Offshore Wind Getting Crushed by Carbon Capture

Guest table-turning by David Middleton

I actually wrote the title to this thread before I looked up the facts…

Offshore Wind Power Is Crushing Carbon Capture Dreams
Tina Casey
OCT 17, 2019

Fossil fuel stakeholders are leaning on carbon capture to keep coal and other fossil fuels relevant, but the technology has yet to prove itself commercially. Meanwhile, renewables are…

[blah, blah, blah]

Over four years later, the U.S. still has only one utility-scale carbon capture project in operation, located at the Petra Nova coal power plant in Texas.

[blah, blah, blah]

For some perspective on the opportunities for offshore wind growth in the U.S., consider that the nation’s first offshore wind farm, Block Island, began operations in 2016 in the waters of Rhode Island, with only five turbines and a combined capacity of 30 megawatts.

[blah, blah, blah]

Tina writes frequently for TriplePundit and other websites, with a focus on military, government and corporate sustainability, clean tech research and emerging energy technologies. She is a former Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and author of books and articles on recycling and other conservation themes. She is currently Deputy Director of Public Information for the County of Union, New Jersey. Views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect agency policy.

Triple Pundit

Ms. Casey has a BA in philosophy, is a career bureaucrat. and has held several part time jobs with enviro-nitwit websites. Hence, she’s an energy expert.

Whatever offshore wind power may or may not do in the future, is irrelevant to the fact that it’s currently only “crushing” the budgets of energy consumers.

Offshore Wind vs. Carbon Capture: Who’s Crushing Whom?

The US currently has one of each up and running. The energy math is decidedly one-sided.

Block Island Wind Farm

The Block Island Wind Farm generates much less energy than an average single Marcellus gas well.

In it’s first year of operation the Block Island Wind Farm managed a 39% capacity factor.

 MWh100% OutputCapacity Factor
Dec-16               6,313                21,79929%
Jan-17               8,898                21,79941%
Feb-17               7,801                19,69040%
Mar-17            10,514                21,79948%
Apr-17               6,904                21,09633%
May-17               9,162                21,79942%
Jun-17               9,932                21,09647%
Jul-17               6,724                21,79931%
Aug-17               5,712                21,79926%
Sep-17               5,698                21,09627%
Oct-17            10,195                21,79947%
Nov-17            10,985                21,09652%
1-yr Total            98,838              256,66839%

That’s an average daily rate of 271 MWh/d… That’s 924 million British Thermal Units per day (mmBtu/d).

In light of the journalistic malpractice of assuming that wind and fossil fuels are both interchangeable and mutually incompatible:

  1. A typical Marcellus natural gas well produces 5,000 mmBtu/d.
  2. A typical deepwater oil well in the Gulf of Mexico produces 5,000 bbl/d, nearly 30,000 mmBtu/d.
  3. The Block Island Wind Farm produces 924 mmBtu/d.

Whats that?  It’s unfair to directly compare wellhead natural gas production to electricity output from a power plant… OK…

Natural GasBtu/kWh                    7,870
Well ProductionBtu/d   5,000,000,000
Electricity OuputkWh/d               635,324
Electricity Ouput MWh/d                       635
Electricity Output Block Islands worth                         2.3

A single typical Marcellus gas well yields 2.3 Block Islands worth of electricity-equivalent energy per day.

Petra Nova

Billion Dollar Petra Nova Coal Carbon Capture Project a Financial Success But Unclear If It Can Be Replicated

NRG Energy and JX Nippon’s joint venture Petra Nova project, the world’s largest operating post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system, is set to receive another big boost from ongoing bipartisan enthusiasm for “clean coal.” The U.S. budget bill passed by Congress in early February included the FUTURE Act (S.1535) that extends tax credits for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects and raises the credit from $10 to $35 per ton used for enhanced oil recovery. This certainly raises the prospects for further investment in an expensive and nascent technology.

The Petra Nova system has been operating since January 2017 on the retrofitted coal-fired Unit #8 at W.A. Parish Generating Station southwest of Houston, Texas. The 610 MW unit produces about 25% of the plant’s total output and CO2 emissions. A portion of the emissions, equivalent to that of a 240 MW unit, are routed to the carbon capture system that cools the gas, binds the CO2 with a solvent, vents the remaining nitrogen gas, and then reheats the mixture to break the CO2 bonds. The CO2 is cooled and compressed to a supercritical liquid that then enters an 81-mile pipeline to the West Ranch Oil Field where it is pumped 5,000 feet underground into the Frio Formation and combines with the oil, lowering its density. Extracted oil is processed through a CO2 separator that returns the gas back to the formation. An industry rule of thumb estimates an extra two barrels of oil is extracted for every ton of CO2 injected, which has so far increased production from 300 barrels to more than 4,000 barrels per day and may reach as high as 15,000.


ScottMadden, Inc.

If carbon emissions truly were an existential threat, almost as severe as the economic threat of the Green New Deal Cultural Revolution, then we need to find a way to economically capture and sequester the maximum volume of carbon dioxide. And there is only one way to do this. Capture carbon emissions from coal and natural gas fired power plants and use it for enhanced recovery projects in old oil fields.

OCTOBER 31, 2017
Petra Nova is one of two carbon capture and sequestration power plants in the world

The Petra Nova facility, a coal-fired power plant located near Houston, Texas, is one of only two operating power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the world, and it is the only such facility in the United States. The 110 megawatt (MW) Boundary Dam plant in Saskatchewan, Canada, near the border with North Dakota, is the other electric utility facility using a CCS system.


Petra Nova’s post-combustion CO2 capture system began operations in January 2017. The 240-megawatt (MW) carbon capture system that was added to Unit 8 (654 MW capacity) of the existing W.A. Parish pulverized coal-fired generating plant receives about 37% of Unit 8’s emissions, which are diverted through a flue gas slipstream. Petra Nova’s carbon-capture system is designed to capture about 90% of the carbon dioxide ( CO2) emitted from the flue gas slipstream, or about 33% of the total emissions from Unit 8. The post-combustion process is energy intensive and requires a dedicated natural gas unit to accommodate the energy requirements of the carbon-capture process.

