    Parsons Brinckerhoff’ (PB) Power, another engineering consultancy, in a report for the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) estimated in 2004 that stand-by costs could add around 45% to the costs for onshore wind and 30% to offshore wind.20 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
    , as shown in chart 3. ….
    Charts 4a and 4b show Mott MacDonald’s cost estimates for our chosen medium-term project, …. Onshore and offshore are more expensive than nuclear, even before taking into account the need for stand-by capacity and transmission reinforcement. ….

    (Source: )
    There. Maybe that will head little benben off at the pass….. 🙂

  9. Wind operators have profitted enormously from requirements in some locales for utilities to accept their output, whether needed or not. Florida, on the other hand, refuses grid inputs that are not under control of the grid operators, in essense, calling renewables like wind and solar to not qualified to be utility grade power producers. Power not controllable by the grid has very low value.
    Apparently “sustainable” is a characteristic that cannot be applied to the power cultivating apparatus, much less the source of the power. I do not consider either sunshine nor wind to be a “sustainable” power supply. Nuclear plants now being built have lifespans of 60 years and probably longer.
    Wind turbines are constructed on top of huge concrete blocks that extend well down into the ground. They are often on leased property. Who’s responsibility is it to remove those blocks when the turbines go away? Nuclear powr plants pay a certain amount for each kWhr into funds that will be there at the end of the plant’s operating lifespan, to both dispose of the wastes and the physical
    mass. Why isn’t there a similar fund for windmills, and solar farms?

    • There is no fund for removal of subsidy farms as that is not in the business model. The original subsidy farmer gets as much subsidy as possible then sells off, liquidates company, and quite often goes bankrupt to avoid restitution costs. The only reason that this farm is not just being abandoned is that it has scrap value. The newer towers especially the ones offshore have almost no scrap value and will remain in perpetuity as monuments to the greed of subsidy farmers and the gullibility of politicians.

      • jorgekafkazar Have you ever tried to enforce a lease contract against a dissolved company? The people that own the land will be the ones who end up having to remove the rusting hulks.

    • jorgekafkazar: I did in the past. They are harder find now.
      Ian: Absolutely true. That’s what Wyoming is dealing with in abandoned oil wells. The companies are gone and there’s no one to sue. The state will end up paying. Even having a contract does not help. I think if bond was actually posted, that helps, but if the company sells part of the project to a sub-contractor the bond may not follow. It’s very complex.

  10. If the decommissioning goes like the Portland General Electric Trojan Nuclear power plant went the utility company owners of the wind farm will not only get ratepayers to pay the cost but TransAlta will also get ratepayers to guaranteed a handsome profit from the demolition.

  11. We have those unsightly things all over the place in Mojave, Tehachapi, Cabazon and Altamont, CA. They are just another monument to failed and over-subsidized government waste in the name of “green” power.
    Also, when one of these wind turbines fail they catch fire and release all kinds of toxic crap into the surrounding area.
    This is a direct result of liberal policies.

  12. I hear in Texas they give electricity away for free at night. Lots of wind electricity being produced when there is only a little demand. It comes back to coal & natural gas being the controllable supplier.

  13. The project lasted twenty three years. That’s pretty good. What does it mean?
    If windmills are free (or they are a sunk cost), they generate enough electricity to pay for their ongoing maintenance plus produce a small profit in a grid tied system where you don’t have to worry about storage and the operator isn’t responsible for backup power.
    If the above wasn’t true, presumably they would have scrapped them a long time ago. ie. it was more profitable to run them than to scrap them.

    • Not sure what your point is, Bob. They were subsidized when they were built, they were covered for non-production by excess alternate capacity at high cost and they were subsidized from day ! until they couldn’t be maintained anymore. As Canadians and especially Albertans, we are all the poorer for this idiotic, political experiment with public money.

      • Not sure what your point is …

        There is a set of circumstances, listed above, where wind power is competitive with fossil fuels.
        The thing is that the required circumstances mean that wind will never be viable at any useful scale.

    • Marginal costs of wind are virtually zero, that’s why they can compete on spot prices.
      Nevertheless, taking all capital and fixed costs into account wind farms are only economic with subsidies

      • Saying “wind farms are only economic with subsidies”, is a bit ridiculous. I didn’t know subsidies were free…oh, other peoples money, I see.

      • I suggest you visit the nice building housing Vesta’s admin and maintenance workers on Oak Creek Road in Mojave. I’m sure they would welcome the news of their zero pay checks.

  14. This mean that in 23 years they was not able to spare enough money, even with incentives, to replace the windmills? Where all the money gone?

  15. Coal is a bad idea, as the particles kills people. Nuclear on the other hand is clean, cost the same, produce 24/7, and emits no co2….

      • henryp, if you discard the guessmetrics used by EPA and go by directly recorded deaths due to coal mining and emissions, gas extraction or to radiation from nuclear waste. Then calculate the number of deaths per megawatt hour for each energy source. I think you will find that nuclear is one of the safest energy sources if not the safest.

      • Wrong. By any objective measure, nuclear energy is the safest form of energy production on the planet.

      • Sheri June 13, 2017 at 10:58 am
        To me, spiders and very confined spaces are scary, too. Indeed, more so than nukes.
        Indeed, I worked at the Berkeley, Gloucestershire (UK) plant for a brief time.
        Quite happily, I add.

      • “By any objective measure, nuclear energy is the safest form of energy production on the planet.”
        Objective measures never happen. The liability is too great.

      • Auto: Depends on the spider and how confined the space is! My hubby worked in a uranium mine—we still drive by the reclaimed area on the way to our cabin.
        I came…: Very well said!

        • Ok. Forget about my safety concerns. What abt the price. Nuclear is just too expensive. And it makes warm water around. All the fish around died. That ultimately translates into H2O gas.?…which is a stronger gh gas than CO2!!!
          [???? .mod]

      • More people die in bathtubs every year than have been killed by all forms of nuclear accidents over their entire history.

