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A Fully Green Grid: At What Cost?

June 26, 2022

By Paul Homewood

 

A good summary from C3:

 

 

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The recent £1.7 bn state bailout of British renewables supplier Bulb is a case study in why taxpayers should not be extorted to subsidise government’s attempts to pick winners and losers in the energy sector. But this impediment to the economic viability of renewables has not deterred the Prime Minister’s commitment to a predominantly renewables grid by the net-zero emissions target of 2050. Are the present generation rates up to the task? Or will a wind and solar grid plunge Britain into blackouts and bankruptcy?

The production price for wind and solar have decreased 70 and 90 percent respectively since 2009. The cost of generation in ideal weather conditions matches that of coal, natural gas, and nuclear. But the cost-competitiveness of these innovations is in question, given taxpayers have been forced to subsidise the industry to the tune of £9 bn annually (£340 per household). These costs will continue to escalate under plans to rapidly expand reliance on renewables for grid contributions. Surely, if renewables are as reliable as politicians praise, they should be subject to market mechanisms and be allowed to succeed on their own merits, right?

Full story here.

28 Comments
  1. June 26, 2022 11:29 am

    When will the ‘experts’ who write this stuff realise that nuclear added to unreliables does not make a workable grid.
    You need mid-merit, and all of the above is ‘must run’ base load. The only stuff capable of running mid-merit are fossil fueled stations; gas and/or coal. I discount wood and oil.
    As everyone is competing for gas worldwide for the same reason, its got to be coal, and indigenous coal burning in new efficient well scrubbed stations.
    Eventually, after a few years of brown and black outs the penny might drop.

    • In The Real World permalink
      June 26, 2022 3:55 pm

      The whole thing is nothing to do with a system that works .

      The Global Warming scam is all about taking money from Western countries .

      The UKs total CO2 emissions make up only 1 in 10 million parts of atmosphere .And it is just about impossible that that tiny amount could have any effect on the climate .

      So the idea is to make everybody pay huge amounts for electric home heating , electric cars and unreliable generation , none of which are as good as what is already in place .

      Until people realise they are going to have to pay , and pay for something that cannot work , then the Green loonies will get away with their lies .

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        June 26, 2022 6:05 pm

        Spot on, ITRW.

      • Micky R permalink
        June 27, 2022 7:00 am

        ” Until people realise they are going to have to pay , and pay for something that cannot work , then the Green loonies will get away with their lies . ”

        HMG are currently shielding people from the full effects of the monstrous increases in energy prices, which suggests that HMG are aware of the risk that the lies of the Green loonies will be exposed.

        Domestic energy is too important to leave to the vagaries of a market; it’s also too important to allow incompetent politicians any meaningful control.

        Burn coal to generate electricity.

  2. David Wild permalink
    June 26, 2022 11:34 am

    Wind and solar are utterly stupid energy sources to have as the core of an electricity grid. Clearly Boris/Carrie & Kwarteng have either had no input from engineers (nor even sensible people) and gone ahead with the most disastrous, expensive and intermittent solutions they could find.
    Even the “low emissions” scenario is a myth, since the manufacturing processes do generate massive emissions – but not visible in Downing Street as they mainly occur in China.
    In short, expensive, useless and not really green at all.
    Contributors here have regularly proposed scrubbing exhaust fumes at power stations to reduce emissions for coal and.gas plants, which seems a better way to go.
    There is now a movement towards nuclear (at last!) Michael Shellenberger is one of the latest converts – see his talk here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciStnd9Y2ak.
    Meantime these p@@@s are foisting yet more useless and expensive solutions on us all.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      June 26, 2022 2:11 pm

      “Clearly Boris/Carrie & Kwarteng have either had no input from engineers …”

      They could well have had input from Engineers that wanted to sell windmills, where any education would be part of the selling process.

      And having little Engineering knowledge, they can’t even choose suitable advisors!

  3. marlene permalink
    June 26, 2022 11:37 am

    “Wind, solar, fission, and fusion must all comprise contributions to a carbon-neutral energy sector. But the government must not be in the business of monopolistically picking which companies or technologies will come out on top. Come rain or shine, renewables must be left to succeed or fail on their own merits” What merits??

