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U.K. offshore wind park may generate power cheaper than by burning coal (bloomberg.com)
140 points by Anon84 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 148 comments



Offshore turbines also access more consistent winds, so not only will the turbines be cheap, they will be reliable, which will reduce grid integration costs.

Edit: The UK’s already up to 50% nuclear and renewables on the electricity grid, this is an extra 6GW of capacity, and goes on top of previous auctions which are currently under development, it looks like we’re headed for 60-70% in the mid to late 2020s.


Silly question, but is wind at sea guaranteed? What if weather patterns change? It's really expensive to put up these offshore turbines, but with systemic climate change is it possible they'd be becalmed?


The sea is a huge area without hills or mountains to reduce the wind speed, and near shore there is a daily guaranteed temperature differential nearby to generate some wind.

So, yes, it's so likely that it's practically guaranteed. Too much wind is an orders of magnitude more likely problem.


>Too much wind is an orders of magnitude more likely problem.

It's worth elaborating that too much wind is as bad as too little wind. The blades can only spin so fast before disintegrating, so wind turbines have transmissions and choose a gear appropriate to the current wind speed. Once wind speeds exceed what the highest gear can handle the turbine locks the blades to prevent damage. In that state it doesn't produce any electricity.


That's not the whole story and is somewhat misleading. Wind turbines feather the blades at high velocity to keep from spinning too fast; they rarely actually have to lock the blades and stop electricity production, and even then that'd be a very localized drop in electricity, more than compensated by increased production from surrounding areas with strong winds.


Sometimes power is actually used to keep them turning as they need strong wind to start turning. At least that was true 10 years ago or so.


No but you can put far larger turbines up at sea (much easier to transport a 100m blade at sea than taking it down windy back roads up a hill on land).

Larger turbines are more productive especially at lower wind speeds as far as I know.


> "It's really expensive to put up these offshore turbines"

They are more expensive than on-shore wind turbines, but still significantly cheaper than other forms of generation (such as nuclear).

With geographic and technological diversity, "smart grid" demand management, inter-connectors, storage tech, and a modest investment in nuclear baseload, we can get pretty close to 100% low-carbon generation in the UK over the next few decades. Even as grid demand increases with the gradual electrification of heating and transport.


You can't drop nuclear as if that's an averagely priced alternative that you're comparing to.


What options have we got for low carbon generation?

Onshore and offshore wind, Nuclear (all mentioned), solar, hydro. As far as I'm aware all the good hydro sites in Britain have been used up, so there's only solar that really should have been mentioned.

Off shore wind is probably more expensive that solar, does that really change the parents point?


I know solar doesn't actually require clear skies etc etc, but I still laugh whenever it comes up - because of the notouriously-depressing British weather...


In January I was sat in a park in Scotland eating lunch, feeling the sun on my face, and realized that global warming has probably ruined this cliche forever.


No. Wind production in the UK over the last 12 months has varied from 12,456MW (on Jan 7th at 21:00) to 142MW (May 1st 08:50)

Most of that is from the sea.


It’s about half and half onshore and offshore, not mostly offshore.


Nothings guaranteed.

Worst case scenario for Britain would be a period of little wind in the North sea, in Winter. That would be unusual, but not unheard of.

I'm not aware of any plausible scenarios where global warming would lead to less wind, but I suppose its locally possible.


Not to forget there's offshore wind on the West coast, and around Scotland too. Not so much yet, but still. The chances of no wind around the whole British Isles, encompassing Western Approaches, Irish Sea, Northern Isles and North Sea is slim. :)


Britain is connected to other countries' grids via inter-connectors, so that provides a lot of backup in the system.


Some winds are generated because of the Earth's structure.

The trade winds are pretty consistent.

My favourite bit of meteorology trivia is that the wealthier areas in British cities are almost exclusively to the west - this is because the prevailing wind is from the west and so pollution producing factories have been placed in the east of the city.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_winds


You can explore the data here: https://electricinsights.co.uk

You can even split wind into onshore and offshore, although the data is patchy.

Wind varies, but from a quick look offshore hasn't gone to zero over the past year and neither has onshore.


It's not guaranteed, if you'd ever been sailing you'd know it's definitely not guaranteed!


Sailing is a different use case though. For wind turbines it doesn't matter if the wind died down in a single place, if you have them spread over a large area and in multiple sites. It's definitely not guaranteed that a single one will always work, but pretty much guaranteed that the system overall will never stop.


> The UK’s already up to 50% nuclear and renewables on the electricity grid

In the last year UK produced

  Coal: 3%
  Gas: 42%
  Nuclear: 20%
  Wind: 17%
  Solar: 4%
  Hydro: 1.4%
  Biomass: 6.4%
  Pumped 0.66%
So 28% renewable, 20% nuclear, total of about half.

Wow.

The good news is we're not overproducing - even on the most renewable days (Aug 17 at 15:15) when 44% came from wind and 25% from solar, we still had 12% coming from gas, 5% from biomass

(edit - looked at wrong row on my spreadsheet!)


For anyone curious, most of the UKs nuclear power is due to be comissioned in the next decade. However most reactors have received short term extensions.

There's currently one reactor under construction, and a bunch more planned, so I expect the current reactors will receive extensions until these or renewables take over.


Do you happen to know if all the natural gas used to generate electricity in the UK comes from the UK's territory (e.g., the part of the North Sea where they enjoy mineral rights)?


We use gas a lot in central heating (and cooking)

However looking at https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/uk-...

Looks like equal parts domestic gas, electricity, and industry

About half imported, half mined in the UK.

From that page:

"The vast bulk of imports comes direct from Norway. Technically, Russian gas can only arrive via the Belgian and Dutch pipelines, which amount to 10% of total imports. It is estimated that 35% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia, so in theory about 3% of Britain’s gas comes from Russia."


The UK has some LNG import terminals so could import from elsewhere if required.


https://www.electricitymap.org/?page=country&solar=false&rem...

Looking at that I get a very different view of UK electricity grid, one where natural gas plays its very very common role when wind/solar is not at its peak production.

Would be very interesting to see the UK pledge to get rid of the natural gas plants at some date in the future, rather than say build more of them.


It depends on how storage tech develops, but natural gas turbines will continue to play a role for the foreseeable future.

However, that role will increasingly be as contingency/backup for times of scarcity rather than as a continuous baseload. They will only be used during demand peaks that correspond with unfavourable weather conditions, or other unusual scenarios.

