100 Percent Renewable Energy—Poor Policy for Electricity Rate Payers

 

 

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By Steve Goreham

Two states and more than 80 cities and counties have now announced a goal of receiving 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. Wind, solar, and biofuels are proposed to replace electricity from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. But evidence is mounting that 100 percent renewables is poor policy for US households and businesses.

More than 80 cities announced commitments to get 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources. Minneapolis committed to attaining 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, Salt Lake City by 2032, and St. Louis by 2035. Nine counties and two states, California and Hawaii, have also made 100 percent renewable pledges.

Some cites already claim to get all power from renewables, generally by using a little electricity “sleight of hand.” Rock Port, Missouri claims to be the first US community powered by wind because it has a local wind farm. But when the wind doesn’t blow, Rock Port gets power from other generators in Missouri, a state that gets 77 percent of its electricity from coal and 97 percent from non-renewables in total.

On September 10, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, committing California to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. Brown stated, “It’s not going to be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done…California is committed to doing whatever is necessary to meet the existential threat of climate change.”

But cities and states pursuing 100 percent renewable electricity lay the foundation for a future painful lesson. Households and businesses will experience the shock of rapidly rising electricity prices as more renewables are added to the system.

Wind and solar cannot replace output from traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants, despite claims to the contrary. Wind and solar are intermittent generators. Wind output varies dramatically from high output to zero, depending upon weather conditions. Solar output is available for only about six hours each day when the sun is overhead and disappears completely on cloudy days or after a snowfall. Hydropower is a renewable source that can replace traditional power plants, but even this source is insufficient in years of drought or low snow runoff.

Experience shows that utilities can only count on about 10 percent of the nameplate capacity of a wind or solar facility as an addition to power system capacity. For example, on December 7, 2011, the day of peak winter electricity demand in the United Kingdom, the output of more than 3,000 wind turbines in the UK was less than five percent of rated output. The UK House of Lords recognized the problem a decade ago, stating “The intermittent nature of wind turbines…means they can replace only a little of the capacity of fossil fuel and nuclear power plants if security of supply is to be maintained.”

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To achieve “deep decarbonization,” states will need to keep 90 percent of traditional power plants and add increasing amounts of wind and solar to existing systems. Total system capacity must first double and then triple as 100 percent renewable output is approached. A 2016 study by Brick and Thernstrom projected that California’s system capacity would need to increase from 53.6 gigawatts to 90.5 gigawatts at 50 percent renewables and to 123.6 gigawatts at 80 percent renewable output.

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Rising system capacity means enormous electricity cost. In 2017, California received 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, excluding power from large hydroelectric plants. California 2017 residential electricity rates were 18.24 cents per kilowatt-hour, 50 percent higher than any other US western state.

From 2008 to 2017, California power rates rose 25 percent compared to the US national average increase of about 7 percent. But the worst is yet to come. As California adds renewable capacity to approach 100 percent renewables, generated cost of electricity will likely triple.

International examples show soaring electricity prices from renewables penetration. High levels of wind and solar in Germany and Denmark produced household electricity prices four times US rates. Renewable programs pushed power prices in five Australian provincial capital cities up 60 to 160 percent over the last decade. Wind, solar, and biofuel penetration in Ontario, Canada drove electricity prices up more than 80 percent from 2004 to 2016. Renewable output in these locations remains far below 100 percent.

Green energy advocates recognize renewable intermittency and hope that advances in battery technology will save the day. Large-scale commercial batteries, they claim, will be able to store power during high levels of renewable output and then deliver power to the grid when wind and solar output is low.

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But batteries are not the answer because of the large seasonal variation in renewable output. For example, wind and solar output in California in December and January is less than half of the output in summer months. Commercial large-scale batteries available today are rated to deliver stored electricity for only two hours or ten hours duration. No batteries exist that can store energy in the summer and then deliver it during the winter when renewable output is very low.

Superstition is powerful. There is no evidence that 100 percent renewable efforts, all combined, will have a measurable effect on global temperatures. Instead, cities and states that pursue 100 percent renewable policies will learn the hard lesson of skyrocketing electricity prices.


Originally published in Master Resource. Republished here at the request of the author. Steve Goreham is a speaker on the environment, business, and public policy and author of the book Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development.

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162 thoughts on “100 Percent Renewable Energy—Poor Policy for Electricity Rate Payers

  1. Renewable drivers, disposable technology, intermittent energy, without buffers, is good for mission negotiable applications, which is certainly a niche solution in the energy production sector.

    • Governor Brown should put some of the billions he intends to waste on an imaginary “existential problem” and do something about the REAL existential problem of the people living on the streets and even people with jobs having to live in their cars.

      This climate virtue signalling is disgusting from someone who has no virtuous qualities.

      • No problem … the Communist Mayor of Oakland is billing the taxpayers $Millions to purchase TuffSheds to house the homeless on vacant city property. Now, your homeless, illegal, gardener can sleep with his lawnmower. Oh wait! is that a dog whistle I just blew? Or making a humorous comment about … reality.

    • When I was involved in the deregulation rule making in Maine back in 98-2001, the final legislation forced utilities to divest all generation assets and become lines companies only.

      There was one notable exception. Maine Public Service Co. (now Emera) in Northern Maine was exempted on the basis they were not connected to NEPOOL (now ISO-NE).

      However they WERE connected as the lines ran into New Brunswick, Canada and then back into the US near Eastport, Maine.

      This is the same trick Texas uses by running lines into Mexico and back.

      This is striking especially regarding the western Maine line CMP proposes. If indeed the wind power produced in Maine will be transmitted to Quebec (then to massachusetts), the exemption for utility owned generation assets comes into play, as would line ownership.

      The reason for electric de-regulation was originally due to outrageous rate increases the utilities claimed were needed for “stranded costs”, these were costs they claimed they incurred by high fuel costs (wood chips, oil etc.) plus cost over-runs during the construction of the Maine Yankee and Seabrook nuclear plants among others. (Think Big Dig and Union corruption)…

      This was a bailout. Nothing more, nothing less.

      IMHO, the direction the utilities are heading with the high cost they will incur with repairing/replacing/de-commissioning all the old existing wind/solar plants, Power substation equipment and poles/lines, we will end up in a situation similar to Sun Edison/Enron going under and imagine them owning both generation and transmission and distribution lines too.

      Energy is now an investment (gambling) vehicle owned by hedge funds etc. and they are operated at minimum possible cost with minimal maintenance. That is a major problem in the making. Reliability at best is a passing thought.

      REC’s and Carbon taxes have no real public utility and only increase costs to the end users.

      Like the banking fiasco that resulted in Glass Steagall, resulting in monopolistic banks being forced to break up, electric de-regulation was intended to do the same for the public good.

      But then again, It appears that like the banks repealing Glass Steagall with Dodd Frank, it appears that de-regulation itself is about to be turned on its head.

      The Irony about electric de-regulation is the issue of stranded costs. Surely fuel costs can be volatile and yes, at times they cost the utilities more on occasion back then..

      BUT…

      Now utilities are forced to allow or give priority to intermittent renewables at twice to three times the cost of other generation.

      They don’t end up paying those “stranded costs”…we, the end user do by forced of law and rule.

      This is THE problem. Prior to de-regulation, intermittent generation would be subject to fines or not allowed to connect to the grid. New regulatory framework is needed to bring those original rules back and priority given to reliable least cost generation and the 3 card monty of REC trading shut down.

      • Most people believe that power companies and governments are trying to keep power costs low, when in fact it is in their financial best interest to raise them as high as they can get them.

        No industry that I’m aware of wants to sell their product for as little as possible, they want to sell it for as much as they can get for it.

        So governments and power companies are in bed together on this. The higher the power rates, the more money they both make.

        Solar and wind power are expensive and inefficient, they are a great way to achieve their shared goal of raising power rates and increasing revenue.

        Just sayin

        • And we get the benefit of Stranded Costs…I believe that should be the ‘go to’ term used in any debate re: renewables.

        • Power companies realize they can make money from increasing rates. However, they realize there is a political backlash from raising them too quickly and too much. The NGOs command considerable power (Ha!) to oppose rate increases. But if they are regulated, they want to be the renewable provider so unregulated providers are not in the mix.

  2. Hawaii is all in on renewable’s and the government is all in on anti fossil fuels. About 2 years ago the state banned fracking (as if there was any change at all of oil and gas being found in volcanic rock formations. But the majority of the residents cheered the act. No one here seems to care that their home electric cost will increase 50% by 2035. Nobody cares that industry, retail and all other commercial ventures will pass their costs on to the consumer…groceries will cost more, fuel for cars will cost more and renters don’t care their rents will increase. Who Cares in one of the most costly states to live in already…SURF’S UP!

    I’m waiting for The Carbon Tax….just to put the Icing on The Cake!

  3. An issue is that other states are affected by this lunacy, as they use the same electric grid. A case could be made that the Federal Government should step in to restrict or ban this fantasy, as it affects interstate commerce.
    If California crashes, it will take an unknown number of states with it.

    • Arizona and Nevada utilities would be well justified in demanding very favorable prices when Comifornia wants to shift the electric supply imbalance.

      • Not so fast — Nevada has its own ballot measure to place a 50% renewable requirement in the state Constitution. If it passes Nevada will have its own power poverty to deal with.

