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  (Source: Siemens AG)
Project cost $2.84B USD, exploits natural abundance of marine winds

Britain's miles of coasts are home to some of the world's most active marine winds, making them a prime place for offshore wind power.  The nation this week announced the opening of the world's largest marine wind farm installation, a monstrous 630 Megawatt, 175-turbine design dubbed "the London Array".

I. London Array is Turned On

The new farm is the latest bump for the UK, which has more installed offshore wind capacity than any other nation in the world.  The UK currently gets 12 percent of its energy from renewable energy, but it hopes to expand that to 30 percent by 2020.  New offshore wind installations are critical to that goal.

The new farm is located along the coastal border of Kent and Essex, to the northeast of London, facing the North Sea.  It uses Siemens AG's (ETR:SIE) SWT-3.6-120 turbines [PDF] (3.6 MW), which has three blades and a diameter of 117 meters.  The turbines are installed 20 kilometers (~12.4 miles) off the coast.

Here's some videos of the plans and construction of the farm and supporting substation.

The groups have petitioned to expand the installation to 870 MW, adding another 66 turbines to the current count.

II. Green Profit, But Energy Firms are Hungry for More

The new installation is a joint venture owned by Germany's E.ON SE (ETR:EOAN) (30% stake), United Arab Emirates' state-owned Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Comp. (20% stake) and Danish state-owned Dong Energy A/S (50% stake).  It cost a whopping €2.2B ($2.84B USD) to build, but is expected to power a half million homes for at least 30 years.  

Its total annual generation is estimated by the developers to be 2.1 terawatt-hours (tWh) per year, but perhaps a more realistic metric would be 1.65 tWh, if you take the average capacity factor (29.6 percent) of UK offshore wind farms last year.

UK energy costs around 15 pence ($0.23 USD) per kWh [source], so this works out to somewhere between $379.5-483M USD in revenue per year, or roughly $11.4-14.5B USD in revenue over a 30-year lifespan.  However, Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced that the government would mandate incentives to drive the revenue per kWh to three times the base rate, which would be mean over $1B USD in revenue per year.

UK offshore wind
UK companies want longer term guarantees on gov't renewable energy financing commitments.
[Image Source: Siemens]

The UK has 3.3 GW worth of installed offshore wind capacity.  EON estimates the new farm will save 900,000 tons of carbon emissions per year.

While it appears to be a booming era for UK offshore wind, the manufacturers and energy companies are a bit disgruntled at the lack of longer term guarantees from the UK central government.  They wanted plans to run through 2030, but only got targets for 2020.

Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven tells Bloomberg, "[David Cameron's administration] needs to give the sector long-term certainty by agreeing to cut carbon completely from our electricity sector."

Sources: London Array [press release], Bloomberg

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By greenchinesepuck on 7/5/2013 12:14:26 AM , Rating: -1
They could have built the modern Westinghouse nuclear power station for the same amount of money and get way more clean energy for way longer than 30 years and with way less maintenance costs.

Stupid green fucks.

RE: Idiots...
By Stan11003 on 7/5/2013 1:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
How much is maintanance between the two.I'd say storing the waste for decades is not cheap thing.

RE: Idiots...
By greenchinesepuck on 7/5/2013 2:10:16 AM , Rating: 1
It's an order of magnitude cheaper than repairing all these hundreds of wind turbines all the time, fixing damage caused by wind, hurricanes and salty water

RE: Idiots...
By deksman2 on 7/5/2013 2:33:17 AM , Rating: 1
That's the problem with Capitalism or any other monetary based system.
Inject notion of 'cost' into the picture, and you will throw out technical efficiency out the window.
For decades, Humanity had the brains, the know-how, the technology and the feasibility to design any technology to be weather proof, durable (won't ever break down), resistant to corrosion, salt water and requires little to no maintenance.
Such technology would have to be designed from synthetic materials that have superior properties and can be produced in abundance (more than enough) using less resources (which is called technical efficiency, and was feasible since the late 19th century).