This is similar to the current role of the UK's few remaining coal plants.

(I should also note that natural gas use is already in decline in the UK, as is gas turbine generating capacity)


Looking at the last week's production, there's a fair way to go before gas is only being used at times of scarcity: https://electricityproduction.uk/from/all-sources/?t=7d

Notice how the gas usage cycles up and down, tracking the inverse of solar and wind. But add another 10GW of wind and solar, which is likely by the mid 2020s, and gas won't be used at all pretty often. But it isn't going away completely unless storage gets much cheaper.

The biggest challenge now is to start moving residential heating from gas to electric heat pumps. That's a large fraction of our CO2 emissions, and it requires individuals to spend money.


I'm talking about aggregate figures for last year. Even looking at the figures on the website you linked, which provides production figures just over the last hour, it shows 21% solar, 20% nuclear and 7% wind.

The current plan is to maintain about 30% of the grid as gas, to provide backup, and then to deal with the carbon emissions using carbon capture and storage. The target is for a net zero electricity grid by 2030.


> "The target is for a net zero electricity grid by 2030."

It's more like 2050 according to National Grid's forecasts. Carbon capture and storage is still a pipe-dream, really. The technology exists (arguably - not proven at scale) but not in an economically viable way.

To put it another way, it's cheaper to avoid emitting carbon in the first place than to try and capture and store it.


I agree deploying CCS on that scale doesn’t seem very realistic, but that is the formal target of the government.


aggregate figures look like they are moving towards 100% renewable, but look when renewable is at is bottom 12% (bottom level for the last 24hrs). That is when the so called "backup" gas grid burn brightest.

30% of the power usage or 30% of the capacity? A nation that has three times the capacity compared to power usage could produce 100% of the energy on gas and still claim a 33% capacity being based on gas.

2030 sounds good, but the average expected life time of a natural gas power plant is 50 years. I would hazard a guess that the most common type of new power plants being built in the UK (in terms of costs) is natural gas power plants. Is the expectation here that all that investment currently being poured into natural gas will just have to give it up in 10 years?


> "I would hazard a guess that the most common type of new power plants being built in the UK (in terms of costs) is natural gas power plants."

Absolutely not. There have been almost no new gas power plants built in the UK since 2010 (the only new one is Carrington in 2016, a CCGT which replaced a closed coal plant and which had been under construction since 2008). Since several old gas power plants have closed, there has been a net decrease in gas capacity. And as far as I know, there are currently no gas power plants actively under construction anywhere in the UK.

All new capacity in the UK is coming from:

- Renewables

- Nuclear (although this will probably be a net decrease, as old plants will close. Currently only Hinkley C is under construction, with several other projects on hold or cancelled)

- Inter-connectors


That is good news. Looking at Germany, Poland, and US there is a lot of investment into natural gas power plants, and based on the real time data, I made my guess that similar process was ongoing in the UK.

Just a random google gave this: https://www.smart-energy.com/industry-sectors/business-finan...

But I have no numbers to compare £700 million (possible times 3) with wind/solar investment for 2019.


Further information: this particular project (Tees CCPP) is actually a replacement for a former CCGT that was on the same site.

"Historically the Site accommodated a 1,875 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station (the former Teesside Power Station) with the ability to generate steam for utilisation within the wider Wilton International site. The Teesside Power Station ceased generation in 2013 and was demolished between 2013 and 2015."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teesside_power_station

https://www.tccpp.co.uk/pdfs/changeConsultationDocuments/NMC...


> https://www.smart-energy.com/industry-sectors/business-finan...

Yeah, that's disappointing. But development consent approval doesn't necessarily mean they will be built. There are some other CCGT projects that have been approved for a number of years, but construction hasn't started because the economics don't stack up right now.

With the cancellation of several nuclear plants, others being retired over the next 5-15 years, and the ban on coal by 2025, there may indeed be a future deficit of gas generation capacity. It may be that these projects are being developed speculatively in anticipation of that.


> - Inter-connectors

What's that? Supply from a grid overseas?


Yes. Sometimes GB exports power to mainland europe and/or ireland, sometimes it's the other way round.

On average GB imports more from europe than exports. It exports more to Ireland than imports.

Doesn't really help with the troughs in wind - when it's calm in the north sea for the UK, it is calm for Denmark too.

Maybe if europe puts a lot of production in Biscay and the Med it will smooth things out - but there's only so much capacity on the interconnects (2GW from France, 1GW from Netherlands, 1GW from Belgium, 500MW to Northern Ireland, 500MW to ROI)

That said, planned interconnects bring it up to 10GW from mainland, 1.5GW to Ireland


Essentially all the thermal plants are gas or "biomass" renewables. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Engl... (note England only)

It looks like they're all hoping for CCS to become a reality. You're right that it looks infeasible to just turn them all off by 2030. Currently the CCS is getting nowhere either. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-201374...


30% in terms of power usage, electricity output, not capacity. I can’t remember the exact figure, but it’s plus or minus 5% from there. The 50% current figure for renewables and nuclear is also output.


Often that wind is too strong for these turbines and they have to stop completely to save literally breaking themselves.


There's an interesting glut of wind power detractors in this thread right now. Not only that, they all come off quite aggressively for HN.


It's a perfect topic for the "middlebrow dismissal". Contributors can start from a true-but-myopic fact, that renewables are intermittent. They can then deploy their biases that "everyone else is stupid and hasn't thought about this", and/or "everyone with the opposite opinion is a paid shill", and get very exercised about it.

Global warming attracts a certain kind of "gotcha" nerd who will hunt for the one set of data that can be arranged to make it look not so bad while ignoring all the evidence on the other side of the scale. There's an entire site devoted to that (WUWT).

Meanwhile there's a set of quietly competent engineers keeping the lights on and ignoring all this social media nonsense.


yeah they're attaching Bloomberg specifically in a couple of the posts too.

I wonder if someone somewhere has a large vested interest in fossil fuels and is annoyed about the BNEF and Bloomberg's mostly positive reporting on renewables.


I've noticed a few very pro-fossil comments in threads. I don't know if there are shills or if there are simply propagandist fossil fuel lovers? Is there any way to empirically study HN commenters? Data scrape + analyze?


I've been using "pro fossil / anti EV / global warming denial" as a pretty useful heuristic to filter the Great Comments Section of Real Life for a while now. Usually goes hand-in-hand with being a Leaver and general contrarian.