        • Not wishing to comment on US politics but I would like to ask, is Nevada a special case?

          Hydro is the reliable renewable. It’s the one that works.

          And Nevada has a dam.

          • Hoover Dam hydro power is shared by three states, and it only produces enough power for 1.3 million people.
            I just read California wants to use their excess solar to pump water back to the lake, continuously recycling it and never letting it flow downriver.
            Maybe this vision of increased control over Colorado River water is part of the reason why Kamala Harris said last week, “Californians are going to benefit by electing Jackie Rosen.”

        • But don’t you just love it. The fantasy appears to go something like, “Pass a ballot initiative or have the legislature pass a law decreeing that it be so and ipso presto — Through the magic of governments, the fantasy renewables will blossom and grow wherever they are decreed and needed and wherever the law applies just like giant kelp grows in the oceans of the world and redwoods and sequaias grow on the land. Let there be light, hallelujah Amen.

      • AZ and NV are paid $.08 KWh to take California’s excess Solar and Solar Thermal power during the Solar Duck daylight hours. Insane is CA forcing every home to install 10x more expensive solar over Solar Farms.

        Stop the planned $127 Trillion investment into Massively unsustainable RE: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/05/monumental-unsustainable-environmental-impacts/

        Save $117 Trillion by building the MSR: The Case for the Good Reactor https://spark.adobe.com/page/1nzbgqE9xtUZF/

        Check out Seaborg.co 20-foot 30-ton MSR good for a city of 200,000 by 2025 blueprints.

      • California utilities own about 1/3 of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix. I think Brown and his renewable energy buddies want to eventually prevent dirty energy from being imported into California. I don’t know how this would affect the non-CO2 nuclear and hydro sources, since they’re not considered worthy of being labelled “renewable.” As an old electrical engineer who spent his career in and around power plants it’s hard for me to understand the ignorance (and yes, stupidity) of politicians and renewable energy activists who ignore the obvious: the sun only shines about half of each day, wind is intermittent, and there are actually limitations to what scientists and engineers can conjure up to meet their desires.

        • You seem to think they’re doing this because they believe it will work.

          They’re not.

          They’re doing it because they want to destroy the West. Being unable to support demand is a feature, not a bug.

  4. The same crowd that is wasting their money on “organically” grown food believes that setting renewable energy mandates for everyone else is a good thing. They are brain-washed gullible fools. The organic thing doesn’t bother me, it’s their money.

    But the renewable mandates, that bother me greatly. It accomplishes nothing and cost me greatly. I fight back on that.
    I fight back on the utter stupidity of renewable energy and the ignorance of the Left about their climate religion trying to take my money for more taxes and higher electricity rates.

    • Joel O’Bryan…at 6:42 pm
      “organically” grown food

      Organic foods is a scam. Growers get top dollar for apples with no blemishes and even more for organic apples with spots & worms. When I was a kid white eggs were the premium priced commodity. Just today I noted that now brown eggs carry the snooty price tag.

      • And the only difference between brown eggs and white eggs is the color of the shell. Nothing else.

        I’ve come to agree with Thomas Jefferson
        I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man. True, they nourish some of the elegant arts, but the useful ones can thrive elsewhere, and less perfection in the others, with more health, virtue and freedom, would be my choice.
        — Thomas Jefferson

        So if the great cities choose to destroy themselves, good riddance.

        • “So if the great cities choose to destroy themselves, good riddance.”
          As long as they don’t force the rest of us down the same sewer.

        • Unfortunately, viral reproduction is a close model. The virus replicates within a cell, then kills the cell so that it spreads the infection.

      • Feeding chickens organic chocolate to get organic brown eggs is costly.
        I prefer the pastel-colored eggs. No special feed required.

        • John F. Hultquist November 3, 2018 at 11:30 pm

          John please tell me you are joking..
          The color of the eggs is by the chicken breed.
          I and my wife (her mainly) are raising some for brown eggs for home made pasta. Long story…

          michael

          • I rather suspect Mr. Hultquist is pulling your leg. Chocolate is toxic to many animals, and chickens might be among them. Also, I’ve heard nothing about eggs tasting like chocolate. His email is rather like the ones from daylily growers (like me) who marvel at the extra growth that our plants exhibit when Daylight Savings Time adds that extra hour of sunlight. Now that the growing season is over for daylilies (30 degrees a week ago for several hours), we have safely returned to Standard Time (EST for me), and the daylilies no longer care.

  5. I want to see one of these Left Coast states step up and declare they are going to 200% from renewables. How ’bout it, Oregon? Why stop at a silly 100? In fact, say you will get 500% by 2050. Watch Jerry Brown squirm. But be prepared to go for 1000% when Jerry Brown responds with 600%.

    Someone has to break thru the 100% barrier.

  6. Better only a few places like California and Germany do the renewables experiment and reveal to the world all the problems in making it work , rather than the whole world (or even just the whole U.S.) make the plunge together. It may require a few years of observation for the public to recognize reality, but when higher costs are involved, the public generally takes notice.

    • “The public generally take notice”. But in the UK and Australia, it’s the POLITICIANS who don’t take notice!

  7. I would love to see someone on the sensible side of this debate make a TV ad showing a household trying to cope with ‘100% renewables’ – start with everyone looking at a TV that only works during the peak of the solar period – say 10 am to 5 pm, and deciding which (if any) shows to watch. Then show them trying to do normal chores like washing clothes when the machine has to restarted every few minutes because the wind stopped blowing (or maybe watching the weather report like hawks to find out whether the wind will blow tomorrow, and how hard. In fact, show a 100% renewables ‘power’ report being broadcast (probably by radio) every hour that says things like ‘the probability of wind power in the xx area is 40 percent in the morning, 10 percent in the afternoon and evening, and it will be cloudy all day tomorrow so the average solar output will be only 5%. Blackouts will therefore be likely in the following suburbs…’ Hilarious.
    And then the reminders about the best time to plug in their EVs, check their refrigerators and freezers, and of course lots of suggestions for saving energy, like turning their swimming pools into fish farms, keeping cool in summer and warm in winter without air conditioning, and so on. How to cook a meal for the family without electricity – lots of salads and outdoor BBQs, learning from the 3rd world how to use a few sticks to make a fire, etc. Then lastly how to manage their financial affairs with sky-high energy bills, despite having been laid off from their jobs in energy-intensive industries.
    Won’t the family be having fun doing all this new stuff together, partly by candlelight, huddled together to keep warm in winter, or sleeping outdoors in summer? It sounds good to me! Maybe we could crowd-fund it and run the ads during the 2020 elections!

    • A BBQ releases EVIL CO2, FORBIDDEN! And what are you going to cook, meat? Off to the gallows with you!
      And of course the unreliable electric grid must be blamed on sabotage by political enemies that want the Green Utopia to fail.

      • We also need to specify who erects the scaffolding so the kiddies can sweep the snow off the solar panels.

    • You forgot to mention who puts up the scaffolding for kiddies to sweep the snow off the solar panels when the snow comes.

    • Interesting you mention this issue. Was just thinking about what angle would be best for an array where I live (41.5N).
      Most people suggest 45 degrees. But if I did that, I’d be losing a lot of the most productive solar power months when the sun is overhead (less atmosphere) and available for more hours.
      If the goal is total energy production over the course of a year, I’d prefer a lower angle, something akin to what is shown in the picture.

      • EW3:
        The best recommended angle is Your latitude, in degrees, from the horizontal
        Hence lay them flat at the Equator and vertical at the poles.

        If you have the space (a ground-mounted array), split it into 3.
        Have 50% of the panels at a shallow angle (maybe 30 degs) facing South with 25% at a steeper angle (maybe 60 degs) facing East and the other 25% at the same steeper angle facing West.
        Assuming a northern hemisphere location of course 😀
        You don’t get quite as much overall yield but it averages out across the day.
        And don’t let *anything*, no matter how small, get between them and the sun.

        Well worth playing with some PV panels, gives you plenty to think about Re: The GHGE

        • “And don’t let *anything*, no matter how small, get between them and the sun.”

          Yes, but can you have sunshine on a cloudy day? That may lead you temptations.

        • “The best recommended angle is Your latitude, in degrees, from the horizontal”

          A rule of thumb, but not always the best angle if you are building a ground mount. I modeled my output potential using NREL’s PVWatts calculator. Do several, sweeping the angle by a degree each time. Download data to build a spreadsheet that finds the angle that has the highest annual production value. Production is weather and temperature dependent. You can also compare production between a stationary array and one that you change tilt each month. I found that the additional $13 in production wasn’t worth the effort. My first full year of production was 2017, we produced 103% of the model target. We’ll see how 2018 works out, but it might be hard to determine weather or panel degradation caused a shortfall.

          I used the SMA Sunny Design Web software to model array configurations, to verify the production estimates and to play with wire gauge for DC & AC line losses. I would think your idea of splitting the array into 3 sections would drive up mount costs substantially.

      • You can get these little electric actuators that will move panel in line with the sun and also move the panel to set degrees as the day progress $200 ? +/-

        • You can adjust them manually for free. And you will have plenty of time to in an economy with 100% renewable energy.

    • Hitachi
      It looks like somewhere on a farm in the U.K. The trees and building in the hedgerow look very much like it.

      The panels are fitted to a large agricutural building that could be a broiler shed. The young lady scraping the the snow off looks to be wearing Wellington (rubber) boots caked in mud, fairly typical of winter farm wear on a U.K.

      In addition to the chickens, the farm is clearly farming green subsidies. The UK really isn’t a great place for solar, but up until a couple of years ago, the subsidies were so great that if you had a suitable roof and the cash it was a no brainier investment.

      • File:Young girl cleaning photovoltaic solar panels from snow, Grange …
        Wikimedia Commons
        File:Young girl cleaning photovoltaic solar panels from snow, Grange Farm, UK.

    • Why don’t they supply current to the panels for an hour or so, to melt the snow? /SARC
      There is probably subsidy available for such a procedure, like windmills getting money for not producing electricity, when demand is too low.

  8. It occurs to me that California’s push to “100% renewables” will raise the rate of electricity for more than just California. Not as severely as inside the state, but demand (caused by California’s reduced production) will increase costs for those connected to the grid with CA. Therefore, we desperately need to assist CA in being “carbon-free” and cut them off from the grid. That way their folly will not effect the fest of us.

    • If we allow healthy markets to operate elsewhere, utilities in neighboring states will demand sweetheart deals to absorb the excess when “renewable” production is strong and supply the deficit overnight.

      • If Prop 6 passes (50% renewable), Nevada won’t have enough flexibility to demand sweetheart deals. Maybe that’s why a California billionaire backed the proposition.

  9. It’s nothing more than virtue signalers trying to outdo one another. None of them have a clue how to achieve their goals but dad-gummit they want you to know they are signed up for it. South Australia didn’t come close to 100% renewable energy and what they have failed miserably but you don’t hear much about it …. unless you live there.

  10. The untold problem is that when electricity is not available that the utility has to buy the electricity from another utility that has some to sell. And like all things the higher the demand, the higher the price. I retired from an electric utility. I have overheard the dispatchers at lunch talking about the price they had to pay to meet the high demand because of the unexpected warm weather and the price they got for selling it on other occasions. Several times it was over a thousand dollars per kWh for the two or three hours needed to meet the high demand. They also discussed the fact that the new gas turbine peaking unit paid for itself in one year from sales to surrounding utilities and by preventing the need to buy power from other utilities. With 100% Renewable the constant fluctuations in power availability means that instead of just 2 or 3 hours every month or so they will need two or three hours every day and it will be very expensive. When your utility starts getting 10 to 20 percent of its electricity at a price of well over $100 per kWh you will see electric bills approaching 10 times as much as you are paying now. Andas,the article notes batteries are not going to solve the problem. Fossil fuel plants will have to be maned and operating full time, even when not providing electricity to make up the periods of no available renewable power. That means you are paying for both forms of electricity and only getting one.

    • “I retired from an electric utility.”

      Then how come you don’t know the difference between fixed cost and variable cost?

      “That means you are paying for both forms of electricity and only getting one.”

      NO, you are not.

      You are paying the fixed cost, but not variable cost for conventional generation when it is idle. Fixed cost IS significant, but it’s not the whole cost. You shouldn’t represent it as such.

      • Since you claim to know so much please provide a description of exactly ho much of the cost of owning and operating a fossil power plant is reduced by not producing any electricity. Include Local, Municipal, County, State, Federal, and Payroll taxes. Look at an annual report and determine how much an electric utility pays in taxes. In many states taxes make up over 50% of the price of the electricity delivered to you. There is no reduction in property taxes for a plant sitting idle that must be ready to deliver electricity at a moments notice. Don’t forget training and maintenance, along with long term, fixed price contracts for Coal, NG, etc, that include clauses requiring full payment even if you only use half of the contracted fuel. Often these contracts are made five to ten years in advance. The utility I worked for had one that was for 20 years. Thus it becomes a “fixed cost.” Fuel may be a variable but it is one of the smallest costs of generating and delivering electricity. When through looking at all of those costs, look at FERC requirements on Electricity reliability, Cyber and Grid requirements and the fines that can be levied if not met. Momentary blackouts can cause fines.
        Then there are the penalties that the grid interconnection, such as the PJM RTO or Midwest ISO, levies on members for not delivering promised electricity. Typical penalties are 100% of the price of highest cost of any electricity delivered by any other member to make up your shortfall. During peak demand periods that penalty can be ten times that. These federal and contractual requirements mean that these “idle” plants are, in essence, at the operational state of being ready to operate and deliver electricity within one cycle of the 60 Hz sine wave of electricity. Contracts with local customers, such as “server farms” may have more rigid contracts, on the order of fractional parts of a cycle.
        Your argument that the idle plant does not cost double may be “technically” correct but not accurate, in that instead of paying 100% more you are only paying 99.x% more for having a power plant that is NOT generating electricity but ready for delivery of power within the FERC and other contractual requirements. It takes live steam and a spinning turbine to meet these requirements. That is why they call it “Spinning Reserves,” which are typically”10% of the projected peak” based upon historical data for that day/weather, etc.

        • Sir, I ran a cost accounting system for a major corporation for 20+ years. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Our fixed cost vs variable cost was right at 50-50.

          You gave “I retired from an electric utility” as a credential, then overstated a base case by 25%.

          When a conventional power plant is idle, fuel cost approaches zero. Fuel cost is a substantial cost of operating a power plant. Rather obvious.

          • A Review of EIA for data on capital costs for generating plants shows that Variable O&M is between about 2% to 10% of Fixed O&M costs for all but the newest types of generating stations analyzed. EIA only considers the Generating Station – REPEAT the generation station/facility – Not the supporting infrastructure as all support facilities would be dependent on what and where you are building. However.
            And, as I said do NOT forget taxes. Annual taxes on a power generating station and all support facilities is close to the Fixed O&M. In my state property taxes are almost 2%. 2% of a billion dollars is 20 Million dollars. And a Billion dollars is just the cost (assessed value) of the generating station. There are the taxes on the Administration building, The Training Building, The Service Building, The Electrical Substation designed and built just for that single power plant, the service vehicles and vehicles in the car-pool, etc., etc., etc. and all of the maintenance on those facilities.
            Then there is the water bill, Sewer bill (or sewage treatment facility taxes if built) electric bill, Internet bill, etc. All of that has to be added to Fixes O&M Costs.
            Operators are still getting trained, Instructors are still teaching, Engineers are still designing, Maintenance people are still working, Guards are still guarding – and today still getting trained to protect power plants.
            Please explain to me how EIA can claim Variable O&M costs, which includes FUEL costs as shown by the low cost on renewable facilities and footnotes, can be in the neighborhood of 2 to 10 percent and NONE of the Fixed Costs listed above are included and how YOU can claim Variable Costs are closer to 50% ??? Your BS does not meet the smell test.
            So, it looks to me like it may not be as small as 1% like I suggested but it sure is NOT as large as 50%, 25% or even 10%, of Fixed O&M Costs. With people like you doing analysis on the cost of Renewable Energy no wonder it is headed for the abyss. Worse yet, most conventional generating Stations last 75 Plus years. Renewable facilities last less than 15 and then need replaced. The utility I worked for has a power plant that is over 100 years old and still making power.

  11. The only state that has a chance to achieve that goal is Hawaii. They have abundant wind by virtue of the westerlies that blow almost all the time; the sun is pretty close to the islands all year long; the amount of daylight throughout the year is fairly regular (unlike, for example, Minneapolis, that has cold and relatively dark winters.
    Not only that, electrical generating capability in the islands is on an island by island basis; there is no electrical grid that covers all of the inhabited islands. Each island has its own generating capability, for better or worse. As it is, the Hawaiians already use a log of wind and solar.

    • Like you say GP each Island is self contained in Hawaii. The states suffers critical affordable housing. rents are higher each year. Homelessness is rampant. Commodity costs are now about 30% higher than the mainland. How do you think Hawaii has a chance? It is predicted that rates will increase up to 50%. That increase will first hit home users; owned and rented. The increased electrical charges will trickle down through every aspect of all bushiness and passed on to the consumer. Wind power is not a given on every island…..available land? Solar power electric is not a guaranteed 24/7/365. he big Island has 5 volcano with one every active. Hawaii is not a Utopia and it will not all end well. The only industry in Hawaii other than government is tourism. I do not know how 100% renewable energy will affect hotel room rates. I do know they will not go down. If Hawaii goes the Carbon Tax route..then the whole state may become a Jurassic Park open only to tourists.

      • Yeah. I know that litany about prices, et al. Prices are what they are because almost everything on those islands gets shipped there from distant sources; it’s a fact of life. Agriculture used to be a significant part of the economy, but no more. Tourism and the presence of a large military seem to be the only big source of income. A lot of the tourists come from Japan, at least that is my observation. As far as the volcanoes go, the Big Island has only one significant threat of vulcanism, but Kilauea is a known, and just how many tourists spend much time, let alone visit for any length of time? The Kona side gets the most action, and those other volcanoes don’t count for a lot in terms of a vulcanism threat. The bums that populate the shoreline are not a factor in terms of making “renewables” work
        In any case, Hawaii has the best chance simply because is it smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, fairly near the equator, enjoys a pretty reliable wind flow out of the northeast quadrant, and has a lot of pretty reliable sunshine. That doesn’t mean Hawaii can be successful at the venture. Just look at that goofy elevated train system going in on the south side of Oahu. It’s already way over budget and still is five miles short of its intended goal on the east end of the line.

