Tuesday, 16 January 2018

For all the hot air about wind farms, we have never worked out the true costs - Cormac Lucey

From Cormac Lucey's blog

At the general election in 2016, Fine Gael’s manifesto stated: “Ireland’s long-term interests are best supported by further decreasing our dependence on foreign fossil fuels through the continued development of indigenous renewable energy.” The party differed little from the broad political consensus that has driven Irish energy policy over the past two decades.

Where political consensus exists, critical scrutiny suffers — and is replaced by reflexive, unthinking support for the new orthodoxy. For example, take a speech last November by the enviroment minister Denis Naughten at the Take Charge conference, run by the Institute of International and European Affairs and the ESB, which explored how to link Ireland’s future of low-carbon energy into the lives of people in a practical way.

“Ireland relies on high emissions and imported fossil fuels to meet over 88% of our energy needs,” said Naughten. “This costs around €5bn. That’s a cost we cannot afford in cash, and which our planet cannot afford at all. If the money that Ireland spends on energy imports can be redirected to energy efficiency and smarter energy services, it will replace imported fossil fuels with local jobs and opportunities for Irish companies.”

This is gobbledygook verging on baby talk.

Read the rest here :


  1. It is possible to get a reasonably accurate figure on the Capital Cost to fund the Irish Wind Energy program to achieve the 37% to supply our , Republic Of Ireland , electricity from wind generation. That is if the Elite still think it is possible. Incidentally is was and still is impossible. The Mount Lucas wind farm has 84 megawatts of wind capacity installed at a cost of €115m .https://www.irishtimes.com/business/a-bird-s-eye-view-of-ireland-s-new-115m-bogland-wind-farm-1.2123529. It has a capacity factor of 16% if calculated over the installed megawatt-age
    Calculation Cost to generate the first megawatt from Mount Lucas is (€115m total cost/84 megawatts)/.16 capacity factor = €8.55m. Is the capital cost to produce the first megawatt from Mount Lucas. International figures suggest that the same figures for a Combined Cycle Gas Plant is circa €1.00 m. So it costs circa 8.5 times more cash to fund Capital Investment to build a wind farms in the Irish Midlands than a combined cycle gas plant. For reasons of increased wind farm density and bad wind farm layout this figure is likely to increase. To rub salt into the wound recent research suggests that combined cycle gas plants save more CO2 than wind farms. Also as there are significant technology issues with these larger wind turbines. The combined cycle gas plant will last more than twice as long as wind turbines.

  2. The ESB never withdrew their claim in their 2004 report that wind energy follows the law of diminishing returns. They have been producing the stuff for 90 years and aught to know. They said the contribution of wind drops towards zero.

    The problem is not that the cost was never calculated, but that there is no recognized way to actually measure any form of renewable energy (except river hydro). It must first be measured and then counted. It seems elementary but unfortunately true.

    The fact is that wind can only ever be an adjunct to a traditional generating system. We are in so far now that we can't get out. Foreign direct investment is in Ireland is threatened by Trump's tax cuts. With the 3rd highest electricity prices in the world we may yet pay a high price for this silly venture into green folly.