No One Can Force the Sun to Shine or Wind to Blow

Two facts are incontrovertible:

  • Wind turbines don’t generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing
  • Solar power plants don’t generate electricity when the sun isn’t shining

Storage can mitigate this to some extent, but it can double the initial investment in wind and solar.

Because wind and solar don’t generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, there must be backup fossil fuel generation sufficient to meet demand.

When wind and solar provide small amounts of electricity, maintaining the fossil fuel backup is a nuisance and moderately expensive.

But what happens when wind or solar provide very large amounts of electricity, especially if they provided 80%, as proposed by Germany and as espoused by extreme environmentalists?

No bureaucrat can force the sun to shine or the wind to blow, so backup fossil fuel generation must be maintained to meet total demand at any time of day.

As this curve from Germany demonstrates, approximately 70 GW of generating capacity must be maintained so that total demand can be met when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining. (The red line approximates 80% production from renewables.)

Who is going to pay for maintaining this capability?

German Load Curve at 60% Renewables

But Germany is part of the European grid so it can export or import electricity to help mitigate the problem of generation by renewables.

Denmark is a good example of why the investment in renewables is actually wasted.

Denmark Generation by Category with Consumption
Denmark Generation by Category with Consumption

The green bars represent power from central stations, which is essentially from fossil fuel power plants.

The brown line shows total consumption.

Clearly, all of the load could have been supplied solely by fossil fuels, possibly with some small assist from combined heat and power (CHP).

The investment in wind turbines has been completely wasted.

Considering that wind is more expensive than fossil fuels in most countries, it makes no economic sense to build wind turbines.

In actuality, Denmark exports a large amount of its wind generated electricity to Norway, because Norway, where over 90% of its electricity is provided by hydro, can absorb the excess wind generated electricity from Denmark, which would otherwise have to be dumped.

The two countries that are consistently held up as examples of the wonders of renewables are both wasting billions of dollars in their quest to eliminate CO2.

The average citizen is footing the bill with higher rates for electricity and higher taxes.


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