# How long will the petroleum industry be profitable?

#### Bystander

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The real advantage of wind is that it will not go up in the future.
after 20 years (assuming that length of capital payoff),
"The twenty year capital payoff?"
Initial energy investment is around 60 MJ/W. Run for two years to recover that. Oops, average only 1/3 of installed capacity due to wind variability. Okay, six years. Oops again, the gear boxes have to be replaced every five years at about one quarter of original installation cost, and four gearboxes in twenty years doubles the six years to twelve (This is where Boeing bailed out in the 70s). We have yet to erect and maintain transmission lines from our wind farm to our customers, or to install and maintain gas turbine backup plants to service a customer base that is not going to settle for intermittent power. We've not done any of the washing, painting, and whatever other chores are involved in routine maintenance. Casualty losses from runaways due to failed governors, bird strikes, and ice storms add how much more to the energy overhead before we actually deliver power to customers? Another three or four years? A wind utility using 75% of its output just to operate makes for an awkward business model, ~ $8 per deliverable watt to the customer. Over twenty years is$.40 a year, or a nickel per kwh just in the "up front" hardware cost.

"It'll be competitive once the storage problem is licked to turn it into a "demand" rather than intermittent source." How much storage? How long does an average blizzard or hurricane or dust storm shut things down? A day? Time enough to reroute through a "smart" distribution network? Day's output from a one MW turbine operating at 1/3 output is eight thousand kwh. I can buy a Diehard for ~ $15/kWh. Utilities should be able to buy them in bulk for$5, times three for replacements over the twenty year life of the installation, is $120k for storage, plus a heated building (don't want to leave batteries to the mercy of the elements), plus inverters, plus switchgear. Closing in on running twenty years just to cover the energy requirement to manufacture and install the turbine and associated hardware yet? Now we've got an operating wind farm that reproduces itself and delivers essentially nothing to end users. I'm not really sure what you mean by that, "That" being the crack about "less than honest" people, who slap a coat of "green paint" on a scam, and aggressively ignore questions about associated costs in terms of money or energy. Wyoming wind is about to the point where "Billy Joe and Bobby Sue" are going to live up to the song's lyrics; ranchers who took money up front for leases have been having checks bounce. SW Kansas --- don't know --- local governments have been suckers for every revenue bond scheme for fifty years, and there's still "gold in them there farm communities." #### mheslep Gold Member Initial energy investment is around 60 MJ/W. Run for two years to recover that. That appears to be high. I imagine the steel in a turbine must contain the majority of embodied energy; the average 1.5 MW turbine seems to have 220 tons. Energy for http://www.epa.gov/sectors/pdf/energy/ch3-6.pdf [Broken], so energy recovery of the steel alone at 100% turbine usage is two and half weeks, seven weeks at 30%. Liberally doubling the energy for the remaining blade fiber glass and winding copper and the turbine still breaks even in 3-4 months. This paper from Kubiszewski et al (behind a pay wall) concludes an EROI for wind of 25. "maintain gas turbine backup plants" This is indeed a cost driver for a combined gas (or coal or hydro) plus wind system. But the energy required to build the gas plant belongs in the payback column of the gas plant, not the wind turbine. Last edited by a moderator: #### mheslep Gold Member The real advantage of wind is that it will not go up in the future Perhaps, but the cost of wind is not just the cost of wind, not to the consumer. Wind generation requires a conventional thermal (gas,coal,biomass,nuclear) or hydro source that can be dispatched when the wind's not available. When some small percentage of the conventional fleet is tasked, as it is now in the US, to run as low usage peaking plant, that plant's production is expensive, but the overall system cost not so. The problem with a theoretical high percentage wind or solar system is that it requires almost the entire conventional fleet to be maintained as the few peaking plants are now. Very little of it can be retired, not without the introduction of some other yet to be proven technology (e.g. inexpensive long term energy storage, enhanced geothermal, power-to-gas, etc). Germany is an example. Germany has an average electric load of 60-70 GWe. Over the last dozen years they've built some 70 GWe nameplate of solar and wind. Despite this, the entire conventional fleet sits in place at around ~100 GWe. They've closed a few nuclear plants, but continued to build more coal and wood burning plants (some of which comes from the US). Scanning the daily power national output shows why: frequently for hours, sometimes for days, and occasionally for many days, nearly all power in Germany is provided by the conventional power fleet as wind and solar are unavailable. The consequence is an enormously expensive power system, which is essentially two systems sitting side by side that run at different times. http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/data-nivc-/electricity-production-from-solar-and-wind-in-germany-2014.pdf Last edited: #### Bystander Science Advisor Homework Helper Gold Member