Report renewable energy risks, too

If fossil fuel companies should disclose climate-related financial risks, so should renewables

Paul Driessen

Joe Biden has drifted far to the left and made it clear that, if elected president, he would restrict or ban fracking, pipelines, federal onshore and offshore drilling, and use of oil, coal, natural gas, and thus our economy. He’s selected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as his climate and energy advisor and is expected to choose an equally “progressive” woman of color as his running mate (and president-in-reality).

He may also employ federal financial regulations to slow or strangle fossil fuel companies’ access to low-cost capital, further preventing them from producing oil, gas and coal. His official climate plan promises to require “public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.” By compelling them to present a litany of climate and weather risks supposedly caused or worsened by fossil fuel emissions, the rules could sharply reduce lender and investor interest in those fuels and hasten the transition to wind, solar, battery and biofuel technologies.

Those risks exist primarily in highly unlikely worst-case scenarios generated by computer models that reflect claims that manmade carbon dioxide has replaced the sun and other powerful natural forces that have always driven Earth’s climate (including multiple ice ages) and extreme weather. Actual data are often “homogenized” or otherwise manipulated to make the models appear more accurate than they are.

Models consistently predict average global temperatures 0.5 degrees C (0.9 F) higher than measured. The 12-year absence of Category 3-5 US-landfalling hurricanes is consistently ignored, as are the absence of any increase in tropical cyclones, the unprecedented absence of any violent tornadoes in 2018 – and the fact that violent twisters were far fewer during the last 35 years than during the 35 years before that.

However, pressure group mob politics and the refusal of climate alarmists to discuss model failures and contradictory scientific evidence would likely make these realities irrelevant in a Biden administration. That would have devastating consequences for a US economy struggling to recover from Covid-19 and compete in a world where Asian, African and other countries are not going to stop using fossil fuels to improve living standards, while they mine the raw materials and manufacture the wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and other equipment the USA would have to import under a Green New Deal (since no mining and virtually no manufacturing would be permitted or possible under Biden era regulations).

Replacing coal, gas and nuclear electricity, internal combustion vehicles, gas for home heating, and coal and gas for factories – and using batteries as backup power for seven windless, sunless days – would require some 8.5 billion megawatts. Generating that much electricity would require some 75 billion solar panels … or 4 million 1.8-MW onshore wind turbines … or 300,000 12-MW offshore wind turbines … or a combination of those technologies – plus some 3.5 billion 100-kWh batteries … hundreds of new transmission lines … and mining and manufacturing on scales far beyond anything the world has ever seen.

That is not clean, green, renewable energy. It is ecologically destructive and completely unsustainable – financially, ecologically and politically. That means any company, community, bank, investor or pension fund venturing into “renewable energy” technologies would be taking enormous risks.

Once citizens, voters and investors begin to grasp (a) the quicksand foundations under alarmist climate models and forecasts; (b) the fact that African, Asian and even some European countries will only increase their fossil fuel use for decades to come; (c) the hundreds of millions of acres of US scenic and wildlife habitat lands that would be covered by turbines, panels, batteries, biofuel crops, power lines, and forests clear cut to supply biofuel power plants; and (d) the bird, bat and other animal species that would disappear under this onslaught – they will rebel. Renewable energy markets will be pummeled repeatedly.

Public backlash will intensify from growing outrage over child labor, near-slave labor, and minimal to nonexistent worker health and safety, pollution control and environmental reclamation regulations in foreign countries where materials are mined and “renewable” energy technologies manufactured. As the shift to GND energy systems brings increasing reliance on Chinese mining and manufacturing, sends electricity rates skyrocketing, kills millions of American jobs and causes US living standards to plummet, any remaining support for wind, solar and other “renewable” technologies will plummet or evaporate.

Pension funds and publicly owned companies should therefore be compelled to disclose the risks to their operations, supply chains, “renewable energy portfolio” mandates, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, profits, employees, valuation and very existence from embarking on or investing in renewable energy technologies or facilities. They should be compelled to fully analyze and report on every aspect of these risks.

The White House, Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve, Committee on Financial Stability, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and other relevant agencies should immediately require that publicly owned companies, corporate retirement plans and public pension funds evaluate and disclose at least the following fundamental aspects of “renewable” operations: 

* How many wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, biofuel plants and miles of transmission lines will be required under various GND plans? Where will they go? Whose scenic and wildlife areas will be impacted?  How will rural and coastal communities react to being made energy colonies for major cities?

* Will the same laws and court decisions apply to wind, solar, battery, biofuel and “renewable energy” transmission projects as have been applied to the Keystone, Atlantic Coast and Dakota Access pipelines?

