Renewable Energy Rip-Off: Paying Premium Prices For Wind Power & Getting Fossil-Fuelled Power In Return

Subsidised wind and solar is a monumental rip-off from start to finish – ‘wholesale fraud’ just about covers it, whenever power companies charge whopping premiums for what they claim is ‘green’ energy, when in fact the customer is getting electrons generated by coal, gas or nuclear power plants.

Whatever the marketing pitch, there are going to be hundreds of occasions each year when the grid is filled with nothing but power generated by fossil-fuelled sources; or nuclear and hydro, where those options exist. Those occasions will, of course, coincide whenever the sun sets and calm weather sets in. And it doesn’t matter how many solar panels or wind turbines are hooked up to the grid.

Texas is a state that’s been overrun by these things, thanks to massive and endless subsidies. So attractive is the Federal Production Tax Credit and Texan Renewable Energy Certificate, that Spanish wind power outfit, Iberdrola has joined a rather disorderly queue, all eager to wallow in those subsidies, while gouging unwitting customers on the premise that they’re getting nothing but wind power generated within the Lone Star State.

Bill Peacock dumps a bucket on the great wind power fraud being played out in Texas.

Spanish Renewable Giant Iberdrola Enters Texas with a Thud
Master Resource
Bill Peacock
5 August 2020

One of the telltale signs of how broken the Texas electricity market is: The number of corporations with multi-billion dollar market caps coming here in pursuit of billions of dollars of renewable energy subsidies. The Spanish multi-national electric utility company, Iberdrola, which describes itself as “the utility of the future,” is the latest.

Enter Iberdrola:

July 08, 2020 – Iberdrola Texas today announced its entrance into the Texas marketplace, offering customers a more affordable, renewable energy option that’s 100% sourced within the state. Texas is the number one state for wind production in the U.S., and Iberdrola’s presence in Texas will meet the demand for reliable and competitive green energy options. Iberdrola Texas sets itself apart by providing consumers with wind energy generated from its Iberdrola group-owned Texas wind farms. …

All electricity plans from Iberdrola Texas include fixed prices, no hidden fees and energy sourced exclusively from Texas wind farms. Competitively priced plans can save customers up to $500, and include 12-, 24- and 36-month options.

Iberdrola is a Spanish-based electricity utility that is the world’s “number one producer of wind power.” Through 2016, Iberdrola’s wind production had already generated $2.7 billion from U.S. taxpayers through the Production Tax Credit (PTC). If the level of credits it received in 2016 ($301 million) has continued, that number would have reached close to $4 billion today.

Now it wants to further profit from renewable subsidies by selling “100% pure Texas wind energy” directly to consumers. Unfortunately, there are two claims that Iberdrola makes in its promotional materials that could easily mislead Texas consumers.

Claim #1
100% pure Texas wind energy is all that’s used to power our customers’ homes, and every last kilowatt that’s delivered is produced and supplied by our own Texas wind farms.

First, this is a physical impossibility. The electrons flowing through the electric grid are indiscriminate; no one can identify the source of the electricity powering one’s house. Iberdrola acknowledges this in a disclaimer: “You will not have energy from a specific generation facility delivered directly to your service address.”

For clarity’s sake, let’s put these two statements side by side:

[E]very last kilowatt that’s delivered is produced and supplied by our own Texas wind farms

You will not have energy from a specific generation facility delivered directly to your service address.

Even if you give the company a pass on this, the disclaimer further shows that Iberdrola has no plans to provide “100% pure Texas wind energy” to its customers:

Iberdrola Texas will match 100% of your annual paid usage with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) purchased from Avangrid Renewables Wind facilities or another wind plant in Texas.

The disclaimer makes it clear that Iberdrola has no obligation to actually purchase enough “100% pure Texas wind energy” to power the homes of all of its customers.

Instead, it will close the gap from the electricity from wind farms it does purchase to its customers’ actual use with RECs, certificates that companies get through programs like Texas’ Renewable Energy Credit (REC) trading program, established by the Texas Legislature.

A wind (or solar) farm earns one REC for each kilowatt it generates. At that point, the wind farm can sell BOTH the electricity and the REC (a nice deal if you can get it). So rather than purchase enough wind energy to provide “100% pure Texas wind energy,” Iberdrola commits only to purchasing government-sponsored certificates.

And no wonder. It is virtually impossible for a company of any size to purchase enough wind energy to guarantee the energy it uses or sells is 100% from wind. For the simple reason that the wind doesn’t blow all the time. If the wind is not blowing, or not blowing enough, there cannot be enough wind energy to meet the needs of every virtue signaler claiming to be powered by 100% wind or renewable energy.

Again, Iberdrola acknowledges this in the fine print:

Renewable resource availability varies hour to hour and from season to season, as does our customers’ use. We will rely on system power from the grid to serve our customers’ minute by minute consumption

Iberdrola is not alone when it comes to the discrepancy between loud public proclamations of being 100% renewable and the real world. Pick any major corporation, city, or other entity claiming to be 100% renewable and you’ll likely find they are not actually purchasing enough electricity from renewables to back up that claim. Georgetown, TX is a perfect example. They all rely on the fake setup the renewable industry and the government have promoted to hide the fact that renewables are more about taking our money than saving the planet.

Claim #2
Competitively priced plans can save customers up to $500, and include 12-, 24- and 36-month options.

If you went to the Ibderdrola homepage on July 10 and entered a Houston zip code, this is the price quote you got:

All of these prices are higher than the average price of same-term, non-100% renewable offers from other providers in the Houston area.

Iberdrola’s Houston prices were a bit lower on July 11 but still higher than average:

And slightly lower in the Dallas area (July 11):

Here is what the math shows for Houston:

On July 10, Iberdrola’s 12-month plan cost $317 more than the average offer in Houston. The 24-month plan came at an $837 premium.

