New Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

Hywind offshore wind turbine, the world's first floating offshore wind turbine

Hywind offshore wind turbine, the world’s first floating offshore wind turbine. By Jarvin (Own work -) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A Scottish wind farm composed of novel design floating offshore wind turbines has officially started generating power. Proponents claim the floating megastructures are cheaper than traditional turbines, and will open offshore sites too deep for traditional fixed pylon designs.

The Hywind project: the world’s first floating wind farm

By SOPHIE CHAPMAN . Oct 19, 2017, 6:43AM

The world’s first floating wind farm opened on 18 October by Nicola Sturgeon, off the east coast of Scotland.

The 6MW turbines rise 175m above sea level, making them taller than London’s Big Ben and Oslo’s Plaza, and extend 78m below the surface of the water, tied to the sea bed by cables.

The anchors used to stabilise the turbines stand at 16m and weigh 111 tonnes.

The concept of a floating turbine was conceived in 2001, a single prototype being made in 2009, and funding for the project was provided in 2015.

The benefits of a floating offshore wind farm are the lower costs of production than onshore farms, as well as floating turbines being able to reach areas in the sea with a depth of 800m, which so far has been unattainable for wind projects.

Read more:

Lets hope those anchors are secure. One hundred and eleven tons of free floating wind turbine could create a terrifying navigation hazard.

282 thoughts on “New Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

  1. Serious question.
    How do they get the electricity back to the mainland?
    Do they drag a couple of miles of cable out to sea?

      • Check out the Transatlantic communications cable. I’m sure they can lay 25km.

        Lets hope those anchors are secure. One hundred and eleven tons of free floating wind turbine could create a terrifying navigation hazard.

        errm, it’s the anchores that weight 111tn and they don’t float. 😉

      • The transAtlantic cable is a thin cable the doesn’t carry much power.
        This power cable by definition has to be large enough to carry the power being generated by dozens of this bird choppers.

      • The transmission lines must be able to handle the current of every one of them generating simultaneously at full output, so the nameplate outputs are used for this calculation to provide ample oversizing of the grid interface. That is the problem with renewable “farms” remotely located from the main grid structure. They require grid infrastructure tie-ins which raise the cost of installation and maintenance considerably over (eg) adding gas turbines to a coal plant and mothballing the coal boilers and turbines. The waste is that the renewables farms will seldom use their ample grid connections at anywhere near capacity.

      • Cable size would be a function of voltage x amps, so if they step it up to say 69 KV, instead of 25 KV or 14.4 KV (NA standards) or less if the voltage produced directly by the generator, then can wire these together with smaller cable if they have transformers on the floating barge. Of course, the higher the voltage, the higher the cost of the transformer. All these transformers, ‘connections’ and undersea cable must be a challenge in a 100% salt water environment. Does anyone have a spec on the transmission voltage they are using on this circuit back to land? I assume aluminum direct burial Teck wire..what size wire are they using?

      • Greg.

        I take it that your comment was not intended as a serious comment. Whilst anchors do not float, they do not weigh anything like 111 tons. indeed, apart from deadweight anchors, the weight of an anchor is not the material factor behind its design.

        One would need a seriously large capstan/winch if they weighed anything like that. The largest anchor weighed in at 75 tonnes, see:

      • It all sounds like very expensive storm wreckage to me. Sooner or later nature will win out and they will not have operated long enough to make the power it took to construct them, just like all wind and solar devices so far.

      • The shallow seas between the shoreline and countless offshore wind turbines along the North Sea and Baltic coasts of Holland, Germany & Denmark are criss-crossed with a myriad of undersea cables. Fishing and anchoring is banned (but who knows what damage was done to the seabed & sealife when the cables were laid?) but we saw plenty of trawlers working these waters, masquerading on the AIS as support vessels.

      • Earthling2, true, the size of the metal in the cable goes down as the voltage goes up, but at the same time the thickness of the insulation surrounding the metal has to go up.

        [Or the airspace around each of the three phase bare cable (whether underground or above ground in power lines) has to increase by several meters. .mod]

      • Yes, and is maybe a thicker insulation to allow for more years of performance in salt water. I don’t know if a salt water rating cable is required? The 8-9 minute video below of this actual project has a 2-3 second shot of the actual submarine cable and it looks like 500 MCM sizing. Probably at distribution voltages of 35 Kv 3 phase or less, since is still a fairly low output even at rated capacity. This would keep the transformers economical. A larger farm may have to go to Transmission voltage of 69 Kv to 137 Kv, and then everything really gets expensive for transformers and cabling under the sea.

      • richard verney

        Greg was merely correcting the comment about the danger posed should a turbine break free. The figure of 111 tons came straight from the article, and is repeated in other articles about this wind farm, and they are not the largest ever made. Perhaps you were confused because these are suction anchors, much larger suction anchors are as old as the 75 anchors described in your link.

      • Mod, in your example, air is the insulator we are talking about.
        BTW, I was under the assumption that such lines would be DC, given the electrical properties of sea water.

    • It’s 25km offshore, and all the individual platforms have to be connected together via cables.

      • So. Now, after promoting (ANY publicity is publicity) the enviroprofiteers with mildly critical (or essentially neutral) articles about “renewables” almost non-stop for months (the exceptions have been relatively few), WUWT has sunk to the low it was headed for: simple promotion of “renewables” (always stated on WUWT now without ” ” and with no qualifiers, as if they truly are “renewable,” when they still cannot cover their cost of production with their un-subsidized sales revenue).

        Such reporting is not “fair and balanced,” it is simply inaccurate — due to omitting significant key facts about “renewables” (See, e.g., (Note: Offshore Wind has the worst ROI (and EROEI)).

        WUWT has deteriorated from this:

        to what you see in the above article.

        And I do not fault Eric Worrall — it is clearly the editorial policy of WUWT which is driving this subtle (and, now, not subtle at all) promotion of renewables. It was one thing for that wily-but-dull writer, L. Kummer to promote AGW (promoting “renewables” is to promote AGW and its $$ sc@ms), quite another to simply promote them.

        Thus, WUWT is no longer the powerful voice for truth and data it once was.


        And if anyone wonders in the days to come, just because I’ve been around this place for a few years, “Where is Janice?” Here’s the answer: the anti-data (about human CO2 as well as “renewables”), lukewarm, soft-sell of AGW, around here is sickening to me and I can’t stand to hang out here. Yes, I will miss many of you people, but, your presence here doesn’t make the swampy atmosphere here any more easy to take.

        And, yes, I realize our host could not care less about what I write here. Our host’s new policy of largely ignoring his supporters after they fund trips to AGU and other places and his doing nothing to address my expressed concerns (in a comment a few weeks ago which I know he read) assures me of that.

        I gotta say this, before I take a break from WUWT (I don’t know for how long):

        1. I admire all of you regular commenters who are still hanging in here — you have more resilience for enduring what I described above than I do; you are fine, great-hearted, people.

        2. Our host is to be highly commended for allowing this comment to be published.

        Bye (for now, at least)!

      • Sorry to hear this Janice. I hope it wasn’t something I said last week. I don’t see WUWT promoting renewables here. In fact, I have been feeling they they are being deliberately exposed here so they can be mocked as they are. As we see from this article tearing apart these floating wind mils on barges. I don’t think it hurts to test out a prototype like this, as all advances from from observation and verification.

      • The aluminum cored cable I’ve seen that is being used for the latest windmills in the southern part of the North Sea have a three core design, a bit like the the radioactivity warning logo except the actual aluminum triangular sections are more widely separated/insulated from each other. I didn’t think of actually measuring them but I would estimate the outer edge of the three sides is about two and a half inches wide plus a bit perhaps and the other two sides about the same – only an estimate.
        Given that the newest fixed windmills are already going out of true, much to the financial joy of the repair crews who are laughing all the way to their banks, I’m not surprised a rather desperate attempt is being made to make them free of a fixed base.
        I hope they’ve understood the relationship between center of gravity and moment of recovery correctly or it is going to be fun to watch.

      • Janice

        Sorry to see that you feel like this.

        Virtually all the articles I see here about renewables are sceptical and the subsequent comments, with a few exceptions, certainly are.

        Whether we like it or not renewables are considered the foremost source of power by those who call the shots. The elite in virtually every country on earth are ideologically committed to them

        It would therefore be strange if wuwt did not reflect the overwhelming endorsement of renewables by those who control the levers of power.

        Whether we like it or not is immaterial, as those are the current facts of life and all we can do is point out the shortcomings of an over reliance on Pieces of machinery that only work when the weather gods smile on them! whether it be the sun the wind or the rain.

        Sooner or late the tide will turn but in the meantime we can’t put our heads in the sand and ignore reality

      • I’m not promoting the idea Janice, I think these floating choppers are completely nuts.

        But I can’t just say “this will lead to inevitable catastrophe” or “this will cost way more than onshore or traditional offshore, because I don’t KNOW this.

        I think it likely there will be problems, but saying it is an idiot idea without evidence is unsubstantiated opinion.

      • Janice,

        I too am confused as to how you view such articles as “promotion”. Since when did the simple stating of facts, or covering of events become equal to: “to further the cause of, encourage, or advocate for” something?

