Solar Power Triumph: Los Angeles Announces The End of Fossil Fuel

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Forbes the Eland solar project is the end of the line for fossil fuel. Except at night, or when clouds cover the sky, or when the batteries run flat.

New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

Jeff McMahon Senior Contributor 
Jul 1, 2019, 12:03am

Los Angeles Power and Water officials have struck a deal on the largest and cheapest solar + battery-storage project in the world, at prices that leave fossil fuels in the dust and may relegate nuclear power to the dustbin.

Later this month the LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners is expected to approve a 25-year contract that will serve 7 percent of the city’s electricity demand at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries.

“This is the lowest solar-photovoltaic price in the United States,” said James Barner, the agency’s manager for strategic initiatives, “and it is the largest and lowest-cost solar and high-capacity battery-storage project in the U.S. and we believe in the world today. So this is, I believe, truly revolutionary in the industry.”

The Eland Project will not rid Los Angeles of natural gas, however. The city will still depend on gas and hydro to supply its overnight power. But the batteries in this 400-megawatt project will take a bite out of the fossil share of LA’s power pie. 

“It reduces the evening ramp (of natural gas) as the sun sets,” Barner told commissioners at their June 18 meeting. “As the sun goes down for our other 1,000 MW of solar that doesn’t have batteries, the gas-fired generation and hydro have to compensate for that. So that net peak load in the evening will be offset with this facility. We’ll be able to contribute to that and keep gas powered generation not running at the full amount.”

Crudely, Los Angeles can count on solar power generation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., said Louis Ting, director of power planning development at the agency. The batteries in this project effectively extend that horizon four hours, to 11 p.m.

Read more:–battery-price-crushes-fossil-fuels-buries-nuclear/

What terrific news. The low cost of this new plant creates an irresistible economic case for moving to solar energy, completely eliminating the need for the Paris Agreement, government renewable incentives and coercive carbon taxes.

I’m sure you’ll all join me in congratulating climate leader Los Angeles for transforming the future of global energy.

Update (EW): Some cynical comments appearing. Surely you guys don’t think Los Angeles is somehow LYING about their solar breakthrough? 😉

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Sid A
July 3, 2019 2:10 pm

How will their electricity prices compare with the rest of the country?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 4, 2019 8:50 am

Maybe you can make this out . This is a page that has a video of the meeting (Jun 18, 2019) that this presentation was made. it is item 8. D, I think. You may have to copy and paste the link

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Sid A
July 3, 2019 4:32 pm


Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 3, 2019 5:36 pm

Lower with subsidies 😉

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Derg
July 3, 2019 6:21 pm

Even lower with no sun.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 6, 2019 7:44 pm

Which is why it won’t work in Michigan. Most of the year it is cold and cloudy.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 3, 2019 6:49 pm

Number please.
Lower, give us the number.

Reply to  rd50
July 4, 2019 7:03 am

If this article is accurate, Los Angeles will be paying 1.997 cents /Kwh for solar. According to my electric bill (which I’m looking at right now) I’m paying 0.0654 cents /Kwh. I’m buying my electricity from Commonwealth Edison which I believe is a part of the Excelon Corporation. I live in the north suburbs of Chicago. My electricity comes from a mix of natural gas, coal and nuclear.

This is such a huge price difference either I’m missing something in this comparison or the people of Los Angeles are getting screwed.

Reply to  Marty
July 4, 2019 8:04 am

Check your math. Believe $0.065. However, 0.06 CENTS is not worth metering.

Reply to  Marty
July 4, 2019 9:04 am

The 1.997 cents is the wholesale price LA will buy it for, residential price will include delivery charges, tax plus profit. The residential rate in LA is 13 cents and believe me it will not go down due to a small amount of solar.

Reply to  Marty
July 5, 2019 5:43 am

It’s your math. .0654 is 6 cents. You are paying 3X the price the LA utility is paying.

Reply to  rd50
July 4, 2019 10:38 am

Here are current rates. Residential rates in LA are currently slightly higher than the nationwide average:

The average residential electricity rate in Los Angeles is 13.03¢/kWh.[1]

The average (residential) electricity rate in Los Angeles is 9.68% greater than the national average rate of 11.88¢/kWh. Residential rates in the U.S. range from 8.37¢/kWh to 37.34¢/kWh.[2]

Note: Even though the rates per kWh are higher in LA than the U.S. average, monthly electric bills in LA may actually be lower than the national average, since the climate in LA is pretty mild.

LA monthly temperatures

Reply to  Mark Bahner
July 8, 2019 10:34 pm

People in LA don’t need A/C?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  rd50
July 4, 2019 1:20 pm

Mark Bahner,

It’s not done with “Note: Even though the rates per kWh are higher in LA than the U.S. average, monthly electric bills in LA may actually be lower than the national average, since the climate in LA is pretty mild.”

The whole picture is living costs:

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 4, 2019 2:32 pm

“The whole picture is living costs:”

This article is about energy, especially electricity. So the relevant part of “the whole picture” of living costs is electricity costs.

As I noted, even though LA electricity cost per kWh may be higher than the national average, the total monthly electricity costs may be lower due to LA’s mild climate.

Bryan A
Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 3, 2019 6:54 pm

And W O W a whopping 7% over a period of 12 hours obviously not including nighttime or winter so really about 3.5% when 24 Hour time is factored in. AYUP a real byte (or at least a bit)

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 3, 2019 8:24 pm

Mosher, why do you throw out unsupported assertions – especially when you happen to be right (at least going by this press release)?

Wholesale from Palo Verde Nuclear Plant is, right now, just under 3¢/kWh. So, yes, this is a lower price than the prices they claim for this contract.

Now, of course there are questions – and things left out, besides. Is this actually a fixed wholesale rate for the entire 25 years, with a guaranteed power availability? (The capital lifetime is quite a bit less – so there are some major maintenance and replacement costs if they are going to keep that much available capacity running.) The backup plants are also going to have a higher allocated capital cost per kWh (making them more expensive, but the stupid way, by having them not running at normal capacity). So, will the actual cost to an Angelino at the meter go down – or up? (Knowing California, it will be up. However, one cannot predict whether that will be due to real costs, or artificial costs from their ever increasing taxation and regulation.)

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 4, 2019 10:55 am

Ontario Canada says hi and that you’re extremely receptive to wishful thinking.

Reply to  Sid A
July 3, 2019 5:07 pm

Apr 22, 2019
Unreliable Nature Of Solar And Wind Makes Electricity More Expensive, New Study Finds

Solar panels and wind turbines are making electricity significantly more expensive, a major new study by a team of economists from the University of Chicago finds.


JUNE 3, 2019
Study Finds Wind and Solar 2 to 3 Times More Expensive Than Existing Generation Resources


Feb 8, 2019
The average LCOEs from existing coal ($41), cc gas ($36), nuclear ($33), and hydro ($38) resources are less than half the cost of new wind resources ($90) or new PV solar resources ($88.7) with imposed costs included.

comment image

Tom Halla
July 3, 2019 2:14 pm

I am sure Los Angeles will handle solar energy every bit as well as the city government handled the homeless situation.

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 3, 2019 6:53 pm

I don’t track solar, but I do grid scale batteries.

The best price I’ve seen is $95/KWh capacity with a 5,000 cycle estimated life.

That gives $0.019/KWh delivered. But by the time you turn it into an integrated solution it’s around $0.05-$0.06/KWh. That doesn’t count the cost of the electricity to charge the battery.

