Ronald Stein on the Huge Advantages of Fossil Fuels Over Wind/Solar Power, Tom Nelson Podcast

Tom Nelson

Ronald Stein, P.E. is an engineer and Founder of PTS Advance, drawing upon decades of project management and business development experiences. He is an internationally published columnist, energy expert, and Pulitzer Prize nominated author who writes frequently about all aspects of energy and economics and is a Policy Advisor for The Heartland Institute.

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September 20, 2022 3:12 am

this link above…

comes up with ‘Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog, does not exist’

Reply to  miha
September 20, 2022 7:33 am
willem post
September 20, 2022 3:49 am


Wind systems generate large amounts of power when the wind is blowing, but zero power when the air is still
Solar systems generate large amounts of power when the sun is shining, especially around noontime, but generate less power when the sky is cloudy, and zero power when the sky is dark, or when panels are covered with snow.

As a result, wind and solar cannot function as dispatchable resources – meaning, they cannot be quickly deployed when needed, such as during the peak-demand periods of late-afternoon/early-evening.

This article shows the wind/solar generation shortfall, due to a one-day wind/solar lull
It also shows the electricity drawn from the high-voltage grid to enable grid-scale battery systems to counteract the shortfall

Reply to  willem post
September 20, 2022 5:06 am

So, a week of Winter weather is probably out of the question? Not that something like that would happen in New England…

Willem Post
Reply to  Spetzer86
September 20, 2022 5:20 am

Please read the entire article, which appears to be an eye-opener for a lot of wind/solar brain-washed people, based on the many comments I received by email.

Reply to  willem post
September 20, 2022 5:19 am


I’d consider getting some Inuit survival instructors in….

Coach Springer
Reply to  willem post
September 20, 2022 7:04 am

Hmmm. I recall (operating from memory here) an article a year or two back on a grid scale battery with the “low” cost of $500 per kwh. So, you could heat a home for an hour (30,000+ BTU = 9 kwh) with a $4500 battery. Then what?

Reply to  willem post
September 20, 2022 8:15 am

I agree that windmills produce power when the wind blows and solar panels produce power when the sun shines.

Large amounts?? That’s debatable.

Reply to  willem post
September 20, 2022 8:34 am

As a certified solar energy tech I can agree with the article you linked to. In 2015, Ontario had roughly 1.5% of it’s total energy generation composed of wind and solar while the next means of power generation was gas plants at 12%. There is NO way we can rely on these two energy sources to replace fossil fuels, nuclear or hydroelectric.

Joe Born
Reply to  willem post
September 20, 2022 9:27 am


Here‘s a back-of-the-envelope (i.e., ignoring losses and curtailment) estimate of battery requirements based on data from Texas, which I think is a somewhat favorable location for wind power.

willem post
Reply to  Joe Born
September 21, 2022 7:36 am


Your referenced article points in the right direction, but it is full of major holes, such as high demand conditions, with much wind and solar capacity, MW, installed, but not producing, because of a wind/solar lull, which occurs at random throughout the year in NE and Germany.

ALMOST ALL the other generators would have to be doing the filling in, peaking and balancing, to ensure RELIABLE electricity service, as my article, based on REAL-TIME, MINUTE-BY-MINUTE NE grid operating data, shows

That means two generations systems; one inadequate, and the other completely adequate, as proven for over 100 years.

RE folks claiming batteries will come to the rescue, please read this article.

Joe Born
Reply to  willem post
September 21, 2022 9:38 am

Yes, that piece is based on hourly data. But, since the question it addresses is how much battery back-up would be needed if there were no other sources, i.e., no thermal or hydro, I don’t see the relevance in “full of major holes, such as high demand conditions, with much wind and solar capacity, MW, installed, but not producing, because of a wind/solar lull, which occurs at random throughout the year in NE and Germany.” Can you explain that a little more clearly?

Willem Post
Reply to  Joe Born
September 21, 2022 1:20 pm

The battery back-up in your referenced article is grossly understated, and the costs per kWh are grossly understated.

My article clearly shows when wind and solar are low during peak demand hours, almost all generators are needed, just as if wind and solar had not existed.

I showed, installing 5 times the wind and solar would be multiplying small numbers times 5, which means wind and solar would still be irrelevant.

If the other generators had not existed, and the NE grid load would need to be, say 20,000 MW during 4 peak hours, delivered from battery systems would be 80,000 MWh, as AC at battery system voltage.

My article shows about 18% more than the 80,000 MWh needs to drawn from the high voltage grid, to account for losses, several days BEFORE the wind/solar lull.

The EIA issues annual reports regarding grid-scale battery costs of ACTUAL INSTALLATIONS

The cost was about $500/kWh, as AC at battery system voltage in 2020, which would be at least 25% higher in 2022, for various reasons.

