319 - Boris and hot air; offshore wind farms | Scoins.net | DJS

319 - Boris and hot air; offshore wind farms

It is the norm for Tory party conferences to end with the leader, so often also the PM, on the stage. Yesterday was a little different, as it has been clear during the week that many of the speakers really do need audience feedback to gear their performance appropriately. I wrote 'content' rather than performance, but since these days the content has been shared in advance, it is the performance that would/could change. Performing to a camera is quite a different demand, entirely missing in feedback — as this week showed. 2

However, to content: BoJo loves his big announcements and the element I'm picking up is the prospect of being 'the Saudi Arabia for wind energy'. I have read several (Guardian) pieces on the topic recently and have a few observations, mostly of the 'where's the data, please?' variety. In blue, for each contention. The more I wrote, the more I found that what I had was questions hunting an answer, so that is what follows here, more of a list of things we don't know that we probably should have clearly explained in ways that feel substantiated — all those things that politicians fail to explain and the media sometimes is seen to work hard to discover.

Onshore wind is cheap(er). Cheaper than offshore generation, probably. Did anyone claim wind generation was cheap? It might be, but whether you think 'cheap' is the right term depends on how you view the money government throws at the problem, helping cause the development. I found comment that it was withdrawal of the funding that correlated with jumps in technology, as if only the threat of the loss of money actually caused change to occur. No doubt there is a contrary view that says the money was withdrawn because the coming change was already identified.

 "It is almost impossible to generate more than 50% of electricity from wind in any year".  Yes, there is an upper limit but it's still a long way off when storage, hydrogen and export of excess energy through interconnects are factored in. Wind capacity needs to be oversized with solutions to use overproduction other than just switching off turbines.

There is an upper limit to the amount of wind a turbine can extract, the Betz limit. Turbines have a design range, typically cutting in at around 4m/s and cutting out at 25 m/s. [2]. They also have a recognised survival speed, a point at which damage can be expected, commonly around 60 m/s.  ¹  

Typically it takes 10 years for a successful onshore wind project to go from proposal to operation. Of that, only 1 year is needed for the actual construction and commissioning (as for the example Withernwick project mentioned in the article. Work started in 2018 and was finished in 2019). All the rest of the time is spent worrying about the effect the towers will have on the view and whether they will "spoil" pretty areas. In addition, there is no guarantee that the NIMBYs won't get the whole thing cancelled. ... The linked-to article suggests 74% of tory voters support onshore wind farms. But that does not matter, since it is highly unlikely that those 74% have ever been confronted with the prospect of a wind farm spoiling their view. It is the power to block, delay and cancel that is the problem. 

As for whether offshore energy is as cheap as advertised, I found this very confusing. In exchange for a stable return, wind farm developers agree to sell their power at a certain price at Government auctions. Under the deal, if the wholesale cost of power is below the ‘strike price’ the Government pays the difference to wind farm operators. But if wholesale prices are higher, wind farms must pay. [8]

Last year’s offshore wind auction brought the cost of offshore wind power down to around £40 per megawatt hour. The Imperial analysis suggests wholesale electricity prices are likely to rise above this level over the lifetime of the projects, so wind farm operators will have to pay the Government the difference between their £40 ‘strike price’ and the wholesale energy price. The savings will be passed on to households via their energy bills.

I think—but I am not certain—that wind generation has genuinely become cheaper than the usual forms of power generation; see the blob chart S.1 lower down the page.

Onshore wind has been made very difficult by planning regulation. The permissions issue raises the expense (cost of making it happen, success ratio, as you like); money spent for windmills erected, surprisingly high. Is onshore wind cheap any more? it certainly could be.  That last is disputed; unpopular to whom?   ref 1 explains that there were alterations to planning law, particulalrly allowing a local veto (fine, if we extend that to every planning application, my opinion), but also to the financial mechanisms used to support low-carbon energy. Do look up renwable Obligation scheme and Contract for Differences. The inset chart gives an idea about that.

