Wind Power–Some Basic Facts

From Paul Homewood’s Blog

August 12, 2017

tags: wind power

By Paul Homewood

We see many glowing articles about wind power, and renewable lobbyists, such as Renewable UK, are often given undue space in the media to peddle mistruths.

This article is designed to lay out some of the basic facts. It will naturally concentrate mainly on the UK, but I believe it will have relevance elsewhere too.

Renewable lobbyists like to emphasise how “clean” wind power is, and how many tonnes of CO2 are saved.

Others will argue that wind farms are a long way from being environmentally friendly, and arguably save little CO2 anyway.

I am not going to get into these debates, as they are subjective, and therefore not relevant to an objective analysis.

Capacity and Outputs

So, first to some basic facts.

Last year in the UK, according to government statistics, wind power generated 37.4 TWh, 11% of the UK’s total electricity.

Of this, onshore produced 21.0 TWh, and offshore 16.4 TWh.

Wind power capacity was 16.2GW at the end of 2016, and average utilisation was 28%.

To put these figures into perspective, the CCGT plant at Pembroke, built in 2012, is rated at 2000 MW, and is capable of producing about 15 TWh a year. In other words, two Pembrokes could replace most of the wind power capacity in the UK.

Subsidies

There are basically three subsidy mechanisms for wind power in Britain:

  • Feed in Tariffs – designed for small scale operations
  • Renewables Obligation (RO)– this has been the main form of subsidy so far. The scheme places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable sources, or effectively pay for certificates instead.

The scheme is now closed to all new generating capacity

  • Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – These are awarded to renewable projects via an auction process. Successful applicants receive a guaranteed Strike Price for the period of the contract (usually 15 years). This guaranteed price is inflation linked each year.

Whilst the renewable operator directly receives the market price for electricity produced, the government guarantees to top it up to the Strike Price. If the market price is greater, the reverse happens.

CfDs are only available to renewable projects, although a similar structure is agreed for Hinkley Point.

In terms of numbers, ROCs are valued at about £46/MWh, roughly the same as the current wholesale price of electricity.

Different types of renewable generators receive different allowances. For instance, while onshore wind farms have been receiving 1 ROC per MWh, offshore wind ones receive 2 ROC.

Put simply, an onshore wind farm will expect to earn double the wholesale price, and an offshore will triple it.

CfD prices so far agreed for offshore wind range from £123.47 to 161.71/MWh, making them an even dearer option than ROCs.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the cost of subsidising renewable power this year will amount to £6.0bn. Of this, the Committee on Climate Change estimate that £3.1bn will go to wind farms.

By 2021, subsidies for wind will have increased to £7.1bn, as capacity grows. This equates to £265 per household.

The renewable industry loves to publish surveys showing how much the public like wind power. I suspect their results would be very different if the public were told just how much they are having to pay for it!

Preferential Access to Markets

As well as the actual subsidies paid out, wind farms receive another huge commercial advantage by being given what amounts to preferential access to the electricity market.

Put simply, they are pretty much guaranteed being able to sell all the power they produce, and, in the case of CfDs, at a guaranteed price as well. Anyone running a business will tell you that just how much this would be worth to them.

This preferential access works in two ways:

1) The RO system places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of the electricity they supply from renewable sources.

2) As wind farms only receive ROCs or the CfD guaranteed price if they actually supply power, they can afford to sell electricity at rock bottom prices, effectively undercutting other suppliers.

The CfD mechanism is particularly damaging to market forces in this respect. In theory, there is nothing to stop a wind farm selling at a penny per MWh, as it knows it will still get the guaranteed price anyway.

There is no way that conventional producers can compete at this level.

Without this ability to sell all of the power they produce, it is doubtful whether wind farms would be economically viable, even with subsidies.

Constraint Payments

If all of this was not bad enough, wind farms even get paid when they don’t produce, as Dr John Constable describes:

There are currently about 750 wind farms north of the border, with roughly 3,000 wind turbines. Their total generating capacity amounts to 5,700 MW. The actual amount produced varies according to the weather. But at its maximum, that wind capacity is more than the 5.5 GW peak demand on the Scottish grid.

What this means, of course, is that the output from Scottish wind turbines is often more than the Scottish system can absorb. That requires the surplus energy to be exported to England and Wales. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The wind farms are distributed across Scotland, sometimes in very remote regions, so there is a real problem in getting their energy down to the English border – let alone getting it across. For some years now, Scotland’s total export capacity has been only 3.5 GW, well under the peak output of the wind farm fleet.

So, reinforcements and new links are being introduced. These range from the hugely controversial, and to many environmentally unacceptable, £820 million Beauly-Denny upgrade, to the massive Western Link, a subsea connector from Hunterston to Deeside that is set to come online this year at a cost of more than £1 billion – and will entail a standing charge on energy bills across Britain of about £100 million a year for 35 years.

Yet in spite of the cost, these upgrades cannot completely address the problem: there is still more wind power in Scotland than can be reasonably and affordably absorbed into the system, or exported to its neighbours, partly because the wind fleet keeps growing.

But a careless government and a lucrative subsidy system doesn’t explain the full flourishing of Scotland’s wind industry. Bizarre as it may seem, the fact that the Scottish grid cannot physically absorb all this wind power is also an attraction – because subsidised wind farms can actually earn more per unit generated when that unit is thrown away than when it is sold to consumers. In other words, they really do get paid more for not making sausages than they do when selling normally.

The explanation is simple. A wind farm receives roughly half of its income from the wholesale price and half from subsidy, the infamous Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC). When the grid is either at or close to capacity, National Grid stops the wind farm from generating, in order to prevent damage to the overhead wires and, at worst, a major system disruption.

When this happens, the wind farm will keep its wholesale income – which is fair enough, since it was contracted in to the system. But it loses its ROCs, because those are only issued for electricity actually sold to consumers.

What happens then, however, is that the wind farm will ask for compensation for the lost ROCs.  The euphemism for “being paid for not producing sausages” is “constraint payment”. And often – and this is the crucial point – they will ask for more compensation than they are losing in income.

For National Grid, this is just a pass-through cost, so they don’t care much about it – they simply increase the amount they’re charging consumers. But for consumers, it’s a truly terrible deal. Since 2010, we’ve paid £328m to wind farms not to generate – mostly to onshore Scottish wind farms, though England’s offshore farms have also started to get into the act. Last year, the total was £82m. This year, it’s already reached £50m.

https://capx.co/the-scottish-wind-power-racket/

Intermittency

It goes without saying that wind power is extremely intermittent.

To cater for periods when there is little or no wind power, the government has contracted for standby capacity, via the Capacity Market mechanism.

Currently contracts are arranged for up to 2020/21. For that year, the auction price ended at £22.50/KW of capacity, meaning a total cost for that year of £1.2bn. As with the subsidies, this cost is passed on to electricity users.

As more renewable capacity is added in future years, this cost will only rise.

More problematically, nearly all of the current standby capacity contracted consists of existing generation, including coal and nuclear. As these begin to shut down, they will need to be replaced by new generation, which will certainly require a much higher price in order to be viable.

We are all familiar with the variability of wind power from one week to the next.

image

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

But it can also vary considerably on a day to day, and even hour to hour.

image

https://www.bmreports.com/bmrs/?q=eds/main

This creates big problems for the grid, which mainly has to resort to bringing on readily dispatchable power, normally from gas generators.

Again, as wind power capacity is ramped up, this problem will feature more and more.

One further issue is that of inertia. Without going into technical detail, system inertia, as provided by conventional plants, such as coal, gas and hydro, is vital for the grid to cope with constant changes in demand and supply.

Currently the grid can cope with the small amounts of wind power on the system, but as more wind capacity is added the problem of inertia will become greater.

(There is an excellent explanation of system inertia here.)

Transmission

As referred to by Dr Constable, in the section above, the rapid growth of wind power has required considerable expenditure on upgrading/building transmission lines.

This has proved particularly expensive and controversial in Scotland, where large amounts of wind capacity have been built in remote, mountainous areas.

It is difficult to get figures from the National Grid or government as to just how much this is costing. Some estimates have put the cost as high as £40 billion eventually.

What is certain though is the enormous environmental effect that these lines are having on the countryside.

Costs

There are frequent claims from the wind industry that they will soon be cost competitive against conventional sources.

Whether they are right or not, however, totally misses the point because they are not comparing like with like. Wind cannot supply reliable, dispatchable power, and therefore is intrinsically worth less.

The US EIA recognizes this fact, and recommends using what is known as Levelized Avoided Cost of Energy (LACE) for comparing different technologies. They explain:

The US Energy Information Administration has recommended that levelized costs of non-dispatchable sources such as wind or solar may be better compared to the avoided energy cost rather than to the LCOE of dispatchable sources such as fossil fuels or geothermal. This is because introduction of fluctuating power sources may or may not avoid capital and maintenance costs of backup dispatchable sources. Levelized Avoided Cost of Energy (LACE) is the avoided costs from other sources divided by the annual yearly output of the non-dispatchable source. However, the avoided cost is much harder to calculate accurately.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source#Avoided_cost

Put simply, the total cost of a renewable source, such as wind power, must be compared with the marginal cost of the dispatchable source, say gas. The latter would be essentially fuel plus a few other variable costs.

Latest government figures suggest that the marginal cost of CCGT would be about £40/MWh. The most optimistic costings that I have seen for onshore wind are over £70/MWh.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Whenever subsidies for wind power are mentioned, somebody from the renewable lobby usually pops up to claim that fossil fuels are also subsidised.

Many countries provide consumer subsidies for energy, purely because affordable energy is important for their people. Because most energy is derived from fossil fuels, this is then interpreted as “subsidy for fossil fuels”.

This of course is nonsense. The subsidies I have discussed are producer subsidies, ie payments are made to wind power producers.

While such subsidies may be paid to fossil fuel industries in other countries, I have always taken the view that is their decision, and we have no right to tell them what and what not to do.

As far as the UK is concerned, oil and gas companies, or power companies using fossil fuels, receive no subsidies, to the best of my knowledge.

On the contrary, over the years the UK Government has received tens of billions of pounds in revenue from oil and gas production, over and above ordinary corporation tax which all companies pay.

image_thumb2

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/government-revenues-from-uk-oil-and-gas-production—2

Global Wind Output

I have concentrated on the UK, but let me finish with a couple of statistics for worldwide wind power, from the BP Energy Review.

  • At 959 TWh, wind power accounted for 3.9% of world electricity generation last year.
  • In terms of overall energy consumption, the share of wind was 1.6%.

Every year we hear how wind power is going up by leaps and bounds. It is wise though to bear in mind just what a low base it is starting from.

