Forbes: Plunging Renewable Energy Costs Should be Answered with Massive Federal Funding

solar panels and wind turbines under sky and clouds with city on horizon. Sunrise

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Forbes, plunging renewable costs is a profitable opportunity for the Federal Government to finance renewable energy at no additional cost to consumers, but they should make sure the market treats renewable energy “fairly”.

Plunging Renewable Energy Prices Mean U.S. Can Hit 90% Clean Electricity By 2035 – At No Extra Cost

Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology
We are a nonpartisan climate policy think tank helping policymakers make informed energy policy choices and accelerate clean energy by supporting the policies that most effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Silvio Marcacci Communications Director

Renewable energy has historically been considered too expensive and too unreliable to power our grid, but new research has overturned that trope for good. Plummeting wind, solar, and storage prices have fallen so fast that the United States can reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 – without raising customer costs at all from today’s levels, and actually decreasing wholesale power costs 10%. 

Building a 90% clean electricity system by 2035 would catalyze massive economic growth that helps pull the U.S. out of the COVID-19 recession by supporting more than a half million new net jobs per year, injecting $1.7 trillion into the economy, and recharging domestic manufacturing. Technology-neutral policies can reach a 90% clean power system, help energy developers and investors prosper, and pave the way for technologies of the future.

Fast-falling renewable and energy storage costs have changed this outlook – clean energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels, and actual costs in 2018-2019 were lower than previously projected costs for 2030-2035. Research has shown that by 2025 86% of the U.S. coal fleet will cost more to run than replacing it with local wind and solar generation, and clean energy portfolios of renewables and storage are cheaper than new natural gas generation.

The 2035 report was accompanied by technology-neutral policy recommendations for Congressfederal department and national labsgovernors and state legislatures, and electricity market regulators to help reach a 90% clean electricity future:

  • Congress should adopt a federal clean electricity standard reaching 55% by 2025, 75% by 2030, 90% by 2035, and 100% by 2045; states should adopt clean energy standards of 90% by 2035 or earlier and 100% by 2045 (or earlier).
  • Congress should extend existing federal clean energy investment and production tax credits, making energy storage eligible, and convert credits to more liquid incentives.
  • Federal and state policymakers should help refinance bad coal debt to reduce the costs of a coal-to-clean transition, and support coal-dependent communities by shoring up pension and healthcare services while funding worker retraining for the clean energy economy.
  • Congress and federal officials should streamline renewable energy and transmission siting and regional planning, while reducing interconnection costs.
  • Federal and state policymakers should invest in R&D policies to develop the future technologies needed to reach 100% clean electricity.
  • Federal and state policymakers should reform wholesale markets and utility business models to fairly value clean energy and support investment in a least-cost, technology-neutral portfolio of energy resources.

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2020/06/09/plunging-renewable-energy-prices-mean-us-can-hit-90-clean-electricity-by-2035at-no-extra-cost/#452356bc2f9b

If renewable energy is such a winner, if “clean energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels”, why don’t renewable energy entrepreneurs get private bank finance like everyone else, and simply drive the competition out of business with their superior technology?

Why do they need reform of wholesale markets, and federal clean energy standards to drive progress?

134 thoughts on “Forbes: Plunging Renewable Energy Costs Should be Answered with Massive Federal Funding

  1. Absolutely great news. End all renewable subsidies, mandates, and feed in tariffs now. The cheaper renewables and storage will take market share and lower consumer prices without any rigging of the market. Unless, that is, it’s a bunch of lies.

      • If renewable prices are Truly Falling (presumably to competitive levels vs Fossil Energy) then they would require NO MASSIVE FEDERAL FUNDING in order to compete. Market drivers will simply switch to the lower cost more reliable energy sources…Oh Wait, they already have been using the lower cost most reliable energy source…Fossil Fuel

        • And MASSIVE FEDERAL FUNDING is a MASSIVE COST TO CONSUMERS. AS Paul C. says, it’s a bunch of lies.

          • Funny that having declared it is ALREADY cheaper than coal and that renewables will REDUCE consumer costs further, this same scenario requires a bullet list of SIX ADDITIONAL forms of taxpayer subsidy. “Massive Federal Funding”.

            where are all those “fact checkers” when you need them?

        • “..recent Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis shows U.S. renewable energy prices continued falling fast in 2019, with wind and solar hitting new lows, after renewables fell below the cost of coal in 2018. LCOE measures the total cost of building and operating a facility over its lifetime, and shows renewables beating fossil fuels by ever-larger margins – even without subsidies –”

          Whoops, there goes your baseless gut feeling assertion.

          • Yet nobody buys the stuff without the subsidies. There goes your baseless gut feeling assertion.

            BTW, LCOE doesn’t cover the cost of providing power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. It’s a worthless number used by those who either know they are lying, or don’t know enough to know they are lying.

            Which category do you fall into?

          • The mandates requiring purchase of renewable power are many times worse then the subsidies. Not only are the mandates not being phased out, they are being expanded.

          • No one who has a “cheaper, cleaner” product needs to mandate others to adopt it.

            Levelized Cost of Energy is as convincing as “homogenized global temperatures” or isoelastic adjusted, inverse barometer corrected mean sea level estimated by measuring the bottom of the swell from low earth orbit.

            As soon as you read a term like that , you know someone is trying to jerk you off by falsifying the figures.

      • Cost Shifting

        Here is a partial list of the costs that were shifted, i.e., not charged to wind and solar plant owners, to make wind and solar appear less costly than in reality to the lay public and legislators.

        1) The various forms of grid-stabilizing inertia (presently provided by synchronous gas, coal, oil, nuclear, bio and hydro plants).

        2) The filling-in, peaking and balancing by traditional generators (mostly gas turbines in New England), due to wind and solar variability and intermittency, 24/7/365. Their random outputs require the other generators to inefficiently ramp up and down their outputs at part load, and to inefficiently make more frequent starts and stops, which also causes more wear and tear, all at no cost to wind and solar owners.

