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CLIMATE ACTIVIST : If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?

Unreliables - The Green Road To Energy Poverty.png

INFORMATIVE piece written not by a climate change “denier” but by energy and environment expert Michael Shellenberger – a democrat and climate change activist, no less.

ALWAYS refreshing reading Shellenberger’s work and commentary on twitter. Like Bjorn Lomborg, the other well-known ‘warmist’, they both provide reasoned analysis of environmental issues, focusing on costs and outcomes of climate and energy policy, rather than blind ideology so common in mainstream media environmental reporting that only poisons and polarises the debate leading to unnecessary alarmism resulting in overarching climate policy and misguided allocation of public money.

Shellenberger concludes…

This is a problem of bias, not just energy illiteracy. Normally skeptical journalists routinely give renewables a pass. The reason isn’t because they don’t know how to report critically on energy — they do regularly when it comes to non-renewable energy sources — but rather because they don’t want to.

That could — and should — change. Reporters have an obligation to report accurately and fairly on all issues they cover, especially ones as important as energy and the environment.

A good start would be for them to investigate why, if solar and wind are so cheap, they are making electricity so expensive.

Read on here…

If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?

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Clipper yacht Liverpool 2018 passes the Burbo Bank Wind Farm on August 14, 2017, off Liverpool, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

OVER the last year, the media have published story after story after story about the declining price of solar panels and wind turbines.

People who read these stories are understandably left with the impression that the more solar and wind energy we produce, the lower electricity prices will become.

And yet that’s not what’s happening. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Between 2009 and 2017, the price of solar panels per watt declined by 75 percent while the price of wind turbines per watt declined by 50 percent.

And yet — during the same period — the price of electricity in places that deployed significant quantities of renewables increased dramatically.

Electricity prices increased by:

What gives? If solar panels and wind turbines became so much cheaper, why did the price of electricity riseinstead of decline?

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Electricity prices increased by 51 percent in Germany during its expansion of solar and wind energy.

One hypothesis might be that while electricity from solar and wind became cheaper, other energy sources like coal, nuclear, and natural gas became more expensive, eliminating any savings, and raising the overall price of electricity.

But, again, that’s not what happened.

The price of natural gas declined by 72 percent in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016 due to the fracking revolution. In Europe, natural gas prices dropped by a little less than half over the same period.

The price of nuclear and coal in those place during the same period was mostly flat.

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Electricity prices increased 24 percent in California during its solar energy build-out from 2011 to 2017.

Another hypothesis might be that the closure of nuclear plants resulted in higher energy prices.

Evidence for this hypothesis comes from the fact that nuclear energy leaders Illinois, France, Sweden and South Korea enjoy some of the cheapest electricity in the world.

Since 2010, California closed one nuclear plant (2,140 MW installed capacity) while Germany closed 5 nuclear plants and 4 other reactors at currently-operating plants (10,980 MW in total).

Electricity in Illinois is 42 percent cheaper than electricity in California while electricity in France is 45 percent cheaper than electricity in Germany.

But this hypothesis is undermined by the fact that the price of the main replacement fuels, natural gas and coal, remained low, despite increased demand for those two fuels in California and Germany.

That leaves us with solar and wind as the key suspects behind higher electricity prices. But why would cheapersolar panels and wind turbines make electricity moreexpensive?

The main reason appears to have been predicted by a young German economist in 2013.

In a paper for Energy Policy, Leon Hirth estimated that the economic value of wind and solar would decline significantly as they become a larger part of electricity supply.

The reason? Their fundamentally unreliable nature. Both solar and wind produce too much energy when societies don’t need it, and not enough when they do.

Solar and wind thus require that natural gas plants, hydro-electric dams, batteries or some other form of reliable power be ready at a moment’s notice to start churning out electricity when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining.

And unreliability requires solar- and/or wind-heavy places like Germany, California and Denmark to payneighboring nations or states to take their solar and wind energy when they are producing too much of it.

Hirth predicted that the economic value of wind on the European grid would decline 40 percent once it becomes 30 percent of electricity while the value of solar would drop by 50 percent when it got to just 15 percent.

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Hirth predicted that the economic value of wind would decline 40% once it reached 30% of electricity, and that the value of solar would drop by 50% when it reached 15% of electricity.

In 2017, the share of electricity coming from wind and solar was 53 percent in Denmark, 26 percent in Germany, and 23 percent in California. Denmark and Germany have the first and second most expensive electricity in Europe.

