Obama May Finally Succeed!

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

For this post I’ve taken as my departure point a couple of very interesting graphs from over at Not A Lot Of People Know That. I’ll repeat them here:

(NOTE: I’ve been informed in the most genteel and lovely way that I’ve not given full credit for the source of these graphs. As the lower graph notes, they are from the Strom Report, Source: Strom-Report. My thanks to them for the heads-up.)

Interesting, no? But I’m a numbers guy, I wanted to actually analyze the results. Using the data from those posts and adding the US information, I graphed the relationship … Figure 1 shows the result:

RStudioScreenSnapz027

Figure 1. Electricity costs as a function of per capita installed renewable capacity. Wind and solar only, excludes hydropower. [Updated to add Australia and correct the units]

That is a most interesting result. Per capita installed renewable capacity by itself explains 84% of the variation in electricity costs. Not a big surprise given the crazy-high costs of renewables, but it is very useful for another calculation.

Today, President Obama said that he wanted 28% of America’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030. He has not detailed his plan, so I will assume that like California and other states with renewable targets, and like the EU graph above, hydropower is not included in counting the renewables, and thus the energy will have to come from wind and solar. (Why? In California, they admitted that hydropower was excluded because it would make it too easy to meet the renewable goals … seriously, that was their explanation.)

Currently, we get about 4% of our electricity from wind and solar. He wants to jack it to 28%, meaning we need seven times the installed capacity. Currently we have about 231 kW/capita of installed wind and solar (see Figure 1). So Obama’s plan will require that we have a little less than seven times that, 1537 kW/capita. And assuming that we can extend the relationship we see in Figure 1, this means that the average price of electricity in the US will perforce go up to no less than 43 cents per kilowatt-hour. (This includes the hidden 1.4 cents/kW cost due to the five cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy paid to the solar/wind producers).

Since the current average US price of electricity is about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour … that means the true price of electricity is likely to almost quadruple in the next 15 years.

And given that President Obama famously predicted that under his energy plan electricity prices would necessarily “skyrocket” … it looks like he finally might actually succeed at something.

Since this is being done illegally or at least highly improperly by means of Obama’s Imperial Presidential Fiat, there seems to be little we can do about it except to let your friends and neighbors know that thanks to Obama and the Democratic Party, their electric bill is indeed about to skyrocket … otherwise, Obama is likely to blame it all on President Bush.

Best to everyone,

w.

My Usual Plea: If you disagree with someone, please quote the exact words that you object to. That way we can all understand exactly who and what you are objecting to.

Prediction Notes: It is always dangerous to try to predict the future. In this case, we have a couple of issues. First, we don’t know if this relationship will continue to work in the future. And we don’t know if America’s path will be like that of the other countries. The good news is, the fact that there are 19 countries which differ greatly in both installed capacity and level of economic development gives some comfort.

Next, outliers. I tested to see whether it would change the trend if I removed Denmark and Germany … it barely changed. That was very encouraging, because it means that the same relationship held when we extended the data from 600 kW/capita (Spain etc.) out to about 1000 kW/capita, a projection of about 60%. Since the extension to the projected US installed capacity/capita (1000 out to 1500 kW/capita) is of about the same size, this increases confidence in the estimate.

Finally, we have to make some assumptions about US electricity use in 2030. It will increase … but by how much? Fortunately, the independent variable is installed renewable capacity per capita. This means that extending the line contains a tacit assumption that the electricity consumption will increase at about the same rate as the population. While we have no way to know if this is true, US per capita electricity consumption has been about flat for the last two decades, so it is the most reasonable assumption.

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Stephen Richards

Our French loony lefty Royal wants to add 7.000.000 electric points at the side of the road and restrict all autoroutes to 90km/hr. If that doesn’t kill an already poor economy along with the ruinables I don’t know what will.

Don K

Stephen
90 kph is about the speed where drag starts to have significant impact on fuel consumption. FWIW, the US had a national 55mph (88kph) speed limit for several years after the 1973 Arab Oil embargo. The economic impact was minimal. I actually had to drive a car across North America (Washington DC to San Diego) over a long weekend at that time. It took me a few more hours than it might today, but it wasn’t all that onerous.
As for electric cars. I live in a cold climate where batteries perform poorly and heating the car cabin with waste heat from an internal combustion engine is welcome most of the year. So I’m not a big fan of pure electric vehicles. But it seems to me that a better solution than roadside chargers might be small trailers with a gas or diesel generator that can be tacked onto electric cars to effectively convert them into hybrids when a trip too long for one battery charge is required.

Amatør1

Here in south-east Norway, we have many electric cars, due to insane subsidies. During the winter, which can be rather cold, the car cabins are heated by….. wait for it…. diesel heaters.

Ben Palmer

“But it seems to me that a better solution than roadside chargers might be small trailers with a gas or diesel generator ” And how would converting gas or diesel into electricity with all its technical losses reduce CO2 emissions?
In Germany and France they want to boost electric vehicles and at the same time ditch their nuclear power plants

Don K. – ” It took me a few more hours than it might today, but it wasn’t all that onerous.”
That is about 2500miles. At a steady 55, that would be about 45 hrs – 3.2 days of 14 hr driving.. At a steady 80 (some western states speed limit), that would be 31 hours – 2.3 days. Did you count the cost of the extra overnight say ($60-$100)?
Don K. – “The economic impact was minimal.”
What about the added cost of trucking merchandise?

DAV

Not to mention the cost of driving vs. some other, perhaps more lucrative, activity. Some people think time is money. Like everything else ‘best’ and ‘minimal impact’ are determined by requirements. One size does not fit all.

sciguy54

Don K
You are completely wrong about the 55 speed limit. Many vacation trips which were and are again today 7-10 hr drives became nearly 50% longer once an extra rest stop was factored in. Many families (mine included) opted for air travel instead and a family of 4 consumed fuel at the equivalent of about 5 miles per gallon as opposed to 15-25 mpg.
A total green failure, but the number of highway deaths did go down.

The only way the electric car will become widespread is when a power distribution system(hot rail or wire) is installed in roadways that allows charging while driving. The limited distance and charging of batteries will prohibit any widespread adaption of the electric vehicle.

Don K

Ben Palmer
“And how would converting gas or diesel into electricity with all its technical losses reduce CO2 emissions?”
Wouldn’t I think. But conceptually, You’d only need the generator for an occasional long trip. If you regularly make trips an electric vehicle can’t handle on a single charge you presumably should buy a hybrid or conventional vehicle instead.
======
jim
“..at a steady 80. :
The only states that allow 80mph at Colorado, Utah and some interstates in Idaho. In most of the US the de facto and de jure speed limit is around 70mph, and in much of it a car with out of state plates is chancing an expensive ticket at any speed over 70. In some places (e.g. NY) less.
“What about the added cost of trucking merchandise?”
Largely offset by increased fuel costs at higher speeds? In my experience truckers usually hold themselves to around 65 to 70 mph. BTW, there’s data on average truck speeds on interstates at http://www.statista.com/statistics/195100/average-operating-truck-speed-on-selected-us-interstate-highways/ and http://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-671-april-18-2011-average-truck-speeds You’ll probably be surprised how low the numbers are (pulled down by low speeds in urban areas and bad weather most likely) It’s a few years old, but probably not too inaccurate.