The carbon dioxide captured by Petra Nova’s system is then used in enhanced oil recovery at nearby oil fields. Enhanced oil recovery involves injecting water, chemicals, or gases (such as carbon dioxide) into oil reservoirs to increase the ability of oil to flow to a well.

By comparison, Kemper had been designed to capture about 65% of the plant’s CO2 using a pre-combustion system. The capital costs associated with the Kemper project were initially estimated at $2.4 billion, or about $4,100 per kilowatt (kW), but cost overruns led to construction costs in excess of $7.5 billion (nearly $13,000/kW). Petra Nova CCS retrofit costs were reported to be $1 billion, or $4,200/kW, and the project was completed on budget and on time.

Principal contributor: Kenneth Dubin


When the capital costs of the Kemper facility became untenable, it was replaced with natural gas-fired units. Had it been an offshore wind farm, it would have just been more heavily subsidized.

PetraNova “has so far increased production from 300 barrels to more than 4,000 barrels per day” in the West Ranch Oil Field “and may reach as high as 15,000” bbl/d. There’s at least one other similar project in the pipeline.

About a year after Petra Nova went into service, I downloaded some of the Texas Railroad Commission production data for one of the producing units in the West Ranch Oil Field.

Figure 1a. The initiation of CO2 injection very quickly boosted oil production in the WEST RANCH (41-A & 98-A CONS.) unit from about 100 BOPD to 3-4,000 BOPD. The August-September period was adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Figure 1b. Output is relatively unchanged.  The greatest demand occurs during May through September when temperatures are highest.  May-Sept 2016: Avg. Temp 82 °F, total output  7,802,898 MWh.  May-Sept 2017 Avg. Temp 80 °F, total output  7,655,403 MWh.   Nameplate capacity is about 4,000 MW and carbon capture only affects 240 MW; so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 85 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from old oil fields through CO2 EOR. While, for most fields, CO2 EOR is uneconomic with oil prices below $85/bbl, if a drastic reduction of CO2 was really a matter of urgency, a little bit of taxpayer money spent on subsidizing carbon capture storage and utilization (CCSU) would have a much greater impact on carbon emissions than all of the taxpayers’ money p!$$ed away on wind and solar boondoggles.

Regarding the future of crushing…

IEEFA August 23, 2019

Eastern U.S. states have plans for 19.3GW of offshore wind capacity

States along the U.S. East Coast are seeking to procure more than 19,300 MW of offshore wind capacity through 2035, according to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts.

Legislation, regulation and, now, approved power purchase agreements are encouraging the development of the new capacity, though only 30 MW of offshore wind resources are operating in the U.S. Grid operators may have to modify their procedures to accommodate the additional resources.



Assuming that the Petra Nova/West Ranch project reaches its planned goal of 16,000 bbl/d of enhanced crude oil production and assuming all 19.3 GW of offshore wind capacity are actually built and deliver a 40% capacity factor…

  • 16,000 bbl/d = 92,800 mmBtu/d
  • 19.3 GW @40% = 632,202 mmBtu/d

If all of the legislatively planned projects were built delivered a 40% capacity factor, all of the offshore wind power in the US would yield 7 times the energy as the only currently operating CCSU project in the US. Kind of difficult to view that as “crushing” anything. Particularly since about 350,000 bbl/d of current US oil production is from CO2 EOR. Most of the CO2 is from natural reservoirs. If that was converted to coal fired CCS power plant sources, the math would be a bit different.

  • 350,000 bbl/d = 2,030,000 mmBtu/d
  • 19.3 GW @40% = 632,202 mmBtu/d

“If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all get unicorn ponies for Christmas.” Ifs and buts can cut either way.

However, this is the current reality:

  • 16,000 bbl/d = 92,800 mmBtu/d
  • 30 MW @39% = 924 mmBtu/d

Can you say “crushing”?

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Mark Broderick
October 22, 2019 6:14 am

David Middleton

“About a year Petra Nova it went into service,” ??? huh ?

Ian Garradd
Reply to  Mark Broderick
October 22, 2019 4:30 pm

Carbon capture is simply not economically viable.

It matters not what is the capacity factor, as long as a generator saves money. That’s what wind farms are good at.
Gas, being a fossil fuel also needs to go, but is enjoying demand in some countries, but it remains expensive form of heat compared to heat pumps for hot water & space heating applications.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 9:59 pm

Yes even if wind and solar were cheaper, comparing them to anything that can run 24/7/ 300 plus days a year make both wind and solar uneconomical since then need to be a back system in place so when the wind does blow and the sun does not shine, one has power. Figure in the cost of install backup of wind and solar and you have a power provider that cannot pay for it self to begin with, let alone its backup. Lastly add in it looks like if you contribute the last fifty years of warming 100% to CO2 you get a sensitivity of CO2 doubling of less that 2 C per doubling making the so called climate emergency a moot point, a non existent problem. So why do we bother with wind a fifteenth century technology that was discarded early in the twenty century, ass in a solar cell that can hardly return the energy it took to make them. Well as Ron White puts id “you can’t fix stupid!”

Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 12:42 am

Do you have figures that include battery/storage/peaking backup for the solar and wind? I wonder if it would double the cost.

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 12:59 pm

I find many of these discussions like an argument over which leg bone is the most important for walking to the store. You need them all, see?

It also doesn’t matter which one costs the least _on average_. When you’re freezing in the dark you will pay almost anything not to be. Unless the cheap storage batteries I’ve been hearing about since the September, 1975 issue of Popular Science are *finally* ready, daytime solar + occasional wind + 1.5 degrees of warming won’t keep Albertans warm in January.

We bought solar PV for our house because we don’t want to be relying *solely* on natural gas for heat and power, especially once the planned LNG terminals let the big guys move it out fast and cheap for China and the local utilities run the home heating price jackscrew up to $13 / GJ for us locals. Again.

