The Giga And Terra Scam Of Offshore Wind Energy

The latest “renewable, sustainable” energy claims show the IEA belongs in an insane asylum

Paul Driessen

Can anti-fossil fuel policies based on climate crisis alarmism possibly get any more insane than this?

In what might be described as a pre-Halloween trick of ginormous proportions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) now asserts that “renewable, sustainable” energy output will explode over the next two decades. Certainly for onshore wind and solar energy – but especially for offshore wind, says the IEA.

“Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol noted. But “wind farms” constructed closer than 37 miles from coastlines around the world, where waters are less than 60 meters (197 feet) deep, could generate 36,000 terawatt-hours (36 million gigawatt-hours or 36 billion megawatt-hours) of electricity a year, he assures us. That’s well above the current global demand of 23,000 terawatt hours, Birol and a new IEA report say.

In fact, the potential for offshore wind energy is so great, the IEA asserts, that 20 years from now the industry will be 15 times bigger than in 2019 – and will attract $1 trillion a year in investments (riding the coat tails of government mandates and subsidies). The boom will result from lower costs per megawatt, larger turbines, and technological developments like floating platforms for turbines, says the IEA.

Wind “farms”? Like some cute, rustic Old McDonald family farm? Are you kidding me? These would be massive offshore electricity factories, with thousands, even millions, of turbines and blades towering 500-700 feet above the waves. Only a certifiable lunatic, congenital liar, complete true believer, would-be global overseer or campaign-cash-hungry politician could possibly repeat this IEA hype – or call these wind energy factories renewable, sustainable or eco-friendly.

They all clearly need yet another bucket of icy cold energy reality dumped over their heads – in addition to this one, this one and this one. If the world buys into this crazy scheme, we all belong in straitjackets.

As I have said many times, wind and sunshine may be free, renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly. But the turbines, solar panels, transmission lines, lands, raw materials and dead birds required to harness this widely dispersed, intermittent, weather-dependent energy to benefit humanity absolutely are not.

A single 1.8-MW onshore wind turbine requires over 1,000 tons of steel, copper, aluminum, rare earth elements, zinc, molybdenum, petroleum-based composites, reinforced concrete and other raw materials. A 3-MW version requires 1,550 tons of these non-renewable materials.

By my rough calculations (here and here), replacing just the USA’s current electricity generation, backup coal and natural gas power plants, gasoline-powered vehicles, factory furnaces, and other fossil fuel uses with wind turbines and backup batteries would require: some 14 million 1.8-MW onshore turbines, sprawling across some 1.8 billion acres, some 15 billion tons of raw materials, thousands of new or expanded mines worldwide, and thousands of mostly fossil fuel-powered factories working 24/7/365 in various foreign countries (since we won’t allow them in the USA) to manufacture all this equipment.

Those overseas mines now “employ” tens of thousands of fathers, mothers and children – at slave wages.

Can you imagine what it would take to build, install and maintain 36 billion megawatt-hours of offshore wind turbines … in 20 to 200 feet of water … many on floating platforms big and strong enough to support monstrous 600-foot-tall turbines … in the face of winds, waves, salt spray, storms and hurricanes?

The impacts on terra firma … and terra aqua … would be monumental, intolerable and unsustainable.

Moreover, a new study – by the company that has built more offshore industrial wind facilities than any other on Earth – has found that offshore turbines and facilities actually generate much less electricity than previously calculated, expected or claimed! That’s because every turbine slows wind speeds for every other turbine. Of course, that means even more turbines, floating platforms and raw materials. Using 3, 9 or 10-MW turbines would mean fewer of the beasts, of course, but larger towers, bases and platforms.

More turbines will mean countless seagoing birds will get slaughtered and left to sink uncounted and unaccountable beneath the waves. The growing jungle of fixed and floating turbines will severely interfere with surface and submarine ship traffic, while constant vibration noises from the towers will impair whale and other marine mammals’ sonar navigation systems. Visual pollution will be significant. And there’d be thousands of miles of submarine cables bringing electricity to onshore transmission lines.

Maps depicting the USA’s best wind resource areas show that they are concentrated down the middle of the continent – right along migratory flyways for monarch butterflies, geese, endangered whooping cranes and other airborne species; along the Pacific Coast; and along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Coastal states, especially their big urban areas, tend to be hotbeds of climate anxiety and wind-solar activism. Indeed, many Democrat Green New Deal governors and legislators have mandated 80-100% “clean, renewable, sustainable, eco-friendly” energy by 2040 or 2050. California, Oregon and Washington in the West … and Maine, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Virginia in the East … are notable examples. So the IEA’s love affair with offshore wind energy is certainly understandable. Of course, Blue State Great Lakes would also be excellent candidates for fixed and floating turbines.

