Thursday, 16 November 2017

New Report: The Costs of Wind Energy in Ireland

The new report by Wind Aware Ireland is now available to read online :

Total annual costs due to wind have been calculated at € 1.2 billion. I would say this is an under estimation. Other costs such as ancillary costs and maintenance costs for conventional generation are missing from this report. Ancillary costs are now over € 70 million per year. Some of those are required without wind, others like synchronous compensation are a direct consequence of wind energy. 

I have to agree with economist Colm McCarthy when he says "It should not have been left to this voluntary group to raise these vital policy questions. "


  1. What if by some event we were able to actually understand how wind generated electricity impacts on the grid. What would we discover. Like the Hubble Space telescope gave a deeper understanding of space or two boys exploring a cave.
    1) Is it like adding pepper to your lunch, a little is fine but as more is added it spoils it? 2) Is it like adding sand to cement, it improves concrete at all amounts from 1:1 up to 8:1 and then it weakens to a point where it returns weaker than pure cement? 3) Is it like adding powder to a rifle cartridge, where it reaches a level where it can burst the case or even the barrel thereby killing or injuring the firer? 4) Is it like rain? essential for growth but in too much amounts, the crop can't be saved. ---- There are a few things to be discovered. ----- One is that the at least 50% of the grid must be firm reliable and have heavy rotors. ------ Wind cannot work on its own ever ----- Mains electricity required rotary torque on the shaft, this type of torque is the mainstay of all industrial inventions. -------- I believe that the visionary discovery to compare with Hubble or the cave exploration event is ---- "ROTARY TORQUE" . Even with the most advanced power source it is impossible to achieve absolute consistent torque and the momentum of heavy alternator rotors keeps variations under control. Wind cannot provide -- near optimum torque and wind alternators cannot improve the momentum.

  2. Imagine if the Irish government decided something must be done about the problem of rainfall (precipitation) in Ireland. Too much rain effects tourism and makes it hard for farmers to save their crops. They decide to install billions of pumps to try to reverse the flow of water in all rivers. Instead of water evaporating at sea forming clouds which move over Ireland and dump rain on us, government planed to force the water out on land where it will evaporate, form clouds which move off to Europe to dump rain there. It would indeed be mad. Very mad.

    For those who understand it the notion of using the wind or sun to power the grid in Ireland is just as mad. It's the mad hatter's tea party or like putting me on stage at the Glastonbury music festival playing a mouth organ and singing Madona's "Material Girl" . It can be done, but it can't work. All it could do is provide some light entertainment of a comedy sort. Energy poverty is no comedy, it is suffering it could be argued that crazy government decisions always caused suffering.

  3. The Costs of wind energy outlined in this report are very conservative. As I would say it is assumed that the Irish LCOE is valid. The Irish LCOE is wildly optimistic. The decline in annual operational performance of wind turbines is stunning compared to most other machines. To maintain output this decline in performance will have to be replaced. To do that you would have to add additional capacity. As the output drop of wind turbines can be up to 50% every 6 years. The cost of the additional capacity required, and the necessary grid upgrades, will be significant. The costs of which are not included in this report

    1. The cost of grid upgrades are included in this report. See pages 4-5.

    2. "As the output drop of wind turbines can be up to 50% every 6 years." Reference please

    3. Eirgrids cost estimations are extremely optimistic. As their LCOE probably says that wind turbines last 20 years with no output drops. When in reality they are more likely to last around 10 years with an up to 75% drop in output. You have got to make allowances for this. Which you probably have not. Therefore the the cost estimations in the Windaware Ireland's document are very conservative.

    4. A research paper was published in 2012 by Dr Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh, on the performance over time of wind farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark.

      The paper reports that the normalised load factor for UK onshore wind farms declines from a peak of about 24% at age 1 to 15% at age 10 and 11% at age 15. The decline in the normalised load factor for Danish onshore wind farms is slower but still significant with a fall from a peak of 22% to 18% at age 15.

      In percentage terms, the output degradation of UK onshore wind farms is 37.5% after 10 years and 54% after 15 years. This makes the terms of the feed in tariff extremely attractive as the generating capacity on reduced load factor would not in itself be economically viable.

  4. But you have to link the replacement capacity to the grid. I have not heard that Eirgrid , The S.E.A.I accept an up to 50% drop in output from wind turbines every 6 years. Eirgrid say in their reports that all we need to is add capacity to achieve the wind penetration target . The make no attempt to quantify the drop in output generated as wind turbines age. The Irish LCOE’s that I have seen assume a 20 year operational life with no output decline for wind turbines. When in reality there are massive output declines . Particularly as these large multi megawatt wind turbines age. These additional grid costs are not included in Eirgrid programs as they , Eirgrid, do not expect that this will happen. Therefore Eirgrids cost projections for grid improvement understate likely grid improvement costs significantly.

  5. Output drops for wind turbines can actually be be greater than 50% every 6 years. To find this out for yourself you can access the Danish Data. As this Data has the outputs for all Danish wind turbines commissioned from 1977. It will give you a pretty comprehensive picture
    As wind turbines get bigger they tend to operate for shorter periods. You can do a Time Series Analysis and even get a trend line. From the Danish Data. Which will be negative. Dr. Gordon Hughes has calculated output losses as wind turbines age. His calculations are largely backed up by some work done by Dr Fred Udo and others. In Dr. Gordon Hughes piece it is the larger wind farms that have the greatest output loss. Smaller wind turbines tend to operate more predictibly and last longer than larger wind turbines. A recent report from Sweden into the collapse of a wind turbine in 2015 identifies significant technology and design defects in these larger multi megawatt wind turbines. It is in Swedish so you may have to use Google Translate to convert it into English.


    Farmers Journal 23 November 2017

    Letters to the Editor

    "I call on our public representatives to demand that the authorities pause and carry out a full socioeconomic benefit assessment of our renewable energy policies" - Nigel de Haas, Dunmanway, Co Cork.

    Dear Sir

    The authors of the Wind Aware report "The Costs of Wind Energy in Ireland" reported in last week’s Irish Farmers Journal have done us all great service in preparing and launching this meticulously researched and cogently argued report, a report of which Colm McCarthy wrote: “It should not have been left to this voluntary group to raise these vital policy questions”.

    Policy questions that are vital to the wellbeing of everybody on this island.

    Policy questions which the report shows Government departments have avoided and continue to avoid – resulting in ineffective policies that have been implemented without ascertaining whether less costly pathways to CO2 emission reduction are available because they were thought to be the easy option – low-hanging fruit.

    I call on our public representatives to demand that the authorities pause and carry out a full socioeconomic benefit assessment of our renewable energy policies before, as a nation, we irrevocably commit to what the report shows to be an expensive white elephant.
    Before the EU forces us to carry out other measures that cripple our agriculture and factories because we have failed to curb CO2 emissions with our ineffective policies to date.

    Nigel de Haas