Inherent unreliable renewables dictate GND “100% renewable electricity” mandate yields unavoidable GHG emissions

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

The Green New Deal (GND) and California’s SB 100 are both draconian and completely unrealistic pipe dreams that politically mandate “100% renewable electricity” for the U.S. and California respectively.

A new 117 page study from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has determined that these politically contrived schemes of “100% renewable energy” are self defeating because of the inherent unreliability of renewables which results in significant GHG emissions occurring from the unavoidable need for backup dispatchable and reliable fossil generation. This backup fossil generation is required to provide grid stability functions including frequency, voltage and synchronization control, daily system load ramping and to prevent power shortages and blackouts.


The AEI study evaluated the GND proposed scheme presented to Congress and concluded that any attempt to mandate “100% renewable electricity” that could achieve the necessary outcome of preserving electric system grid stability and reliability requires that backup fossil generation be operating to deal with the inherent and unavoidable unreliability of renewables thus yielding the result that significant GHG emissions cannot be avoided.

The AEI study found that the amount of fossil backup generation required for a 100% GND renewable generation scenario for the U.S. would result in GHG emissions the equivalent of 35% of the emissions levels that occurred from all U.S. power generation in the year 2017.

Accordingly unless the U.S. is willing to abandon electric grid system stability and reliability and knowingly accept that significant periods of unreliable electric grid stability along with power shortages and blackouts will occur throughout the U.S. there is no choice but to acknowledge that GHG emissions cannot be avoided with a 100% renewable generation political mandate.

This same outcome occurs at the state level as well where the 100% renewable generation electric grid stability and reliability failings must be addressed either through importing backup fossil generation via transmission links, operating through the use of in-state backup fossil generation or a combination of both these backup fossil generation options.

The AEI study summary concludes the following regarding the impracticality of trying to operate a reliable and stable 100% renewable energy system:  

“Because of the need for conventional backup generation to avoid blackouts in a “100 percent renewable system” and because those backup units would have to be cycled up and down depending on wind and sunlight conditions, one ironic effect would be GHG emissions from natural gas–fired backup generation 22 percent higher than those resulting in 2017 from all natural gas–fired power generation. And those backup emissions would be over 35 percent of the emissions from all power generation in 2017.

Without fossil-fired backup generation, the national and regional electricity systems would be characterized by a significant decline in service reliability — that is, a large increase in the frequency and duration of blackouts. Battery backup technology cannot solve this problem. It is unlikely that a power system characterized by regular, widespread service interruptions would be acceptable to a large majority of Americans. Accordingly, the emissions effects of backup generation as just described in fact would be observed, which is to say that to a significant degree the GND is self-defeating in its asserted climate goals. That is another reason to conclude that the true goals are an expansion of wealth transfers to favored interests and the power of government to command and allocate resources. Moreover, the reduction in individual and aggregate incomes attendant upon the GND policies would yield a reduction in the collective political willingness to invest in environmental protection over time.”

The GND proposal scheme articulates among its fanciful provisions the following regarding 100% renewable electricity:

And “it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal,” the goals of which “should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization . . . that will require the following goals and projects—”

• “Eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible”;

• “Meeting100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources . . . by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources”;

The AEI GND report provides the following assessment of the significant and intractable problems facing any attempt to implement a stable and reliable 100% renewable electricity system:

“It is technically impossible for a 100 percent renewable power system, as defined in the GND, or anything approximating it to avoid both frequent service interruptions (“blackouts”) and a far smaller decline than commonly assumed in emissions of conventional pollutants and GHG. In other words, service interruptions are a crucial problem under a 100 percent renewable power system, a problem that can be addressed only with conventional backup capacity. This observation requires a brief primer on the operation of an electric power system.

Electric energy in large amounts cannot be stored at low cost in batteries due to technological limitations; only indirect storage in the form of water in dams is economic. (The problems with battery storage are discussed in Chapter 4.) This reality means that the production and consumption of electricity in a given power network must be balanced constantly to prevent blackouts and more generally to preserve the expected reliability of the system.

Because unexpected surges in demand and/or outages of generating equipment can occur, backup generation capacity must be maintained; such backup capacity is termed the “operating reserve” for the given network. This operating reserve is of two types; the first is the “spinning reserve”—that is, generators already connected to the network, the output of which can be increased by raising the torque applied to the generating turbines. The typical system requirement is that spinning reserves be 50 percent or more of total operating reserves. The second component of operating reserves is the supplemental reserve, which comprises generation capacity that can be brought on line within five to 10 minutes and/or electric power that can be obtained quickly from other networks or by withholding power being distributed to other networks. Additional reserve capacity often is provided by generators that require up to an hour to come on line; this backup capacity is not included in measures of the operating reserve for a system because of the length of time required for availability.

