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Delaware's windy coast is an ideal location for the new wind farm.  (Source: Bluewater Wind)

Bluewater Wind, which currently operates an offshore plant in Denmark is building a massive new $1.6B dollar wind farm off Delaware's coast.  (Source: Bluewater Wind)
In the quest to make wind power less obtrusive, some companies are deploying their products in creative new ways.

The push for wind power is gaining almost as much momentum as the solar power push.  The key challenge to wind power is location.  While some efforts, such as billionaire T. Boone Picken's new wind farm merely look to build on sparsely populated areas, others have looked to place mini windmills on buildings or elsewhere.

Now one Delaware utility company is fostering a bold new idea to solve wind power location complaints for sea-bordering states -- put the turbines off shore.  On Monday, Delmarva Power, a major Delaware utility, announced that it was entering into a contract with Bluewater Wind to produce the nation's first offshore wind farm.

According to Bluewater spokesman Jim Lanard, once installed there will be 150 turbines in total.  Cumulatively they will provide 16 percent of the utility's power output.  The turbines will be securely anchored dozens of miles off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

However, Bluewater isn't stopping there.  Delmarva will only use approximately half the projected generating capacity of the farm.  The remainder of the new wind farm's juice will be sold off to other utilities. 

The price tag on this incredible adventure is a cool $1.6B USD.

Construction will begin immediately pending regulatory inspection and approval.  This may become a lengthy process, though.  Bluewater is hoping to push it through as quickly as possible, as it hopes to have the plant operational within four years.

Bluewater has a 25-year contract with Delmarva, which is slated to begin in 2012.  Says Lanard, "[With the wind farm's power] Delmarva Power will be able to light about 50,000 homes a year, every year."

The benefits will be passed on to the consumer, says Lanard, who will be protected against instability in energy costs.  The wind power is sold at a locked in rate per kilowatt hour.

Bluewater brings to the table experience from its successful establishment of an offshore plant in Denmark.  At the Delaware plant, the turbines will rest in 75-feet deep water, and will rise 250 feet above the water line.  Hurricanes should be no problem for them as they are engineered to withstand the brunt of a hurricane.  Each turbine has three blades, 150 feet long a piece.

Only on extremely clear days will the park be visible from shore.  Vacationers travelling to Rehoboth Beach in the summer will rarely see the park.  Says Lanard, "If they can see them at all, the turbine blades would cover about the size of your thumbnail, and the poles would be about the width of a toothpick."

With a lot of excitement floating around this idea, it would not be surprising to see other green-centric states like California and Oregon jumping on the offshore wind-farm trend in coming years.  Bluewater also has pending proposals with utilities and government entities in New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey as well.



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This is a losing venture
By rninneman on 6/24/2008 5:45:47 PM , Rating: 2
According to the DOE, the average Delaware household spends $80/month on electricity.

$80 x 12 months x 25 years x 50,000 households = $1.2 billion.

Last I checked, that is less than the $1.6 billion invested.

Let me guess, tax dollars will make up the rest.




RE: This is a losing venture
By danrien on 6/24/2008 5:54:33 PM , Rating: 4
you haven't factored in making that money back with less energy needing to generated via conventional oil, coal and gas methods. thus, long term, it should present some savings. also, in nd, the energy companies subsidize the wind farms by giving the customer an option to use "wind energy" for a few cents more a month, so it wouldn't have to be paid for via taxes.


RE: This is a losing venture
By rninneman on 6/24/2008 6:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? My calculation assumes the energy is completely free. No costs for maintenance etc. (Maybe that is factored in, I don't know because it doesn't specify.) I calculated gross revenue. So, assuming there are no other costs, that would require a 33% rate increase to break even. How happy do you think those DE residents will be when their $80 bill is suddenly over $106?


RE: This is a losing venture
By Oregonian2 on 6/24/2008 6:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
How much do the windmills cost the second year of operation?


RE: This is a losing venture
By hadifa on 6/24/2008 7:13:37 PM , Rating: 4
Second year doesn't count!

By second year it will be under water due to global warming :-(


RE: This is a losing venture
By Carter642 on 6/24/2008 7:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, the turbines float.

Deleware will be under 50ft of ocean and the wind turbines will be laughing at their former masters.


RE: This is a losing venture
By phxfreddy on 6/24/2008 10:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes coastal liberals take the global warming challenge.....sell me your coastal land that is soon to be underwater for 10% current market value! ... 10% is better than nothing which is what you will get when its underwater!


RE: This is a losing venture
By freaqie on 6/25/2008 4:29:07 AM , Rating: 4
"According to the DOE, the average Delaware household spends $80/month on electricity.

$80 x 12 months x 25 years x 50,000 households = $1.2 billion.

Last I checked, that is less than the $1.6 billion invested.

Let me guess, tax dollars will make up the rest. "

i guess inflation would do the rest. also rising oil prces will drive costs of normal power up.
so green power's prices can rise too,
so in ten years an average house could be sppending 120.
and in 20 years 160 dollars a year.
and if so this farm would make a profit


RE: This is a losing venture
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/25/2008 12:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
well if they did not float... then you have a jacuzzi type of effect....very therapeutic

It's seems like a good idea as long as they don't block shipping, though I'd try for more the 50,000 homes.


RE: This is a losing venture
By ionoxx on 6/25/2008 1:18:00 PM , Rating: 3
Morbo: WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY! GOOD NIGHT!


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/25/2008 1:57:00 PM , Rating: 2
I know one that does....


RE: This is a losing venture
By 67STANG on 6/24/2008 6:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
There is a power-to-cost ratio with this as there are with many things. Offshore turbine installation and maintenance is much more expensive than a land-based installation. These smaller turbines aren't worth it IMHO. I would rather see a few rather large turbines that put out a lot more power.

Clipper Windpower is installing a prototype 7.5MW turbine offshore of the UK and each 1 of these things puts out the smae power as 3 pretty large turbines. Installation and initial cost will be cheaper as there's only 1 to install instead of 3, and maintence will should be reduced too.

What we all have to remember as well is that you don't always get your cake and eat it too as far as cost is concerned. This is renewable engergy, there's more to consider than just monetary matters.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 7:01:37 PM , Rating: 4
> "What we all have to remember as well is that you don't always get your cake and eat it too as far as cost is concerned"

With nuclear power, you do. A new nuclear reactor in the state would generate far more power, and at a per Kw-h rate more than ten times cheaper than this boondoggle.


RE: This is a losing venture
By augiem on 6/24/2008 8:04:42 PM , Rating: 1
Yay for nuclear fusion! Someday...


RE: This is a losing venture
By BladeVenom on 6/24/2008 8:26:57 PM , Rating: 5
He's talking about fission, and there are already hundreds of them operating successfully today.


RE: This is a losing venture
By 67STANG on 6/24/2008 11:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
Considering each reactor costs at least $6 billion dollars to construct, the price difference isn't as drastic as most would think.

Along with that, until they can effectively reprocess the spent fuel, you're going to have permitting problems with the government...

Another issue is each plant requires ~9,000,000 gallons of water per day for full operation. I suppose unless you built all the plants in Iowa, you'd have a problem. What? Too soon?


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 11:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
> "Considering each reactor costs at least $6 billion dollars to construct, the price difference isn't as drastic as most would think"

It is when a reactor can easily generate 2,000 MWatts or more-- and do so 90% or more of the time. Whereas this wind farm will only generate 200 MWatts, and at a 30% AF, will actually produce only about 1/30 the total amount of power.

As for the water issue, saltwater can be as easily used for cooling as fresh...and since we're talking about a coastal installation, water isn't an issue at all.

Furthermore, nuclear plants built in areas where water shortages exist use closed-loop designs, meaning they recycle the water back through after each cooling cycle. This cuts their water usage down to a tiny fraction of what would otherwise be required. Open-loop designs are only used where water consumption isn't a problem.


RE: This is a losing venture
By 67STANG on 6/25/2008 4:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
Strange... most single reactors I've read about are 600MW to 900MW.

Conversely, you could use 800 2.5MW turbines to reach your 2,000MW number. At around $1.2 Million a pop, you're looking at $960 Million. Double that number for installation, land leases and maintenance and you've got $1.92 Billion.

Your 1/30th output number isn't accurate. Wind mapping and surveying prior to installation along with technological advances in turbine design and technology mean today's turbines need very little wind speed to get to their rated output. I've watched many installation site's SCADA systems and have observed this first hand. At just 11MPH all the 2.5MW turbines I observed were putting out 2.5MW-2.7MW.

So for 1/3 the price of a single reactor nuclear power plant that will put out ~600MW to ~900MW you have a CLEAN, RENEWABLE energy source.

I'm all for Nuclear Power expansion, but I think it's only PART of the puzzle. Wind, Solar and Geothermal should expand as well.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 4:32:33 PM , Rating: 3
> "Strange... most single reactors I've read about are 600MW to 900MW."

No one builds reactors that small any more. NRG's Texas expansion has two reactors, each rated at 1300MW. Japan's Kashi-Kari plant has 7 reactors, generating a total of 8,200 MW.

> "At just 11MPH all the 2.5MW turbines I observed were putting out 2.5MW-2.7MW"

You'll find few spots anywhere on the planet with a continual 11MPH breeze.

In any case, I find your figures very questionable. I think it's much more likely you read a meters/sec figure and thought it was displaying miles/hour. GE's commercial 2.% MW wind turbines don't reach full output until 29 MPH (which is close to 11 m/s):

http://www.gepower.com/prod_serv/products/wind_tur...

> "Your 1/30th output number isn't accurate"

I have yet to see a commercial wind site with an AF over 50%....35% is typical. If you want to dispute this, post actual statistics from operating sites.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 4:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
Edit: GE's commercial 2.5 MW turbines don't reach full output till 29 MPH.


RE: This is a losing venture
By 67STANG on 6/25/2008 11:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No one builds reactors that small any more. NRG's Texas expansion has two reactors, each rated at 1300MW. Japan's Kashi-Kari plant has 7 reactors, generating a total of 8,200 MW.


Even if each reactor is rated ~1300MW, you are talking about multi-reactors each costing $6,000,000,000.00.

That puts the NRG plant at $10,000,000,000.00 for 2,600MW. You can buy quite a few wind turbines for that much money...

quote:
GE's commercial 2.% MW wind turbines don't reach full output until 29 MPH (which is close to 11 m/s):


GE's commercial turbines are of a much older design. There's quite a bit to be said for blade design and even more importantly: generator design.

quote:
I have yet to see a commercial wind site with an AF over 50%....35% is typical. If you want to dispute this, post actual statistics from operating sites.


AF is the "do not exceed customer expectations" percentile. 30% is a failsafe. Depending on the location I've seen a month-to-month averages of over 60%. Obviously I cannot post proprietary information for any company I consult for. I don't want to get canned...


