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Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm Opens–At Huge Cost To Energy Customers

June 6, 2019

By Paul Homewood



h/t Dennis Ambler

The far left Yale Environment 360 puff up the opening of the heavily subsidised Hornsea offshore wind farm:


The world’s largest offshore wind farm began operations this week in the North Sea. According to Earther, the first 50 turbines at the Hornsea One wind farm, located 75 miles off the east coast of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, are now generating electricity for up to 287,00 homes.

When completed in 2020, the wind farm, operated by Ørsted, will have 174 turbines with a total capacity of 1.2 gigawatts (GW), enough to power 1 million homes. The facility — which will send electricity to the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Scandinavia — will have more than twice the capacity of the current largest offshore operation, also in the UK.

Because of its distance from shore, teams of workers will live at sea for two weeks at a time maintaining the wind farm. “Operating a wind farm this far offshore is unprecedented,” David Coussens, deputy operations manager for Hornsea One, told Offshore Wind, a trade publication. “We’ve had to think creatively and come up with new ways of working to overcome the logistical and technical challenges of operating a massive power station 120km [75 miles] from the shore.”

The UK currently has 8.2 GW of offshore wind capacity, representing 44 percent of Europe’s entire offshore wind production. The country aims to double its capacity by 2030, and is planning to build an equally large wind farm next to Hornsea One. The United States, in comparison, has just 30 megawatts of offshore wind capacity, Earther reported.

What our leftie friends forgot to mention is that Hornsea is going to be heavily subsidised for the next fifteen years.

This year it will receive a guaranteed payment of £158.75/MWh for every unit of electricity it can produce, compared to the current market price of £45/MWh:


Hornsea’s total capacity of 1.2GW, due on stream in the next two year, can expect to receive annual subsidies of £430m for the next fifteen years, all index linked, and all on top of the revenue for the electricity they actually sell.

It’s certainly a good deal for someone, but not the poor suffering consumers who will end up footing the bill.

  1. June 6, 2019 9:32 am

    1.2GW of intermittent and largely unpredictable electricity is also not good for the grid. Let’s hope they have lots of problems with wear and tear and operating in a harsh environment so that the generation and cost to the consumers is minimised.

  2. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 6, 2019 9:35 am

    Does the subsidy include constraint payments, I wonder?

  3. Robert Fairless permalink
    June 6, 2019 9:38 am

    What a huge waste of money except for a very few who will become very rich on this folly!

  4. dennisambler permalink
    June 6, 2019 9:54 am

    This was their planning proposal in 2009, with Crown Estates

    Click to access EN010033-000659-2.5%20Consultation%20Report%20Annexes_12%20to%2017.pdf

  5. jack broughton permalink
    June 6, 2019 10:46 am

    It is a tremendous piece of engineering, sadly of little benefit to the UK.
    As a first estimate the simple payback is 3 years. This ensures a very profitable fairly low-risk project.
    The owners are Orstadt in Denmark and most of the beneficiaries from the UK’s largess are in Europe, not the UK where only Crown Estates and some already-rich Mr. Fixits will benefit.

  6. June 6, 2019 11:24 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  7. June 6, 2019 11:54 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  8. spetzer86 permalink
    June 6, 2019 12:25 pm

    Is the intermittency better or worse on off-shore turbines? I’ve read the average winds are better, but I wonder if the highest winds are also more severe meaning the units are shut down more frequently.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 6, 2019 1:36 pm

      Offshore 30%
      Onshore 20%

      I can’t think of anything else where people would buy something that works so badly.

      • Joe Public permalink
        June 6, 2019 4:55 pm

        Gerry, England

        “I can’t think of anything else where people would buy something that works so badly.”


        Capacity Factors range from 17% when it’s least needed, down to 2% when it’s most needed. It’s hard to imagine a worse commodity availability match-to-market.

  9. roger permalink
    June 6, 2019 1:28 pm

    We may have 8•2GW of offshore wind capacity but the reality is that at this precise moment wind from all locations is logged as providing only 2•52GW.
    One incumbent and eleven aspirants need acquainting with reality before setting their legacy or excruciatingly fawning over a silly little girl.

