Claim: Renewables ARE the Cheapest Form of Power

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Simple economics is now driving the unstoppable rise of renewables, according to advocates – or would be, except for a mystery political obstacle.

The Myth About Coal Being Cheaper And More Reliable Than Renewables

Renewable energy is now the cheapest form of new power.

04/10/2017 11:51 PM AEDT
Anthony Sharwood

Nope, nope and nope again. There’s yet more proof this Friday that coal is neither cheaper nor more reliable than renewables as an energy source, and that coal is only going to get more expensive in the future.

We were given excellent evidence of this in April, when the CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia report told us that renewables could save households $414 a year by 2050.

Further proof arrived in June when the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (aka the Finkel Report) told us that ramping up renewables would lead to lower power prices.

And now the Climate Council has weighed in, showing that we really can have our energy cake and eat it too — if by energy cake you mean cleaner, cheaper power, and by eating it, you mean reliability of supply.

The Council’s new report is entitled ‘Powering a 21st Century Economy: Secure, Clean, Affordable Electricity’ and you can find it here.

So if technology’s not holding us back, and cost is not the issue, what on earth is stopping us from transitioning as quickly as possible to cleaner, more affordable renewables?

One word: Politics.

“Politics is the only factor standing in the way of Australia’s transition to a modern electricity network, powered by renewable energy and storage technology,” Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/10/04/the-myth-about-coal-being-cheaper-and-more-reliable_a_23231954/

What is the “politics” which seems to be such an impediment to a cheaper renewable future? One clue might be the conclusion of the report referenced by The Huffington Post. The report prepared by the Climate Council, the body led by our old friend Chief Councillor Tim Flannery;

… Importantly, while we may use some existing gas plants during this transition, we do not need new gas or coal plants built. Persisting with existing coal plants beyond their technical design lives will lead to unreliable power and higher electricity prices and continued high levels of pollution from Australia’s electricity sector.

This transition requires shifting away from obsolete “baseload” concepts and inflexible old coal power generators to a modern, flexible, 21st Century grid powered by a diverse mix of renewable energy and storage technologies. …

Read more: Climate Council Report Available Here

Is the political obstacle an outmoded adherence to the concept of baseload power? Maybe. But I’m not convinced we’ve fully explored this “politics” obstacle, so I decided to delve deeper;

Politics preventing Australia’s switch to 21st Century energy

BY CLIMATE COUNCIL
04.10.2017

Politics is the only factor standing in the way of Australia’s transition to a modern electricity network, powered by renewable energy and storage technology, according to a new report released by the Climate Council today.

Climate Councillor and energy sector expert Andrew Stock also pointed to states and territories across the nation pushing ahead with the transition to renewables and storage technology, in a bid to achieve secure and reliable power, while also tackling climate change.

South Australia is a global leader and is investing in solar PV, solar thermal, pumped hydro storage, and the world’s largest lithium ion battery. Others like the ACT, followed by Victoria and Queensland, are now rolling out large-scale renewables such as wind and solar,” he said.

“There’s no disputing it – fossil fuel technology is obsolete, expensive and unreliable. In fact, Within 10 years, over two thirds of our coal plants will be over 50 years old. It’s time to look to the future with an energy system fit for the 21st Century.”

Read more: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/politics-preventing-australia-s-switch-to-21st-century-energy

Do Greens think the political obstacle is a failure by governments to invest in renewables? But if renewables are cheaper, why is government investment required? Why aren’t private investors rushing to fund cheap renewables even without government help, to make a huge profit driving their obsolete fossil fuel rivals out of business?

If cheaper renewables are skyrocketing even without government help, why is politics still seen as such an obstacle?

I don’t want to jump to conclusions. Maybe I have misunderstood something. I’m genuinely interested in understanding what political obstacles greens think are preventing the realisation of a low cost energy future powered by renewables.

Because we all want cheaper power, right?

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358 thoughts on “Claim: Renewables ARE the Cheapest Form of Power

  1. This transition requires shifting away from obsolete “baseload” concepts and inflexible old coal power generators to a modern, flexible, 21st Century grid powered by a diverse mix of renewable energy and storage technologies. …

    The transition requires customers to be flexible in using electricity only when the Sun is shining and/or the winds are blowing at an acceptable speed.

    • Smart meters can do that for you – your supply can be turned off whenever renewables aren’t able to generate sufficient electricity, and presumably why the UK is trying to force them to be installed in every home.

      • They don’t need smart meters to shut down electricity delivery when adequate power is not available. Any grid will take care of that. Conceptually, smart meters allow some flexibility in what get shut down. i.e. hospitals get power, pubs and poolhalls don’t. While it could work that way, my bet would be that it won’t.

      • Great device that smart meter! All who want to use only renewables can do so. Get a smart meter and sign up for renewables-only power. When the wind stops, clouds appear, or the sun sets, your power turns off. The scheme could even be tied to the energy market. When there is just a little wind or sun, or the amount available fluctuates, the power will be distributed to the signees in accordance with what they have agreed to pay. Your power-purchase scheme could even be instantaneous – like the stock market. When the power goes out – enter the market (using your battery powered backup computer and hot spot of course) and start bidding higher and higher until the power comes back on. Even that could be automated and you will discover just how much you paid when the bill arrives.

        Ain’t technology wonderful?

      • Don’t believe everything you read about Smart Meters (especially that which is presented by their opponents). I have already looked into this as a possible application to reduce Solar input from rooftop installations during times when the grid is already at 100%. Smart Meters cannot be “Turned off” (opened) from remote locations. This still requires a representative from the power company to visit your house to physicaly remove the meter from the base. All they can do is send a usage read every 15 minutes to a remote gathering antenna and send a signal to that same antenna if the power goes out. Basically the meter says, every fifteen minutes “I’m on and this is the usage for the last 15 minutes” Or “I’m currently out of power, please send help”. Although the second will happen the moment power is lost for more than a minute.

      • Why would they need or want to do that?

        The UK has commercial demand management where commercial consumers are paid to have their electricity demand managed, with no effect on their operations.

        Provides GW of savings and money for consumers…

        Typically achieved by control of aircon, heating and freezer demand, where the appliances need to operate at some point in a given hour, but I doesn’t matter when. Management of large scale resources syncing demand reduces demand peak.

      • Griff:

        The UK has commercial demand management where commercial consumers are paid to have their electricity demand managed, with no effect on their operations.

        Yes and no. I have been working in a chlorine factory where power demand was 132 MW at full production. They were involved in “peak shaving”, and if peak demand was imminent, the electrolysis could go down to 40 MW in about 15 minutes. No direct steering from outside as these can’t see and don’t understand anything from a working factory, that is calling for big trouble. The 40 MW was the base load to keep everything running and that was bought at long term contract price, the difference with 132 MW was much cheaper, as long as we were out at a peak, or there were huge fines… It was a hell of a job for the operators to keep an eye on the country (Netherlands) power demand and get down (just) in time…

        So you can’t say that it has no effect on the operations, as ultimately the factory needed to build more electrolysers as not the full capacity could be maintained… Thus in fact these type of operations is simply diverting the investments of power companies to others…

      • Having your electricity turned off has no impact on operations?
        How many times have been inside an actual, for profit company Griff?

      • Socialism is all about allocating shortages, Griffie. If you can’t acknowledge that, you are either ignorant or a liar. Which is it?

      • DJ,
        Thanks for that update.
        I knew that the ability had been turned off but never heard that this wasn’t the case with the newer generation meters.

      • Smart meters aren’t about turning off your energy, they’re about rationing it. Subtly different.

      • @Dave Fair
        ECONOMY is all about allocating shortages, Dave.
        Socialism is all about allocating them to average Joe, while powerful people get all the stuff.
        Capitalism is all leaving average Joe trade his share of shortage with other people as they see fit, so shortage are where they hurt less, and even disappear.
        This is what’s make the difference.

      • ….obsolete “baseload” concepts and inflexible old coal power generators to a modern…”

        Incredibly Orwellian, and unsurprisingly ass backwards. Baseload is ever necessary and only Baseload power allows inflexible solar and wind utility. Their inane idea is to replace base load coal or gas or nuclear with far more expensive baseload storage, pumped hydro or VLBs. ( very large batteries)

      • paqyfelyc October 12, 2017 at 1:52 am

        Capitalism is about creating wealth, making more goods and services available to more people.

    • Yes exactly like the “Energy Upgrade California” infomercials show…. the upgrade is using less and not using when you want to or how you want to…. that is an upgrade?? I think not. As someone else stated Energy policy and production used to be about being available for how and what people wanted to do with it at a price they were willing to pay, now it has shifted to people having to only use when energy is available and as little as possible. Like most “progressive” policies slogan etc…. they are exactly the opposite of what their words say.. their “energy upgrade” is actually a downgrade and do without energy policy.

      Cheers!

      Joe

    • The notion of ‘baseload’ being obsolete is the pea under the thimble here. ‘Baseload’ is just the statistical total of the energy demand over the day/week. What on earth is ‘obsolete’ about that notion? Tim Flannery really is a buffon imo and this sort of over the top assertion is pretty typical of his utterances over the years.

      Tim, on any given day millions of your fellow citizens will have all sorts of lights, appliances, heaters, airconditioners, pumps, refrigerators, ovens, stoves , washing machines, televisions etc etc etc switched on and requiring 240 VAC 50 Hz power. That is not a difficult concept for a ‘professor’ to understand so on what bloody basis is it ‘obsolete’?

      Its ‘obsolete’ because ‘obsolete’in Green Blob Theory means irksome reality that must be airbrushed from the discourse so that utter piffle does not have to compete with it.

      Baseload is NOT an ‘obsolete concept’ it is just a statistical reality same as droughts and flooding rains being part of our national climate/weather pattern and ‘endless drought’ is not.

      • PS
        Not only are private households statistically running all these items, there are factories, hospitals, office buildings, street lights, electric trains and trams etc all drawing power 24/7/365 that also constitute (the major part of) ‘baseload. Are all these things ‘obsolete’?

        I hear talk of replacing cars with IC engines with battery powered electric propulsion which will need recharging so I assume all that recharging will become part of the ‘baseload’. Is the ‘baeload’ demand from electric cars also deemed ‘obsolete’. WOW, that didn’t last long then did it?

      • Baseload for the Australia’s National Energy Market never drops below 18,000 mw (except on Christmas Day) and that lowest level occurs around 4 am in the morning.

    • and what’s wrong with that? Or new about it?

      In much of Australia water heaters are set to come on in the middle of the night when demand is low and power available.

      (which needs changing now it would be better to run this when peak solar output is happening!)

      • That sounds great Griff … as long as the folks living in those houses want to get up and shower in the middle of the night and then do their laundry and start the dish washers. Perfect for a family of vampires though ;-)

      • Stewart,
        These types of water heaters are usually oversized and highly insulated. I have a 100 gallon unit and it provides all the hot water my wife and I need on a daily basis, all day. The reason I went this route is because where I live, natural gas is not available and heating water with propane is expensive. It is cheaper to use electricity and take advantage of the lower nighttime costs. The unit itself is only US$900, and with the $300 rebate from the electric company, competitive with equivalent gas units.