Onshore wind generation is unpopular. The article [which? this was a comment on Guardian article] makes the point that numerous surveys have shown that most people don't object to onshore wind. The most windy places are in remote areas in Scotland where the main issues are to do with grid connections. I failed to backtrack to the referred article, but here are some that may lead to hard data.     3. The last of these looks at you.gov output in some detail, showing that popular support for wind generation has steadily declined (really, downwards from 70-80% in 2008 to 60-70% in 2012, with offshore steadily scoring 10% higher than onshore. Compare this with nuclear, steady at around 50%. Contrast that with this cost chart, from [4] 

What is clearly true is that offshore generation requires new infrastructure to move the generated power ashore. Thereafter, additional infrastructure costs are equivalent to onshore generation. Offshore wind is more reliable, more predictable, changes less often, all of which means the case for offshore is strengthened; it makes the turbines more efficient. Being in a marine environment the turbines don't last as long as onshore ones. SourceOther, less well written.

Windmills work very much better if bigger. The comments that set me off initially said 'exponentially' so, which is not true. Bigger being better puts paid to suggestions of windmills at a domestic level; if true, it encourages very large windmills. Almost relevant: We [the UK] are actually the largest generator of electricity from off shore wind worldwide 9.7GW of installed capacity compared to 29.1GW installed capacity worldwide. The UK is developing real expertise in planning, installation, manufacture, operation and maintenance of these facilities. .... It's a global industry and the fact remains that the UK has the largest offshore wind installed capacity in the world which has led to a large number of UK jobs being created. The industry has committed to go further in terms of supporting close to 30,000 jobs by 2030.

Taller towers reach higher, where there is more air movement, basically bigger wind. Bigger blades are harder to move to site. New designs are for floating towers, where previously we have bedded them in shallow water. Theory explanation shows that available power relates to the square of the blade length and the cube of the air speed, which makes strong argument for bigger blades and consistently higher wind speeds, though questions remain as to what to do in extreme weather. [10] says The average size of offshore wind turbines grew by a factor of 3.4 in less than two decades, from 1.6 MW in 2000 to 5.5 MW in 2018. Offshore wind farms commissioned in Europe in 2018 used turbines between 3.5 MW and 8.8 MW capacity. New offshore wind projects have moved to deeper waters and further offshore. Projects in recent years have typically been built at water depths between 10 m and 55 m and up to 90 km offshore, compared to around 10 m water-depth in 2001-6, when distances to port rarely exceeded 20 km. With the shift to deeper water and sites further from ports, the total installed costs of offshore wind farms rose, from an average of around USD 2 500/kW in 2000 to around USD 5 400/kW by 2011-4, before falling to around USD 4 350/kW in 2018. Total costs are higher in Europe than in China, reflecting the fact that Chinese deployment to date remains in shallow waters, close to ports.

 This chart, from [10], has a band one might call beige or pink running across it. Overlaid are representations of different renewable classes and you can see how prices have come down to levels that are competitive with older energy production. Do feel encouraged to read the whole report. Cost reductions for solar and wind power technologies are set to continue to 2020 and beyond. Current auction and PPA data suggests that by 2020, onshore wind and solar PV will consistently offer less expensive electricity than the least-cost fossil fuel alternative, while by then, offshore wind and CSP will offer electricity in the USD 0.06 to US 0.10/kWh range.

For utility-scale solar PV, the auction data suggests that the average price of electricity could fall to USD 0.048/kWh in 2020, a reduction of 44% compared to the global weighted-average LCOE of projects commissioned in 2018. At a rate of 25% per year, this represents an acceleration over recent cost reduction trends. This acceleration is being driven by three factors. First, there are the benefits of competitive procurement in reducing the cost of electricity in markets that previously had higher installed costs than the benchmark competitive cost structure. Second, there is the shift to deploying solar PV in sunnier regions with higher capacity factors, and third, there is the reduced cost of financing. For offshore wind, the average cost of electricity could fall by 15% to USD 0.108/kWh, or 4% per year, by 2022. Projects in 2022 would predominantly span the range USD 0.06 to USD 0.14/kWh, with projects in Europe in the range of USD 0.06 to USD 0.10/kWh, with some exceptions.

