Wind energy costs approach nonrenewable levels

January 22, 2016 by Angus Mcneice,
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is an 845 MW wind farm in the U.S. state of Oregon. Credit: Steve Wilson / Wikipedia.

Wind energy and other renewables can now supply electricity at highly cost effective levels—and it's happened so rapidly that public perception is yet to catch up

All too often, conversations on meander toward the same end: green technology is a nice thing, though it has to become economically viable before widespread adoption becomes the norm.

According to analyst Michael Taylor, this may have been the case 30 years ago, however today wind energy and other are producing electricity at costs that are comparable to their nonrenewable counterparts.

"Renewable power generation technologies can now provide electricity at very competitive levels," says Taylor, a senior analyst at the International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) Renewable Energy Cost Status and Outlook division.

"Yet despite these facts, many of the world's decision-makers have yet to grasp how competitive renewables have become. Often, vested interests lead to propagation of the myth of 'costly' renewable energy. In other cases, the change has simply come so fast, and so unexpectedly, that public information has yet to catch up."

According to IRENA's estimates, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of onshore wind in Europe fell by as much as 65% between 1988 and 2014. LCOE is a metric used to measure the cost of a generator's energy, calculated by taking the system's expected lifetime cost and dividing it by the system's predicted power output.

LCOE generated from wind is now below €0.05/KWh in high resource areas, on a par with the average cost of coal-fired power (€0.049/KWh), while gas-fired power is slightly lower at €0.041/KWh.

Benefits of renewable power such as the absence of exposure to fuel price volatility are not accounted for in such calculations, nor are environmental factors.

"If the environmental and health costs of fossil fuels were properly priced at realistic levels, the situation would be even more favourable for wind," says Taylor.

Taylor says the main drivers for improvements in the levelized cost of wind power have been the growth in the scale of the wind market from a cottage industry to a major industrial sector with a number of global players. This has allowed economies of scale to be exploited, resulted in more efficient and competitive supply chains, and encouraged competition to drive down costs. At the same time, technology improvements have also had a large impact.

Future cost reductions in wind energy will largely hinge on driving down operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, which currently account for between 20-25% of the LCOE of an onshore wind project.

"Reducing the need to replace components and to extend the periods between scheduled maintenance reduces operating costs and thus the cost per MWh," says Fernando García Ayerra, chief engineer of technological development at Gamesa.

"The European sector and, more specifically, the turbine manufacturers, must continue to optimize wind turbine technology and O&M services in order to deliver the most competitive products and technologies and services, both for onshore and for offshore."

The wind turbine company is partner on the project WINDTRUST, which aims to improve the reliability and longevity of wind turbine components. They are developing a specific use of carbon fiber in the blades, which increases blade lifetime and reduce blade weight.

The use of a blade protective coating will lower maintenance requirements, ensure a longer lifetime and less down time, while optimized power electronics reduce the probability of breakdown and reduce repair times through a lower number of components and interfaces.

According to Taylor, future cost reduction opportunities will increasingly come from a balance of project costs, O&M and financing .

"The European sector needs to continue to invest in R&D, look increasingly to efficiency opportunities in the supply chain, as well as looking to O&M cost reductions. It is also critical that policy settings provide long-term stability for industry to plan and operate in," he concludes.

Explore further: The way to more efficient, quieter wind turbines

Related Stories

The way to more efficient, quieter wind turbines

October 1, 2015

A European research project aims to reduce the cost of wind energy generation by introducing technical improvements to turbines, which will have to be much quieter in the future than is the case today

New device to reduce wind turbine noise and increase efficiency

September 25, 2015

Noise pollution is a big public concern associated with operating wind turbines. A group of European scientists claims to have found a solution to this problem, assembling an innovative device on the blades. They are collaborating ...

Wind energy provides 8% of Europe's electricity

July 24, 2015

EU's grid connected cumulative capacity in 2014 reached 129 GW, meeting 8% of European electricity demand, equivalent to the combined annual consumption of Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece and Ireland. According to a JRC ...