Iain Reid
Reply to  Ian Garradd
October 22, 2019 11:33 pm


wind generation is not good at supplying grids. Apart from intermitency it has various technical drawbacks, it is asynchronous so cannot support frequency under fault conditions. Often referred to as inertia, which large steam turbo alternators have and wind turbines do not. Similarly, short circuit levels drop as wind’s proportion of the load increases making the system protection devices less effective. Wind’s output is extremely variable as the output is a cube law to wind speed. This makes the work of the balancing generating stations much harder and increases their CO2 emissions. (Imagine driving your car at steady speed versus on and off the throttle.)

Heat pumps are not a great source of domestic heating and hot water as the output drops as ambient outside temperature drops, the exact opposite of what is needed. This is, generally, as few properties, in the U.K. at least, have sufficient land for ground source heat pumps so the less efficient air source is the usual choice. That efficiency gain is lost as the fuel cost is about three times the cost of using the more effective domestic gas boiler system.

Carbon Bigfoot
October 22, 2019 6:22 am

David love your articles. Not withstanding the increased oil recovery a 81 mile pipeline and the equipment for the entire process is rather costly. Could you provide install cost, ROI and operating statistics that would support your economics.
PS When is my XOM stock going to rebound to $79/share price?
PSS Can you stifle your marketing types to eliminate the virtual signaling of pond scum and CO2 commercials.

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 3:21 am

How do the economics and efficiency of the Dakota Gasification Company’s lignite operation (pure oxygen coal gasification with full CO2 capture) compare to that of the Boundary Dam and other addon projects? (partial amine CO2 capture post combustion.)

It seems simpler and more reliable to distill the oxygen first, rather than attempting to adsorb the CO2 last.

And there’s the added value of the other air components, etc but maybe the gases market is too small in Alberta? (And certainly the methane market isn’t very

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 6:45 pm

Dakota’s been supplying CNRL for ages, reliably. Boundary Dam breached their contract due to technical issues and breakdowns, but last I heard CNRL is still taking some CO2 and the plant is still working.

It would seem the pure oxygen combustion tech is better, but maybe the amine or other adsorb systems will become more practical with development.

More EOR would really perk up the non-oilsands production in Alberta.

Loren Wilson
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
October 22, 2019 10:21 am

The attractive part of the Petra Nova operation is that the pipeline was already there but not currently used.

October 22, 2019 6:26 am

It does not make a huge difference(~15%) but your Block Island numbers are slightly cherry picked.

Dec 2016 was a partial month. 2017 CF 40.64%, 2018 CF 45.8%. IF I did my math right!

This does NOT make a huge difference but is an easy nit pick to degrade your efforts.



My spreadsheet not really worth much:

October 22, 2019 6:59 am

Why are we looking at offshore wind? That is the most expensive source according to the eia.

Offshore wind: 106.5 $/MWh
Onshore wind: 36.6 $/MWh

Table 1a. Estimated levelized cost of electricity (capacity-weighted average1) for new generation resources entering service in 2023 (2018 $/MWh)
page 7

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  rovingbroker
October 22, 2019 7:52 am

Because in the heavily populated Eastern US nobody wants a giant turbine in their backyard.
Off shore installations on the US east coast are being proposed then for 3 reasons,
1) that’s where the wind is steady and more reliable.
2) the continental shelf edge is 30-50 miles out from the shoreline so that turbines can be placed far enough out not to mar “chamber of commerce” views.
3) the marine bird fratrocide may be reduced, or at least out of sight.

That distance though greatly extends the underwater power transmission cable lengths, increases exposure to storm strength, and increases logistics costs to send crews on boats to the wind farm field.

Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 8:57 am

Superior in every way except cost/price. Which in the real world makes it inferior.

Ira Geres-Codd
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 10:38 am

So you think that using carbon capture is better for reducing carbon than not burning carbon?

Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 5:15 pm

David M – Thanks for yet another interesting article. The argument in favour of using CO2 to produce more cheap energy, instead of it being just a cost, is compelling. Now I know that predicting anything is dodgy, but I suspect that if this process gets underway and if it works then the greens will oppose it, even though it does everything they said they wanted. My reason is that the greens said they wanted it because they thought it could never work (or rather, never be economic). As soon as it is shown to work (and/or be economic) they will find a way to oppose it. IOW the greens were never about global warming or CO2 reduction; those were just a means to an end – bringing down the western democracies.

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
Reply to  Ira Geres-Codd
October 22, 2019 2:23 pm

I had often wondered why development of CO2 capture capability was so difficult, and just assumed that it reduced the net electric power production to the point where it was no longer economically competitive with, say, nuclear. After all, amine towers have been used for decades to clean up sour gas, and are really good at it. Pipeline transmission of gas wouldn’t be possible otherwise. In my abortive attempt to turn California green waste into methane, back in the 1999-2000 time frame, I learned a lot about the technology, and even did some independent experimental development. Glad to see that it actually works out, and thanks for another wonderfully informative article Mr. Middleton!

Reply to  rovingbroker
October 22, 2019 8:42 am

Most recent UK offshore wind costs: ‘The average winning price was about $51 per MWh’

Reply to  griff
October 22, 2019 1:12 pm

That does not include the cost of curtailment, which is near 200/MWh for power NOT produced. Hornsea, for instance, received 100k pounds, the day AFTER crashing the grid.

The old business model included ROC and other subsidies. The new model uses Curtailment costs. Quite clever, as the more wind in the grid, the more the time they will be curtailed.
Doubly clever, as the curtailment cost is not included in the Bid Evaluation. So jacking it up to 4 times wholesale, does not affect the chances of winning the bids.
Also not well known, is that the UK pays the 4th LOWEST bid, to the 4 lowest bidders. What is bid, is not what is paid.

Reply to  griff
October 22, 2019 1:12 pm

That does not include the cost of curtailment, which is near 200/MWh for power NOT produced. Hornsea, for instance, received 100k pounds, the day AFTER crashing the grid.

