Solar panels and wind turbines are making electricity significantly more expensive, a major new study by a team of economists from the University of Chicago finds.
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) “significantly increase average retail electricity prices, with prices increasing by 11% (1.3 cents per kWh) seven years after the policy’s passage into law and 17% (2 cents per kWh) twelve years afterward,” the economists write.
The study, which has yet to go through peer-review, was done by Michael Greenstone, Richard McDowell, and Ishan Nath. It compared states with and without an RPS. It did so using what the economists say is “the most comprehensive state-level dataset ever compiled” which covered 1990 to 2015.
The cost to consumers has been staggeringly high: “All in all, seven years after passage, consumers in the 29 states had paid $125.2 billion more for electricity than they would have in the absence of the policy,” they write.
Solar and wind require that natural gas plants, hydro-electric dams, batteries or some other form of reliable power be ready at a moment’s notice to start churning out electricity when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, I noted.
And unreliability requires solar- and/or wind-heavy places like Germany, California, and Denmark to pay neighboring nations or states to take their solar and wind energy when they are producing too much of it.
My reporting was criticized — sort of — by those who claimed I hadn’t separated correlation from causation, but the new study by a top-notch team of economists, including an advisor to Barack Obama, proves I was right.
Previous studies were misleading, the economists note, because they didn’t “incorporate three key costs,” which are the unreliability of renewables, the large amounts of land they require, and the displacement of cheaper “baseload” energy sources like nuclear plants.
The higher cost of electricity reflects “the costs that renewables impose on the generation system,” the economists note, “including those associated with their intermittency, higher transmission costs, and any stranded asset costs assigned to ratepayers.”
But are renewables cost-effective climate policy? They are not. The economists write that “the cost per metric ton of CO2 abated exceeds $130 in all specifications and ranges up to $460, making it at least several times larger than conventional estimates of the social cost of carbon.”
The economists note that the Obama Administration’s core estimate of the social cost of carbon was $50 per ton in 2019 dollars, while the price of carbon is just $5 in the US northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and $15 in California’s cap-and-trade system.
By Robert Bryce • National Review
In 2008, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was awarded a Nobel Prize for “his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity.”
Unfortunately, when writing about energy issues in the Times, Krugman doesn’t bother to do any analysis at all. Instead, as he proves yet again with his April 16 column, “Earth, Wind and Liars,” Krugman likes to make glib pronouncements about renewables and how they can save us from climate change while making us richer and sexier. In this latest edition, Krugman completely ignores wind energy’s massive footprint and the growing backlash against the wind industry. Further, like his many fellow travelers on the left, Krugman refuses to acknowledge that if we are going to be serious about slashing carbon dioxide emissions, nuclear energy must play a major role. (I’ve written three articles in these pages about Krugman’s energy silliness. See here, here, and here.) Continue reading
By Peter Roff
Does the “Oracle of Omaha” really need another tax break? It’s a fair question, given the way billionaire Warren Buffet made headlines several years ago with his complaints that his secretary paid more in taxes to the federal government than he did.
Of course, that was back when he was campaigning in support of higher taxes on the so-called “wealthiest Americans” in furtherance of the class envy strategy Democrats like himself, President Barack Obama and their allies in Washington have honed to a razor sharp edge. But now he’s got his hand out for corporate tax breaks that improve the bottom line for his Berkshire Hathaway company and the stock price of all the companies he’s invested in. Continue reading
by Michael Bastasch
Towns all over Britain are blowing millions of dollars on wind turbines that are generating almost no revenue and will take hundreds of years to pay for themselves, reports the UK Telegraph.
The Telegraph reports that UK localities are spending hundreds of pounds installing wind turbines in an effort to boost renewable energy generation and fight global warming.
“Some turbines generate so little energy they would take hundreds of years to repay their original value,” reports the Telegraph. “Experts argue that the failure of some wind turbines to recoup their value shows how small wind turbines are a poor way to generate renewable energy.” Continue reading
Physical limitations will keep this energy source a niche provider of U.S. electricity needs.
To understand the folly that drives too much of the nation’s energy policies, consider these basic facts about wind energy.
After decades of federal subsidies—almost $24 billion according to a recent estimate by former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm—nowhere in the United States, or anywhere else, has an array of wind turbines replaced a single conventional power plant. Nowhere.
But wind farms do take up space. The available data from wind-power companies, with which the Environmental Protection Agency agrees, show that the most effective of them can generate about five kilowatts per acre. This means 300 square miles of land—192,000 acres—are necessary to generate the 1,000 megawatts (a billion watts) of electricity that a conventional power plant using coal, nuclear energy or natural gas can generate on a few hundred acres. A billion watts fulfills the average annual power demand of a city of 700,000. Continue reading
The wind-power industry is expensive, passes costs on to the consumer and does not create many jobs in return. The claims of the green lobby that wind farms will generate abundant energy and economic growth are not consistent with the facts.
Today, The Sunday Telegraph reveals how many ”green jobs’’ the wind-power industry really generates in exchange for its generous subsidies. The figures show that for 12 months until February 2013, a little over £1.2 billion was paid out to wind farms through a consumer subsidy financed by a supplement on electricity bills. During that period, the industry employed just 12,000 people, which means that each wind-farm job cost consumers £100,000 – an astonishing figure. Continue reading
Lurking off the coast of Massachusetts like a shark out of a Steven Spielberg movie is a green energy project that is being rushed through the permitting process to meet statutory deadlines. If it goes under, it could end up costing U.S. taxpayers millions.
For almost two decades, efforts have been underway to build a wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Cape Cod. For almost as long, the effort has been opposed by local residents worried about the project’s cost and potential impact on the environment. Continue reading