Electric supply systems respond to growing demands (“load”) over the course of a day (or year) by increasing output from the lowest-cost generating units first and then calling on successively more expensive units as electric loads grow toward the daily (or seasonal) peak. (“Baseload” units run more or less constantly except for scheduled and unscheduled downtime.) Electric generation capacity fueled by renewable energy sources is not “dispatchable”; that is, it is not available on demand because wind and sunlight are intermittent. In other words, system planning and optimization cannot be based on an assumption that it will be available to provide power to the grid when it is expected to be most economic. Accordingly, it cannot be scheduled: It requires backup generation capacity to preserve system reliability.

Several studies have concluded that wind capacity does not impose large reliability costs on a given power system as long as the wind generation remains about 10–20 percent or less of system out- put, because the intermittent nature of wind resources given a small market share has effects similar to those of unexpected outages and other familiar problems characterizing conventional generation.51 At the same time, outages of wind capacity due to weak wind conditions are much more likely to be correlated geographically than is the case for outages of conventional plants, for the obvious reason that weak winds in part of a given region are likely to be observed in tandem with weak winds in other parts of that region. Because appropriate sites for utility-scale solar facilities (and rooftop photovoltaic systems) are concentrated geographically, the same correlation problem is likely to affect solar electric generation as well.

The problem of frequency regulation and grid stability—related to but distinct from the intermittency problem—created by a large expansion of non-dispatchable power generation is well-known.52 In brief, most US generating capacity is alternating current (AC) and must be synchronized at 60 hertz. Because generation from wind and solar units cannot be ramped up and down in response to disequilibria in power frequencies in a grid, conventional units must be used to regulate those frequencies. Without such frequency regulation, the grid can become unstable, in the sense that the generators comprising the grid would be spinning at different speeds, a condition of nonsynchronous generation that can cause a power outage. In a critique of a proposal53 for a 100 percent renewable power grid, Christopher Clack et al. make the following central observation.

An important gap in the analysis of [Jacobson et al.] is that it does not provide evidence that the proposed [100 percent renewable] system can maintain sufficient frequency regulation to preserve power system stability. The designers of power markets have known for decades that there is a need for improved markets that reward ancillary services that contribute to grid stability.

Further, [Jacobson et al.] state that [their] model “assumes a fully interconnected grid” that does not include any transmission constraints. [They] simply assume that there is unlimited transmission availability and that if “congestion is an issue at the baseline level of long-distance transmission, increasing the transmission capacity will relieve congestion with only a modest increase in cost.”

This is a striking set of assumptions given that it has proven extremely difficult to site vital transmission lines, notably near urban areas (where loads are concentrated).54

In short, expansion of renewable power generation requires ancillary investment in backup capacity using conventional (dispatchable) technologies if frequent service interruptions are to be avoided.”

In summary the AEI study evaluates U.S. electric power generation and energy data for the year 2017 and calculates from that data the amount of new renewable generation required for a 100% renewable generation system, the necessary backup fossil generation required and the resulting GHG emissions associated with this GND scheme.

The study established that 848 GW of conventional generation must be replaced by 2,627 GW’s of new renewable generation to achieve 100% renewable electricity. The much larger amount of replacement renewable generation reflects the much lower capacity factors from renewable power plants versus reliable and predictable fossil generation plant capacity factors. The many issues affecting the much lower renewable energy capacity factors are addressed in detail in the AEI study. The study estimates that the new100% renewable generation system will require 394 GW of backup electric system reserve natural gas combined cycle power plants.

The study utilizes a conservatively low 15% electric system generation reserve margin for its evaluation. Most North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) grid organizations operate with reserve margins in the range between 15% to 25%. The required backup generation is estimated to be operating at about a 40% capacity factor needed to provide all electric grid stability functions, daily ramping of system load, system regulating margin and spinning and standby reserves to prevent power shortages and blackouts.   

The study determined that “annual emissions from natural gas backup generation under the GND “100 percent renewables” mandate, perhaps surprisingly, would be 22 percent higher than the emissions from all 2017 natural gas–fired generation and over 35 percent of the emissions from all power generation in 2017. This is the direct result of the unreliability of renewable power: The backup units must be cycled up and down depending on wind and sunlight conditions, thus increasing heat rates (btu per kWh) and emissions.63 The seriousness of this cycling problem is illustrated in Table 2: Annual natural gas backup generation under the GND would be over 6 percent higher than all natural gas generation in 2017, but emissions from natural gas backup power production, again, would be 22 percent higher. In short, the GND “100 percent renewables” mandate—even given the assumptions inherent in the GND policy proposals—to a significant degree is self-defeating as a purported solution to a climate crisis.”

