Seven miles off the coast of Kent, 100 380-foot turbines, spanning 22 square miles and representing two years of construction, have begun to power Britain. Bearing a price tag of 780 million pounds, this is the world's largest offshore wind farm.
With the opening of this farm, Britain's capacity to produce wind power will increase by 30 percent. At full capacity, the farm is projected to power 200,000 homes, bringing the nation one step closer to its goal of producing 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Currently it produces 3 percent.
Additional turbines will be added over a four-year period, bringing the planned total for the farm to 341. But with other projects in the works, the farm may not be the world's largest for long.
The cost for this unreliable useless power is 4 to 15 times the cost of 24/7 dependable nuclear power.
$1.25B for 300MW peak 75MW average works out to $16B/GW for this project. Our similar Cape Wind is 24 cents a kwh going to 34 cents over 15 years.
Wind cost doubles when load balancing and transmission costs are added in.
Wind produces no net energy because of the need to load balance with low efficiency fast spooling gas plant. Better, cheaper, less GHG to build slow spooling high efficiency CCGT plant instead, or even better dirt cheap nuclear..
Current US nuclear cost at $4B/GW is 25% Thanet's $16B/Gw according to both TVA and an MIT study issued last week.
Chinese nuke cost for the same American designed, NRC approved reactors but built by American engineers instead of American attorneys is $1.2 B/Gw and dropping.
Attention! Attention! Radioactive waste! It kills people. You aren't talking about thorium reactors.
You are talking about radioactive waste from medical industrial/nuke weapons or radioactive gas spewing coal and NG plant, I expect.
Nuke power plants eject used fuel rods stored safely on site before being burned to nothing in fast spectrum and molten salt reactors powering the world for hundreds of years. All the worlds used fuel rods would fit on a football field buried 40 feet deep.
"To exploit the molten salt reactor's breeding potential to the fullest, the reactor must be co-located with a reprocessing facility. Nuclear reprocessing does not occur in the U.S. because no commercial provider is willing to undertake it. The regulatory risk and associated costs are very great because the regulatory regime has varied dramatically in different administrations.  UK, France, Japan, Russia and India currently operate some form of fuel reprocessing.
Some U.S. Administration departments have feared that fuel reprocessing in any form could pave the way to the plutonium economy with its associated proliferation dangers.
A similar argument led to the shutdown of the Integral Fast Reactor project in 1994.  The proliferation risk for a thorium fuel cycle stems from the potential separation of uranium-233, which might be used in nuclear weapons, though only with considerable difficulty."
It's only cheaper if you let the people of Harrisburg and Tschernobyl pay the real cost. It's called "deferring a problem". I don't know how much Harrisburg and Tschernobyl did actually really cost. But I bet it was more than the difference between the costs of wind vs nuclear power and it won't show up on your electricity bill.
The problem is that you cant put a $-figure on the risks that are involved. Anything that has a lot of potential for destruction is and will always be desirable to some people. And there will always be people who are willing to deliver access for the right amount of money.
Today already nuclear waste is on rails and driven around the country because its cheaper to ship it around than to store it. With every day that this stuff arrives later at it's storage facility the power company makes money. Companies have no conscience, they have only bottom lines. See BP.
You say it's safe. It's not because of human nature.
sethdayal - a tad bit disingenuous of you to imply that new nuclear energy would not also require additional transmission capacity build-out costs. how were the nukes going to get to load?
or to omit the fact that the soonest a new nuke could generate electricity is roughly 20 years from now.
for that matter nukes are politically untenable from an environmental perspective and/or a national security perspective. when was the last time a nuke facility opened? 1979? Sandia Natl Labs, founded to secure nuclear facilities etc - what do you think they are researching these days? you guessed it - smart grid information management/security, and renewables/distributed generation load balancing issues.
Can these wind turbines ever be renewed or are they considered permanent ?
Just wondering because there are the vertical axis turbines which are possibly a better design ...
The hybrid electric kinetic powered vehicle
Unbelievable that something like this gets built. Thank you sethdayal for saving me some time and hitting the important points first. Any wind proponents want to argue? Let's go.
slnuke87, your contribution is immeasurable - see above for grist
-The last nuclear plant opened began operation in 1996 (not 1979).
-The next nuclear plant is scheduled to come online in 2013 (not 2030).
Also: What is a grist?
Erroneous on all counts!
you're correct, the last plant in the US began operation in 1996 - construction began, however, in 1977. I was getting at the time involved in constructing such a facility, at least in the US.
about the 2013 online date, I can only assume that you mean the facility coming online in 2013 in China. China has radically different environmental, labor, and energy facility siting laws; different grid design and load requirements; a crapload of capital; also, they don't need to convince their populace of a chosen energy policy direction. since the original poster used US examples in framing the discussion, I was speaking of the US.
back to the offshore wind, i think it's great if we can efficiently harness existing energy forces, but we disagree i see.
"It's only cheaper if you let the people of Harrisburg and Tschernobyl pay the real cost. It's called 'deferring a problem'."
"Attention! Attention! Radioactive waste! It kills people."
Neither of these things is true. Chernobyl couldn't possibly happen today in the US. Nuclear plants simply *don't work that way.* (And never mind that the oil industry has recently reminded us what a *real* environmental disaster looks like, and Chernobyl doesn't come bloody *close.*)
And I'm terribly curious what statistics you all could point me to on how "nuclear waste kills people." Water kills people if you hold them under it for a bit. Many things *can* kill people. The point is how you're handling it, which, for nuclear materials, is universally going to mean safely and without the chance of exposure.