AustinMorris

How about leaving things as they are until technology actually catches up, I remember an electric car called the Sinclair C5 in GB, we have come a way since then but we need a lot more time to invent a viable system. Stop panicking and get real.

rocdoctom

This past weekend: On I-25 north of Cheyenne, Wyoming the posted speed limit is 80 mph

PRD

Interstate’s 10 and 20 in West Texas are 80 mph as are a few toll roads. The toll road that runs from north of Austin, Tx to San Antonio, Tx is posted at 85 mph.

18-wheeler truck drivers will tell you that driving 55 mph across Texas on I-10 isn’t a long haul — It’s a career!

@sciguy54
A family of four taking an auto vacation in a 22 mpg SUV is still getting a very respectable and nearly unbeatable 88 passenger miles per gallon.
A 737-900 does about as well will all the seats filled
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_aircraft

MarkW

sciguy54, highway deaths did go down, but mostly because of two factors.
People were driving less because they couldn’t afford to anymore and because both cars and roads have been getting safer.
What really kills, is not speed, but differences in speed. The old double nickel increased the speed difference between the fastest car on the road and the slowest. This ended up killing way more people than the small number saved by the lower speed limit.

Great! cannot understand 1 things: why every left wing socialist politician wants to restrict speed limits, they actively and surreptitiously do it in Australia as well! Maybe revenue from speed cameras increase when they lower the limit???
As for electric cars… in order to “save the world” from that cancer called CO2 you want to drag a generator fuelled by fossil fuels!! behind a “world saving vehicle” so that you can charge the batteries and feel good that you are saving Gaia?? The energy conversion doesnt stack up, you might as well do the whole trip on gasoline….

What a load of rubbish. That may or may not have been true in 1973 with 3 speed autos. (Economy has little to do with drag either – there is a 20% difference in consumption between 4th gear and 5th gear despite by definition no change in aero drag.)
I do a lot of country driving in Oz and you can take it from me a modern car with overdrive uses no more fuel at 70mph than at 60.
Like all Regressives, Obama is using the policies of the past to take the country backwards.

dp

Do you honestly not see the irony in fossil-fuel powered recharging stations dragged behind already burdened electric cars or is this a joke?

sciguy54

More actual data:
In the 1970s when WPE I (worst prez ever, #1) signed the 55 speed limit, the US domestic airline fleet averaged just over 20 passenger miles per gallon of jet fuel. Even the boxiest Elwood Engel monster of that era could easily best 5 highway mpg with 4 passengers, or 10 mpg with 2 up.
I just checked the numbers for April 2014-March 2015 and found the Domestic US fleet averaged just under 58 mpg, which is quite an improvement. But to equate the CO2 output with gasoline that must be divided by about 1.15, reducing to just over 50 mpg equivalent.
see http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/acts/customized/table?adfy=2014&adfm=4&adty=2015&adtm=3&aos=1&artd=1&arti&arts&asts=1&astns&astt&ascc&ascp=1
and http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/acts/customized/table?adfy=2014&adfm=4&adty=2015&adtm=3&aos=1&artd=1&arti&arts&asts=1&astns&astt&ascc&ascp=1
If WPE II were to force a new 55 limit by fiat, then an SUV carrying 4 people would only need to make good 13 vehicle mpg to generate less CO2 per mile than the airline fleet. Easily done.

higley7

The first electric vehicles were flatbed trucks in New York City around 1906. They got about the same mileage as electric cars get today. For local driving, where some of the fleet of cars or trucks can be charging while the others are out, these can work okay. Of course, they fail in very cold or warm weather. Batteries weaken with lower temperatures and might even have to be heated with their own power to make them perform properly. Batteries also do not like warm weather, which ages them more rapidly and there is the need for A/C.

The 55 mph speed limit was not instituted because of “green” concerns, but because of the Arab oil embargo. It was a way to conserve oil during a time of swiftly rising prices and foreign oil dependency that was seen as a national threat. It was repealed when it became clear that threat no longer existed, if it ever did.

M Seward

“ruinables”. Perfect. Touche.

+1

Brad Rich

Referred to (especially in the case of wind generators, where diesel-powered trucks and cranes provide the maintenance and support for the meager electrical output of the system) as “fossil-fuel laundering”.

Ted G

The only glimmer of good news in this disaster is that the next Republican President can use his PEN $ CELLPHONE to 1 reverse this Obama fiat, plus declaw and defang the EPA DICTATORSHIP or until the next bunch of Dimacrats take the rains of power !!!!!
Prey!

spetzer86

It’s only working for O because all the agencies are staffed with progressives and are more than ready to follow his lead. Try throwing it into reverse and you’ll see a lot more hard drive crashes before you see anything slow down. You’d need to gut everything and retool.

Alex B

Problem is that the Republicans often come with a greater moron of a candidate than the Democrats do.

ClimateOtter

Here’s what I don’t get: Does not Denmark get the large majority of its energy from hydro? Yet they still have the highest prices of anyone. I would have thought that all that long-since installed hydro capacity would have helped them keep prices down.

dudleyhorscroft

No. Denmark has a very high level of wind power. When the wind blows, there is excess supply and it sells the power cheaply to Sweden. When the wind does not blow, it buys energy from Sweden – mostly hydroelectric – at high prices (cunning, those Swedes) to provide for its needs.

Moose from the EU

And at the same time, the once beautiful Danish landscape is now devastated forever. The some goes for Germany.

Moose, ditto on that.
Wind turbines are absolutely hideous.

Pat Frank

I was in Copenhagen just a few weeks ago. The huge windmills are everywhere.

MarkW

Moose, not forever. Just until the Danes come to their senses and tear those beasts down.

Don’t worry Moose – windmills will usually fall over or catch fire with 5 years or so.

spetzer86

Denmark energy mix: http://www.emd.dk/el/
Apparently, really windy today as they almost were at 100%. Of course, there are other days where there isn’t much going on with the turbines.

Alan the Brit

If memory serves, the energy is shared around Scananavia, between Sweden, Norway, & Denmark. Probably just a tax-raising exercise.

Ted G

Wind power will become a huge economic generator?
.When the EU/USA comes to its senses and these worn out alarmist dream towers and large solar farms have become literal rusting relics. That have insulted and Littered some of the most beautiful countryside and landscapes in the world. Then the wholesale removal of these unusable wind monstrosities, will necessitate a FDR’s full employment scheme for all of these hairbrain countries.
Think about it?
Millions of men and women tearing down the blades, towers and reclaiming the scrap metal copper and rare earth magnets. The 200 to 500 ton Concrete pads will be dug up and recycled into road beds etc.. Creating a Trucking industry boom. Reclamation of the land, employing millions landscapers, millions of of trees and plants being grown and replanted. Tourism centres and Global warming museums far and wide showing the greatest most expensive folly that mankind has ever embarked on. The occasional tower left on the outskirts of small towns everywhere advertising McDonalds. Base jumpers and wall climber company’s conquering the highest ones. Greenpeace using them as practice banner hanging protest sites . Eagles and hawks nesting on top, Oh the joy.
This is not a dream!!!!

