But claim only as little as €1 per person
A recent Irish Wind Energy Association report has stated that the total net cost of wind energy to the consumer has been one euro per person per year since 2000. It is an interesting report for a number of reasons, not least, that this is the first time the wind industry in Ireland have admitted that wind energy costs money.
The total cost calculated was €0.1bn, but this includes savings from not having to pay EU fines of € 0.7bn. Since it now looks like we will miss our targets regardless of how much more Ireland invests in wind (and unlikely in any event that the EU will impose fines on Member States), the actual cost then of wind energy according to the report was €0.8bn , eight times the cost claimed.
Their calculations were based on wholesale price and capacity payments savings of €2.5bn on one side and costs of €3.3bn on the other side arising from the PSO Levy, DS3, grid investment and constraint costs. This is the first time that the wind industry have acknowledged that these last three costs are directly related to increased levels of wind. This blog has argued that they should be included as wind related costs for many years now.
I have shown before that the link between higher levels of wind and lower wholesale prices is tenuous. Wholesale prices are actually rising as investment in wind is at it's peak. The wind industry report used models to calculate their wholesale price savings rather than real data. I can no longer find any real time pricing data on the new SEMO website. But if it is really the case that wind has led to €2.3bn in wholesale price savings plus €200m in capacity payments savings, then that means that power stations have taken a hit of €2.5bn over the 20 year period, with some additional revenue of €0.5bn from additional constraint payments. So about €2bn in lost revenue, the equivalent of about one whole year of wholesale payments lost to fossil fuel generators. There is some evidence that has come out in recent days that shows that power stations are now losing money. Last year, ESB were forced to write down the value of two of their power stations.
Finally, the report admits what I've been writing about for years, that only 10-11% of wind energy can be relied on as equivalent conventional capacity (capacity credit) :
The rate at which wind capacity reduces the capacity requirement is defined by the wind capacity credit, which is around 11% of installed wind capacity.
Under the I-SEM capacity market rules, wind receives a capacity credit of about 10% and OCGTs a capacity credit of about 92%. This means that 1 GW of wind is replaced by 109 MW (= 1 GW * (10% / 92%) of OCGTs.
The Wind Aware Ireland report goes into detail on the various wind related costs (they calculated a cost of € 1.2bn per year). I do not want to rehash all of those points, for those interested you can read the report here. But for further proof that costs across the board are increasing every year as more wind is added, one need look no further than the recent Ancillary Systems Services Report released by Eirgrid. When compared with the same report from three years ago, the costs to maintain back up reserves has more than doubled :
The full IWEA report can be read here.