A Few Graphs Say It All for Weather-Dependent “Renewables”

From edmhdotme

Ed Hoskins

A few graphs say it all for Wind and Solar power

This is the 10-year productivity record for European Weather-Dependent “Renewables”:  that is the annual power output divided by the nominal installation rating of the Weather-Dependent “Renewables” installations over the last decade.  The data is provided by EurObservER a “Weather-Dependent “Renewables” promoting organisation supported by the EU.

The productivity of Weather-Dependent “Renewables” is limited as they only gather intermittent and dilute sources of energy, Wind and Solar.  As they are not capable of producing the major excess power needed by civilisation they are parasitic on all other power generation technologies.

Conventional power generation, Gas-firing, Coal or Nuclear technologies:

  • produce much more energy for use by civilisation than the energy they require to build and run.  They have a high Energy Return on Energy Invested.<
  • run 24/7
  • can be turned on when needed to match demand
  • use small land areas
  • can be located close to centres of demand
  • their installations use limited materials
  • they can have substantial energy storage on site at low cost
  • are shown to be substantially cheaper for the power they produce, even at current elevated European Gas prices.

The US  EIA, Energy Information Administration, produces comparative capital and long-term costs for power generation technologies.  When their Weather-Dependent   “Renewables” costs are merged with the recorded European productivity for generating the same unit of power over the year and compared to the cheapest power generation technology Gas-firing at USA prices the comparative value for money is stark.

This comparison anticipates that the current European price for Natural gas fuel is some 3 times the standard USA price for fracked Gas production.

Would anyone sane buy a car costing 5 – 10 times the normal price that only works one day in five, when you never know which day that might be ?  And then insist that its technology is used to power the whole economy.

Even at the current increased European Gas prices, the estimated excess expenditures on Weather-Dependent “Renewables” in Europe is still very large:  $~0.5 trillion in capital expenditures and $~1.2 trillion excess expenditures in the long-term.

These simple calculations show that any claim that Wind and Solar power are now cost competitive with conventional fossil fuel (Gas-fired) generation are patently false.  The figures give an outline of the financial achievements of Green activists in stopping  fracking for gas in Europe, close on to $1.2 trillion of excess costs.

The scale of the wasted expenditure for the current UK “Renewables” fleet is about £60 billion in capital costs and  ~£0.22 Trillion in the long-term.

The UK performance picture is slightly improved by greater installation of Offshore Wind power.

These very basic calculations just comparing the raw costs of supplying a unit of energy to the Grid are the tip of the cost iceberg, Weather-Dependent “Renewables” incur all manner of other costs and downsides not shown here.

Appreciating that future “Climate Change” from Man-kind burning fossil fuels is a non-problem and not reacting to that non-problem in an economically destructive manner would be the very best news for the Western world, for the Biosphere and for Man-kind.



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October 5, 2022 6:04 am

This is why Greens should be forced to go full Greta. Willing experimental subjects.
No wind, no solar, klick and the smart meter cuts them off.
Electric only driving licenses. If caught in a fossil fueled vehicle, if its their’s its crushed. If not massive fines.
When they fly, after take off, added to the no fly list.
Cross check gas supply against electoral register, and click, its cut off.
It’s what Greta wants.

Reply to  Aden
October 5, 2022 6:27 am

Aden: “This is why Greens should be forced to go full Greta. Willing experimental subjects.”

What?!?! The greenies are just hypocritical, moronic, brainwashed lemmings. They’re not stupid when it comes to modern perks.

For one thing, you’ll have to pry their smartphones from their cold dead fingers. You’ll also have to provide alternate transportation to their CO2 is Evil protests. How else will they get there without their ICE vehicles? What, you expect them to walk or something?

😉 but not really. My first paragraph is fairly accurate.

Pete Bonk
Reply to  H.R.
October 5, 2022 9:26 am

“ For one thing, you’ll have to pry their smartphones from their cold dead fingers”.

Don’t make it so inviting…..🤣🤔😂

Reply to  Pete Bonk
October 5, 2022 4:44 pm

I’m afraid to search, Pete. Should I search on “caskets with usb ports”?

I’m afraid of what I might find. 😲

Max P
Reply to  H.R.
October 5, 2022 12:22 pm

The only eco loon, I know of, that practiced what he preached is the Uni Bomber.

Reply to  Aden
October 5, 2022 6:32 am

Just finished reading Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy. His solution: strip the greens naked and let them loose in the Amazonian rainforest 90 miles from the nearest civilisation.