I simply don’t believe $0.013/KWh for the power coming from a grid battery. There’s more to the story.

Reply to  Greg Freemyer
July 3, 2019 7:30 pm

“but I do grid scale batteries” You have my curiosity. To what scale are your batteries?

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  markl
July 4, 2019 7:36 pm

A 1 MW / 4 MWh battery is about the size of a semi-truck. Here’s one installed in support of a water plant:

comment image

The LA project is still deciding between 100 MW and 150 MW, so you’re looking a fairly big footprint just for the batteries.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Greg Freemyer
July 8, 2019 8:17 am

Nice photo but what is the cspacity? How much larger would the solar storage “battery” need to be to supply 100 megawatt for four hours? Installed $capital cost?

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 3, 2019 9:23 pm

Well, at 2600 acres for what amounts to 3.5% of Los Angeles’ current electric consumption this fiasco is a vast overuse of land for a minimal return. Factor in transportation and heating and that 3.5% drops to around 1%. To electrify Los Angeles 100% by solar including all heating transportation and private autos AND allow for charging of personal home battery back-up systems and auto quick charging batteries will require more than 100 times that space and closer to 200 times for battery back-up recharging, closer to 500000 acres of solar panels just for L.A.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 3, 2019 11:55 pm

What, LA has no rooftops? No parking lots??

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
July 4, 2019 8:21 am

Rooftop solar panels are only good for the building on which they reside and best for single family homes. They are Wild Cards WRT grid stability and creating potential over-current instabilities as they are an All Or Nothing proposition to the grid.
I work for a local utility in a county supplied by “clean power”. Numerous times I have asked why we, a utility, don’t have solar on our rooftops or on structures covering our parking lots, in the end, the cost/benefit analysis indicates a negative ROE.
To have solar on my roof and battery backup sufficient to supply 100% of my 24 hour daily use would require that I build a support structure for the panels. My cost is still in the $80,000 range to offset a $225 monthly bill. This would take almost 30 years to completely offset my monthly bill and I would by 87 at that time. Then there is maintenance and panel degradation requiring replacement costs along the way. Realistically my break even point wouldn’t be realized until after I was in my grave.
Rooftop solar is a negative ROE for 50 years

Reply to  Bryan A
July 4, 2019 7:46 am

The acreage will increase significantly when you factor in the overall efficiency for the solar plant, which is normally around 10-15 percent of rated capacity. This based on a twenty four cycle.

The cost are low due the federal subsidies that lower the capital cost by 30 percent.

Reply to  Logan
July 4, 2019 9:39 am

Is it a subsidy or a tax credit? It might be unfair to grant a tax credit to this and not to fossil fuel generation, but a tax credit isn’t costing the taxpayers anything.

Eric Elsam
Reply to  James A Schrumpf
July 4, 2019 10:08 am

Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t a tax credit for one entity result in a reduction in government revenue? This will potentially raise taxes on every other entity, given stable or increasing government expenditures. (They never seem to be otherwise.) .

Thomas Englert
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 3, 2019 10:59 pm

The homeless will get their own individual PV sets. To charge their phones, etc. /s

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 3, 2019 11:06 pm

And potholes.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 4, 2019 1:03 am

When they buy their deisel generators the cardboard boxes they came in will make shelters for the homeless. Two birds with one stone.

Bryan A
Reply to  accordionsrule
July 4, 2019 8:23 am

WOW a new gene AND a name shelter…the gift that keeps on giving

Dave Fair
July 3, 2019 2:15 pm

What are the Federal and State subsidies? What are the take-or-pay and other delivery provisions of the contract?

Reply to  Dave Fair
July 3, 2019 6:21 pm

a 25-year contract that will serve 7 percent of the city’s electricity demand at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries.

Uh … relegate fossil fuels and nuclear power to the dustbin? By providing 7/100 of the electricity demand (BTW … what demand is that? Peak demand!? Average demand? summer demand? Winter demand?). So, all we will need is 14-15 MORE of these solar installations to provide 100 percent of the city’s electrical demand. Whatever that “demand” is … is …

Bryan A
Reply to  Kenji
July 4, 2019 8:06 am

The demand supplied from solar would only be useful when the sun is at a premium angle and batteries are fully charged so at best no more than 12 hours a day (1/2 the day). Their 7% figure is really 3.5% when averaged over a 24 hour day.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 4, 2019 10:45 am

Not even 12 hours per day. With fixed panels you are lucky to get 2 hours per day of noon-time equivalent (peak efficiency) sun light). The rest of the day is at lower operating efficiencies because the angle of incidence of the sunlight is no longer perpendicular to the solar cell.

Dave Fair
July 3, 2019 2:17 pm

Also, how does this impact LADWP’s existing delivery contracts, especially coal?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 3, 2019 5:27 pm

They may pay to leave them. In Colorado the young people who have poured in, and the more progressive folks along the front range are demanding more renewable energy. Utilities are buying their way out of existing contracts with generators such as TriState, and buy power from IPPs. They may even abrogate these contracts in other means. This is going to leave a lot of stranded assets in places and devastate towns such as Craig, Colorado. The governor could not care less because the votes are on the front range.

I have no idea how far and fast problems will spread. Perhaps towns such as Wheatland, Wyoming and places in the Dakotas will be effected. More than likely we will see lots of gas turbines pop up to provide dispatchable power. Who will own and operate these? How will reliable will the grid remain in this region. What will energy cost? Standby.

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 3, 2019 7:15 pm

I read a different article. It said some natural gas plants are at or near end of life. LA is looking for the replacement plants.

I seriously doubt LA has primary contracts with coal plants. They would be used only when the primary plants can’t keep up.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Greg Freemyer
July 3, 2019 8:03 pm

Delta, Utah has a dedicated HVDC line that terminates out at San Bernardino. I can’t imagine doing all the construction on the power plant and transmission line without a very long term contract.

Reply to  Greg Freemyer
July 5, 2019 5:27 pm

“primary plants can’t keep up.” You mean hydro, coal and gas generation which LA is totally dependent on? Those “primary plants” ?

William Abbott
July 3, 2019 2:32 pm

The story to be truthful has to be the whole story. How is it the electricity is sold so cheaply to DWP? There are some interesting ledger tricks going on here. A better reporter would have told us all about it. Where is the editor when you need him. This is propaganda, not news.

Reply to  William Abbott
July 8, 2019 9:11 am

Couple of thoughts –
a) that is the wholesale rate, and
b) does not include “transportation” (HV transmission or distribution) costs – those are TBD later if it requires facilitates (lines) to be built.

July 3, 2019 2:34 pm

I assume they’ve spotted a formation of flying pigs over LA too……

July 3, 2019 3:03 pm

Another children’s bedtime fantasy…

July 3, 2019 3:05 pm

Great. So while most of LA sleeps, there is battery power for a single digit fraction of the slumbering.

Is there a lottery held for that fraction, or is it just the elite that get to keep their overnight A/C running?

Steven Mosher
Reply to  HotScot
July 3, 2019 4:33 pm

hydro and gas for overnight.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 3, 2019 5:56 pm

At what cost? Please let us know.

Dr K.A. Rodgers
Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 3, 2019 6:23 pm

Does that supply baseload too?

