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Published on March 9th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey

37

WSJ Fails on U.S. Energy Policy, Energy Metrics, & Wind Energy

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March 9th, 2012 by  

 
by Richard Caperton and Stephen Lacey

The Wall Street Journal released another error-riddled editorial against the wind industry this week calling for an end to the production tax credit. The piece is so bad — and features such a broad range of spin and inaccuracies — it deserves a special, point-by-point debunk.

The WSJ starts off by incorrectly describing how renewable energy tax credits work, almost immediately destroying editorial credibility:

Congress finally ended decades of tax credits for ethanol in December, a small triumph for taxpayers. Now comes another test as the wind-power industry lobbies for a $7 billion renewal of its production tax credit.

The renewable energy tax credit—mostly for wind and solar power—started in 1992 as a “temporary” benefit for an infant industry.

Firstly, the production tax credit is not used for solar power — and it never has. Solar and wind power have different characteristics and thus require different tax treatments. This may seem like a small point, but if WSJ editors are going to rail against these tax credits, they should be able to understand what they’re talking about.

Nope. There are more factual errors on these tax credits:

The “1603 grant program” pays up to 30% of the construction costs for renewable energy plants (a subsidy that ended last year but which President Obama calls for reviving in his budget). Billions in Department of Energy grants and loan guarantees also finance the operating costs of these facilities. Wind producers then get the 2.2% tax credit for every kilowatt of electricity generated.

The tax credit is 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, not “2.2% … for every kilowatt.” This deserves a correction.  Seriously, the WSJ shouldn’t have people writing about these issues who can’t tell cents from percent and kilowatt-hour from kilowatt. This is a joke.

And let’s remember that one justification for the tax credit is to makeup for the fact that taxpayers are bearing the harm from fossil fuels — see Economics Stunner: “Oil and Coal-Fired Power Plants Have Air Pollution Damages Larger Than Their Value Added.” Taxpayers are effectively subsidizing polluting forms of energy through the healthcare system!

The 1603 program is also misrepresented here.  The WSJ makes it seem like companies were taking advantage of both the grant program and production tax credits at the same time. In fact, the grant was created to take the place of a tax credit during the height of the economic crisis when the tax financing market imploded.

The characterization of Senator Bingaman’s clean energy standard is also ludicrous:

Twenty years later, the industry wants another four years on the dole, and Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico has introduced a national renewable-energy mandate so consumers will be required to buy wind and solar power no matter how high the cost.

By claiming that a national target will force utilities to buy renewable power “no matter how high the cost” is factually wrong.  The CES has an price ceiling of 3 cents per kwh for clean energy credits. The WSJ is intentionally misleading its readers about the facts of this bill. The editorial board should be embarrassed.

But they clearly aren’t:

The truth is that those giant wind turbines from Maine to California won’t turn without burning through billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars. In 2010 the industry received some $5 billon in subsidies for nearly every stage of wind production.

This is no different from other new industries. These are smart government investments in our energy future that have successfully lowered the cost of wind power by 90 percent since the 1980′s. Contrast that to tax credits for oil — a sector where prices continue to go up in spite of $4 billion a year in tax credits.

A 2010 New York Times investigation found that “oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process”:

According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry. And for many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by various credits. These companies’ returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before.

But the WSJ would never dare mention that. Its target is wind:

What have taxpayers received for this multibillion-dollar “investment”? The latest Department of Energy figures indicate that wind and solar power accounted for a mere 1.5% of U.S. energy production in 2010. DOE estimates that by 2035 wind will provide a still trivial 3.9% of U.S. electricity.

What have we gotten? More than 75,000 people work in the wind industry today — tens of thousands of which are under threat by the looming expiration of the production tax credit. Consistent tax policy has also helped the U.S. build one of the leading global wind turbine manufacturers, GE, attract tens of billions in foreign investment, and bring the cost of wind electricity to well below the cost of new coal.

The DOE projections are based on a no-policy case — which is to say, killing the wind tax credit forever as the WSJ recommends. With consistent support, the DEO said wind can be 20% of U.S. power by 2030 at low cost.

