Essay by Eric Worrall
h/dM; The Wall Street Journal blasts claims that the transition to renewable energy will lower prices or is even possible.
Why the energy transition will fail
New report highlights staggering cost of green ‘delusions’
By James Freeman
Aug. Feb. 26, 2022 4:50 p.m. ET
In a new report from the Manhattan Institute, due next week, Mark Mills takes on the “dangerous illusion” of a global energy transition that eliminates fossil fuel use. Mr. Mills examines energy markets and public policies around the world and asks readers: “consider that years of hypertrophied rhetoric and trillions of dollars in transition spending and subsidies have not significantly changed the energy landscape.‘ He states:
Claims that wind, sun and [electrical vehicles] have achieved cost parity with conventional energy sources or means of transport are not demonstrable. Even ahead of the recent bout of rising energy prices, Germany and the UK – both further down the road to grid conversion than the US – have seen Average electricity prices have increased by 60-110% over the past two decades. The same pattern is evident in Australia and Canada. This is also evident in US states and regions where mandates have resulted in grids with a higher share of wind/solar power. In general, US residential electricity costs have increased overall over the past 20 years. but these rates should have fallen because of the collapse in natural gas and coal prices– the two energy sources that together provided almost 70% of the electricity during this period. Instead, interest rates have been pushed up Thanks to increased spending on the otherwise unneeded infrastructure required to transmit wind/solar power, as well as the increased cost of keeping lights on during wind and solar “droughts” resulting from the deployment of conventional power plants (such as additional, fully fueled, parked and ready to drive car) by spending on two networks.
President Joe Biden is unlikely to listen to such a statement and who knows if he would even understand it. But the reality is going nowhere.
Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-energy-transition-will-fail-11661547051
The Wall Street Journal also discusses the cost differences between battery energy storage and a bulldozer-built coal pile.
With the numbers so obviously suggesting that renewable energy is a non-starter, why do green advocates keep claiming the numbers add up?
The answer seems to be blind faith and optimism. The numbers aren’t accurate at the moment, but they expect prices to continue falling the way prices have fallen over the past decade. From the United Nations;
Declining clean energy costs present an opportunity to drive climate action in COVID-19 recovery packages
06/10/2020 PRESS RELEASE ENERGY
The all-in or leveled electricity costs for wind and sun continue to fall thanks to technological improvements, economies of scale and fierce competition at auctions. Cost of electricity from new solar photovoltaic systems in the second half of 2019 83 percent lower than a decade earlier.
“If governments benefit from it the constantly falling prices for renewable energies By putting clean energy at the heart of the economic recovery from COVID-19, they can take a big step toward a healthy natural world, which is the best insurance policy against global pandemics,” Andersen said.
Read more: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/falling-clean-energy-costs-provide-opportunity-boost-climate-action
These otherwise smart folks have drawn a nice curve on their charts where they’ve achieved the 83 percent cost reduction over the past decade. Some of them expect this exponential looking curve to continue indefinitely, giving us the “ever falling price of renewable energy”.
Moore’s law and renewable energy
through Bill Spindle | July 27, 2021
To date, renewable energy has benefited from something akin to Moore’s Law — as it grew exponentially and became cheaper, leading to faster growth — a virtuoso cycle. As more grid-scale battery storage comes online and provides stability for wind and solar power, batteries will also become cheaper.
The trend has enticed a variety of companies to jump in – from the conservative city of Georgetown, Texas, which gets 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, to the tech giant Microsoft Corp., which aims to achieve carbon negativity by 2030 through a combination of renewables energies and carbon removal technologies.
But the road may not be as smooth as goals and objectives suggest. Recently, New York State officials unveiled a new goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and pledged a fully decarbonized power system. But shortly thereafter, the New York Independent Systems Operator (NYISO), the agency responsible for operating the state’s power grid, issued a statement saying a 70% renewable power system by 2030 was “very feasible,” but not that one Coming from 100% renewable sources will require it Technology that doesn’t exist yet.
Read more (registration required): https://www.climateandcapitalmedia.com/moores-law-and-renewable-energy/
One of the first things I learned about statistics is that extrapolation, extending the trendline beyond the data, is risky. You can fit a naïve trendline to rising stock prices and the extrapolation will tell you that anytime is a good time to buy. The crash, when it occurs, is an unexpected deviation from the naively extrapolated trend.
Yet the people driving renewable energy, rather than waiting for the data to catch up with the trendline, are urging the entire world to bet the future of all of us on their belief that the cost of renewable energy will “always go down.” , will continue to fall at a rate comparable to that of the last decade.
And if costs don’t come down as planned, there’s still the possibility of endlessly throwing government money into the development of “technology that doesn’t exist yet,” David Attenborough’s Renewable Apollo Project.
Imagine that in a hundred years. Future historians will surely see this trillion-dollar global game on “technology that doesn’t exist yet,” this blind reliance on trend lines, as an outbreak of mass hysteria that will be difficult for them to explain.
Think of the actual Apollo project. NASA didn’t get directly involved in building the moon launcher, they built prototype after prototype, like Project Mercury. Each prototype was a stepping stone, providing insights that enabled the next step.
Personally, I’d rather wait until the “technology that doesn’t exist yet” is at least at the prototyping stage before betting everything on a green transition, which probably isn’t possible.