        That’s like saying if WUWT talks about the Las Vegas shootings that Anthony is encouraging people to buy guns and rent rooms in high rise hotels!!

        The folly of these ocean (and land) monstrosities only comes to light when they are discussed in places like this. The article itself was simply a neutral news story (written by someone else) about the farm going “live” that Eric posted here. That article brought my attention to something I would not have known otherwise.

        Discussion here caused me to search more online, and to learn that dozens of these hideous, unnatural, habitat destroying uglies have been built in the North Sea area. Those images, of man-made, giant “ghosts” filling the skylines above Earths beautiful blue oceans make me physically ill, and redheaded angry at the same time. If the goal is/was to bring me on board in support of them, it backfired spectacularly!

        So what if every single article doesn’t mention the stupidity, arrogance, and destruction these things exude and bring about? That’s what the wise and knowledgeable posters here do! If people stop bringing other facts and reasoning to these discussions simply because Anthony or others don’t represent every issue in the exact way that they would, or think they SHOULD be talked about, then all online forums will become echo chambers with zero intellectual benefit. Like HW. *shudder*

        I personally wish/hope/want renewable sources of energy to be discovered and developed that DO NOT impair the planet, or it’s flora and fauna. I LOVE this world. But if such things caused the greenmorons to shut the crap up too…that would be icing on the cake!!

        Go if you need to for now, but come back because WE need you to. The world needs another echo chamber like Al Gore needs another ocean view mansion.

      • I don’t know what to make out of the Janice Moore comments/protest. Sure, she posted that video of Sam Kinnison and I have been addicted to them ever since (see “Are You Lonesome Tonight”) and that’s her fault. However, a saner voice out there is seldom heard better than Janice Moores. I am confused. If she is right I am gone in a flash, but with thanks to Anthony for his hard work. I will try to work this out.

      • Janice, I have always appreciated the awareness you bring to the discussions of industrial scale wind. You realize the need to acknowledge the harm to humans and animals because of the depth of your instinct to protect.
        We can do better.
        We must do better.
        I will miss your strong input into further discussions that overlook the growing opposition worldwide to this incursion on our environment. I sincerely hope you will reconsider.

      • Janice,

        Your cogent comments would be very much missed @ WUWT, should you go through with exit plans. I think you are being too harsh. WUWT is in no way promoting or going squishy on renewables. Information on wind and solar is being put out for comments, which are more or less across the board negative. In mainstream media, stories on wind and solar are pure hagiography. That’s not the case here. Also, i thank Anthony and others for keeping me up to date on what our vegan overlords are up to.

        So, relent. Please.

    • “Do they drag a couple of miles of cable out to sea?”

      No, had you followed the link to the web page, you would have learned the site is 15 miles (24 km) offshore.

      They unspooled some 24 km of cable from a boat. Dragging cables is not good for them,

      In Cape Cod, Nantucket Island is 48 km from Hyannis, there are two cables that go from there to the island that can carry 74 MW, I think using twice the voltage this project is using. If you do a little research, I’m sure you could find bigger examples. See if you can find details about the Denmark-Sweden link, a lot of Danish wind power goes to Sweden where they can keep things stable with hydropower. See

      This is a pilot project for floating IWTs, not a project to learn about undersea power cables.

      • Miles of thick Aluminium cable, refined and manufactured with fossil fuel electricity, so that the Aluminium industry can be made non-viable in the UK and other places because of the high energy prices caused by floating windmills and other green nonsense. Perfect stupidity.

    • Here’s another serious question. Since Statoil is Stat-oil, an OIL COMPANY that has been drilling in the oceans for decades, if they make floating wind energy viable, and make billions of dollars in the process, won’t the left’s liberal wolves just go after them for becoming the “1%ers of wind millionaires”???

      Should be interesting to watch.

      • It’s not that strange that an oil company should be promoting this technology. In the big scheme of things oil’s main competitor is coal. So if they promote a technology that generates electricity they squeeze out new coal-fired gen plants. Even if their sums are wrong and the power produced is more expensive than using coal the decision has been made and the money has been spent. The die is, as they say, cast. Of course a single above-average storm could change all that. I watch this space with interest!

    • This will cost way more than traditional offshore. Statoil will get 3.5 ROCs per MWh produced in addition to the normal wholesale price of electricity. ROCs are currently trading just shy of £50/MWh, so the revenue will be over £200/MWh (currently around£220/MWh). That’s MORE THAN TWICE THE PRICE that Hinkley Point nuncler station will get (£92.50/MWh in 2012 money).

      Current ROC prices:

  2. Lucky that the sea is such a gentle non-corrosive environment otherwise they would have quite a maintenance problem.

      • After two generations of work in the North Sea oil and gas fields, I’m sure that there is sufficient expertise in Scotland to build the floating barges to last.

      • The turbines are built in Norway. They are towed into place by Norwegian barges. The company designing them, building them, moving them into place, and hiring Scottish workers for the maintenance work on them is a Norwegian OIL COMPANY called Statoil.

      • Notably in Puerto Rico. I’ve seen photos of their wind farms where the hurricane left short stumps where the blades were. It looks like they will have to rebuild their entire wind renewables, not an easy task with a bankrupt government.

      • If the height is 175m work out the length of the barge in the axial direction. That will not be bobbing like a cork.

        Any rotation across the beam will not be subject to gyroscopic forces.

        Major forces will be wind load derived.

      • thanks Erny/Nigel , indeed, that photo is a barge, they have hundred of tons of iron ore ballast below the water line. They are not going to be wobbling around in any direction.

        Lightweight comments, like no one has thought out the forces on the bearings are just mindless sniping.

      • What barge? Where did you see that? Watch the video I posted. It’s a really big floating spar, which will bring some interesting issues. However, the demo unit survived for six years.

        Most of the interesting problems will be proprietary information, so we won’t get to hear much about them.

      • “they have hundred of tons of iron ore ballast below the water line. They are not going to be wobbling around in any direction.”

        Of course not. Ballasted ships never wobble around as we all know.

        Seriously, if the structure isn’t rigidly connected to the sea bottom, it will wobble. Ballast can decrease the amplitude and lengthen the period but never eliminate wobble.

      • @Greg

        It is clear that you know absolutely nothing about shipping, and it would be best, in these circumstances, if you were to refrain from commenting upon topics that you know so little about.

        Commercial ships carry thousands of tonnes of ballast and/or are laden with many tens of thousands of tonnes of cargo (which acts like ballast especially when it is a deadweight cargo) and they bob around in storm conditions.

      • Greg, so in your opinion, the wind will have absolutely no impact on the orientation of these platforms?

      • @ Greg,

        What is the main cause of failure of ALL wind turbines = bearing failure.
        Why do they fail giving turbines a real life expectancy of 12 years – about HALF their design life?
        Engineers have still not been able to successfully design a rotor bearing able to cope with the difference in wind pressure when the blade is in it’s bottom position and in it’s top position.
        Now here is a little experiment for you.
        Fill your bath tub up, jump in with a wine bottle, a rod say 30 inches long and lots of string (rubber ducky is optional!).
        Now fill the bottle about 3/4 full and insert the rod in the bottle. imagine the top of the rod has massive rotor and 3 x 100 meter long blades (or better still fix something heavy to the top), tie the string anywhere and everywhere on the bottle and then MAKE WAVES!!! – Most important watch the top of the rod.

        I’m an engineer, I studied 3 dimensional rotational dynamics enough to tell you I have serious doubts these albatross choppers will survive the first storm!!

      • “And of course the motion of the barge will sooth the machine rotor bearings prolonging their life.”
        And of course the motion of the barge will sooth the machine rotor bearings prolonging their life or until the unit becomes out of balance. There fixed.

      • From the business insider (dot com) article on this farm:

        “The turbines can drift in all three dimensions on the water’s surface, and will be held in place by anchors on the sea bed. ”

        Got that? All three dimensions….up, down, sideways. They FLOAT. Barges are for towing them into place. Then the barges LEAVE.

        • Aphan, since the towers will move vertically, the mooring cables must have a lot of slack; towers will then move a lot horizontally. So the electrical cables must have slack, slapping around at their connections.

      • When I began my studies they were in ocean engineering and I had the distinct pleasure of working with Doctor Harold Edgerton ad his work on side scanning sonar.
        The center of buoyancy is WELL below the water line and as such less effected by wave action because it is well below the wave energy. The section of mast protruding through the surface will see wave loading, but no where near the of surface ships whose center of buoyancy is within the wave energy zone. The buoyancy cell will only see hydrostatic pressure changes due to the wave height changes. They have been tethering free floating drilling rigs in the gulf for decades. These don’t blow away or tip over in storms.

        The biggest issue with these systems is that they will be far more costly to build maintain and operate that on shore facilities.

      • As to the cyclical loading on the hub bearings I cannot speak to that, but any motion or load amplification cannot be beneficial.

        This falls under the engineering axiom:
        “Just because you can build it, doesn’t mean that you should.”

        We have another saying about these ill-conceived concepts promoted by scientifically ignorant morosophs: “A bad idea, whose time has come!”

    • And the real beauty is that its such a benign and gentle environment. I mean even if water is about 1000 times denser than air and waves can get up to 10 or 15 metres high these things are just so simple and cheap to make.


