The cost of wind

From today’s FT:

“European businesses and consumers face at least 20 years of electricity price rises, according to a leaked European Commission report on how the region can meet its green energy targets.

It also forecasts a huge growth in the number of wind farms, which would push up prices even higher.

In an assessment that examines a range of ways in which fossil fuels such as coal can be replaced with cleaner sources of energy, the 112-page report says all scenarios point to wind farms becoming the biggest source of electricity in the bloc by 2050, outstripping both coal and nuclear power.

Wind farms could provide as much as 49 per cent of EU electricity by that date, the report suggests, up from just 5 per cent today.

Average electricity prices for households and businesses would rise “strongly up to 2020-2030” under all scenarios, the document says, and the highest prices would occur after 2030 if renewable sources of power, such as wind and solar, make up a large share of energy production. For example, average prices for households could jump by more than 100 per cent by 2050 if this were the case but only by 43 per cent under a scenario that assumed more nuclear power and carbon capture and storage were used.

The report suggests this would be partly due to new infrastructure investments but it also appears to assume that conventional fuel plants would not run as much as they do now, meaning higher prices would have to be charged to cover initial investment costs.”

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8 thoughts on “The cost of wind”

  1. And today Cameron is promising to look at energy costs.

    The FT article should be all he need to look at really. I suppose he could also look at how much we are paying windfarms NOT to produce electricity a month as well. (£9.5million in September).

    Build Nuclear. Now.

  2. @alan is that not due to infrastructure (grid), not the method of production?

    “43 per cent under a scenario that assumed more nuclear power and carbon capture and storage were used”.

    Quite an assumption to draw a conclusion from when CC & S isn’t successfully deployed on a scale nearly big enough to indicate it’s viability. It may be proved true, but currently little weight can be asserted to this scenario.

    1. Wind power requires much more power generation infrastructure than nuclear because the individual units are smaller and spread over a much greater area.

      CC&S imposes an even greater cost on nuclear.

      I wonder if the carbon content of the construction of wind turbines and associated infrastructure is counted vs nuclear. I’ll bet it isn’t.

      Whatever happens fuel bills are going to rise dramatically over the next two decades and millions are going to suffer fuel poverty on a scale that has not been seen for generations.

  3. 49 percent wouldn’t surprise me Robin, having seen the coast around Spain. Apparently there’s a government due diligence thingy ongoing looking at value for money for wind farms which may conclude that offshore is in the taxpayers’ best interests. If Europe mostly depends on wind for electricity then I shall be investing in tallow methinks…

  4. A piece on the same topic in today’s Scotsman

    The scale of the challenge facing those who oppose wind, however, is made apparent by the way in which the media in Scotland (BBC, and major papers) are reporting the start of the work on the Beauly-Denny upgrade.

    They have started taking down the pylons. The press reports make it sound as if those pylons will be gone for good (as if it is an improvement<\em}!)

    So they are buying without question the Holyrood line that "One of the less reported features of Beauly-Denny is that there will be one-quarter fewer pylons, although some will be larger.”

    Some will be larger! Understatement of the century.

    And as for other improvements, the BBC are in full propaganda mode with Will Self's pathetic townie take on the matter. The ‘argument’ is familiar: the countryside is largely man-made anyway, what’s all the fuss about a few turbines.

    If you want to see what’s all the fuss about, check out e.g. this picture from a recent report on Scottish Hills.

    The Lammermuir used to be a fantastically wild area just on Edinburgh’s doorstep. Now that they have been ‘improved’ they are a fantastically expensive monument to our stupidity. Does anyone believe that those thousands of miles of tracks on the hills will ever be removed? They quarried deep to dump all that crap on peatland. It will never go back to its original state, whatever idiots like Will Self may say.

    1. Sorry for the mess with the formatting. I wish I could edit my comment and replace ‘}’ with an ‘>’ after improvement. That would indeed be an improvement…

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