Saturday, June 26, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: Secret China plot to declare the Great Barrier Reef as ecologically ‘in danger’


Peter Ridd: Great Barrier Reef has completely recovered' from 2016 bleaching event

In this newsletter:

1) Secret China plot to declare the Great Barrier Reef as ecologically ‘in danger’
The Australian, 22 June 2021
2) Peter Ridd: Great Barrier Reef 'has completely recovered' from 2016 bleaching event
Sky News Australia, 22 June 2021

3) Europe's heavy industry may not survive carbon border tax
Reuters, 22 June 2021

4) Biden faces climate conundrum in EU steel tariff talks
S&P Global, 21 June 2021 
5) Time for COP26 deal running out, says UN climate chief
China Daily, 22 June 2021

6) French senators give mayors right to veto wind turbine projects
EurActiv, 22 June 2021

7) Michael Shellenberger: Why everything they said about solar energy was wrong
Michael Shellenberger, 21 June 2021 
8) Francis Menton: Texas Starts Waking Up To The Issue Of The Full Costs Of "Renewables"
Manhattan Contrarian, 21 June 2021

Full details:

1) Secret China plot to declare the Great Barrier Reef as ecologically ‘in danger’
The Australian, 22 June 2021
Australia has been blindsided by a push by a China-chaired UN committee to declare the Great Barrier Reef “in danger” without proper consultation or scientific process.


Australian government officials learned of the draft World Heritage Committee decision on Friday, despite an assurance just weeks ago from the Paris-based World Heritage Centre that the reef’s health status would not be downgraded.

The decision, which was due to be made public by UNESCO overnight, will be presented for ratification at the 44th meeting of the World Heritage Committee in China from July 16.

The draft decision said the committee noted with “utmost concern” that “despite positive achievements”, progress in protecting the reef had been in­sufficient in meeting key targets, particularly in relation to water quality.

Australia has expressed its “grave concerns” at the proposed “in danger” listing, which was not backed up by any on-the-ground scientific assessment.

The move comes amid a surge in both Chinese influence and climate activism within the UNESCO system.

Any downgrading of the reef’s status would threaten the 64,000 jobs and $6.4bn in tourism revenue linked to the natural wonder in a normal year.

Australia is a member of the 21-nation World Heritage Committee, but the body – under the chairmanship of China’s Vice-Minister for Education Tian Xuejun – is considered likely to accept the recommendation.

China also holds the position of UNESCO deputy director-general, the presidency of ­UNESCO’s International Union for Conservation for Nature, and is head of Asia at the World ­Heritage Centre – all three of which contributed to the World Heritage Committee’s draft ­decision.

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has spoken to Sky News about the push among some Coalition MPs who have called on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg impose tougher controls on the Port of Newcastle to protect against Chinese interference.

The proposed listing comes despite Beijing’s destruction of reefs in the South China Sea to create artificial islands for military purposes.

Environmental law groups in Australia and the US have pushed for the Great Barrier Reef to be placed on the “in danger” list, arguing the Morrison government’s climate change policies mean the nation is failing to live up to its responsibilities to the site under the World Heritage Convention. However, the latest push to put the reef on the critical list has bypassed normal World Heritage Committee processes.

In 2014, a similar “in danger” listing proposal was foreshadowed rather than proposed for an immediate decision. That allowed Australia time to develop the Reef 2050 Plan jointly with Queensland, with federal, state and private sector support.

The World Heritage Committee has not visited the reef since 2012, and there has been no mention of an “in danger” listing since 2015.

Australia has told the committee that while climate change is a clear threat to the reef, the government is doing more to ­improve its long-term health than ever before.

Sky News host Chris Kenny says “concerns are mounting” relating to one of the nation’s most important ports, the Port of Newcastle, given it is half owned by Chinese interests.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s 2019 Outlook Report acknowledged that climate change was the greatest pressure facing the reef – as it is a pressure facing coral reefs worldwide. It found the “outstanding universal value” of the reef was under pressure but intact.

Full story ($)
2) Peter Ridd: Great Barrier Reef 'has completely recovered' from 2016 bleaching event
Sky News Australia, 22 June 2021


Physicist and Author Peter Ridd says just about every area of the Great Barrier Reef - according to the statistics - "has completely recovered" since the 2016 bleaching event and is in "no danger".

"The area which was hit by the 2016 bleaching has completely recovered; every area except one has got above average coral cover, some at near-record levels... so actually the statistics make it look wonderful," he said.
"Our untrustworthy science institutions have now given the Chinese the ammunition to beat us with. We need audits of our own scientists so we can't be crucified with our own work.
"If climate change is going to affect the Great Barrier Reef, it's going to affect all the reefs of the world, but they're only picking on Australia because they don't like our climate policy - it's just a political stunt that has been fuelled by our own untrustworthy science institutions."
Watch full interview

** Peter Ridd: It’s the science that’s rotten, not the Great Barrier Reef
3) Europe's heavy industry may not survive carbon border tax
Reuters, 22 June 2021

BRUSSELS, June 22 (Reuters) - Brussels policymakers, about to unveil the world's first carbon border levy, are caught between industry demands to twin it with free carbon permits worth billions of euros, and analysts' warnings that doing so could expose the EU to legal challenges at the WTO.

As part of a package of climate policies, including carbon market reforms, the European Commission will next month publish its plan to impose a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) or CO2 tariff on polluting goods, forcing some companies importing into the European Union to pay carbon costs at the border.

