Californian Government Intensifies Attack on Renewables

Costs are rising for Californian Renewable Energy Consumers

Costs are rising for Californian Renewable Energy Consumers

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

WUWT recently reported how California had abandoned rooftop solar, by excluding them from generous renewable credit schemes. California has now intensified its attack on renewable energy consumers, by increasing fees for customers who switch to renewable energy schemes.

Customers of clean energy programs hit with fee increase

The California Public Utilities Commission voted Thursday to allow a nearly 100 percent price increase on exit fees for customers leaving Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for green energy programs like CleanPowerSF and Marin Clean Energy, which will make those and similar programs more expensive.

Many of the programs — where local governments buy green electricity for their residents, while private utilities own and operate the electrical grid — will be undermined financially by the uptick in the charge, called the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, their officials say.

“We are not surprised that the increase was approved,” said Marin Clean Energy spokeswoman Alexandra McCroskey. “We are disappointed. Our primary frustrations come from the fact that we are becoming almost liable for the market fluctuations for both ourselves and PG&E. If PG&E isn’t planning appropriately for people leaving for community choice aggregation programs, the PCIA will continue to increase. It’s poor planning.”

Under the increase, which is effective Jan. 1, customers making the switch to local green energy programs will face a heftier exit fee. Marin Clean Energy customers are projected to pay more than $36 million, up from $19.3 million in 2015. The cost for each residential customer would nearly double from about $6.70 each month to $13.

Hundreds of protesters came from as far as San Diego to oppose the fee increase at Thursday’s meeting in San Francisco. They carried homemade signs reading “Stand Up to Natural Gas!” and “CPUC: Consumers Pay Again?!” Public comment on the change stretched for more than two hours.

CPUC has defended the fee increase;

“We’ve achieved a great deal, but there is this overhang of costs that were necessary to kick-start the industry,” said CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio. “The reason the PCIA is so high is because of high-cost renewable contracts that PG&E was required by law to enter into, and that this commission approved. I don’t think it’s fair to let one group of customers escape from paying those historic costs and simply load those on the remaining customers. That’s what the PCIA is all about.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Customers-of-clean-energy-programs-hit-with-fee-6705978.php

California continues to talk the talk on “green” energy – but as the true cost of their green adventure hits home, the Californian government appears to be slowly ratcheting up the costs, and slashing the benefits, for ordinary consumers who join Governor Jerry Brown’s environmental crusade.

98 thoughts on “Californian Government Intensifies Attack on Renewables

    • Unfortunately this Green Aggregate scheme came to Sonoma County last year and although we weren’t charged an appreciable Exit Fee, we weren’t Opt In. We had no choice as we were automatically switched over to Sonoma Clean Energy unless we opted out

  1. Unintended consequences at work here. PSE&G wants to get its monopoly back. I recall demonstrating against PSE&G way way back in the late 1960’s.

    They are a monopoly on the ropes now and want their power back. Movies made fun of PSE&G as well as ConEd in NYC over the years…as hostile monopolies.

      • Actually, hoist upon the State’s petard. PG&E is a regulated monopoly, as designated by the State. Its issues are the result of that regulation and related legislation.

      • For ’tis the sport to have the engineer
        Hoist with his own petard: and ‘t shall go hard
        But I will delve one yard below their mines,
        And blow them at the moon:

        “A litterl berm” as Inspector Clouseau might have said.

    • There are two factors at work here, both resulting from either government legislation or regulation. Unintended consequences perhaps, but predictable. First the state requires the utility to do things which are not economic, then allows customers to leave the utility “holding the bag”. Cute!

      The problem is aggravated by the fact that the utility’s monthly service charge does not cover all of the utility’s fixed costs for providing the generation and T&D service, requiring that a portion of the fixed costs be recovered through the variable portion of the rate. Thus the utility under-earns its fixed costs when the power is purchased form alternative suppliers and moved through the utility’s T&D facilities.

