Guest essay by Larry Hamlin
As is usually the case with all Los Angeles Times climate alarmist and renewable energy advocacy articles this latest one hyping the wonders of highly subsidized and unreliable solar energy is full of propaganda claims extolling the alleged benefits of solar energy.
The article claims that California in 2018 achieved the goal of having 34% of its electricity provided by renewable energy.
This claim is completely wrong. Actual energy use data from the CEC clearly shows that in both 2017 and 2018 only 29% of the states electricity was provided by renewables versus the 2018 planned target of 34%.
Even more significant the state has been falling behind its targeted renewable energy growth time table since at least 2012 by only achieving 15% renewables that year versus the planned 22% target. The state has continued behind its highly touted politically driven plan ever since then.
The Times articles completely fails to mention the huge tax payer subsidizes paid to solar plant builders who receive Production Tax Credits (PTC) of $0.023 dollars per KwH for a period of 10 years which pay for the capital costs of these plants.
These huge and lucrative renewable subsidizes are why Warren Buffet would like to partner with California to mandate changes in the western U.S. transmission network rules to allow greater access to other western states so unusable solar in Ca. could be forced upon other states so he could receive increased subsidizes for his production from his Ca. renewable projects.
Also unmentioned in the Times article are the many other major shortcomings associated with renewable energy plants that significantly undermine both the stability and reliability of the electric system grid.
Renewable solar and wind projects cannot provide required electric system stability needs associated with voltage, frequency and synchronization control, regulating margin needed for rapid load changes, load ramping capabilities needed for large grid operation nor can they provide spinning and standby reserves for unexpected load changes.
Only dispatchable and reliable fossil plants can provide these functions. The unreliability of renewables coupled with their inability to provide grid stability functions dictates that significant amounts fossil backup must always be available to maintain grid stability and reliability. This is an ineffective and high cost way to operate an electric system grid.
The Times article minimizes the significant environmental damage done by renewable projects which ravage huge amounts of land because of their need to tap into very low power density energy sources.
The Times article conceals the fact that the unusable solar energy problem clearly demonstrates these plants unreliability which dictates how these resources must be used because they cannot be operated in a dispatchable manner which allows the building of power plants to be optimized so such waste of resources is avoided.
Renewable energy is both costly and unreliable and only built because of lucrative tax payer provided government mandated subsidizes as well as ill-conceived government mandated requirements dictating its use.