Reply to  Bil
October 5, 2022 6:51 am

better yet 90 miles from Fairbanks Alaska in Febuary

michael hart
Reply to  Travis
October 5, 2022 8:25 am

I’m a reasonable person, and I don’t want to risk seeing naked greens.
Give them a few sheep skins.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  michael hart
October 5, 2022 10:05 am

Aren’t sheepskins outlawed by the Geneva Convention?

Richard Page
Reply to  Old Man Winter
October 5, 2022 10:27 am

Absolutely – hemp woven loincloth or nothing for these paragon’s.

David A
Reply to  Travis
October 5, 2022 3:24 pm

better yet, in the heart of this winter’s Ukraine.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David A
October 6, 2022 9:46 am

With an AK47.

Anybody see the cartoon of Snowden in a foxhole in the Ukraine after being granted Russian citizenship by Putin?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Travis
October 6, 2022 9:43 am

Shit! I’ve been there in February. They’d be dead before the transport left.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Bil
October 5, 2022 10:39 am

that’s a good idea for a TV show;-)

Reply to  MarkW
October 5, 2022 5:03 pm

What about ’Naked and Armed in Ukraine’? What could possibly go wrong?

Reply to  Charles
October 6, 2022 4:03 pm

As the anarchists during the war against Franco?

Reply to  Bil
October 5, 2022 8:26 pm

Nice read and a fun punishment for the villains but the plot is way too scary:
eco-fanatics conjuring up a deadly virus to scare everyone into taking a new vaccine.
That sound familar ?

Reply to  Aden
October 5, 2022 6:50 am

Basically, no oil or gas powered services, i.e. anything connected to the grid, and no products from oil or gas derived materials/substances. I received the start of such a list recently.

Products from Petroleum.jpg
Reply to  Ilma
October 5, 2022 8:43 am

👍 👍 Nice, Ilma.

In the header, it says it’s a list of 144 items out of 6,000.

Everything that isn’t made on location with materials gathered or grown on location and made with stone or bone tools, at a minimum, depends on fossil fuel to get the item to the end user.

That makes for a l-o-o-o-n-g list.

Reply to  Ilma
October 5, 2022 7:51 pm

We need an updated list. Cassettes? CDs? No, add cellphones, iPads, tablets, and laptops. And I suspect there are some plastics in a Starbucks espresso machine, if only the wiring insulation.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Ilma
October 6, 2022 9:50 am

Vaclav Smil’s “How the World Really Works” should be mandatory reading in HS through college and by all politicians and government bureaucrats. Anybody propounding Nut Zero should have to prove he read it by testing him.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Aden
October 5, 2022 9:24 am

‘No wind, no solar, klick and the smart meter cuts them off.’

Indeed, the technology already exists, and is widely deployed in many areas, that would subject ‘renewables’ to a market test. A few necessary rules:

  • All customers designate their accounts as either ‘renewable’ or ‘conventional’ generation only
  • All customers connected to the grid pay ‘wire’ charges for base distribution and transmission costs, i.e., no freeloading
  • In addition, renewable customers pay a surcharge for transmission charges required to tie renewable sources into the grid
  • Prices and purchase volumes for conventional and renewable energy are separately determined ahead of time for each market in accordance with how these are planned currently in conventional markets
  • Delivery to conventional customers takes place under current rules
  • Delivery to renewable customers takes place in a similar fashion, except that should renewable supply fail to meet renewable demand, renewable customers will be randomly curtailed as needed to match available supply
  • In the event renewable demand exceeds renewable demand, renewable suppliers may sell excess energy to conventional suppliers at mutually agreed prices

Obviously, many more details would need to be worked out for such a system to begin functioning, but this approach would at least allow for a true, large-scale / non-coercive market test of renewable electricity, while maintaining a viable electric grid for most customers.

Dennis G. Sandberg
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
October 5, 2022 3:22 pm

“in the event renewable demand (you meant supply) exceeds renewable demand.”

