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Largest offshore wind farm stuns media

by Jerome a Paris Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 10:13:23 AM EST

The inauguration of the Thanet offshore wind farm is getting significant press coverage today. It is (temporarily) the largest ever built, and its inauguration coincides with the announcements that the UK now has more than 5GW of installed wind capacity. And for once, it looks like the magnitude of the offshore wind plans is sinking in. Even if papers like the , the DailyMail or even the BBC (see the video) give a loud voice to the opponents of wind, you get the feeling, for once, that the media are realising that this is becoming a transformative sector, both in terms of electricity generation and industrial policy. The BBC journalist who speaks from the boat cannot help being awed by the scale of the wind farm, and then notes that the industry will build a hundred time more during the next two decades.

There were almost no comments about the recent decision by the UK coalition to cut into the funds allocated to modernise UK ports (precisely in order to help the build up of the offshore wind supply chain), which is ironical given that Thanet was largely built out of Dunkirk, France because facilities in UK harbors are either unsuitable or significantly more expensive...

Hopefully, with the realisation that offshore wind is creating a whole new life for many industrial sectors and facilities, and the fact that it's largely a regulatory-driven activity, governments will realize that this is the perfect opportunity to re-invent and rehabilitate the concept of industrial policy to make sure that this sector gets built in the most sensible and cheapest way possible, and gets integrated into the existing grid properly.

In the meantime, I'm happy to enjoy the pictures of offshore windfarms prominently on the front page of news website...


Display:
I watched that at lunchtime and was wondering who the elderly opponent who was saying that wind was taking funding away from other forms of renewables, and what his pet renewable hobby horse was.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:18:30 AM EST
Some people are wondering what happened to wave and hydro-power. There's an awful lot of fast flowing rivers in Scotland that could happily be generating power. If the Scots resent it, they can always charge us.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:33:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also noted via another article in Grauniad that there are some people going around explaining nuclear power's use in base load. Except reading between the lines of what there was, I think they're being slightly dishonest about it.

Did you also notice the way they highlighted that, no wind = no power and how you can't store the energy as if that was unique to wind ?

course, we could use surplus electric to create chemical energy storage via alcohol or ammonia but nobody has really worked that one through cos we've never really had the situation before.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:37:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A possibly widespread form of electricity storage would be electric cars charging up at night - storage that would come at no extra cost to the system.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 02:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, that's a beautiful example of narrative logic used to score a rhetorical point.

It makes absolutely no sense as a rational argument, but people hear 'windmills destroy renewable energy' - and that's what they remember.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:56:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes it better, in your view, than Any Other Bollocks Narrative?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 02:54:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ju-jitsu factor - arguing, with apparent success, that white really is black.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 02:58:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So is any blatantly false paradox a more catchy narrative than the <yawn> truth?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 03:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not blatantly false - it's clever use of pseudo-logic to subvert an obvious take-away point, and to turn a real success into an apparent failure.

It's standard practice from the US right to take strengths and turn them into apparent weaknesses.

It would be foolish and naive not to assume that the same thing can't happen in the European media.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 03:40:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No argument from me on turning strengths into weaknesses, and no illusions on my part about the European media. But it is blatantly false because wind is in itself a renewable - as you said, it "makes absolutely no sense as a rational argument".

The question then being why it really matters that a bunch of dickheads prefer this nonsense to less nonsense.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:03:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They prefer because it's persuasive.

Facts != persuasion. Persuasion can be slimy, misleading, indirect, and criminally dishonest. In the hands of the Right it often is.

That doesn't stop it being an effective influence on opinion, and ultimately on policy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hopefully, with the realisation that offshore wind is creating a whole new life for many industrial sectors and facilities, and the fact that it's largely a regulatory-driven activity, governments will realize that this is the perfect opportunity to re-invent and rehabilitate the concept of industrial policy to make sure that this sector gets built in the most sensible and cheapest way possible, and gets integrated into the existing grid properly.

In your enthusiasm, you inadvertently give conservatives a whole bunch of dog-whistles to push against.

Concepts such as "regulatory-driven" and "industrial policy" are exactly" what the ConDem-Nation feel they were elected to prevent. Indeed you give the game away when you note that they have cut the funds allocated to provide the port facilities necessary to drive this from British soil.

The millionaires have the City to make their money for them, so they just invest in the companies that provide it. They don't actually care that the jobs provided aren't British, they really just want the money.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:31:58 AM EST
the Guardian headlines the fact that less than 20% of £900m investment in Thanet windfarm goes to British firms... which is what you get when you don't have an industrial policy.

Bloody typical of Nulab to actually get one thing right (urgent need for offshore wind power) and do virtually nothing to kick-start a local industry to cater to it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:58:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to stand up for these notions, and stand proudly for them. Industrial policy, national energy policy, government long term plans, etc...