      • Griffie, like all socialist endeavors, government control of individual energy distribution leads to rationing. But not by the elite.

      • Griff, what is it about baseload you do not understand? If machines, appliances, computers etc. need a constant power source and will fail or burn out if voltage or current or both vary much, this is called baseload. Neither solar nor wind power can supply a baseload.

      • In Griffs world this will be infinitely adaptable and change every day according to the local weather and season. Meanwhile back in reality world , I have a smart meter on the wall for 5 years and they still havent been able to do remote meter reading on it, such is the talent that will deliver the agile/virtual/fairy dust grid.

        Where 18GW comes from on a still summer night in Oz without coal power over the next decade remains a mystery

      • What it shows is people without a power generation background should not be commenting on power generation because they don’t know how it works. So lets deal with the problem that all the would be internet geniuses don’t know about, BASELOAD MUST HAVE INERTIA. It is the single most important characteristic because the grid has slightly different timings because of the power factor on the grid at any given point. You try and hold the grid at as near to 1 as you can but it is impossible to make it perfect. That is why you can’t provide a simple timebase or synching pulse to the generators or inverters the whole synching is done from the power source itself which requires INERTIA. The whole South Australian power blackout was caused by lack of inertia, the power suppliers had to pull their equipment offline because they lost synchronization and each power station would in effect be fighting each other until destruction. You can read that finding on report into the incident.

        The only way to get around the inertia problem is to break the grid into micro-grids, so now you are talking about re-designing the entire grid. Your power sources and your power use must be closely related and that is not something any power grid in the world has. So please don’t pretend you are just going to throw a few renewables around the place and you will magically get that situation. To do it each microgrid must basically function on it’s own with a backup feed providing stopgap as required. In other words you need to factor in the cost of replacing the whole grid because that is what you are talking about.

      • I should add that in Australia the NBN rollout should give some idea how long restructuring the entire power grid would take. I would argue it would be slower because the infrastructure is larger and requires more specialized trades.

    • David Middleton
      October 11, 2017 at 9:06 am

      The transition requires customers to be flexible in using electricity only when the Sun is shining and/or the winds are blowing at an acceptable speed.
      ———————————
      David, is far much worse than that, at least from my point of view and understanding.

      These guys are not that stupid, even when actually showing very clear signs of insanity.
      But lets not spoil it for them yet, till they put the money and their chips in the pot for their “cake”, at see them eating it…..

      There are many around just waiting for that moment.
      The only problem is the naive and innocent investors falling for such a “scheme”.

      To be fair at this time, lets just point out at their “scheme’s” weakness.
      It requires a full support and insurance from governments in the nations or states that will fall for it.
      Where the governments will have to force an artificial ever increasing energy price artificially, for the population and small-medium businesses, but not for the industry and heavy infrastructure.

      And a very wide and a very very expensive schemes like the smart meter one will allow and give the right to such governments to push the energy price up as required by their “new masters”.

      Case in hand the British…….which at this point seem to be contemplating a surrender in to submission, or a soft pull back that may lead even to a “declaration of war” at some point.

      But whatever the case, all will depend in governments that are subject to change at any time, if the demand be it………especially when time to explain and being hold to account for clearly obvious and immense and insane “book cooking” ………

      And to keep properly fair, the energy storage, which is the back bone of such scheme, it will be bursting the bubble….if this madness keeps persisting towards that point………

      cheers

    • They seem to be implying that we need to transition from baseload producers (by their definition large plants that cannot adapt to load quickly) to dispatchable producers (presumably gas fired or similar.)

      Renewable energy producers need to be paid by how reliable they are. They could (for example) purchase backup services from dispatchable producers.

      This would offload the need for balancing from the grid operators back to the producers and give economic incentive to dispatchable producers making themselves available to backup renewables.

      • In what market or industry does small, dispersed producers make cheaper and better products? This is like saying we should replace large farms with backyard gardens, or that cars manufactured by a local auto shop will be cheaper than those of Toyota. And the only thing stopping this from working is “politics”. It is really that crazy.

        Think of a power plant as a factory that produces electricity. The bigger the factory, the cheaper the unit price. The base load power concept is not about providing power to the BASE LOAD, it is about providing power AT SCALE. Making one giant plant that is working always at maximum efficiency will produce the cheapest possible power. Once you move away from that concept, you will lose the scale cost discount, and costs will rise accordingly. Base load is simply a “volume discount” for manufacturing of power.

        Are they really that dumb?

    • Right. A fully “flexible” and “modern” grid cannot possibly rely on RE and storage technologies without curtailing time of use and regulating overall consumption. Period.

    • I liken this argument to someone growing apples in their garden, and trying to sell them at the grocery store for full price. “Politics! I could make a fortune selling these apples except for Politics!” They simply do not understand how markets work, or the differences between wholesale and retail prices, or what those differences represent. They also have no idea how utterly idiotic they sound.

    • They’re just bonkers. They mix up plate and real capacities, they mix up production cost and value, and price with and without government intervention.

      They also mix up taxes, subsidies, and externalized costs. Basically, they just misunderstand if it is possible in the first place, and always favouring solar/wind.

      • No, they are not bonkers, this obfuscation is quite deliberate. It is called disinformation, or as it used to be known ‘baffle them with bull$hit’. If you have ever met a good baffler, you will know that it impossible to have a rational discussion with them, because their aim is to prevent rational discussion. Get it? Look carefully at griff’s posts for this kind of thing before replying to him. His aim is to misdirect the conversation, not to be proved wrong.

  2. Do those costs include in their calculations the costs of the gas and coal (and in California, hydro – since it is not considered a renewable here) baseload generators? If not – it’s an incomplete analysis of the costs of green power.

  3. Why do not the proponents of electrical storage not describe the time that their equipment will supply before running out?

      • Sandy, the %age figures always seem a bit misleading to me. Absolute power output is better. There have been summer days in france when wind and solar have been supplying 25% of power but the absolute figure was very meagre. I’m sure you have also noted your association and tax charges are rising significantly on your facture as well.

      • Which is you know, meaningless. You could power Europe with gerbils on little wheels, if you had enough gerbils and little wheels. You can make any power source work, even intermittent ones. with enough back-up.

        But what is the cost? What is the reliability? Right now Germany pays, get this, double what we pay in the U.S. There is no reason electricity should cost half here of what it does in Germany. No technical reason anyway. It is just they have made a series of very poor, and very expensive choices on energy, political choices, not scientific choices.

        In fact, when people complain about “politics’ preventing the roll out of renewable energy, what they mean is that politics isn’t FORCING the roll out.

  4. And renewables are so cheap and reliable that major electricity users like aluminum smelters and server farms are locating in jurisdictions heavily into that technology./ sarc

  5. Who knew? I guess that’s why a plot of percent renewables versus electricity costs goes up from left to right. I must have the graph upside down. Silly me!

  6. If “Renewables” are cheaper then there is no longer need for subsidies of any kind, there is no longer any need for any Government to intervene or control energy mixes or type of supply. We can expect an explosion in wind farms and a massive drop in energy prices …….

    The Free Market will choose to build unsubsidised renewable plants rather than coal or gas fired.

    Only one area of government intervention and legislation is needed to achieve this wondrous change to 100% renewables – that is to require all renewable generators to enter into legal agreements to supply power 24/7.

    Australia hasn’t found renewables cheaper – one of the reasons that consumer spending is falling rapidly as energy bills rise astronomically and industry requiring high amounts of energy are leaving the country taking jobs and tax revenues with them.

    Curiously the European wind industry doesn’t share this view that renewables are cheaper than conventional power generation – as Wind Europe argue in their lobbying paper – end of life and out of contract wind turbines need the same level of subsidy as new ones if they are to be replaced and continue generating.

    If electricity from wind is so much cheaper to produce than from a coal or gas plant then the profit margins from wind must be huge – more than enough to replace worn out wind turbines.

    Wind Europe’s subsidy-lobbying paper can be seen here :
    https://windeurope.org/wp-content/uploads/files/policy/position-papers/WindEurope-Repowering-and-Lifetime-Extension.pdf

    • No, No! Mustn’t mention the S word… it’s a “revenue stabilisation mechanism” they claim they need. Which sounds so much more innocent, doesn’t it. \sarc off\

      • Hah! “Revenue Stabilization Mechanisms?” Do you doubt that said mechanisms are powered by energy that is provided from fossil fuels? The real ‘kicker’ in all this is the well known fact that money neither grows on trees nor does money actually, spontaneously and magically erupt from magic holes in the air even if it is money that governments intend to use for the noblest of causes. Regardless of the nobleness of causes, if money is needed for the cause then there must be a source(s) of adequate and reliable energy for use to power the productive processes and systems that are the producers and providers of the money. And that can be governments? Ah, hah, hah, hah. Sarc-a-doodle-doo and Humptey Dumptey rides again. For as long as the sun shines. (After all, the wind is driven by the temperature differentials that are produced by spatial and temporal insolation and albedo differentials — By the energy of sunshine.)

      • Thomas says… ” Hah! “Revenue Stabilization Mechanisms?” Do you doubt that said mechanisms are powered by energy that is provided from fossil fuels? The real ‘kicker’ in all this is the well known fact that money neither grows on trees…”

        Thomas your Orwellian vocabulary is far to limited. “Revenue Stabilization Mechanisms” are supported by “currency debasement electives”

    • German offshore wind is now being built without subsidy, also UK solar farms… yet in the US Trump is planning new subsidies to keep coal plant running

    • I disagree a law requiring generators to operate 24/7 is required. All that is required is repealing laws requiring grid consumers to pay for renewables. If renewable providers can profit from selling into a high demand market period, good luck to them. But conversely they shouldn’t be paid when nobody wants their electricity.

      • Yes the hidden subsidy…
        Imagine Griff has a successful store selling widgets, and along comes Mr Government to help. He says now Griff, for intermittent periods daily you must stop all selling, but continue to produce, or at the least, keep all your production people on hand and such so that at a given moment you can produce again. Oh, and Griff, I will not tell you in advance what these intermittent times will be, nor how long they will last.

        Griff says ” hey Mr Government, my cost to produce will go up and my revenue will go down”
        Mr Government says , Correct you are Mr Griff, and by the way, I will demonize you publicly while you do this. Thanks for allowing me to help.

  7. Can anyone tell me what it would look like if the “world’s largest lithium ion battery” was to have a massive catastrophe? Worst case. Lets put the precautionary principal to work here.

    • I seem to recall numerous cases of lithium ion batteries in phones, tablets and laptops exploding or catching fire.

      • Also at the battery storage shed at Hawaiian Kahuka Wind Farm a few years back.

      • And there are a LOT of battery cells in these battery farms. I’ve forgotten exactly how many batteries are used in a Tesla 10 kWh Powerwall, but I believe that they use similar battery modules as the cars, which have 441 or 444 batteries in each module. You can calculate the number of batteries from the number of modules used in the cars, then assume 10 kWh for the Powerwalls as compared to 76 kWh for the cars. Then ramp this up to the 100 MWh battery being installed in South Australia. That will thousands of batteries.

    • The big Aussy battery will maybe help with smoothing the grid, but is not going to time shift much power. It is 100 Megawatt hours. I don’t know what SA’s daily demand is, but in the UK in winter it is about 1000 Gw-hr per day, so if the wind doesn’t blow for ten days we would need about 10,000 Gw-hrs of storage or about 100,000 x 100 Mw-hr batteries to cover the gap if we were 100% wind powered. That is several orders of magnitude more than global lithium ion battery output.

      I’m a fan of lithium batteries but they are not anywhere near ready to facilitate a 100% wind/solar grid

      • The website aemo.co.au shows the South Australian power demand. Around 1100 MW, peaking up over 1300 MW. And you’re right – often the wind doesn’t blow for days. They claim that the battery will hold up 30,000 homes for an hour. I’m interested to know how they plan to limit the battery’s output to a specified group of homes. If they can do this, I believe that they will confine the battery output to the Jamestown wind farm area, about 10,000 homes, which should hold them up just under 24 hours.

      • On smoothing the grid, that depends, if it is directly coupled to a mechanical power source (say a generator or alternator) then a battery can actually fight against the other source. Batteries generally have very low impedance so they don’t behave exactly like a capacitor when combined with a mechanically spinning power source. Some of it depends on the controller, but I’ve seen a system where an alternator was the primary source and the battery was supposed to help with surge currents, but in the end when a surge hit the two fought where the battery would pick up the full load, then the alternator would spin up because it went from full on to full off and the two just cycled back and forth. It’s a fixable problem, but it takes a lot of management and your controller needs to be faster than the battery reaction, which is pretty fast. I will say, having worked around 20Ah batteries at 55V nominal, you wouldn’t find me anywhere near a Mega Watt or Giga Watt battery station. That is a crap ton of energy just sitting there!

    • Wasn’t Elon Musk recently promising to supply Tesla Powerwalls to S. Australia in such numbers as to make their intermittency issues moot? How’s that going? What is S. Australia’s current “renewable” storage supply if the wind isn’t blowing. Did wind power stores anything during long becalmed periods lasting several weeks over a surprisingly large geographic area this winter? Can stored renewable energy power S. Australia’s grid for 15 minutes, even assuming those 15 minutes are not when the water heaters are scheduled to come on? Effing dreamers…

      • With a summer drain of around 1300 MW, and assuming that you can only pull 80 MW from the battery farm, that gives them 3.7 minutes, if they are lucky.

      • Mickey -I can’t answer all your good queries but Weatherill ( great name ) the Premier of South Australia, who has bragged about his state’s green energy (albeit supported by brown coal fired power from next door state Victoria via a connector line) has ordered 100 repeat 100 diesel generators in an attempt to cover peak demands when the wind ain’t blowin this coming southern hemisphere summer.
        It has been claimed he was offered a coal powered station as back up to his state’s growth of wind and solar power but declined and the station has now been demolished.

      • The purpose of the batteries is to keep the system from crashing long enough to get the diesel generators started.
        So you have to pay for wind/solar, batteries and diesel generators.
        And they are still trying to convince us that renewables are cheap.

    • You mean if you did something silly like place large scale lithium batteries in the remote countryside, in the driest State of one of the most bushfire prone countries on Earth? that kind of thing?

    • …what it would look like if the “world’s largest lithium ion battery” was to have a massive catastrophe?

  8. Then we should see bills coming down then shouldn’t we.

    Simple test are bills going to come down Greenies? Want to make a bet?

  9. The cheap renewable energy future is – like fusion power – always thirty years into the future. Advocates need to answer a simple question – what storage technology? Specifically how is the energy from solar and wind to be stored – realistically and using a technology available here and now and not in some speculative future – to a capacity that can supply an entire grid for days rather than hours, yet remove the need for baseload generation at a vastly inflated cost (given the reduced demand). I have never heard an answer to this that does not rely on hand-waving or magical thinking, and without one renewable energy is nothing more than a huge fraud.

    • Magic.

      It will be stored by magic.

      I mean I can sit down and calculate the maximum volume of energy one might need, and the pile of lithium to hold it, and the discharge rate, and all that malarkey, and if I did that it would become immediately obvious that this scheme would not work. Can not work. Ever.

      But why bother? Magic!

    • By definition you cannot remove the need for base load generation. They are pathetically talking about replacing it with hydro storage and VLBs. ( very large batteries)

  10. Not surprising that all of their “evidence” are someone’s opinions and projections (aka models). I wonder if they truly belief this garbage, or if this is just their attempt at propaganda.

  11. I didn’t see any claim that renewable power was less costly and more reliable already, only that it will be once coal plants die of old age:

    “we do not need new gas or coal plants built. Persisting with existing coal plants beyond their technical design lives will lead to unreliable power”

    So they want to use political power to forbid new coal power plant construction. Eventually, when existing coal plants fail, renewables can be declared more reliable than expired FF plants.

    SR

    • Well in the US no new coal plant is under construction and no new plans for coal have been announced since Trump was elected. But coal plant is shutting down due to cost -as with Monticello plant close announced this week.

      Yes, all coal plant in some countries has been scheduled for close – the UK and France, for example. But then the UK has shut most of its coal plant and hardly uses it for 8 months of the year anyway. Lights still on!

      • Griff, whether coal plants ever reach the end of their useful/reliable life was never the point of discussion. I will not respond to your replies any further unless you actually address my points.

        SR

      • Griff
        France Coal 4.17% Wind 6.17% Nuclear 73.49%.
        UK Coal 7.30% Wind 21.64% Dutch ICT 2.74% Nuclear 20.43% the French ICT is offline currently.

        So far in 2017 the UK has used more electricity supplied by Coal and the French and Dutch inter-connectors for 60% of the time. Coal fired generation has been online 92% of the year.

        Download data here if you don’t believe me:
        UK http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/download.php
        France http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/france/
        view Germany https://www.energy-charts.de/power.htm
        Nordic http://driftsdata.statnett.no/Web/map/snpscustom
        Spain https://demanda.ree.es/demandaGeneracionAreasEng.html

        That way you can see what happens for the 97% of the time renewables (Wind and Solar anything that takes more than a year to replace isn’t really renewable) don’t produce enough to make newsworthy headlines or help line Zac Goldsmiths pockets.

      • Griff, so far so good. Until till we have a long cold hard winter with a week or two of freezing windless weather. When enough people freeze and wheeze their last in their beds you’ll see what happens. Politics in Great Britain is on the move dear boy. The average IQ in Westminster will rise (it couldn’t go any lower!) Things will change. King coal will return. As I said before, not everyone in Great Britain is an idiot..

      • you fail to say why UK coal plant shuts down for most of the year griff.

        Legislation only allows them so many running hours before they must be shut down. so they use them up at times of highest price.

        No new coal is built because legislation won’t allow it to be used at full capacity, so it becomes uneconomic

        Its easy to make apples more expensive than oranges if you put 1000% tax on them…

      • Lee,
        As far as I know Drax is currently uses a mix of coal and wood some boilers have been converted some not. It also has a backup of gas fired capability (unlike most windfarms). The power station was built in close proximity to the Selby coal field so transport costs were minimized. The wood is shipped from America to a specially built facility at Immingham.

  12. It’s 2022 and half past 11 at night. The wind has hardly blown for over 2 weeks now and all the batteries are now empty (they only installed enough capacity for 13 days). Where is the electricity coning from?

    • Well mine will be from a standby diesel generator and hopefully some extra from a small scale water turbine if the water wheel doesn’t get trapped in ice on the stream.

      I can see the day coming where the things to invest in will be petrol / diesel generator manufacturers, firewood producing woodland, wood-burning stove manufacturers, some land and a solid cart and a couple of horses.

      • “I can see the day coming where the things to invest in will be petrol / diesel generator manufacturers, firewood producing woodland, wood-burning stove manufacturers, some land and a solid cart and a couple of horses”

        Except petrol / diesel generator manufacturing (and the fuel to power them) will be banned. And good luck finding any “firewood producing woodland” – by that stage there probably won’t be single tree left standing…

      • Put a coal plant under your pillow and you’ll get a shiny new solar power plant to replace it for less than the cost of a coal plant

      • And Griff that solar farm will be dead and useless after 25 years but the coal plant will still be running after you have replaced the solar three times. It will also be able to deliver 10 times the total output of the solar farm in a nice clean controlled “Dispatch-able” manner. Only a poor idiot would build renewable without subsidies.

      • Less than the cost, and 1% the power generation capacity. When the wind is blowing. 0% the rest of the time.

      • Griff, do you know the difference between Low Mass power production to High Mass power production?

    • “It’s 2022 and half past 11 at night. The wind has hardly blown for over 2 weeks now and all the batteries are now empty ”

      Seems to me that you are entirely too optimistic Musk’s “World’s largest Lithium battery” will store 129 mWH.A few months ago South Austrailia wind turbines managed to peak at 1540MW which was presumably all used. So, if there are users for 1540MW and the wind stops blowing, how long can Musk’s battery keep the users on line? 129MW-hr / 1540MW = .084hr = a smidge over 5 minutes.

      Seems kind of inadequate.

      • Surely less Don – you can’t pull 129 MWh from the batteries. Also the types of lithium batteries used (I’m assuming the Powerwalls use the same battery modules as the Tesla cars) don’t like high current drains – their lifetimes would be greatly reduced.

  13. We were given excellent evidence of this in April, when the CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia report told us that renewables could save households $414 a year by 2050

    .

    Anthony Sharwood cites ‘evidence’ from some distant future. How can that make any sense to even the most simple-minded? That’s like our son telling us his room is tidy because he could later tidy it.

    • Politicians in the UK tried that approach and were swiftly exposed as deliberately misleading.

      UK ex-politician, ex-convict and perjuror Chris Huhne, when a government minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change claimed that renewables would mean lower energy bills for people in the future.

      When his twisted logic was examined in detail it was found to be based on assuming that people would drastically cut electricity consumption because of much higher electricity prices (because of the very high cost of renewables) and would better insulate their homes to help achieve a reduction in electrical usage.

    • No mention that inflation will not only raise prices but $414 in 33 years time will be worth a lot less.

  14. I have a comparison between a brand new Nissan Leaf and an IC engine powered car that I think will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the all electric car has become vastly superior to the comparable IC car.

    The IC car, I think is well represented example of what you can expect. It is a 1969 Fiat 850 Spyder that was never ever used, nor even considered for use, for anymore than one Chicago winter immediately after it was brand new. Thus, it has only minimal rust perforation. And, after 48 years it only has 30,000 miles on that (zillion rpm, ‘pushrod’) 850cc engine, so it should be representative of a new car.

    I only do fair comparisons.

      • Griff, please don’t push that garbage. EV is NOT a poor person’s choice. You need to be a Musk, person with money and willing to spend it on the moral pose / fast car.

        Potentially the EV is cheap, but batteries make it sure you won’t compete at the same market.

