Wind/solar mandates are a costly fail, reports University of Chicago study

Via h/t to CTM

Even minimal increases (1-4%) in wind/solar raise electricity prices 11-17%. Reducing CO2 emissions costs $130 to $460 per ton. Disaster. Don’t believe us. Believe the University of Chicago.

Abstract :

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are the largest and perhaps most popular climate policy in the US, having been enacted by 29 states and the District of Columbia. Using the most comprehensive panel data set ever compiled on program characteristics and key outcomes, we compare states that did and did not adopt RPS policies, exploiting the substantial di↵erences in timing of adoption. The estimates indicate that 7 years after passage of an RPS program, the required renewable share of generation is 1.8 percentage points higher and average retail electricity prices are 1.3 cents per kWh, or 11% higher; the comparable figures for 12 years after adoption are a 4.2 percentage point increase in renewables’ share and a price increase of 2.0 cents per kWh or 17%. These cost estimates significantly exceed the marginal operational costs of renewables and likely reflect costs that renewables impose on the generation system, including those associated with their intermittency, higher transmission costs, and any stranded asset costs assigned to ratepayers. The estimated reduction in carbon emissions is imprecise, but, together with the price results, indicates that the cost per metric ton of CO2 abated exceeds $130 in all specifications and ranges up to $460, making it least several times larger than conventional estimates of the social cost of carbon. These results do not rule out the possibility that RPS policies could dynamically reduce the cost of abatement in the future by causing improvements in renewable technology.

Source: University of Chicago Web | PDF

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
April 24, 2019 6:18 am

There are numbers that show that the presently available total work-force will be insufficient to manufacture, operate, maintain, tear down, dispose of, and erect all those millions of wind and solar plants that would be needed anew every 20 years. All of us would work for the renewable-power generation industry, its operators, suppliers, contractors, maintenance, line crews, etc. And we should recognize that jobs are a (labor) cost that raises the cost of energy to customers. Employing robots instead, as one “solution,” implies more energy needed which requires more W&S plants to produce it, which requires more …… (you got it).


Harry Passfield
Reply to  jake
April 24, 2019 6:39 am

I read (On WUWT?) that a wind turbine cannot generates enough electricity in its lifetime to provide enough to power the manufacturing process required to make its replacement. Could that be true?

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 7:07 am

Absolutely not! The ‘pay back’ time for all CO2 from manufacture, transport, construction and ultimate demolition is covered on average within 18 months.

Curious George
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 7:21 am

Just in case – no link. As always.

Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 7:41 am

This analysis reviews and synthesizes the literature on the net energy return for electric power generation by wind turbines. Energy return on investment (EROI) is the ratio of energy delivered to energy costs. We examine 119 wind turbines from 50 different analyses, ranging in publication date from 1977 to 2007. We extend on previous work by including additional and more recent analyses, distinguishing between important assumptions about system boundaries and methodological approaches, and viewing the EROI as function of power rating. Our survey shows an average EROI for all studies (operational and conceptual) of 25.2 (n = 114; std. dev = 22.3). The average EROI for just the operational studies is 19.8 (n = 60; std. dev = 13.7). This places wind in a favorable position relative to fossil fuels, nuclear, and solar power generation technologies in terms of EROI.

Ron Long
Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 8:01 am

Mark, their analysis is based on EROI calculated on the “power rating”, and not on actual delivered power.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 8:30 am

Mark Bahner

Extracting from the quote, “Our survey shows an average EROI for all studies … of 25.2 (…; std. dev = 22.3).” Let’s look more closely. The average is 25.2 and 1 SD is 22.3. That means that there is only a 68% probability that the correct value is even between 2.9 and 47.5. Does that really say much about how well we know the average value? Its like “Pick a number between 0 and 50.” Strictly speaking, the numbers should have been rounded off to 20 +/-20. The quote doesn’t give me confidence that the people doing the meta-analysis really understand what they are doing.

For that matter, I’m not sure the person supplying the quote understood what he read.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 8:54 am


Actually they are not basing in on “power rating alone, but instead on “power rating x capacity factor”, at least that is what I took from reading the paper. This would be a fair assessment of energy returned by an operational wind turbine, but they are guessing at the capacity factor for conceptual ones.

There are a lot of other problems with the study. First methodology: They clearly state that there are two primary methods to perform an EROI analysis, and one averages a return of 12 and the other averages a return of 24. A hybrid of the two would likely produce something in between, but already one must question the value of such a study based on any competing methods with so much based on the “subjective decisions” of the analyzer. I would suggest that any number produced by such an analysis should be read as “value +/- 50%”, so their number of 25 would safely be in the range 12.5 to 37.5. Given the tendency for bias in this field, I would tend to use the lower figure.

Second, they clearly state that there is a difference between the value they calculated for operational and conceptual wind turbines (25.2) versus just operational ones (19.8). They claim it is due to the older less efficient turbines, but likely a lot of it is due to optimistic projects of conceptual projects. This would put a safe lower boundary at around 10, but up to around 15 would still be believable. (I am assuming I would adopt different values for their “subjective decisions” as I am more conservative than most)

They also left out the higher energy invested in the distribution of energy from remote locations, but I doubt this changes the math by much.

Needless to say, I think the point that they return more energy than they consume is safely made. I don’t find this at all surprising, and is not why I am against the wholesale distribution of wind turbines.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 9:09 am

They do have a capacity factor included on page 221, but some are laughably big, 30%? More importantly, it does not factor in indirect inefficiencies (such as are noted in this article). It also does not list any of its calculations, sources, or what was factored in.

Their only “results” section, Table one, doesn’t even include the construction, production, and decommissioning numbers that are key to their findings. There’s no math or even source data. This is one step away from a completely unsupported assertion.

Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 9:28 am

The study assumes that the power generated is equal to the power being delivered to the customer.
Given the remote location of most windmill sites, transmission losses are going to be higher than with conventional power.
They are also not including the energy involved in setting up and wiring such a very distributed power source.
They also are not included the energy needed for maintenance which for windmills has already proven to be higher than conventional sources.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 10:15 am

That study does not include maintenance costs nor backup power (storage or otherwise) costs. Those two alone will make a huge difference in the analysis. Not only that, this is a meta analysis, which means they didn’t even go out and collect their own data. I call this the “throw stuff in a blender and hope it tastes good” technique.

michael hart
Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 11:08 am

Any answer will depend strongly on where the turbine is located and hence the amount of time it actually spends generating power. An honest researcher will explicitly try to take this into account.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 3:54 pm

EROIE on an unbuffered basis for wind might easily be in the high teens. But by the time you account for intermittency, it might be a factor of four lower, putting it into the critical/inadequate zone for the functioning of a modern society

Reply to  Curious George
April 24, 2019 6:39 pm

“For that matter, I’m not sure the person supplying the quote understood what he read.”

I’m sure I didn’t understand it as well as you think you do. So I’d appreciate your answers to these questions:

1) Harry Passfield wrote, “I read (On WUWT?) that a wind turbine cannot generates enough electricity in its lifetime to provide enough to power the manufacturing process required to make its replacement. Could that be true?”

My question is: Of the 60 studies of operational wind turbines evaluated in this study how many of the studies indicated that wind turbines “could not provide enough to power the manufacturing process required to make its replacement”?

2) Based on the results of the 60 studies of operational wind turbines evaluated in this study, what was the average number of months for energy “pay back”?

3) Based on the results for the 60 studies of operational wind turbines evaluated in this study, and the following study of the characteristics of the fleet of wind turbines added in the U.S. in 2017, what do you estimate is the energy average EROI for the U.S. fleet installed in 2017, and the average “energy pay back” period?

Reply to  Mark Bahner
April 25, 2019 1:28 am

Thanks for posting the link.
There is one very interesting sentence in that report:”market contraction anticipated beginning in 2021 as those tax incentives are phased out.”
Once again, if PV and wind are so much “better” and “cheaper” why are subsidies required?

Reply to  Curious George
April 25, 2019 9:09 am

Mark Bahner posts an energy dot gov website to provide unbiased “evidence”??? There’s yer problem…..