Recommended for you

What can snakes teach us about engineering friction?

May 21, 2018

If you want to know how to make a sneaker with better traction, just ask a snake. That's the theory driving the research of Hisham Abdel-Aal, Ph.D., an associate teaching professor from Drexel University's College of Engineering ...

Flexible, highly efficient multimodal energy harvesting

May 21, 2018

A 10-fold increase in the ability to harvest mechanical and thermal energy over standard piezoelectric composites may be possible using a piezoelectric ceramic foam supported by a flexible polymer support, according to Penn ...

Self-assembling 3-D battery would charge in seconds

May 17, 2018

The world is a big place, but it's gotten smaller with the advent of technologies that put people from across the globe in the palm of one's hand. And as the world has shrunk, it has also demanded that things happen ever ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3.2 / 5 (9) Jan 22, 2016
calculated by taking the system's expected lifetime cost and dividing it by the system's predicted power output.

Here's the rub: the systems aren't run to their full operating life, because the subsidies run for 2-3x the average market rate and typically last for a limited number of years. When a wind turbine has to sell power on the free market without subsidies it has to do it at a very low price on average because of the intermittency problem.

That means the turbine makes lots of money intially, but then the profits slow down to a trickle. That means the turbines are actually run for 10-15 years instead of 25-30 and are simply abandoned or torn down and re-built to get a new round of subsidies.

As a result, the power cost may be 5 cents in the ideal case, but in actuality it's approximately double that because of the distortion caused by subsidy policies.

In general, the actual power price is however much we pay them, so the LCOE is rather irrelevant.

1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2016
Yea, we've heard this two years ago. The fact of the matter is that the price of wind energy generation varies greatly from state to state region to region and country to country. Making a blanket statement like "when it energy approaching nonrenewables" is not only misleading but, frankly, just plain silly.
2.5 / 5 (11) Jan 22, 2016
I don't know where the folk above live, but the sky hasn't fallen here yet,and we have had wind turbine generators since the late1970s.
3 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2016

Levelized cost measures are biased towards renewable energy. Anyone running a grid knows a source of energy that can be controlled has more value than one that cannot. For example, the economic value of solar power is very low because most of it is produced during the low season for electricity demand. Moreover, levelized costs do not apparently include the incremental cost of building new power distributions networks to connect wind power and solar plants. Finally, levelized costs incorporate a forecast of capacity utilization. It is easy to make renewable energy look more cost competitive by assuming unrealistic capacity utilization. To date European solar farms generate electricity less than 10% per annum. I suspect you will find these renewable analysts being overly optimistic in their forecasts of how much electricity these facilities will generate.
3.5 / 5 (8) Jan 22, 2016
@Eikka Here's the rub: the systems aren't run to their full operating life, because the subsidies run for 2-3x the average market rate and typically last for a limited number of years.

Did you add the $1trillion USA defense budget used to secure foreign energy?
I suspect you will find these renewable analysts being overly optimistic in their forecasts of how much electricity these facilities will generate.
You write like a Washington lobbyist. People want freedom from your grid and your mealy-mouth aristocracy
2.6 / 5 (10) Jan 22, 2016
No, the price of power is dependent upon demand, not source. If you need 350MW from 03:00 to 15:00, and someone has it available, you buy it. Our wind is sufficiently predictable over large scales to do this, as is PV.
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2016
Once the coal-fired plants and the industry that supports them are dismantled, as this administration has spent the last 7 years tirelessly doing, you wind-and solar people better be right. A nuke plant takes many, many years if allowed at all. If you're wrong, your families will shiver and sweat and in countless other ways both big and small dwell in the early 1900's along with the rest of us who counseled caution and prudence.
4.1 / 5 (9) Jan 22, 2016
"Yet despite these facts, many of the world's decision-makers have yet to grasp how competitive renewables have become...."

Countries that realize this sooner rather than later are going to have a huge economic advantage - which can only grow with scarcity of non-renewable sources of energy.