Pacific Ocean waters typically get deep very quickly. So thousands of huge floating platforms would be needed there, although Puget Sound is also windy and could be partially denuded for turbines, as they’ve done in West Virginia’s mountains. California prefers to import its electricity from neighboring states, rather than generating its own power. However, as Margaret Thatcher might say, pretty soon you run out of other people’s energy. So homegrown wind energy will soon be essential – and inland Golden State and Middle America voters would almost certainly support putting turbines straight offshore from Al Gore’s $9-million mansion in Montecito and the Obamas’ $15-million cottage in Rancho Mirage.

When it comes to actually implementing these ambitious “renewable energy goals,” resistance and delays grow exponentially. A Massachusetts wind project for 170 offshore wind turbines was originally proposed around 2001. It’s now down to 130 3.6-MW behemoth turbines, with the US Interior Department delaying permits yet again, pending “further study.” The reaction of coastal residents to the reality of endless thousands of turbines could well turn into Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Forever.

Actual electricity output is rarely as advertised. It often hits 20% or lower, depending on locations – and fails completely on the hottest and coldest days, when electricity is most urgently needed. During the July 2006 California heat wave, turbines generated only 5% of nameplate capacity. In Texas, wind capacity factors are generally 9% to 12% (or even down to 4% or zero) during torrid summer months. Offshore, echoing Samuel Taylor Coleridge, they’d be as idle as a fleet of painted turbines upon a painted ocean.

Actual wind turbine electricity output declines by 16% per decade of operation – and worse than that offshore, because of storms and salt spray. Removing obsolete offshore turbines requires huge derrick barges and near-perfect weather. Costs and difficulties multiply with turbine size, increasing distance from shore, and whether concrete bases and electrical cables must be removed and seabeds returned to their original condition, as is required today for offshore oil and gas operations.

Cutting up 300-foot (or taller) towers and 200-foot (or longer) blades from offshore turbines, and hauling the sections to onshore landfills and scrap yards, is no piece of cake. Recycling blades is also difficult, because they are made from fiberglass, carbon fibers and petroleum resins; burning blades releases hazardous dust and toxic gases, and so is (or should be) prohibited.

Dismantling and disposal costs could easily reach millions of dollars per offshore turbine, and many billions for every industrial-scale wind “farm.” But wind energy operators should not be allowed to simply leave their derelicts behind, as they have done with smaller turbines in Hawaii and California.

Bottom line: From any economic, environmental, raw materials or energy perspective, offshore wind energy is simply unsustainable. It’s time for politicians, environmentalists and industry promoters to stop selling offshore wind (and onshore wind and solar power) as magic pixie dust to replace fossil fuels.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of many books, reports and articles on energy, climate and environmental issues.

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88 thoughts on “The Giga And Terra Scam Of Offshore Wind Energy

    • Step 1. Assume that when you put windmills everywhere, that all the new ones will be able to draw as much power as the current ones that are being put in the best places.
      Step 2. Assume that somehow all turbines will be running 100% of the time.
      Step 3. Use step 1 and 2 to demand more government money.

      • Poland Bans Wind Turbines in 17 years!
        Now we have the nation of Poland examining the health damages of Wind turbines. They have discovered that the low frequency noise given off by wind turbines, affects cellular development and mimics heart problems.
        And don’t think you can block these low frequency vibrations with a normal sound barrier. The lower the frequency, the thicker the barrier needs to be. For these very low frequencies, the barrier NEEDS to be 17 meters THICK! The lady who did the study says she wouldn’t live within 17 kilometer’s of a wind turbine!
        They are going to force REMOVAL of ALL wind turbines in 17 years! Check this out, https://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=poland+%2Cwind+turbines and read to the end and check the comments of Sommer, and watch the YouTube video for a real education in the subject.

  1. 23,000 terawatt-hours per year is around (23,000/8766)*1000 = 2620 GW average power, using 8766 hours in a year. This is clearly just the demand for electricity, because the global average demand for energy is around 10,000 GW, and that is after embedded wind, solar and horse/bicycle transport have done their feeble things.

    Any source of electricity can be scaled up to meet total demand, but at what cost and how long would it take, and what would be the consequences for stability and security of supply?

    To remove the dominant source of energy, the combustion of fossil fuels, by 2050, which is 10,000 days away, would require 1 GW of “clean” energy PER DAY, i.e. a 3-4 GW wind farm every day till 2050.

    • Climanrecon

      There is another way to look at it. What is the energy investment to build a GWH worth of electrical output (not capacity)?

      The back of my envelope says it takes three quarters as much as the wind turbine produces. Consider the implications of the energy investment required. If the current requirement is to be met by offshore wind, that is an output of 23,000 TWH net produced by an investment of 69,000 TWH on a continuous basis to replace the aging turbines. Remember about 3/4 of the energy is needed just to make the replacement, one way or another. So we would have to quadruple the generating capacity to have a society that made wind turbines using power generated by wind turbines and still have 23,000 TWH left spare to run the economy.

      Suppose my envelope lies and it is only half. It still means we’d have to generate 46,000 TWH per year, half of which would be diverted into wind turbine replication. So whatever the area mooted above, double it at least. Whatever the cost, double it least. You see, they have been producing these turbines largely using coal-fired power stations, certainly in China. They are coal-powered turbines, indirectly.

