The Myth of Glorious Renewables

by Vijay Jayaraj

We all love energy solutions that make life better. It is an undeniable fact that coal propelled the Industrial Revolution and led to the alleviation of poverty in the West. More recently, the oil reserves in the Middle East have made it one of the most economically developed regions in the world.

Despite their continuous support to the global economy, these fossil fuel sources have now become unpopular among the climate-sensitive, anti-fossil fuel, green lobbyists and environmental enthusiasts. They’ve branded fossil fuel as “evil,” and the reason for the on-going “climate emergency.”

As an alternative, the mainstream media, celebrities, and a section of scientists ask us to embrace energy solutions like wind and solar, because they will make our future better. They ask us to accept renewables as the miracle energy solution that can meet global energy demands in a clean and green way. Interesting stories from poor countries—where stand-alone renewable systems power very small households—are often presented as evidence for renewables’ life-changing role among people who are not connected to the electricity grid.

The issue of replacing fossil fuels with renewables is important to the American presidential election. Democratic challenger Joe Biden has proposed a Clean Energy Plan that aims at spending trillions of dollars on developing renewable energy technology and ending fossil fuel use completely.

However, anti-fossil activists do not promote these new and popular renewable energy sources based on their proven effectiveness. Instead, they ask us to blindly trust the hypothetical benefits they claim renewables will bring in future.

The ground reality has been contrary to the glory that the mainstream media attribute to renewables.

Intermittent and Unreliable

The biggest problem with renewables is that they are unreliable. In energy terms, they are intermittent, owing to their nature of energy generation. Wind turbines are completely dependent on wind flow, can be very volatile when wind is inconsistent, and cease producing electricity during windless days and seasons.

Likewise, output from solar is also highly variable when there isn’t sufficient sunlight, and it stops completely after sunset. 

Data on the annual change in energy generation reveal the overall volatility of renewable energy output—hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, wave and tidal, and bioenergy—at a macro-scale  in the recent few decades. This volatility also increases the unpredictability with renewable energy output forecasts, resulting in overall uncertainty to power companies and consumers. 

Annual change in energy generation from Renewables
Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy Image: Our World in Data

Besides, both wind and solar require adequate energy backup in the form of batteries. But currently available battery technology is not capable of supporting large renewable systems. Hence, major renewable generation units depend on backup support from other energy sources (like fossil fuel and nuclear) to make up for the loss in the energy grid.

The recent wildfires in California exposed the inefficiency of renewables, where widespread blackouts brought life to a standstill for thousands of customers. Governor Newsom said that gaps in renewable energy systems led to the blackout of millions of Californians.

More states are beginning to understand this inescapable intermittency problem with renewables. In the Pacific Northwest, Benton Public Utility District (PUD)—which serves 55,000 consumers—is now requesting the state authorities to refrain from installing more wind farms.

“We are continuing to sound the alarm regarding the unacceptably high risk of power grid blackouts in the Pacific Northwest being precipitated by overly aggressive clean energy policies and deepening dependence on wind power to replace retiring coal plants,” read a statement by Benton PUD.

They also stressed the need for critical evaluation in the midst of a renewable craze that is sweeping the states: “While development of wind farms may be politically fashionable and appeal to many in the general public as a harmonization of nature with electricity production, the science and economics indicate powering modern civilization with intermittent generation resources like wind and solar power comes at a high financial and environmental cost.”

Renewables Drain Your Bank

Analysis of power markets in a few European countries have shown that renewables played a major part in increasing electricity prices for domestic households. The same is true in the U.S.

California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York are not only the leading states for renewable energy in the U.S., they also boast some of the highest residential electricity prices in the country. There could be other factors that influence these high prices, but it is certain that renewable energy has played its part in raising the electricity prices in these states.

In the UK, renewables drove electricity prices higher and made energy access a luxury for many. Even the UK government acknowledges this, and millions of children and elderly Britons suffer regularly from unavailability of cheap power to heat their homes.

Dr. Alan Moran—a respected economist from Australia—evaluated the impact of Australia’s climate and renewable policy on the economy. The pro-renewable climate policy cost each household around 933 USD annually, accounted for 39 percent of household electricity bills, and

caused a net loss of jobs in the economy.

It is also important to note that the cost of operating windmills has not come down in the last two decades despite the contrary claims. A study done on 350 onshore and offshore wind farms in the UK revealed that the operating costs have increased, not decreased, significantly in the last two decades.

Renewables Are Dirty

Renewables are dirty, but the mainstream media usually don’t admit it. They seldom address the proven toxicity of raw materials used in manufacturing of wind and solar energy generation units.

Besides, the end-of-life recycle factor is extremely poor for wind and solar. Decommissioned wind turbines are buried in mass landfills as they cannot be recycled. Wind turbines are also notorious for killing thousands of birds each year, including endangered raptor species.