MikeB

One of the main factors in European energy prices is the amount of tax levied on the domestic electricity consumers.
For instance, the price of electricity in the UK is almost entirely due to the cost of production and supply. VAT (Value Added Tax) is added at only 5%. UK prices therefore seem relatively low.
In Denmark, where consumer electricity charges are amongst the highest, the cost of energy production is actually lower than the UK; the difference is due to the high energy taxes levied in Denmark
http://s10.postimg.org/t1h9zl6ah/Electricity_Taxes.png

VikingExplorer

Willis confuses correlation with causation. To the extent that countries that have the political foundation to enact taxes on electricity, they are also likely to force windmills.

MikeB August 3, 2015 at 3:11 am
One of the main factors in European energy prices is the amount of tax levied on the domestic electricity consumers.

Is the “without taxes” bar in the chart also without government subsidies?

Vikingexplorer,
Maybe the countries that force windmills have to enact taxes on electricity to pay for the subsidies.

The “price without taxes” is not the price you would pay without the taxes. This is the important economic concept of “Tax Incidence”: part of the tax burden falls on the buyer, part on the seller. But which portion falls on which is the same whether the tax is levied on the seller or the buyer. If most of the tax burden falls on sellers of electricity then Denmark doesn’t actually have cheaper energy than the UK if not for taxes. Just more of the high cost accrues to the government, rather than the actual sellers.

VikingExplorer

edimbukvarevic, “have to”? Could very well be that they choose to do that. Nothing inherent in reality that forces one form of taxes over another. They could use income taxes. A couple of points:
1) Applying these trends to the US seems more than a little problematic because it’s a federal system with a free-market based electrical system. For example, windmills were built in New York state near the finger lakes. However, they could not compete in the market, and were later shut down.
2) The evil of averages comes into play. If one adds an extremely expensive restaurant to a city, the average food costs, as calculated by averaging all food sources, would go up. Does that mean that everyone experiences higher food costs?

MarkW

AndrewL, ultimately, the consumer pays 100% of any tax. businesses are not charitable organizations, they have to make sufficient levels of profit in order to attract investment. Thus when govt taxes cut into profits, they have to find some way to get those profits back up. Either through decreased services or through increased prices. And no, taxing all businesses does not change this equation, because you still need to have enough return on investment to convince people to forgo current consumption.

MarkW-Your statement implies some a priori belief about the relative elasiticity of supply and demand in any and all markets. What portion of the burden of a tax falls on the supply side (producers/sellers) and what portion on the demand side (consumers/buyers) depends on the shape of the supply and demand curves for the market. It has nothing to do with producers insisting on a constant rate of profit in the long run. If supply is inelastic compared to demand, the burden will mostly fall on producers/sellers. Please prove your implicit claim that in the long run supply is much more elastic than demand in general.

Though, to be clear here, just because a tax falls primarily on sellers/producers doesn’t make it “good.” We are all, in different times and places, both consumers and producers. Taxes make everyone worse off than they would be by decreasing the overall quantity of goods traded. Tax incidence is important however, for comparisons like this, because one cannot just think of the tax as an “addition” to the price, such that we can remove the amount that goes to taxes and get what the price “would be”-we cannot, because the before tax price would be higher without the tax than it is with the tax. The actual “without tax price” is somewhere between where the blue bars top out above and where the yellow bars top out above. Where inbetween depends, again, on the elasticities of supply and demand for energy in this case.

Amatør1

Denmark is flat as a pancake, no hydro power. You are thinking of Norway, perhaps. Very different.

asybot

The only way the Danes and the Dutch could use “hydro” power is using some of the flow from rivers ( In Holland the Rhine, Maas etc. But they would be only effective during the runoff in spring. I am not sure Denmark even has a large enough river to warrant that. And the barge traffic going up rive in Hollandr would stop that anyway. ( just a thought).

Leo Smith

Denmark is barely above sea level.
No hydro in Denmark. They do use Norway and swedens tho

dp

Just because they’re socialists doesn’t mean they’re entirely ignorant. The rules of supply/demand apply, and there’s a lot of demand for electricity. Or maybe they just set the price way high because there’s no alternative supplier to offer a competing price.

jaagu

The price of electricity includes carbon tax and government taxes in each country. Denmark has very high taxes. The correct way to compare the price of electricity in each country s to strip out all the taxes – but that is difficult to figure out. And of course this article would make no sense if all the taxes were stripped out.
This article is a lot of silliness. Correlation does not mean causation in science.

dudleyhorscroft

Makes the US promise to cut carbon emissions by some ridiculously large amount look impossible. Though there is the probability that the estimated increase in electricity charges will so damage US industry that the emissions will automatically decrease to the required level. Perhaps the POTUS (what an awful acronym) was counting on the destruction of industry to make his promise come true?

cnxtim

That’s Carbon Dioxide – NOT carbon (AKA the carbon cycle) the proposed massive taxes are for CO2…

Mick In The Hills

Good analysis Willis.
Just for reference, here in Australia, we’re already on par with Denmark and Germany for household electricity cost.
And our ‘progressive’ Labor Party is promising to upscale our electricity sources to 50% wind and solar within the next 15 years (.we don’t have much hydro, and zero nuclear).
If any prospective government here was promising to quadruple electricity costs, anyone would reasonably conclude they were not serious about winning government.
Yet our Labor party is leading the conservatives 53 / 47 in the polls, with 12 months to the next election.
People here just don’t get the kind of info you present here from our MSM.

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, mate. Hey, we’re nothing if not a full service website …comment image
In fact, you guys are a bit of an outlier, so you’re right, you are getting screwed.
And if you want to get your renewables to 50% from your current 4%, you’ll have to jack your renewables by a factor of about 12. Using the same formula as above, that would make your new electricity price about 84 cents US per kWh …
w.

Mick In The Hills

Willis, with your permission, I will endeavour to post your graph in the comments sections of all relevant articles in our national online media over the coming days.
Information is power (no pun intended).

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, Mick, go for it and let us know how it turns out.
w.

Willis Eschenbach

Mick, note the corrected units, the one I posted before has kw/capita.
Regards,
w.

Craig

Blow me Willis, excuse my language, seriously 12 TIMES?! GOD.I.SO.WANT.TO.CRY.😪

Jer0me

I can definitely say that the cost of electricity is is huge here in Oz, although I do not have a figure to hand. I live in a rural area with no piped water. The cost of pumping it out of the ground is significantly higher than buying it by the tanker. That is insane as our water table is only 10m down.