    • Why is climate information not put into clever visual forms like the demonocracy website does it by visualizing of government debt and spending? If this is done in cartoon form so much better. This can far more effectively make a total mockery of the climate alarmism without resorting to their ad hominems and nastiness. People remember the humor and it is difficult to argue with someone who is laughing at your claims.

    • The key to wind power is NOT “Capacity Factor” at 20-30%, it IS “Substitution Factor” at 4-8%.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/21/renewable-energy-solar-and-wind-power-capital-costs-and-effectiveness-compared/#comment-1393282

      I wrote similar conclusions in 2002 that were confirmed by E.On Netz insightful “Wind Report 2005”:
      ______________________

      E.On Netz, in their report “Wind Power 2005” describes the problems.
      Formerly at http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf

      One of the greatest disadvantages of wind power is the need for almost 100% conventional backup. E.On Netz (the largest wind power generator in the world) says the “substitution capacity” in Germany was 8% in 2003, and will drop to 4% by 2020. See Figure 7 in the E.On report.

      “In concrete terms, this means that in 2020,
      with a forecast wind power capacity of over
      48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of
      traditional power production can be replaced by
      these wind farms.”

      Another big problem with wind power is that power varies as the cube of the wind speed – this causes sharp peaks and valleys in the power output from wind farms, so extreme that it can cause the entire grid to crash – try that in winter – remember the 1998 Quebec ice storm? People died…

      A near-miss occurred in German during Christmas week of 2004 – see Fig. 6 in the E.on report.

      “The feed-in capacity can change frequently
      within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6,
      which reproduces the course of wind power feedin
      during the Christmas week from 20 to 26
      December 2004.
      Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on
      Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year
      at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only
      10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds
      to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired
      power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power
      feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.
      Handling such significant differences in feed-in
      levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.”

      in summary, the problem with Wind Power is not just the Capacity Factor of about 20%, it is the Substitution Factor, which by 2020 in Germany is projected to be just 4%.

      *******************
      Given that the Substitution Factor is the governing factor (in most wind power applications, and in in the absence or a super-battery), I suggest that the real capacity of wind power in Germany today is between 12.5 and 25 times less than gas-fired power.

      Regards to all, Allan
      ______________________________________

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/25/green-electricity-grid-collapses-during-aussie-heatwave/#comment-2604988

      Hi David,

      The key problem with grid-connected wind power is intermittency, and the resulting lack of predictable, dispatchable power that is the primary requirement for grid electricity.

      I have heard and read many energy neophytes say that grid-scale storage is the solution – and they act like it actually exists! In practical terms, it does not – except for a few rare cases where pumped storage is feasible – it requires a large water reservoir at the bottom of the hydroelectric dam, as well as at the top – this is rare.

      So I would like to announce that I have invented a SOLUTION:

      It consists of millions of huge flywheels that are wound up by wind power while the wind blows, and then the power is released back into the grid by tapping power from the rotating flywheels. For longer periods when the wind does not blow, the flywheels are spun by great herds of unicorns, galloping round and round at great speed. Once we have solved the unicorn-supply challenge we are sure to have a green energy winner! [I suppose I must say “Sarc/off” for the warmists out there, who tend to believe ANYTHING!]

      Here is some history on the super-battery concept:

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/10/even-china-cant-jump-start-the-electric-car/#comment-1385247

      [excerpt]

      Thank you CWP – we’ll see what works – I remain pessimistic about super-batteries.

      Years ago I proposed a super-battery that may someday materialize…

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/10/polar-sea-ice-changes-are-having-a-net-cooling-effect-on-the-climate/#comment-63388
      [excerpt]

      Storage of electricity is much easier said than done.

      One interesting idea for electricity storage is a “super battery”, consisting of many plugged-in electric cars. This could be possible in a decade or two.

      Regards, Allan

  2. Is this a report that has just been percolating since 2016 or before? Or is there another Obama holdover loose in the EIA?

    • The IEA is made up of 30 member countries.
      What role the USA has in this may be small, or not.
      With a 3 minute search, I found nothing.
      Doesn’t seem worth more time.

  3. The Climate Scam propaganda is being funded by the Green-Slime billionaires looking to reap the huge profits to be had by forcing the Western economies onto their middle class destroying renewable energy scams. It has taken then several decades to get people in place at all these UN and government agencies to push these energy schemes. Overall, its a very sophisticated, coordinated disinformation campaign now in place across many countries, enlisting the a pliant liberal media and playing to their inherent ideological biases.

    What you have to realize about all politicians is that they of course have to get re-elected, at least while we still have some semblance of representative democracies in place. The Socialist politicians cannot directly impose the massive government taxes they want to grow government, to buy votes with more and more welfare schemes, and to give money to crony capitalists. They’d get thrown out of office if they tried. So what do they do? Find ways to indirectly tax and fund their schemes without having their fingerprints on the knife that stabs the middle class in the back.