The notion that renewables are “clean and green” has been nothing but a myth. So are the claims concerning their ability to produce reliable electricity for energy intensive commercial energy units and households in cities. The belief that they can somehow miraculously replace fossil fuels in the next decade and a half is a myth, too.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), is a Research Contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and resides in New Delhi, India.

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October 26, 2020 2:22 pm

Aussie columnist Tim Blair sums it all up with his oft-repeated line –
“nothing green ever works”

Reply to  Mr.
October 26, 2020 5:36 pm

It’s hard being green? For all those MSR fans out there – a MSR could be used in the 12 am to 6 am low demand time to melt a reservoir of salt to extract heat from the next day to produce electricity. In the future….those huge container ships and cruise line ships will be powered by MSRs.

Peter W
October 26, 2020 2:45 pm

Just for the fun of it, I made a solar powered boat a few years ago. Aluminum dingy, solar panel on a roof, batteries, electric trolling motor. Top speed – 3 mph. Run it for an hour, then spend a full summer day recharging the batteries. Batteries had to be replaced every few years.

Sorry, not interested in an electric automobile.

HD Hoese
Reply to  Peter W
October 26, 2020 4:41 pm

Been around boats for decades since most were made out of wood hulls. Seen about as many electric boats as those run on steam, latter doesn’t require bottom full of batteries. Everybody pushing solar should experience running boats and/or RVs with them, some use, but as you found out, not much energy, even if you could make them perfectly efficient. Steamboats not much faster, but in some areas you can harvest fuel as you travel.

Reply to  Peter W
October 26, 2020 4:47 pm

I would never buy an electric automobile – much too expensive for what you get . . . what’s the cheapest electric car ?

Reply to  Bryan A
October 27, 2020 6:08 am

Bryan A

I’m not interested in a used car……….

Reply to  HotScot
October 27, 2020 12:48 pm

ie…. NOBODY wants a used electric car……

Imagine the costs occurred in replacing the batteries in the near future.

They are a throw-away item.

Reply to  Peter W
October 26, 2020 7:12 pm

Sounds like a sail would have been far better.

Peter W
Reply to  KT66
October 27, 2020 9:19 am

Actually, I spent a lot of time at sailing regattas at the helm of a Flying Dutchman when the class was in it’s heyday. We lived on a small lake for quite a few years, and the electric boat enabled us to visit around the lake cheaply, especially when there was no wind.

Reply to  Peter W
October 27, 2020 11:44 am

The first boats relied on oars and sails .Do the greens want us to go back to that .The world has moved on but the greens are still back in the dark ages .

Steve Case
October 26, 2020 2:50 pm

Slightly off topic, I love the graphics that go with WattsUpWithThat threads. This particular edition, floating islands in the atmosphere, really illustrates the point, kudus to whoever finds these nuggets needs some recognition.

Reply to  Steve Case
October 26, 2020 5:53 pm

Or you could use this one 🙂

comment image

Harrow sceptic
Reply to  fred250
October 26, 2020 11:42 pm

Fred250 – Loved the pic

Steve Case
October 26, 2020 2:56 pm

The left really believes renewables are the way of the future. I asked my favorite liberal, a talented smart successful guy, way smarter than me, “Do you really think the world’s economy can be run on wind turbines and solar panels?” “Yes” was his simple answer. It’s as if I asked Charlie Brown if he really believed in the “Great Pumpkin.”

Reply to  Steve Case
October 26, 2020 4:30 pm

It’s an article of faith that for “progressives” that solar & wind can provide grid scale power.

It has to be this way because “renewables” are an intrinsic part of the whole CO2 / agw gospel package.

You have to accept the whole package, otherwise you’re a deniah / heretic / blasphemer etc etc.

I’ve tried rationalizing an approach to this vexed question with an agw disciple, telling him that he may or may not be right about global warming, but the “solution” he proposes (solar & wind power) is a an absolute engineering fantasy.
He won’t have it, and doesn’t want to discuss it any further.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mr.
October 27, 2020 9:43 am

“It’s an article of faith that for “progressives” that solar & wind can provide grid scale power.”

That’s because they have no alternative. Solar and wind *have* to work, otherwise, they have no solution.

So the alarmists pretend solar and wind can supply our economies with electricity.

President Trump said the other night at the last debate that thinking we can run the U.S. economy on solar and wind is a “pipedream” (a drug-induced delusion).

President Trump is correct and the Alarmists are wrong.

Reply to  Steve Case
October 26, 2020 4:33 pm

That would be Linus.

Reply to  Steve Case
October 26, 2020 4:40 pm

It is a worldview issue. In his world the economy can be run on solar and wind turbines.

peter schell
Reply to  Steve Case
October 26, 2020 7:17 pm

It was Linus that believed. Charley Brown was the skeptic.

October 26, 2020 3:02 pm

Somehow the folks touting renewable energy believe that the technology will come along to make it viable. How is it that they refuse to believe that the technology will come along to enable us to adapt to whatever changes come along.

Everything climate change related falls apart at the seams if you examine it closely.

