Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
I came across a laudatory article about the Scottish Hywind project, entitled “The world’s first floating offshore wind farm turns 5 — here’s how it’s going“. It’s all full of congratulations about the “capacity factor”, meaning how much of the nameplate capacity it actually generates. And in fact, at a claimed 54% capacity factor, that is impressive.
The wind farm has a nameplate capacity of 30 megawatts (MW). At 54% capacity factor, that’s 142 gigawatt-hours generated per year. As I said, impressive.
There’s just one leetle tiny fly in the ointment … as detailed here, electricity from Hywind is being sold to the grid, not to the consumer but to the grid, for $0.25 per kilowatt-hour. That’s about four times the cost of fossil fuel electricity, and guess who is subsidizing the difference?
Yep. The poor UK taxpayer. At $0.25 per kWh, that electricity subsidy is costing the taxpayers just over $26 megabucks per year, about an eighth of a billion dollars over the five years of its existence … hell of a deal.
This is the ugly reality of wind and solar. They are hugely subsidized by the taxpayers no matter where they are installed. The subsidies are both direct and indirect. They don’t make money, they are not economically competitive anywhere except in the fevered green dreams of the ecolarmists who are forcing them on the poor taxpayer.
Here’s the bottom line:
- In the US, the average electricity price to the consumer is on the order of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.
- The Manhattan Institute says that globally, we’ve subsidized wind/solar/biofuels to the tune of $5 trillion over 20 years.
- Our World In Data says that globally, they’ve delivered 9.12 petawatt-hours (1015 watt-hours) in 20 yrs.
That’s $0.55 per kilowatt-hour that we’ve thrown down a rat-hole.
(Folks don’t realize how big $5 trillion dollars is … here’s a way to grasp it. If we were to waste a million dollars each and every single hour, setting fire to $24 million dollars a day, 24/7/365, it would take us 570 years to waste $5 trillion. Think about all the good things that money might have done. To pick just one thing, it could have provided clean drinking water to every single village on the planet with lots of money left over … but noooo, the green lobby must have its insanity paid for by the taxpayer.)
And what has the five trillion dollars bought us?
As our UK cousins say, “Sweet Fanny Adams”, a polite way of saying sweet F*** All. In other words …
The good news, on the other hand, is that drought-prone northern California where I live is getting lots of rain. Here’s the view from my porch, with very wet pumpkins on the patio table.
Of course, according to the media and the oh-so-scientific climastrologers, last year when there was a drought in California it was a sure sign of dreaded climate change. And now when we get rain, guess what?
It’s another sure sign of dreaded climate change …
… and also of course, to go with the so-called “good news” about wind power discussed above, the bad news is that the California electrical grid can’t handle wind. Go figure. We’re out of power at our house, and it’s far, far from just us. Here’s the Pacific Gas and Electric outage map. I live an hour and a half north of San Francisco, which is where the red triangle is on the coast.
As a result, we’re running chez nous on our trusty Honda 2200i gas-powered generator for the indeterminate future, the PG&E site says “ESTIMATED RESTORATION: To Be Announced”, the gorgeous ex-fiancee and our grandson are playing the acoustic piano, the rain is pouring down, and all the woke people around here with their $70,000 sparky cars can’t charge them.
As for me, the grass is green outside my window, and as long as I’m looking down at it and not up, my life is wonderful.
My very best to all of you, whatever your weather may be.
My Usual: Misunderstandings are the bane of the intarwebs. To reduce the number, please quote the exact words you are referring to, so we can know just what and whom you are discussing.
Good on you Willis. Thank you for keeping us informed, educated and entertained all these years on WUWT.
Hey Willis, Happy New Year to you and those you love.
For 16 years, I was on the board of the largest and best-run homeless shelter in North America. One of my fellow board members was a great guy who was the CFO of one of Canada‘s largest energy companies. One day, I asked him what he was involved in outside of his core business, and he mentioned that they were big in wind power. I asked him for lunch, because I needed to talk to him about that.
My first question was “How much you getting paid for your wind power?“ He replied “20 cents a kilowatt hour”. I asked “Is that just at peak demand times or is that 24-seven?“ He replied “that’s 24-seven”.
I said “Alberta’s coal and natural gas fired power is sold into the grid at two cents per kilowatt hour. You are an ethical guy. How can you sell non-dispatchable power into the grid for 10 times the cost of dispatchable power? You should dump this corrupt business before it destroys your good corporate image.”
I noticed that sometime later, they spun that business into a separate corporation.
We had a conservative government at that time, but even they had bought into the woke nonsense of global warming hysteria and wind power.
Since then, our idiot socialist and conservative governments have converted all our coal-fired power to natural gas power, and natural gas prices have increased by fourfold. Our fearless leaders have also sold off our transmission and distribution lines to private parties like Warren Buffett, wasted the sale proceeds on their pet projects, and now we pay for transmission and distribution costs as part of our rate base. They also added two DC transmission lines that we absolutely did not need. Finally, our brain trust privatized the billing of electricity so now we pay something like 10 times what we used to pay for electricity.
My expertise is energy and I can’t believe how incompetent our politicians are when it comes to energy policy. These people are so utterly ignorant that they should not even opine on energy, let alone set policy. Nobody should let these imbeciles near the hot stove.
They subsidized billions to change convert our coal plants to natural gas, even as natural gas prices quadrupled. I recently wrote them, asking how many billions it would cost to undo the damage and convert our plants back to coal.
Our air quality in Alberta is usually excellent, because these plants burn low–sulphur coal and have anti-pollution equipment that cleans particulates. Of course, CO2 is a red herring. Forest fires from BC to the west of us caused 1000 times the air pollution of our coal plants. Changing our power plants from coal to natural gas made no measurable difference.
I believe we should cancel the pensions of our politicians and send them the bill every time they make such idiotic, costly errors. That’s only because some people would find public floggings and hangings distasteful.
Best regards, Allan MacRae in Calgary.
Allan, your ideas are right on as usual. Always good to hear from someone with practical experience rather than some member of the ivory tower wokerati …
Best to you and yours,
Thank you Willis,
It’s a pleasure to know you – you are remarkably intelligent, competent and exhibit great common sense, and that is a rare combination in this dystopian Brave New World.
