Err, no

Yesterday brought news from the UK that offshore wind prices have fallen by half in the past two years and are now – for the first time – lower than nuclear and gas.

That’s for the fast spin up gas to cover the gaps in wind and solar, not for baseload. That cost should actually be added to the costs of renewables, not gas.

Technology needs to advance further for this revolution to maintain momentum. The fossil fuel and nuclear industries are increasingly struggling to compete in terms of cost but they argue they are a more stable supplier of electricity when there is no wind and no sun. But that does not have to be the case. It can change if the government and business sector do more to develop and promote battery technology so that solar and wind energy can be stored and distributed at night and between breezes.

And won’t things be better if we only knew how to do what we don’t know how to do?

19 comments on “Err, no

  1. Things might be better “if we only knew how to do what we don’t know how to do” but they wouldn’t be any cheaper.

    It constantly astounds me that Greens talk about non-existent new battery technologies, ‘smart grids’, interconnects, pumped storage etc. etc. as if all of those things were free.

    All of them cost money – lots & lots of it. Dinorwig pumped storage cost £400m and took 10 years to build. It can run the grid for less than 30 seconds. An 85Km interconnect between France & Spain cost €700m (subsidies & a loan) and took 4 years. It carries 2GW. Smart Grids & New Batteries are not even invented yet, so the costs are unknown, but are likely to be substantial.

    And none of these generate any electricity – in fact they have an efficiency of around 75% round trip, so they reduce the energy available, as well as being expensive, slow to build, environmentally disruptive and adding single points of failure.

    Only a moron would base energy policy, on which all our lives & livelihoods depend, on this sort of expensive nonsense, instead of targeting a few new nuclear plants and some well distributed gas-fired generators using locally fracked gas. Or letting the market decided what generating regimen is most efficient & effective.

    But then energy policy has been made by morons for some years now.

  2. Even if there is a future technology that goes some way to solving the problem it’s going to take 10-15 years from discovery in a research lab to commercial deployment on a large scale. As there isn’t an inkling that it’s out there we’re looking at 20 years.

    Let’s fix today’s problem of expensive energy and worry about how the new technology will change the landscape if and when it arrives.

    In the meantime I’m quite happy that we continue funding blue skies research.

  3. It can change if the government and business sector do more to develop and promote battery technology

    As if nobody is working flat-out on these right now, desperate to cash in on the untold billions if they crack it. You have to be of a very queer mindset to think nobody’s working on this unless the government is pushing it.

  4. Most of the largest companies in the world and the entire automotive industry is working on battery technology, but none of them will succeed unless we elect Jeremy Corblimey.

    He will bless their efforts and lo! the technology will be available the next day and will cost nothing.

  5. It totally isn’t true.
    Nuclear is a lot cheaper than offshore wind.
    It *may, possibly* be true that the price of electricity from HInkley Point C if it ever gets built will be higher than the cost of electricity from the next-but-one windfarm but the cost of electricity from any *current* windfarms is higher than the forecast cost from Hinkley Point C and far, far higher than that from any *current* nuclear reactor.

  6. We need to be looking at the destruction of eco-freakery, itself the third arm –or middle leg–of cultural Marxist evil.

  7. @The Laughing Cavalier

    Batteries are the wrong technology. We need to be looking at Hydrogen technology.

    Just more stupidly expensive storage. And distribution.

    We need to be looking at oil & gas & new nuclear. None of which we will run out of anytime soon, and all of which are cheaper than solar, wind & biomass.

    Maybe coal too.

  8. It simply is past time that the renewables business was tasked with maintaining the core utility aspect of electricity – as in – their contracts specify that they are responsible for 24/7/365 continuity of supply.

    The grossly distorted “market” routinely punishes reliable dispatch of electricity and hands simply mad amounts of money to unreliable generators and stuff like STOR. The massive green blob PR machine hurrah-ing every idiotic move and mobbing legislators distracts from the inevitable collapse of electricity provision as a utility so we’ll end up with something more on the Nigerian model.

    I’ve got this nice diesel generator for sale…

    Spectating a slow motion train crash is the best analogy ……

  9. ‘It can change if the government and business sector do more to develop and promote battery technology so that solar and wind energy can be stored and distributed at night and between breezes.’

    Idiocy. Widely accepted idiocy, I should add.

    Batteries cannot solve intermittency, merely buffer it. An immense cost providing little value. Not just the cost of the battery system, but the cost of the 4X more renewable generation capacity to charge the batteries while also powering the grid.

    Wind/solar capacity is zero, unless the weather/TOD is favorable. A grand, massively expensive grid-scale renewable generation system as the Guardian describes still requires favorable weather within a day.

    Their grand solution also kills the business case for other generation facilities, i.e., no more free backup from conventional generation.

  10. It’s interesting. Energy (food and power) policy has been taken over by fruitcakes, on a global scale, but no one seems to have noticed, or at least cares. When I was younger it was global thermal nuclear destruction that was going to wipe us out. Not anymore. These fruitcakes will see us all die of cold and/or hunger

  11. It can change if the government and business sector do more to develop and promote battery technology

    As if nobody is working flat-out on these right now, desperate to cash in on the untold billions if they crack it. You have to be of a very queer mindset to think nobody’s working on this unless the government is pushing it.

    +1
    How much money is there to be made by someone able to cram twice as many watt-hours into a given battery format? For mobile devices alone, it must be tens of billions. But it can’t happen without radically rewriting our current understanding of electrochemistry.

  12. Gamecock,

    Do you have a source for that 4x number?

    Based on what I’m seeing from CA, 4x is far too low if we are indeed talking about rated capacity of RE.

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