One of the biggest flaws in W&S pricing is using an average annual retail price for payment to W&S generators, instead of time of day and time of year sensitive prices. Typically electricity is bought in five (5) minute increments, based on what I find on the internet. I have no direct experience, and would welcome hearing from a professional.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Dennis G. Sandberg
October 5, 2022 4:11 pm

I ain’t no professional, but I believe PJM, for example, requires all load serving entities (LSEs) to bid in their load in the day-ahead and real-time markets. Ditto for the generators (GENCOs). PJM would then rank the generation by price for each hour, so that for each hour of the day there was a clearing price and every generator that was taken / dispatched for a given hour would receive the clearing price. In general, this allowed for base-load coal and nuclear plants to bid low in order to ensure being dispatched, since it is difficult to cycle these units.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
October 6, 2022 9:57 am

But with subsidies W&S can bid zero or negative price. All of the government regulated energy “markets” are failing in one way or another and with wildly inflated costs/tax- & rate-payer subsidies/portfolio standards/etc.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Dave Fair
October 6, 2022 1:37 pm

They bid zero or negative to ensure being ‘taken’, knowing full well they’ll be paid at the same rate as the marginal producer whose bid ‘clears’ projected load. If the loads are separated, both renewable and conventional suppliers will have their own auctions, or whatever mechanism is used for price discovery in a specific region or RTO. There’s still the issue of subsidies, but these should arguably be for the account of the renewable customer.

Reply to  Aden
October 5, 2022 9:47 am

Full Great? Like this you mean?

Climate activist only travels using green energy.jpg
Reply to  Redge
October 5, 2022 8:37 pm

How did they get bananas to Sweden? Oxcart?

Reply to  Doonman
October 5, 2022 10:35 pm

Not just that, look at all the products made from oil

Dave Fair
Reply to  Doonman
October 6, 2022 9:59 am

Do those bananas meet EU size and curvature standards?

Reply to  Redge
October 6, 2022 6:26 am

So good to see Sweden grows bananas.


Reply to  Aden
October 5, 2022 5:26 pm

All Greens politicians worldwide should have their houses used as ruinables test beds. Retro fit their homes with solar panels and wind turbines and lithium batteries. Cut the main coal fired power lines coming in and let’s see how long they survive.

Reply to  Aden
October 5, 2022 5:27 pm

1st off the rank, Soros and all the Davos billionaires.

October 5, 2022 6:26 am

As far as I can tell, ‘they’ look at how computers developed (ie. Moore’s Law) and conclude that’s how all technology develops.

What people need to understand is that computers are an outlier. There is also Eroom’s Law for drug discovery.

The inflation-adjusted cost of developing a new drug roughly doubles every nine years.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that will make renewables feasible will be a breakthrough in storage technology. Breakthroughs don’t happen on demand and may never happen.

If ‘they’ actually cared about the environment, ‘they’ would wholeheartedly embrace nuclear.

John Hultquist
Reply to  commieBob
October 5, 2022 8:35 am

“the only thing that will make renewables feasible will be a breakthrough in storage

A dubious assumption, at best. I haven’t seen an explanation of why this should be so. Storage is not generation, so the energy has to be produced before it can be stored, and at the same time that generation has to provide for current need (load). How many days of storage are needed for the big grid? Is 3 days enough, or 3 weeks, or 3 months? How many wind and solar facilities are going to be needed?

Leo Smith
Reply to  John Hultquist
October 5, 2022 8:40 am

Well it can all be quantified. The answer is given storage constructed entirely from unobtanium, even at zero cost, wind and solar still about 3-10 times more expensive than nuclear.

alastair gray
Reply to  John Hultquist
October 5, 2022 9:08 am

If you need 100 GW of 24/7 power, your windmills have a capacity factor of 40% and your storage system is 50% efficient (like f’rinstance Hydrogen – 70% efficient in electrolysis and 70% in its end use of heat or power), then you need 400 GW of generating capacity. That is to give an average 100 GW coverage 24/7
If you foresee the need for protection against a 2 week wind famine then you need even more.
in the UK Mr Kwarteng and his team of bureaucratic buffoons at BEIS ( the people who are supposed to keep the wheels of our economy turning, could or would not see this.

Reply to  alastair gray
October 5, 2022 1:10 pm

If you need 100 GW of 24/7 power, your windmills have a capacity factor of 40% 

i doubt if many windmills average 40% of nameplate capacity. You need backup power to cover the minutes, or hours, when wind speed is too low to generate electricity — 0% of capacity.

While windmills across the whole state of Texas never got down to an average 0%, they have been under 5% of nameplate capacity for several hours in a row. Blackouts followed.

David A
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 5, 2022 3:31 pm

Indeed, yet 40 percent??, the article shows 22 percent for land and 34 percent for offshore wind.

Again, “it is worse than we thought.”

Dave Andrews
Reply to  John Hultquist
October 5, 2022 9:28 am

Prof Michael Kelly calculated that the £45m 100MW (128 MWh) battery installed in Adelaide in 2018 would power the emergency wards of Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, (30% of total wards) for 24 hours on a single charge.

Current back up is from two diesel generators that can operate as long as fuel is available and cost £250,000.


