The Wind is ‘Free’ Myth – Totally Busted: the True & Staggering Cost of Wind Power


Wind worshippers continue to make wild claims about wind power already being “free” – and, apparently, getting cheaper all the time.

Although, it appears that selling a product with no commercial value (apart from the massive subsidies it attracts) is getting tougher all the time. Even the merest mention of a cut to subsidies has the wind industry’s parasites quaking in their boots.

Now – in a ‘hey, quick, look over there!’ kind of move – the wind industry’s spruikers have taken to making claims about the costs of wind power, that would make Pinocchio blush.

Wind: Still Two Or Three Times The Cost Of Conventional Energy, Whatever The Greenies Claim
James Delingpole
19 October 2015


That was the headline in the Independent this time last week. I’m not suggesting for a moment that you’re an Independent reader but suppose for a moment you were: what do you think your reaction might have been?

Mine, I suspect, would have been not dissimilar to that of the eight thousand readers who decided it was worth sharing – and indeed that of the two or three who used it to needle sceptics on Twitter.

“Take that, evil deniers!” I would have gone in my smug, Independent-reading way. And it would never have occurred to me to question the premise for a number of reasons.

It was written by the Environment Editor on a reasonably well-respected national newspaper. And people with responsible jobs like that don’t make shit up, do they?

The data came from Bloomberg New Energy Finance – “the world’s leading provider of information on clean energy to investors, energy companies and governments.” Well if they say so it must be true. Bloomberg – they’re kind of a big deal in financial information, right?

It wasn’t just the left-leaning Independent that ran with the story. The story also appeared in the Guardian which, though also pretty parti-pris where environmental issues are concerned, does tend to pride itself on its accuracy and integrity (relative, say, to its arch-enemy the Murdoch press) and its willingness to rectify even the slightest mistake in its Corrections section.

And more significantly, it ran in the unashamedly free-market City Am which, you might have imagined, would never dream of writing a headline like “Wind power now the cheapest electricity to produce in the UK as the price of renewable energy continues to drop” without first checking to see whether the press release was accurate.

Well, since the story ran, Paul Homewood has been doing a bit of homework. And guess what? Yes, that’s right. Wind power isn’t the cheapest source of electricity in the UK or anywhere else in the world. Not by a long chalk. It’s at least twice the price, for example, of electricity generated from that hated but remarkably cost-effective fossil fuel, gas.

How then did Bloomberg New Energy Finance manage to concoct so flagrant a lie?

Why, of course, by doing what cunning financial types will refuse ever to admit is a lie. They prefer the phrase “creative accounting.”

Basically what Bloomberg’s analysts have done is to pretend that all the subsidies paid to the wind industry are effectively free money which comes from a magic money tree and that all the levies imposed by government on fossil fuel industries in order to level the playing field for renewables aren’t really a tax but are more like lovely little bunnies with cute floppy ears which bounce up and down harmlessly outside the headquarters of Shell and BP and Exxon contributing nothing but wholesome springtime joy to the companies’ balance sheets and shareholders’ dividends.

God, I wish I could get a job as a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst. The stuff they put in their pipes must make Carlos Castaneda look like Henry James. Plus, I imagine, their after-work chat-up lines must be something else: “No that wasn’t a wedding band you saw me hastily remove from my ring finger and slip into my pocket. It was the personal teleportation device with which we Bloomberg masters of the universe are all issued for being, like so totally amazing, and which I don’t want to use right now in case it transports us to Bora Bora before we’re ready for hot incredible sex with my twenty inch penis.”

Meanwhile, in the real world, here are the stubborn facts.

Wind energy will always be more expensive than fossil fuels because even though the raw material – wind – is free, the initial capital outlay required to dot the hills and seabeds with enormous bat-chomping, bird-slicing crucifixes is far greater, per MWh than that required for fossil-fuel-powered stations.

And also because it is so incredibly inefficient and intermittent, only being available when the wind is blowing, which means that it has to be backed up constantly by fossil fuel power.

Once these factors have been taken into account, the real figures, according to Homewood, look something like this:

CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) cost per MWh – $80.45

Onshore Wind cost per MWh – $157.55

Offshore Wind cost per MWh – $238.37

Or – a simple fact to keep in your head next time you’re lying awake and trying to calculate how much you loathe and despise Dale Vince – onshore wind costs you twice as much as sensible energy and offshore wind costs you three times as much.