In addition the AEI study addressed the costs that would be associated with the GND electricity mandate which included cost evaluations of new renewable energy capacity and related costs associated with transmission, backup power, land and emissions which are summarized in Table 10 of the study as presented below.


The $490.5 billion dollars per year cost just for the electricity portion of the GND proposal schemes (the GND socialized goodies dealing with single-payer health care, “free” college, national high speed rail system, national building efficiency retrofit program, national employment guarantee, etc are addressed in the AEI study but not in this essay) does NOT include how the sunk costs of the 848 GW of existing conventional generation would be dealt with by the government with the sunk costs of these assets likely to be in the multi trillion dollar range.

The AEI study also provides a breakdown of the electrical system 100% renewable energy GND scheme by each state. Each states year 2017 data is evaluated by addressing its respective generation capacity, fuel mix and energy consumption. The costs for each state reflects the differences between these components among the various states. The graph below presents this data.


For the state of California the cost per household is $1,885 per year or a total annual cost of about $22 billion dollars per year.

The summary of the AEI study clearly notes that the end result of the GND even if zero emissions could be achieved has no discernible impact on global temperatures which is highlighted in the report as follows: 

“Moreover, notwithstanding the assertions from GND proponents that it is an essential policy to confront purportedly adverse climate phenomena, the future temperature impacts of the zero-emissions objective would be barely distinguishable from zero: 0.173°C by 2100, under the maximum Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change parameter (equilibrium climate sensitivity) about the effects of reduced GHG emissions. Under an assumption consistent with the findings reported in the recent peer-reviewed literature, the effect would be 0.083°C by 2100, a policy impact not measurable against normal variation in temperatures. This conclusion is not controversial and suggests strongly that the GND’s real goal is wealth redistribution to favored political interests under the GND social-policy agenda and a dramatic increase in government control of resource allocation more generally”.

Also unaddressed in the GND proposal is the indisputable fact that any reductions in GHG emissions by the U.S., which already leads the world in reducing CO2 emissions, is completely irrelevant to the future growth both cumulatively and incrementally of global emissions which are totally controlled by the world’s developing nations.


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Tom Halla
May 31, 2019 6:09 am

Given the actual performance in Germany of the Energiewende, this report seems very generous in evaluating renewables, as the German performance was rather worse.

Matthew Drobnick
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 31, 2019 10:09 am

Meanwhile here in dumbdumb land, Democrats are being tyrannical as always, even after the state voted against such measures on the ballot

They need to be tried for treason and crimes against humanity

I didn’t move to Colorado instead of California just to see Colorado become the next California. I genuinely hate Denver and all these ignorant twits

Bill Powers
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 31, 2019 10:50 am

This report is working off computer models.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Bill Powers
June 1, 2019 2:23 am

The world of engineering uses models all the time because the systems are known and the models have been validated by experiment.

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Gerry, England
June 2, 2019 2:06 pm

. . . unlike the use of models by climate “scientists.”

Michael in Dublin
May 31, 2019 6:43 am

What would be the average energy cost per household in California be if they used fossil fuels with no carbon tax? This number would help those of us who are lay people to make a better comparison.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
May 31, 2019 10:25 am

I would be more concerned about the ‘Estimated Annual Green New Deal Electricity Costs Per Household’ in West Virginia of $11,088 when over 50% of the households in West Virginia live off $25,000 or less. Wyoming is probably much worse at $17,103 just for electricity, but I don’t know their income distribution.

May 31, 2019 7:02 am

The problem with the GND is not technical, whether or not it is feasible.
The problem with the GND is that is tyranny. It is socialism / communism in a green wrapper. A watermelon, green on the outside red on the inside.

It is state owned, state controlled means of production, distribution, allocation, and pricing. The individual will be forced into accepting this. All your energy will come from the state, and it’s use will be dictate by the state. Your movements, will be dictated by the state, smart cars or congestion pricing will see to that.

The feasibility is the least of the issues with the GND.

May 31, 2019 7:03 am

This analysis doesn’t even include replacing petrol based transportation fuels or much of the energy used in industrial processing…so add another ~60% to the absurd requirements cited here.

Reply to  DocSiders
May 31, 2019 9:04 am

Then there is the unaccounted Manufacturing usage. Think Steel and aluminum that have their own generators. And those two are just a minor part.