      • henryp, first off, water vapor precipitates out within a few hours.
        Secondly, all forms of power generation result in both warm water and water vapor.
        Your fears of nuclear are not only not rational, they are nonsensical.

      • Let’s dismantle Henry’s nonsense, shall we?
        First, by its historic track record, nuclear is by far the safest way to produce electricity in large, reliable quantities.
        This is the Paul Scherrer Institut, and it’s about as definitive as it gets.
        As to fish kills, it”s long been established that the warm water outflows of Ontario’s nuclear plants function as fish habitats particularly when the Great Lakes freeze over.
        And henry’s comment about warm water vaporization is just too stupid for words. Among many, many other things, all thermal plants, nuclear or otherwise, have temperature limits on condenser water discharge.
        sidabama, that too is mythology. Nuclear can indeed be used as load-following. The French nuclear fleet has been doing it for decades. Very few others do it because no one in their right mind wants to waste a baseload power source that runs for years at a constant, consistent output. In the case of Ontario’s nuclear plants, they can run as low as 60% capacity before shutdown is required. Again, no one does this voluntarily, because after hydraulic, nuclear is the cheapest electricity on the grid.

        • MarkW, cgh
          you have not answered me on the fact that there are no fish dying around a gas fueled power plant?
          We have Koeberg here at the ocean side and there is no ‘new’ fish sort possible due to the warmer water…..?
          Anyway, your notion that the warm water from the extra cooling processes involved with nuclear does not affect GHG is quite incorrect. If the water becomes warmer, the next time the sun comes out, it will cause most surely more evaporation if the water is warmer.
          Hence, there is no advantage in nuclear (H2O g) compared to fossil fuel (CO2 g)
          Both will enhance GHG % in the atmosphere [to anyone who thinks that is really a problem].
          But let me ask you both this [pertinent] question [everyone will notice it if you donot answer that question]
          If you have the gas and if you know that making gas turbined power factories is many times cheaper than nuclear, why would you still want to build nuclear fueled power stations?
          [??? .mod]

      • HenryP – Nuclear is “too expensive” for reasons that have nothing to do with the actual construction, operating costs, fueling/waste disposal, or decommissioning. Between the expensive law-fare that delayed or stopped construction on some plants (Seabrook Station in New Hampshire comes to mind), constant design changes mandated by the NRC in the middle of construction (leading to some previous completed construction to be ‘undone’, usually for no reason other than some vague ‘safety’ concern that had more to do with showing who really ran things), and arcane and constantly shifting construction regulations and licensing rules, it’s no wonder nuclear became “too expensive”.
        Want to see how to build and run nuclear power plants in a quick, efficient, cost effective, and safe manner? Then look to the US Navy’s nuclear power program. It gives lie to every claim made about how nuclear power is deadly, unsafe, and expensive. It’s expensive because know-nothing bureaucrats, anti-nuclear rent-seekers, and the deranged eco-warriors have made it that way.

        • DCE
          please answer exactly the same question as I asked MarkW and cgh
          If your reasoning were correct you should be able to show me comparison figures from before the nuclear scare that nuclear was cheaper than gas?

      • Henry, that’s because we’re simply not going to respond to you. You’re a typical internet troll; when rebutted on one topic you simply move to something else equally spurious. You’re not here for any debate of substance. You’re simply here to heckle. You’ve had your answers; any more would simply be pouring pearls before swine.

        • Well,
          I think anyone who is clever will have figured out cgh and Mark are the people here always advertising nuclear energy. I think most people here will also have figured out that it is not worth pursuing nuclear energy because it makes no eco- or economical sense.
          Goodbye, good luck.

      • “Want to see how to build and run nuclear power plants in a quick, efficient, cost effective, and safe manner? Then look to the US Navy’s nuclear power program. ”
        Speaking of the navy, there is currently a class action lawsuit involving several hundred US sailors who were heavily contaminated aboard the USS Ronald Reagan during Operation Tomodachi off the coast of Fukushima, and who subsequently became very ill. Nuclear’s safe and cheap … as long as there are no accidents.
        US Navy Sailors Search for Justice after Fukushima Mission

    • Nuclear is great as base load power, but it like wind at night, it can’t ramp up and down.98% of the particulate can be removed from the combusted coal exhaust, and with the latest Carbon Capture Utilization Systems over 90% of the CO2 can be removed from the combusted coal exhaust. There is less CO2 in this exhaust than in natural gas exhaust.

      • Carbon capture is insanity whose only justification is the current “carbon” hysteria. Don’t even want to know how much you can capture. Pointless.

      • CO2 at current levels, and even at double current levels, is not an issue. CO2 is an environmental non-issue. Period. Its discussion in power production should not be considered. You want a green planet, continue to burn coal for its CO2 production. You want a particulate-free planet, get there in part with clean coal power units. CO2 = Plant food. Clean coal = green planet.

      • But, as your other comments make cleat you already know, Hinkley Point *isn’t* anything to go by.
        All the coal plants are being shut, indirectly, by EU fiat and the existing nuclear plants are nearing the end of their lives. In the mid to late 2020s a huge %age of UK generation will go off line.
        Hinkley Point is a fine example of the a government cock-up along the lines of: ‘There is a problem, we must do something. This is something. Therefore we must do this.’.

      • Not because of the actual cost, but because of politics. Currently, nuclear may indeed be more expensive than other forms of energy, but not because the technology is bad or the actual cost of construction is so high.
        I hope Hinkley Point is an anomaly.

      • James, Janet, the principal problem with Hinkley Point is that it was designed by Areva. It’s building two examples of an immensely complicated plant called the EPR. The real problem with Areva is not simply the complexity of its design but that it has bungled basic project management. Simple things like incorrect specification of concrete and steel.
        For the rest, its high cost is likely the result of contract conditions inserted by the British government. If you want a lot of absolute guarantees about things like the future cost of fuel, as a customer, you pay for that. If as a customer you want the builder to absorb 100% of construction overruns, even though you the customer may cause such overruns, you pay for that. If as a customer, you want the builder to absorb all the added cost of regulatory changes, you pay for that.

