Renewables

Taken from a Calgary Herald comment page, written by Geoffrey Pounder of Rocky Mountain House.

AB’s new wind and solar generation will be subsidized only if the pool price is lower than the (very low) bid price.

If the pool price exceeds the bid price, the renewable generator rebates the difference back to the govt.

The list of fossil-fuel subsidies in AB and Canada runs decades long and billions of dollars wide.

Globally, fossil fuels enjoy subsidies 4x higher than renewables receive:

“Fossil Fuels With $550 Billion Subsidies Hurt Renewables” (Bloomberg, Nov 11, 2014)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-11-12/fossil-fuels-with-550-billion-in-subsidy-hurt-renewables

The fossil fuel industry largely externalizes its environmental and health costs. A massive invisible subsidy.

Carbon pricing addresses that market failure by internalizing costs previously externalized by fossil fuel producers and consumers.

“Solar power to replace coal as world’s top electricity source by 2050 — IEA” (Mining, Sep. 29, 2014)

“Two US electric utilities have promised to go 100% carbon-free—and admit it’s cheaper” (Quartz, Dec 13, 2018)

https://share.qz.com/news/1302382/

Global investment in renewables is ALREADY outpacing investment in new fossil fuel projects. (Already cheaper and better!) Despite huge resistance from the fossil fuel industry. Despite far greater subsidies, visible and invisible, for fossil fuels.

This trend will continue if only because renewables already beat new fossil fuel projects on cost.

Battery storage will be key to the success of intermittent sources like wind and solar.

Solar and wind actually improve the reliability of our grid. When coal plants go offline due to spiking temperatures, that’s solar’s chance to shine:

“Baseload myths and why we need to change how we look at our grid” (Pembina Institute, Aug. 3, 2017)

https://www.pembina.org/blog/baseload-myths-and-why-we-need-to-change-how-we-look-at-our-grid

 AB’s new wind and solar projects are being built without subsidies. In the U.S., new wind and solar builds are cheaper than maintaining old coal and nuclear plants.

The list of fossil-fuel subsidies, visible and invisible, in AB and Canada runs decades long and billions of dollars wide.

Why don’t you and your friends complain about fossil fuel subsidies?

Why the double standard, Bill?

Fossil fuel and renewable energy companies don’t need subsidies. Just price energy properly. Put the real, true, full price on health and environmental costs of pollution and climate change. Then stand back and let the market do its work.

The costs of fossil fuel pollution and climate change are increasingly prohibitive. Energy markets will be transformed overnight.

 Arctic communities are replacing expensive, polluting diesel generators with renewables. Remote communities save money and reduce pollution.

In India, villages not connected to the grid are hooking up to solar. Now they can give up their kerosene lamps and prevent illness.

 “Coal-fired plants shutting down, despite Trump’s promises”

With cheaper natural gas and renewables, aging coal generators too expensive to keep up

“More U.S. coal-fired power plants were shut in President Donald Trump’s first two years than were retired in the whole of Barack Obama’s first term, despite the Republican administration’s efforts to prop up the industry.

“Cheap natural gas and the rising use of renewable power like solar and wind have kept electric prices relatively low for years, making it uneconomic for generators to keep investing in older coal and nuclear plants.

“Generators said they plan to shut around 8,422 MW of coal-fired power and 1,500 MW of nuclear in 2019, while adding 10,900 MW of wind, 8,200 MW of solar and 7,500 MW of gas.”

(CBC, Jan 14, 2019)

 If the fossil fuel industry had to pay full costs, production would be unviable.

In many places, renewables have reached grid parity with fossil fuels even without subsidies.

In the U.S., fossil fuel and utility companies spend millions of dollars on lobbyists to shut out renewables from the market. Call it an anti-subsidy.

Opposition to carbon pricing has the same effect. Big Oil just spent millions of dollars on a campaign to defeat a carbon tax plan in Washington State. Same idea in Canada.