      • Large offshore semisubmersible drilling rigs have motion compensators attached to the derrick to keep the drill string isolated where the weight on the drill bit stays constant.

      • waves over 30 m have been recorded in the north sea. it will be interesting to see how long this thing lasts .this winter will be very telling.

      • Stabilizers reduce motion, they don’t eliminate it.
        Secondly, yet another cost, power drain and maintenance nightmare.

      • Plus, Mecha Shark could just hook up to these things and get unlimited power to continue its destruction.

      • Man, I had to look up what that was and have not laughed so much since I fell out of bed this morning. Totally insane crap.

    • Apparently a 2.3 MW demo turbine survived six years in the North Sea.

      Can you do a little research – I’m curious what the max wind speed from the remnants of Ophelia was in that area, can you find that for us?

      • Yes, the usual display of pointless, fact free snark from WUWT commenters here.

        thanks for sole fact I’ve read thus far.

      • Moderators: Greg makes a decent point. The more snark permitted, the more generated.

        I read the comments for additional information and the more snark you permit (enable), the less informative the comment section becomes. And it’s been getting significantly worse over time. If someone has nothing to contribute, why encourage them?

        Hopefully this one won’t be snipped because admittedly it adds nothing to the discussion at hand.

        (Greg and Rod, it would be better to direct your effort into making science based comments for the benefit of others. Some snark is expected in a thread,but commentators for the most part,SHOULD strive to make a meaningful comment that adds to the discussion) MOD

  3. I can’t help but remember all the accounts I’ve read from WW II which described how difficult it was to maintain a mine field because the mines were constantly breaking free from their moorings and would be found floating about when ever a storm came through.

      • Easy to locate or not, it will still be work to move them back to where the belong and secure them again. Then there is the question of what happens with their power connection cable when they go adrift.

      • And then there was the lesson of the two great Mulberry harbors erected in days and destroyed in hours off the Normandy beaches. Parts from the US one off Omaha beach were used to repair the British one off Arromanches. The destruction occurred despite the great bombardons and the sunken ships “corn cobs” forming the “gooseberry” breakwaters.

  4. I am amused for the moment by the relationship among power (here 6 MW at 10 RPM) and moment (175 meters x FORCE), and how is the overturning force resisted.

  5. What’s the expected life of the blades/turbine? How many people have to be ‘on-site’ at the turbine to maintain/control it? Not a fun job I would think.

  6. We get enough of these things to interfere with convection, they may do more harm than good. What do the models say?

    • they already cause localised warming. to date i can find no studies relating to removing large amounts of energy from the atmospheric energy transfer system that is wind in the medium to long term.

  7. We shouldn’t be so negative. It’s a prototype. An experiment. That’s how we learn stuff. I remember working in the oil industry back in the 60s when a move was made to get lead out of gasoline. Oh no! That will never work. We need lead otherwise the engines will knock and fall apart. And what about the platinum catalysts needed to clean up the exhaust? We’ll run out of platinum! Fast forward to today. Do you ever hear mention of lead and platinum? Does anybody know what engine knock is? Have you ever heard it? Can you smell the exhaust from your car?

    • The experiment is being made to fix a non-problem. Lead and dirty exhaust is a problem. Which would you prefer to breath in on a regular basis, Lead, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen oxide, Hydrocarbons or CO2?

    • Does anybody know what engine knock is? Have you ever heard it? Can you smell the exhaust from your car?

      It will soon be a case of: “You expect me to do what? Drive that? On the road?”

      Aren’t computers, as used in modern EMS (Engine Management Systems), wonderful gadgets? Most cars even those over twenty-five years old, use the equivalent of what would have been a mainframe back when it was all first thought of. Electronic fuel injection, spark control, all driven by the EMS computer. Auto trans control, even active valve timing, antiskid braking and active suspension are all old hat, now. The driverless car is on this side of the horizon already. All are computer powered.

      • Anyone with half a brain could adjust the ignition timing or change a plug. Now you need to pay hundreds of dollars to an approved dealer who has had to pay tens of thousands for a suitcase full of electronics and the relevant software and data updates to service the most trivial problem. Yet another chain around our necks. That is not progress in my book.

        All this endless computerisation does is build in total dependency of every individual on the system.

        You buy a computer with Windows OS and you pay but in reality MS own it and let you use it. Why would anyone pay for a car that someone else drives ?

        If you can’t put the key in and physically control it someone else is vetting and controlling what you can do and where you can go.

        Yes, the driverless car is on this side of the horizon already, and needs to be taken out as soon as it comes within range. This is the end of our freedom of movement. Stop your wide-eyed awe at this technology and start to reflect a little where it is taking us.

      • Greg,
        The answer is linux or any other free and open source software. If you can’t read the source code you don’t control the computer/car/etc.

      • @Greg
        Yes, I do prefer to Drive a car instead of vice versa. If you live outside a large city and don’t have to commute to work, then Driving becomes more of a pleasure than a curse.
        It is becoming incredibly harder to to do that every year.
        Especially in the US.
        Just last year we had to say goodbye to a Saab 2000 9-5 Aero. It had a FWD 5 speed manual shift.
        A joy to Drive! Great performance and handling.

        Looked at a lot of cheap tin like Subaru (sorry any Subby luvvers), finally looked at Volvo.
        Not too bad, tried to purchase a FWD 5 Speed and found out that was not possible in the US.
        Could not even buy one in Europe and bring it back (which is how we got the original Saab).

        Finally settled on a 2015 V60, not great, but it has good performance and handles OK.
        The 16 year old SAAB Drove MUCH better and cost about the same.
        I guess this is what inflation means…

      • Greg, the God’s of technology giveth and they taketh away.
        Yes, any fool could gap a spark plug and adjust the timing, assuming you had the right tools for each. However thanks to the electronics, such work is almost never necessary anymore.
        Additionally, it’s all that electronics that has helped to triple gas mileage over the last few decades.

        You will be much happier if you can finally realize that the world isn’t out to get you, and everyone who disagrees with you is not by definition an idiot.

      • Greg
        technology advances. You can get an OBD2 to bluetooth adaptor and a phone app and get back in the game.

    • In other words, some ideas moved from proto-type to production, ergo anything being prototyped will be successful.

    • Experimenting and prototyping are indeed useful when looking at new and/or novel ideas. But wind turbines are hardly new or novel, regardless of where you place them. We have enough experience with them now to know that they are not only unreliable sources of power, but difficult and expensive to maintain. Continuing to deploy more of them makes no rational sense at all.

    • Trebla
      Not exactly correct
      Amoco sold non leaded premium gasoline with very high Octane. Gasoline can be processed to provide high Octane without lead, just requires more processing equipment needed. Lead was cheaper but ethanol is more expensive and clogs fuel systems because it has a short shelf life
      In fact the octane scale was based on isooctane which as I recall has 100 octane and is a component of most gasolines.

      • GM does not now, nor has it ever, owned DuPont. DuPont and Dow Chemical recently completed a merger.

      • Moreover, I found a patent filed in 1936 relating to anti-knock agents wherein the use of tetra-ethyl lead as and anti-knock agent is already well known. Whatever the base patent, is has long expired.

  8. £210 million, so £42 million a turbine. At 6MW each, so my maths makes that at an efficiency of 30%, 1.8MW output. That I make a daily output of 43.2 MWh. Currently they’re getting paid £132/MWh, so making £5700 a day. Pay off period 7,370 days, which is just over 20 years. Is my maths wrong here?

      • And the maintenance will be mostly by helicopter, so the “unknown” cost will be high. I don’t think this is a money-maker. Fair enough, it is also research, but moveable bird-choppers? Count me out.

      • Mr. Layman here.
        These things are basically boats, barges.
        20 year payoff less maintenance cost?
        Along with the cost of maintaining a normal windmill, maintenance cost would need to include the cost associated with maintaining a barge or boat anchored at sea for 20 years. Will they still be floating after 20 years? Will they need at least one period in drydock to remain floatable for 20 years? What drydock could hold them?
        I’m not familiar with what it takes to keep a boat or barge afloat for 20 years but I doubt it’s cheap.

    • Apparently these wind farms have batteries.
      “Each turbine is capable of pumping 6 megawatts of energy into the grid, meaning the project can contribute 30 megawatts in total. When not used, all this power is stored in lithium batteries, which have a capacity of more than two million iPhones.”

      Scottish tax dollars at work.

      • “a capacity of more than two million iPhones.”

        So the best these batteries can do is recharge 2 million IPhones. How many IPhones exist in the world? Not very impressive at all.

      • That’s a very odd storage capacity measure. Should have expressed it in the number of nuclear bombs.

      • That and there’s a good deal of difference between ‘capable of’ and ‘actual delivery of’.

      • A iPhone battery is ~1800 mAh at 3.8 volts. This is 6.84 watt/hours or 0.00684 kilo-watt hours. 2 million of them 13,680 kilo-watt hours. An average house in the USA uses 10,800 to 15,400 kwh in a year.

        So these batteries can power one house for a year.

      • “… which have a capacity of more than two million iPhones.”