      • Sheri, the high cost depends in large part on how many conditions and guarantees the government inserted into the contract. The more guarantees and penalties for late delivery, the higher the sticker price.

      • My power company is preaching conservation again. Last time I conserved, they raised by monthly costs and any savings from conservation were eaten up by the monthly fees. No matter how much conservation and cost savings via any method are preached, they never, ever materialize.

      • Years ago, my local Wal-mart went from being open 24/7 to being open 6 am to midnight. They said it was “to serve you better”, as they would be able to stock during the hours the store was closed. Guess what continued to happen during business hours. The store eventually returned to 24/7 (when I was no longer in need of anything at 3 am). I think there may be less daytime stocking since the change.
        My family now jokes that whenever a company makes a change that will supposedly “serve you better”, expect the opposite.

      • My home in Virginia is served by a non-profit electric cooperative (NOVEC), so my bill went down three years ago when their cost went down. We also get Power Cost Adjustments each year that wholesale prices are below the amount budgeted.

  16. Use wind like they used wind in the old times: pump up the water from a lower level to a higher level reservoir [lake]
    then catch the falling water like you get hydro power and use the power when you want it and need it [open the sluice gates]
    I think all other ‘wind’ power is a waste of time.

    • I see what you did there (leaving out the environmental curse word “dam” so as not to offend the greenies).

    • henryp: “I think all other ‘wind’ power is a waste of time.”
      America’s Cup racing (leveraging wind power) is quite amazing.

      • And even inshore, it is a challenging environment.
        Off shore, especially deep sea – crossing oceans – the sea wins if there is even a sliver of a problem.
        Google ‘Stellar Daisy’ – a converted very large ore carrier that sank with practically no warning, in April, carrying twenty two men to a watery and untimely grave.
        Two seafarers survived [largely by luck, it seems].
        The Sea is, indeed, a Cruel Mistress.

    • Pumped hydro only works in places where there is favorable geography, which is not common naturally. It would take a massive geoengineering effort to create enough “reservoirs” to provide a large fraction of our current energy needs. This would cause the destruction of habitat for thousands (maybe millions) of species of animals and insects. ALL wind power is a waste of time.

    • So you build TWO power plants instead of one. I fail to see how that is a bargain. (Yes, one is the “pump” and one is the electricity, but it’s two plants. Water evaporation is a problem, made worse by WIND. So you need a constant source of replacement water.)

      • No.
        Use could use existing dam and hydro. Just adding more water from down stream pumping it nack upstream. It is all about rethinking ‘re-usable’…..

      • It’s worse than that. You lose about 30-40% of the energy generated in friction losses in the pumped storage system. Henry also seems unaware that the volume and head of water available in any hydraulic system is severely constrained. There are both absolute limits on the volume available, and strict limits on how much can be used to restrict environmental damage.

      • One day this may change, but at the current time there is no way to store enough energy to “smooth” a large wind-powered grid without incurring storage cost equal to or greater than the cost to generate with a modern coal or natural gas plant. There may be the occasional lower cost option suitable for some small percentage of the storage solution, but on average the huge capacity required ends up quite expensive per KWh.
        The only way to minimize the storage required is to vastly overbuild wind and transmission capacity or have alternative generation capacity. Both of those solutions are very expensive. Look out for tricky accounting practices which shift those costs to power generated from non-wind sources.

  17. They shouldn’t be scrapped; they should be moved to the entrances of progressive cities across Canada to stand as proud, virtue-signalling climate sentries.

  18. At least there’s some scrap metal. Modern concrete bases never go away. Would love to see their life cycle ROI and ROCE. Betting it was negative even with incentives.

  19. Henryp writes that nuclear power is unsafe, which is an assertion. Certainly many more deaths occur as a result of coal, in both the mines and because of particulates emitted. The particulates removed from coal smoke are the larger ones, whereas it is the smallest which pose the greatest danger. I suspect that oil and gas have deaths in the exploration and production phase, but possibly fewer from emissions. However, in terms of money spent on safety compared to the numbers of deaths, nuclear is certainly the safest of all.

    • Small particles pose zero danger. Please cite solid science not mythology. The human body is we;ll adapted to control many external factors. Thats why we have thrived all over the planet.

  20. As far as wind sites go, Cowley Ridge is a very good wind site being on the leeward side of the Rockies, with a good stiff wind blowing the majority of the time. All the Interconnection details are already in place, including permitting, so you would think just installing some of the new larger multiple Mw units would be a piece of cake. The problem is, you can’t build any new generating asset of any kind and rely on spot pricing to get a decent ROI to justify building any new asset. And of course, the nature of wind power is non firm, intermittent energy. It only works when the wind blows, and unless Trans Alta were to integrate this into a pumped storage scheme, which is entirely feasible in this neck of the woods, it is hard to justify now paying them firm base load prices for a product that isn’t. I recall when Cdn Hydro Developers signed this contract in the early 1990’s, that the only real subsidy they got was near equivalent retail firm pricing. About 5 cents per kw/hr at the time. Plus maybe a break on any utility property taxes. They made money at this then, but then they were the only wind operator on the grid at the time so no real effect with an intermittent supply.
    If Trans Alta were to rebuild this site with a pumped storage site nearby in the mountains, they may have a solution at present firm market pricing. PS has a return trip efficiency of 70%-75%, and will never be outdone by batteries or anything else on a long term asset lifespan, so I think this is the solution if Alberta is ever going to try and get more renewables online. Successfully.

    • Ron / others … I drive by these windmills regularly on my way to ski in BC. They have a history of being shut down in high wind conditions. This is the only place I have ever seen where they have permanent warning signs for the wind conditions stating how hard it is blowing and it is a common sight to see semi trucks blown over in the ditch. I can’t remember what the max wind they can handle is but I want to say 60 to 70 kilometres per hour.

      • yup…too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing. Driving west into a 50 mph headwind can be a challenge. But you get home going east for near free.