That appears to be high? According to my spies in DoE, by inference from lack of argument to the contrary, "No." Absence of argument does not imply agreement. The 1010 J/ton is probably taken from enthalpy or free energy of formation of iron oxide (too close to be coincidence). Might be heat capacity to m.p. for remelting scrap, about the same. Materials handling from scrapyard or mine to mill, and mill to end use location, 107-8 J/t. Rolling and fabrication? Another 1010. Fiberglass and resins for blades? Easily times ten. Chemistry gets expensive. The 60 MJ/W was giving the concrete footing, steel for the tower, and electrical guts away for free. Edit: Added note Materials handling may have to be increased by a factor of ten. I was thinking in terms of domestic (U.S.) steel production. Best of my knowledge, all the steel for wind farms is coming in from China. Last edited: #### mheslep Gold Member My steel energy intensity figure came from the EPA reference (above); it in turn references DOE and others. http://www.epa.gov/sectors/pdf/energy/ch3-6.pdf [Broken] EPA Report said: Different studies of energy use in the iron and steel industry often employ somewhat different assumptions and boundary conditions which may lead to slightly different energy intensity measurements (energy use per ton of production). Industry data from 2004 establish an average energy intensity of 18.99 million Btu per ton (MBtu/ton) for integrated steelmaking and 5.01 MBtu/ton for EAF steelmaking, with an industry-wide intensity of 11.8 MBtu/ton (based on EAF steelmaking at a 53 percent market share).[166] A 2005 DOE study estimates the average energy intensity of integrated steelmaking at 16.5 MBtu/ton, and EAF steelmaking at 5.7 MBtu/ton.[167] To get some idea for comparison I used 10 MBtu/ton from the above. he 1010 J/ton is probably taken from enthalpy or free energy of formation of iron oxide (too close to be coincidence). Might be heat capacity to m.p. for remelting scrap, about the same. Materials handling from scrapyard or mine to mill, and mill to end use location, 107-8 J/t. Rolling and fabrication? Another 1010. Ok, so you have steel at 2*1010 J/ton for steel production? Fiberglass and resin may be ten times as energy intensive but the blades are also a tenth the mass of the tower/nacell steel. Gas plants or whatever backup should count towards system cost, but the energy intensity for the gas plant and its fuel infrastructure belong in the column of the gas plant, not the wind turbine. Last edited by a moderator: #### Bystander Science Advisor Homework Helper Gold Member To get some idea for comparison I used 10 MBtu/ton from the above. Now you've got me doubting myself. From Energy Information Administration, Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey, 2006, "108 ton/a, and 1015 BTU/a," or, 107 BTU/ton, or, 1010 J/ton. That's the energy audit on the steel industry. Just for reference, 5 x 10SUP]8[/SUP] J/ton melting scrap, and 1.7 x 109 for C reduction of hematite. Rolling billet to plate? O(3 x108 J/ton for 50% reduction in thickness (I would recommend a livestock salt block rather than grain of salt with that number). "Slip casting" may have made that number irrelevant. Just spent about eight hours running into pay walls, consultant ads, IT pay walls, and irrelevant drivel trying to chase down an energy audit for the chemical process industry, and succeeded only in establishing enormous doubts in my mind regarding any energy audit figures. Annual U.S. consumption in J, 1019, 3 x 1019, and 1020. The first two are nominally electrical energy, and the third total. Relevance here is that audits assign 5-6% consumption to the steel industry, 3% (?!) to the chemical process industry (which may be compared to 30% for India, and 18% for UK). A little chemistry and a number or two for you to ponder, while I ponder what little I've been able to come up with so far: epoxy resin synthesis for anything that's going to handle the environmental conditions (UV, weather) begins with H2O2 at ~ 50 kJ/mol, to make t-BuOOH, to whatever epoxide is desired. That's it for energy accounting so far. How many epoxide groups per mole of monomer, or kilogram of resin? At this point, I'm going to have to take a break and think about what else to search for as far as finding slightly more substantial numbers. And I thought some of the earth science numbers were "soft." This is an uglier bit of bookkeeping than I would have thought given emphasis on energy use since the embargo forty years ago. #### zoki85 #### RonL Gold Member #### zoki85 Can anyone be far off-base when this is on their front page ?:D ( Tesla, my hero) I would say it is enough to be slightly off-base for concept like this to generate more troubles than electrical power as things scale up... But, at least they are trying something. Tesla would be proud of them ;):D #### Bystander Science Advisor Homework Helper Gold Member This is an uglier bit of bookkeeping than I would have thought given emphasis on energy use since the embargo forty years ago. For those who wonder how my "60 MJ/WInstalled" is derived, it's a fifty year old rule of thumb, "sell it for twice what the utility company bills you for making it." , half of "$2/WInstalled," a common figure, is one buck, divided by a nickel (big users get big price breaks per kWh) is 20 kWh.
Trying to audit this within the somewhat "fuzzy" framework of existing "global" energy audits may not be possible. I have not abandoned pursuit of an answer to mheslep's question. It's just going to take longer than I originally thought it should.

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