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May 15, 2008

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Fifi

Holy [blip]!

$3.8 for 500 MW? That's $3.6M per nameplate MW and, at a 30% capacity factor typical for off-shore turbines, that's $12M per actual MW...

Ouchhh!

Will

How does the cost compare to Nuclear, if de-commissioning and waste storage are taken into account?

Also, the turbines are rated for about 20 years, but presumably the monopiles will last a lot longer? In which case, I take it that future upgrades would be less expensive?

Clee

Still at half the size of a typical power plant, this is not that big a plant.

At 500 MW it may be half the size of a typical nuclear power plant, but looking at
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat2p2.html
and dividing name plate capacity by number of generators, the average coal plant is 225 MW, Petroleum 17 MW, Natural Gas 81 MW, Hydropower 19 MW, Total 64 MW. That makes 500 MW look pretty big.

Bob Wallace

Recent estimates by Florida Power and Light (thinking about two new reactors at Turkey Point) told a total cost of $3,108 to $4,540 per kW.

Adding in financing brought the range to $5,780 to $8,071 per kW.

I don't see any sign that their numbers include decommissioning and waste storage costs.

JohnBo

Clee, I think you have generator size confused with plant size. Plants have multiple generators.

Just looking at coal, a coal fired generator operates at full nameplate capacity where the wind machines will get at best 30% to 40% of nameplate capacity. The energy produced by this "500MW" wind plant will be lucky to provide 15% of that produced by even a small coal plant.

This wind farm is extremely expensive for the energy it will produce. It will also be extremely expensive to maintain and to upgrade. Looks like a big looser financed by taxing people. Oh well... it is better than spending money on the foolish space program like some other governments do. :)

JohnBo

If I did the numbers correctly it looks like the wind plant installed cost is about $12,000 per kW (taking the 30% efficiency in to account). This is only the cost of construction by Fluor which may or may not include generator costs as mentioned above.

This makes this wind farm cost about twice that of the Florida Turkey Point nuclear plant Bob mentioned. I'm sure the nuclear plant will be much lower cost to maintain and fuel, compared to the wind plant maintenance. Can you imagine keeping 140 wind machines running off shore? :-)

Will

It does seem expensive.

But it would still be good to know whether the roughly $7000 cost of the mentioned Nuclear Plant included the full cost of decommissioning and waste storage. I know modern nuclear plants are designed with decomissioning in mind, and so it's cheaper than for old plants, but I'd still like to know a good independent ball-park cost.

DaveMart

Fuller figures here:
http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSL1483748320080514?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews&sp=true
As can be seen, just for the equipment the cost is $3bn, and you would actually get around the equivalent of a 150MW coal or nuclear plant for that - the wind does not blow all of the time.
At a capacity of 30% which the Government expects for off-shore wind that is a staggering $20m/MW, £10/MWand it is a third higher than the already huge projected cost of the planned 33GW offshore build to £66bn, bringing it up to £99bn, and that does not include the connection costs, high off-shore maintenance or back-up and storage needed.

Just as I feared, this increase is nearly as bad as the recent projected rises in the costs of nuclear builds, which is estimated at £4.8bn for a 1.6GW reactor:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/utilitie...
Nuclear reactors will cost twice estimate, says E.ON chief - Times Online

If you take around 1.4GW per hour as average output, that would cost around $6.5m/MW, £3.2/MW

The money that has to be set aside for decomissioning is £0.50/MWh, or just over £6million a year for the 1.6GW reactor shown here.
I don't have figures to hand for the cost of storing waste, but as a percentage of costs it is miniscule - most of the storage currently taking place is associated with the weapons industry, and modern reactors produce far less than earlier ones.

This offshore build is crazy,

DaveMart

My links did not show up correctly - I'll have another go:
http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/
idUSL1483748320080514?feedType=RSS
&feedName=environmentNews&sp=true

And:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/
industry_sectors/utilities/article3872870.ece

You'll have to copy and paste,as the formatting here kills it.

I meant to add that the only purpose of this wind farm is to devour government subsidies.

Thomas Pedersen

Putting 500 MW wind power in one spot (albeit a big spot) is a suboptimal option. They would be better off to disperse the wind turbines geographically in order to smear out local variations in wind. These local variations are much larger than variation in country-wide average wind.

Big wind farms give big headlines, but greater dispersion is better for energy security!

JohnBo

Hi Will,

In the US all power produced by nuclear is taxed per kWhr to handle waste disposal. Even with this tax, power from nuclear is less expensive than all other sources except hydro electric. Of course the US government manages to waste most of this tax money. :-) I don't know how the UK handles waste management.

