Renewables: The Big Investment Opportunity which Needs Generous Government Support


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Our old friend Tim Flannery, whose advice helped convince the Australian Government to squander billions of dollars on useless desalination plants, claims that renewables are a “huge economic opportunity”.

IT IS being hailed as the next big boom that has the potential to revolutionise our economy.

But unless Australia ramps up its commitment, experts warn it could pass us by.

A week before world leaders are set to meet in Paris to discuss setting agreed targets on reducing carbon emissions, the Climate Council of Australia has released a report which it says shows the world is in the midst of a dramatic energy revolution.

According to the research, clean energy investment grew 43 per cent globally, while the number of renewable energy jobs

nearly doubled to 7.7 million worldwide.

Climate Council chief councillor Tim Flannery said plummeting costs of renewables and the creation of jobs meant there was a strong economic case for scaling renewable energy that wasn’t clear in 2009.

“While in the past tackling climate change has been considered a moral imperative, it is now also a huge economic opportunity as countries make very significant commitments to growing renewable energy at the same time that the costs plummet,” Professor Flannery said.

Read more:

If costs are “plummeting”, why do renewables need such generous government support to prosper? Could it be that renewables are still ridiculously expensive, despite any alleged price drops?

Britain recently “reset” their energy policy, de-prioritising renewables. Many other European countries have forced renewable subsidy cuts, some of which well and truly left investors stranded.

In my opinion, recent history in the renewables sector more than demonstrates that it is pretty risky investing in a business, whose profitability is wholly dependent on the fickle whims of politicians.

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Alan Robertson
November 25, 2015 10:10 am

“Plummeting costs” translation: Wildly expensive, but may become economically viable, someday.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
November 25, 2015 12:38 pm

“Plummeting Costs” = “Other people’s money”

Reply to  Sceptical Pat
November 25, 2015 1:11 pm


Reply to  Sceptical Pat
November 25, 2015 2:24 pm

Scep good soul –
“Plummeting Costs” = “Other people’s money”
“Plummeting Costs” = “Shed Loads of Other people’s money”
All clarified.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Sceptical Pat
November 25, 2015 9:49 pm

“Plummeting Costs” = “Shed Loads of Other people’s money”
Taken at gunpoint from you, by the government and given to the well- connected.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
November 25, 2015 8:05 pm
20 KW Grid-Tie system,
Suntech “A” Grade 280W Module -24V USA Grade
2 SB 10000TLUS-12 Grid-Tie Inverter – 10,000 Watts
– 208/240V-60Hz – with arc-fault protection
4 MidNite Solar 600V Surge Protector Device
(MNSPD) is a Type 1 device per UL1449 rev3.
Protection for gridtie PV combiners and inverter
input circuits.
6 Touch Safe Fuse Holder
6 15A 600VDC Fuse
2 Midnight Solar MNPV6 Combiner box
$19,958 — cash price before any subsidies
That’s right — under $1 Watt for the entire system, not just panels — about 30- 50 cents a watt to install ($6K – $10K)
panels are as low as 48 cents per watt

Reply to  Karl
November 25, 2015 8:08 pm

Now all you need is 24 hour sunshine, 365 day a year, and YOU’RE A WINNER!

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Karl
November 25, 2015 9:08 pm

Cool! So for $30K, I can have a 20 kW system… I live in Ventura, CA where we have ~280 days a year of sun so perfect for solar. Of course, power is $0.15/kWh, and my consumption is around 10 kWh per day. So my daily cost is $1.50. With an investment of $30,000 I would have it paid off in about 20,000 days – about 55 years.
What a deal!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Karl
November 25, 2015 9:16 pm

A 15A 600V/DC fuse in a “Touch Safe Fuse Holder”? WTF is a touch safe fuse holder? Fuse *BOX* maybe, but touch/short the terminals either side of that 15A 600V/DC fuse and see what happens. Too funny…simply too funny!

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 12:35 am

Hello Karl, could you add to the quote the cost of a suitable battery bank

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 3:31 am

I tried but I don’t see the price of the required batteries in that price list. My costing put them around $40,000 with an estimated lifetime of about 10 years. Include the hazardous waste disposal cost and the (always the most expensive bit) additional insurance premium for having those vats of sulphuric acid around my home, and cost have just risen beyond my means.
Even if solar panel arrays and associated converters and inverters are cost effective, they only account for a minority portion of the cost of an off-grid home solar system.

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 8:29 am

Karl’s point is valid and it’s a point I’ve made before here.
Solar prices keep decreasing and will continue to do so.
Subsides reduce the cost significantly (whether you agree with them or not).
A 20KW system gets you about 120kWh per day, while the average residence uses only about 30kWh per day. So a 5kW system is more appropriate, but still oversize assuming most people are switching to much more efficient LED lighting and appliances.
With a Grid Tied system you don’t need batteries, you use grid power at night and feed excess power into the grid during the day which helps run businesses (and keeps those Peaker Plants from running…). The goal isn’t to produce every electron you use onsite, it is to reduce the use of Grid power overall, and even save some money.

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 9:29 am

Greg, even with a smaller system at, say $10,000, and our high-priced electricity here in New England (19 cents/kWh), at our current usage of 900 kWh/month, it would take some 5 years to pay it off, assuming no grid costs. But of course the sun doesn’t shine here every day, and in the winter the days are short, and the roofs are often snow-covered. . . So maybe double the break-even time, and by then you’ve got to start replacing components, and you’ve got to factor in some maintenance (I’ve heard roof shingles can rot under solar panels), so where’s the gain? I wouldn’t mind going off-grid, but not with increased cost and hassle.
/Mr Lynn

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 6:04 pm

Yes, the details vary but virtually free electricity after 5 or 10 years for 20 or so years interesting. Incentives and low cost loans help too.
Works better in sunny CA than in NH but it still works.
Costs will continue to decrease so no rush.

Reply to  Karl
November 27, 2015 6:31 pm

Don’t forget, your electricity costs will continue to rise in direct proportion to the amount of RE added to the system. This is because the reliable hot standby (provided by coal, oil, gas, nuke, hydro) must also increase.

Reply to  Karl
November 29, 2015 2:59 am

Multiply by 4 to 6 to get a full day’s worth of electricity. Then add a battery pack to give 24 hours of electricity. Then add a back-up generator for days with no or reduced sun. After a while the costs mount up.
BTW are you sure the makers of the cells are not being subsidized? Solyndra ring a bell?

Reply to  Alan Robertson
November 28, 2015 10:48 am

7.7 million additional jobs to produce how much additional energy exactly?

November 25, 2015 10:11 am

Why invest at a crappy ROI and take risks when you can get guaranteed results backed by the government (and be seen as “saving the planet” to boot)?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2015 1:45 am

Spain slashed subsidies and because their courts said they couldn’t do it retrospectively, they simply introduced new taxes on the wind/solar installations to claw back the subsidies. Same thing at the end of the day but politically more savy.

Peter Saul
November 25, 2015 10:13 am

If costs are plummeting, there is no need for subsidies. When renewables are available 24/7 reliably, and cheaper than coal and gas, who would not use them? When will we reach this promised land?

Reply to  Peter Saul
November 25, 2015 10:21 am

Only when the arguments are not expressed in absolutes. Ever heard of on-demand gas fired-CC turbines supporting low bidder renewable projects? It’s okay because the political advocates of renewable energy don’t get it either with their demonstration projects and cozy deals with the high cost players.

Reply to  Peter Saul
November 25, 2015 11:05 am

Why is it that the government, and particularly the WT Suppliers/Operators, never publish the total Wind Farm equivalent base load system’s costs, i.e. including:
1. the additional costs of the necessary GT standby units
2. the significant additional costs for GT’s running as standby’s to the WT’s at varying outputs and way off base load GT operational efficiencies,
3. the extensive additional and enhanced Power Distribution costs incurred connecting WT remote locations to the areas of actual Power Demand
This then gives the true cost of using renewables compared to existing base load PS’s such as GT’s and CFPS’s. What the WT Suppliers are still saying regarding their costs compared to fossil fuel plants and other base load systems is gross mis-selling and fraudulent. One can only hope that, sometime soon, the vulture compensation lawyers will realise there is a massive market out their of soon-to-be despaired and disgruntled buyers and investors in renewables, almost on a par with the banks’ PSI debacle.
That is, of course, if the Government took the sane decision to stop all Power Station subsidies, special tax breaks and guaranteed minimum prices.

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 11:57 am

1. the additional costs of the necessary GT standby units
2. the significant additional costs for GT’s running as standby’s to the WT’s at varying outputs and way off base load GT operational efficiencies,

The number of standby units specifically assigned to standby is None. No units have to be running as standby. There has to be capacity in the system, but that capacity is not a unit running on standby, it is a number of units adjusting from a lower output to a higher output.

3. the extensive additional and enhanced Power Distribution costs incurred connecting WT remote locations to the areas of actual Power Demand

An overgeneralization. Perhaps where you are, the installations are remote from the demand. Here in the Central US the conventional plants are located near the Cities, near the concentration of the load. They supply the rural areas and there are associated transmission costs transmitting that power out to the rural areas. The wind turbines are located in rural areas. The power they generate is fed into the same grid to be transmitted back to the cities, except that it is consumed in the rural areas before it gets back to the load center. Since the wind generated power is generated closer to the demand that consumes it: transmission loss is less. The transmission line and system would have to be there whether or not there is a wind turbine so its construction costs are irrelevant.

Reply to  Chris4692
November 25, 2015 12:22 pm

Dead wrong!
The transmission lines HAVE TO BE built over unneeded and extreme terrain – where there is NO other reason for lines nor distribution of that capacity! – and then they HAVE TO BE over-sized to account for the few hours per year that the wind turbines are actually producing rated power (about 3-6 percent). The rest of the time, when they produce an average of 18-23 percent capacity factor, these line sit UNUSED and are a waste of time, resources, energy, and money to build!
Further, the EXTREME cycles and number of startup and shutdowns are tearing the guts out of the gas turbines and steam turbines: These units are cracking pressure vessels, exhausts, supply pipes, and valves and casings due to the extreme wear and heat loads as they heat up and cool several times per day. Left to run, a turbine goes 7 years between major outages, and then they do NOT need rewelding and new cases and new exhaust manifolds.
Cycling as they run to “follow” the wind turbines and solar plants, means they crack open in less than two years, and all the pipes, valves, and blades are worn off and the coatings and seals destroyed. Result? More costs to repair, longer repair periods at more frequent intervals. Less power, more money.
Just what you want, right?

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 12:57 pm

This study of the operating costs to the Western US electrical system induced by wind and solar:
places the cost of wear and tear on conventional plants due to cycling at $0.14 to $0.17 per MWh of electricity produced by wind and solar, This does not sound like the results of “tearing the guts out of the gas turbines and steam turbines:”
The cost above compare with a fuel cost savings of $28 /MWh generated.

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 1:16 pm

Correct that: the range of cost is $0.14 to $0.67 per MWh

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 1:25 pm says:
November 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm
“number of startup and shutdowns are tearing the guts out of the gas turbines”

Keep that thought in mind the next time you are boarding an airplane powered by a gas turbine engine.

The maintenance of aircraft is very conservative. Parts are replaced when they are
TIMEXed. They aren’t allowed to get anywhere close to the breaking point. Dying because of an aircraft mechanical failure is one of the few things I don’t worry about.