  10. June 6, 2019 1:52 pm

    So, we are told, this farm will have 174 turbines with a capacity of 1.2 GW, enoign to power 1 million homes.
    Well let’s see what these homes will actually get in terms of power:

    1.2 GW is 1200,000,000 Watts. At 30% actual output this is 40,000,000 Watts. Divide this by 1 million homes and get each home receiving 40 Watts.😰😰😰

    I do wish journalists would do their homework and earn their keep. 🤬🤬🤬

    PS: I wonder how many homes my Merc. diesel would service. Perhaps some budding journalist will tell me.?

    • Make Coal Great Again permalink
      June 6, 2019 4:02 pm

      Do you know the difference between GW and GWh?

      • June 6, 2019 6:27 pm

        Yes I stuck with the GW so as not to confuse. I f I had started talking about GWHs it would have brought in matters time with additional calculations and explanations. Thought I would keep it simple. There are a lot of seconds in a year.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        June 7, 2019 9:33 am

        Do you? Forty watts is forty watts. Supplying it every hour doesn’t make it more than forty watts.

    • June 6, 2019 9:48 pm

      Offshore wind gets close to 40% CF

      1,200MW capacity will produce the same annual energy useage as 1.275 million homes (assuming average home uses 3,300KWh per year)

      Offshore wind works. It’s expensive but it works. Newer builds night get prices closer to £50-60/MWh which is close to the market price that is to say no huge subsidy maybe £10-20/MWh subsidy which is fine by me it means less £££ exported to OPEC and Russia to buy fossil fuels and more UK wealth and jobs

      I used to be anti wind but prices have finally reached acceptable numbers

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        June 7, 2019 9:20 am

        You give OPEC a pound and get something worth a pound. Your pound goes abroad, their oil comes here.

        Would you rather have a bank account stuffed full of pounds but nothing to soend them on or a country full of stuff we can’t make or grow? Trade makes us richer, not poorer.

      • June 12, 2019 4:56 pm

        Living alone in a small modern flat I clock up about 5000KWhs per year. So expect the average home use to be much higher.
        Also You seem to have forgotten the hidden cost of backup supply which currently does not get assigned to the Wind Farms. Would you be happy picking up the tab on their behalf? They would be pretty useless without this backup.

  11. Chris Walker permalink
    June 6, 2019 3:31 pm

    Meanwhile Harrabin reports that high energy bills subsidise nuclear submarines! So what? I’d rather pay for a deterrent than line the pockets of the unreliables-peddlars..The bit that gets me is he claims £92 per unit for nuclear but only £55 for offshore wind!

    • June 6, 2019 9:43 pm

      We don’t need nuclear, Chris

      Just what we currently have and what is under construction will make the UK grid very low carbon by 2023

      A big part of the solution is the 3 big links to France under construction which will allow a lot more cheap french nuclear imports. Another 2GW link is also planned to France

      • June 6, 2019 10:26 pm

        Where’s the reliability going to come from? Wind has zero reliability and always will do. Get a grip.

      • PeterGB permalink
        June 7, 2019 11:02 am

        Doesn’t really tie in with Hulot’s announcement last year that up to 17 French reactors will close by 2025.(Some are suffering core degradation – as we have seen here in the UK). Macron is still full on green and when the Energiewende finally hits the fan will France export east or north? Will we want to pay German prices for “cheap” French nuclear?

  12. Dave Cowdell permalink
    June 6, 2019 3:57 pm

    “generating electricity for up to 287,00 homes.” Nothing wrong with that statement with the words ” up to ”
    Earlier this year we had 0.14 GW from an installed 20.8 GW of wind power.
    They are living in a parallel universe!

    • June 6, 2019 9:42 pm

      That’s fine Dave the UK plan is to have a CCGT heavy grid and for wind/solar/imports to displace that gas fired output where possible. It works today and will continue to worm

      UK grid is actually going to be very green come 2023

      Probably around 0% coal 25% gas 75% non fossil fuels of which will be mostly wind then nuclear then imports then solar

      • Nial Stewart permalink
        June 7, 2019 11:26 am

        ” It works today and will continue to work”

        You think so?