To your point, I've found that petrolheads are pretty common even in tech.


Pretty sure digging past comments goes against the guidelines. It's also a primitive an absolutist way of judging a comment (rather than on, say, its substance).


What if the substance of the comment is just erroneous or poorly intention-ed? How am I supposed to tell if it's a paid corporate shill or a genuine fossil fuel lover?


The idea is to assume good faith. If it can't be done, I think not answering is the best course of action.


need to get people to use petrol head to mean someone whose brain has been screwed up by pollution

anyone got a contact at Marvel?


Almost all of them are now only visible to people with showdead on.


To see why wind can't get much bigger without a giant breakthrough in storage see these graphs of power production and consumption:

http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/


I don't see an obvious connection between those charts and why wind can't get much bigger. It just shows that wind is currently producing ~26% of the power demand. Would you mind spelling it out since it is not self-evident to me?


Wind varies a lot, we're approaching the point where extra wind turbines will fail to displace other power source capacity (the only power source we can vary is natural gas, which can already get close to zero with our current wind capacity).

A doubling of wind capacity will reduce how much gas we'd burn in total, but you'd really start to hit diminishing returns.


Here's a list of off-shore wind projects in Crown Estate waters. Currently, there's about 8GW of capacity in operation, and a further 19GW in various stages of construction or planning.

(This does not include on-shore wind farms, or projects in Scottish waters)

https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/3308/offshorewindproj...


The british once built an empire with large thanks to off-shore wind power.


The money quote: "The price of 39.65 pounds per megawatt-hour ($49.70) was 31% below the level in a similar auction two years ago."


The graph below has £120/MWh in 2015, £57.5 in 2017, and £40 in 2019. Gas costs about £50/MWh.


The auction cleared at £45/MWh (1). This means that the bids referenced in the Bloomberg story have succeeded. Bloomberg have significantly updated their story to reflect the results.

In today’s good news story, we can change “may” to “will” in the headline to match the updated story :)

(1) https://twitter.com/mliebreich/status/1175080738116571136?s=...


So just some basics out of the way:

1. Yes, this is good. They should do this and 2. coal is an awful and inefficient power source with lots of carbon emission which is bad. 3. the way we harvest coal is deleterious to humans and bad for the environment even if we ignore carbon. It's an ancient technology we should leave in the dustbin of history next to lead piping.

The challenge of wind turbines is that they're actually fantastically plastic hungry things. While inexpensive in their current state, we need to heavily invest in more sustainable turbine blade options that don't contribute to our other problems (carbon emission in plastics manufacturing and huge unrecyclable and toxic wind turbine blades). [0]

Folks concerned about consistency and peak load shouldn't be. We're making huge strides in energy storage (with sodium ion batteries removing our reliance on lithium[1]) and Gallium Arsenide greatly reducing the cost and size of electrical components while increasing their heat tolerance [2]). Essentially what's left here is tooling and contracts and for dinosaur energy providers to be displaced by newer options.

[0]: https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2019/06/wooden-wind-turbines...

[1]: https://phys.org/news/2019-02-sodium-lithium-boost-sodium-io...

[2]: https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/GaN-replace-silicon-ap...


To add, I see down at the bottom people fighting over "consistency".

Wind power is almost always producing something. This production can be statistically modeled. Thus, you can overprovision wind and say that on average, your target of <x> MW is met or exceeded <y> percent of the time. So wind, if planned well, doesn't really need big storage.

Baseload generation is also a fallacy. It only matters that demand is met. Wind has already become the "baseload" in the UK in that wind operators always undercut everyone else on the market, thus displacing other generation.

Baseload demand is the point which demand never falls below. Back in the age of coal, it made sense to meet this baseload demand with large baseload plants, that were big and did not change output and gained economies of scale.

One challenge that I think people overlook in the shift to renewables is grid frequency stability. Big thermal plants have heavy rotors that have a lot of inertia, stopping the grid frequency from changing too quickly in an imbalance. Replace these with inertia-less wind and solar, and you will need another solution for grid stability.


Solar may not have inertia, but wind turbines certainly do. It's hard to imagine one of those stopping on a dime.

Smaller batter installations can also help with frequency stabilization. The Tesla installation in South Aus primarily serves the purpose of grid stabilization rather than bulk storage, for example. I think solar needs that stabilization and storage more than wind, it's probably important to have a diversity of sources and locations with renewables to keep any one source from having too large an immediate impact on the grid.

You're absolutely right about baseload being a fallacy. I would argue that balancing the grid is probably an easier problem in the absence of big constant baseload generators like nuclear, than with them.

With renewables providing baseload generation, there is more capacity for variable renewable sources; if these can be sufficiently decorrelated (by geography, type of source, even design of e.g. turbines) then they would have a high likelihood of averaging out to support baseload needs while having greater backbench dispatchable capacity at play. You might only need to overprovision by (making up numbers here) 1.5x rather than 4x to have sufficient dispatchable capacity than if you combined say, nuclear baseload with renewable peaking. The aggregate effect of this would be making the renewable sources cheaper per nameplate Wattage.


Frequency stability was discussed recently in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20973513

The wind farm tripped unexpectedly easily .. but apparently this can be solved with a software update. As and when we start rolling out batteries they are excellent for frequency response, and are already getting paid for that purpose in some places.


>> Wind has already become the "baseload" in the UK

Give me another place in Europe where Wind is more abundant than UK ?

https://globalwindatlas.info/

Putting wind mills in Greenland and Arctic may produce a whole lot but bringing it to population centers is an issue.

Base load is a bitch, UK is the best case scenario enjoy it.


That's a joke. There's so many things we should worry about before "unrecyclable and toxic wind turbine blades" become a major issue. It's such a tiny problem even next plastic shopping bags or water bottles. Everything has some drawbacks, but this is so far down the list it's not even worth thinking about.


Given my obvious enthusiasm for the project in hand, I'm not sure why you're so negative about discussing some of the challenges they face.


People (including me) worry all the time about things that are actually a very small issue compared to all the really huge issues they're ignoring. We have finite attention and resources, so getting caught up on the unimportant details like this is a form of bike-shedding and a personal pet-peeve of mine. It doesn't just waste time, but detracts from the more important concerns. And it trips me up personally all the time.


