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Opponents appear on the verge of losing their fight to block the project

Source: Cape Wind [press release]





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RE: Nimbys
By daboom06 on 4/16/2013 2:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
i was going to say that wind power will never work, but then i looked it up. the global change in wind speed if half of 2030's global energy comes from wind is less than 1%.

http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/cms/carcher/my_papers/Jac...


RE: Nimbys
By Solandri on 4/16/2013 7:34:11 PM , Rating: 3
After hydro (which is already cheaper than coal/nuclear), wind is the renewable which is closest to becoming cost-competitive. Its lifetime production cost per kWh is currently around 7-11 cents, vs 4-6 cents for coal and nuclear. So it's definitely a viable power source, or on the cusp of becoming one.

It's just that the places optimal for wind aren't that common. Most of the prime spots are already taken, so that 7-11 cents represents the best you're gonna get with current technology. If we vastly expanded it to sub-prime locations, production cost would be significantly higher per kWh.

I had thought the Cape Wind project was one of these prime areas. But this $2 billion investment has me re-thinking that. Offshore wind typically has a capacity factor of around 0.35 (vs about 0.20-0.25 on land). 468 MW * 0.35 = 163.8 MW average production throughout the year. At $2.6 billion (according to wiki, with the Japanese funding $2b of it), that's $16 per Watt of average production.

In contrast, an AP1000 nuclear reactor has a construction cost of about $2-$5 billion, with the most pessimistic estimates being about $10 billion. At 1000 MW with a 0.9 capacity factor, that's 900 MW average production, or a cost of $2.2-$5.5 per W, $11 in the most pessimistic case.

The only way I can see Cape Wind being practical is if the area they want to build in will yield capacity factors much higher than average. The best offshore farms win the world (off Scotland and in the North Sea) get capacity factors of 0.5-0.6. Even if Cape Wind is that good, it's still $9-$11 per Watt, making it about as economically viable as the worst case for a nuclear plant.


RE: Nimbys
By StevoLincolnite on 4/16/2013 8:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
What some people don't seem to understand though is, you can't just go all pure Nuclear or all pure Wind or all pure Solar.

Solar only works half the time, Wind only works when there is... Wind.
Nuclear needs substantial amounts of water, so throwing a nuclear plant in the middle of a desert or anywhere where water is relatively scarce is a no no.

Geothermal can only be built in certain area's where the ground is hot near the surface.

The solution to all of this is simple. - Use them all, a mix of technology's will allow you to get the best energy production for any particular area and having a mix of power generation means if something like the wind isn't blowing, then you still have power.


RE: Nimbys
By Mint on 4/16/2013 11:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
That's just a platitude thrown around. Beyond a experimental purposes (we can't keep pushing down the cost floor of wind/solar without a minimum volume), a mix of sources is suboptimal.

The two best solutions for new baseload are nuclear and combined cycle gas turbine, with diurnal/seasonal fluctuations filled in with less efficient gas turbines (some CCGT, some OCGT).

If we go all nuclear, there is zero value for wind or solar alongside that. If some of it is natural gas, there is still very little value. There certainly is no economic value, as you're adding wind/solar cost while natural gas plants still have to be the same size and simply run at lower capacity factor (i.e. they only save fuel). Environmentally, there is also little value, even if you think CO2 reduction is worthwhile. Natural gas is already a much lower emitter than coal, and when it has to fill the wild fluctuations of wind/solar then it can't be as efficient. That means 1 kWh of wind/solar produces saves less than 1 kWh's worth of CO2 from CCGT.

Regarding water, it's a non-issue. Even in expensive areas, it's $50 per thousand cubic feet of treated water. A thermoelectric plant will evaporate 0.5 gallons of water per kWh, so that works out to $0.003/kWh. The real figure will be much less for untreated water. Interestingly, the water evaporated from the reservoir behind hydroelectric dams is over 10x greater per kWh. Source:
http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/33905.pdf


RE: Nimbys
By StevoLincolnite on 4/17/2013 4:02:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Regarding water, it's a non-issue. Even in expensive areas, it's $50 per thousand cubic feet of treated water. A thermoelectric plant will evaporate 0.5 gallons of water per kWh, so that works out to $0.003/kWh. The real figure will be much less for untreated water. Interestingly, the water evaporated from the reservoir behind hydroelectric dams is over 10x greater per kWh. Source: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/33905.pdf


You're only looking at it from an economical point of view, water can be a *very* big issue.
Seriously.