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Curious George
April 25, 2019 2:33 pm

Mark Bahner
Your questions are unrelated to my criticism of the study. In short, the statistics don’t provide strong support for the claim of the EROI being well characterized. My criticism of you is that you would use the study when it is so poor.

I doubt that the energy analysis properly takes into account the myriad energy drains such as are related to mining and refining the rare earths that go into the magnets, similarly for the copper wiring and the steel towers. Do the energy analyses take into account the mining energy costs of the limestone, the energy for calcining it, and transporting it to the sites to make the concrete pads? Do the energy analyses take into account transporting all the parts to be assembled at the sites, and constructing roads to allow cranes to access the sites?

Max Porath
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 7:28 am

Griff – The question was whether the wind turbine would ever generate enough power in its lifetime to power the manufacturing process to make its replacement. Not the mythical ‘pay back’ time for the CO2 generated from the manufacture, transport, construction disposal of said wind turbine.

I have read the assertion, questioned by Harry Passfield, myself and wondered about the accuracy of the statement. An actual answer to the question would be appreciated.



Reply to  Max Porath
April 24, 2019 7:45 am

I cannot speak for wind turbines, but the same assertion regarding solar electric panels is absolutely true. And, they have a limited lifetime, which cannot be extended by refurbishment.
We use them in space because we have few other choices (electrical extension cords would be too long).

Reply to  Max Porath
April 24, 2019 9:05 am

Solar in Australia EROEI varies from 2-5years assuming your system is trouble free, it has been well studied. Cheap inverters are the thing that generally fail a huge 20% will fail in the 5 year period and other random issues lead to a failure rate of 33% in a choice survey

So probably around 30% in Australia will never return the unit EROEI and Australia is one of the best countries for Solar so it would be worse for other parts of the world.

Reply to  Max Porath
April 24, 2019 10:38 am

From Paul Penrose’s link:

” Conclusion and policy implications
The calculated value for ERoEI is dimensionless, constituting the energy return (2203 kW he/m2) divided by the energy invested (2664 kW he/m2) – a ratio of 0.82.

It is estimated that these numbers could have an error of 715%, so that, despite a string of optimistic choices resulting in low values of energy investments, the ERoEI is significantly below 1. In other words, an electrical supply system based on today’s PV technologies cannot be termed an energy source, but rather a non-sustainable energy sink or a non-sustainable NET ENERGY LOSS.”

It is very likely that a similar analysis of wind farms would realize the same weaknesses and negative returns.

Reply to  Max Porath
April 24, 2019 6:51 pm

“Here is a good study on EROEI for PV solar:”

“Good study” because:

1) It returns the answer you want?
2) You’ve done a careful critique of the methods, assumptions, and data used and find them “solid”?
3) You’ve looked for critiques of this study from others and the others have done a careful critique and found this study to be “solid”?
4) Some other reason?

Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 7:32 am

Did you know that 85% of statistics quoted on the internet are made up?

Tom Anderson
Reply to  max
April 24, 2019 8:14 am

Including that one?

Robert of Texas
Reply to  max
April 24, 2019 8:17 am

I always heard it was 97%?

Reply to  max
April 24, 2019 9:13 am

I think that is the winning comment in this discussion. Sadly.

Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 7:33 am

Energy Input: 22.500.000 kWh
Output/year: 6,75 MillionenlWh = 3,3 years ( 1500 full load hours)

coast: 2,5 years ( 2000 full load hours)
inland 5,5 years ( 900 full load hours)

Ok, an old example, from 2006, but you see, not only CO2 is in question if you want to calculate the amortisation of a windmill as requested by Harry Passfield.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 24, 2019 7:37 am
Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 24, 2019 9:28 am

thanks for some actual numbers.

So if my German is not too rusty that means a 1.5MW turbine is costing 2 MILLION eurobucks and 22.5 GWh just to put in place ??

Someone is getting fat off that.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 24, 2019 10:33 am

It’s not so actual, it’s 2006 and 1 windmill

Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 24, 2019 11:01 am


2 MILLION eurobucks and 22.5 GWh just to put in place ??

Not and, it’s taken as equivalent

Rod Evans
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 7:33 am

Griff, I am sure everyone believed everything you say.
Can you show us the actual worked example you have showing 18 months?

Reply to  Rod Evans
April 24, 2019 7:54 am

Clearly he’s a firm believer in unicorns and yeti as well…

Gunga Din
Reply to  Rod Evans
April 24, 2019 8:57 am

Obliviously, Griff is only concerned about CO2 and not money or practicality.
What he probably means is that he feels like 18 months is enough time for a windmill to blow the amount of CO2 it took to produce it out into space (or one of those alternate universes so popular in Science Fiction stories).

Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 7:57 am

“The ‘pay back’ time for all CO2 from manufacture, transport, construction and ultimate demolition is covered on average within 18 months.”

That is very interesting. Can you provide a link to a study that substantiates this claim?

Reply to  RicDre
April 24, 2019 8:47 am

There is no way to substantiate it because every construction will vary. It is called a best guess calculation .

Reply to  RicDre
April 24, 2019 10:17 am

“It is called a best guess calculation .”

Point taken, but it would be nice to see the calculation if they exist.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 9:08 am

Griff, that was not the proposition I put.
Does a turbine generate enough electricity in its lifetime to enable another one to be built?

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 9:41 am

Unfotunately, Griff is always far away from reality. Can’t imagine you get an answer you are satified with. The sample I gave you as answer to Griff is only concerning one windmill in Bavaria, Germany, but it shows, what is to beacalculated to get a result in concern of amortisation.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 3:41 pm

The numbers I wrote down above are without the calculation of any removement…
So the amortisation will even be longer than mentioned.
Curious about what Griff will answer.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 10:28 am

The question wasn’t about CO2 Payback but about energy requirement payback.
IS more energy required to produce a wind turbine (mining, ore transport, forging, casting, manufacturing, transporting, siting, erecting, maintaining, decomissioning, removing, and or replacing) than is generated by one in useful energy over the course of its useful lifetime.
Not a thing was ever mentioned regarding the biosphere benificial noble gas CO2.
either you didn’t understand the question or you purposefully gave a Red Herring answer in an attempt to obfuscate the problem.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Bryan A
April 24, 2019 11:38 am

Bryan A: Precisely.

John Endicott
Reply to  Bryan A
April 26, 2019 7:35 am

either you didn’t understand the question or you purposefully gave a Red Herring answer in an attempt to obfuscate the problem.

As it’s griff, I’d guess a little from column A and a little from column B

Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 11:22 am


The CO2 ‘pay back’ time is meaningless and irrelevant. Any money spent in the name of reducing CO2 is waste, fraud and abuse which will never be paid back or otherwise recovered.

You’re confused because you’ve been conditioned by bad science, confirmation bias and malfeasance to believe that CO2 has a negative impact on the climate, humanity and the biosphere. Legitimate sciences like physics and biology are unambiguously clear that nothing could be further from the truth.

You’ll feel much better about the imminent collapse of the IPCC’s fake science if you put the time into figuring out the truth on your own terms, before you’re forced to accept it under the terms of others. Your quest for truth can start by answering the following question:

How can the planet tell the next Joule from all the other such that the next W/m^2 of solar forcing will increase surface emissions by 4.4 W/m^2, as required by the presumed nominal ECS of 0.8C per W/m^2, while each of the existing W/m^2 of solar forcing uniformly contribute only 1.62 W/m^2 to the surface emissions?

Dave Fair
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 24, 2019 11:28 am

There is demonstrably no large water vapor feedback (no tropical tropospheric hot-spot). Everything else is modelturbation and speculation.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 24, 2019 4:26 pm

Since only feedback power can be added to forcing power in the feedback amplifier model used to model climate feedback, all that can be considered ‘feedback’ are the 620 mw per W/m^2 of forcing returned to the surface by atmospheric GHG’s and clouds and that originated as previous surface emissions. This feedback power replenishes surface emissions above and beyond the 1 W/m^2 per W/m^2 of forcing characteristic of an ideal black body boosting net surface emissions up to 1.62 W/m^2 per W/m^2 of forcing. About half of the returned surface energy is from clouds and about 1/3 of what’s left is contributed by all atmospheric CO2 combined, or about 100 mw per W/m^2 of forcing.

