Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The (Big) Money is Blowin' in the Wind- It's a Freakin' Gold Rush

Three stories and a press release about just how big this stuff is, who pays, who profits.
First, from the Minneapolis StarTribune:

And the wind waits ... and waits ...

The waiting list for proposed wind energy projects in the state is 612 years. But changes are afoot.

...While the national mood has shifted to embrace renewable energy, and states including Minnesota have pledged increased usage, conditions on the ground are not making it easy. Developers point to shortages of the wind turbines, engineers to run them and transmission lines to carry the electricity they produce....
From the Times of London:
Wind farms turn huge profit with help of subsidies

LAVISH subsidies and high electricity prices have turned Britain’s onshore wind farms into an extraordinary moneyspinner, with a single turbine capable of generating £500,000 of pure profit per year.

According to new industry figures, a typical 2 megawatt (2MW) turbine can now generate power worth £200,000 on the wholesale markets - plus another £300,000 of subsidy from taxpayers.

Since such turbines cost around £2m to build and last for 20 or more years, it means they can pay for themselves in just 4-5 years and then produce nothing but profit.

The lucrative outlook has led to a surge in planning applications for new windfarms. There are already 165 wind farms operating 1,944 turbines in Britain but another 34 are under construction, a further 118 have planning consent and 220 are under consideration, according to new figures from the British Wind Energy Association....

Via the American Wind Energy Association:

“As leaders of four major renewable energy trade associations, we respectfully urge bipartisan Congressional Leadership and the President to work together to include renewable energy tax provisions in any economic stimulus legislation currently being developed. Renewable energy will put Americans back to work, provide reliable and domestic energy for homes and businesses, and spur billions of dollars of economic investment but only if Congress and the Administration take immediate action to extend the renewable energy tax credits.”
From The Telegraph:
EU plans to see our economy blown away

...The targets Britain will be legally committed to reach within 12 years fall under three main headings. Firstly, that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources such as wind (currently 1 per cent). Secondly, that 10 per cent of our transport fuel should be biofuels. Thirdly, that we accept a more draconian version of the "emissions trading scheme" that is already adding up to 12 per cent to our electricity bills.

The most prominent proposal is that which will require Britain to build up to 20,000 more wind turbines, including the 7,000 offshore giants announced by the Government before Christmas. To build two turbines a day, nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, is inconceivable. What is also never explained is their astronomic cost.

At £2 million per megawatt of "capacity" (according to the Carbon Trust), the bill for the Government's 33 gigawatts (Gw) would be £66 billion [$13o bil. -ed.] (and even that, as was admitted in a recent parliamentary answer, doesn't include an extra £10 billion needed to connect the turbines to the grid). But the actual output of these turbines, because of the wind's unreliability, would be barely a third of their capacity. The resulting 11Gw could be produced by just seven new "carbon-free" nuclear power stations, at a quarter of the cost....

The EU's plans for "renewables" do not include nuclear energy. Worse, they take no account of the back-up needed for when the wind is not blowing - which would require Britain to have 33Gw of capacity constantly available from conventional power stations....