And we're not even talking about all the foreign policy woes that are eliminated once you aren't reliant on others for your energy.
(And if you're really stuck in a mindset that wants to beat the ruskies or the arabs or whatnot instead of living alongside them then there's no better weapon than not buying their energy product)
2 / 5 (8) Jan 22, 2016
"Once the coal-fired plants and the industry that supports them are dismantled, as this administration has spent the last 7 years tirelessly doing, you wind-and solar people better be right"

Or you will do what?
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2016
The only reason the non-renewable energies are even close to competitive is because the power plant was built with tax dollars and given for FREE to companies who run them for private profit.

If they had to buy their own power plant including land costs and distribution lines no power plant would ever be built.

Its fine to ask renewable energy to pay for every aspect though, and they're STILL competative
3 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2016
Antialias, the cost measure used in this paper is well known for its weaknesses. It does not include grid distribution capita and operating costs. Annd dispatchable power is far more valuable than renewable power. Moreover, neither solar nor wind power are well synchronized with demand.

Those are three big strikes.
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2016
Lord_Jag, renewable energy advocates exaggerate the subsidies in the current system. In fact, they appear to be blissfully unaware of the accounting notion of depreciation and amortization. Depreciation is not per se a subsidy. It is recognition that assets often lose value over time and hence profit, which is a measure of the change in net worth, needs to include it.

Subsidies for renewable energy in Europe are massive and produce little value - the power is produced mostly during periods of low demand like the summer and hence is less valuable than the power produced by conventional sources during high demand.
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2016
Greenonions, irrelevant. Cost is not the same thing as price. European renewable energy receives huge subsidies in form of artificially high residential and commercial tariffs. No one is building wind or solar farms assuming their only revenue will be the wholesale rate. It is the feedin tariffs that motivate the building of wind and solar plants and those tariffs are way beyond anything that a market price of carbon could possibly justify.

Your green power advocacy is not based on analysis. It is religious.

3 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2016

Neither solar nor wind power are predictable. That is why it is necessary to build natural gas plants to back them up. The gas powered turbines can be turned up or down quickly.

Running a grid with large amounts of solar and wind power is extremely difficult. There is no control and this i why Denmark and Germany have to export this power. It is not tailored to their internal demand. It is very bad sign when a country has to massively subsidize green power and then has to export it as rock bottom wholesale prices to other countries because it is a bad fit for their national economy. Get real.
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Roderick, I do understand, because I know the systems, having been a utility engineer. How long did you have before the storm hit you? Get any warnings? Got a weather channel or site you can go to?

Both solar and wind ARE predictable. That is how we can use them. Gas turbines are being built to replace coal plants, and are secondary to alternatives because alternatives are more efficient.

These changes are not done lightly, since powerplants are Human generation-long investments.
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
" It is very bad sign when a country has to massively subsidize green power and then has to export it as rock bottom wholesale prices to other countries because it is a bad fit for their national economy. Get real."

Do you think we cannot control our own generators? The wind system worked so well, they had much surplus power available, and other nations wanted it, that they sold it to the satisfaction of everyone, . . except for the nuke and coal owners, who are trying to unload those "stranded assets", the term used for a Bad Decision in the past, which has left them high and dry.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2016
because I know the systems, having been a utility engineer ...
Both solar and wind ARE predictable.
maniac fibber.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016
There's no exaggeration needed for non-renewable subsidization. It's clearly documented in every newspaper.

Right at this very moment in Ontario the Darlington Nuclear plant is getting a FREE refit costing 12,800,000,000. The private company running Darlington won't be paying. The cost of this upgrade won't be covered by increasing the cost of power. No. The taxpayer will be on the hook through the provincial sales taxes, income taxes and property taxes. This is the definition of a subsidy.

And Darlington? It makes 3800MW of power 24/7.

The cost of this refit could have purchased at RETAIL prices 15,000MW of solar power that only produces it when we need it the most - during the day.

And that's for free. The panels are paid for.

