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Renewable Portfolio Standards Under Attack Across America

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Fossil fuel funded efforts are underway to undermine or end renewable portfolio standards (RPS) across the United States.

In 2014, as in past years, these efforts largely failed. While 14 RPS-related bills became law across 12 states, only Ohio enacted legislation to roll back its long-term clean energy targets.

But will 2015 turn out to be different? Even in states where clean energy is an economic engine, legislators have introduced bills to scale back renewable energy targets, and the first outright RPS repeal has been signed into law.

Is 2014’s only RPS loss a harbinger for 2015?

The RPS (also known as a renewable energy standard) is one of America’s most effective policy tools to expand renewable energy through long-term policy certainty. And until recently, they’ve been pretty resilient against attack.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been behind RPS repeal efforts in recent years, releasing model legislation in late 2012 amid a concerted push to slow renewables’ advance, but recording zero wins in 2013.

That losing streak extended into 2014 in states like Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. Out of 430 “advanced energy” bills passed into law, only 14 related to state RPS measures, and 12 of them either increased or modified targets.

Ohio was the one outlier, and a possible harbinger for 2015. The state’s RPS was enacted on a bipartisan basis in 2008, targeting 12.5 percent renewable electricity by 2025 (along with a 22 percent energy use reduction through efficiency programs) with incremental targets for each year. Unfortunately, policymakers froze the state’s RPS at 2014 levels for 2015 and 2016, and eliminated in-state renewable energy requirements despite a thriving clean energy economy and RPS support from major employers.

Anti-RPS efforts renewed across America

Perhaps emboldened by the Ohio repeal, anti-RPS efforts have begun anew in 2015. Recent analysis from the Center for American Progress identified legislation introduced during January and February to roll back renewable targets in Colorado, Connecticut, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

RPS-repeal efforts have been tabled in Colorado’s state senate, but the fate of clean energy targets in states like New Hampshire are still being debated, and we know how West Virginia turned out. In February, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill repealing the state’s 25 percent by 2025 alternative energy targets, saying “economic drivers and factors change over time, and the Act as it was passed in 2009 is no longer beneficial for our state.” Makes total sense, unless you consider 200 U.S. coal mines closed while the coal industry lost 75 percent of its overall value in the past five years.

Anti-RPS legislation or efforts to undermine state renewable energy goals (and economic growth) are also underway across Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, and New Mexico. “Renewable portfolio standards have sparked a clean energy boom in the U.S., leading to billions of dollars in private investment and thousands of jobs,” said Gabe Elsner, Executive Director of the pro-clean energy think tank Energy and Policy Institute. “Fossil fuel special interests and their front groups are trying to stop the growth of renewable energy by attacking effective public policies.”

Texas RPS fight could stall state’s clean economy engine

Rolling back renewables isn’t surprising in a state so closely connected to coal as West Virginia or a conservative-leaning state like Ohio, but what about in America’s unquestioned wind energy leader?

Texas is far and away wind power’s greatest U.S success story, with 14.1 gigawatts (GW) installed capacity at the end of 2014 – more than twice California’s second-ranked 5.9GW. This growth is largely due to the state’s RPS, adopted in 1999 with a 2GW by 2009 goal, then expanded in 2005 to include 5.8GW by 2015 and 10GW by 2025 targets.

Clearly Texas’ RPS worked – it reached 10GW in early 2010, now has roughly 13GW total renewables capacity, and has gotten up to 25 percent its total electricity from wind…exactly why opponents say the RPS should now end. A state senator who once championed expanding Texas wind targets is now pushing to end the RPS and undo the $7 billion CREZ transmission program connecting West Texas wind to East Texas cities. “Mission accomplished,” said Senator Troy Fraser. “We set out to incentivize and get wind started in Texas, and we far surpassed that goal.”

