Magical Thinking Goes Haywire
If President Joe Biden were to take the time to inquire what is going on “way out in the ocean,” the response would have to be “rough” and “not so great.”
Bewitched by Clean Free Wind
Anyone who has been reading the Manhattan Contrarian, even for a short time, knows there is no magical solution to our energy problems. For three decades, D.C. progressives and in the media have been bamboozling the public:
… way out in the ocean — where you can barely even see the towers — the wind blows steadily almost all the time. Just put up a few turbines to catch the breezes, and those evil fossil fuels will quickly be banished.
Actual Functioning Wind Turbines? Seven (7)
Francis Menton points out that after 30 years of talk, “the number of actual functioning wind turbines out in the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. coast is now exactly seven: five off Block Island (part of Rhode Island), and two off Virginia.”
Those provide some tiny fraction of 1% of the electricity for the mid-Atlantic states and New England.
Despite these uncomfortable truths, the Biden administration has grander plans, alerts Mr. Menton.
Biden’s “net zero” plans include the construction of “some 30,000 megawatts of new offshore wind capacity by 2030, the equivalent of 1,000 Block Island projects.”
30,000 megawatts of anything sure sounds like a lot. But hold on there, advises the Manhattan Contrarian:
From the American Public Power Association, as of February 2023:
… the U.S. had some 1.3 million megawatts of electricity generation capacity. So, the 30,000 MW of new offshore wind would be an increment of something between 2 and 3% to existing nameplate capacity.
But there’s more.
… Wind turbines only function about 30-40% of the time (optimistically) when averaged over the year, the 30,000 new MW of capacity of offshore wind would really be equivalent to at most 9-12,000 MW of dispatchable generation, so will at best add about 1% to existing capacity, and even that at random times that would require backup to assure reliability.
What’s the Reality
One reality is the big subsidized numbers included in the “fraudulently named” Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 in order to get these offshore projects built:
Lots of offshore wind projects in the mid-Atlantic and New England areas then got put up for bid, and contracts for construction of the turbines were issued.
According to Robert Bryce in Subtack, “The only thing dumber than onshore wind energy is offshore wind energy.”
The good news for ratepayers, taxpayers, birds, bats, landscapes, viewsheds, and the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, is that both sectors are getting hammered by market forces that make their projects uneconomic.
Why Ask Why
Why isn’t the media reporting on or the White House disclosing that essentially all the developers are paying massive cancellation fees to walk away from what seems like every existing contract for offshore wind development in New England:
On Monday, Avangrid, a subsidiary of the Spanish utility Iberdrola, announced that it was abandoning the 804-megawatt Park City Wind project offshore Connecticut. . . . In August, Shell and Ocean Winds North America agreed to pay $60 million to cancel contracts to sell power to Massachusetts from the proposed 2,400-megawatt SouthCoast Wind project.
In July, Avangrid agreed to pay $48 million to cancel its contract with Massachusetts to sell power from the proposed 1,200-megawatt Commonwealth Wind project. Also in July, Rhode Island Energy announced it was canceling a power purchase agreement with Ørsted and Eversource on the 884-megawatt Revolution Wind project. . . .
Will these wildly expensive projects get built? The Manhattan Contrarian pleads, “Let’s hope not.”
Just imagine extending any of this?
Read more about clean, safe, domestic natural gas here.
Originally posted October 10, 2023.
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