In my earlier post, I worked out the total cost of onshore wind, based on a capacity factor of 26%, which is all that is being achieved in the UK according to DECC.
|1 MW @26% = 2277 MWh/yr
For every MWh produced by onshore wind, there is an avoided cost of not having to generate by another source. For this scenario, let us assume it is gas fired generation which is avoided. (If we compare to coal or nuclear, the avoided costs are much lower still).
The saving from this will be the variable cost of $57.80/MWh. (This does not take account of the likelihood of extra costs incurred from switching the gas turbines on and off).
In other words, we have to pay $97.64/MWh for wind output, but only save $57.80. Clearly, in any sane world, this would be regarded as a no brainer.
Dr Gordon Hughes
The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark
1. Onshore wind turbines represent a relatively mature technology, which ought to have achieved a satisfactory level of reliability in operation as plants age. Unfortunately, detailed analysis of the relationship between age and performance gives a rather different picture for both the United Kingdom and Denmark with a significant decline in the average load factor of onshore wind farms adjusted for wind availability as they get older. An even more dramatic decline is observed for offshore wind farms in Denmark, but this may be a reflection of the immaturity of the technology.
2. The study has used data on the monthly output of wind farms in the UK and Denmark reported under regulatory arrangements and schemes for subsidizing renewable energy. Normalized age-performance curves have been estimated using standard statistical techniques which allow for differences between sites and over time in wind resources and other factors.
3. The normalized load factor for UK onshore wind farms declines from a peak of about 24% at age 1 to 15% at age 10 and 11% at age 15. The decline in the normalized load factor for Danish onshore wind farms is slower but still significant with a fall from a peak of 22% to 18% at age 15. On the other hand for offshore wind farms in Denmark the normalized load factor falls from 39% at age 0 to 15% at age 10. The reasons for the observed declines in normalized load factors cannot be fully assessed using the data available but outages due to mechanical breakdowns appear to be a contributory factor.
4. Analysis of site-specific performance reveals that the average normalized load factor of new UK onshore wind farms at age 1 (the peak year of operation) declined significantly from 2000 to 2011. In addition, larger wind farms have systematically worse performance than smaller wind farms. Adjusted for age and wind availability the overall performance of wind farms in the UK has deteriorated markedly since the beginning of the century.
5. These findings have important implications for policy towards wind generation in the UK. First, they suggest that the subsidy regime is extremely generous if investment in new wind farms is profitable despite the decline in performance due to age and over time. Second, meeting the UK Government’s targets for wind generation will require a much higher level of wind capacity – and, thus, capital investment – than current projections imply. Third, the structure of contracts offered to wind generators under the proposed reform of the electricity market should be modified since few wind farms will operate for more than 12–15 years.
Windenergy really really isn’t cost effective by any standard (PDF)
In Germany at high wind electricity has a negative price, they have to pay their neighbors to please take the overload of their grid.
Windmill Boom Cuts Electricity Prices in Europe
However at low wind they have to buy electricity at spotprices and crank up coalfired powerstations on standby to produce power.
It’s all completely absurd.
Nice, especially if you have sunk 140 billion euro’s in your windfarms and now have to pay to get the electricity taken of your hands. Not exactly the smartest investment in the world.
Even more grating when your neighbors start to refuse to accept your electricity:
Poland closes border for German Electricity
Its a total mess, considering that Germany is in big trouble with their ambitious windprogram Germany’s Offshore Fiasco: North Sea Wind Offensive Plagued by Problems but they know where to get their money anyway, just up the price nationally German renewable surcharge to rise by 47 percent so just like Denmark Denmarks problem with wind they are now subsidizing the electricity of their neighbors by taxing their citizens and industry.
The concept of variable energy generation has been conclusively proven to be unworkable. In 10 to 20 years the generators need replacing, but with no revenue coming in they can’t even pay the original investment without supercharging the price rendering their economies incapable to compete with the many nations less obsessed with unreal doom-scenario’s.
Back to the drawing board.