By reporting on the declining costs of solar panels and wind turbines but not on how they increase electricity prices, journalists are — intentionally or unintentionally — misleading policymakers and the public about those two technologies.

The Los Angeles Times last year reported that California’s electricity prices were rising, but failed to connect the price rise to renewables, provoking a sharp rebuttal from UC Berkeley economist James Bushnell.

“The story of how California’s electric system got to its current state is a long and gory one,” Bushnell wrote, but “the dominant policy driver in the electricity sector has unquestionably been a focus on developing renewable sources of electricity generation.”

Part of the problem is that many reporters don’t understand electricity. They think of electricity as a commodity when it is, in fact, a service — like eating at a restaurant.

The price we pay for the luxury of eating out isn’t just the cost of the ingredients most of which which, like solar panels and wind turbines, have declined for decades.

Rather, the price of services like eating out and electricity reflect the cost not only of a few ingredients but also their preparation and delivery.

This is a problem of bias, not just energy illiteracy. Normally skeptical journalists routinely give renewables a pass. The reason isn’t because they don’t know how to report critically on energy — they do regularly when it comes to non-renewable energy sources — but rather because they don’t want to.

That could — and should — change. Reporters have an obligation to report accurately and fairly on all issues they cover, especially ones as important as energy and the environment.

A good start would be for them to investigate why, if solar and wind are so cheap, they are making electricity so expensive.

 

Michael Shellenberger, President, Environmental Progress. Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.”

If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive? | Forbes

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See also :

Energy Poverty related :

Energiewende Fail related :

World Coal-Fired Power Surge related :

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#UNRELIABLES Report Card : Actual Electricity Generated From Wind Farms Falls Well Short Of Claimed Output

INDUTSRIAL WIND TURBINES - THE FLAWS

“We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” – Warren Buffett

“Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.” – James Hansen (The Godfather of global warming alarmism and former NASA climate chief)

Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.” – Top Google engineers

***

THE question of efficiency is critical to any informed discussion of wind energy. Wind turbines produce less energy than their “maximum capacity” rating would have us believe. Due to the fluctuation of wind currents—not exactly a novel discovery—turbines actually produce around 26.9 percent of the energy they could in theory generate. This is known as their “capacity factor.” By contrast, conventional power plants tend to have a capacity factor of 40 to 80 percent. This has one obvious ramification: Wind farms are less efficient and cost-effective than non-renewable sources of energy.

ALTHOUGH this conclusion is hardly shocking, the unpredictability of wind power presents a much more serious problem. Because wind power can never be completely reliable, we will always need other, more reliable forms of energy to serve as a backup for “wind reliant” buildings and infrastructure. (Wind Farms: Not So Green | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson)

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WIND Power Collapses Send Power Prices Into Orbit in Wind ‘Powered’ South Australia

“In order to ‘encourage’ SA’s fossil fuel fleet into action, the grid manager was forced to pay a spot price of $5,077 per MWh…”

IT’S no wonder wind ‘powered’ South Australia has, officially, the highest power prices in-the-world! 🤦‍♂️

STOP THESE THINGS

Wind power outfits often claim that their particular operation ‘powers’ 30,000 homes; RE zealots even claim that South Australians get 50% of their power from the sun and wind.

Whacked with the obvious retort of ‘when?’, the wind cultist changes tack and starts mumbling about mega-batteries (non-existent and insanely costly), pumped hydro (non-existent and costly) and then starts ranting about an evil fossil fuel conspiracy.

South Australia is the shining example of the true cost and absolute chaos that comes with attempting to run on sunshine and breezes.

Set out above, courtesy of Aneroid Energy, is the output from every wind turbine in SA during the merry month of March (with a notional capacity of 1,810 MW).

Even if you add in the piddling 100 MW capacity of its $150,000,000 Elon Musk special, it’s pretty clear that collapses in the order of 700 to 1,200 MW (which occur…

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Hype-Power: Renewables Zealots’ Claims that SA’s Mega-Battery Saves Grid Pure Bunkum

“HOWEVER, it turns out that Reneweconomy, in its zeal to promote new power sources, shifted the goalposts so that the battery output was exaggerated over one hundred fold. The correct measure is as follows with the battery contribution comprising the almost invisible yellow at the bottom of the following chart.

A mixture of mainly fossil fuel stations expanded output and filled the gap within one minute.

Morals of the story: (i) batteries may have a role but they are dear; (ii) always seek verification of assertions made by propagandists!”

A must read post by Alan Moran and STT…

STOP THESE THINGS

Four parts snake-oil, three parts urban myth.