LCOE is levelised cost of energy (or electricity): at its simplest, it allows us to compare sources of electricity. 

CSP, concentrating solar power, uses mirrors or lenses to project large amounts of sunlight to a receiver, which then typically drives a heat engine and hence a power generator. In Europe, Spain uses this a lot, with 50% of 2018 global production, despite no new build since 2013. I doubt this is suitable for the UK, unlike wind or tidal sources.

Side note here: tidal power would seem worthy of a lot more investment.  I can see a downside to the tidal barrage or tidal lagoon—and have commented upon before now—is that of security; to be truly effective the implication in engineering terms is to go large, very large. The result is a structure that is then a dream target for terrorists / insurrectionists in any form. Look at the Tidal Laggon Swansea, not built because there was argument that it would not produce value for money. What I can see is that a longer timeframe flatters tidal power compared to its alternatives. Or,  to put that another way, when we discover how often we must replace offshore wind turbines  we may well discover that this decision was wrong. It reads strongly as if vested interest killed this off.


Are we running out of gas? Perhaps, though gas is considerably cheaper than electricity still per energy unit. Indigenous production met one half of UK demand 2018. This has decreased over the last 10 years, down from two-thirds in 2008. The UK has maintained a self-sufficiency score of around one-half since 2016. As an average, one-quarter of EU demand was met through production. To meet the shortfall in supply the EU and UK import gas from a variety of sources. The UK’s proportion of total supplyfrom imports has been broadly stable over the last 10 years, fluctuating between 40 and 60 per cent since 2009. This settled to just over 50 per cent in 2014 and has remained there since; in 2018 imports comprised 54 per cent of total UK supply of gas. UK.gov. Most, about 78%, of our imported gas comes from Norway. The index of security of supply is high, third in Europe. So one interpretation of moving away from gas would be to argue that we cannot afford —or will not wish to afford—to import gas, perhaps in a post-Brexit world. Perhaps moving steadily to electricity implies a need (or recognition, or political want) to be more self-sufficient in energy. The average cost of electricity per kWh is 14.37p, and the average gas cost per kWh is 3.80pUKpower.co.ukWhich makes electricity around 4 times more expensive per kilowatt hour. [3.8² = 14.44, I note].

My reading suggests to me that if we are to reach the 2050 targets—or any intermediate ones—for reduction of carbon, then one of the things we have to do is quite dramatically shift to renewables. Currently about half of what we gain from renewables is from wind.

The existing infrastructure will accept this. Somehow I do not believe that facile statement. One suspects that there is a large cost being ignored.

Is there capacity? Lovers of free market and enterprise who don't actually do it themselves fail to look to see if there is capacity. One observer commented that there is doubt that there is enough capacity worldwide to do what is proposed—meaning the windmills and water-based connections—, counting jack-up vessels as an example. There are simple issues of infrastructure failure keeping us uncompetitive and the same commentator pointed to a power line across the Tyne that prevents certain size platforms from travel — meaning the work simply goes elsewhere.

This generates loads of jobs. Certainly in the construction phase. What about the maintenance phase? The people who would do either of these are not the same people—for the most part—that are losing jobs due to coronavirus.

Storage isn't an issue. Surely it must be; renewables in general are variable; wind is variable. Therefore we need ways of storing the energy until we have demand. Batteries might work, but one suspects that mechanical storage such as moving water uphill for later hydroelectric generation would be a smart move. Fuel of any sort is storage of energy. Attractive here is to use spare capacity to generate and then store hydrogen, or to regenerate hydrocarbons by using the CO₂ in the air as the main source for the carbon. The whole idea of needing to store energy points one to consider ways of adapting demand to fit supply instead of the previous habit of adapting supply to suit demand. Storage is not cheap; not least, almost every possible solution but batteries has a conversion cost as we move between types of energy. Batteries at scale are still surprisingly expensive, not least because China has very smartly cornered the market in essential elements (literally; lithium for example).