    They are now using the electric bills that everyone has to pay to live in a modern society as a form of indirect taxation. What is now unfolding with PG&E out in California is a prime example of this indirect taxation leading to calls for outright take-over of electricity delivery to consumers. For several decades now, the Sacramento Marxists have used PG&E and its customers’ electric bills as their piggy bank. A piggy bank to fund things they want for special interests, but can’t afford out of the State budget without even more taxation. And also remember simultaneously Cal still has huge actuarial holes in its public government employee pension funds to make future promised retirement pay-outs. How to help fix that?
    Solution: Have the state take-over PG&E, make its employees unionized state employees and part of the pension plan, where the “employer” (formerly PG&E) must pay into CalPERS. What will then happen is the underfunded funded CalPERS will have then a direct access to add “charges and new fees” the monthly electric bill in that huge service area of NorCal for more money. Effectively a new source of taxation the politicians couldn’t do directly. And the people there won’t have any choice but to pay those monthly electric bill or have their electricity cut-off. These Sacramento Marxists are sophisticated in their plans to gut the middle class and create a two class society in Cal. Very slick.

    • Those who pay those inflated electric bill have but one choice – move out! Many have and more will. Unfortunately other states (OR, NV and WA specifically) cannot restrict immigrants from other states so the ones that voted the political corruption in, and then copped out, are free to do the same thing in their new states of residence.

  4. With that many massive wind turbines and farms is there a possibility that they could slow the rotation of the earth unless there were an equal number of turbines in both the Easterlies and Westerlies to even out the drag?

    • Since wind flows in response to pressure gradients (with other forces acting on them once they start), I am not sure if anyone knows what the net effect in the overall wind patterns of the planet will be.
      If the pressure gradient remains unchanged, it seems to me that the winds might just compensate somehow.
      As for your question, technically speaking anything and everything effects the rotation of the Earth.
      Whether it will be significant, or even measurable, seems doubtful.
      Terrain, trees, and buildings also slow down the wind via friction.
      I recall reading a paper which was looking at the rotation of the Earth (which is known and can be measured to very close tolerances apparently, using astronomical observations) as a way to measure or verify such things as sea level rise, steric expansion of the ocean, ice caps melting, etc.
      IIRC, the findings were that any effects were not being found at the expected magnitudes necessary to verify what we are being told about melting or growing icecaps and SLR.

    • For comparison, the plate motion that caused the huge Earthquake that caused the Tsunami in Japan in 2011(Tohoku event) DID show up in measurements of the rotation of the Earth.
      The Earth is said to have sped up in it’s rotation by 1.8 microseconds/day, and the entire axis of rotation of the planet shifted between 4″ and 10″, while the entire island of Honshu, the main island, moved 8 feet(!) to the East. The ocean floor moved as much as 160′, and rose as much as 23′, although other estimates came up with other numbers of a similar magnitude. The GPS station closest to the epicenter moved something like 13′. The quake is thought to have relieved strain that accumulated over between 350 and 800 years or so.

    • Environmental consequences such as:
      “Where are they going to get all the steel and concrete they’ll need for these?”

      The fools don’t realize that for each and every “renewable” project they are perpetuating conventional coal and petroleum usage because of this one little nagging issue:
      “Renewable” power sources cannot reproduce themselves from their own energy output.

  5. Is it safe to assume you can remove that much kinetic energy from the wind off shore and have no effect on weather? Is it not the movement of air that brings the weather changes. Will the wind patterns not change as a result of energy extractions? If so, where will they go next and what will the result be? If our energy needs from fossil fuels is such a nightmare, why wouldn’t you expect this approach to be a different nightmare? Has this been modeled? What to the climate models say will happen?

    Who will be the winners and who will be the losers? Have they been notified of the changes and agreed? Seems like a nightmare to me.

    • Wind is also the primary transport mechanism for heat, water, minerals, and biological material (spoors, seeds, some bacteria, etc.). How could we even estimate the effect on the entire biosphere of interfering with that mechanism on such a large scale?

  6. Ms. Fatih Birol is clever to disguise her figures in terms of watt-hours per year, instead of the normally quoted power generation rates in megawatts or gigawatts.

    36 million GW-hours per year divided by 8,760 hours per year is about 4,110 GW. A commercial-sized natural gas-fired turbine can usually generate about 250 MW, so that it would take about 16,000 gas turbines to generate 36 million GW-hours per year.

    If large wind turbines can generate 3 MW each, 1.37 million wind turbines would be needed to generate 36 million GWh per year, assuming that they always operated at peak power output. If they averaged 20% of peak power, then we’re up to 6.85 million wind turbines. At 1,550 tons of non-renewable materials per turbine, they would consume 10.6 billion tons, and would have a much shorter lifetime than a gas turbine, which usually can run for 20 or 30 years with proper maintenance.

    If we assume that a gas-fired turbine is 35% efficient, the heat of combustion of methane is about 50 MJ/kg, so that 250 MW of electricity can be generated by burning about 14.3 kg/s of natural gas, producing 39.3 kg/s of CO2, or 1.24 megatonnes per year. Sixteen thousand such turbines would generate about 19.84 GT/yr of CO2, or enough to raise the CO2 content of the atmosphere by about 2.5 ppm per year, neglecting removal by natural processes.