I’ve been involved with the false Climate (Global Warming, CAGW) narrative since ~1985 and published since 2002. We probably wrote everything we really needed to say about the Climate and Green Energy scam in 2002 and I should probably move on. I’m not adding much if anything new, all my predictions (save one – the Euro-Cull this Winter – hope to be wrong) have materialized, and so I wish you the very best.
Regards, Allan MacRae in Calgary
Thanks, Allan, appreciated.
A trillion dollars to reach flatline. A Green blight on land and sea. A solution with em-pathetic appeal and clean, green, renewable profits.
A standard sized duffel bag can hold about $5M well stacked in $100s. At that rate you would need a Million duffel bags to hold $5T
And a standard-size briefcase will hold about $100k in $100s … for details on how I happen to know that, see here …
I always like the analogy to throwing away a dollar a second.
It would take 277 days to throw away $1 million.
it would take 31.7 years to throw away $1 Billion
It would take 31,710 years to throw away $1 Trillion.
That’s 31 Millenia! It would still take 317 years if you switched to throwing away $100 bills.
It would take less than 12 days to throw away $1 million…
31,536,000 seconds per year.
the days for a million is wrong but the years for a billion is correct.
oops, hours, not days. My bad
Speaking of trillions, banks and world economic oligarchs have been mentioning quadrillions of dollars at times recently.
Yes, they have managed to make us think that a TRILLION dollars is chicken feed! I guess when you print your own (?) money it is!
The wind industry is a gigantic shell/shill game.
Wind is a giant financial tax shelter lobby, supported with excessive government subsidies and cost shifting, all charged to ratepayers, taxpayers and the national debt.
The subsidies, etc., aim to artificially reduce wind electricity c/kWh to levels claimed to be competitive with fossil electricity, which gets minor government subsidies.
Fossil is increasingly burdened by government for being evil-CO2-emitting
Wind has proven so expensive per kWh, that it has impoverished the EU, and will impoverish the US
Wind has enriched the in-crowd, the upper crust, the jet-setting, yachting oligarchs
The same applies to solar
Capacity and Cost of Battery Systems for ONE HOUR Backup of US Electric System
US hourly electricity loaded by power plants onto US grids is
4000 billion kWh x 1/8766 h/y = 456308465 kWh
Batteries should not be discharged to less than 20% full and not be charged to more than 80% full, to achieve 15-y useful service life, per Tesla.
Battery system rated capacity
456308465 x 1/0.6, available capacity x 1/0.93 Tesla design factor = 817757105 kWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage
All-in, turnkey, capital cost of battery systems
817757105 x $500/kWh/1000000000 = $409 billion; most of it would need to be replaced every 15 years. See Note
Li-ion battery systems have a loss of about 18%, when new, and about 20%, when older, on an A-to-Z basis
Delivered by battery system is 456308465 kWh, as AC to HV grid
Charge in battery system is 456308465/0.9 = 507009405 kWh, as DC
Electricity to battery system is 507009405/0.9 = 563343783 kWh, as AC from HV grid
NOTE: Hourly electricity generated by 30,000 MW of offshore wind turbines would be
30,000 MW x 1 h x 0.45, annual capacity factor = 13500000 kWh, which would be 100 x 13500000/456308465 = 2.96% of hourly electricity fed to US grid
NOTE: The rated capacity of the Moss Landing, California, battery system, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, is 300 MW/1200 MWh.
The all-in, turnkey, capital cost was $370 million, or $370 million/1200000 kWh = $308/kWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage; 2018 pricing
The $308/kWh has increased at least 50% to $462/kWh in 2022, with higher pricing after 2022.
NOTE: If wind and solar were 100% of electricity fed to the US electric grid (all nuclear and fossil plants were shutdown), about one month of battery and other storage would be required to cover wind/solar lulls and seasonal variations, per various hour-by-hour grid reliability studies.
The all-in turnkey cost of the battery systems would be 8766/12 x $409 b = $298.8 TRILLION
Converting from AC kWh into DC kWh or DC kWh into AC kWh should show losses, not gains. Otherwise, they’ve invented perpetual motion machines.
Interesting mathematics there.
Dividing by 0.9 increases DC kWh after inverting kWh.
Multiplying by 0.9 shows the claimed loss to invert AC into DC with lower DC kWh after converting from AC kWh input.
e.g., your calculation; 456,308,465 ÷ 0.9 = 507,009,405. An increase of kWh after conversion.The calculation to show the cost of inverting AC into DC; 456,308,465 X 0.9 = 410,677,619You show AC into DC as increasing available kWh by a total 50,700,940 kWh.
The same problem exists here. Not only have you increased AC kWh when converting to DC kWh, but you then increase the kWh when converting battery DC kWh into AC kwh.
That conversion should be: Battery kWh conversion to AC kWh after inversion loss; 369,609,857 kWh. A loss of 41,067,761.9 kWh.Total kWh loss from the AC into DC into AC conversion process from the original AC kWh: 86,698,608 kWh.
And I have my doubts that inversion loss each each way, is only a tenth of the original kWh:
Convert AC into DC, a 0.1 kWh loss.Convert DC into AC, a 0.1 kWh loss.Those sound like Tesla marketing claims.
Then there is the battery kWh losses after all of the conversion losses.:
My math is correct.
Losses are from HV grid to HV grid, about 20%. See URL
The batteries have to provide x kWh to the HV grid
That means x/0.9 DC charge loss from the batteries; a 10% loss
That means x/0.9/0.9 has to be drawn from the HV grid; another 10% loss.
Li-ion battery systems have a loss of about 18%, when new, and about 20%, when older, on an A-to-Z basis
Delivered to HV grid is 456308465 kWh, as AC
Charge from battery system is 456308465/0.9 = 507009405 kWh, as DC; a 10% loss
Drawn from HV grid is 507009405/0.9 = 563343783 kWh, as AC; another 10% loss
Have they explained how they’re going to get that 54% capacity factor?
