Climate Crusaders Weigh In On The Cost Of Energy From Renewables

Dec 3, 2018 by

If you’ve been keeping up here, you know that my previous two posts have been “How Much Do The Climate Crusaders Plan To Increase Your Costs Of Electricity? — Part III,” and “How Much Do The Climate Crusaders Plan To Increase Your Costs Of Electricity — Part IV.” The basic issue is that the promoters of electricity from wind and solar sources don’t seem to have any idea of how big a problem intermittency poses. If you hypothesize an electricity system powered only by wind and solar sources, with batteries to store energy from times of excess generation and release it in times of low generation, how much will the costs of the necessary batteries increase your costs of electricity? It turns out that enormous amounts of energy must be stored, and the batteries become by far the driving cost of the overall system. Reasonable calculations based on currently-available battery technology, even with assumed cost declines from ongoing improvements, lead to results indicating that the cost of the batteries will increase your price of electricity by a factor of perhaps 15 or 20 or more — and that’s before solving a collection of additional engineering problems that may drive the cost up still further.

So surely the climate crusaders are on top of this issue, and are ready with an answer. Let’s tune in to a few of them and see what they have to say.

For example, the number one climate crusader of all is Tom Steyer, hedge fund genius and self-made multi-billionaire, who puts hundreds of millions of his personal wealth into political campaigns promoting “renewable” energy sources. . . .

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How Much Do The Climate Crusaders Plan To Increase Your Costs Of Electricity — Part IV

A couple of commenters on yesterday’s post raised interesting issues that I thought called for another post on the same subject.

Commenter Arthur proposes to solve the battery expense problem by having the 100% renewable system be in effect only from mid-March through July, which are the peak months for renewable generation in California as shown on the charts in yesterday’s post. Arthur concludes, “Battery expense solved!”, and presents a formula suggesting that mid-March to July is 37.5% of the year, so emissions would be reduced 37.5% without the battery expense.

Where to start? . . .

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How Much Do The Climate Crusaders Plan To Increase Your Costs Of Electricity? — Part III

How Much Do The Climate Crusaders Plan To Increase Your Costs Of Electricity? -- Part III

Now that Democrats are going to control the House starting in the new year, what’s the agenda? How about a “Green New Deal”! Naturally, new “it” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (my daughter lives in her district!) will be leading the charge. From Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s website:

The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed in order to achieve the following goals, in each case in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan: 1. 100% of national power generation from renewable sources. . . .

And that’s just the start of a long list of proposals. Of course, no costs are attached to any of this. Over in the progressive universe, they are already feeling the excitement. As one example among many, this is from Think Progress yesterday:

More and more Democrats are committing to supporting a sweeping, historic green effort that would transform the U.S. economy in an effort to fight climate change, in the latest indicator that environmental issues will be a dominant force in 2019. As of Wednesday morning, the Sunrise Movement, a climate group led by young people, said at least 15 Democrats are willing to sign onto supporting the formation of a select committee to create a “Green New Deal” endorsed by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

OK then. And how much will this increase your costs of electricity? Remarkably, in all the articles reporting on the Green New Deal proposal and the excitement surrounding it, I can’t find a single one even raising that question. Is this just beyond the bounds of polite conversation? If your costs of electricity were going to go up by even 10 or 20 percent, wouldn’t that be a critical piece of information that you would want to know? And how about if the prospective cost increase were much, much more?

I previously did my own back-of-the-envelope work on this issue, on which I reported in two posts in August 2016, “How Much Do The Climate Crusaders Plan To Increase Your Costs of Electricity” Part I and Part II. My very rough estimate was that the prospective increase to get to a 100% renewable grid would be at least in the range of multiplying the cost of electricity by a factor of 5 or 10. I also reported in August this year on some work from MIT researchers on the seasonality of wind and solar generation, which has a very large effect on the costs of getting to 100% renewable electricity. That work implied cost increases even greater than my own previous estimates, like a factor of 15 or more.

And now comes along a guy named Roger Andrews . . . .

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Source: Manhattan Contrarian

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