      • Excellent point. I remind people all the time that turbines have cut-out speeds. The ones I have seen and read about have cut-outs closer to 65 to 95 kph (40 to 60 mph). However, in Wyoming, that is not uncommon. Yesterday, we had several tornadoes, and sustained winds of 60+ mph for several hours. Over 40 mph is quite common. Semi trucks blow over routinely, though they shut the interstate highway now in high wind, especially in the winter. High wind wears out everything faster. People do not understand wear and tear on turbines, either.

    • Trans Alta probably did not do a due diligence. Or they did, and would like a handout as well. Wait, isn’t asking for a handout a part of due diligence?

    • Pumped storage does not satisfy the Greens, who will point out that man made reservoirs have a significant AGW footprint. This is why hydro is no longer in the pantheon of green and renewable energy. A PS solution is therefor off the table is green credentials are to be kept, regardless of the reality of power storage needs.

  21. Not to worry. I’m sure that Canada’s Climate Barbie (aka Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment & Climate Change) has an “innovative” slogan-and-hashtag-worthy “solution” ready for her twitter-army and the [taxpayer funded] CBC to praise and promulgate at her command /sarc

    • Behind the scenes, Minister McKenna has been signing off on Porches, Mercedes Benz, and Lexus cars for her department’s use. McKenna signed off on not one but two luxury Porsche vehicles. But don’t worry, they were used cars — so the one only cost us $67,000 dollars and the other was a mere $63,000. And the Lexus McKenna signed off came in just shy of $67,000 as well.
      But take a look at some of the other vehicles Climate Change Barbie brought in to her department thanks to the public purse: A Mercedes Benz for $92,000 and, finally, the crown jewel in the Ministry of the Environment’s garage (courtesy of you and me, the taxpayer): A brand spanking new Tesla for a cool $112,000.

      • Stewart…If only Minister McKenna and a few of her pals (not premier windbag) would dance naked under a full moon, chanting for a solution to whatever they think the problem is, I am sure they could halt the tide coming in. First we take back Alberta/BC from the socialists, and then Ottawa. Common sense will prevail in the end.

  22. did anyone of these green WWF lovers worry over bursting the lungs of thousands of bats, and killing as many birds in the name of clean energy?? who speaks for the creatures? Why doesn’t Greenpeace have an ecofreindly moon-powered land yacht to fight these windmills?

  23. Our NDP Gov’t has already stated they will shut down our 4 coal fired plants. These wind mills are a blit on our view of the foothills. I can hardly wait for them to be removed. HOWEVER, our NDP Gov’t will shell over our tax dollars for more of the newer versions…and we will pay for it for years….I can hardly wait for the next election when the NDP will be thrown out like last weeks garbage.

    • It didn’t stop the problem in the USA. The government “Santa Clauses” handed out years of subsidies and tax credits before Obama left (Including the Republican Santas). Wind installations are reportedly up and will be up till 2020. Stopping a freight train financed by the government Santas is very, very difficult. The dead birds and destroyed areas will continue. Your grandchildren will be cleaning them up—or living under them or in them, depending on how things turn out.

  24. … just use them as trellises for vegetables.
    … not much return, I know, but it could be a fun project.
    Convert them into watch towers to spot a failure coming from miles away.
    I go with the second option.

    • Better still, “re-purpose” these relics as an installation earth-art sculpture to signify the gross failures of well-meaning minds. You could get a grant, maybe. Hype it in the media. Make it a stop on bus tours. Light them up at night on Christmas.
      Power them up with fossil fuel electric motors, … just because this would look interesting. Is it hot there? — use the motorized retro-engineered versions as big electric fans, as you provided beach chairs and served cold lemonade. How refreshing !

    • They are all about 20-25 years, so a relatively short lifetime. It’s why you rarely see a 40 year PPA with a wind farm. I thought there was an article here a few months back about the Brit offshore wind farm that was I think 27 years old, at the end of its life span. The new towers and bases, infrastructure etc, and interconnection details would last a fair bit longer, but would still need to probably replace the nacelle and blades after 20-25 years. Especially for anything in a salt water environment.

  25. Paul Benrose
    I did not exactly feel safe when I approached a site by foot where they bury the nuclear waste deep into the ground……
    The idea is that wind must work when you want it to work. Yes, you need a dam, preferably a dam that is already existing? …with below an area where there is wind.
    I suggest to do some research on that before you start. I am just the guy who is giving you the idea on how wind perhaps could work, more effectively.

      • Dear Henry,
        Your feelings of fear are driven by a lack of complete and/or accurate information about the safety of spent fuel storage. In the U.S. the safety record impeccable. France, for instance, has been sending its nuclear “waste” to be stored here for around 40 years. With no complaints (based on facts).
        Learning will set you free of fear!

        • Dear Janice
          Why should I want dubious nuclear energy – 3 x big fail already –
          when gas and gas turbines are so much cheaper and more CO2 is better?

      • Dear Henry,
        There have been no “3 x big fail” in the United States (nor in Japan — Fukushima was a Sunami disaster, not a nuclear disaster).
        Yes, more CO2 is, at worst, benign. Yes, gas is just fine.
        Nevertheless: GO, NUCLEAR POWER!
        Janice 🙂

    • Three times fail? Good heavens, with your definition of “fail”, a natural gas explosion once a decade should be more than enough to instill utter terror in your heart. I just saw three houses exploded on the news due to that natural gas stuff.
      I’ll give you one fail due to bad construction, one due to an act of nature and one over-hyped nonsense event to terrify the easily duped. I’m sure I can find enough examples of natural gas explosions, workers killed, etc, to keep you awake for weeks. Why, it could be seeping into your water as I type……..

      • That wont change the price of nuclear neither will it change public perception and opinion.
        Gas and gas turbines r much cheaper. Have never heard of any accidents in gas power plants…

        It may not change the perception and opinion (since people tend to suffer from interminable clinging to false beliefs), but the fact is gas, hydro and geothermal are more deadly than nuclear—we just DO NOT CARE. Seriously, pipelines explode bringing gas to the power plants, power plant inner workings come apart, etc and as long as it’s not nuclear, WE DO NOT CARE. That’s the harsh reality of human caring.