Phil Salmon
October 26, 2020 3:08 pm

The best transport is no transport.
The best electricity is no electricity.

This is the real green agenda.
They know that non-fossil alternatives are inadequate and it’s a feature not a bug.
That’s also why nuclear will be shut as well out since it is the one alternative to fossil energy that would actually work as France has shown for more than half a century.
Low energy feudalism with peasants (us) locked to the land is where our elites are herding us.

Ron Long
Reply to  Phil Salmon
October 26, 2020 4:12 pm

Phil, amen to the nuclear power infrastructure in France. As a uranium exploration company president I showed staff from AREVA around our projects. They sent us a series of photos and reports showing nuclear energy plants surrounded by famous French vineyards and bodegas. The example of French dependence on nuclear is often overlooked.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
October 26, 2020 5:44 pm

What’s going on seems like a cross between Atlas Shrugged and Fahrenheit 451. In both cases we are left with a small group trying to rebuild society.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
October 27, 2020 12:47 am

I think you should look at the problems (enormous costs, outages) of having a large, aging and nearing retirement nuclear grid… plus the lack of ability to turn it up/down (resulting in cheap power sales to UK and Germany) and the problems of operation in summer when rivers are your cooling outlets.

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
October 27, 2020 5:06 am

“I think you should look at the problems (enormous costs, outages) ”

The irony of you suggesting costs and outages as a problem whilst promoting unreliables…

France does not suffer from outages. Reactors get shut down for maintenance, incredibly strict protocols are used by people with a very high level of competency, to control every aspect of every last nut and bolt. There’s plenty of juice in the wires still.

There are many things not working in France today, but EDF does actually work very well.

“and the problems of operation in summer when rivers are your cooling outlets.”

…….and the problems when there’s no sun or wind…….

You have no argument against nuclear power, if the need to reduce CO² is at tipping point and it’s all hands on deck to save the planet, then only one solution remains.

It is here, it is working extremely well, and we can only make it better.

No windmill will get you to the sacred land of 250 PPM.

BTW, EDF have just brought online a rather splendid new (transformed really) 97MW dam.

Reply to  Climate believer
October 27, 2020 6:12 am

Climate believer

Griff can’t construct a balanced argument to save his life.

October 26, 2020 3:25 pm

Has anyone tried to analyze the effect of removing enough energy from the environment to replace fossil fuels? It cannot be either negligible or benign.

Ian W
Reply to  Jim B
October 27, 2020 6:46 am

Certainly a lot more than a flap of a butterfly wing

John Sandhofner
October 26, 2020 3:27 pm

The problem of intermittent and unreliable was knowable from day one. This is not a difficult concept to grasp. The sun sets every night and in most places the wind does not blow continuously. So every night when the wind is not blowing you are out of power. It didn’t take having the recent brown outs here in CA for our government leaders to know there was a problem. Alternate energy phobia is foolishness at its worst. It is the modern day version of the king has no clothes.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  John Sandhofner
October 26, 2020 4:11 pm

i am not sure people understand the weather anymore. The more and more people live further and further from the land, the less and less they know about the land. Too many think vegetables and meat come from some magician in the back of the grocery store. They have no idea that grass feeds cows which are slaughtered and cut up to provide the meat they eat.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Jim Gorman
October 26, 2020 7:34 pm

Jim, you describe a technology-addled populace that is accustomed to doing — and even saying — what they are told by their supposed ‘betters’ whom they so hope know what’s best for them or else an anxiety will surface that follows from their prolonged childlike dependent stage that leaves them realizing they don’t know squat about providing for their own most fundamental living needs. Joe Biden has been well advised to employ the term ‘an existential threat’ as he refers to some looming climatic catastrophe that is surely just ahead, as this has been the psychological warfare aimed at these masses to remind them of their basic insecurity in regards to a mature adulthood that continues to elude their grasp and presumably rests only in their political leaders.

Joseph Zorzin
October 26, 2020 3:28 pm

“The biggest problem with renewables is that they are unreliable.” Woody biomass is renewable and reliable if it comes from sustainably managed forests and the wood is sent to a modern biomass facility or pellet factory. It’s a renewable that has nothing to do with wind and solar- which destroy landscapes. It sustains landscapes.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 26, 2020 3:44 pm

And I guess the CO2 and other gases and ash produced by burning wood is superior and less heinous than CO2 and other gases produced from burning coal or natural gas? Leave the trees alone and pump oil and gas from the ground. What I don’t understand is why a landscape littered with a zillion ugly windmills and zillions of square miles covered in solar panels is more desirable than than the few pipes of a completed gas or oil well that you can hide with a few bushes or trees.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 26, 2020 3:49 pm

Nonsense Zorba
All problens can be solved with technology such as my nuclear powered fans for windmills and nuclear powered spotlights for solar panels, both developed with my famous coal powered computer, which would have made me millions if the case didn’t get so hot, leading to 87 undeserved lawsuits. I have now invested with Al Gore, who invented the internet, in the upcoming Wall Street Gondola Service to carry Wall Street executives to work when all lower Manhattan streets are flooded from climate change. Which Al told me is going to be worse than he expected, Al is best known now as a climate change perfesser, long after he invented the internet, and he is affectionately called Al “the climate blimp” Gore by his students.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 26, 2020 5:58 pm

You could never grow enough “wood” to replace even a fraction of coal fired electricity worldwide.

European biomass burning electricity producers in Europe already have to import it from the USA or Namibia, or some other country they can bully.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  fred250
October 27, 2020 3:53 am

Nobody says wood is going to replace even a fraction of coal. That’s not the objective. The objective is to have a way to improve forestry work because if there is no market for the lowest value wood- then the forests cannot be managed successfully. When Drax buys pellets from the American southeast for its biomass power plants- that’s great for the southeast economy. Actually, Drax is a big power producer so wood is replacing a small fraction of other fuels. It’s also important to NO view wood as comparable in any way to wind and solar- because, though it releases CO2, it is renewable and it’ll produce regardless of whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing- so it’s comparable to fossil fuels, except its recycling carbon already in the carbon cycle. I find it amazing that so many people can’t grasp this.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 27, 2020 6:19 am

Joseph Zorzin

Coal and Oil were once in the carbon cycle. The planet’s biodiversity was richer thanks to high levels of atmospheric CO2.

I find it amazing that so many people can’t grasp this.

Reply to  HotScot
October 27, 2020 11:21 am

Perhaps I’m missing something but don’t trees take a while to grow? Sure, you can manage forests for a variety of purposes, biomass would just be another. But isn’t cutting down trees a bad thing from the environmentalist point of view? It sure seems to be as both Vancouver and Montreal in Canada have functionally outlawed wood burning fire places. Wood is just wood, so I don’t differentiate between pellets and logs (well, other than one takes less refining energy to produce resulting in a lower carbon footprint, but that’s beside the point I assume).

But getting back to that ‘takes a while to get to harvest thingy’, once we scale up to power the world with wood biomass instead of coal/oil/natural gas/etc. are we going to have any forests left? Seems somewhat self limiting to me.

James P
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
October 27, 2020 8:20 pm

Tree farms are biodiversity wastelands compared to a natural forest.

October 26, 2020 3:45 pm

The world is being mushroomed about renewables and it’s at the point that they can’t hide it anymore. I’m waiting for the same thing to happen with AGW.

October 26, 2020 3:49 pm

I had no power outages EVER from when I moved into my house 15 years ago, until I found that the power company had started to include wind & solar as resources for the electric grid. For the past 5 years, I have had a minimum of one power outage, always at a very inconvenient time, as in right in the middle of saving something on my desktop or working on it (learned my lesson: save constantly), and this month, I had two outages on the same day. The outages are not just me, but hit the whole neighborhood. The outages seem to always occur when the weather is starting to turn chilly or in the midst of very cold weather.

The power company’s so-called renewable sources are NOT reliable, and at some point, as happened two years ago, the entire county will shut down in the midst of a blizzard. And we will all give them hell for it, count on it. It is less reliable than my great-grandma’s oil lamps and makes it necessary for people buying a home in this area to install a gas line linked generator for emergencies. Never used to have to think about such things, and I have no way to add that to my household. The entire electric connection to the power line would require rewiring. No thanks!

My concern is that these fanatics of The New Religion (Gaia – the Green Goddess – etc.) will try to force this on us with no thought to the consequences for us unimportant taxpayer people. Good reason to NOT let them have jobs, eh?

Reply to  Sara
October 26, 2020 5:24 pm

There is such a thing as an Uninterruptible Power Supply, you know. Just search for UPC.
Ain’t technology wonderful?

Bryan A
Reply to  Sara
October 26, 2020 9:36 pm

Try a Surge Protecting power strip with a built in battery back-up
Mine cost $65 and has an available power usage they me of up to 40min.
More than enough time to save and close programs AND to complete your thoughts and copy-paste potential posts into word docs for later posting, should your internet connection also fail at the same time

Jeffery P
Reply to  Sara
October 27, 2020 3:36 am

My laptop switches to battery when the power is disconnected. It runs for hours on battery alone. If you’re document is in the cloud, yes, then you have issues.

Otherwise, I’m unsure how a sudden power outage causes you to lose an unsaved document when using a laptop. Is the battery defective? Disconnected?

Reply to  Jeffery P
October 27, 2020 4:28 am

I’m not on a laptop. That one has its own power supply. My laptop runs on battery and/or wall outlet, but I use it mostly on battery. I guess I’m too used to the comfort of my desk and chair. It may be nothing more than an oddity that the power company isn’t anticipating, but it’s annoying. And I do save Word docs constantly, so that’s not really an issue. It’s mostly just annoying.

Thanks for the tips!