        More obfuscation by BS condescension. The pathetic storage capacity of an iPhone is hardly a useful or meaningful unit of energy storage but creates a very big number.

        “Each turbine is capable of pumping 6 megawatts of energy into the grid,…”

        That does NOT say that is what it will produce as an annual average, it is more misdirection for mass consumption. Load capacity factor is typically around 30%.

        Until someone says in writing that it will produce 6MW continuously 24/7/365, do not assume it will. “capable of” means nothing in terms of “will do” capacity.

    • They’re getting paid a LOT more than £132/MWh. They’re on an ROC deal at 3.5 ROCs/MWh.

  9. Does anyone know what sort of power loss there will be from theses long inter-connectors from turbine to grid use ?

    • Energy losses would be the same as any other well designed transmission circuit. The cost would be very much higher for underground submarine cables instead of much less expensive overhead power lines. Generally speaking, only a large down town city can justify an underground transmission link since may be difficult or unsightly to place a large over head power line to a down town location. It appears cost is no issue for off shore wind since you wouldn’t normally use such an expensive transmission method to get a relatively small amount of non firm electricity to a market.

      • The Dutch and the Germans are going gangbusters with offshore wind farms often 40-60km offshore. For the larger/further wind farms they have substation platforms for every 50 or so turbines to step up the voltage.

      • Off-shore wind farms of long distance from the coast use high voltage DC power for the undersea cables, as the only loss is from the resistance of the copper or alu cable. If they used AC, the loss would be much higher as the cable forms a capacitor with the surrounding seawater. At longer distance the higher installation costs for AC/DC and DC/AC converters is less than the overall loss caused by using AC, with as extra advantage that no synchronisation of frequencies is necessary.

        The latest off-shore connection in Germany is 800 MW at + and – 350 kV DC:

      • Thanks Ferdinand for the details on DC transmission voltages. Maybe only a few geeks like us would be interested in this level of detail, but I find the details fascinating. Would be great to get featured articles like this with someone from the company to offer feedback and questions answered. But then maybe that feeds opinions that we are the ones supporting green wind energy. Personally, I think off-shore wind, if designed properly in a good wind zone, can maybe take away some of the negative of wind especially if it is out of sight, and working at a 35%-45% capacity factor. I really hope this project succeeds technically/economically, and if anyone can do it in the North Sea, it is the Scots and Norwegians.

    • It’s only 25km to shore and the Peterhead substation. The loss is unlikely to be more than 5%, even wth the relatively low transmission voltage.

  10. Or they could build a new modern cleaner coal fired power plant that produces shit loads more power and jobs and have a reliable source of power no matter how much the wind is or isnt blowing. I guess there’s no subsidies in that though.

  11. The consept has been tested over several years on the west coast of Norway. The worry for the project is on the financial side: Ca 3/4 of the income is subsidies.

  12. Welcome to Scotland! Anti-fracking, anti-smacking, anti-Brexit – but happy to drag the country down by covering the magnificent scenery with galloping windfarms, by the “wee, pretendy, government in Edinburgh” (so aptly named by Billy Connolly). It’s time there was a change in Holyrood.

    • Fracking was banned after gerrymandering a 99% petition result in favour of the ban. In good Saddam Hussein like humility, this was taken as a token of their magnificence rather than showing up their consultation methodology as flawed.

  13. Imagine, if you will, that there had never been a “global warming/climate change” movement. In a world where “carbon” meant nothing more than black carbon, or soot, these kinds of projects would, if even dreamed up, probably never make it off the drawing boards. They’d be fodder for jokes only.

      • What about nuclear fuel? When will we run out of that? Furthermore, I’ve been hearing that we were running out of fossil fuel for decades. 20 years ago we had 50 years of fossil fuels left. And now 20 years later, we still have 50 years left. Talk to me when there are no new sources of hydrocarbons.

        • 20 years ago I didn’t tell you we were running out of fossil fuels. Now i AM. All you need to do is look up the finding date for new field exploration. We aren’t finding new fields at the rate we use the oil. This means we are running out fast. Gas is a bit better, coal is a bit better than gas. But most of us who know the business realize we are at the end of the road. I suspect we should see a peak between 2025 and 2035 .

      • That’s just a myth. And going with an expensive, unreliable energy doesn’t seem smart or appropriate.

      • We have several hundred years of gas and oil, over a thousand years of coal.
        I’m not going to start panicking about running out for a hundred years or so.

        • In 20 years we won’t be able to produce enough oil to meet demand. Prices should be a lot higher. This will cause rep,a cement, prices will drop, and the oil industry will gradually lose market share. A lot of what’s produced will be used fir plastics and chemicals.

      • Bruce, especially when the expensive, unreliable energy doesn’t result in the reduction of fossil fuel use.

      • Mark W. It might reduce fossil fuel use. In fact, it most likely will. But when a project is unprofitable (after considering the cost to society of any subsidies) the project is consuming more resources than it’s producing. Those resources might be lithium, or steel, or just human effort, but each has a price and if the cost is greater than the output resources are being wasted and value is not being produced.

  14. “Lets hope those anchors are secure. One hundred and eleven tons of free floating wind turbine could create a terrifying navigation hazard”

    Not to mention the damage to the sea floor from dragging anchors and cables.

  15. I agree with Trebla. It is good to try new things. It is nonsense to try to base an economy on something brand new, but give it a shot. Doing something hard is important. There’s nothing wrong with trying out new energy generation techniques or environments. Costs to be sunk in something like this do need to be considered experimental so they don’t have major impacts when they fail, but exploring various avenues for energy generation is overall a good thing. It is appropriate to have extra money to gamble, just don’t bet the house.

    • While I agree with much of what you say, it isn’t just ‘the house.’ It is ‘the country.’

    • “exploring various avenues for energy generation is overall a good thing”

      By “gambling” one would assume there is a risk vs. reward scenario occurring. What is the reward with wind and solar? Is blanketing the country side with these things saving the environment? The physics of both are very well understood. Both are intermittent energy sparse technologies with a fixed amount of energy available per given area. They are both geographically dependent. Even with magical improvements in battery storage, installed capacity of renewables would have to be minimum of three times demand requirements. The only way they can compete is by making other energy sources more expensive. What more is there to ‘explore’? I just summed it all up in a few sentences and no one paid me a dime.

    • When basic math shows you that your effort is wasted, it’s foolish to start.
      Wind will never be more than a bit player, regardless of where the turbine is sited, until the battery problem is solved.

    • There is nothing new about wind turbines and putting them further out to sea does not qualify as a “brand new” idea.

      • The newness here is the floating concept allows them to be located a lot more widely than current designs that top out around 50m water depth. Beyond that point the jacket foundations become increasingly expensive both to construct and to install. There is no real reason to go far offshore at all other than navigation and nimby reasons.

    • Steve, in spirit, I can’t agree more. My life in technology and engineering has consistently been one of experiment and risk taking and I agree that’s how we advance.

      But this? I have to admit it isn’t a horse I’d bet on. I’m invested in some of the more edgy energy technologies and I have to admit I took a bath on the last one but I’m still hanging in there. I currently hold about 5000 shares of a Swiss company that design, build and market ultra-capacitors (aka “Supercapacitors”) for automotive and municipal scale energy storage. Very low charge time, very high charge/discharge cycle devices. I sincerely believe that with time, research and development we’ll see “Shipstone” like energy storage come from this technology that will completely replace chemical batteries. Eventually. I didn’t bet the farm, but I bet a big part of it.

      But these just aren’t ever going to pay off. At the top of the list, they’re an eyesore, but more practically there’s something I learned while experimenting with computer controlled undersea life support systems (electronic closed circuit mixed gas rebreathers, ala the USN Mk 16), electronics and seawater just don’t mix well.

      On top of that rather primitive but realistic observation, the first criticism still stands; they’re ugly and in this case a hazard to navigation. Before moving forward with any large scale implementation I’d run it by the city and county of Santa Barbara CA. Those would be the folks who banned offshore oil platforms back in the 70’s because they didn’t like looking at them. I can’t see how these would be any better.

      If it won’t play in Santa Barbara, it’s not going to play anywhere in California, which is one of the largest energy consumers in the US, if not the world.

      • Those would be the folks who banned offshore oil platforms back in the 70’s because they didn’t like looking at them. I can’t see how these would be any better.

        I don’t know about that. Scotland is now just a huge wind farm. Had I applied to build a manufacturing facility in one of Scotland’s more scenic areas I would have protesters dogging me from application to operation. Print ‘green’ or ‘renewable’ on it and you could build Trump Tower in a national park there.

  16. One of my comments from Roger Sowell’s post on Hywind…

    Hywind’s realistic operating life is probably 20-30 years, with an escalating maintenance cost.

    If they obtain 45% output and lock in $0.22/kWh, they’ll make a little money. But the NPV at a 7% discount rate would be as negative as coal with CCS or nuclear.

    I have serious doubts about the economics of offshore wind, but this looks like a well-designed project.

    • I agree, so hopefully a well designed project should give some useful data, unlike a stupidly badly designed situation like S. Aus. fiasco.

      Both the Scots and the Norwegians have decades of experience in offshore construction and maintenance, so this should be a good test.

      Hopefully someone in laying copper on land so that this can get to the end user.

