The High Cost of Renewables

In this post I present “back of envelope” style calculations on the capital costs of renewables globally since 1998 and deduce that roughly $1.3 trillion has been spent installing wind turbines and solar panels. Is this a lot of money? Is it a wise investment? What else may we have we got for our money?

There are different ways to view this. For example UK annual GDP is roughly double this sum and in that perspective it is not a huge amount for the world to spend over 15 years. Some would argue that we should be spending a lot more. Another perspective is that the same money would buy 50 Hinkley Point style pressurised water reactors. That would add 163 GW to global generating capacity, roughly three times the UK total generating needs.

We hear a lot about the plummeting cost of renewables and escalating costs of nuclear power. Looking just at capacity installation costs, nuclear comes in at $8000 / kW and wind at around $2000 / kW. But these figures need to be adjusted for load capacity factors (nuclear 0.9, wind 0.17) and for the longevity of the installations (nuclear 50 years, wind 20 years). Applying these adjustments wind works out at 3 times and solar at 10 times the cost of installing nuclear power.

Figure 1 The binge in renewables investments began in 2008, the year of record high energy prices, the biggest financial crash in living memory and passing of the Climate Change Act in the UK. Global investment in solar now exceeds wind and combined they amount to $1.3 trillion.


Getting a precise handle on global renewables investments is a huge task. There are large variations in costs from project to project within and between countries. Here I use median cost estimates for wind published by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and for solar by the US Department of Energy (Figure 2). These are costs applicable to the USA and applying these globally will add bias.

Figure 2 Capacity installation cost curves for wind and solar in the USA. Solar has declined rapidly, perhaps with a penalty to the quality of panels produced, but is still almost double the cost of wind where costs have been stable / slowly rising. A move offshore will push the future cost of wind upwards.

For annual capacity additions I have used BP 2014 data. BP publish annual installed capacity figures and hence additions are calculated by the difference in installed capacity from one year to the next.

Wind Capacity Growth and Investment

Figure 3 Note that each of the stacked column charts uses the same colour three times, so care is required reading the key. Global wind capacity is dominated by China and the USA with Germany coming a poor third. The plunge in wind capacity additions in 2013 is down exclusively to the USA where a change in tax subsidy “killed” the industry over night.

Figure 4 Global investment in wind power began to gather pace in 2005 and took off in 2008 with a near term peak of $90 billion in 2012. It remains to be seen if the wind binge is past or whether we will see resumed growth.

Solar Capacity Growth and Investment

Figure 5 Global solar capacity is dominated by Germany, China, Italy, Japan and the USA. Note how there is an erratic pattern of capacity growth. Some countries show large single year growth: Spain in 2008; The Czech Republic 2010; Italy in 2011; China and Japan in 2013. German growth slowing in 2013, perhaps down to competition for panels from China and Japan. This erratic behaviour perhaps correlates with the coming and going of subsidies.

Figure 6 The exponential rise in solar capacity (Figure 5) has been spurred by the fall in costs to the extent that investment levels have dropped. The peak investment year was 2011 with over $160 billion spent, a significant part of that in Italy.


The proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station to be built in England has the ridiculous price tag of $26 billon struck in a deal that is doubtfully in the best interests of UK citizens. The plant is rated at 3.26 GW that it will likely churn out electricity 24/7 for 90% of the time, providing power on demand whenever it is needed for 50 years or more. The $1.3 trillion spent on solar wind so far would have bought 50 Hinkleys. What would have been the better deal?

Figure 7 The power rating normalised cost of building a nuclear power station is much higher than the cost of installing wind and solar power. But wind and solar power only operate at small fractions of their rated capacity and have much lower life expectancy than nuclear power stations. Factoring these variables in shows that installation costs of solar is more than 10 times nuclear and wind is more than 3 times the nuclear cost. Of course there are a host of other considerations to take into account, but these pros and cons are weighted for and against the various technologies. Capacity factors for wind and solar are based on Germany in 2013.

Looking just at capital costs of installation is of course a gross simplification of the overall cost of power delivery. Nuclear needs to carry the additional cost of fuel, fuel enrichment, decommissioning and waste storage. Renewables, especially off shore wind, will also have high decommissioning costs and must also carry the significant costs of load balancing, that are simply being ignored in most calculations today, and the building of new power lines and inter connectors. There is also a cost linked to dependability. I believe we may soon discover that a lack of dependability in our electricity supplies, that results in blackouts, will carry a very high cost for society and the economy.