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 2:28 pm

Re jet engine life: that cycle life has to be planned for and (expensively) designed into the engine and is tracked with on board computers for maintenance purposes. I am guessing that the cycle life of gas turbines for electric generation had not planned on the cycles caused by renewable backup requirements. In addition, without actual experience, it would be difficult to design around estimated requirements. The life could be increased, once requirements are known, through addition of improved turbine blade and other materials, and more rugged sealing designs, but only at greater cost, which is just another cost not taken into account by “renewables”.

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 2:32 pm

+ a lot.
I, too, have a lot of confidence in airlines’ maintenance.
Flying – human error – may happen.
But Airlines are [to my regret] well ahead of shipping companies.
We are striving to learn, but because shipping is a low-entry-cost industry.
Airlines have a significant quality/security ‘hump’ to get over before you can offer even ‘Flights Round the Bay’.

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 3:27 pm

Planning Engineer and did those calculations for a specific grid, Texas Ercot. Posted over at Judith Curry’s some months ago. Correctly calculated, CCGT costs about $52/MwH, wind about $126. So still over twice as expensive after decades of US subsidies.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 4:10 pm

Why is it that the government, and particularly the WT Suppliers/Operators, never publish the total Wind Farm equivalent base load system’s costs
a) They are not engineers or good managers and don’t understand such things; nor are their political masters interested in the facts.
b) The sole purpose of these schemes is to stuff public money into the pockets of political cronies.
Who in the right mind would deliberately force up the price of energy? no one! Those doing this are doing it because they profit from it.

Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 4:23 pm

Cassandra, these are non-calculable items. They are indirect incurred by customers and competitors. It often includes effects far away from the original source.

L. Bowser
Reply to  cassandra
November 26, 2015 5:11 am

You can’t compare fuel savings solely to additional wear and tear from cycling. It’s an inappropriate comparison, and I would have serious doubts about any financial analyst of mine that tried to do so. You must build up the total case to make the comparison, your comparison is ignorant at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.
Second, if you are going to assert the plants are not on standby, then your fuel savings number is flawed. Benefits cases when comparing an operating/existing system must be done at the margin. You are using an average efficiency curve for generation when calculating the cost, as opposed to the marginal efficiency curve, which is closer to $16-20/MWh. Put into terms most consumers think about, that would be $0.016-0.020/kWh.

Reply to  cassandra
November 27, 2015 10:46 pm

Renewable Energy: just run the numbers.
Here are real numbers from Europe, provided by Renewable Energy sources. Overall in capital costs almost 30 times more expensive and in Germany with its Energiewende a comparative capacity factor of ~13%.
For analysis of Renewable Energy performance and capacity factors quoted by Renewable Energy industry sources across Europe and see:
These capital and running cost comparisons strip out all the positive profitability effects of government regulation and subsidies that are being applied to Renewable Energy, those being the only things that still make Renewables a viable business proposition.
Accounting for the capacity factors, (the actual electrical output as compared to the Nameplate capacity of European Renewable installations is about 18% overall), as they are reported by the Renewable Industry, and combined with comparative costings from the US government Energy Information Administration, the overall capital cost of all European Renewable Energy installations (Solar and Wind Power) averages out at about €29billion / Gigawatt.
This amounts to at least 29 times the cost of a conventional gas-fired installation at about €1billion / Gigawatt.
That overall capital value accounting for the capacity factor applicable to Renewables at €29billion / Gigawatt is derived from the combination of:
Onshore Windpower ~€14.2 billion/GW
Offshore Windpower ~€41.4 billion/GW
On Grid Solar Power ~€48.5 billion/GW
According to Renewable Energy supporting sources by 2014 European Union countries had invested approximately €1 trillion, €1,000,000,000,000, in large scale Renewable Energy installations. This may well be an underestimate.
This expenditure has provided a nameplate electrical generating capacity of about 216 Gigawatts, nominally about ~22% of the total European generation needs of some 1000 Gigawatts.
But the actual measured output by 2014 reported by the Renewable Energy Industry sources has been equivalent to 38 Gigawatts or ~3.8% of Europe’s electricity requirement.
Accordingly the whole 1000 Gigawatt fleet of European electricity generation installations could have been replaced with dispatchable, lower capital cost Gas-fired installations for the €1trillion of capital costs already expended on Renewable Energy in Europe.
However Renewable Energy production is dependent on the seasons, local weather conditions and the rotation of the earth, day and night. The Renewable Energy contribution to the electricity supply grid is inevitably erratic, intermittent and non-dispatchable, (not necessarily available when needed). Renewable Energy is therefore much less useful than dispatchable sources of electricity, which can be engaged whenever necessary to match demand and maintain grid stability.
So that 3.8% Renewable Energy contribution to the grid is often not available when needed and obversely its mandatory use and feed-in obligations can cause major grid disruption if the Renewable Energy contribution is suddenly over abundant.
The Renewable Energy industry could not exist without the Government mandated subsidies and preferential tariffs on which it depends. Therefore it never be a truly viable business proposition
Viewed from the point of view of the engineering viability of a nation’s electrical grid, Renewable Energy would never be part of the generating mix without its Government mandate and Government market interference.
The burden of these additional Renewable costs is both imposed on consumers via the increase in their utility bills and the cost hugely damages the viability of European industries.
So the Green thinking especially in the UK in its enthusiasm to save the world from an indefinable but probably minimal threat in the distant future, will destroy Western civilisation long before the world fails from excessive overheating from CO2 emissions.
Cost comparisons are have been clearly made by the US EIA
US EIA electricity_generation.pdf 2015 Table 1

Reply to  cassandra
November 29, 2015 3:15 am
November 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm
“number of startup and shutdowns are tearing the guts out of the gas turbines”

Keep that thought in mind the next time you are boarding an airplane powered by a gas turbine engine.

The airplane guys handle that by engine refurbishment ever 5K or 10K hours. Cursory checks of aircraft condition (no panels removed) every takeoff. Maintenance checks (panels removed) every 1,000 hours. In other words a LOT of maintenance activity. And the engines are designed for that service.
At least some of the current GTs are not designed for load following. If they have to load follow they break down sooner. And turbines with adjunct steam turbines like steady loads. Everything is more efficient then. So variable grid inputs lowers grid efficiency. Who could have seen that coming?

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Peter Saul
November 25, 2015 3:58 pm

Once we have found the proverbial Pixie and ground him to dust.

Reply to  Peter Saul
November 26, 2015 8:41 am

Already has in many places. Where I live electricity rates are tiered and I pay between $0.12 and $0.35/kWh for mine (the more I use the higher rate I’m charged.) Lifetime cost of solar is around $0.12 per kWh and continuing to go down.

Reply to  Greg
November 26, 2015 8:49 am

You probably missed:
“When renewables are available 24/7 reliably
You are saying that the grid provides reliability. It does, until too much unreliables (mostly wind and solar) are added by mandates.

Reply to  Greg
November 26, 2015 6:13 pm

Yes, but we’re not there yet.
Besides, there is plenty of opportunity for smart appliance load shifting or if you really want Tesla style local storage.
The grid will adapt. There will always be a need for back generation, just as there is a need for Peaker plants today.
Renewables don’t have to provide all power, but every kilowatt they generate is a kilowatt not produced by other means.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Greg
November 26, 2015 6:37 pm

So the takeaway is that we need never discuss this again. Its an economic energy source and we are all to face falling electrical costs from now on and into the foreseeable future.
The Paris conference need never be held the government can stop worrying about CO2 because it all over.
We will return to the falling cost of resource that has propelled the people of planet earth to the standard of living we all love, our children are saved.
And to cut of the next major “world disaster” with the help of cheap electricity and limitless saline water, the sea, we can make limitless fresh water. “A flock with a rock” solution not just “two birds with one stone”.
lets all sit in our deck chairs and watch this BS story unfold.
The standard saying in NZ is “Yeh right”.

November 25, 2015 10:15 am

Large scale solar is competitive today but it will go unnoticed as long as both sides over generalize the sector and even include it with wind. Such mistakes in the policy debate are still common in many countries, but the cost leaders will proceed where possible. But at some point such over generalized noise making will be silenced with results. The question is how much public money will be wasted on poor decisions in the absence of a closer look.

John Robertson
Reply to  Resourceguy
November 25, 2015 10:22 am

Yup large scale solar, in the form of plant life, is indeed competitive today.
We have no alternative.
Photovoltaic cells, not so much.
What use after dark?
Up here it is dark till 9am and sun down at 4pm, with low cloud for days, and it is not even solstice yet.
Yet my government is promoting solar.

Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 10:35 am

Answer: Standby gas plants. In case you have not noticed, global LNG prices are in decline after China’s economy slowed and global supply ramped up. It took time on the supply side because LNG facilities are so expensive for the big ones and NG is limited to regional markets without them. As for large scale solar, it just takes some due diligence to figure it out.

Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 10:50 am

So build the gas plants and forget the mostly useless solar.

richard verney
Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 11:06 am

Unfortunately no one wants to build gas stations since the market has become hopelessly by the subsidies given to renewables.
Energy companies have to buy renewable energy (wind and solar0 when available and pay these providers the agreed high strike rate. The net result of this is that a gas powered generator can only sell its output for about 75% of the time. However, like any business, the profit is not made on the first 75% of sales but usually on the last 10 to 15% of sales.
This means that unless s subsidy is given to the operator to build the gas station and/or unless he is allowed to sell the output when it is needed 9ie., for about 75% of the time) at a high rate to balance out the fact that he is not selling energy for 25% of the time, the gas powered station is not viable.
In the UK we have not built a gas powered generating station for about 5 years, and the government has put out tenders for the building and commissioning of about 6 or so such stations, but no one is responding. No one wants to build a gas powered station, and that is entirely due to the twisted nature the market created by subsidies being paid for wind, solar and nuclear, and the high strike price which is being paid for energy supplied by these means, and the fact that energy companies are mandated to take renewable energy in preference to fossil fuel generated energy when renewable energy is available.
No renewable will ever be competitive with fossil fuel energy since renewable energy is not despatchable and requires backup thereby meaning that one has to pay for two sets of plant not one. As regards solar pvr, whilst the price of panels has come down, the panel is only a small part of the over all installation cost,

Reply to  Resourceguy
November 25, 2015 3:30 pm

RG, no it is not when correctly calculated, even using the low low prices of 2015. See guest post Solar grid parity over at Climate Etc for all the details. You forgot (a) insolation varies with latitude and (b) night.

Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2015 8:40 pm

Distributed home solar IS competitive — even without subsidy.
A 20KW grid-tie system costs $20K plus $6-10K to install for a total of $26,000 – $30,000 without any subsidy
For Dallas TX, said system will produce 30.3 MWh per year — with a 25 year UL rating calculates solar insolation based on actual records
The AVERAGE cost of electricity in DFW is 12.5 cents per KWh not counting taxes etc
— so the system pays for itself in 8 years without subsidy, not counting any rate hikes, nor the normal interest deduction for any home improvement

Reply to  ristvan
November 26, 2015 5:56 am

Karl, you shouldn’t be using the retail price of electricity in your calculations for ROI. That’s a huge subsidy that will have to go away at some point – utilities just can’t afford it and many places that had it in the past are reducing or eliminating it. Use the wholesale cost of electricity. Depending on your area, it doubles to triples your payback time.

Reply to  ristvan
November 26, 2015 10:55 am

Karl -are you sure it is a price without subsidy? I tried to order it; can not be done online; only through a sales engineer.

Billy Liar
Reply to  ristvan
November 26, 2015 2:22 pm

Karl, are those panels damaging hail proof? I was in Dallas when many cars, houses and planes were damaged by hail. Seems a not infrequent occurrence in Texas.

Reply to  ristvan
November 26, 2015 7:38 pm

@ Curious — that is the price from sunelec — any subsidies are actually TAX Credits from the State or Federal Govt. – which makes it cheaper
@ Billy — Homeowners insurance will cover it — it is par of your home — BTW an equity line of credit means you get to deduct the interest
@ Arsten The retail price is what you pay — it is the ONLY accurate way to determine time to payback

John Robertson
November 25, 2015 10:17 am

Indeed , “renewables” have proven to be a magnificent “investment opportunity” for the politically well connected to use the power of government to rob the poor.
Ontario, Spain,Britain,USA the song remains the same.
The results are uniform, utility customers are forced to pay extra costs and fees imposed by our kleptocrats upon the power providers.
Some of these Utilities have tried to “buy in” to these orchestrated theft schemes, hoping to protect their shareholders.
As every business person knows, businesses pay no taxes.
If a business fails to pass these costs on to their customers, then that business soon disappears.
The Utility customer has no choice, they are trapped in a crony capitalism monopoly.
Of course the law of unintended consequences does kick in, at current oil prices , installing your own diesel genset(Ignoring legislation forbidding same) is rapidly becoming competitive with the jacked up price per kWatt/h.
Even a modest battery bank, inverters and a 7.5 -10 kWatt genet are practical for most.
Most battery users get a very quick education of the power required to perform a proper charge cycle.
Wind and solar just don’t cut it.
The lesson with respect to the cost of government controlled electricity should be obvious.
If you want a shoddy product, unreliable service and shortages..
Just let bureaucrats run it.
Look at the national grid, you may feel the need to buy a generator for your home.

Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 10:52 am

Renewable energy is a giant cash grab, always has been. When the company goes bankrupt (ala Solyndra) the company executives walk away with their millions. Nice work if you can get it…personal profit, public risk.

Reply to  JustSteve
November 25, 2015 11:31 am

The reason large utilities don’t just go with all CC gas plants is the long planning horizons involved. Over a 25 to 35 year planning period gas prices could add risk to installed capacity and rates. Some diversification is needed for both base load and peaking power assets. This is similar to diversification in a large investment portfolio.

L. Bowser
Reply to  JustSteve
November 26, 2015 8:21 am

That is not the reason at all… At least not in the US where the long term price is expected to be very stable, and total grid demand is flat to falling. Current power construction decisions are about replacement case economics.
When considering replacement case, the fuel costs are such a small part of total power costs that you are just better off maintaining your inefficient, old system than you are replacing it with a brand new CC gas plant or solar for that matter.
Cash drives business decisions. In the case of new plants, your cost savings have to overcome the fact that the old plant already exists. Too many people forget this when when making the comparison or talk about how fast the total US power portfolio can roll over to renewables (short of government mandate.)

richard verney
Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 11:10 am

Spain had a massive drive towards renewables, particularly solar, and now once taxes are taken into account it has the 2nd or 3rd most expensive electricity in Europe. A disaster for the ordinary citizen.

Reply to  richard verney
November 25, 2015 11:38 am

They also have a desalination plant about 1/2 mile from where I am typing this. In the nine years we have had a house here it has never been needed. It proudly displays the EU logo;ring of 28 yellow stars on a blue background the symbol for waste and incompetence

Reply to  richard verney
November 25, 2015 2:48 pm

Andrew: –
“ring of 28 yellow stars on a blue background the symbol for waste and incompetence”
“ring of 28 yellow stars on a blue background the symbol for graft, waste and incompetence”
I trust you are happy with my minor rewording.
PS – is the twelve star version the true graft symbol??

Richard G
Reply to  richard verney
November 25, 2015 8:48 pm

Speaking of desalination plants that aren’t needed. The $1-billion desalination plant that is set to go online next month in Carlsbad, CA also isn’t needed. While California is in a drought, the service area for the new plant has a water surplus.
While the California Governor has a mandatory 25% water reduction in effect, the Mayor of Carlsbad has said “we have more water than we can use” and that is before the plant comes online. What a sad twist of irony that the plant would get built in the one part of the state where is isn’t needed.

Billy Liar
Reply to  richard verney
November 26, 2015 2:30 pm

It’s all going swimmingly well for renewables in Spain:
Abengoa, the Spanish renewables company, announced the start of insolvency proceedings on Wednesday, sending shares in Spanish banks tumbling on concerns that the country’s lenders may be left with heavy losses. A possible default would likely count as the largest bankruptcy in Spanish history.

Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 12:42 pm

Richard Verney at 11:06
I agree with your comments but don’t quite understand what you mean by: “No renewable will ever be competitive with fossil fuel energy since renewable energy is not despatchable…”. What does despatchable mean in this context?

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
November 25, 2015 4:26 pm

Someone can correct me if I’m wrong but I understand “despatchable” to mean, available when you want it.

Richard G
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
November 25, 2015 8:57 pm

That is the way I understood it also.

Reply to  Alastair Brickell
November 26, 2015 5:14 am

Available on demand ??

L. Bowser
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
November 26, 2015 10:55 am

Correct. Dispatchable means available on demand. Unless you add a significant amount of chemical storage, renewables are not available on demand.

Keith Willshaw
Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 12:56 pm

The investors are now howling in the UK. Feed in rates have been slashed and the new energy secretary has said renewables operators must pay for the supply problems they impose. She also called for large scale investment in gas power stations

Reply to  John Robertson
November 25, 2015 10:34 pm

Yes, all at our expense. And the EPA is strangely proud that renewables create more jobs per unit w/o considering exactly what that means. More jobs/unit = higher costs/unit.

Mark from the Midwest
November 25, 2015 10:19 am

Clean Energy Investment growth of 43%, over the last six years just means that there are more suckers born every minute. While the index on each major exchange has grown at double digit rates over the last six years the 3 largest EFT’s for “ecologically sound investments” have been double digit negatives. What it suggests is that enough people believe this is the “next big thing” to be willing to keep money flowing into it. Of course a lot of people thought the the … Internet, Enron, Mortgage backed Securities, … (your shame investment here), was the next big thing

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
November 25, 2015 12:34 pm

one company that has done very well is Vestas. The share has doubled over the past year or so.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
November 25, 2015 12:55 pm

Bre-X Minerals Ltd.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
November 25, 2015 2:16 pm

Bre-X Minerals the biggest mining scandal of all time. At least they didn’t have their hand out for subsidies. 😉
An old geologist warned me that it had to be a scam and he was right. It should have been obvious to many people and yet nobody cried a warning until it was too late. It’s like CAGW. Anybody with any sense knows it’s crap but the-powers-that-be have drunk the Kool Aid.

November 25, 2015 10:21 am

Why do I keep hearing Barrie Harrop in the background?

Reply to  ShrNfr
November 25, 2015 10:54 am

from reading too many clueless and abusive harropeon comments.

November 25, 2015 10:27 am

It seems to me the only thing “renewable” about renewables is way they keep making new excuses to keep financing them and expanding them with revenue from tax payers despite their demonstrated failures as sound financial investments. If in fact they were promising direct funding from the treasury would not be necessary.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  rah
November 25, 2015 3:07 pm

“Renewable” refers to the renewing of government money each year.

Claude Harvey
Reply to  rah
November 25, 2015 5:34 pm

“Renewable” means that no matter how many times economics kills it, ‘gubment funds raise it from the dead. Think “Zombie Plants” that eat your tax and ratepayer dollars.

bit chilly
Reply to  rah
November 25, 2015 11:49 pm

not at all, all the major components of your system will need to be renewed, some more than once, to maintain any sort of efficiency over the claimed 25 year life span.of the equipment.

November 25, 2015 10:41 am

Despite all the hoopla and the countless billions spent, renewables supply a whopping 0.4 percent of the world’s energy production at present. That means that 99.6 percent still comes from conventional non-renewables, a figure that is even larger than the 97 percent scientific concensus on climate change.

David, UK
November 25, 2015 10:47 am

I refuse to recycle all that crap that most sheeple thoughtlessly put out in blue bins every couple of weeks where I live. It’s bullshit. Instead of burying our rubbish we’re burying money. Of course in return for this massive waste of money it creates Green jobs. Whoopee.

Reply to  David, UK
November 25, 2015 12:46 pm

I think someone mentioned this but, wouldn’t it make more sense to throw paper in the landfill to sequester the Carbon? Rather than hauling it away(diesel) and using chemicals and power to turn it back into paper?
If the whole idea is to remove CO2 from that atmosphere, planting more trees and burying the waste makes more sense.

Reply to  Mick
November 25, 2015 2:41 pm

I recently read an article indicating that a stack of 100 year old newspapers, books, etc, recovered from a land fill that was being re-graded for reuse were still in good enough condition to read after drying out. Seems like a fairly good and inexpensive method to sequester carbon.

Reply to  Mick
November 25, 2015 4:54 pm

As CO2 is plant food and is greening our planet, any thought toward sequestering carbon is patently stupid. CO2 or any gas in the atmosphere at any concentration cannot warm the climate in any detectable way. We need all the CO2 we can get as we are heading into a solar minimum if not the glaciation; i.e., we need the food.

Reply to  Mick
November 25, 2015 7:30 pm

I read here that aluminium and paper are worth recycling, other stuff not so much. I should add by ‘recycling’ I mean in the modern sense of reprocessing as opposed to the ‘old fashioned’ method – reusing things like glass jars over and over until you break them 😉
I noticed when recycling was originally introduced in my council area it was promoted as a cost benefit to the council, with recyclables adding to the bottom line as they were sold for profit – this turned out a bit of a fudge as it seems the council was actually making a profit by charging other councils who did not have recycling facilities to process their waste. Now, when they all have their own rubbish processing plants, I notice my council budget lists recycling services as a cost – of around $700 per household per year.
Another way to interpret this or any ‘cost’ is wasted energy expended over and above the service or product provided. So, instead of saving resources, it seems recycling is wasting a huge amount of money, fuel, labor and time .. (can I say morons? I really want to say morons..)

Steve R
Reply to  Mick
November 25, 2015 9:21 pm

At my house we separate trash into “burnable” and “unburnable”.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  David, UK
November 25, 2015 4:43 pm

I too refuse. We have plastic/metal/glass and a paper bin, plus kitchen scraps are supposed to go in a green bin. I say just throw all combustibles in an incinerator

Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
November 26, 2015 6:05 am

In my neck of the woods, more than 95% of the recycling trucks (that you pay extra to participate in) head directly to the dump. There is simply not enough demand for most recyclable materials to expand the recycling operations to handle the load of recyclables people put out.

Reply to  David, UK
November 26, 2015 9:00 am

Don’t worry, it’s only time until we mine our dumps for all of the metals and valuable materials we throw away!

November 25, 2015 10:47 am

Fair enough. Then eliminate the tax subsidies, govt. demonstration projects, rooftop solar, wind projects lacking adequate transmission lines, etc. etc. Do it at the end of 2016 so no projects under development and already financed are impacted. Then let’s see what happens. I’ll bet the low cost producers continue to expand without all the policy noise making and without the other 80 percent of the sector that was never going to be cost competitive. The winners are there and the private finance is ready to go also. Let’s do it. These industry leaders would be turning out more rated capacity after a few years anyway. The subsidy bottom feeders will be forgotten and so will the arguments for keeping them.

November 25, 2015 10:50 am

“In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause – it is seen. The others unfold in succession – they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference – the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, – at the risk of a small present evil.
In fact, it is the same in the science of health, arts, and in that of morals. It often happens, that the sweeter the first fruit of a habit is, the more bitter are the consequences. Take, for example, debauchery, idleness, prodigality. When, therefore, a man absorbed in the effect which is seen has not yet learned to discern those which are not seen, he gives way to fatal habits, not only by inclination, but by calculation.” ~ Frederic Bastiat

Economist Bastiat would advise us to consider all the ramifications of any green project using the coercive power of the state. I would point out that if you keep government out of it entirely, then the investment money will flow to the best use and we will always have plenty of inexpensive power.
Or, in other words, if the state has to steal tax dollars to fund the green projects — they will be a boondoggle.

