Bjorn Lomborg: Why solar and wind power aren’t winning (Financial Post – April 17, 2024)

All-in costs too high once you count fossil fuel and battery backups, land requirements and damage their equipment does

We are constantly being told that solar and wind are now the cheapest forms of electricity. Yet governments around the world felt they had to spend US$1.8 trillion on the green transition last year.

Wind and solar only produce power when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. When they are not, electricity from these sources is infinitely expensive and back-ups are needed. This is why fossil fuels still account for two-thirds of global electricity and why, on current trends, we are a century away from eliminating their use in electricity generation.

Imagine if a solar-driven car were launched tomorrow, running cheaper than a gas vehicle. It sounds great, until you realize it won’t run at night or when it’s overcast. So if you did buy a solar car, you would still need a gas car as back-up. You would have to pay for two cars.

Modern societies need power 24/7. Solar and wind power’s unreliable and intermittent operation involve large, often hidden costs. This is a smaller problem for wealthy countries that already have fossil-power plants and can simply use more of them as backup. But even in wealthy countries it makes electricity more expensive.

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