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32 Responses to The High Cost of Renewables

  1. Joe Public says:

    A labour of love, Euan. But UK citizens are probably not the least interested in global costs. Their overwhelming interest is what it’s costing us, or rather, them.

    Like ‘energy conservation’, people rarely want to save ‘energy’, what they want to do is save money. The politicians’ task is to rig markets to ensure the latter follows from the former.

  2. Willem Post says:

    But in between the latter and the former is the process. Many well-connected cronies build their businesses with “enabling” politicians to make the process happen, whether profitable for society or not. PR releases will make black appear white to 99% of the population.

  3. Dr J I Pitman says:

    Green in environment actually means green in economics – i.e they, the greens, don’t have a clue when it comes to economics. A really good summary, and you even managed to avoid bringing up the other green lobby hate – intermittency.
    I have always been pro-nuclear, and look forward when thorium based reactors become economically viable – the Chinese, Indians and Norwegians are all working hard to solve the complex metallurgical issues.

  4. Sam Taylor says:


    Are decomissioning costs included in the Hinkley pricetag?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      On reading the article, the answer appears to be yes.

      • Earl Mardle says:

        Euan, I’m sorry but, while I see a mention of the fact that decommissioning has to be costed, I cannot see where those costs are applied. What are your assumptions about the methods for long term (multiple thousands of years in some cases) storage and protection of contaminated materials, spent fuel etc and the costs?

        The other point is that, under present economics models, your case holds up I’m sure, but in a world where we will face network intermittency caused by harsher climate that takes incrementally more time to repair, more distributed, smaller scale, PV or stored wind systems will have a better chance of providing ANY power at all, sometimes for extended periods. Then there are the increasing costs of alternatives to nuclear, such as fossil fuels which are already becoming scarcer and/or more expensive.

        For households that will be inconvenient at least and you will find people willing to pay rather more for more sustainable sources.

        In the present your calculations hold up, in the near and medium future I am betting they will not, hence my own move to coppiced fuel for cooking, space and water heating and, soon PV plus storage for high quality energy for lights and electronics.

  5. Euan: According to this graphic from UNEP ( ) $1.66 trillion has been invested worldwide in renewable energy since 2004:

    This number doesn’t include any expenditures before 2004 but does include expenditures on biomass, tidal, geothermal etc. Overall it suggests that your $1.3 trillion estimate for wind + solar isn’t too far off.

    • Todd says:

      I downloaded that report from your comment above, Roger and within the 16 page report “Renewables excluding large hydro projects accounted for 43.6% of the new generating capacity installed worldwide in 2013, raising its share of world electricity generation from 7.8% in 2012, to 8.5%”. Would it be fair to say this statement is based on nameplate capacity and not capacity factor?

      • The 43.6% increase in capacity would be based on nameplate capacity and the 7.8% to 8.5% increase in electricity generation takes capacity factor into account.

        According to BP, however, generation from renewables excluding large hydro accounted for 4.7% of total world electricity generation in 2012, not 7.8%, and for 5.3% in 2013, not 8.5%. The numbers given are:

        Renewable generation 2012 = 1,064 TWh
        Renewable generation 2013 = 1,234 TWh
        Total world generation 2012 = 22,635 TWh
        Total world generation 2103 = 23,127 TWh

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Thanks Roger, that’s a relief to know.

  6. Todd says:

    Scientific American weighs in “Low-carbon power depends on climate-unfriendly metals”

  7. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, do those costs include building new backup base load generation?
    Because if the generation was not already in place they would need to build it.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      No, these are simply capital expenditures on turbines and panels. The cost of life support system comes on top of that. The renewables enthusiasts of course argue that much of the life support system already exists. They are simply invading that system and using it.

      • Willem Post says:


        It would be useful to add two line items using US capacity factors for wind and solar, in addition to using the German CFs.

        It would indicate two extreme cases, i.e., low CFs and high CFs.

        Also add a column for total energy produced during a 50-year life time for all three technologies.

        Wind energy goals by 2050, means significantly INCREASING annual replacement costs of equipment each year after the first 20 years.

        For example: A wind turbine installed in 2000 will need partial major replacement by 2020, etc.

    • itzman says:

      No. I have tried to treat those in a paper I wrote a year or two ago.

      Cost of adding gas dispatch/backup is in the UK around 2-3p per unit. I have no figures for extra grid costs incurred through intermittency.