Bryan A
Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 3, 2019 6:50 pm

Except the Greenies want to eliminate Hydro and Gas as non renewable

Max Hugoson
July 3, 2019 3:10 pm

More “climate migrants”. I.e., folks moving out of INTOLERABLE L.A. and trying to escape to the MIDWEST. Hint: We are going to put up a wall.

Reply to  Max Hugoson
July 3, 2019 4:13 pm

Just use crop dusters to spray a line of gluten along the California border, and the fear will keep them all right where they are.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Mike
July 3, 2019 5:47 pm


July 3, 2019 3:14 pm

In 2018 LA County used 68000 GWH of energy ( .

Accordingly a 400 MW solar capacity is only 5% of its needs.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  ChrisB
July 3, 2019 10:59 pm


July 3, 2019 3:14 pm

“The plant is expected to deliver its first megawatt by April 2023, a timeline that qualifies it for the federal solar investment tax credit.

“This project is able to make full use of that investment tax credit, which is substantial,” Barner said. “It’s 30 percent that is basically knocked off the capital cost of the project.”

Claude Harvey
July 3, 2019 3:17 pm

The figure of 1.997-cents per kwh for a solar plant output is a financially impossible figure. Ten times that amount is approximately what Ivanpah solar plant required just to break even while paying off its federally guaranteed construction loan.

Reply to  Claude Harvey
July 3, 2019 5:39 pm

re: “The figure of 1.997-cents per kwh for a solar plant output is a financially impossible figure. Ten times that amount is approximately what Ivanpah solar plant required just to break even while paying off its federally guaranteed construction loan.”

mosher doesn’t think so; I’d like know to his reasoning, his rationale on this, if any.

Reply to  _Jim
July 3, 2019 8:20 pm

“_Jim July 3, 2019 at 5:39 pm
re: “The figure of 1.997-cents per kwh for a solar plant output is a financially impossible figure. Ten times that amount is approximately what Ivanpah solar plant required just to break even while paying off its federally guaranteed construction loan.”

Quite accurate.

“at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries.”

A claim that is a total absurdity.
You have to love that claim that battery power, which should include the cost of battery maintenance, inverter charges on top of the generating costs plus grid transmission costs.

Who cares for what mosher thinks, and less for what he writes?

Reply to  ATheoK
July 4, 2019 6:30 am

re: “Who cares for what mosher thinks, and less for what he writes?”

It’s called “drawing out one’s opponent”, not that mosher is an opponent or that there is anything wrong with that (credit: Seinfeld).

Maybe that point is not apparent?

nw sage
Reply to  Claude Harvey
July 3, 2019 5:55 pm

And that price pew KWH (consumed in the future) is guaranteed by what? The State Democratic Party?
The cynicism is festering!

July 3, 2019 3:19 pm

So how does the cost to the customer compare to the same from a fossell
fuel generater. And are there any tax breaks and government suibsidies
a part of the mix.

And as for sneaking in gas as OK, not exactly a 100 % fossel fuel free

As for Hydro, that is very sneaky, after all Hydro is a No, no to the Greens,
there might be a small creature up there somewhere.

No way is this a 100 % Green thing. Its just a look at me thing, I am
bein good .


July 3, 2019 3:19 pm

So, is this free-enterprise power or is it subsidized at both ends to make it appear to be within the sight of petroleum-fueled power after they tax and fee the latter out of sight?

And what about the entire concept-to-disposal energy equations? By the time they mine, manufacture, install, maintain, decommission, and dispose, how does the “green” look, both economically and environmentally?

July 3, 2019 3:28 pm

why is power from the batteries cheaper than solar?
Where do they get the power to charge the batteries?
Where do they get power on windless, cloudy days?


Verland Kelly
Reply to  jim
July 3, 2019 4:55 pm

There are no cloudy days in Southern California.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  jim
July 3, 2019 5:06 pm

“why is power from the batteries cheaper than solar?”

It’s not. Solar is 1.997, batteries 1.3.

Don Perry
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
July 3, 2019 7:05 pm

????????What the heck am I missing here????

Bryan A
Reply to  Don Perry
July 3, 2019 10:34 pm

1.3 for batteries is cheaper than 1.997 for solar. Even though it is charged by solar, it is charged by the unused portion of solar which is cheaper because wesayso

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
July 3, 2019 11:01 pm

I what number system is 1.3 not less than 1.997?

Reply to  AndyHce
July 4, 2019 8:58 am

One where all numbers are negative! 🙂

lemiere jacques
Reply to  Ric Werme
July 4, 2019 2:54 pm

there is less numbers in 1.3 than 1.997

Keith Sketchley
Reply to  Ric Werme
July 4, 2019 3:10 pm

LOL LOL…….there is ARE less numbers in 1.3 than 1.997

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  jim
July 3, 2019 7:21 pm

In theory they are buying more than 400 MW of solar panels, but only sending 400 MW to the city at any time.

Any surplus production will feed the batteries. Depending on how the financials are setup the full cost of the solar panels could be covered by the 400 MWs, and any excess is free.

But $0.013 for the must the batteries isn’t believable.

Bryan A
Reply to  Greg Freemyer
July 4, 2019 8:01 am

‘Cause the batteries are really being recharged by Unicorn Flatus and Fairy dust

July 3, 2019 3:28 pm

He failed to mention the perpetual motion machine part of the new system.

Farmer ChE retired
July 3, 2019 3:29 pm

Meanwhile, Los Angeles rakes in tons of money with their control over the Carbon Trade Routes (China to CA to the flyover States).

Greg Woods
July 3, 2019 3:42 pm

“Los Angeles Power and Water officials have struck a deal on the largest and cheapest solar + battery-storage project in the world, at prices that leave fossil fuels in the dust and may relegate nuclear power to the dustbin.”

LADWP – LA Dept of Water and Power. My first professional job was there. The bureaucracy was stifling. I had to get out.

July 3, 2019 3:45 pm

How is the electricity classified coming from the generators on the water flowing over the Sierra mountains that is pushed up there with NG or other fossil fuel?

Ron Long
July 3, 2019 3:46 pm

Bullet Train to Nowhere? Let’s see this electric dream in action, but wait, it will be billions over-budget and years behind-schedule and waiting for a Democrat to get elected President and bail them out.

Curious George
Reply to  Ron Long
July 3, 2019 6:04 pm

Not “will be”. It is already, without any tracks laid.

California always leads.

Planning Engineer
July 3, 2019 3:50 pm

According to the article, it’s 7% of the system demand. It uses subsidies that will not likely hold for significant expansion to the 100% level. It’s just the power price, not the grid enhancements or grid support functions necessary to support the resource, let alone the significantly higher investments for expansions, additions and improvements to accommodate higher penetration levels. Then there is the question of whether it will perform as expected. I’ve seen many projects announced that project great things, but the key is what do you learn from the actual performance or the autopsy.

I hope it works, but I would not bet the farm on it.

Reply to  Planning Engineer
July 3, 2019 5:49 pm

mosher, above (see) predicts success. How that is possible in light of reality is, well, yet to be seen.

Bruce Cobb
July 3, 2019 3:51 pm

It’s LA LA land; land of fruits and nuts, so anything can happen.

Tombstone Gabby
July 3, 2019 4:03 pm

“This is the lowest solar-photovoltaic price in the United States,” said James Barner, the agency’s manager for strategic initiatives …

…manager for strategic initiatives… ??

Sounds like the Peter Principal at work – one step above his competency level…..

