DEEP-WATER FLOATING OFFSHORE WIND TURBINES IN MAINE

The Norwegians, who get 98% of their electricity from hydro plants (near-CO2-free), have about 60 years of experience building and servicing oil/gas rigs and laying undersea electric cables, gas lines and oil lines all over the world.

They have invested billions of dollars in specialized deep-water, Norwegian harbors and facilities for assembly of oil/gas rigs and invested in specialized sea-going heavy lifters, and specialized sea-going tugboats to tow the oil/gas rigs from Norwegian building sites to oil/gas production sites. The heavy lifters and other ships perform services all over the world.

Norway companies want to expand their business by building and servicing and providing spare parts for floating wind turbines for deep-water conditions all over the world

First Experimental Floating Wind Turbine in Norway

Equinor (formerly Statoil, a Norwegian government controlled company) launched the world’s first operational deep-water, floating large-capacity wind turbine in 2009. The turbine trade name is “Hywind”.

The wind turbine consists of a 120 m (390 ft) tall tower, above the sea water level, and a 60 m (195 ft) submerged extension below the sea water level, with a heavy weight at the bottom to keep the wind turbine steady and upright, even with very high waves and strong wind conditions. The design was tested and perfected under storm and wind conditions simulated in a laboratory. 

The 2.3 MW turbine is mounted on top of the tower. It was fully assembled in a deep-water harbor near Stavanger, Norway.

It was towed to a site 10 km (6.2 mi) offshore into the Amoy Fjord in 220 m (720 ft) deep water, near Stavanger, Norway, on 9 June 2009, for a two-year test run, which turned out to be successful.

First Commercial Floating Wind Turbine Plant in Scotland

Hywind Scotland project is the world’s first commercial wind turbine plant using floating wind turbines.

It is located 29 km (18 mi) off PeterheadScotland to minimize visual impacts from shore.

It has five Hywind floating turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW.

It is operated by Hywind (Scotland) Limited, a joint venture of Equinor, Norway (75%) and Masdar, Kuwait (25%).

In 2015, Equinor received permission to install 5 Hywind turbines in Scotland.  

Manufacturing started in 2016 in Spain (wind turbine, rotor), Norway (tower, underwater base, assembly), and Scotland (various parts)

The turnkey capital cost was $263 million for five 6 MW turbines, or $8,767/kW.

They were designed to float on the surface, with about 180 m (600 ft) above the sea water level and 80 m (265 ft) submerged below the seawater level.

Total steel weight is about 2300 metric ton, total ballasted weight is about 20,000 metric ton.

Heavy weights in the bottom of the submerged parts serve to keep them steady and upright.

The turbines were assembled at Stord in Norway in the summer of 2017, using the specialized Saipem 7000 floating crane, and then towed to the north of Scotland by sea-going tugs.

Make sure to see the videos showing the crane assembling the entire wind turbine.

Nothing like that exists in Maine, or in the rest of New England.

The huge, sea-going, specialized, crane (14,000-metric ton lifting capacity) is required for partial assembly on land and final assembly in an area close to shore with a very deep harbor, before towing, fully assembled, to the site.

The finished turbines were towed to Peterhead, Scotland. 

Three cup anchors hold each turbine in place.

About 2400 meter of chain is required, weighing 400 metric ton, for each turbine.

The Hywind Scotland project was commissioned in October 2017.

Hywind Wind Turbines for Demonstration Purposes in Maine

Hannah Pingree and other Maine’s wind bureaucrats in state government are engaging in mindless prattle, eager to do the bidding of various multi-millionaires and foreign companies that may be providing some wining/dining boondoggle trips to “view the Hywind turbines” in Norway and Scotland.

The turnkey cost of those two Hywind turbines would be about $10,000 per kW, versus NE ridgeline wind at $2,000/kW, and regular offshore, south of Martha’s Vineyard, at $4,000/kW.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/iso-ne-study-of-1600-mw…

That would be at about $120 million for a two 6 MW Hywind wind turbines, plus whatever facilities would need to be built in Maine to support the project.

The turnkey capital cost of the wind turbine plant in Maine would be much higher, because Maine does not have the experience of the Norwegians and the specialized equipment and specialized ships, and other facilities. It would be very costly to build those facilities and ships in Maine, or elsewhere.