SOURCES

1) Electricity statistics

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/electricity-statistics

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables

2) Office for Budget Responsibility projections of subsidies

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/environmental-levies-to-cost-57-in-next-five-years/

HT/Paul Homewood
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162 thoughts on “Wind Power–Some Basic Facts

  1. “By 2021, subsidies for wind will have increased to £7.1bn, as capacity grows. This equates to £265 per household.”

    Thanks for a well presented and factual article. Very nice to have a down to earth account with facts and numbers on which to form an informed opinion instead of the usual anti-wind rants we get on WUWT.

    Nice one.

    • One key subsidy is missing.
      “Put simply, an onshore wind farm will expect to earn double the wholesale price, and an offshore will triple it.”

      That missing subsidy is the wholesale price itself.
      Wind and solar, via laws forcing conventional to ramp up and down to W&S inherent variability, and the loss of about 20 percent of their customers to an inferior uncompetitive product while they still support the infrastructure and collect and distribute taxes raises the wholesale price considerably, before it is multiplied via the subsidies discussed.

      • “””””….. is rated at 2000 MW, and is capable of producing about 15 TWh a year. …..”””””

        So can I plug my Tesla Model S into the CAPABLE part of the output, or do I have to plug it into the real actual output ??

        Does the capable energy cost the same as the real stuff ??

        G

      • not sure what pedantic not you think you are picking George, but in the context of the article its quite a reasonable statement. Looking at actual delivery from an intermittent source at then looking at what would be pretty much assured delivery (capability) from a real power source.

    • Try informing here the yolked-up current cross-party Scottish Government direction – 80% ‘de-carbonisation’ (all energy) target by 2050. Try getting anything other than the standard dumb response from that cabal. Scotland’s particularly representative given both baseload (half baseload requirement) nukes are due for mid next decade/early 30’s closure – with no renewal.

      Peak idiotic cronyism prolly knows no bounds but it’s clear we’re getting closer…

  2. What you failed to mention in this article is the environmental cost of wind power…how many birds are killed each year by windmills. The cost is exceedingly high and I am sure if the environmentalcases knew this they would change their minds pretty quickly.

      • Even zanier comments and comparisons being made now so I’ll just leave this argument for now! If you folks think the bird count is an effective weapon in the war against economically-inefficient wind turbines, that’s fine but I strongly disagree, and I’m entitled to my opinion as are you all to yours.

        However, catweazel666 I’ll call you out on your accusation of “specious drivel” – please prove that! I provided references to my sources so I would like you to do the same since you are oh so certain of your facts apparently! I’m always interested to learn….even if the facts sometimes disagree with my personal opinion. Thanks!

      • “I provided references to my sources so I would like you to do the same since you are oh so certain of your facts apparently!”

        How about the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)?

        No scientific evidence

        Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.

        We also know that of the millions of baby birds hatched each year, most will die before they reach breeding age. This is also quite natural, and each pair needs only to rear two young that survive to breeding age to replace themselves and maintain the population.

        It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations. If their predation was additional to these other causes of mortality, this might have a serious impact on bird populations.

        Those bird species that have undergone the most serious population declines in the UK (such as skylarks, tree sparrows and corn buntings) rarely encounter cats, so cats cannot be causing their declines. Research shows that these declines are usually caused by habitat change or loss, particularly on farmland.

        https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/gardening-for-wildlife/animal-deterrents/cats-and-garden-birds/are-cats-causing-bird-declines#aRKh7j1JYH5jlAGI.99

    • I am no fan of wind power but I do rather wish people on this site would stop banging on about the death toll of birds as a result of these wind machines. There are, no doubt, many avian deaths caused by wind turbines but there are still far, far more caused each year by collisions with buildings and plate glass, powerlines, cars….and, of course, hunting by domestic and feral cats. Seriously, the numbers killed by wind turbines just pale into insignificance versus these other hazards. Cats alone are estimated to take 3-10 million birds per day in the US alone……which suggests an altogether different provenance for Rachel Carson’s infamous “Silent Spring”!

      Anyway, of course, we should try to reduce danger to animal life caused by mankind but I just think citing bird deaths as a major objection to wind turbines is slightly fatuous and undermines much better stronger arguments of the sort cited by Paul Homewood, above. Thanks!

      • “Cats alone are estimated to take 3-10 million birds per day in the US alone”

        Maybe per week. Who did the estimating? Has that study been critiqued?

      • Phil Rae

        I entirely agree with you.

        Banging on about bird and bat deaths makes sceptics look like the green nutters that started all this.

      • I have no problem with cats killing birds. I have no problem in cats doing what is natural to them.

        i do have a problem with humans acting irresponsibly and who should know better.

      • The birds killed by wind turbines tend to be larger raptors from the top of the food chain that reproduce very slowly – so the loss of any individual will have a far greater impact on a population. They are particularly vulnerable as the turbines are being sited in their habitat and the turbine blades operate at the altitudes that they would normally be flying through. It is wrong to compare these deaths with the small, fast reproducing birds at the bottom of the food chain.

      • Anecdotal evidence from me: My wife and I had cats for many years (40?), none of which ever went after birds. Our latest cat got about one bunny per year; that didn’t bother us, though it scandalized our 7-year-old grandson. That cat also caught and ate a mouse that made it inside our house. I know–the post talks about feral cats, which ours were not. I still think the figures are grossly overblown, and the real toll from such cats is field mice, rats, and the rare occasional bunny. In any event, the birds minced by windmills include (but of course are not limited to) large birds of prey (American bald eagles, golden eagles, various hawks, owls, kites, ospreys, and the like) and seabirds; believe me, your average feral cat wants nothing whatever to do with a golden eagle. Our cat carefully kept her distance from the guinea fowl that came from a neighbor a block away and made a nest among my daylilies. Those birds’ calls sounded, from a distance, like a large machine seizing up.

      • I have no problem with cats killing birds. I have no problem in cats doing what is natural to them. i do have a problem with humans acting irresponsibly and who should know better.

        How many cats would there be if humans did not breed and feed them? Not many. Humans are as responsible for the presence of cats as we are for the wind turbines.

        Anecdotal evidence from me: My wife and I had cats for many years (40?), none of which ever went after birds.

        What did they go after then? Cats jump on anything which moves, it’s their instinct. Saying that they did not go after birds means the cats were either stuffed cats or they had been given a dose of ketamine in their KittyKat. Sounds like selective recall to me.

        Counter anecdote: I rented a room on a farm. Their cat used to use the front door mat as a trophy hoard, Dead rats mice voles and plenty of birds were strewn about in various stages of dismemberment and decomposition. Cats kill anything which moves which is smaller than they are.

      • Let’s see, Phil, using your line of reasoning, we should ignore murders that are committed because there are many more people killed in accidents each year. What’s a few more untimely deaths, anyway?

      • Phil — “Anyway, of course, we should try to reduce danger to animal life caused by mankind but I just think citing bird deaths as a major objection to wind turbines is slightly fatuous and undermines much better stronger arguments of the sort cited by Paul Homewood”

        Then why do environmental activists go nuts when a number of birds are killed by oil spills and raptor deaths by oil companies are met with huge fines, while the turbine industry is permitted to kill them in large numbers before fines are applied? Hypocrites!

      • Greg says….. “…..How many cats would there be if humans did not breed and feed them? Not many. Humans are as responsible for the presence of cats as we are for the wind turbines.”

        But Greg, the same could be said for the birds, lizards and rodents that the cats predate upon in Urban areas…. Because of lights, insectivorous birds and lizards have abundant food supplies, because of gardens and crops, fruit eating birds have a bountiful supply of edible fruits (many garden plant’s berries are poisonous to humans but edible for birds). Because of rubbish, scavengers of all sorts including foxes do very well….. and of course rats and mice thrive in Urban areas.

        I’ve owned several cats up to now. Female cats tend to be very good huntresses, uncut or late cut Tom’s barely catch anything in my experience. In Australia, when my cats bothered to hunt, the mostly caught rats, mice, geckos and skinks. Of those the rats, mice and geckos are feral species themselves…. The skinks are abundant beyond measure. Of the birds caught by my cats, they were few and far between and usually turtledoves and pigeons, both again feral introduced species…. But really the cats were more interested in their food bowls than hunting, except for our Russian Blue… She was a ratter par excellence and caught rodents exclusively at night. Rats were her passion. She would eat just the head…. The rest was for me apparently.

      • Greg, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Suggest reading up about cats and shut your pie hole until then.

      • Phil Rae: I would agree with your complaint if it weren’t for the fact that the environmentalists scream bloody murder if a few ducks happen to get their features oiled in a tailings pond

      • I don’t give a fig about the birds they will not be driven to extinction by wind mills, the facts are that Global Warming is good for man. good for funa, good for the future. What little contribution man is making towards global warming (very little in my view) is Beneficial, i.e. BAGW. If wind power is effective and cheap then I am all for it, but only if it doesn’t need to be subsidised to make it work. If the point of wind power is saving the world from global warming by reducing CO2 than its counter productive to what is best for everyone and subsidising it to achieve a goal that is undesirable is a gross waste of money and a betrayal of the public trust. Starving mother nature’s plant life and subjecting her animal life to scarcity of food and death by freezing does not seem like the act of a true environmentalist.

      • Phil: So your logic is if cats kill birds and buildings kill birds and cars kill birds, then wind turbines can. That would mean if theives steal from stores, employees steal from stores, everyone can steal from stores. It’s an argument that says if one entity does something, all entities can. That’s a very interesting view.

      • Phil Rae and Hot Scot, I think you have missed the point of wind turbines killing birds. Have you ever walked underneath the wind turbines early on a Monday morning, before the clean-up crew gets there and starts work cleaning up the mess? I recommend you do this, staying on public lands and complying with safety regulations: hard hat, eye protection, and safety-toed boots. The point is this: the wind turbine complex needs a variance to function with this many birds killed-who gave them this variance? Mining operations, where birds, especially ducks in arid areas, are occasionally killed by contact with dilute cyanide solutions, have limited and specific variances. Each bird death in this instance is carefully examined by a plethora of federal, state, and local agencies, and the event studied to see if the mining operation is in compliance with its limited variance. Cats killing birds is the moral equivilancy of wind turbines killing birds? This is like saying that a soldier who kills a terrorist to prevent school children from being blown up is equivelent to some gang-bangers killing each other over drug turf. Show me the variance!

      • Hey there, folks….lighten up! I’m no troll and I have no idea why a simple comment on a widely-reported statistic regarding avian mortality should precipitate so much invective. What’s that all about? My comment was objective but some found it objectionable. Why? The first time I saw any figures on avian mortality, plate glass and cats was in Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist (2002) when he compared the reported bird deaths from the breach of the Exxon Valdez (1989) with more pedestrian causes. His comparison specifically compared the ~250,000 bird deaths from Valdez with daily building collisions and cat predation. Since then, there have been other papers from establishments like the Smithsonian that have, if anything, escalated those predation estimates. I’m not a naturalist so can’t comment on the validity of these more recent estimates but, as a cat lover myself, I have received many “gifts” of dead creatures, generally birds and rodents, over the years. I also happen to have tremendous faith in Bjorn Lomborg as a dispassionate and eminently sensible statistician who has a long history of debunking some of the more egregious “facts” and dogma trotted out by environmentalists and the MSM. Anyway, I attach below various links to Lomborg and to the other papers mentioned for anyone who wants to read further.