* To what extent will policies, laws, regulations, court decisions, and citizen opposition, protests, legal actions and sabotage delay or block wind, solar, biofuel, battery, mining and transmission projects?

* How much concrete, steel, aluminum, copper, cobalt, lithium, rare earth elements and other materials will be needed for every project – and cumulatively? Where exactly will they come from? How many tons of overburden and ore will be removed and processed for every ton of metals and minerals?

* What per-project and cumulative fossil fuel use, CO2 and pollution emissions, land use impacts, water demands, family and community dislocations, and other impacts will result? Where will they occur?

* What wages will be paid? How much child labor will be involved? What labor, workplace safety, pollution control and other laws, regulations, standards and practices will apply in each country? How many illnesses, injuries and deaths will occur in the mines, processing plants and factories?

* What “responsible sourcing” laws apply for these materials, to ensure that all materials are obtained in compliance with US wage, child labor and environmental laws – and how much will they raise costs?

* For ethanol and biodiesel, how much acreage, water, fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels will be required? For power plant biofuel, how many forests will be cut down, and how long they will take to regrow? How many birds, bats and other wildlife will be displaced, killed or driven to extinction?

* What costs and materials will be required to convert existing home and commercial heating systems to all-electricity, upgrade electrical grids and systems for rapid electric vehicle charging, and address the intermittent, unpredictable, weather-dependent realities of Green New Deal energy sources?

* What price increases per kWh per annum will families, businesses, offices, farms, factories, hospitals, schools and other consumers face, as state and national electrical systems are converted to GND sources?

* How often and severely will wind and solar installations (and household solar panels linked to the grid) cause uncontrolled surges and power interruptions? How will they be protected against Trojan horse viruses and hackers installed or enabled by overseas manufacturers, perhaps especially in China?

* What economic, productivity and public health impacts will repeated power interruptions cause?

* How many solar panels, wind turbine blades, batteries and other components (numbers, tons and cubic feet) will have to be disposed of every year? How much landfill space and incineration will be required?

These issues illustrate the high risks associated with Green New Deal energy programs. They underscore why it is essential for lenders, investment companies, pension funds, manufacturers, utility companies and other industries to analyze, disclose and report renewable energy risks – and why significant penalties should be assessed for failing to do so or falsifying any pertinent information.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues.

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July 9, 2020 2:15 am

The public, like the Americans, will always hit on the right solution…

…after having exhausted every other alternative.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 9, 2020 8:03 am

… said Winston Churchill

Richard of NZ
Reply to  Vuk
July 9, 2020 2:55 pm

Whose mother was American.

Charles Wardrop
July 9, 2020 2:26 am

Wind tirbines are very far from Green, in the materials used in manufacture, these CO2 releasing process, the oil the need the land and seascape destruction, the wildlife killedthe servicing and eventual demolition, including their blades, which demand burial.

A pig-in -a-poke indeed, as well as financially ruinous, functionally near-useless so dependent on trad. fossil fuels.

Reply to  Charles Wardrop
July 9, 2020 8:04 am

Charles ,
Sounds like you were writing a political resume.

Charles Wardrop
Reply to  nottoobrite
July 9, 2020 11:51 am

Thanks, nottoobrite, but I believe it all to be the honest truth rather than most politicos’ adverts for snake oil.

Charles Wardrop
Reply to  nottoobrite
July 9, 2020 11:53 am

Thanks, nottoobrite, but it is all true!

July 9, 2020 2:37 am

The science of thermal radiative global warming by back-radiation from greenhouse gases is very much like the Aristotelian model of the solar system where the sun orbits the earth. Aristotle’s model is internally self-consistence and cannot be disproved by arguments that start from its basic premise. Thermal radiative climate science is also internally self-consistent but in-order to see the false nature of this science, the primary assumption that insolation power is divided by 4 on input must be discarded.

The sun does not orbit the earth which, by the principle of logical equivalence, is what the divide by 4 insolation dilution part of the geometric equation actually implies. Instead it is the direct power of the sun that heats the earth most strongly at the solar zenith that creates our weather and so drives the climate. The atmospheric tail does not wag the solar dog.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 9, 2020 9:01 am

Philip Mulholland
I would like a much more extensive explanation
Who divides by 4 the amount of radiation reaching the Earth and how do they justify doing so?
Can you give examples of this procedure in existing climate models?

Thank you

Reply to  Graham Lyons
July 9, 2020 3:54 pm

You can confirm this for yourself by studying figure 7 in Kiehl, J.T and K.E. Trenberth, 1997. Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 78 (2), 197-208. There you will find that the TOA value for the Incoming Solar Radiation is 342 W/m^2 and the Solar irradiance for the earth used by the authors in this paper is 1368 W/m^2

By simple arithmetic 1368/342 = 4

For further analysis of this issue see

Reply to  Graham Lyons
July 9, 2020 4:07 pm

It is pretty obvious arithmetic that you divide insolation by two. Only half of the Earth is in sunlight at any one time. (Very close approximation. “Fiddly things” like mountains, the minor differences from perfect spherical shape, etc. change the denominator too little to require accounting for.)

The next division – well, that requires integration over the entire surface that is in sunlight. Not a simply explained thing, even assuming a perfect sphere and an atmosphere layer that is absolutely uniform. But “divide by two again” is also a very close approximation to the reduction resulting from sunlight needing to pass through varying depths of atmosphere before reaching the surface.

Reply to  Writing Observer
July 9, 2020 4:41 pm

Writing Observer
Please study Figure 7 in Kiehl, J.T and K.E. Trenberth, 1997. Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 78 (2), 197-208.
The process of divide by 4 is applied at the Top of the Atmosphere before the solar irradiance has even entered the atmospheric system.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 9, 2020 6:33 pm

It’s simple arithmetic /geometry. The mods are holding up my explanation – I get shadow-banned here.

Reply to  Writing Observer
July 9, 2020 6:19 pm

Duhh! it’s a trick question…..the area of a circle is pi x r^2…..the surface area of a sphere is 4 x pi x r^2……Grade 7 math….1368/4=342, (or zero on the dark side, 684 on the sunlit side)….That’s all the factor of 4 is about….Then you have to move on to something like a Trenberth chart to see where the 342 watts go. Don’t confuse yourself with the back radiation part of Trenberth’s chart if your college physics is rusty. Just use 40 watts of IR heat directly from ground to outer space through the atmospheric window, and an average of (350-324) = 26 watts from the ground to the colder sky and clouds. I am referring to the chart link Philip gave above.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
July 9, 2020 11:28 pm

“Duhh! it’s a trick question”
No it’s not (although Trick might join in soon).
Notice how easy it is to slip from “684 on the sunlit side” to “Trenberth chart to see where the 342 watts go”.
You need to study where the fully intercepted intensity of 684 W/m^2 goes to within the atmospheric system. See

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
July 9, 2020 6:25 pm

Philip. Nothing to do with aristotelian mechanics or anything else like it. It is the simple arithmetic of the illumination and heating of the face of a sphere. The sun sees a disk and the area of the disk is (pi*r^2). The area of a sphere is 4pi*r^2 four times the area of the disk.

Because on a sphere, a square meter on the equator at high noon receives 3600+ Watts/sq m and every other square meter at the same instant receives less and less as you move away from this particular sq m in any radial direction, until at the edge of the disk, those sq m receive zero Watts.

Now, if you project the rays impinging on the half sphere onto the disk as seen by the sun, every square meter ON THE DISK receives 3600+W/sq m, The total received by the disk is the total received by the sphere at each and every moment. Gotta divide by four!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 9, 2020 11:36 pm

“Gotta divide by four!”
So on your Aristotelian world the sun shines onto the ground at night.
If you divide the incoming intercepted power intensity by 4 then you have diluted the sunlight too much and shone it directly onto the night side.

Ron Long
July 9, 2020 2:59 am

Good report by Paul Driessen. “Renewable” energy, especially wind turbines and solar reflector systems, are the only industry allowed to slaughter our flying friends without consequence. The looney left somehow accepts the slaughter as necessary to what? Save the earth in 10 years? Forgetting that China et al are increasing their CO2 emissions are we? This is a sorry movement in our history, and for nothing.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Ron Long
July 9, 2020 3:31 am

I am under the impression that it is a criminal offence to knowingly introduce industrial processes, that by design will automatically kill protected species of rare birds of prey and bats.
When was the law amended that allowed wind turbines to be erected, while in the full and certain knowledge they would be breaking existing wild life protection laws and who passed those laws?

Reply to  Rod Evans
July 9, 2020 11:12 am

Excellent question, Rod Evans.

Reply to  Rod Evans
July 9, 2020 7:59 pm

Correct, except that the US Fish and Wildlife Service can issue a “take” permit as part of its biological opinion. For example, the military base I contract at can “take” up to four Mojave Desert Tortoises per year, with “take” being very broadly defined. A contractor picking up a tortoise out of curiosity and setting it back down in the same place counts as one “take”, but picking it up and moving it off the road in the direction it was going does not, because it was necessary to help that individual tortoise avoid passing traffic. One wind farm example I heard of is that a certain wind farm is allowed to “take” up toc20 bald eagles each year.

July 9, 2020 3:12 am


Harry Davidson
Reply to  commieBob
July 9, 2020 4:30 am

Molten salt.

Reply to  Harry Davidson
July 9, 2020 9:29 am


Amos E. Stone
Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2020 11:51 am

I’m with Commie Bob. But while we’re having fun… Unicorns.

Reply to  Amos E. Stone
July 9, 2020 6:13 pm
Reply to  Amos E. Stone
July 9, 2020 6:56 pm

Thanks, MarkW, Amos, and SyComputing! I needed the laugh!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Amos E. Stone
July 10, 2020 2:30 am

Wadhams and lots of them.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Amos E. Stone
July 10, 2020 2:02 pm

Didn’t the Romulans invent the quantum singularity as a source for infinite power?

Reply to  commieBob
July 9, 2020 1:20 pm

Combined cycle gas turbines fueled by fracking. Cheaper and faster/easier to construct than nukes.

Dodgy Geezer
July 9, 2020 3:37 am

Report renewable energy risks, too?

Not going to happen, is it?

Our problem is MUCH wider than climate change. It is the growth of a loosely-connected set of pressure groups espousing various impractical sexual, racial, political and environmental policies, which seems to have the ear of much of the Western establishment.

I suspect that the politicians are mesmerised by the way social media seems to resonate with large swathes of voters, and so will do nothing to rebut even the most extreme idiocy for fear of being attacked.

I suspect that the same social media and telecommunications developments have made an influential group of businessmen all as rich as Rockefeller, and they are happy to spread this largess amongst the most vocal media groups.

I suspect that much of the establishment, seeing which way the wind was blowing, have jumped on the bandwagon – so that now you have diversity coordinators in schools rather than mathematics teachers, and government grants funnelled through bank loans for provably impossible engineering projects.

The only suggestion that I have is to study the way in which these bouts of madness have happened before in history, and how they were ended. Perhaps the Chinese Cultural Revolution is an apt simile, and we need a period of “Boluan Fanzheng”? Let us hope we can avoid incidents like the Guangxi Massacre….

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 9, 2020 4:59 am

Folks on the left are getting fed up too. A large number of them have written a letter to Harper’s Magazine. (Of course they take a swipe at Trump but that’s not what the letter is really about.)

We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.

It can happen that people get more and more disgruntled and then a single spark can turn things around.

The army hired Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to make its case. At a session on June 9, 1954, McCarthy charged that one of Welch’s attorneys had ties to a Communist organization. As an amazed television audience looked on, Welch responded with the immortal lines that ultimately ended McCarthy’s career: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch angrily interrupted, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

Overnight, McCarthy’s immense national popularity evaporated. Censured by his Senate colleagues, ostracized by his party, and ignored by the press, McCarthy died three years later, 48 years old and a broken man. link

Of course, McCarthy was just one guy. Our current problem involves a myriad of social justice warriors. That’s harder to deal with but opinion, even on the left, is turning against them.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 10, 2020 10:54 am

Dodgy dude, Remarkably enough, as this here other geezer woke this morning, he really Woke! Has it occurred to no one that wind and solar farms are just another means for supporting that very white privilege that is forced upon a wider world? OK I’ll concede that the same could be said of coal mining, petroleum/natural gas extraction, and nuclear power. In comparison, indigenous peoples are clearly such pristine harvesters of forest and field cellulose for their camp/cooking fires.

Then it struck me that all vehicular transportation that consumes much of this energy is all European contrivance — thus trains, automobiles, modern ships (not to mention yachts), and aircraft lavish us with white privilege too, as well as our telecommunication/computation devices from Marconi to Gates.
When my dog begged for his walk I realized immediately that such pet animals (and their industrial food provisions) are also a form of white privilege instead of say in some other settings a forthcoming meal. And speaking of the latter, that barbeque on the back porch shouts out my disposition to burden the planet with the associated raising and eating of choice poultry, fish, and meat.

All this made me feel so dirty about my own participation that I needed to take a shower. But as I gazed upon the en suite white porcelain toilet and adjacent shower stall I was struck just how Eurocentric these were too. And this turns out to be no small matter either, as the careful separation of sewage outflows from community water supplies over the last century or more alone is largely responsible for the survival of so many of us beyond childhood and so for the greater part of the over 7 billion humans weighing down the planet. Add to that my vocation of ‘saving lives’ plainly flies in the face of any ‘final solution’ relieving that burden, though I guess it would be acceptable to provide some pain relief while you just go somewhere comfortable to curl up and die.

