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Renewables “Surge” From 1.2% To 1.4%!!

June 2, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




A couple more thoughts on the Renewable Global Status Report, wildly hyped by Matt McGrath:



You will recall this chart, showing that how wind/solar/biomass only supplied 1.4% in 2014:





REN21 do not appear to have published a report for 2013, but this was the comparable chart for 2012:





In other words, in two years the contribution from wind/solar/bio increased from 1.2% to 1.4%.

They don’t know total final energy consumption figures for 2015, but their data does suggest that this percentage may have increased to about 1.6% last year.

This is what Matt McGrath calls “surging”!



Solar Costs


According to REN21, $161 billion was invested in solar power last year, which added 50GW of capacity:





This equates to $3.2 billion per GW.

Assuming 15% capacity utilisation, 1 GW would produce 1.3 TWh pa. Given a 15-year life, annual depreciation would amount to $215 million/GW, or $165/MWh.

This calculation does not allow for the cost of interest, operational costs, transmission costs, or back up costs.

Clearly solar power is not anywhere near as cheap as its proponents make out.

  1. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 2, 2016 12:30 pm

    I have no objection to renewables, but I think the enthusiasts should pay for their hobby, not the rest of us.

  2. Ben Vorlich permalink
    June 2, 2016 4:15 pm

    In terms of the increase in renewables only 1.2% to 1.4% is a surge of 16% you camn make numbers do anything if you try hard enough.

  3. Mark Hodgson permalink
    June 2, 2016 7:13 pm

    Thanks for your analysis, Paul. Much appreciated.

  4. June 3, 2016 12:15 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  5. captainfish permalink
    June 3, 2016 12:37 am

    Question: How did Hydropower surge over those last few years? I thought hydropower dams were being dismantled all over?

  6. June 3, 2016 8:14 am

    Activist : Wind turbines on Galapagos replace millions of liters of diesel since 2007
    Skeptic : How much extra did it cost ?
    Activist : “You are just so negative”

    The release notes $10 million was spent on wind mills to save 2.3 million gallons of diesel. But the pump price for diesel in Ecuador is on the order of $0.29/gallon.

    This means that $10 million was spent on windmills to save roughly $667,000 worth of diesel fuel. Such a bargain!

    Petrossa’s Blog

  7. June 3, 2016 9:14 am

    I’m not happy with Paul’s 1.2%/1.4% assertion.
    REN21’s figures are probably rubbish for a start, so I wouldn’t use them I’d use the BP’s

    But if you use REN21’s then yes you can f i l t e r off hydro cos they often count that as renewables, but what about the bits labelled “Biomass/geothermal+solar heat” and “4.2% and “biofuels” 0.8% (both years)
    so I make it 6.2% to 6.4% renewable rise (excl hydro)

  8. Robert Callaghan permalink
    June 3, 2016 10:16 am

    No Soil & Water Before 100% Renewable Energy

  9. Harquebus permalink
    June 3, 2016 2:51 pm

    The environmental damage caused by the manufacture of renewable energy collectors is never factored.

    “Whenever somebody with a decent grasp of maths and physics looks into the idea of a fully renewables-powered civilised future for the human race with a reasonably open mind, they normally come to the conclusion that it simply isn’t feasible.”

    “new Green technologies designed to save humanity from CO2 may kill humanity through energy starvation”
    “If we used more energy to get the energy we need to survive then we will surely perish.”
    “ERoEI = energy gathered / energy invested” “net energy = ERoEI-1”
    “An inevitable consequence of this aspect of human nature commonly known as greed is that we have already used up the highest ERoEI fossil fuel resources and as time passes the ERoEI of new resources is steadily falling.”
    “The greatest risk to human society today is the notion that we can somehow replace high ERoEI fossil fuels with new renewable energies like solar PV and biofuels.”

    “there is not enough surplus energy left over after construction of the generators and the storage system to power our present civilization.
    The problem is analysed in an important paper by Weißbach et al.1 in terms of energy returned on energy invested, or EROEI – the ratio of the energy produced over the life of a power plant to the energy that was required to build it. It takes energy to make a power plant – to manufacture its components, mine the fuel, and so on. The power plant needs to make at least this much energy to break even. A break-even powerplant has an EROEI of 1. But such a plant would pointless, as there is no energy surplus to do the useful things we use energy for.
    There is a minimum EROEI, greater than 1, that is required for an energy source to be able to run society. An energy system must produce a surplus large enough to sustain things like food production, hospitals, and universities to train the engineers to build the plant, transport, construction, and all the elements of the civilization in which it is embedded.”

    “Models often limit their life cycle or EROI analysis to just the solar panels themselves, which represents only a third of the overall energy embodied in solar PV plants. These studies left out dozens of energy inputs, leading to overestimates of energy such as payback time of 1-2 years (Fthenakis), EROI 8.3 (Bankier), and EROI of 5.9 to 11.8 (Raugei et al).”
    “Solar has too many energy costs and dependencies on fossil fuels throughout the life cycle to produce much energy. It’s more of a fossil-fuel extender because PV can’t replicate itself, let alone provide energy beyond that to human society.”

    “Windmills are too dependent on oil, from mining and fabrication to delivery and maintenance and fail the test of “can they reproduce themselves with wind power?””
    “Not only would windmills have to generate enough power to reproduce themselves, but they have to make enough power to run civilization.”
    “If the energy costs of intermittency, back-up conventional plant, and grid connection were added to the “cost” of windfarms, the EROEI would be far lower than current EROEI studies show.”

    “Manufacturing wind turbines is a resource-intensive process. A typical wind turbine contains more than 8,000 different components, many of which are made from steel, cast iron, and concrete.
    One such component are magnets made from neodymium and dysprosium, rare earth minerals mined almost exclusively in China, which controls 95 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals.”
    “There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment.”

    “This article seeks to explain why China’s environmental crisis is so horrific”
    “Reckless dumping of industrial waste is everywhere in China. But what caught the attention of The Washington Post was that the Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Company was a “green energy” company producing polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world.”
    “Polysilicon production produces about four tons of silicon tetrachloride liquid waste for every ton of polysilicon produced.”
    “China’s rise has come at a horrific social and environmental cost.”
    “for all the waste and pollution, most Chinese have gotten surprisingly little out of it all.”
    “most of the world’s light-industrial goods are made in China and they are, for the most part, deliberately designed to be unrepairable and mostly unrecyclable.”
    “High-speed trains are hugely expensive to build and operate and consume more than twice as much electricity to run as regular trains”

    “The country’s Environment Ministry says that 770,000 tons of solar panels will end up on the scrap heap in two decades, potentially releasing harmful chemicals.”

    “As the sediments accumulate in the reservoir, so the dam gradually loses its ability to store water for the purposes for which it was built. Every reservoir loses storage to sedimentation”


    “despite a string of optimistic choices resulting in low values of energy investments, the ERoEI is significantly below 1. In other words, an electrical supply system based on today’s PV technologies cannot be termed an energy source, but rather a non-sustainable energy sink or a non-sustainable NET ENERGY LOSS.”

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