Dennis Sandberg
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 24, 2019 5:35 pm

Thanks for posting the 4.4 W/m^2 vs. 1.62 W/m^2 warming to the surface emissions controversy. Hasn’t Monkton of Benchley proven that the exaggeration is due to an incorrect mathematical manipulation…most likely intentional (fraud or hoax)? It Should be fun watching the alarmists try to explain it away when confronted by Trump’s soon to authorized Commission.

Joe Born
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 25, 2019 6:47 am

No brief here for much significant positive feedback, but I would caution readers against the co2isnotevil’s attempted refutation.

By a lumped-parameter analogy to the distributed-parameter atmosphere, the diagram at shows anyone who can do that arithmetic that conservation of energy does not impose the limit on positive feedback that co2isnotevil always pushes.

To the same effect, Jeff Peterson at et seq. well and truly debunked the conservation-of-energy-based theory that co2isnotevil presented in the same-page head post.

We should be careful not to accept arguments just because we find their conclusions congenial.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 25, 2019 9:12 am

Yes, Monkton has demonstrated something to this effect. But then again, there’s so much wrong with the IPCC’s fake science, it’s quite easy to find errors. I’ve identified many specific errors in their ‘theory’ alone as itemized in the following text file:

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 25, 2019 9:45 am


The idea of massive amplification by positive feedback is completely bogus and what was developed by Hansen and Schlesinger could not be more wrong and is the keystone failure that has has broken climate science. And no, Jeff Peterson absolutely did not refute what I’ve been saying. He clearly doesn’t understand Bode, and it seems that neither do you.

Bode’s linearity precondition is clearly violated by specifying inputs and outputs which are not linearly related to each other. All Jeff did was to state the obvious that they are not linearly related to each other which confirms that Bode’s linear feedback amplifier analysis does not apply. He tries to claim that they’re showing how a non linear system can be shoehorned into a linear analysis. The assumption that this is even possible, much less can produce a result with any relationship to reality, is a monumental failure in logic.

The implicit power supply constraint is clearly violated as the Sun can not be both forcing and the power supply. The fact that there is no other source of Joules other than the forcing is the very definition of a passive system and to obtain the gain required by the IPCC, active gain (i.e. output power provided by an infinite, implicit power supply) is required. It’s the difference between measuring the input Joules to determine how many output Joules to deliver from an infinite source and using the forcing Joules as the source of the output Joules. Bode does not apply COE between the input and out of the gain block, yet the climate model must because there is no other source of power. Bode’s assumption of an implicit power supply enables ignoring COE between the input and output yet this is completely inappropriate for the climate system.

All Peterson did was make vacuous claims that I was wrong without supplying any backup except by appealing to an authority whose veracity is nil (the IPCC). I get that this is how climate science tends to operate, but this is not how science works. Why don’t you take a crack at where all the extra power is coming from to boost the average 1.62 W/m^2 per W/m^s forcing up the the 4.4 W/m^2 requires by the IPCC’s nominal ECS. If you still think it’s feedback, then follow the Joules and tell us where they’re coming from. If they’re coming from the atmosphere, where is the atmosphere getting them from?

How can the climate system tell the next Joule from any other so it can be so much more powerful at warming the surface? This is such an obvious flaw in the IPCC’s arguments, it’s perhaps too obvious and why many can’t believe that ostensibly intelligent scientists can be so incredibly wrong about something so important. But then again, political bias, greed and fear mongering are very powerful agents at distorting the truth.

Joe Born
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 25, 2019 10:40 am

I have no interest in any further attempts to educate co2isnotevil about feedback, Bode, and amplifiers; past experience has convinced me that he’s impervious to instruction.

For the benefit of any lurkers, though, I’ll mention that the diagram I linked to above clearly shows there need be no energy-conservation violation for the surface to radiate more than twice the incoming (and outgoing) radiation: each block’s absorbed radiation equals its emitted radiation.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 25, 2019 10:46 am


Regarding the picture you claim shows how feedback can be arbitrary has serious problems. For one thing it doesn’t impose any constraints on the ratio between the fraction of radiant surface energy absorbed by the atmosphere emitted into space and that returned to the surface. Given this missing constraint, you can plug in any numbers you want, but the values of those numbers still need to be physically realizable.

Geometry sets each fraction to about half of what was absorbed and the data confirms this with high certainty and that the energy split chaotically varies by less than a few percent on either side of 50/50. To achieve the IPCC’s ECS, the next W/m^2 absorbed by the atmosphere must result in the return of 340% of the absorbed power to the surface which can only happen if the power emitted by the atmosphere into space is significantly decreased, yet in the steady state, this can only increase as atmospheric absorption also increases.

To see this more clearly, you must remove non radiant energy entering the atmosphere and being returned to the surface from your picture. This has a zero sum influence on the energy balance and including it only obfuscates reality. This non radiant energy is transported by matter where matter can only be returned to the surface and not ’emitted’ into space. If you still think it needs to be included, then answer this question:

What effect does latent heat and convection/thermals plus the return of this energy to the surface have on the average surface temperature and its corresponding radiant emissions other than the effect they’re already having on the average surface temperature and its corresponding radiant emissions? That is, contributing along with clouds and GHG’s to the 620 mw of additional surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing beyond that of an ideal BB.

The problem many have is with reconciling Venus as this is the plausibility argument used to support massive positive feedback. Venus is nothing like Earth, can’t be modeled like Earth and feedback has no relevance either. Venus is close to an ideal white body that perfectly insulates matter at an arbitrary temperature (the solid surface), while reflecting all new energy away. In other words, its effective emissivity relative to the surface temperature is close to 0 and its albedo relative to its forcing is close to 1. Of course nothing is ideal and the Venusian clouds absorb and emit solar energy themselves and are what’s in direct equilibrium with the Sun, not the solid surface below. Once the cloud temperatures are established, the ideal gas law sets the temperature profile of the atmosphere down to the surface below relative to the starting cloud temperature. Contrast this with Earth which is closer to a black body (effective emissivity = 0.62), where the surface below is in direct equilibrium with the Sun and where the ideal gas law establishes the temperature profile of the atmosphere up into space relative to the starting surface temperature. Another significant difference is that Earth clouds are tightly and quickly coupled to the water in the oceans by the hydro cycle, while Venusian clouds are a completely independent thermodynamic system from the solid surface below, much as the temperature of the top of Earth’s oceans have no influence on the ocean temperatures below the thermocline.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 25, 2019 11:41 am


It seems to me that you have no interest in further discussion because while you want to believe that I’m wrong, you have nothing to support your position and have been unable answer any of my responses to your issues. All you have are vacuous appeals to an authority known to be wrong about more than its right about. It’s definitely not me that needs some instruction.

Your failure to answer the questions I’ve posed is a clear indication that you have no answers that can support your position. The best you can do is ignore questions in a futile attempt to make others think that the questions don’t matter.

The question about how can the climate system can tell one Joule from any other is the most important one. The only answer is that it can’t, which clearly refutes the need for the IPCC, UNFCCC, GCF, NGD and all of the other foolishness associated with the misplaced fears of CO2 emissions based on an ECS far beyond what the laws of physics, the data, logic and common sense can support.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 1:00 pm

Griff, please provide the calculations for your claim. In your calculations please be certain that the payback time is based on the actual power production, not on the nameplate production. The power factors for wind and solar are in the neighborhood of 15% if you need assistance in calculating the actual power production.

BTW, I have 3 1/2 years of data on my roof top PV system. The power factor is 15%.

Reply to  Brooks Hurd
April 24, 2019 7:33 pm

You are kidding yourself if you are working on 15% for a dispatchable solar collection in combination with storage. The minimum cost for a dispactchable system will have a capacity factor of 4 to 5% based on an unconstrained factor of 15%.

A dispatchable or on-demand system based on solar generation will require about a 3-fold increase in collection capacity to minimise overall system cost. Also panels would need to be optimised for winter collection rather than maximising overall annual collection.

