Woke Wonderland: Joe Biden’s Offshore Wind Power Plans Staggeringly Expensive Fantasy

In the Humpty Dumpty land occupied by wind and solar advocates, the power produced by wind and sun is free and getting cheaper all the time. Solar panels and wind turbines are powering homes and businesses around-the-clock, whatever the weather. The panels and turbines last forever and cost nothing to repair or maintain.

Well, that’s fantasy anyway – also known as the ‘inevitable’ renewable energy transition.

Whereas, when the cost of providing network connections to remote rural locations and the cost of maintaining reliable fossil-fuelled backup plants is added, the cost of sporadically generating onshore wind power is phenomenal, the cost of taking these things tens and even hundreds of kilometres offshore and returning their occasional output to grids on terra firma is positively staggering.

Joe Biden and his Squad have already committed American taxpayers and power consumers to a raft of ludicrous, environment and economy wrecking policies; top of which sits a plan to spear thousands of turbines along the Atlantic coast. Not only destroying the undersea environment, but wrecking the lives and livelihoods of American fishing communities, in the bargain.

Wind and large-scale solar projects would never withstand a cost/benefit analysis. Which is precisely why renewable energy projects have never faced any such scrutiny, and never will.

In the article below, Willem Post is determined to at least outline the obscene cost of generating part-time power that has no commercial value, save the massive subsidies it attracts.

Biden 30,000MW Offshore Wind Systems by 2030; An Expensive Fantasy
Wind Task Force
Willem Post
17 January 2022

The Biden administration announced on October 13, 2021, it will subsidize the development of up to seven offshore wind systems (never call them farms) on the US East and West coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico; a total of about 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030.

Biden’s offshore wind systems would have an adverse, long-term impact on US electricity wholesale prices, and the prices of all other goods and services, because their expensive electricity would permeate into all economic activities.

The wind turbines would be at least 800-ft-tall, which would need to be located at least 30 miles from shores, to ensure minimal disturbance from night-time strobe lights.

Any commercial fishing areas would be significantly impacted by below-water infrastructures and cables. The low-frequency noise (less than 20 cycles per second, aka infrasound) of the wind turbines would adversely affect marine life, and productivity of fishing areas.

Production: Annual production would be about 30,000 x 8766 h/y x 0.45, capacity factor = 118,341,000 MWh, or 118.3 TWh of variable, intermittent, wind/weather/season-dependent electricity.

The additional wind production would be about 100 x 118.3/4000 = 2.96% of the annual electricity loaded onto US grids.

That US load would increase, due to tens of millions of future electric vehicles and heat pumps.

This would require a large capacity of combined-cycle, gas-turbine plants, CCGTs, to cost-effectively:

  1. Counteract the wind output variations, MW, aka grid balancing
  2. Fill-in wind production shortfalls, MWh, during any wind lulls

Such lulls occur at random throughout the year, and may last 5 to 7 days in the New England area.

These URLs provide examples of similar wind/solar lull conditions in Germany and New England

High Costs of Balancing the Grid with Increased Wind and Solar
The ANNUAL grid balancing costs are entirely due to the variations and intermittencies of wind and solar, because the OTHER power plants have to operate far from their efficient modes of operation, 24/7/365. They experience:

  1. More up/down production at lower efficiencies, which have more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh
  2. More equipment wear-and-tear cost/kWh, due to up/down production
  3. More-frequent plant starts/stops, which have high Btu/kWh, high CO2/kWh

Increased wind and solar also requires:

  • Increased hot, synchronous (3,600 rpm), standby plant capacity, MW, to immediately provide power, if wind/solar generation suddenly decreases, or any other power system outage occurs.
  • Increased cold, standby plant capacity, MW, to provide power after a plant’s start-up period.

When wind and solar were only a very small percent of the electricity loaded onto the NE grid, those balancing costs were minimal, sort of “lost in the data fog”

When wind and solar became a large percent, those balancing costs in the UK became 1.3 BILLION U.K. pounds in 2020, likely even more in 2021, 2022, etc.

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/grid-balancing-costs-sky-rocket-in-the-uk-due-to-increased-wind

Those balancing costs should have been charged to the Owners of wind and solar systems, but, in reality, they were politically shifted to taxpayers, ratepayers, and government debts.

Those balancing costs are in addition to the various government subsidies, which are also politically shifted to taxpayers, ratepayers, and government debts.

Now you all are finally beginning to see just how wonderful wind and solar have been, and will be, for your pocketbook.

Energy systems analysts, with decades of experience, saw this mess coming about 20 years ago, but all-knowing legislators and bureaucrats ignored them, because they were pressured into aiding and abetting the harvesting of federal and state subsidies for RE businesses.

