Economist At Swiss Weekly Weltwoche: “Cardiac Arrest With Flickering [Green] Power”!

This week’s print edition of the Swiss news weekly Weltwoche has a commentary by economist Silvio Borner titled “Cardiac Arrest with Flickering Power“. His commentary focusses on the completely misleading and false claims often made by tax-payer funded proponents of renewable energies, mainly solar and wind power.

Neue Energie für die Schweiz

Hat-tip: “Kurt in Switzerland”

According to Borner, the Swiss canton of Basel City has been levying a tax on every kilowatt of power consumed since 1999. The resulting revenue, according to Borner, flows into a “power-savings fund”.

Energy “Grubering”

Borner discovered that some of the generated revenue gets used for spreading green energy propaganda, for example the Fall 2014 publication dubbed: Neue Energie für die Schweiz (New Energy for Switzerland). Borner has found a number of dubious, misleading and even false claims in the publication, which one could easily describe as a classic example of energy policy “Grubering”.

Wind and solar constrained by “physical and economic laws”

First the Swiss publication confuses rated capacity and actual output. Neue Energie claims that 33,000 blocked small-scale green energy power systems could replace “without a problem” 3 nuclear power plants. Borner calls that claim false because even if a means for storing the intermittent wind and solar energy did exist, many times more the number of systems would be needed because they operate only at a small fraction of their rated capacity. Moreover they would produce much more CO2 than the zero-emission nuclear power plants, which run continuously near to full capacity.

This is a well known fact that still even today has yet to sink through the dense skulls of the naive green energy believers.

And because wind and solar energy are so intermittent when it comes to their supply, Borner dubs them “Flatterstrom“, which in English can be translated to: “flickering-power“. Thus they will never be able to serve as the stable base supply a power grid requires. Borner writes:

A complete replacement of the nuclear power plants by wind and solar cannot be achieved “without a problem’ due to physical and economic laws.”

Green energies “destroy x-times more jobs than they create

The Neue Energie propaganda publication also claims green energies are a jobs engine for Switzerland. But Borner writes that this not by any means the truth.

The higher costs for power thus destroy x-times more jobs subject to international competition than they artificially create, and do so only temporarily.”

Green energies increase dependency on foreign power

Borner also calls the assertion of energy independence thanks to wind and solar, and their “low prices”, a myth:

The more flickering power we feed into the grid (independent of demand and thus value), the more unstable the domestic supply becomes and thus the greater the dependency on foreign countries becomes.”

At the end, using an excellent analogy, Borner demolishes the claim made by the Swiss green energy propaganda publication where “20 to 30 square meters of rooftop supplies the energy demand of an average household, without CO2 emissions“. Borner writes:

Fact: The crux of the argument is the misleading magnitude ‘annual consumption’. What does our household do over the long and dark winter months? What use does the average number of annual heartbeats have if your heart stops for a few hours every night? The electric power circuit is like blood circulation. Both need a permananet flow. Anyne who puts faith in the annual value for supplying his own power, should please get off the grid and not expect others to bear the extra costs.”

Indeed. What good would be the average heart, which beats on average some 38 million times per year, if it stopped every year for even just an hour?

Also read:


8 responses to “Economist At Swiss Weekly Weltwoche: “Cardiac Arrest With Flickering [Green] Power”!”

  1. Henning Nielsen

    “Indeed. What good would be the average heart, which beats on average some 38 million times per year, if it stopped every year for even just an hour?”

    A minor detail. The TREND shows that the heart goes on beating all the time, even if it stops. Therefore the heart does not stop. The heart-climate models show the same.

  2. edmh
  3. mwhite

    Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil

    I’m sure the politician will claim they had no idea that it was coming

  4. John F. Hultquist

    33,000 blocked small-scale green energy power systems

    The claim is that these have the output of 3 nuclear power plants.

    Are we to assume that there is a real proposal for 33,000 systems? Otherwise, what does “blocked” really mean?
    What does “small-scale” mean?
    They are “blocked” by what or whom?
    What size nuclear plants are the 3?

    I hope the Swiss news weekly has a wide readership in Europe, and I hope this gets picked up by the international news agencies.

    1. DirkH

      “Über 33 000 neue Solar-, Wasser-, Wind- und Holzkraftwerke
      sind blockiert, weil der Zuschlag zur Finanzierung von Einspeisevergütungen (KEV) bei 1,4 Rappen gedeckelt ist.”

      they call 33000 renewable energy installation projects blocked, i.e. planned but not being built because – now get this – the subsidy per kWh cannot exceed 1.4 Rappen! In other words,, if you gave us even more money we would build that!

      Well I will from now on call the low earth orbit solar panel ring around the planet “blocked”; as well as the magnetohydrodynamic generator positioned at the black hole at the centre of the milky way. Blocked due to measly economic concerns of the beancounters!

  5. Kurt in Switzerland

    Thanks, Pierre.

    The most powerful part of the article is the analogy of electricity to the human heart. Many aspects of modern society would experience the equivalent of cardiac arrest in the event of zero current flow.

    Would-be planet savers need to be made aware. And challenged.

    The acute need for energy storage (at the right capacity and the required delivery rate) or merely reliable back-up capacity, is a fact of solar and wind, however inconvenient. Included in the calculation must be the means to deliver that stored energy to the end user (read: additional transmission lines). The economics do not look good.

    Costs will increase by a factor of 2-3 as a minimum (vs. fossil fuels). So will prices.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  6. Josh

    Great article. Thankyou for this great site Pierre, which i have been reading on a regular basis for the past three years.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. More information at our Data Privacy Policy