$625/kWh x 1/0.6, available range factor x 1000 x 80,000 = $8.25 billion for battery systems that would last about 15 years, if operated from 20% full to 80% full, per Tesla recommendation.

The wind/solar lull may last not just four hours, but all day, or several days, or one lull may be followed by a second lull a few days later.

I have been involved with energy systems analysis in the power industry for about 40 years. The above analysis is elementary!!

Joe Born
Reply to  Willem Post
September 21, 2022 1:57 pm

Well, I’m certainly open to the proposition that my numbers are low; I was assuming very optimistic numbers for battery cost and longevity, and I ignored losses. (On the other hand, I also ignored the fact that the wind data were net of curtailment.)

But I’m afraid your reasoning still doesn’t apply to the question to which my piece was directed. Since it doesn’t seem that we’re likely to join issue, though, I won’t trouble you further.

Thanks anyway for the response.

Willem Post
Reply to  Willem Post
September 23, 2022 6:26 am

correction: The cost is $82.5 billion

September 20, 2022 5:25 am

Not too impressed by the speaker’s facts. He claims the capacity factor for wind and solar is from 1 to 5%.

Reply to  Joel
September 20, 2022 6:07 am

A main point of his is that one shouldn’t jump out of an airplane without a parachute. That of course is an analogy of the situation of ending fossil fuels without viable replacements. On this, and other points, he is absolutely correct.

Reply to  Scissor
September 20, 2022 6:28 am

Nor with a parachute.

Richard Page
Reply to  roaddog
September 20, 2022 7:58 am

Agreed. If the plane is perfectly fine you’d have to be an idiot to jump out mid flight with just a flimsy piece of cloth and a few bit’s of string between you and a messy splat on the ground. DON’T DO IT!

Reply to  Joel
September 20, 2022 6:30 am

He didn’t say “capacity factor.” He was distinguishing “nameplate” rating of nuclear, gas, coal plants vs. “renewable” generation.

He didn’t really need to throw out the “1 to 5%” figure as his point was that wind and solar are intermittent sources of energy. It would be good to ask him about this to get a better understanding of his position.

In any case, this conversation occurs around 36 to 37 minutes in the video.

Reply to  Joel
September 20, 2022 7:17 pm

That was the only thing you took from this?

Reply to  Joel
September 21, 2022 7:37 am

In Canada currently it’s roughly 2.5% power generation from wind/solar so not sure what you’re going on about.

September 20, 2022 6:36 am

electric car drivers without off-street parking and a homecharger are already seeing the cost of boosting their EV’s batteries soar, with one provider increasing the price of plugging into its network by more than 50 per cent – which would make annual running costs more expensive than an equivalent petrol model.
Electric car drivers warned plug-in network costs are set to soar (

Yep at a quid per kilowatt hour that means fifteen to eighteen quid per 100 kms when you were promised cheap energy from Gaia. No it means you shell out the green and they also get all your green envy and sustainability stoopids!

Reply to  observa
September 20, 2022 7:00 am

And hybrids seem to be under attack from above. Why? Could it be that WEF wants the plebs to do without?

Plug in hybrids make sense for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the ability of consumers to choose between alternative energy sources.

Richard Page
Reply to  Scissor
September 20, 2022 8:03 am

Have a look at the new Lamborghini Sian ‘hybrid’ – no batteries, it uses highly expensive capacitors powered by regenerative braking to boost it’s V12 ICE engine. Incredibly expensive but it’s green cos it’s a hybrid, honest, guv.

Reply to  Richard Page
September 20, 2022 8:08 am

What kind of fuel economy does that have? Just kidding.

I’d love to demo one for a week or so.

Reply to  Scissor
September 20, 2022 7:35 pm

As the old saying goes, if you have to ask that you can’t afford it.

Reply to  observa
September 21, 2022 7:51 am

As per an excellent article I read on ZH yesterday, “fast” charging will never improve from 6-7 hrs at home with a 240 watt plug. Your EeeeeeeeVeeeeeee MUST be indoors AND charged at a temp warmer than 5C AND longer than 7 hrs just to get the same or longer battery life than when you charged it the day before. Winter charging in a very cold garage reduces next day driving time AND culminates in shorter overall battery life! Even trying to take a long trip with your EV will be more expensive now and take much longer while waiting for “fast” charging that doesn’t even give your EV batteries a full charge!

By halting all investment for fossil fuels and transitioning to electric, the central-planners are trying to prevent you in the near future from having ANY mobility at all….

September 20, 2022 8:32 am

how long will be fossil fuels available !? they are not endless , in opposite to solar or wind !!!
Better to keep the fuels for chemical applications than only to burn them …

william Johnston
Reply to  Hubert
September 20, 2022 8:48 am

Solar and wind are not endless either. There is not sufficient materials available to manufacture enough panels and turbines to replace all FF energy generation.