If you have the output data for your system on an hourly basis then you can use that to determine the required capacity to minimise cost with storage included to always have the capacity to supply your load. If your native CF is 15% then you should size your battery for 48 hours supply at average winter demand. That should give around 99.9% certainty without resorting to some form of fossil back-up. You then look at how much collection capacity you need in winter to avoid the battery going flat.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Brooks Hurd
April 26, 2019 10:40 am

Don’t hold your breath while waiting for an answer from Griff. To the best of my knowledge he has never apologized for saying that Susan Crockford is not a scientist.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  griff
April 24, 2019 9:02 pm

I do know what Warren Buffett’s said about wind without subsidies it make no sense as an investment. Which means without subsidies it will never make a decent return on investment. If that true even with subsidies the payback is a lot longer that 18 months. It would be in the five to ten years at the least. Without subsidies they may very well be no payback.

D Cage
Reply to  griff
April 25, 2019 3:29 am

Utter claptrap as this does not include the true environmental or extraction costs of the rare ores used in the magnets etc. If they met the claimed output all the time and required no maintenance or access roads and did not need expensive interconnect that more centralised generation avoids it would be true. The real figures mean few will actually end up in CO2 credit if indeed it mattered anyway as it is not the cause of any climate changes to all but cult believers.

Al Miller
Reply to  griff
April 25, 2019 9:38 am

I highly doubt that any analysis by “friendly forces” of windmill costs includes the masses of rebar and concrete, the maintenance, the downtime etc., etc.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 7:25 am

Harry, one dimension of this aspect is that making steel needed for the tower and the generator and concrete for the foundation cannot be made using wind energy. Fossil fuel is essential (so far). 80% of the windmill is steel.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 24, 2019 10:46 am

Good point, Gary, but the thing is, wherever the energy comes from, can the turbine generate its equivalent such that the total generated in the life of the turbine satisfies the usage.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 4:08 pm

The fallacy of renewables is revealed with simple arithmetic.

5 mW wind turbine, avg output 1/3 nameplate, 20 yr life, electricity @ wholesale 3 cents per kwh produces $8.8E6.

Installed cost @ $1.61E6/mW = $8.05E6.
Operation & maintenance @ $210,000/yr = $4.2E6
Total cost = $12.2E6

Add the cost of energy storage facility and energy availability loss during storage/retrieval, or initial and maintenance cost of standby CCGT for low wind periods.
Solar voltaic and solar thermal are even worse with special concern for disposal and/or recycling at end-of-life (about 15 yr for PV).

The dollar relation is a proxy for energy relation. Bottom line, the energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables exceeds the energy they produce in their lifetime.

Without the energy provided by other sources renewables could not exist.

Combined cycle gas turbine $614/kw ($0.6E6/mW) installed cost.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 25, 2019 8:00 am

Production tax credits are still worth over 50% of the project capital costs
So the wind sellers do sell purchase power agreements at 2 cents a kWh and still make money in the best wind locations like Texas.
After expiration of the PTC , fewer good sites, and higher interest rates, wind power additions will not be competitive.

Also, as this article claims, higher wind penetration will incur higher costs for infrastructure to accommodate the wind indeterminacy issue.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 25, 2019 1:36 pm

Thank you Dan.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 7:51 am

Did the company that manufactured the wind turbine make a profit? They manufactured the wind turbine and paid for all the inputs including the energy, and made a profit.

Did the electric company make a profit? They think they will or they wouldn’t pay to build the thing. On this point, Warren Buffet has said that they would not be profitable without the subsidy, so they are marginally profitable to the electric company.

I have to conclude that it is most likely that they do produce more energy than it takes to make them, otherwise no one would make a profit.

Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 8:36 am

But the cost to decommission and properly dispose of them cannot have been included. How many defunct wind mills have you seen in your life? Any of them being taken down? If you live in California the number is almost beyond counting. Some have been there since I was young, which is a very long time ago.

Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 8:48 am

I do know that regulated utilities are assured a certain return and the Utility Commission or whatever it is called in each State approves rates and special charges to yield that return, I think around 4% – 6%.

So any utility project is going to make a profit and that profit comes from the ratepayers. If there’s a subsidy, then some profit comes from the taxpayers as well.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  H.R.
April 26, 2019 11:12 am

It is not really a question of whether or not the utility makes a profit as measured in fiat dollars. The underlying question is, “If we were to ban fossil fuels and depend entirely on ‘renewables,’ could they produce enough surplus energy to even replace the installations at the end of their design-lifetimes?” If they can’t produce several multiples of the replacement energy then they will be a losing proposition. They will be produced using high energy-density fossil fuels, and may have to be replaced with energy from low-density, intermittent sources that have a shorter life than coal or nuclear sources.

Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 9:26 am

Most analyses of the cost of renewable energy do not consider the costs renewables impose on the system as a whole. If wind generators had to pay for the extra transmission and had to “firm” their energy by paying for dispatchable backstop generation for when the wind is not blowing, the economics would look very different.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  JustTheFactsPlease
April 25, 2019 5:33 am

I would dare say, the economics would look like reality, instead of the fiction perpetrated in the promotion of such boondoggles.

Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 9:32 am

Chris, you are ignoring the fact that every step of this process is highly subsidized.

Reply to  MarkW
April 24, 2019 1:31 pm

The only Federal subsidy in the process is $0.022 per KW-hr produced in the first 10 years of production. Mining and manufacture are not subsidized.

There are state mandates, Illinois, for example, buys “wind” energy at premium rates from both Iowa and Oklahoma. That’s their problem.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 10:12 am

They do produce more energy than consumed to build them (as I answered up above), by a factor of at least 10. That does not necessarily make them cost effective as costs are not always directly proportional to EROI.

But the assertion that they have to or no one could earn a profit is, sadly, incorrect. You failed to consider a false economy based on government subsidies. If the government paid out enough subsidies, you could actually field something that on its own would lose money. The ability of a government to warp a market is substantial and very damaging.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 10:40 am

OK, a primer:

1) Portfolio Standard: The State tells the utility how many ‘renewables’ to install, irrespective of the sanity of such installations.
2) Utility Profit: The percentage of investment costs the utility is allowed by the State, irrespective of the sanity of such investments.
3) Regulated Utility Monopoly: The politicians tell the utility executives what to do, irrespective of the sanity of such instructions.
4) EROI: A meaningless calculation. [Way back in the 1970’s we told the various State and Federal government types that ‘renewables’ would drive consumer costs much higher, and that is the only thing that matters. As an educated guess, I believe the approximate 20% calculation is on the low side.]
5) CO2 Abatement: Western democracies’ suicide; see China, India, Africa, etc.
6) UN IPCC Climate Model: Expensive modelturbation giving a ECS that “seems about right.” [Or, GIGO. Or, you get out what you assume to be the causation when you put it in.]
7) I’m From the Government and I’m Here To Help You: A well-known socialist lie.

John Endicott
Reply to  Dave Fair
April 26, 2019 7:15 am

7) I’m From the Government and I’m Here To Help You: A well-known socialist lie.

” The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ ” – Ronald Reagan.

Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 11:26 am

It may not be that you get a profit, but you do get revenue from their use. You can also use the Wind generators to satisfy any Renewable Energy Credits you might need to maintain. Depending upon the jurisdiction, you might have a certain percentage of energy “production” that must be generated from a renewable source.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chad
April 24, 2019 11:39 am

The primer, continued: Purchased energy costs to a utility are “pass-through costs” that are directly paid by the consumer, even though the utility doesn’t make a profit on such costs, unlike the utility’s return on their cost of capital. Since the utility executives are told to buy higher-cost ‘renewables’ by the State and their costs do not impact the utility’s bottom line, who cares that the consumer pays more? Crony Capitalism at its best.

Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 4:39 pm

You neglected to consider that consumers pay more for electricity provided by renewables. They pay x for their fossil-fuel derived energy. They generate only, say, 80% of that energy to the user, but they bill the user 1.5x. Everyone makes a profit – at the expense of the consumer.

R Shearer
Reply to  Chris4692
April 24, 2019 10:24 pm

Rate payers pay higher rates and tax payers pay higher taxes, each of which increases margins for suppliers. Rate and tax payers get screwed.

