Offshore Wind Power Just as Unreliable & Twice the Insane Cost of Onshore Wind Power


How to squander wind power subsidies at twice the going rate.


Australia’s Large-Scale RET is facing inevitable doom – and with it the wind industry – due to the fact that Australia’s commercial retailers decided to kill it off over 3 years ago; refusing, since then, to enter Power Purchase Agreements with wind power outfits. The result has been that commercial lenders have ceased lending for any new projects.

The ‘lender’ of last resort is the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (a taxpayer underwritten renewable slush fund) set up by the Green/Labor Alliance back in 2010.

When the Coalition took charge in 2013, their Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann set out on a mission to scrap it because it makes no sense to have a government entity lending, at heavily subsidised rates, to an already insanely generously subsidised wind industry.

Now that the CEFC is under Environment Minister, young Gregory Hunt’s control, Greg appears keen to use it as his personal piggy bank, lending to his wind industry mates, running wind power outfits that commercial banks won’t touch with a barge pole. Not that Greg or his mates bare any risk; that’s all for the Australian taxpayer, of course.

Under his adviser Patrick Gibbon’s ‘brilliant’ direction (no doubt with his mate Vestas front man, Ken McAlpine’s ‘help’), Hunt’s latest move to save the LRET – and their wind industry benefactors – is a plan to punch around 400 of these things off the Victorian coast – bankrolled with funds from the CEFC.

Never mind the fact that offshore wind power performs no better than its onshore cousin – both being wholly weather dependent ‘systems’ – requiring 100% of their ‘capacity’ to be backed up 100% of the time with coal and gas-fired plant. And never mind that the cost of (occasional) offshore wind power is 60% more expensive than the (occasional) onshore stuff. As The Economist put it:

“Offshore wind power is staggeringly expensive. Dieter Helm, an economist at Oxford University, describes it as “among the most expensive ways of marginally reducing carbon emissions known to man”. Under a subsidy system unveiled late in 2013, the government guarantees farms at sea £155 ($250) per megawatt hour for their juice. That is three times the current wholesale price of electricity and about 60% more than is promised to onshore turbines.”
(for more see our post here)

Then there’s the over-blown wind industry claims about the useful lifespan of these things:

2 Year Old Siemens Turbines Falling Apart: Wind Farm Investors, Get Out While You Can

Lucky to last 10 years onshore (brushing aside the need to replace blades, gearboxes, bearings etc 2 or 3 times during that period), gales and salt-laden air, result in even more metal fatigue, corrosion and component failure, when these things are planted out to sea:

Faulty Turbines Sending Siemen’s Wind Power Division Broke as Samsung Cuts & Runs from Europe

Then there’s the bunkum about maritime sites being able to deliver perfect, 11m/s breezes 24 x 365; and therefore a constant stream of wonderful ‘free’ wind power. However, claims that offshore wind power is far more efficient and reliable than its onshore cousin have taken a belting, as fierce as a North Sea gale, in the wind-cult’s pin-up, Germany.

Engineering Fiasco … Spiegel On Offshore Wind Parks: “Does Not Fulfill The Hopes Of Reliable Energy”!
Pierre Gosselin
26 December 2015

Today I have a short but interesting report from here concerning the performance of North Sea wind parks, which were once seen as the future backbone of Germany’s energy supply.

Unfortunately things are not working out that way at all.

Delivering only a tiny fraction of rated capacity

Spiegel writes that Germany now has some 3000 megawatts of North Sea offshore installed rated capacity, but which at times “delivers only single or double digit megawatts” and that “it does not fulfill the hopes of a reliable energy supply“.

Spiegel writes that on one Tuesday morning in mid December the “total power fed-in dropped to just a single megawatt” (0.033% of rated capacity!) … “enough to supply only a few hundred households“.

Oh my, what a stunning efficiency.

Dogged by engineering woes, shoddy planning

Germany’s drive to offshore wind energy has been dogged by multiple technical problems and shoddy planning. Even when the wind does blow, the cross-country power transmission needed to deliver the power to markets still have not been constructed, and so it is impossible to deliver the generated power where it is needed (if needed).

Wind parks operators are often ordered to shut down their turbines in order to prevent grid overloads. Also read here.

Wild output fluctuations

Spiegel writes that mid-December was not the first time that offshore power output fell to just a tiny fraction of rated capacity, and the flagship news weekly describes how the offshore wind power output has been fluctuating wildly this fall:

“On a total of 25 of 91 days wind energy production in part on many occasions fell into the single or double digit megawatt range. On the evening of November 11, the most power was fed in with 2631 megawatts. Grid operator Tennet had to compensate by switching on and off conventional power plants.”