But the WSJ makes it clear that natural gas (which also receives substantial tax benefits) is its solution of choice:

[T]he natural gas boom that has produced a happy supply shock and cut prices by more than half. Most economic models forecasting that renewable energy will become price competitive are based on predictions of natural gas prices at well above $6 per million cubic feet, more than twice the current cost.

Oops! Another error from the WSJ on metrics. That quoted natural gas should be million BTUs or thousand cubic feet, not million cubic feet. This seemingly small mistake is in fact an error of a factor of 1,000.

Every serious person in the energy industry agrees that natural gas prices are unsustainably low. With exploitable gas reserves at about 20 years of current consumption, large gas companies shutting down wells because they can’t afford to operate them at current prices, and numerous proposals to increase exports, prices will likely not stay this low for long.

Let’s get deeper into the subsidy debate, shall we?

The most dishonest claim is that wind and solar deserve to be wards of the state because the oil and gas industry has also received federal support. That’s the $4 billion a year in tax breaks for oil and gas (which all manufacturers receive), but the oil and gas industry still pays tens of billions in federal taxes every year.

The wind industry also pays taxes, and will well into the future. This is silly.

It’s also ridiculous to claim that oil and gas deserves these subsidies because they’re something that “all manufacturers receive.”  Factually, only extractive industries benefit from percentage depletion. Oil and gas are also different from other manufacturers in that they fundamentally have to operate in specific locations: where the oil is. In this sense, they’re more like electric utilities, which are specifically excluded from the manufacturing tax deduction.

In order to inflate the per-unit subsidy of renewables, the WSJ points to a study requested by anti-clean energy members of Congress that featured very narrow parameters:

Wind and solar companies are net tax beneficiaries. Taxpayers would save billions of dollars if wind and solar produced no energy at all. A July 2011 Energy Department study found that oil, natural gas and coal received an average of 64 cents of subsidy per megawatt hour in 2010. Wind power received nearly 100 times more, or $56.29 per megawatt hour.

As we’ve pointed out numerous times, taking a snapshot of energy spending on technologies with lower penetrations during the height of stimulus spending is an easy way to inflate subsidies per unit of energy. This does nothing to factor in the long-term impact of subsidies that got the mature oil and gas sectors to where they are today.

In fact, at the beginning of the study that the WSJ references, the agency admits up front that the findings were skewed:

Focusing on a single year’s data does not capture the imbedded effects of subsidies that may have occurred over many years across all energy fuels and technologies.

To top off the absurdity in this op-ed, the WSJ tries to shame Republicans into voting against wind subsidies — wait for it — because they didn’t give them enough in campaign contributions!

In the House 18 Republicans have joined the 70-Member wind pork caucus. Someone should remind them that in 2008 and 2010 the wind lobby gave 71% of its PAC money to Democrats.

Is the WSJ seriously suggesting that Republicans should only support industries that donate to their campaigns?

This is absolutely absurd. Republicans supporting the production tax credit for wind are doing so because of the tens of thousands of jobs the industry has created. Meanwhile, no credible analysis has shown this tax credit has destroyed jobs or dramatically raised the price of electricity.

Despite the endless barrage of misinformation on climate and energy from the WSJ over the years, it is still shocking that it would try to get away with such a preposterous set of claims.

The production tax credit is a vital tool that will help us reduce pollution while expanding the wind industry, building new manufacturing and increasing employment in the process.

Richard Caperton is Director of Clean Energy Investments at the Center for American Progress. Stephen Lacey is a writer with Climate Progress.

This post was originally published on Climate Progress and has been reposted with permission.

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About the Author

is an editor at Greentech Media. Formerly, he was a reporter/blogger for Climate Progress, where he wrote about clean energy policy, technologies, and finance. Before joining CP, he was an editor/producer with RenewableEnergyWorld.com. He received his B.A. in journalism from Franklin Pierce University.



  • Mikdelia

    Well, you got it right about the percentages. At an average price of 6/7 cents per kw for electricity costs; 2.2 per kw is actually more like 30-50%.

    Deepwater Wind has a contract for 24 cents per KW in Rhode Island with a 3.5% annual increase for 20 years. I am exhausted from reading your non-partisan fact checking article but your debunking wasn’t particularly accurate or effective.