November 25, 2015 10:58 am

I get lots of spam like that Flannery flim flam. Invest now in C R A P, its set to go up…
Yeah, right.
And all of those reservoirs are forever empty, and more desalinators are needed, and invest now in Flannery witless wisdoms.

Reply to  ATheoK
November 26, 2015 4:57 am

hmm and that hotrock plant in inland aus that flimflam got shitloads of funding for
that failed abjectly?
costing taxpayers
curious no one remebers HE was the mouth pushing it bigtime
and had shares etc…

November 25, 2015 11:10 am

“BRITAIN’S green energy barons are getting huge taxpayer subsidies to install diesel generators — exactly the kind of polluting energy source their wind and solar farms are meant to replace. ”
It’s all about the money

Richard Barnett
Reply to  mwhite
November 25, 2015 1:33 pm

It is all about the money for the green energy barons. It is all about keeping the grid secure otherwise. With what seems to be cold months ahead in GB with fluctuating efficiency’s from wind and solar, it seems there has been too many eggs placed in the renewable basket and the diesels are the quickest fix. This late in the game where else are you to generate enough to secure the grid during cold calm cloudy days?

Mark luhman
Reply to  Richard Barnett
November 25, 2015 9:15 pm

Diesel generators are more somewhat less expensive the what they are backup up, but hugely expensive compared to coals, gas, nuclear and hydro. Hydro the one renewable that pay and the one greens call evil. Greens are simply math inhibited people used by robber barons who can do the math, and figure how to get the consumer money into their pockets with the least amount of work and effort. God one cannot fix stupid.

November 25, 2015 11:18 am

Eric said,
“In my opinion, recent history in the renewables sector more than demonstrates that it is pretty risky investing in a business, whose profitability is wholly dependent on the fickle whims of politicians.”
That’s pretty close to how my investment broker put it when I asked him to assure me that I was not unknowingly investing in them. He said that’s all in a very high risk/earnings profile which I am not into.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
November 25, 2015 11:28 am

It also means that the politicians who dictate the subsidies are ‘insiders’ and can get themselves and their friends safely in and out of the pinwheel and mirror debacle, before it collapses on the heels of the disintegrating CO2 guilt meme.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
November 25, 2015 11:40 am


November 25, 2015 11:35 am

Eric, a great headline, thank you. Much more attractive than a bank robbery.

November 25, 2015 11:54 am

Here’s am in depth analysis from the World Energy Council.
From which we can learn that, for example, offshore wind energy costs (LCOE) rose over the four years 2009 – 2013.
Now, this is not a skeptical publication by any means.
And what this tells me, is that if correct, then hurling money at offshore wind has remarkably made it MORE expensive as company plunder the limitless resource that exists in government coffers.
This, whilst the progressive line is consistently that subsidies will “prime the pump” and bring about a fall in costs. Maybe efficiency has risen and costs have fallen, but if so then the saving is not being passed on.
Obviously Solar PV costs have fallen, but the fall in costs per watt was already occurring prior to government subsidies. AND similar tech such as LED lighting has also followed the same curve without any significant govt. role.
Anyway, the best summary of cost analysis that I have so far encountered and worth a look:

Jaakko Kateenkorva
November 25, 2015 12:19 pm

Excellent. COP 21 can be cancelled and no further meetings are needed on the topic.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Jaakko Kateenkorva
November 25, 2015 12:53 pm


November 25, 2015 12:29 pm

Nice to be among the Marge Simpsons of the world here at WUWT:
BTW, even the liberal cheerleaders here in Canada aren’t buying the Liberal government’s non-announcement:

Reply to  CaligulaJones
November 25, 2015 5:49 pm

Who is that skinny guy standing next to Jr. With the glasses and big phony smile?

Reply to  Mick
November 26, 2015 5:26 am

Geeze, why did you make me look ?? That is one nasty looking piece of #@$%^

Stephen Richards
November 25, 2015 12:32 pm

Why dont governments challenge these renewable estimates but shutting of all subsidies. Its not difficult. Cut them and wait for the screams.

Reply to  Stephen Richards
November 25, 2015 7:44 pm

The people who receive the subsidies are, as John Robertson pointed out, hand-in-glove with the governments. If the subsides get shut off, the government in question will get a lot of stick from the politically well-connected. They will use their media power publicly, and other pressures privately.

Reply to  RoHa
November 26, 2015 9:39 am

Plus academia, who would express their concern about the potential withdrawal of “free money” by creating a huge swathe of new “peer reviewed” bullcrap in order to convince govt. to reinstate the bonanza.

November 25, 2015 12:39 pm

At least in the US, when the government decides to adopt a certain technology that becomes the standard for the next decade-plus. In some case they may keep the same validated technology for 20+ years.
If the technology is truly racing ahead, the absolute last thing we should want governments to do is to buy into tech that will be obsolete before it’s fully adopted, then will be the institutionalized technology for another decade while they consider whether or how to replace it.
The government may think it has a limitless credit card, but it isn’t nimble and doesn’t adapt very well to changing technology.
The responsible and wise thing to do would be to let the technology race forward, and then when it’s mature to decide whether it makes sense for government to buy into it.

Chris Hanley
November 25, 2015 12:40 pm

In 2006 he was nuclear spruiker (“only nuclear power can save us”), in 2007 it was a definite ‘no’ to nuclear but geothermal was “potentially have enough embedded energy in them to run the Australian economy for the best part of a century” in which he was allegedly an investor (the company shares collapsed), in 2008 biochar “may represent the single most important initiative for humanity’s environmental future” then ‘clean coal’.
Flannery’s endorsement is usually the kiss of death.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
November 26, 2015 11:01 am

Is Flannery available for birthdays and other animations?

Village Idiot
November 25, 2015 12:47 pm

Up subsidies to Fossil Fuels!!!…$5 trillion is a starvation diet for people of their appetite

Reply to  Village Idiot
November 25, 2015 3:09 pm

Socialist ecoloon IMF crap echoed by socialist ecoloon SciAm. Boring, predictable, and predictably boring.
Does intelligent life exist in either ecoloon socialist bodies (IMF, UN…) and the echo-chamber medias? Should ESA launch probes? Will we ever know?

Caligula Jones
Reply to  simple-touriste
November 25, 2015 8:10 pm

Well, as PJ O’Rourke says, if you want to chart where riots are going to break out, just look were the IMF and the World Bank were 6 months ago.

Reply to  simple-touriste
November 26, 2015 10:02 am

“just look were the IMF and the World Bank were 6 months ago.”
Such correlation is the weakest level of evidence.

Reply to  Village Idiot
November 25, 2015 4:01 pm

Although I can’t be bothered to dig into IMF crap, I could manage to read the cover:

IMF Working Paper
Fiscal Affairs Department
How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies?
Prepared by David Coady, Ian Parry, Louis Sears, and Baoping Shang1
IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to
elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are
those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board,
or IMF management.
But then it seems that SciAm disagrees with IMF about the status IMF working papers:

IMF reports that post-tax global energy subsidies rose $3 billion each year from 2011 to 2014, and are projected to reach $5.3 trillion this year, or roughly 6.5 percent of global gross domestic product. That’s significantly more than emerging and low-income countries spend on public health and other core social and economic priorities, according to IMF.
So which one is it? It this crap officially IMF’s opinion?

Reply to  simple-touriste
November 26, 2015 9:05 am

I get the idea that we will have a version of the “don’t call yourself a scientific Nobel laureate just because a group you played a very minor role in won a Nobel Peace Prize” clarification in 3…2…1…

Reply to  simple-touriste
November 26, 2015 9:26 am

I have zero idea what you are trying to say.

Reply to  Village Idiot
November 25, 2015 7:36 pm

Just to be clear – that made up figure of $5 trillion includes such fantasy as a precise figure for the cost imposed by the “global warming” caused by fossil fuels.
With no clear and precise attribution, then this is pure nonsense.
AND – not paying a hidden (and some would say, unreal) externality IS NOT A SUBSIDY.
These fools need to look up what subsidy means.
There is much more that could be said but in short – it is deeply moronic and intentionally deceptive.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
November 26, 2015 9:33 am

“Externality” can’t be computed and isn’t even well defined, well no alternate scenario is described.
To define (not compute) fossil fuel “externalities” you’d have to imagine a fossil free society, other things (which ones?) being equal.
Nonsense at its finest.
Most “all other things equal” are pure nonsense, the variables are NOT independent.

Reply to  simple-touriste
November 26, 2015 9:45 am

Precisely s-t.
Let’s imagine that a similar “study” was conducted to show that the food industry was in receipt of “subsidies”.
Then back in the 1980’s when it was believed that fat was causing heart disease, then the externality of additional heart disease would be held to be a “subsidy” for producers of fatty meat.
Nowadays it would be believed to be a “subsidy” for sugar.
So, whilst playing this fast and loose with the facts and definitions you can basically make up any figure that you like and call it a “subsidy”.
Only the most gullible village idiot would fall for this sort of imbecilic crap.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
November 26, 2015 10:23 am

‘you can basically make up any figure that you like and call it a “subsidy”.’
“Since we are not charging you $5T for carbon tax, which we could, it is a $5T subsidy.”
$7T works equally well.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  Village Idiot
November 25, 2015 9:34 pm

Village Idiot giving the oil companies a tax break is not a subsidy. It is not a subsidy when you are allowed to keep your own money. It is a subsidy when the government gives you taxpayers money. Like they do for renewable power sources.

Reply to  Matt Bergin
November 26, 2015 4:51 am

You are correct, but recall that the collectivist Village Idiot thinks that all money and property belongs to the state — hence all the big oil company’s revenue already belongs to the state. The state and its minions (like the village idiot) are a gang of thieves writ large.

Reply to  Village Idiot
November 26, 2015 5:28 am

I agree 100 % ….you’re the village idiot !!!!

Reply to  Marcus
November 26, 2015 9:54 am

I expect that the titular “village idiot” was intended to be ironic.
Now that he/she is revealed, in reality, to be the village idiot, then any intended irony is itself quite ironic!!
See my post above. That IMF figure includes a totally absurd calculation of the cost of “global warming” caused by fossil fuels.
Apparently, fossil fuels have no positive externality – i.e. they do nothing of benefit to anyone.
So we were all happier in the stone age.
A level of stupid that is barely worthy of reasoned discussion.

Fair Dink
November 25, 2015 1:02 pm

Ah yes, the man who brought us desal plants which cost the Australian public billions to build, millions each day in operating commitments regardless of output, yet sit idle because, much to Flannery’s shame, Australian dams are full. Flannery’s own renewables venture likewise went bust, also at major expense to the Australian public. Yet this environmental oracle continues the failed sermon, oblivious to reality, beckoned by the Australian media: “Oh tell us more, Tim…”

Reply to  Fair Dink
November 25, 2015 4:17 pm

Any idea, FD, whether Tim Flannery is incompetent, or just lies?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Pat Frank
November 25, 2015 9:20 pm

No no, he is a competent liar proven in fact.

November 25, 2015 1:02 pm

Show me a renewable that can stand the test of the open market without subsidies, and you will find a viable investment. Still looking from these shoes with no success. Just like ethanol, probematic and wasteful.