July 3, 2019 4:08 pm

Slight-of-hand accounting by the Californicators? Let’s try to compare apples-to-apples:

“Later this month the LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners is expected to approve a 25-year contract that will serve 7 percent of the city’s electricity demand at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries…
Crudely, Los Angeles can count on solar power generation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., said Louis Ting, director of power planning development at the agency. The batteries in this project effectively extend that horizon four hours, to 11 p.m…
A natural-gas plant opening that same year would produce power at more than twice the price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, or 4¢-4.3¢/kwh.”

Let’s roughly compare equivalent reliabilities of the two systems, to the extent possible:

How much will it cost to provide solar+battery power for just 24 hours, assuming perfect conditions?
Double? the cost of solar for 24 hours vs 12: 4 cents/kwh
Triple? the cost of storage from 4 hours to 12 hours: 3.9 cents/kwh
Total 8 cents / kwh ?

Now double? that again to get through one cloudy or rainy day.

Now multiply that times x? again to get through one cloudy or rainy week.

Then take that huge cost, whatever it is, and that is closer to the cost of solar+battery vs natural gas, but the natural gas generation will STILL be much more reliable and online 24/7.

If you don’t like my numbers, run your own, but don’t bias the results like those naughty Californicators did.

July 3, 2019 4:10 pm

I work for a large international airport that installed its first solar power plant several years ago. The airport crowed in press releases about going “green”, and how this new source of “renewable” energy would lower the cost of electricity to the airport. The implication was that solar was not only “greener” than conventional electricity sources, but cheaper, too.

Well, you probably know much of the rest of the story: The plant never generates anywhere near its nameplate capacity, the solar tracking hardware is broken all the time, resulting in rows of panels pointing in a variety of different directions, it’s impossible to keep the panels consistently clean, etc. However, worse than all of those logistical problems are the outright lies that were used to sell this albatross in the first place.

First, even if operating at rated capacity (which it never does) the plant can only power a tiny fraction of the airport’s overall electricity needs. Second, the vaunted cost savings can only be asserted because the rest of us are paying the bill via subsidies. I have seen the initial cost-benefit analysis, and the consultant who prepared it clearly stated that the benefit derived would only exceed its cost due to federal subsidies. Without subsidies, the electricity from the plant would be far more expensive than that derived from conventional sources.

And the kicker is that the private company who built it conveniently declared bankruptcy and walked away right at the point where the federal subsidy expired, seven years after construction. This company suckered the airport into giving them what they could not easily or cheaply obtain otherwise, a large plot of land for free, in exchange for a small break on the cost of a tiny percentage of the airport’s electricity needs. And the airport eagerly jumped at the chance, primarily so that they could use the stupid thing to virtue signal.

Now though, they’re saddled with a broken-down installation, abandoned by its builder and previous operator, that barely works but is too expensive to dismantle. That doesn’t stop them, though, from continuing to lie about this utter failure by still citing it as some kind of environmental win.

Such is the story of most if not all of the “renewable” industry.

Reply to  Mike
July 3, 2019 6:17 pm

mosher, take note. Case example above.

Reply to  Mike
July 4, 2019 1:58 am

“Such is the story of most if not all of the “renewable” industry.”

Why is one story for an unnamed airport proof that “most if not all” of renewable projects fail to meet promised results?

Reply to  Chris
July 4, 2019 6:29 am

I worked at SMUD Same problems with their solar panels, dust, power output and constant replacement.

Patrick B
Reply to  Chris
July 5, 2019 5:01 am

Chris, have you ever tried to get final cost, operating cost and actual production information on any of these projects announced with such fanfare? All kinds of claims made in advance but just try to find information post-construction. That should tell you something.

Reply to  Chris
July 7, 2019 9:48 am

One project is not proof. The problem is that no solar power project has EVER shown a positive net present value not including subsidies.
Essentially, you are building a whole new infrastructure to slightly reduce the fuel costs of the existing infrastructure. At this point in time, solar power can not exist without the full current infrastructure (fossil fuel, hydro, nuclear).
Even if you do get a reduction in the marginal cost of electricity at certain times of day, it cannot return the investment required.

July 3, 2019 4:11 pm



Can you spell Solyndra?

But we are doing our fair share to save the planet, huh?

Gums sends…

July 3, 2019 4:13 pm

Ha Ha. youse climate deniers.

First you claim that renewables can not exist without subsidies plus penalties on coal
Second you ask us energy woke to provide a backwater to ‘prove our theory’

Now we have a backwater all lined up…you still complain

Reply to  EternalOptimist
July 3, 2019 8:37 pm

No, we read. Federal 30% capital cost SUBSIDY here. Not the only one, either (undoubtedly, the California – and probably LA – taxpayers are kicking in a chunk, too, in either direct subsidies or tax breaks that the fossil fuel generators do NOT get).

Lee Valentine
July 3, 2019 4:16 pm

Forbes needs better fact checkers. Preferably ones who can do fourth grade arithmetic .

July 3, 2019 4:17 pm
July 3, 2019 4:18 pm

OK, so the County and City of Los Angeles are going to use all these illegal aliens and homeless to generate electricity. About Godd**mn time Democrat Party C*nts advocated slavery again, America Hating c*n ts.

Reply to  2hotel9
July 4, 2019 2:00 am

It must suck to be you – perpetually angry and raging at the world.

Reply to  Chris
July 4, 2019 7:39 am

Project much?

July 3, 2019 4:28 pm

“a 25-year contract that will serve 7 percent of the city’s electricity demand at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries.”

Sorry, impossible. This is either a typo, huge misunderstanding or outright fraud by omission.

July 3, 2019 4:38 pm

Crudely, Los Angeles can count on solar power generation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., said Louis Ting, director of power planning development at the agency. The batteries in this project effectively extend that horizon four hours, to 11 p.m.

Los Angeles must be one of the very few places on Earth that does not have cloud cover. The location has good solar resources but this is the first time I have seen it suggested there is never any cloud cover. Also unusual for any location on Earth at latitude 34N to have sunlight for 12 hours a day from November through March.

Irrespective of the optimistic claims for sunlight, at the stated prices the solar is a cost effective substitute for gas fuel; even in the gas rich USA. The economics of the gas generation are still impaired because there is reduced output over any period to recover the capital so that potentially lowers return on investment for the owners of the gas plant. In Australia, experience is that owners of the fossil plant make larger returns because higher cost, low utilisation dispatchable plant becomes uneconomic and retires thereby placing greater reliance on the remaining dispatchable plant and they simply charge much more when the sun is not shining and the battery is flat.

If the solar proves to be a cost effective substitute for gas fuel, without subsidy, it will be a first. In outback Australia, solar has proven to be an economic substitute for diesel fuel but the fuel has a huge transport component in its cost.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  RickWill
July 3, 2019 5:09 pm

“Oh it never rains in Southern.. California…”

Flight Level
July 3, 2019 4:44 pm

Wasn’t money to loose it’s significance under communism as all commodities would be too abundant to even waste time on billing ?

Well, it didn’t despite that many years and efforts trying.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Flight Level
July 3, 2019 5:10 pm

Maybe lose its instead?

July 3, 2019 4:59 pm

From the linked full article:

The nuclear critic Arnie Gundersen, who predicted storage prices under 2¢/kwh four years ago on the night Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Powerpack, noted Saturday that his 2015 prediction was too high. He too said, “Goodbye coal, nukes, gas!”

