Falmouth Wind Turbines Removed in 2022
BIDEN 30,000 MW OF OFFSHORE WIND BY 2030; AN EXPENSIVE FANTASY
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.
Offshore Electricity 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 grid 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.
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 of 30,000 MW of Offshore Wind
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.
The capital cost and resulting cost of electricity production, c/kWh, would significantly increase, due to: 1) increased inflation rates, 2) increased interest rates, 3) supply chain disruptions, which delay projects and increase costs, 4) increased energy prices, such as of oil, gas, coal, electricity, etc., 5) increased materials prices, such as of tungsten, cobalt, lithium, copper, manganese, etc., 6) increased labor rates.
The 12-MW wind turbines would be arranged on a grid, spaced at least 1.5 mile apart (8 rotor diameters), about 2.25 sq mile per wind turbine. The minimum sea area requirement for 30,00012 = 2,500 wind turbines would be 5,625 sq. miles, or 3,600,000 acres
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
2) Have high maintenance and operating costs, due to the adverse marine environment
3) Produce electricity at an “al-in” cost of about 2.25 times NE wholesale prices of about 5 c/kWh. See Appendix
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 10 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 hot and cold standby, and are required to have more-frequent start/stops. See URLs and Appendix
NOTE: These rates compare with the average New England wholesale price of about 5 c/kWh, during the 2009 - 2022 period, 13 years, courtesy of:
1) Abundant, domestic, natural gas-fueled CCGT plants, that have 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 negligeable “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
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