With Australia’s renewable energy crisis running totally out of control, whenever you hear the word ‘battery’ you know you’re being conned.

Pumping power into and then taking it out of a battery results in inevitable exchange losses, power gets chewed up during that process and is dissipated as heat energy. And then there’s the enormous capital cost of the battery: SA’s 100 MW tiddler cost taxpayers $150 million. Even if renewable electricity delivered from batteries were available, retailers would be paying north of $600 per MWh to get it.

But still the hapless Federal Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg plugs it; head of the AEMO, Audrey Zibelman plugs it; and so does Anne Pearson of the Australian Energy Market Commission.

And so do the wind and sun worshippers over at Ruin-economy. Here’s Alan Moran unplugging some of their more exuberant hype.

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DOE: If it weren’t for coal-fired electricity plants, the Northeast would have blacked-out during recent bomb-cyclone

“New England was so desperate for natural gas to keep the heat on it took two shipments containing liquefied natural gas from Russia.”

OHH the delicious irony! The increased reliance on unreliables – wind and solar – by global warming obsessed progressive state governments is forcing them, in periods of extreme cold, to rely on fossil fuels (gas) from….”Russia, Russia, Russia”! LoL 😂

Watts Up With That?

From the “when the going gets tough, renewables can’t cut it” department. Wind power generation actually dropped 5% during this period

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES-16 satellite caught a dramatic view of the bomb cyclone moving up the East Coast on Jan. 4, 2017. NOAA Photo

From the Daily Caller: Coal-fired power plants kept the lights on for millions of Americans during January’s bomb cyclone, according to an Energy Department report warning future plant retirements could imperil grid security.

Energy analysts at DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory found that coal power kept the lights on for millions of Americans during the bomb cyclone that pummeled the eastern U.S. from late December to early January.

NETL analysts found that coal plants made up most of the incremental power utilities relied on to keep electricity flowing during the cold snap. Nuclear and oil power plants played a big role, NETL…

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Regrets: Fritz Vahrenholt – German RE Pioneer Demands End to Chaotic Wind Power Push

“And when there is little wind, the expansion does not help, as electricity production then remains close to zero. It is like the foolish acts by the people of Schilda (Schildbürger) who tried to carry sacks of light into the windowless town hall.“

CIVILISED humans abandoned unreliables – windmills – centuries ago, for obvious reasons. They only work when the wind is not too heavy, not too light, but, just right. Even then, not at the exact time when you want your lights on.

TO repeat a technological failure in mankind’s history is either insanity or simply an opportunistic and greedy Climate Crisis Industry taking full advantage of “save the planet” virtue-signalling in a panic-driven ‘climate’ where literally trillions of dollars of taxpayers money is up for grabs in the form of massive government subsidies. Or both.

WHY wouldn’t one yell “GLOBAL WARMING” when such lucrative cash incentives, that avoid all scrutiny in the name of “saving the planet”, are literally blowing in the wind for the deceitful to corrupt?

END green central planning and the massive government subsidies for unreliables and see just how quickly the renewables sector comes crashing down to earth…

STOP THESE THINGS

Fritz Vahrenholt: finally sits down to a banquet of consequences.

If the tech savvy Germans can’t make wind and solar power work, no one can.

The Germans love cobbling together endless, guttural syllables to create nouns longer than the Autobahn.

‘Energiewende’ roughly translates as ‘energy transition’, which Germans have taken to mean a new path with energy. Germans were told that instead of coal and nukes, they’d run on sunshine and breezes, as if by magic.

Except that it didn’t quite pan out that way.

Germany has policies in place that will squander close to €1 trillion in subsidies ladled out to wind and solar.

Years ago, its brains trust determined to shutter its safe and reliable fleet of nuclear power plants by 2022; hypocritically, Germany still imports plenty of nuclear generated electricity from France and will do for decades to come.

Coupled with its push kill off its nuclear…

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ENERGY Poverty Insanity : Struggling Families To Subsidise Solar Panels For The Rich

AUSTRALIA has entered the realm of third world countries with residential power disconnections rising by as much as 140 per cent in six years.

THE mad rush into unreliable ‘energy’ – wind and solar – created by virtue signalling politicians aiming to appease the UN climate gods has resulted in the average household paying more than double to keep the lights on, unprecedented statewide blackouts and now for South Australia, officially, the most expensive power prices in the world.

IF that wasn’t bad enough, Australian taxpayers, namely the poorest in the community, are set to add another $160 to their annual power bill thanks to a further $1.3bn in government solar subsidies.

ALL this extra pain to make zero difference to the climate.

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