      • The problem with nuclear is that the problem sticks around – like forever. Any other disaster we clean up and move on. No residuals. But nuclear is different.
        Chernobyl has to worry about forest fires that release radioactivity back into the air. The area is currently being plundered of anything of worth resulting in lots of radioactive materials sold elsewhere. They clean up an area affected by Fukushima and then later find it radioactive again – like school playgrounds. The contaminated soil (from cleanups) lies sealed in tens of thousands of vinyl sq. meter bags stacked on top of each other that they fear will catch fire due to methane produced from organic matter decomposition. The contamination of the Pacific with high level radioactivity will never stop. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
        Doesn’t sound very clean to me.

      • I came I saw I very left,
        Try a visit to Nagasaki or Hiroshima. They needed safe treatment of nuclear matter for about 20 years, then resettlement began and continued with no problems.
        One of the anti nuclear propaganda pieces is that used fuel hasnto be managed for 100,000 years, or another version with 10,000 years. It is easy to mount an argument that 100 years is adequate.
        The crux of the matter is that dilution of the radioactive material reduces the time for which it needs management. You have as many scenarios and options as you wish. None of them costs very much. The technology was worked out decades ago.
        Those who fear peaceful uses of nuclear power need to study the reason for their fear. Invariably, it will me either misinformation or lack of information.
        It is a perverse world when activism tries to turn safest into least safe.

      • it is estimated that 5 months after the Fukushima disaster, the amount of radioactive cesium released into the environment was 168 times greater than Hiroshima. There’s been 6 years of ongoing radioactive releases since then because of ongoing fission. Hiroshima/Nagasaki were one-time fission events. Fukushima is the gift that keeps on giving.

      • What’s interesting here, exemplified by henry and Icame, is that wind power advocates always feel the need to deflect from the defects of the system they prefer to imagined failings of nuclear power. And also that they persist in restating their false chestnuts even after long ago having been shown to be wrong.

      • I’m not a proponent of wind power, cgh, except for beach houses and windy spots that are off the grid. Nice try at deflection, but no prize.

  26. This is just the beginning in a long line of these reaching the end of their life. I can’t wait to see how much tax dollars are needed to subsidized the building of new windfarms to meet mandates while simultaneously replacing the old ones after 20 years. Behold the carousel of croney capitalism, where “profits” and “uneconomical” take on a whole new meaning.

  27. It’s odd (or rather it beggars belief!) that this form of ‘subsidy farming’ was never properly costed to include all operational costs – including replacement – just as the Greens always seem to insist applies to nuclear generation and to coal power stations. Maybe when such windmill contracts are agreed then the generator companies should meet any and all actual lifetime costs that exceed those that were anticipated at the outset?

    • Required “clean up” would make wind plants look “dirty”. We cannot be doing that. 😉

    • PP
      “It’s odd (or rather it beggars belief!) that this form of ‘subsidy farming’ was never properly costed to include all operational costs”
      The business model (if any) was done by politicians (or consultants paid by politicians; some of whom might have once been politicians) and THEY HAVE ABSOLUTELY ZERO INCENTIVE TO LET TAX PAYERS KNOW THE REAL COST OF THESE BOONDOGLES.

    • More than just operating costs, many of the turbines erected in Ontario have no decommissioning provisions. And none require removal of the concrete foundation. The landowner is stuck with it.

  28. This follows Vatenfall’s shutting down a project at end of life. 25% of design output delivered. But now what happens to the machines. Drop the towers, ready. Scrap the steel, easy. Scrap the blades, no viable use for the arisings. What will happen to the bases, will their being on site inhibit future use? Could they be inspected and certified for re – use? Not the deliverance our green friends have forecast

  29. The other green insanity here is the green opposition to Site C hydroelectric dam in British Columbia. It is fought tooth and nail by the aboriginals, a few farmers and the green blob. This dam could directly replace 1/8 of the coal fired capacity in Alberta or, as is intended, power up an LNG compressor export facility without burning some of the LNG to run generators.
    Yes it will flood or utilize 6800 acres of good farmland. However, it’s big brother, WAC Bennett dam flooded the forest to create the Williston Lake reservoir which I lived beside for a few years. The forest was continually floating up from deep below decades later and was known to puncture or capsize boats on the lake. So… if future generations wish to reclaim the land under the reservoirs, ( maybe because fusion power is perfected and cheaper), it’s still there and then they may do so. Same thing for flooded agricultural land.
    After all, a1 agricultural land is flood plain isn’t it?
    Suzuki’s rant that our food is largely coming from 3000 km away ( California ) is of course true. What he leaves out of the rant is that there ain’t nuthin ‘ growing on those lands at 40 below in the winter anyway and that the Callifornia and Mexican produce suppliers are not dummies and understand leverage. If the ‘local’ supermarket wants produce in winter then they are forced to commit to buying it in summer too. Such was the response I got years ago from our local supermarket produce manager. It’s a holdup, but that’s the situation.
    The land area of BC is 365,000 square miles and the area to be used for the dam is 6800 acres/640acres per square mile or…. a little over 10.6 square miles. Surely we can find enough land in the other 364,990 square miles to feed a population (a mere 4 million.)
    Nah. Build the subsidy farms and rebuild them again 25 years later. Right?

    • “After all, a1 agricultural land is flood plain isn’t it?”
      Before the WAC and Peace Canyon dams were built in the 1960’s, the Peace River flooded a lot of that Class 1 farmland most years. The first two dams actually stabilized the flows so no annual flooding occurred and made that river bottom flood plain farmland viable for agriculture.
      If this new harebrained BC NDP/Green alliance kill the Site C firm renewable 800 Mw project after already under construction and spending or committing to nearly $3 billion then that will be an act of treason. And by the Greens no less and it’s dear leader, Dr. Andrew Weaver of IPCC fame. Who sues his opponents who disagree with him on AGW. And who was running the second hottest climate models as a mathematician for the IPCC reports. He is part responsible for all the alarmism and now he says no to Site C clean renewable energy. Just appalling and clearly a reason why the Greens can never be taken seriously.