      This rate structure issue also causes the utility to under-earn its fixed costs when customers install on-site generation and net meter on the utility’s system. The rate structure issue is technically easy to resolve, though politically difficult.

      The mandated high priced power purchase contract issue is far more difficult to resolve, though the State could simply require the clean energy aggregators to assume a proportionate share of the uneconomic clean energy contracts the State required the utility to sign.

      Unfortunately, all of these solutions would require an uncommon degree of political courage.

      • Current typical US home construction standards (assuming basic maintenance) allows US homes to have > 60 yrs life expectancy. Consider that roof top solar installations have a 25 yr life at best before major panel and electronics will have to be replaced. These typical $20k installations are financed now with a generous subsidy and tax write-off scheme. What will finance the refurbishment 20 yrs from now? The subsidies will likely be gone or minimal. Those systems will go to the scrapyard or sit decaying on rooftops, trophies to the folly of a bygone era.

      • It’s not really right to say that its the company leaving the customers holding the bag. The customers are the ones that were stupid enough to vote for things that would drive up their power bills…and they should sure as heck be held accountable for that by paying the costs they created in the first place. Nobody thinks its remotely odd for premium services to come at premium prices…and that’s exactly what renewables are (in terms of pricing anyway…there’s essentially no benefit to using them with current technology)

        The fact is, wind/solar are not dispatch-able power and when their energy is traded back and forth, it is almost given away, sometimes because of the legal requirement of taking the energy companies are LITERALLY PAID TO TAKE IT. People with renewable setups should have to pay grid costs like everyone else…both for sending and receiving…because the power company simply does not need (essentially worthless) intermittent energy. Anything else will create a system built entirely on delusions.

        A grid connection would be worth about $25 per month, give or take (normally included with the price of energy). The solar/wind energy produced by the end consumer would be paid LESS THAN the spot prices of energy…and would have to pay or disconnect when spot prices went negative, which really does happen anywhere there’s a lot on the grid. Once you factor these sorts of things in, even a stand-alone solar setup just meant to generate electricity makes no money. And BTW, since most solar costs are in very old, very slowly advancing technologies used to hold/connect the solar cells…even if solar cells were completely free they still wouldn’t be viable in these uses.

      • First the state requires the utility to do things which are not economic, then allows customers to leave the utility “holding the bag”. Cute!

      • I remember all of the rooftop solar water heating units installed back in the 70s here in California… Big, black plastic things, connected by pvc water piping to help save on hot water costs. Today, if you do happen to see one anymore, they sit, looking ugly, atop roofs, unused. No one uses them anymore, but they actually did save on hot water costs.

      • The problem is aggravated by the fact that the utility’s monthly service charge does not cover all of the utility’s fixed costs for providing the generation and T&D service, requiring that a portion of the fixed costs be recovered through the variable portion of the rate.

        There’s a problem here all right. It is that any of the fixed costs are covered by a flat service charge. The effect of that is that if I use 142 KWH (my usage last month) I will pay the same grid costs as the fellow down the street who used 700KWH. So I would argue that all the fixed operating costs should be recovered by raising the variable portion of the rate. Consumers should pay for the grid in proportion to their use of it.

        A commenter down stream maintains that solar panelists should pay the variable rate portion of fixed costs based on both power received and power returned. This appears to be based on his feeling that power returned is essentially worthless. I obviously do not agree; power that I feed back to the grid is sold to my neighbors at retail rates, and potentially reduces the load on the whole distribution system.

      • The investment required to provide service access to your property is the same as the investment required to provide service access to your neighbor who does not self-generate. The fact that you choose not to consume as much power from the grid as your neighbor, for whatever reason, does not alter the investment requirement.

        Under state utility regulation, the utility is allowed to earn a regulated rate of return on net physical plant in service. To the extent that self-generating customers are relieved from bearing a share of that cost and the associated return, that cost and the associated return are transferred to non-generating customers.

