This report should be profoundly embarrassing to the government of Justin Trudeau
Amid hundreds of graphs, charts and tables in the latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) released last week by the International Energy Agency, there is one fundamental piece of information that you have to work out for yourself: the percentage of total global primary energy demand provided by wind and solar. The answer is 1.1 per cent. The policy mountains have laboured and brought forth not just a mouse, but — as the report reluctantly acknowledges — an enormously disruptive mouse.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has in recent years become an increasingly schizophrenic organization. As both a source of energy information and a shill for the UN’s climate-focused sustainable development agenda, it has to talk up the “transition to a low-carbon future” while simultaneously reporting that it’s not happening. But it will!
This report should be profoundly embarrassing to the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau, which has virtue-signalled itself to the front of a parade that is going nowhere, although it can certainly claim genuine leadership in the more forceful route to transition: killing the fossil fuel industry by edict.
The WEO report, yet again, projects that global fossil fuel use — and related emissions — will grow out to 2040, as oil, gas and coal continue to dominate the energy picture. But it also struggles to put a positive spin on wind and solar. Solar had a “record-setting” year in 2017. The Chinese solar business is “booming.” New wind and solar additions “outpaced those of fossil fuels in 2017, driven by policy support and declining costs.
“Policy support” means subsidies worth hundreds of millions of dollars. As for declining costs, solar is at least twice as expensive a generator as coal and almost twice as expensive as gas.
Finally, and most significantly, the report confirms what should have been obvious from the start: the more “variable” wind and solar are introduced into any electricity system, the more they make it both more expensive and less reliable.