Offshore wind power was once regarded as a viable solution for providing consistent power because it was often claimed that “the wind is always blowing offshore“.

However harsh conditions, unpredictable weather, complex installation and high maintenance needs have made the cost of offshore power twice as expensive as the landscape-eyesore onshore wind energy, which also fluctuates wildly and poses other technical and health problems in addition.

It’s time to face the reality that harnessing offshore wind energy in the tempestuous North Sea is technically and economically unfeasible and thus can be only a very limited solution when it comes to energy supply.


I thought you said the wind is always blowing at sea??

About stopthesethings

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



    Imposing in there hundreds,
    Such an army on display,
    Those alien grey metal monsters
    I saw while on my way.
    Aliens on our shores have landed,
    So tall, backs straight and true,
    At night they watch through flashing eyes
    Of red, at me and you.

    Some have scaled the mountains,
    Others near schools and homes,
    Of one thing I am certain,
    Those aliens have no souls.
    No “whispering” from their ranks at all,
    An unearthly sound they make,
    It envelops each and everyone,
    No more can humans take.

    Three giant arms revolving,
    Enveloping all around,
    They’re here to ‘save the planet’,
    The biggest “con” I have found.
    Such hideous tall grey monsters,
    Invade green and pleasant lands,
    To stay for generations,
    Unless the people make a stand.

    These aliens feed on power and wind,
    Without either, they will die,
    They’re NOT environmental friendly,
    They’re for profit, (at a cost), that’s WHY.

  2. Prices of £18 billion – £24 billion are bandied around for the UK’s Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Plant (it does include decommissioning and waste handling and storage) and it sounds so very expensive.

    But cost figures are meaningless unless you know what the technology delivers and compare it to, say, a much vaunted low-carbon alternative such as Offshore Wind.

    Hinkley, rated at 3.26 GW, 90% capacity factor and 60 year design life will deliver 1,542 billion kWh of electricity.

    The UK’s offshore wind turbines at 35% capacity factor and 25 year design life would require an installed capacity of 20 GW to get near to delivering the same number of kWh as Hinkley.

    Offshore wind is coming in at £3 billion/GW installed, so we’d have to pay £60 billion to get the same amount of electricity as Hinkley will deliver.

    So today’s BOGATA FREE offer is – for what you’d have to pay for a given amount of low-carbon offshore wind electricity you could – BUY 1 (LOW-CARBON HINKLEY) GET ANOTHER THEN ANOTHER FREE.

  3. At least onshore wind development still seems to be stagnating

  4. Don’t blame the engineers! Most, if not all, are just trying to work for a living and will take on the job for which they have been assigned. If the Oil and Gas jobs disappear, then a few will end up working on these fire fanning wind turbines……. hydroelectric turbine/generators are, by default, self-extinguishing.

  5. Reblogged this on citizenpoweralliance.

  6. Reblogged this on Patti Kellar and commented:
    What the politicians tell you (e.g. Obamas STOU address is that wind power is cheaper. His advisors are lying to him, likely because of crony capitalism. It is all about the money they are raking in.

  7. Reblogged this on Climatism.

  8. Jackie Rovensky says:

    It will be interesting to hear if they are considering off SA coasts, if they are they will need to be mindful of the huge number of Marine Parks where presumably they will not be able to enter – after all fishing boats can’t.
    Does the ocean floor have a set of environmental standards for them not to adhere to?
    Then of course there is that little sticking point – didn’t Hunt say the money was for NEW TECHNOLOGY – surely he doesn’t consider turbines off the coast is something new – yes I know it would be to us her ‘down under’, but I thought we were all grown up and able to easily access information at the tickle of a mobile telephone key to inform ourselves of what is going on in other parts of the world.
    Did I say “all grown up” – sorry just dreaming, I know only some of us are.

    • Way back in 1960,I used to have a friend,whose parents had a farm,a few miles out of town(Jamieson,Victoria).The farm was too far away from the”Electricity”lines,so they relied on a single cylinder Lister deisel engine for their power.They also had”Windmills”to pump water from their dam to the milking shed,house and water the stock.

      Quite often on week-ends when the wind wasn’t blowing,we would have to move the Lister diesel down to the dam to pump the water to the house and the stock.These wind mills weren’t fit for any-thing else because they were”Unreliable”then and nothing has changed since 1960.
      And the”Greens”call these”Bird Chompers”Renewables?New Technology?

      You have to be kidding.

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