But it’s not that simple. Fraser’s bill would not only end the RPS, but would also disrupt the state’s renewable energy credit market, devaluing existing projects and reducing payments to landowners who host wind turbines. Imagine the uproar if utilities who built generation assets assuming a certain return from ratepayers were suddenly told the financial equation making their project economical was changing years after it was built?

Call RPS attacks by their real name

By any scientific measure, we’re past the point where we can debate decarbonizing our power sector. 14 of the 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000 and extreme weather is hammering every state. Nations across the globe are working to limit emissions by investing in renewables, meaning America also risks losing our share of the growing global clean energy market.

"Renewable energy standards not only lead to investment and job creation, but are helping reduce climate emissions,” said Elsner. “There’s no sense in weakening policies that help affordable clean energy play a critical role in eliminating dangerous greenhouse gases – it’s a win-win for the economy and the climate.”

So let’s call the anti-RPS measures what they are – fossil fuel funded attacks on clean energy expansion – and debate renewable energy’s value on the ability to grow a clean economy while protecting our future as a society, not on the potential threat to dirty energy interests.

Silvio Marcacci's picture

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Discussions

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 2, 2015 8:35 pm GMT

Silvio, the push to renewable energy has been plagued by an excess of common sense – the reliance on shoulds, oughtas, and gotta-bes by well-meaning people without a lick of numeracy.

Take Ohio, for example. The state’s 2008 RPS is actually an Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, which includes sources like biomass, nuclear, and even “clean coal”. One requirement sets forth a mandate of .5% of Ohio’s generation – 1/200 – to come from solar by 2025. Let’s ignore, for a moment, the infinitesimal effect that would have on carbon emissions. Common sense says it’s a reasonable goal, so who could have a problem with it?

Data from 2012, the last year for which accurate information is available, shows Ohio generated three one-hundredths of one percent of its electricity from solar. At that rate, Ohio will not meet the reasonable goal of .5% until the year 2059. The AEPS also mandates 12.5% of its electricity must come from renewable sources by 2025, which leaves 12% to come from additional wind, hydropower, or biomass. If we assign the task to wind, based on current rates of growth it will meet that goal in 2060 – one year later than solar.

What’s under attack in America is the fantasy that the “explosive growth” of renewables has the remotest possibility of making a dent in AGW. For any environmentalist with an appreciation of that fact, it’s about time.

 

Keith Pickering's picture
Keith Pickering on Apr 2, 2015 9:10 pm GMT
The main problem with RPS standards is that they’re aiming at the wrong target, using a limited and politcally-inspired (rather than scientifically-inspired) agenda.
 
The way to attack climate change efficiently is to replace the RPS and with an FPS — a fossil portfolio standard — which, instead of putting a floor under renewables and jacking it up, instead puts a ceiling on fossil fuels and jacks it down. In other words, give the utilities a decreasing limit on CO2 emissions, let them know for certain that it’s going to come down and at what pace, and then let the utilities decide on their own the best, cheapest, and/or most convenient way of getting out from under that lowering ceiling. That might be renewables, or it might be nuclear, hydro, conservation, or any combination of the above.
 
In other words, set a goal that actually means something for the climate, and stick with it.
Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Apr 2, 2015 9:45 pm GMT

Keith – I really like your concept – FPS.

Nice.

I would add that imports should also be included in any standard not just in-state production. So for instance, even though CA has no in-state coal they do import coal based electricity from Utah, MT and AZ and this should be include in the FPS.

Great idea.

Josh Nilsen's picture
Josh Nilsen on Apr 3, 2015 5:07 am GMT

Do you only take facts out of context Bob?

What really hurt Ohio was the manufacturing jobs they lost.  All the jobs associated with making wind turbines are all quite good.  Ohio just didn’t have that many people *installing* the turbines in their home state.

