A new report says it’s now cheaper to build wind turbines than new natural gas plants.
Like most things you read on the Internet, this is only sort of true.
At this time, it costs less up front to install wind than natural gas — but those costs don’t include backup power to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing, including conventional fossil fuels and battery storage. The amount of batteries needed to store just one hour of U.S. electricity demand would require more than a hundred-fold increase from what we have today.
“The cost to back up renewable energy gets more expensive the more we add to the grid,” says Brent Bennett, Ph.D., a former battery engineer and policy analyst for Life:Powered. “There seems to be a purposeful blackout on that discussion in many articles about the cost of wind power. We’re only having half the necessary discussion.”
Renewable energy isn’t inherently wrong because of these shortcomings — but it’s far from the “no-brainer” solution it’s purported to be by the environmentalist movement.
Energy is essential to modern life, and a diverse mix of energy sources determined by the free market and consumer choices, not by government fiat, is the way of the future.