      Note that the abnormally high capital costs of nuclear are not directly associated with its engineering complexity, or amount of materials used: they are in fact dominated by regulatory ratcheting …

      See the late professors Cohen’s admirable online book for how political pressures affect the cost of nuclear energy.

      And see Wade Allison’s explanations for the insanely high level of safety standards imposed on the industry.

      A sane approach to nuclear energy would put its cost below coal. And make it the cheapest technology in play: and its zero carbon, if you care.

  8. Phil Chapman says:

    Euan, the cost per year is not inversely proportional to the expected life. Amortized over the lifetime at an interest rate of 6.5% (the standard rate used by the US DOE EIA to compare energy systems), the difference in annual cost between a 20-year and a 50-year life is only 33%, not 250%. On this basis, and using your numbers, the contribution of the overnight capital cost to the cost/kWh are nuclear, 9.45 cents/kWh, solar 52.5 cents/kWh and wind 17.2 cents/kWh. Nuclear still wins, but not by so wide a margin.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Thanks Phil, discount rates are of course important, economics not one of my strengths. It plays an important role in comparing renewables and nuclear with FF generators. The latter have much lower up front capital costs which is one of the killers for renewables and nuclear. My own view is that the finance system and our ability to pay rent is geared to the FF economy and the large net energy surplus that produces. One of the problems for renewables is trying to live in that environment, hence all the subsidies that we hate since we are conditioned to be capitalists. 6.5% may well be used in calculations but what is the real cost of money for these projects? Would any of them survive with higher interest rates?

    • itzman says:

      Yes, those are of similar ratios to the figures I came up with at a 7.5% rate of interest.
      To which you can add at lest 3c/kwh for the cost of providing dispatch to intermittent supplies. And an unknown but not insignificant cost to the grid extensions needed to carry occasional power from where the wind blows and the sun shines to where the power is used.

      a few years ago CANDU reckoned they could build reactors for $2000/kw capacity

      but that was before regulatory ratcheting pushed the cost up by a factor of around three.

      makes interesting reading

  9. Glen Mcmillian says:

    I am no wind power expert by any means but I have worked in and around large industrial installations and know a little about such things.

    It may be reasonable to estimate a twenty year life for wind turbine airfoils and the generating machinery but I think it is very reasonable to assume that almost every thing else can be expected to last substantially longer.All the work and money that goes into engineering, planning, surveying, site acquisition, initial construction, and some other factors will be one time only expenses.

    Now just how much it will cost to replace the turbine itself and the associated generating machinery on top of the tower is a big question.

    But I will venture that most towers will be found to be in sound condition after twenty years and that replacing the generating equipment will not cost over half the total cost of a new complete installation ” from scratch”since the tower is up and paid for and the price of the machinery on top should decline in real terms over a couple of decades .There will be no need for new roads or any work of that nature.

    This decline will be due to improved manufacturing techniques, expiration of patents, and competition among manufacturers and installers.

    Now as far as building a new fleet of nukes I am personally all in favor but I believe that getting them permitted and financed is almost out of the question given the current political climate.

    Furthermore another bad nuclear accident seems to be a very real possibility given that a lot of older nukes are located in places that are in pretty bad shape economically. Getting these nukes shut down before they get to be really dangerous may prove to be impossible.

    Politicians given the choice of staying in power and taking a chance on an old plant having a serious problem and getting voted out of office for shutting that plant down in a country without the means to pay for other sources of electricity are going to take the chance.

    One set of politicians and one old nuke would not be so bad but a hundred sets of politicians and a hundred old nukes taken together just about guarantee serious trouble at some particular nuke or another sooner or later.

    If there is another bad accident the industry will be set back another five to ten years.Maybe longer.

    Nevertheless I do believe that nuclear power can be and is safe enough given the base load alternatives available to us.As things stand now neither coal nor natural gas is really any safer than nuclear power.

    We are not going to get off this planet anytime soon if ever and we are messing it up worse with fossil fuels that we ever could with nukes except if we fight a war with them.

    My personal guess is that barring another serious accident it will take five to ten years to get a dozen new nukes permitted in the US and Western Europe combined.Getting them built will take another five to ten years beyond that.This is too long and too late for nuclear power to save our collective butts from the consequences of burning too much coal and oil and gas and potentially running short on all three.

    History isn’t over and if Russia for instance decided for some reason to simply stop exporting oil and gas the world economy would have a heart attack in two weeks.

    I am not predicting that Russia would ever actually cut off energy exports but things have a way of getting out of hand.