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/26/2008 9:35:07 AM , Rating: 5
> "Even if each reactor is rated ~1300MW, you are talking about multi-reactors each costing $6,000,000,000.00"

I'm sorry, but you're wrong again. NRG's $6B expansion is for two reactors...that's $3B each.

> "GE's commercial turbines are of a much older design"

If you want to claim performance figures wildly above the rest of the industry, post a spec sheet as I did. Until then, its an unsubstantiated claim.

> "Obviously I cannot post proprietary information for any company I consult for"

Nice try, but operating records for utilities are a matter of public record. And I seriously disbelieve some private company is operating a massive windfarm at an operational level twice what any utility manages.


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/25/2008 5:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is when a reactor can easily generate 2,000 MWatts or more-- and do so 90% or more of the time. Whereas this wind farm will only generate 200 MWatts, and at a 30% AF, will actually produce only about 1/30 the total amount of power.


Delmarva Power agreed to buy as much as 200 megawatts at any given time , I believe the rated peak capacity of the wind farm is 450 MW (at ~30% Capacity Factor, that would put it at ~ 150 MW on average).
That does not change radically your figures, but if one can be accurate it's always better.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 6:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "That does not change radically your figures, but if one can be accurate it's always better"

It shouldn't change them at all, as its my understanding, the $1.6B deal covers only the deal between Delmarva and Bluewater. In other words, the cost of the entire project is roughly double that...and -- this is the part that so upset Delmarva-- if Bluewater isn't able to find a buyer for the other half, the utility is on the hook for it as well.


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/25/2008 6:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It shouldn't change them at all, as its my understanding, the $1.6B deal covers only the deal between Delmarva and Bluewater.


I was quoting your power ratio figures (not the cost). The capacity factor of 30% applies to the rated capacity of 450 MW, not the max power that Delmarva agreed to buy. So it is not a ratio of 1/30, but more ~1/13.

As for the cost, I am not sure your understanding is correct: the contract is of $800M between Delmarva and Bluewater. For that price, Delmarva only pays for up to 70 turbines, and an average of about 605,000 megawatt hours a year. The cost of $1.6B applies to the whole farm (provided other investors come in), and its 450 MW rating (i.e. 150 MW average effective power).


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 6:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
> "the contract is of $800M between Delmarva and Bluewater. ...The cost of $1.6B applies to the whole farm"

This story has it a bit differently:
quote:
and the Senate is waiting to act on a resolution passed by the House that would order Delmarva to sign a 25-year, $1.5 billion deal committing it to buy as much as 300 megawatts an hour of wind power from Bluewater
http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articl...


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/25/2008 6:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently that was the "old" project (although your link wasn't "that" old), where Delmarva was buying up to 300MW.

From the same source, today's article:
quote:
Monday's $800 million, 25-year contract is for a wind farm planned a dozen miles offshore of Rehoboth Beach. [...] Delmarva would buy no more than 200 megawatts of power at any given time, down from 300.


Source: http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articl...


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 8:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough...I stand corrected.


RE: This is a losing venture
By andrinoaa on 6/26/2008 8:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
Yes only $6billion to build and hundreds of years to contain the waste. When you add that cost, "nuclar" ain't so grand no more.
You still haven't produced costings on storage for hundreds of years masher2. Us skeptics are still waiting. lol


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/26/2008 9:36:11 AM , Rating: 4
> " When you add that cost, "nuclar" ain't so grand no more."

Well, it's still 13 times cheaper than the cost of a similar size windfarm I call that pretty grand.


RE: This is a losing venture
By snownpaint on 6/26/2008 1:28:24 PM , Rating: 1
IMO....

I like windfarms in the ocean idea.. If done right it can generate electricity and help prevent beach erosion. Plus it doesn't eat up limited and valuable land (maybe on top of landfills as well).. If you wanted to add tidal energy devices to them, power to the people. However, Nuclear is better for the mass production of electricity. Lets not forget that new-gen nuclear reactors can make cheap H2. Which, if done right, can make our jets fly with reduced hydrocarbons. If gas prices still run high, airlines Will Flop, no matter how much help they get from Gov't. I'm all about the perfected battery and electric cars.. Once you feel the G's a electric car pulls, you won't be able to think the same about combustion cars again.. Finally, I would like to see everybody taking the big sun catching roofs of their houses and have solarcell and thermal transfers put on top.. The Sun produces more energy in a second then we use in a year. There is tons of wasted space looking at the sun all over the US, this can be used to heat your house and/or run your AC.. 20ft x 40ft roof, 27million homes = 21,600,000,000 sq/ft of solar catching power.


RE: This is a losing venture
By smitty3268 on 6/25/2008 12:06:53 AM , Rating: 4
Let's not try and make nuclear power something it isn't. It may be the best form of power generation we have now, but calling it perfect is being as shortsighted as those who think this wind farm will solve Delaware's energy needs.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 12:11:40 AM , Rating: 2
> "It may be the best form of power generation we have now, but calling it perfect is being as shortsighted "

I don't recall using the word "perfect" in my post. Until we have mass-produced fully aneutronic fusion plants the size of a lawnmower engine, I don't think any power source can be called perfect.


RE: This is a losing venture
By dever on 6/25/2008 1:33:20 PM , Rating: 1
So, how many people died from the radiation of the worst nucelar accident in history (Chernobyl)?

Even though it had aging, bad reactor design, and a communist country that tried to cover it up instead of evacuating people, there are less than 60 known deaths from radiation.

This includes those who worked on the roof directly above the remnants of reactor 4, cleaning off debris in "protective suits" that you could make from pieces of your garden shed and a pair of tin-snips.

Also, the only known illness documented to have significantly increased was thyroid cancer. There were 4000 diagnosed cases of citizens in that area during these last 20 years, which was significantly above the normal rate for that area. However, many of those cases may not have been known in a normal population because the severity was low, and because of the accident there was testing of nearly 100% of the population.

Was this bad? Yes, it was horrible. But it wasn't nearly as bad as most assume. The current levels of background radiation near Chernobyl are lower than the natural background radiation in many populated areas of the world.

Just interesting info. Nuclear is not perfect, but it's far preferable than the dire reports we're constantly fed.

(I got much of this info from a BBC Horizon report, and ran it across a nuclear engineer for validity... not that you should take my word for it.)


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 1:39:15 PM , Rating: 3
The information is correct. To it I'd add that the Cherobyl design (RBMK) was one the Western world rejected as too dangerous back in the 1950s...none were ever built ouside the Soviet sphere.

Also, the people who developed cancer in the Cherobyl region, could have been saved had the government simply distributed cheap potassium iodide pills to the populace, and conducted an orderly evacuation -- there were people still fishing in Chernobyl's cooling pond three days after the accident.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/25/2008 2:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
they were looking for the 3 eyed fish....

The wild life has come back to Cherobyl. Lots of trees, birds, deer, and other animals. So, I would think the area can not be to bad. Not that I'd volunteer to live there.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 2:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
A few people do live there. In fact, some people never left at all. The only real safety issue remaining is food cultivated within the exclusion zone, as it can theoretically concentrate certain radionuclies...though even this could be addressed by bioremediation, just there's no real need to do so, when the soil will finish cleaning itself up over the next couple decades.


RE: This is a losing venture
By andrinoaa on 6/26/2008 8:53:28 AM , Rating: 2
last scientific literature I read on the subject said there was NO safe level of radiation. Sorry mashe2 but I draw the line at your white washing of a MAJOR MAJOR disaster. The reality is we don't know how many people will ultimately get cancer from the radiation. And I for one will not countenance your flipant attitude to those poor miserable sufferers. JUST ONE DEATH is one too many. Why have you got such a callus attitude?


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/26/2008 9:43:58 AM , Rating: 3
> "last scientific literature I read on the subject said there was NO safe level of radiation"

Then you're doomed already, because you receive large doses each day, from everything from cosmic rays to dental visits to even (gasp!) the food you eat. Bananas are so naturally radioactive they regularly set off the radiation monitors at US ports...and the granite used to build places like Grand Central Station makes the building significantly more radioactive than that allowed for nuclear plants.

Furthermore, just the decision to move from a low-lying state like Florida to a high-lying one like Colorado means you'll get a radiation dose ten times *larger* than what the average Ukranian received from Chernobyl. Even a single cross-country flight results in a significant radiation dose, due to cosmic rays from the higher altitude.

I won't even get into the radiation levels that conservation of electricity has caused, by creating fully airtight homes from which radon cannot escape.

The average American is going to receive much more from these natural sources than they will from a nuclear reactor-- even if they live right beside one. So much for your scaremongering.

> " JUST ONE DEATH is one too many"

Then you better give up on wind and solar power, because both have killed people in the Western world.

Nuclear, however, has not.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Hoser McMoose on 6/25/2008 11:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even though [Chernobyl] had aging, bad reactor design, and a communist country that tried to cover it up instead of evacuating people, there are less than 60 known deaths from radiation.

60 known deaths that can be easily attributed, estimated at about 4000 deaths total over the course of 100 years following the disaster (as per a rather large U.N. study a few years back).

Thyroid cancer was the only type of cancer that saw a (VERY) large increase, but the incidents of leukaemia also seem to be up and they are where the other estimated 3940 deaths are from.

Beyond that there might be another 1,000 or so people killed in all other aspects of nuclear power, predominantly from uranium mining (mining just about any metal, uranium included, is dangerous and uses tons of toxic chemicals and has serious environmental effects).

For comparison, roughly 40 people have been killed by wind power. Mostly they have been technicians working on the turbines. Ironically if you compare fatalities to amount of power produced nuclear power and wind power are pretty much equally "safe" or "dangerous".

For further comparison, somewhere around 300,000 to 500,000 people have died from hydro dam failures in the last 50 years while worldwide anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 people die EVERY YEAR from pollution from coal power.


RE: This is a losing venture
By dever on 6/27/2008 1:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to check your facts on this. Admittedly, I got these numbers from a recent BBC documentary (see link at bottom)... but the data show NO measurable increase in leukemia. As I said, the only measurable increase in any illness was thyroid cancer... and less than 60 deaths have occurred as a result of radiation.

I'm not trying to white wash this, I was just very shocked by the amount of hype we've been fed. Obviously, the science is still fairly new, and paranoia runs rampant.

The worst part of the tradgedy in my mind is the fact that mother's were "encouraged" to abort their children... resulting in (if I remember correctly) around 200k abortions. Again, no measurable increase in birth defects were recorded either. Given the nature of the Russian government, I'm not sure what "encouraged" actually means.

Here's a link. Read up for yourself. The media feeds us catastrophe stories because it's easy and it sells.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5173310....