      • Try and convince the owner of a Nissan Leaf of that after 5 years of ownership when looking at a value of £1500 or so because it needs £thousands to replace the battery in the next year or so.

      • The MSRP of a Tesla Model S is higher than the total cost of ownership of a Mercedes E-Class.

        2016 Tesla Model S True Cost to Own

        MSRP
        $138,700
        Average Price Paid ?
        $138,700

        There is not enough TCO data available for this model at this time. Please check back soon.

        https://www.edmunds.com/tesla/model-s/2016/cost-to-own/

        2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class True Cost to Own

        MSRP
        $71,175
        Average Price Paid ?
        $61,915

        True Cost To Own*
        $71,189
        *Based on a 5-year estimate with 15,000 miles driven per year.
        Total Cash Price
        $56,537

        https://www.edmunds.com/mercedesbenz/e-class/2016/st-200732940/cost-to-own/

        The Tesla Model S MSRP is nearly twice the total 5-yr cost to own of a MB E-Class.

        Before someone says the Model S is not comparable to the E-Class…

        Here’s the basis for the claim that it is the best-selling luxury sedan in America. During the third quarter, Tesla sold 9,156 units of the Model S sedan, which is indeed more sales than the Mercedes S-Class (4,921), the BMW 7 Series (3,634), the Audi A8 (1,030), the Lexus LS (1,235) and whatever other full-size luxury sedan you want to compare it to. These numbers are indisputable.

        There’s only one problem: The Tesla Model S isn’t a full-size luxury sedan. It’s a midsize luxury sedan, and it doesn’t actually compete with the cars I’ve listed above.

        Instead, the Model S’s closest competitors are cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the BMW 5 Series, the Cadillac CTS, the Audi A6, the Lexus GS and the Hyundai Genesis.

        http://www.autotrader.com/car-news/the-tesla-model-s-is-absolutely-not-the-best-selling-luxury-sedan-in-america-258097

        In 2016, Tesla sold “76,230+ vehicles (Model X + Model S) delivered”.
        https://cleantechnica.com/2017/01/03/teslas-2016-deliveries-production/

        In 2016 Mercedes-Benz USA sold 380,752 vehicles in the US. MB USA sold more C-Class (86,080) vehicles than Tesla’s combined sales.
        http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mercedes-benz-usa-reports-best-year-ever-with-2016-sales-of-380752-units-300385664.html

      • Griff, in the UK all electric Cars (EVs) depreciate by between 75% and 80% after 3 years, the worst performance of any cars.

      • David:
        If you are lucky to own a Tesla and live in Puerto Rico, you will have just found out that it now runs on diesel – the only generators working on the island after Hurricane Maria.
        (If you live in Los Angeles, you are probably oblivious to the fact that it is getting charged overnight from a coal burning facility in Utah).
        This is part of the zero emission/green energy canard.

      • Sorry Griff, that comparison doesn’t cut it. First; they admit up front that the Leaf’s advantage disappears if the $7,500 tax credit disappears. Second; the vehicle used for comparison uses a 2.4 liter 4 cyl. gas engine (among others). I can almost guarantee you that a vehicle the size of the Leaf will not come with a 2.4 liter engine – more like a 1.6 liter (33% smaller). Finally; they extrapolate it out to 120,000 miles (the break even point for a Leaf w/o the tax credit), but I rather doubt that cost includes a battery replacement on the Leaf.

      • That’s also ignoring the gas taxes that IC cars have to pay to provide the roads you are using for free.

      • Mark, bingo. As are the many comments above refuting the Griff. Yet the Griff will make that same comment and link many more times, and ignore these comments endlessly.

  15. Oh, its just silly, goats.

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/electricity_data/electric_generation_capacity.html

    A worthy diagram. Tells it all: a LOT of power is required, and presently near-none of it is stored solar energy. Plenty of make-it-and-use-it-immediately solar. No storage.

    This article’s referenced position is a marketing piece for the renewable / storage market. Ask a butcher what to have for dinner and inevitably it won’t be Quiche Lorraine.

    GoatGuy

    • @GoatGuy
      Ohh, I don’t know. A good Quiche Lorraine has a fair bit of bacon in it. Now that you mention it, I’m going to call my wife and see if she’s already planned dinner…

  16. Germany has gone greenish, sorta-kinda. They’ve spent heavily on PV and windmills — and on tax-supported schemes to prop these up financially — but they closed down all their nuclear power plants. After years of this, electric power prices have now DOUBLED, and utility related carbon emissions have gone UP because 1) renewables simply cannot carry the freight, so 2) coal-fired and gas-fired generation have to make up the shortfall. The only people benefitting from this are the few who get big government subsidies for putting solar panels on the roof of the barn.

    I’m starting to wonder how long it’ll take American taxpayers and voters to see through the “renewables” scam. It’s just a way to let people compete for utility market using technology that never could (and likely never will) succeed on its own.

    • They still have 8 nukes left – close date is 2022.

      However 4 were offline together earlier this year for various reasons with no effect on German power, so I think they’ll probably do fine without them.

      German power production increased last year as did German power exports… power to spare.

      Renewables made up the slack after half the nukes shut down overnight in 2011, by the way

      • Griff, you didn’t respond to his comment “… electric power prices have now DOUBLED ….”

        You did say power to spare.

        Spare power, just laying around for want of a use. And the cost of that spare power has doubled. German society has me very confused.

      • I was keen that we should all be clear about how many nukes Germany actually has: that was my reason to post.

        But note while German power prices are high, German power bills are lower than in the US as Germans use more efficient appliances. There was a tiny increase between 2016 and 2017.

        Also very many have solar panels and/or a share in community renewable power…

      • German residential consumers subsidise big energy users like steel plants. Last count there were over 800,000 germans without power through their inability to pay their bills. Germany is still building many lignite powered stations and bringing back on line mothballed stations.

      • Griff,

        German installed power is about 120% of peak demand in “conventional” plus 10% nuclear plus 110% wind and solar. Thus they don’t need nuclear, but still use it as base load, because that is the cheapest power…

        Thus they can have 100% nameplate “renewable” at ideal wind and solar, but they never do that, as that is uncontralable: they prefer to pay (!) part of the windfarms to not deliver power… They dump what they don’t need of wind and solar on their neighbours,,,

        If there is little wind and solar, like in the first weeks of January this year (as much of Europe did encounter), then all (brown)coal plants are full steam.

        Thus despite 110% nameplate wind and solar power you need over 100% conventional power for when there is no/little wind and sun… Net result: doubling of the costs for German households and zero change in CO2 emissions…

      • Griff,

        I’ll give you 10 to 1 that you that less than 10% of German population with a similar situation to me (1,100 sf single family house; no gas; electric only; 2 people) has a “bill” lower than mine AND NO ONE in Germany has a rate less than mine.

        I haven’t looked at German rates or average bills … I’ll bet blind.

        Are you willing to admit that you are completely full of shit or are you willing to bet.

      • Stephen that 800,000 is a completely bogus figure (I note this bogus figure has been increasing lately – when Lomborg invented it I think it was only 300,000).

        show me an official German source for it… and while you are at it tell me what percentage of Grman households it would represent if true – and then look at percentage of good old fossil fuelled US households cut off (official figures actually available). Marvel at more in US being cut off!

      • Mark

        I see that many poor people in the UK are being provided with solar panels thorough social housing and housing associations…

      • But note while German power prices are high, German power bills are lower than in the US as Germans use more efficient appliances.

        Yes, we need the biggest German air conditioning manufacturer Golfstrom GmbH to start selling in the US.

        Also, environmentally sensitive citizens from Munich to Hamburg must educate ugly Americans in Miami and Houston about the proper use of air conditioning. Just because it gets a little warmer outside is no reason to turn it on and destroy the planet. As a matter of fact, this whole climate and energy issue is so simple that even Ms Griff could explain it to them from London.

        http://www.vividmaps.com/2016/07/usa-compared-to-europe-at-same-latitudes.html

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_latitude

      • It was a hot and humid early evening in the island of Lido offshore of Venice, Italy. There was no central air conditioning in the restaurant. There was one of those little wall units with a small through-the-wall tube for heat exhaust. I asked the waiter to turn it on because of our very real discomfort; and I’m from Las Vegas!

        A nearby couple apparently complained, because I overheard the waiter say something, ending with “American.”

        Apparently much of the rest of the world doesn’t value their comfort as much as Americans.

      • From the World Association of Nuclear Operators: “Germany has some of the lowest wholesale electricity prices in Europe and some of the highest retail prices, due to its energy policies. Taxes and surcharges account for more than half the domestic electricity price.”

        This is what the Green Gadget economy is all about — taxes and surcharges that punish certain producers so inferior ones can survive. If the production tax credit and similar stipends and forced-purchase agreements suddenly stopped in the United States, virtually all windmills and solar panels would be abandoned in the next five minutes.

        http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-g-n/germany.aspx

  17. Even if we assume this is accurate, storage is not factored into the cost of new power generation.
    LCOE_Aus

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-11/gas-not-coal-the-fix-to-australias-soaring-electricity-prices/8890818

    Let’s assume that they can purchase battery backup for $140/kWh and the Li-ion cells last 10 years.   Over ten years, $140/kWh works out to about $38.50 (US) per MWh of generation.

    Over the twenty year lifespan of the wind and solar power plants, the batteries would have to be replaced once.  That brings the storage cost up to $77 (US) per MWh of generation.  Convert to AUD and it’s $99/MWh.  Tack that on to the LCOE:

    Energy supply Cost of energy w/Storage  (AUD/MWh)
    Solar $177 $239
    Wind $160 $217
    Ultra supercritical coal (so-called “clean coal”) $134 $203

     

    graph3a-implied-cost-of-new-generation-data

    Even with Australia’s high natural gas prices, combined cycle natural gas is much cheaper than wind & solar, if you factor in the storage costs.

    LCOEAUSWBAT

     

     

    • David,
      I’m not sure if you have factored in the back-up storage period required for when the wind doesn’t blow enough ?

      Can’t remember who it was but there was a post in recent comments that said the backup requirements for wind in the UK would need to be around 55 days to achieve constant supply. No calculations were supplied but it was based upon records of succeeding days where the wind generation was very low and thus not available for recharging batteries that were already down and been used for topping up the lower than required supply to ‘keep the lights on’.

      I don’t know if you have factored anything like that into your calculations, but it is a major cost element when comparisons are made.

      Another imponderable I have seen raised is the actual life of the batteries. Lithium Ion batteries in cars have been subject to a great deal of research and testing based on partial to full discharge, rate of recharge and ambient temperatures etc. Where there seems little knowledge is how these will perform as renewable backup where a battery may have to be recharged over several days, or wait at full discharge for days before surplus energy is available for recharge, or remain fully charged for days until needed. This may (or may not) significantly reduce both lifespan and charge capacity.

      Another aspect to consider is the huge energy requirement to make the battery storage as well as the resultant CO2 emissions – currently with around 50% renewables CO2 emissions during battery manufacture are between 150kg and 200kg per 1KWh of storage 0 15 to 20 tonnes CO2e for a Tesla car battery..

