A Free-Market Energy Blog

Renewable Energy Sources: Does Their Output Matter?

By Stanislav Jakuba -- April 27, 2017

“About $3 trillion has been spent globally on renewable energy since 2004, and the figure has now stabilized at about $300 billion for each one of the last six years.”

This post describes renewable-energy performance in the United States through 2016 as reported in annual reports of the Department of Energy (DOE).[1] The DOE lists six renewable sources: Wind, Solar, Hydro, Wood, Waste, and Geothermal. The term “solar” means the combined output of both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar plants (CSP).

Renewable sources are usually divided into two groups: “Wind and Solar” (W&S), and “Other” (H&W&W&G). Accordingly, the following two graphs show the history of the two groups’ outputs in separate charts: W&S first and H&W&W&G second. A quick glance at both graphs reveals the upward trending lines in the first chart and the near horizontal lines in the second, with wiggles in the line for hydro output caused by differences in rainfall and irrigation demand from one year to the next.

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Why Renewables Cost More (some basics for short attention spans)

By Donn Dears -- April 26, 2017

“Power plants, usually natural gas, must be kept in spinning reserve, ready to come online when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining. There is the cost of natural gas to keep these units operating off-line, as well as maintenance costs from the added wear and tear on these units.”

“The strongest winds, which are the best for generating electricity, are found hundreds, if not a thousand or more miles away from where the electricity is used. [Fossil-fuel] power plants are located closer to where the electricity is used.”

“Coal-fired and NGCC power plants were built to operate as baseload plants operating continuously. Cycling results in an increase in the number of cold-starts and shutdowns.”

The renewable-energy lobby has the advantage of many citizens having short attention spans and not being experts in the field.

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Remembering Al Gore’s $30,000/year Utility Bill (‘inconvenient truth’ made news ten years ago)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 25, 2017

“Armed with Gore’s utility bills for the last two years, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research charged Monday that the gas and electric bills for the former vice president’s 20-room home and pool house devoured … more than 20 times the national average….”

“‘I appreciate the solar panels,’ [Drew Johnson of TCPR] said, ‘but he also has natural gas lanterns in his yard, a heated pool, and an electric gate. While I appreciate that he’s switching out some light bulbs, he is not living the lifestyle that he advocates.'”

– Jake Tapper, “Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’? A $30,000 Utility Bill.” ABC News, February 2007.

Neo-Malthusians who profess the need for government to save the world from peaceful consumers and producers face some hard realities in their lemming-like war against fossil fuels.

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A Diesel in the Shed

By Viv Forbes -- April 24, 2017
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Moral Foundations of a Free Society

By Richard Ebeling -- April 20, 2017
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Grassroots Rising: Paris Agreement is America Last, Taxpayer Last, and Consumer Last

By -- April 19, 2017
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Global Greening in the New York Times (CO2 benefits contradict SCC)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 18, 2017
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Paris Agreement: Remember Enron to Rio to Kyoto

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 17, 2017
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Ford’s Electric Cars in China: Good News or Bad?

By Greg Rehmke -- April 13, 2017
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Properly Representing Wind and Solar in Electricity Systems: Electricity Generated (Part II)

By -- April 12, 2017
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