Open Competition: What the Wind Industry Fears Most

turbine-2_3153749b

The Wind Industry: always looking for
someone else to put lead in its pencil.

****

Among the myriad fictions spread by the lunatics that spruik for the wind industry, is the claim that wind power is not only competitive with conventional power generation sources, it’s actually cheaper than the cheapest of them all: coal – see this ruin-economy piece for a trip to Alice’s world of make-believe. Coal-fired plant in Victoria can profitably deliver power around the clock at $25 per MWh, which compares with the break-even cost for wind power of over $90 per MWh: for wind power generators, their ‘operations and maintenance’ costs ALONE run to $25 per MWh – and, as blades and bearings wear out, only increase over time:

Australia’s Most Notorious Wind Power Outfit – Infigen – says “Move Over Pinocchio, Here We Come”

2 Year Old Siemens Turbines Falling Apart: Wind Farm Investors, Get Out While You Can

The line about wind power out-competing coal and gas is spun (among other reasons) to make the pitch that the world would happily run on millions of giant fans (and a whole lot of luck, of course – eg, that the wind will blow at 11m/s 24 x 365, say) – if only “climate deniers” (their language, not ours), like Tony Abbott would drop off the edge of the flat earth they’re said to occupy.

The story then goes that, if only wind power outfits were free to carpet every last inch of the planet with a sea of whirling wonders, we’d relegate coal and gas to the pages of history.

Not a bad “green” yarn, except for the fiction upon which it entirely depends:

Why Coal Miners, Oil and Gas Producers Simply Love Wind Power

Not only has the claim that wind power – delivered at crazy, random intervals (if at all) – is an alternative to on-demand power sources been belted time and time again:

The even wilder claim that wind power can compete on price with conventional generators (in the absence of massive subsidies, mandated penalties or guaranteed long-term government contracts) is taking a flogging, too. Here’s a take on the “wind power’s competitive with fossil fuel” furphy from the US.

The Death of the Green Energy Movement
The Daily Signal
Stephen Moore
8 May 2015

The green energy movement in America is dead. May it rest in peace. No, a majority of American energy over the next 20 years is not going to come from windmills and solar panels. One important lesson to be learned from the green energy fad’s rapid and expensive demise is that central planning doesn’t work.

What crushed green energy was the boom in shale oil and gas along with the steep decline in the price of fossil fuel that few saw coming just a few years ago.

A new International Energy Agency report concedes that green energy is in fast retreat and is getting crushed by “the recent drop in fossil fuel prices.” It finds that the huge price advantage for oil and natural gas means “fossil plants still dominate recent (electric power) capacity additions.”

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

Most of the government experts – and many private investors too – bought into the “peak oil” nonsense and the forecasts of fuel prices continuing to rise as we depleted the oil from the Earth’s crust. Oil was expected to stay way over $100 a barrel and potentially soon hit $200 a barrel. National Geographic infamously advertised on its cover in 2004 “The End of Cheap Oil.”

Barack Obama told voters that green energy was necessary because oil is a “finite resource” and we would eventually run out. Apparently, Obama never read “The Ultimate Resource” by Julian Simon which teaches us that human ingenuity in finding new resources outpaces resource depletion.

When fracking and horizontal drilling technologies burst onto the scene, U.S. oil and gas reserves nearly doubled almost overnight. Oil production from 2007-2014 grew by more than 70 percent and natural gas production by nearly 30 percent.

moore 1

The shale revolution is a classic disruptive technology advance that has priced the green movement out of the competitive market. Natural gas isn’t $13, but is now close to $3, an 80 percent decline. Oil prices have fallen by nearly half.

Green energy can’t possibly compete with that. Marketing windpower in an environment of $3 natural gas is like trying to sell sand in the Sahara. Instead of letting the green energy fad die a merciful death, the Obama administration only lavished more subsidies on the Solyndras of the world.

Washington suffered from what F.A. Hayek called the “fatal conceit.” Like the 1950s central planners in the Politburo, Congress and the White House thought they knew where the future was headed. According to a 2015 report by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, over the past 5 years, the U.S. government spent $150 billion on “solar power and other renewable energy projects.” Even with fracking changing the energy world, these blindfolded sages stuck with their wild green-eyed fantasy that wind turbines were the future.

Meanwhile, the return of $2.50 a gallon gasoline at the pump is flattening the battery car market. A recent report from the trade publication Fusion notes: “electric vehicle purchases in the U.S. have stagnated.” According to auto analysts at Edmunds.com, “only 45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle. That’s down from just over 60 percent in 2012.”

Edmunds.com says that “never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent” and it speculated that “many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment.” That’s what happens when the world is awash in cheap fossil fuels.

This isn’t the first time American taxpayers have been fleeced by false green energy dreams. In the late 1970s the Carter administration spent billions of dollars on the Synthetic Fuels Corporation which was going to produce fuel economically and competitively. Solar and wind power were also brief flashes in the pan. It all crash landed by 1983 when oil prices crashed to as low as $20 a barrel after Reagan deregulated energy. The Synthetic Fuels Corporation was one of the great corporate welfare boondoggles in American history.

A lesson should have been learned there – but Washington went all in again under Presidents Bush and Obama.

At least private sector investors have lost their own money in these foolish bets on bringing back energy sources from the Middle Ages – like wind turbines. The tragedy of government as venture capitalist is that the politicians lose our money. These government-backed technologies divert private capital away from potentially more promising innovations.

Harold Hamm, president of Continental Resources, and one of the discoverers of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota tells the story of meeting with Barack Obama at the White House in 2010 to tell him of the fracking revolution. Obama arrogantly responded that electric cars would soon replace fossil fuels. Was he ever wrong.

We don’t know if renewables will ever play a significant role in America’s energy mix. But if it does ever happen, it will be a result of market forces, not central planning.
The Daily Caller

windmill seacoast

The Middle Ages, power-age: not a hint of competition in sight.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. william gray says:

    It’s frustrating that this sort of knowledge and plain old common sense never seems to get through to the general population. STT and many other bodies do their utmost to educate and inform but sometimes you wonder what you have to do. I believe that this folly must implode sooner or later – it’s just a shame that people would rather live in a green fantasy land than accept that industrial wind is a failed experiment, over and over again.

  2. Karen G says:

    Like a red sports car or high heels, Green is a marketing strategy.

    A pretty color with a psycho-social dimension flogged to death.

    BP and the Greens are one in that they figured it out a long time ago.

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