I think you're wrong. I'm a huge fan of green tech but its precisely your "talking about where progress needs to be made is bikeshedding" attitude that set so many people off, and justifiably get a reputation of shouting people down for not being visibly loyal.

Your performative loyalty isn't going to build a better future. Relentless progress will.


I'm not shouting anyone down, I'm merely pointing out that even discussing fixing a small leak in a ship when there's a hundred cannonball sized holes punched through it is dangerously distracting from the real task at hand. That's objectively, practically true for everyone who does not have the job of designing or procuring wind turbine blades. If that happens to be your job, then by all means consider the consequences.


You're merely ignoring all the content and asking how someone could even dream of asking about sustainability when it's so profitable to proceed right now with the status quo.

I've heard this line before. We don't have the luxury of picking and choosing our problems anymore.


You're straw-manning my argument. Worrying about how easy it is to recycle of windmill blades is akin to worrying about how to recycle oil tankers. Not completely irrelevant, but so close as to be a joke.

The point I'm trying to make here is that wind turbines are so much better than the status quo, which is quite literally killing us, that it's not worth fretting over one of their smallest drawbacks. They have much larger drawbacks to address first. Fretting over the little things takes your limited attention away from more important things and you end up worse off overall. That's a (my) philosophy for life in general, and I stand by it.


>> Folks concerned about consistency and peak load shouldn't be. We're making huge strides in energy storage

Solar peaks around noon 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (I am being charitable here) do we have solid storage that would hold this generated power for delivery from (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm) peak ?

That 4 to 6 hour storage window is still a big issue - if you are talking about Sodium batteries we are a decade or more away from them to be grid scale!

(The reference [1] article still suggests it is in labs not in production)


We do have solid storage technology, deployed in the field at smaller scales around ~100MWh, with many GWh installations planned soon: lithium ion:

For example, this recent LA contract got lots of press:

https://boingboing.net/2019/09/14/green-keynes.html

The technology is not hard or mysterious for storing during the daily cycle, it's just a matter of costs falling. And costs are falling dramatically.

The bigger question is what we may do for seasonal storage, or if instead of seasonal storage we just have capacity for 200% of generation and overproduce for much of the year.


> Solar peaks around noon 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (I am being charitable here) do we have solid storage that would hold this generated power for delivery from (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm) peak ?

In limited deployment? Yes, absolutely. Sodium batteries make this proposition cheaper. You could make your house entirely off-grid and run-off-storage if your local production options are good.

> That 4 to 6 hour storage window is still a big issue - if you are talking about Sodium batteries we are a decade or more away from them to be grid scale!

No, we're not 10 years away from using sodium ions batteried at this scale. The bulk scale problem is MUCH easier than the micro-scale package problem. Ongoing work on sodium ion batteries will be to work on equivalent package competitors for lithium ion polymer batteries, which still have unparalleled density.

For less robust, large packages the work is done, the compound required is done. We already use old and inefficient batteries in these applications. It's one of Tesla's major business models and why they take your battery pack back from you at the end of life of the car.


Realistically it's not so much "stored" as "used to displace CCGT generation". The solar peak in the UK, from my own measurements is not so much "middle of the day" as "middle of the year". The seasonal variation is pretty huge up here in the northern latitudes.

Have a click about on https://flatline.org.uk/daystats.html - the best case is getting over 50% of the generation from 9AM to 6PM. The worst case is getting almost nothing for three months in the winter.


This is the argument about renewables as far as I'm concerned.

Even if there was no such thing as climate change, long-term we still need to eventually move to renewables.

We have all the non-renewables as the fuel to do so. We can't continue to waste them - once they are gone, you can't bootstrap a renewable energy system.


Another aspect of turbines is that they are huge steel towers. How is steel made? With fossil fuel and fossil-fuel electricity, in places like China or the Midwestern USA which are, at best, less than 20% clean grid. So, even though we desperately need renewables, it is a sad reality that fossil fuels will aid in producing said renewables.


It's unavoidable that fossil fuels will be needed to spin-up the infrastructure of a total clean global economy. However, there's no better use that fossil fuels can be put to than preparing the ground for totally clean and abundant energy.

However, it's most certainly feasible to make steel without fossil fuels. In the US, many newer iron makers use Direct Reduction of Iron in furnaces fed with CO and H produced from natural gas (and then this DRI product is refined electrically in electric arc furnaces at so-called "Mini Mills" which are not so mini). There's no reason you couldn't just use hydrogen directly produced via electrolysis instead.

...and power-to-gas is also feasible (although approximately twice as expensive to produce per unit energy as electrolytic hydrogen is). And with that synthesized gas, you can also produce any kind of petroleum-derived product via Fischer-Tropsch, including graphite and coke and the resins needed for wind turbine blades. And all these products would be higher purity than those produced from fossil fuels (although the price WILL be higher).

So let's not let perfect be the enemy of the good. Let's transition now as soon as possible whatever we can. And that means off-shore wind.


May be stupid question: I have always wondered if we build enough windmills will it affect the global windpatterns? What will happen to the place where all this wind energy goes if we extract it before there? Could it affect rainfall in directly unconnected places? The butterfly effect?


Butterfly effect means, small effects CAN induce big ones. But not necessary in a significant lasting climatechanging way.

Windmills do not change much different, than I would say, a city with scyscrapers does. So it is changing, but to affect the global jetstreams, we probably would have to build really big windmills, directly exploiting those winds on a big scale ...

So sci-fiction we are talking about, not at all, what we have now...


Building towns, cities, roads, farms, and other comparatively large surface area artificial structures impact windflow, solar absorptance/reflectance, rainfall absorption/runoff, thermal conduction/convection, and others I'm sure. All of which can have an impact on local and in turn regional and then global climates and winds (although not usually in a way we can trace all the way through).

It's worth understanding the impact of all of these in addition to what you ask as well.


It can, but the change can be a good thing. For instance, enough off-shore wind can reduce the intensity of hurricanes (in places like New Orleans).

Farmers plant trees for wind-breaks in the Great Plains to reduce erosion of the soil. Wind turbines can serve the same purpose.


I've always wondered if it would affect bird migrations.


I look forward to the day when all the windmills have worn out, and the towers are standing around unused, mined out for rare-earth elements, but too expensive to take down. Then, we can stretch cheap mesh between them and generate power with no moving parts, by releasing ions to be carried away by the wind. Alvin Marks (holder of the patent on polarizing sunglasses) got a patent for that back in the '80s.

