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Why Was $66 Billion Spent on Renewables Before the Texas Blackouts?

June 19, 2021

By Paul Homewood



Reposted from Real Clear Energy:




The oldest maxim in politics is “follow the money.” That maxim also applies to electric grids.

Following the billions of dollars that have been spent on the Texas grid explains why the state continues to have electricity shortages. On Monday, ERCOT, the state’s troubled grid operator, asked Texans to reduce their electricity use. That request came exactly four months after Texas residents were asked to conserve electricity due to a massive winter storm.

Before going further, I’ll give you the punchline: As I explained in these pages in April, about $66 billion was spent on wind and solar in Texas in the years before the deadly February storm that left millions of Texans without electricity. In return for that $66 billion, the wind and solar sectors collected about $21.7 billion in local, state, and federal subsidies and incentives. That first figure comes from the wind energy and solar energy lobbies. The latter number comes from a report published last week by veteran Texas energy analyst Bill Peacock of The Energy Alliance.

Full story here.

  1. June 19, 2021 1:03 pm

    And Texans are learning that the tens of billions of dollars spent on wind and solar are not translating into reliable electricity.

    How hard is to learn that the sun doesn’t shine at night and wind is not a constant?

  2. Ray Sanders permalink
    June 19, 2021 1:40 pm

    For Texas, read UK. Dungeness B now gone, Hunterston B goes Jan 2022, Hinkley Point B goes no later than July 2022. So any benefit from Hinkley Point C is already negated by their combined loss. Heysham 1 and Hartlepool scheduled to close 2024, Heysham 2 and Torness will follow not much later. In all probability only Sizewell B will be still operating when new nuclear comes online. With low carbon generation disappearing the carbon intensity of the UK grid is already increasing and this is before EVs and Heat Pumps are supposed to be rolled out. And then the Greens whinge about Drax wanting to build one gas plant!
    Now to really add to the madness we are exposing ourselves to European Grid problems with increasing interconnectors. We currently have IFA1 2GW & IFA2 1GW (France), BritNed 1GW (Netherlands) East/West 0.5GW(Ireland) and NemoLink 1GW (Belgium) but here is the list of about to come on line, under construction and proposed new connections.
    North Connect 1.4GW and North Sea Link 1.4GW (Norway), Viking Link 1.4GW (Denmark) NeuConnect 1.4GW (Germany), GridLink 1.4GW and ElecLink 1GW (France), Nautilus 1.4GW (Belgium) Aquind 2GW and FABLink 1.4GW (France) Greenlink
    0.5GW Ireland, Eurolink 1.4GW (Netherlands) and even Icelink 1.2GW to Iceland. That makes potentially 21GW of imports with nearly half of it from France alone.
    It would appear every country is hell bent on interconnecting to each other and especially the UK (suckers that we are) but nobody is actually increasing generation to meet demand. Just one in a line of hundreds of dominos is waiting to be pushed over.
    This imaginary scenario below is actually not as improbable as it may seem

    • MikeHig permalink
      June 19, 2021 5:57 pm

      Ray S: far from generation being increased, our European neighbours are going down the same route of closing dispatchable capacity. Germany is shuttering its remaining nukes next year. Belgium is going theirs by 2025 (iirc). Sweden and Spain are considering early closure of their nukes. Everyone is trying to eliminate coal.
      All of those interconnectors may have a projected capacity of 21 GW but where is that electricity going to come from, especially when all of those countries are increasing their electrical demand?
      It’s a train wreck.

    • Vincent Booth permalink
      June 20, 2021 7:19 am

      Makes one wonder, who is steering the ship?

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      June 20, 2021 1:43 pm

      No need to worry although diesel peakers will soon be paying us back the enormous amount of cash they get to sit there doing nothing most of the year,

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        June 20, 2021 11:12 pm

        It’s even worse than that Nicholas (if that is actually possible). Those Open Cycle Gas Turbines are now being paid to spin up as Synchronous condensers to supply reactive power control and frequency management services. So they get paid for standby and simultaneously paid (in addition) for grid stability services AND then get paid to generate more frquently than ever.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    June 19, 2021 1:49 pm

    “Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger famously said “Show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome.” The ERCOT grid shows that tens of billions of dollars in tax incentives have resulted in the addition of tens of thousands of megawatts of generation capacity to the Texas grid that does precious little to provide power during periods of peak electricity demand. That’s a bad outcome.”

    The same is true about investment incentives in direct air capture and storage of CO2. Being heavily promoted and subsidized, they have been able to store about 250 million metric tons so far at the rate of about 40 million tons a year world-wide. With one part-per-million equal to 7,800 million tons that does precious little to affect the Earth’s climate. That’s a bad outcome.

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