Massive subsidies & government dictated use drives renewables – absent these they’re ignored

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

The EIA IEO 2019 report shows that end use energy sectors including industrial, residential, commercial and transportation made little use of renewable energy in 2018 with that trend forecast to continue through year 2050.





The end use energy sectors accounted for about 60% of total global energy use in 2018.

Renewables provided only about 5% of the end use sectors total energy needs in 2018 with that small 5% renewable use percentage forecast to continue through year 2050.

The end use energy sectors are not required to accommodate massive government cost subsidies and mandates dictating use of renewables as is the case with the electric power sector.

This significant difference between the electric power and end use sectors results in sharp contrasts regarding the use of renewables in the electric power sector where massive government subsidies totaling trillions of dollars along with decades long government mandates requiring use of renewables have resulted in these resources providing (including large hydro, geothermal, wind, solar and other) from 29% to 52% (forecast) of total global electric power sector energy between 2018 through 2050 as shown below.


The huge difference in energy use of renewables between the electric power sector and the industrial, residential, commercial and transportation end use energy sectors is shown below demonstrating the impact of electric power sector government subsidies and use mandates versus the sharp reduction in renewable energy use that occurs in the absence of such mandates in the end use energy sectors.


The higher use of renewables significantly drives up electricity costs to consumers as demonstrated in the graph below showing higher electricity costs as a function of increased renewable energy use.


As shown in the graph the highest renewable energy use countries of Germany and Denmark have electricity rates about 2.5 times greater than in the U.S.

Higher use of renewables for generating electricity result in numerous and costly problems with grid reliability including the inability to dispatch renewable generation resources leading to requirements for significant backup dispatchable fossil generation to provide grid reliability needs including regulating margin, spinning reserve, standby reserve, voltage control, frequency control and synchronization control none of which can be performed by renewable resources.

The greater the mandated use of renewables the higher the costs incurred by consumers to pay for trillions of dollars in government required subsidies needed to build these resources.

Additionally significantly higher generation unit costs of operation result because of the need for large numbers of dispatchable fossil plants that must be on line at low power levels to backup electric grid reliability with these costs also paid for by consumers

Renewable energy advocates, climate alarmists and their media shills conceal all these massively higher subsidy and reliability costs paid for by consumers that result from government mandated renewable energy use. These significant increased subsidy and operational costs are not reflected in energy market pricing schemes.

The decades long failure of renewable energy resources to achieve significant penetration in the end use energy sectors versus their level of penetration in the electric power sector that is dominated by government mandates to use renewables along with provisions for massive subsidies demonstrates that absent costly government subsidies and mandated use requirements renewables are largely ignored as viable and cost effective energy resources.

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October 8, 2019 6:42 am

“absent these they’re ignored”

With a number of EVs on the market in Australia now including the Tesla M3 Vfacts sales for September month show only 1 EV sale for every 250 cars sold and among the 249 there are 5.6 hybrids sold for every EV largely Toyotas as they ramp up hybridisation over their range. No subsidies and EVs are just a pecadillo for the well to do. Hybrids make economic sense in our largely city based population where 80% of driving is urban stop/start but even then not many are willing to invest the extra to break even with petrol and diesel after 3 years or so.

October 8, 2019 6:43 am

Larry, you say “costly government subsidies”, which really means “costly taxpayer funded subsidies”. That further means that *all* taxpayers fund the subsidies whether they want them or not. Expensive and environmentally unfriendly wind/solar/battery power should be paid for entirely by those people who want them by providing voluntary elective options for electricity contract purchasers. Thus, the people who want the wind/solar/battery power will be the ones who pay for it.

Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
October 8, 2019 7:09 am

Dwarfed by the hidden subsidies that fossil fuel generators provide to cover for State sponsored dumping by wind and solar. Mandate no tenderer of electrons to the communal grid can tender anymore than they can reasonably guarantee 24/7/365 and that would become obvious to all. Nothing like a level playing field to rout out the giant scam.