        I don’t comment on this site very often but anybody who has read ANYTHING I ever wrote will know that I am neither a troll nor an adherent to CAGW nonsense. I also love cats and certainly don’t agree with the wanton destruction of wildlife so I am baffled by some of the off-the-wall comments & apparent interpretations to my earlier comment. Sheri’s comment left me totally baffled. Did I EVER say anything at all that even VAGUELY suggested support for your bizarre dystopian reality, Sheri? WTF is that all about?

        Sheri says “Phil: So your logic is if cats kill birds and buildings kill birds and cars kill birds, then wind turbines can. That would mean if theives steal from stores, employees steal from stores, everyone can steal from stores. It’s an argument that says if one entity does something, all entities can. That’s a very interesting view.” Other comments included bizarre comparisons with murders and accidental deaths, so off-base that I had to re-read what I originally wrote. Personally, I found those reactions uncalled for but that’s OK. I’d be interested to see some further scientific references with different perspectives on bird mortality rather rebuttals based on the kind of “anecdotal evidence” that this site disavows on other matters, please. Thanks!

        Link to Lomborg:
        https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=JuLko8USApwC&pg=PA382&lpg=PA382&dq=bjorn+lomborg+cats+birds&source=bl&ots=oTzVnT0xAA&sig=mP0R8tM8d_rZQl78aPVjtvIvz3o&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwijjJn5ovrVAhWLKY8KHbe_DNwQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=bjorn%20lomborg%20cats%20birds&f=false

        More recent publications:
        http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/smithsonian-scientists-find-birds-suburbs-may-not-be-ideal-place-raise-family

        http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms2380

      • Family took in a stray back around ’78. Not really a mouser but could (and did) regularly capture swifts, Apus apus, at about 30mph at 6 feet. Quite some timing. Icedy-cream driver put paid to that, sadly…

      • “there are still far, far more caused each year by collisions with buildings and plate glass, powerlines, cars….and, of course, hunting by domestic and feral cats”
        Specious drivel.

        By your logic, as there are orders of more magnitude more deaths caused by traffic accidents than by serial killers we should not bother investigating, trying and imprisoning them.

      • Phil: “I am no fan of wind power but I do rather wish people on this site would stop banging on about the death toll of birds as a result of these wind machines. There are, no doubt, many avian deaths caused by wind turbines but there are still far, far more caused each year by collisions with buildings and plate glass, powerlines, cars….and, of course, hunting by domestic and feral cats. Seriously, the numbers killed by wind turbines just pale into insignificance versus these other hazards. “

        This statement clearly implies it’s okay to kill birds if other things do. Why point those statistics out if that’s not what you meant? The comment seems to say other things kill birds, the number of those killed by wind turbines is smaller. And? If you’re not saying it’s okay because the number is small combined with the “everyone else is doing it” excuse, what are you saying?

        I fully agree that quoting the number of birds killed may not be a good argument, mostly because most wind advocates cannot understand their hypocrisy. Fits were thrown over bird deaths in all other cases. Fines were levied, protests staged. However, the focus goes to bird numbers, etc, and not to the hypocrisy of the global warming crowd. A common response I have seen to the “turbines kill birds” argument was “Climate change is more brutal, they’ll die in huge numbers if we don’t stop it.” The point of hypocrisy is obviously not being understood. Plus, you end up debating global warming.

      • Cats have natural predators. Raccoons and weasels just to mention a couple. And there are weather events that kill cats.

        However, this kind of misinformation plays well with city folks.

        Don’t wash windows on the outside if they are causing problems with birds striking them.

      • Hey there, folks….lighten up! I’m no troll and I have no idea why a simple comment on a widely-reported statistic regarding avian mortality should precipitate so much invective. What’s that all about? My comment was objective but some found it objectionable. Why?

        why? because all the bat and bird concern is a disingenuous outrage to attack wind generation which they despise and oppose for totally different reasons. Thus if you question it’s magnitude or relevance they start to act like AGW alarmists and try to find some other logic to reject the cats/cars/buildings argument in order to shore up their recently discovered concern for the well-being fo bats.

    • Most of the windmills I see seem to be static, presenting little or no danger to our feathered friends. The real danger of course is to our pockets! The impact of the global warming non-science nonsense fraternity is pernicious and can only be put down to a profound lack of understanding of basic science on the part of our political masters in the UK and worldwide! Dipsticks! The excellent review of the current state of “wind power” above will ,alas, fall on stony ground. As they say “there’s none so blind as those that will not see”

    • Nope, the enviros do not care if birds die at the blades of turbines. They do not care if birds go extinct at the blades of turbines. It was never about birds—it was about destroying oil, gas, coal and all forms of modern power and modern life. The birds were just props.

      • completely untrue

        The UK’s RSPB has stopped more wind farms than any other organisation… but only where there was a potential impact on birds.

        This bird protection organisation supports wind power and has a wind turbine at its HQ.

        The fact is, outside of some early developments in the US and Spain, organisations like the RSPB and planning requirements ensure that birds are NOT impacted by wind turbines.

    • http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/21/trumps-interior-secretary-calls-obama-backed-solar-project-a-sphere-of-death-for-birds/

      Trump’s Interior Secretary Calls Obama-Backed Solar Project A ‘Sphere Of Death’ For Birds

      “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s not against any one form of energy, but still took the time during a recent speech to highlight how green energy from solar panels and wind turbines comes with an environmental cost.

      “You know wind chops up around 650- or 750,000 birds a year,” Zinke said at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.”

      end excerpt

      Would this be considered a “rant”?

    • Yes, that’s a major flaw in this article–ignoring the huge environmental costs. No other industry could get away with such huge slaughter of wildlife. The second problem with this article is it reads like computer generated text. I got dizzy trying to keep track of all the acronyms and abbreviations. If the author doesn’t speak/write in English, at least a glossary or a table of terms used should be provided. Too hard to read and remember all of these, article needs a good editing and re-write.

      • Maybe you don’t live within UK?. It’s an excellent outline from a very capable informer. Just look at the wide international scope this forum has. I even ‘get’ ‘your’ congress, senate and federalism – well, kinda…!

  3. A great article, Paul……..as Greg says, lots of down-to-earth perspective backed-up with facts and references. I fuly agree with your viewpoint on “subsidies” for hydrocarbons…..this is just obfuscation and misdirection by the devotees of the green blob. Thanks for posting this….I will point several people to the article and will check out your blog, too.

  4. Happily we have just successfully fought off the second of two major wind farm applications locally. However, the frustrating part of the public enquiry was that facts like these which we presented were simply ignored because government policy cannot be questions in the confines of the enquiry courtroom. In the end it was impact on views which swung the argument in our favour. It is unlikely that the public will ever react to the facts that Paul presents because so few in the mainstream media are prepared to publish them. It will take an Australian style energy crisis for people to wake up and even there politicians are doubling down buying a large battery to avoid facing the music.

    Excuse typos. Written quickly on my phone.

    • wolsten

      Good comment. It should also be noted that there are no meaningful electricity generating stations in London. They are all in the beautiful areas of the Home Counties. London couldn’t possibly suffer the consequences of it’s own pollution. That would never do.

      It’s also worthy of note that there are no meaningful windfarms within the M25, again, displaced to the countryside or oceans in order that Big Ben and St. Paul’s aren’t blighted by unsightly wind turbine blades.

      • There’s plenty of unsightly constructions in London , far worse than a wind turbine. The reason that there are not any there is because of the danger it would represent and that turbulence of buildings makes it totally unsuitable to site a wind generator.

      • Greg

        And the reason there are no power stations in central London?

        Meanwhile, there are large areas of land within the M25 that could be used for windfarms, but aren’t. Why?

      • I suspect that has more to do with the current value of land. London of course had coal and oil burning power stations until quite recently. Battersea (closed 1983, being turned into expensive housing) and Bankside (closed 1981, now state subsidised Tate Modern gallery) and plenty of others.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Power_Company

        Since this thread is partly about state subsidies we could start on the topic of subsidies between regions of UK but maybe another day.

      • Nigel S

        Partly my point. London land being sold to the highest bidder whilst the pollution from it is displaced.

        Subsidies are handed out to windfarm owners with high transmission losses to get that power to London.

        Why not instead, let London (and other cities) enjoy the price of their pollution by subsidising power station in London?

        But of course that’s not good enough for the London elite. They want it all, pristine air quality, all the transport infrastructure denied to other cities; a cafe culture, a cosmopolitan environment from which they can condemn all those ‘grubby’ Northern cities racist, homophobic, right wing fascist (despite fascism emerging from the left), and inaccessible.

        And some within London are calling for it to become independent from the rest of the country.

        Good luck with that when the power is shut off by all those outlying power stations and windfarms to supply local needs instead of the London elite.

      • Nigel S,
        In all the many, many photos of windmills I have seen over the years, the blades are never turning. Sometimes, a person with enough patience waits with a movie camera and there you can see some blades moving. Seems a useless type of technology. Windmills, not photography. Geoff.

      • Nigel S.

        I could point out that Scotland would have done rather well from the Oil extracted from it’s territorial waters during the 60’s – 2000’s had it not been claimed as a national resource and basically squandered by Westminster. Norway, on the other hand, with a population similar to Scotland’s, went through some tough times whilst the oil revenues were invested but it’s now one of the largest investors in Europe, and the country is extremely wealthy.

        But I have, I believe, a balanced view of that particular event, some positive, some negative. However, whilst the S.E. of England jealously guards it’s jewel in the crown of bountiful income, it equally resists calls for full devolved government in Scotland/Wales/N.Ireland/North of England/Devon & Cornwall lest control and income be threatened.

        And there is absolutely no doubt there is a blatant North/South/West Country divide. Again, there are no military nuclear facilities in London, no dirty, polluting heavy industry, no major military installations. Everything that could possibly sully the London idyll, or enhance it as a military target, is outsourced.

        London pays it’s way because every possible resource is exploited to ensure it remains the financial and commercial centre of the UK and, arguably, the EU. Including government incentives, subsidies and preferential treatment.

        Crossrail? When Glasgow has a single underground system, Edinburgh makes do with a white elephant tram system. HS2 is a thinly disguised attempt at making access to London easier, not to enable business to be conducted in the North. London served by Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead, City, and Luton international airports. Scotland is served largely by two main airports, Glasgow and Edinburgh (Prestwick is also a resource but it has around half the passenger footfall of London City Airport, the smallest of London serving airports). The population of Greater London is ~7M, Scotland is ~5.6M.

        Nor am I in any way an SNP supporter, I despise their rabid socialist agenda and hysterical independence rabble rousing, but they are a symptom of the unequal divide between North and South. And, frankly, if London continues to treat the rest of the country with the contempt it does, they may well not be the last socialist organisation to occupy other regions. I am, however, an enthusiastic supported of full devolution of political authority to Holyrood, Wales and N.I. should also be free to govern their own regions.

        But that’s the fear the London elite harbour, that there will be significant competition for their business, and they might be forced to endure industry and pollution again to compete.

        And whilst this isn’t the forum to discuss this, you can’t possibly believe using a single case for the dominance of London over the rest of the country is justification for that to continue (indeed, you just made the case for it to stop); then seek to stifle dissent by saying this is the wrong forum.

      • Actually, wind farms are kept away from the Home Counties. There’s a solitary turbine at King’s Langley, just off the M25 just before the M1 junction heading clockwise, and another solitary turbine at the M4/A33 junction owned by Dale Vince’s Ecotricity (this is often powered in zero wind conditions – its role is an advertisement as much as generating power).
        https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4191845,-0.984699,3a,105.6y,221h,110.46t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1suvZexzzF9r5FKWQXBadj4w!2e0

        And Ford Dagenham has a couple of turbines

        http://ukdataexplorer.com/renewables/

        Scotland is however littered with wind farms these days.

      • It doesn’t add up…

        Scotland is of course expendable as far as Westminster is concerned. A place for experiments, like the poll tax and wind turbines.

        Yet the loony SNP and their rabid followers believe the windfarm revolution is of their own choosing. Of course it isn’t. It’s an experiment sold to Scotland far more cleverly that the poll tax deal and the idiotic SNP swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

        Westminster would never sully the ‘pristine’ home counties with pointless, ugly, intrusive wind turbines unless they had proven their worth elsewhere. An whilst my idiotic brethren are suckers to the experiment, all points south soak up the excess electricity produced and laugh all the way to their own clear skies.

        I truly hope Scottish politicians are locked up for their collusion in this deception.

      • HotScot, commenting here as a Scot (but no expert) it’s worth noting that UK energy policy is still a reserved matter. So-called renewables policy, however, is devolved to Scottish Government. Not England/ Ireland or Wales. As such, all forms of thermal/nuclear operation and build is subject to Westminster r+r. Quite canny,

        There’s no doubt that successive Scottish governments post 1997 devolution have picked up and run on ruinous energy policies. Increasingly, as a nation formerly net exporting electricity we’re now faced instead with imports. It was farcical that Longannet’s 2GW coal ps faced a £1M/month in privatised NG charging.

        Meantime, as Miliband and Baroness (no less) Worthington sail off into their collective political sunsets, constantly lauded via their 2008 Climate Change Act – job done – we, the consumers, pay the costs. As for civil service accountability – I’d be close to stringing them up. Just a thought.

      • t5pod

        Commenting as a self proclaimed expert by suggestion, but presenting no credentials you seek to condemn me for my observations.

        I am no expert, nor have ever claimed to be.

        The question of energy as a Westminster reserved matter makes my point. Scotland’s wind energy policy is another poll tax experiment.

        And when you use acronyms/abbreviations/or whatever like r+r and NG, please explain them first, for we non experts.

        However, I suspect we are singing the same song, just momentarily out of syc.

  5. This August we drove through much of Germany, first north to south and a few weeks later south to north. In total about 2100 km (a good 1300 miles) on varying roads in the north, west, south and middle of the country. Due to that, I think my observation might have some statistical significance: a qualified majority of all windmills were standing still…and there are many of them. Has to be seen to be believed.

    At first I was only poking fun at it, when we saw a park of 5 perhaps one or two was spinning. At times when we could see several parks (the landscape can be both open and hilly so visibility can be several tens of kilometers), I counted to 10 mills visible and all were standing still. I didn’t keep a diary since I was driving but I can safely say that with only one or two exceptions less than half was running. Mostly it was far less than that and in many cases it was zero running. The total was easily 200 mills seen or more.

    Any idea what is going on? This can’t be normal. Tried searching for articles but found mostly old stuff even if I in German (Windräder) could see articles about the topic on a local level both here and there. Most where Q&A explaining why the windmills now and then has to stand still. I understand that, but not this many all over the country.

    • Because the wind isn’t blowing somewhere all of the time and turbines stop turning for more reasons than just no wind.

      • Dear Sheri, what are the odds that we would be driving through the entire country twice over several days and *all the time* be in an area without wind? It wasn’t somewhere, it was everywhere. Btw, it was windy enough, I was there…

        A bit too much coincidence that all parks we passed would be servicing at the same time.

      • Wind has to be blowing at least 7 mph (11 mph) to even get the turbines turning. Wind is intermittant. I suppose you could have just missed to the wind of sufficient speed. Maybe not.

        I was being somewhat sarcastic with the response. Turbines not turning everywhere may be suspicious. I don’t know. I’m generally suspicious if some are turning and others are not. When none are turning, I guess I assume there’s not enough wind.

  6. Wind derived electricity is government mandated in order to ‘save the planet’. It should, therefore, be a non-profit enterprise. Those profiting from it are running a protection racket with the muscle needed for enforcement being only the planning position to erect a turbine. With that position gained, extraction of income commences without even a basic understanding of electrical theory needed. An opportunity which really is too good to miss – if your morals are lax enough to allow you to sell expensive electricity to poor people.

    • Yes, I caused great upset recently by pointing out to a proud EV owner that it had been paid for by ‘widows and orphans’. Local boat owners who were getting their moorings cheap at an inefficiently run local government owned harbo(u)r didn’t react well to similar news or the reality of having to pay their way. The irony of a state subsidised ‘yachting’ seemed to escape them somehow.

  7. This is a good article, and this is a matter that requires very detailed examination.

    There are two things not properly detailed in this Article. First, the true financial cost to the consumer, and second, how much CO2 does wind really reduce given its intermittent and non despatchable nature such that it relies upon fossil fuel generated backup which backup is being run in less than optimum mode.

    The true cost to the consumer is immense since in effect, the consumer is being forced to pay for two grids, not one grid. The consumer is presently paying for the construction of a completely new second grid which would not have been built at all had we just relied upon conventional fossil fuel generation.

    In 2013, the outgoing CEO of Scottish and Southern Energy (Ian Marchant:)was interviewed by the BBC, and he was quite clear on the costs involved for the electricity user. Scottish and Southern Energy is one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK, and the CEO explained that the electrify bill was composed of three items. First, the cost of supply which was just 50% of the bill. Second, the cost of infrastructure renewal which is some 25% of the bill and represented the costs of building infrastructure required to connect windfarms built in remote locations to the grid. Third, the green initiative which amounts to the remaining 25% of the bill and covers such things as assistance given towards upgrading home insulation (loft cladding, cavity wall insulation), more energy efficient boilers, heat pumps, and wood burners, and help given to those in fuel poverty. Ironically, but for the push towards to reneawables, there would be far fewer people in fuel poverty.

    So one can immediately see that 50% of the electricity bill is directly occasioned by the drive towards renewables. But of course, it is even worse than that since the cost of supply is far higher than it needs to be because of (i) the carbon tax paid on using fossil fuels, and (ii) the high strike price paid to renewables. The CEO did not give a figure on how much the cost of supply has been increased because of these factors but it is between 10 to 20%.

    The UK Government misinforms the consumer suggesting that the green policies add about £40 to £70 to energy costs. On electricity alone, the extra cost is well over £200.,/b> The position with respect to gas is rather less since they do not pay the high strike price being paid to wind and nuclear etc. The overall position is that the UK consumer is paying at least £300 and probably more like £400 per year extra because of this energy policy A proper examination needs to be done by the media so that the consumer is properly aware of the true facts. There is a reason why the cost of energy in the US is about 1/3rd that in Europe, and European consumers are kept in the dark as to the true costs of European energy policy..

    I have yet to see proper figures on precisely how much CO2 is averted by the use of windfarms, leaving aside the amount of CO2 used in their construction and siting. The article suggests that windfarms produce on average about 28% of their nameplate capacity. At first glance, one might envisage that this means that they save some 28% of CO2 emissions, but this is not the case because the way in which required backup is being run. Some of this backup is being run 24/7 all year long and power is simply drawn as and when it is needed. This is because some old coal powered stations cannot employ a ramp up/ramp down mode of operation. These generators therefore produce as much CO2 as they would be producing even if their were no windfarms.

    Most backup is from gas powered generators which can be run in ramp up/ramp down mode, but this type of operation is not efficient and when these generators are ran in this mode of operation the savings in CO2 are not immense. It is rather akin to urban driving in a car which involves a lot of start up/stop driving. Compare a cars freeway (motorway) fuel consumption with its urban consumption. A car uses less fuel when driving 100km on a freeway as it does when driving 62 km (ie., 100 – 28%) in urban conditions.

    And then on top of this is the CO2 emitted in STOR diesel backup which is even more.

    If the true savings in CO2 were properly evaluated, I rather doubt that windpower saves as much as 10% CO2 emissions, and I would not be surprised if it was more like only 5% compared to using a modern gas powered generator 24/7 all year long.

    The madness is that we are creating very expensive unreliable power and not saving much in the way of CO2 emissions.

    PS. I am ignoring the fact that CO2 is beneficial and does not need reducing. I am merely considering the effectiveness of the policy itself.

  8. richard verney

    I believe Paul also published on his site the illuminating calculations as to the real cost of wind turbines by Matt Ridley.

    http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/wind-still-making-zero-energy/

    Personally, I believe a great opportunity is being missed. The planet has greened by 14% over the last 3 years (NASA). The last time that happened during the MWP man built Europe’s Cathedrals because peasants were freed from grubbing around for food, to seek gainful employment.

    The 20th/21st Century Warm Period boat is sailing. But instead of directing scientific resources to solve the problem of safe Fission Energy (a project now virtually abandoned by most governments because of a few scares) Fusion energy, crop production, pest and disease control and medical breakthroughs, we are wasting scientific resources on the climate wraith.

    Ignoring these imperative is far more likely to bite us on the arse than a few degrees of warming, for which there is considerable evidence it is cyclical and already on the wane.

  9. “To put these figures into perspective, the CCGT plant at Pembroke, built in 2012, is rated at 2000 MW, and is capable of producing about 15 TWh a year. In other words, two Pembrokes could replace most of the wind power capacity in the UK.”

    That pretty well says it all.
    How on earth could the world fall into such a state of delusion?
    Chris

      • UK costs I see are about £1M/MW. Decent gauranteed income source if you’re an estate owner – easy one million pa (36 x 2) from former grouse moor rental. For about 25 years, too. It is a racket.

