And the trend continues….
WARNING: in considering the content of this post you may feel an overwhelming sense of schadenfreude.
Gone with the wind: Nordic alternative energy turns stagnant
6 May 2016
Despite renewable energy sources being heavily hyped as a sustainable solution to humanity’s growing energy problem, actual support for the green power has been shrinking. Falling electricity prices and henceforth lower profitability have led a dramatic drop in investment in the Swedish wind energy sector.
Last year, investments into Sweden’s wind power fell by a dramatic 40 percent, compared to the year before. Nevertheless, the total amount of investment over the next four years is estimated at approximately 21 billion krona (2.6 billion dollars), CEO of the wind power company Svensk Vindenergi Charlotte Unger told Swedish Radio. She also pointed out that the number of foreign investors is growing in comparison to local Swedes.
However, the overall outlook for wind energy remains rather dismal. Slumping electricity prices have forced individual owners to dismantle and sell older wind turbines, whereas the removal of state support may turn out to be a final blow to the industry.
According to an estimate by Erik Josefsson of the ES Power company, about 50 wind turbines were dismantled in Sweden and sold to other countries last year alone, Göteborgs-Posten reported. Josefsson noted that the opportunity to ease the financial burden was first seized by small-time players, such as individual farmers and small businesses.
Besides falling electricity prices, further development of wind energy has been hampered by a strong negative reaction in the neighborhoods set wind farm construction. Angry locals have complained about the humongous wind turbines ruining the rural landscape, whereas the long rotating shadows cast by propeller blades at sunset are a major irritant. Another significant complaint is the constant noise level experienced both outside and at home.
Besides, numerous health issues are another setback for the green energy. Local inhabitants, who live nearby wind farms, often complain of stress, headaches and insomnia.
According to Sture Åström of the environmental portal Klimatsans, the problem is the infrasound, i.e. noise of low frequency under 20 Hertz, which is not heard by the human ear, but nevertheless leaves an impact. “Health problems are very real,” he wrote in a debate article in Folkbladet, claiming that the wind power industry is doomed anyway, because it cannot do without subsidies.
A possible, while likewise controversial solution is to create a fleet of mobile wind turbines at sea.
“Today, we may see beautiful pictures of wind turbines at sea, where they are not fixed to the ground. Now, there is a strong push against the industry to promote floating devices that are further out from the land with better wind conditions and that do not disturb nature in the same way,” Magnus Westher, CEO of Ramnäs Bruk, told Swedish Radio.
In April, Norway’s Energy Minister Tord Lien presented a plan to dismantle the current system of subsidies for wind power until 2021. Today, Sweden and Norway share a so-called electricity certificate system, subsidizing wind power, which Tord Lien hopes to abandon.
“Subsidies are threatening the viability of power stations running in renewable energi,” Tord Lien told Svenska Dagbladet.
At present, wind energy accounts for 5 and 2 percent of Sweden’s and Norway’s total electricity consumption respectively.
While the wind industry and its parasites are howling about low power prices in Scandanavia, it’s the spot price that they’re talking about (that which producers collect) not the the retail price (what households and businesses pay). As to the latter, this picture tells the story in wind powered Germany and Denmark:
And this picture details the situation for all European countries, including those like Sweden, that joined in Europe’s wind rush late and in a half-hearted fashion:
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands …
Hundreds of Dutch windmills operating at a loss
14 April 2016
Hundreds of wind turbines in the Netherlands are operating at a loss and are in danger of being demolished. The main cause is the very low energy prices, which mean that the maintaining the turbines cost more than what the generated energy bring in, the Financieele Dagblad reports based on own research.
Subsidies for generating wind energy are in many cases no longer cost-effective. Smaller, older windmills in particular are running at a loss, but even newer mills are struggling to be profitable with insufficient subsidies.
This is extremely worrying, according to the paper, seeing as the Netherlands is already behind in meeting green energy targets set in the Energy agreement.
Teun Bokhoven, chairman of umbrella organization for sustainable energy companies, thinks that the subsidy arrangement need to change, he said to BNR. The current subsidies are based on long-term forecasts and do not take the current low energy price into account.