John Endicott
Reply to  Chris4692
April 26, 2019 7:24 am

I have to conclude that it is most likely that they do produce more energy than it takes to make them, otherwise no one would make a profit.

Logic fail. The amount of energy it takes to produce something vs how much energy that something produces are two separate things that have little to nothing to do with each other in regards to profit. Sofa makers, for example, make a profit. Sofa’s are not designed for and thus do not produce energy (well, I suppose you could burn the sofa and roast a few marshmellows over the fire, but the energy you’d get wouldn’t be all that great compared to the energy that was used to make the sofa) so it definitely takes more energy to produce a sofa than a sofa produces, yet sofa makers make a profit.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Chris4692
April 26, 2019 10:51 am

But the energy produced is not being used to make a replacement. It is like spending all your capital instead of just the interest on an investment. Once the windmill(s) reach their expected lifetimes, with all their output having been directed to uses other than replacement, there is no longer any chance of it being replaced by itself. The proper way of looking at windmills is how much excess energy do they produce above and beyond what is necessary for their replacement. If that isn’t several multiples of the replacement requirements, then the energy is prohibitively expensive. Another analogy is like eating one’s seed corn. There is nothing left over to plant another crop!

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 8:50 am
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 9:09 am

Capacity Factor (about 20+%) is not that relevant – Substitution Capacity (about 5%) is.

Source: E.On Netz – The biggest wind power generator in the world.


Wind power is intermittent and non-dispatchable and therefore should be valued much lower than the reliable, dispatchable power typically available from conventional electric power sources such as fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear.

In practice, one should assume the need for almost 100% conventional backup for wind power (in the absence of a hypothetical grid-scale “super-battery”, which does not exist in practical reality). When wind dies, typically on very hot or very cold days, the amount of wind power generated approaches zero.

Capacity Factor equals {total actual power output)/(total rated capacity assuming 100% utilization). The Capacity Factor of wind power in Germany equals about 28%*. However, Capacity Factor is not a true measure of actual usefulness of grid-connected wind power.

The true factor that reflects the intermittency of wind power Is the Substitution Capacity*, which is about 5% in Germany – a large grid with a large wind power component. Substitution Capacity is the amount of dispatchable (conventional) power you can permanently retire when you add more wind power to the grid. In Germany they have to add ~20 units of wind power to replace 1 unit of dispatchable power. This is extremely uneconomic.

I SUGGEST THAT THE SUBSTITUTION CAPACITY OF ~5% IS A REASONABLE FIRST APPROXIMATION FOR WHAT WIND POWER IS REALLY WORTH – that is 1/20th of the value of reliable, dispatchable power from conventional sources. Anything above that 5% requires spinning conventional backup, which makes the remaining wind power redundant and essentially worthless.

This is a before-coffee first-approximation of the subject. Improvements are welcomed, provided they are well-researched and logical.

Regards, Allan

NOTES (Edited):

The excellent E-On Netz Wind Report 2005 (1) provides excellent information. See Figure 7 re Substitution Capacity.

Sadly, green energy is not green and produces little useful energy – intermittency and the lack of practical energy storage are the fatal flaws.

Germany has calculated that it needs 95% spinning backup of conventional energy (e.g. natural gas turbines) to support their wind power schemes – it would make much more economic sense to just scrap the wind power and use the gas turbines.

Driving up energy costs just increases winter mortality, which especially targets the elderly and the poor. Excess Winter Deaths in the UK this year totaled over 50,000, half the annual average 100,000 in the USA, which has FIVE times the population of the UK.

When politicians fool with energy policy, real people suffer and die. Most politicians are so scientifically illiterate they should not even opine on energy, let alone set policy.

Posterity will judge this climate/ green energy nonsense harshly, as the most costly and foolish scam in human history.


1. “E.On Netz Wind Report 2005” at

PEGG, reprinted in edited form at their request by several other professional journals, THE GLOBE AND MAIL and LA PRESSE in translation, by Baliunas, Patterson and MacRae, November 2002.

This is what we KNEW in 2002:
[excerpts from our Rebuttal in the APEGA debate}

“The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

“Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

April 24, 2019 9:34 am

“grid-scale “super-battery”, which does not exist in practical reality”

It doesn’t exist in any other form of reality.

Reply to  MarkW
April 26, 2019 5:45 am

I essentially agree Mark – there are a very few sites in the world where pumped storage can work, but they are rare – because a large reservoir is required downstream of the hydro damsite, as well as upstream.

Alberta is larger than many countries, and we have zero suitable sites for pumped storage.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 10:29 am

“Harry Passfield April 24, 2019 at 6:39 am
I read (On WUWT?)”

The only reference like that, that I remember came from a comment.
The comment summarized total weights of alloyed steel, copper, fiberglass; then applied labor, fossil fuel utilization and thermal requirements necessary to mine, smelt, refine, machine, laminate, construct, assemble, transport and install. All of which are beyond wind or solar capabilities.

The comment did not provide references.

The concept and question has merit.
Wind and solar are unable to supply heavy industry, mining, smelters, refiners, machine shops, especially CNC milling machines, fossil fuel cracking towers or the chemical processes necessary to produce epoxies and laminate fibers.

Gross assumptions using alleged total weights mask many of the most expensive metals and composites; e.g. alloys and machine tolerances necessary for bearings, manufacture of carbon, Kevlar, fiberglass roving/fabrics and epoxy resins.

When the wind farm at Vindeby was retired, the cost to install and estimated maintenance established costs to revenue ratio was 1:1. A revenue to cost estimate that ignores deconstruction costs and long term environment degradation from manufacture through disposal.

Overlooked are loss of land/sea usages, property value loss, damages to wildlife and negative health impacts to people.
Necessary costs like inverters, interconnectors, electricity stabilization and moderation equipment are ignored as those costs are dumped onto utility providers.

“This means that the windmill spent 75% of its life paying off the £10 million cost of its construction, and most of the rest paying for maintenance. In terms of effective energy revenue, the return on input cost was close to 1:1. The individual project may have been just profitable, but the project is insufficiently productive as will be seen below.

Other windfarms have performed even worse. Lely, an smaller farm sited off the Netherlands coast, was decommissioned last year.[6] It consisted of four turbines of 0.5 MW capacity, and cost £4.4 million in 1992. One nacelle and blades failed in 2014 because of metal fatigue.[7] It produced 3500 MWh per year, implying a load factor of 20%. At the same €50/MWh as above, it would have earned €4.2 million, less than the initial project cost, let alone the additional cost of any maintenance, by any way of reckoning.[8]

The reader should note that the analysis above assumes that the scrap value of the wind turbines will pay for the decommissioning process, and so does not degrade the ratio any further: presumably the bases will remain in the sea.”

Decommissioning cost estimates focus on only the decommissioned unit’s costs. Costs for wind farm installations are gross installation cost that masks individual costs for each component.
The point that Harry is trying to make is hidden from easy access.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  ATheoK
April 24, 2019 11:31 am

Atheok, thank you for an interesting response.
When I queried if a wind turbine (WT) could generate enough energy to enable its successor to be built I meant, no matter where the energy was generated. IOW, take the total energy required to build a WT, where-ere it come from (and, if you wish, its decommissioning) and then determine if the WT is capable of generating that amount in its lifetime.
Thing is, we can calculate the amount generated based on power-factor but we (I) don’t have the numbers for the (electrical) energy required to make one.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 25, 2019 12:19 pm

I think part of the problem, Harry, is that electrical energy comes in two forms – dispatchable (i.e. whenever you need it) and non-dispatchable (i.e. whenever it feels like being there, or not). Some of the materials required to make wind turbines require dispatchable power for operations like smelting ores. You can’t do that with intermittent power, no matter how much of it you have. And no one to my knowledge has tried to run a mining or large equipment transportation operation on electricity instead of fossil fuels, either.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 12:23 pm

It would, of course, depend on location. Recently, I read in the monthly “ACCESS TO ENERGY” that it takes 6 years for the average, land based wind-mill to generate enough electricity to recover the electricity “burned” in its manufacture and erection. I am adding that there are also other energies (heat) from natural gas, diesel fuel, aviation fuel (helicopters) …. involved, so the 6 years is rather optimistic if all energies are considered.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 4:39 pm

The real question Harry is what is the EROEI of a wind or solar farm when it’s dispatchable 24/7/365 and that’s a question you don’t ask in polite circles let alone answer. Unfortunately the question will arise ever more poignantly the more the plant food doomsdayers keep blowing up thermal power stations.
In South Australia I note Generac are now advertising their home automated backup generators on prime time TV which might tell you something.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 7:18 pm

Absolutely correct. The energy returned for energy invested in a 100% intermittents supplied network is less than 1.

