Here’s Why ‘Green Energy’ Does not Work

There is one simple and very basic reason why “green” energy does not work and never will. It is a fundamental and timeless principle called Economies of Scale. It means that big things are efficient and that little things are inefficient. This principle is totally natural and has applied since the beginning of time.

This principle explains why big corporate farms and food processors produce our food efficiently and cheaply on a large scale. Economies of Scale also explains why most of us then buy our food at a big supermarket – because the store’s size allows it to obtain and sell more food products at a lower price than a small store can, particularly if the supermarket is part of a chain.

The same principle applies to energy. If you generate power in a 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor it is very efficient. If you break that down into 1 megawatt windmills it is very inefficient not only to produce the power but to maintain and repair the many generators. That is why windmills need endless taxpayer subsidies – because they contravene a fundamental economic principle.

Or if you break down that 1,000 megawatt reactor into 200,000 separate 5 kilowatt solar panels, like the stated output of the panels on an average home, it would be like breaking our supermarkets down into hundreds of thousands of little convenience stores, which would produce very high food costs and very limited choices. Imagine shopping at the mini-mart every week. It is a scary thought.

Solar energy is really “welfare energy”. It is just like people on welfare. It sounds like a good idea but actually it is extremely inefficient and counter-productive. And while solar owners benefit from lower electricity bills, that happens simply because someone else is paying their power bill… just like welfare.

Here is how solar energy costs “the rest of us” a lot of money and leaves us with less energy than ever, and higher costs:

*Solar energy is extremely inefficient and thus it needs huge taxpayer subsidies. In figures published recently for my town a home solar system costs $35,000 and the taxpayer subsidy is almost 60% of that, or $20,000. So if you don’t have solar panels and your neighbor does then you are paying your neighbor’s electric bill. That is why solar owners glow that their electric bill has fallen – because their neighbor is paying the bill. It is that simple.

*The only reason that solar energy seems to make sense is because solar owners never disconnect themselves from the power grid (except for off-gridders out in the wilderness). They stay connected because the electrical grid, powered by coal, nuclear and natural gas, backs up solar energy and thus the gross inefficiency of solar remains masked.

We don’t even know how much electricity these panels are actually generating because we are not given specific numbers, just general output figures according to pre-published figures (i.e., 5 kilowatts). In my town I even have seen solar panels on the north-facing roof of a house where they get no sun most of the year.

This happens because solar panels are really decoy devices, not energy producers. They are intended to shift wealth to the “green” left, not to produce energy.

*We have no idea how long these panels will last. Most are relatively new. Imagine that they start failing in large numbers in 10 years and need to be replaced. This would be massively expensive. And looking at the record of solar greenhouses and solar hot-water systems (see below) we can expect these solar panels to fall into disuse long before we thought they would.

*While solar panels are generating some energy during only about 1 out of every nine hours of the year in the Northeastern US, or about 1,000 hours per year, environmentalists have made laws requiring utilities to “buy back” that power from the homeowner at very high rates when the home is not using it, for instance at noon in the Summer. This power is sent back to the electricity grid via the power lines; this is another reason that you stay connected when you have solar panels.

This buyback is a ‘ratepayer subsidy’ for solar, i.e., we all pay more in our power bills for expensive solar-generated power, while the solar panel owners get a second big gift from non-solar people.

*Solar owners don’t pay their fair share in “fixed costs”. Here is how this works: Your electric bill is made up of two parts – the cost of generating the electricity at the power plant itself; and the ‘fixed costs’ for maintaining the power grid (power lines, substations, utility offices, utility trucks, salaries for utility workers, etc.).

Since solar owners generate some of their own power and use less energy from the grid, they then pay less of these ‘fixed costs’. So those costs are shifted onto non-solar utility customers. It is estimated in California alone that this represents an additional $1.5 billion subsidy for solar every year, or to put it another way, an additional $1.5 billion shifted from solar owners to non-solar homeowners, another free gift for having solar energy.

*The biggest flaw is this: Solar energy is draining away huge amounts of investment capital and giving us little energy in return. Germany has the most solar energy in the world, and has electric rates three times those of the US. This will happen in the US if we continue with solar. We should be building nuclear power plants with that money. All solar subsidies should be ended immediately.

*How about “green” hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius? We are told that they save us lots of money, and the environment, by using less gasoline. So why do they need thousands of dollars in tax credits? If they are so great shouldn’t we all be buying them gladly at their full price?

Theoretically we should, except that that price is very high, $5,000 to $10,000 more than a comparable non-hybrid car. And so the question is: Why does it cost so darned much money to save money and the planet? And the answer is that “green math” means that everything is geared toward making the “greenies” wealthy and looking smart while the rest of us pay the tab.