Reply to  william Johnston
September 21, 2022 7:54 am

Solar and wind ARE endless, they are the world’s most abundant resource. Unfortunately the capture mechanisms are costly, impractical and take way too much fossil fuels to build them.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Hubert
September 20, 2022 9:15 am

If you want to preserve fossil fuels for chemistry, the best energy option (the only viable energy option) is nuclear.

Reply to  Pat Frank
September 20, 2022 9:33 am


Reply to  Hubert
September 20, 2022 9:41 am

Ya think the oil drillers will keep searching and drilling at huge expense just for raw material for plastics and chemicals? The economies of scale suggest not.

Reply to  Hubert
September 20, 2022 10:03 am

nobody knows for sure- -but a consensus is building that fossil fuels are abiotic- -not fossil sourced at all- -if so, the earth is mfg oil at its core and the supply is essentially endless- –

Reply to  leo belill
September 20, 2022 11:50 am

If less than 1% is a consensus, then yes there is a consensus building.

BTW, the idea that there is a lot of carbon in the earth’s core is utter nonsense and physically impossible.

Reply to  leo belill
September 20, 2022 7:18 pm

The consensus of nutters perhaps…..

Reply to  leo belill
September 21, 2022 7:56 am

There is very little “fossil” in oil anyways, the establishment is trying to tell us oil comes from old dinosaur bones lol. Not entirely true..

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Hubert
September 20, 2022 10:27 am

There’s CENTURIES worth of fossil fuels to burn. Your “concern” is delusional, in particular given how much fossil fuel has to be WASTED to build worse-than-useless wind mills and solar panels. Plus, YOU STILL HAVE TO BURN fossil fuels to back up the worse-than-useless wind mills and solar panels if you want the lights, heat, a/c, internet, etc. to stay on.

A much bigger concern should be all the RARE EARTH METALS required for magnets in wind turbines, ev batteries, etc. If you’re concerned about “scarcity,” so-called ‘green energy’ should top your list of “concerns.”

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
September 21, 2022 7:58 am

I agree totally with that statement.

jeffery P
Reply to  Hubert
September 20, 2022 10:46 am

People who make statements like this are clueless as to what it takes to make and maintain wind turbines, solar panels and their backup systems. Not just energy (not from wind and/or solar) but raw materials and land. The real cost to the environment is completely ignored as well.

Reply to  Hubert
September 20, 2022 11:51 am

We have hundreds of years worth of oil and gas and well over 1000 years of coal.
They will run out some day, but that day is so far off that impoverishing ourselves now in order to push the date back a few years is a fool’s errand.

CD in Wisconsin
September 20, 2022 10:24 am

Mr. Stein mentioned the fact that our oil refineries in the U.S. are getting old. I believe I recall reading that most or all of them were built in the 1970s when getting a permit to build one was probably a lot easier than it is today.

Stein mentioned that, because of age, those refineries are going to start shutting down in the years ahead. If permits to replace them with new ones are not issued, refinery capacity is going to start declining while demand will likely continue to rise for all petroleum derivatives. I probably do not need to tell the reader what is going to start happening as the shutdowns start. And EVs are not the answer as lithium for batteries gets more and more expensive with the continuing rise in demand creating sticker shock for potential EV car buyers. And airlines flying battery powered aircraft? Seriously?

All of this is probably exactly what the hardline green ideologists want to see and are expecting. With the Democrats in their back pocket, the green ideologists probably feel they are in a fairly good position politically to make all of this happen. With a voting public and political class who are all lacking in scientific and technical literacy, I cannot say that I feel good about the future of Western Civilization.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
September 20, 2022 3:15 pm

Several were built over 100 years ago. I know that the Whiting Refinery in Indiana dates back to 1889.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
September 21, 2022 8:01 am

Emerging markets in the East will be building these refineries from now on I guess. Oh btw, yet another big refinery just exploded in Ohio couple of days ago, coincidence!!!

Bob Hunter
September 20, 2022 11:55 am

Unfortunately, the “Alarmists” will ignore the facts of Mr. Stein’s argument for the simple reason he is associated with the Heartland Institute. Meanwhile, Research & Papers funded by -‘Woke’ govt’s, Rockerfeller/Tides etc Foundations, Zuckerberg, Gates, etc etc etc – are credible by said “Alarmists”

John Hultquist
September 20, 2022 12:56 pm

 Needed are modern-day social media “influencers” to explain thermodynamics, intermittency, scale, supply & demand, and opportunity cost.

Reply to  John Hultquist
September 20, 2022 3:42 pm

We could call them school teachers.

Reply to  Simonsays
September 20, 2022 7:19 pm

We used to could call them school teachers.

September 21, 2022 11:56 am

It is irresponsible governance to remove an energy supplier or transporter without having a replacement that can provide the same amount of energy with the same reliability. After all, _energy_ is a _requirement_ to have civilization.

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