All of this comes down to the question of cost in the current socio-economic system, which is downright idiotic.
Its no wonder we use obsolete materials, methods of production and science to do things cheap.

RE: Idiots...
By BZDTemp on 7/5/2013 2:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
Damage by wind? What hurricanes?

This ain't you back yard domestic wind turbine those big ones can take a lot and as for hurricanes exactly how many hurricanes do you think hits the UK?

RE: Idiots...
By silverblue on 7/5/2013 3:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
We don't get powerful windstorms very often (and we can't call them hurricanes anyway). There's a good number of these farms on the east coast, though one might argue that they should be focusing more on the west coast than they currently are.

RE: Idiots...
By retrospooty on 7/5/2013 9:09:12 AM , Rating: 2
"This ain't you back yard domestic wind turbine those big ones can take a lot and as for hurricanes exactly how many hurricanes do you think hits the UK?"

You are responding to Pirks's new post-banned ID, so you need to understand that he is more "piss and vinegar" than actual thoughts and facts.

RE: Idiots...
By StevoLincolnite on 7/5/2013 1:30:32 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear isn't the answer for everywhere, I personally believe you need a mix of technologies going forward for different areas of the planet.

For example, if you live in a small country with limited land area, but plenty of sea area, then why not use Power generation out at the sea?

Or, if you live in an incredibly dry place where water is more valuable than oil, Nuclear is a no-go, things like Solar, Wind or Geothermal are more viable.

Besides, Uranium production is expected to peak in the next decade and like with all fuels when that happens the costs will jump.

Granted, when all the stars align, Nuclear is a great alternative, but it's just not viable everywhere.

RE: Idiots...
By greenchinesepuck on 7/5/13, Rating: -1
RE: Idiots...
By StevoLincolnite on 7/5/2013 5:33:58 AM , Rating: 2
For the love of god, do try and put at-least a little effort into your post.

As for your point about Thorium, that's all well and good, but the majority of reactors on the planet today don't use it. (That's Hundreds, in-case you needed to know.)

Plus, it's still a fuel, read my last post as all the points still stand.

RE: Idiots...
By Mint on 7/5/2013 12:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
You didn't make many good points.

Nuclear doesn't need to use freshwater. Seawater cooling is common.

Uranium production isn't a problem, because the supply has been shown to be effectively infinite if ore price goes up by 5-10x (it can be extracted from the sea). Such a price hike would only increase electricity price by ~0.5c/kWh.

Nuclear's main problem in the UK is that they have rather sucked at it, resulting in some of the highest prices in the world. That doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the future, but it doesn't bode well.

Given this incompetence, I can see why the UK isn't very hot on nuclear.

RE: Idiots...
By StevoLincolnite on 7/6/2013 5:20:57 AM , Rating: 1
Nuclear doesn't need to use freshwater. Seawater cooling is common.

Right, because places like the middle of Australia has ample supplies of *any* type of water.

RE: Idiots...
By Mint on 7/8/2013 5:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
85% of Australia's population is within 50km of the coast, 99%+ within 200km.

There's also something called power lines, FYI.

RE: Idiots...
By mjv.theory on 7/5/2013 5:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
It is not so much Thorium rather than Uranium, it is Molten Salt Reactor technology that is the Silver Bullet. LFTR (i.e. a breeder) is very compelling, but running with denatured uranium (i.e. a burner) is also very efficient and much simpler. Using DMSRs (Denatured Molten Salt Reactors) we could generate 2500GW of electricity (i.e. the world's present electrical generation) without any increase in uranium mining (about 60-65,000 tonnes), and in the process, eliminate the mining of 7 BILLION tonnes of coal. That's 2500GW with DMSRs versus the 400GW presently generated by uranium. And because MSRs are so much more efficient than LWRs (Light Water Reactors) they can withstand huge increases in the price of uranium. And if the price rises then massive amounts of, what is presently uneconomical, ore, would become available. The first MSRs will be running in about 10years time and then the joke that is wind and solar, and LWRs I might add, will be glaringly apparent. Whether LTFRs then go on to dominate, or simply uranium, is less important than the liquid fueled reactor technology itself.