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Sara
October 27, 2020 2:56 pm


Keep in mind that even UPS’s have a battery in them. That battery will age and at some point it will fail when you least expect it to. Many newer UPS’s have software that will exercise the battery to evaluate its condition but *you* must install it, set it up, and monitor the result on a regular basis. Not all UPS’s have easily accessible batteries that you can change on a scheduled basis (e.g. like the battery in your smoke detector) plus there is an expense with doing so.

There are some UPS’s that can do a self-evaluation and kick off an alarm when maintenance is required (e.g. the infamous beep-beep-beep) but they are not the inexpensive ones recommended above.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Sara
October 27, 2020 3:59 am

To protect your computer files- just buy a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). They’re cheap and they can be programmed to turn off your computer in case you’re elsewhere.

John Pickens
October 26, 2020 3:50 pm

No, the biggest problem with wind and solar PV is that their life cycle energy cost exceeds the energy produced.
They are subsidy farms.

Reply to  John Pickens
October 27, 2020 12:45 am

That’s absolutely untrue.

Both solar and wind generate more power over their lifetime than during their entire construction, operation and eventual dismantling. They also save far more than the CO2 over that cycle.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  griff
October 27, 2020 6:20 am

The problem is the fossil fuel plants creating energy to cover non-productive times of renewables. That energy needs to be subtracted from the renewables generation figures to compute the lifetime energy they create.

Reply to  griff
October 27, 2020 6:25 am


Think that one through griff. What you’re describing is perpetual motion. If one windmill can build another windmill without FF intervention and subsidies, we have cracked the efficiency problem that dogs every single mechanical process known to man.

Don’t be a dope.

October 26, 2020 4:03 pm

People are starting awakening everywhere.
Let’s see how Moonbiot or that unknown glasses and small hat guy that criticized (if we can call their arguments critics whatsoever) “Planet of the Humans” are going to speak about this one”. Highly recommended.

Robert of Texas
October 26, 2020 4:13 pm

Hmm, so is ethanol a “renewable”? It comes from plant matter that gets it’s carbon from the air. That means 10% of all Texas gas is actually a renewable. Never mind it isn’t efficient – it’s renewable. I guess it does suffer in the reliability department – if there is a huge drought then there is less ethanol. So why isn’t it considered “Green” seeing as how it comes from green plants?

Honestly, if one really wanted to do the most good for people and environment we would be building nuclear power plants. Yes, they are not as cheap as natural gas currently is, but getting 20 or 30 years experience in building ever better nukes would provide a solid foundation for the future when gas prices start going high.

Meanwhile I am stuck watching beautiful landscapes (i.e. not the cornfields) sprouting these awful wind warts (wind turbines) which are putting the Texas Power Grid more and more at risk. They do nothing but suck capital out of the government (so really out of taxpayer pockets). They play smack-a-bird and whack-a-bat with the local wildlife and NO ONE seems to care.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 26, 2020 5:11 pm

Wood alcohol (methanol), grain alcohol (ethanol), and biodiesel are as close to full cycle CO2 balance as anyone can get…economical compared to hydrocarbons…NO…and it is hard to see how plant husbandry could ever be less costly than pumping hydrocarbons out of the ground.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 26, 2020 7:35 pm

Converting carbohydrates into a hydrocarbon replacement is as logical as converting electricity into coal.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 27, 2020 12:49 am

US ethanol production was an attempt at energy independence which has now become just ‘pork barrel’ politics. Perhaps it is time to end it?

Ill Tempered Klavier
Reply to  griff
October 27, 2020 1:31 pm

Well, there is a certain slight tinge of humor in trying to run the whole country on corn likker. 🙂 🙂

Splitdog Homee
October 26, 2020 4:22 pm

Geothermal volatile?

October 26, 2020 5:10 pm

If renewables worked, there would be someplace in the world, where they worked.
Instead all we got is someplace in the world in which a lot money has wasted trying
to make renewables work.
Now Germany is a lousy place to try to make solar energy work. Or hardly surprising that
Germany has caused it electrical power to be expensive, when they spending a lot money
trying to make solar work in region that gets very little solar energy.
Hawaii on other hand gets a lot more solar energy, and they import fossil fuels and use that for most energy needs and it has higher cost of electrical power compared other states.
Next higher portion of electrical power is geothermal energy {makes sense as it’s volcanic island, similar Iceland which also uses geothermal energy a lot}. But it seems one do a lot geothermal energy, and a lot more solar and wind energy. And do as much fossil fuel use at current portion as they get from their solar energy. But they aren’t.
“About 85% of the total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources.
In 2016 geothermal energy provided about 65% of primary energy, the share of hydropower was 20%, and the share of fossil fuels (mainly oil products for the transport sector) was 15%. In 2013 Iceland also became a producer of wind energy. ”
And in terms electrical power:
“Iceland today generates 100% of its electricity with renewables: 75% of that from large hydro, and 25% from geothermal.”
Iceland, March 2020: The price of electricity is 0.126 U.S. Dollar per kWh for households and 0.050 U.S. Dollar for businesses which includes all components of the electricity bill such as the cost of power, distribution and taxes.