This spent fuel is going to be a gold mine in the future for powering new generation reactors.

bigTom

Thomas: I doubt dispersed offshore makes sense, as the cost of the power cables, and maintainance facilities need to be shared among many turbines. Cost wise this thing would only be justified if the experience gained was likely to lead to major cost reductions for the next project.

DaveMart

They are planning to disperse them by building numerous other wind farms.

As I stated in my other posts, for a net input of around 10GW from a 33GW installation, they are going to pay around £99bn, plus connection, back-up and storage.

Insanity.

Tom

While this is all well and good, I don't think we're ever going to see these types of projects in the US either offshore or on shore.

US DOE just released their 20% Wind Energy in 2030 and predicts that wind could supply 20 percent of US electricity needs by 2030. So what's holding us up? Not the wind industry, but simply the inability to build high voltage power lines across State lines to get the power to places like NYC, etc.

Instead of praying and hoping that things will change (no large interstate lines have been build in the last 25 years), try focusing on building wind and other renewable where the electric load is--- in the urban areas.

City roof tops are out of side and out of mind, so wind energy and solar could be deployed their (see http://www.millennialliving.com/content/roof-top-wind-energy). There would be challenges for sure, but they would pale with the histrionics associated with siting 600 mile 500-kV power lines across state lines.

Gregor

Do any of these wind plants have an impact on bird life? Are they out far enough that it won't be killing birds at a high rate or is that even a problem? I read somewhere that this is a problem with wind generators. Anybody have any stats or solutions on this?

Reality Czech
If I did the numbers correctly it looks like the wind plant installed cost is about $12,000 per kW (taking the 30% efficiency in to account). This is only the cost of construction by Fluor which may or may not include generator costs as mentioned above.

This makes this wind farm cost about twice that of the Florida Turkey Point nuclear plant Bob mentioned.

Different countries.

It might easily cost twice as much to build a nuclear plant in the UK, if you could build it at all. There are also much greater uncertainty risks in a 10-year project than a 24-month project. The UK will need the power long before nukes could be completed, and off-shore wind is going to be cheaper than blackouts.

fjh

A wind farm has been proposed for off shore Maine...lots of wind; probably same costs and power output + transmission costs over 20m. underwater and on shore grid ties.

There is a sneaking suspicion that should the farm 'fail', the platforms/site lease could be converted into drilling platforms for gas exploration, esp. if public money is at risk.

Am I being paranoid; but the former governor proposing the farm made his fortune selling hydro sites.....so it's not the modality, but the site which is most important.

Steven Earl Salmony

No time like the present for needed change........

Is the tiptop of the human construction we call the global political economy a place from which leadership can gain a reality-oriented view of what is happening on the surface of the Earth? Perhaps those of us at the top of the global economic pyramid are living in a secluded, unmaintainable material world of our own making and are willfully refusing to accept the limitations of the natural world in which the rest of the family of humanity lives.

If it turns out that the conspicuous consumption and relentless hoarding of the rich, the famous and the powerful are evidence of unsustainable lifestyles, what is the human community to do differently? Perhaps necessary change is in the offing.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001

Cyril R.

Ah, the base load fallacy proliferates. Silly creatures!

Samantha

If you'd like to learn more about wind energy development, you should attend the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street (www.REFFWallStreet.com), held June 18-19 in New York City. One of the official event sessions will feature representatives from GE, NordBank, and JPMorgan in a discussion about the future of the wind energy, as well as the economic and political factors fueling growth and development.

Canucklehead

How secure would these facilities be? I suspect there is a need for a significant maintenance effort to protect/monitor the space around these windmills.

Kit P

You have been duped. There is an interesting symbiotic relationship between natural gas and wind power. It would take Fluor less than a year to throw together a 2000MWe CCGT plant.

“US DOE just released their 20% Wind Energy in 2030 and predicts that wind could supply 20 percent of US electricity needs by 2030.”

DOE made no such prediction although it was widely reported that way by those with poor reading skills. Every prediction I have seen says that wind and solar will will remain an insignificant source of electricity.

The last 10 years has seen an incredible building boom in wind generation with the US retaking the lead that we had in the 80s. The net result is wind supplies a whooping 0.8% of US generation while gas is now at 21%. When the boom of 'clean' NG and wind started NG varied between $1.50 and $2.50 per MMBTU.

Would would you call someone who plan to reduce AGW results in increasing fossil fuel use 10% and renewable energy 0.4%?

