One study shows that solar power’s all-in costs are much higher than for other, fossil fuel-based alternatives. From Isaac Orr at realclearpolicy.com:
Mississippi residents are consistently told that renewable energy sources, like solar panels, are now the lowest-cost ways to generate electricity, but these claims are based on creative accounting gimmicks that only examine a small portion of the expenses incurred to integrate solar onto the grid while excluding many others.
When these hidden expenses are accounted for, it becomes obvious that solar is much more expensive than Mississippi’s existing coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants and that adding more solar will increase electricity prices for the families and businesses that rely upon it. One of the most common ways of estimating the cost of generating electricity from different types of power plants is a metric called the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE.
The LCOE is an estimate of the long-term average cost of producing electricity from a power plant. These values are estimated by taking the costs of the plant, such as the money needed to build and operate it, fuel costs, and the cost to borrow money, and dividing them by the amount of electricity generated by the plant (generally megawatt hours) over its useful lifetime.
In other words, LCOE estimates are essentially like calculating the cost of your car on a per-mile-driven basis after accounting for expenses like initial capital investment, loan and insurance payments, fuel costs, and maintenance.
Solar doesn’t hold a candle to nuclear. From Michael Shellenberger at stevekirsch.substack.com:
Next gen nuclear power is clean, efficient, and environmentally friendly. Most of the waste products can be recycled over and over and the remaining part is short lived. Why was it killed?
Read this tweet thread about solar power from my friend Michael Shellenberger:
The best alternative for energy generation is next generation nuclear power (fast-reactors). They combine safety, efficiency, and a small land footprint into an ideal power system.
These next generation reactors, such as the sodium-cooled integral fast reactor (IFR), are extremely safe because if the cooling goes bad, the reactor safely shuts down based on the laws of physics. These reactors also recycle their own waste on site so the nuclear material can be used over and over again (a method known as pyroprocessing). There is a very small amount of “waste” product but it can be safely stored and becomes “safe” after less than 100 years (and we know how to store things safely on those time frames vs. thousands of years required for traditional nuclear waste).
Renewables are not an energy “free lunch.” From Nina Nguyen at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:
A California-based leading eco-modernist has disputed the widespread claim that renewables are a cheap and clean energy source, arguing that it’s the opposite.
Michael Shellenberger, founder of Environmental Progress, said one of the “most misleading ways that renewable salespeople sell their technology” is they claim the electricity produced by wind and solar is cheaper.
However, the paradox about renewable energy is when deployed at scale, they actually make electricity production more expensive, Shellenberger told CPAC Australia in Sydney on Oct. 1.
“There are basically two reasons,” he said, “It requires more machines, more backup power generators, more transmission systems, and more people to manage the chaos of an electrical grid with a large amount of unreliable weather-dependent energy.”
Shellenberger pointed to a prediction by German economist Leon Hirth that the economic value of wind and solar declines significantly as they take up a larger proportion of the electricity grid.
James Howard Kunstler, a smart man, went woke, bought solar power technology, and now wishes he hadn’t. From Kunstler at kunstler.com:
This summer’s weather is perfect now in the Hudson Valley: warm, sunny days for primping the garden and cool nights that invite deep sleep. Zucchini and cukes are coming on, along with currants, gooseberries, blueberries. Unseen underground, the potatoes swell. The chickens range happily over their daily smorgasbord of bugs. At midnight, fireflies blink in the orchard. On the human side, though — commerce, culture, and politics — nothing works. At least not here in America. Sigh….
The solar electric I installed on the house nine years ago is down. It’s supposed to feed that monster called the grid. Since April, I noticed that the electric bill is creeping up way beyond the usual seventeen bucks that the electric company charges home solar producers for the privilege of feeding their system — which, let’s face it, has a downside for them because the intermittency of so-called alt-energy disorders their operations.
Nuclear power is as clean as you’re going to get for a non-intermittent energy source. From Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:
The phrase “clean energy” has emanated from official podiums, world over, in recent years. The implication, of course, is that the energy sources we’ve been using are filthy. That, however, is not the case. We already have and use clean energy. And it is far, far better than replacements the podiums expect us to suffer for.
We use clean energy every day, and it works exceedingly well. I think we should be happy about that.
I was confronted with this fact quite some years ago, while working on an alternative energy project. Here are the pounds of particulate matter (aka, dirt), produced when generating a billion BTUs (British Thermal Units, a measurement of heat):
Natural Gas 7
As you can see, we already have clean energy, in the form of natural gas and nuclear power. (Burning wood in a fireplace, by the way, dwarfs all the figures above.)
The “green economy” as touted will be a much poorer economy. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:
International Man: Politicians, the media, and large corporations promote solar and wind energy as replacements for fossil fuels. Western governments are trying to pick winners and are subsidizing wind and solar energy to the tune of billions.
What’s going on here?
Doug Casey: Solar and wind energy can be useful. But generally only for special applications or remote locations where regular power is uneconomic or unavailable.
Wind and solar make no sense for mass power generation, however. They’re completely unsuitable for a complex industrial civilization. The Greens aren’t trying to solve a technological problem but make an ideological statement. Which is fine, except they’re doing it at the public’s expense. Meanwhile, the public has been so propagandized that they now feel it’s morally righteous to be hornswoggled.
No problem if someone feels that covering his rooftop with solar panels can cut his electricity bill and pay back the cost in 7 or 10 years—which is roughly the case today. It’s something else entirely if a government puts a society’s electrical grid at risk in order to virtue signal.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for alternative methods of generating energy. Geothermal can work in places like Iceland, where near-surface magma hotspots currently generate around 30% of their electricity. Tidal power works in certain locations. As does hydro, although it’s increasingly unpopular because dams inundate a lot of land, silt up, displace the locals, destroy existing fauna and flora, and eventually collapse.
It’s a fact solar tech has been improving for decades. For instance, there’s been an annual 3000KM race across Australia for solar cars since 1987. They’re still basically experimental toys, but they get faster every year. Still, it’s only possible in a place like the Australian desert where the sun is usable 12 hours a day, every day. Any kid who’s played in the sun with a magnifying glass can tell you solar power is real—but that doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for base-load power in an industrial civilization. Someday we may use gigantic collectors in high earth orbit to capture the sun’s power and beam it down to earth by microwave. But that’s for the future.
It could be a disastrously cold winter in Europe. Too bad they’re substituting unreliable renewables for reliable fossil fuels and nuclear power. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Europe’s energy crisis is about to get a whole lot worse as the Northern Hemisphere winter is just weeks away. New risks are emerging across the continent that households and companies might have to scale back on power use or even plan for rolling blackouts.
There is no immediate fix to the energy crisis that comes from the supply side, with Russia’s Gazprom, the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, only pumping what it has. At the same time, EU stockpiles remain well below trend.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Italy’s government is ready to combat soaring energy prices for households, according to Bloomberg.
“We set aside 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in June and over 3 billion euros in September,” Draghi said. “We are now taking steps in the budget and are prepared to continue doing so, with particular attention to the most vulnerable.”
“Given the current energy supply system, a blackout cannot be ruled out” across Europe, Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said, adding that “it’s important to neutralize the impact of increased energy bills on households and companies in the fairest way possible.”
Even before the winter season arrives, cold weather is driving energy prices across Europe to record highs. The massive rally in European gas prices is not diminishing anytime soon. Gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub, the benchmark gas price for Europe, jumped to €100 per MWh, adding more pressure on households who are already dealing with rapid food and shelter inflation.
Posted in Business, Energy, Governments, Politics, Propaganda, Technology
Tagged European energy shortages, Fossil fuels, Nuclear, Solar Power, Wind Power, Winter
You can’t throw out oil if you don’t have something that can replace it, and we don’t. From Jude Clemente at realclearpolitics.com:
Let’s start with the obvious: Oil is the world’s most important fuel, supplying 35% of all energy and over 95% of transportation needs. More than 6,000 everyday products contain oil as their core ingredient. Simply put, oil has no significant substitute, and it won’t for a long time. Massive amounts of wind and solar won’t displace “black gold” because these sources compete only in the power-generating sector, where oil effectively plays no role.
Most Americans probably don’t realize that electricity already lost the transportation race to oil and its powerful derivative – gasoline – 120 years ago. In 1900, nearly 40% of U.S. cars were electric. Today, less than 1% of cars run on electric power (1.8 million out of 270 million). Despite the huge subsidies thrown at the industry over the past 10 years, electric vehicles largely remain “toys for the rich.”
As the world’s economies rebound from COVID-19 and travel inevitably picks up, the need for more oil is becoming even more pressing. After the oil industry set a global-demand record in 2019 at 101 million barrels per day, the pandemic plunged demand to 92 million b/d in 2020. The Department of Energy, however, has just forecast that consumption will rise to 98 million b/d this year and above 101 million b/d in 2022.
Not even a price surge has slowed the need for a fuel embedded in just about everything we do: Oil prices just saw their best first half since 2009 (see below). In recent months, oil companies have had the best run of any sector in the S&P 500. Investors that bet against, or pulled out of, U.S. oil fund USO (NYSEARCA:USO) have been burned. The popular oil Exchange Traded Fund nearly doubled in value since October last year, and others such as DBO, BNO, and USL are once again making for sound investments.
Whatever the merits of solar and wind power, they unambiguously weaken power grids. Germany may pay the price for its infatuation with green technologies. From P. Gosselin at wattsupwiththat.com:
Green energy and COVID-19 lockdowns are playing energy Russian roulette with people’s lives. Perfect winter storm brewing.
A winter blizzard is set to strike Central Europe, bringing with it the potential to wreak power outage havoc. Temperatures will plummet to as low as -15°C accompanied by bone-chilling high winds. Closed shops due to COVID-19 are leaving citizens unprepared. A protracted power outage would be devastating.
In the coming hours, a high pressure system situated over Scandinavia and storm Tristan to the south will collide over central Europe and develop into dangerous weather conditions over one of Europe’s most populated regions, North Rhine Westphalia Germany.
There are some major problems with this storm that will test the German power grid stability and even possibly the citizens’ ability to fend for themselves.
Power grid at risk: hours of freezing rain
First will be the band of freezing rain that is forecast across the Ruhr region of North Rhine Westphalia. According to Kachelmannwetter.de, the freezing rain period could last hours and thus lead to heavy weight loads on power transmission structures as ice builds up. Lines could collapse.
High winds – even heavier loads
To make matters worse, high winds will further exacerbate the loads on the already ice-coated power transmission infrastructure – thus increasing the probability of power line structural failure and an ensuing power blackout, which in turn could cascade and threaten the European power grid.
Energy that is only intermittently available poses a big problem for machinery and equipment that depend on a steady feed. From Irina Slave at oilprice.com:
Earlier this month, something happened in Europe. It didn’t get as much media attention as the EU’s massive funding plans for its energy transition, but it was arguably as important, if not more. A fault occurred at a substation in Croatia and caused an overload in parts of the grid, which spread beyond the country’s borders. This created a domino effect that caused a blackout and prompted electricity supply reductions as far as France and Italy. The problem was dealt with, but it’s only a matter of time before more problems like this occur—the reason: the rise of renewables in the energy mix.
Bloomberg reported on the incident citing several sources from Europe’s utility sector. While no one would directly blame the blackout and the increased risk of more blackouts on renewables, it is evident that Europe’s change in the energy mix is raising this risk.
The problem has to do with grid frequency. Normally, it is 50 hertz, Bloomberg’s Jesper Starn, Brian Parkin, and Irina Vilcu explain. If the frequency deviates from this level, connected equipment gets damaged, and power outages follow. The frequency is normally maintained by the inertia created by the spinning turbines of fossil fuel—or nuclear, or hydro—power plants. With Europe cutting its coal and nuclear capacity, this inertia declines as well, exposing the grid to frequency deviations.
“The problem isn’t posed by growing green electricity directly but by shrinking conventional capacity,” the chief electricity system modeler at Cologne University’s EWI Institute of Energy Economics told Bloomberg.