The old business model included ROC and other subsidies. The new model uses Curtailment costs. Quite clever, as the more wind in the grid, the more the time they will be curtailed.
Doubly clever, as the curtailment cost is not included in the Bid Evaluation. So jacking it up to 4 times wholesale, does not affect the chances of winning the bids.
Also not well known, is that the UK pays the 4th LOWEST bid, to the 4 lowest bidders. What is bid, is not what is paid.

Gord in Calgary
October 22, 2019 7:03 am

Enhanced oil recovery using CO2 is not carbon capture, It’s enhanced oil recovery. Carbon capture for sequestration is not economic, it’s a cost in money and energy, worse than wind and solar.

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  Gord in Calgary
October 22, 2019 9:11 am

For every molecule of carbon dioxide buried, there is one atom of carbon but two atoms of oxygen … and humans and animals breathe oxygen. How smart is that ?

Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
October 22, 2019 11:28 am

Calcium carbonate, or any of the common carbonates found in limestone, etc. are represented by the chemical formula CaCO₃. That’s three atoms of oxygen buried with carbon.

What’s your point,On the outer Barcoo?

Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
October 22, 2019 12:14 pm

And animal life ‘breathes’ the oxygen to ‘burn’ hydrocarbon compounds (sugars) thereby creating that very same molecule.
That is the purpose of oxygen in the aerobic respiration cycle.

Reply to  Gord in Calgary
October 22, 2019 12:56 pm

Wind energy fails because of intermittency and diffusivity.
Wind energy is uneconomic nonsense.

CO2 capture fails because atmospheric CO2 is not too high, it is too low. Increased atmospheric CO2 causes improved plant and crop yields and may cause minor, beneficial global warming.
In the longer term, all terrestrial life on Earth will cease because of CO2 starvation.
CO2 capture is scientific and economic nonsense.

October 23, 2019 2:46 am

Enhanced Oil Recovery using CO2 injection into oil reservoirs makes sense when the economics work. It’s been done at Weyburn Saskatchewan, Texas and elsewhere for decades.

This is a new large CO2 project:

October 22, 2019 7:05 am

“If carbon emissions truly were an existential threat”….they would be blaming China and the developing world

…and not us

Coach Springer
Reply to  Latitude
October 22, 2019 7:37 am

Most important point.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Latitude
October 22, 2019 7:40 am


Latitude, don’t blame China and the developing world for producing energy intensive products like steel for pipelines and turbine towers that the West requires. Just because we’re too stupid to capture the economic gain and protect the jobs and tax base that the manufacturing provides doesn’t make the developing nations “bad guys”.


Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
October 22, 2019 7:58 am

I’m not blaming China, etc at all…

…I’m blaming the people pushing this $c@m that “we” are causing it…and “we” are responsible…and “we” have to do something about it

Reply to  Latitude
October 22, 2019 12:22 pm

Per capita CO2 emissions by US in 2017 was 15.9 tonnes, in China 8.4. As Dennis notes above, products from some of China’s emissions are exported, for what that’s worth. For what any of it’s worth in relation to climate for that matter.

I wouldn’t expect those with lower emissions per capita to accept a lower standard of living than those with higher emissions while making similar huge capital investments in expensive renewables. Hence the failure of Paris.

Reply to  Litheveder
October 23, 2019 7:07 am

Per Capita is a poor comparison. 1.2 billion people, most of whom are poor peasants with little to no carbon footprint but they get counted in the per capita numbers. This greatly skews the numbers in China’s favor. Just for fun, if 1/3 China’s population is mainly responsible for their carbon foot print, not an unreasonable assumption from some of the reading I’ve done but certainly not a studied number. That population would be larger than the entire US population and inflate their per capita carbon emission to ~24 tonnes. Now how does that sound?

The fact is China spews out more pollution and carbon than any other country in the world and their numbers are growing. That’s why the Paris accord is a failure. A country like China is making a lot of money of the west’s climate guilt that causes them to offshore their emissions for virtue signaling.

David L Hagen
October 22, 2019 7:12 am

Thanks David for your insightful exploratory / comparative reviews.
Re “While, for most fields, CO2 EOR is uneconomic with oil prices below $85/bbl”
I find 2019 Vanessa Núñez-López and Emily Moskal Potential of CO2-EOR for Near-Term Decarbonization
Any other suggestions on references to dive into that particular $85/bbl value for CO2-EOR breakeven?
Thanks David

October 22, 2019 7:20 am

Before the Block Island wind farm turbines were installed, the island generated electricity with diesel, all of which had to be transported from the mainland 14 miles away. IIRC the cost was around 50 cents per Khr. I’ve yet to see a comparison of costs before and after.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Gary
October 22, 2019 8:03 am

Block Island wind farm construction was/is heavily subsidized in tax credits in both construction and production.
When you are using OPM it is easy to make confusing, misleading comparisons if you ignore where the OPM originated.
CCS is also heavily subsidized with OPM of a different flavor, making comparisons even more fraught with opportunity to mislead/manipulate comparisons.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 23, 2019 4:37 am

Good comments Joel.

It is fair to state that grid-connected wind and solar power generation are heavily subsidized uneconomic nonsense, due to fatal flaws of intermittency and diffusivity.

CCS is similar uneconomic nonsense, unless it is used for economic EOR projects – without subsidies.

The reality is that atmospheric CO2 is not too high – in fact, increased atmospheric CO2 is hugely beneficial for humanity and the environment, since it will cause major increases in plant and crop yields, reduced desertification and possibly some minor, beneficial global warming.

Furthermore, atmospheric CO2 is not too high, it is dangerously low for the long-term survival of terrestrial life on Earth, which will probably cease due to CO2 starvation.

Regards, Allan

“(Plant) Food for Thought”
by Allan MacRae, 2009 and 2014
“Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide?”
by Patrick Moore, October 15, 2015

October 22, 2019 7:33 am


October 22, 2019 7:46 am

The Long Island power company brags on the radio about their “innovation” relying on offshore wind. They apparently have no idea how stupid this makes them look. Empty virtue-signaling to the ignoranti.

