Jürgen Weiss: Decarbonizing economy requires big ramp-ups in solar, wind power

Boston and Brussels Energy and industrial organization economist Jürgen Weiss pushes for wind and solar but is mum on nuclear. What's up with that?

Article:

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/olympics/decarbonizing-economy-req...

Author Bio:

https://www.brattle.com/experts/jurgen-weiss

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Comment by Willem Post on October 20, 2019 at 4:10pm

Cost Shifting: Here is a partial list of the costs that were shifted, i.e., not charged to wind and solar plant owners, to make wind and solar appear less costly than in reality to the lay public and legislators.

 

1) The various forms of grid-stabilizing inertia (presently provided by synchronous gas, coal, oil, nuclear, bio and hydro plants).

 

2) The filling-in, peaking and balancing by traditional generators (mostly gas turbines in New England), due to wind and solar variability/intermittency, 24/7/365. The more wind and solar on the grid, the larger the required up/down ramping capacity of the gas turbines, which imparts added costs to owners for which they likely would not be paid:

 

- Less annual production to cover power plant costs, which jeopardizes the economic viability of the plant

 

- Inefficient remaining production (more fuel/kWh, more CO2/kWh), due to more frequent start/stops, and up/down ramping at part load, which further adds to owner costs, and reduces less CO2 than claimed. See URL

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/fuel-and-co2-reductions...

 

- More wear and tear on the gas turbine plants, which further adds to owner costs

 

NOTE: All of this is quite similar to a car efficiently operating at a steady 55 mph, versus a car inefficiently operating at continuously varying speeds between 45 mph to 65 mph.

 

3) Any battery systems to stabilize distribution grid with many solar systems. They would quickly offset downward spikes due to variable cloud cover. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/large-scale-solar-plant...

 

4) Any measures to deal with DUCK curves, such as a) daily gas turbine plant down and up ramping, b) utility-scale storage and c) demand management.

 

5) Grid-related costs, such as grid extensions and augmentations to connect the remotely distributed wind and solar, and to deal with variable/intermittent wind and solar on the grid. Those grid items usually are utilized at the low capacity factors of wind and solar, i.e., a lot of hardware doing little work.

 

6) Utility-scale electricity storage (presently provided by the world’s traditional fuel supply system).

https://www.neon-energie.de/Hirth-2013-Market-Value-Renewables-Sola...

 

7) The costs of additional systems for predicting wind and solar conditions in areas with wind/solar systems to provide information to grid operators regarding likely same-day/next-day wind and solar electricity, which would impact any scheduling of the output of other generators (mostly gas turbines and hydro plants) to ensure reliable electric service at 99.98%, 24/7/365. See Appendix 4.

 

The above 7 items are entirely separate from the high levels of direct and indirectsubsidies. They serve to make wind and solar appear to be much less costly, than in reality. See sections 1 and 2 and Appendix.

  

All that enables wind and solar proponents to endlessly proclaim: “Wind and solar are competitive with fossil and nuclear”.

 

Example of Cost Shifting: To bring wind electricity from the scarcely populated, windy Panhandle in west Texas to population centers in east Texas, about 1000 miles, $7 billion of transmission was built, because owners of wind turbine plants successfully lobbied Texas legislators. They made sure the entire cost was “socialized”, i.e., it appeared as a surcharge on residential electric bills.

 

Example of Cost Shifting: Often the expensive grid connection of offshore wind plants, say from 20 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, across the island, and then to the reinforced mainland grid, is not included in the capital cost estimates, i.e., all or part of it is provided by the utilities that buy the electricity under PPAs to make PPA-pricing appear smaller than in reality. That cost is “socialized”, i.e., it appears as a surcharge on residential electric bills, or is added to the rate base.

 

Wind and Solar Wholesale Prices in NE: Here are some wholesale prices of wind electricity RE folks in New England, especially in Maine, do not want to talk about. They would rather dream RE fantasies, obfuscate/fudge the numbers, and aim to convert others to their dream scenarios, somewhat like religious missionaries. See table 2.

Comment by Willem Post on October 20, 2019 at 4:00pm

Comments on Below Table

 

Indirect subsidies are due to loan interest deduction and depreciation deductions from taxable incomes.

Direct subsidies are due to up front grants, waiving of state sales taxes, and/or local property (municipal and school) taxes. See URL.

 

An owner of ridgeline wind would have to sell his output at 18.8 c/kWh, if the owner were not getting the benefits of cost shifting and upfront cash grants and subsidies.

That owner could sell his output at 16.4 c/kWh, if his costs were reduced due to cost shifting.

He could sell his output at 9 c/kWh, if on top of the cost shifting he also received various subsidies. The same rationale holds for solar. See table.

 

In NE construction costs of ridgeline wind and offshore wind are high/MW, and the capacity factor of wind is about 0.285 and of solar about 0.14. Thus, NE wind and solar have high prices/MWh. See table.

 

In US areas, such as the Great Plains, Texas Panhandle and Southwest, with much lower construction costs/MW and much better sun and wind conditions than New England, wind and solar electricity prices/MWh are less.

 

Those lower prices often are mentioned, without mentioning other factors, by the pro-RE media and financial consultants, such as Bloomberg, etc., which surely deceives the lay public

 

Future electricity cost/MWh, due to the planned build-out of NE offshore wind added to the planned build-out of NE onshore wind, likely would not significantly change, because of the high costs of grid extensions and upgrades to connect the wind plants and to provide significantly increased connections to the New York and Canadian grids.

 

NOTE: For the past 20 years, Germany and Denmark have been increasing their connections to nearby grids, because of their increased wind and solar.

 

The subsidy percentages in below table are from a cost analysis of NE wind and solar in this article. See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/excessive-subsidies-for...

 

Values for 2018 are represented in below table.

 

NE Wind/Solar

NE Wind

%

NE Solar

%

Ridgeline

Large-scale

c/kWh

c/kWh

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

No cost shifting

18.8

100

23.5

100

Less cost shifting

2.4

13

2.1

9

Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

16.4

87

21.4

91

Less subsidy, wind

45% of 16.4

7.4

39

Less subsidy, solar

45% of 21.4

9.6

41

Price to utility*

With direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting

9.0

48

11.8

50

Comment by Willem Post on October 20, 2019 at 1:20pm

Jürgen Weiss is an economist, not an energy systems analyst.

He does not understand other generators and storage are needed for peaking, filling in and balancing, 24/7/365, when wind and solar are inadequate, including during 5 to 7 day wind/solar lulls which do happen at at any time.

The lowest cost generation and storage is hydro, less than 5 c/kWh wholesale.

60% efficient CCGT plants, fired with low cost, abundant domestic, natural gas will also produce at about 5 c/kWh, PLUS they are capable of peaking, filling in and balancing, 24/7/365.

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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