    • One Nuclear power plant on each Island would reduce the CO2 Emissions more, cost less and be far more dependable. Back in the 60’s a study was performed that showed how using water from Kaneohe Bay to cool a nuclear power plant, with the discharge far out at sea, would greatly help clean up the water in the Bay. Which, at the time I lived there was not the cleanest bay in Oahu. Same measures could be taken on Pearl Harbor and clean up that bay. There are many other environmental benefits of having NPPs on each Island rather than Avian Cuisinarts, many of which will have to be rebuilt every time a tropical storm hits. You did not discuss the fact that during monsoon season there is MUCH less sunlight – while I lived there every February through March it rained every day. The Wind Turbines would not be very useful either as they are designed for optimum wind speeds and are shut down at high wind speeds leaving you with even less power. Where will they put the acres of batteries, enough for a month or so, to make up for the lack of power?

  12. “3,000 wind turbines in the UK was less than five percent of rated output.” This is the kind of information that is NEVER shared with the public. Some engineer, developer or promoter ought to be in jail for such poor performance like that. That is scandalous. Only idiots think renewable can replace coal, oil or NG. Without a tremendous amount of batteries which are expensive and take up a lot of space, there is no way.

  13. Why 100% electricity supply from intermittent wind and solar is unrealistic.
    When the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, electricity must be generated by dispatchable generators – coal, gas, nuclear. The only scenario where wind and solar can supply 100% is if intermittent nameplate capacity is greater than 400% of demand (allowing for an average 25% capacity factor), and there is massive storage.
    Even 50% intermittent supply on average requires a nameplate capacity of 200% of demand, plus there must be backup supplies available from coal, gas, nuclear capable of delivering 100% of demand, on demand. Now tell me how intermittent wind/solar can ever be lower cost than reliable generators.

  14. Has nobody heard of a Pilot Study these days?

    Lets just jump in and go for broke; oh, pun not intended…

  15. Green energy advocates recognize renewable intermittency and hope that advances in battery technology will save the day.

    They don’t, actually. At least not on Ars Technica they don’t, and don’t think the Guardian does either.

    The party line on Ars is that in some unexplained way ‘modern’ grids, whatever they are, do not have any problem with intermittency.

    This is connected to the issue of levelized costs. The faithful on Ars under the cheerleading of the egregious John Timmer generally believe that levelized costs are the right basis for cost comparisons between different electricity generating technologies.

    Levalized cost comparisons basically assume that intermittency does not exist or is not a factor, and that when comparing wind to coal, for instance, you do not need to include the costs of storage to make the two equally consistent in power delivery.

    Any time you find the claim, which is quite common nowadays, that wind and solar are reaching cost parity or even better with conventional, you will find the hidden assumption in one way or another that intermittency doesn’t matter. The first stage of this argument is usually in the assumption that levelized costs are the right metric to use for the comparison.

    The really puzzling question is whether any of the commenters on these forums, and indeed the ccheerleading advocates such as Timmer and Nucittelli, really believe this stuff. You have to suspect there is a lot of astroturfing among the commenters. But the cheerleaders?

    • The economist, Audrey Zibelman, that Australia was fortunate to hire from NewYork to put in charge of or national grid is a true believer in levelled cost of generation. It is simply left to the magic hand of “diversity” to sort it all out.

      None of the modelling that underpins Australia’s charge with intermittents is based on short term time intervals for supply meeting demand. It is all based on generating capacity factors. It assumes wind will achieve 30% of its capacity all the time and solar 16% of its capacity all the time. The modelling assumes that geographic spread will even it all out – can you believe that! We are talking about a network that covers about 30 degrees of latitude and 15 degrees of longitude on a single island wedged between the Pacific and Indian oceans with most people living on the coast.

      • Yes. The way levelized costs work is not generally understood, but its fairly simple and the defects are obvious once it is laid out. Which is why you will get banned from any alarmist forum in which you do that.

        You take the total costs by year and discount them using the standard NPV method. This gives you the present value of the costs, ie you have allowed in your costing for the time value of money, and when the costs are incurred.

        You next take the total amount of energy generation over the lifetime of the costs and divide.

        The assumption, no sooner made explicit than seen to be absurd, is that no matter when in the lifetime of the installation the electricity is generated, it is equally valuable. All in one month, one year, in summers only, winters only….

        It is simple dishonesty. Which is why you are not allowed to call it.

  16. Is anyone running a ‘book’ (ledger of bets) on who will be the first to bale out of their ‘commitment’ ?
    My money is on Minneapolis.

  17. I saw some solar panels similarly covered with snow just the other day. It would be useful to increase their slope during the winter to help snow slide off. Besides the sun is lower in the sky.

  18. –Superstition is powerful. There is no evidence that 100 percent renewable efforts, all combined, will have a measurable effect on global temperatures. Instead, cities and states that pursue 100 percent renewable policies will learn the hard lesson of skyrocketing electricity prices.–

    And besides causing poverty, the total costs to public is enormous:
    “Germany has spent $780 billion in recent decades, Bloomberg reported, and it’s not enough to get them toward their national goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2020.”
    https://dailycaller.com/2017/09/22/germany-probably-wont-meet-its-global-warming-goal-despite-shelling-out-800-billion-for-green-energy/
    It’s something which would costs trillions of dollars and still not do anything to reduce CO2 levels, done so idiots can feel good plus make your countryside a eyesore and slaughters wildlife.

    We could get solar energy from Space, but we can’t do this at present time.
    Roughly after we explore the lunar polar regions and explore Mars, at such point in future it could be possible to get solar energy from space.
    Or exploration of Moon and Mars could lower the launch costs, and these launch must lower before, it’s possible to do this.
    We should explore lunar polar regions to determine if and where there is commercially minable lunar water and lunar water would made into rocket fuel. And if lunar rocket fuel is made, this would lower launch costs.
    And if Mars is explored to determine if and where human settlements on Mars could be, that also lowers launch costs, if one gets settlements on Mars.
    We should have explored the lunar polar regions, decades ago, and would been decades nearer to getting harvesting solar energy in space for use on Earth surface, but as it is, we probably looking at 40 to 50 year after exploring the Moon, before we could do this.
    And I am not talking about governments mining lunar water, or governments creating Mars settlements, or government paying harvest solar energy from Space. Instead it’s investment dollars, which seeking a return on their investments. So stuff that makes money rather government wasting money.
    But the exploration of Moon and Mars is something paid for by public money.
    And the amount spent to explore the Moon [to determine if and where there is minable lunar water] could be about 40 billion dollar over 10 year or 4 billion per year and completed within 10 years.
    And following this, the Mars exploration which could be at costs of about 5 billion per year, or first 10 years of Mars exploration would cost about 50 billion dollar. And this could require about 2 to 3 decades to determine where the best location for human settlements on Mars could be.
    But the significant lowering of launch cost depends the results of exploration- depends on whether commercial lunar water mining is begun, AND/OR if Mars begins to have martian settlements.

    Now NASA yearly budget is about 20 billion per year, and it possible that NASA would not need to have increase it’s budget, to do all this. NASA could spend less on other things, but probably more doable if NASA budget is increase by couple billion dollar, and it spends less on other things and also has increase [10% increase] of it’s total budget to do this needed exploration of the Moon and Mars.

    • Why go to all that trouble when in 30 years we will have fusion power too cheap to meter? /sarc

      (everyone knows that fusion power is coming in 30 years, they’ve been teaching us that since the late 1950s)

    • Germany has spent $780 billion — that is enough for 100 Nuclear power plants that would produce far less CO2, considering all aspects of using Wind/Solar. Could Germany even use all of the power from 100 NPPs? Proof Positive that the Renewable meme is not about climate change.

      • They fear the carnage and environmental destruction of nuclear power. I think it’s likely that the number of Germans who died from complications worsened by burning dirty brown coal with minimal pollution controls, over a period of four decades in the former DDR must have far exceeded the handful of deaths caused by Chernobyl. I don’t mention Fukushima or Three Mile Island since those events had no death toll. The same earnest voices claimed that the forests would be destroyed by acid rain by no later than 15 years ago. There is never any logical consistency to it, nor any memory of failed predictions. The proposed solutions always seem to involve impoverishing the west with dramatic constraints on energy use.

        Is it irrational or is it malign?

        cui bono?
        Who benefits from western countries foolishly squandering their wealth on alternative energy schemes that have no chance of being effective? In the past, who benefited from western countries voluntarily foregoing the use of nuclear power and remaining dependent on imported gas and oil? The answers to these questions more likely than not would explain what has really been going on for the past 50 years and in the current times.

        • In poorer countries, the elite are the masters, in richer countries the elite are “public servants”.
          Having billions of wealthy people requires more work to govern.
          And elites [especially if born into wealth and privilege ] are lazy.