May 31, 2019 7:04 am

And… in the process of this wealth redistribution to AOC’s favoured interest groups, apart from increasing our energy costs 10-fold and lowering the grid reliability, we would end up exterminating whole species of bats and birds already endangered by the existing wind farms. Then, having attained this enviro-fascist nirvana, we would watch helplessly our industries leaving the country in droves for greener pastures, where energy is cheaper, more reliably delivered, the regulatory burden easier, and the governments wiser. As wealth producing jobs and know-how would depart with the industry, and as the government size and cost would only grow more, we’d become a newly impoverished third world nation, the transfer of wealth away from the US and America’s workers fully completed. Who wouldn’t want to vote for such a glorious future?

kevin kilty
Reply to  Gus
May 31, 2019 8:45 am

Exactly where does government appear wiser?

Reply to  kevin kilty
May 31, 2019 11:45 am

kevin kilty: “Exactly where does government appear wiser?”

At the bottom of the sea, from my point of view.

The trick is getting them there without too much fuss.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  H.R.
May 31, 2019 11:42 pm

Stop being so negative!!! Think of all that broken up concrete from the foundations of the wind turbines, 100s of tons per turbine, a small block per politician should do the trick!!! Sarc 😉

Reply to  kevin kilty
June 1, 2019 6:45 pm

Most of Asia, where prosperity takes priority over virtue signalling.

Tired Old Nurse
May 31, 2019 7:31 am

Couldn’t the federal government dictate energy production in California due to the commerce clause? Electricity transmission is an interstate activity and instability in California might cause troubles for neighboring states.

Mind, I think the commerce clause is abused and as a libertarian I want to see less involvement in state affairs by the feds but this looks like one of the areas where it would be appropriate.

Ron Long
May 31, 2019 7:35 am

Good report, Larry, but you miss the point. The goal of 100% Renewables is about good intentions. Remember what our parents all told us: “The road to the Democrat President Nominating Convention is paved with good intentions”.

John F. Hultquist
May 31, 2019 7:37 am

0.083 C° by 2100

That right there, is funny. (h/t Cable Guy)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

May 31, 2019 7:39 am

Given that it is so obvious that we cannot ever get 100% of our power from renewables, why do people persist in acting as if we can?

Reply to  Tom
May 31, 2019 8:43 am

The human race lives in denial of reality and always has. Besides, fantasy can be whatever one wants. Reality doesn’t work that way. So fantasy sells so much better. Always has, always will. Eventually, reality smacks us down, but until then….

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Sheri
May 31, 2019 1:55 pm

Millions of gullible Californians sitting in dark houses and apartments, no A/C, on a hot summer night in Southern California, while the looters rampage through the streets and shopping malls, will be the kind of event that sharpens the focus. (Most of all no ability to turn on the TV and internet router to stream HBO or Netflix).

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 31, 2019 7:01 pm

No doubt they will blame capitalists and the right wing for refusing to hand over the money needed to make the system work.

May 31, 2019 7:52 am

It is extremely unfortunate that the jurisdictions who want 100% renewable electricity don’t understand that they will require some type of major significant spinning reserve within their Utility which usually means they will expect their neighbouring jurisdiction to supply it, and expect it at the same cost as their lower value intermittent renewable supply. Unless they have large hydro like the Pacific Northwest or a combination of geothermal/hydro like Iceland or NZ, they won’t be able to produce 100% from wind or solar renewables. Or they have some type of pumped storage for a back up spinning reserve they can charge up from their intermittent renewables at an extremely high inefficiency hit overall which makes the whole exercise redundant and extremely expensive anyway with little drop in CO2.

If the people in power advocating 100% renewables don’t or won’t accept the technical limitations to the technology infrastructure, then the voting public shouldn’t be surprised when they are having black outs and brown outs due to an unstable grid. And the same voting public has to accept massive electricity price increases for an increasingly unstable supply, for any actual reduction in CO2 emissions. Just as we see happening in South Australia where they now need very large diesel back-up after literally blowing up their operational coal fired generators.

Much more public education is required to inform the general public how all this technically works. More importantly, what it is going to cost and then that is when hopefully voters will block this insanity, just like voters tend to block or reverse the dreaded carbon tax that is so detrimental to a well functioning economy.

Gilbert Paton
Reply to  Earthling2
May 31, 2019 3:14 pm

‘Much more public education is required to inform the general public’
How to do this? In the UK the subject is never discussed on TV or in the press (I can’t say about radio as I seldom listen to it). I have written to different newspapers many times to complain about unbalanced views but they are never printed.

Reply to  Gilbert Paton
May 31, 2019 5:53 pm

Yes indeed they don’t want to talk about the details because that is where it all falls apart, that this renewable pie in the sky is currently impossible to realize with wind and solar. In part it is because the electricity grid requires immense torque from massive spinning synchronous generators that can supply the instantaneous load and meet demand in almost near real time (ideally milliseconds) without collapsing the frequency or going under/over voltage and collapsing the circuit with a black out. Inverters from wind and solar can’t do that and is one of the main topics of this article.