Implication that the business will be British. I found quite a bit of evidence of work being moved offshore. The huge business in Scotland that developed to run the rigs in the North Sea has shrunk for all sorts of reasons, mostly to do with there being cheaper labour elsewhere. Platforms are not made here and they could be, but we need the infrastructure and the will to pay for it. In a sense, we have to pay so that the work is here. Is that state subsidy? The Tories want for 'the market' or 'free enterprise' to pay for this: where is there any assurance that even a realistic proportion of this will remain British? I found a target of 60%, but of what was unclear and what the current level is seemed very similar. far too much money 'kept onshore' simply goes to a middleman who creams off his significant cut and farms the work off to the cheapest bidder, automatically overseas. I found (too many) cases of companies that appeared to be British but, being international, again moved the work internally to somewhere cheap enough to make profit. If we really want the work to stay onshore, even within Europe, we have to pay for this. Letting market competition sort this out ends up pandering to the cronies who farm out the work. That is opinion supported by secondary and tertiary evidence.

State subsidy is not allowed by the EU. Disputed in the comment section several times, that £60 billion may be spent by a state in supporting (an?) industry. To be explored further, but that would go some way to explaining how some EU countries support their heavy industries. Subsidiary question, why don't we already know this? If true, why did we want to leave the EU - in the sense that this was an argument for leaving, obviously refuted by the current debacle in the Brexit talks, where we are told that state subsidy is an issue. I found among the comments on the Guardian article that set me off, these: However, having worked in offshore industry for over 30 years (initially UK North Sea, then middle east and past 18 in far east) I have seen how quickly such opportunities are squandered. Ship and Offshore yards in Scotland where I first started have all but gone. Asian yards particularly South Korea and Singapore and now China have mopped up the market due to their efficiency, relatively low cost and favourable investment environment always with extensive direct and indirect government support in the rear. Link.

Nevertheless some nations, in contrast to UK, have been quite effective at retaining significant engineering and construction capabilities on their doorstep, even though they are bound by WTO and/or EU trade agreements. Norway in particular has had many fixed platform and FPSO topsides fabricated and / or integrated and completed locally, retaining many investment $billions into regional and local economies thus protecting and enhancing employment and export business opportunities. Nigeria and Brazil also have long established high local content expectations w.r.t. capital expenditure, construction and labour. So it can be done but requires solid and consistent government focus and meaningful support. 

In our UK Offshore Industries we have seen direct / indirect employment halved from a peak of some 453,000 in 2014 due to the protracted oil slump as well developing energy transition and now coronavirus reset. Many of these could and should be transferred wherever possible to renewables. If the nation does not address this seriously we will repeat the same mistakes again, and be beholden to foreign supply chains and have squandered future work opportunities for our next gens.

Implicit electrification of heating and transport. Great, in terms of low carbon footprint. Is that not a dramatic change in demand for electricity? Like perhaps twice as much, if the general idea is to shrink the gas market to the benefit of the electricity market. Doesn't that rather beg repeat of earlier questions, like whether the Grid will take it, and what we do for shortfall (nuclear?)? This could so easily go horribly wrong and, as ever with BJ's class of big picture politics, the detail is entirely missing and so the cost will almost automatically spiral out of sight, making the good idea in theory into a bad one in practice.

How long does a turbine last? The political version makes them sound as if once-up, always producing. It would be good to know what proportion are out of service at any moment. How green is a turbine, anyway? I found here that 20 years is considered the optimal life of a wind farm, by which I guess at 20 years all turbines would be past due for replacement. Also, operation and maintenance (O&M) costs for offshore turbines are 2-4 times more than onshore.  An onshore wind farm's O&M costs account for 10-15% of the total cost, rising to 25% in an offshore wind farm. 

Do we mean more than wind? What about tidal power, hydro, geothermal, biomass? How green are these, really? Again, why don't we know and why is so difficult to fund an unbiased source of information? Obviously we need solar working very well and, somehow, for that not to be a joke in Britain.

