The greatest obstacle to wind energy is its unreliable, weather-dependent supply. If the wind stops blowing, then it’s lights out!
Image cropped from: www.youtube.com/kGXoE3RFZ8
Yet, proponent’s often claim the solution is offshore, for example out in the tempestuous North Sea. There the wind is always blowing, they like to tell us.
Unfortunately this too is turning out to be more myth the truth, as a recent hard-copy Spiegel report writes:
The hope that the North Sea wind parks would reliably generate power have not been fulfilled up to now. Last month provided an example. On nine days almost windless conditions were seen. On August 17 at times no megawatt of power output was measured.”
Spiegel then reports that when the wind does get especially brisk, the power transmission facilities designed to deliver the power onshore are unable to handle it, writing that “the world’s largest transmission facility of its type, DolWin2, has repeatedly gotten shut down since it began trial operation back in February.”
According to the German news weekly, the facility has again been out of operation since August 26. The blame is a 900-metter long section of a 90-kilometer high voltage line onshore. The bad news, Spiegel reports, is that grid operating company Tennet thinks solving the problems could even take months!
Also giant offshore part Riffgatt was taken offline for a period of half a year, Spiegel writes.
Wind parks in Germany have not only been riddled with problems technically, but also economically, In early July the BSZ investor watchdog site presented an article titled: “Capital investments in wind energy: lousy returns, spectacular failures, mass corruption, Energiewende finished?”
The BSZ article describes how promises of up to double digit returns in “lucrative and safe” green power investments often never materialize, and investors end up seeing their money evaporate.
Spectacular examples include the insolvency filing by Prokon in May 2014, where 74,000 investors had ponied up approximately 1.4 billion euros. Other failed investment companies include EECH in Hamburg and Windreich in south Germany.
The legal environment for wind parks is also getting more hostile, BSH writes. Courts are now leaning more in favor of parties protesting the encroachment by turbines.
Even Germany’s Umweltbundesamt (ministry of environment) is warning the wind party may be nearing its end:
The Umweltbundesamt is alarmed. Germany-wide, according to the Ministry, which actually is supposed to protect the environment, 97 percent of Germany’s area may not be covered with the tall wind turbines. The Ministry has also ‘warned’ other states that the ‘Energiewende’ is thus finished.”