Top Danish Economist Bjoern Lomborg Declares Wind And Solar Energies A “Fata Morgana” …”Powerless And Expensive”!

LomborgThe German online Die Welt here has a commentary on wind energy by Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg. The title of his guest commentary: “Wind energy, powerless and expensive“.

Hat-tip Peter H at Facebook.

Wind and sun energy are often viewed by fossil fuel critics as the go-to green energies. But careful analyses show that these energies are in reality impractical due to their haphazard supply and very poor efficiency. Most wind installations fail to reach 20% of their rated capacities; sun only provides power when it’s daytime and not cloudy. The figures that Lomborg presents are sobering, inconvenient and totally discouraging for wind and sun power proponents.

Citing the International Energy Agency, Lomborg writes so far today only 0.4% of global energy comes from wind and sun, despite the tens of billions of dollars invested in the energy sources. He adds:

Even in 2040, if all governments stick to their promises, sun and wind will cover only 2.2 percent of the world’s energy by 2040.”

Lomborg says that the reason why sun and wind will be “no decisive solution against climate change” is the energies’ inability to be effectively stored. He calls the belief that the energies are cheaper than fossil fuels a “Fata Morgana”.

The problem remains that storage technologies today are cumbersome, horrendously expensive and thus unfeasible. Wind and sun remain a luxury for the rich. Lomborg explains to readers how wind energy are dependent on subsidies, and that without them they make no sense. The Danish star economist points out that not only do wind and sun need subsidies, but now also so do fossil fuel plants so that they can remain on standby when the wind and sun go AWOL. He also says that wind and sun only save about half of the claimed CO2 emissions, and that under some circumstances they actually cause greater emissions.

$131 trillion for 1°C less warming

He writes the planned expansion of green energies by the year 2040 will cost 2.3 trillion dollars and result in only in a mere 0.o175 °C less temperature rise by the end of the century (using the climate forcing figures provided by the climate models).

That means 1°C of theoretical less warming would cost 131 trillion dollars! If there ever was a new definition for insanity, that’s it.

Photo credit: Twitter

58 responses to “Top Danish Economist Bjoern Lomborg Declares Wind And Solar Energies A “Fata Morgana” …”Powerless And Expensive”!”

  1. sod

    “and cite his feeling that there seemed to be more windy and sunny days this year as a scientific argument.”

    No Pierre. In this case, it is easy to offer proof, that he is wrong.

    He is basing his claims on the IEA, which has consistently been wrong on its assessments of renewables. And by a wide margin.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/10/12/9510879/iea-underestimate-renewables

    “WEO 2010 projected 180 GW of installed solar PV capacity by 2024; that target was met in January 2015.

    Current installed PV capacity exceeds WEO 2010 projections for 2015 by threefold.

    Installed wind capacity in 2010 exceeded WEO 2002 and 2004 projections by 260 and 104 percent respectively.

    WEO 2002 projections for wind energy in 2030 were exceeded in 2010.”

    1. Moose

      So what you are saying is that the 2.3 trillion dollars already have been spent and there is absolutely no gain whatsoever for the climate?
      Except for the guys and girls working in renewable energy of course.

      1. sod

        “So what you are saying is that the 2.3 trillion dollars already have been spent and there is absolutely no gain whatsoever for the climate?”

        Wind power on land is now the cheapest source of power in the UK.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/wind-power-now-the-cheapest-source-of-electricity-but-the-government-continues-to-resist-onshore-a6685326.html

        Solar power is so cheap, that basically everyone on earth will get power cheaper from his roof than from the grid.

        But IEA is using numbers for the future, which are already reached today. They assume that solar PV will have a higher price than it already has. That is just plain out garbage!

        http://www.vox.com/2015/10/12/9510879/iea-underestimate-renewables

        1. DirkH

          And… VOX again! That’s two in a row! Carry on.

        2. Pethefin

          Only the gullible like Sod are unable to think for themselves. The real cost of wind and solar power is naturally something quite different:

          https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/the-real-cost-of-wind-power/

        3. Walter H. Schneider

          sod 25. October 2015 at 5:37 PM : “Wind power on land is now the cheapest source of power in the UK….Solar power is so cheap, that basically everyone on earth will get power cheaper from his roof than from the grid.”