This is the kind of simple explanation that main stream media should be talking about so average folk understand what is required when they turn the lights on. Then they will realize why it is impossible to have 100% renewable electricity from wind and solar.

Reply to  Earthling2
June 1, 2019 7:06 pm

Re article: Note the ovine group of protestors in the picture. I wonder how many of them have an idea about instantaneous load or frequency regulation.

Ancient Wrench
May 31, 2019 7:58 am

It seems obvious that running conventional generators on standby as backup for intermittent renewable sources increases emissions, but it’s nice to see some one quantify that problem.

Roger Morgenstern
May 31, 2019 8:01 am

I managed conventional power plants most of my life and find the inherent lack of ability to be dispatched and lack of volts/freq regulation to be absolutely fatal to the GND idea. So may times I have seen a generating unit trip, or a lightning induced transmission fault that was easily overcome by the grid simply because there were so many massive rotating machines synchronized across the geographic area. The physical inertia of those generators gave teh few seconds of tiem necessary to perform switching or load shedding or what ever was needed to save the day. Wind and solar add essentially NO inertia to the grid. And I will always remember going into a plant in the wee hours of Christmas in the 80s and it was bitterly cold and there was absolutely not a breath of wind. How would the 100% renewable world deal with that?

Norman Blanton
May 31, 2019 8:33 am

Why no mention of Nuclear as the back up…

Yeah I know most of the radical Greens won’t accept it…
they are banking on a magic battery or other power storage method,

Reply to  Norman Blanton
May 31, 2019 12:23 pm

You are of course correct Norman, but the article was about 100% renewables. For all practical purposes, nuclear should be considered renewable, in at least as far as their wish for 100% ‘carbon free’ electricity is concerned. I don’t think we would be having as much of a debate about all this if the alarmists hadn’t sabotaged the ability to maintain and build a new efficient nuclear fleet. Atomic power of some kind will have to be the long term electricity supplier, especially if there is to be a lot more electric cars etc.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Norman Blanton
May 31, 2019 1:49 pm

Because the assumption is no new nuclear will be built out to replace retired fossil fuel generation and retiring nuclear plants sources. That appears to be valid assumption since the expected cost of natural gas makes building new nuclear power a non-starter for any utility or investors needed to finance it.

And Good to see you here from your WSJ commenting days. 🙂

May 31, 2019 8:34 am

“Without fossil-fired backup generation, the national and regional electricity systems would be characterized by a significant decline in service reliability ” So very true. My electric utility now has contracts with wind farms with a total name plate capacity of over 25% of the average daily peak for the utility, As a result momentary losses in power have become a common event. We are now subject to a momentary power loss on average of twice a week. That means resetting the digital clocks and the Cable TV Set Top Box 2 or three times a week. And at least one of these weekly events happens during prime time TV hours.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Usurbrain
May 31, 2019 10:33 am

Ours have occurred at least once a day, usually in the late evening for the last couple weeks.

May 31, 2019 8:39 am

If those pushing for a reduction in CO2 are serious about reducing CO2 and not about making themselves richer then the true goal would be 100% Carbon Free Electricity then 100% corbon free Transportation. With those programs well on track the manufacturing process could start progress in toward 100% carbon free manufacturing. And YES, that means the Nuclear power is a necessary, vital part of that endeavor.

May 31, 2019 8:44 am

Warren Buffet gets a tax break from these renewables. That’s all that’s important.

Reply to  Sheri
May 31, 2019 1:43 pm

Same for Bezos – Amazon pays no taxes. A big part of the explanation is tax credits. Uncle Sam rewards companies that invest in research and renewable energy. “Amazon has wind farms,” says Rackliffe. “They have solar farms. There’s incentives for doing all of those things.”
That means your Federal taxes are higher than they need to be so that the Government can give them theses tax credits. So that cheaper renewable energy means higher taxes for you. Worse, your State and County is doing the same thing. (In most states. ) That means your property taxes are higher.

kevin kilty
May 31, 2019 8:51 am

Exactly where does government appear wiser?

May 31, 2019 8:59 am

The Left/DNC are the true anti-science and engineering party. Fools. Idiots. Dangerous.

Matthew Drobnick
Reply to  cosmic
May 31, 2019 10:12 am

Tyrants. Demonic. Authoritarian. Monsters.
They will stop at nothing until they destroy everything.

Reply to  cosmic
May 31, 2019 10:34 am

In Stork They Trust

Eustace Cranch
May 31, 2019 9:05 am

Jeez, that headline was tough to parse. Just sayin.