Solar will be dominant before 2030 Bob.  GLOBALLY Bob.  You can continue to live in your coal, natural gas, and nuclear fantasy world if you’d like.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 3, 2015 5:19 am GMT

Texas is far and away wind power’s greatest U.S success story…”

Well, they do have most by wind capacity, but not as a percentage of total in-state annual electricity generation.  As of the end of 2013, that distinction goes to Iowa.  Here are the values reported  by the latest Wind Technologies Market report from LBNL:

  • Iowa 27.4%
  • South Dakota 26.0%
  • Kansas 19.4%
  • Idaho 16.2%
  • Minnesota 15.7%
  • North Dakota 15.6%
  • Oklahoma 14.8%

Way down the list at number 11, sits Texas at 8.3% (maybe this climbs to 9.3% with the more recent additions).  The instantaneous one-time 25% value that Silvio calls out in his article is rather misleading. 

So even the states with the higher wind energy percentages, which are all in the windiest part of the country (and in fact are in one of the windiest parts of the world) are still getting  most of their electricity from other sources (e.g. predominantly coal in the cases of Iowa, Kansa, Minnesota, North Dakota, & Oklahoma; fossil gas for Texas; hydro in the cases of Idaho & South Dakota).  Note also that (except for Texas) these are states with small electric demands that are adjacent to states with much larger demands (so they are likely exporting a lot of the unwanted power variations).

In contrast, the states which have embraced nuclear power have been much more successful at eliminating fossil fuel use:

  • Vermont 72%  (EIA 2010 data)
  • New Jersey 50% nuclear
  • Connecticut 50%
  • South Carolina 50%
  • New Hampshire 49.2%
  • Illinois 48%
  • Virginia 36%
  • Pennsylvania 35% 
  • New York 30.6%

See The Ten States That Run on Nuclear Power, or see the EIA data here.  Note that Texas has 5 GWatts of nuclear capacity, so as of 2013, they would have gotten more energy from nuclear than from wind.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 3, 2015 6:12 am GMT

Wind and solar are perfectly viable methods to generate 20-30% clean electricity (maybe 40% combined).  To go higher, vast amounts of energy storage would be required; this storage is completely cost-prohibitive (in addition to being a potential environmental problem), unless its cost drops by an order of magnitude (you’ll know when costs get that low, because at that point there won’t be any gasoline cars being built).  Even 10-20 hours of cheap storage would only get wind and solar to 50-60% penetration, because of the seasonal mis-match problem; to go higher solar must be cheap enough that half or so of the produced energy can be discarded.

The solar proposition requires a long string of breakthroughs, and fossil fuels will be there at each step, tempting us with a cheap and easy alternative, to be championed by advocates of low taxes, cheap energy, and the poor.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 3, 2015 7:50 am GMT

Silvio, it’s hard to not recognize the irony in a statement like

Imagine the uproar if utilities who built generation assets assuming a certain return from ratepayers were suddenly told the financial equation making their project economical was changing years after it was built?

What’s the difference between the above and utilities being told their “financial equation” is being changed – owners of solar arrays will be entitled to retail price compensation and afforded free access to their multi-$billion infrastructure investment “years after it was built”?

Gary Tulie's picture
Gary Tulie on Apr 9, 2015 8:45 pm GMT

A lot depends on the electricity mix at a particular location, and on the strength of grid connections between areas. 

If an state had enough hydro power to deliver 100% of power at 20 to 30% capacity factor, then the inherrent flexibility and storage found in the hydro power system could allow solar and wind to achieve very high penetration – even to the point that the state could become a net exporter of reliable base load renewable power meeting more than the entire electrical needs of the state from in state renewables. 

Also, we tend to underestimate the potential roll of demand response – water companies timing their pumping to when electricity is most readily available, water heaters with smart controls designed to curb solar exports, production of ice and industrial gasses e.g. CO2, liquid nitrogen, pure oxygen on a schedule governed by price / availability signals from the electricity markets.  

Gary Tulie's picture
Gary Tulie on Apr 9, 2015 9:08 pm GMT

Miner – things are changing very fast. 

Already, in the best locations, the electricity price required to fund wind generated electricity is lower than that of gas or coal, and hugely less expensive than nuclear – this without taking into account federal or state tax incentives, carbon pricing, or any other form of “polluter pays” legislation. 

