You’ve been lied to: wind and solar not cheap

It’s all in the numbers: what is the real cost of wind and solar? [Shutterstock image]

The ways wind and solar are costed ignores the real costs of their unreliability…and of getting rid of the parts when they’re done, says Bjorn Lomborg in today’s Financial Post.

The renewables lobby (how we wish they would stop calling wind and solar “renewable”) continually chime that wind and solar are the “lowest-cost” sources of electricity.

Are they right?


That’s because they so-called cost estimates always ignore the costs of backup for when the sun is out or down, and there is no wind.

In today’s Financial Post, author and educator Bjorn Lomborg calls out the giant renewables lobby on its false statements.

“Modern societies need power 24/7. Solar and wind power’s unreliable and intermittent operation involve large, often hidden costs. This is a smaller problem for wealthy countries that already have fossil-power plants and can simply use more of them as backup. But even in wealthy countries it makes electricity more expensive,” Lomborg writes.

“It is often reported that emerging industrial powers like China, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh are getting more power from solar and wind. But these countries get much more additional power from coal. Last year, China got more additional power from coal than it did from solar and wind. India got three times more electricity from coal than from green energy sources, Bangladesh 13 times more and Indonesia an astonishing 90 times more. If solar and wind really were cheaper, why would these countries not use them? Because reliability matters.”

If cost calculations included the cost of back up power sources, the costs would “explode,” Lomborg says. “In 2022, one peer-reviewed study showed an increase of 11-42 times, making solar by far the most expensive electricity source, followed by wind.”

Battery storage is often thrown up as a remedy for every aspect of wind and solar intermittency but that’s phoney too, says Lomborg.

“We need electricity whether or not the sun is shining or the wind blowing. But our battery capacity is woefully inadequate. Research shows that every winter, when solar is contributing very little, Germany has a “wind drought” of five days on average when wind turbines also deliver almost nothing. That suggests batteries will be needed for a minimum of 120 hours — although the actual need will be much longer, since droughts sometimes last much longer and recur before storage can be filled. A new study shows that to achieve 100 per cent solar or wind electricity with sufficient backup, the U.S. would need to be able to store almost three months’ worth of electricity every year. It currently has seven minutes of battery storage.”

It gets worse: another cost totally ignored by the renewables lobby worldwide as it shills for wind and solar is the cost of dealing with the mostly non-recyclable trash components when the equipment is finished.

“Current estimates of the cost of solar and wind also ignore the cost of recycling spent wind turbine blades and exhausted solar panels. Already, one small town in Texas is overflowing with thousands of enormous blades that cannot be recycled. In poor countries across Africa, solar panels and their batteries are being dumped, leaking toxic chemicals into the soil and water supplies. Because of pressure from the climate lobby for an enormous ramp-up in use, this will only get worseOne study shows that on its own this trash cost doubles the true cost of solar.”

Double the true cost.

As we in Ontario face the possibility of proposals for new industrial wind power sites and large solar arrays via a new IESO Request for Proposals, once again we should be asking for complete, honest cost-benefit analyses—something that NEVER gets done.

And we know why. Because they would never be able to sell this unreliable, weather-dependent, expensive, low power-density source of power generation.

Read the full article here: Why solar and wind power aren’t winning | Financial Post

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