    • The cyber space Gods were not working in your favor on that one. Close your eyes next time. Sometimes that works for me. Typing and reposting is the best—both versions will show up at the same time!!!
      (I either have to laugh at these things or pull all my remaining hair out!)

    • bill h — I just checked and, it apparently still hasn’t appeared. I have had comments in moderation (that’s when you can see your comment, but, no one else can and it has a message with it saying something like, “Awaiting moderation”) for hours before they appear. Anthony was just saying (on the “please help” thread today) that he is short-handed with mods, so, that could be the reason.
      If your comment just *poof* disappeared, it is in the spam bin. It may or may not get out. If a mod finds it, it almost certainly will appear, often hours later. Sometimes, though, Anthony/mod has replied to tell a chagrined commenter that they simply cannot find the comment anywhere.
      You go into moderation if you used a “bad” word, e.g., (spelled wrong here) sc@m or den1er (I think you can just spell them correctly, but put a space between each character, per MarkW that should work — I haven’t taken the time to test it enough to feel comfortable relying on that method).
      If you use more than about 3 links inside your comment, that sends you into oblivion. Also, using a LOT of bolding/blockquoting seems to trigger it, too.
      You can test “bad” words on the Test thread.
      Always save a copy of your comment. I usually just highlight the entire comment, type “Ctrl – c” and if it doesn’t appear, then past that (with “Ctrl-v”) into a blank Word doc to save it in case I want to try to re-post it.
      Sorry about your frustration!! Boy, have I been there.
      Oh. Another thing to watch out for — I get caught up by this once in awhile — if the LINK you are using for a source cite has a “bad” word in it BAM! —> into moderation (easy to miss those — can’t get around that one and have an active link to another commenter’s comment — just have to insert a blank or write out part of it in an “okay” version and tell people you have done that so they can correct it when they type it into their browser.
      Okay. Now that you have come to the end of this comment, 4 hours later — your comment will probably appear!
      Hang in there — try testing your comment with words removed on the Test thread and then, re-post above.

      • Seems to have been a bit of a delay on the line earlier this week…!
        (thanks for helpful advice above)

  30. “Coal and nuclear plants last longer and provide far more power…and production isn’t tied to the vagaries of wind and weather.” Couldn’t agree more.To me, solar is the worst because you know every evening the sun will not shine for a fixed amount of time. At least with wind, it blows night and day in some locations. Trying to depend on wind and solar for base loading any electrical system is foolishness of the highest magnitude.

    • Actually if you do a luminescence study on solar, you find it’s even worse than that. On a clear day, no clouds and no visual obstructions, you find that solar has peak production of about two hours on either side of noon, with severe dropoffs in energy output before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m.

  31. Why haven’t these people gone Geo-Thermal? At least they don’t have ugly towers to look at that way. I’m sure giverments would subsidize a hole in the ground.

  32. Idiot power indeed. Making our energy infrastructure dependent on the weather is about as big a step backwards in human progress as I can think of, short of nuclear war.

  33. 23 years old? and going to be dismantled?
    That’s odd: I keep reading comments about the short lifespan of wind turbines and how they will never be dismantled but just left to rust…
    I’d be surprised if these are not replaced with modern, more efficient designs… that regularly occurs in (for example) Germany

    • Griff

      That’s odd: I keep reading comments about the short lifespan of wind turbines and how they will never be dismantled but just left to rust…
      I’d be surprised if these are not replaced with modern, more efficient designs… that regularly occurs in (for example) Germany

      Those in California are left to rust. Altamonte Pass (and all the other wind tunnel passes) in CA are covered by miles after miles of eyesores.
      The “newer” far taller windmill nacelles and towers are not compatible with uprated (more powerful) blades nor generators. Once up, the entire tower must be replaced y a new tower, nacelle, and foundation – which will not be done in most site in the future. (The foundations, although invisible, are sized also for the specific size of generator and blade and tower forces at that spot for the original design – NEVER for future uprates.
      Useful life is much shorter than the “advertised” minimums too: Because maintenance is NOT subsidized (unlike construction tax write-off’s!) it will not be done. Today’s windmills will deteriorate rapidly, far more rapidly than their Chinese-advertised “rated lifetime” at an unreasonable, never-to-be obtained rated power.
      Today’s “estimates” of future lifetimes are NOT VERIFIED, because today’s designs are still in their early years of operation. A repair period of 8 years, for example, has not yet been exceeded for the new designs installed through Obama’s reign. And Bush’s windmills were far smaler, only now reaching 1-1/2 lifetimes. You can “predict” 20-30 years service. But nobody knows what the real lifetime will be. With maintenance. Or without proper maintenance and regular service. Under good companies, or under bad times. Never richer, but always poorer. Till death and decay does it asunder.

  34. Can anyone suggest sources of economics and cost experience on wind power from the producer’s side and the price paid by utilities for purchase of electricity? This information seems to be hidden from view, perhaps purposely. I have one source, the best I have found and quite revealing, but I believe there is much more… From this source one can roughly tally that the all-in cost of wind power is at least $1.24 /kwhr from identifiable tangible costs, although there are other intangible and hidden costs that cannot be identified.

    • It is hidden. In Ontario, it’s government practice never to divulge the contract terms for its wind generation private producers. it’s not divulged to customers in their electricity bills either. It’s simply aggregated into the total cost of power the customer has to pay. It’s something called the Global Adjustment Fund, which is simply a dumping ground for all sorts of things that the government adds to the cost of power to avoid telling the customer what are the specific items.
      What’s also not disclosed is that all wind turbine contracts have a free connection to the grid, something which no other producer or customer has. And this hidden cost is NOT divulged anywhere.