More realistically,

A May 2015 article in Forbes magazine calculated that using a Tesla Powerwall 1 model combined with solar panels in a home would cost 30 cents/kWh for electricity if a home remains connected to the grid (the article acknowledges that the Tesla battery could make economic sense in applications that are entirely off-grid). US consumers got electricity from the power grid for 12.5 cents/kWh on average. The article concluded the “…Tesla’s Powerwall Is Just Another Toy For Rich Green People.” link

So, we have more than an order of magnitude discrepancy.

Clay Sanborn
July 3, 2019 4:59 pm

And Semi Valley is quietly adding MWHs of backup diesel generators sets to power thru the coming brownouts?

Bryan A
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
July 4, 2019 8:27 am

I used to live in Simi … a great little community back in 1968.

Mark Hughes
July 3, 2019 5:06 pm

I remember reading an article in Mother Earth News Magazine back in the early 80’s, that claimed solar photovoltaic had become cheaper than coal. Articles every year since then have claimed the same. But it never seemed to be true. Is it finally true now? Maybe, but of course I’m skeptical. Mainly, they always seem to leave out the cost of building and paying for a natural gas peaker plant to sit idle waiting for a cloudy day. Back in, I think, the 90’s, there was an already built solar power plant in California Valley that they tore down and sold off the panels from, because apparently even just the operating costs were too high to pay for the electricity. So apparently even when solar panels and construction are COMPLETELY FREE, solar still can’t compete.

Farmer Ch E retired
July 3, 2019 5:07 pm

LA will continue to profit from carbon use. The coastals, despite going renewable, control the Carbon Trade Routes (goods produced in fossil-fuel-powered plants overseas and shipped to ports like Long Beach then distributed throughout the US).

Kevin kilty
July 3, 2019 5:33 pm

So, by 7 am to 7 pm I take it that LADPW figures to get sunlight delivered from over the horizon six months of the year. Also does the entire solar farm track the sun? What is the nameplate capacity of this battery that will supply power for four hours? In fact, are the figures quoted in nameplate or actual capacity of the plant?

These articles aren’t worth much are they?

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 3, 2019 7:05 pm

For the battery, the decision isn’t made yet. Options are 0 MW, 100 MW, and 150 MW.

If that means 600 MWh to provide 7pm to 11pm, it will be one of the biggest battery installations in the world.

Reply to  Greg Freemyer
July 3, 2019 9:52 pm

If they build it, I really, really hope they put in some very, very good fail-safe systems into those battery installations. When a large bank of batteries fails, it’s usually quite spectacular.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 3, 2019 7:07 pm

But these solar arrays are certified non-GMO and gluten-free.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 3, 2019 8:18 pm

The rain may never fall till after sundown By eight, the morning fog must disappear In short, there’s simply not a more congenial spot For happily ever after in than here in Camelot

July 3, 2019 5:36 pm

OK, I “took the bait” and read on…

I began to wonder, how on earth does a utility intend to install a 400 MW (peak / faceplate) power plant, prep the land, lay foundations, string up the devices, hook ’em all together, gather the DC juice (or perhaps distribute conversion to AC? Would make no small amount of sense.), and so forth and stil be amortizing the full expense to the tune of 1.99¢/kWh?


I’m not a brilliant financial analyst; I’m unable to make a coherent argument for the time-value-of-money and all that stuff. HOWEVER, I also abide by the concept that the amortized-payment of an investment at least in present value represents a fair pay out for a big capital expense. We do it all the time for houses and properties. Also with depreciation included, we make similar calculations for heavy (and expensive) long-lived industrial equipment and plants.

Most all of it can be summed up with Excel’s convenient PMT( rate, intervals, principal ) function, and a crystal-ball guess of the general future rate of inflation, which works out to about 2% or thereabouts. The driving parameters are:

Responsible rate of inflation (2.0%)
Reasonable pay-down term (I say “20 years” for PV)
Reasonable pay-out rate (AA+ municipal bonds at about 3%)
Very reasonable down payment (5%)
And a reasonable number of power-producing hours a year (20% of 365 × 24)

Those are the drivers.

So, how to do this? If we don’t include the inflation rate, it is trivial:

Per kWh = -pmt( 3.0% ÷ 1752, 20 × 1752, $1000 );
Per kWh = 3.8¢ ($0.038/kWh)

With a 2% gebneral compounding of inflation which results in net-present value deflation of all payments combined (i.e. sort-of-magic-thinking), we get (100% – 2%) raised to 20 years power … = 100% in the beginning, 98%, 96%, 94.1%, 92.2%, 90.4%, and so on down to 68.1%. Taking the geometric mean over 20 years gives 82.5% effective present value, so

NPV (per kWh) = 0.825 × $0.038 = $0.0313 per kWh.

Which is decidedly different from the 1.99¢/kWh being quoted. NOTE that my driver of $1,000/kW (installed, working) is pretty darn cheap. Has to be less than $1/watt for frames, inverters, installation labor, land use, transmission line fittings, and all the rest. Buck-a-watt is darn cheap. And buck-a-watt gets us to 3.13¢/kWh net present value by these simple calculations.

THE IMPLICATION of a 1.99¢/kWh is that the system buy-in cost is either being subsidized or otherwise fiduciary institution “flippped” to be more attractive than a buck-a-watt. AND THIS is what gives me pause.

Is Los Angeles still depending on subsidies for their Solar Power investment?

If so, then the whole thing is pond water and toad scum.
Because I don’t care how efficient a utility is, the implied $636 per kilowatt, frames, inverters, transmision lines, and all the rest, is unheard of.

Just saying,
GoatGuy ✓

Reply to  GoatGuy
July 3, 2019 7:27 pm

mosher, take note of the above financials too.

Reply to  GoatGuy
July 4, 2019 8:07 am

GoatGuy: Did you include the 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy.

The project is owned by a private company 8minuteenergy, which claims to be the largest provider of electricity from solar power in the world. I suspect the cost of capital will be higher than a AA+ muni bond rate, unless LA is borrowing the money for them and lending it at zero cost as part of the deal.

July 3, 2019 5:58 pm

Isn’t replacing fossil fuel generated electricity with solar power like replacing a Boeing 777 with a crop duster? Sure, the crop duster uses less energy, but it flies slow, can’t carry much, and will not go very far.

R.S. Brown
July 3, 2019 6:13 pm

Who gets the contract(s) for cleaning the dust and bird crap off the panels
to keep them within operating specs?

Inquiring minds want to know.

M Montgomery
July 3, 2019 6:14 pm

How do you provide just 7% of the city’s power yet claim to operate between 7am to 7pm plus 4 battery hours? That’s nearly 50% of the hours in the day, and mostly waking hours at that. Did I misunderstand?

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  M Montgomery
July 3, 2019 7:25 pm

Yes, they are 7% of the daytime power. It 7% of the day.

J Mac
July 3, 2019 6:25 pm

I’m sure there are ‘renewables’ supporters that will accept this announcement as fact…. but the cost and efficiency claims made defy logic, common sense, and reality.

July 3, 2019 6:49 pm

No details. Future molten salt nuclear power will cost under 4 cents per kWhr, with zero subsidies.
and no need for cooling water, or peak load accessory generators.

Reply to  ColMosby
July 3, 2019 7:21 pm

I think I can beat that, but, I need to see your other numbers, like Capital cost, Maintenance Cost, Generation cost. Compare your costs for a molten salt nuclear power to a SunCell reactor.