That’s what they claim are the actual results from the first 5 years of operation …
I just want to know if they have yet produced as much energy as it took to manufacture them, install them, and maintain them over the last 5 years. Do we have any ‘net’ energy payoff here?
Hmmm… The monitoring at REF suggests a bit lower. Their data are taken from the official metered data held by Elexon, the electricity payments clearing company
The trend over the past three years is showing a constant decline in output. The last five month data suggests the final full year figure will be lower again at around 110 MWh.
Not a very reassuring set of numbers if you were considering investing in such schemes.
You make the mistake of thinking that investing in wind is based on normal economics. For private investors the key is the government subsidies /credits / inroads with corrupt governments. For governments that invest the key is using other people’s money.
True ‘dat, nutmeg. An investor more savvy than you or I says this about wind power:
Idau: Do those figures include power drawn from the grid during periods of calm?
Aiui, power is needed for things like heating, lube systems, controls, etc – and to rotate the blades slowly to prevent damage to the bearings (“brinelling”, iirc).
I have no idea how significant such usage may be. I would guess that it is more of a factor for onshore wind where calm spells are more common.
I noted that the turbines incorporate a 1MWh battery that is probably used to handle most necessary operations during calm periods. It only takes a few kW to run the yaw motors that unwind the cables if the turbine has been rotated too far in the same direction by changes in wind direction for example. Likewise any slow rotation to guard against brinelling. There will be little need for heating or cooling.
That’s surprisingly close to the Betz limit, isn’t it
“That’s surprisingly close to the Betz limit, isn’t it”
Merely a coincedence, as there is no relation between the two numbers. Unless the person in charge of announcing the capacity factor did a few minutes of half-hearted research before cooking the books and thought the Betz limit was the highest believable figure and used that as a number to work back from.
It has nothing to do with the Betz limit, which merely defines the maximum energy that can be extracted theoretically at any given wind speed. Turbine capacity is defined by the maximum output of the generator. Turbines typically have a sweet spot where they extract about 75% of the Betz limit energy – i.e. about 12/27ths of the wind energy. After the full generator capacity is hit, efficiency falls off rapidly with increasing wind speed, but output remains constant. So if the location is consistently windy the turbine will achieve a high capacity factor relative to the capacity of the generator.
If one overlooks that wind turbines are fugly bird and bat killers, they divert funding from solutions that would work, like nuclear.
Regarding bird and bat deaths, folks might be interested in my post entitled “Explaining Wind Turbine Lethality“.
What I am really waiting for is the really strong northerly wind, maybe 50 – 60 knots, rushing down from the Arctic for a few days on end and pushing up a really big northerly swell. I wonder how well the windmill will cope with the oscillation at the top of the tower. Remember these things are on top of floating vertical spars kept in position by anchors, not on jackets piled into the seabed.
I once was on a semisubmersible drilling rig which was ballasted down to operational draught and had a perceptible rolling movement in similar conditions in that general area. It didn’t bother the drill string but the top of the derrick certainly was not stationary.
The turbines are supposed to survive winds of up to 70m/sec which is over 150mph. Whether the jackets topple or snap their moorings is perhaps a different issue. But there is lots of experience from the oil and gas sector that suggests they know what they are doing.
I am sceptical about the ability of the generators to cope with the oscillations at the top of the mast in a big swell, not about the moorings or the blades themselves. Ashore or on offshore jackets the generating unit doesn’t move about. It is a tried technology transported to a new untested environment.
Seadawg, always good to hear your view. For those who don’t know him, as the sailors’ saying goes, Oldseadog has worn out more seabags than you’ve worn out socks. I have lots of time at sea. He has far, far more time at sea.
And when you’ve seen what the sea can do, as both of us have, you know that it can crush man’s puny efforts without breaking a sweat.
Best to you and the family,
Now you are embawassing me again, Willis.
Best to the family.
Thanks, dawg. I have nothing but respect for those who have spent the endless days at sea slowly and patiently learning the secrets of the ocean.
I’ll pass on your good wishes to the assembled masses,
You may be interested to read about the foundations.
The Norwegian energy company, Statoil, will build five 6 MW floating turbines to be anchored in waters exceeding 100 meters. The selected location has strong and steady winds that requires reliable anchoring.
The floating foundation consists of a cylinder that is ballasted to be upright and it is anchored to the seabed by three suction anchors.
It has more stability than you might expect, being below major wave action, and in flotation tension with its anchors. The turbines are also relatively small by modern standards.
I have seen suggestions for downwind turbine designs for offshore, which would allow the blades to be blown away from the tower in strong winds, reducing the need for blade stiffness and helping to reduce rotor bearing stresses caused by passing close to the tower.
Tower flex is a good thing. I recall going up the Empire State building to the viewing platform, and being informed that measured at the top of the TV aerial the building sways up to 15 ft each way in high winds: if it did not do that it would simply snap. The bending helps spread the stresses.
A useless fact when discussing violent seas.
If the massive bearings in and behind those blades are oscillating and yawing in many different directions, the load and frictions placed on the bearing surfaces change constantly…
Very bad for such large bearings!
The foundation and anchoring are supposed to minimise that and leave the turbines subject to much the same forces as they would be if piled into the seabed.
I’ve got one of those Honda 2200 generators. Love the quiet, the reliability, the gas sippiness. But I hate refilling it because I can’t tell how full it is until it overflows, and add cleaning and drying off to the delay for cooling down before I refill, and grrrrr. I have a duel fuel generator I fire up while waiting.
I use the “No-Spill” gas cans shown below. I’d never use a different kind, these work perfectly.
When it gets up near the top, I start pumping on and off the button that lets the gas out, so it comes out a bit at a time. Still overfill very occasionally, but I just wipe it off and start it up.
I also fill it while it’s running if it’s critical, but that’s not my favorite occupation …
Thanks. I use a different no-spill can which does spill, but it is one gallon and I can see the level from outside, so I fill it from a 5-gallon can, then fill the generator from that. But if the generator is only half empty, I get spills. I’ll look for that particular brand.
Ha! This is funny. I ordered the 1.25 gallon NoSpill can, arriving next week. Tried ordering the 2.5 gallon NoSpill can, it says it cannot be shipped to my address because of California regulations. Gotta love burrocracies.