    If combined-cycle gas turbines were used (where hot low-pressure gases from the gas turbine are used to boil water and generate high-pressure steam, which is then sent to a steam turbine to generate more power), the overall efficiency rises to about 60%. These turbines would burn less natural gas, and the CO2 generation rate would be 19.84 * 0.35 / 0.60 = 11.57 GT/yr, which would raise the CO2 content of the atmosphere by 1.45 ppm/yr, assuming no removal by natural processes. However, a mass balance over the atmosphere shows that the CO2 removal rate by natural processes is about 1.8 to 2.0 ppm/yr.

    Anyone for combined-cycle natural gas turbines, instead of 80 times as many huge windmills? The Earth could take the emitted CO2 out of the air, because it already does.

    • Steve,
      We don’t really need all those bird choppers. You are neglecting the unicorn power and magical virtual water hydropower fantasies that self-anointed “renewable energy experts” like Professor Mark Z. Jacobson employs in their deceptions to dupe the public into believing on faith it can all work.

      Once you throw in a magical new supply of water for 10X hydropower to fill the gaps from wind and solar, it all works. Free power, free unicorns, free puppies for everyone. Free, free, free. The Progressive world view in action.

  7. Decades ago when the first wind turbines whirled onto the landscape, seascape much more recent, there were great environmental complaints, some reasonable, most not well reasoned, against oil platforms moving offshore with associated operations. This first whirling mostly failed, those of us with extensive ocean exposure would expect the same offshore, subsidies or not.

    “A moored submerged structure is simpler to treat than a floating structure…..” p. 504. Oceanographical Engineering, first edition 1964.

  8. The very fact that giant wind mills can be built is proof in itself that they are not needed, it is just virtue signalling and building grant farms.

  9. Their own numbers put a lie to their fantasy.
    Currently 0.3 of total power but will expand by 15 times in 20 years, even assuming that Demand stays still that would still only be 0.3 * 15 = 6.5% of world power in 20 years.
    How does it get to 100%?

    • I’ll put a thousand down on the hurricane wiping out the wind turbine.

      How can any sane person believe wind turbine blades could sustain the force of hurricane winds? If they happened to be facing in just the right direction, they might not disintegrate if allowed to free-spin (but I’ll still bet on the hurricane), but that wouldn’t take much energy, if any, out of the ‘cane.

      My mother’s home was at ground zero in Bay St. Louis, MS for Katrina’s eye. It was built on a slab, and the water and drain lines were in/under the slab. The slab was all that was left. How much sheer force is needed to rip the lines and the bathtub, sinks, water heater, and toilets from the slab? Nothing was left – no evidence of anything at all – just a concrete slab. Pipes? What pipes?

      A very long, blade designed to spin in the wind? If a hurricane hits, good luck ever seeing it again. The torque would be enormous.

  10. There are many many different ways to estimate the cost of any particular method of generating electricity. link Those estimates can vary wildly.

    If the goal is to avoid emitting CO2, nuclear looks like the best bet. The French analysis is that the LCOE is 50 euros per megawatt hour. Since the French have a lot of nuclear generation, I assume their figures are realistic.

  11. Paul Driessen, to be honest (as a former PE) , I doubt that there will ever be many of these monstrosities built offshore, as least not nearly enough to supply a significant percentage of demand. Technical/economic practicalities will see to that, despite what the enviro-wackos dream of.

    • Beng,
      You make the key mistake of under-estimating the power of subsidies. None of these things, off- or on-shore, would be built if not for the tax credits and guarantees by political fiat to sell the power at higher than fossil fuel power market prices.

      As such wind turbines do not harvest wind for their owners. They harvest tax payer monies.

  12. I note that cost is also completely left out of the discussion.
    The EIA puts the 2018 fuel + operating cost of natural gas turbines at about $32.40/MWh
    https://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/epa_08_04.html

    Shell’s state-of-the-art bid to build an offshore wind farm in Massachusetts came in a bit under $84/MWh
    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/shell-and-edpr-win-second-massachusetts-offshore-wind-tender

    But I’m sure people won’t mind bearing the extra burden for the benefits the wind farm will so clearly bring.

    • Operating costs for a wind turbine is closer to zero dollars, this is different to a PPA (power purchase agreement), the gas turbine owner isn’t selling their power for $32.40/MWh, this is a pretty catastrophic misunderstanding on your part, but as I read the other posts that is pretty well the norm here.

      • The operating cost of a wind turbine is far from zero. It’s expensive to send people around every day to pick up bird and bat carcasses before they’re seen. If the owners actually had to pay for their “take”, then regulatory compliance costs would rise drastically too. And the people who pick up carcasses are cheap compared to the ones who climb several hundred feet up a pole to maintain the turbine. That’s one nice thing about offshore wind, is the sea disposes of those carcasses for you.