— SunCell Economics —

Current Annual Gross Earning Capacity of any Electrical Generator: $1/W
SunCell Capital Cost: $60/kW
Compare this with Solar Capital Cost (2013): $3,463/kW
SunCell Life Span: 20 years
Maintenance Cost: $1.20/kW
Generation Cost: $0.001/kWh

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  ColMosby
July 8, 2019 9:03 am

Finally found something on the “battery” (but nothing in the cost).
AES has spent nine years working with manufacturers of electric-car batteries. It has learned how to assemble and control ever-bigger constellations of these lithium-ion batteries. The Long Beach facility, when it is completed, will have 18,000 battery modules, each the size of the power plant of the Nissan Leaf

July 3, 2019 6:53 pm

It seems to me that if solar and battery is a panacea then people should be off the grid. Why have a grid at all?

July 3, 2019 7:09 pm

An appropriate cost estimate would probably add half or more of the capex of the required gas powered plant, which would be used only approx. 1/4 of the days and at nights. Plus some of its opex when idling.

Greg Freemyer
July 3, 2019 7:11 pm

For the battery, the decision isn’t made yet. Options are 0 MW, 100 MW, and 150 MW.

If that means 600 MWh to provide 7pm to 11pm, it will be one of the biggest battery installations in the world.

Right-Handed Shark
July 3, 2019 7:23 pm

Looks like a good time to start a diesel generator business in LA. Any backers?

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
July 4, 2019 7:17 am

Not Diesel, NatGas.

Here in Indiana we are seeing more and more of them. Hooked right up to you Gas Utility line, just like your furnace and appliances. And wired into your fuse box, so if the power goes out for more then a few seconds it switches over to the Genset and kicks on the generator. All completely automatic. It even automatically test runs the generator once a week, so you know it will be working when the time comes.

And since the gas mains are all underground, there’s almost no chance of it going out in a storm or the like.


Al Miller
July 3, 2019 7:25 pm

This makes me so happy that I don’t live in a nuthouse like Cal.! Great to see the epic and ongoing failures on others dime!

July 3, 2019 7:28 pm

Just look at the UK power grid. Play with the downloaded data.
It is garbage.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
July 3, 2019 8:17 pm

Speaking of great solar news from SoCal reported by Forbes here is another gem from February 2009:
25 viewsFeb 11, 2009, 06:40pm
A Super Solar Deal
By Andy Stone

How’s this for a great deal? Southern California Edison , under increasing state pressure to ensure as much as 33% of the electricity it provides comes from renewable sources by the year 2020, announced the largest solar energy pact ever Wednesday: an agreement to purchase electricity from 1.3 gigawatts of solar thermal plants in the Mojave Desert, starting in 2013.

Whether or not a single electron ever flows, the deal is already a winner….

High Treason
July 3, 2019 8:51 pm

There will be serious egg on face when the installations don’t make 25 years, when the contract expires. With efficiency crashing with time, the hapless taxpayer is likely to be forced to bail them out even before the installations simply stop working. Then they will be in a nice little mess.
If they were true ultra greens, they would go wind and solar only- no gas, no coal, no nuclear. It will be interesting to see what happens when their batteries run out. South Australia again. The greenies will never learn.

Geoff Sherrington
July 3, 2019 9:11 pm

Solar from 7am to 7 pm?
Approximately so.
But, at 7am there is a tiny dribble of sunrise power.
Ditto 7pm sunset.
On average 7 to 7, about half peak, all else being assumed maximum, like no clouds
Were these rough numbers done by the authorities using PEAK or AVERAGE 7 to 7 output? Makes a difference if you have to divide your optimism by 2.

The economics are best understood when numbers are extracted from comparable, working projects elsewhere. I have yet to see a routinely profitable major renewable project when the cost assumptions include supply when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine and subsidies are excluded. Geoff

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 3, 2019 10:33 pm

That’s why TEXAS is the largest wind power producer in the US, it has so much wind power, it covers 100% of its daily power need only with wind power, day and night.

Have you ever heard of batteries?

As to economics, today, renwables are the lowest cost power to produce, by far.
Or are you suggesting that at BP are all stupid, by investing $Bs in the North Sea… taking down oil rigs and replacing them with .. you guessed it, gloating wind power mill farms.
Yeah, its Chief economist must be a liberal sissy

Look, renewables alone won’t cut it on the long run, but they are a very cheap entry point and are very effective at cutting the actual power need, for maintaining the electric power grid stable.

The real thing you forget to say is that we were to pay for the damages caused by using fossil fuels, the cos of oil&gas would be much much higher … let’s not even get started with the subsidies oil companies keep getting.

Fact aren’t up for debate, when oil companies tart investing in renwables, as Shell and BP are doing … you might want to consider reality as opposed to wishful thinking.

Be part of the solution, not the problem, cause regardless what you wish, the reality is, people are already dying, even in the USA, because of the heatwave and extreme colds, cause by a changing climate.

Then again, perhaps you are one of those, who think your children don’t need a better world.
Ever thought of asking them?

I don’t expect this post to survive the free speech moderator

Joe L
Reply to  Paul
July 4, 2019 9:31 am

You spew nonsense.

A quick check ( shows that TX does *not* cover “100% of its daily power need with only wind power, day and night”. It’s not even close.

So when you’re wrong with something so simple and mundane, why should anyone believe anything else you say? As for BP and Shell laying their money on renewables; they are like any other company in that they will go where there is profit to be made. Subsidies and favorable PR are absolutely worth it to them right now. In the future, when the cost of these follies is more widely known (environmental, monetary) and the subsidies go away, you’ll see a definite shift of their focus into something else.

Bill Stewart
Reply to  Paul
July 4, 2019 4:43 pm

Your post may survive the free speech monitor but it will not survive the fact checker. You begin with “That’s why TEXAS is the largest wind power producer in the US, it has so much wind power, it covers 100% of its daily power need only with wind power, day and night.” Consult the Texas ERCOT site ( and you will see that, at 5:00 PM today, July 4, 2019, the wind production was 11,209 MW, and the demand was 61,709 MW. Only very rarely (once that I know of) has the wind power production in Texas met or exceeded the demand.

Jim M
Reply to  Paul
July 4, 2019 5:03 pm

“That’s why TEXAS is the largest wind power producer in the US, it has so much wind power, it covers 100% of its daily power need only with wind power, day and night.”

Except that isn’t true. Not even close. Hard to take someone seriously when they post this kind of nonsense. 17% for wind is a long way from 100%.

In the Real World
Reply to  Paul
July 5, 2019 1:43 am

Looks like this PAUL is trying for a record of “most total rubbish in 1 posting “.
Greenpeace put up adverts in the UK saying that the cost of wind energy had come down .
The Advertising Standards Authority made them take the adverts down as it is a complete lie .
The latest wind farm to come on line, [ Hornsea 1 ], is being paid about £160 per MWh which is 4 times the wholesale grid price, & it will get that for 15 years , which is about its maximum life .
If you compare the cost of wind power with a gas powered station over its approx 60 year life , wind power is 15 to 20 times more expensive , & solar power is over 20 times more expensive .

And then there is the factor that a grid needs 100 % conventional generation back up for any unreliables that are fed into it .

As for the rest of PAULs post , it is so ridiculous that it does not need any reply .