        I would argue that all fixed costs, including the associated return, should be recovered through the fixed portion of the rate. I suspect most accountants would agree. You might find historical utility regulation inconvenient, as a self-generator, but you could always terminate your utility service and become freestanding.

      • joelobryan. Your concern about solar replacement costs in a couple of decades isn’t foolish, but my guess is that it won’t be much of a problem. I would expect that the cost of the replacement equipment in real terms will be substantially lower than todays costs — incremental improvements in technology and all that. And if Germany and Denmark are any example, unit cost of electricity in California after 25 years of striving to meet aggressive renewable goals is likely to be pretty impressive. (Germany is up around 38c a Kwh). The replacement solar hardware may well be cost effective even with no subsides whatsoever.

      • When in the 80s the city of Davis California went 100% solar free hot water and electricity – WOW Even passed solar zoning laws to prevent sun blockage on all lots.

        10 years latter the maintenance costs were soaring and the cost of operation were so high the laws were cancelled and all the panels were gone. It will happen again as PV cells produce less power every day and more just fail, batteries to store power costs a lot to buy and then they must be serviced and replaced.

        Renewable energy is not yet ready for prime time.

      • (Note: “Buster Brown” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. Therefore, all the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • (Note: “Buster Brown” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. Therefore, all the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • Then subtract the tax credits at all levels and the high price to buy surplus electric by grid owners, now how much does the free power cost per KWH? Hum not so attractive now that the panels are naked cost items.

      • (Note: “Buster Brown” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. Therefore, all the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • Where is the proof that the panels will last 20 years at the stated design KWH out put – hint it is not there.

        All PV cells have a half life – that is when it produces 50% of the power generated at first turn on.

        How much does it cost to keep them clean and producing at peak design capacity? This is one of the reasons that the utility scale PV plants do not produce at design capacity from day one. If one studies the actual results one will find that 60 to 80% of design is actual production day over day month over month and year over year.

        Again solar is only worthy of consideration where there is no grid.

      • (Note: “Buster Brown” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. Therefore, all the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • Did you not prove the point 12 years – then it is the company that warrants them. They seem to go Bankrupt in less than 10 years on average? Oh you get snow cover, how about the cloud cover reduction, how about the fog cover reduction, now what is you real annual output versus the stated design output?

        Solar people need to get honest and present real numbers and facts to support them.

        Pie in the sky until real accurate number can be produced.

      • (Note: “Buster Brown” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. Therefore, all the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • You have your eyes wide closed . . http://www.classactionsnews.com/consumer/bp-solar-international-defective-solar-panels-class-action-lawsuit

        http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/customers-complain-that-bp-solar-panels-are-catching-fire-and-breaking

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BP_Solar

        I manufactured PV cells and used panels in road signs that we manufactured in another business so yes I have experience with BP and their panels. Extensive testing and actual field results that the panels mounted fixed produce less than rated.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Solar_Farm

        SALE BY BP
        BP announced in 2011 that it was “winding down” its solar operation, because it was unable to continue getting sufficient return from the solar business and was concentrating on the biofuel and wind sectors of the alternative energy business, where it was expecting more growth.[8] The R&D staff and physical assets of BP Solar UK were sold in 2004 to the UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec). In 2013, because Narec had become a centre purely for offshore renewable energy devices, the solar part of Narec, by then known as Narec Solar, became the company Solar Capture Technologies[9]

      • (Note: “Buster Brown” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. Therefore, all the time and effort he spent on writing 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name, many of them quite long, are wasted because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • Busterbrown needs to pay for the “grid”s upkeep so he can have his solar energy whenever he wants it. Otherwise, he should fork up coinage for old fashioned battery storage somewhere on his property.

