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Peter Hun

Wind Power To Be As Cheap As Natural Gas By 2016

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In a few places, wind power is already as cheap as natural gas or coal-fired electricity. By and large, however, it's still a bit more expensive in most regions 'round the world. But not for long.

Climate Progress points us to this report in Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which has the scoop: "The cost of electricity from onshore wind turbines will drop 12% in the next five years thanks to a mix of lower-cost equipment and gains in output efficiency."

And that 12% drop will have huge implications, as Bloomberg reports: "The best wind farms in the world already produce power as economically as coal, gas and nuclear generators; the average wind farm will be fully competitive by 2016."

This means that wind power will hit grid parity pretty much everywhere in just a handful of years -- which is really encouraging news for clean energy advocates. The two factors that have led to the plummeting cost of installing and operating wind power are a ) improvements in technology that have increased generation capacity -- read: bigger, more efficient, more aerodynamic turbines. And b ) an estimated 7% "experience curve"; Bloomberg has determined that costs have dropped 7% every time the worldwide wind power capacity has doubled. And since we started with 0.3 GW in 1984, and will now have 240 GW by the end of the year, that's a whole lot of cost reduction.

The moral of this story is clear: there is nothing more important in the quest for cleaner energy than getting it out in the world. Far too many of the opinion-makers in Washington and beyond constantly condemn the entire clean energy sector for not yet being "ready". Wind and solar need more research; more investment, more time before we try to deploy them to scale, they say. It's an ultra-common argument. It's also wrong.

We need, more than anything, aggressive policies that will get wind farms on the ground, solar panels on rooftops, and arrays in the deserts. We need a price on carbon, more consistent tax breaks for clean energy, and feed-in tariff schemes. The more we get clean power sources out there, the more efficient the relevant supply chains and infrastructure (both physical and political) will become. Competition will drive improvements in technology, and costs will come down as the industry heats up. To be sure, we should continue funding R&D and incubating promising technologies. But as we can see with the story of wind power, there's no substitute for deployment.

Note that wind power is being deployed world wide, including in the US, in significant amounts.

Edited by Peter Hun

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Note that wind power is being deployed world wide, including in the US, in significant amounts.

When they solve the problems with intermittentcy it'll be worth watching..

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-15711200

At present, those feeding power into the grid pay a charge of £24 per kilowatt if they are in the north of Scotland, western Highlands and Skye. It is slightly lower for those around Peterhead. A sliding scale charges those in the south of Scotland about £12.

But in much of the south of England, there is a subsidy of more than £6 per kilowatt.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-15711200

At present, those feeding power into the grid pay a charge of £24 per kilowatt if they are in the north of Scotland, western Highlands and Skye. It is slightly lower for those around Peterhead. A sliding scale charges those in the south of Scotland about £12.

But in much of the south of England, there is a subsidy of more than £6 per kilowatt.

"It suggested the access charge for wind and marine power from the north of Scotland would fall from £24 per kilowatt to less than £5.

Sharing the costs equally across the UK would remove the financial incentives to build any new nuclear power stations, and shift a projected £17bn of nuclear investment to other technologies."

New nuclear power stations not a shoe-in then...

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Note that wind power is being deployed world wide, including in the US, in significant amounts.

Prices of cables and backup conventional power plant (as Wind is unpredictible) excluded

People don't like overhead transmission line either, and underground cost about 10x more.

Yes, i think rise in the power cost is more likely to make it 'economical' then fall in wind power cost.

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"It suggested the access charge for wind and marine power from the north of Scotland would fall from £24 per kilowatt to less than £5.

Sharing the costs equally across the UK would remove the financial incentives to build any new nuclear power stations, and shift a projected £17bn of nuclear investment to other technologies."

New nuclear power stations not a shoe-in then...

17bn / 30M = ?

Isn't that enough each for some solar panels and a hot water system? (or a heat pump or a CHP or ...)

Edited by SarahBell

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Iberdrola developing offshore wind farm in Baltic Sea to supply Germany

Germany

Iberdrola and the Swedish company Vattenfall to build East Anglia offshore windfarm that could supply 5 million homes

East Anglia

Eskom to build solar and wind plants in south Africa

South Africa

I can't help feeling (especially with countries like Germany who are giving up nuclear plants) that there's a huge future in renewable energy. Certainly seems to be a lot of investment in this area.

Edited by Trampa501

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Iberdrola developing offshore wind farm in Baltic Sea to supply Germany

Germany

Iberdrola and the Swedish company Vattenfall to build East Anglia offshore windfarm that could supply 5 million homes

East Anglia

Eskom to build solar and wind plants in south Africa

South Africa

I can't help feeling (especially with countries like Germany who are giving up nuclear plants) that there's a huge future in renewable energy. Certainly seems to be a lot of investment in this area.