May 31, 2019 9:17 am

Is the study right? For Maryland where I live, the annual cost of GND electricity is cited as $3,141. At present, my all-electric house costs me about $3,000 to heat, cool and illuminate with power from the local grid. Our grid is fed by about 50% natural gas, 25% coal, 17% nuclear, 13% wind and a smattering of other sources. So the GND will not change my power cost at all? Hard to believe.

Reply to  DHR
May 31, 2019 11:09 am

The cost you refer to ($3,141) is the yearly amount you pay for the components of your utility’s system. You would then have to pay for the electricity( $3,000). $3141+ $3,000= $6141 or twice what you are paying,if the electricity cost the remains the same. LOL

Reply to  Pat
May 31, 2019 12:29 pm

Ah. That makes more sense. And of course the electricity will cost more. Thanks.

May 31, 2019 9:21 am

“Accordingly unless the U.S. is willing to abandon electric grid system stability and reliability and knowingly accept that significant periods of unreliable electric grid stability along with power shortages and blackouts will occur throughout the U.S.”

That is exactly what the people pushing for 100% renewable want, forcing the general public to live with an unreliable, unstable power grid.

May 31, 2019 9:45 am

Jacobson’s study is based on the assumption of a 15-fold increase in US hydro capacity. In other words, for 100% renewable to work in the US, its hydroelectric capacity would have to be 15 times greater.

Reply to  icisil
May 31, 2019 10:32 am

The Green Blight. They could model it on China’s hydroelectric projects and subsequent stuffing of displaced people into high density population centers.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  icisil
May 31, 2019 10:33 am

The other major assumption Jacobson’s study makes is that energy conservation measures will cut America’s per capita consumption of electricity in half. (Yeah. Right.)

Steve O
May 31, 2019 10:03 am

Building out a renewable energy infrastructure itself will result in a major increase in emissions. To avoid that, I suggest California mandate that all such infrastructure be built using renewable energy sources. If anyone objects by saying that such a mandate is impossible, then what would that say about the feasibility of 100% renewable energy?

Joe Crawford
May 31, 2019 10:09 am

I have a suggestion. I have heard several companies advertise that they are now powered by 100% renewable energy. And, several power companies are also providing the option to their customers of purchasing renewable energy.

This may require the installation of remotely controlled smart metering, but:
When the customer requests 100% renewable energy the power company should cut off their service when renewable energy is not available.

Those customers that only request/contract-for renewable energy when it is available should be notified on their bills with itemized availability by day, time-of-day and costs.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
May 31, 2019 12:44 pm

Just don’t allow the company to connect to the grid. They can build their own grid or piggyback along existing transmission corridors, only NO electricity other than renewable (separate transmission lines on same poles, maybe). Make them tell the truth by imposing reality on them.

J Mac
May 31, 2019 10:22 am

Intermittent, unreliable ‘renewable’ electricity generation….
What could possibly go wrong with this ‘green new deal’?

May 31, 2019 10:28 am

The latest news is that ‘scientists’ are lobbying the PM Theresa May to enforce a zero emissions law before she retires as PM.
They were quoted on the BBC this morning as saying that the CO2 emissions reduction so far has not hurt the economy.
However many of our CO2 emissions have been exported due to high energy prices and carbon taxes.
The other news item was the Extinction Rebellion plan a blockade of London Heathrow airport in July.
So you may need to revise your travel plans
Much is also being made of the non use of coal recently.
What has not been quoted is the low level of wind generated electricity over much of the past few weeks.

Reply to  StephenP
May 31, 2019 12:31 pm

“Much is also being made of the non use of coal recently.”

What they hide is the fact that coal plants are still generating electricity, but are using wood pellets that emit more CO2 than coal.

Beta Blocker
May 31, 2019 10:30 am

Californians have bought the renewable energy Kool Aid in million gallon quantities and will not be convinced otherwise until serious problems begin to occur. My previous comments on this topic:

I hear talk through the grapevine that the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is well aware of the serious dangers presented to the state’s electric service reliability performance by a nationally implemented GND program combined with California’s own politically-driven renewable energy mandates.

The staff at CAISO certainly ought to be aware of the danger, because if California’s power supply starts experiencing an ever-increasing number of service interruptions as market penetration of wind and solar expands, CAISO will be getting the blame for it.

I continue to believe that the oil and gas industry, the railroads, and the manufacturers of gas-fired peaker plants are waiting patiently for serious problems to emerge, probably by the early 2030’s if not sooner.

When the opportunity presents itself, they will be offering to save the day for America and for California by quickly installing gas-fired peaker plants wherever these can be easily serviced by rail-transported supplies of LNG.