    Mike Delia

  • echosyst

    If industrial wind power is economically viable it shouldn’t need tax credits, mandates or subsidies of any kind. It is not viable on its own and never will be. A “good” wind power facility is producing energy only 30% of the time. The remainder has to be backed up by gas or hydro. Nobody has any control over when that 30% of availability will occur.

    The unreliability of wind renders it inoperable as a commercial energy source. The fact that coal plants were shut down means absolutely nothing in terms of whether wind is viable. Older coal plants are being taken offline and replaced with gas. No wind power facility alone can replace a coal generating plant.

    • Jan

      If you cannot distinguish between capacity factor and reliability you should not join the discussion. Wind turbines produce electricity around 70% of the time.

    • Ross

      Its going to get increasingly hard to keep beating that drum as the transition away from fossil fuels continues over future decades.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The wind industry has stated that is needs only three more years of subsidies in order to be fully competitive with older generation technologies.

      It takes time to build up the infrastructure needed for a new technology. Think about how hard it would have been for coal to establish itself had the government not assisted the railroad industry to get itself established and helped the nation build the early grid.

      Wind turbine plants have been built. Technicians trained. Supply lines established. Specialized installation equipment developed.

      We’re almost there.

      Now you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about when you state ” unreliability of wind renders it inoperable as a commercial energy source”.

      Spend some time on this site and educate yourself about wind energy. There’s a great resource on the right side of the page. Look for the US map.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Wind is cost-competitive (and even the cheapest source of new electricity) in some regions.

      Fossil fuels have gotten government subsidies for about a century. Historical subsidies weigh Heavily on the side of fossil fuels and nuclear. How is it such a crime to give wind an early boost?

      Furthermore, not making fossil fuel companies internalize their public health costs is a HUGE subsidy. That should be pulled, but I have a feeling you’re not going to argue for that.

      As stated by others here, wind is on the verge of becoming one of the cheapest energy options even without getting its fair share of subsidies. So, really, you need to think these things through a little more carefully.

  • archaios pteryx

    No matter how you massage it, wind power is not “power”. 1,000 installed wind megawatts cannot provide enough useful energy to manufacture a single ball bearing. 10,000 installed wind MW cannot replace a single power plant. Many things have been subsidized, but wind power exists ONLY for subsidies with bogus tons of CO2 “saved” imputed to impress fools.

    European corruption arrived in the US. Enjoy it. It is Green. Designed to give a competivie advantage to its originator.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Congratulations archaios!!!

      It’s only the 11th of the month but I think you might have already won the Dumbest Post of March 2012 award.

      You check will be in the mail….

      • dw028

        When you can’t debate the facts you go on the attack and name calling

        • Bob_Wallace

          Here are four statements…

          1) “wind power is not “power””

          2) “1,000 installed wind megawatts cannot provide enough useful energy to manufacture a single ball bearing.”

          3) “10,000 installed wind MW cannot replace a single power plant”

          4) “wind power exists ONLY for subsidies with bogus tons of CO2 “saved” imputed to impress fools”

          Now since all of those statements are factually incorrect the OP gave us no facts to argue against.

          And, exactly what name did I call him/her?

          • archaios pteryx

            Here are three more questions for you: 1) How many installed wind MW’s does it take to manufacture a single steel ball bearing? “Manufacture”, not theoretical energy balances. 2) Would you send a relative to an emergency room powered by wind power? 3) How many wind generators does it take to manufacture a single wind generator? (There is a trick in this one, watch out for the fiberglass) . When you answer these questions, I will admit that I am an idiot.

          • Bob_Wallace

            1) How many installed wind MW’s does it take to manufacture a single steel ball bearing? “Manufacture”, not theoretical energy balances.

            The actual numbers are not important. We don’t know the size of the single steel ball bearing in qestion but we do know that, if it was the only energy source available, we could manufacture the bearing with 100% of all the electricity input coming from wind turbines. We could mine the ore, transport it to the smelter, and turn it into steel using wind-produced electricity. Then we could process that steel into a bearing of what ever size you would like using power from the wind-powered grid.

            Obviously that would take a lot of electricity storage to run our grid with only wind input so it’s not what we will do. Adding in solar, geothermal, hydro, tidal, biomass, biogas and wave will give us the cheap, clean, renewable grid of the future.