But it gets worse. For while socialism/communism have such a dependable record for relieving us of excess citizenry, they have nonetheless been criticized for greatly amplifying that task. Yet I must acknowledge that both those polities, as well as democracy itself, are also European contrivances widely promoted for application superseding long functional native tribalism.

I feel sure you’ll appreciate my dilemma.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Doc Chuck
July 10, 2020 2:07 pm


Wolf at the door
July 9, 2020 3:59 am

Yes ,much of the establishment have jumped on the bandwaggon.Climate alarmism has become “the lie that is too big to fail.” Yet fail it must, and the only way to get the truth out is to bombard politicians and every branch of the media with the truth.Constantly.

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  Wolf at the door
July 9, 2020 5:34 am

I think it is (unfortunately) a waste of effort to counter the irrational emotion based arguments of the warmistas with common sense and rational logic. Truth no longer matters. Ethics? Disposable. Their goal is, ironically, power, but not the useful kind that raises living standards.

UK-Weather Lass
July 9, 2020 4:26 am

The first solar electricity was generated by Edmond Becquerel in 1839. The first wind electricity was generated in Cleveland, Ohio in 1888 by Charles F Brush. These technologies were thus available at crucial times during humanity’s efforts to build a better future for everyone. Nobody considered them to be ‘free sources of power’ any more so than hydroelectric, gas, coal or nuclear power etc. The differences between each source of energy generation were measured by the ability to reliably supply the baseload transmission rates required on the grid at a realistic cost. In the fullness of time we turned away from dirty coal fire sources to cleaner and more comprehensive alternatives. Of all the possible options nuclear shone the brightest of all as a clean, reliable and comprehensive source.

No sensible human being, even the most gullible or feckless politician must have at least some sense, can ignore the huge environmental damage being done by wind and solar energy throughout the activities of mining materials, processing raw materials, making components, constructing the whole and then transmitting the energy to a grid. To hype this as a ‘green’ solution is an insult to our intelligence and Mr Biden should be asked to explain his stupidity clearly and loudly. Let him offer us a realistic list of costs and damages done (including the human cost of cheap labour) for each source and then ask him to explain why nuclear is not an option that is far less of an environmental and carbon risk than solar or wind will ever be.

But this isn’t just Mr Biden POV is it? Both left and right wing politicians have swallowed the same brain damaging hyperbole, and so is there room for a more sensible alternative in politics or does consensus rule that out?

Reply to  UK-Weather Lass
July 9, 2020 7:44 am

In the west, coal hasn’t been “dirty” for at least a generation.

Reply to  UK-Weather Lass
July 9, 2020 7:47 am

The only time labor is “cheap”, is when it isn’t worth much. Forcing companies to pay more for labor than it is worth to them doesn’t help the worker, it just forces the companies to find more economical replacements for that labor.

If you want to improve wages, you have to first thing you have to do is to find a way to upgrade the labor force.

What is it about leftists, that after they present sins of the left, they have to then declare, but the right does it too.

Nick Graves
Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2020 8:57 am

They have two forms of argument:

1. Ad hominem
2. Tu quoque

That both are logical fallacies is not entirely coincidental.

July 9, 2020 4:28 am

Just go back to nuclear. Keeps everyone happy. And as Chernobyl has shown us, even a disaster isnt that bad.

Christopher B Welsh
July 9, 2020 4:59 am

God bless you all for fighting the fight! Alas, I fear that “against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain”.
I suppose we all must guard against despairing. This site is my last refuge in this new wilderness of irrationality.

Cliff Hilton
Reply to  Christopher B Welsh
July 9, 2020 3:27 pm

@Christopher B Welsh

“God bless you all for fighting the fight! Alas, I fear that “against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain”.
I suppose we all must guard against despairing. This site is my last refuge in this new wilderness of irrationality.”

2 Kings 6:16

So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” New King James … Elisha replied, “Stop being afraid, because there are more with us than with them!” … If God is for us, who can be against us?

The Majority is still silent. But still the Majority.

After the election, all this will magically disappear. The Marxist are working overtime. Trump to win by a landslide.

Reply to  Cliff Hilton
July 9, 2020 6:30 pm

After the election, all this will magically disappear.

