It's Not Inexpensive Being Green
In sum, four wind stations cost from 75 million to 2.7 billion pounds to build, and generate electricity at a cost of 2.57 to 8.11 pounds per watt.
Conventional power is much cheaper. A nuclear plant cost 2 million pounds to build and generates electricity for 1.67 pounds per watt. A coal/CO2 plant generates power at the same amount per watt but cost half as much to build. The cheapest power, not at all suprisingly, came from the cheapest plant, a gas plant that cost just 350 million pounds to build, and cranks out watts at 0.58 pounds.
Here's all that data and more in a table:
|Source of |
|Price per |
|Olkiluoto 3, |
|Coal / |
Jon at Greenie Watch points out that the costs don't accurately reflect the true cost of wind power: Every wind station has to have a conventional plant behind it so there's power when the wind isn't blowing -- doubling the capital cost of the plant.
Back in about '76 I bought a book called "Earth, Energy and Everyone" that showed how alternative energy could supply all our needs by 1990 -- without burning a lump of coal or drop of oil.
That didn't work out too well, because of what the wind farm figures above show: Environmentalism works great for rich people, but not so well for others.
Related Tags: Environmentalism, Wind power