Solar power has not yet reached that stage on mainland USA, though the same cannot be said for Hawaii where solar power now costs way less than retail prices (Even if net metering for solar in Hawaii were stopped, solar would remain a superb investment for householders there).

In Chile, solar is already competing in the spot market without any form of incentive or financial support – it is simply cheeper than the alternatives. (Solar plants are now being built in Chile without even a power purchase agreement – relying on real time sales on the spot market). Solar power is also now bidding to supply at lower prices than natural gas in the UAE.

In India, solar power contracts are now coming in at around the same as power from natural gas, albeit still more expensive than coal, however even in relatively poor India, the idea of expanding solar power production is hugely popular – firstly as a means of increasing the relatively limited power supply, and second as a means of reducing the abysmal levels of pollution in India’s cities.

Solar costs continue to fall. Deutsche Bank analysts see a further 40 per cent fall in the cost of solar as likely over the next 2 years bringing solar to grid parity in 80% of global markets.

http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/29/solar-costs-will-fall-40-next-2-year...

This being the case, RPS looks like becoming an almost redundant argument within 2 to 5 years at least for wind and solar as it will be fossil fuel and nuclear power that will be struggling to compete and to remain profitable.

Silvio Marcacci's picture
Silvio Marcacci on Apr 9, 2015 9:31 pm GMT

Agree with Joe, this is a great concept. 

Silvio Marcacci's picture
Silvio Marcacci on Apr 9, 2015 9:35 pm GMT

I think it’s pretty myopic to say solar will only continue to grow at its historic rate – simply look at any government or industry assessment of how much capacity has been added per year over the past decade and you see massive, exponential jumps per year. Yes, energy storage needs to come down in cost to integrate onto the grid, but solar’s growth and potential can’t be ignored.

Gary Tulie's picture
Gary Tulie on Apr 9, 2015 10:00 pm GMT

Italy no longer has any incentives for solar power as of july 2013, yet still continues to add capacity – nearly 400MW of new capacity in 2014.

As costs continue to drop, I think it’s fair to say that installations this year and in the next few years are likely to continue to grow. 

 

Last year, solar power produced 8.4% of Italy’s electricity. 

If this can happen in Italy, then given continuing cost reductions, logic dictates that other markets will see a similar dynamic. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 9, 2015 10:47 pm GMT

Gary, no – Italy doesn’t “continue to add capacity”. Solar installation owners are trying to dump it as fast as possible:

Due to the impending retroactive changes to Italy’s feed-in tariff, the country’s markets will soon be swamped with cheap solar PV power plants up for sale, according to a noted firm.

Owing to the approaching retroactive changes — due to be enacted at the beginning of 2015 — many projects in the country are expected to crash, with banks presumably selling said projects off at “rock-bottom” prices in an already over-saturated marketplace, according to the head of German firm Solar8.

Said president, Andreas Hoynigg, stated, in an interview with PV-Tech: “There are already many, many plants on the market but the foreclosure sales, the big sell off, will start next year. Many of the owners can’t pay the interest of their financing anymore [due to policy changes] so the Italian banks are selling the plants but this takes time. They have to go to court and wait for a decision and the Italian courts move extremely slowly. So we believe the big sell off will start next year.”

James Hopf's picture
James Hopf on Apr 10, 2015 2:12 am GMT

If what you say is true, then *surely* you won’t mind if all renewable portfolio standard policies are completely eliminated.  The massive subsidies can go too, right?

As for solar and (to a lesser extent) wind costs being lower than grid costs, the EIA begs to differ.  Data shows that wind’s (intermittent, less useful) kW-hrs are only slightly less than nuclear, and that solar kW-hrs are significantly more expensive.  The EIA costs are just the raw per kW-hr costs, and do not include the large grid and (fossil) back up costs associated with intermittent renewables.