  35. Bill H: “Meanwhile offshore wind projects in the North Sea are coming in with strike prices of 60 dollars or less per MWh.”
    do you have a link for that?

  36. They should save a couple for a monument to government stupidity. With Trump bringing down the hammer, it might retain a record for longevity in the world. I think a great new investment would be the windmill scrap business. Is this what was being touted as providing thousands of green technology jobs? Another moneymaker would be selling rare earth metals short. Windmills may be the largest world resource of dysprosium and neodymium. I would call the business ‘Windfall Resources’.
    I think you could get defunct solar farms for the price of the sterilized land, too and the scrap would be free. Like the wind farms the land would be well fertilized by dead birds and bats. The higher CO2 will also make arid land more productive with reduced water needs. Another swathe of green tech jobs. I’m looking for help from WUWT readers on what the company name should be.

  37. There’s a secondary reality involved, a larger one than the fact it’s not economically feasible, Greg. If it is shown that it’s not economically feasible to build it now, 23 years later, it’s proof that a 23 year long experiment in one of the most windy areas of their country, never was worth it, and they could have skipped the first 23 years of blunder.
    “Yes but the article doesn’t say all this.”
    Every article’s not an education, it’s a supplement to the one, one has.
    For decades real scientists have stood up and told government employees their fakery is nothing but energy markets fraud. When people are somehow forced under threat of great danger coming to them, if they don’t acquiesce to anything, this is definitional terrorism under at the very least, US criminal code.
    Everyone worldwide is watching these people tear these monstrosities down, and big oil, has won again.
    They supplied the grants to the lying thieves who claimed oil will harm the world,
    they made the entire world pay for the research into what market they need to move into next – think Al Gore and his association however subtly hidden with Occidental Oil company his father got rich alongside the owners of,
    The grants paying for the initial runs of the scam were provided very much by oil companies themselves.
    The greatest business benefactors from this are the oil companies themselves.
    They took a public beating and have been ”proved right by science” and all proceeds as normal for them.
    for the political top dogs such as Gore and other national leaders who profit from the power to their party as well as the enormous – enormous access to purely and simply, stolen wealth.
    Greg June 13, 2017 at 11:40 am
    Note that this was part of a predatory take over. Such operations are usually followed by asses stripping and job losses. They seem more interested in the real estate and scrap value of 680,000 tons of steel; or demolishing in order to such up some more grant money than limited income from the existing site.
    This has little to do with whether the site has given a ROI since its constructions, it is an asset stripping manoeuvre. No more.

  38. I imagine that a lot of the subsidy is related to new construction. You probably don’t get any tax credits for maintenance or equipment replacement; hence, end of life, end of project.

  39. So predictable, yet another wind-energy bashing article. No mention, though, of the smashing success wind power has enjoyed in the US, with more than 82,000 MW operating now. Modern turbines have 40 percent or better output on an annual basis.
    Turbine owners are making a profit at 4.3 cents per kWH delivered.
    Grids are stable, retail prices are stable.
    And all that with the teenage years of turbine technology: the mature, advanced technology is yet to be installed.
    When the 8 MW turbines replace thode of 1 MW and smaller, economics really improve.
    But, we won’t be seeing any of this on WUWT.

    • Sowell as odd as it sounds to you the people writing about all this, PAID for those wind turbines. They know what they cost and they know what they return and they know how often they see them standing, stock still, on ridges all over the country: disasters having already happened once, eventually going to happen again.
      They kill birds.
      They drive peoples’ property values down with their enormous low-frequency, ground rattling grinds.
      They’re HUGELY expensive to put in for a MISERABLE return.
      They’re hugely expensive to even cart AWAY.
      Stop pretending your magical understandings mean idiocy is genius. Natural Gas and Coal plants have on-line status that are able to be managedand KEPT SECURE.
      Wind power is extremely subject to VANDALISM and terrorist activity. They’re an Al Qaeda bombers’ DREAM come TRUE.
      Same thing for solar.
      What is wrong with you people who can’t understand how many drawbacks there are to these ill designed monstrosities?
      You’re pretty obviously not one of the people who understands just how monstrous these wrecks are. For this planet, with it’s atmospheric density, the most efficient place to put the rotors for these is up on the edges of cliffs.
      At that point percentages’ efficiency climb quite a bit. But it’s impossible to place them on the edges of buildings and cliffs not designed for such so the idiots who told you magical gas makes the sky hot, so you owe the government money, decided to scam your grandchildren out of any hope for education or you having any money, by taxing you – YET AGAIN – so they can take big trips and
      teach your children that there is magical insulation that makes more firelight leak out of rocks, it made less firelight ever get into. You’re not ”forward thinking” when you see ill designed monstrosities operate at less than 50% efficiency, that someone could completely disable forever – FOR EVER – WITH something as trivial as a fertilizer bomb.
      You’re just dumb sounding is what you are, for being such a fan boy of vulnerability and waste.
      Seriously. At some point in your life, some adult has to tell you to
      snap out of the insaniac,
      That’s how you sheeple got caught swearing adding carbon dioxide to air can heat it, destroying environmental science with the fraud to the point we’re going to pretty much dismantle a bunch of it and start over.
      Too many con men
      teaching too many gullible children
      who grow up gullible quasi-adults.

  40. Wow…the spin and partial-truth of this particular post left me dizzy. Also, why is this being posted now? Cowley Ridge was decommissioned due to obsolescence, and the quoted article published, over a year ago. The headline that the decommissioning of this facility, which was less than 0.2% of the wind powered generating capacity in Canada, somehow represents a general failure of wind power in that nation is ridiculous. Does the negative cash flow of the coal and bitumen companies which occurred in Canada at the same time indicate the failure of those industries?
    A sample of one of the many portions of the referenced article which were not quoted:
    “The lifespan of the original turbines was 20 years, but the company was able to keep them running in part by cannibalizing nine similar towers from TransAlta’s Taylor wind farm near Magrath in southern Alberta, retired in 2012, Oliver said.
    He said there’s only one other wind farm still in operation in North America using the same technology and it’s becoming impossible to find replacement parts. TransAlta has known for some time that Cowley Ridge would have to close — a decision was made in February.”
    That was February 2016, by the way.

