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dinker

Wind

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The UK is the world leader in offshore wind, and already has more offshore installed capacity that the rest of Europe combined. No womder my electricity bill is so high:

http://qz.com/347198/the-uk-is-planning-a-windfarm-the-size-of-puerto-rico-in-the-middle-of-the-north-sea/

Only when we go nuclear for our power will our electricity be as cheap as that in France.

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The UK is the world leader in offshore wind, and already has more offshore installed capacity that the rest of Europe combined. No womder my electricity bill is so high:

http://qz.com/347198/the-uk-is-planning-a-windfarm-the-size-of-puerto-rico-in-the-middle-of-the-north-sea/

Mine on the other hand has never been lower - thanks to all of the energy efficient appliances around nowadays and our solar panels.

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My "wind" can power Govenments for centuries!

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Only when we go nuclear for our power will our electricity be as cheap as that in France.

Remind me again, what was the price agreed with EDF for power generated at Hinckley? I believe it was reported as almost double the current wholesale price at the time?

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Banks + Government + bent carbon tax agender = ******ing the average consumer.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/windpower/9934846/Green-tax-boost-for-wind-farm-profits.html

Electricity prices are expected to increase at an accelerated rate due to the resulting reduction in power supplies;

* Energy costs will rise by around eight per cent each year between now and 2020, meaning wholesale prices will almost double.

The details are contained in a 70-page prospectus drawn up by Barclays Bank and sent to financiers looking to invest up to £260million in a new energy fund, Greencoat UK Wind, which is planning to buy stakes in six big wind farms around the UK.

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Remind me again, what was the price agreed with EDF for power generated at Hinckley? I believe it was reported as almost double the current wholesale price at the time?

If someone invented a method of generating power that was almost free and had no unpleasant downsides whatsoever that would still happen if the government got involved in deciding who got to build the plant.

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Im guessing off shore wind power is very rare (and probably several times more expensive than building on land)...tonnes more on land wind farms in germany than here...maybe not as many NIMBYs in germany complaining about 'their' views and house prices.

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Im guessing off shore wind power is very rare (and probably several times more expensive than building on land)...tonnes more on land wind farms in germany than here...maybe not as many NIMBYs in germany complaining about 'their' views and house prices.

Offshore wind is very expensive. At the moment the offshore wind strike price £155/MWh with onshore wind having a strike price of £105/MWh. The strike price for Hinckley C is £92.50/MWh reducing to £89.50/MWh if a 2nd plant is ordered.

On top of this, there are hidden costs of "backup" for when the wind doesn't blow; it is not uncommon for the entire British Isles to have no wind anywhere for days at a time. A big problem is that as wind power eats into the market share of gas/coal power, generators are not maintaining or mothballing their plants because it is no longer viable to keep them in standby in the event of a wind shortage. The government has now agreed to subsidise gas/coal plant left idle due to wind power,so that it remains available on a standby basis.

Finally, wind is generated in remote or low population areas, which is not where the power is needed. National grid is commissioning £15 billion of upgrades to connect wind farms.

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Offshore wind is very expensive. At the moment the offshore wind strike price £155/MWh with onshore wind having a strike price of £105/MWh. The strike price for Hinckley C is £92.50/MWh reducing to £89.50/MWh if a 2nd plant is ordered.

On top of this, there are hidden costs of "backup" for when the wind doesn't blow; it is not uncommon for the entire British Isles to have no wind anywhere for days at a time. A big problem is that as wind power eats into the market share of gas/coal power, generators are not maintaining or mothballing their plants because it is no longer viable to keep them in standby in the event of a wind shortage. The government has now agreed to subsidise gas/coal plant left idle due to wind power,so that it remains available on a standby basis.

Finally, wind is generated in remote or low population areas, which is not where the power is needed. National grid is commissioning £15 billion of upgrades to connect wind farms.

Except the price for offshore wind is not guaranteed for the next 40 years;-)

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Offshore wind is very expensive. At the moment the offshore wind strike price £155/MWh with onshore wind having a strike price of £105/MWh. The strike price for Hinckley C is £92.50/MWh reducing to £89.50/MWh if a 2nd plant is ordered.

On top of this, there are hidden costs of "backup" for when the wind doesn't blow; it is not uncommon for the entire British Isles to have no wind anywhere for days at a time. A big problem is that as wind power eats into the market share of gas/coal power, generators are not maintaining or mothballing their plants because it is no longer viable to keep them in standby in the event of a wind shortage. The government has now agreed to subsidise gas/coal plant left idle due to wind power,so that it remains available on a standby basis.

Finally, wind is generated in remote or low population areas, which is not where the power is needed. National grid is commissioning £15 billion of upgrades to connect wind farms.

There are some issues with this argument: (1) the strike price for offshore wind might well be lower (still not announced) but even if it was it is for 15 years, with the 10 years of generation thereafter for free. For nuclear it is 40 years...! (2) the cost of decommissioning is NOT included in the costs. effecitvely 0 for offshore, whereas for instance Sellafield decommissioning costs are now in excess of GBP 70bn! State sponsored.

