Around 5,000 wind turbines with a total output of 3.7 gigawatts (GW) will fall out of the 20-year EEG subsidy regime at the end of the year. Now the operators have another problem: Due to the corona pandemic, prices on the electricity market have dropped drastically, which means that the vast majority of older wind farms lack the prospect of economic viability. They face shutdown and the German electricity mix is threatened with the loss of considerable amounts of green electricity.Germany was betting that those wind farms would continue to operate and continue to generate carbon-free electricity, likely long into the future. But the skeptics were right: as soon as the subsidies stop, so do the pinwheels. The carbon impact of this is unclear, but if 3.7 GW of wind at 21.7% capacity factor1 is retired and replaced with gas-fired turbines emitting 550 gCO2/kWh, that's an additional 3.87 million tons of CO2 emitted per year. That is a significant hit, increasing German CO2(e) emissions by more than half a percent over 2018's 725.7 million tons CO2(e)2. When successes are measured in fractions of a percent per year, this is yet another major blow to climate goals and shows just how wrong-headed the ideas behind the Energiewende were all along.
The amounts of electricity from the old wind turbines could be sold on the stock exchange or directly to energy suppliers. However, due to the corona crisis and the falling wholesale price for natural gas there has been a significant drop in prices on the electricity market in recent months. Last July, a megawatt hour of electricity cost over 53 euros, on March 23 it was just under 34 euros. The costs for the continued operation of the systems can hardly be recorded even at the cheapest locations, there are massive shutdowns.
If you dutifully read your U.S. mainstream media, you undoubtedly have the impression that “clean” and “green” energy is rapidly sweeping all before it, and soon will supplant fossil fuels in powering our economy. After all, many major states, including California and New York, have mandated some form of “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050, or in some cases even earlier. That’s only 30 years away. And reports are everywhere that investment in “renewables,” particularly wind and solar energy, continues to soar. For example, from Reuters in January we have “U.S. clean energy investment hits new record despite Trump administration views.” In the New York Times on May 13 it’s “In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S.” The final victory of wind and solar over the evil fossil fuels must then be right around the corner.As I like to say, "I'm from Missouri. Show me."
Actually, that’s all a myth. The inherent high cost and unreliability of wind and solar energy mean that they are highly unlikely ever to be more than niche players in the overall energy picture. Politicians claim progressive virtue by commissioning vast farms of wind turbines and solar panels, at taxpayer or ratepayer expense, without anyone ever figuring out — or even addressing — how these things can run a fully functioning electrical grid without complete fossil fuel backup. And the electrical grid is the easy part. How about airplanes? How about steel mills? I’m looking for someone to demonstrate that this “net zero” thing is something more than a ridiculous fantasy, but I can’t find it.
The fact is that Germany has nowhere further to go by building more wind and solar facilities. When the wind blows on a sunny day, they already have more power than they can use, and they are forced to give it away to Poland (or even pay the Poles to take it). On a calm night, no matter how much wind and solar they build, it all produces nothing. Without the coal plant, the lights go out. Talk about climate virtue all they want, but no one has yet even begun to work on a solution to get past this hurdle.Been saying this too.
Which brings me to the most important piece in the GWPF email, from Cambridge Professor Michael Kelly, appearing in something called CapX on June 8, with the headline “Until we get a proper roadmap, Net Zero is a goal without a plan.”
Read enough of this stuff and you gradually realize that almost everything you read about supposed solutions to climate change is completely delusional.RTWT, and follow any link that looks good. You'll be glad you did.
New Englanders like the idea of wind energy they just don’t want any wind turbines in New England. So they are putting them in New York.It's nice to see bigger voices than mine calling out the fakery by name. More, please.
For proof of that, consider the 126-megawatt Cassadaga Wind Project, now being built in Chautauqua County, New York’s westernmost county.
In an email, a spokesperson for Innogy confirmed that the buyer of the power to be produced by Cassadaga “is a group of seven New England utilities procured through the New England Clean Energy request for proposals” in 2016. How will the juice from New York get to New England? It won’t. Instead, the Innogy spokesperson told me that the energy produced by the turbines at Cassadaga “will be used to serve local energy requirements in areas surrounding the project. Export to areas outside New York would require dedicated point-to-point transmission lines.”
Nevertheless, thanks to the magic of renewable-energy credits, New England utilities will get to claim the wind energy that’s being produced in Chautauqua County, as their own. The Innogy spokesperson said the utilities, “can purchase the energy generated from Cassadaga Wind without having a direct point-to-point transmission connection.”
When completed, the Cassadaga project will increase the amount of renewable energy that is being generated in New York but that will be credited to New England.
Labels: renewable energy
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