      • Sans storage capacity, even if they make a bit with guaranteed sale of every watt produced, they will need 100 percent back up. Which will mean heavy efficiency and revenue loss to whomever is currently
        supplying this power.

        Two million I phones, or however many Hiroshimas they generate or store, will not prevent one Manhattan of ice from melting.
        ( madness)

    • “Well-designed”.
      This will be more of a general comment rather than the topic at hand.
      An engineer trumps a climate scientist almost every time.
      An engineer has to deal with reality rather than a computer model.
      Me? I often have to deal with what an engineer designed in the actual, “boots on the ground”, reality.
      I’ve seen a million or so wasted on something that didn’t work as designed. (Though it was nice to just have to push a button to throttle a valve rather than hand crank it.) I could cite other examples.

      “Looks good on paper” is better than “Looks alarming in a climate model” but what works in real life is what we all want.

      Fossil fuel, hydro, nuclear. They all work in real life.
      “Supply and Demand”.

    • Since that won’t happen for a hundred years or more. (Thousands if you add nuclear to the mix)
      It doesn’t make sense to start building these things just yet.

    • An unreliable backup is not really a backup at all. Our society is utterly dependent on cheap, reliable power.

  17. Nothing like a truly modern, 18th century technology at work. Well, Scotland does have lots of wind, little solar, and not much of a clue as to new nuclear energy technologies, which would (will) make all this malarkey look like child engineers at work. Why are these people so clueless? You’d think Scotland would welcome global warming with open arms.

    • And of course this is : nothing like a truly modern, 18th century technology at work.

      The Scots will welcome an energy source that they don’t have to import and can recycle the expertise they they have in a rapidly declining off-shore oil and gas skills.

      The good news is that they get global warming , investment AND jobs. Scots are not fools.

      • i am afraid we are seeing very few of the jobs greg. we also have plenty coal and oil,just a pity there is little investment in how to extract what we have cost effectively. my area has some of the highest grade clean burning coal in the world, unfortunately it is lying dormant under the forth estuary.

  18. This is a bit more than 9 minutes long, but well worth watching. It shows a lot of the construction (done in a harbor) before towing the turbines out. It mentions that blade pitch control is one of the ways they maintain orientation.

    • I suggest everyone watch this video of the actual project we are discussing. Too bad it wasn’t part of the original article above so as we all knew the scope/details of the project. Now I see the barges were only for transport in the pic above. I was very impressed by the scale of the engineering. I wouldn’t bet against Stat Oil and the Norwegians or Scotsmen. They have a lot of experience with already working in the North Sea with oil rigs, under sea pipelines and electrical cabling. It appears they will be able to get these to work mechanically speaking, although at this point it is a demo project. The Norwegians have a Trillion $$ in their sovereign wealth fund, so have very deep pockets and a very good grasp on mega engineering. Whether or not this is economic in the end, is a better question. Definitely expensive electricity, and that is the direction we are heading in the next 20 years as fossil fuels too will get more expensive.

      • Provided these things don’t fall over and manage to operate at 40% capacity factor (which ought to be achievable given the location), then they will produce about 105GWh/year, and at the moment they are looking at subsidised revenue of the order of £220/MWh, giving them revenue of about £23m a year against a cost of £190m for the project. I don’t think the Nowegians are having to dig too deeply into their pockets. Besides, they sold a chunk of the project to a hedge fund based in Abu Dhabi.

    • “We will need subsidies for a while.” Spoken near the end of the video. Like all green projects, the payback is indeterminate in spite of all the wonderful engineering and cost reductions.
      In terms of engineering it’s extremely impressive. In terms of economics, this type of project would never fly in the private sector.

    • Who pays for the electricity so that “..blade pitch control is one of the ways they maintain orientation.”
      Has anyone ever worked out the power output of a dog chasing its tail ?

    • I wonder if it would make any sense to have the generator mounted vertically in the ballast section with a shaft up the mast and a CVT transaxle where the genset is now?

      • Pop Piasa

        I wonder if it would make any sense to have the generator mounted vertically in the ballast section with a shaft up the mast and a CVT transaxle where the genset is now?

        That style has been tried many times in varies configurations. Uniformly, none of the vertical shafts/geared shafts/generator-at-the-bottom designs have worked as well as they theoretically “should work”.

    • Out of interest, how do these devices deal with constant twist in the cables? Presumably the blades move into the prevailing wind direction which, in The North Sea, is 360 deg. variable within hours.

    • Brent Spar was installed in the North Sea in 1976. It spent almost 20 years providing oil storage and a tanker mooring for some of the oil from the Brent Field. In its early years, before the pipeline and Sullom Voe oil terminal was complete, it was the only way that Brent oil was produced. Since then, Conoco was first to have a floating platform at the Hutton field, which was anchored to the sea floor (a “tension leg platform”). Such structures have become common in oil and gas, operating in as much as 4,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. The technology for handling oil and gas feeds to the surface, or for connecting to underwater pipelines is well developed. The challenge for these turbines is not what happens subsea, for which there is ample exeprience, but how they cope when faced with 100mph+ gusts that are not uncommon in the North Sea. Perhaps that is why they are being given an even larger than normal subsidy for offshore wind.

  19. I would like the cost numbers for this and not some projection numbers or 25 year lifespan numbers (it will not make it 10 years). while the work is impressive and the technology is great but I don’t want to pay for it. that is some very expensive electricity.

  20. The foundations of many off shore wind turbines are cracking due to grouting problem. This is a major issue. This court case says that the turbine owner must pay for fixing the damage. I get the feeling that engineering does not fully understand all the issues regarding off shore wind farms. This is a new technology involving extremely large forces needing very substantial and solid foundations. This is early days and the cracks are appearing. I think many of these wind turbines will fail.

    The news that Eon must foot the bill to repair defective offshore wind turbines at Robin Rigg may have ramifications for UK offshore wind farm developers.

    Many developers have had to deal with issues relating to the grout used to connect turbine towers to their foundations. It’s a costly and often difficult fix in a market where the margins between financial success and failure are tight.

    Grout taken out

    The issue is thought to exist at around 14 UK offshore wind farms, which were built to DNV standard J101. The problem with J101 is that it significantly overestimated the tolerance of the grout, leading to movement within the foundation connections.

    That means hundreds of turbines had to be fixed, often in deep water, in harsh conditions and in an industry where suitable specialist vessels are expensive and in very short supply.

    The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Eon’s bid to appeal an earlier ruling that its contractor, the Danish firm MT Hojgaard, was liable for repairs to the foundations at the Robin Rigg project. Hojgaard designed, fabricated and installed the turbine foundations between 2007-2009. It built them using the J101 standard before the grout problem became known.

      • There’s likely a little grout at the attachment points for the chains. It there’s a problem with it, the fix should be just to plant a new anchor and move the chain. That’s a lot easier than working on a foundation with the full weight of the tower on it.

        I’d be more concerned about flex in the power cables, especially at the attachment points.

      • i am more interested in the effect of scouring on the “suction” anchors. the north sea is a cruel mistress. the maintenance costs on anything from boats to rigs in that environment 24/7 are astronomical ,these will be no different. i suspect the first thing to seize up will be the bearings the part of the blade runs on ,on the pitch control mechanism.

    • DaveKeys – yes you are absolutely correct, the latest windmills are already coming out of true in some cases a few months after installation and the repair costs are going to be astronomic. The offshore crews know the extent of the problems but the green cargo cult and its media friends are in denial. An expensive denial.

    • They have given no thought nor done any research on how these windmills will effect whales and other sea-dwelling creatures. The sound these windmills produce propagates for great distances in the water.

      All this stupidity to solve a non-existent CO2 problem.

      There are a lot of fools in this old world, and too many of them are in positions of power.

  21. I wonder how all those 800+ meters of cables flexing and stretching in the water will affect sea life? Barnacles? Whales? A small experimental setup might not do much, but once you scale up to 5 larger turbines spread across a much larger area of the sea, it might be a different story.

    • Im guessing it’s just like anything else in the ocean. There’ll be barnacles all over everything and they will become floating microcosms as the sea assimilates them. I could get fun if a group of them operating makes sufficient infrasound beats to draw whales. I would be interested in learning the sonic impacts of these devices.

      • Enviro-wackos are already impacting U.S. Navy operations out of fear of impacts to whales. Anybody want to bet if they attack offshore wind projects?

      • Or maybe the barnacle encrustation will turn the cables brittle. Or a whale might end up ramming against the submarine portion of the structure. Whales have been known to hit boats, right? What more something that’s essentially a floating island?

      • They’ve already forgiven the wind turbines for killing millions of birds, I don’t see them getting upset over a few whales.
        The Enviro-wackos have very flexible ethics.

    • read an article a week or so ago in which a couple of green energy types claimed that an Atlantic ocean floating wind farm could be sized to furnish the entire world’s power needs. Didn’t say how much open water that would leave for shipping needs. Wish I could remember where so I could furnish a link, but unfortunately, I have slept a few times since then.

  22. Sometimes it is good to try stuff.
    — What did people say about fracking? “Ha Ha they think they’re gonna crack rocks and get fuel out? Ha Ha”.