        The more wind and solar on the grid, the larger the required up and down ramping of the gas turbines, which imparts added costs to owners for which they likely would not be paid: And the wind and solar erratic output is coddled by government programs and subsidies!!

        Owners of traditional generators:

        – Have less annual production to cover power plant costs, which jeopardizes the economic viability of their plants.

        – Are left with inefficient remaining production (more fuel/kWh, more CO2/kWh), due to up and down ramping at part load, and due to more frequent starts and stops, which leads to less fuel and CO2 reduction than claimed, and increased costs for owners. See URL
        http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fuel-and-co2-reductions-due-to-wind-energy-less-than-claimed

        – Have more wear and tear of their gas turbine plants, which further adds to owner costs

        NOTE: All of this is quite similar to a car efficiently operating at a steady 55 mph, versus a car inefficiently operating at continuously varying speeds between 45 mph to 65 mph, and accelerating for frequent starts and decelerating for frequent stops.

        3) Any battery systems to stabilize distribution grid with many solar systems. They would quickly offset downward spikes due to variable cloud cover. See URL.
        http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/large-scale-solar-plants-require-large-scale-battery-system

        4) Any measures to deal with DUCK curves, such as a) daily gas turbine plant down and up ramping, b) utility-scale storage and c) demand management.

        NOTE: GMP in Vermont, has determined 70 of its 150 substations will eventually need upgrades to avoid “transmission ground fault overvoltage,” (TGFOV), if more solar is added per requirements of the VT Comprehensive Energy Plan. This is nothing new, as utilities in southern Germany have been dealing with these issues for over ten years, which has contributed to German households having the highest electric rates (about 30 eurocent/kWh) in Europe.

        5) Grid-related costs, such as grid extensions and augmentations to connect the remotely distributed wind and solar, and to deal with variable and intermittent wind and solar on the grid. Those grid items usually are utilized at the low capacity factors of wind and solar, i.e., a lot of hardware doing little work.

        6) Utility-scale electricity storage (presently provided by the world’s traditional fuel supply system).
        https://www.neon-energie.de/Hirth-2013-Market-Value-Renewables-Solar-Wind-Power-Variability-Price.pdf

        The above 6 items are entirely separate from the high levels of direct and indirect subsidies. They serve to make wind and solar appear to be much less costly than in reality. See sections 1 and 2 and Appendix.

        All that enables wind and solar proponents to endlessly proclaim: “Wind and solar are competitive with fossil and nuclear”.

        Example of Cost Shifting: For example, to bring wind electricity from the Panhandle in west Texas to population centers in east Texas, about 1000 miles of transmission was built at a capital cost of $7 billion. The entire cost was “socialized”, i.e., it appeared as a surcharge on residential electric bills. Wind in Texas would have been much more expensive, if the owning and operating cost, c/kWh, of those transmission lines were added to the cost of wind.

          • tax breaks subsidies. Tax breaks = deductions for capital investment, r&d and operations expenditure. Tax breaks available to nearly all business sectors, including “renewables.”

            CO2 is not a pollutant.

            & there goes both legs of the Guardian’s propaganda lies, spouted by you.

          • According to the U.S. Treasury Departmrnt, the fossil fuel industry receives $4.7 bill in annual subsidies. Just google fossil fuel subsidies treasury department. It will be the first link. This is a fraction of what renewables receive. And of course, it doesn’t factor in the massive revenue in fuel taxes at both the state and federal level. The subsidies argument was debunked long ago.

          • According to EIA, the avg state and federal fuel tax adds up to just under 50 cents a gallon. And according to the EIA, Americans consume approximately 140 bill gallons of gas each year. The math is easy; gas taxes deliver about $70 bill each year. You really need to up your game here if you want to parrot tired old narratives.

          • Every company in the country gets to deduct capital expenses.
            Only a socialist or a complete economic ignoramus (But I repeat myself) would call that a subsidy.

          • You are a liar. Remember when I had to call you out for Trump restricting flights for China?

          • Derg
            “You are a liar. Remember when I had to call you out for Trump restricting flights for China?”
            You really are delusional. I agreed with Trumps call. Even he gets the occasional thing right. It was just it was not an original idea.

          • You actually think the Guardian is a source of “truth”? Laughabke. The Guardian’s claims in that article are economic absurdities. Its like saying my food is subsidised because I dont pay any tax on it. Pure stupidity.

          • Simon is your standard liberal. Truth is defined by whether it advances the liberal agenda.

          • Any article in the Guardian-especially this one should be carefully fact checked. In my opinion it relies one a highly politicized article quoted by that always scrupulously authoritative Dana Nuticelli.

        • Most tax breaks are normal business write-offs, if you spend money to make money you can usually write off the expense.

          But renewables couldn’t survive if all they received were tax breaks, they want subsidies, which IMO is why the Guardian tries so hard to blur the difference between a tax break and a subsidy.

          • Not just the guardian
            https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/06/15/united-states-spend-ten-times-more-on-fossil-fuel-subsidies-than-education/#76470e7c4473
            United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education

            “Most tax breaks are normal business write-offs” That’s some write off… 400 billion.
            It’s the hypocirisy here that is so laughable. All for tax subsidies when it’s there team. But how dare renewables or Elon Musk ask for them for his cars? Either they are ok or they are not. You can’t have it both ways.

          • And $400b Is mere pennies compared to The Trillion$ The GND wants to suck out in taxes to find itself

          • Tax deduction for business expenses. Not a tax “break”. I have rental properties and can deduct the cost of insurance, local taxes, any utility charges I pay, repairs, upkeep, etc. etc. This is money the tenant pays to me but I do not get to keep so is not INCOME, it is a pass through.

            What happens with “renewables” is they get all of the tax deductions that other businesses get, but also have a market advantage where utilities are REQUIRED to buy their product if available. They also get subsidies and loan guarantees to encourage the development.

            BTW, depending on a biased liberal publication for your information does not help you to understand the economics of subsidized government supported renewables vs. self supporting, independently financed fossil fuel energy production.