    • Chris Wright
      ” how on earth could the earth fall into such a state of delusion *
      Looking at ONLY Germany, Corrupt Ignorant Politicians, Ignorant Corrupt media, ( to inform (truthfully ) is verboten ! )

      • Do you live in Germany? Then please see my comment above (August 29, 2017 at 1:20 am) about whole wind parks standing still all over the place during my visits during the last month. I’m genuinely curious what’s going on.

    • “How on earth could the world fall into such a state of delusion?”

      It happened because of a huge, orchestrated effort by the Elites of the world.

      Elites see controlling the Earth’s climate and people as a great opportunity for them, and they are pushing it hard. Unfortunately for them, the temperatures are not cooperating with their scare tactics and keep falling, not rising, as they predicted.

  10. High margin, low density, relocatable production (e.g. China), obfuscated disruption, renewable capital expense. Very green, justified by the prophecy of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. It’s a good recipe for catastrophic anthropogenic misaligned development that is characteristic of planned economies and monopoly-like progressions.

  11. Two costs that I didn’t see in this article unless I missed them….

    1. Since wind generated power is random but has priority to the grid, thermal generators have to back off to accommodate them when the wind blows. What this means is that power plants are cycling way more than they used to and there is a long term maintenance and longevity cost angle to this that is quite real (and very high) but very well hidden. Just think automobiles…. the maintenance and longevity of a car that is driven on a freeway for 100 km at 100 km/hr versus a car that also is driven 100 km but has to deal with a stop sign ever kilometre along the way.
    2. I don’t know the UK electrical system as well as elsewhere but it is typically the case that in order to react fast enough to accommodate the cyclical supply, open loop gas turbines have to be used as opposed to combined cycle. In round numbers, the difference between the two is enormous…. 40% efficiency versus 60%.

    • As for 1), Vern:

      We have a Capacity Market system in the UK, due to be launched this winter. Suppliers of reliable dispatchable power offer standby capacity via an auction.
      The payments to them are added to electric bills, so effectively these cover the additional costs you talk about.

      2) Small peakers, such as OCGT, are less efficient, but are more flexible and carry much less capital cost than big CCGTs, so they have a role in meeting shortages in periods of peak demand, as has always been the case

      • Regarding your comment to my second point….. If there was no wind and solar on the grid that had to be accommodated, then there would be less OCGT and more CCGT during those periods of peak demand, no?

      • If there was no wind and solar on the grid that had to be accommodated, then there would be less OCGT and more CCGT during those periods of peak demand, no?

        Less rapidly changing, unpredictable wind – and, to a lesser extent – solar transitions = more predictable daily and weekly electric load cycling = less immediate need for instant Gas Turbine startup and shutdown in hourly and three hour periods = less single cycle (One Cycle Gas Turbine?) startups (which are unique in that they can startup and be at partial load in less than 20 minutes = More efficient (but slower starting and more rigorous heatup and cooldown limiting requirements for the much more efficient Combined Cycle Gas Turbines.

        So mandating wind and solar means the Gas Turbines are getting more often and much rapidly each time = Greater heat and thermal stress in their compressors, pressure vessels and exhaust systems. Much lower efficiencies overall. If I can plan and expect an afternoon and evening peak load period, I can bring up a more efficient but slower starting unit more gradually and more safely. If I know and can reliably predict a future load, I can schedule two medium CCGT;s size plants, or one large combined cycle plant to run at 90-100% full power, rather than force three or four or five small OCGT’s to run longer at much less efficient rates. Or at almost no load at all – which breaks EPA rules for NOx percentages!

    • This may be of interest:

      http://www.nrel.gov/grid/wwsis.html

      Especially Phase 2 where they conclude:

      The negative impact of cycling on overall plant emissions is relatively small. The increase in plant emissions from cycling to accommodate variable renewables is more than offset by the overall reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). In the high wind and solar scenario, net carbon emissions were reduced by one-third.
      Operating costs increase by 2%–5% on average for fossil-fueled plants when high penetrations of variable renewables are added to the electric grid.
      From a system perspective, these increased costs are relatively small compared to the fuel savings associated with wind and solar generation.
      Cycling costs vary based on penetration level and wind/solar mix.

    • The fastest response balancing generation that is mainly employed is conventional and pumped hydro (which can also act as a balancing demand). It usually provides enough cover to allow CCGT to be ramped up or down within a few minutes. Where there are expectations of significant changes in demand, then some CCGT will be kept as spinning reserve so that ramp rates at individual plants are kept within bounds. OCGT gets used much more rarely than you might expect.

      • CCGT gain efficiency by being two stage plants, a gas turbine (generating electricity) the output from which is used to boil water for a steam turbine (also generating electricity). My understanding is that the GT has to run for some time (10-20 minutes) in order to boil the water, during which time it is effectively acting as an OCGT.

        If the CCGT is ramped up and stays operating for a considerable time, e.g. some hours, then this initial period of lower efficiency is not significant. However if it has to be throttled back after quite a short time then it has essentially operated as an OCGT for most of that time.

        Sites, such as
        http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ ,
        that list OCGT as 0% are true in that plants designed & built as OCGT did not produce any electricity but that does not mean that no electricity was generated with OCGT-type efficiency.

  12. Here are the capacity graphs for German wind for 2015, 2016.. data calculated by a “rabid” wind supporter.

    As you can see, supply was below 20% of nameplate for some 60% of the time

    and below 40% of nameplate for 90% of the time

    That truly is PATHETIC.

  13. Thanks. A most informative article and, already, some excellent contributions, particularly from Richard Verney, Hotscot and AndyG55. But better still, for for the first time, I found that I agreed with not just one but three of Greg’s comments.

  14. Wind turbines are potent symbols of green virtue. They are the environmental equivalent of a landscape sprinkled with Christian crosses.

    • They certainly are. There’s a reason they’re white. It’s not for practicality—some studies have shown other colors are more visible to birds, but that does not matter. Wind turbines are the ultimate virtue signalling. 400 feet, visible for miles—a constant, in-your-face statement about who “cares” about the planet. They really should be green—since the only thing they are good for is raking in tons of money for nothing. However, people might catch on to that.

  15. I have been combining the US EIA data for electricity generation costs with the European EurObservER data for Weather Dependent Renewables to get a comparative idea of costs and performance. They are assembled here:
    https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/renewable-energy-cost-and-performance-in-europe-2016/

    These two graphics summarise the results for the European (28)

    https://i1.wp.com/edmhdotme.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/screen-shot-2017-08-27-at-17-09-24.png?ssl=1&w=450

    https://i1.wp.com/edmhdotme.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/screen-shot-2017-08-27-at-10-16-331.png?ssl=1&w=450

  16. A parasitic organism business can only exist as long as the host organism business can bear the burden of lost resources energy as the parasite sucks the life force from its host.

  17. Wind is great as long as it is not subsidized, the purpose of subsidies is to give wind an advantage because of global warming and winds ability to reduce co2 emissions (whether it does or doesn’t), but co2 is not a problem and any global warming caused by it is minimal and in fact a benefit, BAGW.
    If you are a believer in wind than take Your money and invest it and reap the rewards or lose based of your belief, but please stop taking the money I earn to support my family and all the other people I support through various entitlement programs, wasting it on a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Given the choice between being forced to spend my money on boondoggles and overblown entitlement programs I will take the entitlement program at least people will have food to eat and cheaper electricity, not the added cost of higher electricity bills that I would have to subsidies anyway.

  18. Great article! The share of wind power is quite telling 1.6% worldwide. Not impressive at all. Subsidies is another problem. The end user doesn’t get a break, despite it being renewable. Endless supply and cheap as implied and suggested by advocates of renewable energy and supposedly a good deal for the consumer. I think not. I have admired English sensibilities when comes to be rationale, but it seems they have been hijacked by the environmentalist and climate change enthusiasts as they have here in American. I wonder where it all ends?

  19. Windpower and other Renewable energy sources are not mutually exclusive to fossil fuels. Using a straight Dollar metric is actually also an arbitrary and silly metric. Monetary values are variable and also highly subjective.
    Comparing Renewables to Extracted Hydro Carbons demands a rather more sensible metric such as energy returned on energy expended.

    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/08/technocracy-energy-based-economics.html

    When one looks at these questions particularly with respect to energy poverty concerns it has been clear for some considerable time that due to the exponential function Human energy needs will outstrip the ability of Traditional sources to provide energy requirements sufficient to help with bringing developing nations up to the developed world’s standard of living.
    This Video from 1976 makes the case very well.

    with respect to Grid and balancing the grid etc, Battery technology and other ways of storing peak output from Solar and Wind and tidal such as hydrogen fuel cells or Off Peak/Peak electric vehicle network pooling all point to the good news that if like me you are a cornucopian in outlook and Libertarian by doing more with less and harnessing all our options we should be optimistic about the future. The monetary metric of economic progress is highly flawed and for that reason, I think the Author of this piece leaves a lot from his analysis.
    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/07/electric-cars-hybrids-renewables.html

    • If you care about the poor even a little bit you should realizes that the best and simplest way to make their lives better is through cheap energy. There is no C in AGW so stop hurting the poor by denying them the basic building blocks of prosperity.

      • Bob, I think the whole CO2 alarmism industry is a political construct and have no issues with either Oil or Coal or Gas from the perspective of generating Cheap energy. SImilarly, I have no issues with Renewables and it is certain that in the future they will be needed and do have already advantages in some locations particularly in the developing World.
        I look at the whole question of Energy and argue we should make as much of it available as possible and of course keep it as Clean as possible as Whilst CO2 is not in my estimation a problem Particulates and other environmentally damaging by products do need to be monitored and properly costed into production equations.

        The Money Metric itself is very flawed for comparing what are actually complimentary and not mutually exclusive investment decisions.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested
        http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/08/conquestofdough-squaring-energy-food.html

        Prof Keen is a fine Monetary Theorist and not so strong on the ol´ Atmospheric Physics. Readers and watchers might find the Rocket Science Journal of assistance in Explaining what is singularly garbled in this presentation at 46 mins.

        http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/

        On the Limits for Growth please also take account of the criticisms of the assumed boundary conditions, again a source of confusion in Prof Keens explanations in this video.

        Robert Solow from MIT argued that prediction in The Limits to Growth was based on a weak foundation of data (Newsweek, March 13, 1972, p. 103). Allen Kneese and Ronald Riker of Resources for the Future (RFF) stated:

        The authors load their case by letting some things grow exponentially and others not. Population, capital and pollution grow exponentially in all models, but technologies for expanding resources and controlling pollution are permitted to grow, if at all, only in discrete increments.[27]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limits_to_Growth

    • Hamsters running wheels in sufficient quantity can power a city. Should we be pursuing hamster power?