Reply to  ossqss
November 25, 2015 8:49 pm

Distributed home solar IS competitive — even without subsidy.
A 20KW grid-tie system costs $20K plus $6-10K to install for a total of $26,000 – $30,000 without any subsidy
For Dallas TX, said system will produce 30.3 MWh per year — with a 25 year UL rating calculates solar insolation based on actual records
The AVERAGE cost of electricity in DFW is 12.5 cents per KWh not counting taxes etc
— so the system pays for itself in 8 years without subsidy, not counting any rate hikes, nor the normal interest deduction for any home improvement

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Karl
November 25, 2015 9:29 pm

Didn’t we see the same post from Karl earlier? What’s up Karl? You in on the taxpayer subsidies?
How about a total cost analysis with rare earth mining and waste disposal, decrease in efficiency, power used in production, and don’t forget the aluminum, etc.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  Karl
November 25, 2015 9:42 pm

Karl because the distributed solar is not despatchable the power generated by the solar is worse than useless. It’s very presence on the grid reduces the efficiency of the system and it’s erratic output leads to grid instability. A total waste of time and money.

John Pickens
Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 4:31 am

If you are calculating your 12.5 cents per KWH as your recovered price for electricity generated in excess of your immediate consumption rate at the time of generation, then your calculation falls apart. Without subsidy, the price for that solar power would be much, much less, as you would only recover the spot price for wholesale generation at that exact time. That price could be even negative, meaning you would pay the power company to unload your system power when it is not needed.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 9:56 am

In Ontario we are over supplied with electricity. Our provincial government has built a lot of wind generators and their agreement with the wind companies requires them to purchase the wind power whether it is needed or not. This means that when the wind is blowing we have to buy power at somewhere near $.55 per KWh and pay Quebec to take our excess power. My province spent 1.3 billion dollars on this stupidity last year and since they are still building more wind generators the waste will be worse next year. The only good news is that they cannot connect any more wind generators as they have exceeded the capacity of the grid network so it may be a while before the new generators go on-line.

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 7:46 pm

@ Matt grid tie is dispatchable — what are you talking about ? — if you produce more than you use at any instant — that current flows to the grid —
its useful to each homeowner — distributed power is inherently more stable than the Centralized Grid system today– and less susceptible to attack or blackout —
@ Leonard The prices I quoted are without ANY SUBSIDY — subsidies only come in after installation — in the form of TAX credits from the State, Federal, or local Government.
@ John you are incorrect– the 12.5 cents is the retail cost to buy normal residential electricity in DALLAS TX — the system produces 30,000 KWH per year — about 6000 Kwh more than the average home — meaning you have no electric bill which would normally be about $250-300 a month — I am not including any premiums for power sold back to the grid, or Renewable Energy Credits

Matt Bergin
Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 9:01 pm

Karl the fact that the solar installations randomly throw excess power to the grid or not in a sporadic fashion as random clouds block the sun is what makes the grid unstable. That is not in any way dispatchable power.

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 11:59 pm

“distributed power is inherently more stable than the Centralized Grid system today– and less susceptible to attack or blackout”
Please entertain us about why you think so.

November 25, 2015 1:09 pm

You know, this is a bit OT, but, all of this nonsense is directly due to fiat currency. (That is a currency not backed by gold or whatever, just the “full faith” etc of the govt). In fact, most of our government sponsored nonsense is due to a fiat currency. Politicians can just spend whatever they want without worrying about balancing the books anytime soon, that is, never. In the extreme that can just devalue the currency and pay debts with cheap money.
So, if we want the govt to stop being so crazy, maybe a return to the gold standard, or SOME standard, might be in order.
Now, I would never want to mingle the fight for honest climate science with the fight to return to the gold standard, but, we should at least recognize the root cause of this problem.

Richard Barnett
Reply to  joel
November 25, 2015 1:42 pm

Can we afford a move from a fiat currency to a gold currency, given the huge trade deficit?

Reply to  Richard Barnett
November 25, 2015 7:39 pm

Could Bernie Madoff afford to go straight, pay off his debts and balance his books?
It’s roughly the same situation!!

Reply to  Richard Barnett
November 25, 2015 8:54 pm

There is a reason the WORLD left the Gold Standard — it is not an economically viable system of Monetary Policy.

Reply to  joel
November 26, 2015 7:24 am

For those you say the gold standard wasn’t viable, we had one until Nixon went off it in the early 70’s I believe. So, for most of this country’s history, we were on a gold standard (or silver). He went off it because the USA was simply not living within its means after Eisenhower left office Remember the Great Society, or the large military build up under Kennedy? Not to mention huge amounts of money for oil imports when foreign oil was 5 dollars per barrel. To keep the unearned consumption going, Nixon left the gold standard, and voila, govt spending, and corruption, without limits. If you don’t think the govt is corrupt, pay closer attention. Think about the buying power of a dollar in 1970 versus 2015. That’s fiat currency. It is not a way to conserve wealth.
Note that the most dramatic improvements in the American standard of living happened when this country was on the gold standard.
So, in the long term, the problem is not the climate scam. The problem is corrupt government. The climate scam is just one aspect of its corruption.
This, BTW, is similar to the forces that destroyed the Roman Republic. The Romans of course didn’t use paper money. They minted coins from precious metals. But, the Republic was destroyed by the corruption that followed the gigantic influx of wealth from the newly conquered regions as Rome expanded its power. That money allowed individual Senators to amass so much power it destabilized their system of checks and balances. Some Senators could field their own private armies. Imagine if Bill Gates build an army large enough to challenge the US Army. You get the idea. It is interesting to read about it and has lessons for us even today.
Don’t delete my comment, ‘bro. This is really about climate change and the Roman Climate Optimum.

John V. Wright
November 25, 2015 1:11 pm

Why would any sensible person listen to a proven f*ckwit like Flannery?

sysiphus /
Reply to  John V. Wright
November 25, 2015 1:24 pm

He was brought in to Alberta, Canada to advise the newly formed climate change panel for the newly elected provincial government. Wrap your head around that little nugget of information. I can’t.

November 25, 2015 1:20 pm

The small annoying thing with doing business with the mafia is that you have no legal recourse if the contracts are repudiated.
The small annoying thing with doing business with the state is

Tom Judd
November 25, 2015 1:20 pm

I think we need to unload our wimpy, coddling ideas about prohibiting child labor, and hustle the young tikes back into the labor force. Face it, all you softies, if the new world demands it, well you gotta’ do what ya’ gotta’ do.
Now, from what I understand there’s about three hundred fifteen million of us two leggers plodding across the surface of the US. I figure about half of them work. Maybe. Probably less. We know newborns and children don’t work – yet. Students don’t work. There’s still some stay at home parents. Disabled people don’t work. Old farts and retired old farts don’t work. The unemployed don’t work otherwise they wouldn’t be unemployed; duh. So, we can figure, at most, about one hundred fifty seven and a half million of us Americans work. According to American Progress (yeah, they’re liberal but it’s good enough for government work) about 1.9 million people are employed in the oil industry in the US. According to my arithmetic that works out to one for every 82 working people.
Now, there’s 7.125 billion of us two leggers plodding around on top of this rock. I think it’s reasonable to assume that only half of them work too. After all, the US is still the major manufacturing nation (hard to believe, eh?) in the world. Women work in the US (unlike Islamic countries). So, let’s assume that a bit over 3.56 billion of the world’s inhabitants work too.
If 7.7 million people, worldwide are employed in the renewable energy industry then that works out to one for every 462 people.
See the problem? If renewables supplied 20% of the world’s energy requirements those 462 employees would reach parity with the 82 employees of the oil industry. But, everybody knows renewables aren’t even close to supplying 20% of the world’s energy. So, if one’s going to brag about the numbers employed in renewables perhaps they should gear up to send the kiddies off to make the boats, ships, trains, plains, automobiles, bicycles, beer, wine, whiskey, … well, you get the idea. ‘Cause their ain’t gonna’ be enough workers otherwise. Us adults are going to be working on wind turbines and trying to avoid getting sliced, diced, zapped, or toasted on them.
Sure, I know the above is over simplified and forgets that there’s other sources of energy than oil. But renewables sacrifice the most important efficiency of all: human output in all its varied and wondrous forms. Too bad; it’s off to work kids. And don’t play hide and seek on the assembly line.

Walt D.
November 25, 2015 1:29 pm

Straight out of Mel Brook’s Producers – Renewable Energy is the Broadway flop. The investors get to keep the money.

Reply to  Walt D.
November 26, 2015 7:00 am

You can make more money with a flop that with a hit.

John in L du B
November 25, 2015 1:31 pm

This from the shrieking girl’s mom’s business website:
Really? A 27 kW solar installation “…will provide the power for the interior of the station house, platform, and parking lot lighting, and four electric-vehicle charging stations outside.” Oh, and there’s “room” to expand the charging hub to accommodate up to 20 vehicles. All from 27 kW.

Reply to  John in L du B
November 25, 2015 5:40 pm

My 5kW system produced 330 watts on one particularly foul winters day, no snow just rain and constant heavy cloud cover. The station sounds like a good prospect in NE with all that snow. Park in autumn, drive away in spring.

Chris in Hervey Bay
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2015 8:33 pm

Hey Eric,
You should spend a couple of days on Lady Elliot Island.
There is a big PV Solar system there, funded by the Queensland Government.
I had a good look at the system, and all the panels are covered with seabird poop.
All the meters, volts and amps, are / were reading zero in the middle of the day.
And out the back is a bloody big diesel gen set that runs 24 / 7.
Plus, in a wander around the island, you will see all these signs that explain how climate change and sea level rise will wipe the island, and us, out.
The signs were also installed by the Queensland Government.

Bruce Cobb
November 25, 2015 1:35 pm

Yeah, “renewables” and “green” energy are all the rage.
Not unlike tulip bulbs were some 350 years ago.

November 25, 2015 1:38 pm

Renewables are like a new uni’ graduate being appointed straight to the board of directors in their first job; possessing lots of potential but over-promoted before they’re market-ready. Result; economic carnage!

Transport by Zeppelin
November 25, 2015 1:43 pm

In November 2009, the Rudd Government (Australia) gave Geodynamics $90 million towards building a green power plant using hot-rocks technology.
It’s been downhill all the way ever since.
Perhaps you could understand Rudd handing out such a huge grant, given that now Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery – a Geodynamics shareholder – swore the technology was a doddle:
In 2007, he warned that “the social licence of coal to operate is rapidly being withdrawn globally” by governments worried by the warming allegedly caused by burning the stuff.
We should switch to “green” power instead, said Flannery, who recommended geothermal – pumping water on to hot rocks deep underground to create steam.
“There are hot rocks in South Australia that potentially have enough embedded energy in them to run Australia’s economy for the best part of a century,” he said.
”The technology to extract that energy and turn it into electricity is relatively straightforward.”
One more green scheme in strife. One more example of Labor waste. One more example of the dangers of governments picking winners.
Oh, and one more reminder of the insantity of trying to phase out coal-fired power before proper alternatives even exist.
The share price has dropped from $2.00 in 2008 to S0.030 cents today.