        Or it could be that you meant fuel cost when you said operational cost.

  13. America has over 600 years of good quality coal available. This coal should be used to produce America’s electricity. Our natural gas should be used for building space heating and by industry to produce those products we use every day. Our oil should be used for transportation and to produce those products that require oil.
    The solar and wind we use to produce electricity should be put on a separate circuit and be used to power America’s EV’s. When the sun goes down and the wind quits blowing and the batteries have no charge left, it’s time to park.
    In this way we can have dependable energy 24/7. Or almost.
    Waste Is Not Waste If It Has A Purpose.
    Coal can be combusted putting into the atmosphere less CO2 than a natural gas fired power plant. The Time Of Clean Coal Is Now Here.
    Natural gas combustion with the technology of Condensing Flue Gas Heat Recovery can be consumed to near 100% efficiency.
    Leave it to the transportation industry to develop ways to stretch it’s and our efficiency.
    We live in the Greatest country on the earth. Lets improve it and enjoy it.

    • Sid pushing his CCS scam again. Sigh. Don’t you ever get tired of lying about the fake ability of CCS to work without massive government intervention? A massive government intervention that would destroy the affordability of electricity for the middle class?

      I suppose you don’t care about the real poverty for the many millions of middle class Americans your scheme would produce as long as you get rich on that road to national ruin.

      • IMHO, you don’t have to go CCS, at all, to get coal cleaner than natural gas, scrubbers and filters will do it. If you want to go extreme there are absorbers as simple as activated charcoal. Notice I’m completely ignoring CO₂, it is not a pollutant! That’s also ignoring that you can apply the same filters and scrubbers and absorbers. But why? You’re already into diminishing returns territory, you don’t get enough benefit to justify spending the money.

        • Actually, no. Speaking as an air quality professional with experience permitting both solid fuel and natural gas-fired boilers, you cannot get coal cleaner than natural gas. Solid fuel-fired units will always have higher emission limits than otherwise identical natural gas units, for all criteria pollutants (NOx, SOx, PM, CO, VOC). With a lot of expensive add-on controls they can get close to what natural gas does with good combustion practices, but will never be cleaner than natural gas. The one place there would be an argument is for NOx, as the cleanest coal boilers actually emit (after SCR) about what a low-NOx natural gas boiler will.

          • Well, you could use a helium gas reactor to drive the air compressor of a combustion turbine , with the combustion turbine fueled by gasified coal. On an per megawatt electrical output basis, the hybrid-nuclear/coal-gas plant would have about the same emissions as those from a natural gas fueled combustion turbine. This approach only makes financial sense where natural gas is expensive and coal is plentiful. Like most of Europe, for instance.

            This is a U.S. patented technology.

          • Patented isn’t particularly relevant, as many hairbrained things have received patents. Is there an operating facility with source test data available?

          • Are you calling the US Patent office hair brained? Rather arrogant on your part.
            The Hybrid is an advanced reactor effort that has been under development for a little under 10 years. The Hybrid is a completely new thermal cycle and a new approach to energy production.

            Normally, about half a combustion turbine’s power is used to compress air. The reactor allows about a doubling of the combustion turbine’s electrical output. With today’s very large combustion turbines, the Hybrid allows for massive economies of scale. The economics of this exceptionally efficient technology are very competitive.

  14. Ha, Ha. Can you imagine these monstrosities along Malibu, Venice, French Riviera, and other beaches up and down the coasts. NIMBY’s will kill them forthwith. They’ll have to be so far out to sea that people will never see them. 200 ft of water, again Ha, Ha.

  15. Have often wondered why wind and solar are considered to be so eco-friendly. It is mentioned in this article that the near proximity of a large wind mill reduces the wind energy available to adjacent wind mills. If we start (continue) covering enormous expanses with wind mills (prefer ‘mills’ to ‘turbines’ as it is easier to maintain the Don Quixote analogy), what does that do to the entire gas/energy exchange picture?

    • Wind turbines can throw multi-ton parts of the blades thousands of feet. Welcome to the world of rotating machinery.

  16. After a nor’easter or a hurricane destroys a wide swath of turbines, how long will it take for the power to be restored?

    Kinda hope New England tries this so we could see. A months-long blackout in NYC would be interesting to watch (from afar).

  17. It is important also to consider the lifetime of these wind turbines.
    Offshore wind turbines are being reported to be failing prematurely, and even before failing outright are losing performance due to degradation of the rotor blades, IIRC.
    And they do not have a very long projected lifespan to begin with.
    If the economics of the machines is based on projected lifespans, and they are not meeting those projections, even the crappy math already apparent is out the window and nothing but wishful thinking.

    Besides for that, are these things really gonna stand up to a cat 5 hurricane?
    It seems hard to believe they will.

  18. “Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol noted. But “wind farms” constructed closer than 37 miles from coastlines around the world, where waters are less than 60 meters (197 feet) deep, could generate 36,000 terawatt-hours (36 million gigawatt-hours or 36 billion megawatt-hours) of electricity a year, he assures us. That’s well above the current global demand of 23,000 terawatt hours, Birol and a new IEA report say.