            Please look up “rent seeking” to get an idea of what the wind and solar projects are all about.

            There have been many well researched and footnoted articles on WUWT regarding these issues that you could benefit from reading.

          • You aren’t reading Simon because you are just drinking too much cool-aide … look at any renewable company they will have those exact same write-offs as will any company. The only difference currently is the oil/gas industry is bigger so they have more. If renewable companies were the same size of oil/gas companies the write-offs would be the same.

            You and the left loopers can moan all you like it’s a basic rule that companies are only taxed on profits.

          • “Most tax breaks are normal business write-offs” That’s some write off… 400 billion.

            I don’t get what your problem is. Fossil fuel companies make enormous profits but they also have big costs. Normal rules of business which apply equally to renewable companies is that you can deduct expenses, even if those expenses are very large.

          • The author of the Forbes article is a little biased “James Ellsmoor is the founder of the Virtual Island Summit and a Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, dedicated to his passion for sustainable development and renewable energy”

            Oil and Gas companies do not get subsidies, they do get the same tax breaks as other businesses, including renewable energy companies. Even with all the tax breaks, renewable energy companies need subsidies to exist. Subsidies are not monies that the renewable energy companies earned, rather subsidy payments are monies I (me) earned and was then forced to hand over to the renewable energy companies by corrupt and ignorant politicians.

          • Another bait and switch technique by the alarmists. Fossil fuels receive tax breaks, which are available to virtually every business in the country. Renewables receive tax credits, loans and direct subsidies. Big big difference.

          • Most of the “subsidies” that show as being paid to the oil industry, are actually subsidies to other industries in disguise, for example a fuel subsidy for farmers. The main recipient of the “subsidy” is actually people who “eat”…..
            Also one needs to calculate into the mix how much fuel tax government collect. Hint: a lot more than $4.7 Bn…

          • When it comes to fossil fuels, the Guardian couldn’t tell the truth if it’s life depended on it.
            The only people who believe those lies are those who are paid to.

          • Solar and wind get tax credits in addition to tax deductions. A tax deduction is a cost subtracted from revenues, to determine net taxable income.

            A tax credit is a dollar for dollar reduction in net taxes owed. If the project loses money such that income is negative, the company still gets the dollar value of the tax credit.

            With a tax credit, money flows from the government to the Company even when the company has no taxable income, and is therefore a true subsidy. One way to look at it is money is forceably taken from the rest of us and given to those in the windmill and solar power business. With a tax deduction, money will always flow from the company to the government, because once taxable income is negative, no taxes are owed, and the deduction has no value.

            In addition, if renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels, no mandates about what percentage of renewable power by when are necessary. Economics will drive the substitution without arbitrary requirements.

          • Calling a deduction for capital cost spent by any business a “tax break” isn’t correct. Costs are not income and thus not taxable under an income tax. Taxes based on gross receipts, rather than actual earnings, would probably prevent almost all business from operating, let alone making any profit at all.

          • A tax credit is taxable monies that a business earns that it doesn’t have to pay taxes on to the Government. (Every business has earned tax credits even renewables)
            A tax deduction is a write off against profits to lower net taxable profits. (Every business has deductions from operating expenses even renewables)
            A subsidy is money paid to a business from the Government to give competitive advantage to select businesses (not exclusive to Renewables but paid to almost every renewable business and few others)

          • Simon, it’s a big write off because they spend a lot. They only get to write-off what they spend. Do you not understand that? But the basic point remains: reduced tax is not a subsidy. If a business pays lower taxes, it invests more, it pays its employees more, but lowers its prices to consumers.

            Nothing remotely like a subsidy. It is economic illiteracy to claim it is.

            Renewables get pure subsidies. Fossil fuels do not.

          • “United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education”

            I read a debunking of that claim in which it was explained that the claimant was counting only federal spending on education. But the vast majority of United States’ spending on education is from state and local governments.

          • $400 Billion is nothing compared to the size of the entire industry.
            Once again Simon demonstrates how proud he is of his ignorance.

        • The Guardian is a far left publication. Completely fake news when it comes to stories like this. It simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Just as an example, your linked story uses the word “subsidies” many times but does not explain what they are.

          Here in Australia, the lying leftys continuously say the coal industry gets a fuel subsidy, when in fact, all that is happening is that the companies don’t have to pay the Federal diesel tax because the trucks stay on the mine, they don’t actually drive on public roads.

          If you cannot describe in plain terms WHAT the supposed “subsidy” is actually subsidising, (the linked article doesn’t even try) then you’re nothing more than a shill. Knowingly acting as a shill makes you a liar.

      • I’ve done the subsidies analysis using data from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).

        Here is the US EIA website, outlining subsidies given to the various energy sectors:
        http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/

        For 2016 (the most recent data)
        Total Subsidies (Table 4, millions USD)

        Natural Gas___________(773)
        Crude Oil_____________(773)
        Coal_________________1,262
        Biofuels, incl. biomass___2,813
        Wind_________________1,286
        Solar_________________2,231

        Energy (billion kW-hr)
        Coal____________________1,208
        Natural Gas & Petroleum____1,431
        Biomass____________________63
        Solar_______________________51
        Wind______________________220

        Total Subsidies (million USD/billion kW-hr)
        Renewables: _________18.95
        Fossil fuels:__________1.3

        Renewables get 14.6 times the subsidies of fossil fuels per kW-hr of electricity generated.

        So I call BS on the entire fossil fuels get tax support advantage over renewables.

        Huge fake subsidies for fossil fuels are calculated from “the social cost of carbon,” which derives solely from the modeled consequences of CO2-induced global warming. Utterly fantastical modeled consequences produced by utterly unreliable models.

          • Tax Deduction = Monies you don’t have to pay to the Government.
            Subsidy = Monies that the Government pays you

          • To make the numbers look BIG they give the value for 10 years.

