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Wind Energy - price per watt

Those of you who've looked for facts about wind energy prices on the internet will probably agree with me that there's too much opinion and not enough data on-line.

I'm no expert, so I've taken the published price of some wind farms and other power stations, along with their rated outputs. I've used the assumption that the wind turbines develop their rated power for a third of the time (capacity factor .33) which is in line with a recent REF survey of the best-sited UK wind farms.

I have calculated the price per watt (delivered) of generating capacity by dividing the price by the output. Here are the figures, per watt.
STATION Type Price Rated
Power
Capacity
Factor
Available
Power
Source of
info
Price per
watt
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Hadyard
Hill
Wind 85M 100MW .33 33MW BWEA 2.57
Solway
Firth
(proposed)
Wind 375M 180MW .33 60MW BBC 5.41
Scroby
Sands
Wind 75M 60MW .33 20MW BBC 3.75
Whitstable Wind 2700M 1000MW .33 333MW Business
Week
8.11


For comparison:

Olkiluoto 3,
Finland
Nuclear 2000M 1600MW .75 1200MW BBC 1.67
Sanmen etc
China
Nuclear $5300M 4000MW .75 3000MW Bloomberg 0.80
Severn
Power
Gas 350M 800MW .75 600MW BBC 0.58
Kingsnorth
(proposed)
Coal 1000M 1600MW .75 1200MW E.On 0.83
Killingholme
(proposed)
Coal /
CO2 storage
1000M 800MW .75 600MW BBC 1.67


Remember when making comparisons that the coal and gas price per watt doesn't include the price of the fuel itself. I've used a load factor of .75 for nuclear, coal and gas, so an 800 MW unit is treated as delivering 600MW of electrical energy. For the Westinghouse Sanmen/Yangjiang contract with China (Dec 06) I've used an exchange rate of $1.00 = 50p.

To return to wind turbines - recent figures on wind farm performance from Germany are somewhat unsettling:

A report from German energy company E.On quotes an estimate that, although by 2020 Germany plans to have 48 gigawatts of "installed wind capacity", this will equate to only two gigawatts of stable fossil fuel capacity.

This would be equivalent to a capacity factor or 2/48, or.0416. The effect on the electricity price per watt installed would be as follows:

STATION Type Price Rated
Power
Available
Power
Price per
watt
Hadyard
Hill
Wind 85M 100MW 4.16MW 20.43
Solway
Firth
(proposed)
Wind 375M 180MW 7.49MW 43.39
Scroby
Sands
Wind 75M 60MW 2.50MW 30.00
Whitstable Wind 2700M 1000MW 41.6MW 64.90
-------------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Olkiluoto 3,
Finland
Nuclear 2000M 1600MW 1200MW 1.67
Sanmen etc
China
Nuclear $5300M 4000MW 3000MW 0.80
Severn
Power
Gas 350M 800MW 600MW 0.58


I welcome comments on these figures. I'm not pro or anti; I just want to know what's going on. Billions of pounds of taxpayers' money are being put into wind farms. If the figures above are anywhere near the truth, the money is being wasted.

On top of this, most of the wind energy generated at night cannot be used by the Grid. People are asleep, factories are closed, and wind energy cannot be stored.

My own turbine, as I write this, is stationary, as it was yesterday, and my batteries are flat; I'm back on the mains. We have a second, larger turbine which will be installed for testing soon. To satisfy my curiosity I calculated the price per watt of my "600W" wind turbine on a breezy day:

STATION Type Price Rated
Power
Available
Power
Price per
watt
Suttonelms 1,
Leicestershire
Wind 1500 600W 30W 50.00
Suttonelms 2
Leicestershire
Wind (larger) being
installed


Nigel Deacon / habitat21 website

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