*Ethanol is alcohol fuel made from Midwestern corn. Almost 5 billion bushels of US corn annually now to go make alcohol fuel. The corn is distilled, like whiskey is, and the alcohol is blended with gasoline.

But if this fuel is so great then why does it need such a huge subsidy, up to $6 billion a year? After all oil, coal and natural gas do not need a subsidy. In fact oil, coal and natural gas companies pay huge amounts in both taxes and royalties TO the government. They also provide millions of great jobs worldwide and those employees also pay income taxes TO the government. And best of all these companies give us the energy supplies that make us prosperous.

The reason that ethanol needs a subsidy is because ethanol makes no economic sense. It produces hardly any net new energy after you account for all of the energy needed to produce it in an extremely inefficient process. It cannot compete in the free market. Again, ethanol is “welfare energy”.

Ethanol production also pushes up food prices since it is drawing those 5 billion bushels of corn out of the food supply. One of the most significant uses for corn is for animal feed, and so when ethanol production takes that corn out of the animal feed supply it makes that feed more scarce and more expensive, pushing up the cost of chicken, milk, pork and beef. Meanwhile the farmers getting the subsidies live high on guaranteed incomes. This is another hoax of “green” energy. Consumers pay more and get less, including higher food prices.

Many nations experimented briefly with alcohol fuel and then abandoned it. The US should do the same.

*Environmentalists promote windmills, but here is how to debunk wind energy: Next time you travel from the US to Europe, travel by sailing ship. Oh, sure, you will eventually get there but it will take you weeks, maybe a month. This proves that there is energy in the wind just like environmentalists claim, but that it is such a negligible amount of energy that it is useless for our modern standard of living.

*Hydroelectric dams are a type of “natural” energy since the ‘fuel’ is the water flowing in our rivers that spins electrical generators at the dams. But dams do great environmental harm while producing small amounts of electricity. The bigger the dams, the more damage they do.

The James Bay project in Quebec, Canada, one of the largest hydro projects in the world, produces only 16,500 megawatts of power – the equivalent of 16 standard nuclear reactors – yet it drains a vast area the size of New England, about 70,000 square miles. At the same time 16 nuclear reactors could fit in one town in Vermont. This shows the gross inefficiency of hydro power.

Environmentalists now oppose hydro power and for good reason. It is a disaster for the environment.

*The ‘greenies’ love to perform ‘energy audits’ on your home to recommend ways to lower your energy bill. Millions of homeowners have used the recommendations in these audits to seal up their homes like a plastic bag, to keep warm air from escaping in Winter.

But it turns out that such homes are so air-tight that they trap toxic gases inside from the oil burner, wood stove, cooking smoke, cleaning chemicals, stale air, paint fumes, human germs and pet germs, even odors, etc. These have been called “sick houses” and they have made millions of people sick.

*Back in the late 1970s homeowners were given big tax credits under a program called PURPA to build solar greenhouses onto their homes. These greenhouses are glass rooms built on the south side of the house. They are not intended to grow flowers, although they can. Their main purpose is to trap warm air on sunny days in the Winter and direct that warm air into the house.

But these greenhouses never worked. They produce very little heat and are very expensive to build. Most of them in my area have since been closed off or walled over. Even worse they become like ovens in the Summer, heating up dramatically precisely when you don’t want that, i.e., they produce the total opposite effect of what “greenies” claim, like all “green” energy does.

And it turns out that the $10,000 to $20,000 that you might pay to build a greenhouse today is much more wisely spent, and produces a vastly better economic return, by investing in other ways to save energy like better insulation or a more efficient furnace.

*Millions of solar hot-water systems also were installed under PURPA. We have all seen the solar panels on many roofs. But most of them in my town are defunct and have been removed, another failed “green” strategy that sounded great on paper.
Those hot-water systems are in fact very complex and expensive requiring a plumber, electrician and carpenter to install them; the panels damage the home’s roof by poking big holes into it; and the systems use lots of electricity to run the main circulating pump. They never made any economic sense, which is why they needed the big subsidy.

Even worse, they produce the most hot water in Summer when you are away from the house most and need hot water least. I talked to one owner who has maintained his system up to today and he said that he dumps hot water down the drain all Summer long just to prevent the system from overheating.

What a backward waste, like all “green” energy…

Two other fake energy sources that were discussed for decades but which have largely disappeared from view are:

*nuclear fusion (unlike nuclear fission which is used today in nuclear power reactors). Fusion is alleged to be able to tap unlimited energy as the sun does in fusion reactions, but man-made fusion has never materialized. Today it is kept alive only as a way for “scientists” to get mountains of taxpayer money for ‘research’. Europe has the world’s largest fusion experiments in its CERN project. They have produced zero energy in decades of experimentation.

*hydrogen fuel cells, which are so expensive and inefficient that they only are used in specialized applications like space flight where cost is no object and there is no alternative.

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