Wind and Solar are Wasteful

Wind and Solar are Wasteful

Wind and solar both generate unreliable and costly electricity, and even worse, must be replaced every twenty years or so.

Wind turbines may not even last twenty years, while solar panels may last 25 years before degrading significantly.

Both are also more susceptible to damage from the weather than are natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants. Hail wreaks havoc on solar panels, while wind turbines can freeze during the winter and must be shut down when the wind is greater than 55 mph.

(The following costs per KW relate to nameplate ratings.)

NGCC power plants built today should last for 40 years or more, and cost less than $1,000 /KW for an 800 MW unit. 

Land based wind turbines cost $1,500 /KW to install, while utility scale PV solar cost $1,350 /KW to install.

Over 40 years it will cost $3,000 /KW for wind turbines, and $2,700 /KW for solar power plant installations, compared with less than $1,000 /KW for a NGCC power plant.

Wind and solar also generate less electricity, where capacity factor reflects the amount of electricity generated for a given nameplate rating.

An NGCC power plant has a capacity factor of around 64%, while land based wind turbines have a capacity factor of around 33% and PV solar has a capacity factor of around 24%.

Having to replace wind and solar after twenty years is a waste of money and produces waste that goes into landfills.

Wind turbine blades are made of fiberglass, glued together with epoxy and are not recyclable.

Scrap blades

Solar panels contain hazardous materials.

Meanwhile, NGCC power plants are made of steel, iron and aluminum, all of which are recyclable.

Wind and solar produce costly waste while generating small amounts of expensive electricity.

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10 Replies to “Wind and Solar are Wasteful”

  1. Great overview. In other words, “green energy” is weather limited energy, expensive, and just the opposite of renewable or sustainable. It’s a nightmare.

  2. the only thing “renewable” about supposed renewables is the “fuel”, the generators are all depreciating assets that, as you point out must be replaced …

  3. Mr. Dears, you are absolutely correct in your remarks. While not an engineer, I have over 40 years of experience in the maintenance and reliability of natural gas plants and I can guarantee that if well maintained they can last even longer than 40 years. Wind and solar are what I refer to as weak sisters in energy production; they are inefficient, unreliable, and actually create more environmental problem than natural gas ever will.

    Lloyd Leugner STLE Certified Lubrication and Equipment Reliability Specialist, Alberta Canada

  4. Thanks, Donn. There is also the substantial costs associated with the typically natural gas-fired generation required to integrate the intermittent solar or wind power into the grid. The problem is so bad that according to the U.S. EIA, annual natural gas use for California electricity generation has been increasing since 2019, despite the state spending tens of billions of dollars on solar and wind generation. One of the alleged benefits of solar or wind is that promoters claim to reduce fossil fuel use.

    California, which has the greatest amount of solar generation installed of any state – and a typically sunny climate – also needs to curtail nondispatchable solar and wind when they are not needed. The costs are substantial. In 2018, (mostly solar) curtailment cost California ratepayers $1 billion, according to Assemblyman Brian Dahle. Annual curtailment costs have risen sharply since then.
    For details, see Californians for Green Nuclear Power recent CPUC filings in Proceeding R.23-01-007. Please email me at
    government [at] CGNP dot org to request copies of our filings.
    These are some of the reasons why California electricity rates are usually the most expensive of the continental 48 states.

    Opponents of nuclear power still want to shut down safe, abundant, reliable, cost-effective and emission-free Diablo Canyon Power Plant.