Modern society and processes that we rely on require dispatchable power. All wind turbines do to an existing grid is add cost. All the existing dispatchable generating capacity is still required; often coal being replaced with fast response gas or diesel. The maintenance cost of dispatchables increase as their load cycles up and down more and there is little or no saving in fuel because they are operating at their optimum for shorter periods or coal is replaced by gas, which is usually more expensive than coal.

The only option to dispatchable fossil generation, to make use of intermittents, is huge storage capacity. The cost of adding storage plus the overbuild in intermittent capacity to minimise the overall system cost means that the generators can never supply more energy than is required to build, maintain and replace them over their life.

Non tracking solar panels achieve a natural capacity factor of about 16% in locations like California. When storage is taken into account, the constrained capacity factor drops to around 5%. If the solar generators are large scale then the transmission infrastructure has to increase by around 20 times to cater for the dispersed nature and the low achieved capacity factor.

The natural capacity factors for wind are usually a little higher than solar but the area required per unit of output makes them completely impractical to supply power in most of the populated areas on the globe. They also place a higher demand on storage capacity because wind can go missing for weeks at a time.

These issues are now becoming quite obvious in locations in Australia where intermittents have got above 10% of market share. For example, wholesale price of lunchtime power in Queensland goes negative on mild sunny days. That means the solar farms voluntarily curtail output at lunchtime to avoid sending money out with their electricity. In South Australia the lunchtime network demand on a Sunday in November this year could be negative; meaning SA rooftops will actually be supplying the total state demand plus some of the Victorian demand across the border. No grid scale generation will be required. They are aiming to have synchronous condensers installed to meet system stability requirements rather than having to have gas plant on line to achieve the stability requirement.

Those who do not understand power supply systems are being misled by the use of the term “renewable” instead of more appropriate term “intermittents” or “dirty intermittents” where the “dirty” is a commonly used term in power generation to refer to generators that lack inertia, have poor voltage regulation, varying output and high harmonic content. These weaknesses of intermittents need additional cost to provide compensation. The costs for frequency and voltage control in the South Australian network have skyrocketed in the last three years as more intermittent generating capacity has connected.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  RickWill
April 25, 2019 1:43 pm

Thank you, RickWill. V interesting.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 24, 2019 8:52 pm

In the Netherlands the decommission a ocean wind farm the return on investment as 1.1 to 1 that means that for every dollar spent they got 1.10 back. I don’t know how subsidies were figured in. if the were not then they really got a negative return. Now you can take money spent as a good guide as to energy put into it, If anyone thinks getting on a gain of 10% on energy project is a good idea, could I possible interest you in investing in a bridge that located in Brooklyn.

Henry chance
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 25, 2019 5:36 pm

Here is a good one. 1,000 tons of dirty coal are used to make the steel for the tower and the rebar in the pad. Huge kilns burning Natural Gas dehydrate the gypsum to make concrete.

The blades are fiberglass reinforced resin from petroleum.

Coal + Iron ore + Natural Gas + Crude oil refined product => one fan.

It takes 12 tractor trailer rigs to deliver a fan, that many more to deliver the crane for erection and each rig has a fore and aft pilot car because it is oversize load.

The good news is an acre of wheat field with a fan takes up 17,000 pounds of CO2. The pad and the service road to the fan destroy an acre per fan.

There is a tremendous amount of arc welding involved in building these towers which really cranks out OZONE. The journey to carbon free utopia is very dirty.

David Jones
Reply to  Henry chance
April 26, 2019 12:23 am

Let’s say coal has an energy density of 8kWh per kg. At 39% efficiency, that’s 0.39*8=3.12kWh/kg. So to produce the 100-200GWh a small 2MW turbine can generate in it’s lifetime assuming it’s 20 years (some are rated for 25), a coal power plant would need to burn up to 200’000’000kWh/3.12kWh=just over 64’000’000kg of coal or 64’000 metric tonnes. Compared to that, your 1000 tons is tiny and you do not specify what kind of turbine you are describing here, it could well be one of the larger ones in which case the difference would be even more drastic since a 4MW turbine produces up to 340GWh of electricity in 20 years.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Henry chance
April 26, 2019 11:24 am

A minor point: cement is made from limestone (calcite), rather than gypsum. Gypsum is used for making drywall paneling.

David Jones
Reply to  Harry Passfield
April 25, 2019 11:57 pm

Well the smallest Vestas turbines at 2MW produce between 5GWh and 10Gwh annually depending on average wind speeds in the area. They have a lifetime of 20-25 years. Lets say 20 years so that’s between 100GWh and 200GWh of electricity produced in their lifetime. One would assume that material consumption for these machines is relatively minimal once they are constructed. The picture above not withstanding, nowadays a burned out turbine should be very rare. That image is likely either some rare occurrence captured on camera or something taken years ago when the tech was less developed.

Consider how much coal would be necessary to produce 100GWh to 200GWh of electricity and you’ll find that it takes a mountain of coal to produce the electricity that one “tiny” 2MW turbine can provide over the course of it’s life. Larger turbines like the Vestas 4MW range can produce between 240GWh and 340GWh assuming 20 years of operation.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
May 4, 2019 1:31 pm

I think Google’s engineers who studied the feasibility and CO2 mitigation of windmills answered this question a few years ago.

Reply to  cms
May 5, 2019 3:25 am

Thanks, CMS, you have linked to a very interesting article. I realise this thread is getting a bit old, but if there is anyone still out there the link is definitely worth a read. It was written by the two scientists (my assumption) whom Google tasked with their renewables program and is chock full of false assumptions, non-facts (I hesitate to write lies) and erroneous conclusions. It is a prime example of greendrivel from beginning to end and with all that bias they were still incapable of dressing their project up as anything but an abject failure.

Reply to  jake
April 24, 2019 6:45 am

jake: “All of us would work for the renewable-power generation industry, its operators, suppliers, contractors, maintenance, line crews, etc.”

Everyone? Everyone?!?

They’re going to have to git ‘r dun without me, jake, because I’m UTW (Unwilling To Work). Now, where’s my check?

Rich Davis
Reply to  H.R.
April 24, 2019 7:53 am

Under GND, you’re entitled to a base salary of $100k/yr if you’re UTW of course, H.R., it’s a human right! Unfortunately for you, the People’s Commissar has determined that you fall into one or more of the deplorable categories that are ineligible for government support, such as climate deniers, history of registering as a Republican or another “radical far-right” party member, history of posting anti-socialist diatribes on blog sites, or other enemies of the people’s government. Enemies or the people are required to work for the people at a 100% tax rate, and those unable to keep up with quotas are provided special handling which involves a nearly painless injection and free composting services unless your family still has assets.

Reply to  H.R.
April 24, 2019 12:33 pm
Rich Davis
Reply to  jake
April 24, 2019 7:59 am

Please don’t worry, jake, we still haven’t come close to emptying out Honduras and Guatemala, let alone Mexico. There are plenty more socialist workers left to build Paradise. We can probably hit a million “unauthorized Americans” a week before we hit peak Socialism/peak Stupid.

Reply to  jake
May 4, 2019 1:27 pm

Solar jobs are now more than twice those of fossil fuels about 374,000.
and that with it producing 1.47% of the electrical power in the US.
Just think if we used solar for everything what it would do for the economy. 374,000 jobs times (100/1.47) = 25,442,176 jobs. In comparison, the worlds largest employer is the US Dept. of Defense with 3.2 million. So solar could employ 8 times as many people. Or how do you measure the efficiency of an industry?