        • “cui bono?
          Who benefits from western countries foolishly squandering their wealth on alternative energy schemes that have no chance of being effective?” Napoleon Bonaparte has been quoted as saying:
          “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake”

  19. Require any state that says it will have 100% renewables to be off the grid from other states. This will allow them to put their money where their mouth is and it will come home very rapidly that this is not possible in most places quite apart from the cost and then the updating costs as panels and wind turbines wear out. Also prosecute wind turbine owners for the deaths of any protected bird species – after all , its green isnt it? . But if voters keep voting in these idiots then they deserve what they get – sorry minority voters but that called democracy.

    • That’s how I feel about suburban houses with solar on the roofs. Get off the grid. You want ‘free’ power, go for it, but don’t expect the rest of us to fill in your baseload.

    • The only way these goals can be achieved is by sucking in “Renewable” power form other states and even other power grids. That means that when they do not have their 100% they are getting it from someone else. Problem is that as more states claim to be 100% there will be fewer fossil plants – it becomes cost prohibitive to maintain and man these plants with operators when not used. Then a long cold spell or long hot spell covering most of the north east (PA, NY, NJ, CT, VT, ME, DE, MD, OH, VA) the PJM grid means that there will also be weeks of brownouts, blackouts and misery. And in the winter add the fact that the majority of backup power will come from NG making problems twice as bad. If you live in one of these states supplied by the PJM grid, I strongly suggest (as a retired Electrical Engineer from an Electric Utility – Been there, seen it happen – Eastern PA – 1974, NJ – 1980 [dates approximate]) that you move to a home with a fireplace or add a Wood Stove that will heat your house and cook your food. Glad I had a fire place in those homes.

  20. The”future painful lesson” will not come until every state does not give cross border backup to ‘renewables’. Then and only then will the left wake up. Why are they going wind and solar? To lower CO2 levels. Bit hypocritical if CO2 producing biofuels are in the mix.

  21. Steve Goreham –

    Thanks for an interesting article. It wasn’t until I saw your graph of California System size, that I realized that these cities and states were not talking about DEPENDING 100% on renewables. They were talking about having 100% capacity in renewables. So the electrical generating capacity you have to have is: 100% dispatchable plus 100% renewables. Actually since renewables never produce “name plate” output , as the California graph shows, your renewables need more than 100% of your dispatchable capacity.

    • Exactly, and those businesses which claim to run on 100% renewable energy through similar deception ought to be investigated by advertising regulators.

  22. “100 Percent Renewable Energy—Poor Policy for Electricity Rate Payers”
    Going into the next ice age this is surely the right decision. I mean, if you want to kill billions.

    “In 1997 there was a project called GRIP (Greenland Ice Core Project) where they drilled deep cores into the ice in central Greenland. They went down as much as two miles deep and pulled the cores up so that they could look at ice that had formed as much as two hundred and fifty thousand years ago, and they determined that every Ice Age in the last quarter million years, every single Ice Age began in less than 20 years, beginning in less than twenty years. It went from temperatures and climate as warm as today into full-fledged glacial severity in less than twenty years.”
    – Robert Felix

    Shocking! Governments Are Preparing For A Mini Ice Age! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ0nQR9m3OI&t=6m23s

    It’s a fact that we are moving towards a new Ice Age , where the sea levels will probably go dramatically down.

    In the last ice age sea levels where 400 feet (~ 120 Meter) below the current sea levels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2iayxeT-eA&t=19m45s

    New Ice Age Ahead – http://ice-age-ahead-iaa.ca/
    Adapt 2030 – https://www.youtube.com/user/MyanmarLiving/videos
    Antarctica Froze up Warmer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2iayxeT-eA

    “Ice Age Near” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krJ0dx9eIk8
    “❄ We MUST PREPARE! John L Casey Presentation 2012 Global Cooling ☀” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhYjlLFRwyo

    Derweil:

    “The final phaseshift to the full ice age is near. … The videos have been produced to alert society of the great danger that Canada, Europa, Russia and the USA are facing to their existence by the incredible speed of the ongoing collapse of the solar system and with it the collapse of the climate on earth.”
    – Rolf Witzsche
    “To rouse the living, wake the dead” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIEZiDv2N7U

    “A sharp down-ramping of the solar activity has begun. The Earth is getting colder and drier. The climate that gave us the power to support us as a seven billion world population, is collapsing fast, globally. And as the climate collapses, the food supply collapses with it, and with it the population density collapses.”
    – Rolf Witzsche
    “Lessons from a Population Bottleneck” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7P9CYoC5aM

    “In times between the glaciation periods, populations had expanded, and then had collapsed again when the climate conditions became harsh during the glaciation stages.
    We are near such a collapse situation in our time. Our World population expanded explosively during the last 200 years of the present interglacial period. It had expanded from 1 billion in the year 1800, to the more than 7 billion that we have today. This wasn’t the result of improved breeding habits. It resulted from 3 factors coming together, which made this miracle possible. One factor was the dawn of science, which had its root in the development of classical culture. The second factor was the dawn of industrialization and technologies that together with science made improved agriculture possible that enabled more people to live.
    The third factor was the radical improvement of the climate that enabled scientific and technological progress to expand the base for human living almost without bounds. The up-ramping in solar activity from the early 1700s onward gave us almost 300 years of amazing global warming.
    The Little Ice Age if the 1600s was a scene of population decline by starvation, even cannibalism in some cases to ward of starvation. All this changed when the solar up-ramping began, and the climate recovered and became warm again.
    Modern agriculture would not not have been possible without this massive solar global warming that occurred. Most people in the world would not be living if the sun-caused global warming hadn’t happened.
    The vast majority of our food comes from agriculture. When agriculture thrives and expands, which is possible in warm climate, humanity thrives and expands with it.
    But now that the solar global warming event is over and the global warming is fading, one of the fundamental support for our living on this planet is fading with it. In fact the global warming that rescued us from the Little Ice Age isn’t just fading. It is collapsing, and agriculture is beginning to collapse with it.
    While the collapse is still only in the early stages, large-scale crop losses have already been experienced.”
    – Rolf Witzsche
    “Avoiding Population Collapse” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0DQT5Fgo0E

  23. So Gov. Brown says 2045, well he may well be gone by then. So lets have a practical demonsstration . Build a number of windmills around his home, and run it 100 % on green power.

    And what about when the Greens claim that wind and solar are cheaper than coal, adding all the stand by costs of the fossell fuel generaters or hydro to the mix.

    With the childrens court case coming up, will they put the little ones in the witness box and ask them the hard questions, or will the adults behind this farce step forward and do the talking ?

  24. So Gov. Brown says 2045, well he may well be gone by then. So lets have a practical demonstration . Build a number of windmills around his home, and run it 100 % on green power.

    And what about when the Greens claim that wind and solar are cheaper than coal, adding all the stand by costs of the fosssell fuel generaterrs or hydro to the mix.

    With the childrens court case coming up, will they put the little ones in the witness box and ask them the hard questions, or will the adults behind this farce step forward and do the talking ?

  25. General deployment of 100% renewables at country/state grid level for a first world country is quite frankly a nonsense. It can only exist via paper shuffling, number fudging and leaning on neighbours with real power. All for the sake of virtue signalling. How many times do we need to go around this loop.

    Very few locations on Earth can achieve anything like 100% renewables on a truly independent basis. Renewables have a useful role to play, 100% renewables with the current technology set is rainbows and unicorns stuff , or as we say in my country, bullshit.

  26. “Experience shows that utilities can only count on about 10 percent of the nameplate capacity”

    Pretty much-
    https://anero.id/energy/wind-energy/2018/october
    and if the thermal insurers aren’t amortising their investment but actually cross subsidising their unreliable competitors to cream revenue off the top at will then naturally they have to get much larger returns when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Either that or they go to the wall and leave the unreliables and fan club to enjoy their fallacy of composition at some stage.

  27. When I was young, in the 1950’s, I lived in a state of Australia which was 100% renewable electricity – the practical, unpopular kind – Hydro and had no connection to other grids. The system had a main water storage with a capacity of more than 12 months water – the equivalent of a battery with 12 months supply capacity. There was a 5 year drought and the system ran out of stored water. The result – draconian power rationing, power cuts and a mad scramble to purchase any second hand diesel-fired gas turbine generators which could be found world wide. Longer term, a large oil-fired power station was installed as backup. Imagine a 100% renewable system based on wind and solar with no fossil backup – a few cloudy, windless and very hot days and poof! no air conditioning, people dropping like flies and industry & commerce at a standstill.

  28. The mania about unilateral local wind and solar is extraordinary. Even if you accept the CO2 – warming scientific theory, it makes absolutely no sense.

    Its doing at great expense something which can have no effect on the supposed problem. Suppose Minneapolis, for instance, does go 100% renewable generation. What effect is that going to have on climate? None whatever. Its a tiny proportion of US electricity generation emissions, which are in turn a small proportion of US total emissions, which are in turn a small proportion of global emissions.

    It is like the government of Tuvalu deciding that its going to tackle local sea level rise by lowering the island’s local emissions from electricity generation.

    The great thing about the latest IPCC report was that it finally got real about the implications of what they claim to believe. And the much derided piece recently in the Guardian also got real about what the IPCC report means.