And we need more during the summer. In the summer we use air conditioner. In the winter we in Ontario use natural gas heating. Strangely enough, when we use more energy solar panels produce more energy.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016
So.. Even if the government bought outright the solar panels at retail it makes more power per dollar than nuclear.

But there has to be ways to stretch those dollars. How about if instead they paid for HALF of the solar panel costs? Suddenly that 12.8B makes 30MW.

Oh and this still assumes that no one is paid for the electricity produced. Since the taxpayers bought the panels the power coming from them is free. Free power to whoever wants them on their roof. Every watt-hour produced on the roof is one less watt-hour taken off the grid.

Win/win/win. As another recent story points out, we use more power during the day, and this only starts to become a problem when solar reaches 36% of total energy produced. Until then all solar energy produced is powering the mid day peak that baseload can't help anyway.
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Why do opponents of alternative energy assume all our power will come from either wind or solar PV? It displays an ignorance of the system which is common, especially in backward areas in the East and "Midwest" where simple brute-force coal and nukes are now burdening their customers with uneconomical power.

In reality, the generation mix is evolving as our science improves and our knowledge is more complete. Powerplants are long-term investments, and the transition will not be done overnight. The addition of other technologies and the reduction in usage with conservation and improved devices are happening at the same time, with additional sources and better control and application technology.

We will make it okay.
5 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2016

Actually the fact of the predictability of wind and solar is very supported by the facts. Once again Willie fails.

In this case Willie was calling out on that gkam was a utility engineer. I think he's probably right on that. gkam has adamantly made mistakes in the most basic understanding of the system that not even a technician could possibly make let alone an engineer.

For instance, no 1st year technician could possibly make the mistake that one generator on a grid could lower it's frequency. This simply shows the basics haven't been thought about.

One must be slightly careful. While gkam was absolutely right that solar and wind is predictable, he needlessly backs up these claims with credentials that couldn't possibly be correct. It does a dis-service to the discussion to have someone make up 'facts' that are clearly not true mixed with actual facts.

His heart is in the right place, but these lies about his credentials hurt all who share his views.
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 23, 2016
jag, if you want to make complaints, get it right. I did not say they can get our of sync, that is what you thought I said. I said powerplants as a whole can lose or gain frequency during the day, but at the end of the period, all the cycles must be accounted for. Many systems (such as your microwave oven and electric clocks) use voltage crossovers as timing signals. These variations are slight because of the electromagnetic energy stored in reactive elements, power stored in rotating equipment, columns of moving water, and so on.

My real point was loads and power generated musty be matched exactly, or changes in voltage and frequency will occur in rotating AC generators.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Jag, stop accusing me of lying. I was Senior Energy Services Engineer in Technical Services for Pacific Gas & Electric back when it was the biggest non-governmental power company on Earth. Your misinterpretation of my comments is your problem.

Folk like you do not understand that when a physical load such as a large motor is put on the line, the physical force required to turn that motor is transferred to the generator. The generator "feels" the physical force through the currents and their magnetic fields. If not given proper compensation, voltage and/or frequency will suffer.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016

Last time I checked weather is a stochastic variable. It has a large random component and you damage your credibility by asserting otherwise. Secondly, the issue is not just generating forecasts, but the inability to switch it on or off as demand requires. Finally, renewable energy is not at well synchronized with demand. Solar power in Europe is inversely corrected with electricity demand. Not good. And wind power appears uncorrelated with demand, which is not particularly good. Look at the last chart. Terrible fit. http://euanmearns...lutions/
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Gosh, Rod, do you really think you are smarter than all the engineers and bean counters and professionals who designed, operate, and continue to evolve our power systems?
5 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2016

The US is not Europe. In Europe green power receives heavily subsidized tariffs. At one point they were several times the tariffs available to non-renewable energy sources. I don't need to provide a link for things that are common knowledge. Here is one to educate you: http://www.res-le...ermany/. And http://www.slides...art1-eu.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Roderick, one of the required courses for the degree was Environmental Economics, where one learns the true costs of technologies to society. We have been subsidizing coal and nukes for generations now, much more massively than alternative and clean and renewable sources. It is due to the entrenched political and economic power of Big Money and the politicians they own.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016
Gkam, I am an economist by training. Renewable energy subsidies go way beyond what a negative carbon tax would entail.