4 eyes
Reply to  Transport by Zeppelin
November 25, 2015 3:16 pm

Having designed and executed some very large fracture treatments of gas bearing tight sandstones in the very hot rocks in the Cooper basin in the early1980s a couple of us looked into the engineering practicalities and the economics of using the heat for power generation in the event that we could not make the gas production economic. Whichever way we looked at it we could not find a way of economically extracting the heat – the NPV was decidedly negative in the best case and the risked EMV was dismal. The Cooper basin is a remote high cost oil and gas province and the well costs – drilling, completing, fracturing and connecting – are relatively high. At an unrelated fund raising meeting in the early 2000s for prospective investors in hot rocks in the Cooper Basin the attendees heard how the technology and economics were assured – just give us your money and we’ll send lots back later. Hoping to hear how another engineer had calculated the heat transfer in this downhole heat exchanger, this being the key issue, I asked the question about steady state log mean temperature difference in the huff and puff configuration they were proposing for their fracced wells and what this would imply for the economics of the project.. The promoter flinched but then brazenly said that that had all been figured out and immediately moved on to how we could all invest our money. The technicalities were irrelevant it appeared I lost interest in the project and did not attempt to follow its progress. A couple of years later my doctor turned a 5 minute consultation into a 40 minute discussion when he realized that I might be able to teach him a little about the engineering of hot rocks projects. It turned out he had put money into the project; he pulled out of the investment soon after that. The promoter extracted a tidy fee for himself. What I ultimately learnt – follow the money. Always follow the money, especially your own. And ignore people with spinning bowties and dollar signs on their eyes.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Transport by Zeppelin
November 25, 2015 9:36 pm

And another example of no one going to jail after robbing the taxpayers.

Bruce Cobb
November 25, 2015 2:23 pm

You can tell how great “green” and “renewable” energy is by the way they had to kill coal, and shovel the green stuff down our throats.

Gary Pearse
November 25, 2015 2:28 pm

So we already have an energy system that’s cheap. How can switching over at great cost be an economic boom. The economy is more than the energy sector. It’s mainly activity that uses energy. So while energy investment and employment is booming what happens to jobs in the other 99%of the economy? Cretin!! What is Flannery professor of anyway? Certainly not economics. I’d like to see his investment portfolio.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 25, 2015 8:41 pm

Hi first degree level qualification is English literature.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 25, 2015 11:45 pm

Marsupial bones , iirc

November 25, 2015 2:34 pm

Ask Warren Buffett How much of a tax write off he gets from the Wind Turbines he owns.
At his last shareholders meeting Buffett admits he will go to any means necessary to pay the lowest level of corporate taxes possible under the law, including building things like wind turbines he wouldn’t want to build otherwise, telling an audience in Nebraska recently: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them.”
Now please provide credentials/data proving that you can make more money by selling Wind energy (kWh not subsidies), rather than making money like he does by cutting his tax obligation, collecting subsidies and getting low cost loans (the only way to make money in renewables.)
Every year our electric company adds 4500 MwHr of Wind turbines, Every year our electric energy rate goes up by 5 – 10% and only 100 MwHr of power is added to our total usable/salable generation. DO THE MATH.

November 25, 2015 2:42 pm

Ethanol is my favorite boondoggle. We must import fossil fuels to grow the corn to make the ethanol. No one is bright enough to use kudzu to make ethanol. And millions of pounds of food are being wasted for the ethanol disaster. And the stuff ruins engines, especially small one-cylinder types. It is good for ADM, but very bad for the rest of us.
Same for solar cells. Night: no power. Snow: no power. Clouds: little power. Can’t store the energy.
Wind farms: kill the birds, the bats. Ecological disaster.Screw up the wind patterns.
But the lobbyists sure get rich from all these adventures!

Reply to  mathman2
November 25, 2015 5:22 pm

So very true.

Reply to  mathman2
November 26, 2015 9:12 am

So much nonsense.

November 25, 2015 2:45 pm

What Flannery and the rest of the climate parasites are really saying is “Give us more money and thgings will work out great. For us.”
What has he done that has worked?

November 25, 2015 2:46 pm

Chris4692 advises that I am mistaken in that no GT standby units have to be allocated as such for WT’s and neither do the GT’s acting in “standby” mode operate less efficiently. He also states that additional/enhanced Power Transmission works for WT’s are not more or more expensive than for GT’s! He is blatantly wrong on all counts.
Base Load standby’s for WT’s are required to maintain the same available installed capacity of base load PS’s, as needed to meet the national power demands at all times and for whatever weather conditions throughout the year, including typical extended periods of no/low winds during winter periods of high power demand. GT’s are used because independent trials for the UK government have shown that only GT’s can reliably and practically accommodate and top up the on-going, very variable shortfall of power output of 0-100%, from the WT’s as dictated by the capricious wind. They are needed to reliably meet current national power demands. This interfacing problem gets more difficult to manage the bigger the proportion of WT power capacity is provided within the national Power Supply. So if 100 units of CFPS were shutdown and replaced by 100 units of WT then, in addition, an increase in the overall national installed capacity has to be provided – the 100 units of GT supplies. These GT’s work far less efficiently at higher cost than GT’s acting alone as base load units!
WT’s are built where open spaces are available and sufficient wind is experienced – open moors or fields and bare hill tops or out at sea – and, unlike GT’s or CFPS’s or even nuclear plants, not in areas of major power demand. If follows that new and enhanced Power Transmission works are needed solely to connect these WT’s into any national Grid! Existing Power Transmission works have been provided to link up with existing or past fossil fuel plants, and so the vast majority of new GT’s can be sited at shutdown PS sites without the need for additional Power Lines.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  cassandra
November 25, 2015 8:30 pm

Chris4692 is correct, at least for the US. Per FERC regulations, US grid operators are required to have standby capacity for the largest source of generation or transmission. Grid operators are very good at managing load changes. Here is an example.
In the US, we are also good at predicting how much power is produced by wind. Notice that power produced for BPA is much greater than local demand. The excess power is exported to California.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 3:06 am

The standby’s I’m talking about are over and above any normal standby’s to cover break down or maintenance shutdown periods. You can have periods where WT’s often meet local power demands but, typically, in any year WT’s only provide 25-30% of their plate rated output regardless of power demand – that’s why these additional standby GT’s are required. At times the WT’s produce no power – either because the winds are too high, risking damaging the WT or because there’s insufficient wind. That means the GT standby capacity has to be as much as 100% of the WT plated capacity to maintain available reliable overall system base load capacity capable of meeting power demands!

Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 5:12 am

Missing or misunderstanding the points made!

November 25, 2015 3:24 pm

Ask Warren Buffett How much of a tax write off he gets from the Wind Turbines he owns.
At his last shareholders meeting Buffett admits he will go to any means necessary to pay the lowest level of corporate taxes possible under the law, including building things like wind turbines he wouldn’t want to build otherwise, telling an audience in Nebraska recently: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them.”
Now please provide credentials/data proving that you can make more money by selling Wind energy (kWh not subsidies), rather than making money like he does by cutting his tax obligation, collecting subsidies and getting low cost loans (the only way to make money in renewables.)
Every year our electric company adds 4500 MwHr of Wind turbines, Every year our electric energy rate goes up by 5 – 10% and only 100 MwHr of power is added to our total usable/salable generation. DO THE MATH

Retired Kit P
Reply to  usurbrain
November 25, 2015 8:01 pm

Warren Buffett is an investor. So it would be more correct to say the only reason for Warren Buffett to build them.
When Texas governor Bush and later POTUS proposed incentives for wind generation, we were building LNG to import natural gas. Incentives were also provided for modern coal plants and new nuke plants. At the time it was good economic policy.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 25, 2015 8:10 pm

Can you name the nuclear incentives?

November 25, 2015 3:34 pm

The UK is doing its bit and promising to sequester a billion pounds just in time for COP 21 in Paris-

Reply to  observa
November 25, 2015 5:54 pm

Couldn’t they do that by burying all of their paper and cardboard?

November 25, 2015 4:20 pm

The renewable energy fixation will collapse as it becomes more widely known that CO2 has no effect on climate.
The last 500 million years of substantial atmospheric CO2 with no sustained temperature change is compelling evidence CO2 has no effect on climate. This is documented in a peer reviewed paper at Energy & Environment, Volume 26, No. 5, 2015, 841-845 and also at which also discloses the two factors that do cause reported average global temperature change (sunspot number is the only independent variable). The match between calculated and measured is 97% since before 1900.

Reply to  Dan Pangburn
November 25, 2015 11:44 pm

“Peak Renewables” will occur 10 seconds after the feed-in mandates and massive subsidies are removed.

November 25, 2015 4:24 pm

25 Nov: Washington Examiner: John Siciliano: Democrats rise in opposition to Obama’s climate change agenda
Hundreds of Democrats from 32 states are aligning against the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change agenda, the Clean Power Plan, which they say will cause unnecessary economic harm from increased reliance on renewable energy…
“As Democrats committed to a prosperous America and a healthy environment, we believe the United States has a unique opportunity to lead the world in addressing the global climate challenge, and yet do so, as we must, without unduly burdening the American economy or the American people,” the Democratic coalition called CoalBlue said in a letter sent Tuesday to Obama.
The group joined with hundreds of Democratic officeholders and state, local and party officials in telling Obama that the Environmental Protection Agency’s emission rules for power plants pose “serious and overriding concerns,” representing the wrong approach to the problem of climate change…READ ON

November 25, 2015 4:32 pm

Forbes, 24 Nov: SunEdison “shares have tumbled nearly 50% over the past month and nearly 80% year-to-date”
24 Nov: EconomicTimesIndia: SunEdison to put 400 MW of upcoming solar capacity on sale; calls off Continuum buy
By Arijit Barman & Baiju Kalesh
A struggling global portfolio is eclipsing SunEdison’s mega solar dreams.
The world’s largest renewable energy developer is significantly downsizing its India footprint by monetising its entire 400 MW of solar capacity that is expected to come on stream by early next year. Investment bank Goldman Sachs has been mandated to manage the sale as the Belmont, California-headquartered SunEdison Inc. is looking to prune its global portfolio and cut costs…
This development also comes immediately after SunEdison pulled out from buying Continuum Wind earlier this month…
SunEdison had said in October it would cut 15% of its 7,260-strong global workforce. It has already terminated a $700 million deal to buy renewable energy firm Latin American Power, which operates assets in Chile and Peru. Plans to absorb its Vivint Solar unit are also reportedly in trouble…
24 Nov: CarbonBrief: Simon Evans: Analysis: UK government quietly slashes renewable energy forecast
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has slashed its forecasts for new renewable power capacity by more than a third over the next decade, Carbon Brief analysis shows…

November 25, 2015 4:33 pm

“Plummeting Costs” = “Other people’s money”
“Now you see it, now you don’t. Keep your eye on the Pea.”
If renewables are so good, they don’t need any more of those subsidies. Also they will run all night and when the wind doesn’t blow.

old construction worker
November 25, 2015 4:52 pm

Spain report
” that Spain’s “green economy” program cost the country 2.2 jobs for every job “created” by the state. However, the figures published in the government document indicate they arrived at a job-loss number even worse than the 2.2 figure from the independent study.
Up to 70,000 British jobs ‘are at risk from Brussels climate change law’
Read more:
Need I say more.

James Allison
November 25, 2015 5:14 pm

If Tim Flannery says something, the opposite is true. This is why politicians gravitated to him. LOL

November 25, 2015 5:17 pm

Why exactly would I care if Australia and Britain decided to commit economic suicide.
When I could pick up the pieces, and declare the need for a new world order ?

Reply to  u.k.(us)
November 25, 2015 5:33 pm

Elementary dear Watson. Because I’m the better benevolent dictator and Fearless Leader and my new world order is far superior to yours.

Reply to  observa
November 25, 2015 5:58 pm


Reply to  observa
November 25, 2015 6:15 pm

I want to be Third Grand Vizier. Where do I apply?

