News outlets breathlessly reported the great news that California and the feds will build a 399 square mile floating wind farm to generate electricity. The farm will be located 17 to 40 miles offshore west and north of Morro Bay, and will generate a whopping 3 Giga Watts (3 GWh) of power – enough to power a million homes.
Politicians and advocates trumpet this progress to California achieving 60% renewable energy production by 2030, and 100% by 2045.
Unfortunately, this is just another big sack of steaming, stinking, rotting BS that politicians hope to sell to Californians. Based on bitter past experience with high speed rail, wildfire management, dam infrastructure maintenance, and gas tax boondoggles, their chances of success seem high.
Meanwhile, plans proceed to decommission Diablo Canyon in 2024 – a plant that produced an average of 44.3 GWh/day in 2019 – that’s 14.8 wind farms, at 400 square miles each, for the greenies among us. Internet searches claim Diablo Canyon provides 10% of California’s daily electricity needs, which further searches list at somewhere between 450 and 800 GWh/day. So this great new 400 square mile wind farm will meet perhaps ½ of 1% of California’s daily energy needs, while the nuclear plant providing 10% of that total will be idled before the wind farm even comes online.
And the wind energy won’t be cheap. Among the various studies done by those tracking generation costs, the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Panel on Climate Change both agree that nuclear power is among the cheapest, while offshore wild energy is undeniably the most expensive energy source around – about two to – two and a half times as expensive as nuclear, twice as expensive as gas generation, and 30% more expensive than solar.
This makes sense; imagine the costs of building and maintaining a 400 square mile wind farm 20 miles offshore. Seems kind of obvious to everyone but politicians and activists.
And though I’d like to think that Californians won’t fall for this like the utter chumps they’ve been for past disastrous big government projects, history shows that’s not the way to bet.
Barry Hanson has liven in Arroyo Grande since 2014.
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