600-ft Tall Hywind Turbines Highly Visible From Mohegan Island, Plus Infrasound

The 600-ft tall Hywind wind turbines would be highly visible from Mohegan Island, if they were located 2 miles east of the island.

At that distance, the problem would not be just cyclical, audible noises keeping people awake, but also low frequency infrasound, which can travel many miles, and passes through walls of houses, and can be felt but not heard, and has been shown to have adverse health impacts on people and animals.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-turbine-noise-adve…

The FAA-required aviation beacons would be clearly visible during nighttime. BTW, they would need to be located about 15 – 20 miles away from Mohegan Island to be unobtrusive to the Islanders.

Here is a research report of daytime and nighttime visibility of wind turbines that are about 3 to 4 MW and about 500 ft tall. See URL with photos.

Click to access OffshoreVITD.pdf

“Study objectives included identifying the maximum distances the facilities could be seen in both daytime and nighttime views and assessing the effect of distance on visual contrasts associated with the facilities. Results showed that small to moderately sized facilities were visible to the unaided eye at distances greater than 42 km [26 miles (mi)], with turbine blade movement visible up to 39 km (24 mi). At night, aerial hazard navigation lighting was visible at distances greater than 39 km (24 mi). The observed wind facilities were judged to be a major focus of visual attention at distances up to 16 km (10 mi), were noticeable to casual observers at distances of almost 29 km (18 mi), and were visible with extended or concentrated viewing at distances beyond 40 km (25 mi).”

One has to feel sorry for all the residents of Mohegan Island, but the bureaucrats in Augusta, Maine, do not care about that, because there are not enough votes to stop them. Those bureaucrats are hell-bent to use federal and state grants, subsidies, taxpayer and ratepayer money of already-struggling Joe and Jane Worker to save the world, and to enrich a host of multi-millionaires seeking tax shelters. See Appendix.

Some Questions

Who are these Aqua Ventus multi-millionaire owners pushing for this expensive project?

How much would be the subsidies?

What would be the energy cost/kWh?

How long would the project last before it would have to be repaired?

How would it be repaired?

Would any special ships, facilities be required?

Does Maine have the required, at least 100-meter, deep-water port?

Is anyone looking at the entire picture on an A to Z basis, or are Maine bureaucrats just dreaming/prattling about castles in Spain?

Does anyone think the Norwegians would not want to make money to maintain/service and provide spare parts for their Hywind wind turbines?

Impact on CMP Electric Rates

LePage’s energy director, Steven McGrath, has focused exclusively on the cost of electricity from the demonstration project.

He noted that it would be well above current market prices, adding between $172 million and $187 million to Central Maine Power customer electric bills over the 20-year contract period.

The contract power rate for the 12 MW demonstration project starts at 23 c/kWh in its first year, escalating 2.5% per year for 20 years!!

That is a total rip-off, because Massachusetts pays only an average of 8 – 9 c/kWh over the life of the project.

Main bureaucrats need to learn from Governor Baker.

NOTE: The above prices should be compared with NE wholesale prices, which have been about 5 c/kWh since 2008, courtesy of abundant, domestic, low-cost, low-CO2 electricity from gas at about 5 c/kWh, and low-cost, near CO2-free electricity from nuclear at about 4.5 – 5.0 c/kWh.

This project is insanity on STEROIDS.

One has to feel sorry for the already-struggling Joe and Jane Workers in Maine who will ultimately pay for all this.

For an average CMP household customer, that works out to roughly 73 cents a month in the first year of the project, much more thereafter, due to escalation.

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/01/effort-to-build-offshore-win…

NOTE:

Dear Mr. Greg Kesich, Editor Portland Press Herald

(Mr. Greg suggested I write an op-ed regarding the referenced PPH article, so here it is.)

This op-ed is in reference to an article on floating wind turbines off the coast of Maine in the Portland Press Herald, dated 20 May 2019.

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/05/20/our-view-blown-off-course-ma…

The article states, Statoil had proposed a $120 million demonstration project for two 6 MW Hywind turbines ($10,000/kW) off Boothbay Harbor, but that Governor Page had rejected it. As you recall, his main reason was the higher electricity prices Joe and Jane Worker/Ratepayer would have to pay for 20 years.

The article states, Statoil instead took its project to Scotland, where it has invested more than $200 million for five 6 MW Hywind turbines. After some checking, the actual turnkey cost turned out to be $263 million.