      • PS
        Based on a 55 day back up storage being required for wind then every 1MW of average generation will require 1,320 MWH of backup battery storage. At $99 per 1KWH storage that would cost $130.68 Million – and these may be the figures you have used.

      • I just backed up each MW of solar & wind with 1 MWh worth of batteries. Since wind & solar only have about 1/3 the capacity factor of coal & gas, you would have to deploy 2-3 MW of solar & wind to offset 1 MW of coal & gas. But the LCOE is in MWh, so the capacity factor differential is supposedly already factored in.

    • David

      In general, you seem to be correct that low capacity generation needs to be paired with storage (“buffering”) and the cost of the storage needs to be included in the sticker price of the technology. There are a few applications where there are built in buffers — e.g. pumping water to reservoirs and for those, backup electrical storage might not be required and the cost of electricity might be close to the LCOE value.

      • Not just the batteries for buffering, but you have to pay for the cost of whatever form of alternative power comes on line after the buffering is used up.
        Usually gas turbine or diesel.

    • David, the figure of $134/MWh for a ultra super critical coal plant seems high. What is the calculated lifetime of the plant? I thought the Chinese were building HELE for reasonable prices.

      • Just checked – the Mineral Council, in their February report, estimated a ultra super- critical plant LCOE at $67-91/MWh, without CCS. Have you included CCS in your figure?

      • I think the US DOE amortizes the cost over 20 years. I don’t know if Australia does the same. Amortizing the cost of a coal plant over 20 years, rather than 30, would elevate the LCOE.

      • The chart is mendacious B.S. Where is conventional coal? Combined cycle gas-fired turbines? Hydro? Modern nuclear? Wood?

    • You are vastly underestimating the cost of storage. 1) you cannot use the entire battery. 2) the battery will decline with usage, so, you have to oversize again. 3) You have to account for diurnal nature of sunshine due to the tilt of our axis. Again, more storage. 4) This means you have to install more name plate rated to charge the batteries… … …

  18. This is wonderful news! We can drop the government mandates and subsidies to allow private investment to take the reins.

  19. “…obsolete “baseload” concepts…” That statement proves the people planning this renewable future don’t have a clue what is required to provide reliable energy. What do they call the batteries they are hyping?

    • Indeed Markl. The term baseload has come to be a swear word for alarmists. It appears to have become a synonym for anything associated with fossil fuels. As such it must be eliminated from the language.

  20. This is progress in that Greens normally don’t use a price term at all. With the speed of a Vatican inquiry, they might just tell the truth on price at some point.

  21. Once again, when reading the reports about Unicorns and Fairy dust please take note of the density of the following modifiers: could, may, perhaps, projected, if, proposed, forecast, expected and model. When you see a high enough density of these words associated with government funding you must run. Don’t wait, don’t linger, don’t stick around to see what their real point is…just grab your wallet and run.

    • “Please take note of the density of the following modifiers:”

      Just copy/paste the text into a word processing application, select one of those words, and use “Find” or “Find All” Can be very revealing…

    • The why is India going to Treble its CO2 emissions between now and 2030 – as its INDC shows (Paris Climate Agreement) . If wind energy is so cheap then they have no need to build all of their planned coal fired power stations and the free market will build wind farms instead and without any need for subsidy.

      The Truth is wind is way more expensive than coal or gas, as well as being wholly unreliable and those are the precise reasons why India is going to Treble its CO2 emissions.

      India needs coal and gas to keep its economy growing and to lift people out of poverty – not as Australia is finding where the economy is contracting with consumer spending falling because of energy-cost poverty and major industrials closing down with manufacturing and jobs being exported because of the unaffordable price of ‘renewable’ energy.

      • I am not sure it is any more.

        It has increased its plans beyond what it committed to at Paris.

        It plans 175 GW of wind and solar capacity by 2022, aimed at providing electricity to those off grid… solar is cheaper than cola and new coal plant has been put on hold. Wind bids in recent auction at record low…

      • Griff says…. “It plans 175 GW of wind and solar capacity by 2022, aimed at providing electricity to those off grid.”

        Key words for Griff to contemplate.
        OFF GRID.

        BTW Griff, those millions of off grid poor in India will have a better life with intermittent solar or wind, but a far better life with a grid and steady base load power at the least cost.

    • I’m sure it is, and that is good for India. I’m waiting for my energy seller to do the transition so they can do more pro fit $$$. Fat chance.

    • Yes, compared to the diesel generator power prices that industry was having to deal with there. Those same diesel price comparisons were the basis of a lot of solar producer business plans for selling solar panels into that market. That still leaves major grid issues and state run power companies in the mix of issues. Solar turned out to the the end around for that case. Not so for modern countries.

    • Griff, that really is highly biased. All big energy projects have both CAPEX and OPEX (capital expense and operational expense).

      A natural gas plant running 24 hours a day is currently extremely cheap per KWh in total (CAPEX + OPEX).

      Solar is also very cheap per KWh (CAPEX + OPEX). In fact, close to the equator, it is said to be cheaper than power from a natural gas plant.

      So in isolation one can state that a KWh from a solar plant costs less than a KWh from a natural gas plant.

      But the reality is that a solar plant can’t be depended on 24hrs a day so you have to also have the natural gas plant available as “emergency reserve”.

      So now the cost of solar is:

      OPEX (solar) + CAPEX (solar) + CAPEX (natural gas)

      And when you do the accounting that way, solar is no longer cheaper than solar from the hard numbers I’ve seen to date.

      • Almost all of the cost of solar is CAPEX. About 75% of the cost of a CC natural gas plant is OPEX (mostly fuel).

        Most of the OPEX only gets spent as it’s needed to generate electricity… And the OPEX can be written off in the same year it is spent. CAPEX generally has to be recovered through depreciation of the asset.

      • “About 75% of the cost of a CC natural gas plant is OPEX (mostly fuel).”

        That’s obviously based on some duty cycle. If I assume that’s for a 100% duty cycle, it will change drastically if the natural gas plant only has to run a few hours a day. Or even worse, a few hours a week.

    • From your link
      quote Levels of climate finance support are an open sore between rich and poor countries, with progress towards a 2009 pledge to deliver $100 billion a year by 2020 still uncertain. unquote

      Hehe ohhhh yeah. If you give us dat money we will agree with you.

    • Once again, Griff demonstrates that if a politician says something. It must be true, even if it’s physically impossible.

  22. If they were cheaper it would be shown somewhere. Wrote this back in 2014 on Dr. Curry’s site.

    Myth 1 – Utilities are too conservative and unwilling to investigate and utilize new and promising technologies. In the US alone there are hundreds of utilities operating on very different business models including Investor Owned Utilities, Cooperatives, Municipals, Energy Marketers, State and Federal entities. No group of related utilities provides even 5% of the US market. Furthermore, FERC Order 1000 allows non-utility power suppliers to compete as well. Additionally the development of alternative resources is not just limited to the US. The idea that the collective reluctance of a diverse mix of utility engineers, or worse a conspiracy among them, is slowing down the implementation of alternative technology does not make sense. Those who argue that we must trust climate scientists on climate issues should also consider trusting the experts when it comes to power supply.

  23. Does the culture in Australia allow for outright lies without responsibility? Won’t these people be reminded of their lies in the future? They are lies, right? … they can’t be that stupid?

    I mean, I had seen this in some relocated middle eastern (Iran) people I had known … If they couldn’t be proven to be lying right there and then (at the time of the lie), then it was O.K. to lie. They considered it to be very rude, or uncouth, to bring it up latter and call them on it at another time.

    • I think you have absolutely identified the way that Australian politicians operate. they lie whoever their mouth is moving, they have no idea what they are talking about and they would never take advice from someone (like an engineer) that might actually know what they are doing if it interferes with their current narrative. I am being entirely non-partisan here and referring to all Australian politicians regardless of political affiliation.

      We have strong laws administered by the Australian competition and consumer Commission that prevents misleading and deceptive practices in business with heavy fines and jail terms although I don’t recall it ever being used in relation to solar and wing generators which would be a very good place to start requiring proof in advertising it seems to me.

      As for responsibility for politicians, it has become clear to many Australians that the aim of most politicians in this country is to be around long enough to collect their parliamentary pension , which is much more generous than the pension bestowed upon the presents. They also have access to that pension after the three elections of the equivalent thereof in our Senate while the mugs that pay for it have to wait until at least 67 years of age.

      If there was any genuine sincerity about preventing political lying, all they would need to do would be to pass legislation applying deceptive and misleading conduct rules to them. The flying pigs are fuelling as i write this.

    • I sometimes wanted to give full independence to Democrat places so they’d really have to ratition electricity to keep hospitals running through winter.

      • To a liberal, having a few old people die because the hospitals can’t keep the power on is a good thing.
        How else are they going to keep health care affordable?

  24. Wow, that’s amazing. If you have government favoring one type of energy through a smorgasbord of tax incentives, rebates, and mandates, and punish the other forms (especially coal) to varying degrees, that form of energy suddenly, almost like magic becomes the cheapest.
    Wonders will never cease.

      • Bob, you’re months behind the times. The latest from the Trump Energy department is they want to pay power plants that have a 90-day supply of fuel on hand a premium fee. The only plants that have that are nuclear and coal.

      • Paying a bit extra for guaranteed continuity of supply. Sensible

        Wind and solar NEED NOT APPLY. They need to be dumped, as the intermittent, unreliable farce that they are.

      • Greg

        Site it, and are they doing or is it something they have considered? That vs trillions is subsidies for green energy and regulations designed to destroy the coal industry.

      • Paying a premium for security of supply.. wow.

        Pretty good idea, actually

        This should be extended to all electricity sources that can guarantee to provide 24/7, 90 days in advance.

        Wouldn’t you agree, griff. ! :-)

      • Gruniad.. roflmao.

        No wonder your yapping is so opposite to reality.

        Paying a premium for security of supply.. wow.

        Pretty good idea, actually

        This should be extended to all electricity sources that can guarantee to provide 24/7, 90 days in advance.

        Wouldn’t you agree, griff. ! :-)

      • As presented it is a daft idea Andy.

        It does not increase grid security, nor was there any threat to grid security in the first place.

        Its a ridiculous excuse for subsidy to pay out on political promises (which can’t be delivered)

      • Griff

        I agree, there should be no subsidising of the coal industry, so I would be against this proposal for the same reason i am against the trillions already wasted on renewables.
        I have no issue with renewables if they can they can stand on their own and I have no issue with fossil fuels because they work and are effective. There is no C in AGW so let the best solution prevail, or the best mix of solutions, in the open market.

      • Bob boder on October 11, 2017 at 11:12 am
        Griff
        You keep spewing this crap, prey tell what money is Trump planning to send to the coal industry?”
        ——‘
        Bob is 100 percent correct in that net funds are what matter. As long as the tax break is less then what coal pays, it is a reduction in how much is taken.

        Tesla is a rich man’s joke at the middle class man’s expense. A large subsidy to the rich man to start, who then drives for free on a road the middle class man pays for with gasoline tax, and then the rich man refuel his Tesla for free at a charging station paid for by the middle class shill again.