Bob Wallace

"Do any of these wind plants have an impact on bird life? Are they out far enough that it won't be killing birds at a high rate or is that even a problem? I read somewhere that this is a problem with wind generators. Anybody have any stats or solutions on this?"

One of the first US farms, Altamont (just east of San Francisco) had a very bad problem with bird kills.

One of the problems was that they used 'grid' towers rather than monopods and those towers provided excellent landing spots for raptors.

When the hawks, etc. would spot some game on the ground they would launch and frequently smash into the rotor.

The grids (I think) are totally gone. And I think there was a change in rotational speed which has helped.

In general, there are no significant bird kill problems. Design and siting away from migration paths have fixed the problem.

I believe there is one wind farm somewhere back east that has to be shut down at night for a few weeks when bats are mating or holding their annual convention/whatever.

Here's a site with data. (Think less than 2 birds per tower per year on average.)

http://www.awea.org/faq/sagrillo/swbirds.html

Bob Wallace

"How secure would these facilities be? I suspect there is a need for a significant maintenance effort to protect/monitor the space around these windmills."

From what?

They'll be on the navigational charts which are updated every year. Just sail around them like one would do an island.

Afraid someone it going out in a row boat and saw a few down?

Bob Wallace

"It might easily cost twice as much to build a nuclear plant in the UK, if you could build it at all.

There are also much greater uncertainty risks in a 10-year project than a 24-month project. The UK will need the power long before nukes could be completed, and off-shore wind is going to be cheaper than blackouts."

There's also a looming problem for new nuclear - solar.

As the price of new PV and thermal continue to drop the rate of building new solar farms is likely to increase. And that electricity is going to be sold into the peak hour market, leaving nuclear to try to profit off lower off-peak rates.

Bob Wallace

People can crunch the numbers and state that wind doesn't make financial sense.

But why do we see over 30 countries with significant wind generation and generous private money being invested?

Could it be that there's a problem with the local or national/private number crunchers?

Or could it be that those countries/people investing in wind are seeing some upcoming change such as emission cost for coal which will increase the wholesale of electricity?

Or is it that 30+ countries and T. Boone Pickens are crazy?

Harvey D

KitP

Our local installed electric energy is currently about 96% Hydro, 2% Nuclear and 2% Wind. Contracts have recently been given to raise Wind power to 10% by 2012/13. Another 10% will be done between 2012/13 and 2020 even if Wind Power is about 10 cents/KWh instead of about 4 cents/Kwh for added Hydro.

Financially speaking, adding that much Wind Power may sound foolish, but since Hydro Power is not considered green enough by our US customers, we have no choice if we want to export more electricity.

DaveMart

PV cheaper than nuclear in the UK?
Do be serious. Solar is an excellent resource in hot areas, and will contribute substantially to world energy supplies.
In northern areas though with the exception of residential solar thermal for hot water it is ludicrous to put money into solar PV, as you get so little power in winter.
A very expensive 5kw set-up will only generate an average of 150wats per hour during Dec, Jan and Feb - and that is if you are very lucky.
As for yours, or whoevers it was comment that it might easily cost twice as much to build a nuclear plant as off-shore wind in the UK, that is just innumerate.
I have documented and referenced the relative costs elsewhere in this thread, and nuclear is several times cheaper.

bigTom

The bird problem is greatly reduced for larger turbines. Even though these large blades can have high velocity, the rotation rate is pretty slow, which makes the prediction of their motion a lot easier, so they can be avoided. I don't see solar as much of a threat to nuclear. A lot of solar might reduce peak power rates. But if solar really becomes that cheap, then nighttime, and bad weather power becomes premium priced power. Yes, I am assuming that nuclear is cheaper than stored solar! It is only the intermediate solar buildout phase that is awkward for nuclear.

Bob Wallace

"In northern areas though with the exception of residential solar thermal for hot water it is ludicrous to put money into solar PV, as you get so little power in winter."

Could be we've got some ludicrous neighbors up in Canada.

Or perhaps they crunched the numbers and decided that there's payback in the summer when they've got heat generated loads.

Just trying to guess what's going on. I just keep having problems with the "crazy idea" type analysis offered by individuals when I see major installations happening all over the world.

People must be doing the math differently.

(You know that all these government agencies have had lobbyists from the nuclear agencies all over them during the decision making process. If there's something wrong with their analysis it must have been shouted into their ear many, many times.)

Kit P


“Our local installed electric energy ...”

Sorry Harvey that line of reasoning may work with others. Your local power plant is the 1100 MWe Centralia coal plant operated by TransAlta, plus assorted gas fired plants. The wind and nuclear are generated several hundred miles away. Your hydro does not provide electricity when you need it the most. There is an interesting property of water in winter.