Juan Slayton

Do they allow windmills?

Nobody ANYWHERE gets this sort of info from their MSM.

Jim Francisco

Mick. I have read somewhere that Australia has 2/3 of the known uranium supply. Seems kinda nutty to have “zero nuclear”.

AndyG55

Not really, we also have a much easier to use source of coal.
That’s where nearly all our electricity comes from.
No need for nuclear, with the added benefit of supplying a small amount of plant food to the atmosphere. 🙂

Mick In The Hills

True Jim. But that’s the legacy income our generation will be leaving for future generations, as the world backs away from wind, and sensibly embraces nuclear. Just ask France.

Chris Hanley

“… under his energy plan electricity prices would necessarily “skyrocket” …”.
====================
Electricity use is relatively inflexible so the likely result is no appreciable drop in CO2 emissions and what amounts to a savage regressive tax.

Bob Lyman

Thank you for a very interesting scatterplot. It adds to the useful article recently published on wattsupwiththat by Ed Hoskins, in which he showed that, to the end of 2014, the countries of the European Union had invested approximately one trillion euros in large scale renewable energy installations, adding 216 Gigawatts to electricity generating capacity but only 3.8% to actual electricity supply. I would offer a few additional points. The significant increase in electricity prices that results from a high expenditure on renewables is entirely intentional; the goal of climate change-inspired policies is to reduce consumption as much as to add new generation capacity of the politically preferred type. Further, based on the political commitments recently made by the G7 countries, including the U.S., the stated goal is to eliminate all fossil fuel use in the world by 2100 and to make a best effort to reduce it by up to 70% below 2010 levels by 2050. In this context, moving to increase the supply of renewables and to sharply reduce electricity demand by 2030 is merely a first step. The related controversies will go on far longer than the Obama presidency.

Clive Bond

At CO2 level of 200 ppm plant life stars to shut down. At 150 ppm it shuts down completely.

Rosarugosa

We’re all DEAD!, today’s CO2 level is 400ppm.

Bubba Cow

so, what’s the end game – Al and Eve hunting for berries at the bird beater farm?

Jim Francisco

Why not just eat the birds. The berries could be a side salid.

Guy

Perhaps using renewables as a percent of installed capacity instead of kw per capita would be a slightly better measure for the scatter graph.

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, Guy. Of course I looked at that, hey, I’m a data junkie, so I investigated that along with every other variable I could think of. The correlation of installed capacity/capita with price has a value of 0.93, and the correlation of price with renewables as a % of generation is 0.75.
And trying it with both those two as independent variables didn’t improve the R^2, so using Occam’s Razor I just used what you see in Figure 1.
Regards,
w.

Harry Passfield

Willis: Isn’t it actually somewhat worse than you show in your chart? I refer to the fact that you were relating installed capacity/capita: what if it was based on power-factor – which is often taken to be approx 28% of nameplate. My point is, if Obama was insisting on 30% of renewables based on their ‘deliverable’ then the total amount of nameplate wind (say) would have to be a lot more.

Mike M. (period)

Willis,
I was going to make a similar comment as Guy, put with percent of production as independent variable. And here is a follow on question: What effect does the choice of independent variable have on the projected cost?
It strikes me that with a small number of data points, the difference between an R^2 of 0.93 and 0.75 may not be significant.
Also, you seem to have been sloppy with “percent of electricity” and “percent of capacity”. Very different things.

Steve Fitzpatrick

Hello Willis,
I think the units on the scatter plot should be watts/capita, not kilowatts/capita. Total installed electrical capacity in 2012 in the USA was about 1063 Million KW, or a bit over 3 KW per capita. http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm?tid=2&pid=2&aid=7
WRT why the correlation of retail price with % renewables as a function of generation capacity is not as good as price with total installed renewable capacity per capita: This may be be telling us the political environment which leads to a high per capita installed capacity is the same political environment (strong influence of Greens) which leads to high taxes on electricity. (A green price ‘synergy’, if you will.) Many developed countries countries like Germany and Denmark generate a relatively large amount of conventional electricity, so as a fraction of total capacity the expensive renewable energy is smaller… but these countries tax the evah-lovin’ bejesus out of electricity used by consumers because, as the European Greens would say, ‘it is the right thing to do for the environment’… and it generates vast additional money for social spending (same a huge taxes on gasoline in these countries). Industry often gets a pass on these taxes; if they had to pay, or it would make then uncompetitive with industries in other countries. The tax support for green energy is only about 0.06 Euro/ KWH in Germany; most of the astounding difference between generation cost and retail price is due to taxes not due to subsidies on renewables.

Willis Eschenbach

Steve Fitzpatrick August 3, 2015 at 11:47 am Edit

Hello Willis,
I think the units on the scatter plot should be watts/capita, not kilowatts/capita. Total installed electrical capacity in 2012 in the USA was about 1063 Million KW, or a bit over 3 KW per capita.

Good catch, fixed.

michel

The fundamental problem with the proposals is that even if fully implemented, and even if CO2 is the driver of warming, they will have a negligible effect on the climate. This is because the US economy in CO2 terms is just too small.
Take a look at Wikipedia. In 2013 the US did about 5 billion tonnes out of a global total of 35 billion. The percentage of emissions in 2015 has probably fallen substantially from there. The most the US can do by unilateral action is reduce global emissions by about 10%, assuming other countries do not make up its reductions. Which they quite certainly will.
So the question you have to ask is not so much how much this will cost, or whether it will work, but rather, why on earth is the US being asked to do this?
Of course, the same thing applies in spades to the UK, which does about one tenth of the emssions of the US, and which, if its emissions were to cease entirely, could have no effect whatever on the temperature of the planet. Nevertheless the crazed green movement, led by the Guardian, wants the UK to ‘tackle global warming’ by reducing its emissions. Admittedly by implementing measures such as burning wood not coal for electricity generation which most likely raise emissions rather than lower them, but there you go.
The question to ask all these advocates is: what effect will your proposed measures have on global temperatures? And then ask, tell me again why you want to do this?

cnxtim

These genuine and pertinent facts are what “Everyman” should concentrating on. NOT convoluted gobbledygook and pollie-gabble purporting to “prove” CAGW is real..

cnxtim

BTW here in Thailand where I am domiciled, the cost is <13 cents per unit. Not too shabby for a "3 rd World" [sic] country that imports almost all its fuel..

hell_is_like_newark

Thailand gets its electricity from (no particular order): Hydro, lignite (mined domestically), and natural gas. Thailand imports oil.. however, it has developed significant off shore gas deposits. The gas has been displacing lignite as fuel of choice for electricity.

Mick

Great article, as usual Willis. Thank you.
I wonder who can do a political piece about the ‘Progressive’ aim, but include the major (big) players as well. The foot-soldiers (Leftie organizations, NGOs, Greenpeace etc) are just in for the ride….but I would like to see who the major players really are. The multi-nationals who are making the wind-turbines and use pressure-groups to ensure constant contracts? The scientist organizing the peer-review? Media colluding to sell news, and make news? It would be a great book….