        Obama’s words do apply to the EV owner; ” you didn’t build that!”

  25. I’m surprised that Finkel didn’t buttress its claim with any numbers. It could have easily done so. All it needed to do was claim that coal kills millions and that each life is worth millions. Coal therefore costs trillions more that reported, and renewables are clearly more cost effective. That the greenies have gotten too lazy to even make such an easy argument shows that they are slipping. More good news!

  26. Griff needs a few lessons in economics.
    This is the kind of rubbish he is referencing to support his dreams :
    “”Over the same period, coal-fired power stations have seen their costs rocket from nearly $98 mWh to $115 and gas from $100 to $114, after the EU agreed new rules that will greatly increase the amount they must pay for their carbon emissions. Offshore wind costs $175 mWh, according to the research, by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.”” (The Independent)

    If you artificially force up the price of coal and gas then subsidise wind and solar it is not a level playing field. Remove the carbon taxes and the subsidies on so called renewables then do the sums properly. There is no need for carbon taxes as there is no such thing as CAGW caused by carbon emissions. What we do need to do is stop pouring millions of tons of polluting concrete into the Countryside.

    • Such subsidy shifts are the basis of Catalonian independence moves today. Theirs is about total tax subsidy of the rest of Spain though, not just energy.

  27. “The countries with the most renewables (Germany, Denmark) have the most expensive electricity” – I live in Denmark. The listed price (30.42 cents/kWh) (August 2017) is about right, but that price includes tax (appr. 16 cents/kWh) and ‘green energy subsidy’ (appr. 3 cents/kWh), so prices are not directly comparable!

    • It’s still part of the price. I pay about 11¢/kWh in Dallas, including all taxes and fees. Gasoline costs about $8/gal in Norway because they have about $6/gal worth of taxes included.

      It still costs $8/gal. The fact that 3/4 of the price is composed of taxes doesn’t make it cheaper.

      This isn’t a random pattern:

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

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/08/03/obama-may-finally-succeed/

      • IIRC about 8¢/kWh goes to Reliant, 2¢/kWh goes to Oncor and about 1¢/kWh goes to taxes. Of course it varies a little because some of the charges are fixed.

      • OMG look at Australia on that graph! Assuming the slope holds for all countries, when Australia has the same watts/capita as Germany, it will have the most expensive electricity in the world. Well, the Australian greens wanted Australia to set an example for the world. I guess it will. No wonder you guys in Oz are upset,

      • Part of Australia already has the most expensive electricity in the world…

        Although the causes of Australia’s high electricity prices are a bit more complicated than Germany’s or Denmark’s.

      • “David Middleton

        Although the causes of Australia’s high electricity prices are a bit more complicated than Germany’s or Denmark’s.”

        There is nothing complicated about it at all. Politicians privatised publically owned assets. The private companies didn’t invest in maintaining those assets. Politicians then set renewable energy targets (RETs). Private owners of power generating assets can’t sell their power to consumers because of RETs. Private owners of power generating assets CLOSE DOWN because it is uneconomical to keep operating. This is why the Australian Govn’t is trying to force AGL to keep it’s ageing Liddell plant operating.

        Simply put; Power prices increase when supply is short.

      • I meant it’s more complicated than the per capita W of solar & wind, as depicted by Willis’ graph.

  28. Elon Musk’s PowerWall had flopped soon after it was launched and field tested in Australia, a sunny land if ever there was one.. It says it all about storage of energy. Musk produced a 10kW unit specifically designed to store solar/wind energy and a 6.4kW unit designed more to shift the load of available (green intermittent)power, such as from a solar panel, to times when the production of such energy is lower. The 10kW PowerWall has been discontinued while the 6.4 kW one, which is just a glorified uninterruptible power supply has been kept in production.

    One day this scammer will meet his nemesis: the Truth.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tesla-powerwall-flop-why-cant-geniuses-figure-out-dumbos-santhanam
    https://gizmodo.com/tesla-is-discontinuing-its-10-kilowatt-powerwall-1767250649

  29. Renewable energy (particularly solar) which might be competitive in Australia would not be competitive elsewhere.

    Australia has a land area of about 7.40 million km2 with a population of 24.68 million, or an average population density of 3.3 people per km2. Most of Australia’s land area is between 15 and 35 degrees south latitude, and central and northern Australia is mostly desert, so there is a lot of sunshine per person in Australia.

    The United States has a land area of about 9.37 million km2, most of which is between 30 and 48 degrees north latitude (lower average sun angle than in Australia), and most of the United States (except for the southwest deserts) has a much cloudier climate than Australia. The US population is about 325.4 million, with an average population density of 34.7 people per km2. With over 10 times the population density and less sunshine, solar power is much more expensive in the United States than in Australia.

    The situation for solar power is even worse in Europe. The European Union has a land area of 4.46 million km2, most of which is between 35 and 55 degrees north latitude (lower sun angle than either the USA or Australia), with a cloudy climate across most of Europe except the extreme south, and the average population density is about 114 people per km2. Europe receives less sunshine than the United States and has more than triple the population density, so why are the Europeans even bothering with solar power?

    • Has someone estimated how much land or water space will be needed for example, for Germany to reach their solar and wind renewable goals?

    • Is it possible that the aborigines would object to having most of the interior paved with solar cells?
      How big of a footprint will be needed for enough batteries to last a couple of cloudy days?

      • There are plenty of roofs and car parks in Australia I believe. solar canopies over said car parks would also provide shade.

        and plenty of room to tuck in some batteries in 3 or 4 standard containers.

      • None of that changes the grid and distribution costs in Australia which is the single largest cost for power. Second is always the utility profit margin to keep the repair and replace the dam thing. We are 32 time the size of the UK something good old Griff fails to grasp.

      • Reply to Griff:

        And yet, in spite of what you think, Elon Musk’s PowerWall project failed dismally when prototyped and tested under the Aussie sun.

      • The original post calculates that most of Australia would have to be covered. And Griffie comes back with roofs and car ports.
        Is Griff actually as dumb as his posts make him sound?

      • “Griff October 12, 2017 at 1:33 am

        There are plenty of roofs and car parks in Australia I believe.”

        What you believe and what is actual fact Griff are two distinct realities. One exists in your mind and the other exists in actual reality.

  30. and I’m Honest John Conner, here to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. Call within the next 10 minutes and I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free! (Just pay separate processing…)

  31. Kelowna BC Canada – Fortis our energy provider is planning to install a 240kWh solar farm and have customers rent virtual power at more than $0.24/kWh to support solar, which is 2.5x our current rate. Fortis says that if there are not enough people subscribing, they will pass the cost on to all customers. We have smart meters, which according to mailed literature was mandated by the UN. Sounds like a good way to make $$ even if no one wants solar.

    https://okanaganedge.net/2017/10/03/solar-station-soon/

    • I agree fully that if people want green power, they should voluntarily sign up for it and pay the costs. Technically, a lot of people and a lot companies want to virtue signal their greenness and are willing to pay for it. The earlier green projects were financed this way and they were oversubscribed in many cases.

      This is the solution but “somebody” is stopping this from happening now.

      • Technically, a lot of people and a lot companies want to virtue signal their greenness and are willing to pay for it.
        They want to virtue signal, and then get someone else to pay for it, and someone else to take on the risk of failure. If the government was not involved, 99% of it would evaporate over night.

      • They’re literally banking on virtue signalling…

        That monthly fee will be “substantially higher…than the participating customer’s regular retail rate,” according to the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, but the fee will remain constant, while regular electricity rates “continue to rise.”

        Despite the price, Fortis believes many will sign up simply because it allows them to support the use of more sustainable energy.

        The project will cost Fortis just under $1 million, but the utility says it will recover those costs if the pilot program fills up. If the program doesn’t reach full subscription the remaining cost would fall to Fortis ratepayers.

  32. I think the biggest effort is to replace “base power” with “emergency reserve” in the people’s thinking.

    Thus I suspect in Australia, the big political issue is:

    – getting the utilities and population to drop the concept of base power and replace it with emergency reserve

    – a willingness to provide enough natural gas to the power plants. They will be using their emergency reserve a lot, so they need a lot of natural gas.

    – getting the utilities to build enough additional natural gas power plants to act as the emergency reserve for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

    – getting the people to pay the amortization cost on the natural gas plants, even though they are only meant for emergencies

    Of course, that’s a $1B/GW of capacity to act as the emergency reserve, but emergencies happen even in Australia. It’s a shame the people will have to pay the amortization cost for them, but its just the way it is in the new renewable energy era.

    • Here’s my fave equivalence… Thinking about ‘baseload power’ is like thinking of ‘baseload air’. I do not want to do without either.

  33. About the only instance in which I can imagine renewable solar/wind as “reliable” is the case where you have a desert handy and lots of batteries and can depend upon bright sunshine every day. But don’t deserts experience sandstorms and are there never any significant clouds? EXpecting batteries to have the capcity to hold days or even week’s worth of power is not in the cards. As I recall, the batteries that Australia is getting only have the capacity to provide power for a short period of time. And how are the batteries recharged at the same time the renewables provide
    power ? If fossil fuel is used, then what’s the point of having batteries in the first place?

    • The US’s desert southwest has a monsoon season every year with significant cloud cover for weeks at a time.

  34. Destroy Western Civilization by destroying central power production. The people will go along with it if you give them a good story.

  35. Hey guys, stop bitchin’
    If only a tenth of this claims were true, it would be justified to cut down all subsidies, regulations, grants etc. of the CAGW pork barreling to zero right now!.
    Moreover, there can be put an additional tax on renewables to pay back all the money already spend. Since renewable are so great they even beat perpetual motion every greeny is making so much money hand over fist that they can fix the federal budget and the health system and all retirement payments and still be filthy rich rich rich $$$$$ …
    Isn’t that great news? And “World Peace” too.

  36. My electricity bill went up by more than a third due to the cost of renewables. It is still going up. The sooner we get free energy, the better.

    • Well then. according to the article, you are being cheated by your power provider. Your electricity bill should be going down and not up. You should file letters of protest.

  37. Follow the money. Stock will spin anything. If electricity was tendered on the basis of supplying it,say, at 100 MW, 24 hrs a day,365 days a year for 10 years then renewables and storage would not even bid. Stock knows this – he is an engineer, a very smart one.

  38. So its cloudy and the wind isn’t blowing enough and the system keeps sending power to hospitals but turns your power off. Who pays for the spoiled food and helps you clean your dirty laundry for work the next day? Wait we wont work because there will be no power for unimportant things like making a living!

      • What Griff does not get is that for all to charge their cars at work requires doubling the base load.
        Cars on fossil fuels use a total energy equivalent almost as high as total non transport present installed energy capacity

      • Griff October 12, 2017 at 1:25 am
        charge the car at work.

        How? Run an extension cord from your office to the parking garage?

        Most parking garages have few, if any, EV charging stations. The parking garage for my office has over 3,000 parking spaces and 1 EV charging station in the visitor section.