    If they are all correct, then what is essential to the survival of civilization is the complete abandonment of all fossil fuel use. All biofuel use as well. It has to be, if they are right, global and total. It means the end of Phoenix and the other cities that depend on air conditioning. The end of the suburbs and the freeways and the shopping malls. Closing down most industry and construction. It probably means the end of the big Chinese cities, moving the population back to the country, to work at who knows what, and it certainly means scrapping their 100 million installed base of cars, closing down their huge steel industry, closing down their construction because of the carbon intensity of cement…. It means moving to non-oil based agriculture…. It means India ceasing to industrialize….

    What the greens are now advocating is the logical and correct consequence of what they claim to believe, its the total abolition of industrial civilization.

    If this is what is needed, then for Minneapolis, as a for instance, to reduce its emissions by installing wind and solar, even if that could be done, is as much use as handing the passengers on the Titanic tea cups, and telling them to get to work bailing. Because every ittle helps.

    You can get a reasonable idea what the IPCC prescriptions really mean if you imagine what it would take in terms of world prices to do it. You would probably have to go to $20 a gallon or higher gasoline and heating oil, and similar prices for coal and wood for burning. And this would have to be worldwide.

    This is what Minneapolis needs to focus on if they are really persuaded that emissions are dooming civilization. What they are actually proposing to do is totally pointless.

    I suggest, if you want to get some sense into these discussions, going to the forums in which these issues are discussed, and advocating what it would actually take. The more people there are in the comments section of the Guardian advocating £20 a liter for UK gasoline and heating oil, the quicker minds will clarify. Make the greens face the logical consequences of what they claim to believe, by advocating what they should be advocating if they were logically consequent.

    Then lets see who really believes what.

    • Except it never works like that.

      I submit, what they really want to do is completely remove the Middle Class and return to a simple Feudal society where the Lords don’t even have to provide security.

      All of these costs that would be required to raise would receive immediate push-back by the Entitlement and Fixed Income demographic who would loudly demand “affordable ____” where ___ is any real or felt need e.g. housing, medical, utility, education, food, etc.

      The nobles would then take that $20/unit price and make it $30/unit whereas the difference would be given to the Entitlement Class as a means to subsidize the Evil raise in prices due to the Bogeyman.

    • “If this is what is needed, then for Minneapolis, as a for instance, to reduce its emissions by installing wind and solar, even if that could be done, is as much use as handing the passengers on the Titanic tea cups, and telling them to get to work bailing. Because every ittle [bit] helps.”

      Good comparison!

      This proposed futile effort by Minneapolis is the same as the futile efforts of European nations and Australia to fix CAGW. Meanwhile, China and India and others are increasing their CO2 output by leaps and bounds at least until the year 2030.

      The only sane solution for those who believe CO2 is a problem is to support replacing future power generation with nuclear reactors. Nuclear reactors don’t add CO2 to the atmosphere and the political Right would support the Greens if they called for this kind of plan, and all the complications of nuclear power are fixable here and now.

      Wake up, Greens! There’s only one way to get from here to there: Nuclear powerplants.

    • Sure it looks manageable when viewed monthly, but you need to look at the hour by hour data and what risk of how much shortfall you are prepared to take. A windless and sunless week is likely to wreak havoc.

    • To supply the total instantaneous load and charge the magic batteries at the same time, you’ll actually need more than 6 times the nameplate rating of the renewables.

      Someone should sue the companies that claim a solar or winding installation can power X-number of homes based upon the nameplate rating of the renewables. It’s false advertising!

  29. old engineer summarized it very well.
    Yesterday, I dived into the Danish wind turbine Ragnarok, after reading countless headlines claiming Denmark during 2017 produced all it’s electricity with wind. I thought to myself: Can that be correct, why would they then regularly import from Norway, Sweden and Germany? I was also looking for the actual average CF (Capacity Factor) during 2017. Here is the calculation I did and my reference links:
    —————————–
    Wind Denmark during 2017

    Wind production:
    14700GWh over 365 days
    1.68GW on average
    Using 6100 wind turbines
    275kW average output
    Total capacity 5.5GW
    31% CF on average

    Reference:
    https://techxplore.com/news/2018-01-output-denmark-year-record-setter.html
    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/14/total-wind-capacity-surges-total-number-turbines-may-soon-plummet-indulging-4-decades-danish-wind-energy-data/
    http://energynumbers.info/capacity-factors-at-danish-offshore-wind-farms
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/denmark.aspx

    ____________________________
    The most interesting and fact filled reading was actually the one from World-Nuclear above, where they roughly calculated that only half of the energy from Danish windmills are actually used by the Danes. Add to that, that Danes use about 10% from imported nuclear. Here are two paragraphs from World-Nuclear:

    Denmark’s electricity mix

    Robust connection between Norway’s hydro turbines and West Denmark’s wind turbines holds the key to successful exploitation of wind for Denmark, and the German and Swedish connections are nearly as importantc. The power imported from Sweden (5.2 TWh in 2011, 2.7 TWh in 2010, 3.8 TWh in 2009, 6.6 TWh in 2008, 5.0 TWh in 2007, 1.7 TWh in 2006, 7.6 TWh in 2005) is almost half nuclear and half hydro. The power imported from Germany (2.9 TWh in 2011, 6.4 TWh in 2010, 3.6 TWh in 2009, 1.4 TWh in 2008, 1.5 TWh in 2007, 4.0 TWh in 2006, 0.6 TWh in 2005) is largely generated by brown coal and nuclear power. (Germany itself imports 9 to 20 TWh/yr from France, which is 75% nuclear.) Norway is almost all hydro.

    Hence nuclear power provides an essential part of Denmark’s electricity. In 2011, with imports of 2.9 TWh from Germany and 5.2 TWh from Sweden, it would seem that about 3.5TWh used was nuclear – nearly 11% of total final consumption, and one third of the domestic consumption from wind. This fluctuates year to year, mainly due to NordPool prices, and Energinet.dk analysis showed 1% nuclear in 2010, 7% in 2011 and 14% in 2012.

    As far as I can see, Denmark is still a poster child for expensive, but successful, high utilization of wind, which is largely due to the huge hydro batteries in Norway. Most other regions or countries do not have these geologic circumstances to go as far as Denmark. Add to that, that Denmark export about 97% of their wind turbines, so the mentality and social conduct is to love windmills (I worked as engineer in the industry in the mid 1980’s).

  30. I wrote about this back in 2004, so why are we still having this debate now? If they were serious about renewables, they would have started building huge pumped storage systems ten years ago. But they are nkt serious, because they do not want people to know the TRUE cost of renewables.

    In the UK, we would need 12,000 gW.hr of backup, for 10 windless winter days. Dinorwig, our largest backup system, stores 10 gW.hr. So we would need 1,200 Dinorwigs to make renewables work. But Dinorwig was the most expensive power station in the world, because the Greens forced it to be built inside a mountain (yup – one of the largest caverns excavated). We could NEVER afford 1,200 Dinorwigs.

    And that is without electric transport. If we had that too, then we would need 2,400 Dinorwigs. And if space-heating also went electric, then make that 4,800 Dinorwigs. (Plus the millions of wind turbines to generate that amount of electricity).

    Renewable energy, our downfall.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/25/renewable-energy-our-downfall

    R

  31. There are two elephants in the fossil free room.
    Firstly the stated intention to turn transport over to electric vehicles.
    The second is to turn domestic heating and cooling over to electricity.
    How can this be done with renewables?

  32. I’d guess with 97% certainly, the little girl is on the roof of a UK chicken shed.
    (I’d suggest those those are ‘Moon Boots’ she’s wearing)

    And in this Modern Day And Age, absolutely horrifying!!!

    Where the f*** is that girl’s parents, letting her ‘work’ at height, in slippery conditions and near a fibre cement (possibly asbestos) roof and No safety harness.
    Even before there are 4, 5 or 600 volts of DC power up there.

    What is going on in that picture is *easily* worth 3 years in jail for whoever sent her up there

  33. Pity the 100%-renewables policies were not implemented in CA and HI in time for the effects to be felt on November 6, 2018.

  34. With Greenies running the show, there’s no need to change the clocks because it’s always bat-shit crazy time.

  35. If California elected officials only had a brain. By 2045, wind and solar will be remembered as efforts by energy-ignorant global warmists that were ridiculously stupid, even for Californians. Everyone in the know WRT future energy technologies knows that molten salt nuclear reactors can provide low carbon power at prices cheaper than fossil fuels or anything else. Commercialization could begin within a few years if the regulators got off their duff and the govts provided just a fraction of the moneys sunk into wind/solar and other nonsensical technologies.

    • If the ‘D’ Party manages to capture the Legislative Branch, you can completely forget about practical energy. California has shown us what the D Party envisions as your future. That is their plan for Western Civilization.

      No such impediments on China, India et al.