    Once again, it’s the use of one the magic words. In this case it is

    “could”

    .

    We “could” form a permanent colony on Mars.
    We “could” build a space-going ship to take humans to Alpha Centauri.
    We “could” supply all of our energy needs with offshore wind farms.
    We “could” just jerk ourselves off to the prospect of telling the whole world to do something amounting to economic and social suicide.

    We could do all of the above, to ruin ourselves and our civilization. But we won’t (apart from the few people subscribing to the last of the above-enumerated options.)
    How many normies are deceived by this twaddle? My guess is some, but less than the majority.

    A quick analysis by a half-competent person will quickly conclude that costs would be literally (literally!) astronomical, and therefore will not happen in the foreseeable centuries. To seriously talk of them today in policy terms indicates a person (politician) who knows nothing and cares even less.
    /rant

  19. I, for one, welcome this opportunity for our left-wing coastal elites to finally shoulder some of the cost, both environmentally and financially, of their religious beliefs.

  20. I have an idea !! construct two reservoirs, one ant a few hundred feet above the other. Run the water in the upper reservoir through generators into the lower reservoir. Place a dome above the lower one with a fresnel lens designed to provide maximum heating effect to the water. Direct the steam up to the upper reservoir using a shape like those used in whisky stills and then through a cooling coil in that stored water. This would provide an almost perpetual motion like sourcerce of power.

    • A perpetual energy machine!
      But I doubt the Fresnel lens will provide enough hot air.
      (Perhaps build the system near Hollywood or Berkeley ….)

    • Make the reservoirs large enough to be a “tidal bore” in response to the relative positions of the moon and the earth, and arrange them so they overflow one way or the other roughly every 12 hours or so. Run a turbine off that and you have real perpetual motion!

      Or maybe just hook a cable to the moon and draw power off the orbital motion more directly?

  21. Wind turbines are usually sited a long way from the towns and cities which
    require the energy. So two additional costs should be considered. Transmission lines from the coast and or sea based turbines.

    So because of the costs we can end up with the “”El Cheapo ” small towers,
    which in the case of the ones in South Australia, were blown over by a strong wind.

    Also what about the resistance of such long power lines from the turbines to
    the Cities. What voltage is the power. If directly from the turbines its Direct Currant, very high loss factor, but if its to be High voltage Alternating
    Currant, the most efficient way, then we will need both inverters and
    transformers at each site.

    Also for sites both on the coast and worse off shore, then salt spray should be considered as a factor in the life of such turbines.

    In regard to the cost of disposal of these turbines, are the contracts so worded that such costs must be met by whoever owns them, in which case such needed
    cash should be in a fund separate from the turbines owners.

    So forget the wild claims of how many homes can be powered by each turbine,
    just how much actual electrical energy really reaches the main grid ?

    MJE VK5ELL

  22. “Maps depicting the USA’s best wind resource areas show that they are concentrated down the middle of the continent – right along migratory flyways for monarch butterflies, geese, endangered whooping cranes and other airborne species; along the Pacific Coast; and along the Atlantic Seaboard.” article

    Yes, let’s do kill off the really important things with no thought to the consequences, shall we? Geese don’t matter. Goldfinches don’t matter. Swallows don’t matter. Butterflies don’t matter. Whales don’t matter. Nothing matters but giving this bunch of numbskulled drek-lovers a chance to feed their useless, worthless egos.

    Can you tell that they P_)(*&&*** me off yet?

    They want to “save the environment”, do they? Well, fine. The most important thing they can do is try living in the real world with the rest of us peones, not in those ivory towers that they so blissfully inhabit, unaware of reality.

  23. Not to mention the total disruption of the inshore fishing industry. Already the proposed development off the coast of RI and has met with pushback from fishermen and assurance from the Congressional delegation that they won’t be harmed. Then there is navigational hazzards to coastal shipping…

  24. My hope is for the out of commission wind turbines to be left in place like our amendments to the Constitution so everyone will be reminded of the mass delusion that took hold of most people in the world for awhile. So as the music group “The Who” said “we won’t be fooled again”.

  25. We have reached 1 terawatt of installed renewable capacity around the world, and are adding about 200 GW per year. We will reach 2 terawatt by 2023, and likely 4 terawatt by 2030. Current global generating capacity is about 7 terawatt. To provide for an electric car fleet and for increased power usage in the developing world, we should need about 15 terawatts by 2050. Given intermittency, that would mean total installed base of perhaps 15 terawatts of wind/solar and 5 terawatts of nuclear and hydro plus grid scale storage. We are on track to reach 15 terawatts of wind/solar by 2050, if we continue to grow installations by 5% per year for the next thirty years.

    • Pure fantasy. Your numbers are lies.
      And BTW there is no such thing as grid scale storage.
      Not likely there ever will be using current technology.