    • “Sometimes” is the operative word here. It makes no sense to try things that you know from the outset are foolish.

  23. This will all end in tears. The Global Warming Cult wrongly divides sources of electric energy into fossil fuels and renewables. The correct division is reliables and unreliables. The only sane reason for using unreliables is that reliables are not available or inconvenient.(example, it makes sense to use a solar panel to power the phone box at Middleton near the Northern Territory – Queensland Border). Insane reasons for using unreliables include: The unreliables are subsidised; the reliables are banned or restricted. Look carefully at which politicians (or their families) profit by directing subsidies to unreliables. The real tragedy is the human suffering which is not alleviated because of reckless misdirection of resources to unreliables.

  24. Where can we find the day-to-day output figures for this pilot project? It is certainly some impressive engineering but the economics are daunting. As a former military spec ops officer I can’t help but envision how easy it would be to destroy these with a very small team and very limited technology. But that is equally true of any linear targets. Safeguarding railways, bridges, power lines, pipelines and similar installations is a real challenge.

  25. This is very, very terrible. Very wasteful, very dangerous and almost quite impossible. I just disagree with it very much. BAD! Which article are we debating?

    • 2almost quite impossible”

      translated directly from Navahoe code language by Google translate. Thanks for you well arugmented comment.

      Bad, very bad. As a great man once said.

      • Not being able to tell which bigoted side someone is on may be an indication of them not having a bigoted opinion and being an objective observer who forms an opinion by weighing the facts.

        I am “angry” about the usual, fact free rants, on both sides. As a trained scientist and engineer I demand facts. I get annoyed when I get iPhone batteries and football fields instead of FACTS.

        It would be great is wind power could be made to work but am quite happy to lay into the kind of stupid mismanagement and deliberate ignorance of engineering that led to the South Australia fiasco.

        No one pays me to be insulting. It’s an unpaid pass-time 😉

        (Greg, let it go. I have snipped it out since it was unwarranted. You make a snark comment too with this,which is understandable, “jeff Bozos”,we all have made a snark comment before) MOD

      • Thanks for the moral support but I’m quite happy to be criticised and to explain any confusion about my position and comments.

        The deleted comments were wrong and pretty much jumping to conclusions but I did not find them offensive or warranting censorship.

        I do lay into eco-loons like Griff but I’m also known to agree with him on the rare occasion he makes a valid point. I would prefer WUWT to continue to allow debate than censor it. That is what sets it apart from most of the other climate sites around.

        (I deleted those two comments because the first one was an ad hom attack,off topic. The other one was a repeat of the first,which was also completely off topic. I am moderating based on the guidelines Anthony gave me,to DELETE comments that are personal attacks,off topic) MOD

  26. I found the engineering to be outstanding.
    The design and build very efficient.
    Loved those little red baskets at the top where the cooling fans are.
    They should hold a lot of ice and snow, that may help with cooling.

  27. Oh! boy! anchor a wind turbine in salt water and cross your fingers…..what could possibly go wrong?
    The Maintenance costs will probably be more than the electricity they produce.
    If a big storm hits ….. No electricity.
    Lots of wind farms and solar panels are scattered all over the landscape after this years Hurricane season!

    • A large storm will destroy these off shore wind turbines. They will blame it on climate change and fossil fuel use as making the storm more severe then they had planned. Thus they will build more off shore wind turbines to try and eliminate more C02, to stop the next storm from getting even more severe, etc. etc.. The insanity will continue.

    • I am not a friend of seabird-chopping machines, but at least these windmills exist and entered production. Comparing them with machines that are not even in a prototype stage yet is disingenuous.

  28. “Each turbine is capable of pumping 6 megawatts of energy into the grid”

    I don’t like the verb “pumping” in this sentence. It implies too much. How about dripping, sputtering, drizzling, seeping, oozing …

  29. Greg Said:

    “Anyone with half a brain could adjust the ignition timing or change a plug. Now you need to pay hundreds of dollars to an approved dealer who has had to pay tens of thousands for a suitcase full of electronics and the relevant software and data updates to service the most trivial problem. Yet another chain around our necks. That is not progress in my book. ”

    I am old enough to have one of those ‘low tech’ cars you describe. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to those days. The maintenance was constant, the cars weren’t as well built, and the performance, compared to even today’s economy cars was lacking.

    I can remember riding in my Dad’s car (think it was a Pontiac.. late ’70s) and what a big deal it was to have the odometer roll over to a 100k miles. It was a big deal to have a car that made it to 100k without completely falling apart. Today, if even an economy car doesn’t make it to at least 120k+ miles, you got a lemon.

    All those electronics you describe have allowed my near 10 year old hatchback to run without ever having breakdown. It, like other cars like it, burns so clean, it is VERY rare that my dense urban area suffers from severe smog conditions. 30+ years ago, you couldn’t even see across to the other side of the Hudson river the smog was so thick on a hot summer day.

    My little 1.8L engine produces more power than smaller V-8 and large V-6 engines did when I was a kid. It does it while giving my car, 30+ mpg on the highway. Yet, while weighing far more (due to the improved safety requirements) that a similar sized car back in the late ’70s to early ’80s.

    • I’m not against technological advancement, as long as it is not wrapped in a black box which I’m not allowed to open and which ties me to a franchised dealer network.

      I individual transport is about freedom of movement and independence. Core American values that some would like to take away.

      Now if you do your own oil change a little light will come on once you go past the oil change mileage and you need to pay someone with a box of electronics to turn it off even if you have changed the oil This little orange warning is now a vehicle inspection failure in EU which prevents you from using your vehicle on the road.

      This is just the beginning.

      • actually, the owners manual for my 12 year old Toyota explains how to reset that “maintenance needed” light. The process seems to work easiest with 3 hands, but is doable.

  30. Let’s have a moment of silence for the marine life, whales, birds sacrificed to the greater good. The green gods will smile at the sacrifices made.

  31. It appears we already know the answers to the offshore wind power equation – IT IS NOT ECONOMIC!


    Date: 18/10/17

    M J Kelly, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

    The first-ever offshore wind farm, Vindeby, in Danish waters, is being decommissioned after twenty-five years, DONG Energy has announced.[1] By its nature it was an experiment, and we can now see whether or not is has been a successful alternative to fossil or nuclear-fuelled electricity.

    It consisted of eleven turbines, each with a capacity of 0.45 MW, giving a total export capacity for the wind farm of 5 MW. The hub height of each turbine was 37.5 m and blade height 17 m, small by today’s standards. Because of its date of construction, it would have been all but totally reliant on conventional energy for its manufacture and installation. The original stated project cost was £7.16 million in 1991, which is equivalent to approximately £10 million today.[2]

    During its lifetime, it delivered 243 GWh to the Danish electricity grid. This means that the actual amount of electricity generated was 22% of that which would have been generated if it had delivered 5 MW all the time for 25 years. In technical terms, it had a load factor of 0.22. From the same source we see the initial expectation was that 3506 houses would be powered annually, with a saving of 7085 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.[3] There was no clear indication of Vindeby’s expected lifetime. Since the average household’s annual use of energy in Denmark[4] is 5000 kWh, we can calculate that the windfarm’s anticipated energy output was 438 GWh over its 25-year lifetime. The actual total of 243 GWh was therefore ONLY 55% OF THAT EXPECTATION.

    The (annual average) spot price for electricity from both the European Energy Exchange and Nordpool quoted over the period 2006–2014 dropped approximately linearly from €50–55/MWh in 2006 to €32–37/MWh in 2014.[5] If we assume that this trend was constant over 1991–2017, we can see that the average wholesale price paid for the Vindeby electricity was of order of €50/MWh. On this basis the revenue of the windfarm was approximately €12 million: perhaps €15 million at today’s prices. THIS MEANS THAT THE WINDMILL SPENT 75% OF ITS LIFE PAYING OFF THE £10 MILLION COST OF ITS CONSTRUCTION, AND MOST OF THE REST PAYING FOR MAINTENANCE. IN TERMS OF EFFECTIVE ENERGY REVENUE, THE RETURN ON INPUT COST WAS CLOSE TO 1:1. THE INDIVIDUAL PROJECT MAY HAVE BEEN JUST PROFITABLE, BUT THE PROJECT IS INSUFFICIENTLY PRODUCTIVE AS WILL BE SEEN BELOW.

    Other windfarms have performed even worse. Lely, an smaller farm sited off the Netherlands coast, was decommissioned last year.[6] It consisted of four turbines of 0.5 MW capacity, and cost £4.4 million in 1992. One nacelle and blades failed in 2014 because of metal fatigue.[7] It produced 3500 MWh per year, implying a load factor of 20%. At the same €50/MWh as above, it would have earned €4.2 million, less than the initial project cost, let alone the additional cost of any maintenance, by any way of reckoning.[8]

    The reader should note that the analysis above assumes that the scrap value of the wind turbines will pay for the decommissioning process, and so does not degrade the ratio any further: presumably the bases will remain in the sea. This assumption has been made explicit for the Cowley Ridge wind farm in Alberta, Canada, for which the actual electricity energy delivered into the Canadian grid is not in the public domain, so this similar exercise cannot be repeated.[9]

    For a typical fossil-fuel plant, effective energy revenue return on input cost is of the order of 50:1 if one considers the plant alone and about 15:1 when one includes the cost of the fuel. For a nuclear plant the ratio is more like 70:1, and the fuel is a negligible part of the overall cost. The energy generation and distribution sector makes up approximately 9% of the whole world economy, suggesting that the global energy sector has an energy return ratio of 11:1.[10] It is this high average ratio, buoyed by much higher ratios in certain areas (e.g.15:1 in Europe), that allows our present world economy to function.