Reply to  observa
October 8, 2019 8:58 am

Utter falsehood Observa.

What alarmists claim are fossil fuel subsidies are tax breaks; usually included in agreements for the company to locate industry to that state/locality.

Caught in some of the alarmist’s examples of “subsidies” are taxes and fees paid by fossil fuels that “subsidize” renewables.

Or Obama’s Administration that charged the majority of Department of Energy’s research facilities as subsidies to fossil fuel; because those research centers were studying/analyzing/testing renewable energy products. That is, subsidies to renewables were/are charged as fossil fuel subsidies.

LCOE Levelized Cost of Energy is a perfect example of how subsidies skew costs of products/services. It does not list actual levelized costs, it lists bastardized costs after the numbers have been skewed by government misrepresentation and unequal support for inefficient products.

There are near zero actual fossil fuel subsidies.

Bryan A
Reply to  ATheoK
October 8, 2019 10:07 am

A Subsidy is money paid to a Company by the Government for doing nothing,
A tax break is a fee not charged to a Company by the Government for doing something.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  ATheoK
October 8, 2019 10:09 am

I don’t think he’s arguing with anything you said. He’s talking about the subsidies provided BY fossil fuel generators to “cover up” the REAL costs of useless windmills and solar panels, not any imaginary “fossil fuel subsidy” granted TO fossil fuel interests.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 8, 2019 4:15 pm

ATheoK, read observa’s comment again. He isn’t talking about state subsidies TO oil companies. He’s talking about how power companies have to charge the rest of us more because of the problems caused by renewable sources. THese are subsidies paid by power companies to generators of renewable power.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 8, 2019 4:45 pm

“There are near zero actual fossil fuel subsidies.”

I get that alright but the watermelons will count normal tax deductibility of things like capital depreciation as tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industries and that’s their gotcha accounting when it suits their meme. As for renewables dumping on the grid have you ever heard of an insurer explicitly and implicitly paying the insured to provide insurance for their lack of performance? That’s watermelon plant food accounting for you.

Whilst it’s theoretically possible to do proper plant food accounting you wouldn’t want to start from where we are down the road from the Industrial Revolution with all its embedded fossil fuels. Like Mr Cannon Brookes with his Atlassian software adding up the light and power bill and buying some thin air derivatives and look at moi we’re Green. What about the plant food embedded in the buildings, computers, office furniture etc before we start allocating the CO2 for the workers you need and their food clothing and shelter plus transport and transport infrastructure for your part of their living breathing days of the week?

Completely beyond the comprehension of these Greta-heads and taking all that implicit plant food ancestry for granted and these new child accountants want to run a global economy? They also serve who stand and venerate the simplistic nonsense of children.

Reply to  observa
October 8, 2019 8:18 pm

Leftists have a long history of proclaiming any tax rate less than 100% as a subsidy.
They often whine about how the US is subsidizing rich people because the tax rates for them are no longer set at 90%.

Tony Stark
Reply to  observa
October 9, 2019 8:03 am

Correction…dwarfed by the massive direct and indirect subsidies fossil fuels receive, subsidies for clean energy help level the playing field. But that would upset the apple cart if we talk about that so let them.

When there is a hurricane or massive flood due to climate change, who pays? Everybody! But you guys are denialists so you don’t even consider that. What a joke.

Reply to  Tony Stark
October 10, 2019 12:08 pm

According to the UN IPCC, they find NO “hurricanes or massive flood due to climate change.” Are they “denialists” too?

Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
October 8, 2019 11:08 pm

The US spends more on subsidising intermittent fossil fuels than any other energy technology

Reply to  Wattsthecost
October 9, 2019 7:46 pm

“The study defines “subsidy” very broadly, as many economists do. It accounts for the “differences between actual consumer fuel prices and how much consumers would pay if prices fully reflected supply costs plus the taxes needed to reflect environmental costs” and other damage, including premature deaths from air pollution.”