            Typical for dishonest people (the fact sheet writers) to inflate statistics to support their position. Read Pat Frank’s post again. Note that he gives raw numbers.

            Don’t forget the wasted oil, gas or coal used to keep generating plants running when not needed due to wind or solar output so that they can provide dispatchable electricity when the sun goes down, the wind stops blowing or blows too hard or it is a cloudy day, which all producers are required to do, a massive subsidy to renewables. When the government requires the renewable suppliers to provide their own backup power, the true cost of their electricity will be known.

            I don’t know you Simon, but I know you are misinformed. You even referenced a “fact sheet” that in the end speaks of “social costs”. just as Pat mentions.

          • I looked at your link, Simon. Using the tax code to one’s benefit is not a subsidy.

            The direct subsidies mentioned there amount to about 2.8 billion USD, pretty much in line with the EIA numbers I posted.

            And then your Mr. EESI Fact Sheet slides in this vacuity: “The latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report estimates 6.5 percent of global GDP ($5.2 trillion) was spent on fossil fuel subsidies (including negative externalities) in 2017,…

            Do you know what “negative externalities” are, Simon? They account for pretty much the entire supposed 5.2 trillion USD.

            They’re the so-called social cost of carbon determined using unreliable economic models extrapolating the effects of climate change projected by utterly unreliable climate models.

            They’re a crock, in other words. That negatively external gazillions of USD added in for, “China ($1.4 trillion in 2015), the United States ($649 billion) and Russia ($551 billion)” is a modeler’s fantasy; a UNFCCer’s wet dream; a Christiana Figueres mindless talking point; a totally invented piece of bushwah.

            It’s amusing, too, to see Mr. EESI Fact Sheet’s Nonconventional Fuels Tax Credit (Internal Revenue Code § 45) provides subsidies for biomass or non-conventional fossil fuels. Not for standard petroleum, NG, or coal. Yet another stretch.

            You’re being played Simon.

            It’s time you did the research and figured it out.

          • Isn’t it funny watching the cockroaches scuttle at the threat of their tax payer funded back handers being cut.

          • The externalities for fossil fuels are strongly positive, not negative.
            More storms? Not happening.
            Sea level rise? No measurable increase in the rate, since fossil fuels have been in use.
            More summer deaths? Conjecture, not proven
            More and healthier crops? Proven
            Fewer winter deaths? Proven

          • Cockroaches?
            Once again, Simon demonstrates that the only thing he is capable of seeing, is what he is paid to see.

            Refuting of your claims is now just cockroaches scurrying. You need serious help lad.

        • Thank-you for this Pat.

          It is interesting that attempts have been made to quantify “The social cost of carbon” but that there is no mention of the “Social benefits of carbon” or indeed any “Positive externalities” and I am wondering if you or anyone reading this thread would be aware of any attempts to quantify such?

          Presumably the modellers computer systems cannot handle figured of such magnitude, which would explain why they are demanding more powerful computers!

          • The negative externalities are all speculative, not a single one of them has been demonstrated anywhere outside of computer models.
            The positive externalities on the other hand are well documented.

      • Simon,

        The Fake News talks about taxation in a child like manner. Ignoring the entire tax ‘picture’.

        All industries get massive tax breaks. Many of the large corporations pay almost no tax in some countries.

        The reason why that is not unreasonable, is double taxation.

        The money that companies make that is not re-invested in the business is issued as dividends to individuals who pay tax on the dividends.

        And a tax ‘break’ is that industries, in almost every country, do not pay as much taxes as individuals.

        The Hydrocarbon Industry pays much more taxes (property and state taxes) than software companies or pharmaceutical companies, as the hydrocarbon industry requires significant infrastructure and property.

        Think of pipelines. Pipelines pay property tax for their entire right away. The companies that ship their product on the pipelines or the refiners who buy the product pay those for those property taxes, in their tolls.

        So it is absolutely untrue that the hydrocarbon industry has massive tax breaks and does not pay its fair share.

        Gasoline/Diesel is tax is much higher than required to just pay for road maintenance.

        • Actually if the truth be told I’m ok with companies getting tax breaks, but the oil companies have had it too good for too long. It’s why the likes of some here are so worried about companies like Tesla who are making serious inroads into the vehicle market. Eric W for one seems to be paranoid about them. If you are gonna subsidize oil, then there is no good reason not to subsidize renewables. End of story.

          • You have been challenged to read stuff other than leftard junk written by person who are either young non business background, left stupid or both.

            You could at least start with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidy
            Which at least tries to pretend to be balanced by cross referencing leftard data with government figures.

            First the renewable companies have their snouts in the subsidy trough just as hard as the oil companies. Second 75% of the oil subsidy is NON OECD countries, and it begs the question do you know what a non-OECD country is?

            To help you out with the second one, most of the people you are complaining here to live in one of the 37 OECD countries.

            Your own lefttard link above gives you the biggest single culprit do you know who that is? …. If you need a hint in it China ($1.4 trillion in 2015)

            So when you and fellow leftards have overthrown Xi come back and we will tackle OECD subsidies.

          • Once again, Simon demonstrates that he can only see what he is paid to see.
            Who here is worried about Tesla.
            Some people get upset over the subsidies to the company.
            Others like to ridicule the whole notion that electric vehicles are poised to take over the market.

            1% of the market is serious inroads? Really? Delusional much?
            And that’s with massive subsidies. Every time the subsidies are cut, sales plummet.

            Oil companies get no subsidies, just the same tax breaks that every other company gets.

        • I don’t believe the Fake News ignores the entire tax picture – they simply do not understand it. Instead of trying to understand it, they parrot some activist’s comment, not realizing it is not true. I think it is laziness by the reporter. Thus I have read articles about a shoot-out between a guy armed with a .9mm pistol and a guy with a .22 caliber pistol (Fox News). Such guns don’t exist, as shooters prefer projectiles larger than mechanical pencil lead. If they knew anything about what they are writing, they would not have made the mistake. Applies to taxes, firearms, and… climate science, among, well, everything else.

