Wind and Solar Inflict Pain
Actual costs show that wind and solar are more costly than natural gas or coal for generating electricity.
Equally important is that wind and solar create problems for utilities and grid operators.
This is best explained using the Duck curve created by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).
The topmost curve shows the load in 2013, when there were few wind and solar installations, while the bottommost curve shows the load supplied by baseload power in 2020.
The shaded area, from morning to evening between the topmost and bottommost curves, represent the power supplied by renewables, which, coincidently represents the power not supplied by baseload power.
Typically, in most areas of the country, baseload power is supplied by natural gas and coal-fired power plants.
The second most important feature of the Duck curve is that it shows how baseload power must be rapidly ramped up when the sun sets, which can severely stress power plant and distribution equipment, causing costly maintenance problems.
The second graph depicts the potential effect on the load curve when wind and solar provide 80% of the electrical load. (Note that the Duck curve uses a suppressed zero on the load axis, so zero load on the left axis is below the elongated red curve.)
When 80% of the daytime load is supplied by wind and solar, only a very small portion of the daytime load is provided by natural gas and coal-fired power plants.
This has important implications.
- Since wind and solar are intermittent, and don’t supply electricity when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun stops shining, all the fossil fuel power plants must be available, at a moment’s notice, to supply power that’s no longer being provided by wind and solar.
- Fossil fuel power plants can’t be disposed of. They must be kept and maintained, no matter how much wind and solar is on the system.
During the day, essentially from 7 am to 7 pm, the utilities do not receive revenues when wind and solar installations are owned by other entities: Either companies, like YieldCos, or individuals in the case of PV Rooftop solar.
Without revenues, the utilities can’t stay in business. Either utilities must be taken over by the government, using taxpayer money to support them, or the public must pay a capital charge on their electric bills to cover the cost of maintaining the fossil fuel power plants.
The undeniable fact is that wind and solar increase the cost of electricity.
- The levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) for wind and solar are 2 to 5 times greater than for natural gas or coal-fired power plants.
- The penalty for having to maintain fossil fuel power plants, either by imposing a capital charge on utility bills, or by having the government nationalize the utility system, creates additional costs that tax payers, one way or the other, must pay.
Wind and solar, with their current state of technology, are bad ideas that create problems and force people to pay much more for their electricity.
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Nothing to Fear, Part 2, explores the inherent problems with wind and solar.
Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.
Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1miBhXy
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