Three enemies of wind and solar: nature, economics, and simple math

My newsletter today explains. Following are just the top four bullet points:

  • The renewable energy sources (wind and solar) aren’t a one-for-one tradeoff for traditional resources (coal, gas, nuclear). Wind and solar are far less efficient than traditional resources. It’s more of a one-third to one-fourth for one tradeoff.
  • Furthermore, wind and solar are unreliable resources — the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine, especially not in coordination with up-to-the-minute consumer energy needs.
  • So wind and solar need a reliable resource — coal, gas, nuclear — traditional always cycling in the background. This means they simply cannot “replace” those resources.
  • Because there cannot be an independent, reliable wind or solar facility standing alone without needing backup from a traditional resource, it cannot be said their energy costs are free nor that they emit nothing (well, unless their backup is nuclear).

Read the newsletter for the rest — and also for links to several reports to flesh out the case behind those bullet points.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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