The fossil subsidies are real, but exaggerated. Depreciation is not a subsidy. It is a non-cash cost of doing business. Yet Greenies are including depreciation in their estimates of subsidies!

Not only are the renewable energy subsidies more generous than those enjoyed by nuclear or fossil fuels, the value is far less. Energy that can tailored to demand is far more valuable than energy that cannot be controlled and hence tailored to demand. Germany building solar power capacity to provide power during the low season of electricity (summer is the low season and winter is the high season) is an obvious mis-allocation of resources. The low price of wholesale electricity in the summer, well below production costs, tells us that resources are misallocated.

All that is needed a CO2 tax and let the market decide how to produce electricity.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016

You are advocating that the political system allocates resources better than the markets. A couple thousand years of history disagrees with your approach. I do not trust the public or governments to decide which technologies to deploy to fight global warming.

The bold and right approach is to impose a CO2 tax and let energy producers make the decision about technologies. Not Gkam or political parties.

There is almost universal agreement among economists that a CO2 tax is the right approach. And in the context of an international agreement, it is much easier to simply impose a single CO2 tax across nations than try to monitor their compliance when the means of achieving is left up to their own devices.

4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016
Lord_Jag, it is not documented in every newspaper. The newspaper cite estimates provided by environmental organizations many of which are biased in favor of renewable energy and against nuclear (the only really reliable CO2 free solution). There are subsidies to be sure, but the size is vastly exaggerated by including items such as depreciation allowances which should be included. I am an economist and recognize that global warming is real, man-made, and most likely has very high costs. But the proper way to avoid hype, including bogus claims that solar and wind power are competitive using problematic measurements like levelized costs. Impose a CO2 tax and let the market decide, not the Greenies or the average ignorant voter or government.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016

Please get your act together. Europe is not the US. The US electricity demand is far more favorable to renewables than the European. Wholesale rates in Europe are well below long term production costs: a few Euro cents and have sometimes even had negative rates for brief periods of time. European powers producers rely on the feed-in tariffs to justify their builds.

There is a reason why Germany has the highest retail electricity rates in Europe. It is due to the feed-in tariffs. Just admit you are wrong or go away. You are just displaying ignorance.

2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
"Yet Greenies are including depreciation in their estimates of subsidies!"

Not as far as I know. You may be confusing/conflating depreciation of real assets with the Oil Depletion Allowance, which gives money to folk who sold all their oil, and now want more money for having no more oil to sell.
5 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2016
Rod - Okay granted... not in EVERY newspaper, but the evidence of huge gifts to non-renewable energy is easy to find.

So... tell us, economist, what is a better deal? Spending 12.8 billion on refitting a nuclear plant to make 3800MW at a cost of 7 cents per kWh? Any excess at night must be sold to neighboring countries, sometimes at negative cost. This also require unknown costs associated with transmission lines, fuel mining and refinement and waste storage for 1 million years.


Spending 12.8 billion on buying 20,000MW of power for free. Keeping in mind that it only makes power when we need it the most. All parts are infinitely recyclable and can be refined using renewable energy.

Give us your market analysis of these two options? What makes the subsidy to nuclear so much better? Give long term and short term projections. At what point is nuclear more economical?
5 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2016
They slow down. I think you are trying to tell me the Sacred Grid keeps them all supervised at exactly sixty Hertz, but even grids vary in frequency at times, as I stated. If a local load change or other problem overloads a generator, they can vary the output to keep the voltage up, but if the power from the Prime Mover is not increased, the frequency will drop and the unit will trip off in an underfrequency.

Read more at:

Tell me more about how all the generators on a grid vary at times.
Tell me more about how one generator can slow down and not be severed from the grid within a few milliseconds.