No it will not. There’s still that obvious elephant in the room. The one that got us here in the first place:

Lev 26:14ff

In other modern theological Christian Living news:

Christian Briefly Considers Placing Hope In God After Supreme Court Lets Him Down Again

OGDEN, UT—After a supremely disappointing decision from the Supreme Court, local Christian Paulson McPaully has reported a brief inclination to start placing his hope in God.

“I’m crushed,” Paulson told sources. “I gave my everything to the Supreme Court. My votes, my allegiance, and my everlasting hope have for years been dutifully placed at the feet of the nine robed mystics in charge of America’s moral law! That they would betray my trust like this is devastating.”

Local evangelical pastor Jay Jableeblee also expressed his dismay. “Leading Christian theologians all agree that a conservative Supreme Court majority is the key to spiritual revival in America,” he said. “Thousands of pastors and spiritual leaders have been waiting for the Supreme Court to green-light a bold stance against abortion from behind the pulpit. After this latest disappointing decision, pastors are left wondering how long they will have to wait before they can speak out.”

Read more:

July 9, 2020 5:31 am

Solar and wind are already cheaper than existing coal in parts of the world (thinking Texas here). Let’s grant the assertion that it’s only true due to subsidies. Fine. The wholesale price of electricity in ERCOT is ~$0.04/kWh (residential prices are obviously higher). The wind incentive is a ~20% credit right now (once you account for both the PTC and accelerated depreciation) meaning that without the incentives the price might spike all the way to $0.05/kWh. The reality is that if a rancher in west Texas wants to lease his land to a wind developer he will. The turbines will go up, and so will the solar panels. ERCOT is already generating over 20% from wind and solar, and they are certain to go up from there (solar will nearly double in December vs last December). Yet, they have lower than average prices.
The reality is if you install enough solar to meet demand at 12:00 on June 21st you probably save money overall.

HD Hoese
Reply to  chadb
July 9, 2020 6:47 am

Money aside, have you been there? Parts of W Texas didn’t have cell phone service as of a few months ago. Been cloudy out there, large variation in wind and water.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  chadb
July 9, 2020 6:51 am

12:00 AM?

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 9, 2020 8:27 am

Even here the comments show that Solar and Wind energy are not properly reporting costs. Need to apply the same legal accounting standards, including political contributions, to all renewables.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  d
July 9, 2020 10:02 am

Especially including the costs of the gas turbines that sit idle until the sun goes down.

Reply to  d
July 9, 2020 10:23 am

Check with the bankers. If they had been losing money on their investments they wouldn’t be funding more turbines. These aren’t built with government money, the government either grants a tax credit (ITC) or will credit the company for production (PTC) but those only matter after a company has secured funding from investors to build the thing in the first place.
What do you know that the banks don’t?

Joseph Campbell
Reply to  chadb
July 9, 2020 1:46 pm
D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  chadb
July 9, 2020 7:56 am

It is not only the direct subsidies. Utilities also face Renewable Energy Targets (RET’s), whereby they must provide some percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. In NJ this is 35% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. This is an entirely separate market, and the dollar value of a RET certificate for x killowat-hours is often 2-3x the original subsidized price. Remove that prop, and wind and solar could not compete at any scale.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 9, 2020 10:27 am

RETs are not a concern in ERCOT. ERCOT is great because it has about the freest electricity market in the world. Without any hydro they are coming up on 25% renewables, and projects are being planned out past the end of the PTC for wind.
I agree that NJ has a crappy market structure. However, the idiocy of bureaucrats building market structures has nothing to do with the fundamentals of wind and solar.
Also, NJ has atrocious onshore wind resources, so any wind being built in NJ is just people flushing money down the toilet.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  chadb
July 15, 2020 1:48 pm

You’re right, they have REC’s instead, Renewable Energy Credits. Same rose, different name.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 9, 2020 12:04 pm

Wasn’t this why Warren Buffett once advised investors to get on board wind & solar stocks?
Government guaranteed income from subsidies and fiat market share assignments.
Doesn’t get any sweeter for keen capitalists.
Running out of other people’s money is always the main risk though 😂

old engineer
Reply to  chadb
July 9, 2020 3:03 pm


Using your numbers, 20% of ERCOT electricity is from weather dependent sources. That means that 80% is from gas, coal, nuclear, (Texas has all of those) plus some other sources. So the $0.04/kWh you quote is 80% the cost from dispatchable sources, and 20% from weather dependent sources. You can’t tell anything about the cost of electricity from weather dependent sources from that bit of information.