Though Iceland has about 1/3 population as Hawaii. Making getting so much more higher portion hydro, a lot easier. But since 1/2 electrical price as Hawaii, Hawaii should able to more geothermal energy and not cost much, and if solar worked, a lot more solar energy.

Martin Cregg-Guinan
October 26, 2020 6:39 pm

Iceland has roughly the same population as Anaheim…. It is also “blessed” with volcanoes and easy access to geothermal power, and has abundant sites for building dams.
Doesn’t sound like many other places in the world…..

Reply to  Martin Cregg-Guinan
October 27, 2020 6:30 am

Martin Cregg-Guinan

It also straddles a Continental fault line, so lots of heat escaping from the earths core through a thin crust.

October 26, 2020 7:10 pm

“Wind turbines are completely dependent on wind flow, can be very volatile when wind is inconsistent, and cease producing electricity during windless days and seasons.”

The solar duck curve and nothing by moonlight is undeniable but they simply refuse to understand how wind is geographically correlated over very large areas and as you add ever more unreliables to a reliable system-

‘The Average’ becomes less and less dominant as a key performance indicator and ‘The Extremes’ increasingly matter.

Essentially these numpties are trying to disprove a fundamental axiom of engineering: You can’t build a reliable system from unreliable componentry.
Presumably they dress daily for for the average climate too?

Al Miller
October 26, 2020 8:07 pm

Dirty unreliables.
Just a sham to distract the masses from the ongoing Marxist coup.

Ben Vorlich
October 26, 2020 11:08 pm

A child of the 1950s I grew up in rural Perthshire, many of the farms round us had single cylinder diesel generators, 1 or 2 kW surplus from WW2. On still days or nights you could hear them chugging away, our nearest neighbour was over a mile away. We relied on bottled gas and paraffin for lights, our neighbours had electric lights and TV but not much more.
When the mains supply was extended nobody refused and kept their generators. We and our nearest neighbour missed out because extending the supply a total of 3 miles for 2 houses was uneconomic. It took another 30 years for that to happen.

Having lived in the 19th century as far as domestic energy is concerned I regard anyone who wants a return to that as insane.

October 27, 2020 12:32 am

Science and technology is continuously advancing in all spheres. A mere 30 or so years ago, photography relied upon a cumbersome and expensive process using film and chemical processing. Consider how much better and more efficient a modern digital camera is.

Likewise, consider how heavy, cumbersome and low-resolution the average TV set was around 30 years ago. A 36 inch screen was considered huge. Compare that with the latest TV technology, such as a 98 inch 8K screen which is only 1/2 an inch thick. During that 30 year period, we’ve progressed from standard definition, 720×576, to HD, to Ultra HD or 4K, and recently to 8K which has approximately 80 times the amount of picture information (pixels) as those cumbersome pre-HD models, or a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels compared with 720 x 576.

Now, it’s true that the transition towards renewables will be expensive, and many mistakes or poor decisions will be made, and have already been made along the way. Intermittency of supply is obviously a major problem, but why should anyone who claims to have confidence in the scientific process assume that such problems will not be solved as we progress?

20 years ago I used a petrol-driven chain saw on my 5 acre property, to clear trees for a garden bed and remove trees in danger of falling on my house in a storm, and so on. I often wasted a lot of time trying to start the chain saw and replace the spark plugs and take the saw in for a service, and so on.

I now use a battery-operated chain saw with one spare battery which can be fully recharged in 40 minutes. I could work all day long with that chain saw, switching batteries every hour or so. It’s less noisy than a petrol chain saw, requires less maintenance, and is more efficient. That’s progress.

There is already a solution to the intermittency problem of renewables. It’s called ‘battery storage’. However, there’s no need to tell me that that’s currently very expensive and makes renewable, or solar power, more expensive than power from fossil fuels. We all know that. This is a major problem which is being addressed. Battery technology, as with all technology, is in a continual process of improvement.

Is there any reason to assume that such progress has come to an end and that there’s nothing more to be discovered about battery storage? Is it too difficult to imagine that, in another 30 years, we could have batteries that are half the initial cost of current lithium batteries, half the weight with twice the storage capacity, 4 or even 10 times the durability, and which require one quarter, or less, of the current recharging time for full recharge?

Recycling used batteries and solar panels is also an environmental problem which should be addressed. Is there any reason to supposed that advances in technology will not be able to handle this?

Energy supplies are fundamental to the progress and prosperity of mankind. The more the better. Whatever we do, requires energy, from whatever source.

Reply to  Vincent
October 27, 2020 6:09 am

“That’s progress.”