  4. June 26, 2022 1:02 pm

    What puzzles me about this Renewables Debate is that nobody seems to mention the Thermodynamic Laws. Is this because they don’t know them; or is it that ,for some reason are not considered relevant? Or is it maybe because they are inconvenient for those with a political agenda to undermine the Western Economies?
    Meanwhile many seem to merely conjecture with weird theories at a complete tangent to the needs of the debate.

    To me, trained as an engineer many years ago; once you consider these Laws it becomes quite evident that Renewables are a Dead Duck as a reliable source of 24/7 electricity, where fact the OVERALL enthalpy balance over time is negative due to basic inefficiencies inherent in the system. SADLY, however schemes can easily be set up which appear to provide energy at profit for those involved; but these always suffer from fraudulent scientific beliefs translated into financial manipulation where others pick up the costs which should have appeared in the balance sheet.

    This not to say that opportunist energy cannot be harvested during suitable weather patterns.
    The Marine industry well illustrates this with wind powered ships being the only means of maritime transport, which was eventually replaced by Fossil Fuel energy to provide the much needed reliability.

    Whatever view you may have on Renewables, the fact remains that the Thermodynamic Laws eventually MUST prevail, with too much reliance on Renewables being totally counterproductive to a healthy economy.

    • Carnot permalink
      June 27, 2022 2:32 pm

      You are not wrong. Thermodynamics and entropy ALWAYS prevail. What really matters is the Ernery Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) and few understand this concept.

      Per MWH solar and PV have the highest consumption of Energy Invested over any other power generator, by a large margin. Achieving energy neutrality in many cases will never occur, and is conveniently ignored. . Moreover the maintenance requirements on these boondoggles is always grossly understimated. Wind turbine blades during their limited lifespan undergo about 100 times more stress cycles than a modern jet aircraft.

      EROEI also applies to fossil fuels and determines if a resource is economic to produce.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      June 27, 2022 6:53 pm

      Enthalpy?
      Hey, come off it!
      They wouldn’t recognise a Mollier diagram if it bit them on the snout!

  5. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 26, 2022 1:38 pm

    My data doesn’t go back quite to 2009, but it does go back to 2012

    I don’t see any magic reductions – do you? And that’s before we add in all the other costs of having renewables on the grid.

  6. June 26, 2022 2:21 pm

    If only governments were “market” sensitive, that is, accountable for economic vs social and ideological considerations. Taxation has no apparent limits until … it is too late, and by then “blame” is irrelevant.

  7. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 26, 2022 2:24 pm

    We are kissing goodbye to Net Zero . There will be ‘Net Zero will have to be deferred for a bit’ evolving into ‘when can we restart Net Zero’ to ‘when the time is ripe’ to ‘forget it,

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      June 26, 2022 6:07 pm

      Net zero is a very stupid idea and anyone who believes in it should stop exhaling CO2 right now!

      • Crowcatcher permalink
        June 27, 2022 6:11 am

        About half-a-tonne per year! 😡

  8. Dave Andrews permalink
    June 26, 2022 3:54 pm

    The production price for wind has decreased 70% since 2009.

    Funny then that Wind Europe in a recent media release ‘Europe’s offshore wind expansion will depend on vessel availability’ 14/6/22 said

    “In the first quarter of 2022 all five European wind turbine manufacturers were operating at a loss”

  9. Curious George permalink
    June 26, 2022 4:32 pm

    Did consumer prices go down accordingly?

  10. Broadlands permalink
    June 26, 2022 4:52 pm

    The massive hidden costs are those of the transportation needed to make and complete the transition to this all-electric world of the future. That means using conventional vehicles that run on fossil fuels to manufacture and install “renewables”…solar and wind, nuclear. Rapid and “urgent” reductions in CO2 emissions will end that…rapidly.

  11. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 26, 2022 5:58 pm

    If BJ’s Saudi of Wind is such a good idea why hasn’t he managed to get a small part of the/a country to go off grid and see how that works. I’m fed up to the teeth with activists who want to use the whole country/earth as a test-bed.