    There is a slim but nevertheless real chance that we will be fighting WWIII within the next ten to twenty years.

    And no matter who is on which side the flow of oil and gas is apt to be interrupted for quite some time. Even coal may not be available. Just one obsolete old fighter plane equipped with a modern missile or two can easily sink just about any commercial ship that is not accompanied by a naval escort.

    Modern missiles are not likely to miss and they will penetrate into the heart of an unarmored ship and start fires that are too big to be put out.

    In is no accident that modern warships typically have only one rather small gun mounted. Guns are more or less obsolete as anti ship weapons except if attacking something no bigger than a fishing boat. In that case ammo is cheaper than a missile.

    Very few ships will venture out to sea in the event of another war between major powers because not enough warships exist to escort very many.

    The smart thing to do would be to keep the pedal to the metal in terms of energy efficiency and conservation policies and build up as large as possible stockpile of oil , coal , and gas in importing countries. After that pedal to the metal on building as much renewable infrastructure as possible..

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Glen, Russia is talking about closing its airspace to European traffic. Its a hack down from cutting off gas which is a tactic that would only be deployed in Jan / Feb. WW III may already be underway, just that we are not heavily involved yet. We started it back in 1918 by drawing lines in the sand. When you have conflict stretching from Afghanistan through Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Egypt, Sudan, Libya and N Nigeria – what do you call it?

    • itzman says:

      You are assuming that there will still be subsidies available to fund wind power in 20 years time. To make refurbishment viable.

      And that like for like replacement is in fact the optimal.

      And that the cost of the infrastructure is in fact significant.

      I’d challenge all three.

      The tendency is to build taller to take the turbine out of the boundary layer and get better capacity factor, Todays towers wont be used again.

      Politically wind is turning from a vote winner to a vote loser. Governments n tight budgets with electorates being gouged by energy prices are moire talking down subsidies than talking up.

      And the cost of an onshore installation is dominated by the bare turbine cost. The rest is just a concrete pad, and some wires.

      Even at sea where the installation cost is huge – double that of the raw turbines, and there is considerable infrastructure investment in undersea cables, a very large proportion of the build cost is in fact in actually performing installation at sea – ships and cranes and the like are still required to replace defunct turbines.

      So I have to disagree: There ain’t much investment to leverage when the turbines die.

      For offshore, well you could anchor a floating nuclear reactor there instead, and get far more leverage out of the undersea cables that could be, for the first time ever, fully utilised….

      But the history of undersea cables themselves does not give them a life more than about 20 years anyway.

  10. John Weber says:

    I not only would cite the article Todd does but ask what is renewable about the devices that capture the wind and sun which are renewable. Will these devices make enough energy to reproduce themselves as a horse or oak tree does? Will these devices make enough energy to produce the products that we want electricity for in the first place? When parts need replacing – controllers, inverters, batteries – will these “renewable” devices generate enough energy to satisfy this need? These devices are part of the fossil fuel supply system and the huge industrial infrastructure that provides machinery, chemicals and transportation for mining, refining, manufacturing, fabricating and maintenance. These devices are not green, they are not sustainable, nor as said renewable. Wishing does not make it so. I have several URL for this but they often are not allowed in comments?

    • itzman says:

      Yes, they are just about energy positive overall. Not much, but they are.

      I’ll criticise them for many things, but not that.

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  12. itzman says:

    A final comment: ‘another bad nuclear accident’???

    Well we have only ever had one bad nuclear accident that actually killed people. Chernobyl.

    And the final death toll from that is less than 100 people.

    And it is not possible to conceive a worse nuclear accident than that from a nuclear power station.

    Nor will there ever be a nuclear power station built again that is so inherently unsafe and devoid of backup containment.

    The real importance of 3MI, Windscale, Chernobyl and Fukushima was not how bad they were, but how incredibly bad they were NOT.

    Despite all the burrowing and research by those looking for deaths that never happened, to the extent that they now claim its all been ‘covered up’ there were almost no spikes in caner rates post Windscale, and in that era, of atomic tests and so on, who knows what was in the air anyway. There were zero human deaths at 3MI, and no sign of elevated cancer rates afterwards. Chernobyl apart from short lived Iodine 131 and thyroid cancer, (3000 cases) and direct and immediate deaths from massive hard radiation by power station workers and firemen (50+)has shown none of the expected effects in the population who chose to stay nearby, nor in the animal life and vegetable life that remains.