Don K

Wills. As far as I can see, your analysis is spot on. Even though the fuel for renewables is free, the infrastructure costs are so high and so much redundant infrastructure is needed that the effect of “free power” is to push up electricity costs to end users.. This problem can be, and often is, exacerbated by poorly thought out incentive structures that reward wind and solar producers for generating more electricity than users want or can use when conditions allow that.
It appears to me that not only is this scheme poorly conceived, it is going to be poorly implemented with the result being a massive transfer of money from residential users who can not shift the cost to someone else to manufacturers who can raise the price of their products/services to cover their increased costs and to utilities who will be allowed to recover their infrastructure costs. A festival corporate looting. Who will benefit? Ultimately, the oligarchs that liberals complain about endlessly. Warren Buffett wins Joe Sixpack loses.
What could rescue this chuzzlewitted scheme? Other than a sudden injection of clear thinking — which seems improbable — the only things I can think of would be deployment of low carbon power sources that can deliver a LOT of cheap non or very low carbon power when users want power, or the development of inexpensive, high capacity, electric storage buffers to put between wind/solar generation and end users. Neither seems all that likely.

Alan Robertson

Don K
August 3, 2015 at 2:41 am
“Even though the fuel for renewables is free…”
—————
I don’t want to pick on you Don, just make a sort of simple rebuff to the common notion that renewable energy sources are free, while fossil fuels are not. Aren’t fossil fuels free, too? All we have to do is gather them, just like the sun’s rays, all we have to do is gather them, too. I can go walk along the river bank and pick up chunks of coal. True enough,deposits of fossil fuels are found on land which belongs to an owner, but they are free to that owner.

Don K

Aren’t fossil fuels free, too?

Perhaps in parts of 18th Century America. Not in a modern conventional power plant. You have to pay for the fuels to be extracted, perhaps for separation from stuff you can’t or don’t want to burn, and to have the fuel delivered to your plant.

Theo Barker

Spot On, Alan!
Extracting the usable wavelengths from the entire EM spectrum emitted by the Sun is costly. There is much of the spectrum “you can’t or don’t want to” use, to say nothing of the rejected materials to capture the desired spectrum.
Same with wind. There are a number of currents that “you can’t or don’t want to” use, i.e. the wind farm along the Wyoming-Colorado border frequently is shut down during the winter and spring due to high winds. Again very costly.
How is erecting a wind turbine any less costly per Mjoule than drilling a petroleum well? (note that units are energy, not power)
NOTHING is free.

Bloke down the pub

Sad to see the UK so far above the trend line. We always seem to adopt the most inefficient and costly way of achieving our goals, not that we’re likely to to do that either.

bloke down the pub
That’s the price we have to pay for being world leaders in reducing emissions. Thank goodness Obama said last night that the US intends to take over that mantle.
How the US will compete with their energy costs significantly higher than today remains to be seen. Presumably he also intends to bring petrol (gas) prices up to European levels. Then US drivers WILL squeal.
tonyb

Owen in GA

Actually, he will leave gasoline alone until everything else is in place. If he were to attack that angle first, he would be impeached and never get any of his inane plan through. Even the senate democrats would know that $8/gal gas would doom their electoral chances for a generation.

Owen
That is why I referenced gasoline separately. The pump price has an immediate highly visual impact on drivers to which they will react. It takes some time though before you realise your home energy costs are a lot higher than previously-probably an entire year.
tonyb

Resourceguy

Actually, the method to the (WH) madness is to ignore highway infrastructure and force the states to raise fuel taxes themselves while the federal fund shrinks. You could blame Congress for that, except that was while throwing billions at states to build computer systems for health networks for ObamaCare. They often failed or were not talked about. There is a lot of insight to be gained from the relative silent treatment of this WH in various topic areas.

David Chapman

The west seems to me to be intent on committing economic, not to say, social, suicide. Will we wake in time?

Sam The First

Indeed – but China isn’t part of the Greenie, Bilderberger ‘World Government’ cabal, and neither I think are India or Indonesia, so it will all be for nothing.
History shows us that revolutionaries always get hoisted on their own petard, through an inability to see beyond their own noses.
Our ‘leaders’ are wedded to a course which is not supported by the majority, but given the deliberate weakening of democratic accountability in the West in the previous generation or two by the elite (which includes corporate owners and CEOs), I don’t think we shall ‘wake in time’.

Jim Francisco

My dad used to talk about people who just can’t stand success. Looks like they are taking over.

In 2014, electricity prices in Belgium were freezed and VAT was reduced to 6%. In 2015 and 2016, prices will skyrocket.
A family which has a consumption of 3500 kWh, i.e. € 700, will pay an extra sum of
* € 80 : abolition of a free consumption of 100 kWh;
* € 20: corporation tax imposed on intermunicipal companies and shifted on the consumers;
* € 100: VAT from 6% to 21%, from September 1 2015;
* € 56: charge to get rid of the huge debts due to the payment of subsidies for renewables. The charge will be introduced from January 1 2016 on.
Total increase of electricity prices in 2015 and 2016 in Belgium: € 256 or 37%!

Leo Norekens

The rise wille be limited thanks to the current low energy prices” (Flemish Energy Minister Turtelboom has a weird sense of humour).

Leo Norekens

>> will <<

Leo Norekens

In Belgium, the Flemish government has announced a new tax to eliminate the deficit that was created (by previous governments) by “oversubsidizing” green energy (quoting the Flemish minister of energy). Electricity bills will rise by at least 8%.
So they used our (taxpayers) money to subsidize renewables, and now they find out they’ve been spending even more than they could steal, they come back at us (customers) to fill the gap.
Isn’t that wonderful? And the best part is : no one ever asked us anything.
I was expecting riots in the streets, but the people are waiting for an offensive cartoon or something, I guess.

Harry Passfield

Leo, where Belgium leads the UK cannot be far behind. [sigh]

Billy Liar

Belgians seem to wait a lot; 589 days between 13 June 2010 and 6 December 2011 without a government!
At least politicians can’t be doing anything bad whilst they are talking about forming a government.

michael hart

“In California, they admitted that hydropower was excluded because it would make it too easy to meet the renewable goals … seriously, that was their explanation.”
Do you have a source for that, please? It’s worth repeating elsewhere.

Bubba Cow
Bruce

http://www.pge.com/en/about/environment/pge/cleanenergy/index.page
PG&E page showing breakdown of electrical supply.
“On average, approximately half of the electricity PG&E delivers to its customers comes from a combination of renewable and greenhouse gas-free resources.”

Billy Liar

“In California, they admitted that hydropower was excluded because it would make it too easy to meet the renewable goals … seriously, that was their explanation.”
Makes it rather obvious that the pursuit of ‘green energy’ is self-flagellation. What do they feel guilty about?