    Interestingly, DONG Energy, which built Vindeby, is proposing the much newer and bigger Hornsea Project One in the North Sea. This wind farm will have 174 turbines, each with a hub height of 113 m, 75 m blades and a nameplate capacity of 7 MW. It is due to be commissioned in 2020.[11] The project capacity is 1218 MW, and it has a current cost estimate of €3.36 billion. No clear statement of expected lifetime has been provided, but DONG has stated that 862,655 homes will be powered annually. Assuming the average per-household electricity use in the UK[12] to be 4000 kWh, this implies a constant generation of 394 MW over the year, which is 32% of capacity, which is probably realistic.

    The agreed wholesale price of the Hornsea energy over the next twenty-five years is £140/MWh. Even assuming a very generous load factor of 50%, Hornsea’s lifetime revenue would be about £20 billion, suggesting a ratio of revenue to cost of 6:1 (reduced further by any maintenance costs), still barely half the average value that prevails in the global economy, which is more than 85% fossil-fuel based.

    The secret of the fossil fuel success in the world economy is the high calorific value of the fuel. A ton of coal costing £42.50 produces of the order of 2000 kWh of electricity in a new coal-fired power plants (up 30% from older plants). This sells for £400 wholesale, with an energy return on energy invested (EROEI) of 10:1. A therm of natural gas costs £0.40, and produces 30 kWh of electricity, which sells for £6, representing an EROEI of 15:1. Fuel-less technologies do not have this advantage.

    The disappointing results from Vindeby, and the likely results from Hornsea and similar projects must be seen in the context of the increasing wealth of a growing world population. If all the world’s 10.3 billion people alive in 2055 were to lead a European (as opposed to American) style of life, we would need 2.5 times the primary energy as used today. If, say, half of the energy is suddenly produced with an energy return on investment of 5.5:1 (i.e. half the present world average), then for the same investment we would get only 75% of the energy and we would need to cut energy consumption: the first 10% reduction could come by curtailing higher education, international air travel, the internet, advanced medicine and high culture. We could invest proportionately more of our economy in energy production than we do now, but that will still mean a step backward against the trend of the last 200 years of reducing the proportion of the total economy taken by the energy sector.[13] To avoid this undesirable scenario we would need new forms of energy to match the fossil/nuclear fuel performance.


    • The above analysis by M J Kelly of Cambridge University gives the Vindeby offshore wind farm every economic benefit and STILL it is highly uneconomic.

      For example, Kelly prices the electricity generated by Vindeby at the average power price for the grid, but wind power is unreliable and non-dispatchable and therefore should be valued much lower than the reliable, dispatchable power typically available from conventional electric power sources.

      Furthermore, it is clear that the new Hywind project, even if it is allegedly somewhat less costly-per-unit than previous offshore wind farms like Vindeby, cannot possibly overcome the huge economic disadvantages that were demonstrated by the Vindeby project.

      The Hywind project appears to be simply another vain attempt to p!ss more good Scottish money into the wind – decidedly UN-Scottish conduct for the usually sensible and parsimonious Scots.

      Yours aye, Allan MacRae of the Clan MacRae

      Post Script:

      The MacRae castle is located in the cold and windy west coast and can be cold and drafty, We would appreciate MUCH LOWER ENERGY COSTS to keep us and our neighbours warms. 🙂

      Here is a picture of the old place:

    • Aye, but it is highly profitable for the Danes, Germans and Nordics, who make all the hardware. Did you not see them all smiling in the video above? They were smiling at all that Scottish tax money being transferred to them. Just call it Danegeld, and be glad they don’t invade……


      • Ralph – re Viking invasions and the Danegeld – it’s been tried, but auld Scots were a tad too stubborn, and far too cheap to put up with such nonsense.

        We threw the Norsemen out of Scotland for all time in 1263 at the Battle of Largs. Seems like just yesterday – how time flies!.

        The Vikings settled in:
        • Islands off the coast of Scotland – Shetland, Orkney and The Hebrides.
        • Around the north and north west coast of Scotland.
        • Parts of Ireland – Dublin is a Viking city.
        • The Isle of Man.
        • Small parts of Wales.
        • Northumbria (which included modern Yorkshire)
        • East Anglia.

        The Clan MacRae and our allies partied with the Vikings, led by King Haakon IV of Norway, on the beach at the Battle of Largs in 1263 – apparently we were poor hosts because they never called back again. 🙂

      • The Vikings also settled in Edinburgh. The Sinclairs of Roslyn were also Vikings. And legend says they discovered North America long before Columbus, the evidence being the maize plants carved in Roslyn chapel. The Vikings got everywhere, including Moscow, Scicily and Constantinople.,_Earl_of_Orkney

        (Actually, Columbus never discovered North America. It was dicovered by Amerigo Vespucci.)


  32. Floating offshore pinwheels — hilarious. Wonder what the payback period (w/o subsidies) is — 50 yrs? It’ll sink long before that.

  33. What got me riled up was this: “The concept of a floating turbine was conceived in 2001, a single prototype being made in 2009, and funding for the project was provided in 2015.”

    When one considers the dambusters project – from concept being accepted to bomb-drop was six weeks. Mind you, if an enemy wanted to deprive us of (cough) generating capability all they would need to do is fire missiles at some damn great fans in the sea. (Which would take a lot more to protect than a land-based generator)

  34. Wee Cranky promised that renewable projects would power the economy of Scotland, bringing employment, wealth and balance of trade. And here is just that kind of project – a new technology that puts Scotland in the forefront of renewable energy.

    Except that it is all made in Norway, Denmark, Germany and Spain…… Oooops.


  35. CORRECTION AND APOLOGY – in my earlier description of the power cable section being run from North Sea wind farms I realize I gave a misleading description. The aluminum cores in the cables I saw are of course round and about 2 inches in diameter. There are three in the cable, each held in a pie shaped section of the cable; it was each triangular section that I had pictured in my mind when I inaccurately described the appearance of the cable. Sorry.

    [I think the apology portion of this is unnecessary, but the sentiment is appreciated. -mod]

  36. 9$/W. (2B NOK as per statoil own confession , for a mere 30MW)
    A normal powerplant (fossil or nuclear) is in the 1500 MW range, and will provide 2x to 4x more kWh for the same power. Meaning you’ll need 100~200 as much such windfarm just to make the equivalent raw energy (but NOT when you need…), for ~27~55 Billion dollar !
    To put thing into perspective Olkiluoto 3 project is considered an utter cost faillure because of its cost ~10 B$. Also, a CC gas plant cost 0.6$/W
    but of course you have to add fuel cost, doubling the cost.
    Which makes hywind “only” 6x more expensive than gas or a completely failed nuclear project.
    And Hywind is supposed to be a huge success and step forward.
    Says it all about wind energy.

    see also ALLAN MACRAE October 22, 2017 at 8:59 am which deserves to be elevated into full article

  37. I am looking forward to the next big storm from the North Atlantic to rid us of these noxious floating hazards unless it is beaten to it by some trawler cutting the cables.

  38. I’m not an economist, but am somewhat baffled by the economics of this project. If each turbine has a nameplate of 6 mega Watts and there are 5 of them that’s 30 MW at full capacity. At the retail power cost I pay here in fly-over USA of $0.11/kWh that’s a revenue of only $3300/hour which means these things would have to run at 100% capacity for nearly 9 years to even recoup the $253 million construction cost. At a more realistic (but still generous) 33% capacity they would not even recover the construction cost in the 25 year lifetime of the project, to say nothing of the maintenance, interest and any hoped for profit. Just how much are the Scotts willing to pay for power?

    • I’m also not an engineer, but can’t help but wonder that since these things are floating, won’t they be affected by wave action? It seems to me that any rocking moment from wave action would put an enormous gyroscopic force on the main bearings holding the rotors when they are turning. I would expect to see several catastrophic failures as the years go by. Plus reduced capacity. No wind, no power. Too much wind, no power. And, high seas, no power.

  39. If a whole wind farm of these went down at the same time, we would have a remake of the campy film “The Giant Behemoth”

  40. I’d love to know how much pitch & roll one of these monsters could tolerate. The Statoil guff goes on about ‘testing’, but I’d love to see some numbers. I used to work on a fairly big semi-submersible drilling rig, and even when ballasted down, with all 8 anchors out and the dynamic stabilisers working, it would still pitch quite a bit in a decent North Atlantic gale. The North Sea is in some ways worse, and is notorious for short-wavelength ‘steep’ seas in bad weather. I’d not want to put my money into this project for fear of the flushing noises I’d hear as soon as I’d handed it over.

  41. A floating structure in the north sea is going to move. A moving structure with a massive spinning turbine on it is going to generate all sorts of interesting forces on the blades due to flywheel effects. The engineers must have had a lot of fun designing it. But I wonder how long it will last.