  12. catweazle666 permalink
    June 26, 2022 6:05 pm

    “The production price for wind and solar have decreased 70 and 90 percent respectively since 2009…”

    And I’ve noticed a lot of aerial activity from our local Gloucester Old Spot squadrons recently…

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      June 26, 2022 11:39 pm

      Don’t stand underneath when they fly by.

  13. Gamecock permalink
    June 26, 2022 10:54 pm

    ‘At What Cost?’

    Sorries, but I’m going to repeat myself. Cost isn’t going to be your problem, availability is.

    You will find yourselves willing to pay almost any price to get a little power.

  14. Ray Sanders permalink
    June 27, 2022 9:35 am

    For those who might think I simply made up the following bizarre nonsense I provide links as evidence!
    A “community group” has got funding to build its own wind turbine.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/16/bristol-community-secures-funding-to-build-tallest-wind-turbine-in-england
    Wonderful eh?……but a part of their operating costs will be in compensation for stealing the wind from other turbines.
    ” the community group would pay £25,000 annual rent to the authority in compensation for loss of income from the reduced flow of wind to its existing nearby turbines”
    https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/englands-biggest-wind-turbine-takes-6161979
    You couldn’t make it up!

  15. europeanonion permalink
    June 27, 2022 9:44 am

    The narrative is a wondrous thing. It is ubiquitous, comes at us from many angles. Each proposition carefully honed and its fledgling self released on an unsuspecting public (whom, we know, only believe what the news agenda is on any particular day and forget what went before). Collisions of narratives occurs over farming, which has had more than its fair share of flummery. The story started with the EU, land taken out of production for environmental aims; then: food could be grown abroad, cheap and cheerful; it was not open land, the expanses, the rural scene, that was the security of wild life. Our gardens, collectively, were all that was needed; don’t build in the Green Belt, but that land can be used for Green projects and a healthy crop of photo-voltaic cells (but dump them carefully to avoid toxicity); farming is key to our survival following the Ukraine imbroglio and we must do all we can to promote its expansion in Britain (despite running trade deals where food imports are important factors). But this is but one unstable, panicky and clueless emission from one section of the Cabinet. Elsewhere, in the Foreign Office and Home Office, Housing, communities and local government, different views are propagated.

    Take the case of Barthomley in Cheshire, a small village surrounded by farming land but with the M6 close at hand. Because of our burgeoning population (whipped by the development lobby, regardless of talk of shortages in all aspects of domestics services, water, power, sewage systems that cannot cope already and pollute rivers at will) they are contemplating building a massive building development project with a mix of houses and commercial parts.

    The hard stuff, like controlling immigration, having services that work, seems to be overlooked when a lot of easy money is at hand, when one can ignore the ‘other hand’ and its requirement for farm output. With cities in decline, lust and avarice, the creation of millionaires (of which the state boasts) is but a jumble of concepts completely overridden by one agreement: at all costs, if in need of revenue, no matter what you do to the public in any major concept, you must preserve the single manic proposal of us being the Saudi Arabia of Green Energy. The road ahead is clear, but a glance in the rear view mirror reveals a crash of stupendous size in which the whole of society is being immolated and for what? Land annexed by the state in a mindless, fraught dash for illusory cash and our whole country a Klondike state of lawless intrigues to sustain Boris’s concept of energy production much has to be either trampled all over or ignored. Our Canute is a maniac at the wheel,

  16. arfurbryant permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:54 am

    1. There is no mechanism whereby adding CO2 to the atmosphere could cause any significant global warming.
    2. The planet is already effectively Net Zero.
    3. Everything else is just window dressing and scientific charlatanism.

  17. avro607 permalink
    June 27, 2022 12:04 pm

    Hi Cog nog above ,or anybody,can you explain the reference to enthalpy.What is it,and why does it matter.Thankyou.Ed Nalton.

  18. arfurbryant permalink
    June 27, 2022 3:48 pm

    1. There is no mechanism whereby adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes significant global warming.
    2. The planet is already effectively net zero.
    3. All the rest is either window dressing or scientific charlatanism.

    • arfurbryant permalink
      June 27, 2022 3:55 pm

      So good I posted it twice!🤣

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