  41. Back in the day Alberta used to massively fine companies who killed birds, like this one:
    Syncrude to pay $3M penalty for duck deaths (2010)

    Oilsands giant Syncrude Canada will pay a $3-million penalty for the deaths of 1,600 ducks in one of its toxic tailings ponds in April 2008.

    That equates to $1,875 per duck. I have no idea how many birds that wind farm has massacred but with 57 turbines you could expect a couple hundred per turbine each year, and twice that many bats.
    Let’s be generous and make it a round 100 birds per turbine per year. That would mean a fine of 57 x 23 x 100 x 1,875 = $245.8 million.
    The Cowley Ridge wind farm was originally 57 x 375 kW turbines, for 21.4 MW. At the end of its life it had a capacity of 16 MW. So if we average it to 18.7 MW and apply the usual 25% average yield the power they’ve produced is:
    18.7 x 0.25 x 8760 x 23 = 941,919 MWh
    At the roughly average Canadian wholesale electricity price of $60/MWh in the last decade that comes to $56.5 million.
    So if they were fined at the same rate as an oil company the fines would be just over 4 times the value of the electricity the wretched things have produced in their whole miserable bird munching lifetime.
    We truly live in a world where some people are more equal than others.

    • I also hate wind turbines for several reasons. First, just for the amount of raw materials that it takes to build them for such a low power density. Second, for the number of birds and bats that are killed by them. I met a man who stated that his daughter was an engineer for a Wind Turbine company and she told him that Wind Farms only kill as many birds and bats as do natural predators. I was speechless. That means the bird mortality is now doubled since Wind Farms have come into existence. Now, here is my proposal: They should carefully dismantle each turbine. Ship one to every museum in the world and have it displayed at the front of each building with a plaque that reads: “A testimony to the folly of man.”

  42. Mark, cgh, DCE
    I think anyone who is clever will have figured out cgh and Mark and DCE are the people here always advertising nuclear energy. I think most people here will also have figured out that it is not worth pursuing nuclear energy because it makes no eco- or economical sense.
    Goodbye, good luck

    • … and DCE are the people here always advertising nuclear energy. Really? I am? I have made mention of support for nuclear power a few times over the years. I have not hidden the fact that, from an engineering viewpoint, it makes sense. (I am, after all, and engineer.) I look at data, verifiable data. If I cannot find a reasonable source for such data (The New York Times, Washington Post, Mother Jones et al are not credible sources), then I have to take any such data with a huge grain of salt.
      My biggest problem with certain renewables is that on a level playing field, meaning no subsidies to make such a thing viable, they are not truly cost effective. Hydro is one of the few renewables that can generate power consistently at reasonably low cost and are not vulnerable to the vagueries of weather, with the exception being lengthy droughts.
      The point has been made that the nuclear industry also receives subsidies. That’s quite true. But they pale in comparison to wind and solar on a per megawatt-hour basis. Because nuclear plants can receive fuel only by way of the federal government, there are some subsidized costs involved, just as there are for disposal or storage of nuclear waste.
      I do not base my support or lack thereof based upon the opinions or feelings of others. I do not take numbers that proponents of any energy source throw out into the blogosphere as gospel. I do my homework.
      I think my biggest problem with renewables like wind and solar is the very low energy density in comparison to coal, oil, gas, or nuclear plants. Both wind and solar eat up an incredible amount of land to even come close to the generation capacity of the none-renewable power sources. (One has to remember that the label plate generation capacity of wind and solar do not reflect that actual amount of power generated. Most achieve at best 40%, with the average being closer to ~30%.)
      One last thing: Wind has some major ecological (bird kills and other adverse wildlife effects) and health issues (infrasound) that too many of its proponents choose to pretend don’t exist. Then again, most of its proponents don’t live anywhere near a windfarm, so I doubt they really care about the negative least as long as they don’t have to deal with them directly.

  43. The eagles hearts soar .No more bird blenders . What happened did the tax payer rip off subsides end ?

  44. DCE
    I am also not in favor of wind, as it appears that often the wind blows when you don’t need more power on the grid. That creates problems of oversupply.
    First on my wish list is hydro power. This could be extended by using wind to pump water up into a reservoir and using it like you would hydro power: letting the water flow down when you need the power on the grid.
    Second on the list is gas. I use gas to heat my office. It has clean exhaust. More carbon is OK for the environment. And you have the exact power when you want it and need it.
    Third would be coal but you have to purify the exhaust and carefully handle the ash as it contains poisons like silicate dust and heavy metals.
    Next on my list is solar. I have a solar geyser for warm water which works quite well if the sun shines and it gets reasonably warm in the day. I also have a few solar panels for some power to run the office but I have a lot of hassles with it. Panels get dirty. Batteries don’t last for more than 2 years. etc. Quite frankly, I think electricity from solar is not worth the hassle.
    Last on my list is nuclear, mainly because of cost to build, environmental concerns, waste handling and high level expertise required which is not always readily available in developing countries.

  45. That wind farm (Cowley Ridge) was decommissioned over a year ago. The reasons it was decommissioned early are a little unclear depending on who you want to listen to.

  46. oil and coal require larger subsidies still — except they
    don’t show
    up on your monthly utility bill,
    but in your health care bills.
    [??? .mod]

    • I suspect you refer to SCC, the “social cost of carbon”, an invisible and imaginary amount used by the green blob to “prove” that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels. Almost always defined as a cost, with no mention of benefits arising from CO2 richness. Asthma, being often cited as a leading health threat component of SCC, is linked thereto in an imaginary and unproven way. As an aside, the asthma bombs comprising the fleets of under-maintained diesel vehicles partially combusting french-fry oil and driven by holier-than-all-of-us superstitious zealots, are rarely mentioned. In my quaint home community, these same folks treat power lines and smart meters like kryptonite.

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