Classes discovered from the UK’s inexperienced power drive • Are you proud of it?

The Telegraph article referenced for this article was written by:

dr Capell Aris PhD, who has spent his career in the power generation sector. He is a former Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology

With the United States targeting a significant expansion of offshore wind capacity, it would be good to look at the cautionary tales unfolding in the UK. With the UK already dealing with the consequences of aggressively pursuing green energy, American policymakers and citizens need to carefully weigh the feasibility and potential risks of such a rapid energy transition. In this article, we explore concerns that Britain’s experience could serve as a dire warning to Americans.

The True Cost of Offshore Wind Energy

“The UK already has 15 GW of offshore wind power, more than 300 times that of the US: and our experience should be a dire warning to Americans.”

The exorbitant costs associated with offshore wind energy in the UK are of great concern. Offshore wind farms such as Hornsea Two and Moray East have been built at capital costs of £2.77 billion and £2.75 billion per GW, respectively, more than four times the cost of gas-fired combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs). . Offshore wind farm maintenance costs are also significant, estimated at up to £200m per installed GW per year.

The intermittent nature of wind energy presents a fundamental challenge.

“Wind energy is unpredictably intermittent and highly variable.”

resulting in fluctuations in energy output. Unlike traditional generators, wind turbines cannot be relied upon to deliver power on demand. In addition, the UK wind farm capacity factor was far from optimal, standing at 33 per cent in 2022 and just 29 per cent in 2021. These factors not only affect power reliability, but also increase the overall cost to consumers.

load on the grid

“As our generation sites move further and further away from load centers, our grid transmission system needs to be expanded to accommodate the new renewable generators.”

The load on the transmission grid becomes significant when renewable generators are located in remote or offshore locations. The National Grid estimates that these new renewable generators will cost £46 billion to connect by 2030, or £1,533 per household. Additionally, the inability of wind power to provide grid inertia, coupled with the growing share of renewable energy, raises concerns about system instability and increased risk of blackouts.

Rising costs for consumers

“Additional services such as very fast-response gas generators required to enable renewable energy to be connected to the grid increase renewable energy costs by between £30/MWh and £50/MWh.”

These additional costs, in combination with the high investment and maintenance costs of offshore wind farms, have a significant impact on the price of electricity. The actual consumer cost of offshore wind generation ranges from £200/MWh to £220/MWh, well above the cost of CCGTs.

Even if one wants to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, for example to preserve oil as a resource for future generations, an overly ambitious and rapid energy transition is not the most prudent path. Urgent attention should be paid to the construction of new nuclear power plants as a reliable, affordable and practical means of achieving an energy mix while ensuring security of energy supply.

The cautionary tale of Britain’s green energy disaster is a sobering reminder that over-ambitious and rushed energy transitions can have profound consequences. The high costs, problems with intermittent disturbances, grid stress and limited storage capacities associated with offshore wind energy require careful consideration. Rather than plunge headfirst into an untested energy landscape, policymakers must weigh the potential risks and costs against the desired benefits. A balanced and pragmatic approach that includes a mix of energy sources could prove to be a more reliable and cost-effective solution in the quest for a sane and reliable energy future.

The Telegraph article referenced for this article was written by:

dr Capell Aris PhD, who has spent his career in the power generation sector. He is a former Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology


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