…WSJ Joins Fake News Media…
There was a time, not too long ago, that a reader of the Wall Street Journal could trust the news in the paper.
Unfortunately, the WSJ has been drifting left over the past few years, and, based on the June 22-23 issue, has completed its move to the fake news category.
The story in question was a two-page spread in the Exchange, “Plugging in The Wind”.
It was presented as news, but more closely resembled an advertisement.
A full page spread for advertising in the WSJ is, at a minimum, for a country wide insertion, around $110,000 according to the WSJ website.
The article was actually a review of a new book:
“Adapted from ‘SUPERPOWER: One Man’s Quest to Transform American Energy’ by Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold, to be published by Simon & Schuster, Inc., on June 25.”
My first question was, “Is this news or a $220,000 gift of free advertising?”
My second question was, “Is the article factually correct?”
I can’t answer the first question, but after reading the article my conclusion is that the article is misleading at best.
The gist of the article is that wind power is cheap and that it could, if politicians hadn’t interfered, replace fossil fuels.
Regardless of what the article claims, wind power is not cheaper than power generated by coal-fired and natural gas power plants. The reference for the claim is a graph using data from Lazard. My evaluation of the Lazard claim is in my article, Misleading Costs for Wind and Solar. As the title indicates, Lazard’s claims are misleading at best.
The evidence is overwhelming that wind and solar are more expensive than coal-fired or natural gas power plants.
I will mention here that my new book, Energy: The Source of Prosperity, will be available from Amazon on August 1. The book contains overwhelming proof that wind and solar are not only more expensive than coal-fired or natural gas, but that wind and solar are also unreliable and intermittent.
This brings us to a few other items ignored or underreported in the WSJ article Plugging in the Wind.
There was little mention that wind and solar were both unreliable and intermittent, requiring backup or storage, both of which increase costs. (There was a vague mention about DC transmission which is covered below.)
No mention was made either of the 2.3 cent per kWh subsidy that wind is receiving to make it possible to sell power cheaply.
DC transmission lines, which the article refers to as a key component in the effort to use wind, have advantages and disadvantages, which were described in my article DC Transmission for Cutting CO2 Emissions.
Quoting from the referenced article:
- DC transmission is better than AC transmission for:
(a) Shipping large amounts of power over long distances
(b) Conducting power underwater
2. On the negative side, DC transmission is point-to-point which limits its ability to distribute electricity to multiple locations.
3. DC transmission is more expensive when used for shorter distances, say under 400 miles.
These details were conveniently missing from the WSJ article.
For example: If a DC line was built from Arizona to Chicago to distribute solar power, it would only operate during the day when the sun was shining. Or a DC line built from Montana to Atlanta would only operate intermittently when the wind was blowing.
Note that the sources, i.e., individual wind turbines and individual PV solar installations, are spread out over very large areas, while a hydropower plant is located at a single location. This is one reason why DC transmission is appropriate for transmission of electricity from hydropower plants.
DC transmission is akin to a hose: It can carry water from the spigot to the nozzle. DC is effective for moving electricity from a hydropower plant (a single point source) to a far distant area, where it then has to use AC transmission to move it to multiple cities.
It’s true, our existing grid has been built over a period of a hundred years and actually consists of three separate grids, but it’s not old-fashioned and parochial.
In fact, our existing grid is remarkably flexible: It can gather power from multiple sources and then distribute power to many points, while DC transmission is inflexible, point to point transmission.
I’m afraid the WSJ article is similar to the Green New Deal, all pie in the sky and misleading at best.
. . .