Reply to  old engineer
July 10, 2020 7:27 am

Actually you can. You can be sure that the cost of electricity from weather dependent sources is less than $0.20/kWh. Granted, that is a high number, but what it would assume is that everything else is free and the only thing you are paying for is weather dependent electricity. The result? The cost of electricity is less than what Germany is paying. The problem in Germany isn’t with renewables, its because they have a poorly run market.

July 9, 2020 5:38 am

one of the largest Australian pension funds, which has more than US$84 billion under management. no wonder many Australians are calling for these compulsory pension funds to be scrapped:

9 Jul: First State Super to divest from thermal coal mining investments
First State Super will divest from thermal coal mines in an attempt to fight climate change.
by Gerard Cockburn
As part of its greener outlook, First State said it would increase investments in renewable energy and new technologies…

First State is the default superannuation fund for a slew of New South Wales public sectors, including healthcare, education and state government.
On July 1, First State successfully completed its planned takeover of VicSuper, which is the predominant public sector fund in Victoria.

In 2019, First State took a one third stake in the $1.1 billion South Australian wind farm project known as Snowtown Two.
“We believe renewable energy and new technology investments will deliver for our members and community in the long term, so (we) are developing annual targets to increase our commitment in these areas,” First State chief investment officer Damian Graham said.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  pat
July 10, 2020 2:36 am

This is more widespread, but something is going on with super funds in Australia that is for sure. What do they know that we’re not being told? My guess would be that renewables are going to be expanded dramatically, with power consumers footing the bill boosting fund MANAGER profits. Recipients of the fund won’t benefit at all is my guess.

July 9, 2020 5:45 am

Cortez is just dumb…it’s sad.

Tiger Bee Fly
Reply to  Derg
July 9, 2020 6:11 am

I’ll respectfully disagree: she’s not just dumb, she’s completely malignant.

Rodney Everson
July 9, 2020 7:13 am

This is on the right track. Sauce for the goose, and all that.

However, rather than juststating all the obvious facts, it would be more effective to state the risk of lawsuits that implementation of green energy entails.

Eventually, lawsuits are going to be filed, and won, regarding many of the issues raised in the article, from killing birds and bats, to use of child labor, and on and on. The risk of losing such suits is the real risk faced by investors, and they should be prominently noted. (The facts upon which the risk of lawsuits rest will then be obvious.)

This is what is now done when, for example, attempting to finance the building of a pipeline. The same should be done when attempting to finance the building of a massive offshore wind farm, etc. The financial risk of disposing of the blades in landfills which might no longer accept them without significant surcharges should be noted, rather than the actual risk that landfilling might become difficult to obtain, for example. That would make it obvious that disposal of the blades could be an factual issue, but also a financial issue, which is the point to make to investors.

Reply to  Rodney Everson
July 9, 2020 2:49 pm

A quick one – which materials are unique for renewables, which are not used in traditional power generation? As lawsuits can be filled against anyone using the said materials…

Bruce Cobb
July 9, 2020 8:25 am

Except that fossil fuel “risks” are imaginary ones, devised to scare people away from them, when in fact it is fossil fuels which have given (and will continue to give) us our modern-day, comfortable standard of living. And any “financial risks” are those which the Western-hating (especially the US), humanity-hating, democracy-hating, and Truth-hating Climate Liars themselves deliberately cause.

July 9, 2020 10:09 am

A little off topic but still relevant —
Stanford prof ordered to pay legal fees after dropping $10 million defamation case against another scientist.
A Stanford professor who sued a critic and a scientific journal for $10 million — then dropped the suit — has been ordered to pay the defendants’ legal fees based on a statute “designed to provide for early dismissal of meritless lawsuits filed against people for the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

Mark Jacobson, who studies renewable energy at Stanford, sued in September 2017 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for defamation over a 2017 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that critiqued a 2015 article he had written in the same journal. He sued PNAS and the first author of the paper, Christopher Clack, an executive at a firm that analyzes renewable energy. …

More at

July 9, 2020 11:34 am

–Public backlash will intensify from growing outrage over child labor, near-slave labor, and minimal to nonexistent worker health and safety, pollution control and environmental reclamation regulations in foreign countries where materials are mined and “renewable” energy technologies manufactured.–

This “Public backlash” regarding “foreign countries” has been commonly mentioned for decades. What does it mean is this term “Public backlash”?
What strong and adverse reaction by a large number of people is occurring regarding laws and regulation in other countries?

With US public there seem to be a fair of “Public backlash” for decades
regarding the vast amount of stupid US regulations.