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/electricity_generation.cfm

It’s true that raw cost is becoming less of an issue for renewables, but intermittency and land use (~100 times that of conventional source, per kW-hr) are and will remain significant hurdles.  Barring some huge breakthrough in energy storage, intermittentcy is likely to limit renewable sources to ~25%, tops.

You appear to suggest that you’d be willing to see RPS policies go.  That’s great.  What’s important is that we agree on policy.  Whatever happens, happens.  All that I (and many others) ask, is that health and environmental costs (CO2, other pollution, etc..) be accounted for, and that emissions reduction methods (or low/non-emitting sources) be able to compete on a fair, level, objective playing field.  Require reductions in pollution and CO2, and let the market decide how to respond.

 

James Hopf's picture
James Hopf on Apr 10, 2015 2:19 am GMT

You’re right, in percentage growth rate terms (as opposed to MW-hrs per year), renewables are bound to slow down.  Not only is that the trajectory generally followed by all technologies (massive percentage growth while they are still a tiny fraction of the overall market, followed by a slowdown in growth as the nitche saturates), but it is likely to be especially true for renewables, given their inherent (intermittentcy) limitations.

We’re reaching the point where renewables are likely to start hitting the wall, due to intermittency, and (possibly) also land use limitations.  At small penetration levels, costs above and beyond the raw per kW-hr costs are small to negligible, but as the penetration level grows, the costs associated with intermittentcy exponentiate, if higher penetration levels are practical at all.

We’re seeing this in Germany, where the penetration levels of “cheap” renewables is quite high, which of course result in lower poweer prices.  Oh wait……  Germany’s power costs are among the highest in the world!

James Hopf's picture
James Hopf on Apr 10, 2015 2:24 am GMT

I couldn’t possibly agree more.  You saved me the trouble of a long initial (non-reply) post!

Tax or limit CO2, other pollutants, and (perhaps) energy imports and then let the market decide how to respond.  Treating non-emitting source differently (i.e., renewables vs. nuclear, or fossil with complete containment of CO2 and other pollutants if one could do that) is indefensible.  At a minimum, all RPS policies should be replaced with Clean Energy Standard policies.

Gary Tulie's picture
Gary Tulie on Apr 10, 2015 4:05 am GMT

Both right and wrong Bob. 

Right in that the Italian government has in effect moved the goal posts after the game has started by retroactively reducing feed in tariffs for existing plant leaving project developers with insufficient funds  to pay their bills (older plants cost far more to install than more recent ones.)

Wrong in that new solar IS being built in a post subsidy market – the existence of solar capacity added to the grid in 2014 after subsidies were abolished is undeniable. 

 

 

 

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 10, 2015 4:19 am GMT

Yes, the hydro capacity in some areas is big compared to the local demand.  No doubt some small areas near dams could go 100% non-fossil on hydro alone.  

Of course with connection to a grid, they could help a larger area go 100% non-fossil by blending their limited hydro with regional solar and wind; and by combining hydro and nuclear, an even larger area could go 100% non-fossil.  Combine hydro with nuclear and some solar in the south, include night-time charging of EVs, and maybe the whole country can go 100% non-fossil.

The dispatchability of hydro makes it benefitial for any low carbon portfolio.  But there simply is not enough of it to solve all of the problems created by high penetration wind and northern solar (existing hydro only produces about 6% of US electricity).

Grace Adams's picture
Grace Adams on Apr 10, 2015 7:55 pm GMT

Nathan Wilson–Already much of our hydropower capacity if almost more useful as energy storage (pumped storage) than as actual production of energy.  What Gary Tulie says about demand response makes sense–letting electric utilities signal by price when it is cheapest to use electricity to do things that have flexibility about timing, especially if those things can be set up to respond automatically to those signals.  Add in some storage–both EV charging (at cheap night prices) and some utility scale batteries, and have a mix of wind and solar among the intermittents, and using nuclear power as long as old plants hold up, quite of bit of our electric power can be non-fossil.

 

Grace Adams's picture
Grace Adams on Apr 10, 2015 7:59 pm GMT

Actually I like the idea of taxing both emissions and energy regardless of carbon footprint and dividing the tax revenue between helping finance new non-fossil energy equipment and buying fossil fuel as mineral rights to make up some to too big to fail fossil fuel firms for taking some of their market away. 

Gary Tulie's picture
Gary Tulie on Apr 10, 2015 8:05 pm GMT

True, US hydro power contributes around 6% to overall US demand. Do not however forget that Canada is connected to the US power grids, and generates around 20% more hydro power than the US for 11% of the population. This being the case, hydro contributes >60% of Canada’s electricity requirement. 

Canada can therefore easily provide a substantial regulating capacity to the US market by managing its hydro resources to maximise the integration of renewables on the power grids of NOrth America. 

This will be particularly true for the New England area and the northern states of the US.

Another technology that could make a huge difference is a continent scale supergrid composed of high capacity HVDC transmission. It is now possible to transmit 10 GW of power through a single set of cables using 1100 kV DC. Such cables linking Canadian generators to the main US population centres, and the US population centres to each other could allow a massive expansion of renewable capacity due to the fact that sunset is several hours later on the West coast than on the East coast, and that weather systems somewhat even out at continental scale i.e. if it is not windy in Texas, it is likely to be windy in California, Utah, or the Dakotas and vice versa. 

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on Apr 13, 2015 3:43 am GMT

How about ending the biggest subsidy first … permission to use the atmosphere as a CO2 emission dump free of charge, regardless of the cost imposed on others.

Actually having fossil fuel users pay the fuel cost of the user is considered too traumatic a policy … and that is not just about “changing the rules after the plant has been built”, since there is new fossil fuel powered generation added every year.

There are some who consistently oppose all subsidies across the board, including the subsidy to fossil fuels of free CO2 emission, but all too often when people talk about ending subsidies, they are talking about ending the subsidies for system X that they don’t like, without any acknowledgement of the much larger subsidies for system Y, that they take for granted.

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on Apr 13, 2015 3:48 am GMT

Of course a carbon cap is preferable.

But that’s largely why RPS’s were enacted … because there was in many states no majority available for getting a carbon cap enacted, where it was possible to build a majority for an RPS.

 

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on Apr 13, 2015 3:55 am GMT

Its a lot less traumatic than making them pay the full cost up-front of their supposedly “cheap” fossil energy.

After all, that fossil energy is not actually cheap, it just relies on the fact that the cost is imposed on all, irrespective of whether they get the energy or not, and much of the cost is deferred. If that cost was internalized in a short period of time, it would cause a massive economic hardship and could well cause an economic depression on a greater scale to the mild depression the US just left.

And it would take years to build the non-fossil energy generating and harvesting capacity to replace it.

So the reason that many of those who do not want to be buried under that deferred cost of heavily subsidized fossil energy support RPSs when a majority cannot be found for a carbon cap is that it at least begins the process of adding energy harvesting capacity that avoids building up that carbon debt.

 

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on Apr 13, 2015 4:03 am GMT

Data from 2012, the last year for which accurate information is available, shows Ohio generated three one-hundredths of one percent of its electricity from solar. At that rate, Ohio will not meet the reasonable goal of .5% until the year 2059.”

The point of the mandate was to change that rate. If your assumption is that the growth in penetration in the first four years of a 17 year target represents the maximum possible rate of growth, you have a valid conclusion from an absurd assumption. If you do not assume that the rate of growth in penetration in the first four years of a 17 year target represents the maximum possible rate of growth, your argument falls apart.

The AEPS also mandates 12.5% of its electricity must come from renewable sources by 2025, which leaves 12% to come from additional wind, hydropower, or biomass. If we assign the task to wind, based on current rates of growth it will meet that goal in 2060 – one year later than solar.”

Here you not only have the same argument flaw as above, but also assume that all of that is assigned to wind, when Ohio is one of the states better placed for both run-of-river hydropower and for establishing sustainable biomass feedstock production. 

