‘Renewables Are Cheap’ Myth Busted: Full Cost of Wind & Solar Simply Staggering

Posted: April 1, 2018 by oldbrew in Critique, Energy
Tags: , ,

Fans of expensive, unreliable, part-time electricity that has to be replaced at short (or no) notice by other power sources should look away now.


South Australia is renowned as a renewable energy ‘superpower’: by some strange coincidence, it’s also renowned for having the highest retail power prices in the world.

Wind and sun worshippers keep telling us that by plugging into nature’s wonder fuels we’ll soon enjoy power at 1970s prices. Except that that mantra is part myth and part fantasy and, wherever you find endless seas of solar panels and windmills, power prices just keep on rocketing. In SA, wholesale power prices doubled in just 12 months:

Comparing 2016 (red) and 2017 (blue) average
wholesale prices of electricity ($per MWh) by state

For power punters battered with crippling bills, predictions don’t count for much. But still renewables rent seekers keep pumping the line that, one day soon, power prices will plummet. Here’s Donn Dears spelling out precisely why they won’t.

EIA Energy Forecasts Part 1
Power for USA
Dnn Dears
6 March 2018

View original post 1,027 more words

  1. tallbloke says:

    Shimply Shtaggering Moneypenny.

  2. Bitter@twisted says:

    A case study in governmental stupidity by virtue-signaling.
    P.S. and we don’t give a damn about the poor as long as the green lobbyists keep our gravy-train running.

  3. […] via ‘Renewables Are Cheap’ Myth Busted: Full Cost of Wind & Solar Simply Staggering […]

  4. oldbrew says:

    South Australia is renowned as a renewable energy ‘superpower’: by some strange coincidence, it’s also renowned for having the highest retail power prices in the world

    Paying more for lower reliability smacks of insanity.

  5. oldbrew says:

    Many German MPs more interested in Easter break than supposed climate apocalypse 😆
    Not quite the no. 1 issue facing humanity?


  6. oldbrew says:

    Trillions going to waste on climate change ‘groupthink’
    By Harry Wilkinson – March 31, 2018

    The second of the rules of groupthink is that precisely because the shared view cannot be subjected to external proof, its authority needs to be reinforced by elevating it into a ‘consensus’. Appeals to authority have become the primary rhetorical tool to ensure conformity and justify quite extraordinary political decisions.


    ‘extraordinary’ political decisions = awful – based on deliberate distortion of the IPCC reports into the ‘summary for policymakers’ which ignores all the stated: ifs, buts, maybes, unknowns, uncertainties etc.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Timely posting.

    I’ve been updating my camping / preparedness kits with some new ultralight butane gas stoves. Along the way, did some timing tests on them. As part of that, tested my all electric kitchen small burner from cold to boiling (as that’s the way it’s used).

    My AEK costs between 1.9 ¢ / cup and 3.2 ¢ / cup depending of if I’m below “baseline” tariff of 19 ¢/kW-hr or at the roughly 32 ¢ tariff. There is a filing with the PUC to raise that to $1/2 but it isn’t in effect yet. (Though in the Central Valley where Anthony Watts lives there’s a time of day tariff of almost $1 / kW-hr at peak AC times in the summer)

    The 220 gram sized butane camp stoves make a cup ( 8 oz about 250 ml) of boiling water for 5 ¢ / cup. These are the VERY expensive camp stoves. Realize that’s going to be competitive when the 50 ¢ tariff hits.

    It becomes interesting when you look at other more inexpensive fuels. 1 lb propane canisters are sold at 2 for about $7. Using reasonable estimates (like the propane stove would be as efficient as the ultralight camping stove) I get roughly 1.6 ¢ cup or cheaper than baseline electricity

    This is about the most ubiquitous camping fuel canister in existence here. Stoves are fairly cheap.

    But is there cheaper?

    Well, one could buy propane in the 5 gallon cans and cut that price even more. As low as about $3/gallon in the USA. That’s about 4/10 ¢ / cup at the boil. Gasoline would be similar here.

    The Coleman Unleaded stove runs on unleaded or white gasoline. Here that’s running about $3 / gallon. That runs out to roughly the same 4/10 / ¢ / cup at the boil as propane, but ignores both the priming / warm up time (and fuel) as well as the higher BTU / gallon.

    So that’s about 1/4 the price of propane in canisters, so about 1/4 to 1/3 the price of our electricity. Yet ours is cheaper than everyone but Hungary and Estonia in the list above.

    So that means that for me it’s better to cook over bottled gas propane or using a gasoline camping stove. It ought to be the same in all those high priced countries above, too (depending on how horrid their local gasoline and propane taxes / prices might be).

    FWIW, in an earlier computation on raw BTU / pound charcoal was cheapest. But it takes a lot of fuel just to get going. This implies that a very small very efficient charcoal burner (such as a hibachi) might be even cheaper for making whole meals where being able to rapidly start / stop is less needed.

    Disclaimer: I’ve only done fast and loose estimates to come up with these numbers as a “rough guess” of where to do more complete measuring and checked math. So “I could be wrong”.

    But I don’t think so… A couple of years back I “did the math” a couple of times and it was cheaper to move my bread baking to an outdoor kerosene oven than to use my electric oven. (Kerosene doesn’t change to bread flavor like gasoline does, and it makes a nice crusty loaf. It is widely used in the Amish communities here.)

    In short: By forcing electricity prices “way high” to “save the planet”, they are also forcing poor folks (and encouraging any cheap folks like me) to use camping stoves burning propane, gasoline, and kerosene to cook their meals.

    BTW, for the last 2 weeks I’ve been using my camping stoves to make my coffee & tea. It’s faster and in some ways more convenient than using the electric stove in the kitchen.

  8. jdmcl says:

    Beware! That first graph has a non-linear scale.

  9. Graeme No.3 says:

    South Australia uses about 6% of the electricity generated in Australia (and falling as businesses shut here and people economise) which represents about 0.025% of world emissions. So the rush into renewables has cut global emissions by 0.01%.* The result is highlighted in first Graph.
    Further money grubbing developers want to increase wind generation capacity by 189% which means wind and sun will generate around 111% of current demand, which by simple extrapolation would raise the price of electricity to A$1.36 per kWh. Long before then the State would be an economic disaster.
    Also, as renewable capacity rises supply from (stabilising) gas generation must fall and the frequency of blackouts will increase. So will the capacity factor for wind turbines which has fallen from a nominal 30% to 27% (2016/17 AEMO Report) so the inevitable response will be claims that wind turbines should be paid for NOT generating.
    The “solution” for this mad policy is said to be “storage” and optimistic** claims are being made for pumped hydro schemes and batteries as a last ditch hope, always avoiding the cost.

    * The claim of 48.7% renewables refers to local generation and ignores the 20.5% imports (of brown coal fired) from Victoria. Exports (from wind) are just over 1% of generation. No correction made for the higher emissions of that source.
    ** read unrealistic or lunatic according to your preference.

  10. Elliott says:

    Is it impossible to find any non-extremist view on anything these days?
    Why do they not take the full story into account before flapping their mouths and attributing blame?
    Victoria had bushfires attributed to poor maintenance of infrasructure after privatisation (of course we won’t spend money unless we have to), South Australia had distribution problems not because of the source of the electricity but because old infrastructure failed, how many years did the cheap energy come before they realised that the wind would blow over the old towers? (Of course, we won’t spend money unless we have to).
    What is the infrastructure like in the countries this site refers to?, where will they be when it fails, and where will they be when the cheap labour demands equality of pay and conditions?

  11. Vincent Booth says:

    The current retail price of electricity in the UK is approx 15 pence including VAT, which converts to 21 cents per kWh and not the 31.34 cents in the graph above. Can anyone explain? Does the graph relate only to wind & solar or to all sources of electricity generation?

    [reply] Australian cents

  12. oldbrew says:

    Cheap labour in Denmark and Germany? Hardly.

    So-called energy storage will/would double the cost of renewables as a very rough guide.

  13. […] Full Cost of Wind and Solar Simply Staggering […]

  14. Gamecock says:

    ‘Wind and sun worshippers keep telling us that by plugging into nature’s wonder fuels we’ll soon enjoy power at 1970s prices.’

    The variable cost IS quite low. The fixed cost is extreme.

    The cost of backup is not priced in to wind/solar.