Indeed it was/is. When advances in technology provide ways of doing things that are objectively better than the previous ways of doing them, the old ways will be superseded. But a practical battery-powered chainsaw wasn’t a result of the screeching of eco-loons or virtue-signalling politicians. It was the result of continuous development over many years (battery-powered power tools having been around quite a while – look up the history of Black & Decker on YouTube, for example), not from government diktat. In the early days of motoring there was a three-way competition between electric, ICE and steam powered vehicles with initially no infrastructure in place for electric or ICE, but ICE won because at the time it was the most practical – not because of government diktat. We don’t need ecoloons and idiot politicians forcing us down particular paths of immature technologies just to keep with their agendas.

Reply to  DaveS
October 27, 2020 7:23 am

“Indeed it was/is. When advances in technology provide ways of doing things that are objectively better than the previous ways of doing them, the old ways will be superseded. But a practical battery-powered chainsaw wasn’t a result of the screeching of eco-loons or virtue-signalling politicians.”

That’s true. But wouldn’t you agree that without the influence of the ‘screeching of eco-loons and virtue-signaling politicians’ we would be on a path of increasing environmental and atmospheric pollution as a result of undeveloped countries exploiting fossil fuels in the cheapest way, without adequate emission controls, as China and India has done, and even more scary, building Nuclear Power Plants in the cheapest manner possible in countries with widespread corruption, resulting in more frequent disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima?

Climate believer
Reply to  Vincent
October 27, 2020 9:08 am

“resulting in more frequent disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima?”

Apart from the fact that you could do with a few full stops in your sentences, neither one of these accidents was due to corruption.

We do however have Western countries exploiting cheap labour and resources in under-developed ones where there are no environmental controls. Then they construct unreliable power generators, so as to virtue signal to their own eco loons that they are on the progressive train.

China is not an undeveloped country. India has a Space Program.

Reply to  Vincent
October 27, 2020 6:35 am


Your simplistic analysis is ridiculous.

Reply to  HotScot
October 27, 2020 7:50 am

I never mentioned ‘wind’ in my analysis. Solar panels covering the entire roof of all buildings, and solar farms built on unproductive arid land and deserts, coupled with advanced battery storage that could be available in a few years, all interconnected with HVDC cables, could provide a large percentage of the energy requirements of many societies, without the problems of intermittency.

If windmills prove to be inefficient, with unacceptable disadvantages, such as killing too many birds, then scrap them. I have no problem with that.

Climate believer
Reply to  Vincent
October 27, 2020 8:46 am

“Now, it’s true that the transition towards renewables will be expensive, and many mistakes or poor decisions will be made, and have already been made along the way. Intermittency of supply is obviously a major problem, but why should anyone who claims to have confidence in the scientific process assume that such problems will not be solved as we progress?”

What progress do you suggest will make a windmill turn without wind, and a solar panel generate electricity without sunlight?

Reply to  Climate believer
October 27, 2020 5:00 pm

“What progress do you suggest will make a windmill turn without wind, and a solar panel generate electricity without sunlight?”
I’m very surprised you think there are some people who don’t understand that windmills require wind, and solar panels require sunlight, in order to produce electricity. The concept of wind and solar power is to take advantage of a free energy source whilst it’s available.

Obviously, no-one can take advantage of an energy source when it is not available, and that applies to fossil fuels. One cannot continue to operate a coal-fired or gas-fired power station if the supply of coal or gas is interrupted for any reason.

The intermittency problem of wind and solar will be solved as the cost and efficiency of battery storage improves and the interconnectivity between different regions, using underground HVDC cables, increases.

Why is that so difficult to understand?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Vincent
October 27, 2020 3:02 pm

How do you charge those batteries when an ice storm has knocked out power and you need to take down limbs/trees that are ice-laden and threatening infrastructure?

My Stihl gas-powered chain saw will just keep on working.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 27, 2020 11:25 pm

You charge your batteries BEFORE the ice storm has knocked out power. If you live in an area which has a history of devastating storms, then you remove all trees that potentially threaten your home or infrastructure, BEFORE the ice storm has knocked out power, if you are sensible, that is. Unfortunately, most people do not appear to be sensible.

Your Stihl chain saw will keep on working, ‘provided’ you can start it, and ‘provided’ you have a store of petrol and oil. Your battery chain saw will continue to work, ‘provided’ your household battery storage from solar power still has some charge. You will also not have to worry about starting your battery chain saw, which is a relief.

Regardless of the types of energy supply installed, whether nuclear, fossil fuel, or renewables, natural extreme weather events, including earth quakes and tsunamis, and so on, will disrupt power supply and cause massive damage.

Very severe hails storms can damage your roof-top solar panels, as well as your car if it’s not under cover. This is why we have insurance. However, generally, solar panels can endure hailstones up to one inch in size at a falling speed of 50 miles per hour. Disruption of power supply due to the collapse of conventional AC power lines during a storm, is more of a problem. Thousands of roof-top solar panels with battery storage, interconnected with underground HVDC cables, will likely be less of a problem during storms, and will probably not contribute to forest fires, as conventional, above-ground powerlines tend to do.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Vincent
October 28, 2020 5:45 am

“You charge your batteries BEFORE the ice storm has knocked out power.”