    The death toll from anything radiation related at Fukushima remains zero., and there is no reason to suppose that there will be any long term effects from the fairly small quantities released. Nor are the massive efforts to reduce background radiation to less than one tenth of levels found naturally in many parts of the world, doing any more than further scare a population that doesn’t actually understand radiation at all.

  13. Bernard Durand says:

    Itzman, an interesting exercise is to compare the doses/effects relationships established by physicians for radioactivity and atmospheric pollution. If you do so, you will easily observe that atmospheric pollution in London is more dangerous for health that radioactivity in exclusion zones of Fukushima. Therefore the “danger” represented by nuclear accidents is mainly psychological, and all the discussion about this is dominated by the carefully entertained illusion that nuclear accidents are terrrific disasters. Radioactivity plays in the new religions the role of Devil in the ancient ones.

  14. Hardball says:

    A large number of Chernobyl casualties were actually suicides… The men that were mobilised to go clean up this mess were totally unaware of what they’d be dealing with, just like the young Russian soldiers/ conscripts being forcefully taken to Eastern Ukraine by their commanders. Most of them had no adequate radiation protection and were forced to spend weeks in the hot zone, even at night. I happen to know a person who was unfortunate enough to have been taken to clean up Chernobyl. Some of the men who wanted to leave the were compelled to stay at gunpoint, btw…

    Also it seems the reason the Chernobyl catastrophy ever happened was a human mistake, not necessarily a technical failure.