          Right…and that will work especially well during the winter, when it rains and after the sun has gone down.

          sod, no one will be able to confuse you with facts, because you’ve got your mind firmly made up, but your obsession pays off.

          You do have a measurable influence on discussions in which you participate. You do stretch them out. This is one of the longest discussion threads I have yet seen at Pierre’s blog.

    2. Colorado Wellington

      QED.

    3. DirkH

      sod, great, you made it. You cited Vox. The voxplaining website that believes there is a bridge between Gazah and the West bank. CONGRATS!

    4. Ilma

      Note the quiet reference to “installed *capacity*”. An immediate fail. If Sod hasn’t understood yet that real world output is just a fraction of capacity, and randomly intermittent too, then someone ought to suit him down and provide a basic education.

      1. sod

        “Note the quiet reference to “installed *capacity*””

        They are making a projection. If they get the installed capacity wrong, they will also get the produced electricity wrong. Waht is your point?

        And by the way, they also got the outputs wrong. But hey, The error was just 20 years!

        WEO 2002 projections for wind energy in 2030 were exceeded in 2010.”

  2. GP Alexander

    I have suggested to a Swedish colleague of mine that sod be nominated for the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (you know, the fake Nobel Prize).

    This would ensure that we would be entertained by more of sod’s sage and insightful commentary and advice. Such as what we already get here in Canada with Dr David Suzuki.

    The boys at the trading desk already get a laugh whenever I link to sod’s (and David’s) musings. More is Better.

    1. Colorado Wellington

      Heh. Boys at the trading desk? Sod?

      Sod Off, Swampy!
      By Val MacQueen – February 21, 2005

      Hoping to shut down “open outcry” trading, where deals are shouted across the pit, the Greenpeaceniks ran onto the trading floor, according to the London Times, “blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach.”

      But London traders, just after lunch, are more likely to be powered by two or three pints of strong ale than the milk of human kindness.

      “The violence was instant,” reported one aggrieved recipient of a rain of blows to the head. “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.”

      “Sod off, Swampy!” shouted one tardy trader, steadying himself against the railings of the balcony of the pub across the street as his colleagues threw the protesters bodily onto the sidewalk.

      http://www.ideasinactiontv.com/tcs_daily/2005/02/sod-off-swampy.html

      https://coloradowellington.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/sod-off-swampy-t-shirt.jpg

      http://www.coalitionoftheswilling.net/archives/2005/02/tshirt_update.html

  3. Ron C,

    In the UK some refer to wind farms as “prayer wheels.”

  4. John F. Hultquist

    I have a Pacific Northwest (USA) chart bookmarked for the “balancing agency” that keeps the grid stable, it is here: BPA Balancing Authority Load and Total Wind, Hydro, and Thermal Generation, Near-Real-Time

    Posts, such as this one, prod me to have a look at the prior week’s report. From Tuesday noon (20th) the wind output has been bouncing along the zero line.

    Anyone with an electrocardiogram (ECG) {some use EKG} that had this pattern would be the in the intensive care unit of a major medical center.

    1. sod

      “I have a Pacific Northwest (USA) chart bookmarked for the “balancing agency” that keeps the grid stable, it is here:”

      thanks for the link. If you look at the numbers at the top graph, you will see that wind provides about 15% of the electricity. Demand is on average around 5500MW, so we would expect wind at 850 (a bit below the 1000MW line). But wind was providing about 3000MW for nearly a full day on the 19th October.

      So this week looks rather average, if you do not focus on the low numbers only!

      1. Pops

        “But wind was providing about 3000MW for nearly a full day on the 19th October.”

        Give me strength…. But… about… nearly… on the 19th….

        That about sums-up the wind doctrine.

        1. sod

          Wind is 15% of total consumption. Nuclear is 3.5%.

          And even that week is rather average.

          What is your point?

        2. Colorado Wellington

          October 19th was a special day.

          Trudeau Junior won the Canadian elections and will be able to save the planet. Eerily, it was also the 50th anniversary of nothing important happening on October 19th 1965.

          On top of it, I know a man who didn’t eat or do anything all day last Monday.