Scotland got the turbines at $8,767/kW in 2017, but Maine would have gotten the same turbines at $10,000/kW.

The article states, “…..and given that country (Scotland) a head start on establishing itself as developer, manufacturer and exporter of offshore technology. Such potential was recognized by the wind energy task force, which was created in 2008 by Gov. John Baldacci and released its findings in December 2009.”

That statement is highly naive and unrealistic. Norway has invested billions of dollars in infrastructures to develop specialized facilities and seagoing ships for shallow-water and deep-water wind turbines during the past 10 – 15 years. Norway has absolutely no intention of establishing Scotland and Maine as competitors. See note.

The Scotland/UK actual contributions to the project were:

1) Scotland making some parts that were shipped to Norway for assembly

2) Scotland providing the site 18 miles from shore to minimize visual impacts from shore.

3) The UK providing a subsidy of 18.5 c/kWh, plus Statoil selling electricity at about 6.5 c/kWh on the wholesale market, for a total wholesale cost of 25 c/kWh for 20 years. This compares with New England wholesale prices averaging about 5 c/kWh since 2008.

4) The Scotland people paying higher prices/kWh for low-value, variable/intermittent electricity for 20 years that requires the services of other generators for peaking, filling in and balancing year-round. Statoil had to provide a 1.0 MWh li-ion battery system, at a capital cost of about $700,000, to help smooth the flow of the variable electricity from Hywind to minimize disturbances of the Scotland grid.

NOTE: If Maine government would have insisted Statoil would build significant infrastructure in Portland, ME, or elsewhere in Maine, Statoil, if willing to do so, would merely have increased the cost of the electricity, c/kWh, to cover its additional costs.

NOTE: Massachusetts has signed contracts for 800 MW of offshore wind turbines south of Martha’s Vineyard. If the state government would have insisted the consortium of European companies would build significant infrastructure in New Bedford, MA, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, the consortium, if willing to do so, would merely have increased the cost of the electricity, c/kWh, to cover its additional costs. However, Governor Baker insisted on lowest electricity cost, as that would benefit all of Massachusetts, not just New Bedford, etc. Counting votes is important. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/iso-ne-study-of-1600-mw…

NOTE:

School Students Playing with Floating Wind Turbines

The main objective with floating wind turbines is to isolate the wind turbine from any wave action, including 30 – 40 ft waves. That can only be done with a long, submerged extension of the wind turbine mast, with a heavy weight inside the bottom of the extension (ballast) to keep the wind turbine steady and upright.

Dr. Habib Dagher, Executive Director of the Advanced Structures & Composites Center, should have watched the youtube video, and then given proper instructions to teachers all over Maine, so those teachers could have educated these students regarding the physical requirements, to ensure these students would not waste their valuable time and money building inappropriate models. See URLs and watch both videos.

https://www.wabi.tv/content/news/Students-compete-to-build-most-sta…

CO2 Reduction due to Wind Turbines Much Less Than Claimed

The Irish Grid: Studies of operating conditions of the Irish grid performed a few years ago showed, at 17% wind on the grid, about 55% of the CO2 was reduced due to wind, instead of the claimed 100%. At higher wind percentages, the percent CO2 reduction would be even less.

NOTE: The mantra often promulgated by pro-wind folks is one MWh of wind displaces one MWh of other generation, and as wind uses no fuel there is no CO2, but other generation does use fuel, so that CO2 is avoided. That turned out to be of advantage to pro-wind folks, but is, in fact, highly simplistic.

In Ireland, there were years of denial and ignoring of various studies by independent energy systems analysts. Dr. Fred Udo was one of the early analysts of the Irish grid to point out the discrepancy. He was ignored at that time. Another study showed the gas turbines operated near 40% efficiency at 17% wind, whereas, at zero wind, they operated at near 50% efficiency. At that time, the Irish grid had only a minor connection to the UK grid. 

The undeniable tip-off was Irish gas imports, which had been predicted to decrease as wind would increase, but had, in fact, not decreased as much as predicted. After much back and forth, the government finally launched an inquiry, which revealed the inefficient operation of the gas turbines at part load (more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh), and their more frequent start/stop operations (high Btu/kWh, high CO2/kWh), all due to the variable, intermittent output of the wind turbines.