November 25, 2015 5:21 pm

From the side of the political spectrum that refused to subsidise the car industry and keep an industry and 70,000 people in work.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2015 8:55 pm

When Ford and Holden decided to pull out of making cars in Australia, energy costs (And that is energy costs to suppliers too) were cited as one reason. The other reason was labour costs. It costs ~4 more to make a car here in Aus as it does in Asia and ~2 times more than in Europe. It’s simple. By far the biggest contributor to the pull out was…high wages. And you can thank unions for that in Australia.

Chris in Hervey Bay
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2015 9:01 pm

“By far the biggest contributor to the pull out was…high wages.”
Guys sweeping the floors on $120,000 pa !

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2015 9:32 pm

“Chris in Hervey Bay
November 25, 2015 at 9:01 pm”
At least they were doing something useful. Flannery, on AU$180k for a 3 day week, was a waste of money and did nothing of any use.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Mjw
November 25, 2015 9:29 pm

November 25, 2015 at 5:21 pm”
If you are talking about the Aussie car industry (Which in effect is just assembly IMO, Ford and Holden (GM)), Rudd747 gave Toyota in 2007/2008, maybe 2009, ~AU$72m to develop an Aussie designed and made hybrid. It never happened.

November 25, 2015 5:26 pm

In common with many failed doom forecasters e.g. Stefan Rahmstorf, Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore, David Viner, David Suzukie etc your Tim Flannery has a hide thicker than an elephant. Flannery shows not a hint of embarrassment despite his long list of failed predictions of climate doom, from his well documented alarmism in hyping a need for desalination plants in Australia to his championing of the merits of one of his own financial investments in Geodynamics Ltd an under performing geothermal generation company in Australia. The Rudd Government even tipped in a cool $90 million grant to prop up Geodyamics, to no avail of course.
Now I know that “their” ABC, Fairfax and The Guardian etc here in Oz do little if anything to hold Flannery to account but if you were thinking of placing a bet based on a Flannery prediction of profitability for renewables, I’d take a good look at the tipsters form guide before laying down any of your hard earned?

November 25, 2015 5:28 pm

Flannery is like the old guy in Shawshank redemption, he has been there so long he has become institutionalized.
So an ‘economic opportunity’ is a government subsided economic opportunity.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  thingadonta
November 25, 2015 11:53 pm

At least the old guy was good at bagging shopping.

November 25, 2015 5:50 pm

O/T, but pertinent, good news for once,
Texas And West Virginia Shred Obama’s Climate Plan As ‘Unlawful’

November 25, 2015 6:13 pm

On top of everything else, you’d have to pick the right renewable. If you got it wrong, your investment would suffer.

Kevin R.
November 25, 2015 6:16 pm

Didn’t they already try this in Spain?

November 25, 2015 6:20 pm

You can be like Reagan and resist throwing money at problems. Or you can be like LBJ and throw a ton of money at problems that can be at least partially solved. Or you can waste it all in efforts that cause terrible problems in addition to the loss.
Why are so many of my fellow liberals so addicted to option 3?

Reply to  Evan Jones
November 26, 2015 5:02 am

LBJ lost a stupid war on the other side of the planet called Vietnam. He also lost “the war on poverty” by destroying the inner cities and the American family. See Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell on LBJ.
LBJ was a monster.

Retired Kit P
November 25, 2015 7:38 pm

Eric’s essay post just set off my BS meter. If someone in government says something stupid responding with an equally stupid argument is not a very good way to make a point. For whatever reason, many are concerned about how power is produced. My theory is that not very many city people have even seen a power plant or knows someone who works in the industry. The lack of familiarity causes drama associated with fear of losing electricity that we depend on.
“ridiculously expensive”
As an engineer, I am trained to check the assumptions used in a calculation. Working in the power industry, I have been attacked by those making claims about their high electric bill. Of course they can never can tell me how many kwh they use or the cents/kwh they are charged. One case was a woman living in a 5000 square foot house holding a $4 cup of coffee talking about the ‘greedy’ electric company.
At my house, a long hot shower costs 25 cents and air conditioning $1 per day. A pot of coffee costs 50 cents and I do not have to stand in line.
The bottom line is that electricity is a very cheap commodity in a modern productive society. Wind and solar done correctly is only marginally more expensive.
So not that expensive.
For utility management, part of doing correctly is educating politicians. When George Bush was governor of Texas a modest programs for wind generation was part of building needed fossil plants. California politicians went to stupid school.
Of course, generating equipment is capital intensive with the most factors being capacity factor and how long the equipment will last. Sticker shock is to be expected. Market share is important. Replacement with a large nuke will be a big change. Adding a few wind turbines will be minor.
I am skeptical that wind or solar will ever be anything to worry about as far as overall system cost because of the small share of the mix.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 25, 2015 7:54 pm

“One case was a woman living in a 5000 square foot house holding a $4 cup of coffee talking about the ‘greedy’ electric company.”
You need to understand that you wrote a ridiculous sentence.
“The bottom line is that electricity is a very cheap commodity in a modern productive society.”
Meaningless, ridiculous.
“Wind and solar done correctly is only marginally more expensive.”

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2015 7:20 am

Your comment above doesn’t quite capture the entire story. The 400TWh is just the portion of total smelting electricity (690TWh) that is generated by coal in 2014 — in other words around 58%. Most of the rest of the world’s aluminum that year was smelted using hydro power (31%).
Basically all the “renewable power sources excluding hydro”[1] produced in the entire world in 2013 couldn’t replace just the coal-generated portion of total smelting electricity. World aluminum output would have been 13% less in that year if we tried to substitute renewables for coal, not even considering the negative effects of intermittent power on output.
Aluminum is only the second most used industrial metal — roughly 53 million tonnes of new aluminum in 2014 vs. 1,650 million tonnes of new steel. Both metals are heavily recycled, so annual world consumption is higher in both cases. I don’t have figures handy, but given the much larger volume, I have to assume that total energy devoted to making steel dwarfs that used for aluminum.
If we depend on the favored kinds of “renewable” power, industrial civilization collapses simply from not producing enough steel and aluminum.
[1] Figure comes from the EIA for 2013 here.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2015 7:25 am

Sorry, I did not refresh my page while I was posting my earlier reply so I missed your correction.
The other point the aluminum smelting figures make clear is the effect of shutting down coal plants guarantees steel and aluminum production will continue to shift to China, and other countries who keep coal plants running.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2015 8:07 pm

The Initial Non Recurring Engineering Costs would be about $145 Billion to install enough PV to provide 700 TWH of electricity using PV Panels @ $.50/ watt (which is what individuals can buy panels for so it is not unreasonable given the economy of scale) assuming 2400 hours of usable sunshine a year (places like the Atacama – the US Southwest ETC.
7E+14 watt hours/2400hours = 2.91666 E+11 * $0.50 per installed watt = 1.45E+11 — $145 Billion
at 1200 hours usable sun a day that $290 Billion
WITHOUT SUBSIDY — 1 or 2 years of the US COST Iraq and Afghan Wars
After that it’s maitenance and ZERO FUEL COSTS
The US Paid $730 Billion in 1 year for oil @ $100/ Barrel
At $0.10 per KWnh — the YEARLY COST to smelt the aluminum is $70 Billion per YEAR — EVERY YEAR

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 10:01 pm

After that it’s maitenance and ZERO FUEL COSTS
The US Paid $730 Billion in 1 year for oil @ $100/ Barrel

??? Oil does not provide electricity. Oil provides transportation and petrochemical feedstock.
And your solar assumptions are incorrect.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2015 8:08 pm

2400 and 1200 hours of sun a year — obviously a typo

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2015 8:14 pm

At 200 w/square meter you would need 2.9166E+11/200 square meters = 1.458E+09 square meters
=1458 square kilometers = a square 23 miles on a side

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2015 9:58 pm

At 200 w/square meter you would need 2.9166E+11/200 square meters = 1.458E+09 square meters

Now, you have to show “how” you are going to get 200 watts/m^2.
How many hours a day will you get 200 w/hr??
How many days a year are you going to get that much power?
At what latitude?
What humidity and what cloud cover are you assuming?
How are you tracking or cleaning or controlling the arrays?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 27, 2015 2:00 pm

Average solar Insolation is 1000 w/square meter in many areas of the world– many current PV panels are 20- 22% efficient

Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 25, 2015 8:11 pm

Just out of curiosity “Retired Kit P”, where did you go to school and when ?

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 25, 2015 9:08 pm

“The bottom line is that electricity is a very cheap commodity in a modern productive society …”.
Compared with say Canada, a comparable country with abundant natural resources, electricity in Australia is outrageously expensive.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Chris Hanley
November 25, 2015 9:40 pm

I have to question that graph as I know in Nigeria, Lagos in particular, most people pay to be connected to the supply, but because that supply is so unreliable, they use small petrol powered generators. So they do pay connection fees, but there is no actual reliable measure of cost and consumption. Australia, is a basket case, in particular South Australia which has the highest cost due to…the subsidies paid to the green “reneweable” boondoggle.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Chris Hanley
November 26, 2015 12:03 am

Electricity is still a cheap commodity especially in Australia. Of course the taxes government puts on energy (because they think it is evil) are not so cheap.
I know it is confusing. The shift workers at the coal plant keeping the lights on are the good guys. The government workers paying themselves with high taxes think they are protecting you.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Chris Hanley
November 26, 2015 1:13 am

“Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 at 12:03 am
Electricity is still a cheap commodity especially in Australia.”
I will agree to that to a point, just. It is *NOT* cheap but cheaper than compared to New Zealand or the UK. If the greens have their way, there would be no RELIABLE power generation in Australia. None! But that is OK because in Australia we are doing a much better job of sending industry offshore than any other country I have lived in.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 4:46 am

“Wind and solar done correctly is only marginally more expensive.”
On what planet?

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 26, 2015 8:18 pm

IN MD USA the retail cost of electricity for a homeowner — not renewable (you can choose to pay extra for that), is $0.155 per KWh — at today’s PV costs without subsidy — the payback for a properly sized system is less than 10 years

November 25, 2015 7:49 pm

Flannery on green tech: “experts warn it could pass us by.”
What does that even mean in the context of the real world?
That somehow a technology will come and go and be forgotten or incapable of being used in Australia? Flannery strings together an incoherent catch phrase more at home on the home shopping channel than a dialogue on energy and technology. I’d like Flannery to name any single instance in history of a technology that wasn’t adopted and then passed anybody by! It’s an intriguing glimpse into how he must view the world. He seems breathtakingly ignorant on the history and workings of this world. The history of technology and economics shows us that where individuals have been free to pursue their own business ideas, prosperity follows. I wish the Flanneries of this world would simply use their own capital to pursue their ideas and leave my capital alone! The Golden Rule that so many forget when they leave kindergarten: Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Dave in Canmore
November 26, 2015 4:33 am

It means that great Greenie Plague of economic death will pass by, as long as you paint a big “C” (for capitalism) on your doorways.

John F. Hultquist
November 25, 2015 7:58 pm

“…the number of renewable energy jobs nearly doubled to 7.7 million worldwide.” [so says, “Climate Council of Australia”]
I say, show us the details.
One place converted a diesel engine city bus to propane, then classified the bus driver as a green energy worker.
Another city put batteries in city buses and so made them green. Drivers often found the batteries did not get the job done and so shut them off. The buses are again diesel but the city reaped the good press of going green.
If you force the closure of a coal plant and move a welder to a wind tower does welding become a renewable energy job?
Color me skeptical.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
November 25, 2015 9:02 pm

re: I say, show us the details.
Well they cite this report.
re: One place converted a diesel engine city bus to propane, then classified the bus driver as a green energy worker.</
If you think they overcounted by one, in one place, you should provide the details to IRENA. If you recall where “One Place” is, they could check their figures, and maybe report an estimated only 7,699,999 green jobs worldwide.
> If you force the closure of a coal plant and move a welder to a wind tower does welding become a renewable energy job?
Yes. They’re counting tradesmen employed in the installation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure.