Tom Abbott
October 22, 2019 7:46 am

From the article: “States along the U.S. East Coast are seeking to procure more than 19,300 MW of offshore wind capacity through 2035, according to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts.”

What a horrible thought-picture this creates! Blighting the world with windmills for no good reason! There is no evidence that humans need to restrict their CO2 production and windmills are not the way to do it even if it was necessary.

The Fishing Industry is not happy about the prospect of these off-shore windmills which will disrupt their fishing businesses.

It is very problematic being governed by Fools and Dupes. Windmills are one of the worst ideas in the world, yet we have fools and dupes who are eager to implement these travesties of nature.

Maybe the fishermen can raise enough hell to get them cancelled.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 22, 2019 9:56 am

Tom Abbott: “Windmills are one of the worst ideas in the world, “

In the 1600s and for a while thereafter, they were pretty high tech for the times and were a great idea. Ask the Dutch :o)

But now? I can only quibble as windmills are still pretty useful for filling remote stock tanks and a few other specific local uses. Oh, and I have a small one in my garden with 6″ blades that scares off the deer and birds. It generates fear. That one turned out to be a great idea ;o)

Randy Wester
Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 23, 2019 9:54 pm

Maybe offshore wind turbines could disropt the warm, moist layer of air that hurricanes feed on. Or start hurricanes…

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 22, 2019 7:52 am

Nice article, but I do not find it pictures the full reality:
You cannot compare kWh prices from wind with kWh prices from coal and NG power plants, because wind is only helping to reduce a varying amount of coal and NG at times.
You would have to subtract some part of the saved coal and gas from the total budget of wind over a time span of about 15 years. It is a very complicated calculation that is far beyond my capabilities and resources, but it is a calculation that needs to be done and presented to the public and to be peer-reviewed. When you know the real world cost, then you can dwell over whether you think it is viable or not.

Jeol O’Bryan
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 22, 2019 9:40 am

Electricity demands in the short term are inelastic. People and businesses are going to run what they need when they need it. As long as regulators allow grid/operators to fully pass thru the costs of these Rube Goldberg (RG)schemes to the customers, the operators don’t care because they still make money.
And for the promoters of the RG schemes (the GreenSlime billionaires), they buy politicians to block competition that would bring lower cost entrants (generation) to the market. Hence guys like Cuomo block natural gas projects that could deliver lower energy costs and higher reliability to customers because it is in his political interest to do so. And because the voters are even more ignorant than the politicians, both of whom have been drinking the liberal koolaide so long they can’t tell Red from green, their pockets are being steadily picked and their economic futures decimated.

Randy Wester
Reply to  Jeol O’Bryan
October 23, 2019 10:05 pm

It’s not that demand is inelastic, it’s that tge signalling mechanism is weak to nonexistant.

If meters could communicate, customers could set limits that they would be willing to pay for power to run an appliance, then prices could not spike because demand would fall off and switch to backup.

Steve Z
October 22, 2019 8:02 am

Enhanced oil recovery using CO2 injection has been around for decades, and does not really reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, since the recovered oil is likely to be refined and burned, producing more CO2.
CO2 has been favored for enhanced oil recovery because it can be fairly easily separated from recovered oil and natural gas (methane), and is not toxic if some escapes to the atmosphere.

Recovery of CO2 from a flue gas stream is not very difficult, because the alkaline amine solvents typically used for removal of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from desulfurization plants also react with CO2. Amine solvents which absorb H2S and CO2 (and allow nitrogen and oxygen to pass into the atmosphere) at high pressures and low temperatures can then be regenerated at high temperature and low pressure to release a concentrated CO2 gas stream, while the regenerated amine solvent is cooled and pumped to the absorber.

Carbon dioxide used for either enhanced oil recovery or sequestration must be compressed. For enhanced oil recovery, the required pressure is slightly higher than the underground pressure of the oil to be recovered, but the cost of compression can be recovered by selling the recovered oil.

Sequestration, or simple burial, of CO2 is much more costly, since there is no revenue to offset the cost of compression. In order to prevent the CO2 from occupying too much volume, CO2 must be compressed above its critical pressure of about 1100 psi (about 75 times atmospheric pressure). The critical temperature of CO2 (above which it cannot be liquefied) is about 82 F, and unless the pressure exceeds the critical pressure, buried CO2 could expand violently if it is heated (by geothermal heat) above the critical temperature, essentially causing man-made earthquakes.

Engineering studies of CO2 sequestration have shown that if it is attempted for a coal-fired power plant, the energy consumed by compression of CO2 is more than 30% of the power produced, meaning that a plant with sequestration will consume 43% more coal for the same net power output as a plant without sequestration–in other words, a tremendous waste of coal for little benefit. For a natural-gas-fired power plant, the energy consumed by CO2 compression is about 18 to 20% of the power generated. This is why most CO2 sequestration projects have been abandoned as too costly.

October 22, 2019 8:13 am

Capturing carbon creates famine!

Bruce Cobb
October 22, 2019 8:13 am

EOR should NOT be subsidized. There is no benefit whatsoever to doing it, other than for the oil and gas companies. If that makes it uneconomic, then tough noogies.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 9:02 am

“Nothing should be subsidized.” That’s being disingenuous. Some things, if there is an actual societal benefit to them probably deserve to be subsidized. I get that they are simply taking advantage of an existing tax benefit, however that makes does make them complicit in the Greenie fraud. Plus, they will fight to keep that benefit, even though it is based on fraud.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 2:35 pm

Wha? Now you are grasping at straws. Hang it up, Dave. You’ve lost this one. Usually, though, I like what you have to say.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 9:47 am

At the RoT of two bbl/tonCO2, then the subsidy is $17.50/bbl of EOR oil.
Hides the cost of the oil and distorts the market against frackers.

October 22, 2019 8:32 am

You might want to clarify that m means thousand in oil field units and mm stands for a million.