Since that time, the Irish grid acquired large capacity connections to the UK and French grids to spread the “discrepancy” over a much larger grid area, which makes it nearly invisible. A Brussels PR problem solved. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fuel-and-co2-reductions-due-to-wind-energy-less-than-claimed

The New England Grid: Future wind on the NE grid is planned to be much higher than 17%, and the NE grid has only minor connections to nearby grids. At the higher wind percentages, the percent CO2 reduction would be significantly less than 55%, i.e., expensive or inexpensive, variable, intermittent wind is no panacea regarding global warming.

NOTE: Daily DUCK curves due to daytime solar, a minor problem in not-so-sunny Ireland, would impart an additional worsening of grid stability problems after solar would become a significant percentage on the grid at noontime in the future. Dealing with the problems would impart additional cost/kWh that likely would not be charged to solar system owners but to ratepayers.

Also, during simultaneous wind/solar lulls, which occur at random throughout the year, and may last up to 7 days, a full complement of traditional generation plants and energy storage sources  must be available, 24/7/365, to serve NE demand, including future EVs and heat pumps. That storage must be replenished in a timely manner to serve a second lull, which may occur a few days after the first lull. See URLs.

NOTE: The mantra often promulgated by pro-wind folks is “the wind always blows somewhere”. However, weather systems tend to be 500 to 1000 miles long and wide. Any surplus wind electricity would have to come from at least 1000 miles away, which would require high voltage DC lines, as the transmissions losses of high voltage AC lines would be too large, plus it would require very robust connections between the NE and nearby grids. Dealing with the problems would impart additional cost/kWh that likely would not be charged to wind turbine owners but to ratepayers.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-energy-l…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-demand-and-low-win…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/analysis-of-a-6-day-lul…

APPENDIX 1

Insulating/Sealing Energy-Hog Houses a Much Better Alternative for Maine

It would be much better to use the money to deep retrofit the existing housing of already-struggling Joe and Jane Worker, so it would be highly sealed/highly insulated, and thus become suitable for heat pumps, even on colder days.

Regarding heat pumps, the current irrational practice in Vermont, Maine, etc., has been to install subsidized heat pumps in energy-hog houses, which has resulted in about a 34% displacement of fuel oil, on average, with the other 66% provided by the traditional heating system. Having two heating systems definitely is not a money saver for anybody!! That practice should not be subsidized. The subsidies for heat pumps in energy-hog houses should be stopped. See URLs.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fact-checking-regarding…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-baseless-claims…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-oversold-by-…

APPENDIX 2

High Efficiency Gas Turbine Plants a Much Better Alternative for Maine

One 60% efficient, 80 MW gas turbine plant, built by GE in the US, turnkey capital cost about $100 million, would produce 80 MW x 8766 h/y x 0.85, capacity factor = 596,088 MWh each year for about 40 years.

Two 6 MW Hywind wind turbines, built in Norway, turnkey capital cost about $100 million, would produce 12 x 8766 x 0.45 = 47,336 MWh each year for about 20 years.

A replacement set of two Hywind wind turbines would be required during years 20 to 40. The turnkey capital to remove and reprocess the old turbines, and replace them with new ones was not determined. It likely would be well over $75 million (2019$).

The gas turbine plant would produce 12.6 times the annual electricity of the wind turbines, and that plant would last about 40 years, and that electricity would be high-value, steady, 24/7/365, dispatchable electricity, not the variable, intermittent electricity that requires other gas turbines to inefficiently vary their outputs up and down (more fuel/kWh, more CO2/kWh) to accommodate the variable wind electricity to the NE grid.

On top of that, the gas turbine electricity would be from low-cost, low-CO2, clean-burning natural gas, at a price of only 5 c/kWh, but the variable, intermittent Hywind wind turbine electricity (that requires baby sitting by the other generators at a cost/kWh) would be starting at 23 c/kWh, in the first year, and would be increasing at 2.5%/y for 20 years.

As I said before, the floating wind turbine scheme is insanity on STEROIDS.

Maine pro-wind bureaucrats need to have their heads examined, or fired for incompetence, and pro-wind legislators need to be voted out of office.