(3) Nuclear also needs backup - these plants do have occassional issues and also need maintenance. If they go offline there is a lot of backup capacity required. More importantly wind farms on a site by site basis might be intermittent but across the country this effect is somewhat mitigated. The backup "capacity market" is not solely for wind of course. (4) Re grid : what would you prefer, a wind farm in scotland with an expensive grid or a nuclear power station nearby big cities? The very low probability of issues with nuclear have ultra high impacts. Imagine the cost of evacuating London - this would bankrup the country. And don't forget that this nearly happened to Tokyo - it could happen here too.

Then there are the positives: imbedded generation without imports for commidities, long term downward effect on wholesale power prices (countries with high renewables capacity have lower power prices, even negatively regularly like denmark, germany), carbon free.

Ultimately there is no perfect generation technology and a country needs a sensible mix and the UK is not far off from getting it pretty well balanced although I would personally prefer more onshore wind as it's much cheaper than offhsore wind and more reliable. 100% wind is impossible but likewise is 100% nuclear, or 100% coal, or 100% gas...

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There are some issues with this argument: (1) the strike price for offshore wind might well be lower (still not announced) but even if it was it is for 15 years, with the 10 years of generation thereafter for free. For nuclear it is 40 years...! (2) the cost of decommissioning is NOT included in the costs. effecitvely 0 for offshore, whereas for instance Sellafield decommissioning costs are now in excess of GBP 70bn! State sponsored.

(3) Nuclear also needs backup - these plants do have occassional issues and also need maintenance. If they go offline there is a lot of backup capacity required. More importantly wind farms on a site by site basis might be intermittent but across the country this effect is somewhat mitigated. The backup "capacity market" is not solely for wind of course. (4) Re grid : what would you prefer, a wind farm in scotland with an expensive grid or a nuclear power station nearby big cities? The very low probability of issues with nuclear have ultra high impacts. Imagine the cost of evacuating London - this would bankrup the country. And don't forget that this nearly happened to Tokyo - it could happen here too.

Then there are the positives: imbedded generation without imports for commidities, long term downward effect on wholesale power prices (countries with high renewables capacity have lower power prices, even negatively regularly like denmark, germany), carbon free.

Ultimately there is no perfect generation technology and a country needs a sensible mix and the UK is not far off from getting it pretty well balanced although I would personally prefer more onshore wind as it's much cheaper than offhsore wind and more reliable. 100% wind is impossible but likewise is 100% nuclear, or 100% coal, or 100% gas...

Good post. Most people seem to not appreciate that commercial nuclear reactors are the biggest single lumps to go off line - Sizewell B for example being 1200MW which when it trips puts a hell of a strain on the SE power grid.

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There are some issues with this argument: (1) the strike price for offshore wind might well be lower (still not announced) but even if it was it is for 15 years, with the 10 years of generation thereafter for free. For nuclear it is 40 years...! (2) the cost of decommissioning is NOT included in the costs. effecitvely 0 for offshore, whereas for instance Sellafield decommissioning costs are now in excess of GBP 70bn! State sponsored.

(3) Nuclear also needs backup - these plants do have occassional issues and also need maintenance. If they go offline there is a lot of backup capacity required. More importantly wind farms on a site by site basis might be intermittent but across the country this effect is somewhat mitigated. The backup "capacity market" is not solely for wind of course. (4) Re grid : what would you prefer, a wind farm in scotland with an expensive grid or a nuclear power station nearby big cities? The very low probability of issues with nuclear have ultra high impacts. Imagine the cost of evacuating London - this would bankrup the country. And don't forget that this nearly happened to Tokyo - it could happen here too.

Then there are the positives: imbedded generation without imports for commidities, long term downward effect on wholesale power prices (countries with high renewables capacity have lower power prices, even negatively regularly like denmark, germany), carbon free.

Ultimately there is no perfect generation technology and a country needs a sensible mix and the UK is not far off from getting it pretty well balanced although I would personally prefer more onshore wind as it's much cheaper than offhsore wind and more reliable. 100% wind is impossible but likewise is 100% nuclear, or 100% coal, or 100% gas...

You make some reasonable points. The point about the duration of the CfD is taken. However, the HPC CfD does specifically include decommissioning and spent fuel disposal costs. Whether they are accurate is yet to be seen, but HPC uses a design which is largely the same as numerous plants in France, and the decommissioning plans for those are well established. At the same time, the HPC plant is expected to burn the fuel approximately 20x as deeply as the old magnox plants (or 5x as deeply as the AGR plants), and hence the volume of spent fuel to be disposed of is greatly reduced. By not requiring reprocessing at sellafield, and using spent fuel suitable for direct burial, the spent fuel handling costs should be mitigated significantly over previous generation plants.

You are correct that all plants need backup. However, wind and solar are unique in that it is highly correlated between all plants. It's been well demonstrated in the UK that you get many days when there is zero wind anywhere; spreading out the plants mitigates short term variability, but does little for long term variability. This means you do need to have 100% backup, whereas with conventional plant, you do not need 100% backup, but 10-20%.