  15. Robert Callaghan says:

    Green energy requires rare earth elements. Many of these elements are approaching the limit on their energy return on energy invested. This is why they can’t be profitably mined without burning thorium, the free rare earth mining byproduct. China can do this because they have undercut all production of rare earth elements with low wages, low currency and no environmental enforcement. They did this because they ignored the danger of the radioactive thorium that comes with mining high-value, heavy rare earth elements. So now instead of ignoring thorium, they plan to burn it in nuclear reactors. We really can’t have one without the other. It is by burning thorium that we can pay for rare earth mining.
    Our hi tech, green energy world requires
    ► conflict minerals
    ► rare earth elements
    ► heavy metals
    ► nano materials
    ► graphite and graphene.
    Search for “rare earth mining in China” on YouTube and see what special hell your solar panels and wind turbines produce in Mongolia.
    Graphite is used in all of our so-called “green” powered batteries and is mined in China emitting deadly fine air particles resulting in a lethal smog that washes down from the skies in an ash laden rain that covers crops and water. China recently shut down several graphite mines because of the pervasive smog. Graphene, a nano-material produced for batteries, is water soluble and can cut through human/animal cells. Both graphite dust and graphene are deadly to humans because of their small size.
    Solar cell manufacturing produces 3 green house gases that are over 10,000 times worse than C02. Solar panels lose efficiency at the rate of 1% per year lasting 20-25 years. The expensive inverters they require have to be replaced every 5 to 10 years. The new thin cell panels use nano materials and are even more toxic with shorter lifespans. It doesn’t matter how “clean” the latest solar panels are because existing manufacturing plants will stay open to recoup major investments. Manufacturing just five wind turbines produces 1 ton of radioactive residue and 75 tons of toxic, acidic water used to leach out the required neodymium. Wind turbines only work at 25% of their rated capacity 90% of the time. Over 2 million children died in the Congo for the conflict minerals green energy needs. Thousands of people die in Chinese mines every year for the minerals green energy needs. Prof. Jian Shuisheng of the Jiatong-University estimates the production of just 6 solar panels requires one ton of coal. Since green power is intermittent, it would take at least 10 times the amount of “green” energy to displace just one equivalent unit of 24/7 fossil energy. One company in the U.S. cut down 5 acres of trees for a solar power farm for the production of plastic bags. Green power will not be enough.
    Ozzie Zehner tells you why.
    Tim Garrett explains in detail.
    Why will green energy fail us? Here’s why.
    ► 10,000 years ago humans and our livestock occupied just 0.01% of all the land-air vertebrate biomass on earth.
    ► Now humans and our livestock occupy 97% of all land-air vertebrate biomass.
    ► Humans and our livestock now consume over 40% of earth’s annual green land biomass production.
    ► 1 million people born every 4½ days. People live longer.
    What does this mean?
    ► 50% of All Vertebrate Species will be gone by 2040.–Facing-the-Mass-Extinction
    What have we done?
    ► 90% of Big Ocean Fish gone since 1950.
    ► 50% of Great Barrier Reef gone since 1985.
    ► 50% of Fresh Water Fish gone since 1987.
    ► 30% of Marine Birds gone since 1995.
    ► 28% of Land Animals gone since 1970.
    ► 28% of All Marine Animals gone since 1970.
    ► 50% of Human Sperm Counts gone since 1950.
    ► 90% of Lions gone since 1993.
    ► 90% of Monarch Butterflies gone since 1995.
    ► 93 Elephants killed every single day.
    ► 2-3 Rhinos killed every single day.
    ► Bees die from malnutrition lacking bio-diverse pollen sources.
    ► Extinctions are 1000 times faster than normal.
    What’s going to happen to us?
    ► Ocean acidification doubles by 2050.
    ► Ocean acidification triples by 2100.
    ► We are on track to lock in eventual 6°C earth temp rise in just 13 years.
    ► Mass Extinction will become unstoppable and irreversible in 40 years.
    ► Permian mass extinction of 95% of life took 60,000 years 250 million years ago.
    ► Dinosaurs mass extinction took 33,000 years after asteroid impact.
    ► Anthropogenic mass extinction will take 300 years max.
    ► This mass extinction is 100x faster than anything before us.
    ► Antarctic meltdown now irreversible and unstoppable.
    ► Arctic methane burst is irreversible and unstoppable within current system.
    ► World Bank says we have 5-10 years before we all fight for food and water.
    ► It takes 10 times as much “green” energy to displace 1 unit of fossil energy.
    ► Efficiency and conservation only causes more growth within current system.
    What are we doing right now?
    ► We combine bacteria DNA with plant DNA and eat it.
    ► We put massive pesticides and herbicides directly into our food.
    ► We put nano metals and particles into our food.
    ► We put man-made, computer designed, synthetic DNA into our food.
    ► There are thousands of different chemicals in our foods.
    ► We are eating stuff that never, ever existed on earth before.
    ► We are turning into mutants because of our food.
    ► We are wiping out all life on earth because of our food.
    ► After mass extinction, genetically modified trees may be all we leave behind.
    Did you know that the new $2 billion Ivanpah solar plant in the Mojave desert is a death ray that ignites birds in mid flight? When their bodies fall to the ground, they leave smoky trails in the sky called streamers. These birds are attracted to the bugs who are attracted to the shiny, pretty lights, just like us. It is estimated up to 30,000 birds per year will die this way during migrations at just this one green power plant. Bigger solar plants of the same type are in the works including one near Joshua Tree next to a wildlife sanctuary. During Ivanpah’s construction, up to 3,000 endangered desert tortoises were killed by heavy diesel equipment. Thousands of slave workers die in China’s mines every single year to help produce the exotic minerals used in its construction. This is referred to as the “Green Economy”. If we changed the whole planet to green power, we would kill the earth we call home.
    Civilization is slowly collapsing while the earth is quickly dying. My credentials? I cut grass in a trailer park in Canada. Just call me Dr. Rob. Now, even if we tried to use thorium power to pay for green power, I still believe we will fail. Yet, even knowing we will fail, do I think we should give up? No,

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Dr Rob, The tradition on this blog is to provide evidence for claims made. You have made very many sweeping claims. So now is the time to provide a fragment of evidence on just some of these:

      ► Ocean acidification doubles by 2050.
      ► Ocean acidification triples by 2100.
      ► We are on track to lock in eventual 6°C earth temp rise in just 13 years.

      Can you please explain to my readers what pH means and what a doubling of ocean acidification means in the context of pH. I ask this because I don’t know the answer. And with global mean temperatures rising by 6˚C in the space of 13 years, which 13 years is it you mean? And how will the temperatures in the tropics be affected in this time frame?

  16. Luís says:

    Hi Euan.

    There is something wrong with the figures you put forth for solar. They are too high to be just referring to install costs and too low to refer to full life cycle costs. As a reference, I am working on a PV project where the install cost per kWp will be under 1 500 €. I will forward you an e-mail advertising solar panels on sole for 0.36 €/Wp outside Europe.

    It seems also odd that when writing on Britain you chose for (possibly outdated) data from the US. Note too that Nuclear in a small country like Scotland has a much larger price tag than in larger countries; you need back up in equal measure ready to dispatch 24/7 – this is the reason why Portugal never developed a nuclear park.

    That said, I think your post has a lot of interest to it, but to be relevant in terms of policy making the comparison should be made on €/kWh, not on €/kW. If you wish to deepen this further I will be happy to collaborate.


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