Over 40 yrs of running small gas tools at a golf course. These gas cans are the best I’ve used. Especially for small tanks on line trimmers and backpack blowers. We have 6 of them.This ad made me buy them.
You might want to try this product. Runs on batteries. You do not have to lift the gas can. Shuts itself off automatically went fuel tank being filled is full just like the pump at a filling station does. Hardly spill a drop.
You are welcome.
I have a Honda 2200
And a 3200. Run 100% gas – no ethanol. Change the oil.
Thanks, R., looks interesting.
What does the fuel duel with – air bubbles in the fuel line?
(I love the smell of pedantry in the morning . . . )
Probably propane bubbles in the gasoline line.
I wonder if it’s possible to put the switch halfway between. I’ve never had gasoline in it. A friend says he always has a little gasoline in it, starts it on gas, then switches on the fly. Don’t know why.
Maybe it duels with fuel while towing the line.
Consider adding a sight glass.
Or a simple glass window:
Polyurethane is amenable to drilling, threading and sealing. Use teflon tape on the metal threads and a good sealant and gaskets on the polyurethane surfaces.
(I use threaded brass connections on poly water tanks for my lapidary needs.) Brass connections seal into threaded poly very well by themselves; though I’d seal the connections better for highly flammable gasoline.
Thanks Willis for the all important (to rational thinkers (& reality)) numbers that go with wind power.
I tried to ferret out the actual numbers for UK offshore wind & could not get actual financial numbers because of ‘commercial in confidence’ & only ‘range’ figures of $ (Pounds) were offered to me. A UK Phd paper I found looked at servicing costs of windmills, also only quoted ranges; but did suggest the service & early irreparable failure rate equated to as high as 20% original capital cost per annum.
‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot’ air by David Mackay is a reasonable work (2009) ISBN 978-0-9544529-3-3.
Unfortunately my attempts to counter the narrative with facts in our daily national newspaper (The Australian) has not been successful – they much prefer the dramatic & emotional rather than mundane accounting & science based argument.
I visited Mendocino driving up from SF airport a few years ago. Beautiful trees and landscapes that did remind a bit of Australia. (The bears are bigger in CA).
No Drop Bears though………
Drop bears are extinct.
The bunyips and yowies ate them out.
One of the first to suffer at the hand of the 6th mass extinction I guess.
We’re sold out of gas cans at the hardware store that I work at down in Santa Cruz County. Somebody told me (and I’m gonna check it out) that beginning soon, regulations will be place that will not allow new portable gas cans to be sold in California! Just goes along with (soon) not being able to sell gas powered chainsaws etc. Such foolishness!
I bought a bunch of jerry cans from an outfit in Texas, I think, campingmaxx with two Xs. $60 apiece, no nozzle — buy one nozzle for your collection. Whether this will be still possible in California, I do not know.
Going to be tough to do this with battery chain saws….
[(111) Falling an old growth redwood tree; Humboldt County, CA, 2002 – YouTube/VIDEO]
We had to quarter the 20 foot long butt cut of this tree so our Chinook helicopter could fly it. The first 20 feet weighed 60,000 lbs. Ripped and quartered the log with an 090 Stihl with a 72 inch bar.
It’s all smoke and mirrors led my the man behind the curtain. In my city we are in the throws of disbanding an electricity scam … OCPA (Orange County Power Authority). Residents were automatically ‘opted in’ to the scam that was made hard to get out of. The claim was you could be a good citizen and “choose how much renewable energy you consumed” and just pay “a little more” for it. There is no way possible to achieve their claim. There may be some energy going to our grid from wind turbines and some from out of state hydro but no way possible to direct it to an individual household. A total scam.
There is now a common belief that Solar and Wind are cheaper than Gas, Coal and Nuclear on a levelized cost basis. I believe that this is based on the power generated at normal efficiency and it does not include any costs for Battery backup or standby Gas backup. Can you comment on that, or point me to a good comparison.
It looks like you may be at Sea Ranch. Is that correct?
RW, there are a host of subsidies that never show up in the levelized costs. For example, in the latest inflation-boosting bill, there’s $369 billion for renewables that isn’t included. Also, they never include the cost of backup and grid balancing.
In addition, you can’t compare dispatchable and non-dispatchable power sources. As one example among many, LAZARD’S LEVELIZED COST OF ENERGY ANALYSIS — VERSION 15.0 says:
And the EIA Levelized Costs of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy
Outlook 2022 says:
Finally, the EIA and others use ridiculous capacity factors, viz:
. The capacity factor ranges for these technologies are 38%–47% for onshore wind, 41%–50% for offshore wind, 25%–33% for standalone solar PV, 24%–32% for hybrid solar PV, and 25%–80% for hydroelectric.
But the global average actual installed capacity factors for solar and wind are far lower:
For all of those reasons, “levelized costs of generation” are generally meaningless for comparing dispatchable (e.g. gas) and non-dispatchable (solar, wind) power plants.
Once you understand how levelised costs (LCOE) are calculated, then it becomes clear.
First take the total costs of the system by year. All costs mean cash out, maintenance, capital, by year incurred. Then apply the NPV formula (all spreadsheet packages have such a function). This gives you the net present value of the total system costs taking into account the time value of money and the discount rate. Any finance textbook will tell you all about NPV analysis. A good one is Brealey and Myers.
Next estimate the total GWh that the system will generate over its life.
Now divide the first by the second, and you get the levelized cost per GWh of the power from the system.
This only works if the systems you are comparing are exactly comparable and if you have got all the costs of making them so.
So check to make sure that storage or backup is included for wind and solar. Also that total GWh does not include generation which is curtailed. Also make sure the costs include any additional transmission facilities. And you should include terminal value or cost, for instance demolition or sale.
In practice no-one ever includes transmission costs or backup systems when doing this. The result is to assume that all power generated is the same, regardless of when its delivered. You compare two systems, one coal and one wind, for instance. Over 20 years they both deliver the same number of GWh. But coal delivers 24 x 7 with predictable maintenance downtime. The wind delivers unpredictably, sometimes at 50% of faceplate, sometimes less than 5%. The wind also requires new transmission lines to get the power to the grid. And some of the GWh is unusable. Under the LCOE treatment these are all GWh which go into the divisor and calculate the LCOE, as if when they were delivered has no significance.
