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May. 1 2010 - 7:40 pm | 259 views | 2 recommendations | 3 comments

Wind Power Brings Energy Prices Down In Europe


Came across this at The Oil Drum and thought it was an interesting look at where we’re headed instead of drilling more offshore.

What’s curious, and this is noted by The Oil Drum, is that the story doesn’t see declining energy prices as a good thing.

First, this…

Twice this year, the nation’s 21,000 wind turbines pumped out so much power that utilities reduced customer bills for using the surplus electricity. Since the first rebate came with little fanfare at 5 a.m. one October day in 2008, payments have risen as high as 500.02 euros ($665) a megawatt-hour, about as much as a small factory or 1,000 homes use in 60 minutes.

The wind-energy boom in Europe and parts of Texas has begun to reduce bills for consumers. Electricity-network managers have even ordered windmills offline at times to trim supplies. That hurts profit for wind-farm operators, said Christian Kjaer, head of the European Wind Energy Association, which represents RWE AG of Germany, Spain’s Iberdrola SA and Dong Energy A/S of Denmark.

That’s right. They produced so much energy that they paid people to use it.

And then, this…

“We’re seeing that wind energy lowers prices, which is great for the consumers,” Kjaer said at his group’s conference in Warsaw this week. “We as producers have to acknowledge that this means operating the existing plant fewer hours a year, and this has an effect on investors” and profit.

After years of getting government incentives to install windmills, operators in Europe may have become their own worst enemy, reducing the total price paid for electricity in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market, by as much as 5 billion euros some years, according to a study this week by Poeyry, a Helsinki-based industry consultant.

Gotta love cheap, clean energy.

By the way, we’re starting to build our very first offshore wind farms! Talk about timing!

According to Cape Wind Associates Communications Director Mark Rogers, the 400 foot tall turbines are located far enough out to sea that they will appear about as tall from the shoreline as an NFL referee from the top row of Patriot’s stadium.
The turbines sit in water too shallow for most sailboats or large motorized ships to navigate. Blades will most closely approach the water about eight stories above a calm sea.

The 130 supporting poles will be pounded into the seabed like huge nails driven with Paul Bunyan’s sledge hammer. Rogers says that the process should be completed within two months after construction begins and even then, the sound should not be audible on shore.

And this is what it’ll look like…


Spin baby spin!

(Photos: NY Times and Treehugger)


One T/S Member Comment Called Out, 3 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    Lake Erie has an average depth of only 40 feet, and they are studying putting them in the lake here, the wind is there.

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    I run the multi-partisan blog Donklephant. If you never been before, it's a site where everybody is welcome to come and have an open, honest debate about the news of the day. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but it's always interesting.

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