RE: This is a losing venture
By monkeyman1140 on 6/26/2008 10:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear power seems like a great idea until you figure in costs to get rid of the high level radioactive waste, then you have to factor costs to get rid of the low level radioactive waste, which is a much more difficult prospect. Getting rid of millions of gallons of radioactive water has become such a big problem that many sites still store the stuff onsite because there's no place to put it. Then of course the high level waste has to be stored in pools until permanently buried in some mountain somewhere. If any of those pools drain, or the A/C system for the storage unit goes down for too long, you end up with a radioactive disaster the size of chernobyl.
Then there's terrorism....yes McCain's 45 new nuclear plants will be fat juice targets for muslims wanting to make a name for themselves in praise of Allah.
Lastly, the amount of nuclear fuel on the planet is FINITE....yes uranium isn't endless folks, and weapons production pales in comparison to power generation when it comes to gobbling up the limited uranium resources.
Did I forget the heat pollution? yes you have to put a nuclear power plant next to a river, and it spits out boiling water which kills fish and pretty much everything else downstream for miles.
Smell that cleeeean power!


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/26/2008 1:50:10 PM , Rating: 3
> "yes McCain's 45 new nuclear plants will be fat juice targets for muslims wanting to make a name for themselves in praise of Allah"

Do you have any idea how tough the containment dome on a nuclear plant is? Even if one slams a fully-loaded jet into one, you're not going to crack it. (tests have been done to verify just that). The most a terrorist group can do to a nuclear reactor is shut it down.

> "Lastly, the amount of nuclear fuel on the planet is FINITE"

We have enough uranium for several thousand years of use...and once that's gone, we can start on thorium, which is just as easy to fission and over three times as prevalent. When you have enough fuel to last several times longer than all of recorded human history, its essentially infinite in practical terms.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Spuke on 6/24/2008 7:03:14 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
This is renewable engergy, there's more to consider than just monetary matters.
Like what?


RE: This is a losing venture
By phxfreddy on 6/24/2008 10:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
You need to consider that when I as an environmentalist say it is good well there must be a halo glowing around the wind turbine. When ever you say it... well you are just an enviro-religion heretic and there is a black glow around the nuclear plants you suggest!

Kafirs!, unbelievers!, enviro-heathens! .... My Lord Jim Hansen will have you all clapped in irons soon!


RE: This is a losing venture
By 67STANG on 6/24/2008 10:58:46 PM , Rating: 2
Like the fact that anything renewable offsets the cost of oil, coal and gas-- since we'll be using less. Not to mention it's better for the environment....


RE: This is a losing venture
By Ringold on 6/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: This is a losing venture
By Ringold on 6/25/2008 4:12:50 AM , Rating: 2
For whoever rated me down, I'll point out that last year American's gave a record amount of money -- though it tapered off towards the end of the year as the news networks started pounding fear of a depression that never came in to the public mind.

Americans are generous people, with the poorest state happening to be the most generous (Mississippi is it?). Government and environmentalists shouldn't lie in order to soak them for even more pet causes.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 2:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
I wholeheartedly agree with you re the generosity of Americans. As your Canadian neighbour, I absolutely salute how much America has spearheaded development in the rest of the world and also promoted ideas of democracy and human rights.

My concern is not within American citizens or culture, it's with corporations in general. They do wonderful things in terms of promoting innovation and developing efficiency, but their aims are not always the same as the aims of a good society. A good society is not defined by profits, it is defined by the opportunities it provides to people. A good society if not defined by consumption, it is defined by charity, compassion, and fairness. To the extent that good government requires good fiscal sense, we should heed economic policy as good policy, but we should remember that money is a means to a good life and not a good life in and of itself.

It isn't just environmental technology that gets government subsidies, mainsteam energy has been getting them for a long time. Car dealerships and manufacturers supported suburban developments so that people would have to drive between home and work instead of walking or taking transit. The auto industry and petro industries place enormous costs on society that can be considered subsidies. We build and maintain roads, deal with respiratory illnesses, and suffer accidents because we think driving 20-100km a day is normal. We get part of that back in gasoline taxes but it is still a cost that all of us pay.

You may be against 'charity' for clean technology but we pay to keep things the way they are too. I didn't have asthma until I hit my mid-20s and no one else in my family has it. I'd pay a $1,000 year subsidy for clean power if I could run outside instead of having to hit the gym because of smog alerts that happen for most of the summer here in Toronto because we are incredibly wasteful of energy here and rely on diesel and coal electrical generation to deal with ridiulously high AC usage.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By Spuke on 6/25/2008 3:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
Great post! I wouldn't bother responding to most of the people here if they presented a reasonable and accepting nature. With people like yourself, I can simply disagree and go on about my life. With others here, I am the devil incarnate if I don't do EXACTLY as they say and do RIGHT NOW! I'm just a nobody so this may not matter much but thank you for your post.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 4:06:29 PM , Rating: 3
> "I'd pay a $1,000 year subsidy for clean power if I could run outside instead of having to hit the gym because of smog alerts that happen for most of the summer here in Toronto "

I agree. The sad thing is, had environmentalists not achieved a de facto shutdown of the budding nuclear power industry in the 1970s, you wouldn't be breathing those coal-fired emissions today.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 4:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I tend to piss people off on both sides of the arguement. I'm all for development of clean technology but I don't see nuclear energy as evil. It's an imperfect technology with many strengths and should be part of an energy solution but isn't a pancea. Reduced consumption, co-generation, hydro, wind, titdal, and solar can all work together to build a high-capacity, redundant, robust, system.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By Spuke on 6/25/2008 11:43:43 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
In the end, if it doesn't make financial sense, it's charity.
If utility companies, the federal government or state governments want to engage in charity -- okay. I for one would just prefer they not try to sugar coat it by pretending its financially wise, however. Then the voters, or in the case of utility companies, shareholders, can decide if they wish to be so charitable or not.
QFT.


RE: This is a losing venture
By dever on 6/25/2008 1:37:48 PM , Rating: 1
I would call it "reverse" charity... the beneficiaries of which are the billionaires that build these wind farms... and the contributors are the average working stiffs.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Ashrac on 6/24/2008 6:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
They are only using half of the power generated. The other half is being sold off to utility companies. Now it's hard to figure out from the article if this is a joint venture between Delaware power and the turbine company which is sort of the way the wording makes it sound, which means that the project cost wouldn't be absorbed 100% by either company.

Regardless of the price tag, I doubt that they overlooked profit margins in considering this project.


RE: This is a losing venture
By phxfreddy on 6/24/2008 10:38:51 PM , Rating: 1
The problem is that while it may be profitable....when it comes to supplying us all with energy it appears there is no way to get there from here with wind turbines. They are all so green that they are totally gay but what about my energy bill? Are they going to generate enough to keep it from going up?

I think not!

We need to drill like crazy off of the coasts or we risk economic collapse due to shipping too many dollars out of the country for oil.

The oil market lacks any elasticity right now. It needs a few million barrels per day excess capacity to keep it from going any higher. And yes it will do that. That is why its called the OIL FUTURES MARKET.


RE: This is a losing venture
By mikefarinha on 6/24/2008 6:13:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Let me guess, tax dollars will make up the rest.


I don't think so... It looks like you missed this part of TFA.

quote:
However, Bluewater isn't stopping there. Delmarva will only use approximately half the projected generating capacity of the farm. The remainder of the new wind farm's juice will be sold off to other utilities.


Hopefully $0 of tax payers money goes into this project since it looks like it will be plenty profitable.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 7:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
> "Hopefully $0 of tax payers money goes into this project "

Unfortunately that's not the case. Bluewater is receiving the usual federal subsidies for wind power, and the rest of the additional cost will be borne by Delmarva ratepayers, who'll have the exhorbitant costs of this energy amortized across all the electricity generated across the state.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Spuke on 6/24/2008 7:04:43 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Hopefully $0 of tax payers money goes into this project since it looks like it will be plenty profitable.
How does it "look" profitable? Explain.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Spuke on 6/25/2008 11:48:59 AM , Rating: 2
Rate it down all you want but he said NOTHING to back up his statement. Since he didn't explain then I'll assume he's just pulling info out of his a$$. Anyone can spew info. Is it true or is it not? Popular doesn't make it automatically true. Unpopular doesn't make it automatically false. You can also believe what you want but that doesn't make it true either.

I want him to explain. If he can't do that, then, at best, he's spreading misinformation. At worst, he's a liar.


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/24/2008 6:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
From the source, "Story Highlights":

# Estimated cost of offshore wind turbine project is $1.6 billion
# Power company will use half of energy to light about 50,000 homes a year
# Rest of power will be sold to other customers


RE: This is a losing venture
By Keeir on 6/24/2008 6:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough

Taking the PVA of average of 100 dollars a month (higher than 80 dollars current) * 100,000 households or 10 million a month * 12 months or 120 million a year for 25 years

PV(A)=A/i*(1-1/((1+i)^n))

where i is the rate of return required over a year. Since a significant portion of the 1.6 billion will be financed with investments, a rate of return of .04 (4%) seems very generous

PV(A)=120/.04*(1-1/((1.04)^25))=1874 (million)

A rate of return of .08 (8%) would be more reasonable so there is money left over for maintainence etc..

PV(A)=120/.08*(1-1/((1.08)^25))=1280 (million)

A rate of return of .12 (12%) is really what most businesses would be considering

PV(A)=120/.12*(1-1/((1.12)^25))=941 (million)

Based on this admittedly simple and inaccurate calculation, it seems clear that some kind of public money in terms of tax breaks, incentives or out and out "grants" are being used to make the investment worthwhile. Most real business require at least 10% rate of return, with most looking towards 15%+. Given that the calculation above shows significant negative present value (above around 5% projected rate of returns) and doesn't factor in any additional costs of delivering power to customers, its fair to wonder when and how much the usage of this wind farm will take from delaware energy consumers pockets. (Though since externalities of pollution, regardless of the actual chemicals you consider pollution, are no longer present it may -still- be a good value)


RE: This is a losing venture
By Ringold on 6/25/2008 2:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
If more people did the analysis they might see what a crock a lot of this is.

http://www.powermag.com/ExportedSite/BlogArticles/...

That was looking at Boone Picken's "investment" (really, more of a guide to how a billionaire can use liberal environmental guilt to make additional billions from tax payers) but the same subsidies likely apply.


RE: This is a losing venture
By rikulus on 6/25/2008 8:54:13 AM , Rating: 2
So, based on your own numbers, they will make a rate of return of 6%, which already is far from "in the red." Some other things to consider:

- They will gain experience constructing offshore windmills, potentially helping to reduce future construction costs (this isn't exactly a fully matured method in this country.)

- Your numbers assume the average household power bill will remain at $100 per month for then next 25 years... and you seem to suggest this is a conservative estimate. If we started at an $80 per month bill today and assumed even 4% inflation (which I think will be very conservative in today's energy market... I know my heating oil cost is going from $2.60 last year to $4.75 per gallon this year alone), the monthly bill will be up to $213 per month in 25 years.

- And if people are going to complain about this project getting tax subsidies... can anyone name a single energy endeavor in this country that doesn't get government funding in some way to either keep costs artificially low or help get off the ground?


RE: This is a losing venture
By rikulus on 6/25/2008 8:57:18 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah, and do we know that the design lifespan of these windmills is 25 years?