  36. old engineer summarized it very well.
    Yesterday, I dived into the Danish wind turbine Ragnarok, after reading countless headlines claiming Denmark during 2017 produced all it’s electricity with wind. I thought to myself: Can that be correct, why would they then regularly import from Norway, Sweden and Germany? I was also looking for the actual average CF (Capacity Factor) during 2017. Here is the calculation I did and my reference links:
    —————————–
    Wind Denmark during 2017

    Wind production:
    14700GWh over 365 days
    1.68GW on average
    Using 6100 wind turbines
    275kW average output
    Total capacity 5.5GW
    31% CF on average

    Reference:
    https://techxplore.com/news/2018-01-output-denmark-year-record-setter.html
    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/14/total-wind-capacity-surges-total-number-turbines-may-soon-plummet-indulging-4-decades-danish-wind-energy-data/
    http://energynumbers.info/capacity-factors-at-danish-offshore-wind-farms
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/denmark.aspx

    ____________________________
    The most interesting and fact filled reading was actually the one from World-Nuclear above, where they roughly calculated that only half of the energy from Danish windmills are actually used by the Danes. Add to that, that Danes use about 10% from imported nuclear. Here are two paragraphs from World-Nuclear:

    Denmark’s electricity mix

    Robust connection between Norway’s hydro turbines and West Denmark’s wind turbines holds the key to successful exploitation of wind for Denmark, and the German and Swedish connections are nearly as importantc. The power imported from Sweden (5.2 TWh in 2011, 2.7 TWh in 2010, 3.8 TWh in 2009, 6.6 TWh in 2008, 5.0 TWh in 2007, 1.7 TWh in 2006, 7.6 TWh in 2005) is almost half nuclear and half hydro. The power imported from Germany (2.9 TWh in 2011, 6.4 TWh in 2010, 3.6 TWh in 2009, 1.4 TWh in 2008, 1.5 TWh in 2007, 4.0 TWh in 2006, 0.6 TWh in 2005) is largely generated by brown coal and nuclear power. (Germany itself imports 9 to 20 TWh/yr from France, which is 75% nuclear.) Norway is almost all hydro.

    Hence nuclear power provides an essential part of Denmark’s electricity. In 2011, with imports of 2.9 TWh from Germany and 5.2 TWh from Sweden, it would seem that about 3.5TWh used was nuclear – nearly 11% of total final consumption, and one third of the domestic consumption from wind. This fluctuates year to year, mainly due to NordPool prices, and Energinet.dk analysis showed 1% nuclear in 2010, 7% in 2011 and 14% in 2012.

    As far as I can see, Denmark is still a poster child for expensive, but successful, high utilization of wind, which is largely due to the huge hydro batteries in Norway. Most other regions or countries do not have these geologic circumstances to go as far as Denmark. Add to that, that Denmark export about 97% of their wind turbines, so the mentality and social conduct is to love windmills (I worked as engineer in the industry in the mid 1980’s).

    • You will have to find out Denmark’s power usage, to determine if they are correct, and are (sort of) 100% renewable.

      Denmark exports to Scandinavia when there is lots of wind, who store this as hydro, and then export it back when the wind is low. Trouble for Denmark, is Scandinavia imports at 50% cost, and exports at 150% cost. Hence Denmark has the highest energy costs in Europe. And their system would not work, if they could not use Scandinavian mountains for storage.

      R

      • I do not believe any Norwegian etc hydro has pumped storage… rather exported wind substitutes for hydro – water not used can be used later.

  37. Guys (and gals), this is the most startling statement in this whole thread, so far:

    “they determined that every Ice Age in the last quarter million years, every single Ice Age began in less than 20 years, beginning in less than twenty years. ”

    so, when did the current 20 year clock start?

    • We are living in an Ice Age, and it has periods which are called glacial period and interglacial period.
      We currently living in an interglacial period an Ice Age which has lasted over a million years.

      Your average global temperature is about 15 C [59 F] and this is fairly cold.
      Humans prefer warmer air temperature which is called room temperature that is around 20 C.
      Assuming humans are wearing clothes, 20 C air temperature is warm enough.
      Humans like warmer air temperatures because human are a tropical animal.
      And in the tropics whether it’s glacial or interglacial periods, the average temperature is higher than 20 C.
      What happens during a glacial period is the average temperature outside of the tropical zone, get much colder than it is now. But even presently the air temperature outside the tropics is cold- we have global average temperature of 15 C, because the average temperature of the tropics increase the global average temperature. Or France average temperature is about 9 C and France is warmed by the gulf stream, and would be about 10 C colder were the tropical ocean was not transporting heat via the gulf stream to Europe. Or Canada which not warmed by tropical ocean water, currently as average temperature of about – 4 C. But during glacial period, Canada and France get a lot colder than there current average temperatures. Unlike the tropics.

      The entire ocean average temperature is currently about 3.5 C.
      During glacial period the range of this temperature is about 1 to 3 C, and during interglacial period this average ocean temperature is about 3 to 5 C.

  38. Iffen Minneapolis continues with their “FEEL GOOD” plan to attaining 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, me thinks they will surely be freezing their arses off more n‘ more each year as their “switchover” progresses, …… because, to wit:

    The climate of Minneapolis–Saint Paul — Due to its location in the northern and central portion of the U.S., the Twin Cities has the coldest average temperature of any major metropolitan area in the nation. Winters can be cold, summer is warm to hot and frequently humid, snowfall is common in the winter and thunderstorms with heavy rainfall occur during the spring, summer and autumn.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Minneapolis%E2%80%93Saint_Paul

  39. Wind and solar cannot replace output from traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants, despite claims to the contrary. Wind and solar are intermittent generators.

    Hydropower is a renewable source that can replace traditional power plants, but even this source is insufficient in years of drought or low snow runoff.

    It is not impossible, but the capital investments can be high.
    Norway use only renewables in electricity production, and Sweden use only renewables and nuclear. For Norway’s part it is 96% hydro, 2% wind and 2 % from heat plants. For Sweden it is 40% Hydro, 40% Nuclear, 11% wind and 9% from heat plants. The heat plants use mostly biological fuels.

    Hydroelectric with pumped storage are the only usable solution for storing really huge amounts of energy. The investment cost is high, but the facilities, i.e. tunnels and dams, last for at least 100 years.
    /Jan

    • Jan Kjetil Andersen – November 4, 2018 at 6:31 am

      Norway use only renewables in electricity production, and Sweden use only renewables and nuclear. For Norway’s part it is 96% hydro, 2% wind and 2 % from heat plants. For Sweden it is 40% Hydro, 40% Nuclear, 11% wind and 9% from heat plants.

      But, but, but, … Jan Kjetil, …… most of the “wacko” warminists, especially here in the US, deny that “hydro” is a renewable ….. and they literally hate the thought of “nuclear”. Wind and solar are their preferred “go to” electrical power source.

  40. I have calculated the true cost of renewables in the UK, something the Chief Scientist at the DECC called out as “an appalling delusion”, but without publicly costing it. But I picked up the envelope he dropped and “did the arithmetic”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/03/idea-of-renewables-powering-uk-is-an-appalling-delusion-david-mackay?CMP=share_btn_fb

    Adding the storage in the UK (very small pumped opportunity), to provide the essential majority supply backup fossil currently provides unrewarded, roughly increases the unit cost by a factor of TEN, mostly storage cost for week w/o renewables. This is an undeliverable solution, as the UK is too small to generate enough renewable energy to power today’s demand if covered entirely with wind turbines, including the Queen’s coastal waters. I also quantify that. The paper seeks a journal that is willing to publish it. My own IET declined because the engineering included economics, no comment on the technical basics because of course they are simple deterministic physics so no easy way to reject them, apart from a mistake I can simply correct. Here it is as a w.i.p. on SSRN. The answer is £1.2 Trillion for a weeks support in the winter with no sun and no wind, renewed every year. Enough for for the first 4 years of batteries to build enough nuclear power to deliver a future fossil free transport and heating free tripled demand for 60 years at £5Billon per GW CAPEX. Universal Metric: Repeat purchase cost of battery backup is. c.£50B pa per TWh (nb: Today’s prices, half what they were, less any future volume discount)

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3274611

    If you would like another effort for a hotter country such as Australia using solar PV and pumped storage Peter Lang’s paper is a good one.

    http://www.solaripedia.com/files/393.pdf

    Euan Mearns has also taken a look at the reality of the delusional words and undeliverable “policies”.

  41. For any country or region contemplating going 100% intermittent renewable (solar, wind) I have only one thing to say:

    Please, please, please DO IT!

    Black comedy / farce is what the climate debate needs. It has too many serious po-faces.

  42. And this From the UCS Blog
    Despite Trump Roadblocks, Full Steam Ahead for Clean Energy Transition

    “The low cost of renewable energy was also a primary reason offered by Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) executives when they announced just last week they will move up several coal plant retirements—amounting to 1,800 MW of capacity—and be entirely coal free within the next decade. Consider that coal accounts for more than 70% of Indiana’s power generation mix today and NIPSCO’s decision becomes even more jaw-dropping. In addition, while final decisions have not yet been made, NIPSCO’s own analysis suggests that the most cost-effective strategy for replacing their coal fleet is through a mix of wind, solar and battery storage.”

  43. Worth pointing out that in 2018 the number of wind turbines in the UK has tripled since 2011 to 9,100 with a capacity of 20,152 MW. Energy produced (MWh/p.a.) is 54,550,446

    Also additional HVDC lines have been built to ship that power.

    Quite a different picture!
    (Perhaps writers could try and use current stats?)

    https://www.renewableuk.com/page/UKWEDhome

    Right, I’m off back to sleep.

