Crushed: Wind & Solar Simply Can’t Compete with America’s Cheap & Ever Reliable Gas-Fired Power

America’s abundant gas supplies mean gas-fired power is cheaper than wind and solar and, unlike that pathetic pair, it’s available 24 x 365, whatever the weather or time-of-day.

The USA awash with cheap gas, thanks to the shale oil and gas revolution that started 20 years ago.  With improving technology and numerous firms drilling for supplies in new fields, the price continues to fall.

In Australia, the contrast couldn’t be greater. Australian States have variously banned gas extraction onshore or even excluded exploration for oil and gas, altogether.

Instead of a gas revolution, there’s been a steady decline in onshore gas production and, predictably enough, domestic gas prices are at record levels. With no new onshore gas fields being developed, and exploration and/or extraction bans firmly in place, domestic prices can only increase.

Meanwhile in the USA, gas is so cheap and so abundant that the wind and solar ‘industries’ are being crushed by cheap and reliable gas-fired power, and left begging for mercy.

Natural gas is crushing wind and solar power — Why isn’t anyone talking about it?
Fox Business
Stephen Moore
25 February 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration just announced some spectacular news that should be banner headlines across the country: The price of natural gas has fallen to its lowest February level in 20 years. The data shows that natural gas prices fell to $1.77 per million British thermal units. In inflation-adjusted terms, the price of gas has plunged by some 80 percent since its high of $13.60 12 years ago. The price is down 90 percent since 2005, when prices hit nearly $20. (Quick: Can you think of anything else that now costs one-tenth of what it did 15 years ago?)

The Energy Information Administration also reports that U.S. natural gas production has hit an all-time high this year.

The shale oil and gas revolution keeps rolling on — but no one is talking about it. This boom in production has affected the economy of every state, from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and the Dakotas. By the way, oil prices have also fallen considerably, bringing gas prices at the pump to nearly $2 a gallon in some states. Prices are so low now that the drillers aren’t making any money and are starting to shut down wells. They are victims of their own success.

Today’s bargain-basement prices are partly due to moderate temperatures on the East Coast this winter, but this has been a long-term trend of cheaper and cheaper energy. America is now the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, and we are exporting more throughout the world than at any previous time in our history. It’s hard to believe that a decade ago, we were importing natural gas. Thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling technologies that keep getting more and more efficient, we now have hundreds of years of supply of this fuel.

This spectacular tumble in natural gas prices has been a multibillion-dollar godsend to consumers, homeowners, manufacturers and other businesses. Just last week, a major Texas utility announced it would be sending homeowners cash-back checks because electricity and home heating costs are falling so rapidly. Expect more to do the same in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to reduce its carbon emissions into the atmosphere at a faster pace than virtually any other country in the world. This is because natural gas is not just cheap. It is one of the cleanest ways to produce scalable and dependable electric power for a nation of 329 million people. We don’t need brownouts in America as we saw in California, and natural gas is an excellent way to make sure the lights don’t go out.

It would be hard to find anything NOT to like about this great American success story. We’ve achieved energy independence; reliable and inexhaustible supply; low prices; reduced power of the Middle East, Russia and other OPEC nations; and cleaner air than at any other time in at least a century.

Yet liberal environmentalists are grousing about this good news. A recent Bloomberg news story exclaims in its headline: “Cheap Gas Imperils Climate Fight by Undercutting Wind and Solar.”

“Gas is such a bargain that it’s being viewed less as a bridge fossil fuel, driving the world away from dirtier coal toward a clean-energy future,” the story tells us, “and more as a hurdle that could slow the trip down. Some forecasters are predicting prices will stay low for years, making it tough for states, cities and utilities to achieve their goals of being zero-carbon in power production by 2050 or earlier.” Ravina Advani, head of renewable energy at BNP Paribas, complained: “The fact that there’s an abundance of it makes the move to complete decarbonization much harder … (Gas is) reliable, and it’s cheap.”

And that is bad news, why, exactly? It’s like saying a cure for the coronavirus is bad for hospitals and doctors.

Maybe it is high time we admit we have found, for now, the great energy source of the next few decades and celebrate that America is endowed with a vital resource that is abundant and affordable — just like our best-in-the-world farmland. The left talks about eradicating “poverty,” but “energy poverty” is a primary source of deprivation around the world. Now, there is an obvious solution: Natural gas could easily be the primary source of power production for the world as a whole, slashing costs for the poor everywhere on the planet, from sub-Saharan Africa to Bangladesh. Instead, politicians and government bureaucrats around the world are trying to force-feed the world expensive, unreliable and unscalable wind and solar power. The African Development Bank, for example, is only financing “green energy” projects, not coal or natural gas. It is substituting a cheap form of clean energy for a costly “green” alternative. Why?