“There are also much greater uncertainty risks in a 10-year project than a 24-month project.”

If you ignore the development phase of wind.

There is a fundamental reason that wind and solar are insignificant sources of electricity, they are not very good ways of making electricity. That does not mean we should not get part of energy from these sources.

For those who are interested in AGW you may want to consider real solutions and not 1% solutions fostered on the public to give the appearance of doing something.

Kit P

“when I see major installations happening all over the world”

No Bob Wallace is not seeing major installations for making electricity. He is reading press releases and failing to do any kind of mathematical analysis at all.

It is easy Bob. How much electricity is produced. Divide this number by the total amount of electricity is produced.

Bob Wallace

"Yes, I am assuming that nuclear is cheaper than stored solar! It is only the intermediate solar buildout phase that is awkward for nuclear."

I don't understand the last "build out" part.

Educate me please.

Will

"There's also a looming problem for new nuclear - solar.

As the price of new PV and thermal continue to drop the rate of building new solar farms is likely to increase. And that electricity is going to be sold into the peak hour market, leaving nuclear to try to profit off lower off-peak rates."

That might be true in the US, where peak power is needed most in the summer when people are returning from work and pumping up the air-con, but in the UK, the highest peaks are (I believe) in the winter, when it is cold and gets dark at 4.30pm. So solar, in the UK, is not going to hit the best 'peak' spots. Wind is probably more likely to (and there's a prototype vanadium battery wind energy storage facility being tested in Ireland that would make this even more likely).

DaveMart

Quote:"In northern areas though with the exception of residential solar thermal for hot water it is ludicrous to put money into solar PV, as you get so little power in winter."

Could be we've got some ludicrous neighbors up in Canada.

Or perhaps they crunched the numbers and decided that there's payback in the summer when they've got heat generated loads.End Quote

Yeah, It's called a stonking great subsidy, just the way they do it in Germany.
When are people going to understand that when it is cold and dark several months of the year you don't go to a power source that needs sunshine?
Wishful thinking doesn't change physics.

Thomas Pedersen

In America, Canada is regarded as far north, but the border between USA and Canada runs on the same latitude as Paris (France), which is regarded as far south to us in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland).

Southern Canada should have ample solar resources provided it's not too overcast.

Anyway, building wind is an excellent idea when you have lots of hydro. They supplement each other perfectly and wind power has less environmental drawbacks. It is also easier to increase incrementally.

About the economics of wind and solar; some people/governments take other factors into account than just 'lowest possible cost per kWh'. There is a lot of 'collateral damage' from fossil and nuclear beyond the killing of a few birds (Danish studies have shown that nearly all species fly around wind farms without a hitch. The real bird killers are large plate glas windows!). Generally, running costs (of coal power) are higher in Europe because of higher wages and stricter air pollution requirements. At the same time, there is greater availability of financing for long term, low yeild investments. This significantly shifts the balance in favor wind power. Fuel is also more expensive.

Dispersion of wind turbines is obviously difficult/expensive off-shore. But on-shore it is worth striving for, not necessarily as a single investor, but for society! It will lead to lower cost and better security of supply. Plus it is easy to accomplish :-)

Kitp: Just because USA is far behind on the fraction of power coming from wind does not mean it has to stay that way forever. Several regions in Europe (Denmark is one of those regions) are getting double digit percentages from wind (power, not energy).

Bob Wallace

"So solar, in the UK, is not going to hit the best 'peak' spots. Wind is probably more likely to (and there's a prototype vanadium battery wind energy storage facility being tested in Ireland that would make this even more likely)."

I suspect that governments and large private money accounts are looking not only at today's cost/profits, but what is likely in the near future.

One of the things that I suspect is coming for Europe is a unifying HVDC grid. It will tie together Europe and North Africa into one big electrical system moving power from one part of the regional area to another in a very efficient manner.

When it is operating I would suspect no country would like to be in the position where they buy all/most of their electricity from outside their boarders. (Look how we're messed up with petroleum in the US.)

England might not have much sun, but they might be able to sell large amounts of wind-electricity to the grid and buy solar from Spain and Algeria when needed.

Kit P

Thomas, good for Denmark. Did you know that the US is behind in many countries in the husbandry of Camels and Yak. You do know that the United States is not Denmark.

France also has a higher mix of nuclear than the US. It is not because the French are better at running nuke plants. It is because France used up all their coal.