            2) Would you send a relative to an emergency room powered by wind power?
            No reason why ambulances couldn’t run on batteries. Most ambulances don’t need very long range and, if necessary, we could install Level 3 charges right at the emergency room door. Until our batteries give us a lot more range our long distance transport ambulances would probably need to be PHEVs. By the time an ambulance was cleaned up and restocked it would be recharged and ready to go.

            3) How many wind generators does it take to manufacture a single wind generator?

            This is just another version of question number one.

            Obviously since wind is now providing 3.5% of all US electricity wind turbines are producing more electricity than we are using to manufacture wind turbines.

            Solar panels are providing more electricity to the grid than we use to manufacture solar panels as well. Even in China.

            I’m not sure what you mean by “watch out for the fiberglass”. I suspect you’re trying to say something about epoxy and oil. Perhaps you don’t know that we can make epoxy from plant products and skip the oil. Perhaps you don’t know that GE is testing a metal framed, fabric covered blade which promises to lower blade cost by 25% to 40%. It won’t even use plant-derived epoxy.

            ” When you answer these questions, I will admit that I am an idiot.”

            OK, your turn…

          • archaios pteryx

            There is not a single smelter than can run on wind power. Nor can holding or annealing furnaces, blast furnaces or mini-mills. Ask a plant engineer, but put is as a joke lest you funny looks. Heavy industry abhors intermittent power or unstable voltages. Furnaces do not run “randomly”. You wouldn’t risk running the exhaust fans of a plant on wind power. I wonder what a fiberglass blade would cost if made out of vegetable material, try the concept at your local leisure boat manufacturer. GE is a great company, metal frames cannot by manufactured by non-dispatchable, intermittent, quasi-random power. 3.5% of US total electricity is a lot of electricity. But it is random, dispersed, non-dispatchable. You may not “sum” it or “average” it, nor can you have all in two weeks in a single location . All the “green” technologies that you mention are straight out of the 1960′s, first tried in the ’70′s. Rice hulls are great to burn or to pyrolyze as a way to get rid of them. Biogas is a great way to generate some power to run the municipal wastewater plant. That is about it.

            Ambulances and golf carts may run on batteries. An emergency CAT scan, or an ER, may not (unless if the emergency takes place on a windy day). The problem with wind is that, besides being random, you may not store it. Not in the quantities and cost necessary to use it on a grand scale.

            Nowhere, in the last 40 years has wind replaced a single conventional plant. Nor has it demonstrated that it may substitute meaningful conventional fuel. The only data (from gas-powered Ireland and diesel-powered Falklands) indicate that the actual fuel savings are much less than what would correspond to the wind power claimed. To put it in other words, wind generators turn happily, at the same time as gas turbines or diesel generators do exactly the same. An idling car engine consumes fuel. A car engine in city traffic consumes more fuel. Same idea. So, don’t be impressed by the 3.5%. You may be double paying for it (on top of the subsidies).

            Solar is a bit different. If the price per kWhr is right, it may provide peak power in Southern States. But even then, the distributed production in far away areas result in losses and costs. Real estate in urban areas is way too expensive to use for peaking power. No, you may not manufacture a single foot of extruded aluminum or a single foot of copper wire for a pv panel on just pv power. Aluminum and copper plants typically run on 24 hr shifts.

            I have seen the various studies suggesting we could be 50% or 100% renewable by xyz date. They are usually “if-then” exercises, neglecting such trivia as “costs”, and over time frames that the authors of the studies will long have been forgotten. Yes, we could hook a large coil and magnets around the equator and generate enough energy to outlast a thousand lifetimes (slow down the Earth a bit). You could have a lot of orbiting pv panels beaming juice 24/365 down to Earth. You could blast a small H-bomb in a boiler and get LOTS of power. Many things are possible, theoretically (and in science fiction!). Until then, it will be coal, nukes (may be with thorium, Norway is trying it), gas (now that shale is fashionable) and hydro. Fusion has been “35-50 years away” for the last 35-50 years, good for R&D. We can surely live without much electricity, but it would not be fun.
            As to the fuss with renewables, besides the love of subsidies, it is a polite way to supress demand for fuel and energy by making it more expensive, without calling it a tax. It may come to a tax, but that is another matter.

            Regrettably, I cannot admit to being an idiot, as yet (but thank you for the answer).

