Yesterday I was reading some news about Portugal’s “renewable” energy, that upon closer examination also turned out to be, not true. And under that post, in exclusively glowing praiseful comments I found this, “Scotland has been producing more than twice the power it consumes since 2014 (from renewable alone).”
Now, normally I would say that anyone can easily check this kind of thing. But I must admit that Scotland is very very good at obfuscating data that doesn’t shine with righteous “Green” purpose. So while I searched over and over for information about Scotland’s overall energy production and consumption, I was almost invariably channeled into information exclusively about the “renewable” electricity sector.
But in one of those documents I did find a useful graph. I mean, it is a very problematic graph. But it is the best carefully-buried, close-to-whole data I could find. And I will no doubt add a screen capture of it below. The first thing to notice is that there are no units. The second thing to notice is that the scale of the Gas bar is drawn at almost exactly 50% of the scale for Electricity. So, what can we learn from this graph, none the less.
Scotland’s electricity sector is indeed dominated by wind. And that sector totals 22,927 units. The gas sector, which is a source of CO2, is 46,999 units. So mostly-wind electricity is ONE third of Scotland’s energy, while natural gas is TWO thirds of Scotland’s energy. And while this must not be the whole story, for instance where is gasoline in that, or wood burning and etc… Let’s take that data and acknowledge that fossil fuels provide a MINIMUM of 67% of Scotland’s energy. It could be much more.
And let us examine a few problems with the “renewable” numbers.
First of all, a relentless mendacity of “renewable” data reporting is to state the capacity rather than the actual generation. Renewables are more honestly called “intermittents” because that is what they are. In practice wind and solar are often operating at a fraction, or a small fraction of their capacity. Sometimes that is 0% of their capacity for days or weeks at a time. This is such a problem that it has its own term, “dunkelflaute.”
But worse than that, the UK’s wind industry is in crisis. It was news just a couple of weeks ago that even with massive subsidies and guaranteed very-high-rate electricity contracts, the UK government could not find any private investors willing to take their subsidies and build more wind capacity. It is estimated that in order to get more offshore wind built the government is going to have to sweeten the pot by increasing the subsides from £44 per megawatt-hour to £75. That would be a total increase of more than 200% over 2022 prices. And Scotland has some of the most expensive energy already. And all that wind is probably almost all of the cause.
So, here is the thing. I hate that it is true. I hated it the first time I read a promising headline about fifteen years ago that turned out, on closer examination, to be an obscene falsehood. But when you hear glowing statistics about the success of “renewable” energy, be skeptical. Because for some interests wind and solar are cash cows, troughs of subsides that they can feast on. And for many other people, people who genuinely want a sustainable future, belief in this LARPing Green nonsense is a religion. And they will say anything in praise of it, whether it is true or ridiculous.
Finally, and just for reference, so you can get a feel for the zealous mendacity, Lazard says the “average UNSUBSIDIZED levelized cost of energy” for wind is $50. But the UK has just proved that it is at nearly twice that at $94.51. And in light of the UK government’s rich subsidies, please note the use of the word, “UNSUBSIDIZED!” £75 or $94.51 IS the guaranteed subsidy which, again for clarity, has doubled since 2022, that was less than a year ago.
If wind farms were viable, corporations would be building them on their own initiative, fighting with the government for permits, just out of a profit motive.
And… a postscript…
For additional reference the Canadian LCOE for new nuclear is between $55 and $85. The actual UK LCOE for wind @ £75 is $128.85 CAD. But wind incurs a Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) which increases the cost by 80 to 94%. So that $128.85 inflates to between $231.93 and $249.65 CAD. That’s something like 3 to 4 times the cost of new nuclear.