Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wind Costs: Vattenfall Offshore Project UK

Since I am attempting to keep track of the actual current and future cost of wind generation projects as opposed to the fairy tales that Wind advocates
are telling, here is a tidbits of information from Cleantech:
"Thanet Offshore Wind project off Margate, Kent. . . . Vattenfall to build the 300-megawatt wind farm, estimated to have a construction cost of £780 million." (That is a little over $1.5 billion, a little more than $5000 per kW.)

1 comment:

Soylent said...

If it matches the 36% capacity factor of the UK's first offshore wind farm(North Hoyle) those $5 000/kW are equivalent to $12 500/kW at 90% capacity factor(as commonly achieved by nuclear plants).

If pumped hydro storage is used to meet most of the intermittency and produce baseload power(instead of dirty coal and gas) it would not add terribly to the amount of electricity that needs to be generated. The worst case is that 64% of electricity from the plant needs to be stored(worst case is that the plant is fully on 36% of the time and fully off for the rest); with 80% round trip efficiency for pumped hydro storage that comes out to a worst case average efficiency of 87% for baseload.

The pumped hydro storage is going to be rather costly however. I only have really old numbers, I fear they'd be rather more expensive today; but I'm going to do a quick and dirty estimate of the cost. If the dinorwig generating station is representative you get 8.6 GWh of pumped storage(1.7 GW peak capacity) for £(1974)450 million. Assuming 3% per year inflation and then converting from £(2008) to US$(2008) at the current exchange rate gives $1.8 billion. Assuming you can get by with 24 hour backup most days out of the year you need 24 kWh of backup per kW of offshore wind, that comes to $5000/kW for back-up. If I'm not mistaken cement and steel have gone up a lot more than general inflation in recent years so that may well be rather a lot optimistic.

If you add in various costs for backup(you have a fair chance that wind will die down for a solid week in the middle of winter when power consumption is highest, this will probably be met with natural gas) and possibly transmission(your link made no allusion to whether or not it was included in the cost estimate) and cost of finance(again, link doesn't say whether paying interest on loans is considered), it wouldn't at all surprise me if the final tab was in the $20 000/$30 000/kW for providing baseload generation.


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