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
July 3, 2019 10:39 pm

This has to be a Concentrated Solar Project…Think Ivanpah with a twist. Good luck with that LA.
Cooy/ paste Wikipedia advantage of CSP over photovoltaic conversion is that as a thermal technology, a CSP plant can incorporate thermal energy storage, which stores energy either in the form of sensible heat, or as latent heat (for example, using molten salt), which enables these plants to continue to generate electricity whenever it is needed, whether day or night. This makes CSP a dispatchable form of solar. This is particularly valuable in places where there is already a high penetration of PV, such as California[15] because an evening peak is being exacerbated as PV ramps down at sunset (a phenomenon referred to as duck curve).[16]

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
July 9, 2019 5:33 pm

Wrong! I thought surely no one would be stupid enough to install about 2000 lithium batteries at a cost of about $500 million. Oh well saving the planet was never going to be cheap.

July 3, 2019 10:56 pm

I wonder how Facebook’s algorithm will deal with this compendium of false prediction, smoke and mirrors and absurdities.
Again we have the confusion between MWs and MWhrs. We have no idea whether the prices mentioned are with or without subsidies. No mention of the costs of backup provision and no mention of the capital costs involved. etc. etc. The comments say it all; but would an algorithm have the nous to understand it all?

Without expensive subsidies paid for by the consumer/taxpayer is is obvious that this project would go bust in a very short time.

Gary Pearse
July 3, 2019 11:05 pm

Isn’t there a recent report on a Texas town mayor who signed a 25 year offtake agreement with renubles suppliers that turns out to be horribly expensive? I dont remember how he made this treasury-breaking decision, but he was a media star for his wily prescience at the time.

Nicholas McGinley
July 3, 2019 11:48 pm

Reserving comment until the truth of this con is made plain.

July 4, 2019 12:04 am

This may be of some use to the discussion:

Seems to me power demand falls off sharply around 10 pm…

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
July 4, 2019 10:13 pm

Just until electric cars become the only personal transportation option and hundreds of millions are plugged in and recharging overnight. Peak demand will shift to overnight.
A Tesla with an 85kWh battery if 80% depleted would need to recharge 65 kWh overnight 8 hours and so would require a constant use of 8kWh per hour for 8 hours
Average monthly KWh usage is 867kwh. Say 900
365/12 is about 30 days per month average.
This gives an average of 30kWh per day average usage.
A typical family has 2 cars.
2 – 85kWh Teslas would require 16kWh of electricity usage per hour overnight to recharge their 85kWh batteries.

Peak demand will move to overnight hours when the sun is unavailable for potential solar recharging

Steve Richards
July 4, 2019 1:12 am

I don’t understand why public officials can commit to a project without disclosing the full proposal to scrutiny in advance.

Subsidies are funds dragged from the taxpayer and given to a business.

We have it over here in the UK, councils etc committing to big spends of tax payers money, on stupid projects, when everyone understands they are being stitched up.

Full transparency please.

July 4, 2019 1:13 am

Whilst ‘rare earths’ used in solar panels/batteries aren’t rare, they are uncommon. They are also very often mined in extremely environmentally unfriendly conditions and have considerable problems with processing. Much of the world’s rare earths are under Chinese control.

Bearing in mind the mining, processing and transportation damage and costs these panels are not as friendly as is often claimed.

anyone know where the material for these panels is coming from? Is it from the US? If so how is it mined and processed?


Curious George
Reply to  tonyb
July 4, 2019 2:34 pm

Most solar panels are made of silicon, which comes from silica, known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects 🙂

July 4, 2019 1:37 am

Complete Green fantasy mixed with Marxist idealism.

I wonder if the complete capital costs of the infrastructure is being depreciated over the correct working life of the facility, or if the cross subsidies are being properly accounted for?

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 4, 2019 1:51 am

Well then the power connectors to Nevada and Arizona, which currently provide power when there’s a shortage on the west coast, can be shut down as they are surplus to requirement. Let’s do that … and see what happens.

July 4, 2019 6:59 am

People had better watch they don’t tread in those human faeces when the black outs begin.

July 4, 2019 8:28 am

The Left lives in a world of lies and, sadly, is unable to distinguish reality.
Even when they have a plan that requires numbers, such as this one, it will be conclusions first, then data will be pushed to fit.
The problem is that the Left insists upon imposing its fantasies wherever it can.
To counter on their power issue, numbers are not needed.
Each new unit of intermittent power needs to be backed by full-time power.
A double in total capacity.
Batteries or pumping storage are not economic.
Seems to be the equivalent to the insanity of Mao’s Cultural Revolution when all Chinese households were to smelt iron in their backyards.

July 4, 2019 9:03 am

When it fails, they’ll blame it on climate change. You know they will.

July 4, 2019 9:08 am

Napkin math says you’d need 15,000 SQUARE MILES of solar to run LA. Part time.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 4, 2019 2:37 pm

Napkin math says you’d need 15,000 SQUARE MILES of solar to run LA. Part time.

Someone’s napkin has some blurry numbers. Per this website, it would take 21,400 square miles to provide electricity for the entire U.S.

I’m not saying that the above site is correct. But it seems likely to be closer to correct than your napkin math.

July 4, 2019 9:33 am

Eric writes: “I’m sure you’ll all join me in congratulating climate leader Los Angeles for transforming the future of global energy. Update (EW): Some cynical comments appearing. Surely you guys don’t think Los Angeles is somehow LYING about their solar breakthrough?”

Such cynicism. Los Angeles isn’t responsible for this solar breakthrough. The solar farm is being built by a private company, 8minuteenergy, which provided the winning bid to provide electric power to LA. Other bids came with similar prices. This is what electricity from solar farms actually costs today in the sunny Southern California desert with existing incentives. 8minuteenergy is the largest provider of solar electricity in the country.

They are able to offer these extremely low prices because of a combination of factors: 1) The cost of solar panels and related equipment has fallen dramatically. 2) INTEREST RATES are extremely low, so capital intensive projects are cheaper. 3) There is a Federal Renewable Energy tax credit that reduces capital costs by 30% and California offers a 30% tax credit on the batteries. The unsubsidized price would be 42% higher, which still seems like a great price to me. It’s a better deal for the people of LA, who get 30% of their cost paid for by others. Perhaps there are other subsidies I don’t know about. 4) The cost of electricity from the battery has a 1.3 cents surcharge the cost of the electricity used to charge the battery. 5) The solar farm is in the desert over the mountains from LA where it is usually sunny. 6) The transmission line from the site to LA is near capacity from other nearby solar farms, so the project was designed to store some of the output during peak generation hours and deliver at times of peak demand.

The real problem is that dispatchable electricity generators are selling less and less power during peak solar generation hours and when the wind is blowing strongly. That means their fixed costs must be recouped over fewer generating hours. Most plants must operate every day to meet peak demand in the late afternoon. California banned generation from gas plants that weren’t higher efficiency combined-cycle and the capital charges for combined cycle plants are much higher and must be paid if when the plant is producing for a few hours a day. So, this new solar farm is going to increase the cost of electricity provided to customers during peak demand in the late afternoon, when the wind isn’t blowing and the rare days when the sun isn’t shining. However, the falling cost of battery and other storage is beginning to reduce this problem.

July 4, 2019 4:57 pm

The thing about looking at renewables in isolation it is a nonesense. As long as base load power is required renewables can never lead to a cheaper energy system. If we assume that emissions is irrelevant and you wanted to build the cheapest system you would ( presumably build a coal fired facility or gas. You would not need renewables. If you add renewables to the system you have to maintain your base load as well because of the unreliability of renewables. If A = base load and B = renewables. The cost of A + B can never be cheaper than A alone.The important thing to remember A can do without B but not vice versa.