But the most important recent development in wind power has nothing much to do with windmills, as such. Roger Ruan at UMn, and Roger Gordon in Canada have both invented small-scale, efficient reactors that can turn power, water, and air into ammonia. This is important because the overwhelming majority of places with useful wind are nowhere near an electrical grid, but many of them have immediate uses for ammonia.

Now, you can put up a windmill anywhere, and it can produce useful liquid fuel and fertilizer any time the wind blows, with no inconvenience to anyone when wind doesn't blow. Farms need large amounts of both fuel and fertilizer, and have lots of space for windmills. Any extra ammonia can be sold to neighbors, so wouldn't need to be transported far. Ammonia is directly useful for fertilizer--you pipe it right into the ground behind plow blades, and soil microbes fix it instantly.

Any manufacturer of windmills should be very excited by this development, because it stands to radically increase the market for windmills. A single windmill is now a useful purchase, and any farm can use one. Industrial ammonia production consumes huge quantities of natural gas, and belches 10 megatons of CO2 every year, not counting exhaust from transporting it and processing it to solid form.


Onshore wind would be even cheaper if the Conservatives hadn't all but banned it to appease NIMBYs.


You can build bigger, more efficient turbines offshore, and the winds are stronger and more reliable, so offshore being inherently more expensive isn’t actually a solid assumption. All the more so if you include the costs of integrating the generation into the grid.


It is still a pretty good assumption that on-shore is significantly cheaper, even including grid integration costs. After all, a significant portion of off-shore wind's cost is the expensive seaborne transmission.


On-shore is bound to be cheaper for a good while, but fortunately offshore is experiencing a big Renaissance, especially in the USA. I would be surprised if offshore wasn't cheaper by the middle or end of the century, as it does have numerous advantages to on-shore.


[flagged]


You get downvoted because you are wrong. Renewables are fine for base load - if we redesign the power grid.

"The intermittency of other sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic can be addressed by interconnecting power plants which are widely geographically distributed, and by coupling them with peak-load plants such as gas turbines fueled by biofuels or natural gas which can quickly be switched on to fill in gaps of low wind or solar production. Numerous regional and global case studies – some incorporating modeling to demonstrate their feasibility – have provided plausible plans to meet 100% of energy demand with renewable sources."

https://skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=374

"Together, a mix different types of renewable energy sources can replace a conventional generating system and can be just as reliable."

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d72a/56d60694fcf7275f237d24...


plausible being the critical word.

Currently the type of power plant that receive the highest amount of investment and construction is natural gas power plants. In all parts of the world there are massive natural gas pipe lines being built, and the countries in those areas intend to use them and get a return on investments.

Batteries and dynamic power usage could in theory be tuned so we don't need natural gas to fill in the gap, but if we follow the money, follow the political decisions, following the current vectors of what people are actually doing and expect to get return on investments on, then no. Renewables will not be used for base load.

North america is currently investing $1 trillion on natural gas pipe lines (not countring natural gas power plants themselves). In texas, there are pipe lines being built today for an additional 12 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. In just over the small country of Sweden we have 2 massive natural gas pipe line projects, one from Norway and one from Russia, competing to provide an ever increasing demand for natural gas in EU. The russian one has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres of gas.

The doubt about energy sources like wind power is not if its plausable to use renewable energy for 100% of the energy demand. The doubt and skepticism comes from the fact that no one is doing it (with minor exceptions). No one is going towards such goal or investing in it. The power grid being built today and in the current long term investment window is natural gas as base load and replacement for coal, wind and solar as cheaper energy production during good conditions.


So your are saying that (i) the capital expense of a natural gas plant is cheap enough and (ii) the operating, marginal cost of the natural gas is expensive enough that at times it pays to idle the gas plant and use wind/solar?

I smell the anti-CO2 crowd, subsidies, etc. But even if this is wrong, I suspect that now gas is too cheap since at too many well heads it is just burned off to get the oil and with no good way to collect, compress, and move the gas. When the pipelines are in place, then the price of gas at the well heads will go up to compete with, say, coal, and we will be back to coal and gas and less in renewables.


Gas is too cheap at the well head in many places. It's definitely crazy to encourage fracking while extensive flaring is still happening.

Which part of the thermal absorbtion/emission IR spectrum of CO2 do you disagree with?


CO2 absorbs in three spectral lines out in the infrared, keeping the quantum mechanics and molecular spectroscopy simple, one line for each of bending, twisting, stretching of the molecule.

The photons the CO2 absorbs are supposedly mostly just those radiated by the Planck black body radiation of the surface of the earth heated by the photons direct from the sun. Lindzen argues why this absorption is not affecting the climate.

It's a long way from that molecular spectroscopy to the climate effect claims of the alarmists. The analysis in the movie Swindle... from Lindzen and others explains clearly.


> In an 8400-word official judgement issued on 21 July 2008 the British media regulator Ofcom declared that the final part of the film [Swindle] dealing with the politics of climate change had broken rules on "due impartiality on matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy". Ofcom also backed complaints by Sir David King, stating that his views were misrepresented, and Carl Wunsch, on the points that he had been misled as to its intent, and that the impression had been given that he agreed with the programme's position on climate change. Ofcom further ruled that the IPCC had not been given an adequate chance to respond to adverse claims that its work was politicised and that it had made misleading claims about malaria.

Do you have any sources that haven't been ruled misleading by OFCOM?


The political stuff at the end was interesting. I noted the remark "there's money on the table ...".

Obviously (i) there's a lot of politics in this subject and (ii) politics, with a lot of "hidden agendas" and backroom deals, is tough to explain. So, the explanations of the British politics was interesting. But that doesn't explain the US politics, or that in France, Germany, etc.

I don't know anything about OFCOM. Here in the US we totally refuse to pay any attention at all to any such organized criticism of the press, Web sites, documentaries, fictional stories, video clips, etc. I don't think the US has anything like OFCOM, but if we did nearly all of us would ignore it. In the US, if some people don't like some of the movie, then they get to make a movie, white paper, Web site, whatever, to point out where the movie was wrong. I'd eagerly pay close attention to any even half way well done debunking of the movie.

To me the most important remarks were from Lindzen at MIT. Other than that the review of the data, last 2000 years or so and the ice core data back ~1 million years, was credible. In particular, in his movie, Gore misread the ice core data, e.g., the 800 year lag; to me that 800 year lag junks both Gore's movie and Gore.

