We all know solar power doesn’t work every day. And on the days it does work, it works for less than half the day. People, however, want and need electricity all day every day. Can anything be done about the problems with solar?
A typical natural gas-fired power plant is 600 megaWatts (mW). According to Michael Loenen, senior renewables developer at the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO), to replicate the production of just one 600 mW gas power plant would require:
- 4.2 gigaWatts of solar (1 gW = 1,000 mW)
- 34,000 acres of solar panels (more than 50 square miles)
- This solar project would have an estimated life of 25-30 years. The natural gas plant’s life is 40-50 years.
- The 4.2 gW of solar would cost $4 billion. The natural gas plant costs $500 million.
- Additionally, the solar plant would require 3.6 gW of battery energy storage, at an additional cost of $4.15 billion. The battery plant has an estimated life of 15 years, but nobody really knows for certain.
- Thanks to U.S. tax credits, the total solar/battery project would cost $5.7 billion, according to NRCO.
The NRCO’s conclusion: “The upfront capital costs and debt issuance to achieve zero emissions by replacing thermal generation will be staggering.”
According to Robert Bryce, author of “A Question of Power: Electricity and The Wealth of Nations,” federal tax credits for energy projects are flowing almost exclusively to solar and wind. Bryce wrote that on a per unit of energy produced basis:
- Solar is getting 250X more in tax incentives than nuclear.
- Wind is getting 160X more in tax incentives than nuclear.
- Wind is getting 44X more in tax incentives than coal and natural gas.
- Solar is getting 71X more in tax incentives than coal and natural gas.
I have no idea what tax credits coal, nuclear and natural gas are getting these days; I wasn’t aware of any. But let’s get rid of all energy related tax credits.
Folks, we’ve seen the canary in the coal mine. California is going full steam ahead on solar and wind, and they now have electric rates that are two to three times higher than ours (plus the ongoing risk of blackouts). Europe has abandoned fossil fuels... and energy independence. Electricity is becoming a luxury for the wealthy in Europe, and it’s leading to global conflict because of the lack of energy independence.
Why would America follow this path? Why should we move towards high electric rates? Why should we abandon energy independence and send our money to China and other countries to develop solar and wind?
Don’t forget, China and other unstable countries own the market for the minerals that are needed to make solar panels, wind turbines, and lithium batteries; the U.S. has practically none of the necessary raw materials. How do you think that will work out for us?