That's the only way to change the narrative. And images of massive, powerful, and yet eerily peaceful offshore turbines may yet help to do so. It's there (not a dream), it works, and it's as industrial as it can get.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 12:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
are you going to do a post on the (relatively) new French plan to build significant offshore wind?

I find it fascinating, especially from an industrial point of view. I suppose there is a lot of jockeying going on among the various big French industrials who have studiously avoided any significant exposure to wind over the past few decades... and will now want their share of government-guaranteed projects!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 11:54:19 AM EST
when I actually have an opinion on the topic. I still suspect that the French government is doing this half-heartedly, but if it's done properly it could still happen. And the French government ill be pushed by local authorities, several of which are enthusiastically supporting the plan, because they see the local jobs that could come out of it.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 12:11:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, our lovely neocons at SPIEGEL had to have another cover like this:


THE EXPENSIVE DREAM
about clean energy

For some context: while these guy's conservative-liberal dream coalition is in a disarray with the FDP skirting the 5% limit, their beloved reforms are stalled, the government chose this time to push its unpopular nuxlear power plant life extension plan, while the Greens soar above 20% in the poll. And they just love to play Don Quixote. It was one of the very first signs of SPIEGEL's transformation.

Founder Rudolf Augstein died in November 2002. Shortly after,

  1. a series of articles highly critical of the USA getting ready to attack Iraq was 'balanced' by serialised excerpts from Kenneth Pollack's crap propaganda book about Saddam;
  2. in stark contrast to earlier in-depth reportages, SPIEGEL TV (the chief editor of which became Augstein's successor) made a flimsy generalising reportage about criminal refugee seekers;
  3. After a long history of Israel-critic articles (Augstein was a former schoolmate of Uri Avnery), one of the main commentators suddenly felt free to push a rather Likudnik line;
  4. The tradition of the economy section to interview an economist with unconventional views every week ceased;
  5. finally, months after the on-line edition published a thorough debunking of anti-wind propaganda, came this cover article:


THE WINDMILL MADNESS
From the dream of environmentally friendly energy to landscape destruction with high subventions

Now, I think SPIEGEL's transformation had deeper reasons than a simple change at the helm, and I think some of the opposition to wind has the same roots. The current generation at the helm is the youth of the late seventies, the half-generation right after the '68ers. Every generation is supposed to rebel; but a large part of this generation chose to rebel against the fading and failing ideals of the hippies and beatniks and soixante-huitards of the previous generation. And they're still at it. Of course, the constant urge to bring down ideals can only be nihilistic, and if I am allowed some psychologising, the lack of own grand achievement only adds to the destructive urge...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 12:55:06 PM EST
Let's not forget that two of Der Spiegel's top technical writers resigned in protest over that article.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 03:33:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha! Do you happen to have a source or names? I recall having read of at least one of these resignations, but tracking it down proved too difficult. (Or maybe you mentioned it earlier here on ET and that's where I read it?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 03:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never seen, in one place, the 10 myths about wind concisively deconstructed, and exposed as myths with no relation to the truth.

I don't know that there are 10, but in the meme world these types of top ten lists do get some traction. The explanations of why they are myths will have to be short and easy to understand, but with scientific citations and evidence. 200 words max.

Now, I don't track the wind industry, except what I read here, so my suggestions for which myths will be deconstructed in the top 10 list will be only averagely informed.

  1. Birds are killed and migration routes disturbed
  2. They are noisy
  3. They are ugly and destroy the landscape
  4. Wind energy can't be stored
  5. Radar is dangerously affected
  6. The electricity they produce is too expensive
  7. The best wind is too far from the grid
  8. Inefficient
  9. Cause health problems locally
  10. Danger to shipping

Add your suggestions for myths to be debunked. Perhaps there might be something worth doing here? Or am I just out of the loop?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 02:24:35 PM EST
11. Intermittence: the wind "stops" and what then?

linked to

  1. Every MW of wind capacity needs a corresponding MW of back-up because of (11)

  2. Wind gets government subsidies (= misallocation of resources, see marketista handbook).

  3. Wind is not Serious™ - it's just OK for fancy niche applications and can't scale up to industrial level.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 02:51:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:09:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo - these are excellent. The work is done.

What I really wanted (and got) was the talking points for my own 'debates'. And I assumed that if it was useful to me, it would be useful to others.

So the next question is: can we do anything to help disseminate this myth busting?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:16:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm at the largest, most interesting and fun wind meeting, the Husum Wind Fair.

I had a glass of champagne with Vattenfall execs as we toasted the announcement this morning, and of course we were treated to fish'n chips for lunch. At the same time, possibly related to britain's inability to get it's shit together, Vattenfall has announced it is focusing on Sweden, Germany and Netherlands.