Plant Capital costCapacityCFPeriod Life Lifetime Production
 $millionh/yyearMWh
Gas turbine100800.8587664023,843,520
1st Wind turbine set100120.45876620946,728
2nd Wind turbine set?120.45876620946,728
Total wind     1,893,456
Times     12.6

APPENDIX 3

Hydro-Quebec Electricity a Much Better Alternative for Maine

The H-Q electricity supply is an order of magnitude cleaner than the Vermont supply. Google this URL to obtain the 2017 facts.
http://www.hydroquebec.com/sustainable-development/energy-environme…

Table 5/H-Q2017
GWh
Hydropower generated 177091
Purchased44006
– Hydro31610
– Wind9634
– Biomass and waste reclamation 2021
– Other741
Total RE generated and purchased221097

NOTE: Gentilly-2 nuclear generating station, plus three thermal generating stations (Tracy, La Citière and Cadillac) were shut down.

Hydro-Quebec Export Electricity: H-Q net exports were 34.4 TWh/y in 2017; provided 27% of H-Q net income, or $780 million, i.e., very profitable.

H-Q export revenue was $1,651 million in 2017, or 1641/34.4 = 4.8 c/kWh.

See page 24 of Annual Report URL.

This is for a mix of old and new contracts.

Revenue = 1641

Net profit = 780

Cost = 1641 – 780 = 861

Average cost of H-Q generation = 861/34.4 = 2.5 c/kWh

GMP, a monopoly utility in Vermont (77% market share), buys H-Q electricity, at the Vermont border, for 5.549 c/kWh, under a recent contract. 

GMP buys at 5.549 c/kWh, per GMP spreadsheet titled “GMP Test Year Power Supply Costs filed as VPSB Docket No: Attachment D, Schedule 2, April 14, 2017”. That reference has mysteriously disappeared.

H-Q is eager to sell more of its surplus electricity to New England and New York.

Canadian hydro electricity is at least 50% less costly per kWh than ridgeline wind and large-scale field-mounted solar, both of which need to be heavily subsidized to make their electricity appear to be less costly than reality.

GMP sells to me at 19 c/kWh, per rate schedule. Consumers pricing for electricity is highly political. That pricing is implemented by rate setting, taxes, fees, surcharges, etc., mostly on household electric rates, as in Denmark and Germany, etc.

The household rate setting is influenced by the need to protect/promote “State RE policy objectives”,which include highly subsidized, expensive microgrids, islanding, batteries, and overly expensivenet-metered solar (GMP cost of 21.813 c/kWh), and uneconomical heat pumps. See URLs and Appendix

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/green-mountain-power-co…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fact-checking-regarding…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-baseless-claims…

Here are some additional sources of information:

http://www.hydroquebec.com/sustainable-development/energy-environme…

http://news.hydroquebec.com/en/press-releases/1338/annual-report-2917/

http://www.hydroquebec.com/data/documents-donnees/pdf/annual-report…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/increased-canadian-hydr…

APPENDIX 4

Improper Use of Heat Pumps in Energy Hog Houses in Vermont and Maine

A typical “Vermont mix” house, 2000 sq ft, requires for space heating about 64000 Btu/h at -20F outdoor and 65F indoor (85F temperature difference), and requires for space cooling about 20,000 Btu/h at 100F outdoor, and 70F indoor (30F temperature difference).

Heat pumps would provide about 32% to 34% of the heat during the heating season, with the rest provided by the conventional system and would provide 100% of space cooling.

Government heat pump programs, such as in Vermont and Maine, which subsidize the installation of heat pumps in such houses would have unacceptable outcomes, if the goals were significant energy cost savings and CO2 reductions. See URLs.

Proper Use of Heat Pumps in Highly Sealed/Highly Insulated Houses in Vermont and Maine

A highly sealed/highly insulated house in Vermont, 2000 sq ft, requires for space heating about 17000 Btu/h at -20F outdoor and 65F indoor, and requires for space cooling about 5,000 Btu/h at 100F outdoor and 70F indoor (30F temperature difference). Heat pumps would provide 100% of space heating and cooling.

Such a house would be about 10% more expensive than a “Vermont mix” house, because it would require an R-20 basement, R-40 walls, R-60 roof, triple-glazed windows (R-7 to R-10) and insulated doors (R-8 to R-10), and its leakage rate would have to be less than 0.6 air changes per hour, ACH, @ -50 pascal, as verified by a blower door test.In Vermont, about 1% of all housing is highly sealed/highly insulated.

