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Wind Power Exposed as Expensive, Unreliable

Photo courtesy Les Chatfield.

The Global Climate Scam site has this article from Energy Tribune. The text says that independent reports have determined that the wind energy is “plagued by high construction and maintenance costs, highly volatile reliability and a voracious appetite for taxpayer subsidies.” In the U.K. for fiscal year 2007-2008, taxpayers coughed up $1 billion dollars for wind turbine owners, and that number is expected to increase to $6 billion by 2020. With all that public investment, wind energy provides only 1.3 percent of the country’s energy needs.

Read more:www.globalclimatescam.com

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About the Author

has written 2022 stories on this site.

A social and fiscal conservative, I scour the news for information that disputes the current man-made global warming indoctrination that takes place around the world. I take a rather sarcastic approach to reporting on the nonsense being spewed by the talking heads in the media and the governments around the world.

9 Comments on “Wind Power Exposed as Expensive, Unreliable”

  • David Ahlport wrote on 3 January, 2009, 15:07

    The usual dumb arguments.

    The issue isn’t wind versus conventional power.
    The issue is old power plants, versus new construction.

    New construction always costs more than fully amortized power plants.

  • David Ahlport wrote on 3 January, 2009, 15:11

    Also what makes one think that other sources of power aren’t subsidized?

    In the US, I’d be quite happy if any individual renewable could be given equal treatment with coal or nuclear in terms of federal subsidies.
    http://greyfalcon.net/subs.png

  • Michael Duvinak wrote on 3 January, 2009, 15:38

    The cost of a new nuclear plant in the U.K. is between $3B and $4.5B. Gas and coal-fired plants are significantly cheaper. Wind power is going to cost $1B per year up to $6b a year and only provide a tiny, tiny fraction of the electricity for the country? No thanks. What a waste of cash.

    I’m not a fan of subsidies, so I’d like to see all sources of energy compete in the open market and let the most competitive one win. We all know ethanol fuel is heavily subsidized and can’t compete in the marketplace on price.

  • David Ahlport wrote on 4 January, 2009, 6:08

    ==The cost of a new nuclear plant in the U.K. is between $3B and $4.5B==

    That’s “strange”, because the one that they are planning on building in Florida, is looking more like $12.1 Billion to $24.3 Billion.
    http://www.nirs.org/images/fplturkeypointcostchart.jpg

    And that cost seems like it still might be a lowball estimate if you look at the cost of waste and decommissioning.
    http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?storyCode=2049012

    Not to mention, in the UK specifically, they are trying to have the Nuclear power industry pay a lowball estimate for waste and decommissioning, and then leave the tax payers with whatever the real cost ends up being.
    http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/node/14313

    As for Coal, it’s already expensive, when you factor in conventional protections against Radon, Mercury, Sulfur, and Uranium pollution.
    Not to mention, China and India have been increasing the price of the raw material quite a bit.
    http://greyfalcon.net/costlycoal

    And Natural Gas, UK has some pretty harsh realities to deal with.
    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/4878

  • TonyfromOz wrote on 4 January, 2009, 11:24

    It’s not really old power plants versus new construction.
    A 2000MW Nuclear plant constructed new would cost around $6 Billion after the cost of the money at the front end is taken into account,
    The equivalent in wind power would necessitate 2240 of those wind towers topped by 3 MW nacelles which at the most optimistic would run at 33% efficiency. The area covered to place those towers would be hundreds of square miles. The cost going on existing smaller plants (like Capewind, 140 towers producing 125MW at a cost of $800 Million) is around $12 Billion, conservatively. Established plants in Northern Europe are struggling to maintain 18% efficiency. They cannot be used to provide baseload power.
    Again, 2240 towers to replace 1 large plant, coal or nuclear.
    The economics are against it, as is the time factor for construction for what can only be described as marginal power, and, at immense cost.

  • Michael Duvinak wrote on 4 January, 2009, 13:05

    Oh Tony. You know the global warming crowd doesn’t care about cost and efficiency. It’s not *their* money. ;)

    Then again, maybe you and I can start a business clearing snow from solar panels and fixing all of those malfunctioning wind turbines. I hear that’s going to be a huge industry if all of these green power sources become mainstream.

  • David Ahlport wrote on 4 January, 2009, 13:19

    re: TonyfromOz
    Catch being that that $3000/kW figure doesn’t exist in the real world.

    Also you’re saying “time factor” is in favor of nuclear power construction? Really? When at bare minimum between citing and building, we’re talking 5 years before a single watt is produced. Which in reality is more like 8-10 years.

    That said, Wind I agree isn’t the most ideal renewable.
    And UK isn’t the most ideal place for it.

    In US, I know wind would still stomp Nuclear, given it’s 33%’ish capacity factor.
    Half that though, then even at it’s inflated costs, Nuclear might win out.

    _

    That said, for UK, given it’s island status, I’m surprised the first thing people look at isn’t Ocean energy.

    Specifically something to take advantage of Gulf Stream.

    Not only is the power density much stronger, but it also runs 24/7 as baseload.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/3535012/Ocean-currents-can-power-the-world-say-scientists.html

  • TonyfromOz wrote on 4 January, 2009, 21:52

    Considering that even before construction of any wind plant, and keep in mind on a like for like basis, you need 2240 towers and nacelles, you would need to gear up the factories to make those nacelles. Best practice in Spain sees one a day from the one factory, or 250 a year. So there’s ten years just to produce the nacelles for that one plant. pretend that wind will be the direction taken, and they gear up factories for that purpose. How many factories would be needed?
    Then find a constant and reliable wind source over a huge area for those 2240 towers, the construction, the transport, the infrastructure needed to get the power to the consumers, and all that for just one plant.
    To comply with carbon reduction targets you would need to replace 50 of those coal fired power plants, hence now you’re looking at 112,000 towers and nacelles.
    Let’s say 10 factories working flat out.
    50 years.
    The end cost of everything here extrapolated out would make an economist hold his breath as he gave the number to the politician trying to implement this.
    No, this has not really been thought out at all.
    All this, and they haven’t even got the idea further than thought bubbles yet.
    Tony.

  • David Ahlport wrote on 5 January, 2009, 16:58

    Heh, so you don’t believe in the concept of economies of scale :P

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