RE: Idiots...
By Mint on 7/5/2013 4:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
I see you've been following the work of Dr. David LeBlanc!

He certainly makes a fabulous case for the DMSR. I really love how he found the perfect application - steam heating for the oils sands industry - to work on a barebones DMSR before going into electricity production.

RE: Idiots...
By mjv.theory on 7/6/2013 3:20:38 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, I follow his work closely

RE: Idiots...
By KOOLTIME on 7/5/2013 11:06:19 AM , Rating: 1
Thorium is not any future as its not a good metal conductor to make it work as an energy source. There is a reason Uranium is chosen vs "ALL" other metals, don't be naive in thinking other sources were not tested/considered in the use to generate power as well, they all were.

RE: Idiots...
By mjv.theory on 7/5/2013 12:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Thorium is not any future as its not a good metal conductor to make it work as an energy source.

What?...exactly how thick are you?

What has being a good or bad conductor got to do with anything?. I have a sneaking suspicion that you don't understand the process of using Thorium as an energy source.

Thorium232 (i.e the Thorium that is dug out of the ground) can absorb a neutron and become Thorium233, which decays into Protactinium233, which decays into Uranium233. When U233 is hit by a neutron it can fission and release more neutrons to fission more U233 and to breed more Th232 to become U233.

There is a reason Uranium is chosen vs "ALL" other metals

Yes, there is a reason and you are evidently ignorant of that reason. It is because only U233, U235 and Plutonium239 fission.

Thorium is very abundant, very cheap and can be "burnt" to almost 100% efficiency using a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR, pronounced as LiFTeR). The reasons for the rise to dominance of LWRs are entirely political and not based on cost, safety, efficiency or waste minimisation. If those factors had been examined without political prejudice, then molten salt reactors, quite possibly LFTRs, would have been commercialised rather than Light Water Reactors (LWRs).

RE: Idiots...
By mjv.theory on 7/5/2013 6:09:56 AM , Rating: 2
if you live in an incredibly dry place where water is more valuable than oil, Nuclear is a no-go,

The present water moderated and water cooled nuclear tech may well rely on a close-by water supply (for cooling towers), but Molten Salt Reactors are not so restricted. And because they are so efficient the price of uranium is not a factor - it will never constitute more than a few tenths of a cent per kW.

Wind and solar are only genuinely sensible where the cost of grid connection is prohibitive. If grid connection is feasible, then electricity generation by the most resource efficient, cost efficient and environmentally benign means should be the obvious choice.

RE: Idiots...
By Amiga500 on 7/5/2013 6:25:02 AM , Rating: 2
Besides, Uranium production is expected to peak in the next decade and like with all fuels when that happens the costs will jump.

Off the top of my head, fuel costs only account for something like 20% of total production costs of nuclear-powered electricity. Raw uranium costs is even lower - about 10%.

So doubling the cost of uranium would not lead to a total cost jump by any means. At least, not compared to the fluctuations we are seeing right now due to oil/gas/coal prices changing.

RE: Idiots...
By m51 on 7/5/2013 11:30:20 AM , Rating: 2
The uranium peak is essentially a myth. With the depressed prices of uranium over the past decades there has been little effort to look for more. But when ever money is spent on exploration uranium reserves increase rapidly. Also a basic rule of thumb is that for mined resources increasing the price by a factor of 2 increases available reserves by a factor of 10 due to the viability of mining lower concentration ores.

Since the cost of uranium only contributes about 0.2 cents per kwh to the cost of nuclear power, a price increase of a factor of 4 can readily be accommodated and this would increase available reserves by roughly a factor of 100.

On top of that Japanese research into extraction of uranium from sea water has brought the extraction cost down to near the point of economic viability, and that would open up an essentially limitless supply.

There is no shortage of nuclear fuel.

BTW you don't need large amounts of water for a nuclear power plant, dry cooling is also an option, although wet cooling is preferred because it increases over all power plant efficiency.

You are certainly correct that a mix of solutions is needed as there is no single technology that fits all the needs.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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