The reason wind will never be a significant energy source in the US has nothing to do with nukes or coal. If the US was North Dakota, maybe it would be different. However, the US is a huge industrial and AG producer. Wind and solar just will not get the job done.

Kit P

“and buy solar from Spain”

It sounds like BoB W has never lived in Spain in the Winter.

Tuan

I do not know how some of you arrived at such low efficiency for wind turbines. Maybe those are for old old turbines 20 years ago. The technical term for wind turbines efficiency is capacity factors (CF) which is the ratio of actual generated kW/hr per yr delivered divided by rated non-stop kW/hr per yr of a wind turbine. And the avg CF of new turbines at Class 4 (avg wind speed ~7.5 m/s) wind site is 0.33. In 2000, CF of 0.37 and 0.36 were obtained for wind farms in Big Spring, Texas and Springview, Nebraska, respectively.
Operating the wind farms offshore you guarantee higher air density thus greater potential for higher avg wind speed (i.e. greater than Class 4 rate) and higher CF.
Also, putting large scale wind turbines on top of buildings is a bad idea. An operating wind turbine would add a great deal of vibration to the building due to tremendous rotating power.

Lauren

I have to agree with DaveMart above... we need to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to wind power. Even if the DOE hasn't made the claim that 20% of our energy will be met by wind by 2030. The reason wind power isn't powering the country is a lack of infrastructure to harness the power. It makes way more sense to invest in this type of infrastructure than it does invest in say... new coal fired power plants like the one proposed in Wise County, VA. Why is there any investment in a dying costly source of energy?

larryhagedon

We need to keep supporting these efforts. They make a great contribution to our knowledge base.

They may be soon passed by with newer second generatrion technology, but that is the price of innovation.

Replacing the oil monopoly is too iportatnt today to not make the plunge.

larryhagedon
American Flex Fuel Experience.
AmericanFFE-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

larryhagedon

We are getting there. This is no demonstration pilot plant, this is the real thing. Look out oil monopoly, we are replacing you.

larryhagedon
American Flex Fuel Experience.
AmericanFFE-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Alice

This project may not need to take up 'all the governments funds.' Here is an article from Mott MacDonald in www.bwae.com:

'On 21 December 2007, Q7, a 120MW offshore wind farm with a construction budget of €383 million, exported first power to the dutch grid, which was a significant milestone for the offshore wind industry. Q7 was the first offshore wind farm to be financed by a nonrecourse loan (project finance) and opened this type to other offshore projects'

Perhaps this will be more common practise from now on, as when not supported so much by government funds people may support windfarms.

kerry bradshaw

Comparing gfenerator technologies on the basis of "rated capcities" signifies extreme ignorance by the writer. Nuclear plants produce power at levels above 95% of their rated capacity, while wind geenrators can run anywhere from 15% to 35% of rated capacity. it is also folly and fraud to claim that the electricity produced by unpredictable, unreliable wind can compete
with that produced on demand and guaranteed
present during critical peak demand. A nuclear plant lasts 60 years, a wind generator less than 30. The true costs of wind generators are at least 4 to 6 times greater than a nuclear plant. And the costs of decomissioning mentioned by one skeptic are paid for during the lifespan of the nuclear plant and are included in the cost of the power : less than 1/2 of 1 cent per kilowatthour. This blog presents a good example of the extreme ignorance of the public about power generation and why decisions about this should not be left up to the thoroughly ignorant public, or the also ignorant politicians or the media.
Wind cannot provide peak demand power and every increase in demand will require new plants, regardless of how much wind has been built and paid for. Solar thermal is 1000 times better than wind. Subsidizing wind is a disgrace - we must demand that alternative energy provide quality power
- just being carbon free doesn't hack it anymore.

Heat Pumps Blogger

Our government are dead set on nuclear power station regeneration. Its the easy way out for them with regards to longevity and the conspiracy theory side of me says that a lot of it revolves around people making money!

Check it out: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/business/Weir-ready-to-cash-in.4383446.jp

Giovanna

What happened to this blog?

Giovanna of


http://energysave.altervista.org/


Mahmoud Kabalan

This is a great project. More countries should do the same if we want to lower CO2 emissions.

Tracey Exton

Could anyone advise me the best place to advertise a vacancy for a Technology Energy Services Manager for Scotland? I need someone with a technical background in renewable energy and the ability to sell into new markets. Tracey Exton (www.hrconsultancy.co.uk)

Tracey Exton

Could anyone advise me the best place to advertise a vacancy for a Technology Energy Services Manager for Scotland? I need someone with a technical background in renewable energy and the ability to sell into new markets. Tracey Exton (www.hrconsultancy.co.uk)

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