And what if the clearing requires more time than you have batteries?

“Your Stihl chain saw will keep on working, ‘provided’ you can start it, and ‘provided’ you have a store of petrol and oil. ”

I do have this. I keep 5gal of gas at all times plus chain oil. Doesn’t cost much.

“You will also not have to worry about starting your battery chain saw, which is a relief.”

It’s why I have a Stihl. No problem starting even in very cold weather.

As far as pre-clearing trees and limbs – I like the shade. Ice storms don’t happen that often here. It’s a matter of priorities. And how do you pre-clear trees in a windbreak? It kind of defeats the purpose of the windbreak. But in a bad ice storm it is sometimes needed to clear trees and limbs that might destroy nearby trees and limbs in the windbreak.

October 27, 2020 12:44 am

‘Interesting stories from poor countries—where stand-alone renewable systems power very small households -are often presented as evidence for renewables’ life-changing role among people who are not connected to the electricity grid.’

Or you could look at Kenya and Morocco – large scale electrification of whole villages using renewables (in the case of Morocco home grown CSP)

Or even Algeria

Reply to  griff
October 27, 2020 4:12 am

(Why) did Desertec fail? An interim analysis of a large-scale renewable energy infrastructure project from a Social Studies of Technology perspective
Still trying to reanimate it in Dubai…

Reply to  griff
October 27, 2020 6:07 am

Do you actually read your articles Griff or are you just the dumbest village idiot who links the first thing that comes up in your search ????

Here are the key points from your article
1.) ===> endorsed a plan to make solar the sole technology of a 4GW renewable push from 2020 to 2024
2.) ===> foresees the investment of US$3.2-3.6 billion
3.) ===> did not shed light on the projects’ specific location

In other words they might install something if they can convince some poor idiot to give them US $3Billion … you got a spare $3Billion for them Griff.

Reply to  griff
October 27, 2020 12:55 pm

LOL.. so they will only have electricity during the daytime.. DUMB !!!

October 27, 2020 4:04 am

Great graphic – I am sure inspired by Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver at the Flying Island of Laputa.

At the Island Academy of Lagado they were extracting sunbeams from cucumbers – call back in 8 years.

However this academy had discovered Mars had 2 moons, 151 years before Hall published.

Just Jenn
October 27, 2020 6:04 am

Remember when being green meant you were about the actual environment? I do. I remember when it was about reducing pollution and trash and finding innovative ways to clean up rivers and the land. I remember when it was OK to enjoy nature and not feel shame that you are destroying it by driving your car to enjoy a nice hike or beach or lake.

I remember those days. And it wasn’t that long ago either. I remember when the idea behind carpooling was so that you didn’t have to sit in traffic for hours on end just getting to work. When the air was really dirty and it was about cleaning the air you breathe by not polluting it.

I remember when companies were held accountable for direct pollution into the water supply or ground. And fines were levied for doing so. And I also remember when PG&E floated the idea that Chromium was “good” for the water of the surrounding town…poisoning it with their “good will” agenda of obfuscation and believing the locals were idiots.

I remember when being “green” meant education about the environment, how you could help and how you could make a difference as a consumer.

And then came government money. Oh yes that bottomless well of money…..the government. I’ve seen it in action. I personally know of how unscrupulous people view government money–it’s FREE. Despite pointing out that it is indeed not free money, they all thought it was because it comes from “on high” like manna into their bank accounts.

My point: the current green movement is not green. It is corrupt. Just like all the institutions and polluting companies before them, they have become corrupt. I have seen my green environmentalist movement become what you can do scaled up to a global threat because they are right and everyone else is wrong. And blast those that disagree, pound into the ground anyone that does not believe or spout the rhetoric because they have FREE MONEY on their side and nobody is going to stop them! They are the ones in the “right” and anyone who is a dissenter or skeptic is a crockpot shill of the oil and gas industry.

So this paper, in it’s finite extreme will be shunned because it doesn’t matter how prominent the scientists are, it does not agree with their viewpoints and so they are nothing more than “paid advertisements” for fossil fuels.

So sad. Because the solution is actually pretty simple and it goes back to the original movement of the environmental movement. Clean up after yourself. It really IS that simple. A chore that does not need justifications bordering on the absurd to avoid, just do your damn chores.

October 27, 2020 8:06 am

There are politicians attempting to shut down the country to save us no matter the poverty and suffering it will bring. For what, predictions of change that never happen. And who is to blame, we are of course. Those who would save us blame us! It is mystical they can see what we cannot and we are to blame for what they see.

There has to be big bucks in it for some to push hard for renewable energy that is not efficient or reliable. Personal income and the economy will be destroyed along with quality of life. So why do it? Personal profit in a short term for a few and a long recovery for the rest of us. What a grand legacy for grandchildren.

October 28, 2020 8:36 am

coal is fossile – note petroleum which is abiotic – Moreover maybe Nikolas TESLA could help now :

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