October 22, 2019 8:39 am

Carbon capture is not going anywhere for power plants. Seems to still be some interest in cement, chemicals…

But offshore wind: getting cheaper, masses of it being rolled out. Another 7GW bloc up for bidding just this last month in the UK

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
October 22, 2019 2:30 pm

Well of course there’s interest in Cement and Chemicals.
Cement is the universal building substance utilized in everything from Renewable Hydroelectric Dams to Wind Turbine foundations to solar panel foundations.
And Petrochemicals are necessary for everything from plastic parts in the wind turbine Nacelles to wire insulation in Solar PV panels.

Reply to  griff
October 22, 2019 3:12 pm

Getting cheaper. Maybe.
Still dozens of times more expensive though. Especially when you factor in the cost of alternative sources for when the wind isn’t blowing.

Jean Parisot
October 22, 2019 8:55 am

What were the respective levels of public support required for the respective projects?

Jean Parisot
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 10:06 am


John F. Hultquist
October 22, 2019 8:58 am

Tina started with “Fossil fuel stakeholders are leaning on carbon capture …

“leaning on” must be a technical term learned in philosophy class, of which I don’t remember much.

Note the phrase: “Unclear If It Can Be Replicated …”
And David wrote:
” if a drastic reduction of CO2 was really a matter of urgency, a little bit of taxpayer money spent on subsidizing carbon capture storage ”
So it seems the Carbon-based fuel folks know how, and know the costs. Just waiting for seriousness on the part of the climate activists.

Not that I think CO2 is in need of capture but some advice for Tina’s next article:
Produce an estimate of the subsidy needed for off shore wind with storage/backup and transmission lines, enough to power the NY-metro region (21,000,000+ people) 24/7 for a year.
[ ]

Several questions will come up while producing the estimate. Tina should list the top 10, and answer them all.

Willem Post
October 22, 2019 9:09 am

A single typical Marcellus gas well yields 2.3 Block Islands worth of electricity-equivalent energy per day.

However, the wind electricity could not exist on the grid without the other generators, mostly gas fired, performing the peaking, filling in and balancing 24/7/365, in the event wind is insufficient.

Sometimes there is very little wind 5 to 7 days in a row. in New England.

Those lulls can happen any time of the year, and are particularly stressful during colder days in winter.

That crippled wind electricity is sold at 9 c/kWh, wholesale, whereas the gas turbine electricity is NOT VARIABLE, AND NOT INTERMITTENT, AND IS NOT A CRIPPLE, and costs about 5 c/kWh, wholesale.

Maine, Mass, etc., going for wind is an economic disaster in the making.

Maine, Mass, etc., should concentrate on ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF BUILDINGS AND VEHICLES

October 22, 2019 9:14 am


One small point. The Kemper County combined cycle unit was built to use the syngas made from the local coal. It ran for quite some time on natural gas while they were trying to work out the kinks in the gasifier, which was ultimately abandoned. So the IGCC wasn’t “replaced with natural gas-fired units,” it was already there.


Michael Jankowski
October 22, 2019 9:55 am

So successful carbon capture = greater fossil fuel extraction. Ironic.

Denis Rushworth
October 22, 2019 10:17 am

How did Block Island Wind Farm do in July? I believe that is the least windy month of the year for that area. How many days did it produce nothing, and more important, how many consecutive days did it produce nothing. The most important statistic for wind farms isn’t what their capacity is or what their average production is, it’s how long does it produce nothing and what generator(s) was started up to fill in the gap and what is the cost of that generator to build, maintain and occasionally run? Block Island could have a 1,000 MW wind farm at sea or ashore, but when the wind doesn’t blow or blows too hard, both the current 30 MW farm and the hypothetical 1,000 MW farm will produce the same amount of electricity.

Mark Broderick
October 22, 2019 10:25 am

“Group releasing Halloween video series on ‘debunked’ climate scares”

“In the lead-up to Halloween, the right-leaning Heartland Institute is releasing a series of videos in order to challenge what it says are the “biggest phony climate scares meant to spook kids and adults, alike.””

Hugh Price
October 22, 2019 10:55 am

Why try to capture carbon dioxide gas when it would be much easier to capture carbon in the form of the cellulose from agricultural stover? It’s solid, stable and we produce hundreds of millions of tons of it per year in the US alone.

mike the morlock
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 3:59 pm

David Middleton October 22, 2019 at 10:58 am
Just a thought, but once oil is all gone can we pump the CO2 back out into green houses?
Or anything else for that matter


Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 4:53 pm

Don’t leave us hanging! What would the CO2 change into, oil? A non-fossil-fuel oil? 😄

Gary Pearse
October 22, 2019 10:57 am

“leaning on carbon capture to keep coal and other fossil fuels relevant, but the technology has yet to prove itself ” !!!

When has “the technology” ever had to prove itself with green energy power schemes? Before the consumer ever gets his first bill at triple the rate for conventional power, he’s already been gouged through taxes for it. Green economics makes Al Capone’s economics for his “rate payers” seem charitably fair.

October 22, 2019 11:40 am

Our Carbon Capture Utilization System absorbs CO2 out of the atmosphere and returns to us O2. This happens before we remove over 90% of the CO2 out of the combusted coal exhaust. Our CCU process turns that captured CO2 into good paying full time jobs and money. Our CCU process requires no heat energy from the power plant, leaving the power plant to use that steam energy to make and sell electricity. Our process requires minimal electricity. Some people think our CCU process is too simple.
This simple process is what keeps the cost of our CCU process low, and it’s great for the agriculture community.

October 22, 2019 12:56 pm

Wait a minute, Dave. What about declines. I mean it really reinforces your arguments if you consider it. .

in the first year a marcellus gas well does 4.3 BCF which is 1300 GWh. Year 2 – 1.5 BCF (450 GWh). Year 3 through 10 I assume a total of 5.8 BCF (1.7 GWh).

That works out to a total of 3.6 GWh of electricity production in 10 years.

The data above shows about 100GWh for a wind turbine in a year or a thousand in a 10 year period.

THis is simplistic in its own way. but it shows the wind turbine doesn’t generate annual power production great than gas well even many many years into its life, if ever.

Furthermore, the average offshore wind development is $4.4mm per MW of capacity. so this Block Island project would be ~$100mm of capital invested to make its 1000 GWh in 10 years.