IMHO, the long-term profit making opportunities for installing and servicing these gas-fired LNG peaker plants will be considerable.

Sure, the plants will be promoted as being a temporary measure until the technology and the economics of wind and solar backed by grid-scale energy storage can be figured out. But since the problems of wind and solar will never be figured out, these ‘temporary’ plants will become permanent fixtures of the energy landscape.

May 31, 2019 10:34 am

Mr Hamlin is being generous about the renewable capabilities IMO but the point is well made. This is simple math and engineering that doesn’t require a degree or expertise to figure out. Worse yet is the investment becomes diminishing returns the more renewables are added to cover for the backup …. which can never be achieved economically or practically.

Kevin kilty
May 31, 2019 10:51 am

I notice from the list of projected costs that the states getting hit the hardest in terms of electrical energy costs are precisely those states which currently provide most of the nation’s energy at present. Apparently those residents are expected to absorb the costs of stranded assets and then rebuild a new infrastructure.

I am sorry to take the view I currently have, but Americans now appear to be the stupidest people this planet has managed to produce yet.

May 31, 2019 12:35 pm

Question on the graph showing Electricity costs per state if the GND is implemented, I know it’s the lower 48 states so Alaska & Hawaii are not included, but which state is abbreviated “US”? It’s 21 from the bottom. I even went to the link noted at the bottom left of the image for the original artwork and I verified it’s “US”. I thought it would be the average of the US, but that’s already listed on line 30.

Someone needs to check their presentations before publication.

(I have kids so I did good with Where’s Waldo)

Joel O'Bryan
May 31, 2019 1:28 pm

This truthful AEI analyses of the GND and 100% renewable energy claims exposes the lies the Democrats are of course telling and selling to a gullible public.

When did the truth ever stop a Democrat from lying if they thought it was in their political interest to do so?
(That’s a rhetorical question of course, as the answer is “never.”)

Joel O'Bryan
May 31, 2019 1:44 pm

The other aspect of this analysis is that it is based on 2017 US and state’s electrical power consumptions.

What happens to demand if you try to electrify even just 20% of US passenger cars and light trucks by 2030? Electricity demand would of course go literally through the roof (especailly at night when people are home sleeping and their car is charging in the garage). Those mandates would be utter colossal failures bringing about grid collapses, huge price increases and black-outs even more frequently.

But the GreenSlime knows this. It is by design that those much higher electricity prices would pass-through as Giga-buck ROI’s into their pockets as they’ve invested in those renewable schemes and are looking for a huge payback on the backs of the middle class.

Essentially renewable energy costs are a tax on the middle class that the Democrat politicians cannot directly apply via government taxation without getting tossed out of office by angry voters. So they dupe the middle class into vastly higher energy costs by employing using green virtue signalling propaganda, which then funnels that huge wealth transfer into the groups that support Democrats.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 31, 2019 4:51 pm

” Electricity demand would of course go literally through the roof (especially at night when people are home sleeping and their car is charging in the garage). ”
And if 75% plus of the electricity was coming from ZERO Carbon Nuclear Power the Base Loaded Nuclear Power plants would keep churning away providing economical power because they would not be shutting down or reducing power. They would easily take on that load to stay at 100% power. the installed Green power would then be used only when available – which is usually not when needed. When a NPP operates at 100% it is operating at its most efficient power. Further, NPPs need to shut down on a schedule to replace the nuclear fuel. Makes no difference if they only used 75% of the fuel, they still need to shut down because the planning started 18 – 24 months ago and contracts were written and the fuel has been purchased. Yes they could keep running, but that means all of these penalties get paid and also makes it difficult getting the contractors you want.

May 31, 2019 1:58 pm

I know the oil, NG and coal lobbies are powerful influencers in the halls of Congress but I think our Department of Energy owes America a moonshot-level series of nuclear power plants. Small, safe, incredibly energy dense gems that are easily reproducible. Then we can keep our ICE cars, cheery gas fireplaces, etc

May 31, 2019 4:25 pm

The annual GND household electricity cost chart says VT $222. Less than $20 per month? That can’t be correct.

May 31, 2019 4:29 pm

The Green New Deal and California equivalent are scientifically unwarranted as the arguments that are made by today’s climate models are logically unsound.

Reply to  Terry Oldberg
May 31, 2019 5:13 pm

Oldberg states: “the arguments that are made by today’s climate models are logically unsound.”

Oldberg is ignorant of what a climate model does. A climate model is a set of input axioms/hypothesis that are used to come to a conclusion using numerical methods. It has the logical form of (A1 and A2 and A3 and … and An) all of which imply conclusion Z, where A1, A2, A3, …. are the input axioms/hypothesis.
Now Oldberg, tell us all how this is “logically unsound” ?