  26. Idiocy!
    https://anero.id/energy/wind-energy/2019/october
    Good for maybe desalination plants to add to existing water catchments or windmill bores for stock watering (solar pumps at ground level have replaced them on cost grounds in Oz) but that’s about it. There aren’t enough battery resources to iron out geographically disperse yet variable wind power like that to ever guarantee its annual average output of 30% of installed capacity.
    Those who advocate doing so are either technical/economic illiterates, morons or deliberately lying about that or some combination of the three I care not which.

  27. Here in Virginia, where nuclear, coal, and natural gas provide 1/3 of the power with some minor electrical noise generated by solar, Dominion power is paying an OBSCENE 79 cents/kw-hr wholesale for their first off-shore wind project. Those other sources wholesale power for less than 4 cents. All because our governor is a green Democrat and new green Democrat businesses are fleeing electrically unstable California for the reliable cheap power of Virginia… but then they insist that us locals pay to add dancing unicorn “green” power to the grid so they can satisfy their Gaia worshiping religion by pretending that the power THEY are using on a dark and still night is coming from those dark solar panels and the non-rotating turbines.

    • Who do I have to kill for 4 cent/kW-hr electricity wholesale? I personally know of a municipal utility in California, about ten years ago, that passed on 11 cent/kW-hr electricity from a biomass boiler but accepted 17 cent/kW-hr electricity from a solar farm that only provided 1/4 of the generating capacity.

    • Dominion Power isn’t paying 79¢/Kwhr. Their customers are. It is simply a pass thru for them.
      That is you are paying to make the GreenSlime investors richer. That is You, the middle class, getting fleeced. For the very rich, electricity is tiny part of their spending. And there is a whole lot more of middle class folks to fleece than there is rich folks to fleece.

  28. One more important point:
    Windmills damp winds.
    They see it already: they cannot build more windmills in one place. One windmill takes the wind from another.
    But on the global scale? Which impact do the windmills on the global and local climate?
    We were taught about the “butterfly effect” on the weather.
    Here we have billions and trillions of “butterflies”.
    Are they already responsible for the recent two hot and dry summers in Europe without any wind?

    • energy from wind does not spring from nothingness. Extracting it will have an effect. No one has even guessed at where. my guess, the planets dynamics in the solar system.

  29. Sorry, but it is clear to me that you absolutly have no idea what is wind energy. The number you quoted here are not true, and your assumptions are not correct. Wind energy and solar is the answer to energy demand until Cern is operable and technology of fusion is ready to the market. Wind creates jobs locally, and gradually cost less then now than coal.

  30. I read recently, possibly on WUWT, that Chinese investigators have found that the potential wind power in the Northern hemisphere has reduced by 30% since 1975. China will, of course, be most interested in such data as they have some of the world’s biggest wind farms. Nobody else will, as the supposed wind farms are actually farming subsidies, and very profittably too.

  31. I do wish that energy was always expressed in Joules and power in Joules per second. This would, hopefully, avoid a recent press release that had the interesting unit of Joules per second per second.

    • Then show me a working facility and source test data.

      As for the PTO, physical possibility and economic viability are not in their purview. I’m not going to bother answering your deliberate misreading of what I actually wrote.

      • You clearly implied the U.S. patent office grants patents to hair brained ideas. Again, rather arrogant on your part.

        There are no working advanced reactor facilities, of any type, in the U.S. nor will there be for some time. Your criteria are disingenuous, as a minimum.

  32. Danish wind energy company have recently released some their latest data.Not only do wind turbines suffer blockage (where wind slows as it approaches the blades) but wake turbulence causes significant loss of output. Article in recent Times article

  33. Are there any studies of the effect that the reduced wind speed will have on on shore weather, and what effect or heat island effect does solar farms have in weather in local and adjacent areas

  34. I’m going to miss the birds. Near where I was born in South Australia, there were few left last time I visited. I understand from WUTU, there has been a similar collapse in bird populations.
    So sad.

  35. I’m going to miss the birds. Near where I was born in South Australia, there were few left last time I visited. I understand from WUTU, there has been a similar collapse in California bird populations.
    So sad.

  36. Poland Bans Wind Turbines in 17 years!
    Now we have the nation of Poland examining the health damages of Wind turbines. They have discovered that the low frequency noise given off by wind turbines, affects cellular development and mimics heart problems.
    And don’t think you can block these low frequency vibrations with a normal sound barrier. The lower the frequency, the thicker the barrier needs to be. For these very low frequencies, the barrier NEEDS to be 17 meters THICK! The lady who did the study says she wouldn’t live within 17 kilometer’s of a wind turbine!
    They are going to force REMOVAL of ALL wind turbines in 17 years! Check this out, https://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=poland+%2Cwind+turbines and read to the end and check the comments of Sommer, and watch the YouTube video for a real education in the subject.

  37. You calculation are not correct. Actual power for offshore wind turbines is higher than the onshore ones is 6 to 10 MW. Also no one is saying to switch EVERY single energy source to the sole offshore wind, like you supposed. It’s necessary to diversificate the sources. Than, I understand your entire website is a scam and I stop reading on.

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