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.