      • Bryan October 12, 2017 at 2:26 am

        It’s not quite that bad. If every passenger vehicle in the US was a PEV, it would “only” increase electricity consumption by 27%. Of course, we’d need to double our baseload capacity if we met the 27% demand increase with wind, solar and batteries.

      • Well I don’t see why employers in the UK won’t install charging stations for employees driving EVs.
        after all company fleets are increasingly going electric in the UK.

        and the UK govt, I find, is already promoting EV charge points at work:
        https://www.chargepointservices.co.uk/businesses/workplace-charging-scheme/

        Lots of UK employees commute by rail, parking at stations a few miles from home. I have no doubt charging options will appear there too. And then I seem to spend an hour parked at the supermarket some Saturdays…

        And there is a high probability of some sort of smart charging arrangement to mange the overnight demand.

      • Griffie, just last week you were telling us how we didn’t need to worry about increasing the capacity of the electric grid because the cars would be charged over night.
        Can’t you keep your story straight?

      • Like most leftists, Griffie has no trouble demanding that other people pay billions just to make his utopia a reality.

      • “Well I don’t see why employers in the UK won’t install charging stations for employees driving EVs.”

        There’s this little thing called money. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

  39. Soooo, baseload is an outdated concept? Rolling blackouts are the new thing? No thanks.
    And please don’t look behind the curtain to see the correlation between amount of wind/solar and the price of electricity in that locality. Oh, and don’t look too closely at how Europe depends on France’s nuke power to provide baseload for all their wind.
    Unicorn farts are more reliable than wind.

  40. If renewables are the cheapest form of power than renewables will grow to dominate the market place without any need for subsidies. If such is the case then all current subsidies should be pulled. We have fossil fueled power plants in the area but I have yet to see the local power company installing wind mills and solar panels on their property so that they can turn off their fossil fuel powered generators.

    I would love to have an all electric car, a solar power system to charge it and a combination of a wind mill and solar power system with batteries that would allow me to live off the power grid if need be but I cannot afford to pay for any of it so to me it all has to be free and I must own all that is installed on my property.

  41. In Australia we will soon be receiving text messages to warn us of peak load BLACK OUTS!
    In Australia…one of the worlds most energy rich countries!!!
    I don’t often swear on posts but this time I will make an exception.
    Green f˚cking scum.

  42. So tell me. When did RATIONING of ele tricity supply become acceptable?
    Give me boring BASELOAD electricity EVERY day please.
    As for the Climate Council. This organisation led by Professor Tim Flannery was de funded by the federal government about 4 years ago. Best move ANY Government has ever made.
    My observation? If a coal generator is reaching the end of 50 years faithful service then we replace with a state of the art coal generator.
    Just like Japan China Europe India are doing…..using good old quality Australian Coal.
    Ask Adani to build a coal plant in the Galilee Basin and plug it into the Grid.
    Call me old fashioned but I have come to like 24/7/365 reliable Baseload electricity……especially at night, on cloudy days and when there is no wind.

    • You and about half the East Coast population are going to be beating up politicians over summer. I suspect every political party will be running scared by Jan/Feb.

  43. One of the consequences of these cheap renewables has been the closing down of the industries that use the most electricity due to rising costs and unreliability such as smelting , car industry, businesses requiring refrigeration etc. As these close down the supply and demand equation changes and competition forces prices down. So yes renewables help reduce power prices lower by destroying the economy. The good news is power is cheaper the bad news is unemployment is up and the economy is in the toilet.

  44. Well with the repeal of the Progressive EPA CPP, energy from coal just got 33 billion dollars cheaper for Americans between now an 2030. Just imagine how cheap it would get if they got rid of the CO2 endangerment finding and other onerous regulations since 2000. Electricity from coal would be back to 6cents a kwhr.

  45. Well with the repeal of the Progressive EPA CPP, energy from coal just got 33 billion dollars cheaper for Americans between now an 2030. Just imagine how cheap it would get if they got rid of the CO2 endangerment finding and other onerous regulations since 2000. Electricity from coal would be back to 6cents a kwhr.

  46. Hey
    Renewables ar cheaper –
    A) fossil fuels get all those subsidies – like tax deductions for out pocket cash expenses and operating costs – as if they are the only industry that gets a tax deduction/ subsidy for operating costs
    B) All those Social costs
    C) Renewables dont actually get subsidies – those are dividends for providing clean energy

    So as you can see – renewables are cheaper – at least that is what they say at skeptical science

    (do I need the sarc tag?)

  47. “There’s yet more proof this Friday that coal is neither cheaper nor more reliable than renewables as an energy source”

    Jesus these people think we are idiots. Even a 2 year old knows that there is no sunlight at night. I just can’t fathom the mind that can write such obvious bullshit and believe it.

  48. Here is the acid test of the claim that Renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels: propose to zero out their subsidies, direct and indirect (e.g. net metering) tout suite.

    If they say sure go ahead, they are telling the truth. If they screech, they are liars.

    My over under is screechers out number the yes men 99::1.

  49. Here is one for all those who love wind renewables. When I grew up on the land and we relied on windmills to water stock, there was a thing called a ‘pump jack.’ This was a motorised gadget which attached to wind mills to pump water in a period of NO WIND!

  50. Tax and subsidy can obscure the true cost but not the energy relation. The energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables exceeds the energy they produce in their lifetime.

  51. A truly smart electricity meter will revolutionize our electricity use.

    Sixty years ago I worked as a plate scrubber and errand boy in a Swedish bakery. In one corner of the bakery stood the oven, a giant cement and stone contraption weighing at least 50 tons. It was run on electricity, turning on every night at 10 P.M. and turning itself off at 5 A.M. First in the morning we baked the Danishes and other good stuff that required the highest heat, and as the day wore on and the oven cooled off, other breads were baked in the order of temperature need. It took some planning, but the price difference between night rates and day rates made it all worthwhile.

    This brings me to a truly smart electricity meter.

    It would charge the customer at the current cost of generation + transmission cost + utility profit, displaying the current cost at any given time of the day.

    The customer would have the right to sell back electricity to the net at the current cost of generation – transmission cost – utility profit.

    Knowing the current true price of energy the customer can then delay turning on the clothes dryer until the price goes below an acceptable level. He could take a look at the current price and decide to turn off the air conditioner rather than pay $1.20 per KW, or she could decide: It is worth it.

    By making the user rather than the power company decide how and when electricity is used and produced this will bring immense benefits:

    Many users will decide to buy a backup generator with battery, charge the battery when the price is low, and discharge the battery when the price is high. If there is excess battery capacity, he can even sell back the excess at the inflated price. And if the price is high enough it is cheaper to use the generator.

    This will have immense benefits on the grid, lessening peak demand and increasing the off peak use.

    And best of all, should the grid fail, there will be enough generating capacity to run the refrigerators and essential stuff until power is restored.

    What prevents this from being realized?

    Politicians and the power companies desire to maintain total control over how the net is used. Political regulators hate to give decision making power back to the people.
    https://lenbilen.com/2017/10/11/a-truly-smart-electricity-meter-will-revolutionize-our-electricity-use/

    • When you say “politics”, do you mean people don’t want to have to game the system this way? Or do you mean people want to be able to game the electricity market, but industry influenced politicians aren’t letting them?

      I’ve got to say I would find it inconvenient to have to keep an eye on the meter when I want to dry my clothes. I’m most of the way through installing a diesel generator, but that is because I’m worried about continuity of supply, not because I want to be able to switch to my own power at certain price points.

      Remember, a lot of people don’t have their own roof, or a utility space they can install a smelly diesel generator.

      • By knowing the current rate of electricity you can make the bet decisions on how to use it. When this is implemented there will be programmable devices that , once programmed to your desires, make the optimum decisions. The major benefit is the distributed power storage and generation as a first defense when the grid is down. My Amish neighbor has a diesel generator to drive the compressed air to power the jet water pump and refrigerator.

      • We already have that to an extent, with options to run some systems (e.g. home storage heating, hot water) on off peak power. I’m not sure most people would be keen on a grid on which power supplies fluctuate so wildly you have to watch the meter to figure out when you can afford to dry your clothes or cook your food.

        What happens if the price suddenly surges? Do you have to abruptly stop cooking or switch off the clothes dryer? Does the food in the fridge spoil because the fridge is running warm, to try to save money?

      • lenbilen

        I honestly didn’t know that Amish were allowed by their precepts to use generators?

        Or is he ‘lapsed’ ???

      • Absolute ignorance on your part, lenbilen. Grid failure will bring down everything connected. Successful generation requires balancing against a load.

      • You’re “not even wrong,” lenbilen.

        Go get a power system engineering degree and work for wholesale and retail electric power companies for about 30 years, as I have. Only then we MAY be able to have an intelligible conversation.

      • You are right! I never took 3 phase power. Other than that I have a degree in Technical Physics, and am interested in making us less dependent on the electric grid, as it is vulnerable. One question for you is: How do you handle the solar installations now, as they in some states have the right to sell back energy to the grid at the same rate as when they buy power? And what do you do when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? This too causes instability in the system, especially when a front comes through. And what would happen when a solar flare hits the earth? Or an emp pulse from a nuclear bomb? A lot of small generators well distributed would go a long way to be able to rebuild. You already have them for critical installations (I hope), such as hospitals and other vital services.

      • Your inverter and battery storage have a higher failure rate than the grid in most developed nations. You are more likely to be without power of your equipment failure than a grid failure. Our consumer watchdog ran surveys in Australia
        https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/solar/articles/solar-power-survey-results
        The inverters are the biggest issue and the findings are probably unsurprising

        QUOTE:

        1.) German inverters are less likely to have issues than Chinese ones.
        2.) 17% of owners of Chinese inverters have experienced problems, while only 11% of those with a German inverter have had issues.
        3.) 16% of owners of a Chinese inverter have had to have it replaced, twice as many as those with a German inverter.
        4.) German panels received a higher satisfaction rating than Chinese panels – 88% for the German compared to 83% for the Chinese.
        5.) German inverters also rated significantly higher with their owners, with German inverters outdoing Chinese ones 90% to 76%.

        At 11% failure rate of the inverter, it would be my luck it would happen when the grid went down :-)

    • Unfortunately when the wind isn’t blowing for commercial producers it isn’t blowing for domestic generation either, the same is true for Solar.

      I keep saying check the actual data from the producers. Germany a classic example, For virtually all of January and February 2017 wind generated power was minimal, being winter in Northern Europe Solar was non-existent. It doesn’t matter how smart your meter is if there is no power it can’t magic it into existence.

      2017 weeks 3 and 4 were the worst case (from 15/01/17 to 29/01/17) but the rest was pretty bad.
      https://www.energy-charts.de/power.htm?source=conventional&week=3&year=2017
      What the Germans call conventional is broken down here
      https://www.energy-charts.de/power.htm?source=all-sources&week=3&year=2017

      • On the other hand in summer solar regularly provides a third of Germany’s daytime power, for 8 months a year.

        Yes, in the ‘worst’ years Germany could see around 10 days of low solar and wind. But that’s not an insurmountable problem – and remember their target is only 50% renewable electricity in 2030 and 805 in 2050. They still intend to have some fossil fuel around for the winter for decades yet.