Turnkey Capital Cost: The turnkey capital cost for wind systems, plus offshore/onshore grid extension/augmentation would be about 30,000 MW x $5,000,000/MW = $150 BILLION, excluding financing costs. Biden’s excessive inflation rates, about 7% at present, surely would increase that cost.

Area Requirements: The 8-MW wind turbines would be arranged on a grid, spaced at least one mile apart (8 rotor diameters), about 1 sq mile per wind turbine. The minimum sea area requirement for 30,000/8 = 3,750 wind turbines would be 3,750 sq miles, or 2,400,000 acres

Electricity Cost/kWh: Based on the real-world European, mostly UK and German, operating experience in the North Sea and Baltic, such highly subsidized wind turbine systems:

  1. Last about 20 years [try 10-15 years]
  2. Have high maintenance and operating costs, due to the adverse marine environment
  3. Produce electricity at an “all-in” cost of about 2.25 times NE wholesale prices.

The “all-in” wholesale prices of the offshore electricity of new systems are calculated at about 17 c/kWh, without cost shifting and subsidies, and about 9 c/kWh, with cost shifting and subsidies. The shifted costs and subsidies would result in:

  1. Increased tax burdens on taxpayers
  2. Increased household electric rates on ratepayers
  3. Additions to federal and state government debts.
  4. Additional burdens on the owners of traditional generators, because their power plants have to counteract the wind output variations, 24/7/365; the more wind (and solar), the greater the electricity quantities involved in the counteracting, plus their plants have to spend more time on standby, and are required to have more-frequent start/stops. See URLs and Appendix

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/grid-balancing-costs-sky-rocket-in-the-uk-due-to-increased-wind

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

NOTE: These rates compare with the average New England wholesale price of 5 c/kWh, during the 2009 – 2022 period, 13 years, courtesy of:

  1. Abundant, domestic, natural gas-fueled CCGT plants, that have: 1) low-cost/kWh, low-CO2/kWh, extremely-low particulate/kWh
  2. Domestic, uranium-fueled nuclear plants, that have low-cost/kWh, near-zero CO2/kWh, zero particulate/kWh
  3. Long-lasting hydro plants, that have low-cost/kWh, near-zero-CO2/kWh, zero particulate/kWh

NOTE: Cost shifting and subsidies have not yet affected NE wholesale prices, because the percent of new RE (mostly wind and solar) on the NE grid is very small, after 20 years of subsidies.

The image shows the negligible “contribution” of wind + solar to the NE grid load, during 2021, after 20 years of subsidies!!

Wind and solar became significant in Germany and Denmark after more than 20 years of subsidies, resulting in:

  • Politicians excessively allocating RE costs to households, thereby greatly increasing household electric rates.
  • Politicians keeping industrial rates artificially low for international competitiveness reasons (a hidden trade subsidy). See URL

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/german-household-electricity-prices-reach-new-record-high-in-2021

Biden Offshore Wind Systems Benefitting Europe
Almost the entire physical supply and installation of the 30,000 MW of offshore wind systems would be provided by EU companies, because they have the required expertise and the domestic onshore facilities and seagoing facilities, due to building at least 25,014 MW (end 2020) of offshore systems, starting in 1991. See https://windeurope.org/about-wind/history/

The offshore wind turbine industry is trending towards wind turbines with capacities of 8 to 12 MW.

European experience indicates, the larger-capacity wind turbines require more maintenance/kWh, and have more downtime/kWh.

Currently, EU companies have capacity to install 8 to 10 MW offshore wind turbines, at a rate of about 1,500 MW/y

Adding 30,000 MW of very expensive offshore wind systems, would be of primary benefit to Europe which would:

  1. Make oodles of money financing, designing, building, assembling, operating and maintaining, replacing, almost all of the wind turbine systems, and
  2. Permanently saddle the US, a trade competitor, with much higher energy costs, than at present, and
  3. Continue to benefit from the significant US annual expenditures for defending Europe.

The US is falling into the EU very expensive, debilitating trap.

BTW, Europe must have wind and solar, because it imports huge quantities of energy (mostly from unfriendly countries), whereas the US is nearly energy independent

https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-plot-is-thickening…

US Offshore Wind System Experience
US production capacity of large, up to 10 MW, wind turbines, is practically non-existent; only GE is active in that space.

It would take years to create US sites for producing offshore wind turbines.

It would take years to build the sea-going ships and specialized cranes to transport, assemble, and service the wind turbines.

Duplicating the EU onshore and seagoing facilities in the US, PLUS implementing 30,000 MW of offshore wind systems in less than 8 years, 2022 to 2030, at a rate of 30,000/8 = 3,750 MW/y, would be physically impossible.

In the real world, any independent energy systems analyst would deem Biden’s offshore wind scheme a total fantasy.
Wind Task Force

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Let us know when these energy hustlers present the clean energy model that uses sail boats to haul everything out to sea.

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