          I’m adding sod’s discovery to the list.

          http://www.onthisday.com/events/october/19?utm_source=bir&utm_medium=we&utm_campaign=his

        3. Graeme No.3

          sod has mistaken capacity for actual delivery.

      2. ClimateOtter

        Say, sod, could you give us the % total energy supplied by wind for that region for the entire year? Thanks.

      3. DirkH

        There goes your chance of landing a VOX hattrick.

      4. Windsong

        Sod, how was 14.9% capacity figure helping when wind contribution dropped to 0 on 20/21 October? How would I have charged my Leaf without traditional sources operating? The BPA’s balancing work in the PNW is extra tough because the IWT’s are idled when there is too little/too much wind, adequate hydro power in the grid, and when wildfires are active in the vicinity. (Not to fear; the wind turbine owners always get paid.) Speaking of hydro power, I am guessing you would like to see Ice Harbor, Little Goose, Lower Granite and Lower Monument Dams removed from the grid. Less hydro would mean a larger theoretical share for wind.

      5. GP Alexander

        “But wind was providing about 3000MW for nearly a full day on the 19th October”

        Nearly A Full Day! I get it. Now I understand.

        We NEED global warming. According to the assumptions of your acolytes, global warming will unsettle the weather and thus we will get more windy days. Ergo, global warming will increase the provision of wind energy to TWO FULL DAYS!

        So, the smart money would be to invest in hydrocarbons AND wind energy. Oh. Wait. Al Gore beat me to it.

  5. Mikky

    You don’t need numbers to see the futility of wind and solar, just investigate what is required to take a house off-grid. Solar panels on the roof, plus a wind turbine in the garden, feeding a bank of very expensive batteries, WILL ONLY POWER YOUR LIGHTS, RADIOS AND LOW ENERGY APPLIANCES.

    For cooking and heating you will still need fossil fuels.

    Total capital cost: a few tens of thousands of dollars.

    So, even if all 7 BILLION people in the world could afford this (it won’t change the climate unless most people do it), that would only reduce the consumption of DOMESTIC grid electricity not used for heating and cooking, i.e. maybe 10% of total energy consumption.

    Wind gets “respectable” percentage numbers only when expressed relative to something that is a SMALL PERCENTAGE of total energy consumption, and only in the few countries rich and stupid enough to fall for the propaganda.

    1. sod

      Why would single people go completely off-grid?

      we can get 30% renewables in every country without any problem. The countries that reach those numbers demonstrate that.

      From there, 50% is a small step and battery and water storage are moving up.

      Just wait and see.

      1. ClimateOtter

        Still waiting for you to provide the % of energy wind provided for the entire year in that region, sod. It can’t be That difficult, you seem to have the numbers right in front of you.

      2. DirkH

        “Just wait and see.”

        sod’s philosophy: You people WAIT and PAY GAZILLION EUROS A YEAR to sod and the other wind industry cronies in subsidies and you’ll SEE what it gets you.

      3. Mikky

        sod says “The countries that reach those numbers demonstrate that.”

        No, lets take the poster child Denmark, high percentage of electricity from wind, at a very high cost, but only because most of its heating comes from natural gas, and all of its transport comes from diesel, and it does very little manufacturing.

        Or how about some African countries, high percentage of renewable electricity, but only because there was very little electricity there originally.

        Beware renewable energy snake oil salesmen quoting percentages, ask yourself the question “Percentage of what?”

  6. David Johnson

    Oooh! For a full day, I am very impressed. I will also be impressed if you stop focusing on the high numbers

  7. sod

    Not a single word about the false IEA numbers so far.

    http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/hauptnavigation/sendung-verpasst#/beitrag/video/2495408/Das-letzte-Versprechen

    Is there anybody here who can make a coherent argument and deal with fact of those false predictions?

    Anyone?

    1. DirkH

      Ah I see, Now we’re resorting to the state media of a country whose politicians ALL OWN WIND FARM SHARES.

      1. sod

        no. I just gave the wrong link. sorry about that!

  8. sod

    By the way, the original article was published in the Australian:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/counting-the-cost-of-wind-and-solar/story-fni1hfs5-1227578977109

    These paragraphs are missing in the short german version:

    “While new, cheap German wind-energy producers cost $US80 ($110) a megawatt hour ($US0.08 a kilowatt hour), the average German spot price last year was just $US33 a megawatt hour.”

    and

    “Moreover, we pay dearly for these cuts. In 2013, the world produced 635 terawatt hours of wind electricity and paid at least $28bn in subsidies, or $US76 per avoided tonne of CO2, and likely twice or more than that.