I also liked Wunsch's contributions, e.g., colder ocean surface waters absorb more CO2 and warmer waters can release CO2. But I've heard before that Wunsch didn't like his statements used in the movie: My guess on why is that he didn't want to get involved in the politics. I can understand that.

For Lindzen, he's been retired, i.e., no longer seeking grant money, for some years, maybe when the movie was made.

I didn't like the part of the movie with their cartoon of photons hitting the earth and, according to the cartoon, essentially reflecting. Nope: The main effect is supposed to be the photons directly from the sun being absorbed by and warming the surface of the earth and, then, MORE photons released by the surface from the effect of Planck black body radiation. So, that released Planck radiation has a frequency distribution depending on surface temperature (my ugrad physics prof was big on that distribution). Then at the surface temperatures involved, the peak and some large fraction of the radiation is out in the infrared (my ugrad physics prof was big also on infrared, e.g., had a USAF contract "To further the science of the infrared", smart USAF!), in particular out where the three absorption spectral lines of CO2 are. Net, it's apparently mostly or nearly entirely that Planck radiation that the CO2 absorbs, not "reflected" radiation or direct radiation from the sun. For the effects of the CO2 warming, I listened to Lindzen and his remarks about the troposphere.

I find credible the argument and data that the temperature changes of the past 2000 years or so are from changes in the rates of sun spots. There were some significant temperature changes, e.g., warming that let grapes grow in England and cooling that froze the Thames River and the Delaware River when Washington crossed it, etc.; CO2 changes don't fit the data at all, but sun spot data does. Definitely the causes were not CO2; the best guess so far is sun spots.

To me far and away the stake through the heart of the alarmists has to be the wild predictions of major warming that didn't happen. E.g., the model predictions and the subsequent observed data are compared at

http://www.energyadvocate.com/gc1.jpg

In short, nearly all the predictions were wildly wrong.

The main test of science, from Newton to Einstein to the Higgs, is to make predictions that come true. When predictions are wildly wrong, we junk the proposed science. Various people, including even F. Dyson, have offered explanations on why such a large fraction of the models failed so badly; explanations (the dog ate my homework) aside, the predictions were junk. The predictions were so bad that we have to suspect gross scientific incompetence or deliberate fraud -- in either case we should be angry. I am. To me those predictions are good evidence that the alarmists are pushing a flim-flam, fraud, scam. Maybe a lot of the alarmists are traditional convenient idiots, but the whole alarmist movement looks like a house made of paper about to fall.

The alarmists want to fight climate change by taking some $trillions of money from taxpayers. I do not believe that human activities are having a significant or harmful effect on climate and vote NO.

You can go along with the idea of spending $trillions if you want.

The smart politics way to go is to pretend to be concerned about "climate change" and seem virtuous while understanding that Trump is slowly cutting off the US "climate research" money flows, junking the Paris Accords, pushing "clean coal", fracking, and the fossil fuel pipelines, and the whole movement is on the way of the hulu hoop. More time, money, and effort will be wasted, but the $trillions will never be allocated. In the meanwhile, to me, Gore, Bloomberg, AOC, the IPCC, and the rest of the alarmists look motivated by politics and/or money, refuse to look objectively at the science, and are proposing what would be huge harm and wastes of time, money, and energy. I find that those proposals of harm and waste wildly wrong, outrageous, contemptible, and so explain here. But my explanations are changing no minds at all; my attempts to be objective are for nothing. I'm wasting my time and HN points. That so much of the HN audience is going along with the Gore scam, etc., is surprising to me, but live and learn. My explanation is that the core of the alarmists are driven by money and power and the rest are convenient idiots driven by social concerns, tribalism. I can see some of why: Skeptics can get dumped on. Here at HN I just lose points, but elsewhere people could lose jobs, have their tires slashed, etc.

A big question is just how did the climate tribalism get going; i.e., with his obviously silly movie, e.g., the 800 year lag, how did Gore get the movement going? It can't have been just social. Instead at the core it had to be "follow the money" -- some people made big bucks or hoped to. Whatever, it's all on the way to dead now.

I'm shocked and severely disappointed at much of the HN audience. But it will all come out okay; the Green New Deal is becoming the poster child for dementia!!!


In winter, UK solar doesn't produce much - and produces zero for 14 hours a day.

The same time it's producing zero in spain, greece and turkey


[flagged]


> That pile of coal out back is TOUGH to compete with.

Really? Take a look at this link. Look at the decline of coal over the last 8 years in the UK. A period in which UK government removed most renewables subsidies, but increased fossil subsidies. UK has spent weeks on end running zero coal in the last couple of years. Today it's at 1.5% of generation. It'll all be gone in a few years.

Further down, look how coal has declined in all those nations, with a couple of exceptions.

Wind is about 15% of UK generation and running nicely.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/...


Mines, transport, and of course if there's no proper carbon tax. Plus particulate pollution and radioactives released


Hello there. I work professionally for a gaming/toy company. I am not paid for any other services in any way.

You're being downvoted because your aggressive tone is attacking anyone on this site and using nothing but logical fallacies and weak ideas to back your statements. It's more likely that you're constantly getting down voted because your tone and behavior is similar to the tone and behavior of these posts. I don't have time to read your back posts, so I can't really say for sure there.

Maybe check out reddit if this is your preferred level of discourse. They're much more receptive to it there.


Any power plant on it's own is not reliable (as in running 24x365 without interruption). To provide base load, you need many independent power plants, as this is the only way to ensure availability. This is independent of the method of power generation.

The sun does always shine someplace on the planet[1], and the wind never dies down completely[1], so it is at least theoretically conceivable to provide base load via those sources if you distribute enough solar/wind power plants across the planet.

[1] Citation needed


It is inefficient to distribute electricity over very long distances currently, and that inefficiency increases exponentially. Perhaps in the future a global electrical grid backed primarily with solar may be practical with superconducting transmission lines, but for now, generation is relatively local.

While a fossil fuel or nuclear plant is not reliable, their unreliability is uncorrelated. Solar and wind have geographically correlated unreliability, which is a major problem. To make them practical, large scale energy storage is necessary.

As energy storage is expensive, fossil fuel and nuclear redundant generation is going to be necessary for some time. Scaling demand could also help ease the problem. Electric storage heaters, aluminium smelters, and air conditioning for example can respond dynamically to supply through a real time market, or demand-side response agreement.