I have no time to comment on some of the major points brought out by the diary or comments.  But i can say i haven't seen the industry in general hit so hard in many years.  All the effort to build up secure component supply chains has been for naught, as framework contracts are allowed to lapse and turbines are sitting at shipping terminals and even airports with nowhere to go.

To a small degree, this is partly an effect of the major players and North Sea governments using focus on offshore wind to ignore the blatant need for further use of the far cheaper, almost risk-free onshore resource. The manufacturing chain is hurting like i haven't seen in a decade or more.

to a larger degree, this is now the effects of the energy and banking wars indicative of the end of the fossil era.

the comment is also an indictment of amurkan energy policy, which has now reached the level of criminally ridiculous. the US DOE is in the process of committing to an aggressive offshore policy, while the vast potential of US onshore has been given a further kick in the ass, as the companies who thought the ~US onshore market secure enough to invest in CAPEX are taking the financial hit deeply.

offshore must progress, to bring costs and risk down, and to bring the level of the technology up to onshore standards. but at the expense of the polluting technologies, not at the expense of onshore wind.

Can't write more now, but thought a brief report from the field was in order.

PS. one of the joys of Husum is that there are 25,000 people here, with several hundred hotel rooms within 25 km.  so people stay at vacation homes up to a 100 km away, even across the border in Denmark. net access in the boonies is non-existent (though my stick is working in town now) makes it fun.

and there are some very interesting technical developments here. peace.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:08:03 PM EST
Hark! You are at Husum Wind, but I couldn't go to the equivalent ultra-plus venue for the rail sector, the bi-annual INNOTRANS (held this week in Berlin)...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:15:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course i forgot to write that Vattenfall is the owner of Thanet, with Vestas V90 the turbine, installed by A2SEA.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:16:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A cool place to check out Thanet is 4C Offshore

search Thanet and click more data.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I met with some EWEA guys this week, and they seem confident that Europe will install around 10GW of wind this year, like last. China is likely to keep on booming in its own way, so the onshore problems are really coming from the US, where the market is set to crash this year. I expected it to crash last year, but there has been a lag - this year's missing wind farms are those that did not get financed at the beginning of last year, at the height of the financial crisis. The stimulus should help year's numbers, but heavy industry supply chains have a lot of trouble coping with markets going -50% one year and +100% the next.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 05:18:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wind Not Weapons: An Ailing Shipyard Finds New Life with Renewable Energies - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

'An Enormous Market'

The Nordseewerke's new business manager, Frank Wübben, 38, also appears confident. Wübben left competitor Enercon to join SIAG this July and he knows the wind turbine business. Adding together all the plans in all the countries that border the North and Baltic Seas, he says, there's construction in the works for more than 20,000 wind turbines on those two seas by 2015. So far, only 3,700 of the projects have been approved. "It's an enormous market," Wübben says, and one with few competitors. Germany has just 10 other companies manufacturing wind turbine towers and bases.

The new Nordseewerke have already signed a first basic contract to produce 180 towers by 2014, Wübben says, and the company will be able to construct 50 to 100 towers per year. If demand increases, he adds, it would be possible to increase that number to 300.

In other words, production capacity for the large number of planned offshore wind turbine sites has not been met, not by far. Not every shipyard can suddenly convert to manufacturing wind turbines, of course, but Wübben believes there's room in the business for a few more.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 04:22:36 PM EST
There are moments when I'm filled with hope.

Someone should write a song about it.

Is it worth it
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy's birthday


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 24th, 2010 at 05:09:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Couldn't find an appropriate YouTube so I'll have to type it.

          A W E S O M E    D u d e   ! ! !


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Sep 23rd, 2010 at 05:01:54 PM EST
Drove by this wind farm in northwest Indiana, and when completed one of biggest in the U.S. (750 MW). Had no idea that stretch of Indiana is prime wind power country. Virtually noiseless.

Photobucket

Good business overview:

http://www.powermag.com/issues/cover_stories/Top-Plants-Fowler-Ridge-Wind-Farm-Benton-County-Indiana _2303.html

A recent, generally positive overview:

http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2010/09/01/wind-turbines-can-bring-financial-windfall-issues-for-land owners/

Neighbors generally not bothered by them:

http://www.wlfi.com/dpp/living_green/benton-and-white-county-wind-farm-locals-say-theyre-not-so-bad

2008 article on Indiana's wind potential:

http://pharostribune.com/local/x488909923/Indiana-s-first-commercial-wind-farm-online

Negotiating tips for landowners:

http://timessentinel.com/local/x1048559191/Wind-farm-issues-examined

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Sep 24th, 2010 at 03:57:00 PM EST


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