Wind and Solar in Perspective
The media continuously promote renewables, reporting on job creation, payments to farmers and other supposed benefits.
Unfortunately, the media ignores higher costs to consumers, the use of tax payer money for subsidies, the loss of jobs in the coal and related industries, and how it is the poorest among us who must pay the penalty for the higher cost of electricity caused by wind and solar.
Inevitably, the media promotes renewables so as to cut CO2 emissions, on the false assumption that renewables can replace the electricity generated by fossil fuels.
This table, from the Energy Information Administration, shows the percentage of electricity generated in the United States by source.
- Coal = 39%
- Natural gas = 27%
- Nuclear = 19%
- Hydropower = 6%
- Biomass = 1.7%
- Geothermal = 0.4%
- Solar = 0.4%
- Wind = 4.4%
- Petroleum = 1%
- Other gases ~ 1%
Two-thirds come from fossil fuels.
Wind generates only 4.4% of the electricity generated in the United States, after spending roughly $132 billion on wind turbine installations with an installed capacity of 65,879 MW.
The installed cost of these wind installations was approximately $2,000 per KW, which is twice the installed cost of a natural gas combined cycle power plant. And this doesn’t include the hidden costs of backup generation for when the wind doesn’t blow, or for the billions of investment in new transmission lines to bring wind generated electricity from where it’s generated to where it can be used.
It’s interesting to compare the residential cost of electricity in California, 15 cents per kWh, the state with the most emphasis on renewables and the highest renewable portfolio standards (RPS) of 33%, with the residential cost of electricity in Arkansas, 10 cents per kWh, where nearly 70% of the electricity is generated by coal and natural gas and where there is no RPS.
The residential cost of electricity will inevitably rise much faster in California than in Arkansas, based on Germany’s experience with energiewende, where the cost of electricity is roughly 4 times as much as in Arkansas.
It’s also important to note that Germany, with its huge investments in solar and wind, has still only reduced its CO2 emissions by approximately 25%. Compare this with Obama’s stated goal of cutting CO2 emissions 80% by 2050, only 35 years from now.
When comparing the pitifully small amount of electricity generated by wind, solar and other so-called renewables, it’s obvious that trying to replace all the electricity generated by fossil fuels with renewables is a fool’s errand.
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