One can sort of measure the “Public backlash factor”, by what US politicans spend time talking about something. As US politicans use public polls to find out what to talk about.
And if polls results align with a politicans worldview, then they talk over and over about it.
How much time do politicans spend talking about changing laws in other countries?

Whereas they have often mentioned such things as “getting rid of red tape” and making government agencies, work. As US public generally see a large and non-functioning government.

Europe seems to spend a lot attention on unions.
And current US mayhem seems to be about unions.
In theory one purpose of unions are to make better workforce.
It’s complete myth, but it’s claimed to be a benefit.
If anything, union make a worst workforce.
As a practical matter, unions are suppose to increase the amount money paid
to workers.
And we have the silly cry today of “defund the police”.

But mostly what unions do, is make people do the same type of job.
That their big thing. Stay in same job, and you will be highly rewarded.
The force of unions is keeping people doing the same thing, and spend their
entire life doing the same thing. You get a big gold star if spend as many decades as possible doing roughly, the same thing. Or said in more exciting way, Unions creates dumb and dull people who are happy to zombie walk to their deaths.

One can also see it with politicans, the longer in office, the more support they
get. And we are getting old people, who don’t bother read the laws that they pass.

Anyhow, doing same thing over and over for decades of time…. maybe, is not as good for everyone, as it might appear to be.

Amos E. Stone
July 9, 2020 12:06 pm

Disclaimer – I live in the UK and not in the US. But you get my vote, Paul. I do wish we could pin our politicians (of all stripes) to explaining their green fanaticism in those terms. Sadly Boris is not Donald.

Michael S. Kelly
July 9, 2020 1:41 pm

The estimate of 3.5 billion 100 kW-hr batteries sounds about right. Right now, the optimistic projection for EV battery costs is $80 per kW-hr, so each 100 kW-hr pack would run $8,000. The grand total for the batteries would then be $28 trillion. To have this in place by 2050 would require expenditure of $933 billion a year, more than 26% of the 2019 U.S. federal budget.

How do these people function in life?

Gary Pearse
July 9, 2020 4:26 pm

“How much concrete, steel, aluminum, copper, cobalt, lithium, rare earth elements and other materials will be needed for every project – and cumulatively? Where exactly will they come from? How many tons of overburden and ore will be removed and processed for every ton of metals and minerals?”

Paul, your heart is in the right place, but as a mining man who has fought the juggernaught of anti-mining ignorance throughout a very long career and also had to give in on unnecessary, punitive regulations for the privilege of supplying the world with the essential materials they would die without, I hate to see such a diatribe ostensibly to fight against another tyrannical bunch.

I’ve also tried to give you some perspective in other threads on artisanal mining and child labor to temper the overly hyped understanding of these issues that you have gleaned entirely from the very same ugly people you are railing against. I like your stuff, but these days “Google is not your friend” anymore.

July 9, 2020 6:45 pm

“Models consistently predict average global temperatures 0.5 degrees C (0.9 F) higher than measured.” The House Science Committee meeting concluded on the note that 0.5 C was a very small error. Yet 2.0 C is a catastrophe, leading to runaway temperatures that will kill us all.

July 9, 2020 7:33 pm

It is encouraging to see the word “renewable” being frequently qualified in this post. The word should never be used without qualification when referring to weather dependent electricity generators. At this stage there is no weather dependent technology that can accurately be described as “renewable”.

The word “renewable” in the heading should be qualified as well.

Steve Z
July 10, 2020 9:09 am

With all the fear and panic that has governed this country (some states more than others) due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Green New Deal proponents need to consider that hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients didn’t have any shortage of electric power to run their ventilators and other health-care machinery, and there was no shortage of Diesel fuel to power trucks to deliver food to supermarkets where most people were in lockdown.

This is in direct contrast to situations during natural disasters such as hurricanes, blizzards, or freezing-rain storms that frequently knock out electric power to the affected areas for several days.

What if the Green New Deal had been accomplished before the COVID-19 epidemic, and hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients had to face rolling blackouts for times when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, and patients on ventilators would die for lack of power for the breathing pumps? What if there wasn’t any power to bring food to market, and people under lockdown would have to try to grow their own food in their backyard, which doesn’t work very well in winter? We don’t have enough horses to replace all the Diesel-powered trucks, and if we allowed a few decades to breed enough of them, how much methane would their manure emit, and wouldn’t lots of horse manure in crowded city streets be a health hazard?

Do we really want to go back to the pre-fossil-fuel technology of the 18th century, when life was brutal and short?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Steve Z
July 10, 2020 2:18 pm

I really don’t think they care, don’t forget they believe there are way too many humans, any way you can cull is good I think.

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