        (Note: “Buster Brown” is the latest fake screen name for ‘David Socrates’, ‘Brian G Valentine’, ‘Joel D. Jackson’, ‘beckleybud’, ‘Edward Richardson’, ‘H Grouse’, and about twenty others. The same person is also an identity thief who has stolen legitimate commenters’ names. Therefore, all the time and effort he spent on posting 300 comments under the fake “BusterBrown” name is wasted, because I am deleting them wholesale. ~mod.)

      • …and, the additional collector array area required to charge the storage for use when the sun does not shine.

    • We have proven to ourselves over and again that economic central planning is simply unsustainable. What more experimental evidence is needed. If the USSR, a nation of chess players, who gave us a run for our money in the nuclear and space races, couldn’t succeed, don’t expect the feeble efforts of kumbaya would’bes with education-lite backgrounds (I mean K to graduate school) to do better. The crash of such silly enterprises is inevitable. You soon run out of the productive sector’s money. Nevada has been the beneficiary of the exodus of productive industry. Even Tesla’s Elon Musk is building his gigabattery site of ~10milliion sq. ft in Nevada which is friendly to industry. Tesla itself could eventually be forced to shift out of California. What is wrong with the voters!!!

      • You identified half the problem: “education-lite”. The other half is distracted short attention span. (“Oh look, a squirrel!”)

    • Governments created them – they wanted utility taxes and franchise fees? Oh my those dirty Progressives strike yet again – raise taxes behind your back – kind of like taxes on life itself ie: Carbon tax.

    • The French verb “peter” as in “petard” means to fart. In this case the CPUC is basically just starting to smell their own fumes.
      In modern French slang a “petard” also means a joint -which should tell us that whatever the CPUC were smoking at the time was bad shit..

  2. Reminds me of the rolling blackouts in the 90’s, which then had the brilliant leaders negotiate fixed rates at historically high prices for electricity. Green is great until it isn’t somebody else paying the bill for you.

    • Like any socialize economic wealth redistribution scheme, they work great …until they run out of OPM*.

      *other people’s money

  3. The greens and their enabling politicians in control of energy policy in Califorrnia are the one’s who are guilty of hostility. Promoting one half-baked clean energy scheme after another has made your electricity markets unstable if not unsustainable. From here, it’s actually fun to watch…sort of like a drunk walking in traffic.

  4. You are required to use renewable energy or you will face a penalty, except in the case where you use renewable energy and will face a penalty … brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department***

    ***(acknowledgements to Peter Bergman & Phil Proctor)

  5. Ever notice that those folk who support renewables can afford to do so? It’s peanuts on their budget plans. Ask somebody who works multiple jobs what they think of the extra energy costs? Liberals are usually rich. Look at the makeup of the intellelectual elite in the French Revolution. Hmm,…weren’t they some of the first to leave or be guillotined?

      • Of course it doesn’t come out of the wall stupid. It comes out of the little plastic thing in the wall.

      • Here is the current Mayor of London explaining on the UK’s Top Gear program where the energy to power electric vehicles comes from. They do say he is Prime Minister material.

      • 50% of the electricity in the wall comes from coal fired steam electric plants when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

      • Did you know that when you buy electrons from the power company, those electrons immediately turn around and return to the power company. Worse, the power company then sells those same electrons back to you.

        It’s a sc@m I tell you.

    • Robespierre excelled in services to the people, supposedly designed to create a better and more equal world for the masses of France. Those people then showed their gratitude and giving him some cutting remarks and even a kiss from Madame Guillotine. I bet Gore et al always have their passports with them, fast cars waiting, and a light aircraft in the nearest remote air strip and fully fuelled and ready at all times!

  6. What I find funny here is that this is the Marin County eco-loons complaining that they will have to pay some of the costs of the very thing they wanted so much. No sense of irony in them. This is about the richest county in the entire world complaining that they will have to pay a small amount of the costs of what they forced on the rest of us. Hilarious.

  7. I’m more than a little confused as with the cost of living/higher wages in California and with “green” generally costing more anyway, just why should an increase of $6.70 a month cause so much consternation??