This is not correct. Resistive losses are linear with distance. There are some other issues such as getting out of phase, which can require a transformer (and its associated losses), but there's absolutely nothing exponential.

For the basics:

http://www.learnabout-electronics.org/Resistors/resistors_03...


Naively that's true, but if you consider a distribution grid with a series of transmission line segments at a given voltage, after each segment the voltage is increased to normalise it to the target transmission voltage. Each stage results in a proportional loss of power transmitted, resulting in an exponential loss as distance increases.

Achieving a linear transmission loss ignores bounds on the source voltage. In this case, you may as well choose a transmission voltage of infinity and say resistive losses are constant because current tends to zero.


No? If I lose a fixed percent at each stage, my losses as a function of distance are slightly sublinear. Ex: 10% per stage, I lose 10% at first loss, then 9%, and so on. Further, if I have intermediate transformers, my current on later segments is lower, which means that my resistive heating is lower, which means my resistance (and therefore loss) is lower.


Consider supplying a fixed amount of power P to a load. If each stage loses 10% of the power transmitted, after one stage you need to supply 1.1P, after the second stage, you must supply that power plus ten percent, and so on, so you need to supply 1.1^N P after N stages.


I’ve never heard of it increasing exponentially. Also with very high voltage AC we can actually transmit quite far.


With high voltage DC we can transmit farther then high voltage AC (for reasons I don't understand - ask a high voltage engineer), and it avoids all the phase problems with long distance AC.


Capacitance is a major reason; the capacitance of the very large line doesn't need to be charged and discharged at very high voltage 100 or 120 times a second (per half wave of 50 or 60Hz).

Also, an X volts RMS AC line is 2.8X volts peak-to-peak. The peak voltage is limiting with regards to breakdown voltages, and so DC can reach a higher equivalent voltage on a line with the same maximum voltage.


I don’t understand how you change between voltages with dc? Is it as efficient as AC using transformers?


Effectively a giant version of your laptop power supply. The conversion is not quite as efficient as a transformer, and certainly more expensive, but for long distances the whole system can be more efficient than AC.

(The magic component is the "insulated gate bipolar transistor", sometimes using silicon carbide as the semiconducting element. These are capable of multi-kilovolt switching.)


Ask an electrical engineer not me.

The basic idea is you go to high voltage DC at the generation end, run a long ways (across states), turn the DC to AC and then run that through a transformer. It isn't as efficient as a transformer, but it isn't far behind so you more than get it back by the smaller losses in transmission.


I should have elaborated on my exponential claim. Resistive losses are indeed linear, however in the context of a maximum transmission voltage, efficiency is bounded exponentially.

If you consider a voltage source of 1V, a line of 1ohm, with a load of 1ohm (0.25W), the transmission is 50% efficient. With a load of 0.5ohm (0.33W) the line is 33% efficient. with a load of 0ohm it is 0% efficient.

> Also with very high voltage AC we can actually transmit quite far.

We can't transmit efficiently at a quarter the circumference of the globe, which would be required for a continually directly solar powered grid.


It makes sense if you confuse electrical fields with current. Since the exponential increase for transmission is geometrical essentially - which is why we prefer wires for transmission so strongly.


It does. There's also the somewhat complicated issue of reactive power, but there are ways to solve that, such as DC transmission, or capacitor banks.


True. Today, and probably in the next couple of years. But in 10, 20, 40 years? Hopefully not so much any longer.

I firmly believe in the power of engineering research and given humanities history in solving engineering challenges, we will also solve this one. If we will end up with reliable long distance cables, or some form of energy storage I have no opinion on, only the future will tell us.


> It is inefficient to distribute electricity over very long distances currently...

Québec built a 735kV AC very-long-haul transmission system in 1965 to address the efficiency concerns, carrying power over 1000km efficiently and reliably. That's almost the width of Texas.

It's also been using renewable hydro-electric power.


Building loads of independent power plants works for non-renewables because the availability of different power plants within the grid is uncorrelated. That isn't true for wind or solar. When the weather's unsuitable for wind or solar generation that means that all power plants in the region stop working, and because weather patterns can affect quite large geographic areas that can take out a huge swathe of power plants.


> This is independent of the method of power generation.

Nope: I'm SURE you can see this, wind comes and goes often just hourly. A coal plant commonly can go years without so much as a single flicker in the power output. The coal plant itself and its pile of coal out back are no doubt factors of 10 more reliable than wind or solar.

You seem to be dreaming of renewables, at no matter what effort, e.g., superconducting long distance grid lines, molten salt storage, etc. WHY? A lot of nonsense, expensive, chancy, risky nonsense all due to some quasi-religion about CO2.

The renewables proponents want to talk storage: Yes, storage would be crucial for much in renewables. But with coal, there's a really easy approach to storage -- just that pile of coal out back renewed occasionally by long coal trains such as Burlington Northern that Buffett invested in.

Don't be fooled: It's all a swindle, about CO2, and some people are getting big bucks from this swindle.


The term we are talking about is called capacity factor [1]. According to this article, capacity factor for nuclear (no data for coal available) is ~0.9 vs .2-.4 (hydro), .47 (wind), .29 (solar) for renewables.

So the difference in availability between current base load plants (nuclear) and renewables is somewhere between 3x (hydro, solar) and 2x (wind).

I got it, that you do not buy into the co2 story, and it's everyones right to have their own opinions. But have you ever considered that there might be other factors which would make it possible for you to see renewables as a worthy alternative? Burning stuff [2,3] causes all sorts of effects on our environment, directly impacting health.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacity_factor [2] https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/sources-of-exposure/power-plants [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog_of_London


> Burning stuff [2,3] causes all sorts of effects on our environment, directly impacting health.

It can; apparently in the US long it did; but a lot of the dirt got cleaned up. E.g., can have clean air even in LA and NYC with lots of gasoline and Diesel power cars and trucks. And outside the top 50 or so US cities, car and truck exhaust is a problem not worth even talking about. E.g., coal needs to be cleaned up since it can put out sulfur, mercury, some radioactivity, etc. Some uses of coal in China and India might be causing significant to serious problems there.

For some ugly problems, see the movie I referenced here: The movie shows some of what happens in Africa where they try to cook indoors by burning dried animal dung -- really bad, ugly medical problems. They would be much better off burning coal or using electricity from burning coal in a power plant.