Its like saying that a ton of lettuce available for pickup at the farm on Friday at your expense should be the same value to a supermarket as the same ton delivered regularly to the store in small batches three times a week throughout the year.
When you do the LCOE calculations it would be possible to take account of this by including all the costs. But no-one ever does. This is the source of the claim that wind is now cheaper on an LCOE basis than (eg) coal. It is. But that does not mean its cost effective to deploy.
The right thing to do when accounting for this is not to claim that the cost of dispatchable generation is the same as that of intermittent, which is true but meaningless, but to compare the costs of dispatchable from the different technologies.
Or, put it another way, the important parameter for wind and solar is the total system cost of deployment and use, and LCOE as usually done tells you nothing about this.
Yep. The EIA report that Willis refers to above does say in another section that
“LCOE and LCOS” (Levelised Cost of Storage) “by themselves do not capture all of the factors that contribute to investment decisions, making direct comparisons of LCOE and LCOS across technologies problematic and misleading as a method to assess competitiveness of various generation alternatives”
EIA’s LCOE cost estimates include alleged subsidies for fossil fuels and subsidies for renewable energy, all charged against fossil fuels in the LCOE calculation.
e.g. 1) Tax rebates are charged against fossil fuels as alleged subsidies.
LCOE estimates are rigged to favor renewables.
From EIA’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2022 report”:
I support work on providing clean drinking water and reducing the misery so many lives endure than glad-handing, touting and subsidizing the intermittent, unsightly, time-limited, costly power sources.
Thanks, John. WWFA, “Water Wells For Africa”, estimates that it costs ~ $10,000 to put in a well and associated pumps and pipes for a village. So the $5 trillion would have paid for FIVE HUNDRED MILLION WELLS …
The actual cost is probably around $1,000 but £9,000 must be paid to corrupt government officials and murderous warlords.
My late father in law was in the UN in Africa for years. These numbers are not entirely fictional.
I support onewater.org.uk
Not only current taxpayers but also future generations, the UK government debt has topped 100% of the annual GDP and given government policies will continue to increase.
According to Trading Economics the UK government debt to GDP ratio was a constant ~40% from the Thatcher years to 2008-9 when the so-called Climate Change Act was passed by the parliament and has taken-off since.
Of course ‘capacity factors’ for weather-dependent generation do not capture their inherent unreliability, during 2021 Europe including the UK had a ‘wind drought’ when on occasions virtually no generation came from wind.
As has been noted here many times: without taxpayer subsidies these things would not exist.
U.S. Debt to GDP ratio is up to 121%.
See USDebtclock dot org
Normally the subsidies are charged straight to billpayers. The subsidies have grown so large that the government is now subsidising billpayers to pay the subsidy bills and windfall profits from high shortage driven prices. So yes, now that is adding to government debt.
The decommissioning date for this installation is 2038.
Built in 2017 for $260M, it has an expected lifespan of just 20 years.
It’s good of governments to keep the wind generator building business flourishing
Some supporting data. Annoyed by EIA some years ago saying CCGT and on shore wind were at LCOE parity, myself and ‘Planning Engineer’ revised their provably deliberately biased numbers to reality over at Judith’s in post ‘True Costs of Wind Electricity’. Result: CCGT about $58/MWh LCOE, wind ~$146. Now even EIA today still says offshore wind is ~3x onshore. So that so about an 8x greater cost.
Now, our Climate Etc calculations were based on Texas ERCOT, not CA. And, since the average ERCOT KWh cost is about half of CA average today, 2x delta TX= 8x delta CA. So, confirmation of another solid analysis, WE. As always.
Thanks, Rud, your contributions are always worthwhile. I’ve added a link in your comment that goes to your post so folks can read some more hard truths about wind energy.
Best to you and your good lady,
Hywind is getting a lot more than $0.25/kWh for its electricity. It is on the ROC scheme, and entitled to 3.5 ROCs per MWh generated, on top of the market price of electricity. In the most recent year for which ROC values are finalised that was worth £202.44/MWh up front. The result looks like this in comparison with other wind generator revenues and market prices:
YIKES! It gets worse.
In human terms it’s much, much worse. Between the original Covid strain which was so badly mishandled tens of thousands of the elderly died unnecessarily, the alarming excess death of younger community members from the ‘vaccinations’, and the inevitable increase in excess winter deaths as people simply can’t afford the horrendous energy bills even after the government subsidies, things are grim in the UK.
Exxon and Shell are threatening to pull out of the North Sea because of the windfall tax Jeremy Hunt (our Chancellor of the Exchequer) has imposed on them, but they were forced to endure the cost of having to pay to get rid of their oil a few years ago.
New nuclear was stopped by our Cameron/Clegg government several years ago (Clegg is now working for Facebook) because it wouldn’t be ready until 2021, and fracking has been stymied by green groups because, amongst other ridiculous reasons, it won’t be producing for another five years.
Russia has nothing to do with this directly as the UK barely imported any oil or gas from them.
We had a cold spell shortly before Christmas, down to about -14ºC in Braemar (Scotland) I believe, but touched -6ºC in the SE of England during which time wind was providing roughly 10% of our electricity for about a week. Today it’s a mild 10ºC and wind is at at 41% and I saw it at over 50% a few days ago, so when we need it we can’t get it and were there ever excess we can’t store it.
The consolation, I guess, is that Germany is in a worse state than we are.
How can you possibly forget that on 2nd November 2022 wind supplied a record 20.9GW of power to the UK and it lasted for all of 30 minutes (12pm to 12.30pm) 🙂
Now forgettable and eclipsed by 20.918GW from 18:00 to 18:30 on 30th December. A HUGE advance!
According to the Betz Limit theory:
If they are claiming a 54% capacity factor, there would have had to have been very little variation in wind speed over the 5 years to average this performance, with little downtime due to either too low or too high wind speeds (and a couple of hurricanes according to one article).