      • Dave Cowdell permalink
        June 7, 2019 12:35 pm

        That is all very well if the heavy lifting is done by CCGT, but of course when the wind does not blow the slack is taken up by non combined cycle gas turbines which are highly inefficient. This all assumes that we have control of the gas which will again be 50% of our energy demand. Europe will be increasingly dependent and reliant on Russian gas; until we have a sensible policy on developing our own gas we are in a parlous situation. Remember the Ukraine?

  13. PeterGB permalink
    June 6, 2019 4:04 pm

    The ref above to is well worth a squint:
    “The project’s first operational team of 32 set sail from Grimsby Royal Docks to the wind farm located 120 kilometres out to sea on 31 May.
    They are part of two shift-based teams that are responsible for operating and maintaining the wind farm, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout its 25-year life-span, Ørsted said.
    The teams will each spend two weeks at a time offshore, staying on the Service Operations Vessel (SOV) Edda Mistral.”

    That’s 64 highly qualified engineers, paid to work in these particular conditions, with a bespoke operations vessel and crew, plus all the stuff we will never know about – helicopters, replacement gearboxes etc, a quoted life of 25 years which experience shows will be closer to 15 years and still the operator makes an offshore quarterly profit of DKK 3.6 billion.

    I really hope I will still be around when those responsible for all this greentwattery are held to account.

  14. Peter Leddington permalink
    June 6, 2019 4:54 pm

    How much subsidy do all our US utilities recievw? What about nuclear power production? Haven’t they received government subsidies?

    • June 6, 2019 9:55 pm

      I don’t know about the US.

      But in the UK, there are no subsidies for existing nuclear or FF generators.

      Because of the phase out of proper FF plants, the Govt has forced itself into the corner to subsidise Hinkley Point nuclear, even though it is twice the price of CCGT. And the reason is simple – renewables cannot provide dispatchable power

      • Not angry permalink
        June 6, 2019 11:01 pm

        No subsidies hey? And yet the cost to decomission Sellafield is estimated to total £121bn when it finally happens in 2120. And it is already costing us £1bn a year.

      • June 7, 2019 9:16 am

        Decommissioning costs for Sellafield ( and all other generators) are just part of lifetime costs, which should have been accounted for during its generation life.

        Therefore they are not a “subsidy”.

        If these costs were not properly accounted and provided for decades ago, that was the fault of the BNFL and ultimately the government

  15. Master 5 permalink
    June 6, 2019 6:51 pm

    Ah yes my friend, quite a fact. Did you also bother to note that hornsea 2 strike price is indeed GBP 57.50. Due to go on line in 2021. There is indeed a price to pay for developing technology much the same as anything really. Moving to green energy takes effort, ingenuity and no small amount of cash. But as you can see cost per MWh has tumbled and is looking toward subsidy free construction within 10 years. It’s not really anything to do with left or right of politics but what’s right for the future of the planet.
    Hope you’ll be happy to keep your eye out for hornsea 2 and let everyone know about that too.

    • June 6, 2019 10:01 pm

      Wrong – Hornsea 2 is already upto £65.09/MWh:

      You forget that your £57.50 is at 2012 prices!

      As for the “developing technology” argument, I say BS. There are plenty of other countries that could have wasted tens of billions “developing” windmills. Why should we suckers in the UK pay for it?

      It is also not due to commission till 2023, by which time billions more in subsidies will be committed for other wind farms. Also the current tranche will receive their index linked, guaranteed subsidies for the next 15 yrs.

      And none of it will make the slightest difference to the planet, while the ROW is busily increasing emissions

      • PeterGB permalink
        June 7, 2019 10:50 am

        “It is also not due to commission till 2023”

        “Target Commissioning Date 01-04-2024”

        4/23 is commissioning window commencement date, so add another year of index linking.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 7, 2019 9:23 am

      Then come back in ten years. I don’t have to pay higher prices for other developing technologies, so why should I for energy? As for the future of the planet, how about caring about the present of the planet?