    • Indirect subsidies are due to loan interest deduction and depreciation deductions from taxable incomes.

      Direct subsidies are due to up front grants, waiving of state sales taxes, and/or local property (municipal and school) taxes. See URL.

      An owner of ridgeline wind would have to sell his output at 18.8 c/kWh, if the owner were not getting the benefits of cost shifting and upfront cash grants and subsidies.
      That owner could sell his output at 16.4 c/kWh, if his costs were reduced due to cost shifting.
      He could sell his output at 9 c/kWh, if on top of the cost shifting, he also received various subsidies.
      The same rationale holds for solar. See table.

      In NE construction costs of ridgeline wind and offshore wind are high/MW, and the capacity factor of wind is about 0.285 and of solar about 0.135. Thus, NE wind and solar have high prices/MWh. See table.

      In US areas, such as the Great Plains, Texas Panhandle and Southwest, with much lower construction costs/MW and much better sun and wind conditions than New England, wind and solar electricity prices/MWh are less.

      Those lower prices often are mentioned, without mentioning other factors, by the pro-RE media and financial consultants, such as Bloomberg, etc., which surely deceives the lay public

      Future electricity cost/MWh, due to the planned build-out of NE offshore wind added to the planned build-out of NE onshore wind, likely would not significantly change, because of the high costs of grid extensions and upgrades to connect the wind plants and to provide significantly increased connections to the New York and Canadian grids.

      1) The subsidy values in table 4 are from a cost analysis of NE wind and solar in this article. See URL
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for-2200-kw-field-mounted-solar-system-in

      2) The grid support values in table 4 are from this report. See figure 14 for 2.36 c/kWh for wind, and figure 16 for 2.1 c/kWh for solar
      https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IER_LCOE2019Final-.pdf

      NOTE: For the past 20 years, Germany and Denmark have been increasing their connections to nearby grids, because of their increased wind and solar.

      NOTE: The NE wholesale price has averaged at less than 5 c/kWh, starting in 2009
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

      NOTE: Importing more low-cost hydro (about 5.549 c/kWh, per GMP) from Quebec to replace “dangerous nuclear” and “dirty fossil” would be a very quick, smart and economic way to reduce CO2.
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/gmp-refusing-to-buy-additional-hydro-energy-from-hydro-quebec

      NOTE: Owner prices to utilities are based on recent 20-year electricity supply contracts awarded by competitive bidding in New England.
      These prices would have been about 48% to 50% higher without 1) the direct and indirect subsidies and 2) the cost shifting.
      Similar percentages apply in areas with better wind and solar conditions, and lower construction costs/MW, than New England. The prices of wind and solar, c/kWh, in those areas are lower than New England.

  2. Same old tropes. Same old half truths. Same old lies. All bundled together to make a plea for yet more taxpayer money, to be served up by complicit socialist bureaucrats to their crony socialist ‘business’ partners. Same old same old…

  3. Not only do the claims for renewables defy the laws of physics and the very basics of energy intensity per unit resource, , but the suggestion that the cheaper solution should be subsidised in a competitive free market also denies the laws of economics, such as they are. The only problem with renewable energy is the numbers don’t add up. CEng, CPhys, MBA

    • It’s not a real photo. The shadows on the wind turbines and the PVs aren’t consistent with the position of the sun. It’s a Photoshop montage. No more real than the “competitive pricing” of renewables.

      • What’s photoshopped into that pic wouldn’t even power the first dozen floors of one of those skyscrapers on a 24 hour basis. And then require 24/7 back-up at night when no wind, and if a battery, then 25%-30% additional losses on the storage and inverter losses. The more they promote this as already commercially competitive with coal, the longer their noses grow. But a lot of Sheeple will repeat all this, and shout us down when we try and explain the way it actually is. And then when obviously shown wrong, then they will argue the ‘social cost’ of dumping ‘carbon pollution’ into the atmosphere. There is definitely too many stupid people, which may be the biggest threat to the good Earth.

    • I have designed two machines to solve the intermittent production of renewables;
      — Nuclear powered fans creating wind, and
      — Nuclear powered spotlights for solar panels at night.

      Modern technology can solve all problems.

  4. You’ve got to love how the cheap solar PV arrays are pointing away from the sun. These new wonder solar panels must be such super efficient harvesters of photons that they need to be facing the wrong way to avoid blowing up the grid or something.
    …Unless behind the artist who painted this, there is a large bank of searchlights running of diesel generators?

  5. I do like the accompanying picture, about enough solar panels to power a Toaster
    and the combo is sufficient to power a house

  6. At best I see that green energy is a wash, if it were to work as claimed. I say that knowing it will take a lot of fossil fuels to mine, manufacture, distribute, install and maintain the green energy equipment.

  7. Eric, you hit the nail right on the head: “If renewable energy is such a winner, if clean energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels, why don’t renewable energy entrepreneurs get private bank finance like everyone else, and simply drive the competition out of business with their superior technology?”
    When you read the fine print of yet another study: “Lazard’s most recent Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis shows U.S. renewable energy prices continued falling fast in 2019, with wind and solar hitting new lows, after renewables fell below the cost of coal in 2018.”
    But surprise, surprise, LCOE does not address the need for 100% backup for every intermittent generator.
    In Australia a similar study by Dr Finkel, the Government Chief Scientist, reported LCOE costs for 2020 as wind A$92/MWhr (no backup), large solar A$91/MWhr, large solar with 12 hours backup A$172/MWhr, new coal A$76/MWhr, gas A$83/MWhr.

    • There are two major flaws in the LCOE. One is the cost of backup power. However, they do include 4 hrs of battery power daily. What is not included is the backup power needed for several days or weeks when the wind does not blow, or solar panels are covered in a blizzard. The technology for high capacity long term low cost storage does not exist, but is hand waved away as something that will surely be developed.

      The other cost is that if renewable is replacing x fossil power, the true generating capacity of renewables needs to be 1,5x or 2x to generate the power needed to meet the instantaneous demand plus recharge the batteries.