Are there electricity plans in the Houston and Dallas areas that are more expensive that Iberdrola’s? Absolutely. So is it possible that consumers might save $500 by switching to an Iberdrola plan? Sure. However, it is more likely that Iberdrola’s plans will cost the average consumer more money.

Wind and solar generators often sell below the “market price” to force their product into the market. But they do so not because their costs are lower but because they are making millions (or billions) off of renewable subsidies.

Retailers like Iberdrola claiming to be 100% renewable, though, face a more difficult time of being cost competitive.

Iberdrola is buying its electricity from the same place everyone else is, the Texas electricity market. However, they have an expense non-renewable providers don’t have; they have to buy enough renewable energy certificates to cover 100% of their customers’ use in an attempt to make good on their “pure Texas wind” claim. The costs of the RECs on top of the cost of the electricity make it very difficult for them to be cost competitive with other retail electric providers in Texas offering non-renewable plans.

The fact that Iberdrola’s “more affordable renewable energy option” is priced higher than the average non-100% renewable plan lays bare the falsity of the claims from the renewable energy industry that wind and solar generation is cost competitive with traditional generation sources like coal and natural gas.

There is nothing affordable about renewable energy. It is inefficient and unreliable. This means that the cost of generating electricity from wind and solar power will almost always be more expensive than generation from coal or natural gas. And it won’t save the planet either. The sooner Texans can eliminate renewable energy subsidies and 100% renewable energy plans the better off and wealthier we will be.
Master Resource

Another Texan turbine decides to down tools.

4 thoughts on “Renewable Energy Rip-Off: Paying Premium Prices For Wind Power & Getting Fossil-Fuelled Power In Return

  1. “The Project will interconnect to the Duke 345 kV Cayuga CT Switching Station, which is approximately 35 miles south of the Project site. The Project will interconnect the Project to the Cayuga Station through an approximately 32-mile 345 kV transmission line that will be built along Indiana State Road 63. Duke’s transmission system is part of the wholesale power grid controlled by MISO.”
    Testimony from Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission hearing for cause #44978 NextEra Energy/Jordan Creek Wind Farm in 2017.
    The substation being used is the substation for Duke
    Energy’s coal in Cayuga Indiana. This is also where NIPSCO will be taking procession of energy and selling it. This includes the selling of renewable energy credits.

  2. This is interesting and I wish to make an amusing comparison. This is like free range eggs. I grew up on a farm and on that farm we produced eggs. This is way back mid 1950s in fact we didn’t know it then but we were doing free range. There was a very large pen with a small shed which helped the hens overnight. There were all sorts of problems mainly predators. Hawks, cats, snakes, foxes, rats and more importantly other hens. We didn’t get many eggs so things moved on the next iteration was what we called deep litter. This was no pen but a large area in which we had perhaps 200 hens. Collecting the eggs was very difficult as it was in the former case but still there was more protection from the other predators. The labor costs went down. Then came horrors of horrors cages. You would have two hens in a cage any eggs laid would roll out, water was on tap and food delivered automatically. The worst part of it for the hen in fact was that lights were used to make the hen think it was always laying season. Nowadays look in a supermarket mostly they sell “free range eggs”. The prevalence of all this? The thing is my experience tells me that no way can they sell free range eggs at the price they do. I think we have farms that are a front and one or two have been discovered here in Australia. So what you do is set up a front get your eggs from exactly the same place and sell them at an increased price. Most electricity comes from coal here in Australia nearly 78% in fact it is fossil. But this is a way to sell it at increased prices. That is also what Michael Moore argued in “the planet of the humans”.

    1. We had house chooks that supplemented commercial feed by foraging in the back paddock while protected and herded by a dog. They had tasty dark yolked eggs and not far away was a commercial caged farm with eggs not much different but lights 24/7 weren’t used; this was also in the 1950s. These days free-range, because of the number of diseases around are dosed with more antibiotics than caged chooks and the yolks aren’t as dark. Only industry information mentions it. How much this may contribute to the buildup against human antibiotic benefit isn’t mentioned or, if it does at all.
      No doubt commercial feed has changed along with containing medication. So we are more at the mercy of commercial interests rather than how beneficial the food is in a full circle in which few know what is really happening.
      The message is all carried in the money and who can get the most out of it.

  3. Growing AU revolt! May I add to yesterdays comment of the 2020/08/27 post?
    Apart from the surprise of a Spanish-based electricity utility is the world’s “number one producer of wind power.”

    Large towns and cities generate rising heat from their ‘paved surfaces’. This is substantially noticeable in a light plane when trying to maintain a specific altitude. The same happens over open cut mines and quarries even during winter. So these have an effect on weather as much as mountain ranges and cooling forests.
    Water evaporation from shallow river deltas and compounding from depleting dam levels also play a part, as does evaporation from salt pans and sewerage ponds along with heat generated from microbial and environment chemical reactions.

    Apart from salt water being more buoyant, the use of salt is extensive in industry. From food processing to hospitals where steam is extensively used for multiple purposes.
    Salt is added to fresh water so that it boils at a higher temperature of 120 degrees centigrade providing ‘super-heated’ steam. When it condenses again it is disposed of through the waste system.
    When cooking vegetables, salt is added to the water so it boils at the higher temperature cooking vegetables quicker.

    Having nuclear fission plants located near access to sea water, does away with the need of using fresh reservoir water. And the belief that they require vast amounts of ‘fresh water’ that is currently scarce and expensive to supply on arid continents such as Australia.

    Also, the satellite ability to predict geological disturbance up to weeks in advance, should not be forgotten.

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