Steve O
April 24, 2019 6:37 am

We’re supposed to trust that scientists are able to construct models of a system as chaotic as our climate that are accurate enough to justify trillions of dollars in spending.

But they can’t figure out the economics of something like wind energy?

John Endicott
Reply to  Steve O
April 24, 2019 6:45 am

It’s not that they can’t figure out the economics, it’s that they don’t care. The economics of wind energy isn’t the goal. The goal is the end of capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution” – Christiana Figueres heads of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015

joe - the non climate scientist
April 24, 2019 6:45 am

The univeristy of North Texas has 3 windmills near their football stadium. Two of the windmills have been out of service for the last 4-5 years.

Why havent they been Fixed?

Because the cost of repairs exceeds the revenue that will be generated – like Duh!

Reply to  joe - the non climate scientist
April 24, 2019 7:31 am

Could the engineering staff and students do this repair? It seems College Professors tongues have become much more efficient than their hands.

Reply to  Dipchip
April 24, 2019 7:38 am

I don’t think so. the engineering students are learning something, so they shouldn’t have time for that. The staff are teaching, so once again, no. Other complications come from working at altitude for windmills, a dangerous environment, to be sure, and I assume you think they work for free. Don’t think so.

The humanities, climate science, gender studies, and others may have some time on their hands, to work for the social justice, or something. Maybe they can do it.

Dave Fair
Reply to  max
April 24, 2019 10:48 am

And the resulting accidental deaths won’t mean much. sarc/

Reply to  Dipchip
April 24, 2019 8:05 am

I’m pretty sure that labor costs are not the driving factor in conducting repairs. Even so, using unskilled technicians (college engineering students) unfamiliar with heavy machinery, high electrical potentials, cranes and working large distances above ground level opens a gaping opportunity for disaster.
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Rocketscientist
April 24, 2019 9:12 pm

The schools would have to shell out $$$ for the OSHA required training before letting them even go near a wind turbine. Then comes all the $afety equipment.
Most colleges contract out everything they can nowadays- even the food service.

April 24, 2019 7:12 am

First I heard in concern of solar energiy, the sun sends no invoice.
Than, later, “ren. energy doesn’t cost more than a scoope of ice cream……”
If Green politicians open their mouth…

Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 24, 2019 7:55 am

Sunshine and the wind may be free, but the methods, means and transmission for converting that “free stuff” into useful electrical energy is INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE.
Renewables are the equivalent to a pyrrhic victory.

“Another such victory and I am undone.”- King Pyrrhus

Reply to  Rocketscientist
April 24, 2019 9:54 am

Is known, what you say, but it’s not what Green politicians tell the people to sell the ren. energy project, called “Energiewende” as successfull.

April 24, 2019 7:20 am

Lets see 17% is 8.5 times 2% so did renewable Electricity go up 8.5 times over conventional Electricity?

What was the percent increase of conventional Electricity during that time period?

April 24, 2019 7:24 am

What are the chances this work-in-progress paper passes cult (peer) review? Might be worth doing a followup article about its final status.

April 24, 2019 7:31 am

I will argue that, while the Uof Chicago’s point – that it’s a costly waste of time and energy (pun intended) to switch to renewables – is correct, I submit that they underestimate the actual per kilowatt hour rather badly.

I have regularly gotten offers to switch to solar/wind sources from some greenbean group located in Washington, DC (like I’m really going there?) , and the per kilowatt hour quote that they offer is $0.09++/KwHm, an amount a full 33% higher than my current charge of $0.0652/KwH. The offer also says the rate may go up with no warning. This is NOT an affordable choice, and I would not accept it under any circumstances, especially with the ‘no warning’ part included.

I hope this nonsense comes to an end before long, and we can put nuclear reactors back on line. That was always the cheapest and most reliable resource we had.

April 24, 2019 7:39 am

The authors state: “These results do not rule out the possibility that RPS policies could dynamically reduce the cost of abatement in the future by causing improvements in renewable technology.”
Wind turbines have a maximum theoretical efficiency of approximately 60% at which point the loss of kinetic energy in the moving air causes its velocity to decrease. The average wind efficiency (max) of turbines currently in operation is between 35-45%. There is a theoretical ~20% still to come, though if it was easy to come by I would have thought we would have achieved it by now, the design and technology is hardly exacting.
There is also a theoretical limit to current technology PV of 33% efficiency (expensive multi-junction technology might increase this by half as much again) and current manufacturers achieve a maximum of around 25%, leaving approximately 8% to be found.
Future improvements in PV and wind generation using currently available technology will probably only account for a single digit percentage in efficiency. There are no “quantum leaps” to be had in development of renewables. The social cost of carbon abatement inevitably rise inflicting misery and unnecessary deaths on developed western countries and continuing to deprive the third world of inexpensive and freely accessible electricity.

Reply to  PeterGB
April 24, 2019 9:07 am

I agree with what you have said about efficiency, but even if 100% is attainable it is of little benefit if the output profile is not suited supply load to load demand. And there is the factor of cost.
A cheap low efficiency renewable machine that produces power as needed would be much better than anything built so far. Efficiency is a red herring. All of the renewables are not suited to the task of utility generation. For the most part they produce little or no energy when demand is highest.

Efficacy, the amount of USEFUL energy vs cost is what is important. I see no progress there.

Reply to  Billy
April 24, 2019 10:07 am

And you still have to operate and maintain all the spinning backup. Just blow up the renewables, and use the already extant backup.

DD More
Reply to  PeterGB
April 24, 2019 11:00 am

Peter, noted that also. “reduce the cost of abatement in the future”

Gonna have to bend that cost curve on future tech till it breaks. Their Data.

7 years = 11% higher;
12 years 17%. higher;

Pies in the Sky.

Bruce Cobb
April 24, 2019 8:26 am

Yabut, think of all the virtue signaling. Ya can’t put a price on virtue signaling.

On the outer Barcoo
April 24, 2019 8:29 am

The 800 pound gorilla in the room is:  “photosynthesis”, a term rarely mentioned in discussions on carbon dioxide. It’s the process by which plants algae and bacteria – with the aid of sunshine – convert water and carbon dioxide into the food we eat and the oxygen in the air we breathe. This is the very stuff of life and without carbon dioxide, there is no life. Zero.

April 24, 2019 8:55 am

“These results do not rule out the possibility that RPS policies could dynamically reduce the cost of abatement in the future by causing improvements in renewable technology.”
This is highly unlikely – wind and solar have been optimized for decades (turbine blade design, etc) and solar panels are so cheap that costs of materials is becoming a small prtion of total costs. For solar, the only substantial improvement would be to locate panels in a desert, unfortunately their aren’t too many of them these days, what with the carbon-induced greening of the planet. Wind and solar cannot gain anything of any significance by further technological improvements – they’re simply too simple as mechanisms.

Robert of Texas
April 24, 2019 9:07 am

Completely ignored (again), is nuclear power technology.

Nuclear power is at its infancy. Gen IV reactors have the potential to dramatically lower costs, and they aren’t even close to becoming as efficient as possible. There are still a lot of “ifs” in the future to be figured out, but they are mostly straightforward engineering and chemistry problems which we are good at solving.

I am betting Molten Salt Reactors will become standard. I personally am favoring the Fast MSR idea as it can burn up a lot of so-called wastes, but it’s only going to be economical if we build great big ones. The thermal variety of MSR can be built smaller, but has other issues that have to be worked out such as removing waste from the salt. I see nothing that is going to be a show stopper.

It’s politics that drive up costs of nuclear power. Constant changes to designs, new regulations while in the middle of construction, etc.

It is nearly a certainty that the costs of nuclear power will drop dramatically once the new technologies are proven. Wind Turbines have about bottomed out in costs and at the moment seem to be headed upwards. Large solar farms…are just ridiculous. The country that invests in nuclear power now will end up having the lowest energy costs in 20 years.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 24, 2019 8:30 pm

The renewables industry doesn’t like us to know about the waste problem they are making, either.

Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.