Federal assessments of recoverable crude oil and natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off California indicate a possible 10 billion barrels of crude oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The federal moratorium on oil and gas leasing in OCS waters expired in 2008, but there is a permanent California state moratorium on offshore oil and gas leasing in state waters and any plan for offshore drilling leads to a deafening outcry from harpies that pressures oil companies to explore the Arctic instead.
Meanwhile, California’s current natural gas production is diminishing and the state now imports gas from Mexico.
About 25% of California’s electricity is imported — from hydro and wind generation in the Pacific Northwest and from hydro and coal generation in the Southwest. A state law limiting financial investment in power plants that don’t meet CA emission requirements has reduced import of coal-generated electricity.
In-state, natural gas supplies most of California’s electricity generation. Nuclear provided as much as 20% until the 2013 San Onofre shutdown, now it’s about 10%. Hydro supplies 10–25%, depending on drought conditions.
The California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires that 33% of electricity procurement come from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, biogas, or small (less than 30MW) hydroelectric generation facilities by 2020. (The RPS ensures the profitability of the tax-subsidized, $2 billion, 845MW Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon.)
Regarding Californians’ disdain for any offshore oil and gas production…the 1969 Union Oil well blowout helped kick off the Environmental Movement and led Californians to believe that tar balls on beaches all result from oil drilling. But the tar balls actually come from natural seeps that have been flowing for 100,000s of years and, ironically, pumping can reduce the pressure that forces the seepage.
http://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.cfm?sid=CA
http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Renewables/
http://aoghs.org/offshore-history/california-oil-seeps/

Political leaders seems to belive that IPCC are providing robust science and seems unable to grasp that climate change proponents are braking their back to change definitions, add assumptions and provide ad hoc hypothesis to evade falsification.
Your clever little test indicate that switch to renewables will add a significant burden on everyone particularly on the poor. This seems unethical to me. Are there no brave political leaders who have the scientific integrity, and cojones, required to suspend action until the climate change theories have survived testing.

Climate Otter: Denmark’s highest “mountain” is 147 m high. It is very difficult to extract water power in that kind of Landscape.

Don’t forget that the loons in Scotland (the SNP) want 100% renewables. What will that do to electricity prices?

Why is Norway not includede in this renewable inatallstions graph? For all practical purposes, Norway is more than 100% self-supported by hydro power, and has a net export to the continent.
At the same time though, the country is so over-nurtured by oil money in addition that the country’s officials can waste public money on senseless wind installations (bird grinders) in one of the world’s most beautiful coast landscapes…

Keitho

You will have noticed that Willis expressly excluded hydro in the calculations.

Hugh

He did, and it is interesting. The renewables portion excluding all hydro power explain the price of electricity very well.
Willis:

hydropower is not included in counting the renewables

I rather dislike this terminology; hydro is definitely renewable as joules, although there is not so much available unused watts available.
Anyway it shows clearly how renewables are not cheap and how parity with ‘cheap’ coal is far far away.

And even though it is hard to see, since Norway is implementing the abundant European Union legislation, as fast as any European Union country – Norway is not part of the European Union, which the graph was about.

Hugh

Good point. Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Albania, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia. There are still plenty of European countries outside the EU.

Is this 100% reliance on hydro not a little risky? Suppose Norway got a couple of “drier than normal” years, would be in trouble?
There seem to be predictions of a cool climate phase over the next 20-30 years, cooler means less rain and snow in general.
Surely it is a better idea to have a mix of power sources?

Billy Liar

I expect the people of Bergen would be very grateful for a couple of ‘drier than normal years’.
Bergen – Total annual Precipitation averages 1958 mm (77.1 inches) which is equivalent to 1958 Litres/m² (48.02 Gallons/ft²).

George Tetley

It is most unfortunate that the Political classes cannot read, thge few that can are unable to understand without feeling the money in there pockets!
From “THE GREEN MIRAGE” WUWT July 25 2915
“production of 10 GW of power based on the factor of 37.5% Watts?M2 would require 250,102,040 panels to be manufactured and delivered each year
At a production rate of 1 panel per second they would take 7.93 years to produce
Question, life expectancy of panels ? life expectancy of batteries at a cost of ? billions ?

Speed

As with most developing technology the question of when to adopt has many answers. For real people spending their own money, some jump to buy everything new, others wait until it matures and prices fall. Others never buy. When governments are spending other peoples’ money it’s easy to buy too early. In this case way too early.
The technology adoption lifecycle model describes the adoption or acceptance of a new product or innovation, according to the demographic and psychological characteristics of defined adopter groups. The process of adoption over time is typically illustrated as a classical normal distribution or “bell curve.” The model indicates that the first group of people to use a new product is called “innovators,” followed by “early adopters.” Next come the early and late majority, and the last group to eventually adopt a product are called “laggards”.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_adoption_lifecycle
One problem we have here is justification based on projected costs of global warming — if it saves the world, it’s worth it.

Eliza

In my view this is the most important event that will change perceptions about global warming/climate change in mainstream media and public. At last someone had the guts to say it.This site should have realized this would happen. The lukewarming story will not hold up either!
http://time.com/3981623/ted-cruz-climate-change/

Ken Dietz

You are off by a factor of 1,000 in your conversion from MW/million head of population. It is equivalent to watts/capita, not to KW/capita.

Willis Eschenbach

Fixed, Ken. Thanks,
w.

john
Hugh

What about Greenland? How much hydro energy you could generate there? How to transmit that energy elsewhere where it is needed?

WilliMac

How much will they produce when they freeze over? An how long will that last?

raymond bonnaterre

Just a small unit remark:
1 MW/ million head of population = 1 W /capita
I agree, renewable installed power per capita is very very low, unpredictable and definitively too expansive to fund
RAY, a french citizen

Steve Stoltz

The chart is great but the conclusion may be flawed. Correlation does not prove causation. The data also shows that increased energy costs “cause” (provide an incentive for) more renewable capacity. This view of causation is more consistent with the basic economic principal of supply and demand and may provide a more generally useful interpretation of the data.

Dan Tauke

This was my concern as well – just reviewing in case someone else mentioned it. The business case for renewables gets better if your cost of electricity is already high, and thus the argument may work both directions (ie: high costs are correlated with presence of renewables). This is similar to how Ethanol in the US is tied to Oil Prices….it’s the opportunity cost that is impacting the decision. That being said, I think most everyone would agree that Renewables, once subsidies are accounted for, generally drive a higher cost. I just don’t think this chart should be used as an argument without recognizing Steve’s point above.

Let me see if I understand your argument correctly:
If you first force or subsidize investment in renewable energy
then – force citizens to, directly and indirectly, accept increased energy prizes
then – renewable energy will asymptotically reach a cost level where force and subsidies are not longer required.

Cube

Which came first: high energy prices or renewable energy solutions? You know the answer to that, and it implies that Willis’ interpretation is the correct one.