That’s not an accounting of subsidies. It’s a political exercise. Calculating externalities cannot be done with any kind of precision or accuracy.

October 8, 2019 6:49 am

How did the Chinese become wealthy? They gave economic rights to the farmers, merchants, and industrialists. Those rights were also given to foreign capital investors. This is an indisputable fact and serves like the “gates” test of the 1980s to discredit central planning. Open the gates and which way do the people flow.

Renewable energy is captive to the law and taxpayer subsidies. That is also beyond dispute. Once this becomes self evident the same political hucksters will offer solutions.

Reply to  Troe
October 8, 2019 10:22 am

“Those rights were also given to foreign capital investors. ” You are ignoring that those foreign manufactures gave China the blueprints and schematics of their equipment so that China could build the Nuclear power plants, Cell Phones, Ipads, TV’s Routers, etc.. etc. Point of Fact Westinghouse had to give China ALL information, knowledge, diagrams, designs, blueprints, etc. for the Westinghouse plants built there. China is now building NPPs for other countries, and Westinghouse is NOT.

William Astley
Reply to  Usurbrain
October 8, 2019 11:05 am

Ditto …

China is playing to win…

…we implementing a chaos plan that will kill our companies forcing money to be spent on stupid things that do not work to fight something that we are absolutely clueless about ….

China’s strategy to win… Steal what every you can …
…China stole and force companies into partnerships which they then ended to steal the technology. For example they stole high speed train technology from Japan and so on..

China is now building commercial aircraft…

Reply to  Usurbrain
October 8, 2019 11:05 am

Not ignoring. Just not nessecary to say. The move away from central planning through the law came first. It set up the theft.

David Streeter
October 8, 2019 6:50 am

Now to add a requirement that governments publicize the outrageous costs and operating difficulties of so-called renewables.

Reply to  David Streeter
October 9, 2019 6:25 am


Michael Moran
October 8, 2019 7:05 am

With all due respect, the graph regarding electricity cost should use percentage of grid that is renewable rather than total amount of renewables. The theory is that an increased percentage of the grid that is renewable will increase cost (a theory to which I agree). But given the different size of the grid in different countries, the absolute amount of renewables is not really the important factor. That the graph uses absolute numbers rather than percentages also explains why the US has such low costs given the amount of renewables, as it has a bigger grid so the percentage of renewables is likely lower (also impact of lower natural gas prices may have an impact).

Reply to  Michael Moran
October 8, 2019 7:50 am

Thank you. I wondered about the disparities. One assumes the correlation improves with % of grid figures.

michael hart
Reply to  Michael Moran
October 8, 2019 10:05 am

Michael Moran, the x-axis on the graph is actually installed capacity per capita, so I think that goes a long way towards addressing your (reasonable) concern.

October 8, 2019 8:09 am

People should listen up – Bank of England chief Mark Carney laid it all out – what is planned is “regime change”, that means a global tsunami of strictly green credit out of any elected government control, with 130 banks already on board. An unelected expert group will do direct investment.
This is to replace the Dollar, I am not making this up.

The BIS, Bank of International Settlements, the central bankers bank, is fully on board with green bonds.
BIS launches green bond fund for central banks

At the UN, PRes. Trump made clear the future does not belong to globalists, rather to nations. All hell broke loose just afterwards. It is likely the central bankers are in full flight forward, and Pelosi went over the top after meeting NY bankers just at that time. These bankers actually believe this stuff can stave of the looming crash, worse than 2008. They are seriously deluded, and could destroy what remains of the physical economy.

Reply to  bonbon
October 8, 2019 8:32 am

Add in Network for Greening the Financial System

Folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! At least that’s the sign on the door.

October 8, 2019 8:50 am

I’ve been seeing that unattributable graph on renewable electricity cost for some years now, without any citations or links – are we sure that it has any basis in fact?