John, the nameplate capacity is a number that’s just picked by the manufacturer. If they pick a low number, their capacity factor will look good. See Capacity Factor and Nameplate Rating Explained for a good discussion.
Looking at that link to the model of turbine, I found they have another model, the SWT-7.0-154. which has the same dimensions, etc as the 6.0.
From the website:
“Compared to a new product introduction, staying within the SWT-6.0-154 design envelope means the 7 MW can provide a smooth transition for future projects”.
The cynic in me can’t help wondering whether the extraordinary capacity factors reported by Highwind might be due to a mis-labelling of the turbines…..
There is also the point that these nameplate capacities cannot be tested in the same way as conventional thermal plant so, as Willis says, they are just a number.
Since the maximum generator output applies over a wide span of wind speeds it can certainly be tested and measured (and it’s about what the generator can achieve anyway). There are minor variations as the controls adjust the feathering of the blades as the wind gusts, but these are remarkably small. If you look at the output of a wind farm at say 5 minute resolution on a windy day it varies by as little as under 1%.
There are complicating factors at below maximum output, and indeed on when the maximum is achieved, as the energy in the wind depends on air density and the cube of wind speed. Air density depends on temperature and pressure (via P/RT=n/V as a rearrangement of the gas equation PV=nRT) and water vapour content (increases reduce the average molecular weight of air).
I was thinking of testing conventional plant where output, etc can be varied at will. As you say, it’s the other way round with wind but, over time, the production range will be covered.
Thanks Willis. How stupid of me to assume that an advertised power rating was based on real performance data.
The maximum capacity of a wind turbine is determined by the capacity of the generator. That means that once it hits generator capacity it becomes less and less efficient at converting the energy in the wind passing through its blade swept area. The Hywind turbines are optimised for the stronger winds it usually encounters in its favourable location off Peterhead. They are 6MW models. This is a quite typical efficiency performance curve of a generic turbine. For these turbines, shift the curve somewhat to the right, and double the output values.
The turbines at Hywind are these ones:
They have a cut in wind speed of 4 m/sec, so are useless in slight winds, a rated speed (i.e. when they attain 6MW of output) of 13 m/sec and a cut out speed of 25m/sec.
you are comparing two very different things. The Hywind project is basically an experimental prototype designed to see how feasible floating wind turbines are. In contrast gas fired turbines have been tested and optimised for decades so it is not surprising that that the electricity they generate is cheaper. However the cost of floating turbines should come down as people learn how to build them.
In contrast looking ahead with the latest contract for differences auction in the UK
government secured 11 GWs of off-shore wind power at 48 pounds per MWh which is 9 times cheaper than current cost of gas-fired power stations. See
Izaak, you are conflating the auction price with the consumer-subsidized price that the wind farms actually receive. As far as I can determine, not one wind power plant on or offshore is actually selling energy at the auction price. If you have actual figures for such a plant, not green fantasy auction prices but the price actually paid for the electricity, now would be the time to link to them.
Bloomberg has an entire July 2022 article on the scam entitled “UK Plans to Stop Taxpayer-Funded Wind Farms From Gaming the System“. Note for starters that the Wind Farms are taxpayer-funded … no surprise there, the taxpayer always takes it in the shorts. From the article.
There are some more real numbers here and here and here. Sorry, my friend, but you’ve been lied to …
You are falling for several fallacies. Firstly, the prices bid are in 2012 money, and are subject to inflation indexation. When we get the official current indexed prices, which the Low Carbon Contracts Company tell me won’t be until end March they are likely to be at least 30% higher. Secondly, you are quoting prices for fixed offshore wind, not floating offshore wind. The only floating wind project awarded a CFD is this one:
which has a CFD valued at £87.30/MWh in 2012 prices. It also has a lot of existing infrastructure from failed projects for wave energy which will allow it to save on costs.
Next, you have fallen for the “nine times cheaper” fallacy. That was based on a market spike price for gas in Europe after Gazprom shut the Nordstream lines (and weeks before the pipeline sabotage). The capital cost of CCGT power is very low – around a quarter of that for offshore wind, and it can expect a much longer life. The cost is in the fuel. At the time of the price spike in Europe, gas cost nine times less in the US. That is, production costs were even lower. Now, with mild weather we have a gas price of around £50/MWh in the UK, capable of generating power for £100/MWh. Not quite as low as before gas supply became tight – the result of concerted attempts by greens to limit production with no new fields developed last year in the UKCS, and under investment in other areas – but there is no reason other than green taxes and policies why gas fired power shouldn’t return to the low stable prices we had seen previously since the unwinding of the Fukushima demand spike.
The final fallacy is assuming that these CFD prices will apply. The government wrote the contracts in such a way as wind farms do not need to operate under the CFD financial terms unless they choose to do so. Indeed, all the most recent CFD funded wind farms (Moray East,Hornsea 2, the last phase of Triton Knoll) are ignoring their CFDs and making much better money from market prices (see the chart I posted on wind farm revenues). For the next round the government is considering making taking up the CFD compulsory. That may result in few bids, and certainly much higher prices. The whole thing is in any case likely to become academic as the government moves towards its next electricity market paradigm under the REMA project, which will likely mean that historic contracts end up being bought out at great expense to consumers.
Is it not the case that Moray East made an extra £500m in its first 12 months of operation by delaying its CfD?
When it comes to generating nonsense, you are getting better and better all the time.
There is absolutely nothing experimental about Hywind. They’ve been making wind turbines for hundreds of years and there is little left to learn.
Yes, this is the first floating offshore facility, but so what? There is nothing new or revolutionary about either the generators or the blades.
You really shouldn’t work so hard to embarrass yourself. You can do so with much less effort.
You complaining claiming …
you are comparing two very different things. …
In contrast looking ahead with the latest contract for differences auction in the UK
government secured 11 GWs of off-shore wind power at 48 pounds per MWh ….”
… is the height of irony, and a classic straw man fallacy.