    When the estimated damage costs of CO2 are about $US5 a tonne, and a tonne of CO2 can be cut in the EU for about $US10, we are paying a dollar to do less than 7c-13c of good for the climate.”

  9. sod

    Here is another version, if you can not pass the Australian pay wall:

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/wind-power-wasted-subsidies-by-bj-rn-lomborg-2015-10

    Lomborg just seems to focus on the wrong IEA numbers, for example i this 2013 article, in which he claims that renewables are declining:

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-falling-share-of-renewables-in-global-energy-production-by-bj-rn-lomborg

    Even worse, in this article he claims that Chin is using basically no renewables and that this will stay like that. Incredible!

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/two-cheers-for-china-s-climate-obstruction

    1. DirkH

      Hey sod, don’t worry, the crazy politicians in Berlin will continue subsidizing you. We all know them, they’ve been lunatics for 25 years now. You just pray Merkel stays in power and the billions will continue to flow.

  10. DirkH

    The ludicrously expensive mock energy sources wind and solar in Germany get ever more expensiver:
    http://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article148012515/Kunden-zahlen-fuer-Troedel-Energiewende-kraeftig-drauf.html
    Building the high voltage lines from everywhere to everywhere to move the unpredictable wind power spikes to where they might be needed UNFORTUNATELY has some cost overruns. The money needed will simply and automatically be stolen from the people.

    For warmunist birdbrains, some more explanation: This is of course a ludicrously inefficient use of resources that need to be MINED! The Horrors! Wind and solar drive UP resource usage, not DOWN, as the random power spikes need what, 5 to 10 times ? just a guess – overcapacity in transmission, as capacity factor of wind is < 0.2 and for solar, about 0.1 , on average.

    Wind and solar are designed to maximize metal needs.

  11. DirkH

    The globalist Bertelsmann foundation, via their propaganda organ STERN (they also own SPIEGEL), demands punishing taxes on meat to save the climate.
    http://www.stern.de/genuss/trends/fleisch–warum-wir-aufhoeren-sollten–es-zu-essen-6511416.html
    Bertelsmann links to Lester Brown’s lunacies, who says that livestock industry causes 51% of Global Warming. I am not making this up.
    https://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf

    All pretty old drivel, warmed up for Paris. I think nobody will care, as the destruction of the West happens now through Islamisation, so who still needs warmunism.

  12. Davidg

    Sod needs to be smacked upside his head for extraordinary stupidity. Neither wind nor solar provide even 1% of global needs!

    1. sod

      “Neither wind nor solar provide even 1% of global needs!”

      Solar does not provide 1% of global needs?

      you must be kidding.

      Let us do the same experiment that people are constantly explaining to me (“What if there was no fossil fuel tomorrow”) with solar?

      So what would happen without any form of solar energy from tomorrow on?

      Solar will provide 1% of global primary energy consumption soon and if we add in solar hot water it might already do so today.

      1. Pethefin

        Pierre, how long must we suffer this fool, who can not read nor argue?

        1. sod

          “Pierre, how long must we suffer this fool, who can not read nor argue?”

          So help me out. What is your argument on the false IEA projections? What is the error in my argument?

          Please educate me!

          1. Pethefin

            You truly are beyond belief. What was the topic Davidg’s comment? Not IEA projections, you fool. Your mindless promotion of green energy in every thread, month after month, makes it obvious that you are either paid to do this or have personal gain in promotion of the “green” energy. Unfortunately, your argumentation is so biased and detached from reality it is not even entertaining. Dream on Sod, live in your fantasy world, but do stop littering this blog with your drivel.

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  14. sod

    Did i miss it, or was there not a single reply about the false prediction made by IEA, that Lomborg is basing his claims on?

    Not a single reply to that? So can we just call it a fact?

    Lomborg is also doing a horrible trick. He is using the terms “renewable power” in a misleading way, for example when he claims decline which is based on less firewood being burned.

