The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd)

Heard a great story the other day from Matt Ridley, author of the absolutely essential The Rational Optimist.

He bumped into an engineer who was hoping to land one of the lucrative contracts for the massive, insanely expensive offshore wind farm programme which Dave’s new “Greener Than Anyone” administration hopes will reduce Britain’s carbon footprint while simultaneously creating that the philosopher’s-stone-type marvel that some men do call Green Jobs.

“What’s the chance of them being built on time?” Ridley asked.

“Zero,” said the engineer.

“And once you’ve stuck these things in the sea-bed, how long do you think they’ll last?” Ridley asked.

“Oh, virtually no time at all.”

“So if these offshore wind farms are going to be impossible to put up and are going to fall down as soon as you do, why are you vying for this multi-billion pound government contract?” asked Ridley.

“Duh,” said the engineer.

When Mary Tudor died, she predicted, they would find Calais engraved on her heart.

My prediction when my old mucker Dave Cameron pops off, they will find “wind farms” engraved on his. Of all the damage his lousy administration will do to this country of ours, none will be so mighty, permanent or thoroughly inexcusable as his wind farm programme.

Here’s further cause for gloom from the excellent German blogger P Gosselin, whose reports on what’s happening in Germany gives us an idea of the disasters coming our way soon.

Originally estimated to cost €189 million, the Alpha Ventus park has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. In late summer and autumn of 2008, bad weather made installation of the first 6 turbines impossible. Then the equipment to install the monster turbines was not available. Next there were major problems with the transformer facilities.

A few weeks ago the temperature of the bearings in the turbine made by Areva Multibrid was too high and thus they had to be taken out of operation. Now the turbines have to be removed from their 500+ ft. high towers and the bearings have to be replaced. Repair works will take weeks and extend into late summer. It’s still unclear if the other four of the Multibrid turbines have a problem. The remaining 6 turbines are made by Repower and are reported to be running smoothly. There are no reports on how high the costs for the troublesome dismantling and repair works will run.

And if that weren’t bad enough, the construction works on the massive Bard Offshore 1 commercial windparks have been delayed as a 300-foot foundation column crashed onto the construction ship Wind Lift 1 three weeks ago. Now other turbines have to be thoroughly inspected. The Bard project foresees the installation of 320 five-megawatt class turbines over the coming years. The cost for the first 80 Bard turbines alone is climbing far beyond original estimates. First they were estimated to cost over €500 million. Now it’s estimated costs will exceed a billion euros. German online newspaper projects the costs will even reach €1.2 billion.

The promoters of the offshore projects cannot say they weren’t warned of the risks of installing windparks in the North Sea’s harsh conditions. The Nysted offshore windpark and Horns Rev park in Denmark are examples, and have struggled with big problems. For example in 2007 a transformer malfunction occurred at Nysted just 4 years after being commissioned, causing a months-long shutdown. At the Horns Rev windpark there were problems with the turbines only 2 years after they had gone into operation. World leading turbine manufacturer Vestas had to remove all 80 turbines, haul them onshore and perform extensive repairs. Luckily these turbines were only of the smaller 2 to 2.3-MW class, and so much easier to do repair works. Repairs and maintenance on the 5-MW monsters will be much tougher and expensive.

But as long as windpark companies continue to have the full backing of wasteful governments, costs won’t matter.

Amen, brother.

Related posts:

  1. I’d rather my wife made land mines than worked in the wind farm industry
  2. Wind Farm Fanatics Are Bankrupting Us With Their Hot Air
  3. Official: wind turbines are an iniquitous assault on property rights
  4. The best article on wind farms you will ever read

6 thoughts on “The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd)”

  1. crownarmourer says:18th June 2010 at 8:32 pm@James D why are you no longer replying to peoples comments on the DT Blogs is there a new policy in place not to talk to the plebs, they really have ruined your blogging and a lot of people are still staying away. Why not pop over to and have a little chat with us dissenters we will not bite and since we are not dealing with trolls the conversation has gone a little upmarket. Unless your already over there in disguise.
  2. Pennyroyal says:18th June 2010 at 8:50 pmI see Monbiot’s torn Ridley a brand new one again –
  3. Peter Sterling says:19th June 2010 at 12:40 pmThere is enough wind offshore from the UK to power the entire country and the cars 4 times over.

    The solution to the very high cost of todays old technology wind turbines is to replace them with sterling accelerated wind turbines. These jet-speed turbines will operate for twice the annual hours and make 3-4 times the power. Thus making wind electricity cheaper than any other power plant….. and they can’t kill birds.

    Intermittent wind energy can easily and cheaply be stored in conventional pumped-hydro schemes in Scotland’s hills and valleys. These can be made to improve the natural environment and make wildlife flourish.


    If you actually took the time to study it you would see that accelerated wind is the world’s answer to cheap, clean, forever energy independence.

    Wind farm developers merely have to move from the propeller age to the jet age to save England from the tyranny of fossil fuel blackmail.


  4. ozboy says:20th June 2010 at 4:49 am@James, ditto crown’s remarks. He tells me you’re a little busy right now; fair enough (me too) but you’re always welcome Down Under at my place
  5. Tom Forrester-Paton says:22nd June 2010 at 3:29 pmJames, in case you’ve missed it, there’s a lovely blue going on at – over a fathomlessly stupid paper that’s just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. I make a brief spear-carrying appearance as TomFP, but Currys, Fullers, Tobins, Pielkes et al are – very politely so far – going at it like ferrets in a bag.
  6. Tom Forrester-Paton says:23rd June 2010 at 5:30 amJust read your excellent excoriation of the “Galileo” List (as it is being dubbed, although I prefer “The Cardinals’ List” – but then I preferred “Fabrigate” to “Climategate” and look where that got me).

    You write “And might this have anything to do, perchance, with the fact that – as the Climategate emails made abundantly clear – “unconvinced” scientists were deliberately shut out of the peer-review process by the “convinced” ones?” – and of course it does, but IMO it goes deeper – “Climate Science” (as distinct from meteorology, climatology, etc) is a field invented by and for AGW believers who either choose not to call themselves meteor-/climatologists, because that’s not where the grant money is, or who in addition may not do so because they are in fact neither? It should therefore neither surprise nor greatly impress us if they “overwhelmingly” endorse AGW. It’s just what “climate scientists” do.

    I note you hat-tipped WUWT, but do go and have a look at the discussion at collide-a-scape. It’s got lots that you won’t find on the usual denialist* blogs – committed warmies horrified at what they rightly see as a great disservice to their cause, scientifically literate sceptics ripping the methodology to bits, and the estimable Judith Curry deploring the very idea behind this pabulum. And the entertainment is enhanced by the fact that every post defending its publication provides further evidence of the forensic bankruptcy of CAGW theory.

    *Bored with the argument, I’m now routinely identifying myself as a “denier”, although if I think my readership will be largely American, I may append a few redundant syllables – e.g. “denialistician” to make the poor dears feel more at home. If I’m posting at the Guardian I use “deniar”, for similar reasons. All part of being unfailingly polite, no matter how cretinous your interlocutors.

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