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 9:32:18 AM , Rating: 3
> "can anyone name a single energy endeavor in this country that doesn't get government funding in some way"

NRG's construction of pair of new nuclear reactors in Texas isn't getting any tax dollars. By the way, that facility will generate over 30 times as much energy as this windfarm, yet only cost less than four times as much. Maintenance costs will be lower also.

> "So, based on your own numbers, they will make a rate of return of 6%, which already is far from "in the red"

No. The project will generate only a tiny fraction of Delaware's total energy, yet is pricey enough to raise the power bill of every single customer in the state by some $60/year over and above what they'd pay for power from a conventional source.

Power that costs ten times as much as normal market rates isn't a "winning proposition", no matter how you slice it.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Hoser McMoose on 6/26/2008 12:08:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
NRG's construction of pair of new nuclear reactors in Texas isn't getting any tax dollars.

I don't know the specifics of NRG's reactor, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005 contains SEVERAL provision that will see tax dollars given to most, if not all, new nuclear reactors.

It also throws tax dollars at coal, wind, solar, oil, ethanol and damn near anything else you care to think of.

The original poster is correct, virtually EVERY major energy project gets government funding in some way, it's just a question of how many tax dollars are being tossed around.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/26/2008 1:54:26 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing I know of in the 2005 act are some loan guarantees for energy production which doesn't generate greenhouse gases, which would theoretically include nuclear. However, there's a vast difference between a loan guarantee and an outright subsidy, which is what wind power is currently receiving.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Keeir on 6/26/2008 3:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, based on your own numbers, they will make a rate of return of 6%, which already is far from "in the red." Some other things to consider:


No, based on my own numbers, they have the maximum possible potential to make 6% if the energy can be delivered without maintaince costs OR delivery costs . In fact, based on the actual bid material, this farm will be cost around around 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour for wholesale pricing. Expect to pay around 15.8 cents per kilowatt hour- best case senario- if you were going to purchase this power. Oh, add in like 4-5 cents per kilowatt hour subsidy that is typically given to wind farms...making the -best case senario- (consumer) price around 20 cents per kilowatt hour. As Masher has noted below with his source, Delmara believes the worst case senario is closer to 45 cents per kilowatt hour or even greater. Most land based wind farms operate closer to 15-20 cents per kilowatt hour currently (end consumer costs after subsidies and typically delivery costs).

quote:
Your numbers assume the average household power bill will remain at $100 per month for then next 25 years


This is actually to remove inflation from the question. I assumed that energy costs would raise faster than inflation ($100 as opposed to $80) and looked at the post inflation real rate of return. Please remember that most of the 1.7 billion (up to 3.2 billion by the companies own proposal) will be financed at rates singificantly higher than 4%.

Sorry, from even a basic economic analysis, this project has economic idiocy written all over it. Delmara is especially critical of the deal and seems pretty worried that the way the bid was written last year, this windfarm can raise power rates- with no limit- and Delmara is on the hook contractually. This is the sweetheart portion that is allowing this project to go through. (I mean, most real business projects often have IRR of 20%! or more based on the simple calculation I used)


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/26/2008 3:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is actually to remove inflation from the question. I assumed that energy costs would raise faster than inflation ($100 as opposed to $80) and looked at the post inflation real rate of return. Please remember that most of the 1.7 billion (up to 3.2 billion by the companies own proposal) will be financed at rates singificantly higher than 4%.


Well, I don't necessarily want to go in all the details of your analysis and I am definitely willing to assume it is correct. However you would gain much credibility if you would start it with accurate numbers.

The cost for powering on average 50,000 households (i.e. an average of 64 MW of power) is $800M.

The average bill of DE household was already $110.18 in 2006 (http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/esr/table... There is no way you have even started to account for energy costs inflation.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Keeir on 6/26/2008 9:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
It pretty much spelled out right here

http://www.delmarva.com/_res/documents/staffreport...

Page 15 is pretty much revealing. In 2007 dollars, an Independent commission under Delmara estimated thier "wholesale" electrical rates under bluewater's proposal at 115 dollars per MWh at best and rising to 288 dollars per MWh at worst. With a value around 190 dollars being the most likely outcome.

Per DOE, the average Wholesale price of electricity in Pennsylvania Hub (probably the likely source of Delaware capcity) was around 72 dollars per MWh.

Note that Bluewater proposal and Delmara's IC analysis assumes the continuation of current subsidies.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pd...

Which amount to approx 23 dollars per MWh in 2007. Pg 16

Essentially, The market cost in 2007 for electricity was 72 dollars per MWh with an average subsidy of around 2 dollars per MWh costing for a total of 74 dollars per MWh. This wind facility is offering to provide the same power at between 138 dollars and 311 dollars respectively for MWh. A cost premium of 200% to 420%.

My earlier calculations were back of the evelope calucations which when a decsion is economically sound usually show significant rates of return. Since my calculation did not, it was clear that significant additional funds will be needed (or risk adverted) that were just not mentioed in the story. The significant additional funds/risk lowering are being provided by the US government in subsidies and in the "cost plus" nature of bluewater's contract. Regardless of the final price of the energy, Delmara will be forced to purchase at least the contractual amount and upto 100%. Essentially, bluewater is garenteeded a profit -no matter- how well they build, design, maintain, etc thier site at the expense of Delmara's customers.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Keeir on 6/26/2008 9:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Per DOE, the average Wholesale price of electricity in Pennsylvania Hub (probably the likely source of Delaware capcity) was around 72 dollars per MWh.
Add "In 2007"


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/26/2008 10:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It pretty much spelled out right here http://www.delmarva.com/_res/documents/staffreport... [...]


That's the conditions for the old contract.
Do you have a link to the final agreement?

According to Delmarva:
quote:
Under this 25-year agreement, Bluewater Wind, the state-selected offshore wind provider, could begin delivering electricity to Delmarva Power’s Delaware customers around the year 2012. Delmarva Power’s customers would buy about half the amount of electricity at a lower overall price per megawatt-hour, as compared to the previous offer.


Source: http://www.delmarva.com/welcome/news/releases/arch...

Details welcome.


RE: This is a losing venture
By stepone on 6/24/2008 7:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're missing the point a bit here...

Wind farms produce a clean & inexhaustable supply of electricity as opposed to coal or oil fired power stations which are the heaviest polluters & require constant fuel supplies.

Sure there will of course be maintenance costs over the years but are those going to be as much as the cost of x thousands of tonnes of coal a power plant would use?

In either case it's not about providing initially cheaper electricity it's about providing cleaner more sustainable energy sources.

(PS we also need more nuclear power)


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 7:25:41 PM , Rating: 1
> "Wind farms produce a clean & inexhaustable supply of electricity "

Less clean than nuclear power, when all things are considered.. Windmills require vast amounts of resources of construct and maintain...I once saw an estimate that said 1/3 of the world's steel would be required just to build enough turbines to power the US alone.


RE: This is a losing venture
By mcmilljb on 6/25/2008 1:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
Well if this project takes a lot of steel, I'm buying stock in whoever provides their steel. That company should get a nice boost if this project takes off. You can't reason with some people so just make money off of it and go on.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Hoser McMoose on 6/26/2008 12:19:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Less clean than nuclear power, when all things are considered

I'm not sure that's entirely accurate, or at the very least it would be extremely difficult to estimate.

Nuclear is not without it's environmental impacts. Nuke reactors also require a LOT of steel (and other metals) to build the things, as well as lots of concrete. They also require uranium ore to be mined which involves the use of toxic chemicals that end up in tailing ponds, not to mention the use of energy (mostly diesel fuel). Then there are the energy requirements for dealing with the nuclear waste and decommissioning the reactors. None of these are huge issues on their own, but each and every one has their own environmental impact.

There is no such thing as truly 'green' power. The type of power generation with the lowest environmental impact is, in my opinion at least, run-of-the-river (ie no dam) hydro power. However even this has some environmental impacts.


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/26/2008 1:58:46 PM , Rating: 2
> "Nuke reactors also require a LOT of steel (and other metals) to build the things"

In comparison to wind power, it's a small fraction, as many independent analysis have confirmed. By some estimates, it would take up to 1/3 the entire world's steel production just to build windmills to power the United States alone.

Wind and solar power are incredibly diffuse. Concentrating that power requires vast amounts of land...and vast amounts of resources to cover that land with either windmills or solar panels.

If you doubt this, just look at the cost of this $1.6B project, just to generate a paltry few hundred MW. If they're not spending that money on steel, copper, concrete, and other materials, what are they spending it on? A windmill is a fairly simple beast, even a large 2.5 MW turbine. There aren't a lot of research costs to amortize out.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Jim28 on 6/25/2008 11:46:22 AM , Rating: 2
It is not exactly clear that wind is green/clean energy at all. To me it is smoke and mirrors for a power source with wind's power output, land requirements, and availability.
Especially, wind farms in the ocean.

Maintenance costs and transportation depend heavily on oil products. Ships like to drink diesel alot you know, and you ain't walking to these turbines to fix them! What about when a hurricane wrecks these things like toys? I know they are engineered with hurricanes in mind, but I am betting on the hurricane!

Steel is not green either, it takes alot of electical power and a lot of coal coke to manufacture. Has all of this been taken into account in a enviromentalists dream world?

Solar Panels aren't all that green at all.
PV panels are a semiconducter based product, and that is the most expensive material we can make in terms of resources and power required for manufacture.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Dmitheon on 6/24/2008 9:17:20 PM , Rating: 2
You're assuming that energy costs remain constant for the next 25 years.


RE: This is a losing venture
By joex444 on 6/25/2008 1:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
No, wrong.

He is assuming that the market value of wind power is the same as present day fossil or nuclear power.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/24/2008 10:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
At least here in Canada, household costs for electricity are relatively low because they are heavily subsidized by the government. In addition to the direct subsidy, the government also subsidizes corporations building large scale power generation projects. Thus it may well cost a lot more to produce electricity than the tally paid in electric bills.

Also, keep in mind that dirty power generation simply externalizes its costs to other areas. A coal powered plant may produce electricity relatively cheaply but they're not picking up the tab for mercury pollution and resulting neurological deficits in infants or paying for health costs for those with asthma. A nuclear power plant may be really cheap to run but it's extraordinarily expensive to build and even more so to dismantle and (at least here) taxpayers pay for that on top of the normal electricity bill.

Economics makes sense when true costs are included and when people have perfect information but that most certainly is not what's happening with power generation. You seem to suggest that taxpayers picking up the bill for wind power is a poor idea but odds are it's happening now with the status quo.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 10:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
> "A nuclear power plant may be really cheap to run but it's extraordinarily expensive to build and even more so to dismantle "

Even with commissioning and decomissioning costs included, nuclear power runs in the range of 4-6 cents Kw-h. More advanced designs on the books are even cheaper and cleaner.

