Friday, March 4, 2011

The Truth about Wind Power according to E.ON

E.ON has published an interesting document, titled "Wind Report 2005", with the best arguments against wind power, but with several arguments for weather forecasting, more planning, high-voltage grids and pobably other value-added solutions. As it is in English, I do not need to add many comments.

Sometimes it blows, sometimes it does not.

The stated rating of 6.000MW is a utopian number most of the time. I calculated the average feed-in over the year at 18% of the nominal rating (the report says "one fifth").

Christmas 2005 in Germany must have been like Christmas 2010 in the UK.  I failed to see in the report how the 8 x 500MW coal plants provided back-up power. I assume that they were on hot stand-by.  If the feed-in-rate is high enough, the extra cost is irrelevant.  I do not believe that E.ON or the Germans really care about CO2, it is probably just a marketing trick driving the exports business and the carbon trading scheme.

This one is my favorite. It shows that the more wind generators are installed, the more their percentage contribution diminishes. 8% in 2003, forecast at 4% in 2020; in 2009 it is actually 6.5%, better than the 2005 study suggested. The sources for the 6.5% figure are here and here.

The same two sources mention 21,164 wind generators for 2009 with an installed capacity of 25.777MW and production of 38TWhr of electricity corresponding to 6,5% of elecricity consumption for 2009.  I believe that for the same capital expense the Germans would have 25.000MW of nuclear (or coal) capacity providing 200TWhr which would satisfy 37% of their electricity consumption.

The explanation for this oddity may be that Germany has a 30% market share of the wind generator market corresponding to German turnover of €6.6 billion of which €5.3 are exports and provide 100.000 related jobs in Germany.  The profits from the grid business, photovoltaics and the European Carbon Trading scheme would be on top of that. That is what we call "synergies".