      • George Best (footballer of genius but prone to temptation) said this.

        “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”

  42. I recall years ago in the 70’s when north sea oil rigs were built and shipped to extract oil. They were of a 3 legged design, used to get models on them in cereal boxes. I wonder if we’ll see models on these things in cereal boxes?

  43. In this, my final comment on WUWT, I reply to the very interesting comment above by one Janice Moore, an attorney. To paraphrase her comment above, Ms. Attorney Moore believes the recent articles on renewable energy have sullied the content of this blog, so in response she will no longer “hang out here.”

    As an attorney, surely Ms. Moore is more than aware of the Free Speech Clause of the US Constitution’s First Amendment. And surely, Ms. Moore understands that, excepting approximately one dozen categories of speech, the government cannot pass laws to prevent speech. Also just as surely, Ms. Moore must know that the reasons behind including the Free Speech Clause in the Constitution was the concept of the Marketplace of Ideas, in which a great many ideas would be discussed in a manner that did not run afoul of the few prohibited forms of speech. Those discussions in the Marketplace of Ideas would include an assessment of the merits of the speech’s content; good ideas would be approved and accepted, while bad ideas would be hooted down and rejected.

    It seems clear that Ms. Moore would like to shut down any positive discussions of renewable energy, but on what grounds, is not entirely clear. She appears to be on the hooting down and rejecting side, and not the approval and acceptance side.

    Perhaps Ms. Moore is afraid? Perhaps she is afraid that news of the fantastic, positive progress of renewable energy system performance and economics might become more widely known? Perhaps the fact that onshore, US-based wind energy systems have declined in installed cost by a factor of more than 3-to-1 in less than a decade is unnerving to Ms. Moore? Perhaps the prospect of yet more declines in installed cost are imminent, indeed inevitable, while improved output is also inevitable, both are too horrible for Ms. Moore to see in print?

    Ah, but Ms. Moore should be aware that the printing has already occurred, in the form of the Wind Technology Market Reports of both 2015 and again in 2016, both published by the US Department of Energy. Those Reports state that new, modern onshore US wind projects are selling wind energy profitably at only 4.3 cents per kWh produced, inclusive of all subsidies.

    As this present article relates to offshore wind energy in Europe, perhaps Ms. Moore is afraid that the reality of declining installed costs, improved annual output, and declining operating costs in European waters would also make it into print? Again, Ms. Moore should be aware that the US Department of Energy has already published the “2016 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report.” That report states, in part, that for European offshore wind “. . . winning bid prices have declined from approximately $200 / MWh for projects with a commercial operation date between 2017 and 2019 down to about $65 /MWh for projects with a 2024/2025 commercial operation date.” That’s only 6.5 cents per kWh in the 2024/2025 time frame.

    Perhaps Ms. Moore is very afraid that the continued barrage of negative articles on renewables on this blog, featuring Australia and others, are not enough to counter the news of the incredible success of California, where renewables routinely provide 50 to 60 percent of instantaneous power to the grid, and more than 25 percent on an annualized basis, yet there are zero grid failures attributable to renewables? Perhaps Ms. Moore, a noted and very vocal nuclear advocate (I call her a cheerleader) is distressed by the fact that renewables in California succeed so well in a state with almost zero nuclear power? Could it be that Ms. Moore, so very vocal for nuclear power, is worried that others might realize that the power prices in California have not gone up due to renewable power plants, but instead have gone down as nuclear diminishes, natural gas power output increases, and renewables’ output also increase?

    Perhaps Ms. Moore is terrified that others may observe the California experience, and perhaps she realized that a collection of fast-acting, flexible, load-following natural gas power plants are routinely ramping up at 4 and even 5 giga-Watts per hour to meet the load as the sunshine inevitably fades away while the demand increases – as indeed both did today on 23 October, 2017.

    It is not for me to say what Ms. Moore is, or is not afraid of. Perhaps all the hundreds of comments, mostly negative, on the article I guest-authored on the Hywind project on WUWT on 5 April 2017, and referenced above by David Middleton, were not enough to satisfy Ms. Moore in her desire to quash articles on renewable energy.

    The fact is, many billions of dollars, Euros, and other currencies are flowing into offshore and onshore wind projects world-wide because they make economic sense. These projects also show a continued improvement in performance and economics, which will be much appreciated in the very near future when nuclear plants are closing by the dozens each year, coal-fired plants are either closing or scrambling to find fuel to burn at a price they can afford, and LNG fuel is available but very costly.

    Ms. Moore does share one thing with me, though, and that is the desire and decision to leave the WUWT page – although for very different reasons, I am sure. After the insults and worse I received in the comments on my final article as guest-author at WUWT, on 12 August 2017, there is no reason for me to contribute either articles nor additional comments. I saw this article and happened to see the Janice Moore comment, reproduced below, and chose to offer this last comment on WUWT. Whether it gets published or not, is another story.

    The facts do not care, nor need, any commentary nor articles published here for those facts to be true, the trends they convey to be accurate, and men of vision and means to act upon them. The renewables are here to stay, because they perform exactly as they are supposed to perform: produce electricity that is ever-cheaper and more reliable, while the grid-scale storage systems also grow cheaper, larger, and more economic with each passing year. Meanwhile, gas-fired, flexible power plants easily follow the load as the output from wind and solar power plants oscillates. Grid-scale batteries will allow the gas-fired plants to operate more steadily, thus paying for their (the batteries) costs. In addition, it is a solid fact that new nuclear power plants in the West cannot be built on schedule and on budget, but take many more years than planned. The final costs are staggering at approximately $10 billion US for the Finland reactor, and about the same for the French reactor at Flamanville. If nuclear is the future, no one could afford electricity at those prices.

    And finally, as I stated in the 5 April 2017 article on Hywind, the more renewable power that is produced, the less demand there is for natural gas, thus driving down the price for natural gas. That, lower natural gas price, has enormous benefits throughout every economy that makes more renewables a desirable goal.

    Ms Moore wrote:
    “So. Now, after promoting (ANY publicity is publicity) the enviroprofiteers with mildly critical (or essentially neutral) articles about “renewables” almost non-stop for months (the exceptions have been relatively few), WUWT has sunk to the low it was headed for: simple promotion of “renewables” (always stated on WUWT now without ” ” and with no qualifiers, as if they truly are “renewable,” when they still cannot cover their cost of production with their un-subsidized sales revenue).

    “Such reporting is not “fair and balanced,” it is simply inaccurate — due to omitting significant key facts about “renewables” (See, e.g., (Note: Offshore Wind has the worst ROI (and EROEI)).

    WUWT has deteriorated from this:

    to what you see in the above article.

    “And I do not fault Eric Worrall — it is clearly the editorial policy of WUWT which is driving this subtle (and, now, not subtle at all) promotion of renewables. It was one thing for that wily-but-dull writer, L. Kummer to promote AGW (promoting “renewables” is to promote AGW and its $$ sc@ms), quite another to simply promote them.

    “Thus, WUWT is no longer the powerful voice for truth and data it once was.


    “And if anyone wonders in the days to come, just because I’ve been around this place for a few years, “Where is Janice?” Here’s the answer: the anti-data (about human CO2 as well as “renewables”), lukewarm, soft-sell of AGW, around here is sickening to me and I can’t stand to hang out here. Yes, I will miss many of you people, but, your presence here doesn’t make the swampy atmosphere here any more easy to take.

    “And, yes, I realize our host could not care less about what I write here. Our host’s new policy of largely ignoring his supporters after they fund trips to AGU and other places and his doing nothing to address my expressed concerns (in a comment a few weeks ago which I know he read) assures me of that.

    “I gotta say this, before I take a break from WUWT (I don’t know for how long):

    1. I admire all of you regular commenters who are still hanging in here — you have more resilience for enduring what I described above than I do; you are fine, great-hearted, people.

    2. Our host is to be highly commended for allowing this comment to be published.

    Bye (for now, at least)!”

    • This post deals with the wind power situation in UK.

      ‘The official data, expertly analysed by Paul Homewood on his blog, Notalotofpeopleknowthat, show that last year we were all paying for offshore electricity through our household bills at nearly three times the going market rate, including subsidies of £1.4 billion. And this is still soaring so fast that, by 2021, we will be paying £3.1 billion a year for offshore wind energy, equating to £115 for every household in the land.’

      A more recent post has this from US.

      ‘A green energy company heavily incentivized by Mississippi is shutting down, raising questions about whether the state will get repaid. It’s the fourth green subsidy company to go bust recently.

      Solar panel maker Stion notified the state Tuesday that it would close its Hattiesburg plant Dec. 13, laying off 137 employees.’

    • “Could it be that Ms. Moore, so very vocal for nuclear power, is worried that others might realize that the power prices in California have not gone up due to renewable power plants, but instead have gone down as nuclear diminishes, natural gas power output increases, and renewables’ output also increase”

      Could it be that Mr. Sowell believes the press releases from the California government? I have lived in California for most of my life, and I can assure you that the prices for electricity use have steadily climbed in the last few years. I can also assure you that we now experience more rolling brownouts than ever before.

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