In the U.S., this foolishness is happening every day as the federal government, in addition to state governments, is massively subsidizing wind and solar power — even though they are, in most places, only niche sources of fuel. With more than $100 billion spent already, less than 10 percent of our energy comes from the wind and the sun, with most of the other 90 percent coming from good old-fashioned fossil fuels. For all the talk about the falling costs of solar and wind power — and yes, they are falling — without billions of dollars of cash subsidies and tax breaks for the “renewable” energy sector, along with mandates requiring utilities to buy the power at any cost, wind and solar energy would be hopelessly expensive in most areas of the country. As a result, they would quickly surrender market share to natural gas and clean coal. (Don’t look now, but coal prices are falling, too.)

It’s time to get smart about energy and climate change and throw asunder taxpayer subsidies doled out to all forms of energy production. Let the market, not politicians and environmental groups, choose the safest, cheapest and most reliable energy source. Everyone is making a big bet on battery-operated cars and trucks. But who’s to say that trucks and buses fueled by natural gas won’t be the wave of the future? No one knows what makes the most sense or where the future will lead us. Nuclear power has great promise. But for now, the markets are shouting out for natural gas on a grander scale.

Fifteen years ago, no one would have thought we would have a superabundance of this wonder-fuel today. But we do. No one is more surprised than politicians. Why do we let them keep betting the farm on the wrong horse?
Fox Business

The Obvious Reality Of More U.S. Oil And Natural Gas
Forbes
Jude Clemente
23 February 2020

Natural gas overwhelmingly dominates the U.S. electric power system, double second place coal. Gas is cleaner, cheaper, more flexible, and more reliable. Gas will supply over 40% of our power this summer and is racing toward being 50% of total generation capacity. Just think about the scale of that. For every 100 power plants in America that create electricity, 50 of them will run on natural gas (see Figure). Further, the International Energy Agency has specifically credited the rise of gas in our power system as the reason why we are slashing CO2 emissions faster than any other country ever.

Understanding this reality, we must continue to resist growing “energy unrealism.” More bluntly, a fracking ban would be the worst policy for American economic, energy, and environmental security ever “nightmared” possible. Fracking accounts for some 80% of U.S. gas production and will represent almost all of incremental domestic supply.

So why do some presidential candidates want to slash $7.1 trillion and 19 million jobs from the U.S. economy from 2021 to 2025?

Indeed, the “shoot yourself in the foot” energy policies of California, New York, and the New England states cannot be allowed to go national. Even though gas is their primary source of electricity, these states have installed anti-production and anti-pipeline policies. Thus, their power prices are 50% or more above the national average and they are addicted to energy imported from other states. Massachusetts has been forced to import natural gas by ship from Russia over the previous two winters.

Too illustrate, like too often eating out at an expensive restaurant, California in some years has been importing a staggering 95% of its gas and 33% of its electricity. Talk about unsustainable. As we saw with the 2018 “Yellow Vest” riots in Paris against carbon taxes, Americans will not stand for such purposely installed expensive energy.

As fracking is set to make the U.S. the world’s largest oil and gas exporter, “Fiona Hill educates Democrats: Fracking hurts Putin.”

With almost 50% of capacity, gas dominates U.S. power generation.

 

Further, fracking has soared U.S. crude oil production 160% to over 13 million b/d since 2008. This is a huge deal since oil remains our most vital source of energy, lacking any material substitute whatsoever. The U.S. Department of Energy has consistently modeled this to be true: since oil is an inelastic good, even drastic rises in pricing have little impact on demand (see Figure).

This is hardly a surprise since overly expensive electric cars still account for just 1-2% of annual U.S. passenger car purchases. No kidding. The average Tesla buyer makes $400,000 a year – seven times the national average. Quietly even worse, “Taxpayer subsidies for electric vehicles only help the wealthy,” and “The U.S. Should Ban All Electric Cars in the Interest of National Security.”

The oil industry knows that it must tread lightly these days but is also wisely banking on oil as the ultimate indispensable product: “oil cannot not be used.” As for oil’s much reported on “social license to operate,” a reality check: “Exxon Isn’t the Oil User. You Are.”

For our own supply, fracking accounts for some 80% of U.S. oil production, and fracking will yield basically all new output for decades to come. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that fracking has the potential to skyrocket U.S. crude output another 50% or so to nearly 20 million b/d.

Indeed, OPEC’s and Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare come true.

With few substitutes, high oil prices have little effect on US demand.

Forbes

It never had a hope …

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jeff Walther says:

    The first article by Stephen Moore got some things correct, but it is difficult to trust the writing of someone who gets some simple facts blatantly wrong.

    He writes that fossil fuels comprise the 90% of energy use that “renewables” don’t fulfil. First of all, “renewables” are far less than 10% of total energy use. If he meant electricity generation, then renewables still fall short of 10% but at least approach the number.

    Assuming he meant to write electricity production, rather than energy makes him most correct. But fossil fuels do not provide 90% of electricty in the USA. Hydroelectric provides 7%. Wind and solar together provide perhaps another 7%. Nuclear provides 20% of the USA’s electricity.

    Fossil fuels provide far less than 70% of the USA’s electricity.

    They may provide 90% of the USA’s total energy consumption, including other sectors (e.g. transportation) in addition to electricity. But if total energy was the context, then he should have stated renewables provide less three percent of the energy, not 10%.

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