This offshore windfarm, on the other hand, may cost up to 55 cents Kw-h...and it will generate nothing whatsoever when the wind stops blowing.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 12:21:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure there is some controversy in this area but the cost quoted by the Keystone Center is 8.3 to 11.1 cents per kilowatt hour. The Center is far from an environmental lobby. Most of its sponsors are power generation companies. In terms of credibility, most of its researchers have Ph.D.s in their related fields from respected institutions. That counts a lot to me. Considering your well-thought out and fact-based posts, I wager that counts to you too.

Also, there is some debate re what decommissioning actually means. Does it mean meeting minimal safety standards but leaving the area unusable or does it mean making the area fit for other use? There are more than a few decommissioned nuclear sites that remain unsuitable for any other use.

To me, the main argument is not just about cost effectiveness but about promoting technologies that will benefit all of society. For-profit dirtier industries will almost certainly be cheaper in the short term but this doesn't factor-in contaminated water and air which we all pay for indirectly. Clean, renewable energy is a worthwhile investment in my opinion.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By Solandri on 6/25/2008 4:00:00 AM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, I suspect many of the people with the Ph.D.'s are theoretical researchers with very little practical experience in industrial power generation and equipment maintenance. There's a similar project in Massachusetts with similar price projections (lower even), which turned out pretty badly. As of two years ago it went from an estimated 6.6 cents per kwh to to 18 cents per kwh due to cost overruns and miscalculated projections.

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/moveabletype/mt-...

I am all for zero-emission renewable energy, but it has to have a shot at eventually becoming cost effective. Sea-bourne wind generation has got several major strikes against it right from the onset. Highly corrosive environment, unstable (dangerous even) platform vulnerable to hurricanes and tidal surge, difficulty of access driving up maintenance costs, and that's just compared to land-based wind power. It seems to me that if you're going to put these things out at sea where it'll mar the ocean view, you might as well just save yourself a lot of trouble and cost and put them on land at the beach.

And if we're trying to encourage technological development by subsidizing an initially higher power generation cost with tax dollars, let's first do it in cheaper and easier areas like on land. Once we've gotten really good at that and driven much of those costs down, then start tackling the harder problem of building the things in a more challenging environment.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 10:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
My point about the credentials of the researchers has to do with the legitimacy of the research. I'm much more inclined to take the word (which we all do, even when we're reviewing peer-reviewed journals) of people with demonstrated abilities to think clearly and scientifically and who SHOULD be sensitive to issues of bias over others just spouting numbers.

Your point about the maturity of technology is well-taken. I agree with you - that large scale projects on land would likely lower risks and lead to technology maturity.

The repeated points about intermittency of power that Masher raised is not a deal-killer for me. Often, high baseloads can be adequately reduced through small-scale co-gen projects and conservation to a suitable point. Compressed air, water reservoir, and flywheel technology can also help to store electricity generated by wind to reduce intermittency.

People who keep pointing to nuclear power as the solution should keep in mind that this is technology that still has significant problems and has had the benefit of decades to mature. I wonder where wind power could be if it has the benefit of 50 years of massive industrial support. The problem is that large industry tends to favor large scale projects where competition is limited by costs, complexity, or expertise over small distributed, simple systems.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 10:55:12 AM , Rating: 2
> "Compressed air, water reservoir, and flywheel technology can also help to store electricity "

Sure. They also raise the cost far above the already-astronomic levels of windmills alone. This plant is already producing power ten times more costly than conventional sources...an energy storage system would raise it to 40X or more. Care to have your $100/month power bill rise to $4,000 ?

> "People who keep pointing to nuclear power as the solution should keep in mind that this is technology that still has significant problems..."

There are no "significant problems" to nuclear power. The power generated is far cheaper than other renewable sources, and the reactors are safe-- safer than even wind or solar plants, when maintenance risks are concerned.

> "I wonder where wind power could be if it has the benefit of 50 years of massive industrial support"

Nuclear power hasn't had the "benefit of 50 years" of maturation. Current reactors are all built from designs from the 1960s, from the very infancy of nuclear power.

We have far more advanced designs on the books-- safer, cheaper to operate, and generating far less waste. But there's little public interest in building them, thanks to public ignorance.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 4:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
Usually when someone says that there are no reasonable arguments against their position on a complex issue I can usually expect that they are not open to hearing any and are approaching the argument with a bias.

I guess for you, much higher capital costs than expected (Darlington was something like 50% over budget) aren't a serious problem. I guess for you, life cycle costs for fuel are not a problem because the waste can sit in someone else's backyard. I guess for you, extended downtimes for maintenance are not a problem. Several reactors here in Canada required something like 40% more maintenance hours than planned. I guess for you material embrittlement is not a problem and the reactors that have been shut down years before their proposed decommissioning date are just learning experiences. I guess for you, conservation shouldn't be considered. I guess for you the rising prices of uranium aren't an issue because we'll just reprocess fuel forever. What are the cost projections for uranium if there is large scale adoption of nuclear power? There are pros and cons for all energy uses. Nuclear is great for lost operating costs, steady output, and relatively low waste potential. Nuclear is horrible for upfront capital costs and decommissioning properly considered (not just safing the reactor, burying it under 6 feet of gravel and putting up a 'Do not Disturb' sign) and waste disposal. And more importantly, there are better alternatives for different areas. Wind may not work well offshore but could be great on land in some areas. Conservation should be part of the picture. Solar would certainly be nice. These alternatives are decentralized, use simpler technology, and degrade gracefully. One windmill out of 500 out of action is not an issue. One reactor out of 3 out of action is a big issue.



RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 5:25:49 PM , Rating: 3
> "I guess for you, much higher capital costs than expected "

Do you believe this is somehow unique to nuclear power? Any large multi-billion dollar project is prone to underbudgeting.

Furthermore, the cost overruns for nuclear have nothing to do with the technology itself, but from the rampant project delays due to legal challenges from environmentalists. In China, 7 of their last 8 commercial reactors were built within 5% of the originally budgeted cost.

> " I guess for you the rising prices of uranium aren't an issue"

No they're not, because fuel costs are an insignicant portion of the total cost of nuclear power. A 50% rise in fuel translates to under a 3% rise in produced electricity.

Furthermore, the only reason uranium has risen recently is because the sudden surge of demand -- primarily from China-- caught producers off guard. Once mining capacity has caught up, the price will again decline.

> "Nuclear is horrible for upfront capital costs "

As I've already clearly demonstrated by contrasting to the above windfarm, the upfront capital costs for nuclear are far lower than wind.

An offshore windfarm able to match the power output of a couple of 1300MW reactors would cost some 30 times what this Bluewater installation would...or close to 50 billion dollars. Compared to that 6 billion the reactors run,

The rest of your concerns are equally malformed. Windpower just does not compete with nuclear, except for extremely small-scale generation in an area too small and remote to be serviced by a large commercial plant.

These are facts, plain and simple, and no amount of wishful thinking will change them.


RE: This is a losing venture
By andrinoaa on 6/26/2008 9:03:34 AM , Rating: 2
answer the question masher2. How much does it cost to decommission and store waste for hundreds of years?!?!?!?
You keep running and running. lol
Why do you think people don't want nuclar plants in their back yards?


RE: This is a losing venture
By monkeyman1140 on 6/26/2008 10:57:05 AM , Rating: 2
Alternative energy is already cost effective. Our thirst for foreign oil doesn't take into account the vast military resources necessary to protect those overseas assets, or to re-take those assets when they are lost to turbulent governments.
Do you honestly think the USA would plop down 500,000 troops in Saudi Arabia, Capture iraqi oil fields, protect Afghan pipelines if we were completely energy independent?


RE: This is a losing venture
By nofranchise on 6/25/2008 4:37:25 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently the future argument doesn't sit well with this crowd Mike. They want to think about themselves for the time being.

Every time one mentions thinking about what our grandchildren/the human race, will have to endure because of our shortcomings, you get accused of whining.

Of course there are great initial costs associated with wind power. But to me it is an acceptable cost. One I am personally happy to pay - to stop us using polluting/price rocketing fossil fuels (and no - not just CO2).

I live in Denmark, and more than 20% of our energy comes from wind farms - and we are in the process of building more large offshore farms.

Of course nuclear power should be utilized as well - but in some places it just isn't practical. In Denmark we have no bedrock to store spent fuel rods in. But we have lots of wind - all the time.

Although the cost of wind/wave/tidal power is greater than nuclear/coal/oil, there are immense benefits as well. A very decentralized power structure/energy price that is undisturbed by political and economical turmoil - and environmentally sound(they've solved the bird issues more or less...).

No matter what the barrel price is - the wind still blows.(Not considering raised cost of producing the mills from rising oil prices...).

With advances in windmill technology, a lot of the cost will be reduced. It already has. Every time the mills get larger, there are fewer mills to install, and therefore less maintenance.

New materials will reduce the cost of producing the mills, as well as the cost associated with installing them.

I say we build more wind farms, advance the technology (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev_wind_turbine) and keep focusing on getting fusion to work as the ultimate energy solution.

And of course build lots of advanced nuclear plants - like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Pressurized_...



RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 9:39:23 AM , Rating: 2
> "Of course nuclear power should be utilized as well - but in some places it just isn't practical. In Denmark we have no bedrock to store spent fuel rods in."

So? Reprocess them or ship them overseas. The beauty of nuclear reactors is they generate so very little waste...about a cubic meter per year.

It's so small, in fact, that even though environmentalists in the US have continually blocked the construction of a permanent waste disposal facility in the US, the 40+ years of waste that have built up are still easily stored on site the actual facilities themselves, within temporary facilities.

And this ignores the fact that, with reprocessing and newer reactor designs, the amount of waste generated could be far smaller still-- less than 1% of what our current once-through reactors generate.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 10:30:05 AM , Rating: 2
Great to hear that your country has such foresight!

As I mentioned above, I don't think it's entirely fair to compare nuclear and wind as the former has had decades of time mature and still has significant problems. I wonder where wind power and other alternative means of electrical generation could be in 50 years. I think there are reasons that large corporations are more willing to invest in nuclear - they tend to favor centralized, complex systems where competition is limited to decentralized, simple systems. Already there are many technologies that reduce the problem of intermittency inherent in wind generation. Compressed air, water reservoirs, and flywheels are all potential ways to store electricity generated from wind so that there is adequate power when the wind isn't blowing.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By Solandri on 6/25/2008 12:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As I mentioned above, I don't think it's entirely fair to compare nuclear and wind as the former has had decades of time mature and still has significant problems. I wonder where wind power and other alternative means of electrical generation could be in 50 years.

Commercial wind power generation in the U.S. has caused more deaths than commercial nuclear power generation in the U.S. Something to think about before you claim nuclear has "significant problems".


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 12:23:01 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure there is some controversy in this area but the cost quoted by the Keystone Center is 8.3 to 11.1 cents per kilowatt hour. The Center is far from an environmental lobby. Most of its sponsors are power generation companies. In terms of credibility, most of its researchers have Ph.D.s in their related fields from respected institutions. That counts a lot to me. Considering your well-thought out and fact-based posts, I wager that counts to you too.

Also, there is some debate re what decommissioning actually means. Does it mean meeting minimal safety standards but leaving the area unusable or does it mean making the area fit for other use? There are more than a few decommissioned nuclear sites that remain unsuitable for any other use.

To me, the main argument is not just about cost effectiveness but about promoting technologies that will benefit all of society. For-profit dirtier industries will almost certainly be cheaper in the short term but this doesn't factor-in contaminated water and air which we all pay for indirectly. Clean, renewable energy is a worthwhile investment in my opinion.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 3:37:38 AM , Rating: 1
> "the cost quoted by the Keystone Center is 8.3 to 11.1 cents per kilowatt hour"

If you're referring to their recent nuclear policy analysis, even they admit directly in their report that their estimate is significantly higher than any other estimate:

http://www.keystone.org/spp/documents/FinalReport_...

> "The Center is far from an environmental lobby"

They are involved extensively in environmental issues. Furthermore, some of the other groups involved in that report were the (highly anti-nuclear) Union of Concerned Scientists, as well as rabid environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense, the Clean Air Task Force, National Wildlife Federation, etc.

> "Clean, renewable energy is a worthwhile investment in my opinion."

When you see the staggering amounts of steel, concrete, copper, and other resources required to build enough windmills to power our nation, you'll realize windpower isn't nearly as "clean" as its imagined.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Ringold on 6/25/2008 4:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
I would also posit that initial nuclear powerplant construction costs would be expected to fall should the floodgates open for new construction, and production could be run continuously on parts as opposed to limited, one-off production runs that have to pass on the whole cost of overhead across a limited production run.

The only caveat would be a lack of skilled labor as seen in the petroleum sector, but I've read a lack of skilled labor, including competent business managers, has also struck the renewable energy firms. Executives were in the Economist whining about having to spend inordinate amounts of time looking for qualified people in the US a month or so back.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychmike on 6/25/2008 1:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, they are concerned with environmental issues but they aren't an environmental lobby. They receive funding by corporations involved in power generation and use industry-sponsored research when it holds up well. Their costs are higher than most estimates but we must all make sure we're talking about the same thing. Some people calculate capital and operating costs but don't include decommisioning. Some decommision costs include only enough money to 'safe' the site while other amounts are to return the land to a usable state. Some operating costs only include the expense to buy the fuel, not to dispose of the waste. Whatever your concerns about their affiliation, they appear to me at least to have very good documentation and verifiable (or falsifiable) facts. Is there anything in their report in particular that you object to?

Yes, staggering amounts of anything will be required to meet the world's energy needs. Right now, those needs are largely met by oil which has had the benefit of decades to build up infratstructure. If we are committed to changing energy dependence, either for environmental, economic, or security reasons, large investments will have to be made which will also have environmental consequences.

I'm not really against nuclear, I just think (in my country anyways) the nuclear lobby is more interested in receiving government subsidies and maintaining their monopoly rather than investigating other options. In some cases, centralized power generation is great (e.g., where there is abundant hydroelectric power). In other cases, a more distributed system may work better. My concern is that our government isn't looking into these alternatives with any real seriousness - they're saying essentially the same thing that nuclear power advocates were saying 50 years ago - that nuclear plants will provide unlimited, clean power and that no changes in technology or culture are required. How much nuclear fuel is there (including use plants that can reprocess fuel using existing technology)? How many plants will be required to meet energy needs? What will happen to the waste? What will happen to the sites after decommissioning? These are all important questions that haven't been answered satisfactorily for me. Between nuclear and hydrocarbon-based electrical generation, nuclear wins hands down for me. But if we can have solar, hydro, co-gen, and wind sites in favorable locations to reduce the number of nuclear plants required, if we are willing to make changes to our culture and lifestyle to lower baseloads, so much the better.

I live in Toronto and it gets pretty hot here in the summer. Almost every day is a smog alert day when it's hot. Any yet stores crank their AC so high that people shiver and the stores leave their doors wide open to encourage traffic flow. Dirty coal or diesel power plants have to be brought online. Canadians are also extremely wasteful when it comes to water use because many of us have a Great Lake close by. But those lakes' levels are lowering every year. No one can say that our mainstream society is in any way serious about conservation. I don't want to give up high technology or even easy comforts, but I don't think we can continue believing that we can have whatever we want, whenever we want, with no cost to our children later or others now.

Nuclear power is part of the answer, but we should continue to look into less intensive, more distributed, safer forms of power. Masher, you obviously are very well educated and informed. I wonder what would happen if you took your intelligence and creativity and imagined that things could be different instead of seeing how they cannot be. Science isn't just about observation, it's also about imagination. I don't mean for that sound condescending, I offer it as an invitation.

Mike


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 2:12:05 PM , Rating: 3
> "How much nuclear fuel is there "

Assuming reprocessing, tens of thousands of years worth...a period longer than all recorded human history. One has to remember that thorium can be used as easily for nuclear reactors as uranium....and even uranium is hardly rare in the earth's crust.

> "How many plants will be required to meet energy needs?"

More than we have today, but far less than the millions upon millions of acres needed for wind or solar.

> "What will happen to the sites after decommissioning?"

A site works for 50 or more years, then can be allowed to sit idle to "cool" for a similar period of time. The truly dangerous radionuclides have very short half-lives...and compared to the staggering amount of land required to be permanently condemned for wind or solar solutions, this is a far superior solution.

> "What will happen to the waste? "

Bury it, or just vitrify it and drop it in the deep sea. As horrifying as that may sound to the uneducated, there's already so much *natural* radioactive waste in the sea that we could do this for thousands of year and not make a measurable difference.

> "I wonder what would happen if you took your intelligence and creativity and imagined that things could be different"

I've spent the past 40 years imagining how much better off we'd be if man would get off his irrational fears of all things nuclear.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Hoser McMoose on 6/26/2008 12:29:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
A nuclear power plant may be really cheap to run but it's extraordinarily expensive to build and even more so to dismantle and (at least here) taxpayers pay for that on top of the normal electricity bill.

The main reason why we pay so much to build and then dismantle nuke plants up here is because we left incompetent politicians in charge of the project (both Ontario Hydro, who ran most of the reactors in Canada up until they were split up, and AECL, that designed and built the reactors, are government agencies, Provincial and Federal respectively).

The current Darlington reactors (about 100km east of Toronto for those that don't know about them) are a perfect example of this. HUGE cost overruns, but 70% of those overruns can be entirely traced by to politicians screwing around with regulations during the building of the plant and then forcing it to sit in a half-finished state for years. The remaining 30% of overruns are mostly related to just general government mismanagement.

Hopefully the new Darlington reactors (just announced a week or two ago) won't suffer the same fate. The fact that the design has been opened to bids rather than just using AECL as the sole designer and builder is a promising start though.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Doormat on 6/24/2008 10:58:30 PM , Rating: 3
From an article linked further down in the comments...

Both parties agreed the contract will cost average residential customers about $5 a month more – over the 25 years – than they would have paid for electricity without offshore wind power. With volatile fossil fuel prices, no one can predict how much additional cost – or savings – customers may see over the life of the contract.

I don't know about you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that power rates will increase by more than $5 in the next five years, let alone 25.


RE: This is a losing venture
By joex444 on 6/25/2008 1:57:57 AM , Rating: 1
Good observation. We're dealing with another factor, however. The company which actually owns the turbines gets to depreciate them over the life of the turbines. In all likelihood, they will never pay taxes on them.

You correctly assumed that the price per kWH will not change. It says right in the article that they will offerd a locked in rate for these residents.

The trouble is what is this locked in rate? I would safely assume it is higher than the current power companies charge using fossil or nuclear sources. So, while the "average" household would spend $80/mo, they need the average household to spend $107/mo in TODAY's dollars.

Assuming 4% inflation, this works out to $183/mo every month for 25 years. From 50,000 customers they would then collect $2.75b in future dollars, equivelant to today's 1.6 billion. So, to make a profit, the lockin rate would need to be more than $183/mo for the "average" customer (obviously convert to cents/kWH if given this data).

But it gets better, because the company will simply take your monthly payments, make a profit off it through interest or stock holdings. In all likelihood, they will make a large profit from this.

In fact, they will collect about $110m/yr at that rate, with 50k customers. At a reliable 8% return, they will have $8.04b total revenue over 25 years in future dollars. Converting due to inflation to today's dollars (4%), this amounts to $4.7b total revenue.

So, they actually stand to gain about $3.1b rather than lose $400m as you initially thought. Now, this is a true $3.1b because the cost of energy will not change. In a fossil market, we would have to be guessing will oil go to $300? $500? You have no idea what will happen in 25 years. It could be at $100 just as likely as $1,000.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY PEOPLE WILL PAY THAT RATE! You pay more now, but you will save money in the end as oil goes up or nuclear plants need to be replaced. It also has an appeal to the environmentally friendly folks.

Power companies have some of the lowest operations cost of all industries, it's completly reasonable to assume they are going to be able to make a return on the monthly payments customers make.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Jim28 on 6/26/2008 12:54:03 AM , Rating: 2
That is assuming no maintenace costs on the wind farm itself for 25 years. There will be a lot of turbines, thus there will be a fair amount of failures over 25 years, and I am not even counting damage due to weather or the rising costs of maintennce due to oil price increases as you need a couple of ships to service them.
In any case nuclear plants are replaced every 50 years or so, not 25, and have an enormously greater power density and AF. What happens with this windfarm if the electrical demand doubles? Can it fill it easily? How much does it scale? How easily does it scale? What happens if wind patterns change in 10 years enough to idle this windfarm?
Nuc plants don't depend on nature's variability, and is a much safer option.


RE: This is a losing venture
By psychobriggsy on 6/25/2008 6:34:11 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't electricity prices rising in the US like they are in Europe? We've got another 40% hike coming later this year ...


RE: This is a losing venture
By Kary on 6/25/2008 4:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
"Delmarva will only use approximately half the projected generating capacity of the farm. The remainder of the new wind farm's juice will be sold off to other utilities."

"$80 x 12 months x 25 years x 50,000 households = $1.2 billion.

Last I checked, that is less than the $1.6 billion invested."

$1.2 billion X2=$2.4 billion

This is hardly a charity case and assumes that the price of energy will stay the same as it was when the $80/month figure was found...wish I was still paying $80/month.
(ok, since it is being resold, more like $1.2billionx1.5 = $1.8billion ...they still should break even without higher future energy costs)


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 4:38:22 PM , Rating: 2
> "Last I checked, that is less than the $1.6 billion invested."

That simplistic analysis is far off target. For one, this windfarm will *not* power 50,000 households full time, as the availability factor will run about 40%. Secondly, it ignores 25 years of M&O costs, as well as the utility company's markup. According to Delarmva's own figures, the cost of power from the farm may be more than 10 times higher than conventional sources...even more if unknown risks surface during the project lifetime.