These URLs describe what happens, if heat pumps are installed in energy-hog houses in Vermont and Maine

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fact-checking-regarding…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/heat-pumps-oversold-by-…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-baseless-claims…

APPENDIX 5

Wind and Solar Subsidies Provide a Bonanza for Wall Street

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-more-wind-and-solar…

This URL shows wind and solar prices per kWh would be at least 50% higher without direct and indirect subsidies. They would be even higher, if the costs of other items were properly allocated to the owners of wind and solar projects, instead of shifted elsewhere. See below section High Levels of Wind and Solar Require Energy Storage.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/economics-of-tesla-powe…

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/large-scale-solar-plant…

Click to access UnseenWindFull.pdf

This URL shows about 2/3 of the financial value of a wind project is due to direct and indirect subsidies, and the other 1/3 is due to electricity sales.

Click to access Schleede-BigMoney-20050414.pdf

– Indirect subsidies are due to federal and state tax rebates due to loan interest deductions from taxable income, and federal and state MARCS depreciation deductions from taxable income.

– Direct subsidies are up-front federal and state cash grants, the partial waiving of state sales taxes, the partial waiving of local property, municipal and school taxes. See URLs.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for…

Click to access subsidy.pdf

Any owner, foreign or domestic, of a wind and/or solar project, looking to shelter taxable income from their other US businesses, is allowed to depreciate in 6 years almost the entire cost of a wind and solar project under the IRS scheme called Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, MARCS. The normal period for other forms of utility depreciation is about 20 years.

Then, with help of Wall Street financial wizardry from financial tax shelter advisers, such as BNEF*, JPMorgan, Lazard, etc., the owner sells the project to a new owner who is allowed to depreciate, according to MARCS, almost his entire cost all over again. Over the past 20 years, there now are many thousands of owners of RE projects who are cashing in on that bonanza.

Loss of Federal and State Tax Revenues: The IRS estimated the loss of tax revenues to the federal government for the 5y period of 2017 – 2021. See “Energy” heading in URL

The next report would be for the 2018 – 2022 period

The indirect largesse, mostly for wind and solar plants^ that produce expensive, variable/intermittent electricity, does not show up in electric rates. It likely is offset by taxes and added to the federal debt.

Most of the direct federal subsidies to all energy projects of about $25 billion/y also do not show up in electric rates. They likely were also added to the federal debt.

Most of the direct state subsidies to RE projects likely were added to state debts.

The additional costs of state-mandated RPS requirements likely were added to the utility rate base for electric rates.

* BNEF is Bloomberg New Energy Finance, owned by the pro-RE former Mayor Bloomberg of New York, which provides financial services to the wealthy of the world, including providing them with tax avoidance schemes.

^ In New England, wind is near zero for about 30% of the hours of the year, and solar is minimal or zero for about 70% of the hours of the year.

Click to access 68227.pdf

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/tax-equity-investors-b…

Warren Buffett Quote: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” 

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/nancy-pfotenhauer/2014/05/12/e…

APPENDIX 6

Comparison of  California, US and Vermont Electricity Prices, All Sectors

It is important to understand no cost ever disappears. The key issue is allocation (a.k.a., follow the money), which often implies politics, and realizing state and federal energy policy objectives.

Only a part of the costs of RE projects is added to the utility rate base. The other parts are paid for by: a) increasing taxes, fees and surcharges, and/or 2) increasing prices of goods and services, and/or c) adding to federal and state debts. Thus any increase in rates reveals only a part of the cost picture.

The weighted average US prices includes high California prices and quantities, a major component of the weighted average. Table 1 shows the weighted average US price including California. See URLs

http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/204/204_2017.htm

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/California/

If California were removed, it would lower the US average. A comparison of California versus that lower US average shows California rates, all sectors, increased 28.36% and US rates (wo/California) only 5.45% during the 2010 – 2018 period.

California’s irrational/over-the-top/expensive RE efforts are demonstrating, the more highly subsidized RE, the higher the electric rates. But that is only a part of the cost picture, because not all costs end up in the rate schedules.

Vermont: The Vermont rates, all sectors, as posted by EIA, do not include the Efficiency Vermont surcharge and the Electric Assistance Program fee tacked onto electric bills by politicians to finance pseudo-social programs.

The EV surcharge has been increasing from about 6% in 2010 to about 8.0% in 2018 for most households.