Alasdair Fairbairn
October 8, 2019 9:27 am

The BBC has just done it again. It’s “Costimg the Earth” programme today did a review on the way the Orkney Islands are using a grant to develop a zero carbon economy as a trial run. The cost? Some £20 odd Million. The population? Some 20,000. That about £1 million per person. Wow! Not exactly cheap.
No searching questions were asked and what happens when the wind stops was never even mentioned. All done by hydrogen and battery storage so it seems coupled with a surplus of wind.

Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
October 8, 2019 10:22 am

20,000,000 ÷ 20,000 = 1000.
Might want to check your math/numbers provided.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
October 8, 2019 10:26 am

Think you made a tiny calculation error: 20 Million / 20,000 = 1000 per individual.
Okay still lots of money, and what is the kWh rates thereafter?

Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
October 8, 2019 5:25 pm

If the project is continued to a successful conclusion, I suspect Alaisdar’s mistake will be closer to reality than the numbers given.
More probably, the plug will be pulled, quite literally, on this project long before it’s finished.

October 8, 2019 10:11 am

The major problem with Renewable Energy and even the Green New Deal is that we are paying for our energy TWICE> Once to the utilities and again in higher taxes. And the poor suffer the most.
Without this fiasco, we would have eight to ten more Nuclear Power plants operating (and several more that are in process of shutting down) which would have reduced the US emissions more than the renewals have.

October 8, 2019 10:13 am

Expose them and shut down all the garbage units for the sake of the other taxpayer losses.

October 8, 2019 11:26 am

Heard a report that electricity used to ‘mine’ bit-coins is equivalent to all the power generated by solar.

October 8, 2019 1:40 pm

The unqualified use of the term “renewable” to describe intermittent solar and wind generators is an immediate indication the author needs to buy a clue.

The only renewable electrical energy source, at the present state of technology, is managed forests.

John Sandhofner
October 8, 2019 1:47 pm

We needs some politicians to speak out boldly on this issue. The fact that you need a huge amount of base loaded generation standing by and on-line ready to pick up the load when clouds come drifting over a large solar facility. Base loaded plants are not designed to quickly ramp up and down like hydro plants can do. This is pure nonsense to demand these renewable perform like coal,nuclear and gas plants do.

Rudolf Huber
October 8, 2019 2:25 pm

The government still put massive money into renewables because they are afraid of confronting the important questions. How much may greenwashing cost? How much for real zero emissions? What benefits do we get from less CO2? If any. How real is the Climate Change scare? Will voters ultimately honor if we throw so much money at bubblenomics? We see a lot of popular resentment brewing under the surface already – in many countries. Its happening now and there will be more. The lie of competitive renewables pops open now. No action required. That thing has taken a momentum of its own.

October 10, 2019 9:26 pm

Do these virtuous clowns realize full on biomass use would cause much more pollution
and obliterate the worlds forests .
I think they do but they don’t care because their other big scary is over population .
Eliminate fossil fuels and billions will die .
Yet they don’t support nuclear power .
The fundamental problem is the scary global warming con game was given credibility
when the UN put a store front on grossly exaggerated claims of man made global warming .
The first IPCC author recently admitted so and at least 500 scientists but on their adult
hats to tell the UN IPCC that there “is no climate emergency ” . There never was .
The UN ( Maurice Strong ) admited to concocting the whole scheme to achieve its global governance objectives and to destroy capitalism . You see Maurice loved communism being a big wig bureaucrat .
It.s an overblown , unscientific fraud creating millions of premature fuel poverty deaths
and financial hardship . This is really what should be investigated .

Johann Wundersamer
October 16, 2019 8:01 am

As shown in the graph the highest renewable energy use countries of Germany and Denmark have electricity rates about 2.5 times greater than in the U.S.

– What am I missing –

Electricity costs ( ¢ per kilowatt hour )

Denmark, Germany 30 ¢ : US 5 ¢


As shown in the graph the highest renewable energy use countries of Germany and Denmark have electricity rates

about 6 times AS GREAT than in the U.S.

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