    • Up2snuff permalink
      June 7, 2019 10:01 pm

      Master 5, ” But as you can see cost per MWh has tumbled and is looking toward subsidy free construction within 10 years. It’s not really anything to do with left or right of politics but what’s right for the future of the planet.”

      Cost of turbines? Paid for by generators alone? I’ll believe that when I see it. That still doesn’t explain away their inherent contradictions: damage to the environment, wildlife & vulnerable to the very things that alarmists are predicting will happen.

  16. Up2snuff permalink
    June 6, 2019 9:11 pm

    What exactly is the CO2 cost of 26 round trips per annum (weather permitting – after all they claim the climate is changing) from dirty marine engine boats to swap ‘crews’ for that monstrosity?

    Just asking.

    Or will they sail out there or travel in canoes?

    • Lau permalink
      June 7, 2019 7:33 pm

      That’s a bit of a moot point. How about all the emissions to import fuel to a power station? Renewable energy needs none of that. Similarly, how about all the round trips to support an offshore oil rig, that is only one step in the process of producing fossil-fuel power.

      Too often in discussions in this area it seems to be, this energy solution isn’t perfect. But it’s a damn sight better than the alternatives. You could argue ‘perfect’ would not be needing so much energy in the first place..

      • June 7, 2019 7:41 pm

        It depends how you define “better”!!

      • Up2snuff permalink
        June 7, 2019 9:49 pm

        Lau, Please see my reminder to Laurence, below.

        You are also overlooking the CO2 of turbine manufacture, installation and continual maintenance and repair visits, let alone any other harms to environment and wildlife. The life of turbines is still worryingly short, and the payback period (before they are a contributor to saving their own and other CO2) stubbornly long.

        James Lovelock, a pioneer in the environmental movement, considers wind turbines to be an abomination. So do I, when located off-shore or in the country-side.

        They make real sense when located on industrial estates and retail parks.

      • Laurence permalink
        June 8, 2019 9:14 am

        No, I don’t think i’m particularly overlooking that. Once again, every other type of power generator needs to be manufactured installed and repaired.
        The difference is fuel powered ones also need infrastructure to produce the power, and that needs to manufactured, installed, repaired, and transported.

        The difference between 25 years and 40 years isn’t that enormous, and more & more farms will have their lifetime extended as we improve the design and monitoring mechanism.

        I don’t put that much stock in Lovelock’s Gaia theory, as much as got some people on the ‘bandwagon’ it has nothing to do with my own or many other people’s interests. He appears to be more opposed to onshore wind because of visual impact. As I was about to say in your reply to Laurence (Lau also me) – I think still probably is a fair bit better than offshore, but the current government have blocked any more being built)

        (Also, much research is ongoing into more autonomous inspection, maintenance and repair too..)

      • June 8, 2019 11:18 am

        The govt has not “blocked” onshore wind.

        It has merely ended the subsidies

      • Lau permalink
        June 8, 2019 9:17 am

        Sorry, produce the *fuel* on line 6

      • Lau permalink
        June 8, 2019 12:46 pm

        Last thing – sadly the industrial estates and retail parks would be nice, but the comment does highlight a lack of expertise in wind power – those sites are the least efficient and cost effective, as you want your turbines away from buildings, as it impedes the quality of wind, making it slower (so less energy) and more turbulent

  17. June 6, 2019 9:39 pm

    Offshore wind is now pretty competitive and will represent a lot of UK electricity production in the years to come. Overall I would say it’s now a positive development. It is also pretty effective. Achieving 40% capacity factor (30% summer 50% winter) which also correlates somewhat to seasonal demand

    What is really expensive are EV subsidies
    £3-4k subsidy per vehicle.
    One EV displaces about 25 tons of CO2 in its lifetime which at a subsidy cost of circa £3.5k so it costs £140 per ton. That is a ridiculously high figure

    In electricity terms it’s equal to circa £300/MWh
    Offshore wind is closer to £50-60/MWh and that is not all subsidy the subsidy is the difference between that figure and wholesale price.