          • Bob_Wallace

            I only read your first two sentences because as soon as I finished them that there was no reason to go further. It’s clear that you don’t understand that a 100% renewable energy grid is feasible and affordable.
            Let me summarize a paper which I feel is very worth ones time to read…
            *Researchers at University of Delaware used four years of weather and electricity demand/load data in one minute blocks to determine 1) if a combination of wind, solar and storage could meet 99.9% of demand and 2) the most cost effective mix of each to meet demand.

            The data for 1999 through 2002 came from the PJM Interconnection, a large regional grid that services all or part of 13 states from New Jersey to Illinois, from Pennsylvania south into Tennessee and North Carolina. This is the world’s largest competitive wholesale electricity market, serving 60 million customers, and it represents one-fifth of the United States’ total electric grid.

            They used currently available technology and its projected price in 2030. They included no subsidies for wind and solar in their calculation. They did not include hydro, nuclear, tidal or other possible inputs. They also did not include power sales to and purchases from adjacent grids.

            They found that by 2030 we could obtain 99.9% of our electricity from renewable energy/storage and the remainder 0.1% from fossil fuels for about what we currently pay “all-in” for electricity. The all-in price of electricity which includes coal and oil produced health costs currently paid via tax dollars and health insurance premiums.

            During the four year period there were five brief periods, a total of 35 hours, when renewables plus storage were insufficient to fully power the grid and natural gas plants came into play. These were summer days when wind supply was low and demand was high. The cheapest way to cover these ~7 hour events was to use existing natural gas plants rather than to build additional storage. Adding in hydro, tidal, etc. would further reduce this number.

            After 28 billion simulations using differing amount of wind, solar, storage and fossil fuels they found the best solution was to over-build wind and solar and at times simply “throw away” some of the produced power. Building “too much” wind and solar turns out to be cheaper than building more storage given the storage solutions we have at this time. Finding markets for the extra production, selling electricity to offset natural gas heating for example, further reduced costs.

            Budischak, Sewell, Thomson, Mach, Veron, and Kempton Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time Journal of Power Sources 225 (2013) 60-74*
            *
            *
            *You can find the paper on line here – *

            * https://docs.google.com/file/d/1NrBZJejkUTRYJv5YE__kBFuecdDL2pDTvKLyBjfCPr_8yR7eCTDhLGm8oEPo/edit **
            *
            *
            *
            *And, remember, this is *actually* demand data from a very large grid. All sorts of large manufacturing were running over these four years.*
            *
            *
            *And, remember, this was a “worst case” study to see if it was possible and affordable to run with nothing but wind and solar along with a tiny amount of natural gas. Add in all the other clean energy sources such as hydro, geothermal, tidal, wave, biomass and biogas along with residual nuclear and the need for overbuilding and storage decreases. Utilize load shifting and power trading with adjacent grids and they fall further.*
            *
            *
            *More varied inputs and improvements in technology will bring the price of electricity lower than what we pay today.*

          • archaios pteryx

            1) Happy New Year

            2) Futurology and theoretical feasibilty is not necessarily practical or even desirable, but it is worth noting that someone has to foot the bill.

            3) Now that some Budget compromise has been reached, California showed the way: http://reason.com/archives/2012/07/20/california-goes-bankrupt

            4) Now that Renewables are a possibility in your mind, California also showed the way: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/wind-power-not-coming-through-for-california-power-alert-issued-by-the-caiso/ California would be having blackouts without its good neighbors.

            5) Now that California has shown the way of fiscal discipline and Green Energy, here is a cause: Awards to State and Municipal employees for being Green. Could this be corruption to waste taxpayers’ money? http://www.green-technology.org/green_technology_magazine/gcs-awards.htm

            6) I am guessing that you trust the studies that you mentioned, and which I had seen, more than you would trust ExxonMobil. I do not work for any oil or gas related outfit, but if you want a glimpse of 2030, slightly more concrete than tutti frutti studies, I suggest http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/Files/news_pub_eo2013.pdf
            You may have reason not to trust one of the original seven sisters, but they have some extemely coherent arguments on the beauty and irrelevance of wind and solar pv. 700% rise by 2030, 7% of the juice, for wind! The stats for solar are worse, but at least solar can provide some peak power in the SW.
            7) The 28 zillion simulations say nothing about REAL costs (and they were probably carried out in some AC’d room powered by a coal, or nuclear, or gas plant). Simulations are easy. Casting metal or providing health care requires dispatchable power.