The Gas well costs $5mm. as in FIVE.

So the gas well ultimately generates almost 4x the power, with 95% lower capital costs.

Where the wind excels is in operating costs. They are effectively zero.

Chuck in Houston
Reply to  David Middleton
October 25, 2019 11:25 am

Break like the wind!

Reply to  Sobey1683
October 22, 2019 2:44 pm

I think you mean fuel costs. Surely operating costs covers operators’ salary, maintenance & repairs, all of which will be higher for the wind farm.

Ron Manley
October 22, 2019 1:39 pm

When the average single Marcellus gas well peters out, the off shore wind turbine will continue to produce. Tell us, does an average gas well produce gas for 20 years?

Reply to  Ron Manley
October 22, 2019 2:49 pm

Ron M, Does it matter? If we drill 4 wells it still costs less than the one turbine, produces more energy, is more reliable, etc. And not a hazard to navigation, source of ocean pollution, …

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 7:22 pm

“There are thousands of Marcellus wells and the average well will always be producing more energy than Block Island.”

Apples v. Oranges. What is the average cumulative production over the lifetime of a well? How well does this compare with the 20+ life expectancy of the wind turbines. The problem that invalidates your comparison is that Marcellus well production doesn’t last for 20 years.

Reply to  Ron Manley
October 23, 2019 12:49 am

I think the concept you’re missing is that fracking a single well is much cheaper than a wind turbine, and that one can frack many wells for that cost, so that per unit of energy the CC and fracking win hands down.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 22, 2019 7:28 pm
Reply to  Ron Manley
October 22, 2019 8:09 pm

From your link:

This graph shows how the monthly royalty rate and daily natural gas production rate of a hypothetical gas well can decline during the first six years of production.

An “hypothetical” gas well that “can” decline over time?

Ron Manley
Reply to  sycomputing
October 22, 2019 8:43 pm
Ron Manley
Reply to  sycomputing
October 23, 2019 6:07 am

Rates of decline in shale are highest in shale. So, drilling more wells is equivalent to erecting more wind turbines.

October 22, 2019 2:14 pm

“If carbon emissions truly were an existential threat, almost as severe as the economic threat of the Green New Deal Cultural Revolution,” is the key phrase in the article. “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”
In this case, they would ride only to the Poorhouse. If we are really causing CO2
concentration to rise, it is greatly to the benefit of all plants and living creatures that consume them.

October 22, 2019 2:15 pm

3) the marine bird fratrocide may be reduced, or at least out of sight.</blockquote

The only time anyone on the Left cares if another seagull dies is if it's covered in oil.


October 22, 2019 2:17 pm

“……….though only 30 MW of offshore wind resources are operating in the U.S. Grid operators may have to modify their procedures to accommodate the additional resources.”

Yep just chuck 19GW nameplate of wind at the grid and modify a few procedures and their work is done. More rainbows and unicorns wishful thinking.

Ron Manley
October 22, 2019 7:41 pm

You claim that there are 7870 Btu/Kwh.
It’s 3412 Btu/Kwh

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 6:09 am

Your table is not applicable to Block Island. There is no natural gas on Block Island.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 7:52 am

Apples v oranges there Mr. Middleton

Ron Manley
October 22, 2019 7:59 pm

Another reason your comparison of a Marcellus gas well to the Block Island wind farm is invalid is because the Block Island wind farm replaced diesel generated electricity. They did not get their power from natural gas. The conversion has saved the residents/customers on the island a significant amount of money.

Reply to  Ron Manley
October 22, 2019 8:50 pm

Remote location power is one of the few applications for wind/solar make sense. Far away from pipelines or electrical power lines, intermittent eco energy sources can make sense, as long as they remembered to order the battery backup option!

Ron Manley
Reply to  JimG
October 23, 2019 6:45 am

Correct JimG, and there is no need for batteries on Block Island, because they have the diesel generators that the wind farm replaces for backup.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 6:12 am

Incorrect Middleton. Your BTU calculations neglect the energy required to move the natural gas to Block Island. So you either need a pipe, or an LNG terminal. The metric you need to use is $ per Kwh delivered to the customer’s premises, not BTU.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 7:33 am

Your post is using the incorrect metric to compare a gas well output to the wind farm. The economics of location have everything to do with a valid comparison. Here is an example of what is done with natural gas when it is not located near Block Island: comment image Must have something to do with the cost/energy required to deliver it.

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 24, 2019 7:32 am

Perhaps if you had not started the article with a rebuttal of another author’s idiotic comparison of two completely unrelated things…

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 24, 2019 10:01 am

Already tried reading the post. I wish you had not dignified that nonsense with a response, let alone re-posting it to pick it apart.

“There is no thief like a bad book”. Except perhaps anyone using Other Peoples Money to capture CO2 without a market for it.

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 24, 2019 4:02 pm

“Articles like those, published on Real Clear Energy and other websites claiming to be energy-related news sources deserve to be harshly ridiculed.”

The article you referenced was a nutbar mishmash comparison of Apples to Orange Coloured Wallpaper. I wish I had never read it, or could now bleach it out of my mind, but now I’ve read it, twice in your post and once on another site. (it’s gone from ‘Real Clear Energy’, which I’d never heard of.

” Ørsted intends to lead by example. The company is rapidly shedding its coal portfolio and plans to be coal-free by 2023″

(Ok, so the company that’s building the 880 MW wind farm intends to just use the coal plants another four years, because there’s not enough power coming from the windmills, to build windmills, and that’s OK, because they’re windmills? Doesn’t sound like ‘Crushing’.)