      I cringe everytime I hear the frankly idiotic statement of “pursuing all our options”. Only an ignorant or willfully blind person says that. Intelligent ones says “pursuing all our practical and well-functioning, independent options”. My senators fall under the former catagory and I cringe at the stupidity of those elected to office daily.

    • This may be of interest:

      http://www.nrel.gov/grid/wwsis.html

      Especially Phase 2 where they conclude:

      The negative impact of cycling on overall plant emissions is relatively small. The increase in plant emissions from cycling to accommodate variable renewables is more than offset by the overall reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). In the high wind and solar scenario, net carbon emissions were reduced by one-third.
      Operating costs increase by 2%–5% on average for fossil-fueled plants when high penetrations of variable renewables are added to the electric grid.
      From a system perspective, these increased costs are relatively small compared to the fuel savings associated with wind and solar generation.
      Cycling costs vary based on penetration level and wind/solar mix.

    • Using a straight Dollar metric is actually also an arbitrary and silly metric. Monetary values are variable and also highly subjective.

      Money is actually the best, most reliable, and unbiased indicator. If a company can generate electricity, pay for all the inputs, and make a profit the total economic utility has been increased over the raw inputs. If the company cannot earn a profit total utility has not increased.

      • How so? The worlds money supply has doubled in the 9 years since the 2008 financial crisis, Incomes have not doubled and neither have most peoples savings. The transfer function of wealth through Interest Charges and also priority and first mover advantage with those with first use of newly created debt based bank credit make Money as biased a unit as well as a highly variable unit of measurement you could hope to invent, of course you do not need to invent it because it already exists.
        “”Who hasn’t experienced the following? Just the other day
        it happened to me! Just like any other weekend, I went
        to the supermarket to replenish my empty pantry and as
        always, I made the mandatory stop at the fresh produce
        section, where I placed some tomatoes in one of those
        little plastic bags that you tear from a dispenser. As
        always, I went to one of those electronic scales full of
        those colourful figures that represent the different
        produce: I put the bag on the scale and pushed the key
        with the little tomato on it. And oh my God, the
        following message appeared on the screen! “Error: This
        scale has run out of grams. Please excuse the
        inconvenience”. What a pain and just at the worst
        moment! But then again, we all know that given the
        times, grams are scarce…””

        http://bibocurrency.com/index.php/money-psyop-2

        Introduction to Technocracy – 1933
        https://archive.org/details/introductiontotec00tech
        discussions — of ‘value,’ of fluctuating prices, of the gold standard, of changing interest rates, of items of pecuniary wealth which are at the same time items of debt — are
        merely discussions looking toward a readjustment of the factors which prevent them
        The problem of analysing political choices against the metric of a Monetary measure is the Money as a Thing is most certainly a Variable and as any good technologist, scientist or metrologist will tell you a unit of measurement has to be clearly defined and fixed.
        The dollar. He notes that it is a variable. Why anyone should attempt, on this earth, to use a
        variable as a measuring rod is so utterly absurd that he dismisses any serious
        consideration of its use in his study of what should be done.
        He also considers ‘price’ and ‘value’ and the fine- spun theories of philosophers and
        economists who have attempted to surround these terms with the semblance of meaning.
        These terms, like the monetary unit, may have had meaning to men in the past but they
        mean nothing whatsoever to the modern technologist. The standard of measurement is
        not relevant to the things measured; and the measuring rod and the things, measured as if
        they were stable, are all variables.

        This comparison of different energy solution uses ERIO

        https://festkoerper-kernphysik.de/Weissbach_EROI_preprint.pdf
        Abstract
        The Energy Returned on Invested, EROI, has been evaluated for typical power plants representing wind
        energy, photovoltaics, solar thermal, hydro, natural gas, biogas, coal and nuclear power. The strict exergy
        concept with no ”primary energy weighting”, updated material databases, and updated technical procedures
        make it possible to directly compare the overall efficiency of those power plants on a uniform mathematical
        and physical basis. Pump storage systems, needed for solar and wind energy, have been included in the
        EROI so that the efficiency can be compared with an ”unbuffered” scenario. The results show that nuclear,
        hydro, coal, and natural gas power systems (in this order) are one order of magnitude more effective than
        photovoltaics and wind power.
        Keywords:
        ERoEI, EROI, energy return on invested, energy intensity, energy payback time, life cycle assessment

        This is from 2013 and storage solutions to utilise peak generation of both wind and solar and to provide supply when generation is not possible have improved since 2013 and will continue to improve.This is another interesting thing about the Time value of money basis of comparison it leads to short term solutions being preferred over long term ones explained by Berard Lietaer here.

        I Made these interactive Quizzes based upon the Positive Money Quiz By David Faraday https://www.quiz-maker.com/QYMG3AR and the money creation Survey of MP´s https://www.quiz-maker.com/Q4FBT85

        For people who are suprised with the claims I make above please take the quiz see how much you know about money? many people are suprised about how little they really know.

      • Hi, It doesn´t add up, that is a great article. With respect to the Boundary conditions assumed and implied the techniques of analysis simply need to be developed and implemented. As the article points out Green Fascist Misanthropes should not be allowed to push their agendas against Coal and Gas whilst I agree with Greens that Fracking and Tar sands are something we can afford and should leave in the ground for environmental health reasons. ( both Human and ecological).Hydro Electric and Thorium Nuclear will I am sure be figuring in our energy future as will wind and solar Solar breeders pose some very interesting possibilities, as do circular economy approaches to Energy Production Plant.

        EROEI under rapid growth[edit]
        A related recent concern is energy cannibalism where energy technologies can have a limited growth rate if climate neutrality is demanded. Many energy technologies are capable of replacing significant volumes of fossil fuels and concomitant green house gas emissions. Unfortunately, neither the enormous scale of the current fossil fuel energy system nor the necessary growth rate of these technologies is well understood within the limits imposed by the net energy produced for a growing industry. This technical limitation is known as energy cannibalism and refers to an effect where rapid growth of an entire energy producing or energy efficiency industry creates a need for energy that uses (or cannibalizes) the energy of existing power plants or production plants.[37]

        The solar breeder overcomes some of these problems. A solar breeder is a photovoltaic panel manufacturing plant which can be made energy-independent by using energy derived from its own roof using its own panels. Such a plant becomes not only energy self-sufficient but a major supplier of new energy, hence the name solar breeder. Research on the concept was conducted by Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering, University of New South Wales, Australia.[38][39] The reported investigation establishes certain mathematical relationships for the solar breeder which clearly indicate that a vast amount of net energy is available from such a plant for the indefinite future.[40] The solar module processing plant at Frederick, Maryland[41] was originally planned as such a solar breeder. In 2009 the Sahara Solar Breeder Project was proposed by the Science Council of Japan as a cooperation between Japan and Algeria with the highly ambitious goal of creating hundreds of GW of capacity within 30 years.[42] Theoretically breeders of any kind can be developed. In practice, nuclear breeder reactors are the only large scale breeders that have been constructed as of 2014, with the 600 MWe BN-600 and 800 MWe BN-800 reactor, the two largest in operation.

  20. “It goes without saying that wind power is extremely intermittent.

    “To cater for periods when there is little or no wind power, the government has contracted for standby capacity, via the Capacity Market mechanism.

    “Currently contracts are arranged for up to 2020/21. For that year, the auction price ended at £22.50/KW of capacity, meaning a total cost for that year of £1.2bn. As with the subsidies, this cost is passed on to electricity users.”

    Here is a better idea

    “TVA [Tennessee Valley Authority] just received approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to significantly increase the generating capacity of the three nuclear reactors at Browns Ferry. This uprate will add almost 500 MW of nuclear capacity. And for only $0.5 billion.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2017/08/22/theres-more-than-one-way-to-get-nuclear-power/#475ba0e2418b

  21. I for one am glad that the power supplied to the hospital I have spent the last 3 days in was from coal generation! There is no wind tonight and no turbines within a hundred miles. There are no solar panels on the roof of the hospital and it is nighttime. So all you grid scale wind and solar alternative supporters can take a hike.

    • Get well soon, here’s some interesting stuff which may or may not re enforce your preferences.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rybpaqhg5Qg&t=615s
      For high ölevels of energy to be available for increased production the new technologies as they develop will actually be most welcome. The Climate Change AGW Nazis can take a Hike I agree with you but so can debt based fiat money and Energy monopolies, Localised Grid technology will be a great boon to SME and entrepreneurial Economies, The Bureaucrats are very scared of this as off grid/ Localised Permaculture and autonomous local economies will make centralises control by taxation very difficult.
      The Scientific and technological question is quite apart from the Political Economy questions my own entrepreneurial Instincts embrace both localised power production and decentralised Crypto currencies.

      • The traditional grid is basically local, with transmission lines providing balancing and backup capability in the event of local maintenance or failure. The renewables grid is basically long distance, requiring much greater transmission capacity and routing alternatives. Governments raise most of their taxes on incomes and sales, and have little difficulty in doing so. It will be the green utility companies that depend on being able to screw their customers for government mandated subsidies that have most to lose from any move away from grid connection. Their production will be in harmony with the off grid stuff – the need for reliable backup is the one thing that does remain if you go off grid At small scale, that’s a fossil fuel powered generator, or a grid connection to reliable nuclear or fossil fuel power.

  22. The only city/country I have lived in that had a single turbine that operated most of the time was Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is particulaly windy. Another country I now lived in, hell bent on destroying power generation with wind turbines is, Australia. Many of the farms I have seen on the main road to Melbourne were stationary. Many of the turbines I saw in New South Wales, while flying to, Canberra, were also stationary. maintenance?

    • In “windy” Wyoming, last summer there were 5 MONTHS of nearly no wind. This summer has had slightly more, usually in the form of thunderstorms that take wind from 5 mph to 30 mph and back in a couple of hours. Contrary to the lies of wind, few places have sufficient wind to actually generate useful power on an ongoing basis. Turbines stand still for many, many days of the year even where people chose to believe the wind blows all the time.

    • Much of the time when Wind turbines are stationary it is because the grid is not calling for power and the turbine blades shed load so as not to generate.
      solar, of course, relies on Sunlight so of course do not generate at Night. When the wind does not Blow of course turbines do not produce


      http://www.ukipdaily.com/scammers-and-fraudsters/
      http://joannenova.com.au/2012/09/wind-farms-are-96-useless-and-cost-150-times-more-than-necessary-for-what-they-do/

      If you look at the comment I had an exchange with an Older Gent from The Welsh Valleys where I myself was born, there are over stated cases for Renewables and there are also very questionable Energy Pricing schemes in Australia as laid out in the discussion I had there.

      The modus operandi should put people first and adopt horses for courses. Let’s not cook our own books to compete with mendacious Climate Alarmists and Misanthropes.