            8) I hate to say it, but your arguments, are a bit like ENRON’s. Remember ENRON? Big fans of cap and trade and theorists of cheap electricity from more varied inputs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You could read the studies I linked and then make statements based on knowledge rather than assumption.

          • archaios pteryx

            Sir, you underestimate my reading skills. You now have a one year reprieve. One more unhappy year of subsidies. The necessary and adequate condition for the wind “power” to exist. Other things get subsidized, I know, to generate a surplus, or for political reasons, but we are getting something in return for that. Wind is a hoax, a black hole. We subsidize German, Danish and Spannish contraptions. No NET job creation. Just inflation, recession and a temporary employment bubble. Look at Spain! The wind lobby wanted 6 years of subsidy. The reason is simple: In 6 years they would have ample time to reach the theoretical and practical maximum of 6-7% “penetration”. Predicted by E.ON in 2005. Documented in Germany in the last two years. The US is NOT like Denmark. It has no bigger neihgbors to dump worhtless, random, peak power. A truly sad development ( a happy one for you, I am sure). Perhaps, in 6-10 years we will meet again, you will then realize that I was right on this matter. There are 16,000 rusting, rotting wind generators across the country, we went down this road once before. It is not politics. It is basic engineering, basic physics and basic economics. NOTHING major has changed, except for the mandatory subsidy mechanism.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.

            We won’t miss your misleading, dishonest posts.

          • archaios pteryx

            Man! That is a lot of words for someone who hasn’t read my comment. Here is something simpler. Money talks: http://www.businessinsider.com/renixx-renewable-energy-index-decline-2012-12. I would start wlaking. Fraud time is up.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, you comment failed with the first two sentences. Nothing you wrote afterwards made things right.

            Now as to your rebuttal. I’m sure you’ve heard of making apples to apples comparison. I’m afraid what you are now attempting to make apple salad from apples and used crankcase oil. You can mix them up but no one will be willing to chow down.

            Did you even read what you just now linked? All it says is that solar stock prices are down. Surprised? If so, you haven’t been keeping up.

            There is way too much manufacturing capacity on line. Somewhere around 600 different companies. Too many people got into the game. And now what typically happens with new technology is that the least efficient are being forced out. Expectations are that around 150 companies will go under.

            Same thing happened with computers. Over 150 US computer manufacturers failed when that shakeout occurred Some which at one time had significant market positions.

            Right now marginal manufacturers are dumping product onto the market at cost or slightly under in an attempt to either stay in business or at least recoup some of their investment. That drags down the stock price of all. The market does not like uncertainty and investors will step back until its clear who will be going forward.

            Now, if you’d like to get caught up to reality you can read the Budischak paper. I linked it for you in my previous “lot of words” comment.

            BTW, be careful when reading Business Insider, they publish some real junk. Some of their articles appear to be “pump and dump” pieces.

          • archaios pteryx

            The problem with inexpensive computers is that they can churn simulation to impress fools. Reality is a lot simpler and does not require too many words. After 10 years of climate hysteria and “energiewende”, Germany has more wind and solar power installed than anyone around. They have failed at replacing a single conventional unit. They are building coal plants to make up for nuke shutdowns, and go through contortions with neighboring countries to prevent grid instabilities and blackouts. Denmark is an equally sad story; both have the highest electricity prices in the EU. Models are garbage in garbage out; reality is staring you in the face. Look at reality, not computer models. Look at California’s energy reality. http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx
            http://www.realclearenergy.org/charticles/2012/01/30/california_must_import_one-quarter_of_its_electricity.html
            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/09/wind-power-not-coming-through-for-california-power-alert-issued-by-the-caiso/
            If California’s neighbors followed California’s policy, we would be calling upon Enron to solve the energy problem! REALITY. I will stick with reality, and the market is a better proxy for it than computer simulations, or AEWA brochures. Simulations are virtual reality, and AEWA brochures are marketing (fraudulent in my opinion).

          • Bob_Wallace

            Germany’s new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned.