    • Up2snuff permalink
      June 7, 2019 9:28 am

      A, I think you may have missed the following:
      “This year it will receive a guaranteed payment of £158.75/MWh for every unit of electricity it can produce, compared to the current market price of £45/MWh:”

  18. June 7, 2019 7:11 am

    Lazy person.

    How much Government support go to the oil and gas industry? Google it!

    I think you will find 435m cheaper in comparison. Do your homework.

    Battery storage. Cold air storage. Just HM GOV charge you for storage and supplying. Which keeps the status quo for the electricity companies. Change that which HM GOV keeps promising to do. There is not an issue with wind or solar. As demonstrated in Australia by TESLA.

    • June 7, 2019 9:21 am

      A bit silly, aren’t you!

      I suggest you read up on those so called fossil fuel subsidies:

      Oil and gas don’t receive support at all, but actually pay billions in extra taxes.

      Then ask yourself how long Tesla’s battery can supply power for.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 7, 2019 9:27 am

      Lazy person. Not a single penny of tax payer’s money subsidises oil or gas. We pay the market price, plus taxes. The idea that a lack of tax represents a subsidy is economically illiterate.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 7, 2019 9:32 am

      Lazy person. Not a single penny of tax payer’s money subsidises oil or gas. We pay the market price, plus taxes. The idea that a lack of tax represents a subsidy is economically illiterate.8

  19. Laurence permalink
    June 7, 2019 9:03 am

    When you say subsidised you mean it has a Contract For Difference, so for that first 15 years, they will have been given a strike price for the electricity they generate. The same thing happens with nuclear, but the wind farm in it’s initial form will last 25 years, and can then be repowered with newer turbines making use of the existing architecture and understanding of site.

    The reason the US only currently has that one 30MW wind turbine is that their waters are too deep for significant amounts of fixed offshore wind, so they are having to wait for floating wind to mature.

    We’re blessed to be in one of the best places in the world for offshore wind. Shallows waters and a heckload of wind. The prices are tumbling down rapidly, it’s already cheaper than nuclear and the first bids for new farms with zero-subsidy have gone through in the last few years.

    • June 7, 2019 9:26 am

      Yes, as I say, subsidised!

      It will be paid a guaranteed, index linked price of £158.75/MWh, three times the market price for 15 yrs.

      And all for an intermittent source which needs to be fully backed up by proper dispatchable power

      • Up2snuff permalink
        June 7, 2019 9:32 pm

        Yes, and that subsidy comes from the taxpayer and non-taxpayer (ie. poor person, low-earner, OAP, alike) because the Government does not have any money.

        Phoenix44 is quite correct above, about oil, gas and coal, the Government – which does not have any money – does not give any of our money to those industries.

    • Up2snuff permalink
      June 7, 2019 9:40 pm

      Laurence, “We’re blessed to be in one of the best places in the world for offshore wind. Shallows waters and a heckload of wind.”

      I think you are forgetting something. The strongest proponents of wind turbines, off-shore and on-shore, along with solar panels and other so-called ‘renewables’ are also the strongest proponents of Global Warming, aka: hot windless days & sea-level rise, and Climate Change, aka: massive storms. These not only make their favoured renewable technologies extremely physically vulnerable but also put lives at risk due to likely interruptions in power supply.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        June 7, 2019 9:48 pm

        Not forgetting that ‘wind’ is not costed against the need to keep backup on standby in the event wind fails. Who subsidises that, Laurence?

  20. June 7, 2019 9:10 am

    Tilting at Windmills
    Don Quixote – first published in 1604, under the title The Ingenious Knight of La Mancha

    Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.”

    “What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.

    “Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”

    “Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.”

  21. In the Real World permalink
    June 7, 2019 11:43 am

    Greenpeace put some adverts up saying that the price of wind generation had come down & was lower than some conventional generation , but the Advertising Standards Authority made them take the adverts down as it was a total lie .

    But I suppose it served a purpose as some ignorant people & the green Loonies now say wind generation is cheap .
    Over an approx 60 year life span of a gas power station , offshore wind generation is 15 to 20 times more expensive per unit cost .
    And Solar is over 20 times more expensive .

    As Prof David Mackay said , the idea that renewable generation could be cost effective is ” An Appalling Delusion “

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