Barrels of Oil vs. Kilowatt-Hours: Comparing Offshore Wind and Oil

Posted on June 7, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

For the amount of money BP was going to spend over 25 years on the Deepwater Horizon, 7 million electric cars could be powered with offshore wind turbines. Well not quite, but the author brings up an interesting point. He produces some questionable calculations, and despite overlooking some obvious shortfalls inherent with offshore wind power at this time, his point still stands: for the roughly $12 billion BP was going to spend (now possibly over triple that amount after counting cleanup costs and everything else), billions of kilowatt-hours of power could be produced by offshore wind.

A recently completed German offshore wind project, Alpha Ventus, is a 12-turbine, 60 megawatt (1mW=1000kW) site, that cost $282 million. The author assumed maximum capacity/energy yield, and mislabeled calculations, so to avoid confusion: maximum yearly output of the plant is 525.6 million kilowatt-hours.

Using this as a comparison, and assuming prices stabilize around $200 million (that’s what the project was estimated to cost), 60 of these wind farms could be had for BP’s $12 billion investment. That’s about 31.5 billion kilowatt-hours, which is a lot of power!

Of course nowhere near that figure would make it to the end consumer, but the idea is certainly worth considering. Check out the full article over on Forbes.com.

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