I live in the driest state on the driest inhabited continent in the world, we have had water restrictions on how we are allowed to water our gardens and lawns going on decades, because to put simply, the single river system in our state supplying millions of people simply can't handle it. - Adding Nuclear or Coal on top of that demand is impossible.
That's where other forms of power generation comes in like Solar, Wind, Dry Geothermal etc'.
And I would rather water my garden than having a Nuclear power plant. :)


RE: Nimbys
By Mint on 4/17/2013 7:23:54 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming you live in interior Australia, that's a very extreme example inapplicable to the US and probably 99% of the world's population.

Economic cost reflects supply. At a high enough cost, you can pipe water in from elsewhere, or even better, generate power near the sea (it doesn't have to be freshwater) and transmit it. You can also use cogeneration to desalinate water, so that's actually a net gain.

FYI, water gardening for a small lawn is estimated to use 35,000 gallons of water per year in California:
http://www.acwa.com/content/conservation/californi...
If that household's entire electricity usage was from nuclear or coal, it would only use 6,000 gallons per year. So for you to claim that shunning nuclear lets you water your lawn is disingenuous.


RE: Nimbys
By Paj on 4/17/2013 8:06:16 AM , Rating: 2
Seawater isnt ideal for cooling or heat transfer as it contains lots of impurities.

Most Australian cities have water restrictions, despite being on the coast, as freshwater supplies are low. The interior of Australia is very sparsely populated.

I imagine Texas, California, and other interior US states would have the same issues with obtaining freshwater. Sure, you could build pipelines or use desalination, but both options are very expensive.

I agree with the argument that having diversified energy sources is a good approach. It reduces reliance on any one source, and can reduce the need for extensive transmission networks if sited properly.


RE: Nimbys
By Mint on 4/17/2013 3:17:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Seawater isnt ideal for cooling or heat transfer as it contains lots of impurities.
Take a look at the NREL link I posted. That's exactly what a lot of power generation uses. You can have closed-loop intermediaries with any purity of water you want, but it's very easy to use seawater as the final net heat recipient and for that to be where excess evaporation occurs.

Diversification with wind/solar doesn't reduce your reliance on natural gas at all. It increases it, because there is no other substitute to ramp up and down with it.


RE: Nimbys
By Paj on 4/18/2013 12:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
That report doesnt mention using seawater from what I can see, although it was interesting nonetheless.

I always thought using seawater was a bad move, as it leaves behind solid impurities once it evaporates which can cause blockages or corrode equipment.

Surely adding diversified energy sources reduces reliance on any one source - isnt that the whole point? If youre getting energy from solar, wind and gas as opposed to just gas, you'd need less of the primary supply.


RE: Nimbys
By Paj on 4/18/2013 12:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it appears you can use seawater in the condenser, just not in the primary loop.

http://www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/key-info/saf...

My comment was related to the primary loop where the water turns to steam and back again.


RE: Nimbys
By maugrimtr on 4/17/2013 8:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Assuming you live in interior Australia, that's a very extreme example inapplicable to the US and probably 99% of the world's population.


Yes, only 1% of the population live in Australia, Africa, Asia and that other place with stretched water supplies and a propensity to suffer droughts. What's it called? North America?

That said, any method of generating energy should be appropriate. The article mentions UK but here's a snapshot of Ireland's situation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_Rep...

Ireland has a current installed capacity of 2000 megawatts and the industry is booming. The Irish are on track to start exporting wind energy to the UK in the next year or two. They'll still retain many older generators for obvious reasons - the wind isn't constant.

It's pretty shocking that the US is still stuck getting its first wind farm off the drawing board.


RE: Nimbys
By Mint on 4/17/2013 4:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sub-Saharan Africa gets 10x the rainfall of Australia and less total electricity consumption (only ~150 kWh/yr per capita). Its water problems are rooted in treatment/distribution, not natural availability. Sure, rainfall is minimal in the Sahara, but only a tiny percentage of Africans live there.

You aren't proving anything with that link. If Ireland wants to use all 2000 megawatts of wind, then they also need nearly 2000 megawatts of natural gas. That in turn means they could have survived with just the latter, and the former only saves fuel cost.

Maybe it makes sense for Ireland because natural gas is really expensive there. I know it works for New Zealand because they have fortuitous geography creating hydro storage to fill in the gaps as needed.

For the US, however, it doesn't make sense.


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