Alx

“…a more generally useful interpretation of the data.” ???
Maybe a more generally useful interpretation of the data based on ideology, but not a reasonable interpretation of the data.
It is true correlation does not prove causation, which is why it is hilarious that CO2 (specifically man-made CO2) is said to cause warming, when historically not even correlation is consistently demonstrated.
In this case each country is a discrete entity with it’s own unique set of taxation, economies, other energy sources, demand, consumption, advantages and dis-advantages. Regardless of these differences what they do have in common is higher renewables per capita and higher energy costs.
The case could be made better by showing energy costs per capita before the forcing of renewables, however until then the most reasonable interpretation is obvious and pointed out in the article.

Thanks for the info. “43 cents per kilowatt-hour.” that is around 20 to 40 times what we were told it would cost. It is without doubt the single most stupid policy that mankind has ever conceived (at least since the dawn of printing).

lgl

1000 kW/capita ?

Hugh

Rather 1 kW/person. 1000 kW would be fairly much.

lgl

Yes, Norway has 4.8 kW/person hydropower. 95% of all electricity.

raymond bonnaterre

Figure I ce sont des Watts/capita.

Willis Eschenbach

Merci, Raymond, je l’ai changé …
w.

herkimer

Based on 2010 figures US has a total electricity capacity of about 1, 063 000 MW about the same as Europe combined. About 317, 640 MW comes from coal plants . New EPA rules will mean that 32 coal fired power plants will be forced to be shut down and an additional 36 plants might have to close due to new federal air pollution regulations . These shutdowns will further reduce the US capacity by 14,700 MW. There will be very little margin between capacity and demand during peak periods .
If Obama wants to have 28% of the electrical energy to come from renewables , it would mean that 75 % of the time there would not be power for of renewable power users (28 % of US ) unless there is full nuclear or fossil fuel back up or ability to purchase from Canada. But Canada has a total capacity of only 135 000,MW, One cannot continue shutting down your dispatchable power generators and increase your intermittent generators without having major sustained black outs . Just look at what Germany is doing and they have been having problems,but they have learned from their mistakes and are trying to fix things .
Germany is planning to back up every wind and solar capacity with coal or gas back up . They have a surplus of capacity and regularly export around 20 % of its power . They are converting all their nuclear power plants to coal and will keep their coal plants . They also have access to a large European grid for power purchases. This is not the case for North America
If Obama wants to have 28% of power from renewables , he better have 100 % backup for the 28% renewable component in the form of coal, gas or geothermal energy . Replacing firm power with a major component of renewables for the main national grid without 100% back up is committing energy suicide in my opinion and US is heading for a serious electrical energy crisis and the electrical costs will go up 3-4 fold
US should exploit GEOTHERMAL as and alternative to wind and solar in my opinion

Leo Smith

US should go back to being as much nuclear as possible and ditch all renewables in my opinion

Bubba Cow

Wow… am I glad I live in Hungary! The ‘government’ here – and I use the term very loosely – conforms to the normal Hungarian behaviour of “If they’re doing that, I’ll do this, because I know best and everyone else is wrong”. Sounds awful, but once you understand that, life in Hungary makes a lot more sense. Just hope they crack on with building a few more brown coal burning plants and a few more reactors, then they can export cheap electricity to the rest of Europe!

JohnH

Or maybe it’s an old James Thurber aphorism:
“He who hesitates is sometimes saved”

Leo Smith

New Socialism/Linberalism consists essentially in being seen to have your heart in the right place whilst your head is in the clouds and your hand is in someone else’s pocket.

Janus-100

Please check the units at the graph.
Hundreds of “kilowatts” of renewables per capita seems a bit high…
Maybe “watts” only?

Coach Springer

Quadruple? Mine’s nearly doubled already. Quadruple that and you’ve cut the legs off of every small business and removed air conditioning from the reach of the poor and the marginally retired while making everyone but the power companies and renewable profiteers noticeably poorer. I believe the plan is to makeup for it by making transportation so expensive only the rich travel? Ahh, progress! Who knew it could be so miserable and wretched for the masses. Maybe they can dress it up a bit with mass entertainment and government regulated internet where we are reminded that “poor lives matter.”

Power is essential. People will simply have to move money spent on other things, to the fuel budget. Here in the UK we already have a phrase “Heat or Eat” for poorer families struggling in winter time.

Willis, great analysis.
Can you help me out on what the $/kwh actually represent?
I just went through a review of my electric bill for my home in Northern New Mexico and compared my actual bill with data published by EIA. As far as I can tell the EIA data for New Mexico reports the $/kwh for the first usage tranche, i.e. the first 450 kwh. Additional usage is charged at at progressively higher rate. In addition the EIA data does not include a bunch of other charges such as: fuel cost adjustments, renewable energy rider, cost effective energy “saving”, state and county taxes. The net result of all this is to take my cost from the EIA number of 9 cents per kwh to 18 cents per kwh. Is the US data and European data developed consistently and are we looking at apples to apples comparisons?

TRM

Boy do I feel fortunate. I am at 0.08 / KwH (yes 8 cents) and it is all natural gas. Used to be a lot of coal but all the new stuff brought online for the last 10 years is gas and the coal were converted because it was cheaper. I consider anything above 0.15 / KwH to be price gouging.
I also consider not counting hydro as cheating. The only place that has ever gone 100% renewable for any length of time was Costa Rica and that was because they counted hydro as renewable (as it should be IMHO). They are unique in that respect.

Sam The First

I have a friend living in Costa Rica. His mother now has dementia and tends to leave appliances and lights on 24/7. This is costing him serious problems due the cost of electricity there.

Berényi Péter

Excellent. If a country removes all renewable capacity from its portfolio, then figures out a way to uninstall some 500 kW/capita more, electricity should be free.
It may sound a bit tedious to uninstall capacity you do not even have, but I am sure there is a solution to that problem. It should be possible, at least in the EU.
Guys in Spain for example managed to generate solar power at night using diesel generators, so there are no limits, really.

David Thomson

My electric bill is already skyrocketing. I have written to my State public utility commission to complain. Everybody needs to do this if they feel their artificially skyrocketing fuel bills are causing them financial distress.

David Thomson

For those who think they are only paying US$.08 per kilowatt, check your bill closely. In Illinois, we have to pay two separate amounts, one for the infrastructure, the other for electricity. It is all for the electricity in the end. The infrastructure amount often doubles the bill, or more. So .08 is actually .16 per kilowatt. It is smoke and mirrors with this government.

herkimer

Willis
Your article states
“Today, President Obama said that he wanted 28% of America’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030″
But the Obama’s plan says( see next post on WUWT)
–” Drive more aggressive investment in clean energy technologies than the proposed rule, resulting in 30 percent more renewable energy generation in 2030 and continuing to lower the costs of renewable energy.””
According to EIA, US produced 13 % of the 2013 power via renewables . a 30% increase would raise it only to about 16.9 % not 28 % as you suggest.
can you clarify?

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, herkimer.

