Utterly Useless: Wind & Solar Costly, Pointless & Can’t Reduce CO2 Emissions

No country has ever powered itself entirely with wind and solar; no country ever will.

The idea we’ll all be powered exclusively by wind and solar is pure fantasy and talk about giant batteries soon making that pipe dream possible is just as unhinged.

The occasional claim that wind and solar satisfied 100% of power demand for a few minutes in a day is as meaningful as the gambler talking up a win without telling you about his 99 straight losses.

With the sun at its zenith on a cloudless, summer’s day and the wind at a perfect and constant 11m/s, wind and solar may well be producing something close to their total notional capacity. But it never lasts. The wind drops and so does the sun, every single day. At which point it’s over to coal, gas and hydro – and in those lucky countries that have it, nuclear – to maintain a meaningful power supply. Which, left to their own devices, they would have done anyway, and without any need for subsidies of the kind doled out to wind and solar.

Reality never stands in the way of the wind and sun cult. One of them, The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy decided to lead with her chin, which allowed Eric Worrall an opportunity to retort.

Claim: Renewables Could Meet 100% of Aussie Demand at Certain Times by 2025
Watts Up With That?
Eric Worrall
31 August 2021

Renewables could meet 100% demand in Australia at certain times of day by 2025, report says
The Guardian
Katharine Murphy
31 August 2021

Renewables will meet 100% of consumer demand for electricity at certain times of the day by 2025 if large-scale wind and solar development continues at current rates, the Australian Energy Market Operator has said.

Aemo’s annual grid reliability snapshot, to be released on Tuesday, notes the penetration of renewable generation in Australia reached a record high of 57% twice in 2021 – in April and again in August.

If Australia’s power system is engineered appropriately, based on current trends “there could be up to 100% instantaneous penetration of renewables at certain times of the day throughout the year by 2025”, it says.

As a consequence, Aemo predicts, all mainland states will experience minimum operational demand during the next five years, which is the lowest level of demand from the grid during daytime. Declining minimum demand can create engineering challenges in the grid.

The Guardian

Why would anyone think this is a good thing?

Electricity consumers will be paying for:

  1. Fuel consumed by fossil fuel generators
  2. Capital & maintenance costs of fossil fuel generators – enough to provide 100% backup, for windless nights.
  3. Subsidies to keep fossil fuel generators open, to compensate for reduced profitability and “engineering challenges”.
  4. Large capital & maintenance costs of renewable systems.
  5. Capital costs of big batteries, to try to keep the grid stable for the five minutes or so it takes to spin up fossil fuel systems.
  6. Inefficiencies running the fossil fuel systems on idle, then ramping them up and down unpredictably all day, as clouds cover the solar panel or the wind unexpectedly changes.
  7. Outages when the needlessly complex power grid malfunctions and fails.

Does anyone think there is any chance this will be cheaper than simply running the fossil fuel system all day? How can anyone believe this is any more than pathetic virtue signalling?

The renewables might not even reduce CO2 emissions. All the renewable systems carry an enormous burden of fossil fuel which was consumed during fabrication and installation. Renewables need much more extensive grids, which have to be maintained by trucks. Light aircraft are frequently hired to fly power line engineers slowly along the power lines, so they can be inspected through binoculars. And as noted above, keeping power plants idling, then spinning them up and down at random, is a very inefficient way to run a fossil fuel power system.

By the time you add up all this, its possible total emissions will actually rise, above what they would be if we simply kept the coal plants.

It could have all been so different. Australia has world class deposits of Uranium, vast empty spaces, and is geologically stable. We could have stuck with fossil fuel, or built enough nuclear power to go zero carbon without the pain of paying for less than useless renewables.

Watts Up With That?

ARIAN SCHUESSLER/The Globe Gazette A turbine on a FPL wind generator caught fire on Wednesday morning near Garner.



September 15, 2021