Ron Manley
October 22, 2019 8:46 pm

Mr. Middleton, you are using the incorrect measure with regards to the energy produced by the Block Island wind farm. Instead of using Btus I suggest you use the price of a kilowatt-hour of power delivered to the customer that lives on Block Island.
Much better metric than Btus mostly because natural gas is not available on Block Island.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 6:18 am

Again, your calculations don’t include delivery. Subsequently you make another invalid comparison, comparing “average” national grid costs to what customers on Block Island are paying. You should look at the before/after price of electricity on Block Island since the wind farm began operation. $/kwh delivered to the customer is the proper metric to use when comparing the Block Island wind farm to natural gas. If natural gas were less expensive, they would have replaced the diesel with natural gas.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 7:34 am

You are comparing the energy produced by a gas well to the wind farm on Block Island. Your calculations neglect the amount of energy required for delivery of the gas to Block Island.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 8:57 am

Repeating the same thing over and over doesn’t make your argument relevant. Keep in mind that the wind farm at Block Island is replacing fossil fuel (diesel) based on economics.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 8:59 am

How about we talk about how much energy is required to move LNG to Hawaii, since like Block Island, they don’t have any natural gas out there?

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 9:37 am

The claim that your comparison metric is not valid and/or applicable is not a strawman argument. It’s a claim that invalidates all the work you put into this “puff piece.” Your problem is that you have put on blinders to the economics of gas versus wind. Beside the fact that your comparison does not account for the number of BTUs needed to move the gas to Block Island.

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 24, 2019 6:21 am

If so many readers of your post are not clear on the point you were trying to make, perhaps you did not clearly make it.

Obviously wind power can not provide all the heat currently used in the northern latitudes for residential, let alone commercial and industrial, nor can solar.

But so what? The Drake Landing Solar Community is a real place in Okotoks. They get almost all of a year’s heat from the sun. The houses hage no furnaces, but they all have one gas fireplace, and one electric, because this is Alberta.

With 95% of their heat coming from sunshine, they can afford 20x the price I can, for the tiny amount of gas they occasionally need.

If Boundary Dam is the best we can do with the current CCS technology and a couple billion $ of Sask tax and rate-payer money I’m getting the micro cogen unit the utility offers.

October 23, 2019 4:51 am

The problem with doing carbon capture is the same as with trying to feed your way out of a wolf pack. The more steak you show up with, the more wolves. The more one tries to placate the Warmist Cult, the higher the likelihood Americans will live in a third world country soon. Placating never works. Using the CO2 for oil recovery just substitutes kale for the steak and angers the wolf pack, turning it even more rabid.

October 23, 2019 8:33 am

cost overruns led to construction costs in excess of $7.5 billion (nearly $13,000/kW).

Großer Gott!

Ron Manley
Reply to  beng135
October 23, 2019 10:40 am

beng135, the wind farm off of Block Island cost $290 million.

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 1:17 pm

Where are your cost calculations for transporting the Marcellus gas to Block Island?

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 1:22 pm

PS, your cost for Marcellus gas doesn’t include the costs for the equipment needed to convert the gas to electricity on Block Island. Additionally you didn’t discount the inefficiency in converting a BTU of gas into a kwh of electricity. CCGT is efficient, but not 100%

Randy Wester
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 1:39 pm

I think you left some parts out, unless you’re just going to stick fire to the gas well to warm the immediate area. Something ain’t quite together in your figuring:

My gas bill shows the gas cost as $1.568 / GJ, which translates into 0.564 cents per KWH. Yet the cost of electricity on that bill (before transmission and other fees) of 6.8 cents per KWH is 12 TIMES the cost of the natural gas heat equivalent.

So I’m going to say that the average cost of turning processed gas into electricity might be 11 times the cost of the gas at the hub. Which value is probably higher than the value of the unprocessed gas at the wellhead, depending on the value of condensates and heavy ends, and the cost of processing and transportation.

The stuff that comes out of a wind turbine is already electricity, so maybe not SO much of an advantage if it’s already close-ish to market.

Reply to  Ron Manley
October 24, 2019 8:24 am

Ron Manley, bottom-line as a retired professional engineer at a public electric-utility, I can easily see that pin-wheels are ancient, obsolete, erratic, unreliable, low-intensity “energy sources” truly useful only in special circumstances. One such special circumstance (with supporting subsidies) may be Texas, which has favorable wind conditions, but most importantly a wealth of dependable FF electric sources nearby/interspaced in the regional grid that can handle/backup those erratic sources. Even in that favorable situation, they’ve prb’ly reached their percentage limit of erratic sources that the grid can tolerate.

Ron Manley
October 23, 2019 9:22 am

Middleton, I suggest you use the Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas to compare wind to natural gas. You don’t have the transportation issues involved with Block Island.

Ron Manley
October 23, 2019 9:59 am

Middleton, since you’re obsessed with off shore wind, how about you compare a natural gas well to the Hornsea One project in Britian?

Ron Manley
Reply to  David Middleton
October 23, 2019 1:15 pm

Your reply is “utterly stupid” Picking the Block Island wind farm, as opposed to Hornsea is proof of your “cherry-pick.”

Ron Manley
October 23, 2019 1:31 pm

Once upon a time, Dave Middleton took a trip to Block Island. He carried with him charts and graphs comparing the Block Island wind farm to a typical Marcellus fracked gas well. He went there to convince the residents of Block Island how energy inefficient their off shore wind farm is. He approaches the typical Block Island resident, introduces himself, then begins his spiel about BTUs and KWhs. The Block Island resident tells Dave, “hold on a minute, let me show you something.” He comes back to the front door and shows Dave two electric bills. One is from a few years back when he was paying $0.49 per kwh. He then shows him last month’s bill at $0.25 per kwh. The Block Island resident says, “Mr. Middleton, I don’t care about BTUs, just look at these bills.”

(Your behavior over his post is becoming obsessive and personal, dial it down) SUNMOD

Randy Wester
Reply to  Ron Manley
October 24, 2019 7:10 am

Oh, c’mon, that was funny.

If the post had been titled “CCS surpasses breakeven at EOR site” or “lean gas is SO cheap, it’s practically worthless” or “no opportunities for offshore wind in Saskatchewan” it might have been more obvious.

Ron Manley
October 23, 2019 3:01 pm

What’s the matter Middleton, you have to delete posts that show you in a bad light?

(You are under review, now in moderation) SUNMOD

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