Morro Bay wind farm is the new bullet train to nowhere

June 3, 2021

OPINION by BARRY HANSOM

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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AGDUDE

You Folks Voted For These Clowns ….Had enough yet .. Plug in the Old Car ,Drive to Santa Maria Poof .. Ride a Bike … Wack Jobs .. Zig Zag Around the Fans!


Michael Stove

You hit the nail on the head. We did vote for these people to enact policies that we like. That’s what a democracy is.


If you don’t like it, you are more than welcome to move to a state that wants more coal produced energy. Just like how I moved here because of the state’s progressive laws on a host of issues.


America is great that way.


kevin rise

Jordan Cunningham wants this as well and is lobbying for it. It’s a rare bipartisan event, and we should be excited. Same with Vandenberg retrofitting. Out with the old hurts sometimes, like dust in the wind, I know; my hair is thinning..


coyote

Jordan Cunningham is just another self serving politician who detects what stance or issue will benefit his career and runs with it.


commonsenseguy

What a complete waste of money for 1/2 of 1% return on its production of energy compared to one of our current sources. That also comes in at two-to-two and a half times more expensive as well? Please try to comprehend what 400 square miles of this environmental boondoggle will be like. These politicians and any that support this should never say another word in regards to their selective care of the environment again.


As long as it makes you fill good as you deceive the masses with your lies, that’s all that matters. “Look at us, see, we care”. “We know better than you”, it doesn’t matter what we tell you now, we can always flipflop and say it’s not our fault it’s theirs”, and we know we’ll never be held accountable by our media comrades”. So shut up and get out of our way, or we’ll destroy you.”


Those who profess to be wise, are proven to be fools. Can you say “Solyndra”? The Obama environmental disaster and fleecing of the taxpayer. Here we go again.


kevin rise

Broken record? Why is Cunningham in favor of this then working across the isle?


Cthulhu Colander

Cunningham is a lawyer. He doesn’t know squat about energy production.


Michael Stove

So what is your solution? More coal? Hard no from everyone in the center and left in this country.


More nuclear? Maybe.


But spouting this nonsense of “destroying you” won’t help your cause.


Offer solutions. Not rants.


Cthulhu Colander

Fun Fact: Diablo Canyon produces 23% of the carbon neutral energy for California. This wind farm pipe dream lacks the carbon heavy infrastructure to support itself. Diablo Canyon takes up less than 2 square miles.


That’s less than %0.5 of the footprint of this Wind Farm. NVH, Noise, Vibration and Harshness will kill this project before the first windmill.


Don’t believe me? Just look at all the state agency envirowhackos falling all over themselves to sue every other state agency for dust at the sand dunes.


We lack the port infrastructure to support such an intellectually retarded project. On the best of days, Morro Bay is still one of the most dangerous ports on the west coast.


commonsenseguy

Thank you, but I have the freedom to rant if I want.


Solution: Update and increase our current grid infrastructure. It’s completely inadequate, and has been for years. The very same environmental rolling pigeons have prevented the growing and increase that has been needed. This drop in the bucket dream will not help in the long run.


Michael Stove

Totally agree with you on the grid! See what happens when you leave conspiracies and race-baiting out of your comments? Two sides can agree!


Michael Stove

Totally agree with the grid! As well as your right to rant!


Buchon

Shutting down Diablo will prove to be an extremely unwise decision. It’s going to become obvious to most one summer when electricity is rationed, and constant brown-outs become the norm. Much like many second and third world countries today.


Oh yeah, and this wind-farm? It’s a HUGE boondoggle! Follow the money and the votes!


Ricky2

Get over Diablo. It’s being shut down because it’s too uneconomical to continue operating. It’s lived its life, and its useful life is over. Remember, it’s the plant’s owner, PG&E, that’s shutting it, not the state.


slo-to-load

It’s hard to believe anything Hanson says if he fails to understand the basic difference between a gigawatt (GW) and a gigawatt-hour (GWh). Hanson makes two claims which he tries to compare:

* the proposed wind farm has an output capacity of 3 gigawatts

* Diablo Canyon had an average daily power output of 44.3 gigawatt-hours in 2019


However, Hanson apparently doesn’t realize those are two different units of measure. To get daily gigawatt-hours from gigawatts, you need to multiply it by the 24 hours we have in a day.


A simple internet search shows that Diablo’s two reactors each have a 1.1 gigawatt output capacity, which is only 70% of the published 3 gigawatt output capacity of the wind farm, so right away you can see Hanson’s numbers are way off.


If wind farm operated at 100% capacity (which of course it won’t), a 3 GW average output would give you 72 GWh/day, but assuming the wind farm operates at an average of 60% capacity, it would still equal Diablo’s daily average GWh output of 44 GWh. It is hard to say if 60% average capacity is realistic, but it is certainly closer than the 4% capacity that Hanson’s bad math would give you.


kevin rise

Thanks for data points truly.


slocorruptionhater

And it’s renewable energy, so if you look at output over time, game over.


incompingov

Any data on operating costs for the wind turbines or a comparison or life cycle costs? I know some people can’t get past the “renewable energy” aspect but if it results

more expensive or less expensive electrical

power, people should be informed.


nospamthankyoumam

Your comment is PROFOUNDLY important IMO. I hope Cal Coast News takes note of this statement and publishes a correction/update. I saw similar total confusion recently in a KSBY news report on these units. I get it, journalists (and punters) aren’t engineers and sometimes this stuff is a bit tricky. But these types of numbers are HUGELY important to the public debate. Opinions are just fine and everyone is entitled to their own, but if you are writing under the moniker of a ‘news’ organization (even for an opinion piece) get your ‘facts’ straight first. Great comment.


nospamthankyoumam

Incidentally, Trident Wind initially proposed 600 MW with possible expansion to 1000 MW (1 GW) capacity I believe. So the 3 GW ‘claim’ in recent federal government press releases is interesting. My initial thought when Trident showed up was they were proposing a massive project in the hope that it was chopped down to a scale still profitable. Now it looks like the government is pushing for something 3 times even the private sector’s hopes. If this is a correct assessment, maybe Trident underestimated the appetite of government to ‘replace’ Diablo Canyon with this project.


TKG

The wind generated is more than a bunch of political hot air. Putting up a flotilla of cuisenarts for sea birds and foggy obstacles for fishermen are not the saviors of our energy future. What a bunch of hype! Thanks Barry for the heads up…


kevin rise

Then why is Cunningham in favor of this? Don’t you want sustainable jobs with low environmental impact? Is this more Nimbyism, lord…


calcoastdan

Solyndra on steroids.


Rambunctious

Great point…start an underfunded green energy company find a politician with greased palms and get rich by doing nothing…


sardonicsentiment

Energy has to come from somewhere. Quit complaining.


Rambunctious

Wind is the most expensive energy source we have….and the windmills are not made here they are made in China and Germany….this is dumb on so many levels…but as dumb goes it seems so does California….


kevin rise

Not true.


Rambunctious

What’s not true?…I can back every word up…


paragon

Nope, the 1980s called and want their facts back. You are wrong on both counts.


These days coal is the most expensive form of energy and that is not even including the health and societal impacts of coal. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/06/04/climate-change-coal-now-more-expensive-than-wind-solar-energy/1277637001/

Do you think all the farmers who put up windmills on their property didn’t know how to calculate the costs?


Also, most of the components of wind turbines installed in the United States are manufactured here. There are more than 500 wind-related manufacturing facilities located across 43 states, and the U.S. wind industry currently employs more than 114,000 people.


But if you really cared so much, why not tell your representative that it is important this plant uses windmills built in the US, instead of just calling it dumb with no actual solution.


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