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on Apr 16, 2015 7:54 am GMT

Wind and solar are perfectly viable methods to generate 20-30% clean electricity (maybe 40% combined).”

The Ohio RPS only required 12.5%, and that is over wind, solar, hydro and biomass. Even for a lower ceiling of penetration for wind and solar without interstate transmission, those kind of penetration limits are not an issue for the level of the Ohio RPS.

Indeed, up to half of the RPS could have been met with nuclear, which is a far higher proportion than in most states.

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on Apr 13, 2015 4:14 am GMT

Canada can therefore easily provide a substantial regulating capacity to the US market by managing its hydro resources to maximise the integration of renewables on the power grids of NOrth America.”

Note that North Dakota already has an HVDC tie with Manitoba hydro, so that it is already positioned to use firm some of its wind resource with Canadian hydro resources.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 13, 2015 6:54 am GMT

Bruce, if pigs could fly a lot of arguments would fall apart.

But they can’t. And if Ohio was able to generate one-half of one percent of its electricity from solar by 2025, a feat without historical precedent, at that rate it will get to two and three-quarters of one percent by 2100, the date when the IPCC claims we must be done with fossil fuels.

Believing that somehow Ohio can make up the remaining 97.25% from wind, river hydropower, sustainable biomass feedstock production, hamster wheels, and pixie dust is the reckless mythology upon which Shell and Exxon-Mobil depend to maintain a market for their polluting products indefinitely.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 13, 2015 7:08 am GMT

Gary, feed-in tariff reductions were approved by the Italian Parliament on August 7, 2014, by which time most 2014 construction was already completed or underway.

Gary Tulie's picture
Gary Tulie on Apr 13, 2015 1:35 pm GMT

one half of one percent without historical precedent?

Italy in 2014 received 7.53% of its power from solar, and even the UK with less sunshine on average than even Alaska let alone Ohio is now between 1 and 2%.

The idea that Ohio will be unable to generate 0.5% of its power from solar by 2025 is quite frankly a joke. 

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Apr 13, 2015 6:23 pm GMT

I’m all for stopping using the atmosphere as a dumping ground, except that Renewables + Natural gas are doing exactly that (at the best), while they are happily also using coal generated power at other times, when the sun isn’t shinning.

Grace Adams's picture
Grace Adams on Apr 13, 2015 7:38 pm GMT

As much as we ought to cut or stop altogether subsidies to fossil fuel, too big to fail firms including Koch brothers and ExxonMobil, etc. have too much political clout to tolerate that solution. Phasing in a tax on energy regardless of carbon footprint (10% increase in cost to consumer each year to avoid tanking economy) and also buying out gradually the too big to fail fossil fuel firms at least until either there is a major shift in political landscape or too big to fail firms are all bought out (especially Koch brothers) stands a much better chance of getting through Congress and signed by POTUS.

Bruce McFarling's picture
Bruce McFarling on Apr 16, 2015 7:52 am GMT

while they are happily also using coal generated power at other times, when the sun isn’t shinning.”

If you are talking about the equipment, a particular wind turbine or solar panel is neither happy nor unhappy about what generating capacity is used in its place.

If you are talking about the economics of the reward for installing wind turbines or solar panels, you have it backwards. Since the wind turbines and solar panels when they are producing are displacing fossil fuel combustion, they are “happier” in the sense of being more lucrative if fossil fuel power has to pay their full price of using the atmosphere as a dumping ground.

If you are talking about the people who support the use of renewable energy, they would also be happier if fossil fuel power had to pay their full price of using the atmosphere as a dumping ground, since then the firming power for the abundant variable RE such as wind and solar would increasingly comes from low and no carbon energy sources, so there would not just be replacement of CO2 emissions the majority of the time when the wind was blowing strongly somewhere and the sun is shining brightly somewhere, but also replacement of CO2 the minority of the time when neither is the case.


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