Monday, October 12, 2020

If "Intermittent" is Your Only Argument Against Solar and Wind Energy Generation ...


... you don't have an argument against solar and wind energy generation.

For some reason lately, writers at Heartland Institute have been playing the "intermittent" card a lot lately. Like this today from Ronald Stein:

The Northwest has spoken loudly as the Benton Public Utility District (BPUD) has documented their actual battleground experiences with intermittent electricity from wind farms .... Kudos to this Washington state public utility for speaking up after seeing the costs and dangers of California’s experience with an overreliance on intermittent electricity from wind and solar. ... The Benton PUD believes it is reasonable to question whether continuing to favor investments in intermittent wind electricity and putting up roadblocks to the development of dispatchable natural-gas power plants is more about environmental virtue signaling than it is about serving the best interests of the citizens of Washington State.
Emphases mine.

I'm unaware of any form of electricity generation that isn't intermittent. Coal, oil, and gas-fired power plants only generate electricity when they're being fed with coal, oil, or gas. If the river ain't running, neither is the hydro plant. The nuclear reactor isn't generating electricity when the control rods are inserted or the the turbine is off.

Now, it is true that solar panels and wind turbines aren't generating electricity when the sun isn't out and/or the wind isn't blowing.

But that doesn't mean that delivery of electricity to the end user need be "intermittent."

You see, there are these things called batteries where electricity can be stored until it's needed. And we're getting better and better at making those batteries.

If wind or solar costs too much per kilowatt hour generated to compete, that's an argument against them. 

If manufacturing the panels and turbines creates more pollution than is prevented by taking a fossil fuel plant offline in their favor, that's another.

If they require government subsidies -- especially larger subsidies than coal, oil, gas, nuclear, etc., which is unlikely -- that's a third.

But "intermittent" is just making shit up.

Heartland has gone waaaaaaay downhill in the last decade or so, and pretty much doesn't even bother  pretending to support free markets these days. The breaking point for me was when they bent over backward shilling for the land-theft-enabled corporate welfare boondoggle known as Keystone XL.

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