Those of you who've looked for facts about wind energy prices on the internet will
probably agree with me that there's still too much opinion and not enough data
on-line. It's four years since I wrote about this, and nothing much has changed.
Another commment from a physicist ....
Wind energy is good for grinding corn and pumping water when you can store the results of the energy put in.
It is less good for feeding power into the National Grid because there is no reasonably priced way of storing the electrical energy until you need it.
As for the price:
The capital cost of nuclear power is around £1.4 billion / gigawatt, according to Prof David MacKay.
The newly commissioned wind array off Thanet cost £0.78 billion and is rated at 0.300 gigawatt.
Using a generous load factor of 35%, it would produce an average 0.105 gigawatt.
In capital cost terms, using these figures, offshore wind costs 0.78/0.105 billion / gigawatt
- about £7.5 billion / gigawatt. (=£7.50 per watt; compare article above)
This is 5 times the cost of the equivalent nuclear production.
The capital cost of wind ignores the additional cost of the spinning reserve as well as the costs of continuing feed-in tariffs, estimated at about a further £1.2 billion over the 20 year life of the project.
A FINAL COMMENT.....
This morning (1 Jan 2011) the demand for electricity on the grid is being met by:
Coal fired plant: 33.3%
Gas-fired plant: 31.2%
UK Nuclear: 26.1%
French Interconnector (mostly nuclear): 6.3%
Wind: 1.8% (from 3,000+ turbines)
ND, habitat21 website
|Fuel to Electricity|
| Wind -
| Wind -