Wind energy is cheap. Is it, really? Where did the development occur and who paid for it? How is that spending recovered? I suspect we (the UK) did a lot of it and that we (UK residents) have been paying for it. In exchange for a stable return, wind farm developers agree to sell their power at a certain price at Government auctions. Under the deal, if the wholesale cost of power is below the ‘strike price’ the Government pays the difference to wind farm operators. But if wholesale prices are higher, wind farms must pay. Last year’s offshore wind auction brought the cost of offshore wind power down to around £40 per megawatt hour. The Imperial analysis suggests wholesale electricity prices are likely to rise above this level over the lifetime of the projects, so wind farm operators will have to pay the Government the difference between their £40 ‘strike price’ and the wholesale energy price. The savings will be passed on to households via their energy bills. [8], [9]  So the strike price is an effective subsidy that has funded development. No doubt it will soon disappear, since wind now matches the wholesale electricity market, if I understood [9] correctly. Perhaps we can accurately say that the funding paid for some of the development costs. [10], from IRENA, says that renewables are now cheaper than any coal, oil or natural gas option. Crucially, they are set to do so without financial assistance. 

 We expect a boom in the wind market. Because BJ says so, perhaps? The offshore wind market as whole is set to boom in the next decade, with consultancy firm EY recently predicting installed capacity to triple in Europe by 2024. This growth is expected 'largely from the UK market', which already accounts for 55% of all European offshore capacity. Source, press; original report.  Suppose there are 1000 identical turbine units in Europe. Then 550 of these are somehow British. The prediction is for Europe to triple, to 3000 units; if this increase is  'largely from the UK market' then we look for a change in the proportion in Britain, upwards. So the '550 British units' is expected to do more than triple. Suppose it merely quadruples; then the British component of European units rises from 55% to 2200/3000 = 73%, while the non-UK component rises from 450 units to 800, not even a 60% increase. Suppose 'largely from the UK' is number, not proportion: then if UK demand (only) doubles to 1100 while Europe total reaches 3000, then UK proportionally holds 37% of the whole and 28% of the increase. I do not think that accommodates 'largely from the UK' . Either there are some faulty assumptions or there is some concept such as ownership of coastline proximate to power demand that is already understood. 

Conversely, someone is a long way ahead of the British PM because the prediction for growth has already occurred. The report to which I refer is dated 2017. I looked for reporting on market growth. GlobalData 2019 indicates a 29% rise globally over 2018 figures; annual growth since 2010 is about 15% compound, China well ahead. Capacity is measured in gigawatts, GW: 2018 puts Asia pacific on 260, Europe on 200, North America on 100. China alone expects to add about 20GW per year. Proportionally we might expect the UK to add 1 GW per year; in 2017 it added 1.7GW. [I have a suspicion they mean GW-h, but GW is what is published]. The UK wind power growth curve is mine, from data at wikipedia (yes, I've donated this year), with my forecast using (only) a cubic, which predicts a doubling in capacity between 2018 and 2024.

So I have found answers of sorts to a range of questions. I think wind power is cheap, in the sense that it is undercutting fossil fuels in bidding competitions; off shore is quite a bit more expensive than onshore. Hydroelectric power and solar can compete with fossil fuels. There's a cost and loss every time one switches between energy types and we have a need to find storage solutions at scale just as we need to be smarter, moving demand to more nearly match supply – and still needing some other generation to fill in the times when wind alone is not enough. Electricity is still four times the price of gas to a domestic user, so there are political questions about security of supply that ought to be voiced at length. I looked in an earlier page at use of heat pumps for domestic generation, but at £20k per installation, this is not going to pay for itself without significant financial encouragement. But I feel much the same about electric vehicles; make it worth my while, somehow.

   DJS 20201008-14

top pic from here.

I lost the connection to the comments on the Guardian article I was originally reading.  This is odd; the comments appear on my laptop (generally downstairs) but not in my office upstairs at the 'big' machine. It may also be true that the G does not keep comments for lengthy periods. One of the consequences is that I lost the tracking of who had said what and some of the quotes (brown) are in effect not attributed; you know that I've quoted, but the thread leading back to the source is lost. Not so much broken, as disconnected.