    Another misleading aspect is his calculation of electricity versus other forms of energy. The trick works like that: renewables only replace a certain percentage of electricity and then we compare it to total energy consumption and make the percentage look bad.
    This ignores two important factors:

    1. with renewables also comes savings of all forms of power and other measures (for example solar hot water and geothermal heating). So total energy consumption will go down, as will electricity use (we just switched to LED and basically reduced the electricity consumption of light to irrelevance).

    2. If electricity is used to substitute other power (for example by the use of electric cars), it will replace a bigger portion of those other sources than is added in electricity.

    I think Lomborg is using rather cheap tricks there!

  15. sod

    “Powerless and expensive” by the way, is a good description of coal power these days.

    China is currently thinking about a ban of new coal power plants over the next 5 years.

    http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/power-10262015105033.html

    And even people who are not critical of coal, have by now understood that divestment from this stupid old technology is happening, even without any green movement demanding “divestment”:

    http://fortune.com/2015/10/26/coal-stocks-divestment-natural-gas/

    In Germany, Gabriel is paying a high price to the power companies, to close some coal plants. By now we know, that the “reserve” idea is a fake one, as it will take 11 days to bring those plants to a running status. They simply make no sense.

    http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/kohlekraft-notreserve-fuer-ernstfall-zu-langsam-a-1059617.html

    But we all know, that this is only happening to save the power companies from the consequences of their bad decisions in the past…

    1. DirkH

      Yeah you go and heat the parkbench that you call your home with solar, and don’t come to me when you’re blue in the face.

  16. nightspore

    Was sod the one who convinced the city council of that town in Germany to buy solar street lamps?

    Or will he argue that the article is all wrong and that they actually work at night? (I.e. how zany does this whole thing have to get before he develops some second thoughts?)

    1. sod

      Again: those lamps are on the way to a outdoor sport centre. There is no traffic late at night or in winter or on extremely rainy days.

      There might be some problems with these lamps, but the problem is not as big as it appears in that report.

      Without solar, there would be no lamps at all, as the investment for grid connected lamps would be much bigger.

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  19. sod

    Lomborg has written a new peer reviewed paper. Here is a report about it:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/paris-pledges-wishful-thinking-not-optimism-bjorn-lomborg/story-e6frg6xf-1227602438341

    But it seems like he simply ignored China and so comes to a completely false result.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/11/09/3720613/lomborg-misleads-paris-climate-pledges/

  20. Graeme No.3

    sod:
    No wonder you appear naive. You refer to a small segment of Lomborg’s article in The Australian and then get your opinion from a tirade from the other side, free from anything but prejudice.
    Whether Lomborg is right I don’t know, but he makes it plain in his article, which I have read in print and behind the paywall, that he is using the same methods of calculating temperature rise as your true believers. In other words if his calculations are wrong then so are those who claim that they will “save the world”.
    Re China, the net effect of their agreement is that they will double their emissions but won’t do more than triple them! The Indian government has said that they will triple theirs. Many countries have left room for an increase, not a decrease. The USA won’t ratify any agreement in Paris, whatever Obama says, neither will Poland. Even Germany is building more coal fired plants. So is Indonesia and South Africa. There are 500 coal fired plants building or near so in Asia.
    Don’t look at the press releases, look at the figures, but I suppose being mathematically challenged that is beyond you. The “good news” for you is that the temperature won’t go up 2℃ anyway. You and your fellow hysterics would be more believable if there was any proof that rising CO2 is causing any rise in temperatures or that natural variation has far more influence than it could have. So take 2 pills with a glass of warm milk and calm down. Just make sure your home is well insulated and you have a good stock of fuel.

    1. sod

      “Whether Lomborg is right I don’t know, but he makes it plain in his article, which I have read in print and behind the paywall, that he is using the same methods of calculating temperature rise as your true believers.”

      He is using a simulation. The full paper is here, via WUWT:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/10/the-height-of-temperature-folly/

      Lomborg does exactly what i wrote above: He completely ignores the pledge made by China.

      The whole approach of the paper is plain out stupid. Looking at “plans so far” simply ignores the trajectory caused by those plans. Alternative powers will keep growing from the path they are on today. What we see here is a flat line “projection” till 2100, when reality is telling us that we will see exponential changes.