      Additionally, no consideration is taken into account that in the FL Gulf Coast area we get hurricanes that will blow down windmills and tear up solar farms. Replacement time is lengthy and foolhardy because the following year another hurricane tears it all out again. Fossil fuel and nuclear sources of power can withstand 180 mph Katrina. Windmills and solar panels cannot.

      • Didn’t you know that eliminating fossil fuels will mean no hurricanes, problem solved!
        (I don’t need a sarc tag hopefully)

    • LCOE doesn’t take into account that all the facilities are manufactured using cheap fossil fuel energy.

      To be an honest calculation, the LCOE for so-called renewables ought to be calculated based upon the cost of power provided strictly by renewables.

      LCOE also does not take into account the enormous land usage required by solar and wind power plants.

      The US produces about 4 trillion kw-hrs of electricity. PV solar requires about 100 sq ft per kW. That 4 trillion kW-hr requires 14.35 million square miles of PV solar (and 365 clear cloudless days per year, everywhere). The contiguous US land area is 3.1 million square miles.

      Now what?

      • Pat, I’ve been trying to reproduce your figures so that I can then work out the numbers for the UK, but I’m having difficulty. Can you tell me where I’m going wrong.

        4 trillion kWh = 4 x 10^12 kWh
        / (365 days x 12 hrs per day) = 9.13242 x 10^8 kW of production required
        / 0.01 kW per sq ft = 9.13242 x 10^10 sq ft
        / (5280^2) sq ft per sq mile = 3276 sq miles

        • Hi David – you’re right. I should have normalized to hours.

          I’d have used 24 hr per day, though, as power usage continues through the night (at about 50% the rate of day usage). One also needs to multiply by 5 to account for the ~20% efficiency of PV solar.

          So, [(4.1×10^12 kW-hr)/(365*24)hr]*(100 sq ft/kW)*5 ~ 8,400 sq. miles — an area approximating all of New Jersey or 5% of California. About half the power generated would have to be stored for night usage and back-up.

          But agreed — a lot less than 14.35 million sq miles. Thanks for catching my mistake. 🙂

  8. “..Building a 90% clean electricity system by 2035 would catalyze massive economic growth that helps pull the U.S. out of the COVID-19 recession by supporting more than a half million new net jobs per year, injecting $1.7 trillion into the economy, and recharging domestic manufacturing…”

    Recharging domestic manufacturing….for solar panels? Where did these bozos get the idea from that the U.S. can undercut China and other lower labor cost countries for manufacturing panels? Where do they think much of the raw materials are mined for making solar panels?

    I don’t have any numbers readily at hand, but I seriously doubt that a sizable percentage of solar panels installed in the U.S. are made here. One website I looked at said that the U.S. was #5 in the world for solar panel manufacturing. China, Japan and Germany (don’t remember the 4th one) were all ahead of us. And what to do about the toxic waste they leave behind? Does Forbes have any ideas on that?

    Why do people put out these junk studies?

    • What is it about liberals and this belief that you can recharge the economy by paying people to do nothing?

  9. Well then, I’ll be looking forward to the panels and pinwheels everywhere as my monthly electric bill plunges. I feel terrible about all those natural gas range and furnace producers, though. Maybe Biden can teach them to code.

  10. The nuclear energy industry has fund for liability.
    I think public money {government] should subsidize the future damages from alternative energy and scrap all other “green” subsidies.
    Make easy just transfer those all fund into liability damages, and excuse it’s not by private sector is wasn’t really the private sector {and money basically was stolen and government supported the theft- government is responsible}.

  11. This is why the prices are “plunging”:

    “ Congress should extend existing federal clean energy investment and production tax credits, making energy storage eligible, and convert credits to more liquid incentives.”

    I was taken in by this rhetoric 20 years ago when the British Wind Energy Association was telling us wind was now (then) as cheap as coal. My moral compass simply attributed them with the assumed honesty that they would declare any such subsidies because they surely couldn’t get away with such a bare-faced lie. I was wrong and it’s STILL happening 20 years later, all over the MSM and ‘Energy Twitter’. Such crooks.

    • Scute ….

      Good for you on recalling and retelling how you were duped in the past by wind salesmen.
      My personal story was to do with biodiesel…

      Yep bought a big Cummins dually only to find that the whole thing never took off and the mileage was poorer and … you couldn’t use more than 5% biodieseel or the seals that came in contact were unserviceable over the life of the machine.

      I hesitate to do the math on the diesel vs gas.

  12. The virus has taken a heavy toll on the climate change industry. We have hardly heard a squeak from them for over three months.
    I predict their rhetoric will pick up before the USA election and expect more articles like this stating that their products are now so competitive that they should receive tax payers help and competing industries must be sanctioned. After all, who doesn’t want to save the world?

  13. One word: Energiewende. It’s a German word. Difficult to translate into English, but think of what you’d call a stud farm for white elephants and you’ll have a fairly accurate sense of its meaning.

  14. Forbes? What happened to Forbes? They are advocating that Juneteenth become a national holiday, and now this, an article that’s complete nonsense. Who writes this stuff? Logically, obviously, it makes no sense. But where in the heck are they getting the data that support their absurd position?

    • “They are advocating that Juneteenth become a national holiday”

      They probably want it to replace the 4th of July.

    • Juneteenth is meaningless to slaves who lived in the north, The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the states in the Confederacy.

  15. I know what they are doing when they say treat ruinables “fairly” inthe marketplace. It is the creative accounting that treats business cost deductions for oil and gas as subsidies. A fairer metric would be to add corporate and other tax and indirect taxes from oil and gas enjoyed by several layers of government as a benefit. Not a dime would come from the wind and solar operations. Tally it up and then compare benefits.