            By 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

            Furthermore those plants will be more efficient, releasing less CO2 per unit electricity produced than are the ones they are replacing.

            If you’ll check the start dates on those new German coal plants I think you’ll find they precede March 11, 2011.

            Your linking to WUWT explains your info failure. You really should hang out with a better crowd.

          • archaios pteryx

            the news from Germany, my friend, are ahead of you. Just like the PTC effectively bit the dust, German Industry and the FDP are asking bluntly for a new EEG (the German equivalent). Altmeier (CDU) asked for a one time cut in tariffs, and postponement of new subsidized renewable projects. Merkel worries about consumer backlash, in an election year. Check it out on Bloomberg. PV’s may have the prospect of achieving grid parity, but the wind bubble is bursting. Wind may achieve 6-7% of nominal electricity supply with exponentially rising costs (diminishing returns) and its fuel substitution, as measured in other countries, will be half that, max. There is nothing dishonest about reality staring at you in the face. It may be unpleasant to you, but it does not make it dishonest.

            Most euroland countries publish their electricity generation data. Here is the German data: http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/news/electricity-production-from-solar-and-wind-in-germany-in-2012.pdf. I believe I see a slightly different view on what new coal plants are doing, and you have to sift through imports-exports. Germany “exports” (dumps is the word) random wind and solar power to neighbors, and imports baseload — if you look at the detailed charts I think it is visible.

            Here is France, live: http://www.rte-france.com/fr/developpement-durable/eco2mix/production-d-electricite-par-filiere Nukes, I rest my case.

            You may not like WUWT, but WUWT has nothing to do with raw power generation info, and while it is not my role to come to anyone’s defense, WUWT lists its sources, for public scrutiny and its source in the instance I mentioned, and you did not like, was CAISO “California Independent System Operator” . If you prefer, I can offer you the original CAISO link… You have a problem with CAISO?

          • Bob_Wallace

            archios – you simply post stupid stuff.

            Solar is being installed in Germany at $2/watt. Electricity prices are high in Germany. Making ones own power with solar is cheaper than buying it from the grid. Parity has been reached.

            Germany does not “dump” wind power. Germany sells wind power. Germany then buys back power when it needs it. That’s now the unified European grid will operate.

            There is a lot of pushback on the part of fossil fuel industries in Germany right now. Wind and solar are hurting their profits.

            Here in the US we see the very wealthy Koch brothers spending millions to fight the growth of renewables, trying to protect their fossil fuel profits.

            WUWT is a pile of liars.

          • archaios pteryx

            ΅Please… Reuters are liers, die Welt are liers, Bloomberg are liers and of course the WSJ, big time liers. But the facts are facts: 1) Poland and the Czech Republic have complained about renewable power dumps on their grids; you may window-dress it and call it “sending excess electricity through their grids” but THEY worry about fried grids and blackouts. 2) Germany proved that pv’s can replace gas as peaking daytime power at a substantial relative cost — it now has the second most expensive power in Europe after Denmark, the star of subsidized windmills. Denmark “sells” excess power to neighbors, and buys it back at a LOSS. Germany has not offered such negative arbitrage info, but they HAVE complained about the Swiss selling them hydro on demand at a profit over excess power sold to Switzerland.
            “Europe is by far the world’s biggest market for solar power yet it largely depends on government subsidies because solar power is still up to eight times more expensive than conventional forms of power like coal and gas”; no need to provide the Reuters source as they are also liers. German Industry up in arms over renewables cost, are liers. The FDP asking for a new EEG law (their version of PTC) are also liers — especially them, they are “free market” liers. I am delighted that pv’s are reaching grid parity, but they still run only 4-6 hours a day, 200 days per year, and “something else” needs to be there for the evening news. You may discover that grid parity is a moving target when you account for the need to have power 24/365.
            Of course I am posting “stupid stuff”. That is the final argument of Green Authority over dazzled customers. Love your post on how wind power lowers electricity prices. It is like bacon lowering cholesterol, or the PTC being good for America’s GDP. Ask the Danes, they know.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The grid is transitioning away from fossil fuels and to renewables. There will be growing pains. Some deal will have to be struck with Poland and the CR to either send power elsewhere, curtail at the point of generation, or modernize the Polish and CR grids.