Stop pretending that this is the first time you’ve been at it!!


The Real Cost Of Wind Power
Not a lot of people know that
Paul Homewood
18 October 2015

We saw the headlines last week of claims that wind power is now the cheapest source of electricity. As I pointed out at the time, such claims ignore the fact that wind needs back up capacity, and therefore cannot be directly compared with conventional, dispatchable capacity.

I have now had a chance to do some detailed costing, based on the EIA calculations that they published in June: Annual Energy Outlook.


My costings are derived from this table:


First, let’s convert these unit costs back to annual costs per MW capacity.

So using Advanced CCGT for instance, the capital cost of $15.9/MWh equals an annual cost of $121177. (EIA assume 30 yrs life span for all technologies, so we can project this to a total capital cost of $3.292 million per MW).

The calculation is:-

$15.9 x 8760 (hours/yr) x 87% (capacity factor)

We can do a similar calculation with fixed costs. Before variable costs, therefore, we get the following annual cost per MW in $.


Capacity Factors

Although the EIA have set assumptions for capacity utilisation, they don’t necessarily apply to the UK. For instance, according to DECC, onshore wind only produces 26% of its theoretical capacity.

Also, because of large variations in overall demand, conventional power does not always run at anywhere near its technical capability.

DECC data suggest that CCGT was operating at around 58% of capacity back in 2010, before subsidised renewables began to seriously distort the grid.

Using this figure, we can build up a cost for gas only, based on 1MW of capacity:


Similarly for wind:



Standby Capacity

As we can see, even onshore wind is still more expensive than CCGT, but that is only half the story.

As wind power is inherently unreliable, every megawatt of wind capacity effectively needs to be backed up with something that is reliable. For the sake of this exercise, let us assume this will be in the shape of new advanced CCGT.

So the real capital and fixed cost to provide that 1MW of onshore wind capacity is:


And offshore:


Compared with the CCGT cost per MWh of $80.45, claims that wind power is now the cheapest source of electricity are utterly ludicrous.


1) The EIA notes that transmission costs are higher for wind power. While this is certainly also true in the UK, I have not included these in the analysis because the costs may be different.

2) We are obviously comparing on a new for new basis. Given that the UK already has a certain amount of existing capacity to back up wind, the comparative costs of CCGT would be even lower.

3) Running gas turbines on an intermittent basis is an inherently costly thing to do, and would add more costs to the wind options outlined above.

4) EIA assume a life of 30 years for all technologies. This may well be an overestimate for wind, and is almost certainly an underestimate for CCGT.

5) Capacity assumptions are from DECC:

Paul Homewood
Not a lot of people know that

Nice work, Paul! Another wind industry fiction unwound with facts.

For an even simpler dissection, here’s a short video that even the most intellectually disadvantaged should be able to follow:

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Like the old sailors say, “The wind is free, but everything else costs money” – lots and lots of money!

  2. Reblogged this on How Green Is This.

  3. CraigAustin says:

    Uranium and hydrocarbons are “free” as well, the earth doesn’t charge for them, the costs are to convert these raw materials to useful energy for our grid, by useful I mean dispatchable. It is still much cheaper to extract and process hydrocarbons into useful forms than turning wind into periodically useful electricity.

  4. The youtube video says it all. Windweasel grubs live in fantasy world and are brain dead.

  5. Good read. And what an excellent Alex Epstein video explaining unreliables.

  6. Reblogged this on citizenpoweralliance.

  7. Another obvious and deliberate lie is when the PR goes into overdrive in proudly declaring that ” this windfarm will provide power for 50,000 houses”, conveniently omitting that the calculations are based on theoretical performance of nameplate installed capacity. One would be just as honest to say that “this windfarm will also provide no power to 50,000 homes”!!

  8. Neil van Dokkum says:

    Reblogged this on The Law is my Oyster and commented:
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” (Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister).

    Despite the obvious truth, the wind industry keeps repeating its lies, until they become their truth and are repeated in the popular media. Look at the facts people, not the wind industry spin.

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