A wind plant costs X amount of dollars. In virtually every case, because it is considered to be renewable, Governments of all persuasions will want entrepreneurs to sink their money into these plants, so to make them an attractive option, they will usually stump up anything to half the cost for the construction, and nearly every Country has large funds for just this purpose. So, having done this, you can now see that the amount needed to be recovered is now only half of what it really should be, bringing down the unit cost of electricity over the life of the plant.
The next big fiddle comes in that calculation I used above, and while the Nameplate Capacity, the day and the year are set in stone, they use the CF and the lifespan as their biggest method to alter the final result.
For the actual calculation I used the average CF of plants currently in operation, 25% and even that is on the high side.
When any Wind proposal is planned, the CF always used is 38%. Some have even tried to say that the wind in the area of the proposal is enough to support CF up to 42%, but all of them use that 38% figure. The use of this higher figure gives a dramatically increased total power delivered, and because of that you have more power to sell to cover the original costings, and just using the example of the theoretical 1000MW plant I used above, the end result is raised to 50TWH, an increase of 35TWH or if used as costing are usually shown as, that is an increase of 35 Million MWH, so now you can see how that would bring down the cost per unit of electricity provided for consumption.
While the lifespan always used is 25 years, recent actual information shows that the lifespan could be considerably shorter, and there is now written data that the lifespan could in fact be as low as 15 years. With respect to lifespan, the CF now also comes into play, as there is now data that CF drops after 10 years and that fall in the CF could be down as low as 15 to 20%, and then even lower after 15 years.
However, for the sake of these costings calculations, the CF of 38% is always used, and the lifespan of 25 years is always used.
Long before we even get to the fiddle they use with coal fired power calculation I have used above, there are a number of things they have done to artificially raise the cost for coal fired power, so let’s look at them one by one.
CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE (CCS)
The first is that it adds anything up to 60% extra to the original construction price, as the process is enormously complex. This then means that more money has to be recovered, again raising the unit cost for the electricity sold to the grids.
CARBON DIOXIDE TAX AND ETS
However, in both cases, the maximum CO2 tax is added as a constant amount for the purposes of raising the cost for coal fired power, even though both change each year.
CF AND LIFESPAN
Here we see a further fiddle in the costings process.
As is now quite plain, you can see how these costings are manipulated, and in fact with all of these things in place, wind actually seems to be able to compete or in fact to even be cheaper than coal fired power.
All of that is shot to shreds immediately a Wind plant starts operation though. The real power delivery is seen, and the data readily available. There is however one last thing that is used to lower the price of wind even further. There in the original contract before any construction takes place is shown that pliant believing Governments will even subsidise the unit cost for the electricity actually generated and delivered to all consumers, and that figure could be anything up to half the unit price as a subsidy to the Wind plant operator, further making it seem that Wind power is cheap. Then, there is legislation that forces providers to purchase the power generated by Wind plants, because providers would prefer to pay the lowest price for their power as that gives them the highest margin when they onsell that power to consumers. So, in effect, the mandated compulsory purchase of Wind power effectively raises the cost per unit for end consumers.
However, once the Wind plant is up and running, there’s no need to refer, ever again, to the data that might show the lies, because it is now a fait accompli, another Wind plant up and running. Besides, what is the headline here, not that it can’t deliver, in fact, but the analysis on paper that says it can compete.
Wind Power has been made to look cheap on paper, because of all the things I have detailed here, but it is all shown up when the plant starts operations delivering power. Really, they can say what they like because now, there is virtually nothing they can compare it to, because no one in their right mind would even consider opening up a new coal fired power plant, and even if they did consider it, it would be shot out of the water before the plans were even proposed, killed off by Governments too scared to approve something like this.
So, they can get away with making Wind ‘seem’ cheaper, even if it is only on paper.
Given an actual level playing field, Wind could NEVER compete, and in fact, it never will.
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© Tony from Oz 2013