    • Because there’s no choice in the matter? Because the price increase is to pay for subsidies that support high cost, feel-good energy production (from which leftist crony capitalists benefit)? Because $6.70 is only the start of “skyrocketing energy prices” as promised by Prom King/Late Night TV Professional Guest Barack? How did high income taxes start? By “only” raising rates by 3 percent. Year after year after year…

      • PP, those that purchased the solar certainly had a choice, and a very high percentage of Marin county voters voted for green nonsense. They wanted and got 100 percent of any excess power they produce, paid for by the utility, weather the utility needed additional power then or not. They raised rates on 100 percent of consumers for their solar panels while reducing the revenue per grid infrastructure cost to utilities. The fee should likely be closer to $50 plus per month.

    • Perhaps , BFL, there is some folk memory of the Townshend Acts that preceded the Boston Tea Party reaction and you know , I presume , what that led to.
      , From Wiki :

      -“Some members of Parliament objected because Townshend’s plan was expected to generate only £40,000 in yearly revenue, but he explained that once the precedent for taxing the colonists had been firmly established, the programme could gradually be expanded until the colonies paid for themselves.[23] According to historian Peter Thomas, Townshend’s “aims were political rather than financial”.[24]”-

      Relevant?

  8. I’m thinking this is similar to the inability of Germany’s green tagged electrical producers to compete(sell back power) with French nuclear energy pricing(which they needed to do to keep the lights on at times) without loosing money. The situation was predictable, but true to California form, the remarkable thing about this is the creative naming: “Power Charge Indifference Adjustment”. I suppose that’s the way it will read on the bill when it comes, along with other creative nomenclature.

    • Markl, no guns for the people, no.no.no guns for the people. Lefties don’s carry guns, their body guards carry them.

  9. I don’t think it’s fair to let one group of customers escape from paying those historic costs and simply load those on the remaining customers. That’s what the PCIA is all about.”

    No it’s not fair, but that is exactly what it is about; having the majority finance the uneconomic, impractical , next to zero benefit ideology of a relatively few starry eyed wackos.

  10. I have trouble listening to anything about “renewables” from a place that doesn’t count hydro as renewable. That right there shows me how divorced from reality they are.

  11. When one takes into account the falling market price of fossil fuels renewables have relatively become much more expensive. The relative cost and lack of reliability is also becoming evident in South Australia the state which is claiming the highest level of renewables in Australia. Ironically it’s also one of the few states pushing for nuclear energy which is opposed by the greenies and the federal Labor opposition.

    • Yes David – this all sounds rather like the rainwater collection scam, doesn’t it? In NSW, they gave you a once-off subsidy for installing a rainwater tank and using this to water your garden. Since dam levels were at historical lows, and predictions were that they would never fill again, lots of people “did the right thing” and installed the tanks and associated plumbing. Then they started charging an ongoing yearly fee for water storage on your land. Oh, and the dams started to over-flow. Within 5 years, they had recovered the amount of the subsidy, since then they make more money from you while providing less and needing to invest less in infrastructure. A brilliant plan, especially when most people didn’t even notice!

  12. This is effectively how the present government of Spain unwound the green fantasy there. One has to be clever to regain control without having to explain the facts of life to residents of stupidsville.

  13. The post and most of the comments remind me why I left California. Governor Moonbeam was a failure the first time out, so those remaining fools are getting what they voted for.

    • Not Anthony, but I do live in Sacramento. The main difference between then and now we use to get about 4 or 5 robot calls a week urging us to abandon our natural gas water heater and stove in favor of the new improved solar and it’s government subsidies. They always started with “Time is running out”.

      Guess the energy board was telling the truth about that one thing.

      Now we don’t get those calls anymore. Oh and the Rush Limbaugh program isn’t brought to us by Solar City anymore.