Reply to  Dave Andrews
October 5, 2022 10:57 pm

Per the US NERL, the capital cost of battery storage is $333 per kWh.
The installation you mention in Adelaide is in that ballpark at GBP351 per kWh.

Now for some fun.
Let’s take Ireland for example, because I know the numbers.
Annual demand is about 32 TWh,
This equates to about 3,600 MW per hour average demand, 86,400MWh per day.

So, the capital cost for battery storage to supply power for just 1 cold windless day supply with above average demand (it’s ffffffkn ccccccold! so say 125% of average demand) would exceed:

86,400MWh x 333 $/kWh x 1000 kWh/MWh x 125% = $35,964,000,000

That’s $36 billion to provide 1 day battery storage for a small country of 5 million people.

Ireland’s GDP is about $500 billion, so 7% of GDP for 1 day of battery storage.

Extrapolate that!

Max P
Reply to  ltexpat
October 7, 2022 10:11 am

There is a better chance of catching a fart and painting it green than building out full scale grid storage for a large city, let alone, a whole state or country.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  commieBob
October 5, 2022 12:07 pm

doesn’t matter if we had the “perfect” battery available … there is not enough resources to replace windmills and solar panels every 15-20 years … and given the actual run rates we would need about 4 times peak load built to allow for that storage to be used … 4 times the material, land and power lines … and “peak” demand would grow exponentially if we tried to eliminate ICE (unless nobody drives anymore … maybe thats the real goal) … better to try to convert lead to gold … more of a chance of that than the perfect battery being discovered …
never forget a battery stores “energy” and gas tank stores fuel to be converted to energy on demand … energy is like a wild cat, once you let it out it does not like to go back into the bottle (battery) …

Dennis G. Sandberg
Reply to  commieBob
October 5, 2022 3:34 pm

Yes, battery storage for a few days of cloudy and calm costs 10x more than the panels and turbines. The site prep, labor, enclosures, overcurrent protection, switchgear, fire suppression and more are half the cost of grid scale storage ($200 kW, battery, $200 kW associated unfracture. $400,000 mW x 100 hours x (a typical 1,000 mW conventional generating station) = $40,000,000,000 ($40 billion with batteries, $20 billion “batteries not included). It truly is impossible, and a “breakthrough in storage technology”, isn’t the answer, It’s gathering enough fairly dust (government funding while it’s available before an economic collapse from pursuing the nonsense). It’s not complicated.

Reply to  commieBob
October 5, 2022 7:59 pm

Not to worry. I have been assured by some solar panel enthusiasts that because of Moore’s Law we will soon be able to power an entire house on a solar panel the size of a deck of playing cards.

We are doomed.

October 5, 2022 6:26 am

Needs another graph: campaign/lobbying dollar per GW installed.

Reply to  tgasloli
October 5, 2022 7:20 am

I would also be interested in an analysis of the power used to make these weather dependent sources compared to life time generation. Sometime around 2008 I attended a talk sponsored by my local engineering professional license organization (hardly a ‘denier’ organization). One engineering prof whose specialty is semi conductor materials was adamant that solar could never generate sufficient power over its life to recoup the power needed to make the panels. And he based that on 20%, not 11% efficiency. Another prof at the seminar who is a wind power engineer (an advocate of such) showed a map of Ontario with the locations of all wind turbine farms. Back in 2008 he stated that we had already saturated all available locations for onshore wind. No new locations were viable.

Reply to  Greg61
October 5, 2022 8:04 am

Google gave up on their renewable R&D project because they didn’t see any return in 2007. Less logical heads may have ultimately prevailed.


Reply to  tgasloli
October 5, 2022 8:39 pm

Needs yet another graph. Renewable energy systems built with renewable energy systems

Sheila Corn
October 5, 2022 6:38 am

This article should be copied and handed to everyone attending the Conservative Conference, then questions asked in every press conference as to the interviewee response. Of corse the (sainted) BBC, Sky news and most (99%) of MSM will swear that this is false and cancel anyone who says it is worthy of discussion.

Reply to  Sheila Corn
October 5, 2022 1:46 pm

Sky News Australia is quite open to discussing the negative aspects of renewables. Likely the only media outlet here to do so but it’s only free to air in the regions.

October 5, 2022 7:16 am

Never mind the realities of energy and cheap reliable supply

“”Three-quarters of environmental charity executives and trustees thought increasing diversity would have a positive impact on the sector.””


But it won’t generate a watt

Reply to  Strativarius
October 5, 2022 8:07 am

Well, when you’re White and working for a company that advertises, “programmes to draft more people of colour into leadership roles”, you can bet that your chances of promotion aren’t that great and maybe you should go somewhere else. Scott Adams says he did that twice.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Spetzer86
October 6, 2022 10:12 am

Its the same problem Brandon has in trying to cajole FF companies to invest long-term in near-term production increases when he promises to kill off FFs as quickly as possible when it is politically feasible to do so. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

Right-Handed Shark
October 5, 2022 7:18 am

Yes, but the self-righteous planet saviour index is off the scale!

October 5, 2022 7:33 am

good point

Based on published LCOE – renewables are cheaper the fossil fuel (without regard to the cost of pushing the backup costs to fossil fuels). That is deceptive for several reasons, one of which is it is usually based on 35-40% of name plate capacity vs the actual that runs around 20-25%.

Curious George
October 5, 2022 7:43 am

In the first graph, the “conventional generation” plus “combined weather dependent” add to 109%. Usually it means that you are adding apples to oranges.

Last edited 3 months ago by Curious George
Reply to  Curious George
October 5, 2022 10:36 am

Productivity is relative to the method(s) under consideration. Adding them together makes no sense unless you weight the method by the GW generated by each method.

Matthew Drabik
Reply to  Curious George
October 5, 2022 11:16 am

Not all power generated by weather dependent sources gets loaded to the grid

Reply to  Matthew Drabik
October 5, 2022 1:13 pm

In Europe some spare electricity is sold to other nations via interconnectors.

Reply to  Richard Greene
October 5, 2022 1:58 pm

They don’t necessarily get a good price for it if the demand isn’t there. They just need to offload the excess but it sounds better to say that they are exporting energy.

Of course we know the reality, the net situation was shortfalls and that was why they were importing oil and gas from Russia and electricity from France. They are in deep doody now and Australia are keen to follow in their footsteps. Apparently we are going to be world leaders or something to that effect. Fill in the gaps.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Megs
October 6, 2022 10:18 am

Yep, Australia is going to out-compete China if any hydrogen industry develops. Learn Mandarin under your current leadership.

October 5, 2022 7:43 am

Without affordable and reliable storage renewables are a waste of time, space, and money.

John Hultquist
Reply to  markl
October 5, 2022 8:39 am

See my comment to commieBob above.

Pete Bonk
Reply to  markl
October 5, 2022 9:32 am

But “Green Hydrogen” will come to the rescue!! That is, until it has its Hindenburg moment.

jeffery P
Reply to  markl
October 5, 2022 10:18 am

Probably still a waste with affordable and reliable storage.

October 5, 2022 8:03 am

Parasitic is a good word for green energy as are the politicians who support it.

It doesnot add up
October 5, 2022 8:05 am

This merits a repost here:

I read in Die Welt that Germans are being advised to get ready for power cuts that might last longer than 72 hours, with no help avaliable from the state.

In the same paper was a lengthy article discussing fears that gas held in storage might end up being exported elsewhere in the EU – or even outside it, as the government has no means to ascertain its ownership or direct its use under EU rules. Last winter Germans were caught out because Gazprom owned significant chunks of the gas in storage and refused to release it.

Dave Fair
Reply to  It doesnot add up
October 6, 2022 10:20 am

Another reason Germany will eventually dump the parasitic EU.

John Hultquist
October 5, 2022 8:23 am

“The UK performance picture is slightly improved

May I suggest that “improved” be replaced with any of these: {less} appalling, awful, dreadful, horrible, scandalous, or ugly.

michael hart
October 5, 2022 8:30 am

“As they [“renewables”] are not capable of producing the major excess power needed by civilisation they are parasitic on all other power generation technologies.”

Good sentence and a nice succinct article.

October 5, 2022 8:46 am

technology becomes always cheaper with the time , so I guess it will be the same with green technology ! In opposite , fossils will disappear and become very expensive at the end …

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Hubert
October 5, 2022 9:52 am

I think your statement is false about technology always becoming cheaper. Technologies are replaced by different technologies that serve the same purpose for lower cost.

jeffery P
Reply to  Hubert
October 5, 2022 10:22 am

We still use wood and coal despite other available energy sources. Fossil fuels aren’t going away anytime soon. Then there is the need for petroleum for other uses other than fuels. Those aren’t going away anytime soon, either.

David A
Reply to  Hubert
October 5, 2022 3:50 pm

 fossils will disappear and become very expensive at the end …”

In a couple of centuries, when that happens, we will have a great and costly history and education on what not to replace them with.

Reply to  Hubert
October 6, 2022 4:37 am

That’s the spirit, Hubert! Hopium and fairy dust makes for a much nicer utopia than smelly old cars. Now that scientists have all reached consensus, things are really going to start happening, then these deniers will see!
I came across the follow graph a few days ago. It is for solar power generated over the span of a few days. As you can see, in just that short span of time, surely because of the ascension of Miss Trust to leadership, solar power mightily increased effectiveness, generating well over 2TWh at midnight the 22nd.
I just don’t see any problems there….

Last edited 3 months ago by cilo
Dave Fair
Reply to  Hubert
October 6, 2022 10:27 am

Hubert, you are ignoring the political decisionmaking timescale. Voter privation means immediate relief must be legislated. It doesn’t matter what the climate or renewables might do down the road.

Reply to  Hubert
October 6, 2022 11:09 am

But the technology of fossil fuels won’t become cheaper?
There has been nearly a century of imminent ends of fossil fuels and yet….

Reply to  Hubert
October 6, 2022 1:09 pm

Policy can offset technology.

Old Man Winter
October 5, 2022 8:55 am

Thanks for the great post! The top graph shows why they CANNOT be the
backbone of any reliable grid. Combine the very low 18% capacity factor
with its unreliability, where long periods of little sunshine and/or
wind occur, make its cost totally unfeasible. Nut 0 is sheer lunacy!

UK- sampling of some stretches of windless/low generation days I found-
2/8-12/2015; 1/16-25/2017; 2/27-3/7/2021; 3/21-29/2022;



Patrick B
October 5, 2022 10:10 am

Doesn’t matter, Green is a religion, not a science, and at least half of the acolytes are incapable of understanding cost analysis.

Reply to  Patrick B
October 5, 2022 2:18 pm

Only half? You are very generous.

jeffery P
October 5, 2022 10:14 am

Let’s quit using the misnomer “renewable” and start calling wind and solar what they really are — UNRELIABLE.

October 5, 2022 10:46 am

The Green Blight… an actual “burden”. If it it’s not viable, you must abort, cannibalize her profitable parts, and sequester her carbon pollutants.

Matthew Drabik
October 5, 2022 11:10 am

Has anyone on here seen a rigorous analysis of wind/solar sustainability?

What I mean is it requires energy to

  • Mine and refine the raw materials need for a wind turbine or solar panel
  • Manufacture and transport the components
  • Install, maintain and de-commission at end of life

Let’s call all this the EC (energy cost) of a wind turbine or solar panel.

To me, it appears that that the EC needs to be compared to how much useable energy is generated by the wind turbine or solar panel.

  • Not the rated capacity
  • Not the rated lifespan
  • Not the amount of energy generated
  • The actual amount of watts loaded onto the grid and available for use, AW (actual wattage)

If the AW is less than the EC, then it seems to me that wind turbines and solar panels are nothing more than very expensive litter.

I have tried to ballpark this for various sized turbines and panels, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough info on the internet to get to a reasonably reliable answer. Just looking at the energy needed to mine and refine the raw materials seems to indicate that the AW has to be less than the EC, but the vagueness of the available info makes that difficult to state definitively.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Matthew Drabik
October 5, 2022 8:58 pm

Not sure what you mean by actual wattage. Since the definition you give does not make any sense. “Watts loaded onto the grid and avilable for use” would appear to straightforwardly to vary in time (for solar clearly zero during nighttime) while all the other measures you give are lifetime measures (e.g energy required to mine). The best metric is energy returned on energy invested (EROI) which for solar panels in the US varys between 14 (Alaska) and
27 (Arizona). See for example

Although calculating it is hard and other people come up with different values. But certainly it seems to be above 10 for modern solar panel in lower latitudes. For other fuels have a look at
which suggests that hydropower is the best option followed by coal then wind.

Matthew Drabik
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 6, 2022 8:56 am

Thank you! This is very helpful.
What I meant by AW is defined in the study from the Stanford article as E’grid.
Diving into the references in that study, it seems that EROI for renewables doesn’t include the energy needed to mine and refine the raw materials, but starts the Life Cycle Analysis at manufacturing of components. If this is the case, there is no way solar panels provide an EROI above 1 if the entire life cycle is included.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Izaak Walton
October 6, 2022 10:49 am

To be useful EROI must be calculated based in the amount of energy reliably served to direct consumers. For ruinables one needs to include the energy associated with “firming” their outputs and the energy losses associated with system additions to account for their remoteness and their lousy capacity factors necessitating additional transmission losses associated with peak deliveries vs average. Also included must be additional energy required to adjust system operations to compensate for ruinables’ stresses on the systems. Until such calculations are performed, EROI is a joke.

October 5, 2022 11:55 am
Janice Moore
Reply to  Alasdair
October 5, 2022 1:01 pm

404 Error 😕 “Page not found”

Matthew Drabik
Reply to  Alasdair
October 6, 2022 8:58 am

Alasdair, do you know the title of the article you were linking to?

The Dark Lord
October 5, 2022 11:59 am

while the energy may be “renewable” the equipment need complete replacement every 15-20 years …

October 5, 2022 12:09 pm

The image below shows how much wind energy an individual gets (in KWattHrs.)daily based on the wind GWattHrs produced for that day.
It is very rough but gives an individual’s perspective to the published figures, with the frequency being of great interest.
I had thought of using “No. of kettles boiled” in like manner to “ No. of homes serviced” by a Wind Farm popular with Lazy Journalists; but reckoned NOT!!

Reply to  Alasdair
October 6, 2022 12:30 am

Thanks for the image you posted. I have been working on python code to produce KWhs from BMRS/ and derivative http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ .By the look of your work it is a graph in a spreadsheet? Your method may be better than mine.
Will you share the data source, tool you use and the calc used on the data please.

October 5, 2022 1:02 pm

These charts are disappointing
They all come from a pro-renewables source!
That’s strike one, two and three in my book.

They are very likely to be biased in favor of renewables
Yet the renewables still look bad even with the bias.

Te first chart shows average UK power generation by source over ten years
Assuming the numbers are correct, average output makes renewables look better than they are in reality. Most important for an electric grid is output every minute, of every day, of every year! The key problem is periods with very low output.

One way of viewing a potential renewables problem might be a chart showing the percentage of hours when output was under 10% of nameplate capacity.

Another way of viewing a potential renewables problem would be a chart showing the worst weather period for renewables in each year. The period could be a few consecutive days, or a week, with low wind power and lots of clouds.

Those minutes, or multiple days, with low renewables outputs are worst case situations when lots of back-up fossil fuel power is needed. Or batteries.

If you don’t have great data on worst case weather for renewables, perhaps for the past 50 years, then you can’t design a reliable electric grid.

The grid has to be designed to cover the worst case weather in the past plus some margin of safety for future weather that could be even worse. Think of Texas in February 2021 –the weather got even colder than in February 2011, which had 3.2 million Texans affected by rolling blackouts. Ten years of “global warming” from 2011 to 2021, yet Texas had an even colder period in 2021 ! If the ERCOT grid had been improved so that it could have handled the cold weather in February 2011, it would have been challenged by the even colder, and longer lasting cold, weather in February 2021. That’s why a margin of error is needed.

The other charts covering capital spending are questionable
First of all, data were provided by EurObservER a “Weather-Dependent “Renewables” promoting organisation supported by the EU.

In my experience, numbers provided by pro-renewables groups are biased in favor of renewables. 100% of the time. They usually ignore the cost of back up fossil fuel power and batteries. They tend to ignore the costs of long transmission lines. They tend to grossly understate maintenance costs of windmills and solar panels. And they usually understate the useful life of natural gas power plants (should be at least 40 years), and overstate the useful life of wind turbines and solar panels (probably no more than 15 years).

The bottom line:
Charts used in this article are likely to be pro-renewables biased,
because they are from a pro-renewables organization.
But the renewables still look bad.
Bad enough to wonder why anyone with sense would want any renewables in their electric grid, other than hydro.

Andrew Wilkins
October 5, 2022 1:06 pm

Griff? Nick? Hello?

Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
October 5, 2022 1:20 pm

10 yard penalty for calling for The Grifter
Another 10 yard penalty for calling for NicktheStroker

October 5, 2022 1:20 pm

“they are parasitic on all other power generation technologies” – what a great summary of ruinables.

Andy Pattullo
October 5, 2022 1:22 pm

So Wind and solar turned out to be exactly what physics and economics said they would be, All the promises and lies about the magical, virtuous, perpetual motion machines of green energy appear to be exactly what you might expect from snake oil salesmen or any other immoral grifters.

October 5, 2022 2:08 pm

It’s not a surprise. I have 30kw of solar (yes it was subsidy mining). Yesterday I generated 22kw on a cloudy wet day, the day before it was sunny it generated 150kw. How anybody thinks they are going to run there ev, charge their battery and power their house off solar is beyond me. You can have 80%+ drop in output instantly when a storm comes over. Unreliable as a term really doesn’t explain it well enough. Maybe flaky people would understand better.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Simonsays
October 6, 2022 10:54 am

Yeah, its like relying on a teenager to do what he is told.

David A
October 5, 2022 3:17 pm

These very basic calculations just comparing the raw costs of supplying a unit of energy to the Grid are the tip of the cost iceberg, Weather-Dependent “Renewables” incur all manner of other costs and downsides not shown here.”

Indeed, especially when compared to traditional energy generation. Those conventional sources have a significant cost increase FROM the use of and laws surrounding the “renewables”. Also their percentage of use to capacity is negatively affected by the renewables.

David A
Reply to  David A
October 5, 2022 3:20 pm

The phrase, “Its worse than we thought” actually applies. And the finale overwhelming negative insane energy costs, lead directly to wars. (Witness the world today)

It is far far FAR worse than we thought.

David A
Reply to  David A
October 5, 2022 3:34 pm

…and the benefit of these “renewables”, did they save the world?
Did they change the GAT over a century by one degree from the projected catastrophic warming?

October 5, 2022 3:29 pm

Treadmills for convicts would be more valuable than Solar Power in the UK.

October 5, 2022 6:15 pm

Nice report, short, plain language, easy to understand in other words exactly what we need.

October 5, 2022 7:05 pm

There’s a decent chance that we’ll find out, real soon, how robust all the unreliables are when we get hit by a Carrinton Event scale solar storm. Right now old Sol is looking cranky and about to throw a hissy fit…..

October 5, 2022 10:29 pm

It is not at all clear whether the comparative cost of “conventional” and “renewable” power generation take into account the full life cycle costs of each technology over the full 60 or more years a conventional plant can be expected to last with good maintenance and refurbishment at relatively moderate cost.

In this 60 year timeframe, wind turbines with an expected service life of 20 years will need to be fully replaced (“repowered” by replacing with higher capacity units) at least three times, representing a multiplication of the initial capital investment, plus the costs of decommissioning, demolition and disposal. Thus, renewables require a never-ending rolling major capital investment programme just to keep standing still.

The more expensive offshore wind turines will likely require replacement up to four times in the same timeframe.

I do not believe the costs of shorter service life of the renewable technologies is considered in the comparative cost calculations.
Please correct me if I am wrong.

October 6, 2022 3:47 am

Excellent visuals and summary.

The sad thing is that we’re in the 3rd decade of the 21st century, and we’re having to fight the forces of literal and political darkness over things that were well understood a century ago.

October 6, 2022 3:48 am

There’s something wrong with the chart showing conventional generation. 90% would be in the range of baseload generation, but mid merit and peakers would be substantially less. If their conventional generation (including mid merit and peak) is really running at 90%, they’ve let their grid get completely screwed up. Alternatively it reflects only base load generation, but that should be reflected.

October 6, 2022 6:52 am

The engines on a 787 can and ate used for land based power generation, each at 100MW. Iagine straping 50 windmills to a 787, and the pilot can’t control the output.

The only reason your conventional genetation shows 90% is that they have to be run at suboptimal levels while filling in the troughs of wind. They are normally in the 95% and up even factoring in periodic maintenance.

October 6, 2022 3:52 pm

This is a misleading graph as far as system design and practicality. Renewables need to be compared economically on the absolute minimum power they generate at any point in time, not their average generated energy production. As an example, if wind has a name plate production of 1000 mw and a generated average production of 100 mw; so what. These figures cannot be used for designing a system. What counts is the minimum generated production at any point in time. If on a windless day the turbines put out 1 mw; then that is what you have to design your system around. Some form of power generation has to be able to fill in the gap. If not, the system goes down and everything goes black.

People have to get off the generated average and start making arguments on the minimum generated power. This is probably zero; making the argument for solar and wind baseless.

Reply to  SMS
October 6, 2022 8:01 pm

Just found this. It is better at explaining what I’m trying to get at.

Dr Burns
October 7, 2022 4:44 am

Do the wind and solar costs shown, include the costs of batteries?

Lawrence Ayres
October 7, 2022 7:58 pm

Would anyone sane buy a car costing 5 – 10 times the normal price that only works one day in five, when you never know which day that might be ? And then insist that its technology is used to power the whole economy.

Yep although the sane p[art might be a problem. Chris Bowen, Australia’s energy minister is one such fool and he has support from other impractical and ignorant politicians plus the brainwashed public service. We are led by fools advised by idiots.

Geoffrey Williams
October 8, 2022 2:55 pm

But they’ll keep on muddling on, because that’s what brits do best.
Eventually they may see the ‘communal light’. I don’t know for sure but maybe . .

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