Clean Energy’s Dirty Secrets and Hidden Costs to USA!

Are you confused as to why renewables can COST us $? And how can anyone say that they DON’T reduce our carbon emissions? Read below, and you will find excellent analyses of why they do NOT belong on our grid and how they will cost all of us in our pocketbook.  Thank you Governor Kasich and our legislators for passing SB 310 to ‘freeze’ our renewable mandates while their effects are studied!…

…In May of this year, President Obama declared the shift to clean energy a “fight” that was about shaping the sector “that is probably going to have more to do with how well our economy succeeds than just about any other.” At least on that, the president was right. If we get energy wrong, America will throw away the world-leading energy advantages bestowed on it by geology, technology, and capitalism….

Presenting the administration’s Clean Power Plan, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy admitted it was not about pollution control. “It’s about investments inrenewables and clean energy,” she told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in July. “This is an investment strategy.” The president’s favorite corporate-tax inverter has a different take on the nature of the investment opportunity. “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms,” Warren Buffett told Berkshire Hathaway’s investors. “That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” While wind investors hoover up the $23 production tax credit per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced, the real costs of intermittent renewables such as wind and solar are many times greater. And they’re not even good at what they’re meant to do — reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Deriving a large proportion of energy from renewables is proving extremely costly for Germany…Despite lower economic growth in Germany than in the U.S., German emissions have been rising seven times faster — up 9.3 percent between 2009 and 2013 compared with 1.3 percent for the United States….

The closure of a nuclear-power station shows that something is amiss. Nuclear-power stations emit no carbon dioxide. Their running costs are low and much of the costs are unavoidable whether the stations are kept open or closed — construction and commissioning at the front-end, de-commissioning at the back. Since 2008, the output of America’s nuclear-power stations has fallen by 0.480 billion MWh, a decline of 6 percent. In a properly functioning market, this shouldn’t be happening….

To the life-cycle cost of renewables must be added short-term balancing and longer-term-capacity adequacy to match supply to demand. Because renewables output depends on the weather, an electricity system with a high proportion of renewables needs much more generating capacity. Without renewables, Britain would need 22GW of new capacity to replace aging coal and nuclear-power stations. With renewables, Britain will need 50GW, i.e., 28 GW extra to deal with the intermittency problem. And the more renewables in the system, the worse the problem is…

Levelized costs also ignore extra spending on grid infrastructure. Texas is the leading wind state, accounting for nearly 22 percent of the nation’s wind-generated electricity.  Transmitting electricity from wind farms in the rural north and west of the state to cities such as Dallas and Houston caused grid congestion. The state decided to have consumers back the inaptly named Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) grid program to give wind investors a windfall subsidy in the form of access to nearly 3,600 miles of transmission lines. Subsidies via grid infrastructure spending can be more costly than overt plant-level subsidies. Bill Peacock and Josiah Neeley of the Texas Public Policy Foundation reckon that CREZ costs attributable to wind amount to $6.8 billion. This compares to plant-level subsidies of $4.14 billion in the ten years between 2005 and 2015.

Perhaps the dirtiest secret of renewables is how ineffective they are at displacing carbon dioxide emissions. Brookings senior fellow Charles Frank has calculated that replacing coal with modern combined-cycle gas turbines cuts 2.6 times more emissions than using wind does, and cuts four times as many emissions as solar.  If anything, these figures are likely to be too generous to renewables…

The most insidious and destructive effect of renewables, however, is on the wholesale electricity markets. Intermittent renewables, particularly wind, can flood the market at random times of day with zero marginal-cost electricity. The production tax credit means that renewable investors make money from negative prices down to minus $23 per MWh. Episodes of negative prices are evidence of an electricity market that isn’t working. They imply that what is being produced is garbage — someone has to be paid to take the electricity away.

Negative prices crush incentives to invest in the conventional capacity needed to keep the power on when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. The OECD report warns that gas, coal, and nuclear-power stations would experience lower electricity prices, reduced load factors, and higher costs because of intermittent renewables. To avoid the risk of “green outs” caused by inadequate investment in conventional and nuclear capacity, governments and regulators have to intervene and construct capacity markets to redress the distortion created by renewables. These don’t come cheap. In the case of Texas, the Brattle Group estimates that a capacity market would cost Texans an extra $3.2 billion a year….

Across the Atlantic, the calamity of renewable energy is becoming more visible each day. It will not be only good economists who see that imitating Europe would be a colossal blunder….

via Clean Energy’s Dirty Secrets | National Review Online.

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