Well, I can imagine burning dung is worse for your health than burning coal. Between apartment size dung stoves and a centralized coal plant I would totally chose the coal plant.

That is a bar so low you'll have to dig it up though.


You might be underestimating the negative health effects of "burning stuff", have a look at page 3 of [1]. Replacing coal with gas should give a 10x improvement on air pollution related deaths and serious illness. If we could go full renewable (or fusion, if it wasn't always 25 years away), we could get rid of even more averse health effects.

Note: your argument of coal based electric energy is better than burning stuff at home is strongly supported by [1]. But this is not what we are arguing about. No one was proposing to abandon electric energy from the grid and go back to burn wood at home. The question was, if there maybe is a health argument to switch from coal (or generally burning stuff) to renewable energy.

[1] (This has been published in The Lancet, sorry for the potentially biased looking link, but due to the paywall at the original publisher I had to resort to google for an alternate provider) http://www.scotianwindfields.ca/sites/default/files/publicat...


Coal makes a great base load plant

Less than 2% of the UK's energy comes from coal, it's already dead.



Thank you so much for this link!

I know it's not the right takeaway from this thread, but seeing the constant cyan Nuclear line in the following link makes me doubly appreciate what a good use nuclear is in the energy mix.

https://electricityproduction.uk/from/all-sources/?t=7d

- ed

Double nuclear capacity in the UK, and it almost looks like you could get rid of all fossil-based electricity generation


Unfortunately we don't seem able to build nuclear power plants either cost effectively or quickly enough.


The UK uses gas instead, for some reason (probably because its coal industry is dead). Other countries, such as Poland or China, are heavy on coal because of its better availability for them.


At least for Poland it is not about availability (because coal is often cheaper from Russia or China, than locally) and more about current (and past, for that matter) government trying to appeal to the people still involved with mining industry, not closing it down and subsidising it heavily instead of modernising the energy sources of the country for lower costs, ecology and future proof-ness.


You’re right to a certain degree. Three things about this:

* When you combine renewables together you don’t need to maintain an identical gas backup. Although this will depend on resources at individual locations, some places you will need 100% backup, others substantially less.

* Gas is the dominant, cheapest form of electricity in the US and UK, and a very large percentage of the cost of producing a unit of gas electricity is fuel. Even in the worst case scenario of 100% backup, the price that renewables are competing with is the marginal cost of burning fuel to produce the same unit of electricity. Once renewables get below that level it’s cheaper to incur the capital cost for renewables as well as gas, as a combined system, to avoid some of the marginal cost for gas operating on its own.

* The Great Global Warming Swindle is an intellectual embarrassment.


[flagged]


We still have gas in the North Sea. However we do import LNG too now fairly regularly so it is costing more.


Actually this summer my country had to temporarily switch off around 3GW of coal power due to the heatwaves, so no - coal is not as reliable as it's presented by some.


If you mean this[0], then it sounds like the plants when offline _during_, but not necessarily _due to_ the heatwave.

[0]: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/31/what-h...


I can't speak to that coal incident, but nuclear power plants in France had to shut off during heatwaves because they could no longer be cooled adequately.


They had to be shut off during heatwaves mainly to limit the raise in temperature of nearby rivers, due to the river heating, the limited flow of the rivers, and the raise in the reactor's egress water temperature. It is not clear if the raise in the egress water temperature had a big impact, it seems more likely that the heatwave made the rivers less able to receive the excess heat. The cooling systems were still fully able to cool the reactor, but not without shedding a lot of heat to the rivers (as usual).

Of course, this is not at all contrarian to your point, I made the precision because "no longer could be cooled adequately" could be misunderstood.

They were also some problems with the efficiency and reliability of backup generators during heatwaves, but this is not very hard to handle (the backup generators are much easier to cool than the reactor itself).


The whole driving force behind wind turbines was the reduciton of CO2 emissions. If you can reduce output from gas stations and close baseload coal plants then that is positive. Because CO2 emissions have been reduced. Doing that cheaply is just an added bonus. It leaves money left over for other things that are needed to balance the grid. Things like battery storage, interconnectors, pumped hydro, and nuclear.


One turbine itself may be intermittent, but a constellation of turbines together ought to have a smoother output graph that’s pretty predictable.


Wind is quite a good match in the UK. Daily demand peaks are in the morning and evening, around when daily winds peak. And seasonal winds peak in the winter, round about when peak seasonal demand is.

Coal is basically dead in the UK, gas is the source to beat, and is also a better match intermittent sources.

Renewables are getting to the point of being cheaper then just the burnable material in a fossil fuel plant, ie it is cheaper to have wind and gas/coal, than just gas/coal alone.

All of this is without getting into global warming, and all the other stuff in coal.


I read it as " U.K. offshore wind prank may generate power cheaper than by burning coal" which is a much more fun story.


"may"

wake me when it does.

Here in Germany we have offshore wind parks that are not connected to the power grid. A lot of nonsense is going on in that area.


Wake up

"The auction cleared at £45/MWh (1). This means that the bids referenced in the Bloomberg story have succeeded. Bloomberg have significantly updated their story to reflect the results. In today’s good news story, we can change “may” to “will” in the headline to match the updated story :) (1) https://twitter.com/mliebreich/status/1175080738116571136?s=... "

As mentioned by daveoflynn elsewhere in these comments https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21028451


That sounds bad. Where can I learn more about it?


Skimming https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Germany it sounds like there is just a perpetual lag, where offshore wind is built and then it takes awhile to get it hooked in. It's been going on since at least 2014, and since that time like 5GW of offshore wind looks to have been hooked up, so I'm not sure there's a problem beyond "things take a while to build".


I couldn't immediately find a good link (via Google). This one mentions unused capacity, but no further background I think https://energytransition.org/2019/02/german-offshore-wind-ca...


>Here in Germany we have offshore wind parks that are not connected to the power grid

Source (incl reason for lack of grid connection) please?


Can't find a good source immediately. This article mentions "276 MW of fully installed turbines far out at sea not yet feeding power to the electrical grid" https://energytransition.org/2019/02/german-offshore-wind-ca...

Sorry, maybe more googling would bring up something better. It is well known in Germany.


275MW isn’t much. It’s only 30-40 turbines.


There is an entire wind park. Then it must be another story.

Edit: maybe it is this here: https://www.ingenieur.de/technik/fachbereiche/energie/so-win... - apparently after a couple of years, many of the generators have now finally been connected. That would be good news.




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