Reply to  Zigmaster
July 5, 2019 9:57 pm

Zigmaster wrote: “The thing about looking at renewables in isolation it is a nonesense. As long as base load power is required renewables can never lead to a cheaper energy system.”

Your ideas may be obsolete. CA obviously needs to be able to meet demand when wind and solar aren’t producing much. Hydroelectric is a renewable that can be ramped up to replace a significant amount of wind and solar. CA obviously needs enough dispatchable fossil fuel generation capacity to replace the remaining wind and solar and California rate payers must pay the capital charges associated with building those fossil fuel plants every year. However, they save the cost of fuel and some operating expenses when the plant isn’t running. Table 1a

The DoE reviews the cost of newly commissioned electricity generating plants and estimates what the levelized cost of electricity would be for a new facility coming online in a few years. 2019 numbers of 2023 are:

Fixed cost for CC-gas: $10/MHh
Variable cost for CC-gas: $32/MWh

Fixed cost for solar PV: $46/MWh (lowest anywhere $40)
Variable cost for solar: $0/MWh
Levelized tax credit: -$11/MWh

The standard assumptions are an after-tax cost of capital of 4.2% and a 30-year cost recovery period. With interest rates falling and technology improving modestly, the $20/MWh reported in the post doesn’t seem grossly out of line with these older numbers from the DOE. (The capital cost of building a new gas plant has dropped too, but that is only 25% of the total cost.)

So, if you turn off a generating plant needed to meet baseload demand and replace it with solar, you save $32/MWh and are charged $35/MWh by the solar farm with tax subsidy ($46/MWh without subsidy) according to these numbers from the DOE. If you believe the numbers in this article, you are charged only $20/MWh. So the LA rate payers save $12/MWh and American taxpayers have subsidized essentially all of these “savings”. That looks like a great deal for LA and breaking even without subsidy.

Shocked? In 2014 (under the Obama administration) the cost of solar PV in the same report was $125/MWh. The cost of solar power has dropped dramatically. Interest rates are an important part of the reason. The cost of capital in 2014 was estimated to be 6.5%. Gas was $20/MWh more expensive then.

Reply to  Frank
July 7, 2019 10:18 am

I made the point in a reply above that the solar power vs. gas numbers are for a single additional plant. The solar plant must rely on the existence of the fossil fuel infrastructure. Not only must the cost be subsidized to compete, but the natural gas or coal plants (or hydro or nuclear) must also be existing. Thus, you need to pay for two infrastructures instead of one.

If you go solar only you need storage and the infrastructure of the batteries or whatever else you use. That infrastructure would have to have a capacity of providing power for many times what the solar plant output is in case of an El Nino year where it may rain for a couple weeks straight.

In the case of places other than southern California and the desert Southwest, it could need battery storage for months of power.

Also, if the demand for materials for solar power plants goes up by a factor of 20 or more there will be shortages, so plants just can’t be built, and the ones that are able to be built will cost many times more than current estimates.

Improvements in current technologies could make solar power a useful niche provider that could give a positive return on investment starting up a new plant in 20 years or so. It can never be feasible for the whole grid with anything based on current technologies, however.

Reply to  SocietalNorm
July 7, 2019 11:35 am

Norm: Please look more carefully at the numbers from the DoE shown above. Today, you can build BOTH a new solar farm AND a new gas generation plant to back it up FOR THE SAME PRICE as you can get all of your electricity from solar. (With the federal subsidy for renewable energy, LA comes out ahead and the rest of America subsidizes LA.)

This works because the main cost of electricity from gas is the cost of the gas. You can turn the cost of gas off when the sun is shining, still fairly compensate the owner of the gas plant for providing back up and pay for the electricity from solar. The variable cost for gas is as big as the cost of electricity from solar – in an usually sunny southern corner of the US.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Frank
July 7, 2019 11:39 am

You are supposing the Production Tax Credit for the solar comes from nowhere, that somehow it is not a tax paid by the same people who are buying power. Nice green accounting!

Reply to  Frank
July 7, 2019 1:05 pm

Tom wrote: “You are supposing the Production Tax Credit for the solar comes from nowhere, that somehow it is not a tax paid by the same people who are buying power. Nice green accounting!”

However Frank had written: “(With the federal subsidy for renewable energy, LA comes out ahead and the rest of America subsidizes LA.)” My accounting was honest and included both subsidized prices and unsubsidized prices.

The point is that WITHOUT THE SUBSIDY, the full cost of solar + the cost of gas backup is now similar to the cost of electricity from gas alone…. In the American Southwest with abundant sunshine.

IIRC, the subsidy is currently scheduled to expire next year. In a year or two, LA can pay for solar backed up by gas without paying higher bills. The numbers come from the DoE under the Trump administration.

July 4, 2019 6:26 pm

From a quick Bing search:

California is insolvent, fiscally and otherwise. California, the most populous U.S. state, is a social trendsetter that is also at the leading edge of local governments failing to come to terms with an economic crisis.

TRANSLATION: “… failing to come to terms with reality.”

In other words, LA = LA LA land.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
July 5, 2019 8:44 pm

Robert: Speaking of failing to come to terms with reality, your information isout-of-date. California’s economy and fiscal situation has improved significantly in the past 5 years, with its credit rating rising from A- to AA-. This is on par with PA, WV, MI, CN, KS (Brownback tax cuts) and above KY (A+), NJ (A-) and IL (BBB). For what it is worth, BBB is the lowest category usually considered to be investment grade.

Richard from Brooklyn (south)
July 4, 2019 10:16 pm

“LOL LOL…….there is ARE less numbers in 1.3 than 1.997”

LOL LOL LOL LOL…….there is ARE Fewer numbers in 1.3 than 1.997

Les if you can count, fewer if you can count them. Less water in the pool, fewer people in the pool.
Best to be accurate if being pedantic (which itself is not helpful in this forum)

Jeff Price
July 4, 2019 10:18 pm

If you believe on word of this you are a fool…

Mike Borcherding
July 6, 2019 10:15 am

I am afraid that as we get more and more “renewable energy”, we will end up building three generators to maintain the steady flow of electricity to our homes. 1) The generator in the windmill or the solar panel cost. 2) Back up generators that the power companies will build to run when the wind or sun isn’t working, and 3) As the reliability of electricity drops, people will install backup generators for their homes, because in America we will not tolerate being out of electricity frequently. Wow this system is really going to be efficient!

July 6, 2019 1:35 pm

hmmmmph! well up in San Fran, we are building a feedlot to fatten up the poor. the homeless, illegals and republicans. then we are converting the carcass to bio diesel. big savings on auto fuel. Top that Los Angeles.

July 9, 2019 4:05 am

The press releases don’t say who the contract will be with. Who is going on the hook for this low price?

Who will own and operate the facility?

The press releases say 8Minute is developing the project; they don’t say who will be involved with production.

Making me think that 8Minute convinced LA they could make their own electricity for that price, that the kwh price is not an actual contracted price.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
July 10, 2019 8:19 am

The reason for the battery power being so cheap is the input from the solar panels is correctly priced at $0.00 . As stated when the Solar output exceeds demand it goes to the batteries. The value of power without demand is actually negative ( southern Cali already has to much solar power at “high noon”).

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