            I’m copying over a comment from another thread which explains the temporary high cost of offshore wind in Denmark…

            “It may interest people to know that in Denmark where we had a headstart (and probably would be much farther ahead if it weren’t for the previous right-wing government that put the renewable agenda on ice for half a decade), we consider the current level of subsidies paid for off-shore wind, such as the new parks in the UK, too high.

            Due to haste, we ended up with one fairly expensive park ourselves to go into operation this year (cheaper than the UK ones but still at around 0.14 €/KWh with only one bidder I believe). A study was commissioned to figure out how to get better bids for the next rollouts. When you look at the capital and running expenses, e.g. the costs of the relatively small Samsø Havvindmøllepark where the income statements for the past half a decade are publicly available, it seems the companies bidding reap huge profits from tariffs of the past few years – yes, they do also take on risk but we should certainly see the prices fall.”

            http://cleantechnica.com/2013/01/29/eu-installed-more-than-one-offshore-wind-turbine-per-working-day-in-2012/#comment-783070015

            Germany has had some the most expensive electricity in Europe. The price is not caused by either solar and wind on the grid nor renewable subsidies.

            Whoever did the “solar 8x fossil fuels” math made an error. In the US that would make solar 48 cents per kWh based on the price of gas and $1.60 per kWh based on the price of coal.

            “Of course I am posting “stupid stuff”.”

            From your mouth to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s conchiglionian ears….

          • archaios pteryx

            you are the snake-oil salesman, but this is your site. Your need to delete is gratifying :-)

    • Ross

      You really should read some of the stuff posted on this website. Like how 106 coal plants have been shut down since 2010 and plans for many new ones cancelled. Learn about how the merit order effect and marginal pricing is creating market conditions where the transition to renewables can be made over a few decades without spending any more on infrastructure than business as usual.

  • Mattpeffly

    Tell a lie (I mean story) once it is a rumor
    Tell it 10 times, it is a confirmed rumor
    Tell it 100-1000 times, and it must be true.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Sad, but true. I don;t even think it needs to get to 10 these days for most people.

      • Jonah_Falcon

        What’s the difference. You guys write op-eds and then refer to them as a source.

        All journalists do it.
        How many chicken little stories have you wrote in the past year?

        America is slowly (finally) figuring out we can’t afford wind and solar. And the Fiskar and Volt are not really affordable.

        • Ross

          That’s obvious nonsense. Renewables will continue to get cheaper and its hard to see the costs of fossil fuels not going up. The profit motive will ensure that the transition is made.

        • Bob_Wallace

          The year I graduated from high school I bought gas for $0.18/gallon. That’s $1.28/gallon in today’s dollars.

          Yesterday very best price in town was $4.36/gallon. 3.4 times as much.

          About 20 years ago when I built my previous house and purchased panels the retail price was $8/watt. $12.64 in today’s dollars.

          Right now I can buy panels for $1.18/watt. 13.6 times less.

          Now my crystal ball tells me that oil and gas are going to keep on going up and that the price of solar is going to keep dropping.

          There’s only a finite amount of oil (and junk that is sort of oil) and we’ve used the easy to extract/refine stuff. It’s going to cost more and more to find and refine petroleum.

          And while there is a finite amount of sunlight hitting Earth and a finite amount of the materials to make solar panels we’ve not used 1/1,000th of 1%. We’ll reach grid saturation a very long time before we make a dent in sunlight and sand.

          Wind? Wind is cheap electricity and getting even cheaper.

          America is slowly (finally) learning that oil is not our future, our future is renewable energy.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Good point Ross.

          We’ve reached the point at which wind is now a significant industry and companies are investing in wind farms because they see a good return at low risk.

          We’ve got Republican governors from conservative states lobbying for more support for wind because the wind industry brings jobs and income to their states.

          Profits do speak, don’t they?

  • Captivation

    I don’t understand why people would want to be seen holding, let alone reading a publication that deceives in this way.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Before Murdoch Fox-i-fied the WSJ I used to look to it for financial news and analysis. Yes, there was a conservative slant to the reporting and opinion pieces, but they were largely honest in their conservatism.

      Now there is no way I trust my dollars to anything printed in “The Fox Business News”. When you lie in parts of your publication how can anyone trust the rest of what you publish?

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Agreed.

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