Installation and extractions of a Monopile without any additional lifting tools or installation frame at the Maasvlakte near Rotterdam. Used equipment SINGLE CV-320 VLT-U.
It’s wonderful to install new offshore wind capacity and cleaning it up afterwards, is admittedly as sexy as a funeral, but at some point wind towers and their foundations need to be removed, after ca. 2-3 decades of service [*]. CAPE Holland is a specialist in the required extraction tools.
[cape-holland.com] – CAPE Holland Vibro Lifting Tool (VLT)
This video illustrates another very important point regarding offshore wind energy than merely cleaning up the mess behind you…
Detractors of wind energy love to push this picture from some Hawaiian wind energy mess, that proves nothing, other than that the sloppy, entropy producing Aloha crowd doesn’t like to clean up the mess behind their muumuu-covered behinds and that the construction of solid wind turbines is better left to Europeans.
… namely the huge hidden energy subsidy behind the second generation offshore wind foundations. Let us explain.
Every new monopile and tower began its life as iron ore, like these taconite pellets, with an iron content of about 30%:
These pallets enter a blast furnace that is operated on coal:
[wikipedia.org] – Blast furnace
This btw is exactly the reason why the uninformed fossil fuel groupies, usually of Anglo extraction, keep denouncing wind energy, because, you see, “you need fossil fuel to build wind turbines”:
[deepresource] – “Yabut… To Get Wind Power You Need Fossil Fuel”
[deepresource] – Mark P. Mills – Hack for the Fossil Fuel Industry
[deepresource] – Prejudices From Amateurs Against Wind Energy
The important point to make though is that the inclusion of fossil fuel in the production of windmills only applies to the first generation, that is the conversion of iron ore into steel. For the second generation windmill, the old monopile and tower can be recycled and the recycling of scrap metal happens, not in a coal-fired blast furnace, but in an electric arc furnace:
[wikipedia.org] – Electric arc furnace
And that electric arc furnace can be operated by electricity from wind turbines, eliminating the necessity of having to use of fossil fuel. Thereby we have created a renewable energy closed-loop. And if that weren’t enough blessings already, recycling scrap metal into new steel in an electric arc furnace takes about ten times less energy per unit of mass than it takes to create steel from iron ore, making a mockery of the idea that wind energy doesn’t have sufficient EROI.
[wikipedia.org] – Iron ore
[deepresource] – Siemens Reports EROI Onshore Wind of 50 or Larger
[deepresource] – EROI of Offshore Wind
[deepresource] – EROI of Offshore Wind Power [Continued]
Dismantling of a small windfarm near Medemblik in the Netherlands, in 2016, after 24 years of service.
[*] – Windturbines are typically calculated to have an economic life span of ca. 25 years, as a sort of guarantee from the producer towards the operator of the wind farm. However, this says little about the true potential technical life span:
[deepresource] – World’s First Offshore Windfarm Vindeby Decommissioned
[deepresource] – Offshore Wind Life Expectancy
[deepresource] – Prof Gordon Hughes on Wind Turbine Lifespan
So far, merely two offshore wind farms have been dismantled, a Dutch and a Danish one, after resp. 24 and 26 years of service. Both could have easily carried on for many extra years if not decades, but the operators decided not to bother, because the constituting 500 kW wind turbines were too small to be economical in the light of new turbines that were t least 10 times as big. Superseded by innovation, not decay.
Once again our favorite anecdotal counter example of wind energy longevity:
This is the oldest, still functioning windmill in the Netherlands, in Zeddam. It was built in 1441 at the latest, long before America was ever heard of. It still works, for tourists on Wednesday. We’re pretty sure that no guarantees were given by the builders that the mill would still be working, more than half a millennium later. Likewise, the Eiffel Tower was intended to last for a couple of years. It will probably last for 4 centuries, provided nobody nukes Paris. Likewise, these 25 years “economic life span” for modern wind turbines are merely a guarantee and say little about how long they will really function… 50 years? 100 years? Maintenance is everything: