Free Markets, Free People

Are you willing to pay much more for green energy?

It is a legitimate question, wouldn’t you say, especially if government plans on forcing its use through mandates.

Here’s a list that gives the cost of a megawatt of power (2008 dollars) in 2016 according to the government’s Energy Information Agency:

•Conventional coal power: $78.10
• Onshore wind power: $149.30
• Offshore wind power: $191.10
• Thermal solar power: $256.60
• Photo-voltaic solar power: $396.10

That’s what it will cost you, depending on the method of generation, for the mandated “integration” of renewable energy if Senate Democrats have their way:

A nationwide renewables mandate, or RES, is a longstanding pillar of Democratic energy plans that requires utilities to source certain amounts of their electricity from renewable sources. The bill currently under consideration in the Senate would require utilities to derive 15 percent of their electricity from sources like wind, solar and geothermal by 2021.

Here’s the problem.  At the moment, “renewables” comprise about 6% of the electricity generated in the US.  Not included by the Democrats is nuclear generation.   Oh, and btw, of that 6% renewables, half, or 3%, comes from hydro-electric.  There are no plans to increase that by Dems either.

So here we have the beginnings of a wooden headed plan to mandate the use of heavily subsidized “renewable” energy which would, without a doubt jack up the price of energy that is absolutely critical to the fundamental functioning of America.  David Kreutzer:

“Electric power is one of the most critical inputs to a modern economy. Thus, it is no surprise that forcing the cost of electricity to rise dampens economic activity. The cost increase for electricity can be viewed as a particularly damaging energy tax, because a renewable mandate, unlike the case of a normal tax, provides no revenue to at least partially offset the higher cost. By way of comparison, the highway use tax on gasoline raises the price of gasoline, but it also generates revenues for building and maintaining roads and bridges. On the other hand, a renewable energy standard raises costs in the form of less efficient production, which provides no economic benefit.”

As Con Carroll points out:

If electricity created by wind and other renewables was cost competitive, consumers would use more of it without a federal law to force consumption. But renewable energy is not cost competitive, hence the need for government coercion to force the American people to buy it.

And it will be both a job and economy killer as Kreutzer explains.  If this is “going forward”, then I’m all for bringing back the old America.  This is simply stupidity on a stick and another example of the Democrats being agenda driven instead of reality driven (so much for the “reality based” community, no?).  It’s a “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” ideologically driven recipe for economic disaster.  

But if Democrats have their way, you’ll be paying the bill in a few years that could be much, much higher than it is now for no appreciable difference or reason other than that’s how they want it to be.  You’ll be paying it, that is, if you have a job.

Another reason to change the balance of power in the Senate and limit the danger Democrats pose.



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19 Responses to Are you willing to pay much more for green energy?

  • I’m willing to pay a little more if it actually is better for “the environment” (meaning lots of other people would be better off).  I can afford it, though.  Lots of people can’t.
    I’m willing to pay quite a bit more to get off the grid and sustain myself, but that technology still costs way too much.

    • Peronally I think the environment could use some more CO2. I’m not interested in paying one cent to reduce CO2 output.
      If we actually were talking about pollution, well sure I’d be willing to contribute some.

  • Here in Pennsylvania, we have a deregulated power system.  With the deregulation came the ability to buy your power from whomever you choose and have it delivered over the utility of connection.  One option is “green power” which didn’t run as high as the numbers you show, but was almost 2x conventional rates.
    I’m sure they really go and get the “green” power and put it on the grid so my procured joules of electrons head for my house using the “smart grid” that I suppose has “electron routers” much like the internet routes packets.  Yeah, sure.
    Frankly, this is the biggest “ripoff” I can think of.

    • I guess it depends on how they define “green power”. It could include nuclear and hydro and a bit of something else to get the price down to 2x. However, as noted, RES doesn’t count nuclear or hydro as among the “green” types it mandates.

  • Are those numbers after all current government subsidies?   All of these receive a lot of energy subsidies, which has the standard problem of government picking the winners, but coal and other fossil fuels have certainly received a lot of subsidies over the years. (yes, I know wikipedia…)

    • Wiki in fact was caught being edited to support AGW hysteria. In other words, not simply inacurrate, but lying to support a goal.

    • I think it depends on how you define “subsidy”. The wiki article didn’t seem balanced, and the sources appeared to be mostly green energy advocacy.

      Here in CA, I pay about 65 cents to the state and federal government for every gallon. And, the regulation further imposes costs: the special fule mixtures (with summer and winter blends), the restrictions that make building gas stations expensive, etc, all adds up in consumer costs. No doubt some of this applies to green energy as well, but what is the net subsidy?

      Oh, and these characters are counting ethonal subsidy as fossil fuel subsidy.

  • I think this is a good place for the tea party officials to start. NO subsidies for any type of energy production. Here’s the screen, if a tax break does not apply to any company filing a federal tax return, it’s out.

  • One would think that ‘energy independence’ is more a function of cost to the public, than necessarily a function of a strategic military consideration.  Especially for things like electric power to the general population.
    Furthermore, I fail to see how relying on methods of power generation that require us to buy parts and materials from say, CHINA (like, um, say, certain rare earths…) is any better from a strategic standpoint than sucking up all the oil in Saudia Arabia and Iran while we leave our own reserves significantly untouched because we’re worried about seals, turtles, caribou and California and Florida property values.
    This is nothing more than another scheme for forcing government dependence or allowing them to take control of yet another facet of our day to day existence on the premise they need more money to generate more dependence.

    • Energy independence obviously comes from using Chinese made wind generators rather than oil from Saudi Arabia.

  • /sac …I have a great idea that should pretty much satisfy everyone… /sac.
    By estimating the opportunity costs of the various sources to the best of their ability, our electric companies can include form questionnaire with every bill. The customer is required select their desired energy source for that month, send it back along with their payment, then be billed according to their selection.
    If Wind or Solar is selected, you pay accordingly, then when the wind stops blowing and the sun sets, it’s lights out.
    Everyone gets what the want, no fuss, no muss, no more whining.
    Any guesses as to the most popular energy source after one year? Thought so.

    • One thing about wind: it requires coal or oil backup to match the power fluctuations (I don’t believe natural gas works for this). And this back up plant isn’t running at optimal settings, but is ramping up and down to match the erratic wind performance.

      In reality, both wind and solar benifit from fossil subsidy, since they can’t operate as stand alone on a large scale.

  • This just in:  The future cost of green wind power was dealt a staggering blow (pun intended) by the discovery by French climate scientists that northern hemisphere winds have declined over the past 30 years:
    “They found that surface wind speeds have declined by 5 to 15 per cent across much of the northern hemisphere over this period. The slowing has been more marked for winds of over 10 metres per second than for lighter winds.”
    It would seem  that environmentalists have encouraged the proliferation of too many trees.

  • Is it even possible for power companies to, in a 10 year span, increase their proportion of wind, solar, and geothermal energy, given how difficult and expensive it is to get new dams, wind farms, etc. through the process of analyzing environmental impact?  I mean, if you’re going to generate more hydro-electricity, you have to build a dam, and the same people calling for more “renewable energy” are going to be standing in your way if you try to build a dam to generate it.  Same goes for wind farms that might kill some endangered bird or solar panels that might kill some endangered desert mouse.  And geothermal energy can only be generated in certain places.
    What are they smoking?

    • “What are they smoking” 

      Hooked on modern liberalisn, where reality is what you like, there are no trade offs, no prices to be paid, where the laws of thermodynamics and physics are merely figments of a greedy conservatives imagtination.  Where if every one is kind, and good, and believes, we can waive the  physical rules and natural laws.  There will always be more than enough food that no one will have to work to provide, houses that no one will have to build and maintain, cars that will run on non-combustible fuel forever, never wear out, and never need maintenance,  to take you to your own personal private doctor who will have all knowledge of every ill man has ever had and has the facilities and pharma to cure anything, extending your life by 1000 years, which you won’t need because no one will ever eat, or drink, or inhale, or do anything that will cause them to need a physician.   Ours will be a life of laying in the sun, playing with our kids, who will be, either held in stasis at the best possible age, or advance in the blink of an eye so we can have grand children, which by rights we will be too young to have of course.  And there will never be so many of us we threaten Gaia (because the other over producing poor people will have come to their senses, and adopted our life styles, and become rich, and happy and limit their excesses) and the natural resources will pour forth from the earth and refine themselves without harmful by products and stack and pile themselves where whatever it is that full fills our wants has access to them.   And we’ll all be in THE union, and we’ll all sensibly vote Democrat, and the moon ponies will be our friends.

      And somewhere there I should toss in, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” because the only way we’ll ever achieve their fantasy of what life would be if we just did it their way will be to die and enter paradise.

  • Let us put aside the issue of whether we really need to push renewables at all.  Leave it to the Democrats to come up with the most asinine way to do it.

    IF you really wanted to do this the only proper way would just be to place a straight BTU tax on fossil fuels and then OFFSET that tax with income and corporate income tax cuts. So that you don’t kill the economy.