The Clean Power Plan will drive significant new investment in cleaner, more modern and more efficient technologies, creating tens of thousands of jobs. Under the Clean Power Plan, by 2030, renewables will account for 28 percent of our capacity, up from 22 percent in the proposed rule.

I had to work off of the “preview” information on the plan. It looks like it’s not as bad as I thought. Instead of requiring 30% of power generated, he’s only demanding 30% of capacity.
However, this is not as easy an out as it seems. This is because the US average capacity factor is 0.29 while the average wind capacity factor is about 0.24, so calculating it as a percentage of capacity doesn’t help much.
w.

herkimer

WILLIS
Thanks for the clarification. I have modified my past comments as a result..
Renewables account for 13% or 171 000 MW of the US total electrical capacity of 1,151,812 MW in 2013 . So if the renewables are to go to 28 % of the total capacity by 2030 there will have to be a doubling of the renewable capacity or additional renewable power of at least 171,000 MW by 2030 . During the 5 years 2008-2013, the last period for which data exists, about 51,424 MW of renewables capacity was added. So in the next 15 years , they should be able to add another 171,000 mw based on the most recent experience . I understand that about 25,246 MW of coal generated power will be phased out due to new regulations and obsolete plants . GERMANY ‘S renewables capacity is about 29.4 % of their total capacity , but their overall capacity is only about 177,000 MW in 2012 , much smaller than that for US . Europe is 30 % in 2012 for renewables with an overall capacity of about 1,075 000 MW. Germany is already having problems with their smaller grid with almost 3000 grid adjustments / year. They have 35,000 MW of wind power and 37,000 MW of solar capacity . US has already 61,107 MW of wind capacity and 12,000 MW of solar capacity in 2013 and this will probably double again . There is very little good historical experience in operating such a huge power grid with so much renewables as US is now contemplating
My concern is not only about the quadrupling of the cost of electricity , but the reliability of the future 2030 grid with almost 340,000 MW plus some of intermittent power spread all over the nation. Obama has washed his hands of any future responsibility by saying that the power producers and grid operators have to solve the problems. However, he is making the final decision and has overall accountability for the problems that may arise,. In my opinion,in the end, the consumers will have a much less reliable electrical system with more frequent power outages , 4 times higher electrical costs at least and with no detectable impact on climate which really cycles every 60 years and is now heading for cooler weather rather than warming . We may be leaving a mess for our future generations , not helping them

Richard Ilfeld

Strangely enough, it is not about energy, nor any science except political. Goal one: get power. Goal two: keep same. Create shortages, then subsidies. The subsidized will support you else the subsidies be reduced. Works until the productive economy becomes too small to support the parasites. High energy prices do not hurt the poor. They require the “poor’ to get energy subsidies. Like food shortages in the worlds most productive agricultural economy. Or farm subsidies in the same economy Or housing shortages in the country with the most housing per capita in the world. Or trouble finding a doctor in the country with the worlds biggest medical establishment. Or transportation shortages and subsidized mass transit in the country with the most cars per capita. Producing too much of something cheaply require the government to screw up the production so as to create a rationable resource. So if Uber creates too much inexpensive and efficient transportation…..

The higher the energy costs, the less competitive your economy will become.
It is economic suicide to drive your electricity/energy costs ever higher. In the long-run, the country’s standard of living will be reduced in proportion to the cost of energy.
We should be using every possible source of Hydro available. Not only does it produce clean, reliable, low-cost power, but the dams create beautiful lakes that are a huge benefit to nature and humans. The only issue with Hydro is the energy loss on long transmission lines.
The new efficient combined cycle natural gas power plants are the second choice. Not only are they highly efficient and low CO2 producers, we now know there are huge resources of natural gas available from the new fracking technology that can be accessed virtually everywhere in the entire world. Gas is everywhere. It will remain cheap for a long, long time.

Sam The First

Fracking is really not the answer. I have Native American friends in North Dakota who are detailing all the problems with the resulting noxious waste water, on top of the endless oil spills in their territories.
Waste water and its disposal is also causing huge problems in Oklahoma – google ‘Oklahoma man-made earthquakes’ and many sites will come up – this is one, and shows incidentally that Govt interference in scientific research is not limited to climate disciplines!
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/13/weather-underground

Don B

Thanks, Willis.
Presidential candidates should run with this; voters need to know about the planned skyrocketing electricity prices.

Resourceguy

The sad thing about Presidential candidates is that they don’t get into anything useful in debate or message consideration. That includes lack of concern for the dysfunction of federal agencies mixed with directed misuse by the political appointees. The campaigns look more like beauty contests with no depth of discussion or focus, beyond current events.

Bubba Cow
G. Karst

I can not see how we can avoid a N.A. grid collapse. Without sufficient backup generation and grid fortification, we are in big do-do. Individual states will have to disconnect from the grid AND/OR fight another civil war. Government has become the greatest threat to continued prosperity and nationhood.
Perhaps our civilization has reached our peak on the evolutionary ladder and self loathing and the utilization of useful idiots has finally tipped civilization into it’s final decline. RIP… sniff. GK

Tim

It is all part of the grand socialist/communist plan. The more poor people you have the easier it is to get socialists/communists elected.

Resourceguy

I submit that the graph is largely a result of early adopter costs and misapplication of energy policy. Germany installed solar when it was a lot more costly and a significant amount is in even more costly rooftop applications. The installation of wind offshore has got to cost more over time with maintenance costs considered, unless they believe they have perpetual motion machines.

Good post. Thanks again.

Renewable energy: – Clean.
The world is so dirty and mean.
Never mind the expense
and it doesn’t make sense.
CO2 is what makes the world green.
With original quote from Obama: http://lenbilen.com/2015/08/03/co2-reductions-to-solve-climate-change-wrong-solution-for-the-world-a-limerick/

Bellator Deus

Dark clouds may have silver linings. Understanding that our high technology infrastructure grows ever more fragile to destruction and vulnerable to: nuclear weapons proliferation, large asteroid/comet impact, massive explosive volcanic eruption, new virulent and fatal plagues, bio-engineered toxic organisms used for terrorism, multiple EMP attacks or huge CME…etc. — reserving easily accessible coal for a civilization that gets knocked back to the steam age is not a bad thing.

Eugene WR Gallun

By the same logic we should mandate that 28% of all farming should be organic. Skills will be in place to feed a small portion of the population should civilization ever get knocked back to the steam age.
And 28% of all containers should be woven baskets. (Need I mention the immediate positive impact this will have on the native American population? Just joking, just joking. Basket weaving today is a middle aged white woman thing though it can still be found practiced in mental institutions.)
And 28% of all cars need to be replaced by buggies. (At one time one of the largest corporations in America only made buggy whips. We should start such businesses off with buggy subsidies. Up to now all Obama’s subsidies have been “buggy” so it is nothing new.}
Thank god we still train our children to ride bicycles!
We need universal gun training and every family should have several weapons and large stocks of ammunition. Families should be required to obtain 28% of their meat from hunting.
And so on.
Eugene WR Gallun