Hywind does not receive CfDs, it receives Renewanles Obligations Certificates (ROCs). And at the rate of 3.5 ROCs per MWh, until 2038. A ROC is worth over £50.00
ROC-year (Aug) 2021/2022 Hywind’s owners received 447,572 ROCs which at £50/ROC = £22,378,600 subsidy ON TOP OF THE PRICES THEY RECIEVED FOR THE ELECTRICITY THEY SOLD [at around (another) £50/MWh]
BTW – Wind capacity owners are not obliged to sell at the low CfD price. They merely renege on or postpone accepting the ‘contract’.
I should also refer you to the chart I posted showing what is really being paid for wind power in the UK. Since at least 2016 it has never been below £100/MWh, and more recently it has been averaging over £200/MWh. A far cry from notional prices in 2012 money for windfarms that have yet to be built. In fact in August when the price spike occurred the average proceeds from wind were about the same as from CCGT at around £375/MWh. Not a factor of 9 different.
Wind Europe say there is a worldwide shortage of the three types of vessels required to build offshore wind facilities and this is exacerbated by the fact the turbines are getting bigger faster than the vessels and by the huge number of offshore developments in the pipeline. This suggests the costs of building such facilities will increase in future not decrease.
Wind and solar power systems will always be WOMBATs: Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.
Trying to alleviate their biggest failing, their inherently intermittent nature, is just wasting more money. Build nuke plants if you want power production without producing carbon dioxide.
I think you slipped a button on the calculator. 30MW capacity x8760 hours is 262.8GWh, at 54% is 141.9 GWh generated. See the table of annual production I posted by way of cross-check. The latest financial year subsidy was worth £25.9m (£202.44/MWh x 127.8GWh). Probably average $/£ around $1.32 back then.
You are correct. I left out the capacity factor. I’ve corrected the figures in question. Much appreciated. The best part of writing for the web is that my errors rarely last more than a day.
You may want to check your math. At 30 MW, 263GWh yearly would be a 100% duty cycle.
Willis. I’m worrited about your EV neighbors. Maybe you could sell Honda power to them. Just come over and plug in, sports fans.
Uh! Only the freezer if there is ice cream in it. 🧑🎄
What I find quite staggering about wind power is the sheer engineering inefficiency of a cantilevered structure, located in a remote land site let alone offshore, designed for extreme conditions to avoid total structural collapse and according built like the proverbial brick outhouse with reinforcing but set to trip out at only a fraction of the xetrem conditions let alone the reality of periods of zero to negligible wind.
I mean it is such an obvious set of business case hurdles to evaluate and assess that it is little wonder the vested interests lobby wimp minded government directy and via various aagents (IPCC. contrived authorities and committees, media, banks etc) to get the numbers into the black (prima facie assuming all the supporting farces align with the will of Gaia’s loyal followers).
I live in SW Victoria, Oz and there are heaps of wind farms in the broader area. Typically I see about 1/3 to 1/2 sloooowly rotating while the others are stationary. ASsomeone from the commercial marine industry I cannot for the life of me see whay you would put one of these white elephants offshore where the build, installation, connection and servicing costs go up by a factor of two to ten. Just nuts.
As a man who has spent a good chunk of his life at sea, like you I am amazed at the idea of these things. First, the ocean environment is extremely corrosive, due to the sea water and salt spray. Next, it costs big bucks just to get out to the site. And the floating ones will be bobbing around, so you have to capture and stabilize with some huge barge to do any maintenance.
From the link in my comment above to Wind Power Economics – Rhetoric and Reality, here are the annual operating expenses (opex) for both onshore and offshore wind installations.
Big bucks … for the Hywind project at 30 MW in year five, their estimate is £7.2 million in opex, which is US$8.9 megabucks. That works out, including the capacity factor, to $0.06 per kWh … which is more than the price to the grid (not the customer) of combined-cycle gas power or coal power.
And that’s just opex, which is maintenance alone. It doesn’t include capex, the capital cost of the turbines.
And it’s going up every year, by year 10 it will be 50% more. At that point the opex alone will be about the US consumer electricity cost.
As a long-time sailor I know a few ancient oceanic aphorisms, and one of them is:
True ‘dat …
I am from the commercial maritime industry, workboats, ferries, barges etc, i.e. floating vessels that are built and operated to make money so your annual costs are most interesting and look like a pretty brutal reality check to me, not that the climatossophists are interested in reality.
Regarding yachts, I do not have the sea miles under my belt that you do but do recall any number of owners I have sailed with referring to their toys as holes in the ocean into which they pour money. It is one thing to have expensive money consuming toys but quite another the have capital expensive, money consuming, loss making businesses. For one they cannot just break even let alone underwrite the toys.
Yes, Bear, if the capital expensive, money consuming, loss making businesses, (aka toys for Government Employees,) didn’t get subsidies they wouldn’t be there in the first place. What annoys me is that the subsidies are coming out of my pocket.
They fail far more regularly than is reported. It is impossible to design against vertical stress and this is the situation when large blades are feathered with the wind speed above 55 m.p.h. It is the downbursts under severe thunderstorms and the sudden 180 degree wind changes that occur with the passage of frontal thunderstorms that damage and destroy gear boxes and bearings. No wind turbine blades could be guaranteed to stay in balance after a short time installed, because of all the types of damage that can occur from ice, lightning, flying debri, blade sag etc.
When it is realized that all aircraft propellers have to be to rebalanced and inspected after 2000 hours, this is never done with wind turbines. I have seen from the air 21 out of 28 wind turbines stationary in a 25 knot wind to the south west of Port Augusta in South Australia and in other parts of the country. They are indeed a scam
The SA gulf areas would have to be some of the most prospective wind energy areas in Oz and 25 – 30 knots is just a normal day for much of the year be it from a SW frontal system or just the local sea breeze. 75% shut down in what are pretty much optimal generating conditions is pretty crazy stuff. I must say my engineering instinct is that such long slender blades, while they are theoretically uber efficient say in a wind tunnel at test scale, are clearly vulnerable in the real wind world. That accords with the grotesquely inefficient cantilever support infrastructure. I suppose subsidies can cure all sorts of practical considerations.