      Besides suffering the highest energy cost per capita in the country, I can’t think of any other direct effects from the program.

  14. Solar was always promoted by ‘subsidising’ either the installation or the feedback.
    In other words ordinary people who couldn’t/wouldn’t install were supporting those who did.
    Here In Australia for example, poor people were paying extra on their electricity bills so that the rich could have free power!
    Surely if one believes in a ‘free market economy’, solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy should be able to stand on their own two feet not ride on the back of the poor?

    • A lot of baby boomers jumped on-board charles in order to halt their soaring power bills in retirement. Jumped on board in the early days myself with the RECs panel subsidy and generous FIT scheme but I wasn’t kidding myself I was saving the planet. With the price of dumped solar panels from China coming down the RECs reduced substantially and with the increasing numbers of ‘power poor’ the FIT schemes were scrapped for newbies, although they couldn’t make it retrospective after the squeals of the middle class welfarists. Business as usual.

  15. When I lived in SF in the 90’s there were the green energy companies that were available to switch to. Seemed like a good idea, seemed like it would be competitive with PiGgiE, My fond term for PG&E. Things went along for months ok … then the real bill hit once enough of us were suckered in. 300x a normal bill. I believe the scandal that ensued was called Enron. New generation .. same old scam.

  16. This was all part of the green hysteria. Time to recognise that there is no saving in fossil fuel from these trick of the trade. Same as wind farming. Its a scam, due to simple simpleton minds in control. Laural and Hardy would laugh at it

  17. Our local Co-Op tacks on a “Facility Charge” of $19.00/month.
    Energy charge is $.0897 / kWH (slight uptic on Nov. 1.
    They provide reliable power except every now and then a tree falls on a line or a driver takes out a pole. Such are usually repaired in 2 to 4 hours.

    ~~~~~
    @ Juan Slayton 9:27
    MOD: ##@!! Lost the close italics after first paragraph….

    John,
    You don’t get any extra points for that. Neither the first nor the last are you in this regard.

  18. This is typical ‘government creates the problem’ (climate change) and then provides a ‘solution for the problem’ (renewables) that eventually just creates another problem (revenue). This was supposed to be resolved by carbon taxes. The California issue is like the crumbling roads in Oregon where electric vehicles aren’t paying road taxes, so the government looks at implementing a mileage tax.

  19. Subsidies! It doesn’t matter what the issue is… subsidies will make matters worse and delay a workable solution. Subsides attract corruption like flies around a cow pat and the only reason we have them is so that a few people with power and influence can make a ton of money.

    If we could just stop subsidizing stuff, we would eliminate a substantial proportion of corruption and solve problems better, quicker and cheaper.

  20. One is so used to reading Climate-Nonsense coming out of California that one has to read the article twice to be sure that it really said that.
    In Sydney we get 9 months of free hot water from our roof-top solar collector, but the solar electrical-generation unit only makes money from the large subsidy that we signed up for some years ago. Without the subsidy, the solar electric unit would not provide any saving. Subsidies are just means to political ends, not the solution to real problems.

  21. California’s grid is complicated enough, with an enormous amount of dependence upon foreign providers (over 33%) . The confounding factor in all this is due to the extreme differenences in what it mean to be a reliable versus and unreliable (solar, wind) power producer. Also laws that require the utilities to accept any and all unreliable power they can handle drives up the cost of power. Solar and wind capacity cannot replace any installed reliable power capacities, so those producing plants of reliable power capacity cannot be removed, irregardless of how much solar and wind in connected to the grid. Reliable power capacity costs money even during those times when renewables can provide all the power required by the users of the grid. The only savings for displaced relaibale power generators costs are the costs of the fuel, or rather the cost of the fuel that is saved (which will never be 100%). Any power from renewables accepted by the grid means a reduction in power produced by the reliable power plants, which means they are at those times producing power that is more expensive, per unit (kWhr). For example, a nuclear plant (which is designed to run at 100% capacity at all times) , in which renewable power replaces half the nuclear plant’s
    normal output, effectively doubles the cost of the power the nuclear plant produces,since fuel costs are minimal. Renewable power has a value far below that of a reliable power plant and cannot replace areiable plant, batteries or no batteries. That’s the rub and why reliable power will always be non-competitive, especially when molten nuclear plants become commercial. The future for renewables is bleak they will be far more expensive, dangerous and environmentally destructive than molten salt reactors.