To explore: 





UK’s biggest battery ever seen to cover area half the size of a football pitch at Glasgow wind farm



[0] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/oct/05/boris-johnson-to-unveil-plan-to-power-all-uk-homes-with-wind-by-2030

[1] https://store.globaldata.com/report/gdae1205mar--wind-turbine-operations-maintenance-market-global-market-size-trends-and-key-country-analysis-to-2025/   A good find, at a mere $4000.

[2] https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Fifth-Carbon-Budget_Ch3_The-Cost-effective-path.pdf   which includes this, that I thought worth quoting, though the whole thing is worth reading.

A number of common themes have emerged from the various approaches:

  • Energy efficiency and behaviour change. Reducing the level of energy demand through improved efficiency and small changes to consumer behaviour can greatly reduce the cost of meeting the 2050 target. However, it is clear that this alone will not be enough to reduce emissions by 80%, and fuel switching to low-carbon sources will also be needed.
  • Power sector. Meeting the target is likely to require a power sector with very low emissions intensity in 2050. This is needed to decarbonise existing demands for electricity and to meet new demands in road transport and heat in buildings without increasing emissions (with potential for other applications). Depending on the extent of electrification in transport, heat and other applications, the level of electricity consumption in 2050 could be 50-135% above the level in 2014.
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is very important in meeting the 2050 target at least cost, given its potential to reduce emissions across heavy industry, the power sector and perhaps with bioenergy, as well as opening up new decarbonisation pathways (e.g. based on hydrogen). Estimates by the Committee9 and by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI)10 indicate that the costs of meeting the UK’s 2050 target could almost double without CCS. At the global level the IPCC has estimated that its absence could increase costs by over 100%11.

[3] https://d423d1558e1d71897434.b-cdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/NERA-Final-Report-21-Oct-2015.pdf pretty good detail.

[4] https://www.theccc.org.uk/2015/10/22/new-low-carbon-electricity-generation-is-cost-effective-option-for-uk-power-sector-investment-in-2020s-and-beyond/

There are eight operating nuclear stations, eleven "retired" stations and seven planned future nuclear power stations in the UK. Not one of these is insured by the industry; that burden falls on you and I. As do the higher domestic fuel bills. About the existence of these controversial and commercially questionable installations, there has never been a public political debate, let alone any such thing as a referendum. In the past, the big parties has shared a commitment to discontinue future nuclear development (that was policy under both Major and Blair) but today, they stand united in favour of more nuclear follies. Brexit or no Brexit.

Two tenders:

1) £100m tender price, and all equipment made overseas
2) £110m tender price, and all equipment made locally. 

Evaluating tender 2):

i) Higher Cost, but
ii) 1000 jobs created locally
iii) Those 1000 jobs reduce local unemployment rates, therefore less unemployment benefits paid
iv) Those 1000 jobs pay superior levels than unemployments rates, leading to 1000 x income tax, National Insurance payments to the government, plus increased discretionary spending to be spent in local shops and businesses
v) Establishing those 1000 jobs may lead to a cluster situation, whereby other manufacturers may locate to that area. 
vi) Providing the dignity of work rather than languishing on benefits.

Therefore, accept the higher tender, due to all these other benefits that goes with it.

Is this the same English that went along with the devolution referenda in all 3 Celtic home nations and the independence referendum in Scotland and has totally devolved power to all 13 UK Overseas Territories (and let 3 have independence referenda in recent decades) and 3 Crown Dependencies (and recently removed the last powers the UK had over them to their local governments)? The same English whose MPs every year vote in a budget that spends more per head on Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Britons than English Britons?