Reply to  Seth
November 25, 2015 9:09 pm

“renewable energy”
There is no such thing.

Christopher Hanley
Reply to  Seth
November 25, 2015 10:54 pm

“They’re counting tradesmen employed in the installation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure …”:

November 25, 2015 10:19 pm

Just a reminder: Whenever the government gets involved in the economy, it creates a surplus in one sector, a shortage in another, and the taxpayer is left holding the bag.
I’m afraid renewables will be a very, very big bag.

November 25, 2015 10:23 pm

solar panel fires for the State of Queensland in Australia only:
18 June: Brisbane Times: Madonna King: Solar panels installations in Queensland spark a fire every week
More than 200 fires have started in Queensland as a direct result of solar PV installations.
The startling figure, tracing fires between September 210 and June 2015, shows almost one fire a week is prompted by faulty inverters, wiring connectors or dc isolators…
Of the 201 fires tracked by the Electrical Safety Office, 78 of them relate to devices that have been recalled.
These include the brands Avanco, PVPower, Gen3, NHP and ISOMAX.
The recalled dc isolators have a design fault, which means the internal switch contacts can overheat.
The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that, at least in one case, the supplier of the brand has been placed in liquidation and cannot complete the recall…
Suppliers are bringing some in from overseas, and they don’t meet Australian standards.
Perhaps Australian standards need to be toughened too. And a bigger compliance stick might not hurt either.
In the meantime, a fire a week related to PV installations is an alarm bell that should be ringing in every Queensland suburb.–in-queensland-spark-a-fire-every-week-20150617-ghqt0t.html

Retired Kit P
November 25, 2015 10:43 pm

“Can you name the nuclear incentives?”
Sure! Loan guarantees and and the same PTC that wind gets for a certain amount of capacity. Four new reactors are under construction.
Check out the 2005 Energy Bill.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 12:00 am

What is a “PTC”? Who’s 2005 energy bill?

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 26, 2015 12:11 am

Production tax credit. USA

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 26, 2015 12:33 am

“Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 at 12:11 am”
This site is read by many NON-USA citizens. It is usually prudent for acronyms to be qualified. So the energy bill you refer to is a US 2005 energy bill. Just so we are all clear what it is you are talking about.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 5:16 am

Did anyone use the loan guarantees? Are they usable?
Is this nuclear incentive anything but smoke and mirrors?
Will the government do something to minimize radiation fears and establish trust?

Reply to  Retired Kit P
November 26, 2015 6:28 am

Retired Kit P.
Are you aware that nuclear power plants pay, That’s right PAY for that “Loan Guarantee” and “unreliables” get the loan guarantee FREE? Further, the Nuclear loan guarantees are limited to “New Technology” due to the possibility of rework, design changes, startup problems, etc. It does not go to same-old plants designed long ago and built today. If YOU have (had) a home loan that is backed by FHA, VA, etc., YOU TOO have a subsidy – and that includes the majority of all home loans.
The BIGEST so called “Nuclear Subsidy” is nothing more than the tax write off given every company and or . business in the USA. Even garbage dumps get a Subsidy equal to greater than the nuclear subsidy everyone complains about.
Now that you are retired do some critical research and quit reading the Anti Nuclear Hate pages. If you are really serious about reducing CO2 emissions the ONLY possible method is extensive expansion in the use of nuclear power. PERIOD.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  usurbrain
November 26, 2015 10:58 pm

Yes I am aware. Note, I used the word ‘incentives’. The power industry and nuclear in particular is not subsidized. Huge amounts of taxes are paid into government coffers.
My point is that is that new nukes were not an option under Clinton but became an option under Bush.
I am not interested in in reducing CO2. My interest is producing electricity. Nuclear is a very good way to produce power, especially in the absence of the absence of other natural resources such as hydro, coal, or natural gas.
Now that I am retired, my research is where we will park the motorhome next. I still get to make electricity with gasoline. No I do not use solar or wind when off grid.

November 25, 2015 11:30 pm

If you go to you can see real time the the output of all the wind farms from Port Lincoln SA to Cullen Range NSW in both MW’s and percentage of nameplate capacity. Even more important is the output over time is graphed and has as many peaks and troughs as the Rockies.
A stark illustration of how variable the output is.

November 25, 2015 11:37 pm

And citing Iceland and Norway as 100% renewables is PROPGANDA to the max.
Iceland is tiny and nearly all geothermal because its sit right on a volcanic rift… Flannery has PROVEN that geothermal isn’t economical in Australia.
And Norway is 98% hydro… yet earns something like 2/3 of its GDP from North Sea oil
Flannery is a PROPAGANDA FOOL !!!

Reply to  AndyG55
November 25, 2015 11:41 pm

ps.. the five main geothermal power plants in Iceland have a TOTAL capacity of around 660MW.
That’s less than a single turbine of a modern coal fired power station

Patrick MJD
Reply to  AndyG55
November 25, 2015 11:59 pm

November 25, 2015 at 11:37 pm
“…yet earns something like 2/3 of its GDP from North Sea oil”
It does at the moment, but that revenue is drying up. Norway will have a massive problem in 20-30 years, or less, where it simply cannot pay for it’s massive and lucrative welfare state that people have become dependent on.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 26, 2015 4:45 pm

No it won’t because it has a massive fund of all the past huge profits. You seem to be unaware that Norway is a country with a small population, two-thirds of the population of New South Wales.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 26, 2015 4:48 pm

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is nearly a trillion US dollars and is the largest in the world, equivalent to about $165,000 for every man woman and child in Norway.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 26, 2015 4:52 pm
Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 26, 2015 9:58 pm

Maybe, maybe not. Any kind of fund like this requires some form of continuous revenue input. No oil, no revenue. No taxpayers, no revenue. And if this is based purely on revenue from north sea oil, then why isn’t there a similar system in the UK?

Billy Liar
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 27, 2015 3:01 pm

The UK has 15 times as many people for a similar amount of oil revenue. The revenue was instead frittered away by politicians over many years.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 26, 2015 7:42 am

Big hydro doesn’t count as renewable in California. So, Norway, by some standards, it not using renewable power.

Patrick MJD
November 25, 2015 11:55 pm

“But unless Australia ramps up its commitment, experts warn it could pass us by.”
Wot? Like an iceberg?

Bob Lyman
November 26, 2015 12:40 am

I have noted that increasingly studies done by the International Energy Agency are deliberately designed to under-estimate the costs of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to deliberately exaggerate the benefits. With respect to studies of the comparative capital and operating costs of alternative electricity generating technologies, the techniques used to under-estimate the costs of renewables and over-estimate the costs of fossil fuel sources are: to assume that the lowest costs achieved in ideal locations for wind and solar are, or will soon become, the average costs of plants located everywhere; to exclude from the cost calculation the connection and balancing costs associated with the use of intermittent sources; to ignore the costs of constructing backup capacity; to ignore the losses often caused when renewables are given “first-to-the-grid” rights and generation exceeds domestic demand (thus causing exported power at deep discount prices); and to include an assumed U.S. $30 per tonne carbon tax on all fossil fuel-based generation. Such studies naturally ignore the immense subsidies provided by governments through publicly-funded research and development and through generous treatment of investments in the tax system.The game is being rigged and the public does not understand this.

November 26, 2015 12:45 am

nations are going about their own business, according to their own economic interests. good:
26 Nov: BusinessStandardIndia: Nitin Sethi: Climate talk: India hits back at John Kerry’s remark
Kerry had in a statement to FT.Com said India was “a little more restrained in its embrace of this new paradigm, and it’s a challenge… We’ve got a lot of focus on India right now, to try to bring them along.” He was additionally quoted as saying India wanted to increase its dependence on ***domestic coal rather than ***import what he said was better quality coal, and this was not the right way.
Said a senior official Business Standard spoke to: “You have to break Kerry’s statement into two halves. One is about the Paris agreement and the other is ***looking to create a market for its coal in India. That, again, is a decision India would take based on relative trade-offs at different states of the developing economy.”…
***India would, by government estimates, require to quadruple the use of coal by 2030 to meet its energy needs…
26 Nov: Japan Times: Japan to push coal technology despite OECD subsidy cut, Japan’s environment minister says
by Reuters, Bloomberg
Many developing countries will continue to look to coal-fired power plants to meet their energy requirements and the key issue is to use efficient technology to curb greenhouse gas emissions, (Environment Minister) Tamayo Marukawa said in an interview Tuesday…
Japan, wary of regional competition from China, was at the vanguard of opposition to phasing out coal export credits that benefit companies such as Toshiba Corp…
“The OECD agreement basically approved the use of high-efficiency coal-fired power plants,” she said.
“There are countries that have no choice but to build coal-fired power stations due to cost. Countries other than Japan have also been exporting coal-fired power stations to these countries,” she said…
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged in 2013 to triple the country’s export of infrastructure that includes power stations to about 30 trillion Yen by 2020.
Asked whether Japan’s export of coal-fired power stations will rise further, Marukawa said: “It may rise, but it may not if we lose in cost competition against other countries. It depends on the market.”…

November 26, 2015 12:50 am

25 Nov: Manilla Bulletin: AP: Coal not going away anytime soon despite renewables push
Beijing – Coal: Can’t live with it and can’t live without it — at least not yet…
There are vast parts of the developing world that will continue to see growth in demand for electricity, driven by sales of televisions, refrigerators and the construction of highways and malls as incomes increase, said Xizhou Zhou, the China chief for energy consultants IHS Energy.
“The cheapest way to provide electricity in many of these places is still coal-based,” Zhou said…
Still, coal provides more than 40 percent of the world’s electricity and 29 percent of its energy supply, second only to oil at 31 percent, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. The agency projects coal consumption to continue growing somewhat in coming years, largely owing to increased coal demand in India and Southeast Asia…
don’t let the CAGW crowd win on this one:
22 Nov: Bellingham Herald: Melissa Santos: Coal export terminals: A source of jobs, or coal dust and climate change?
Two coal terminals proposed in Washington State would roughly double nation’s coal exports
Proponents say terminals will provide much-needed jobs locally, as well as in Wyoming and Montana
Critics say increased train traffic will decrease air quality, send wrong message on climate change
Chapman, whose company is proposing to build the coal export terminal in Longview, said if US coal isn’t available to the Chinese, China will just import coal from other countries such as Australia…

November 26, 2015 12:56 am

Anthony etal for sure the cartoon person herein.
Get the photo of Obama in the long blue coat he wore at a reception in Turkey today.
We can only hope he wears this same git up at the Climate summit.
Very close to deranged if not total there already.

Reply to  fobdangerclose
November 26, 2015 1:43 am

oops, with the guy from Turkey today

November 26, 2015 12:58 am

He is right in one way , nothing is has easy to farm has ‘subsides’ and nothing else is a profitable to farm ,other than drugs which carries others risks, after all there are even times when you get paid ‘not to produced.

November 26, 2015 1:26 am

So we could miss out on the boom? Costs are plummeting?
I don’t get it. How do we “miss out”? Is Papua NG or NZ going to build all these ultra low-cost wind farms and then sell the power to us through an interconnect? Surely if it’s so great we could build on 6 months after the model is proven?
If the price is plummeting, wouldn’t our economics be even better 6 months later?
None of this is rational.

Charles Nelson
November 26, 2015 1:26 am

I always refer to him as Tim ‘ghost metropolis’ Flannery.