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If everything works the way it's supposed to, yes.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But I have a feeling that the more wind we build, the more "problems" will happen at our nukes and in the power lines, so the need for German/Danish gas/coal plants will never go away. If that happened, power prices would fall which would erode the profits of the power companies, not to mention the power tax revenues of the state. And we can't have that, can we?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 04:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, that seems like the likely scenario. Vattenfall has a long history of running its own policies, going back at least to the 1930ies when they prevented Sydkraft (then owned by southern Swedish city councils, now part of Eon) from establishing itself as a parallell national power company.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 05:02:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German gas plants are price makers whether Sweden is buying from or selling into that market, so as long as the Germans continue to need the German gas plants.

One thing to be noted in Jerome's "wind killed by volatile gas prices" is that if a substantial share of windfall gains by wind turbines in a are channeled into more construction of wind turbines, then those new wind turbines will have even bigger windfall gains during upswing periods, financing more construction.

This would be a construction boom and bust with gas prices, but one could envision the windfall-financed turbines as paying a revenue share back to the windfall providing turbines, rather than financing forward, when the price drops below the long term finance cost of the windfall providing turbines.

So the financed turbines "save", eg, 50% of their windfall gains in more wind turbine capacity. If they have "seeded" an additional 10% capacity when the downswing hits, they are now selling from 110% of the capacity on the same fixed cost, so the effective fixed cost is 9% lower. If they have "seeded" an additional 20% capacity, they are now selling from 120% of the capacity on the same fixed cost, so the effective fixed cost is 17% lower.

Indeed, a region or major municipality that was in a position to publicly fund a "seed farm" on a revenue share rather than fixed annual obligation basis could have an even firmer footing, since the "seed farm" could be set to be bankruptcy proof with 100% net revenue share at or below the target capital cost level and 50% net revenue share to the public owner and 50% net revenue share to seeding new capacity on the increment above the target capital cost level.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is more or less equivalent to accelerated amortisation of existing wind farms (for the record, the latter seems more sensible, since it avoids boom-and-bust cycles in the construction industry). The problem with that is that it depends on the timing of the gas troughs. It works well when you have time to aggressively amortise your loans before the gas slump hits. But if your new construction comes online during a slump, you go tits-up real quick.

Given that it takes at least two years from the time you start committing serious money to a wind farm and until it goes online, this means that you have to be able to predict gas prices 2-4 years into the future. If you can do that, you can make better money playing liar's poker in the futures market.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 01:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that it takes at least two years from the time you start committing serious money to a wind farm and until it goes online, this means that you have to be able to predict gas prices 2-4 years into the future. If you can do that, you can make better money playing liar's poker in the futures market.

The point of the futures market is that if you're in the wind business it shouldn't matter to you what the price of gas is since you can hedge it. In other words, at 2-4 years ahead you can lock in a price for gas if you need to.

Also, it doesn't matter what your view of gas prices is, since the only price you can lock is the futures price.

At least that's the theory, and I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't work in practice. I'd appreciate hearing from Jerome about how it actually works in practice.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it takes more something like 6-12 months onshore (and yes, probably 2 years offshore) to go from financing to operations.

But at financing, you need to have entered into your power purchase agreements, in order to lock in the revenue you need to justify the funding (if you are not in a FIT regime), so you - or rather the buyer - have made at that point whatever bet you wanted to make on power/gas prices.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 06:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A substantial difference with accelerated amortisation with windfall gains is that accelerated amortisation does not roll out more wind power capacity, and so does not have the same positive impact on Sweden's net exports.

It avoids the boom and bust in the building cycle by avoiding the boom part. That's not the part we want to avoid. And since a substantial share of the boom and bust falls to German capital goods industry.

To the extent that we can shelter windpower from under predatory state institutions with a feed-in tariff, that's a superior option, but if we cannot get windpower out from under predatory state institutions, better to structure things so that there is a boom while busts can be ridden out without bankruptcy.

In terms of the "seed farm" wind turbines, structured as described they survive through a bust and reproduce when experiencing windfall gains. And every windfall gain financed turbine only needs to cover minimal operating and maintenance costs.

Once the prorated "seed farm" capital costs over the output of the "seed farm" and "seeded farm" are below the capital costs plus lowest fuel cost of gas turbines, the whole complex becomes always-reproducing, and the boom and bust is about the rate of reproduction.

All assuming, of course, a relatively small open economy with cross transmission into a larger regional demand sink.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A substantial difference with accelerated amortisation with windfall gains is that accelerated amortisation does not roll out more wind power capacity, and so does not have the same positive impact on Sweden's net exports.

I think you're tacitly assuming that the "seeded" farms have a lower required rate of return on equity than the "seeding" farms. After all, if the "seeded" farms make sense on a seeding basis with constant cost of equity, then they should also make sense on an accelerated amortisation basis, assuming that you have available, equally priced, equity from other sources. As long as wind is a small(ish) fraction of total real capital investment, the latter does not strike me as an unduly unreasonable assumption.

And since a substantial share of the boom and bust falls to German capital goods industry.

Yes, if you allow a boom-and-bust cycle, you'll keep production in Germany. But if you have stable onshore demand, you'll get onshore industry (the economics of transporting windmills relative to transporting the raw materials say that the manufacturing will relocate to the vicinity of the demand). That's why you want to avoid a boom-and-bust cycle in the first place.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 03:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... equity from the seeded farms is the realized flow of revenue from the sale of the power they generate over operating costs, since the seeding farms own a pure equity stake in the seeded farms and in all farms they seed in turn during surplus periods.

Accelerating amortization of finance capital funded windpower under predatory state market arrangements can reduce exposure to the being bankrupted by a downswing ~ and downswings are to expected, since the ride down from Peak Oil will be a bumpy one ~ but cannot eliminate insolvency risk. By contrast, a pure equity holding with no fixed obligation has no insolvency risk if the operating costs themselves are below the price maker's capital cost.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 05:15:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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