  22. Reshiftable energy is great until they won’t allow you to shift the costs to you neighbours anymore.
    Why wasn’t I told?

  23. Reblogged this on Sierra Foothill Commentary and commented:
    We build a house to take advantage of renewables and solar energy. But, after 30 years, we did not install the planned solar as we could never get the benefits to pencil out when all the maintenance and replacment costs were figured into the calculations. While the initial costs are low, the long-term costs grow in magnitude over time. It is hard for innumerate people to understand the cost of ownership math.

    • Exactly correct. The people are used to the great government lie – free this free that free free – free energy from the sun and wind.

      They always leave out the part of costs that must be installed so when the sun does not shine and wind does not blow the 24/7/365 grid can be powered. That is we must have 100% demand supply on stand by and have very costly switching gear to go back and forth. They also ignore that the areas of solar and wind farms are far from the big cities that use most of the energy.

      You have shown on a single house level it does not make economic sense then multiply that times a few million homes.

  24. As I use to say, the question is how efficient and green are the new alternatives of energy? Are they really as green as their supporters say, or would it be better to do more research in these fields? I’m talking about solar panels, wind farms and offshore wind farms. For example, offshore wind farms may have an impact in the process of faster warming of the Norther Europe, as presented here: http://oceansgovernclimate.com/baltic-2-another-climate-change-factor/.

  25. This is not a surprise at all. The real issues are only being touched on by most commenters.

    Sorry I don’t have time right now to look up source info for the following, but you can find it in the IEEE professional journal, Spectrum.

    Here’s the issue:
    – Renewables require near-*instantaneous* availability of grid power.
    – Traditional power can’t spool up at a rate fast enough to match instantaneous demand changes.
    – Therefore, traditional power must remain spooled up to cover the potential use of solar/wind/etc users.
    – The only way to solve this is either much faster spool-up speed for traditional power, and/or massive power storage for renewables. Neither is available today nor the near future.

    The result:
    – Alternative energy users (solar etc) are hugely subsidized, In reality, most of them are making the same use of the grid infrastructure as any normal user… but they don’t pay for it.
    – Thus, a shrinking population (of typically less-wealthy users) must pay the cost of the entire infrastructure.
    – The result: lower quality grid power, and rapid price increases.

    This is already the case in Hawaii, where electricity can exceed $1 per kWh. A year or two ago, IEEE predicted the same result within 5-10 years in major urban areas: LA, Detroit, New York City.

    Really, the only way to solve it in the short run is to charge a share of all grid costs to all who directly OR indirectly connect to the grid.

  26. Sorry but I have no issues here about increased costs to watermelon customers. You want expensive renewables in your fervent desire to save the planet from your Birkenstock version of hell, fire, and brimstone? Fine. But not at my expense. I happen to think you should pay the full cost.

  27. People who were relying on the govt to continue to siphon a fraction of the money it has stolen from others, are disappointed because the gravy train has ended.
    For some reason, I fail to weep for these people.

  28. ISO hired a consultant to study solar economics. The result– solar costs 40 cents/kwh for residential rooftop and 33-35 cents/kWh for commercial. You could buy the same power from the wholesale market for 7.6 cents/kWh. or about 1/5 the cost. See http://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2015/02/icf_economic_drivers_of_pv_report_for_iso_ne_2_27_15.pdf for one of the best studies on all the solar subsidies. Page 36-42 lists them for all the New England state.

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