Furthermore, as others here have pointed out, if Bluewater is unable to sell this vastly overpriced electricity to anyone else, the contract allows them to walk away, and force the citizens of Delaware to pick up the tab.


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/25/2008 5:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That simplistic analysis is far off target. For one, this windfarm will *not* power 50,000 households full time, as the availability factor will run about 40%.


I guess the 50,000 households is an average over long term. At times it will be more (up to ~150,000 households), compensating for times when it will be less. In other words it accounts for the AF. Maybe I misunderstood your point ...


RE: This is a losing venture
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 5:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
> " guess the 50,000 households is an average over long term"

No, its a simple case of a journalist taking the peak output of the installation, and dividing by the average power consumption of a home.

While that gives reasonably accurate figures for traditional power plants, with AFs that range from 80-95%, it's far off base for wind and solar.


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/25/2008 5:52:52 PM , Rating: 2
If I am correct, the average consumption of DE residential household is ~ 1.3 kW.

For 50,000 households that would bring us to ~64 MW.

Assuming ~30% CF, that's a rated capacity of ~ 200 MW (and it also corresponds to the max power that the utility company agrees to buy at any given time).

The rated capacity is (I believe) 450 MW.

I may have missed your point (or failed my maths) but it seems that on average this farm could power 50,000 households, with of course some downs and ups depending on the wind.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Jim28 on 6/26/2008 1:31:13 PM , Rating: 2
"If I am correct, the average consumption of DE residential household is ~ 1.3 kW"

You have got to be kidding me!
Just using the AC or heater half the day will consume more average power than that. (And before you say heating is provided by other sources, isn't that source OIL? Aren't you trying to change that to wind?)
Average consumption of a TV 200Watts.
Average consumption of 10 lightbulbs- 500Watts.
That does not count cooking, washing machines,dryers, Computers, fans, audio equipment, pools.

That average power figure is pure fantasy!
Maybe they are never home!


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/26/2008 2:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
Well, where to start ...?

quote:
You have got to be kidding me!


No, I ain't kidding you.

From the Energy Information Administration (http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/esr/table... the average monthly energy consumption ranges from ~ 600 kWh (New England) to ~1300 kWh (AL, TN). Or for nationwide figures http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/reps/enduse/er01_us.ht... .

Delaware is at 930 kWh, hence ~1.3 kW of power on average.

This figure is also consistent with estimates reported here http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/BoiLu.shtml .

Now as far as your "figures" are concerned, I do not know if you have ever bothered to read your electricity bill and tried to figure out what was your own consumption, but I did. Let's sum up with: normal people do not let the TV and lights on 24/7 (actually they should be on a small fraction of the day). The big appliances like oven, washer etc ... are run on occasions for limited amount of time. I reached the conclusion that my fridge was probably the main source of power usage because it's on all the time ... expect it's not reaching it max power consumption 24/7 either, as it works on cycles.

Overall I use considerably less power that I have reported here for the average. Once averaged with households having much larger power usage (A/C and heating on regular basis, more lights, laundry and TV because more people, etc ...), it is understandable that it reaches much larger figures that my own.

What are your figures and sources?


RE: This is a losing venture
By Jim28 on 6/27/2008 12:13:46 AM , Rating: 2
Actually just my own bill which is considerably higher as I have a wife and two kids with a relatively modest home of 1600 square feet in Florida. I guess you don't actually turn on the lights when you go home You like being hot, and most likely are alone or your kids are grown and gone.

No I was complaining about your use of average power when attempting to plan power source output. You know better I am sure. Nobody plans a power grid on average power usage, only peak power, and this is where your project falls short. If we did use average power the grid would trip itself out every day! Wind takes way to much power from other sources to actually handle electrical load, it doesnt stand on it's own. It is not controllable such that it is easy to equalize source and sink. And lastly, in my opinion is more vulnerable to damage from the weather. If you pit this windfarm against hurricanes, I am betting on the hurricanes.


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/27/2008 10:06:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually just my own bill which is considerably higher as I have a wife and two kids with a relatively modest home of 1600 square feet in Florida. [...]


Well, we could talk about our respective personal experiences endlessly, but the numbers are there: Average consumption of household in DE is ~ 1.3 kW. Now the fact that you live in Florida may explain in part you larger consumption (the average consumption is ~ 25% larger). And obviously people have different lifestyles and hence different power usage.

quote:
No I was complaining about your use of average power when attempting to plan power source output.


Then you got my point wrong. I don't think we ever discussed this wind farm as a potential unique source of power, or even the main source. We are just discussing the Bluepower Wind farm as a (rather limited) part of Delmarva power providers.

quote:
Nobody plans a power grid on average power usage, only peak power, and this is where your project falls short.


I do agree with your point about peak power (although I am not convinced it is the "only" criteria, and you would have to define peak power), but I do not see the point with "my project" falling short. Again, we are only talking about Bluewater wind farm, that is only one of the sources of power. No house will be solely connected to these wind turbines, so peak power does not have to be provided by this farm. We are talking about averages here, or order of magnitude. As I already wrote, at times it will be less than 50,000 households, at other times it will be more.


RE: This is a losing venture
By jbartabas on 6/25/2008 5:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While that gives reasonably accurate figures for traditional power plants, with AFs that range from 80-95%, it's far off base for wind and solar.


Actually AF for wind power is very high. Capacity factor (~ 30%) is the real issue here.


RE: This is a losing venture
By Choppedliver on 6/25/2008 5:04:54 PM , Rating: 1
You know, all these years I have been reading Anandtech and the comments at the end of each article, I always wonder...

WHY THE HELL DON'T THE ATTORNEYS, CPA'S, SCIENTISTS, ANALYSTS,POLITICIANS, AND ENGINEERS OF THE WORLD KNOW ABOUT THIS SITE!!!

ALL THE ANSWERS TO MANKINDS PROBLEMS CAN BE FOUND IN THE COMMENTS BY THE OMNISCIENT, OMNIPOTENT READERS OF ANANDTECH!!! WE COULD PUT A MAN ON PLUTO FOR THE PRICE OF A KRYSTAL CHEESEBURGER AND GET 20,000 MPG OFF HUMAN POOP IF ONLY THEY WOULD LISTEN TO THE FORUM READERS!


The other side of the story
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 6:59:06 PM , Rating: 5
As usual in his alternative energy stories, Mick leaves out all the controversial details. First of all, Delmarva didn't freely accede to this proposal; they had to be forced into it by the Delaware legislature. Why? Because the costs are enormous...far higher than even other alternative energy sources, much less conventional ones.

Delmarva estimates that the total cost per Kw-h could rise to over 55 cents per Kw-h.. or more than ten times times higher than coal or nuclear :

quote:
The revised project, which includes a commercially unreasonable pricing escalator, imposes significant additional risk as well as cost on Delmarva’s SOS ratepayers;

• Bluewater shifts the project’s risk associated with cost increases during construction to Delmarva SOS ratepayers, and thus, the ratepayers - not Bluewater - assume full responsibility
http://www.delmarva.com/energy/renewable/windissue...





RE: The other side of the story
By Spuke on 6/24/2008 7:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
LOL! Wow, just wow. Mick, come on man. Why would leave this out?


RE: The other side of the story
By fic2 on 6/24/2008 9:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think this is any different than other power projects. I live in Denver and we rate payers are on the hook for an Xcel coal power station even before it gets built. I would imagine that we are on the hook for any cost increases, too. Why make the stock holders responsible for something that might make their stock go down? That is not the American way.


By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 9:59:32 PM , Rating: 3
Not quite. The normal process is that, if a utility builds a power plant itself, cost overruns are covered by reduced profits. If the overruns are too large, the regulatory board will generally approve a rate increase to defer a portion back to the customers...but the utility will almost always still eat much of them.

Furthermore, if the utility purchases wholesale power from an outside entity, cost overrun risks are almost always born entirely by that entity.

For a utility to be forced to purchase power at a rate which might be 12 times higher than traditional costs-- and potentially much higher still, should any unforeseen problems arise -- is quite unusual. While it's a windfall for Bluewater, it's going to wind up an enormously costly mistake for Delaware residents.


RE: The other side of the story
By Ringold on 6/25/2008 3:35:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why make the stock holders responsible for something that might make their stock go down?


I don't see any single news item re: wind that knocked POM (the holding company's stock of this utility) down, but over the last 3 months, YTD, and going back years, POM is one of the worst performing utility stocks when I put it up next to the ones I often watch, second only to Consolidated Edison.

Anecdotal evidence, but seems like a sub-par utility just chose a sub-par project. Also, if this were any kind of a cash cow, they did talk about it to investors extensively a day or two ago, and the stock has just been down afterwords, -2% over the last 5 trading days. Seems like the market doesn't see anything impressive about this deal at all.


RE: The other side of the story
By Parhel on 6/24/2008 10:56:25 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
. . . they had to be forced into it by the Delaware legislature


See, this is really part of a giant conspiracy . . . it's all part of Delaware's desire to secede from the Union. These aren't windmills at all . . . they are giant propellers anchored deep into the earth!!! And one day, the Delaware legislature will decide to turn the propellers on, and Delaware will be ripped off the United States and float out to sea.


RE: The other side of the story
By Ringold on 6/25/2008 5:01:57 AM , Rating: 2
As Douglas Adams would say.. So long, and thanks for all the fish.


RE: The other side of the story
By jskirwin on 6/25/2008 1:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
they are giant propellers anchored deep into the earth!!!

And the first thing we're going to do is attack Rhode Island.
For small states there can be only one .


how long to recover costs?
By Souka on 6/24/2008 5:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
"The price tag on this incredible adventure is a cool $1.6B USD."

add on mantainence, how long till the farms save money over conventional means?




RE: how long to recover costs?
By grenableu on 6/24/2008 6:50:08 PM , Rating: 2
Maintenance is the real killer for offshore windmills. Being constantly exposed to corrosive salt spray is an engineer's worst nightmare. Plus you have to worry about storm surge taking out the towers themselves.


RE: how long to recover costs?
By jamdunc on 6/24/2008 7:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
And yet the oil and gas industry has survived for years with corrosive sea spray. Hmm let's think about that a minute....

...oh wait, why not copy what they do and then we won't have to worry about it!

All it takes is a couple of anodes and hey presto! Check on them every 6/12 months and replace when necessary. And now no need to worry about sea spray!


RE: how long to recover costs?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 8:37:16 PM , Rating: 3
> "All it takes is a couple of anodes and hey presto! "

There's considerably more to the problem of harsh marine environments than "a couple of anodes". Furthermore, I don't think you realize how cathodic protection even works...it's ideal for buried or submerged metals, but it does almost nothing for metal exposed to salt spray, as there's almost no ion flow back from the sacrificial anode to the base metal in air.

And yes, the oil and gas industry survives in sea environments...but the operating costs for such rigs are often dozens of times higher than those for a terrestrial installation.

