On our trip to the seaside this weekend I happened to see Thanet Offshore wind farm, you can’t really miss it from Botany bay. By the numbers this array consists of 100 3MW turbines with a maximum operating capacity obviously of 300MW. It’s an impressive sight Wikipedia claims it cost between £780-900 million, not sure why they can’t pin down the exact cost now that it’s finished.
A coal fired power station by comparison costs $650 million for a 500MW plant, not including the cost of the coal of course. To actually create a wind farm which generates on average the output of a 500MW plant you have to scale the head line capacity by about a factor of 3. So a 500MW of generation will cost around £4 billion, ouch. And when the wind don’t blow at least it looks nice. If your interested in what’s being planned click here.
Wind Part 2
I watched Wind wars on BBC iPlayer, building wind farms on land is of course much cheaper, but due to the UK’s never ending planning laws, RES has been trying for 7 years to build a 9 wind turbines as far as I can tell nothing has been built.