No ‘Comparison’ Between Part-time Wind Power & Full-time Fossil Fuel

Posted: April 13, 2018 by oldbrew in Energy, opinion
Tags: , ,

Promoting public awareness of the high cost and lack of reliability of weather-dependent power generation is important. Once fortunes have been spent and national grid systems are creaking under the strain of on-off power, it’s much harder to change course.


Renewables rent seekers keep telling us how cheap wind and solar are, compared to those ‘evil’ fossil fuels, coal and gas.

But ‘price’ and ‘value’ are not the same animals. What we pay for something, and what it’s worth depends entirely upon what we get. And, in relation to the consumption of electricity, whether or not we get it, at all.

Wind power might be ‘free’, but try purchasing it, at any price, when the wind stops blowing.

Comparing weather dependent wind generation with sources available, around-the-clock, irrespective of the weather, is a game played by intellectual pygmies. There is, of course, no comparison.

So when you’re faced with a pile of numbers said to show how wind stacks up against the big boys, the obvious retort is, ‘when’? When I need it, or when the wind is just right?

Donn Dears picks up that thread quite neatly in this…

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  1. Gamecock says:

    It’s a cost accounting trick. The cost of weather dependent power generation is very high.

    The cost has two components: variable cost, and fixed cost. Variable cost for conventional generation is mostly in fuel. To make more electricity, you burn more coal or gas. Wind is indeed free, but the turbine costs millions. And the cost of real generation facilities to back up the weather dependent systems isn’t ever included in the cost. The fixed cost for the conventional facilities continues whether they are used or not. They don’t have to stand idle for long before there is no business case for them to exist.

    Beware people who declare, “Wind is free!” Harnessing it to produce electricity is expensive.