As a perfect example of the maintenance costs of such marine equipment, look to any long-range cruising sailboat, which has a windmill and/or solar panels for generating power at sea. In PORT, however, those boats will almost always be purchasing wired power from the dock, as its actually cheaper than the "free" electricity generated by exposing their expensive equipment to the harsh elements.


RE: how long to recover costs?
By phxfreddy on 6/24/2008 10:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
Spoken like a true non engineer that never had to maintain anything. I can abso-farkin-lutely guarantee that it being out at see will raise costs enormously!


RE: how long to recover costs?
By jamdunc on 6/25/2008 4:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
I actually work in the offshow industry and part of my job is testing said anodes and the structural metalwork around rigs and pipelines.

There is no point going into full-on engineer speak as a lot of people on here don't understand it, so I prefer to try and stay on laymans terms.

And where in my argument did I mention costs? I said that anodes could be used to protect from the sea spray.

And Masher, most rigs in the North Sea have been there since the 1970's and they haven't been replaced, and it's not like you can just cut out a section of the structure and put in a new bit with the rig in situ. Normally I agree with most of the things you say, and I agree the costs are high, but it can be done, which is my argument.


RE: how long to recover costs?
By jamdunc on 6/25/2008 4:25:35 AM , Rating: 2
*offshore

Bloody new keyboard :p


RE: how long to recover costs?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/25/2008 9:48:52 AM , Rating: 2
> "And where in my argument did I mention costs?"

Your original post suggested that installing a few anodes was a trivial means of solving the problem. But sacrificial anodes never completely stop corrosion, and for metal not submerged, they do very little at all.

Even for the oil and gas industry, corrosion is still one of the major causes of plant failure. And it will be a much worse problem for offshore windmills. They have far more moving parts, especially on a per-unit-energy generated basis. And I won't even go into damage from sea surge. Storm's occasionally flip even massively overbuilt multi-megatonne drilling platforms...an array of much smaller windmills is going to suffer problems.

No one disputed that it "can be done". My original point was that maintenance costs will be extremely high for this venture. I stand by that position.


RE: how long to recover costs?
By Solandri on 6/25/2008 12:41:28 PM , Rating: 2
Sacrificial anodes work underwater, but are ineffective against individual salt water drops above water. The above-water portions of offshore oil rigs survive because they're manned and constantly maintained and repainted. Manning them is only economically feasible because the density of the energy in the oil you're extracting is so high its value far exceeds the cost.

These wind farms are already on shaky economic ground without maintenance costs factored in. Yes it could be done, but it really looks like there's no way the value of the energy extracted would offset the cost involved. Maybe if you built the things out of carbon fiber or something which can't corrode...


Genius ... until war breaks out
By FingerMeElmo87 on 6/24/2008 5:37:05 PM , Rating: 1
this is a pretty good idea and its pretty smart but if we were to ever get into a conflict with a country that has a major millitary, best believe these type of winds farms would be a prime target




RE: Genius ... until war breaks out
By BladeVenom on 6/24/2008 5:45:34 PM , Rating: 1
I think a bunch of windmills is a harder to destroy target than a powerplant. A few windmills could get destroyed, but the rest would keep on going.


By Solandri on 6/25/2008 4:41:24 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is security. A power plant will sit on a few acres. You set up a fence, some cameras, hire guards to patrol the perimeter, and you're done.

A wind farm will take up several square miles. The one out in San Gorgonio in California is fenced but unmonitored - it'd be trivial to sneak in. If someone was really determined to do some damage they could probably take out dozens of the things overnight, more if they had a bunch of friends help.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=s...


RE: Genius ... until war breaks out
By Darkefire on 6/24/2008 5:47:21 PM , Rating: 1
No less so than any of our power plants. I will agree that this represents a much larger target, though, and one that would be much more difficult to defend.

Would anyone object if we turned large portions of Kansas and Nebraska into wind farms? It's not like there's much in the way of beautiful countryside out there to be spoiled (or people to see said countryside, for that matter).


By Jim28 on 6/26/2008 12:59:42 AM , Rating: 2
Really?

I don't think you know radar that well if you think it will be easy to see small boats within all of the radar clutter generated by a windfarm!


By mendocinosummit on 6/24/2008 5:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
A few miles off are shores are just as safe a on the beach with our navy, radar, and air force.


By Hoser McMoose on 6/26/2008 12:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
If I were to plan an attack on a foreign countries infrastructure, wind power would be damn near the last target I would go after. You would need to take out pretty much the entire farm, scattered across many square kilometres, to make any dent in things.

A better target would be the on-shore electricity distribution station. One or two well placed explosions could take that out, as compared to 150 to take out the wind farm itself.

More important targets than that would include things like oil refineries. Take out a few of those and you severely impact a nations ability to do much of anything. Coal plants would be a good bet too, most wind farms can't work without a coal or natural gas power plant to average out the power, without it the power from wind farms is too on-again, off-again to be maintain a reliable grid. Not to mention a coal plant is going to burn REAL well if you blow the thing up.

Off-shore wind turbines would be more of a target of opportunity. Not much impact if they're gone, but probably not very well defended.

Either way, I think the best solution here is to avoid getting into a war in the first place :)


What about waves?
By augiem on 6/24/2008 5:46:10 PM , Rating: 2
Combine this with wave power generation and you should be set. Water's density would provide a lot more push than wind. I guess wave farm technology isn't mature enough yet, though Portugal is building one... Then let's move on to deep ocean current farms. And they'd be out of sight for all the tourists.

Reminds me of Total Annihilation. Heh.




RE: What about waves?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/24/2008 7:06:25 PM , Rating: 2
> "I guess wave farm technology isn't mature enough yet..."

It actually is a mature technology, and a much better option than wind or solar, in those areas where tidal surge is very high. Unfortunately, tidal power stations are now generating as much backlash from environmentalists as coal or nuclear plants.


RE: What about waves?
By mjcutri on 6/24/2008 9:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Unfortunately, tidal power stations are now generating as much backlash from environmentalists as coal or nuclear plants.


Don't forget about hydro-electric:
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7046

and wind power:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08107/873664-113.st...

oh yeah, and solar too:
http://tinyurl.com/577hbd


RE: What about waves?
By Ringold on 6/25/2008 4:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
Those complaining: http://wondermark.com/d/404.html

They just want us to return to our, eh, natural state, thats all! ;)


RE: What about waves?
By rikulus on 6/25/2008 8:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
There's a difference between wave power and tidal power.


Bold new idea?
By PrinceGaz on 6/24/2008 6:20:15 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Now one Delaware utility company is fostering a bold new idea to solve wind power location complaints for sea-bordering states -- put the turbines off shore.


What is bold or new about that? Britain has been building offshore windfarms for years, and the London Array will be considerably bigger than this Delaware proposal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_Uni...




RE: Bold new idea?
By PrinceGaz on 6/24/2008 6:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry wrong link, that was to the Onshore section. This link is for Offshore

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_Uni...


RE: Bold new idea?
By BoxerBoi76 on 6/24/2008 6:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's nice to know that the US hasn't been sitting still in growing our Wind Farms! We're second in the world behind Germany in wind power generation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_Uni...

Also the worlds largest installation is gearing up in the US to produce 4GW of wind power:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pampa_Wind_Project

~B


2nd picture
By 4wardtristan on 6/24/2008 6:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
anyone know of a larger res version of the 2nd picture for the article? (the wind fans in the ocean)




RE: 2nd picture
By BZDTemp on 6/24/2008 6:31:46 PM , Rating: 2
You should be able to find something here:

http://www.bluewaterwind.com/experience.htm

There is some nice video telling the whole story with perhaps a bit to much positive spin but it could be the concept just works. I live in Denmark and if the project was a failure I'm sure there would have been headlines.


Spelling Nazi....
By rangerdavid on 6/24/2008 5:16:27 PM , Rating: 3
Where is "Deleware"?

Sounds like the software that come pre-installed. You have to delete it immediately, hence "dele-ware"...

My 2 cents. Sheesh. In the title!




By GreyHobbyHorse on 6/24/2008 7:17:30 PM , Rating: 3
But don't these gigantic bird cuisinarts look so much better than a few low profile oil well pump platforms?




Not really a new idea is it
By psychobriggsy on 6/25/2008 6:26:12 AM , Rating: 3
Such a bold new idea that we've had offshore windfarms in Europe for many years now. Of course this is made easier by the fact that the north sea is indeed just submerged land and is thus quite shallow in many parts.




60% Rate increase
By Dgr3000 on 6/25/2008 11:35:59 AM , Rating: 3
This is the same power company that increased our rates 60% last year, and has filed and received permission for another increase this year. They are doing no one favors except their private ownership. This wind farm will be used as an excuse to raise rates even further. Although maybe they can collect the chopped-up seagulls and sell them as "chicken" on the boadwalk at Rehoboth to help offset some of the costs.

I am all for wind power, but Bluewater's proposal seems very expensive considering what this has been done for elsewhere. I can't help the feeling that someone's pockets are being lined by this.




Maybe check some facts?
By Borfman on 6/25/2008 2:12:11 PM , Rating: 3
As noted, Bluewater FORCED Delmarva into this scam via the DE Legislature. No other utility in the region wants any part of this.

Bluewater can't even manage a little research boat w/o killing someone.

The distance is 12 (TWELVE) miles from shore. Not "dozens." You can see NJ from Rehoboth. You will likely see these more often than they claim. Any camera with even small zoom will capture them pretty easily.

The location is alarmingly close to east coast shipping lanes. These lanes move billions of barrels of oil/fuel into the east coast. If a New Jersey utility gets its way, that will include LNG tankers in the near future. (That fight is not yet completely dead.) There are already fairly regular oil spills in the Delaware River and Bay system without adding further hazards to navigation.

12 miles puts these into the path of more than a few Hurricanes. Anyone that tells you they can make a structure at sea Hurricane Proof is a liar. It is a matter of When not If a storm will knock these off line. Onshore turbines have already had serious failures, to the point of blades breaking off, and most not even from storm damage.

Bluewater also has an escape clause. Unless they can find a buyer for the rest of the power, they walk out of it scot-free any time they want. This also means that their job and some other claims are pretty worthless. The odds of this going forward at this time are fairly low. There’s nothing to stop them completely abandoning the project at any stage they feel like quitting.

The talking heads say most DE residents want it. The problem is most DE residents don’t know what a sham this really is. It does absolutely nothing to stabilize electric rates and all formulas show that there will in fact result in a rate increase no matter how Bluewater builds the facility. This increase will be on top of all other Delmarva Power increases. Bluewater’s output hardly scratches the surface of what the Peninsula can consume and with the uncontrolled development in all three states Bluewater will be an all but irrelevant power source even at full output.




By Comdrpopnfresh on 6/24/2008 10:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the local story on it- perhaps more accurate.
http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articl...




By Fenixgoon on 6/24/2008 9:51:49 PM , Rating: 1
Waiting for the environmental lobby to come in with that line, ironically destroying "clean" energy sources.

Just build me nuke plants already.




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