Really. Impress me with the knowledge of your "insert made up degree here"
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016
But by all means... go ahead and explain to us all, using your full knowledge of electrical theory, how the grid varies in frequency.

What causes this variance and how many generators can go out of sync before all those IN sync get kicked off.

And most importantly... answer the question. Your generator dropped from 3000RPM to 2975RPM. How long until it's required to sever from the grid. This is simple math to someone half as smart as you. Just answer it and woo us all.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
You are a real idiot, if you think it takes revolutions to be out of sync, when degrees of rotation are important. You are intentionally changing my assertions, when you are not aware of how the system works.

And yes, the grid can lose a millisecond or two a while, when large loads are switched. The generators operate in lockstep, and all slow or speed up together.

If you have only one AC generator with a fixed input, and you add a load, what will happen to your frequency? Voltage? Do you compensate? How? Be specific.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Apparently jag is unaware that any generator which gets behind or too low in voltage can start to motor, driven by the other generators. In fact, that is how some small (about 5MW), units are operated in hydro systems, using the grid to motor them until they are needed for load following, since they are already up to speed.
Uncle Ira
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
glam-Skippy a whole of peoples tried to tell you all the pretending with smoke and mirrors would not work on a science place like the physorg. Once more you show your air force 1965 radio school level of "Senior Engineering" stuffs,,,,,,

You are a real idiot, if you think it takes revolutions to be out of sync, when degrees of rotation are important.

Non, Cher, non,, YOU are the idiot. Revolutions and degrees of rotation are the same thing. Cher a few RPM difference won't be entire "revolutions", it would only be a few degrees in the phase of the signal. His number of RPM is typical for most generators. Usually it is an even multiple of 60 Hz, like 1800, 2400, 3000, or 3600 depending on the number of poles in the generator.

Claiming to be six kinds of engineer and all such to be the expert with a few buzzy words is a losing technique on the science interweb place..

Not realizing that make YOU the idiot.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 23, 2016
Hmmmm, I am not wooed.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Ira, when you get your experience from wiki, you get it all screwed up. You are not even aware of the details being discussed. We are discussing the reactive response on generators from loads, but jag does not get it yet.
Uncle Ira
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Ira, when you get your experience from wiki, you get it all screwed up.

Nice try Cher, but that is something I have known and used at work everyday. It is obvious that you have failed in your "play the expert on the interweb by claiming authorities". The biggest fun with it is you are the ONLY one here that still has not realized it.

You are not even aware of the details being discussed.

You saying that is 1) Something you just don't know. And have no way to know. It's like all the other stuffs you are always flinging out that you "just know it is true because you thought it". 2) And once more you say something that is just not true, I do understand the details, that is why you are looking foolish again.

We are discussing the reactive response on generators from loads, but jag does not get it yet.

That is your problem Cher, he does get it, and he gets it very good, and he get it very correct too.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 23, 2016
Poor Ira, still around taking shots at me for being a real person, and ruining his little Uncle ira Show game he plays here. He will never get over it.

Uncle Ira
4.1 / 5 (9) Jan 23, 2016
Poor Ira

What's this "Poor Ira" business, eh? I am fine and dandy and happy. I got everything I want and a whole more than I need, what's to feel poor about? You should be writing to "Poor glam-Skippy" he's the one who is grumpy and whiny all time.

I have a good life Cher, should know this is because I don't have the irresistible urge to make it bigger than it is everyday on the physorg. I know what I know, and don't need to pretend a lot things to back it up. Either what I write is right or it is wrong. What I done don't have anything to do with how right it is. Mr-Senior-Engineer-Skippy all those things you never did have a lot to do with how wrong you usually are.

When I signed up, I knew there were some real engineers and science trained peoples and felt comfortable being just plain ol Ira-Skippy. Peoples in the tribe you tried join told you that "winging" with claims to authority were going to backfire on you. That's why I would rather be me than be you.
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 24, 2016
I'm glad you are not me, too, Ira. I am honest and have good character, while you are just some goober playing ego games here on a site for science.