      • this data suggesting that Wind Turbines are somewhat more profitable even with out subsidies than your Kettle boiling reasoning seems to suggest?http://www.variablepitch.co.uk/finance/station/386/ In the pat 12 months Cheyne court it is claimed has produced just shy of Ten Millon Ponds sterling worth of Electricity.
        The CO2 Warming Schtick is very annoying and I am with you on that but it seems to me that where we complain of the ´Ópposition´cooking the books we need to be a little more careful with our own data.

      • ¿Qué? Wind gets priority dispatch unless there are transmission constraints, in which case production is curtailed and compensation paid. Transmission constraints occur when wind generation is close to maximum – there simply isn’t the transmission capacity to route the power to centres of demand. For reasons of safety, turbines will be feathered and still rotate (but produce no or much reduced power) in these conditions. They will NOT be stationary.

        You can see curtailment in action in this chart that compares forecast wind generation with actual – at high levels of forecast, actual generation is curtailed (in the UK because of lack of transmission capacity from and through Scotland):

  23. Wind turbines are strictly an 18th Century technology, and a bad one at that. The future of energy production is obviously molten salt reactors. China and India recognize that fact and will likely beat us to the market. As I recall, China, had been errecting windmills at a fast pace and was continually being cited (along with the usual nominee – Denmark) as an enlightened nation (China was actually most enthusiastic about nuclear power, not wind, which, as I recall was concentrated well away from the coast and larger population centers) . A few months ago, I recall that China issued a ban on any new windmills because they were disrupting their grid.
    The fallacy that wind proponents (who seem to lie more than even global warmists) advanced were always “studies” that “proved” that a grid with 35% wind power would not be disrupted – the grid “could handle it.” Never mentioned were the actions and cost required for the grid to “accept 35% wind”.

      • Wind turbines do disrupt grids. That big blackout in South Australia occurred because, as currently implemented to save up-front costs, wind farms cannot provide voltage support. The South Australian winds were driving the wind farms at rated capacity, but, as the grid voltage dropped to match the load currents with available power, the power that the wind farms could transmit to the grid fell by twice the voltage drop, as a first order approximation, by percentage. A ten percent drop in the voltage would reduce the transmitted by from nameplate to 80% of rated capacity, with the remaining 20% of power capacity accelerating the rotational velocity of the turbines. To prevent the turbines from self-destructing, despite the theoretical possibility of running at full rated power to keep the lights on, the wind farm operators were forced to feather the blades and stop generating any power.

        Preventing that sort of instability forced shutdown requires the inclusion of an active source of voltage support in the grid link, but that would require a synchronous machine with either an attached flywheel or having a lot of rotational inertia in its own mass, that is spun up by the grid as a motor and then excited as a synchronous capacitance. As the grid became unstable, the machine would be spun down, but, for as long as it stayed above its minimum critical speed, the wind farm would be able to deliver all available power to the grid.

        To save money, wind turbines dynamically connect the stator windings of an induction machine to keep the electrical frequency of the rotor in the power producing regime that best matches the mechanical speed of the turbine blades. The dynamic switching allows the generator, through a transformer, to be connected to the grid, but induction generators cannot provide voltage support.

    • Hi Arthur, I completely accept the premise that some advocates of Wind Energy are more than capable of lying and over stating their case, that said Balancing Grids and Storage of excess capacity are possibilities and Smart CHarging and Localised Grid network technology are all more than capable of ironing out technical difficulties. I do subscribe to the saying there are no problems only Solutions and Better questions lead to better answers.
      I too convinced about the potentials of molten Salt )( Thorium) reactors but also believe that localised networks will in some areas see the benefits of other renewables meeting the demands on some cases.
      China is a Command and Control economy, I do not wish to see that in the west, The Washington Consensus under Debt Based Fiat money and financialised Capitalism is pretty much Stalinist now as well though with this is mind I am very keen to see all new energy solutions particularly those that do not barriers to entry are developed to their fullest potential including WIND.
      My view is that we can not afford to ignore any energy solutions which are viable in terms of becoming Breeder sources of Energy without externalities. Hinkley Point in the UK is a very silly idea and very last century too.

      FLow cell Technology and new Battery Technology are all making leaps and bounds in progress, there is a lot of good stuff happening in the Energy Business and I do not mean Fracking and Tar Sands both of which I think are doing more harm than good.

      • Without externalities? Really, maybe you should look at these a little closer i think you would find just a few externalities that you may have missed, like pollution during production, pollution during decommissioning, Noise pollution, wildlife destruction, damage from outages and many more. That being said, arbitrary use of an inefficient means of generation with its added cost is an externality in itself affecting the least capable in society of deal with the cost. Externalities caused by government intervention on the market for arbitrary reason is the most difficult of externality to overcome because the is no mechanism to effect change or recoup lose. You are creating a cost to effect a change for an imagined externality through the use of government power to oppress the most oppressable and the only actual effect you are having is to redistribute wealth to the most wealth sectors in our society from the least. Great job genius!
        How about instead of reading a bunch of BS from a bunch of socialist disguising themselves as economist you actually think through the process.

      • It would really be good to see the EV townies put their money where their mouths were and only use electric vehicles; after all they tell us that EVs are so much better than any other vehicle. Consider having to evacuate Houston with all the cars electric and power outs and torrential rain and you have a 500 mile stop start drive. Not possible. The escape routes would be blocked with bricked EVs with no power
        A drive from London to Edinburgh not possible without an overnight stay.
        Describe a workable way for all the on-street parked cars to charge
        Yes a townie with no real need for a car can virtue (and money) signal with flashy toys. But for anyone that needs to drive any distance in all weathers, EVs are extremely unlikely to ever be capable.

  24. “Wind cannot supply reliable, dispatchable power, and therefore is intrinsically worth less.”

    The question is how much less is it worth when it’s so unreliable thus-
    http://anero.id/energy/wind-energy/2017/august
    or worse still-
    http://anero.id/energy/wind-energy/2017/june

    The answer lies in all forms of energy generation facing the supreme guru’s CO2 tax to bring the earth’s temperature back to the level the supreme guru knows it should be (hold that thought mere mortals) and then the Regulator orders a level playing field for them all. Ipso facto no tenderer of electrons to the communal grid can tender any more than they can reasonably guarantee (ie short of unforseen mechanical breakdown) 24/7 all year round.

    End of gaming the system for the unreliables and their dumping practices as they’d be forced to invest in storage to lift their average tender amounts and/or partner with thermal generators and pay them their just insurance premia they’ve been avoiding to date. Let that level playing field free market ascertain the true costs unreliables have been foisting on thermal generators and consumers alike. Spare me the Sylvester and Tweetie Pie incidental side story though.

  25. Have these wind power operators prepaid into a trust fund for removal at the end of the short life?

    or will these operators conviently fold up leaving that mess to the tax payers

    Are these costs in anyway included in this analysis?

  26. Have these wind power operators prepaid into a trust fund for removal at the end of the short life?

    or will these operators conviently fold up leaving that mess to the tax payers

    Are these costs in anyway included in this analysis?

    • https://www.variablepitch.co.uk/settlement/

      this site has a lot of data on the UK wind and other alternative energy generation sectors.
      Calculating a sinking fund over a 20 or 25 year life period is easy enough.
      With Both Batteries for storage and also other storage solutions such as Water reservoir/Gravity systems or Hydrogen production will allow for peak generation storage instead of load shedding for turbines.
      Refurbishment and Circular economy techniques for re use and re purposing of plant are also factors, Re Gausing Magnets and SO forth are all doable especially if one adopts an energy based metric of measurement and not the flawed and artificial metrics of Internal rate of return and discounting based upon time value of money which are completely false metrics especially in a complementary technology smart network system where it is understood that energy generation decisions are simply not Mutually exclusive.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

      This is a very interesting Paper, it makes for quite sobering reading for the Renewables Zealots but is not without its pluses for cornucopian arguments and distributed network enthusiasts.

      https://festkoerper-kernphysik.de/Weissbach_EROI_preprint.pdf
      Abstract
      The Energy Returned on Invested, EROI, has been evaluated for typical power plants representing wind
      energy, photovoltaics, solar thermal, hydro, natural gas, biogas, coal and nuclear power. The strict exergy
      concept with no ”primary energy weighting”, updated material databases, and updated technical procedures
      make it possible to directly compare the overall efficiency of those power plants on a uniform mathematical
      and physical basis. Pump storage systems, needed for solar and wind energy, have been included in the
      EROI so that the efficiency can be compared with an ”unbuffered” scenario. The results show that nuclear,
      hydro, coal, and natural gas power systems (in this order) are one order of magnitude more effective than
      photovoltaics and wind power.
      Keywords:
      ERoEI, EROI, energy return on invested, energy intensity, energy payback time, life cycle assessment

  27. RE-posting – Moderator, my original post disappeared into the ether. 2nd time lucky?
    _________________

    Thank you Paul Homewood – an excellent article.

    You have described a system to compensate wind power operators that is utterly insane – only a gang of corrupt/idiot politicians could dream up such madness.

    You say “average utilisation was 28%”. Is this the same definition as Capacity Factor? It would appear so, equal to {total actual power output)/(total rated capacity assuming 100% utilization).

    However, the true factor that reflects the intermittency of wind power Is the Substitution Capacity*, which is about 5% in Germany today. This is the amount of dispatchable (conventional) power you can permanently retire when you add more wind power to the grid. In Germany they have to add ~20 units of wind power to replace 1 unit of dispatchable power – utterly uneconomic and nonsensical!

    Regards, Allan

    *See E.On Netz excellent Wind Report 2005 at
    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf

    Excerpt:

    In 2004 two major German studies investigated
    the size of contribution that wind farms make
    towards guaranteed capacity. Both studies
    separately came to virtually identical conclusions,
    that wind energy currently contributes to the
    secure production capacity of the system, by
    providing 8% of its installed capacity.
    As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability
    of the wind farms determines the reliability
    of the system as a whole to an ever increasing
    extent. Consequently the greater reliability of
    traditional power stations becomes increasingly
    eclipsed.

    As a result, the relative contribution of wind
    power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply
    system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously
    to around 4% (FIGURE 7).

    ***************************

  28. @BobBoder, Whats sauce for the goose is sauce for the Gander so externalities need to be added on all analysis of all solutions. You miss the point regarding alternative energies not being mutually exclusive to other forms of Energy production. My case is we need all of these solutions to be pursued. The Monetary Metric is flawed, you must concede that Money is a variable the EROI paper I linked to makes the point.
    All Economics is Political, your lapse into scorn and rudeness does nothing to advance an argument, beats me every time how anyone ever thinks rudeness bolsters their argument, Genius?

