Dutch fall out of love with windmills

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Dutch fall out of love with windmills
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/16/us-dutch-wind-idUSTRE7AF1JM20111116
When the Netherlands built its first sea-based wind turbines in 2006, they were seen as symbols of a greener future.
Towering over the waves of the North Sea like an army of giants, blades whipping through the wind, the turbines were the country's best hope to curb carbon emissions and meet growing demand for electricity.
The 36 turbines -- each one the height of a 30-storey building -- produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 households each year.
But five years later the green future looks a long way off. Faced with the need to cut its budget deficit, the Dutch government says offshore wind power is too expensive and that it cannot afford to subsidize the entire cost of 18 cents per kilowatt hour -- some 4.5 billion euros last year.
The government now plans to transfer the financial burden to households and industrial consumers in order to secure the funds for wind power and try to attract private sector investment.
It will start billing consumers and companies in January 2013 and simultaneously launch a system under which investors will be able to apply to participate in renewable energy projects.
But the new billing system will reap only a third of what was previously available to the industry in subsidies -- the government forecasts 1.5 billion euros every year -- while the pricing scale of the investment plan makes it more likely that interested parties will choose less expensive technologies than wind.
The outlook for Dutch wind projects seems bleak.
COUNTRY OF WINDMILLS
For centuries, the Netherlands has harnessed wind power, using windmills to drain water from low-lying marsh and turn it into arable land.
Now however, one of the most densely populated countries in Europe -- with 489 people per square kilometer (0.6 miles) compared to 356 in Belgium or 192 in Luxembourg -- is falling out of love with its iconic technology.
Arguments over the high cost and maintenance of sea-based turbines, as well as complaints from residents about unsightly land-based models, have brought the Dutch to an impasse.
Offshore wind farms produce more electricity than onshore ones but it costs twice as much as onshore wind power due to the higher cost of materials, more expensive drilling methods, and more complex maintenance.
Wind turbines in the sea need to be more robust to withstand strong winds and salt water; their maintenance some miles away from the coast requires special equipment and transportation.
Drilling the seabed is more expensive as it requires a specialized workforce and equipment. Then there's the additional cost of connecting the offshore farms to the grid.
Onshore, wind turbines face local resistance.
In 1994, a group of entrepreneurial farmers around the Dutch town of Urk got together and decided to build the country's largest onshore wind farm with 86 wind turbines nearby. Maxime Verhagen, then minister for economy, innovation and agriculture, said this would be enough to supply 900,000 people.
The project has since been adapted to meet changes in legislation and 20 years after it was launched, construction may finally start this year and be completed in 2014. The only thing holding up the project now is a lawsuit filed by local residents. They say the 30-meter-high wind turbines will spoil their views.
"If we have wind turbines here this old picture will be destroyed," said the mayor, Jaap Kroon. "We are also concerned about the safety and noise."
Ironically Urk itself used to be an island until windmills were used to drain the surrounding land and connect it to the mainland. The Dutch Wind Energy Association says about half the country's onshore wind projects such as the one in Urk are disputed.
"People don't want big wind turbines in their backyards," said Kasper Wallet, an energy consultant. "They think it will impact the value of their property."
SHORT-TERM SAVINGS?
Renewable energy meets just four percent of the Netherlands' total energy consumption. That makes the country's target for its share to rise 14 percent by 2020 challenging enough.
"We have come to the conclusion that the most likely targets with the current policy to be reached will be in the range of 8 to 12 percent," said Paul van den Oosterkamp, manager of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN), an independent institute for renewable energy.
Under the government's new system aimed at attracting private sector involvement, known as SDE+, investors will be able to apply in four phases to participate in renewable energy projects, with government subsidies set between 9 and 15 cents per kilowatt hour of produced electricity they produce.
A spokeswoman for the ministry of economic affairs, agriculture and innovation said this would not cover the current subsidy cost of offshore wind projects.
"Some technologies like offshore wind, tidal and wave energy and solar are on average more expensive than the SDE+ maximum cost price," said Esther Benschop in an email to Reuters.
Dutch power firms say wind remains key to meeting green energy targets but is still too expensive for them to manage alone.
Dutch grid operator TenneT, which became a major player in German electricity transmission after it bought E.ON's high-voltage grid, has complained about the cost of connecting offshore wind farms to the national grid because of the expensive materials, particularly cables, involved.
It currently has nine projects in Germany involving wind farms where it has run into financing difficulties and is seeking a stakeholder.
Nico Bolleman -- managing director of Netherlands-based Blue Technologies, a company which develops platforms for offshore wind turbines -- says fairer comparisons need to be made when calculating the cost of wind power.
"Even if you take everything into account, wind energy is not expensive. Take into account the hidden costs of fossil fuels. For example, transport of coal generates more carbon dioxide emissions and no-one calculates that into the electricity price."
Others insist the negative impact will be short-term.
"The new subsidy scheme is not supportive, (but) offshore wind is a long-term game," said Greven Hein, spokesman for Dutch utilities firm Eneco, recently given subsidies to build a 129 megawatt offshore wind farm.
"In a couple of years it will be back on the agenda."
================ When replying to this post, don't be a bone-head by quoting the entire post. Quote responsibly.
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Good post. The Netherlands are often cited by proponents of offshore wind power as a great example of it's success.
Yet here we find:
" investors will be able to apply in four phases to participate in renewable energy projects, with government subsidies set between 9 and 15 cents per kilowatt hour of produced electricity they produce.
A spokeswoman for the ministry of economic affairs, agriculture and innovation said this would not cover the current subsidy cost of offshore wind projects. "
So, you have the govt subsidizing the cost of wind energy to the tune of 9 and 15 cents and even that is not enough to make it viable. In much of the US, that is the entire charge to the consumer for electricity, including a profit to the utility. So much for offshore wind power.....
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Andy comments:
We have a lot of wind power in Texas... It seems to be working OK...but I haven't looked into the gov subsidies....
My feeling is that unless private investors have the confidence in a project to make it work, the government should keep their "idealogy" out of it..... Simply buying votes from environmentalists using taxpayer money seems to me to be unethical...
Eventually, alternate power will be the same price as fossil fuels. At that time, there will be no argument.... It isn't a "technology improvement" function as much as it is an "fossil fuel price" problem..... The technology is there now, and the fossil fuel price is moving up.... Some day, (after I'm dead), a sane approach will be considered...
Andy in Eureka, Texas
Eureka, where people have electric fences in their front yards to keep the pigs out....
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Home Guy wrote:

Not really the project is put into back burner due to current economic condition. They are not giving it up. Look at Germany they were able to shut down their nuke power plants. Here in Calgary one house builder is set to start building NET ZERO houses. Solar arrays, geo-thermal loop will produce energy needed for the house. It will generate 8-10K Kwh electricity, Building cost won't be much different. I'd rather have this kind of dwelling rather than energy wasting big house. Energy audit business is booming out here so people can take advantage of rebates from federal and provincial government.
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wrote:

They are paying a huge amount for that power. It was 55 Euro Cents a KWH according to a Scientific American article a year or so ago. Half of that ends up coming from tax revenue.
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On 11/20/2011 9:56 AM, Home Guy wrote:

And when we burn the last drop of oil on the planet, those windmills are going to look very attractive.
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On Sun, 20 Nov 2011 10:53:13 -0500, Bernt Berger

Electricity is usually made by burning nat gas and coal, not oil and we have a century or more of that.
By then we may be using dilithium crystals for power.
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On Sun, 20 Nov 2011 11:54:45 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Nukes. We have a couple of centuries of that just in nuke weapons that have already been dismantled.

Beam up the environmentalists first.
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On Nov 20, 1:30pm, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

I just did a quick google, looking for the number of windmills installed in Palm Springs, which is apparently one of the best spots in the USA for them. I knew they had a lot of them there. Not sure on the total number, but I came across a number for at least a major portion of them. The interesting thing is that the site has 3200 windmills, producing 800MW of electricity. The Oyster Creek nuclear plant, 30 miles from my house, produces about 650MW. That's the oldest operating nuke in the USA and it produces energy in the same ballpark as 3,000 windmills. That puts a perspective on things, doesn't it? Also, the nuke obviously produces that power 24/7 whether the wind blows or not.

Ahmen to that!
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Population growth is part of it.
It is generally agreed the Earth can support 1.2 billion at the standard of living of the US. (or 40 billion at that of Bangladesh)
We now have 7 billion and growing. Those 7 billion want the same power the US has, along with all the other consumables. It doesn't and won't exist.
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TimR wrote:

No they don't. They want their next meal (tomorrow? the day after?) of gruel and dirt. They cannot even imagine an American Thanksgiving dinner, let alone want something like it.
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Are you including the Chinese, Indians, and Africans in that "we"?
Cause if China ever starts consuming oil at the same per capita rate that the US does, I think we're going to have some "issues".
But windmills at sea? I don't think I'm buying it.
--
Dan Espen

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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Been to Scandinavia? There are hundreds of them already on their coast. We means human kind, all of us. We all live or die together on this mother earth.
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Been to the post that started this thread? It's all about those Scandinavian windmills and how they are not economically viable ever with the govt subsidizing them at the rate of 9 to 18 cents/kwh.
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Per snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net:

Neither was Ted Kennedy nor are the people on Cape Cod who are worried about the effect on their ocean view. But the technology seems tb there bco the big money that's trying to build them.
--
PeteCresswell

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You have to look beyond the fact that some companies are interested in doing it. Only by looking at the total picture, which usually includes heavy govt subsidies, does the true picture emerge. If the govt paid $100 to dig a hole and fill it back in, you'd have companies in line to do that too. Doesn't mean that it makes economic sense.
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Per snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net:

I am 100% in agreement with that.
--
PeteCresswell

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Sadly, government holes usually have no bottoms...
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Don't know that TK ever complained about the looks, but I'm not buying objecting on looks either.
If there is technology that can stand up to the storms and salt corrosion, I can't imagine what it is. I see it being done, but according to the article, the Dutch are complaining about maintenance costs. Makes sense to me.
Wind wise, a great place to put a windmill. Cost wise, still not buying it.
--
Dan Espen

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On 11/21/2011 10:21 AM, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

deep sea oil rigs have somehow managed not to rust away
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