Pressure Harvesting - from ocean depths

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Quantum Quack, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    There is a big question mark over the true current wind power industry economic viability. Withdraw all the various government subsidies, take fully into account the net cost of initial construction and installation and expanded distribution systems (high tension power lines and substations etc.) and ongoing maintenance (you did for instance read about just the matter of blade leading edge erosion - right?), and is the actual balance red ink or black ink? I have a very strong feeling the current crop of 'renewable energy' enterprises will sooner rather than later prove to be based on very costly dinosaur technologies. Time will tell.
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    It is, but in Europe it is encouraged by government-imposed renewables quotas. This seems fair enough, given that the cost of CO2 emissions to us all (flood defences, insurance premia against fire, flood, drought etc) are not costed into fossil fuel usage.

    N. Europe benefits from the comparatively shallow North Sea basin, in which offshore wind farms can be planted without enormous cost, and from the fairly strong, prevailing SW winds. These obviously avoid the eyesore problem that restricts their onshore use in some cases.

    Wind may be a better bet for maritime countries than continental ones. But then solar will in general be better in a continental climate, due to the much higher amounts of sunshine.
     
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps - but that's true of a lot of technologies. Here in the US, coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear have large subsidies. Would they be competitive without them? And coal has the cost of acid rain, thousands of deaths a year from particulate pollution and from groundwater pollution. How do you account for that?

    One way to do it would be to remove all subsidies for everything, require everyone to meet the same environmental standards, and then let everyone compete. But there's far too much money in the game for that to work.
     
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  7. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    A comprehensive coverage of what goes into building and installing modern jumbo sized wind turbines. It aint a simple undertaking:

    Supposedly such behemoths pay for themselves after around half a years use, but I suspect some creative accounting at work there.
     
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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I think those figures are based on a total cradle-to-grave lifecycle assessment, including decommissioning and cleanup costs, which are substantial for a fossil fuel power station and historically have often been left out of the economics.

    Billvon will know far better than I, but figures I've seen for simple economic payback for wind turbines are more like 2-3 years.

    So I don't think it is creative accounting so much as accounting on explicitly different bases, which is something any operator or investor will want to do anyway, to get the fullest possible picture.
     
  9. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    Right. That 6 month figure was admittedly lifted from someone's comment below the article. Wikipedia paints a very rosy picture for wind power with up to date complete life cycle net costs as per opening chart:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source
    Surprised to say the least. Of course there will be a big spread depending on location, location, and location.
     
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