    With a switchover to ruinables, the huge loss in government revenues has to be met by increased taxes from everyone else. This should be identified as a tax burden because of the switchover. Any subsidies paid to wind and solar should be added on to the cost of the switch. The goverment is paid handsomely by hydrocarbon producers for the right to operate and the income tax from well paid o&g workers is also a large cash flow. Every level of gov also takes ut at the pump from customers

    • Bag men, too. The wind turbine gauntlets alone. But, yeah, the environmental blight requires maintenance and exclusion to remain viable.

  16. Our energy infrastructure is not a given but a work in progress. It has evolved over time to its current state driven by innovation and market forces. If you have a better technology bring it to the market for energy instead of whining.

  17. If renewable energy prices are “plunging” why are our electrical rates continuing to increase as we add wind and solar installations? We should be approaching the first round of life span replacements for these “free energy” appliances soon and then every 15 – 20 years after that. By the time we get close to replacing fossil fuels completely, which can’t happen until we figure out base and back up, the cost will be astronomical just to maintain their usable life spans. It’s a geometric replacement nightmare.

  18. The whole Green New Deal.;Renewable’ Energy Push is a Potemkin Village of imaginary calculations and wild desires. It can be supported only by subsidies, regulations and propaganda until it runs out of Other People’s Money as all Socialist enterprises eventually do.

    • I had to look that up.

      “A “Potemkin village” signifies any deceptive or false construct, conjured often by cruel regimes, to deceive both those within the land and those peering in from outside”

      Brilliant!

  19. One of the mad thoughts I’ve heard is to have Tesla’s charging during the day with solar, put the energy into the grid in the evening, then be charging in the early morning hours when electricity is the cheapest.
    Assuming their charging stations in homes are setup to put grid acceptable power into the grid, there is at least a 20% loss for the DC to AC conversion. But assuming 1 million Teslas (not that many on UD roads yet), putting 50 kwh in to the grid, I get a potential of 40,000 mwh. While that sounds like a lot, I can’t imagine it will make any dent in power consumption.
    Mainly because all the energy taken from each battery is likely to be put into the battery, no one wants to be stranded at home. Also, this seems like a big shell game of move the power.

  20. There is an urgent need for a study so good, so clear, with all assumptions clearly expresses, that compares the basic costs of competing electricity generation in an inarguable way.
    I have been searching for such a study for many years now. Unable to find an example. If you have one, do send a link. Geoff S

    • A generic study won’t do the job. My view is that for a cost study to be informative, it must be done for a specific region that encompasses a broad enough geographic area so as to allow for inclusion of individual localities that are thought to be good candidates for wind and solar, but also localities that are judged poor candidates for the renewables. A study done for Australia comes to mind. And one done for California in the US is another. But who would fund these studies?

      • Many times these studies are not an apples to apples comparison. At best, they show that a very small amount of intermittent renewables can be added to a robust fossil fuel system for a lower cost of incremental power at certain times.

        What is ignored is the strain and extra cost the intermittency adds when the renewable power reaches a certain threshold, and the capacity of in place backup becomes strained.

        What is never compared are two completely independent systems of size x, one of which is traditional fossil and nuclear, and a second system of 100% renewables of the same capacity, and comparing quality, reliability, and true unsubsidized cost, delivering power on a 24/7 365 day year with all of the weather variability of storms, no wind, too much wind, blizzards etc.

  21. They keep claiming that renewable energy costs are plunging, yet I can see no evidence to support that claim.

  22. “We are a nonpartisan climate policy think tank”

    Uh huh. “Oh, I almost forgot – when will I start getting the payoff from that bridge you sold me?”

  23. “Plunging renewable energy costs” should be answered with massive ROTFLs, hoots, guffaws, and weapons-grade mockery.

  24. Leftists always have to lie to sell their crap.

    This is another transparent lie. Does Forbes actually have readers who know nothing about markets and pricing…and the need for subsidies.

  25. Forbes should fund the renewable energies, without the citizens funding Forbes. See the problem there?

    • Exactly! If, as Forbes asserts, “plunging renewable costs is a profitable opportunity” then why restrict this opportunity to the Federal government? Shouldn’t Forbes be encouraging all public corporations (even privates ones) to rush to get on board to reap the profits?

      And when is the last time anyone bought into a phrase such as “Plummeting wind, solar, and storage prices have fallen so fast that the United States can reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 – without raising customer costs at all from today’s levels, and actually decreasing wholesale power costs 10%.”?

      My gas utility costs and my electricity utility costs, on a prorated basis, have gone up significantly in the last year. There is no evidence whatsoever they will decrease before I die.

      Is Forbes breaking the news that the US Government doesn’t need money from taxes any more?

  26. This is why PG&E is going to use distributed diesel fueled power generators to keep from having rolling black outs like California had last Fall. I suspect the data this author is relying are pretty suspect. I looked into a portable solar power -battery system for backing up my home’s refrigerator just a month ago; and the battery system takes 13 hours to recharge and the battery is empty within an hour or less. The same wattage gasoline generator can power my refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours on one gallon of gasoline. Forbes use to be very business and practical oriented but it must have been co-opted in recent years by the Green subsidy seeking corporate cronies.

  27. If their costs are plummeting, why do they need subsidies?

    It’s just just another scam. Let them sink or swim in a free market.

  28. Has anyone carefully read through the entire Forbes article?
    How about some (all?) of the links within that article?
    Do you all realize that the author of the Forbes piece – Silvio Marcacci – is the communication director for that ultra Renewable booster outfit Energy Innovation?
    Do you all realize that this piece is nothing more than a chest thumping press release?
    Kinda like the late night infomercials touting “But wait! There’s more!”

    As this entire facade of Globull Warming comes crashing down …
    As the overwhelming, irrefutable indications of the imminent Grand Solar Minimum continue to emerge all around us, what we are witnessing is the absolutely frenzied, desperate attempts to maintain viable what will come to be recognized as the most bizarre, widespread, damaging incidence of hysteria in all of human history.

    • the most bizarre, widespread, damaging incidence of hysteria in all of human history.

      Apart from Progressivism.