        Meanwhile the Germany to Norway HVDC link is under construction and a serious plan for ‘power to gas’ and biogas is under consideration for winter use, using the existing gas grid.

      • Griff, no problem is insurmountable when you are willing to, and can, pay twice the normal price.
        Germany is rich, gets budget surplus, reduces its debts, and has direct access to Russian gas (bypassing Poland, Ukraine, etc.). So it surely can pay twice for it’s electric power.
        Which is exactly German leaders choice about energy: “renewable” (except hydro, because of artificial lakes, and anything artificial if deemed to be bad) for the show, Russian gas for the real thing

        “renewable” with “” because actually they don’t provide energy, they consume about the same energy in their whole cycle than they produce. But people are happy with greenwashing.

      • German wind power is extremely erratic and mostly pointless.

        Last year it was below 15% of name plate for OVER HALF of the time.

        It never got over 50% of nameplate for at least 95% of the time

        TOTALLY PATHETIC It is a monumental waste of time and money.

      • Griff, why do you keep throwing BS at everybody face?
        In Germany, by purely political decision, gas is backup energy. It is the goalkeeper of the team, and as such THE major player in German power generation. Close it, and the whole electrical system collapses. Close all “renewable”, and you won’t even know it (except that german electricity bill would be halved, but, eh, who cares? greenwashing come at a price)

    • Sixty years ago nuclear power was going to make electric power “too cheap to meter.” What happened? Interference by government and by people trying to assuage their guilt (for avarice, hatred, and downright laziness) by virtue signaling as lovers of Gaia, the earth Goddess. Hope they are enjoying their phantasmagorical affair (and they probably are, on our tax dollars). What a waste!

      • That was Reader’s digest optimism, not reality. After Three Mile Island the lawyers took over and prevented any progress for thirty years.

      • “Too cheap to meter” was, I think, predicated on the cost of fuel. Which, in fairness, is pretty cheap relative to the amount of power produced. What wasn’t fully understood at the time is the cost of maintenance and upkeep…and is the same issue that “renewables” will face. Unfortunately, and as I’ve stated before, the 2nd law of thermodynamics is still very much on the books, and things…fall apart. And that costs money. As it turns…a lot of money.

        rip

    • Think about what you just said. Why have the net loss of charging a battery. Just run the generator. It’s less costly.

      • You charge the battery only when there is excess power (night rates) from the power company. If they don’t materialize you run the generator.

  52. This is the treatise we were looking for. Now there is no excuse to subsidize any longer. Trump administration and Congress should use this as the rationale (as if any thinking person didn’t know these facts already).
    End all wind and solar subsidies now!!!

  53. Then why is it that our dictatorship here in Holland has chosen to increase taxes on energy?
    Green lunatics.

  54. This is climate optimism in action: white is the new black, lies the new truth, and renewables are cheaper because they want them to be. Green thinkers decided that, in order to be taken seriously, they needed a narrative of optimism, to counter their natural pessimism. Renewables as the saviour of humanity are a core part of climate optimism. Because climate change is invisible, slow, global. The public see it a someone else’s problem. .Believing in the climate narrative will tend to sway one to pessimism and despair. Climate optimism is a political response to their self-created non-problem of global warming. Given the last sentence, policy making sense is the least of their concerns.

  55. Trying to accuse government of not doing enough assumes that government has an obligation it does not have.

    • Government sticks its nose in and wrecks markets, Coach. Then they appoint themselves to “fix” the damage they originally wrought.

  56. This is really good news, now we can eliminate all the Federal, State and tax credits, buy back mandates, and the other myriad advantages given to ‘Renewables’ by Federal, State and local governments. Surely this affordable and less costly power supply doesn’t need them any longer as they are now cheaper than fossil, and hydroelectric power.

  57. It takes more energy to produce a lithium battery than the battery can store in its lifetime.

    How much energy is in a massive 100 kWh lithium battery that is supposed to power 20000_homes? The same as 3 US gallons of gasoline.

    [??? 3 US gal of gasoline will only run a 800 KWatt generator for 2-3 hours. .mod]

  58. “I’m genuinely interested in understanding what political obstacles greens think are preventing the realisation of a low cost energy future powered by renewables.”

    So am I which is why I’d like the answer to a simple question- What does it cost to replace a despatchable megawatt of fossil fuelled thermal electricity with a despatchable megawatt of renewable alternatives? (presumably wind and solar alternatives only since geothermal and tidal appear to be too far up the cost curve) I haven’t heard the question asked seriously let alone an attempt at a calculated answer. Anyone?

    • Simple. For each and every megawatt of new renewable, you still need a megawatt of gas fuelled thermal electricity (only gas is used for this purpose) as back-up, or something even more expensive (battery for instance), so gas is still the best-case scenario.
      So the cost is exactly equal to the cost of the “renewable”, minus the gas cost, which is zero (gas is like water and wind: you may be billed by the volume, but you actually pay for the transport infrastructure to bring it to you, which stay the same whether you use it or not; so if you reduce your use, you get a higher price per unit for a similar total bill).
      So the cost is exactly equal to the cost of the “renewable”. Pure waste.

      • “…so gas is still the best-case scenario.”

        I understand that but these warmists believe in 100% renewables by whenever they can manage it. Now in South Australia we’re paying the highest power prices in the world in a country that exports fossil fuel to the world and we haven’t paid for the storage yet to make the windmills reliable. Ipso facto it’s reasonable to ask how much more will it cost to do that without any fossil fuel backup? In other words where is there fully despatchable wind or solar power with greenfields backup (batteries, pumped hydro, molten salt?) and what is the cost of that per kw/hr? Or is it simply the case that nowhere has it been attempted yet for the obvious?

      • oh. You mean, what would be the cost for pure renewable scheme, backed up by some storage, no gas, nuclear or whatever ?
        Well, remember that a storage is nothing but a production device that actually cannot produce without having consumed before (slightly more than he will produce afterward), which means that he actually works only half of the time as producer, meaning twice the capital cost for the output.
        The best storage is, and will stay, pumped hydro. This kind of thing has no significant limit in energy storage (i.e., it can store months of energy, if need be), so you only need 1 W for 1 W of “renewable”. Assuming you find a way to construct the thing without greens screaming to death, of course.
        Hydro is almost pure capital cost, so a pumped hydro cost double the price of a regular hydro. Add the price of the renewable, and the total cost is, in best case scenario, 3x on producer side. May be only 2x on consumer side, assuming grid cost and taxes don’t change.

      • paqyfelyc

        This kind of thing (pumped storage) has no significant limit in energy storage (i.e., it can store months of energy, if need be), so you only need 1 W for 1 W of “renewable”. Assuming you find a way to construct the thing without greens screaming to death, of course.

        No, not true even as an approximation.

        Rough numbers. A pump needs 1.3 to 1.4 watts of electric power to “pump” water uphill (more flow resistance in the huge canals and tunnels needed, plus motor electric resistance, plus pump impeller efficiency losses, plus the “perfect physics” of lifting the mass of water against gravity to create the potential energy stored in the reservoir.
        But, when that water flows back downhill, the generator sends to the power grid 88% to 92% of the potential energy in the water. Again, resistance to water flow through the tunnels, canals, and valves and controls, turbine impellor efficiency losses, and resistance losses in the generator, and resistance losses in the power plant transformers and distribution network. Making every loss worse, and “perfect” hydro-electric generator impeller can be optimized for obtaining every possible erg of energy out the flowing water – one way flowing water. A turbo-pump (able to pump water uphill as well as extract energy downhill) CANNOT be optimized for either function perfectly, and so does NEITHER job as well as it theoretically could. (For example, if you wanted to drive your car backwards at highway speeds, you’d need the space wasted on a rear-facing seat, a second steering wheel, 4-wheel steering, more reverse gears, etc. Going one-way fast? Don’t need any of that wasted weight and space in the car.)

        The ONLY way a pumped storage system can work requires MASSIVE amounts of very, very cheap electricity available when you need to pump water uphill, MASSIVE amounts of water available to the suction of the pumps at the bottom, two lakes separated by high elevation changes very close to each other, two control stations, two spillways and dams, two transformer yards, etc.

        Now, solar power ONLY GENERATES energy 6 hours a day (on average over the year) from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The remaining 18 hours a day, solar power generates nothing. Thus, to provide an AVERAGE of 1000 watts per hour electric from solar power, you need 4000 watts of solar cells.

        But, as you can see from the rough figures above for pumped storage, you need 200 watts of electric power to get 100 watts back to the grid from pumped storage. So, to get 1000 watts of pumped storage water for ONE of those 6 hour periods when solar is not available “to the grid” you need 2000 watts of EXCESS electric power generated when solar power IS available.

        But there are three six-hour periods when solar power is not available, right?

        So, to generate 1000 watts of solar power in just six daylight hours ((;00 am to 3:00 pm – even though those are NOT the peak electric demand hours!), you need 1000 watts of solar cells clean, aimed at the sun, and at rated efficiency.

        To generate 1000 watts solar power on average over the whole day using solar with pumped storage, you need those 1000 watts of cells. Then you need 3×2000 watts of ADDITIONAL solar power cells to generate the excess electric power to refill the pumped storage lakes on your property. SO, a total of 7000 watts of solar power capacity has be purchased, installed, mounted, cleaned, and maintained to get an average delivery on average (perfect) days of 1000 watts.

        All this assuming no droughts, no dust storms or rainstorms or snow storms. No silting or flooding or water problems. No backup of turbines or generators go out for maintenance.

        (Niagara’s artificial storage is unique in the world: Lake Eire’s water to the massive (and highly-protested!) storage lakes are filled cheaply by gravity since they are below the falls, below the average Lake Eire water level. So, each night when the tourists are not looking at Niagara Falls, they “turn off” the Falls, divert “all” of the water to the tunnels and canals going to the two artificial lakes downhill above the power plants, and refill the storage lakes. During daytime, that “free water” flows from the storage ponds to the power plant intakes, and generates power.

        Pumped storage requires nighttime (lower power demand) “cheaper” electricity to be available each evening to run the pumps to pump the water back uphill to refill the upper reservoir to be available to drain back down through the turbo-pumps the next day.

  59. Affordable? Really? Here in NJ, we had our rates raised about 50% to deploy ‘renewables’, which consists mostly of solar PV. In addition to massive solar farms, we have PV panels on the utility poles. So how much does solar produce? The last time I checked (EIA data), solar PV produces about 0.7% of all the electricity generated in the state.

    NJ gets most of its power from nuclear (price stable), followed by natural gas (gotten really cheap), yet our rates haven’t gone down. One day, I would like to figure out what has really been spent for every kWh of solar power generated, to get a real idea what this program has cost. The problem is breaking out the costs from the arcane billing system, where accounting for specific costs in a mind bending experience.

  60. Read through this whole thread and it seems to me that the term “baseload” is being redefined. It used to mean the load “demanded” by consumers. It is now being redefined to mean the load “available” from generating devices.

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