Mike Shellenberger.

Gisteren schonk Jan Jacobs aandacht aan de Amerikaanse ecomodernist Mike Shellenberger.

Onder de titel, ‘A question that gives pause: If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?’, schreef Shellenberger onlangs een ‘posting’ voor WUWT. Ik pik er een aantal alementen uit.

Over the last year, the media have published story after story after story about the declining price of solar panels and wind turbines.

People who read these stories are understandably left with the impression that the more solar and wind energy we produce, the lower electricity prices will become.

And yet that’s not what’s happening. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Between 2009 and 2017, the price of solar panels per watt declined by 75 percent while the price of wind turbines per watt declined by 50 percent.

And yet — during the same period — the price of electricity in places that deployed significant quantities of renewables increased dramatically.

Electricity prices increased by:

What gives? If solar panels and wind turbines became so much cheaper, why did the price of electricity rise instead of decline?

Kwam het omdat andere energiebronnen (kolen, kernenergie en gas) duurder werden? Dat bleek niet het geval te zijn. Of omdat kernenergiecentrales werden gesloten? Ook dat bleek niet het geval.

That leaves us with solar and wind as the key suspects behind higher electricity prices. But why would cheaper solar panels and wind turbines make electricity more expensive?

The main reason appears to have been predicted by a young German economist in 2013.

In a paper for Energy Policy, Leon Hirth estimated that the economic value of wind and solar would decline significantly as they become a larger part of electricity supply.

The reason? Their fundamentally unreliable nature. Both solar and wind produce too much energy when societies don’t need it, and not enough when they do.

Solar and wind thus require that natural gas plants, hydro–electric dams, batteries or some other form of reliable power be ready at a moment’s notice to start churning out electricity when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining.

And unreliability requires solar– and/or wind–heavy places like Germany, California and Denmark to pay neighboring nations or states to take their solar and wind energy when they are producing too much of it.

Hirth predicted that the economic value of wind on the European grid would decline 40 percent once it becomes 30 percent of electricity while the value of solar would drop by 50 percent when it got to just 15 percent.

In 2017, the share of electricity coming from wind and solar was 53 percent in Denmark, 26 percent in Germany, and 23 percent in California. Denmark and Germany have the first and second most expensive electricity in Europe.

By reporting on the declining costs of solar panels and wind turbines but not on how they increase electricity prices, journalists are — intentionally or unintentionally — misleading policymakers and the public about those two technologies.

That could — and should — change. Reporters have an obligation to report accurately and fairly on all issues they cover, especially ones as important as energy and the environment.

Lees verder hier.