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine_design

[6] https://www.renewableuk.com/page/WindEnergy 

Onshore Wind

Onshore wind offers the most cost-effective choice for new electricity in the UK, bar none - it is cheaper than gas, nuclear, coal and other renewables. This clean, modern technology is popular with the public, regularly enjoying support levels of up to 74% according to the Government’s own opinion polls. Onshore wind already generates clean power to meet the annual needs of more than 7.25 million homes a year and produced 9% of the UK’s power needs in 2017. Overall, the UK has installed over 12 gigawatts of onshore wind capacity, which supports jobs and local economic growth. The cumulative investment impact of the UK’s 1,500 operational onshore wind farms is over £35 billion, demonstrating the significant contribution which onshore wind can make to delivering low-cost, low-carbon energy that pays back to consumers.

Offshore Wind 

The UK is the world leader in offshore wind, with more installed capacity than any other country. Already, offshore wind powers the equivalent of 4.5 million homes annually and will generate over 10% of UK electricity by 2020. The cost of new offshore wind has fallen by 50% since 2015 and it is now one of the lowest cost options for new power in the UK – cheaper than new gas and nuclear power. Between 2016 and 2021 nearly £19bn is being invested in offshore wind in the UK. This investment supports thousands of jobs across the UK in manufacturing, project development, construction and operations. The offshore wind sector has set out ambitious plans for a transformative sector deal that will generate tens of thousands of highly-productive, skilled jobs across the UK and make offshore wind the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.

[7] https://www.boythorpewindenergy.co.uk/wind-turbine-advice/onshore-vs-offshore-wind-energy/ with links to quoted content on the site.

Offshore wind energy sources are currently one of the most expensive energy technologies. Offshore wind farms are 90 per cent more expensive than fossil fuel generators and  50 per cent more expensive than nuclear, according to The Telegraph.  This high expense is a result of the technical difficulties of offshore turbine construction and connection to the National Grid. Extra construction and materials are needed to set up turbines in the sea and  investment in new offshore technologies that may not work is also attributed to this cost. According to Friends of the Earth, energy from onshore wind turbines is two times cheaper than offshore wind. If environmental damage was included, the price of coal would be three times that of onshore wind energy, according to Friends of the Earth.

[8] https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/offshore-wind-power-cheap-explained-pay-back-government-subsidies-563941

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/02/wind-farm-subsidy-scottish-power-limit-auction

[10]  https://www.irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Publication/2019/May/IRENA_Renewable-Power-Generations-Costs-in-2018.pdf  a good source reporting across renewables

[11] https://www.equinor.com/en/what-we-do/floating-wind.html  I've been expecting floating turbines; how to keep them facing into the wind is not explained; I imagine they'd twist on the anchors. They're moored, which makes a bit of a nonsense of being used in 'deep' water.

footnote markers ²  ³  ⁴   ⁵  ⁶  ⁷  ⁸  ⁹  

1 to convert m/s to kph, multiply by 3600/1000 = 3.6. So the typical survival speed, 60m/s, is 216 kph. To convert to mph the factor is 3600/1609 = 2.237, so that 60m/s = 134 mph. the typical operating range 4-25 m/s is then 14-90 kph or 9-56 mph.https://d423d1558e1d71897434.b-cdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/NERA-Final-Report-21-Oct-2015.pdf

Found subsequently

[11] https://webstore.iea.org/world-energy-outlook-2020?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20201015&silverid=NTE3MDgxNDgxMDUyS0  summary https://webstore.iea.org/download/summary/4153

[12] https://theconversation.com/floating-wind-farms-how-to-make-them-the-future-of-green-electricity-142847?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Conversation%20-%201821217704&utm_content=The%20Conversation%20-%201821217704+CID_623bd9791b7fcd0ff0de836fedf5d07a&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=how%20to%20make%20floating%20wind%20farms%20a%20reality   Same subject as mine, July 2020. Fundamental point, floating turbines are about twice the cost of fixed-bottom ones, jumping from £36-45 per MWh to more like £100. To build a one gigawatt fixed-bottom wind farm, the cost of completing the necessary site survey is in the region of £15 million. Installing and commissioning the farm would be about £650 million, while the ongoing costs for operation and maintenance would be roughly £75 million per year. At the end of its life, which may be about 25 years, there’s another £300 million necessary for decommissioning.

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