    • Roger;

      You are a fraud, economics for the person raising his family is not politics, economics of a company trying to survive competition so it can make payroll is not politics, your BS about externalities is just another way for you to make up cost structures so you can justify doing what you think is right. For all your talk of externalities you are still just justifying re-distributing wealth from the poor and working class to the wealthy and connected, you are a poser trying to baffle the gullible with a bunch of BS and at the same time trying to convince yourself that you are virtuous. You never noticed that at the end of every “externality” there is someone unconnected to process getting rich? I have seen an awful lot of people being made poor by responses to imaginary “externalities”.
      Do me a favor if you believe so much in the BS you are spewing take your money and invest it, but leave the money that I earn and have to pay in taxes out so it can be put to a real and practical use other than making the likes of Al Gore rich.

      • Bob, Economics at a domestic level and economics at a societal and Government level are two quite different Questions.
        Take these Money Quizzes and tell me how you get on.
        I Made these interactive Quizzes based upon the Positive Money Quiz By David Faraday https://www.quiz-maker.com/QYMG3AR and the money creation Survey of MP´s https://www.quiz-maker.com/Q4FBT85

        Also Bob, you only have to refute arguments with arguments, no number of insults of the person advancing arguments or counter arguments diminishes the arguments put forward. Arguments are defeated by evidence not insults.
        Now Bob you have produced ample evidence for me to call you rude, your allegations are simply Ad hominem and speculative on your part, in short not a great marker of the confidence you have in your own case.

      • Bob,
        “For all your talk of externalities you are still just justifying re-distributing wealth from the poor and working class to the wealthy and connected….”
        Spot On!

      • Roger

        Societal and Governmental economics are born on the back of domestic economics.

        Let me ask you, how much of your domestic economic fortune has you tied up in renewables. You seem all to ready to take my tax dollars and invest in renewables to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. If you believe so strongly in renewables invest all you want and reap the benefit from it. But for you to invent a bunch of “externality” cost to justify using the power of the government to force bad choice on everyone else is the height of hubris.

  29. Good discussion on the “subsides” that wind requires. Advocates like Roger Sowell and whoever is supplying copy to “Griff” should try to justify the costs of wind, and why the bird-choppers are such a good alternative.
    Notably, much of the system that supports wind is not direct payments to wind producers, although they exist, but the required purchase and environmental certificates programs.

  30. Windmill Farm subsidies were costing the State of Oklahoma about $114 million per year with the payments expected to increase to over one billion dollars per year in the future, if things didn’t change.

    This is a significant amount of Oklahoma’s GDP and caused Oklahoma legislators to reassess the situation after figuring out they didn’t have enough money in the budget to fund Oklahoma schools adequately, and they decided to pass a law stopping subsidies for any new Windmill Farms, thus saving billions of dollars in subsidy payment in the future.

    Oklahoma legislators are now considering imposing business taxes on all Windmill Farms in Oklahoma and treating them just like any other business. If they survive financially fine, if not, fine.

    Oklahoma will let the free market decide the future of Windmill Farms.

    Let’s see how many new Windmill Farms go up in Oklahoma in the future, now that these subsidies have stopped.

    • RogerLewis

      “This is a significant amount of Oklahoma’s GDP and caused Oklahoma legislators to reassess the situation after figuring out they didn’t have enough money in the budget to fund Oklahoma schools adequately, and they decided to pass a law stopping subsidies for any new Windmill Farms, thus saving billions of dollars in subsidy payment in the future.”

      Is this externality figured in your calculations?

      • Bob, I am not an advocate of subsidising crony capitalists in any industry, whether it be energy production or Banking. Oaklahoma made the right decision , schools are way more important an investment in the future to trash for some political hobby horse.

        The wider question about EROI in society is well set out in this paper.
        https://mahb.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/energy-policy_Lambert_et.al_2013.pdf

        “There is evidence too that once payments
        for energy rise above a certain threshold at the national level (e.g.
        approximately 10 percent in the United States) that economic
        recessions follow (Hamilton, 2009; Hall et al., 2009; Murphy et al.,
        2011). Despite the best intentions of improving net energy balances
        for a developing nation, the large-scale introduction of renewable
        energy generation may have too low an EROI and may prove too
        expensive to facilitate continued growth in developing economies”.

        The Green Fascists are bonkers, I have argued that case in the UK Green Party for some time, I am not a member but a good friend is, I despise Al Gore too, now he is a fraud I think we could both probably agree on that.

        Local Government are not able to create their own money supply ( the exception in the USA is the Bank of North Dakota, which as well as having an oil Boom/Bust has had a publicly owned Bank which has assisted that States economy hugely, Ellen Brown has written on that ,https://ellenbrown.com/2016/05/02/bank-of-north-dakota-soars-despite-oil-bust-a-blueprint-for-california/ )

        I am a pragmatist of the Old School and think that all objective and Viable energy sources Paotential and current are needed to assist with the economic Development of people across the world according to their own local needs. Sadly US foreign Policy frustrates the wishes of ordinary people all over the world even where they are rich in primary energy sources.

        This report will give you some idea of my own perspective regarding Debt and the Oil Business.

        http://priceofoil.org/…/2011/01/DrillingIntoDebt.pdf
        http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/01/climate-debate-know-your-co2-pseudo.html

  31. Wind power – the basic fact: nobody needs it and if it wasn’t for politics, nobody would have it. The end.

  32. Proponents / defenders of wind/solar energy often cite the statistic that electricity bills are smaller in Germany than in USA. This is not really true and it ignores the fact that dwellings on average are 2.5 times bigger (floor space) in the US than in Germany.

    It would be better to talk about the average price per year of electricity per m2 of floor space. This statistic gives the following values:
    Germany: 16.96 US dollars
    USA: 5.48 US dollars

    Here are the raw data numbers.
    In Germany the average electricity cost per residence per year is 1450 euros or 1696 US dollars.
    Source:
    https://tranio.com/germany/maintenance/
    The average area of dwellings in Germany was
    89.9 m2 in 2006.
    Source:
    https://www.bmwfw.gv.at/Wirtschaftspolitik/Wohnungspolitik/Documents/housing_statistics_in_the_european_union_2010.pdf

    However since this was a decade ago we will generously assume that today the average is a round 100 m2.
    Thus in Germany the annual electricity per m2 dwelling is 14.5 euro or 16.96 usd.

    Meanwhile in the USA, the average cost per month for electricity per month it is on average 114.09 usd, or an annual 1369 usd.
    Source:
    https://smartasset.com/personal-finance/how-much-is-the-average-electric-bill
    Dwellings are much larger in the US than in Germany or Europe as a whole. The average dwelling in the USA has floor area of 2687 square feet, or 249.6 m2.
    Source:
    https://www.fatherly.com/love-and-money/family-finance/average-size-houses-us/

    Thus in the US the annual electricity price per m2 of dwelling is 5.48 usd.

    Note finally that in Germany it is much more common for people to live in apartments within large multi-storey apartment blocks, than in the US. This is especially so in the formerly communist east Germany. According to the report below, at German reunification in 1992, the average dwelling floor areas were in west and east Germany was 82.7 and 64.5 m2, respectively.
    Source:
    http://countrystudies.us/germany/93.htm
    In 1992 united Germany had approximately 34.5 million dwellings with 149 million rooms, for a total of 2.8 billion square meters of living space. Dwellings in the west were larger than those in the east. In 1992 dwellings in the old Länder had an average floor space of 82.7 square meters for an average of 35.1 square meters per person, compared with 64.5 square meters and an average of 29.0 square meters per person in the new Länder.

    • Apple can pay for the “wind energy” and then use the powerlines that everyone else uses. They really aren’t concerned about using renewables, only pretending to. Virtue signalling.

    • 35% of the electrical power generated in Iowa is by wind. However, through magical paperwork that energy is largely sold to Illinois consumers who pay a premium price for “green” energy. Apple will be able to buy wind energy on the same arrangement.

      So though 35% of the energy generated in Iowa is by wind, a much smaller percentage of the energy consumed is wind energy.

  33. Great article by Paul Homewood. But I guess I’m a full disclosure guy. Consumers/voters in the British Isles need to understand the basics of what they’re paying and how much of their money is subsidizing whom. If they understand that and reward the responsible government at the ballot box, then you have to assume that they understand the deal and deserve what they get. This is democracy at work, folks. The same goes for Germany and other places that elect to pay a premium for renewable energy.

    Some people like to feel green, and that’s OK.

  34. The article on inertia never got to the reason why inertia is important to a power grid. Put simply inertia is essential to frequency control. Mechanically the inertia is all of the rotating machinery on the grid both generation and synchronous loads. More inertia give operators more time to respond to load-generation imbalances.

    Any system that generates DC and uses an inverter to connect to the grid has no inertia simply because the inverter simply follows the grid with no ability to exchange momentum for energy. Both wind, solar, home solar, and grid scale batteries use inverters.

  35. In Australia, Dr Finkel, the Chief Scientist, published a report on levelised costs of electricity generation.
    Wind A$92/MWhr (no backup), solar with 12 hours storage A$172/MWhr, combined cycle gas turbine $83/MWhr, open cycle gas turbine A$123/MWhr, Supercritical coal A$76/MWhr.
    So add some backup gas or batteries to wind and you end up with costs around A$150/MWhr, not counting additional network costs to balance intermittent supplies.
    Yet our politicians in Australia keep claiming that wind/solar are cheaper and electricity costs will fall as they announce even more wind/solar projects, despite the evidence that electricity costs have doubled over the past five years.
    As in the UK, renewables not only get paid the wholesale price, currently around A$100/MWhr, they also get to sell certificates currently priced at about $80/MWhr that are factored into retail prices

  36. Last week I went to a hoilday vacation in Denmark. Travelling there from Bavaria is over 1000 km. In Denmark along the North Sea shore I saw all wind turbines steadily and quickly turning, according to the strong wind there.

    On the travel back to Bavaria during 14 hours I saw no single wind turbine turning in Germany – and there are lots of it, especially in Nortern and eastern Germany as well as in the Nothern Bavarian hills. Seem the wind was not allowed to pass the Danish border.

    It was a spooky view, showing that a complete country will generate no Wind and at night even no Solar power at all.

    • Exactly my observation too! Both in the first week of August and last week for well over 2000 km. Quite an incredible sight and reminding me of a mausoleum over good intentions…

  37. Thanks for an excellent summary of how the ‘environmental’ lobby have conned UK taxpayers into decades of higher energy bills and less reliable supplies. It should be out there in every available medium, and the “green is good” brigade (most of whom either haven’t a clue about the real cost of their unicorn schemes, or frankly don’t give a damn as long as it “saves the planet”) should be repeatedly challenged to defend the policies that shovel cash to their fatt-cat friends.

  38. You claim to use facts, then make a guess at 2021 and attempt to “shame” the wind industry on that “projected” number.

    You are a fraud.

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