  29. Just like NPR, per the late Charles Krauthammer, if it’s so great, why does it need to be on the national tit?

  30. Fossil fuel companies pay royalties to government(s) for the rights to extract resources owned by the governments, for oversight of environmental, employment and other regulatory regimes and for the regulatory oversight of setting up companies and regulating them. Some of these ‘rights’ are just assumed by renewable power companies without contributing towards the governments costs. Isn’t it time someone came up with a concept whereby renewables paid ‘royalties’ for the rights to the sun and wind that although not owned by anyone, are present in a government controlled space and necessitate costs to government?

  31. I invite everyone to look at the actual production of energy from wind here in the UK over the past three days. Look at the production today and at various times over the past months. It is as close to zero as it is possible to be, yet this is the windiest part of Europe according to studies and represents the ideal location for wind farms on and offshore!!
    It is producing zero right now 7.30 am UK and this is the European ideal location at a time when people would be ramping up work energy demand.
    Go to https://gridwatch.co.uk/ for details.
    It is not possible to run businesses on intermittent energy supply, no matter what subsidised invented low price they project. The true cost of unreliability is failure, end of story..

    • Denmark is the same with many more windmills per capita. Over the last month they have on average imported ~25% of of their electricity, mostly from Norwegian hydro.
      https://carl-fh.com/climate
      Right now Denmark imports 56% and current Capacity Factor for wind is a few percent.

      So Denmark needs about ten times more windmills in case the Atlantic connection to Norway breaks, or they need to shuffle more coal into their conventional power stations.

      I suggest Denmark just sells wind turbines to UK, US, etc. and stops growing them on home ground.

  32. The whole thing corresponds exactly to what the former French President Hollande was once supposed to have said: it doesn’t cost anything, it’s paid by the state!

  33. It would be a bit of an issue in the UK today 16 June. Wind 0.12GW (0.37%) Solar 3.60GW (11.05%) on the other hand much maligned (but reliable and predictable) fossil fuels CCGT 20.73GW (63.61%). We’re still burning American trees Biomass 2.34GW (7.18%). Demand not particularly high today Demand 32.59GW.
    Data https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

  34. Interesting is the link in the text with the word “new research”: it’s a link to a website run by a green think tank of the University of California Berkeley, the Goldman School of public policy. The keywords mentioned are there, but no research results are to be found. Same thing for the “Plumetting prices”: a link to an article published by a so-called “nonpartisan! climate policy think tank”. So much for referencing: just links to people with the same point of view (or the same degree of fanatism).
    I really appreciate Pat Frank’s contribution: that data speaks for itself.

  35. It has been commented on, but the way they are trying to classify tax deductibles as a subsidy is shameless. Imagine looking at the profit & loss account: top line turnover; then expenses; staff costs, materials etc. Bottom line is something called profit. You pay the tax on the profit. Profit is only a couple of percent of turnover. Imagine coming along and crossing through all the expenses: no, you can’t deduct staff costs; no,you can’t deduct fuel burned; no, you can’t deduct premise costs. Is that what these people are saying? They are crazy.

    • In the mind of a progressive, everything belongs to the government.
      When the government permits you to keep some of what you have earned, that’s a subsidy.

  36. Home, home on the strange,
    where the greens and the enviros play,
    where never is heard, that the stuff just won’t work,
    and the skies are not cloudy at all…

  37. I took a look at the market value of generation and interconnector imports for GB in March, using half hour settlement period data and System Sell/Buy Prices from BM Reports for balancing at gate closure.

    Here are the results:

    CCGT £36.02/MWh
    COAL £45.80/MWh
    BIOMASS £30.96/MWh
    NUCLEAR £29.46/MWh
    WIND £25.70/MWh
    Pumped Storage £67.41/MWh
    Hydro £32.28/MWh
    OCGT £203.78/MWh
    OTHER £32.84/MWh
    INT France £31.08/MWh
    INT Britned £31.88/MWh
    INT Belgium £31.14/MWh
    INT Moyle £25.26/MWh
    INT Ireland £24.11/MWh

    So the market value of coal output was higher than for everything else except for peak lopping Open Cycle Gas Turbines. The Moyle and Ireland E-W interconnector imports are of course surplus wind from Ireland, which is why they have similar low values to the wind itself.

    For completeness, the values on exported energy and cost of pumping for storage were:

    Pumped Storage £17.76/MWh
    INT France £16.05/MWh
    INT Britned £14.05/MWh
    INT Belgium £16.32/MWh
    INT Moyle £37.67/MWh
    INT Ireland £44.21/MWh

    Ireland was paying for shortages of wind, meanwhile we exported at giveaway prices to the Continent when we had a surplus.

    Now compare with the £162.47/MWh guaranteed to Hornsea offshore wind farm, or the renewables obligation subsidies worth a minimum of £50/MWh for onshore wind.

  38. This is brought to you by another Two-Dimensional Linear Extrapolation Think Tank and is justified with much hand waving.

    “Plunging Renewable Energy Prices Mean U.S. Can Hit 90% Clean Electricity By 2035 – At No Extra Cost”

  39. Forbes is drinking the Kool-Aid.

    And, they want everybody else to drink the Kool-Aid.

    Forbes, a hack magazine that parrots the globalist narrative.

    Don’t buy it.

  40. That plunging cost is due to labor savings in automated plants and utility scale projects, R&D investment, and massive capacity expansion with more investments. That is not a reason for federal stimulus of labor-intensive, high-cost rooftop solar lobbyists and their ad placements at Forbes and Bloomberg!

  41. This is the sort of nonsense you hear from clean energy pimps. First of plunging costs means nothing if the costs are still way high. And if they are so low, as the phrase is supposed to intimate, hey just wait they will become cheaper than the alternative.
    Half a million net jobs adding 1.7 trillion, seemed a little off, given the US labor market is 160 million or so and produces something like 22 Trillion every year. If we keep per capital average the same that would be 544 Trillion by 160 million workers. So of course a large time frame must be involved.
    Where is the fake news alert.

Comments are closed.