The cost of increased variability is borne by coal, nuclear, gas and transmission , driving up the relative price. The system is also engineered to ignore risk to help accommodate the addition of renewables to the grid. The addition of renewables is preferred over maintenance of baseload and load following power generation, increasing risk and grid transmission /management cost. As renewables are added and manageable generation is taken offline, the increasing costs are born by a smaller and smaller pool of controllable generation. The relative price increases drive more shutdowns of reliable generation. It’s a vicious positive feedback loop.
We also need to make our natural gas system much more flexible. Natural gas distribution should be more adaptable with a large capacity range operated at the low end & easily rerouted. Natural gas should be used for load following & minimally for baseload.
Delivery system should be highly flexible and proven. Excess capacity constantly tested and exported when not needed.
Putting all our eggs in the natural gas basket is dangerous. Natural gas should be used for heat and variability. Relying on it also for baseload is risky. It will not always be cheap.
Whenever a wind post appears I like to have a look at what is happening near me.
Here is the 5-minute interval (by week) chart:
The thermal and nuclear hardly vary this week. Wind bounced off the bottom for a few hours. Hydro does the balancing.
Snowpack is good, so 2023 is in fine shape regardless of what wind does.
Wanted to share this comment/quote I stole from somewhere
“They said to follow the science, and it simply wasn’t there. So I followed the money, and there I found the science.”
Nothing says climate alarmism like that does
For those not familiar with Sweet Fanny Adams. It refers to a gruesome child murder of the mid 19th century.
Fanny was out playing with her sister and friend, a man persuaded her to go with him and gave the others money for sweets. Not long after her head was found, then a search revealed many parts of her scattered round the area.. The killer was found fairly quickly.
The use of the phrase Sweet Fanny Adams was first used by naval ratings about their tinned meat rations. It gradually entered common usage.
So poor Fanny is remembered although the story has been forgotten by most.
I heard the story on the BBC radio in the days when it was worth listening to, 1960 something
I can’t wrap my head around floating wind turbines.
(context…retired Asset Integrity engineer for large IOC)
So we have this large rotating mass…very carefully balanced …. At the top of a very tall tower…..and then we make it sway……..
Sounds like a recipe for some very interesting dynamic loads…..
Norwegian group Equinor are building the world’s largest floating wind farm, Hywind Tampen, off the coast of Norway and was on track to install 7 of 11 turbines by the end of 2022. Ironically the turbines will provide power to Norway’s offshore oil and gas platforms 🙂
windmill crash in the polder ……
Just imagine what $5 trillion dollars would have done if left in the hands of the f-ing people the earned it in the first place.
To see how effective wind & solar are, check out any grid generation real time website
Any politician with half an ounce of sense should look at this real time & historic data and conclude – wind & solar are a waste of taxpayer money, we are conning and impoverishing our electorate, we are making a few landowners & suppliers very rich, no one with decency, honesty & integrity could with any shred of belief, force these useless things on our planet
The father of ex UK PM David Cameron’s wife earns £500,000 pa rent from the two wind farms on his estate.
Ahh, I detect a flaw in your argument
Willis said: “In the US, the average electricity price to the consumer is on the order of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.”
This is not correct. Here in the free state of Florida, my annual average for 2022 was $0.139/kWh and my average consumption was 726 kWh/month. And it is much higher in other states as per the following:
And the US average is $0.1609/kWh:
Thanks, D. Per the EIA, the average US cost is 11.1¢ per kWh. This is a bit higher than I had remembered, due to both the penetration of expensive renewables and the rising cost of gas.
The problem is large states like California with big renewable costs. Price here is 19.65¢/kWh. Half of the states have electricity costs under 10¢/kWh.
w. ==> Of course, drought (little rain) followed by “too much rain” followed by drought followed by too much rain …. that is California’s climate — always been.
REPLACE A GRID THAT WORKED AND WAS ALMOST 99% RELIABLE, WITH UNRELIABLE SOURCES OF POWER?
Who does that?
You would think we put Communist China in charge of the U.S. energy sector, and they wanted to sabotage our manufacturing sector.
w. ==> The media, even here in New York, is all agog at disaster in California from the river of rain and cyclone bomb.
Can you give us a more disinterested view of what is actually happening north of Santa Cruz or Big Sur?
Last time I was in California during a Pineapple Express, Carpenteria (south of Santa Barbara) was being washed into the sea and students from UCSB and UCLA were there in mobs trying to sandbag newly created raging rivers pouring down the coastal hills. Officials has redirected all the water and mud into the Hispanic neighborhoods to save the car dealerships along the highway — a group of us commandeered a truckload of sandbags and re-re-directed the flow down the main street/highway where is could spread out harmlessly and get to the sea then showed the people in the barrios how to unclog the street drains and save their houses. We did have to hightail it out of town after that….some press called is sabotage.
Funny story, Kip, thanks. No clue what’s happening down south. Here on the north coast hills above San Francisco the wind is the major cause of damage—downed power lines (we’re still out of power here), trees across the roads, and tragically, a toddler killed in a double-wide mobile home when a redwood fell on it.
Around here the lowlands flood, there are a number of roads shut by flooding.
I’m headed to town later (Sebastopol, from Occidental where I live), so I’ll know a bit more in a while.
This is no secret in the UK. We pay a ‘green Levy’ on energy bills to subsidise ‘renewable energy’. Then the government ‘give us money’ (actually taxpayers money) to help pay our bills. Here’s a crazy solution – stop the green levy, that simple act would reduce our energy bills.
But no, much better to charge energy users a premium, give it to electricity providers then use tax money to give us our money back! Confused, I am.
Texas data shows that not only is wind intermittent, it also tends to produce during periods of low demand – specifically, around midnight.
54% capacity factor sounds great, but not if half of that is during low demand periods – and is intermittent nonetheless on week and month duration on a regular basis.
In the UK, the diurnal variation in wind output on average is fairly small: a good chunk is offshore. That does mean a tendency to overproduce at night when demand is low, and underproduce during evening rush hour when demand is maximal. The times of day and night when wind is stronger do vary across geographies and climates.
This study of onshore wind in the Netherlands shows the seasonal variations as well as variations by altitude. Turbine hub heights are now trending up beyond 100m. The windiest months of winter show relatively little diurnal variation at those levels, but lower wind speeds in summer are also more variable and lowest around dawn.