If EV and EAP charges were added, Vermont rates increased 16.34% and US rates (w/tiny Vermont) only 7.63% during the 2010 – 2018 period. See table.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/efficiency-vermont

Year/All sectorsCAUS, w/CAUS wo/CAVT wo/EV + EAPVT w/EV + EAP
c/kWhc/kWhc/kWhc/kWhc/kWh
201013.019.839.5813.2414.03
201113.059.909.6613.8014.67
201213.539.849.5514.2215.14
201314.3010.079.7414.6115.62
201415.1510.4410.0714.5715.62
201515.4210.4110.0214.4115.46
201615.2310.279.8914.4615.57
201716.0610.4810.0514.6015.77
201816.7010.5810.1115.0916.33
Increase, %28.367.635.4513.9716.34

Household Electric Bill With and Without Efficiency Vermont Surcharge: The GMP energy $/kWh for “households” is significantly greater than for “all sectors”. Here are the data from my recent bills.

1Billing period 19-Apr19-Mar19-Feb.20-Dec.20-Oct20-Sep
2Usage, kWh 513740885869545496
3Total bill w/EEC, $ 102.29139.38164.39162.58108.1299.30
4Unit cost, $/kWh(3/2)0.19940.18840.18580.18710.19840.2002
5GMP energy, $/kWh 0.16450.16450.1645 0.1645 0.15670.1567
6EE surcharge, $ 7.0310.1512.1312.287.707.01
7Total bill wo/EEC, $(3-6)95.26129.23152.26150.3100.4292.29
8Bill increase due to EEC, %(3/7)7.387.857.978.177.677.60

APPENDIX 7

Germany and Denmark Household Electricity Prices: The above correlates well with this graphic, based on Eurostat data. Denmark and Germany have advanced the most along the wind and solar installation path. They have the highest household electric rates in Europe. See graphic and Appendix.

APPENDIX 8

Wood Burning for Electricity

Here is some information for those who have been led to believe, or persuaded themselves to believe, wood burning for electricity is environmentally friendly.

– Wood burning power plants emit about 4 times the CO2/kWh of high-efficiency gas power plants.

– The combustion CO2 of the first year of plant operation would be sequestered by re-growing trees according to an S-curve over about 40 years (See Note); slowly increasing during the first 1/3, rapidly increasing during the second 1/3, and slowly increasing during the last 1/3 of the period.

– That would be not much help if the world’s climate is to be prevented from falling off the cliff during the next 20 to 30 years.

NOTE:

– 40 years is a US average. See Note.

– 80 to 100 years in northern climates with short growing seasons, such as northern Vermont and Maine. Re-growing trees would sequester the combustion CO2 from the first year of plant operation over about 80 to 100 years. On an A to Z basis, there would be about 15% of additional CO2, in case of wood chips, that has nothing to do with combustion, about 20% in case of wood pellets.

– 40 to 50 years in moderate climates with longer growing seasons, such as New Jersey and North Carolina,

– 25 years between harvests on planted, fertilized, and culled forests of fast-growing pines in Georgia. 

NOTE: 

– The EPA assumes sequestering of CO2 by undisturbed, healthy forests at about 1.0 metric ton per acre per year, as a US average.

– Disturbed, fragmented, less than healthy forests in most of New England sequester much less than 1.0 metric ton of CO2 per acre per year, due to: 1) acid rain and pollution from Midwest coal plants, etc., 2) various encroachments, and 3) colder climate. Yet the Vermont and Maine Environmental Departments claim 1.0 metric ton per acre per year!

Closing Down Wood Burning Power Plants: It would be far better to shut down wood burning power plants, as time is of the essence regarding “climate change”, according to some people. See table 5 and URL.

– In Vermont, utilities are forced to buy wood electricity at about 10 c/kWh, as part of the Vermont Standard Offer program and as required by the Vermont Renewable Portfolio Standard program.

– The wholesale prices of the NE grid averaged about 5 c/kWh since 2008, courtesy of abundant, domestic, near-zero subsidized, clean-burning, low-CO2 gas at about 5 c/kWh, and near-zero subsidized, near-zero CO2 nuclear at 4.5 – 5 c/kWh.

Table 5/Fuel lb CO2/million Btu Plant efficiency, % lb CO2/MWhCO2 Ratio
Wood chip; McNeal/Ryegate*2132529074.0
Wood chip; Denmark2133024233.3
Hard coal2064117122.4
No. 2 fuel oil1613515722.2
Natural gas, CCGT*117557261.0

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