Basically, you're both buying into a bunch of scare tactics. The decision to create these wind farms, with massive operational costs and consistency issues and, if little ecological impact, still more than that of a nuclear plant, shouldn't be based on "Radiation is scary." It needs to be based on the actual viability of the resources in question.
TMI was the worst possible accident in a post fifites reactor according the principals of science. As predicted the reactor casing was barely scratched. No injuries at all
Chernobyl was a nuclear weapon plant that has nothing to do with modern reactor design. 56 folk died - less than we loose in NG accidents every year.
Nuclear weapons and waste as well as medical/industrial waste are shipped around the county. Nuke power fuel rods are stored on site awaiting recycle.
There are no proliferation issues with reprocessing. It is much easier to build a $10M research reactor to build a nuke weapon. Only the US or Russia have the technical ability to make a nuke from U233 or reactor plutonium.
Nukes are being built in China, Korea, and Japan in three to four years. We used to build them in the US in less than 4 years until Greenpeace attorneys took over the NRC in the seventies.
We can build better airplanes cheaper than the Chinese in the most highly regulated industry on earth. We should be able to compete on nukes after America’s major cost and delay factor the NRC is upgraded to an OECD standard regulator like Canada’s CNSC. We invented the damn things after all.
In the US Vogle just started construction and will be finished in 2016. TVA is building two reactors for 2012 and 2013 service so your twenty years is BULL.
As a replacement for coal the nukes would be scattered all around the country right next door to load centers so- not much need for transmission.
The Repug's love nukes as do 80% of American's according to the latest polling. Politically smart - you bet.
Sandia has a GenIV nuke design ready and waiting for funding.
Cry all you like but wind energy is clean, safe, and it's here to stay.
I'm always very suspicious of the motives of posters that spend all day going from site to site bashing clean energy.
i love greeen, if you dont you are a hater!!! green is cool and it is here to stay!!! GREEN IS CLEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GREEN IS CLEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With a farm this big my only fear is the price of wind plummeting.
"The point is how you're handling it, which, for nuclear materials, is universally going to mean safely and without the chance of exposure."
Not 100% percent.
"And I'm terribly curious what statistics you all could point me to on how "nuclear waste kills people.""
It certainly doesnt make smiles and flowers instantaneously appear!
Screaming "Green is cool" and calling people "haters" only makes you look like a Mind Numbed Unthinking Follow-the-leader Green Groupie Lemming.
A Critical thinker has to ask how the power from these variable wind farms will be integrated into the grid, (Load Balanced).
A Critical thinker has to ask if the Costs of the Wind Farms are truly justified.
A Critical thinker will also not fear Nuclear Power needlessly.
Green Is Cool!
A few things that everyone seams to forget is that US Nuclear Power Plants have had cost overruns of about 3X their initial cost estimate average. (Around $9B to build) Also where are we to get the fresh water to run the plants? Nuclear uses a WHOLE LOT of WATER to keep the system under control. Where are we going to get that without raising the cost of water or tapping into the ground water that can take 80 years to replace?
Bill all large power plants use cooling. If you want to make irrelevant arguments, there are plenty of better ones to make besides cooling water issues.
@onewhiterino, There are existing plants that were abandoned in the 80s/90s. Construction is resuming on some of these plants, and they're expected to come online in the next 3-5 years. There are also BRAND NEW generation III plants expected to come online in the 2016-2018 time-frame as long as Greenpeace and easily swayed/uninformed Americans don't screw it up too badly.
The article is about wind - not nuclear. There are better places to rant about nuclear power.
However, wind is still very exspensive - meaning the people pay more for power (they likely pay a little bit more on their bills, and the rest secretly through taxes to fund the govt. incentives used to build these things).
Second, as mentioned, wind is unreliable - meaning that dirty fuel is usually still in the mix. So, there will be a second wave of costs in the future, once wind is in place, to establish energy storage plants as well (more $$$ in taxes and on your bill).
Third, clean does not mean renewable. Those turbines have life spans - they produce so much energy over so long, and then the maintainance costs beging to exceed their production (or more efficient tech comes along), so they are scrapped.
So, assuming that a turbin creates more usable energy than it takes to plan, build, install, maintain, and scrap itself - and a profit margin - it will still be generations (of clean power) before the steps to production are not rooted in dirty power. For example - if a turbin, over its life, produced 200% of the energy used to create and maintain it - it is only 50% cleaner than the energy used to put it there.
You know what the problem is this entire argument is bent around money...all i got to say
Interesting, many comments but few make sense. Simply put Wind power solar power are viable alternatives to oil and nuclear. Nuclear waste is produced by many manufacturing processes, thorium reactors can make use of it and in effect burn it up. As for seperating the bomb material from a thorium reactor? Read up on it, it is not currently possible. Personally I think that thorium, reactors may be an effective short term answer for the destruction of nuclear waste. As for real viable power generation, solar and wind power are the best options for power supplies in the forseeable future. The problem isnt just cost, the problem is greed. People set the cost, people control the production, people do the work, people are responsible for greed. If any wish to throw blame on the current system look in the mirror it starts with each one of us.
I'd love to stay and comment but my town is being evaluated due to a malfunctioning wind turbine 50 miles upwind. NOT!
garthog, "As for real viable power generation, solar and wind power are the best options for power supplies in the forseeable future."
I'm sorry but that's just an incredibly inaccurate statement.