    • griff, time for a reality and math check:

      1) Your stated capacity of 20,152 MW divided by your stated 9,100 wind turbines in the UK amounts to 2.2 MW average capacity per turbine . . . this is consistent with the maximum rated power output of today’s typical industrial-size, large wind turbines, so one must conclude the UK doesn’t have many smaller size wind turbines contributing to the power grid.

      2) However, for wind turbines, although industry estimates project an annual output of 30-40% of the 24/7/365 theoretical for good locations, real-world experience shows that annual outputs of 15-30% of capacity (i.e., a “capacity factor” of 15-30%) are more typical, accounting for actual wind vector variations, severe weather shutdowns, and maintenance needs.

      3) Your claim of 54,550,446 MWh per annum based on a maximum capacity of 20,152 MW implies an average capacity factor equivalent to full power delivered for 31% of the year . . . this is at the very top end of the range of real-world experience.

      Enjoy your dreams of ideal technology operating in an ideal world.

      • griff, my apologies about erroneous capacity factor in my Item #3 above: your equivalent value of a 31% capacity factor for industrial wind turbines is right in line with the US Energy Information Agency number of 34% capacity factor for US wind turbines over the five-year period 2013-2017. My “real-world” experience capacity factor range of “15-30%” was based on an old reference article.

        Unfortunately (for me), I decided to check on this only after I made the above post.

  44. From the article: “Households and businesses will experience the shock of rapidly rising electricity prices as more renewables are added to the system.”

    Of course, at the same time this is happening there is the clear projection of increased demand for grid electricity due to the increasing (largely government incentivized) push for electrical vehicles to replace ICE-powered automobiles and trucks.

    One possible result per the Law of Unintended Consequences: the government-mandated push for “renewable energy” causes electricity rates to go so high that it destroys the government-incentivized marketability of EVs.

    Oh well.

  45. It is time, then. To invest in California REITs.

    Real Estate Investment Trusts.

    Surely, REITS are forming to invest in California real estate most likely to host bird choppers?
    Early investors could see their shares climb as California ends up paying “fair market value” for scarcer and scarcer suitable land.

  46. “Renewable electricity” is when the electrons are recycled?
    Or when the energy producing device grows on tree?
    Or when the production stops when the Sun goes off?

  47. The Left has gone completely insane.

    IPCC’s recent projection for world governments to replace all fossil fuels with wind, solar and food (aka bio-fuel), was $122 trillion…

    To replace all natural gas and coal fired plants with Thorium Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) would cost world governments around $5~7 trillion (mo’ bedda):

    Bar Napkin Calculation: 100 LWRs currently produce 20% of all US electricity needs, 500 MSRs could produce 100%, the US consumes roughly 20% of all world power, 2,500 MSRs could meet current global energy needs, MSRs cost $2 billion/MSR= $5 trillion.

    China expects to have commercial MSRs available from 2030. By 2030, actual global temps will likely be 3+ standard deviations below CAGW’s model projections for 30+ years, which will be sufficient disparity and duration to officially disconfirm the stupid CAGW hypothesis, so the whole thing will be moot anyway:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20171214071933if_/https://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/Meetings/2016/2016-10-31-11-03-NPTDS/05_TMSR_in_China.pdf

    Just let the free market decide what and when new energy technologies will replace fossil fuels. Leftist governments will just FUBAR everything..

    • Mod— Sorry for the double post…. My first post didn’t immediately appear, thought it got censored, so I rewrote it.

  48. IPCC’s 2018 Climate Report projected $122 trillion to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar.

    To replace all global fossil fuel electricity production with Thorium Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) would cost around $5 trillion….

    Bar Napkin Calculation: 100 LWRs currently produce about 20% of US’ electrical needs. 500 MSRs could produce 100%. The US currently consumes 20% of all global electricity. About 2,500 MSRs could supply all global electrical production, cost per MSR would be around $2 billion= $5 trillion.

    China projects they’ll have commercial MSRs by 2030:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20171214071933if_/https://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloadable/Meetings/2016/2016-10-31-11-03-NPTDS/05_TMSR_in_China.pdf

    MSRs’ energy production costs are projected to be around $0.03/kWh, compared to $0.06/kWh for natural gas/coal plants 50% cheaper) , and $0.30/kWh for wind and solar (10 TIMES cheaper)…

    Just let the free market decide what and when new energy technologies will be utilized to replace fossil fuels.

  49. “As California adds renewable capacity to approach 100 percent renewables, generated cost of electricity will likely triple.”

    I think it will be much more than that. Here’s why.

    Consider how much it costs to build a three story building. Then add one more story to make it four. The cost of adding one more story is not the cost of the top floor, it is the cost of lifting the building up and inserting another floor under the weight of the three story building. Consider how much it costs to insert an additional floor under a 100 story building to make it three metres taller.

    As the renewables target approaches 100%, the shortfall has to be met with additional (excess) capacity that is only needed a few % of the time. Consider what that addition costs. Even to have a 95% of guarantee that the power will always be on, there will have to be tremendous over-capacity. Overcapacity comes at a very high cost of that power.

    The idea that ‘the wind is always blowing somewhere’ is fanciful fairy tale stuff. Yeah, it is blowing somewhere but not hard, or consistently. That shortfall has to be covered.

    To have 100% renewables will require so much overcapacity as to render that last 5% incredibly expensive. This is straight math. If you are short 5% under some conditions, batteries, hydro included, you may have to double the entire system to close that little gap for some sort of warrantied performance.

    This is easily achieved for coal or gas or nuclear power which is why we are used to having the lights on each time the switch is flipped.

    What comes after a rude awakening? An obscene awakening? The goal is admirable, but the facts are inescapably built into the equation. The cost of twenty-fold over-capacity comes at a twenty-fold cost increase over the cost of ‘rated capacity’.

    • It is always interesting to see you comments Crispin, but I think you exaggerate a bit this time. I will be costly to go 100 percent renewable, but I think hydroelectric pumped storage is the key factor that makes it achievable.

      Blasjo in Norway with a capacity of 7.8 TWh is a good example.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulla-F%C3%B8rre

      /Jan

  50. If renewables can only supply 10% of nameplate power, then the solution is build 10X more plants.
    If the seasonable variables dictate twice the number of plants, the answer is simple, just double the number of plants to produce the power that is needed.
    The job creation and sustainable jobs is justifiable to the communist inspired politicians.

  51. The combined output of Wind and Solar sources, the only renewable sources with a growth potential, averaged 35 GW into the grid in 2017. Consumption was 468 GW. Thus 435 GW is needed to achieve the 100% renewable-electricity generation. Actually more, for the future demand is likely to be higher for the population growth and industrialization. Should electric cars become ubiquitous – see Gasoline vs. Electric Cars[6] – they alone would be consuming another 110 GW lifting the total to 543 GW. And the net W&S would need to be higher yet as the manufacture, maintenance and disposal of the W&S plants, every 20 years, consume electricity and fossil fuels. Ad to it the energy both require during no-wind and no-sun periods. That many times greater than present output may be theoretically possible, but the high cost of W&S electricity over the current one would have dire consequences for the US, to what purpose?

    • Well, I see one purpose.

      With 100% renewables and only electric transport we would eliminate virtually all air pollution. The air in city centers would be as clean as on mountain tops.

      That is something, but yes, the investments would be high.
      /Jan

      • Not just high. Impossible. There is no way renewable energy sources can ever produce the average power to maintain our standard of living, let alone help it grow. Yes, the air may be cleaner but we will starve. I’d rather eat healthy.

          • “Proven” and always “unproven.” Repeatedly. Since the early ’70s. So far the unproven (realists) have been correct. Nothing has changed since ’70s. Wind mills are the same and solar cells are marginally more efficient. Nothing to brag about. There are still 433 GW to go for wind and solar for 100 %. Check for yourself how many centuries it would take to get there when ALL turbines and panes have to be built anew five times a century. Let us know what you think. (This data is from the Dept. of Energy.)

          • Thousands similar articles were published since 1960s, and many contained the terms “significant,” “lower,” “higher,” etc. without any qualifiers, i.e. numbers traceable to a reliable source as the following numbers do, obtained from the US Dept. of Energy Statistical Review.
            Wind and solar, the only renewable sources of significance, would have to be producing an additional 433 GW above the present 35 GW in order to achieve the 100 % renewable-electricity generation. At the present trend, now pretty linear, it would take two centuries for W&S to reach just the 468 GW, which is the 2017 average electricity consumption in the United States. Upcoming electric cars would need another 110 GW. Add to it the population growth – see the consumption when there are 500 million of us. Consider that W&S units need rebuilding 10 times a century. Most of us would work for the W&S industry building, erecting, maintaining, tearing down, disposing of windmills and solar panels by the time we reach that 100 % goal.
            As for the U.S. primary energy consumption of 3300 GW, I prefer not to think about that being replaced by W&S output. There are people who want for 100 % renewable ENERGY.
            Let me know how do your numbers work out. I will judge for myself if a change is “significant;” no need to say that.

  52. This is what Mid American Energy wants for Iowa. They can keep it. Like everyone else where we get snow, we get ice storms, too. I remember January and February of 2010. 2″ thick ice on the trees for a week before it finally started to thaw. Then the wind picked up and blew like crazy. Can you imagine what that 2″ of ice would do to turbines and blades – and if Iowa was running on energy all from wind? No thanks.

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