Now, the article here is on alternative energy being integrated into service territories of utilities. Since I have actual education and experience in that field, I thought you would be interested in how it could be done.

But no, it was just a game you were playing.

Play away, . . .
3.2 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2016
Oh yeah, but why do I then pay over 3000DKR or around 450USD for like 1300kwh here in Denmark?

So funny to see those studies only representing fantasy and whatsoever no facts...

When all our windmills are running and we are exporting our production to almost negative prices, we still emit like 5-10times as much CO2/kwh than France.
4 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2016
Isn't France almost 100% Nuclear?

You don't emit carbon with nuclear.
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 25, 2016
"You don't emit carbon with nuclear."

How much carbon is liberated with the manufacture of the tons of concrete and specialty steels, and the energy required to build a nuke plant? We do not know, because the government prohibited us from studying it, in the late 1970's while we were doing other work for them. Quick BOE calcs seemed to show their contribution to AGW is much more than they like to admit.
3 / 5 (2) Jan 25, 2016
How much carbon is liberated with the manufacture of the tons of concrete and specialty steels
Wind/solar needs fossil fuels for manufacturing and transporting too.
"To dispose of the material, the companies must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste facilities hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles away.
The fossil fuels used to transport that waste, experts say, is not typically considered in calculating solar's carbon footprint, giving scientists and consumers who use the measurement to gauge a product's impact on global warming the impression that solar is cleaner than it is."
"The greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting this waste is not insignificant," Mulvaney said.
1 / 5 (6) Jan 25, 2016
No emissions from nukes? Why did Fukushima have 400-foot stacks? What would require a stack that high? Radioactive gases.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2016
What would require a stack that high?
gskam, who declares himself an engineer, shames the engineers by telling a lot of BS.
1 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2016
Well, the stacks at Fukushima are 120 meters high, which is only 395 feet, so I rounded it off.

Why so high? What were they so scared of breathing at ground level?
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (4) Jan 25, 2016
Well, the stacks at Fukushima are 120 meters high, which is only 395 feet, so I rounded it off.

Why so high? What were they so scared of breathing at ground level?

Weren't they more of a condensation tower?
1 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2016
No. The units used once-through water from the sea for cooling, not towers.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2016
Why so high? What were they so scared of breathing at ground level?
Weren't they more of a condensation tower?

I correct this myself - here;
Tall stacks at nuclear plants are designed to vent the reactor containment in case of excessive pressure.
The use of the term "containment" probably isn't the proper name for a vessel too small to contain anything.
At Fukushima, the stacks are the third "fix" for the small containment design flaw.
In the 1960's, GE designed the little Mark I reactor to be, well, little.
It turned out that the Containment Vessel was designed too small, and couldn't contain even a small accident.
So, they designed a Torus, the donut-shapped wet well that sits under the containment vessel to absorbe the pressure of an accident, when the pressure just can't be contained by the "Containment Vessel".
Experience with the Torus soon proved that it, too, couldn't contain an accident within the Mark I Reactor.

Enter the tall stacks.

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2016
No. The units used once-through water from the sea for cooling, not towers.

Excess pressure would have to be vented from the Reactors directly to the environment.
So GE Mark 1 reactors (23 of these dangerous old boys are still operating in the US) ultimately vent to the out-of-doors.
The problem at Fukushima is that the valves used to vent the reactors are manual, meaning that in the event of an emergency, workers have to go into the plant and open those valves.
Any volunteers?
So, Unit 1 blew up.
Then Unit 2 blew the Torus with a thud.
Then Unit 3 blew sky high, in a spectacular daytime explosion that ended nuclear power worldwide.
Then Unit 4 blew up.
Did any of those vent stacks even get opened up?

1 / 5 (5) Jan 25, 2016
That question captures the sagas of the units. Read up on it, or go to youtube and see what it took to try to get them open.

My work was with the Safety Relief Valves which vent into the Suppression Pool, (or Torus, in this case), not the ones venting the containment.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.