The point about single plant sizes is well taken. The choice of the EPR reactors for HPC is not well suited to the UK. At 1600 MW each, in the event of a trip, the effect on an isolated island grid is problematic. There are plenty of other reasons to dislike the EPR design - notably, it's monstrous complexity, vast capital cost and lack of passive safety. Even EDF who have been dead set on the EPR, seem to be pausing for thought before ordering any more for France.

It is also misleading to suggest that countries with high renewable impact have low energy costs. This is because of the substantial subsidies paid. For example, in Germany, metered electricity costs are low, but this is because there is a €20 billion unmetered (at point of use) cost paid by general taxation. Negative spot pricing demonstrates a manipulated market because subsidised providers can profitably sell energy for a negative price. I would much rather see transparent pricing, and strong commitments. What is even more disappointing is that this hasn't reduced Germany's CO2 emissions - they have replaced nuclear baseload with wind and coal backup. Even with big energy savings elsewhere, the increased coal emissions has wiped out nearly all the CO2 savings.

One of the problems for national grid, who need to plan grid upgrades against massive planning opposition, is the possibility that wind farms are not built after grid upgrades have been committed to. The government's lack of long-term clarity over the wind CfDs has scared off a number of investors.

As you say, the UK needs a good mix of power generation technologies.

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I think that UK commitment to Wind Power is greatly dependent on whether a lot of suitable farmland is owned by the family of the wife of the Prime Minister du jour. So difficult to plan for when there elections every so often.

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You are correct that all plants need backup. However, wind and solar are unique in that it is highly correlated between all plants. It's been well demonstrated in the UK that you get many days when there is zero wind anywhere; spreading out the plants mitigates short term variability, but does little for long term variability. This means you do need to have 100% backup, whereas with conventional plant, you do not need 100% backup, but 10-20%.

That's why fuel cells are a big area for R&D. Something with a large capacity to smooth the 24-hour day/night cycle, and longer-term reservoirs.

There is some correlation in different renewables: there's quite a high correlation between lack of wind and lots of sunshine and vice versa: both stem from high/low pressure systems. Scandinavia has a particularly useful mix as they can turn up hydro power when the wind is low. And in the UK we have an excellent utterly-reliable source in our tides.

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the cost of decommissioning is NOT included in the costs. effecitvely 0 for offshore,

What, you just let them rust to pieces out in the sea?

whereas for instance Sellafield decommissioning costs are now in excess of GBP 70bn! State sponsored.

Well, yes, because the anti-nuclear nutters demand more and more pointless BS until the cost becomes unaffordable.

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You make some reasonable points. The point about the duration of the CfD is taken. However, the HPC CfD does specifically include decommissioning and spent fuel disposal costs. Whether they are accurate is yet to be seen, but HPC uses a design which is largely the same as numerous plants in France, and the decommissioning plans for those are well established. At the same time, the HPC plant is expected to burn the fuel approximately 20x as deeply as the old magnox plants (or 5x as deeply as the AGR plants), and hence the volume of spent fuel to be disposed of is greatly reduced. By not requiring reprocessing at sellafield, and using spent fuel suitable for direct burial, the spent fuel handling costs should be mitigated significantly over previous generation plants.

Good post. That's why one has to like HPC - some detailed knowledge on the nuclear knocking about. I wasn't aware of the decom costs being included in the CfD which at least removes one significant part of the cost picture. I am certainly not against nuclear but my one bug bear is that there are certain costs which are underwritten by the government and up until recently this included decom costs. It reminds me a bit of the banking system as nuclear is "too big to fail" and hence benefits from inidrect government underwriting (or even direct as the financing to build that is trying to be raised will benefit from guarantees too).

One point in my argument you did not repsond to was the cost of serious issues (which granted have a low probability but above 0), and ulitmately this cost is borne by the government. For instance how would you expect a private company to carry the cost of a 50-100 miles diameter exclusion zone in the south? Or the cost of evacuating London? This implicit guarantee should be priced in by the goverment by for instance a form of profit sharing if return on capital exceeds say 10-12%.

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One point in my argument you did not repsond to was the cost of serious issues (which granted have a low probability but above 0), and ulitmately this cost is borne by the government. For instance how would you expect a private company to carry the cost of a 50-100 miles diameter exclusion zone in the south? Or the cost of evacuating London? This implicit guarantee should be priced in by the goverment by for instance a form of profit sharing if return on capital exceeds say 10-12%.

Ultimately, this is not something that can be sensibly quantified. The government takes on the implicit cost of an accident, beyond the first £1 billion. Unfortunately, the frequency of accidents is not easy to quantify due to dramatic differences in engineering and regulation between countries, and the cost of accidents is also difficult to quantify.

Trying to put a price on this is basically plucking numbers out of the air. For example, research groups have suggested that in France, commerical insurance would cost in the region of £30/MWh. A 2nd research group suggested that in Germany, such a policy would be expected to cost about £2000/MWh.

This is something that has to be considered by the national regulators. Though at what price it should be set, I don't know. The decomissioning costs are charged on a per MWh basis, I see no reason why a similar sort of charge could not be made for the implicit state insurance.

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