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AEP’s Weekly Renewables Rant

January 11, 2016

By Paul Homewood




AEP is off on another of his weekly renewable rants!



Apparently Vestas are unhappy that we won’t let them build giant wind turbines over 125 meters high. We are then told that we are ditching onshore wind, just when it is so cheaper than any other source of power, before moaning that subsidies would be cut from April 2016!


As usual he includes a lot of misleading data and graphs, like this one, claiming to show that wind power is taking over the world.





Unfortunately, he forgets to show what this means in terms of global energy:




He then repeats the nonsense that the levelised cost of wind power is almost as low as gas turbine plants, without explaining that the calculation does not include the cost of providing standby capacity, and even only applies after charging of a carbon tax to the latter.


Finally he draws from an IES road map study suggesting that China might have 400 GW of wind capacity by 2030, something he calls a staggering sum. (Of course, China is so big, any number there always appears staggering to us).

But once again we need to see what this means in terms of China’s overall energy needs, which are forecast to carry on rising.


According to the official China Statistical Yearbook, China had 61 GW of wind capacity in 2012 which produced 96 TWh. This gives a capacity utilisation of 18%.

At this rate, 400 GW will produce 630 TWh/year. Electricity generation in China last year was 5650 TWh, meaning that wind would supply just 11% of this figure. In reality, of course, the percentage in 2030 will be much less as China’s demand for electricity is likely to have grown considerably by then.

Meanwhile, as AEP points out, wind power supplied 11% of the UK’s electricity last year.

Apparently this is what AEP means by abandoning onshore wind.


There is, of course, a very simple solution to all of this. Abandon all subsidies, guaranteed strike prices, renewables obligations and preferential access to the market for wind power, and let it compete on a proper level playing field. Then we’ll see how many new wind farms get built.

I suspect it will not be many.

  1. spetzer86 permalink
    January 11, 2016 4:42 pm

    If it’s really cheaper electricity than any other source, there’ll be companies lining up to buy land and install them. Otherwise, you’re quite right on the amount of new construction we’ll see.

  2. David Richardson permalink
    January 11, 2016 4:45 pm

    AEP talks such total drivel on this subject that I now never read anything he writes – well only occasionally through the Homewood Filter.

    • January 11, 2016 4:46 pm

      I totally agree. He sames to have taken over from Geoffrey Lean as the head of gibberish.

  3. January 11, 2016 4:59 pm

    The Official US gov (EIA) LCOE for wind makes the same claim. Planning Engineer (a utility executive ) and I deconstructed this blatant lie in guest post True Cost of Wind at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. In a nutshell:
    1. EIA assumed 30 year plant lives. Wind is between 20 and 25, while CCGT is over 40.
    2. Included wind subsidies. If wind were competitive, these would not be needed.
    3. Used a 35% wind capacity factor. The US national median past 10 years is 31%.
    4. Ignored intermittency backup. We calculated the ‘actual’ for Texas’ ERCOT grid, which has just under 10% penetration. ERCOT is bigger than the UK.

    ‘True’ cost of wind $146/MWh compared to CCGT at $57/ MWh. AEP’s assertion is grievously wrong, relying on provable ‘official’ government nonsense.

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 11, 2016 5:19 pm

      Wind farms’ performance declines with age. Prof Gordon Hughes suggested that the load factors of wind farms in the UK have declined by 5–13% per year.

      Another report “On the Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom” by Sir Professor David MacKay FRS confirmed age-related declining performance, but at a slower rate than Prof Hughes:

      • January 11, 2016 5:25 pm

        JP, we discussed it but did not put in an economic factor to be ‘conservative’. Also, unlike CCGT wind needs increasing maintenance cost over time despite the output declines. Bearing. Again, did not factor that in the calculations. Main point was to show how blatantly wrong the official EIA estimate is.

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 11, 2016 7:14 pm

      Apologies RV – I’d intended my comment to be stand-alone, but inadvertently posted it as a reply to your comment.

  4. glenwaytown permalink
    January 11, 2016 5:11 pm

    If he was promoting financial products with as much misinformation he would be in jail

  5. January 11, 2016 5:49 pm

    DECC Director moves to head Renewbles trade body
    ..How the doors revolve more than those damn wind turbines !
    RenewableUK has appointed the director of change at the UK government’s energy department as its new chief executive.
    Hugh McNeal will take up his new position in April, taking over from Maria McCaffer

    a civil servant in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) since April 2010 & before that green stuff in Dbis

    McNeal led the tense negotiations between Decc and Siemens over the Green Port Hull

  6. Dave Ward permalink
    January 11, 2016 6:39 pm

    “Wind power is taking over the world”

    Even if Installed Capacity is taking over the world, the effective contribution certainly isn’t, if the graph in this post by Pierre Gosselin is anything to go by:

    • January 12, 2016 2:13 pm

      The wind power taking over the world comes from these green clowns. If only we could harness that they might have some use…….

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