Reply to  Mike Borgelt
May 31, 2019 7:03 pm

If your assumptions have no basis in reality, then they are logically unsound.

Reply to  MarkW
June 1, 2019 5:20 am

Gee MarkW, I guess you’ve never heard of the square root of negative one.

Reply to  Mike Borgelt
June 1, 2019 8:23 am

Oh yes, the square root of -1 does exist. (I just can’t measure it, mark it on a piece of wood or metal, nor find it on a micrometer.)

Reply to  Mike Borgelt
June 1, 2019 9:21 am

The question is not one of “existence” it is a question of “basis in reality.” There is a reason it is not a real number, but an imaginary one. Learn to read what I post.

Reply to  Mike Borgelt
June 1, 2019 9:24 am

The “existence” of SQRT(-1) is a product of the human mind, and has no basis in reality. Next thing you’ll say is that products of the human mind are real, and that argument is a goal post move.

Reply to  Mike Borgelt
June 1, 2019 8:49 pm

Red herring. MarkW is correct. You are confusing logical validity and soundness. If the premises have no basis in reality they are false and a false premise leads to an unsound conclusion. Your square root of negative one is a logically unsound concept.

Reply to  Terry Oldberg
May 31, 2019 5:17 pm

You see Oldberg, if any one of the input axioms/hypothesis (A1, A2, A3,…) are FALSE, the logical “and” of them all results in a FALSE premise in the deduction which results in a TRUE logical conclusion.
However the only way you can argue that the model is illogical is to assert that all of the axioms/hypothesis are TRUE and the conclusion FALSE.
So tell us Mr. Logic, where does the climate model make an incorrect logical deduction?

Kv s
May 31, 2019 5:21 pm

Using CA as a leader in solar (EIA data), since 2011 to 2017 the cost of electricity has increased by $7B or 20%, the increase in solar has gone from zero to about 15%, and the reduction in CO2 emissions have been about 10%.
WTF, why did the emissions only decrease a fraction of the addition of solar? DUH, because the sun does not shine at night and you need to bring back up the Nat Gas plants at night to keep the lights on. Why did the cost of power go up by 20% when solar is “cheaper than gas”? DUH, because it just reduces fuel used for Nat Gas but the gas plants are still needed to provide peak power when the sun sets.
The more solar CA adds will further reduce Nat Gas plant efficiency, increase the need for imports, and raise prices for all.

This is not rocket science.

May 31, 2019 6:51 pm

“the GND policies would yield a reduction in the collective political willingness to invest in environmental protection over time” – This is the kicker. Their proposals would eventually kill interest in the “green” thing.

May 31, 2019 7:46 pm

“The study established that 848 GW of conventional generation must be replaced by 2,627 GW’s of new renewable generation to achieve 100% renewable electricity. ”
Just assume for a moment that 2,627 GW is provided by wind generators. With a 4 MW generator atop each wind tower, that equates to 656,750 windmills. That represents 4 windmills for every square mile covering California, or 1 windmill every 5 square miles across the contiguous USA.
Green New Deal, or Gullible Newfangled Dumbness?

Reply to  Robber
June 1, 2019 8:55 pm

And how much coal would be required to produce the steel for such windmills? And how many gallons of oil would be required to keep their engines lubricated?

June 1, 2019 7:43 am

Excellent summary by Larry Hamlin of the study from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

This lead post/article by Larry should land in the laps of everyone that has enough comprehensive ability and even a vague interest in the reality of the renewable push that has been accepted by far too many countries/governments. It is condensed as suitable for understanding by what should be even a very limited technical knowledge of any official or interested person.

If the Main Stream Media (MSM) wishes to be credible on any level they should publish this on the front page of their News publications. The truth is not a bad concept. It would not hurt their lack of credibility in the important matter regarding “renewables”.

Reply to  eyesonu
June 1, 2019 9:04 pm

“If the Main Stream Media (MSM) wishes to be credible on any level …”

They have sheep. They don’t need to be credible. Magical thinking will suffice.

June 1, 2019 6:31 pm

“Moreover, notwithstanding the assertions from GND proponents that it is an essential policy to confront purportedly adverse climate phenomena, the future temperature impacts of the zero-emissions objective would be barely distinguishable from zero: 0.173°C by 2100, under the maximum Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change parameter (equilibrium climate sensitivity) about the effects of reduced GHG emissions. Under an assumption consistent with the findings reported in the recent peer-reviewed literature, the effect would be 0.083°C by 2100”

When we see predictions to the third decimal place we know that the wool is being pulled over our eyes. Far more ingenuous to express the claim in more general terms: “less than a tenth of a percent”.

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