Chill Wind Of Reality Blows Through The Green Energy Lobby

Posted: June 8, 2019 by oldbrew in Big Green, Critique, Energy, Subsidies
Tags: , ,

They will just rattle the begging bowl in front of gullible leaders even more frantically.
H/T Climate Change Dispatch

In recent weeks, observers of the energy scene have been wondering if the long honeymoon of the renewables industry might finally be over.

They’re right, says Andrew Montford.

EU renewables capacity additions have been falling for years, and have now declined to less than half of their 2010 peak.

Meanwhile, a wave of insolvencies is sweeping the wind industry as a result of the sharp scaling back of subsidies.

This is all very different to a couple of years ago when the wind industry and newspapers started shouting, in unison, that a new era of offshore wind was on the way.

Costs, we were led to believe, were falling precipitously. They would halve in coming years, or so we were told.

While a few spoilsports pointed out that there was almost certainly less to these announcements than met the eye, and wondered how exactly these alleged cost savings were to be achieved, the hype continued unabated.

Now the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has poured further cold water on the idea of rapid cost reductions offshore.

While couched in the usual over-optimistic terms, its annual report on renewable energy costs around the world confirms that the contrarians were right.

That’s not to say that it is all bad news. Solar prices have continued to fall, although most obviously for concentrating solar power, a technology that is mostly used in deserts, and is therefore of little relevance to the UK.

The era of rapid cost reductions for the solar panels we use in this country now appears to be largely over, and IRENA sees no significant falls after 2019.

And even if further cost reductions could be produced out of nowhere, the fact remains that solar power is so demanding of space that the technology is simply impractical for us.

Unfortunately, it’s the same story for onshore wind. IRENA reckons that cost reductions have now mostly reached their limits. And being just as land-hungry as solar power, it is equally impractical.

All this means that many environmentalists have pinned their hopes on offshore wind. There’s plenty of space out at sea, there are no neighbors to object, and the industry is saying that prices are going to drop through the floor.

Unfortunately, though, IRENA’s report shoots down this idea too, observing that far from falling, prices of electricity from offshore wind farms have been steady for the last few years.

Indeed it is predicting a sharp cost increase for wind farms commissioned this year and only a gradual decline thereafter. The electricity produced will, therefore, remain far, far more expensive than that derived from fossil fuels, and unreliable to boot.

Full article here.

  1. Bloke down the pub says:

    If they find that off-shore turbines aren’t lasting as long as expected, the price of the electricity they produce will likely rise.

  2. oldbrew says:

    Many of the ‘best’ sites for wind and solar have already either been taken or been declared out of bounds.
    – – –
    The recycling costs could be huge – who pays?

    The massive concrete bases are unlikely to be re-usable as turbines are getting bigger all the time, supposedly to be more cost-effective. Bigger turbines need bigger bases. And composite blades can’t be returned to their original materials either.

  3. hunterson7 says:

    Poets will write about the hubris and narcissistic pride of the Lord’s of Climate and their destruction of the Earth to control its climate while gaining vast profit.

  4. Graeme No.3 says:

    Left to decay those composite blades will gradually succumb to UV and stress cracking, and soon crack and send potentially lethal pieces some distance. (My records are out of date but I know that a quite small turbine threw a piece of blade 1,300 metres – fortunately without death or injury).
    Those “lucky” enough to be forced to live within 2 miles of a wind turbine can be kept awake by the thought of 2-3 tons of blade crashing through their ceiling without warning.
    I am sure that the UK government and/or the Civil Service will be galvanised into action after 1 or 2 of their number are crushed to death or merely sliced in half by an edge on contact.
    Although what was Disraeli’s definition of the difference between a disaster and a catastrophe?

  5. Your are right that Solar investments are not doing too well. Here is another . An investment abandoned with excuse of not enough sun.

  6. ivan says:

    I know that this won’t solve the present problem but all new approvals for new wind farms should force the owners to put at least £250000 for each turbine removal into an escrow account for their removal and restoration of the land.

    It is better that the owners pay rather than the local residents through their taxes. This escrow account should have been setup at the beginning when they first started building the things.

  7. Yes Ivan; but additionally ALL generating facilities should be required to cover the costs of backup. These costs should not be offloaded onto the grid network. Otherewise comparison of intermittent/ reliable generation becomes the apples versus oranges situation, which plagues the current debate.

  8. Dave Ward says:

    “There’s plenty of space out at sea, there are no neighbours to object

    I don’t suppose the industry has bothered to ask the seabirds, whales & dolphins, have they?

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    As long as “subsidy” is a term of art for power products, you know their cost is too high and efficiency too low.

    It really is that simple. Anything subsidized is a mistake. Only the degree of badness varies.

  10. oldbrew says:

    WSJ Dares to Doubt: What if Wind & Solar ‘Transition’ Aren’t ‘Inevitable’, After All?
    June 8, 2019 by stopthesethings

    If the favored alternatives fall short of delivering what growing economies need, will markets tolerate energy starvation? Not likely.
    – – –
    Fall short? Wake us up if they ever reach 10% of world demand for coal, gas and oil combined.

    And biomass wood burning is not a ‘solution’ as claimed, since alarmists believe/insist the planet will be doomed long before any of the replacement trees – even if they are all replaced – have fully re-grown.

  11. p.g.sharrow says:

    Long before any of these things were built it was known that they were losers. That is why the DEMAND for subsidies and preferential pricing treatments. The Alternative Energy driving force was always to con wealth out of a gullible public. The idea of “Carbon Credits &Trading” was created and pushed by the “Conmen of Enron” as a way of gaining “Wealth Unearned” to maintain their Investment Ponzi. Former members of that fraternity are still being successful in driving some parts of the political system as being a way for them to generate wealth for themselves.
    There is NO good to come out of these things for the public that has to pay for them and their operation as well as their removal after their abandonment, and they will be abandoned as soon as they no longer produce profit to their owners…pg

  12. p.g.sharrow says:

    There is only one long term solution for Energy Production for our modern Industrial society and that is Fission/Fusion. The Fission part is well known and has been used for energy generation for over 50 years.
    Plasma fusion can never work as a net energy producer as Plasma + Fusion are a contradiction of conditions. Another waste of wealth in pursuit of something that can not be successful in order to line the pockets of a connected few.
    Fusion must be pursued in normal mater conditions as that is the way GOD powers the Universe.
    At some point we must STOP this waste of resources on things that are predestined to fail and build on things that will result in wealth creation for everyone…pg

  13. oldbrew says:

    So far they’re succeeding in watering down the wealth of the western-style capitalist countries and undermining the security of their power supplies.

  14. James Burgess says:

    My understanding is the technology still needs to advance and perhaps be even more affordable. Unfortunately that will take some time.

  15. oldbrew says:

    Do you mean ‘even more affordable’ than being heavily subsidised by the paying public, James?

  16. Perhaps the current national grid system is the problem. It should be made to be more efficient…after all it is essentially the same system we’ve had for years. We should be going for more local supply points now being driven by renewables.

  17. James Burgess says:

    No on the subsidies. I mean building a market and developing technology that would make it more affordable.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Wind and solar generation work only when conditions are right. But modern 24/7/365 economies and lifestyles don’t fit with that.

    Power stations just work on demand, assuming fuel availability of course. Any type of tech needs maintenance obviously.