There are several reasons why wind and solar energy are doomed to fail, but the most basic is that they are low-intensity energy sources. They produce ridiculously little electricity per acre. Thus, Robert Bryce, one of our top energy experts, calculated in a paper he wrote for American Experiment that if we wanted to get all of our electricity needs from wind turbines, we would have to dedicate an area twice the size of the State of California.
I will hazard a guess that, no matter how much money liberals waste, this isn’t going to happen.
Bryce has also documented one of the fundamental obstacles to vastly increased wind and solar installations: local opposition. Bryce has recorded hundreds of instances where wind and solar projects have been blocked by local governments on account of citizen opposition, and at the link, he explains why that opposition is justified.
Germany has encountered this problem, as its citizens stubbornly resist their government’s determination to erect “green” facilities everywhere. And the same is happening in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal points out that while “green” hoopla is everywhere, actual construction of wind and solar projects is sinking like a stone:
Even as developers plan an unprecedented number of grid-scale wind and solar installations, project construction is plummeting across the U.S.
Despite billions of dollars in federal tax credits up for grabs and investors eager to fund clean energy projects [Ed.: Solely due to government mandates and subsidies], the pace of development has ground to a crawl and many renewables plans face an uncertain path to completion. Supply-chain snags, long waits to connect to the grid and challenging regulatory and political environments across the country are contributing to the slowdown, analysts and companies say.
New wind installations plunged 77.5% in the third quarter of 2022 versus the same period the year before, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. New utility-scale solar installations likely fell 40% in 2022 compared with 2021, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and research firm Wood Mackenzie.
The Journal details several reasons why “green” projects are not being built. The supply chain issues are real, to be sure. But the ultimate constraint is political. Urban liberals may not care how their electricity is generated, but the people who have to live in the vicinity of hundreds of intrusive, ugly and perhaps dangerous wind turbines don’t like it. The Journal’s anodyne conclusion:
Just 23% of the power-generation projects seeking grid connection from 2000 to 2016 were ultimately built. Completion rates were even lower for wind, at 20%, and solar at 16%. Around 19 gigawatts of wind and more than 60 gigawatts of solar were withdrawn from interconnection processes in 2020 and 2021, according to the national lab.
The certainty of securing local permits also varies market by market, even within the same state, along with the willingness of a community to welcome large renewable energy projects, [Joe Rand, senior scientific engineering associate at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory] said.
Don’t listen to the hype about wind and solar energy. Despite all the happy talk about a transition away from fossil fuels to “renewables,” it simply isn’t happening.