If solar and nuclear produce the same amount of electricity over the next 25 years that nuclear produced in 2016, and the wastes are stacked on football fields, the nuclear waste would reach the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste would reach the height of two Mt. Everests (16 km).

⚠ Now for wind ⚠

To quantify this in terms of environmental damages, consider that mining one ton of rare earth minerals produces about one ton of radioactive waste, according to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. In 2012, the U.S. added a record 13,131 MW of wind generating capacity. That means that between 4.9 million pounds (using MIT’s estimate) and 6.1 million pounds (using the Bulletin of Atomic Science’s estimate) of rare earths were used in wind turbines installed in 2012. It also means that between 4.9 million and 6.1 million pounds of radioactive waste were created to make these wind turbines.

For perspective, America’s nuclear industry produces between 4.4 million and 5 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel each year. That means the U.S. wind industry may well have created more radioactive waste last year than our entire nuclear industry produced in spent fuel. In this sense, the nuclear industry seems to be doing more with less: nuclear energy comprised about one-fifth of America’s electrical generation in 2012, while wind accounted for just 3.5 percent of all electricity generated in the United States.”

How does that sit with your EROI, Griff and Bahner?

April 24, 2019 11:09 am

Oddly although sold has ‘new technology ‘ in fact the renewable technology is old hat , wind predates even coal , and yet no one seems to have asked why these technologies where dropped for different forms such as gas or nuclear . And if so what is ‘different’ this time around .
Well this report outlines some of the reasons

April 24, 2019 11:21 am

I will admit to not reading all these comments. Base on the first few I’d read, and all the numbers crunched, I believe it too depends on the wind blowing, not sucking. Just saying. The fossils must remain ready to fire at all times. So the little people do not suffer the brown-out.

April 24, 2019 11:25 am

I read the paper and it reminded me of what is happening locally. Our local municipal power company in Massachusetts falls under this program. They buy about 5% of their power from Wind Farms in NH and Vermont. They pay an average of 3.7 cents/KWH from traditional providers and they pay an average of 9.6 cents/KWH to the two wind farm providers! In addition, though I have not worked out the the numbers we pay about it 34 cents/KWH for peak load smoothing through ISO of Energy New England. Intermittent sources increases our need for load smoothing and this very expensive power.

April 24, 2019 12:44 pm

The cost of battery explosions needs to be included as well.
A few days ago a solar related battery installation exploded in Phoenix.
“The facility contains a utility-scaled battery to store and distribute solar energy…
Friday’s fire marks the second fire APS has had at a battery installation. …
The batteries are part of a program where APS installs solar panels on customers’ homes and pays them a monthly credit for the use of their roof. The batteries are separated from the homes but used to balance the fluctuating energy on the grid caused by things like passing clouds that affect solar output. …
APS announced in February that it would install an additional 850 megawatts of batteries on the grid. The McMicken [most recent explosion] and Festival Ranch batteries, by comparison, are only 2 megawatts in size each.”

April 24, 2019 1:26 pm

The cost of battery explosions needs to be included as well.
A few days ago a solar-related battery installation in Phoenix exploded.
According to AZCentral news:
“The facility contains a utility-scaled battery to store and distribute solar energy…
They require constant cooling to maintain a temperature of 75 degrees and prevent them from overheating…
Friday’s fire marks the second fire APS has had at a battery installation…
The batteries are part of a program where APS installs solar panels on customers homes and pays them a monthly credit for the use of their roof. The batteries are separated from the homes but used to balance the fluctuating energy on the grid caused by things like passing clouds that affect solar output…
APS announced in February that it would install an additional 850 megawatts of batteries on the grid. The McMicken [the recent explosion] and Festival Ranch batteries, by comparison, are only 2 megawatts in size each.”

April 24, 2019 1:34 pm

Sorry about the double post – the first one was still not there after more than 30 minutes.
These battery installations “require constant cooling” and I’m sure as they add another 200 times as much battery capacity, there will be more explosions.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Alan
April 25, 2019 6:01 am

And the “required constant cooling” REQUIRES ENERGY TO DO THE COOLING, yet another cost unaccounted for by proponents of useless wind mills and solar panels.

Dennis Sandberg
April 24, 2019 1:48 pm

ALLAN MACRAE April 24, 2019 at 9:09 am
Capacity Factor (about 20+%) is not that relevant – Substitution Capacity (about 5%)

Thanks Allan, saved me the trouble of posting the same source.

In fairness, my understanding of the point that the 5% substitution factor applies is when the installed wind turbine capacity matches the % capacity factor. Example: A grid system where 30% of the time adequate wind speed is available and the grid is served by 30% intermittent wind and 70% dispatchable power. Talk about “diminishing return”. Wind power is unquestionably a horrible miss allocation of limited capital. $trillions have been wasted, and $trillions more are planned.

The substitution capacity is the paramount consideration. All these other comments are just nibbling at the edges. Without grid priority wind turbines are not economically feasible. Time of day and season demand variables require dispatchable power. Because of this requirement attempting to compare intermittent wind with combined cycle gas turbines is futile. Energy in versus energy out is meaningless. The thing that matters, knowing that C02 is beneficial, is money invested vs money saved/returned. Energy prices need to be good for the consumer, producer and investor to be sustainable. Investing in wind power is unsustainable….as again demonstrated by the current example from the University of Chicago.

Alan in Kansas
April 24, 2019 2:41 pm

“These results do not rule out the possibility that RPS policies could dynamically reduce the cost of abatement in the future by causing improvements in renewable technology.”

This final sentence is a laughable non sequitur to the rest of the Abstract! But maybe they had to put it in to get the research grant.

“These results do not OFFER MUCH HOPE that RPS policies could dynamically reduce the cost of abatement in the future by causing improvements in renewable technology.”

There now, fixed it!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Alan in Kansas
April 24, 2019 2:49 pm

The statement “… by causing improvements in renewable technology.”” is complete nonsense. A mandate to install existing technology ensures no R&D will ensue.

old construction worker
April 25, 2019 7:07 am

I read a lot of the comments but no one has pointed how Electric companies derive income. They sell the product separate from the cost of maintaining the delivery system. They could sell the product at cost or below cost with subsidies and make their profit from maintaining the delivery system

Henry chance
Reply to  old construction worker
April 25, 2019 5:45 pm

Here is a good one. 1,000 tons of dirty coal are used to make the steel for the tower and the rebar in the pad. Huge kilns burning Natural Gas dehydrate the gypsum to make concrete.

The blades are fiberglass reinforced resin from petroleum.

Coal + Iron ore + Natural Gas + Crude oil refined product => one fan.

It takes 12 tractor trailer rigs to deliver a fan, that many more to deliver the crane for erection and each rig has a fore and aft pilot car because it is oversize load.

The good news is an acre of wheat field with a fan takes up 17,000 pounds of CO2. The pad and the service road to the fan destroy an acre per fan.

There is a tremendous amount of arc welding involved in building these towers which really cranks out OZONE. The journey to carbon free utopia is very dirty.

Mickey Reno
April 25, 2019 9:33 am

We lose money of every sale, but we make it up with volume!

We cheat the other guy, and pass the savings on to YOU!

Griff, throw in your own sales truisms here, I know you love renewable energy schemes so much.

Roger Knights
May 1, 2019 5:21 am

University Of Chicago Reports That Renewables Are A Luxury No Man Can Afford
Apr. 26, 2019 1:46 PM ET|334 comments | Includes: FSLR, TSLA, VWDRY
John L. Petersen, Attorney

On April 21st, the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) released the results of a comprehensive study comparing states that have renewable portfolio standards (RPS) with states that don’t.

It reported that seven years after passage of an RPS program, renewable power generation was, on average, 1.8% higher and retail electricity prices were, on average, 11% higher.

It reported that 12 years after passage of an RPS program, renewable power generation was, on average, 4.2% higher and retail electricity prices were, on average, 17% higher.

It also reported an all-in cost of $130 to $460 per metric ton for CO2 abatement.

When RPS programs that favor less than 10% of annual electricity production drive average retail electricity prices up by 11% to 17%, something is desperately wrong.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights