Skip to content

Europe’s High Cost of Renewables

July 19, 2016

In its quest to cut CO2 emissions, Europe has promoted the adoption of wind and solar to replace fossil fuels.
This has resulted in a large increase in electricity rates for Europeans.

Electricity Rates US v EU

The first chart shows the change in electricity prices after Europe initiated its efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

EU Electricity Prices in Euros

The first chart shows the impact of adding wind and solar to the energy mix for all of Europe, while the second chart distinguishes the effect between countries.

It’s immediately evident that those countries that have invested most heavily in wind and solar have seen their electricity prices soar.

Specifically Denmark and Germany, followed by Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.

Costs have gone up least, in countries that have continued to use coal, except for France, where nuclear is the primary source for electricity, and Norway where hydro is the primary source.

Poland, Rumania, Hungary and the Czech Republic continue to use coal to provide most of their electricity. For the most part, these and other countries, such as Croatia and Finland, have not invested heavily in wind and solar.

The message from Europe is clear, wind and solar significantly increase the cost of electricity.

The same message can be found within the United States.

States using natural gas or coal as their primary source of electricity have markedly lower electricity prices than California, the leading proponent of wind and solar for generating electricity.

Specifically, California’s electricity rate, at an average of 15.34 cents/kWh, is 50% higher than Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, and Wyoming, which have a combined average rate of 10.25 cents/kWh, and rely on fossil fuels for generating electricity.

States like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have residential electricity prices that are, on average, 50% or more higher than states that rely on natural gas and coal for electricity, but these higher prices are primarily due to taxes, including efforts to promote wind and solar and pay the carbon tax.

For example, “Up to 70% of New York’s retail electricity price per kWh goes toward Delivery, Taxes, and Regulations.” And, “Since 2008, the cost to produce electricity has stayed the same or been reduced while transmission costs and taxes have shot up dramatically.” Including, “New York’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, Renewable Portfolio Standard, and Systems Benefit Charge.”

In summary:

  • It’s clear that wind and solar in Europe has resulted in higher prices for electricity.
  • It’s also clear that states promoting wind and solar, such as California, and to some extent the states included in the regional greenhouse gas initiative, have also caused higher prices for electricity.

We can learn from Europe’s use of subsidies to promote wind and solar, where the subsidies have resulted in the high cost of electricity.

We have examples in the United States that confirm the lessons learned from Europe.

Wind and solar substantially increase the cost of electricity, which harms families and makes manufacturing more expensive.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon:

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

* * * * * *


It’s easy to subscribe to articles by Donn Dears.

Go to the photo on the right side of the article where it says email subscription. Click and enter your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

If you know people who would be interested in these articles please send them a link to the article and suggest they also subscribe.

© Power For USA, 2010 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Donn Dears LLC, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Power For USA with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2016 7:59 pm

    Anybody with even half of a working brain who will look at the facts and actually think could have seen this coming . If the government has to subsidize something to get people to buy it then it’s going to be expensive . If something makes economic sense then private enterprise will do it .

  2. July 22, 2016 7:07 am

    Since we are looking at Germany – Donn, I am interested in your opinion on the use of direct current for transmission-

    • July 23, 2016 3:27 pm

      DC transmission has been used for decades. DC’s two major disadvantages are (1) inability to step voltages up or down (which is why AC became predominate) and (2) the high cost of converting AC to DC and back again. Its advantages are as described in the article. It can also be used to link two grids together that have different frequencies. It’s the best choice for linking off-shore wind farms together and for getting the power to the mainland.
      It should be noted that electricity from wind is inherently expensive, and getting the power to the mainland merely increases its cost.

  3. July 23, 2016 7:42 pm

    Donn I thought DC in long distance transmission had an impedance problem that was easier to correct with ac. It’s been a long time since I looked at the science behind that so please correct me if I’m remembering incorrectly . The problem with DC in local use is that it will tend to grab you (muscle contraction) where ac will usually kick you free

    • July 23, 2016 9:44 pm

      I don’t know whether DC transmission has more problems with impedance than AC transmission lines. It’s a level of detail I don’t have at my finger tips without doing some review work. With respect to electrocution, both AC and DC can kill. The contraction caused by DC is constant, as you said, while those caused by AC vary along with the frequency. It’s the amps that kill in either case.
      DC was used for local installations for many years, even as late as the 1940s in a few locations. AC became the best method for local use during the mid 1900s due to the wide adoption of motors where AC has many important advantages, such as induction motors. DC has certain advantages, for example in traction motors, but the use of commutators that require considerable maintenance made DC motors undesirable for everyday applications, such as in household appliances. Improved controls have resulted in AC taking over some of the former uses of DC motors in industrial applications.

  4. July 24, 2016 12:57 am

    I agree with what you said . The only reason I remembered about the impedance (or maybe it was a phase problem)was I used to go on the tours at Grand Coulee dam and they mentioned that the transformers at the sub-stations to bring the 3 legs back into phase due to the impedance problem (I think ). Also the transformers right at the dam were to raise the voltage way over what the generators produced .

  5. Don Shaw permalink
    July 31, 2016 10:02 am

    The data you present speaks for itself, yet there is an element in the political group who either don’t seem to get it or don’t care because of their misguided agenda. What bothers me is the misinformation that rolls off their lips and the obvious consequence of replacing our reliable system with a more expensive replacement one that needs crutches such as batteries to prevent blackouts.
    One cannot reason with the believers in green energy.

    • July 31, 2016 10:43 am

      Unfortunately, the true green believers have been brainwashed and cannot use their God given ability to think.

      • July 31, 2016 1:10 pm

        Not only have large numbers been brain washed but for many it’s a religion . Same thing with the climate change and emissions crowds

  6. July 31, 2016 1:21 pm

    Steven: I agree.


  1. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #233 | Watts Up With That?
  2. Wind Power Alert: Americans Out to Avoid Europe’s Power Price Disaster – STOP THESE THINGS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s