We Must Demand a Demonstration Project of a Mainly Renewables-Based Electrical Grid


Francis Menton

Could anybody possibly be stupid enough to believe the line that wind and solar generators can provide reliable electricity to consumers that is cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels? It takes hardly any thought about the matter to realize that wind and solar don’t work when it is calm and dark, as it often is, and particularly so in the winter, when it is also generally cold. Thus a wind/solar electricity system needs full backup, or alternatively storage — things that add to and multiply costs. Surely, our political leaders and top energy gurus are fully aware of these things, and would not try to mislead the public about the cost of electricity from a predominantly wind/solar system.

If you think that, you must have missed the State of the Union Address yesterday. Nor is Presdident Biden alone in peddling the preposterous fantasy of cheap electricity from the wind and sun The internet is filled with seemingly authoritative voices asserting with complete confidence that wind and solar generators are the answer to providing consumers with cheaper electricity.

No amount of pointing to the failed experiments of places like Germany, the UK and California seems to get any traction. We need to demand a working demonstration project of a fully wind/solar system so that the full costs can be shown for all to see.

So there was President Biden last night talking about his great green energy plans.

Look, the Inflation Reduction Act is also the most significant investment ever to tackle the climate crisis. Lowering utility bills, creating American jobs, and leading the world to a clean energy future.

It’s so spectacularly contrary to reality that it doesn’t nearly do it justice to call it just a “lie.” In Germany and the UK, energy transition fantasies have led to electricity bills three times and more the U.S. average, and continuing to increase, and millions of ratepayers thrown into energy poverty. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the costs explode. They can build thousands of wind turbines and solar panels, but they can’t get rid of any of the dispatchable power plants because they are all needed for backup. So now they are paying for two duplicative systems. Then they must pay the dispatchable plants enough to cover their capital costs at half time usage. Then they must buy the fossil fuels for backup on spot markets where production has been suppressed by, for example, banning fracking.

But as I said, it’s not just President Biden who is too dumb to figure this out. Consider Mark Z. Jacobson, Professor at Stanford and tireless promoter of his WWS (water, wind and solar) system as the “low cost” way of the future. No amount of debunking of Jacobson’s models can keep him from endlessly repeating the same ridiculous claims. He got another shot just yesterday in the Guardian, headline “We don’t need ‘miracle’ technologies to fix the climate. We have the tools now”:

Wind, water and solar energy is cheap, effective and green. We don’t need experimental or risky energy sources to save our planet.

Jacobson goes on with endless mumbo jumbo about how his fantasy system can deliver electricity at low cost. Excerpt:

When combined with electricity storage, heat storage, cold storage and hydrogen storage; techniques to encourage people to shift the time of their electricity use (demand response); a well-interconnected electrical transmission system; and nifty and efficient electrical appliances, such as heat pumps, induction cooktops, electric vehicles and electric furnaces for industry, WWS can solve the ginormous problems associated with climate change at low cost worldwide.

Is there any such thing as a demonstration project on any scale — small, medium, or large — to vindicate these claims that such a future system would be “low cost”? Absolutely not. I would say that everybody with even half a brain knows that Jacobson is a charlatan. But then we have our President, not to mention the entire federal bureaucracy backed by trillions of dollars of annual taxpayer largesse, buying into his nonsense.

Nobody would be happier than me to see a demonstration project built that showed that wind and solar could provide reliable electricity at low cost. Unfortunately, I know too much about the subject to think that that is likely, or even remotely possible.

For the full article click here.

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Tom Halla
February 9, 2023 10:16 am

Even with very favorable siting and geology, El Hiero in the Canaries was a failure. Siting for pumped storage, the only installed grid scale storage, are rare, and would be fought by the green blob.
Weather dependent sources are just that. No amount of rhetoric can make the sun shine and the wind blow on demand.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 9, 2023 10:31 am

People mistakenly believe government wants something that actually works. In reality, they want a cash cow to milk and they really don’t care if they have to slaughter the cow.

Bryan A
Reply to  Scissor
February 9, 2023 3:37 pm

Requirements for the test to be accurate and provide proof of concept…
All energy is to be supplied by renewables.
…Electric Heating
…Electric Cooking
…Electric Water Heating
…Electric Cargo Transportation (inside test area)
…Electric Public Transportation
…Electric Air Transportation
…Electric Rail Transportation
…Electric or Sail only Water Transportation
…Zero Gasoline
…Zero Oil
…Zero Coal
…Zero Petrochemical Sourced Plastic
…Zero Petrochemical Sourced Rubber
…Zero Oil Sourced Asphalt
…Zero Coal Refined Structural Steel
…Zero Coal Refined Silicon
…Zero Synthetic Clothing
…Zero Make-up
…Zero synthetic Insulation
…Zero Any of the other more than 6000 items requiring Petrochemicals

Zero Grid Interconnections

Experiment to run for 5 years minimum
To be manned by Climate Scientists, XR types and Anyone named Thunberg

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
February 9, 2023 4:01 pm

To be manned by Climate Scientists, XR types and Anyone named Thunberg

Just to complete that Ship Of Fools, you’d want Nick and Steve to join the crew too?

Bryan A
Reply to  Mr.
February 9, 2023 5:53 pm

Nick, Steve AND Griff.
Excellent idea
And John Kerry should be Mayor

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
February 9, 2023 8:46 pm

Manniacal as sanitation collection, disposal and to properly recycle every particle of the renewable equipment.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 9, 2023 10:28 pm

“And John Kerry should be Mayor”

They are doomed!

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 9, 2023 11:04 am

We shouldn’t allow an ‘ideal’ location for a demonstration of NZ generation, but an atypical one. But the extreme Greens would run a mile from having to live without their (FF-derived) creature-comforts.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 9, 2023 12:55 pm

Transition to renewables is not going to happen any time soon not even in foreseeable future, it may even be an illusion.
This fact was clearly and scientifically demonstrated and documented at a talk given at Manhattan institute.
It is a bit long 45 min (I watched it in three 15 min chunks). To a superficially interested might be even boring, but contains lot of interesting facts.
note: link goes to the end of presentation, need to slide to left to the start.

Last edited 1 month ago by vuk
Reply to  vuk
February 9, 2023 2:17 pm

“Transition to renewables is not going to happen any time soon”

It has been happening for over 10 years.

Let’s get real — the energy transition is in progress.

And it is a nightmare, led by Climate Howler Global Whiners, not real scientists and grid engineers, whether they speak up or not.

I propose the Flounder Limit
(Not the Pollock Limit — wrong fish)

When a local utility reaches such a large percentage of unreliables that a blackout happens, they have reached their Flounder Limit — they can no longer match supply and demand of electricity, most likely at peak demand hours. The grid they are part of becomes unstable. And no utility can afford a huge amount of expensive batteries for grid stabilization.

So we actually need several utilities to flounder, with blackouts before people (voters) and fools (politicians) wake up. The Duck Curve will win in the end when there are too many unreliables.

When more than one utility reaches its Flounder Limit, with blackouts, politicians will start fearing adding more unreliables and getting more blackouts. And potentially losing their jobs.
I can’t tell you at what percentage of renewables that will happen — maybe with over 30%, 40%, or even 60% unreliables — the percentage will vary with local weather conditions — but Nut Zero will fail.

I am convinced most leftists know Nut Zero will fail and don’t care. They want the political power and control that an energy transition gives them.

And they want to ruin what works in socialist economies (includes the US) to promote their ultimate goal of totalitarianism (fascism or Marxism).

Socialism was not the ultimate goal of Obama’s fundamental transformation, We are already socialist by my definition, with total US government spending (federal, state and local) already at 34.5% of GDP in 2022 fiscal year, with most of the spending as transfer payments (handouts). I consider over 33% to be socialism.
Honest Climate Science and Energy

Bryan A
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 9, 2023 6:04 pm

And of course what was meant but you refuse to acknowledge was
The transition to 100% Renewable with no FF sourced energy for
…Air Freight
…Air Travel
New (non existing) non-petrochemical lightweight Plastics replacements
New (non existing) non-petrochemical sourced Rubber replacements

Lest you forget, Biden’s and the AOC 5s TRANSITION from FF will include ELIMINATING exploration, drilling, mining, and processing FFs.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 9, 2023 10:26 pm

I believe the energy transition will fail long before the grids are 100% unreliables.

Adding more EVs vs. ICEs, more electric heating vs, gas, and more electric appliances vs. gas, will just accelerate the Flounder Limits for electric utilities.

I don’t refuse to acknowledge anything — 100% electric everything is just a fairy tale, and I don’t read fiction.

Here in SE Michigan, an EV is charged with 58% coal when using electricity from DTE Energy. That fact prevented my “alternative energy” next door neighbor from buying an electric car last year.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 14, 2023 8:29 am

I believe it will depend more on where the blackouts occur than when. If they occur in in flyover country, it will just be an “inconvenience”. If around coastal California, north eastern Illinois or the east coast, then will the shinola hit the fan. But until the elites are “de-energized”, it will remain a ho-hum idea.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 9, 2023 1:17 pm

I have never considered El Hierro to be a serious attempt at an all renewables grid. At best, it was aimed at being able to run with just the wind and hydro when it was windy enough. It does manage to do that from time to time, though it took them some while to figure out that they needed to use the hydro by pumping in one penstock, and using the other to let the water fall downhill again without generating to be able to provide grid stabilisation.

The reservoirs – particularly the lower one – are far too small to allow for any lengthy storage. They had at least a three week lull being dependent on diesel in December.

Tom Halla
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 9, 2023 1:22 pm

I live in Texas, which can be hilly, but has very few sites suitable for pumped storage. Most other places are similar, plus pumped storage draws the wrath of greens, like Storm King in New York.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 9, 2023 2:09 pm

El Hierro generation during December as reported by REE.

El Hierro Dec 22.png
It doesnot add up
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 9, 2023 6:41 pm

More on El Hierro:

A production study has been carried out for the hybrid hydro-wind plant. The results obtained are that total demand on the island is 47.4 GWh. Available wind energy is 49.6 GWh. Wind energy that can reliably be produced during periods of demand is 25 GWh, with 9.2 GWh for pumping and 1.8 GWh for synchronous compensation. Hydroelectric production is expected to be 5.6 GWh, and in the end the hydro-wind plant is expected to provide 30.6 GWh during periods of demand, for a total of 64.56% of total energy needed for the island.

Hydro storage capacity & duration: I can find no published storage capacity estimates for El Hierro, but scaling down the Dinorwig pumped hydro plant in Wales (7 million cu meters of reservoir storage, 500 meters head, 1.72 GWh) to El Hierro dimensions (0.15 million cubic meters, 650 meters head) gives approximately 50 MWh, or about half the island’s average daily electricity consumption. If this estimate is correct the hydro system will be able to supply the island’s needs for only about twelve hours after the wind stops blowing, assuming it was fully charged to begin with.

That looks pretty accurate: the period of pumping at the end of the chart adds up to 61.5MWh consumed, which would imply an 81.3% round trip to give back 50MWh. It is very obvious that it would have been almost useless in the face of the long period of no wind.


Tom Halla
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 9, 2023 6:59 pm

As far as I know, El Hiero was the only place where an all wind and solar grid was tried. Greens not being able to do math is a given.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 12, 2023 12:48 pm

Although there is a LOT of hot air floating around about the subject of Climate Change, it’s mostly just bloviation, with no real substance!

February 9, 2023 10:35 am

Could anybody possibly be stupid enough to believe the line that wind and solar generators can provide reliable electricity to consumers that is cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels?

Can I nominate 2 candidates that readily come to mind?

Nick and Steve.

Reply to  Mr.
February 9, 2023 10:49 am

I think you give them way too much credit wrt their honesty & personal ethics.

Are they that stupid/ignorant, or did they do it on purpose?

February 9, 2023 10:35 am

I think so of the issues with solar are starting to come to light. It seems to me that Biden, Newsom et al are starting a make a change. Now, it looks like they want to bet the ranch on offshore wind. Sigh.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  honestyrus
February 9, 2023 1:34 pm

“Issues with solar starting to come to light.”

Pun intended? 😁

February 9, 2023 10:42 am

I’ve been saying this for years ….. proof of concept before committing resources and dismantling proven deliverables needs to be done for renewables. And not just a house, a city including businesses and government infrastructure. It can’t be done yet propaganda is leading people to believe it’s possible.

David Pentland
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
February 9, 2023 11:50 am

There is no need for a demonstration project.
The root cause is the propoganda that has led people to believe that there IS a climate crisis.
The comprehension of fundamental thermodynamics in the general population is minimal.

Dogma and ignorance go hand in hand.

Reply to  David Pentland
February 9, 2023 2:34 pm

This has nothing to do with thermodynamics. I took a thermodynamics course in college and would not wish that upon anyone.

Climate Howlers have a belief NOT based on facts, data and logic, so their minds can not be changed with facts, data and logic. That has been true since the 1970s, so far.

Climate Howling is a religious belief based on predictions of climate doom that began with the 1979 Charney Report. Every prediction of environmental doom has been wrong for over a century but the coming climate doom prediction has remained alive since 1979 with no sign of dying out. It took decades of leftist propaganda and in school indoctrination to accomplish that.

Some very smart people, in other ways, are susceptible to the appeal to government authority logical fallacy. For them, a leftist government’s pronouncements are the gospel. That’s the problem, not thermodynamics.

Reply to  David Pentland
February 9, 2023 2:36 pm

“The root cause is the propaganda that has led people to believe that there IS a climate crisis.The comprehension of fundamental thermodynamics in the general population is minimal.”
Add the subsidies.
Why is this not being investigated as racketeering. Isn’t this why the mafia jumped in in Italy?

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
February 9, 2023 2:26 pm

Old Project Management
Detailed plans
Feasibility analyses
Cost estimates for every part
Timing critical path studies
Successful pilot projects
(or similar prior projects that succeeded)

Been there done that in private industry
But that was old fogie project planning
And we were just creating a plan for a new pickup truck,
not saving the planet !

New Project Mismanagement
Long winded vision statement
Arbitrary completion date
No time for pilot projects — must save the planet.
Development of excuses why the project is failing, such as

“Nut Zero is not going according to plan, because there was no plan.”


“The dog ate the Nut Zero blueprints”

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
February 9, 2023 4:36 pm

I wish that you had told the South Australian government that. They’ve already blown up all of their coal fired power stations and are now utterly reliant on energy imports from out of state.

Reply to  Hivemind
February 10, 2023 12:14 am

I don’t think they are ‘utterly reliant on energy imports’, if this link is correct. The import/export percentage seems pretty small.


I don’t understand from this, however, how they are dealing with intermittency. They have minimal battery backup.

Francis Menton’s argument fits the UK very well. The UK has got itself into the position of having to pay wind generators not to generate, and at the same time having to ask households to cut back on power use while they buy in from Europe at inflated prices. And also at the same time running large amounts of gas generation.

If South Australia really is a counter example to the argument then it would be important to get a proper detailed account and an explanation of what is so different about it.

I don’t find Nick’s charts on imports/exports and pricing much help in assessing this. Maybe the OpenNEM site has the info required?


Francis is absolutely right in demanding a proper pilot project of course. I think Nick is arguing that there is one, and its South Australia. We need a proper analysis to assess this claim.

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
February 9, 2023 6:04 pm

It would be really easy to build a proof of concept: convince Arizona, Nevada et al to cut off their grids from California. The CA grid couldn’t be self sufficient even with the current relatively small share of solar/wind.

Reply to  Mantis
February 9, 2023 9:27 pm

Follow the money. They are in the business of selling.

Frank from NoVA
February 9, 2023 10:46 am

‘We need to demand a working demonstration project of a fully wind/solar system so that the full costs can be shown for all to see.’

One might as well ‘demand’ to see a working demonstration of a perpetual motion machine (PMM) that can do useful work – it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, the driving force behind implementing wind and solar energy is political, not economic, so failure to provide such a demonstration is not considered a barrier.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
February 9, 2023 11:54 am

We already have many working demonstrations. There are loads of off-grid homes here in Colorado and elsewhere. For $50K of so, you can power your own house. Be prepared to limit your use, have a backup fossil fuel generator, and of course heating is a separate system – powered by fossil fuels. Assuming 150 million households in the US, that is how far 7.5 trillion could take you.

Reply to  Vaprrs
February 9, 2023 12:28 pm

Too right.

“Renewable wind & solar power supply” should correctly be called “Supplemental”

Reply to  Mr.
February 9, 2023 2:36 pm

Unreliables are “100% overbuilding”, more than supplemental energy. The grids did not need supplements.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Vaprrs
February 9, 2023 3:01 pm

Don’t forget that jobs will be created climbing onto roofs to wash and clean the solar panels to keep them in tip top performance, except at night.

Reply to  doonman
February 9, 2023 4:25 pm

Some jobs may be created but I expect the great majority of home systems to get cleaned every few years rather than almost continuously, as is necessary for optimum functioning under many, if not most, conditions.

Curious George
Reply to  doonman
February 9, 2023 5:51 pm

These will be night jobs. A danger of electrocution at daytime.

Reply to  doonman
February 10, 2023 2:10 pm

Given the Spanish experience, also at night. The searchlight cleaning is for day shift.

Reply to  Vaprrs
February 9, 2023 4:38 pm

I’m also aware of these. The critical point, though, is that you need a backup fossil fuel generator capable of running your entire home. Many states (and even countries in Europe) don’t have sufficient backup power.

Reply to  Hivemind
February 9, 2023 9:42 pm

While they may not be limited to the upper 0.1%, few people have any chance of affording “a backup fossil fuel generator capable of running your entire home”.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
February 10, 2023 6:30 am

“Unfortunately, the driving force behind wind and solar energy is political”

A group of 10 MPs/Lords wrote a letter to the Guardian 9 Feb – excerpt:-

‘Over the past year, support for green policies in parliament has strengthened, not weakened, as the link between net zero and energy security has become ever clearer. Net zero means energy security. Net zero means clean energy. And net zero means lower bills.

At the same time as reducing our reliance on volatile oil and gas, we can cut the cost of living and meet our climate targets…………….so that our constituents are better off tomorrow than today’

How can they be so wrong?

Beta Blocker
February 9, 2023 10:57 am

Australia would seem to be the perfect candidate for a continental-scale demonstration project for Mark Jacobson’s WWS theories. Lots of sun, lots of wind, and a political class which appears willing to do whatever it takes to make a Net Zero power grid a reality.

Or not ….

If actions speak louder than words — or more aptly, if lack of action speaks louder than words — is Australia’s political class truly on board with creating a Net Zero power grid?

If they were truly on board with Net Zero, they would publish a detailed plan of action for a Net Zero power grid for Australia. That detailed plan would include a complete engineering analysis model of a Net Zero Australian grid, one which could then be used for estimating the material, the financial, and the human resources needed to deliver a Net Zero grid on the politician’s desired schedule.

Australia’s plan of action must also include a hard-target schedule for the shutdown of their coal-fired power plants; a resource-loaded plan and schedule for procuring and installing the wind turbines, the solar farms, and the grid-scale battery facilities needed to support a Net Zero grid; and a comprehensive task list for each and every activity large and small needed to get from here to there.

We should now ask Nick Stokes if he is on board with pressuring Australia’s politicians to deliver a Net Zero plan of action. While we are at it, we should also ask Steven Mosher if he is likewise on board with pressuring America’s politicians to deliver a similar Net Zero plan of action.

Last edited 1 month ago by Beta Blocker
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Beta Blocker
February 9, 2023 11:08 am

Nick will just tell you that ‘wind and solar are all good because there are no fuel costs and any excess energy produced can be diverted to new uses or exported’. There it is in exactly 25 words!

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Beta Blocker
February 9, 2023 12:13 pm

“We should now ask Nick Stokes if he is on board with pressuring Australia’s politicians to deliver a Net Zero plan of action.”

Politicians do what they think people will like. Folks always have suggestions.

The obvious place to watch in Oz is South Australia. If you search WUWT for “crash rest dummy” you’ll get about forty mentions of SA, mainly referring to their blowing up their coal plants in 2017. But they are actually doing very well. Here is a plot of how prices have fared since:

comment image

SA is the yellow line. In coal days they were the most expensive. Now they are mid-range. But more significantly, they went from being big importers of power to being net exporters.

comment image

How? Says the SA Gov

“In just over 15 years South Australia’s electricity mix has shifted from below 1% renewables to almost 70% of energy generated by wind and solar, supported by innovative battery storage technologies and gas.  By 2025-26 the Australian Energy Market Operator forecasts this could rise to approximately 85%.”


Last edited 1 month ago by Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 12:30 pm

And how much do they pay to use the ‘battery’ that exists over the border in the form of coal and gas fired generators in the rest of the grid or have you blinkered that out?

If you don’t include the backup, then you are not being honest. If SA couldn’t dump their excess or drain from a reliable grid then not only do they pay high power prices but they would be dark more than half the time.

Nick, when people ask for a demonstration plant, they mean the WHOLE system, you’ve just looked at the side that leans on the reliables. You need to look at a true isolated example. Consider an island without an extension lead.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Eng_Ian
February 9, 2023 12:47 pm

And how much do they pay to use the ‘battery’ that exists over the border”

They make money from exporting power.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 3:17 pm

At negative prices? One of your better jokes…

SA Gen Feb 23.png
Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 10, 2023 5:05 am

What caused that MASSIVE spike in energy prices back in Feb 2022?

Putin in Ukraine!
Caused by unrest generated price increases and a lack of assured domestic supply bringing dependence on international markets for FF energy fuels

Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 12:44 pm

What is SA planning to do when Vic goes the same way with wind & solar?

The conversation might go –

SA to Vic – “Can I scrounge a few GWh from you now Vic?”

Vic to SA – “Fool. It’s night time now, so no solar, and the wind is blowing 40 knots, so no wind, and our batteries are already down to their last 25 minutes remaining of the whole 3 hours capacity they had to start with. Try Tasmania.”

SA – “Tassie wants $4.6 million a MWh. In advance. You know half of our population here is on welfare, so they can’t afford electricity as it is. Can you lend us some money for diesel fuel then?”

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mr.
February 9, 2023 12:50 pm

SA doesn’t need diesel. They export gas too.

Tassie is a very good battery.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 1:37 pm

Tassie is a very good battery.

Do they have pumped hydro now?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  old cocky
February 9, 2023 1:51 pm

Not that I know of. They have rain and big dams.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 3:17 pm

More backup than battery, then.
From what I saw, there seem to be quite a few small hydro plants down there.
Providing downstream reservoirs for the bigger facilities to allow them to be used as pumped hydro might be useful for evening out in-day fluctuations.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 5:52 pm

They have rain and big dams.

But climate guru Tim Flannery asserted a few years ago that
“even the rains that fall won’t fill the rivers and dams”.

One of you is wrong Nick.

Care to call it?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 1:39 pm

Nick, don’t you get it that regardless of whether you occasionally have some excess power you can sell to a neighbor, if you still have to regularly import your power needs from somewhere else because you have no generating capacity or sufficient reserves yourself to get through the doldrums, you are not, and never going to be, a self-sufficient ‘renewables’ provider.

And as for diesel –


Screenshot 2023-02-09 133819.jpg
Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mr.
February 9, 2023 1:59 pm

Barker Inlet is mainly gas. The rest are small rural stations totalling 137 MW. The gas plant at Torrens Island alone is 1280 MW.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 2:50 pm

Whooa there Nick.

A few comments back you wrote –

“SA doesn’t need diesel”.

So what – are they wasting even more taxpayers $$$s on installing diesel generator fleets that they don’t even need?

And do these unneeded costs get included in the “cheapest” (cough) electricity that money can buy?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mr.
February 9, 2023 3:19 pm

As in much of the world, small rural towns have diesel generators. Whatever the city grid source is.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 6:47 pm

You know full well that the SA government installed diesels at considerable expense because they were at risk of more blackouts.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 3:51 pm

Snowy Hydro says their 3 power stations are peakers, rather than local supply.

According to https://www.energycouncil.com.au/analysis/barker-inlet-a-new-technology-responding-to-the-market/, the Barker Inlet power station is dual fuel, so may be running on diesel if gas is hard to come by.

Reply to  old cocky
February 9, 2023 4:24 pm

Apparently they’re spending $2,174.90 per MWh for “Distillate” according to It Doesnot Add Up’s comment & table above.

I don’t know why this cost is being incurred, since Nick assured us that
“SA doesn’t need diesel”.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 1:53 pm
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 1:18 pm

Re. the chart, for us foreigners, what are the explanations for 1) the SA spike in Q1_2019, 2) why all regions bottomed out during 2020 and 3) why all regions spiked during 2022? Also, do you have revenue / expense numbers to go with the import/export amounts in the table?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
February 9, 2023 3:17 pm

1) It’s harder to see, but Vic followed an identical path, and they are connected. I think power demand in a hot summer, it a tight period just after the closure of Hazlewood.
2) Covid
3) Ukraine
I don’t have revenue numbers.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 4:30 pm

Thanks. No. 1 is likely unique to SA, but 2 and 3 clearly show that conventional sources were on the margin and that SA was middle of the pack. Obviously, without revenue numbers, it would be difficult to assess the efficacy of wind and solar.

Last edited 1 month ago by Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
February 9, 2023 4:47 pm

The spike in 2020 is because nobody is drilling for gas anymore. The feral government has announced maximum prices, so expect supply to fall through the floor this winter.

Reply to  Hivemind
February 9, 2023 4:49 pm

Correction: 2022

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 1:40 pm

Annual is meaningless in this context. It needs to be daily and preferably hourly. When there’s not enough power it’s instaneous shutdown for at least some customers. How about a chart like those on Gridwatch for the UK so we can see in detail?

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
February 10, 2023 12:02 am

There is what appears to be an equivalent here:


I haven’t studied it to see what it shows, in particular whether South Australia is a counter example to Francis Menton’s argument.

There is a summary of it from a renewable enthusiast here:


Again, don’t know what this shows, if anything.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 4:44 pm

When you say that SA was most expensive before the days of wind, I think that you mean around $4 per MWh. Now we’re over $250 per MWh. Hardly what I’d call a success.

The reason all the South-Eastern states are similar prices is because they’re all tied together into an integrated grid, which is the only reason SA is able to continue to function. They import massive amounts of power from Vic and NSW.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
February 9, 2023 7:49 pm

W O W…
Now THATS a Hockey Stick

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Beta Blocker
February 9, 2023 1:39 pm

Don’t encourage them. They’ll just serve up a pack of lies and keep milking the taxpayers for more, more, more.

Reply to  Beta Blocker
February 9, 2023 2:40 pm

I gather you do NOT live in Australia?

I anticipate the Climate Howler Global Whiner’s response to your excellent comment:

“A plan, a PLAN. A PLAN, we don’t need no stinkin’ plans, because we are trying to save the planet from a climate emergency”

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Beta Blocker
February 9, 2023 2:42 pm

I forgot to mention Nick the Stroker and Mr. Masher are the Abbott and Costello of the WUWT website.
Moderator Bail
Wake up Charles.

old cocky
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 9, 2023 3:57 pm

We used to have an Abbott and Costello in parliament. Mr Costello was Treasurer in the Howard government, and Mr Abbott was Prime Minister some years later.

I don’t recall them doing “Who’s on First?”

Reply to  Beta Blocker
February 9, 2023 4:28 pm

Government plans are always a security issue so classified and never to be revealed to the riff raff.

Right-Handed Shark
February 9, 2023 11:01 am

Nocturnal solar panels and static windmills are just around the corner.
Any day now.

Last edited 1 month ago by Right-Handed Shark
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
February 9, 2023 11:03 am

Hopefully, you’ll let your friends here in on the IPO!

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
February 9, 2023 11:09 am

Star light powered!

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
February 9, 2023 2:45 pm

Portable nuclear powered fans and portable nuclear powered spotlights are the high technology answer for lack of wind and the lack of sun.

Richard Greene
Graduwait, edumacated at the famous
Rube Goldberg School of Engineering
in Beer Bottle Crossing, Idaho 
And “The Big Cheese” at the Greene Energy Machine Company, where 1,963 one percent shares are still available for $1000 each.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
February 9, 2023 11:09 am

Better still… set such a pilot project up to provide power to the White house; to Congress; and to all Government offices… no absentee-ism from work. Parliament hill in Canada, and the Prime Minister’s house, is another good one. Remove all grid connections first, of course… we can’t have them cheating.

I think it would very soon be resolved.

Andy Pattullo
February 9, 2023 11:12 am

Lies are as effective as the lied-to are ignorant. When the audience lacks or refuses to use critical thinking the liar’s task is easy. When the media that act as the populace’s conduit to information are complicit in the conspiracy of lies then the market for snake ooil goes through the roof and everyone but the liars get poorer, hungrier and colder.

Krishna Gans
February 9, 2023 11:21 am

Physics are stronger than wishfull thinking, that’s why we will never see such a demontration 😀

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 9, 2023 11:42 am

I agree. ‘They’ know it would fail. That would stop the green nonsense in its tracks. So such a large scale demo will never be created. They already tried on a small scale at El Hiero; it failed.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 9, 2023 1:09 pm

There was Pellworm too if I remember well.
North Sea island Pellworm shows the problems in miniature
The North Sea island of Pellworm is a prime example of the energy transition. It shows on a small scale that the energy transition cannot work as planned, even on a large scale. On Pellworm, there are or were wind turbines in the hands of citizens, solar parks, storage batteries and biogas plants – everything that politicians discuss with regard to the energy transition. Renewable energies produce seven times more electricity on the island in the Wadden Sea than is needed there.
Nevertheless, the island cannot supply itself with energy.

Last edited 1 month ago by Krishna Gans
John Power
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 10, 2023 8:13 am

It gets worse. From the article at your link:
Hope now rests on hydrogen
Now people on Pellworm are betting on hydrogen. On Pellworm, they are discussing producing hydrogen on site with the surplus electricity. This will then be used to operate the ferry to the mainland. Again, a cost-intensive undertaking, the outcome of which is uncertain.”
I’ll say it’s uncertain! Hydrogen is a corrosive, practically unliquifiable, highly explosive gas with a Houdini-like ability to escape from virtually any container in which you try to keep it. They’ll be lucky if they don’t blow up the whole island.

February 9, 2023 11:29 am

How about producing windmills and solar panels exclusively with wind and and solar energy?

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Mikeyj
February 9, 2023 1:48 pm

Including all related transport?!

Reply to  Mikeyj
February 10, 2023 1:11 am

Well — Thats the plan…lol!

February 9, 2023 11:31 am

“Nobody would be happier than me to see a demonstration project built that showed that wind and solar could provide reliable electricity at low cost.”

Wind and solar and low cost are oxymorons, the reason wind and solar need to be subsidized up to their armpits

Wind and Solar are Molly-Coddled up to Their Armpits
Grossly Excessive Financial Incentives: About 45 to 50% of the “wind, all-in LCOE” (levelized cost of energy) of wind turbine projects consists of various financial in incentives. I have the 20-y spreadsheets.
If no financial incentives were available, Owners would have to sell their electricity at almost 2 times the price, c/kWh, they now receive, which would be very bad PR for wind.
Wind Output is Variable Almost 100% of the Time: I looked at the hour-to-hour wind output in New England (ISO-NE website) for an entire year, 8766 hours. I was bleary eyed.
I found there ALWAYS was some wind output. It was NEVER zero.
Wind output is variable almost 100% of the time 
Counteracting Variable Wind Output: What makes wind a grid disturber, or very expensive, or very uneconomical (take your pick) is the VARIABLE output, because OTHER generators (likely gas-fired power plants) HAVE to counteract, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, the variable wind outputs, UP TO NEAR ZERO wind output, 24/7/365, year after year.
By exporting excess electricity, such as to Quebec, via not-yet-existing HV DC lines, NE generators will do less counteracting, but Quebec generators will do more counteracting; there is no free lunch in the real engineering world. 
Cost of Counteracting Variable Wind Output: The counteracting costs imposed on the other generators will be an addition to the “all-in LCOE” of the other generators. 
Depending on grid conditions/topology, that cost addition is:
Less than 5% at up to 5% annual wind penetration,
About 5% at about 10% wind penetration,
About 10% at about 15% wind penetration, etc., as proven in Ireland at 17% wind

That cost addition becomes very large at high levels of wind penetration, because more and more of the other generators will be operating less economically, due to:
1) Ramping up/down, at about 75% of rated output, to counteract, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, the variable wind outputs; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh 
2) Being on hot, synchronous standby, and cold standby; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh 
3) Having much more fuel-guzzling cold start and stops; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh 
4) Having much more wear and tear, more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh.
5) Producing less, but more expensive electricity, due to inefficiently operating, at a lesser capacity factor, with wind on the grid
NOTE: The more wind and solar on the grid, the larger the electricity quantities that need to be counteracted, and the greater the cost of the counteracting services, as proven in Germany and Ireland.
Ignoring the Money and Environmental Impacts?  
The public not looking at the wind project spreadsheets and not being made aware of wind’s lifetime adverse environmental consequences, is exactly what “rich folks with tax-shelters and their protectors” want.
Over the decades, those folks have set up nationwide PR structures to lie and cheat every-which-way to get their projects approved, built and paid for in Europe and the US.
In that manner, wind is ARTIFICIALLY made to LOOK economically and socially palatable to the kept-ignorant/deluded/brainwashed ratepayers and taxpayers.
The PR ideal is to make “skunk-wind” perceived as a “low-maintenance, perfumed beauty at a garden party”.
To sum up, wind gets:
1) Various federal and state financial incentives,
2) Plus, free electric grid expansion/augmentation,
3) Plus, free backup/standby power plant services
4) Plus, free grid management services
5) Plus, free hazardous waste disposal during project life, and at end of life,
6) Plus, free legalized killing of bats and birds, including bald eagles, and killing of whales,
7) Plus, free legalized ruining of the fishing industry,
8) Plus, free sickening of people and animals with infrasound, which is felt, but not heard, kills whales, causes birth defects in lobsters,
9) Plus, free visual blight all over the place
There would be no wind, solar and battery systems without the huge, politics-inspired, financial incentives.
Thank heavens, ISO-NE has, till now, adequate backup/standby plants, plus adequate natural gas and fuel oil storage capacity near power plants, to INSTANTLY COUNTERACT, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, the variable outputs and absences of wind and solar, 24/7/365, year after year. 

Reply to  wilpost
February 9, 2023 1:42 pm

Wind and Solar are wonderful for households in Germanyhttps://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/what-german-households-pay-electricity

German Household Electricity Prices in 2022 (2nd half of year)

Total price: 40.07 Eurocent/kWh*

Supplier’s cost (51.5%)
The profit margin and supplier’s cost of purchasing electricity on the wholesale market – 20.64 ct/kWh

Grid fees (20.2%)
Charges for the use of the power grid, set by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) – 8.08 ct/kWh

Sales tax (VAT) (16%)
The sales tax is 19 percent on the pre-tax price of electricity. It makes up 16 percent of the price after tax – 6.4 ct/kWh

Electricity tax (5.1%) 
A tax on the consumption of power, also known as ’ecological tax‘ in Germany – 2.05 ct/kWh

Concession levy (4.1%)
A levy on the use of public space for power transmission lines that the utility passes on to the consumer – 1.66 ct/kWh, depending on the size of the affected area.

Offshore liability levy (1.1%)
Grid operators must pay damages if they fail to connect offshore wind farms in a timely manner in order to sell the power they produce. Operators can pass these costs on to consumers through this levy – 0.4 ct/kWh.

Surcharge for combined heat and power plants (0.9%)
Operators of combined heat and power (CHP) plants receive a guaranteed price on the electricity they sell. The difference between the guaranteed price and the actual price they receive on the market is financed through this surcharge – 0.37 ct/kWh.

Levy for industry rebate on grid fees (1.1%)
Large power consumers are partially or totally exempt from grid charges. These costs are distributed among consumers via this levy, amounting to 0.43 ct/kWh.
[*Difference to 100% due to rounding. Source:BDEW 2022]

February 9, 2023 11:32 am

“Surely, our […] top energy gurus are fully aware of these things, and would not try to mislead the public about the cost of electricity from a predominantly wind/solar system.”

Is there anyone in the UK who hasn’t heard Dale Vince (Ecotricity) repeatedly doing exactly that? And he gets away with it too. I’ve never heard an interviewer challenge him. Far from it. They have the air of people charmed to be vouchsafed wisdom from on high.

February 9, 2023 11:55 am

Wind and solar are free!


But catching it and turning it into usable energy isn’t.

Reply to  bobpjones
February 9, 2023 4:41 pm

Rain used to be free but in some places it is now illegal to capture or make use of the rain that falls on your property. Would ti be surprising if those off-grid properties eventually get hit with high fees or taxes because of the wind, sunshine, or anything else, they use?

Michael in Dublin
February 9, 2023 11:58 am

This is what we need: a small scale pilot project for a town say of 75 000 people like Upington in South Africa. This is a desert town in South Africa on the banks of its largest river. The country is wasting a huge sum on a massive solar project. It could spend 10% of this to prove it works or does not work for this town and then decide on the feasibility of the huge project.

https://www.biznews.com/energy/2023/01/17/sas-biggest-solar-reservoir-compared-world-reserves (and read the comments)

David Dibbell
February 9, 2023 12:01 pm

Good summary of our sorry state of misguided thinking. The proponents really do not care that there is no working demonstrator out there as a prototype. Surely it will work out if only we would believe!

Let’s see what Elon Musk has to say in a few weeks.. “Master Plan 3, the path to a fully sustainable energy future for Earth will be presented on March 1. The future is bright!” (with graphic “Investor Day Giga Texas Mar 01”). Hey Elon, will there be a prototype, say, in a few months, to begin a 2-year trial?

China and India already know what to do. They are building brand new fleets of low-pollution coal-fired power plants, while also pushing ahead with nuclear.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Dibbell
Reply to  David Dibbell
February 9, 2023 4:43 pm

Surely it will work out if only we would believe!

Isn’t there a long standing claim about moving mountains?

February 9, 2023 12:08 pm

Not only that, Germany electricity is done in a way that blatantly breaks the free, unbiased commerce rule: in Germany, some consumers pay a lot (with taxes) and others pay (relatively) little, by buying at market price. (Market price went through the roof but used to be quite low.)

That’s clearly against the EU law: you can’t have some German intensive consumers who pay little compared to other German consumers. That’s a subsidy.

Many years ago, France would have been right to call them out and if not fixed, to do vigilante economic justice: to punish German producers with illegal punitive taxes.
Also, the EU court and some institutions reside in France so they better be nice, or else…

But there is nobody in France capable of saying to a EU country: be nice or else.
Unless that country is a Višegrad country, like Hungary, plays by the EU rules, and is punished by the EU.
Or when Poland is the one country defending the frontier of the EU free movement area. They get criticize when they respect the spirit of the EU law and apply the letter of the EU law.

Any French politician need only to say: my EU politics will be “or else”, and I won’t say more.
(You need a guy with some credibility.)

Ben Vorlich
February 9, 2023 12:09 pm

This is interesting. Rum is a small islaand population of about 40 (a tenth of the 18th century population) and area of 10,463 hectares in the Inner Hebrides.


Extract – my bold
The new system has provided system balance – so peak loads can be accommodated using the hydro generation only and providing automatic control of the diesels when needed. These have resulted in 24hour power, reduced diesel consumption and reduced maintenance.
There are plans for new buidings on the island and an increasing population. In order to help with shortfall in hydro power over the summer months addition of a PV array is being considered.

Around 2005-2010 the Western Isles and NW Scotland had a drought which would have scuppered th hydro part of the system. As the renewables can’t cope with a population of 40 then it would never cope with the 18th century population

Rum is a bit of a Eco Haven, but remote islands usually are to a greater or lesser extent through necessity as much as anything else.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
February 9, 2023 4:55 pm

I’d be interested to see how long they need to run the diesels to keep power at 100%. My suspicion is that it would be quite a high proportion of the day (night, rather).

February 9, 2023 12:10 pm

I can think of no better Metro region for a demonstration than Sacramento California. It has everything going for it to be successful. Sunshine, wind, water, weather. Start there. Then the Washington DC metro area.

Len Werner
February 9, 2023 12:50 pm

Why not model it? Climate scientists (please understand I use that term as you would) claim infallibility of models, even to the point that they can model climate 50 years in advance–what would be wrong with demanding a model of wind and solar done to the same sophistication of climate models and projecting out as far into the future?

Once the laws of nature, physics and economics are applied with rigour to ‘renewables’ the indications will be sobering. If nothing else such an approach will demonstrate that the entire facade has nothing to do with climate, and all to do with meeting the WEF’s projection that ‘by 2030 you will own nothing and be happy’.

I suspect there is indeed a net zero planned for our future, but as a (related) retired engineer I know recently opined–it is to yours and my net net worth, not to CO2.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Len Werner
February 9, 2023 2:00 pm

Again, don’t encourage them. Their “model” will provide the impossible answer they desire, and they’ll continue to soak the taxpayers chasing their stupid fantasy.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Len Werner
February 9, 2023 2:31 pm

Len Werner: “Why not model it? Climate scientists (please understand I use that term as you would) claim infallibility of models, even to the point that they can model climate 50 years in advance–what would be wrong with demanding a model of wind and solar done to the same sophistication of climate models and projecting out as far into the future?”

We already have the tools, the techniques, and the prior experience needed to develop a sophisticated engineering analysis model of a Net Zero power grid for the entire United States.

If it existed, that engineering model could then be used for estimating the material resources, the financial resources, and the human resources needed to deliver a Net Zero power grid for the US by the year 2035, and to maintain and operate that power grid for another sixty-five years through the year 2100.

For this kind of engineering analysis to be worthwhile, the assumptions contained in the basis of estimate (BOE) used for determining the capital and the operating costs must be fully transparent and be fully open to review and criticism. Are the assumptions being made realistic, or are they pie-in-the-sky?

For one example, if the basis of estimate for grid-scale energy storage assumes that Moore’s Law applies to battery capital and replacement costs, then knowledgeable critics of the study can yell foul.

OK, so we create an initial iteration of the engineering model which covers the replacement by 2035 of 90% of our legacy fossil-fuel generation capacity with wind, solar, battery backup, and a few gigawatts of new-build nuclear.

We then do a technical and financial risk assessment of the first model iteration and discover that it is impossible, for a variety of reasons, to create a Net Zero grid which fully covers our legacy fossil-fuel generation capacity. What happens next in the evolution of this feasibility study?

What happens next is that we estimate the size of the gap between what the grid supplies today and what a wind & solar powered grid can actually supply by the year 2035. Assuming the gap is as large as we might expect it to be, our public policy decision makers then decide how they want to handle the situation.

Do they cover the shortfall with a serious program of energy conservation a.k.a. demand management a.k.a. energy rationing? Do they slow the schedule of the Net Zero transition to some realistic target? (Assuming such an extended target is actually feasible.)

Or …. do they ignore the study altogether and move forward with business as usual as if the study had never been done in the first place?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Len Werner
February 10, 2023 9:55 am

But they do model it. Falsely. Like this. Note the unchallenging seasonality as well as the worst case being better than anything in the historic record by quite a margin.

Wind Cap Fac EMBER.png
It doesnot add up
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 10, 2023 2:17 pm

Here’s the solar – again a high annual factor as a worst case, and unchallenging seasonality.

Solar Cap Fac EMBER.png
It doesnot add up
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 10, 2023 2:19 pm

Corrected version of wind chart, omitting annual average end points that inadvertently only cover 3 quarters.

Wind Cap Fac EMBER.png
February 9, 2023 1:35 pm

Very good, straight forward and in plain language. It is very important to define terms like “demand response”, a term thrown around like it is a solution to a glitch in an otherwise well functioning system. When in reality it is telling customers when they can use power, especially electricity, and when they can’t. In other words they are wanting to control us.

Chris Hanley
February 9, 2023 1:42 pm

it doesn’t nearly do it justice to call it just a “lie”

Biden merely delivers what is put before him, my favorite moment was when he went off-script and brought the house down by declaring ‘we’re going to need oil for at least another decade’.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
February 9, 2023 6:14 pm

And then he suggested that companies should embark on a (20-year) program to increase fossil fuel supplies. I put that in parentheses because he has no idea that increasing fossil fuel supplies will be a 20 year endeavor, especially with his convoluted permitting processes. They have no clue, just no clue.

George Daddis
February 9, 2023 1:42 pm

“..When combined with electricity storage, heat storage, cold storage and hydrogen storage..”
How do journalists let them get away with this?

“Combined with a 2 million dollar lottery win” I could purchase that Ferrari I have coveted.
(If only I had thought to buy a lottery ticket!)

February 9, 2023 1:45 pm

NutZero is a pipe-dream. Wind and Solar are sterile energy sources, so even with battery backup, fossil fuels will still be needed just to build this infrastructure. Then the CO2 produced by this build process will need to be accounted for — catch 22. Maybe they can convert all the dead whales, birds and other creatures into renwable fuels to make up for it? hey.. it might make the process carbon neutral /s

February 9, 2023 1:48 pm

There have been demonstration projects

They all failed unless you can call burning garbage or wood “green”
And even then the garbage and wood had to be imported.
Samso Island Denmark is a perfect example.

So there will be no more pilot projects. … But Full Speed Ahead with Nut Zero until the blackouts hit. or the money runs out.

And the pilot projects such as Samso Island do not account for energy used to build products elsewhere that are used locally, such as electric vehicles and electric appliances So there is still a lot of non-green energy used for manufacturing products used on the island.

No matter what actually happens, a pilot project like Samso will be spun as a victory — leftists lying as usual, in this sample report:

Samso Island, Denmark | Hitachi Energy

The best climate science and energy articles I’ve read each morning are always listed at: Honest Climate Science and Energy

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
February 9, 2023 1:56 pm

Calling perfessor Jacobson…..calling perfessor Jacobson….?
South African president declares ‘state of disaster’ over power crisis (msn.com)
but personally I wouldn’t trust lefties to run a chook raffle.

Edward Katz
February 9, 2023 2:13 pm

And we won’t see it until very large capacity storage batteries are developed able to power entire cities. What’s ironic about this reality is that the advocates for renewables fail to realize it and continue to babble away about the urgency to eliminate fossil fuels in favor of wind and solar. The whole argument is like building a reservoir full of holes and wondering why there are continuing water shortages.

February 9, 2023 2:34 pm

As an HV PM for 40+ years, I know it won’t work, the green blob knows it won’t work, therefore they will never build a model that definitively shows it won’t work – it’s all about money, not reliable, affordable energy

February 9, 2023 2:54 pm

Nut Zero pilot project planned for small Amish community in PA.
Expected to be 100% renewables
Will sell electricity elsewhere and make a profit
The Amish almost never use electricity.
They use horses and buggies and hand tools.
It is acceptable within Amish communities to use some limited forms of electricity (such as battery power for the lights on their buggies), and some machinery (such as tractors without rubber tires).
Mabve that’s our future too?

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 9, 2023 6:21 pm

You give the Amish too little credit. They use electricity to run the refrigeration systems in their dairy barns and milk tanks, probably milking machines, and the computers they need to run the business. It is the only way they can meet USDA standards for milk production, and they will do what it takes to stay in business. Now, inside the house is another story—the family can live in the 18th century.

Reply to  starzmom
February 9, 2023 10:38 pm

Are you trying to ruin my already lame joke?
I did mention “some machinery”

February 9, 2023 2:58 pm

When energy costs go up, everything is cheaper. It’s what liberals think because they say that all the time.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  doonman
February 10, 2023 7:05 am

Yep. Here’s what 10MPs/Lords said in a letter in Grauniad 9th Feb

‘Net zero means energy security. Net zero means clean energy. And net zero means lower bills’

Meanwhile their constituents are facing the highest electricity bills ever and they are due to rise again in April.

Dave Fair
February 9, 2023 3:56 pm

Fascinating that Nut Zero utility resource plans rely on “emissions-free backup generation.” The plans would have been just as realistic had they cited fusion generation backup. Emissions-free backup generation systems do not exist and there are no plans for their development.

Just another symptom of English Lit majors designing our energy and transportation systems of the future. FJB and FLeftists.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 10, 2023 7:10 am

Don’t worry the UK Government has launched a task force to build the UK’s first prototype fusion reactor in West Burton, Nottinghamshire by 2040.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will still be around to see it fail!

February 9, 2023 4:31 pm

Is there any such thing as a demonstration project on any scale

I think that there have been one or two islands where they tried to use wind and/or solar to pump water upstream so they could later use it as hydro to cover bad supply times. However, neither worked. They had to keep using their diesel generator, more or less continuously.

In other words, it’s been tried and failed.

Bill Parsons
February 9, 2023 11:17 pm

I like Francis Menton’s bold call to action. I suggest that his sample project needs to be conducted in a city with a population of, say, 10,000.

Georgetown, Texas Mayor Dale Ross claims his city, 30 miles north of Austin, is 100 % run off of renewables and is “the most beautiful city on planet earth.” I wouldn’t know about either claim, but perhaps he would open up his utility ledgers for a close audit of total costs to build and operate, and who knows, Georgetown might be the first city to verify a claim of 100% renewables at sustainable prices. Odds are that such an audit would reveal that their citizens endure unpublicized shortages, cost overruns, supplemental power from the pre-existing grid, or ongoing subsidies. Their 100% renewables grid looks like this:

comment image

And Energy News Network said in 2019 they really haven’t achieved what they claim.


Maybe a bigger sample size is needed. There are fifty king-sized ghost cities in China… maybe the Chinese would like to claim the first fully renewable (if empty) city. They could simulate normal power consumption by AI. The’ve built a Paris of the Orient over there which could be the Asian City of Lights. Closer to home (and easier to audit)…

U.S. has some decent sized ghost towns. Let Bill Gates or Elon Musk put up the cash to wire Jerome, Nevada with renewables and batteries and run a five-year test there.

Greens have been claiming they could do this for years. Clearly, the fact that none of their wealthiest spokesmen have endearvored to “finish the job” – and prove irrefutably that renewables can do what they are touted to do – is a hefty indictment of their desire not to be embarrassed and an example of the common business sense that allowed them to prosper in the first place.

But yes, by all means, let there be an open contest with a reward for the first successful city-wide design that can function as efficiently and at costs as low as a city fueled by unhampered fossil fuel generators and gas. The world is waiting with baited breath.

February 10, 2023 12:32 am

As far as I can tell, Australia at the moment is running about 57% coal and about 38% wind, solar and hydro.

If you look here


you can see the last 24 hours (or any other period for that matter). The last 24 hours shows that renewables varied between 16% and 63%. Coal is about 70% at its peak, which is when there is no solar.

Interesting charts. I haven’t done the detailed work necessary to make a proper assessment, but given this, am very skeptical that any particular region of this country is going to be a counter example to Francis’ argument.

February 10, 2023 12:38 am

Completely agree. We should start with small projects at the White House and 10 Downing Street in London.

February 10, 2023 12:39 am

Any 100% renewable energy colony must must include —

Food production
Sanitation, including potable water.
Public health

February 10, 2023 12:50 am

I love that they on the one hand tell us that wind and solar is going to be cheap and abundant, and on the other hand insist that we must reduce our use of electrical energy as much as possible.

February 10, 2023 1:22 am

Breaking — First – ever – 100% renewable human colony performs concert to celebrate success!

February 10, 2023 5:02 am

Story Tip


This and the subsequent post are an excellent analysis of the UK situation and plans. On the same lines as the analysis Francis has produced and referred to on New York’s situation and plans.

Basically, you cannot get there from here.

February 10, 2023 5:11 am

A Rule of Thumb estimate of the true price of renewable energy is:

Price = Cost / (capacity factor)

Thus wind is actually 3 times more expensive than it appears and solar is 5 times as expensive.

John Brown
February 10, 2023 10:58 am

Manhattan Contrarian is absolutely correct that we must demand to see a demonstration of a 100% renewables grid.
If they’re wanting to use hydrogen for storage, then I’m afraid it will be necessary to build/install between 8.5 GW and 14.5 GW of wind turbine capacity for each 1 GW of dispatchable power:

Suppose we want to use the excess energy from wind turbines to store energy for when the wind doesn’t blow using compressed hydrogen as a store of energy:

This involves electrolysis -> stored, compressed hydrogen gas -> electricity from standard generators as and when required (viz when the wind drops).

The following simple calculation, based upon power (GW), rather than energy (TWhrs) and thus not requiring an integration of the power/time graph and an estimate of the maximum period of insufficient power when the wind doesn’t blow, gives the amount of installed wind power required for each unit of dispatchable power required :

Suppose we want P GW of power to be “dispatchable”, meaning always available “on demand”.

Let us start with P GW of installed wind turbine power and calculate the extra installed capacity required to produce P GW of dispatchable/always available power.

Taking the “BEIS UK Energy in Brief 2022” figure of 65 TWhrs for 2021 for both onshore and offshore wind and an installed/nameplate capacity of 25 GW gives a capacity factor of 30% [ 65 TWhrs/(25GW x 24 x 365) = 30%]

A capacity factor of 30% means the average amount of power over a year supplied by a wind turbine is 0.3P GW and consequently we will require 0.7P GW of storage.

Taking the efficiencies as:
Electrolysis : 60%
Compression : 87%
Electricity generation : 60%
Gives an overall efficiency of 60% x 87% x 60% = 31%

So the amount of excess power required to produce the missing 0.7P GW is 0.7P GW/0.31 = 2.26P GW

Since the capacity factor is 30%, this means we will need 2.26P/0.3 = 7.5 P GW of additional installed wind power to provide the needed 0.7P GW of dispatchable power.

Hence a total of P GW + 7.5 P GW = 8.5P GW of installed wind turbine capacity is required to provide 1 P GW of dispatchable power.

This is a best case scenario. Electrolysis efficiency will be less than 60% because the power will be intermittent (say 50%) and the hydrogen burning generators will not have an efficiency of 60% because they will not be running at a constant power and hence more like 40-50% efficiency. If these worst case efficiencies are used then the same calculation gives a figure of 14.5 GW of installed wind capacity is required for each 1 GW of dispatchable power.

So for each 1 GW of reliable/dispatchable/always available power it will be required to install between 8.5 GW and 14.5 GW of wind turbine capacity.

This will not include also the costs of the demineralisation of the water used for electrolysis or the costs of the hydrogen compression and storage.

The same calculations for solar give figures of 30GW and 54GW for each 1GW of dispatchable power.

Battery storage is even more expensive and it is calculated there is insufficient mining capacity to produce all the minerals required.

This why they are working on smart meters for everyone and “behavioural change” to accept intermittency and rolling blackouts.

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