Hmmm I can't think of a Germany based world engineering power house that bought a wind turbine manufacturer in 2007 at all....... much less work for them.

Intermitancy is less of an issue if you have a grid based around UK waters.

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£566.68 each.

About enough for an iPod + dock each.

Don't spend it all at once... ;)

OK my maths is awful - it's nearly enough for 1/3 to be fitted with hot water panel or wood stove though. Maybe. At a push.

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Here's your starter for 10:

ITM Power

Audi Methanation project

That tech looks good, especially the second one, but how much does it cost?

I couldn't see any prices on the hydrogen one, which would be ideal for home use in conjunction with PVs and fuel cells.

I mean, it'd be lovely to have an off-grid house with full facilities, but if the power system costs 150k and up it's going to be restricted to eccentric mansion-owners.

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Look into what shale gas has done in the US. Then imagine it here.

I think the probability that wind power will be cheaper than gas 10-20 years from now is unlikely without some sort of radical technology change. Maybe someone will discover some new type of material to replace NdFeB that will make them more efficient, but this is unlikely.

VI spin if you ask me.

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Renewable energy IS the future - without a doubt. Like everything, costs will reduce as more installations are deployed. Those countries that embrace it now will be well positioned in future. Rather than saying it cannot be done, we should embrace it and work on the technology to brings its costs down. Germany will produce 75% of its energy by renewable means by 2050. It is almost certain that they will hit this target and in the process make themselves world leaders in this area too.

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Renewable energy IS the future - without a doubt. Like everything, costs will reduce as more installations are deployed. Those countries that embrace it now will be well positioned in future. Rather than saying it cannot be done, we should embrace it and work on the technology to brings its costs down. Germany will produce 75% of its energy by renewable means by 2050. It is almost certain that they will hit this target and in the process make themselves world leaders in this area too.

No, we should ditch the idea of plastering the whole country with pointless eyesores and instead concentrate on improving technologies that work reliably and predictably. At best extensive wind power should only be considered as a something-is-better-than-nothing stop-gap until actually useful stuff is ready, at which point the wretched things should be pulled down ASAP.

When they solve the problems with intermittentcy it'll be worth watching..

Hardly. Even if they worked at 100% capacity 100% of the time I'd rather have one nuke than god knows how many thousand wind turbines.

Edited by Riedquat

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Nail on the head. There is no way to make the wind blow all the time.

The wind is also blowing somewhere

The solution is to have wind generators everywhere and distribute it.

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The wind is also blowing somewhere

The solution is to have wind generators everywhere and distribute it.

Unfortunately, this demands epic levels of capacity and continental sized grids capable of shifting vast loads. Goodness knows where we could have gotten our power from last December, with a blocking high (=little wind) for a couple of weeks at the worst time for solar generation.

This sort of damages the economics a bit.

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When they solve the problems with intermittentcy it'll be worth watching..

my shed research has come on in leaps and bounds and im probably less than 2 months away from anti matter now

Edited by Tamara De Lempicka

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The wind is also blowing somewhere

The solution is to have wind generators everywhere and distribute it.

Wrong

Next time it's biting cold a la winter 2010/11 or meltingly hot, see how much wind there is.

When it's boiling hot or freezing cold you'll normally see a big blob of high pressure (yes those funny looking charts with black squiggly lines and red triangles on the BBC weather) sat over the UK. This means no wind which equals no power.

Therefore for every kW of power generated by wind, guess what? - You need an alternative which can be switched on pretty damn quick (not easy). Wind power as a major contributor to the grid is in itself is an absolute fallacy for these reasons.

If you're going for renewable then for heaven sake build a tidal barrage across the River Severn which has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. (and sod the salt marsh wading birds; they will evolve and bugger off somewhere else)

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The wind is also blowing somewhere

The solution is to have wind generators everywhere and distribute it.

This is not actually true.

Large scale, wide area studies have been done. While adding more locations does help to smooth out dips in production, this effect is smaller than the fact that by adding more wind turbines your dips and swells get larger (simply because by adding more turbines, more energy can be delivered by wind).

The net effect (even over wide areas, such as the whole of continental North America) is that dips and swells in production get larger and larger as more wind farms are added. Unless the grid is upgraded with more "spinning reserve" or "dynamic demand" the conventional concept of the grid will be unable to tolerate it beyond about 20-25% of electrical supply.

Some countries do achieve >25% of electricity from wind, but this is only practical by effectively increasing the size of their grid by interlinking with neighbours (at huge expense).

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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