The idea is to prevent carbon leakage - or the phenomenon of European firms relocating to countries with less costly climate standards - by levelling the playing field between production in Europe and potentially cheaper but more polluting manufacture of products such as steel and cement elsewhere.

But the European Commission has also said the levy will be an alternative to existing carbon leakage measures, which include giving free CO2 permits to industries covered by the EU carbon market to offset their environmental costs and encourage them to stay in Europe.

That has worried Europe's steel, aluminium, cement and fertilisers sectors, all of which would be covered by the CO2 border levy, a leaked draft shows. 

The EU expects to hand out more than 6 billion free permits this decade - worth 314 billion euros ($373.97 billion), at today's CO2 price of around 50 euros . Estimates of how much the CBAM would raise are complex, but analysts say they would be far lower for the sectors affected.

"If there is no free allocation, we don't want to be part of it (the CBAM)," Charles de Lusignan, spokesman for steel association Eurofer said.

A swift reduction in free CO2 permits would shrink the already-slim profit margins of European steel firms, he said. "That may, for some companies, lead to having no profits any more."

"Only a combination of CBAM and free allowances will allow (the) fertilizer industry to remain competitive," Fertilizers Europe director general Jacob Hansen said. Losing free permits could prompt companies to redirect investments outside Europe, he said.

The leaked draft, which could change before it is published on July 14, said the EU border levy would apply from 2026, after a trial period from 2023. It did not specify what would happen to free CO2 permits.

Koen Coppenholle, chief executive of cement body Cembureau, said Brussels' plan to give industry free permits should remain unchanged until 2030, to provide certainty for long-term green investments.

Technologies such as carbon capture, deemed essential to cutting industrial pollution, are unlikely to be commercially viable this decade, he said, and added the body had received legal advice that it could be possible to combine the CBAM and free permits without breaking international trade rules.

The Commission has a policy of not commenting on unpublished drafts, but said its carbon border proposal will be compatible with World Trade Organization rules.

Some officials have said that means free permits will need to go for sectors covered by the border levy.

"It is very clear that the moment you start phasing in CBAM, you have to start phasing out free allowances," Sabine Weyand, head of the Commission's trade department, told lawmakers in European Parliament this month.

"From the point of view of WTO compatibility, you cannot have both."

Former WTO chief Pascal Lamy agreed, telling Reuters Brussels would be vulnerable to legal challenges if it were seen to be compensating companies twice.

"The rule is very simple: no double compensation. No overlapping," he said.

Simone Tagliapietra, senior fellow at think tank Bruegel, said the two systems could coexist temporarily, if importers' CBAM costs were reduced to reflect the amount of free CO2 permits they would receive had they produced the goods in the EU. But he said free allowances must end by 2026, when the border levy applies in full.

Full story 

4) Biden faces climate conundrum in EU steel tariff talks
S&P Global, 21 June 2021

The Biden administration may have a carbon emissions conundrum as it seeks to resolve an outstanding dispute with the European Union over steel and alluminum tariffs inherited from former President Donald Trump.
U.S. and EU officials will work toward resolving "existing differences" surrounding steel and aluminum tariffs instituted under the previous U.S. administration before the end of the year, according to a June 15 statement. However, the Biden administration is facing pressure from steel producers and labor to keep measures in place to stem global excess steel capacity and resolve alleged market inequities.
The steel industry's stated goal of curbing production overcapacity will conflict with President Joe Biden's ambition to confront global planet-warming carbon emissions, according to Thomas Koch Blank, a senior principal official for breakthrough technologies at the Rocky Mountain Institute think tank. As steel producers bemoan a lack of government incentives for transitioning existing assets, they are trying to innovate and build new assets that produce low- or zero-carbon steel.
Therefore, as it stands, the industry trend toward green technology will abut any desire voiced by U.S. steel producers to stop new capacity from coming online abroad, Blank asserted.
"You have a political priority to resolve overcapacity. When you start decarbonizing the sector, that's going to be increasingly important. You're going to end up with more overcapacity you're going to manage. It's going to go from important to crucial," Blank said in an interview. "Managing overcapacity is something that capitalism has done for hundreds of years."
"You know, companies go bankrupt. That is not what the steel industry is lobbying for though, obviously," Blank added.
The Trump administration applied a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports under a national security justification. Resolving the steel tariff dispute by the end of 2021 will be a "tall order," American Iron and Steel Institute President and CEO Kevin Dempsey said in an interview. The trade group is "skeptical" that a different trade measure sufficiently addressing overcapacity could be drafted by that deadline.
"Most reporters have reported starting last week ... the EU demands as facts," Dempsey said. "There's going to be a real effort from the U.S. administration to work something out with the EU [but] I just want to caution that this is not an easy thing to accomplish."
Carbon-colored tariffs
Steel producers, manufacturers and steelworkers have urged the Biden administration to keep the tariffs and argued the measures succeeded in confronting alleged global excess production capacity driven by competing markets such as China. This coalition may benefit from the blue-collar political brand of Biden, which has included reshoring jobs from overseas and supporting the industry-heavy U.S. Midwest.
The steel tariffs specifically have also accomplished another Biden priority, which is confronting planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. Steel production in China is more carbon-intensive than U.S. output. Left-leaning academics, including a member of the Biden transition team, have said the administration should replace the Trump tariffs with policies that promote domestic steel while confronting potentially dirtier steel markets.
"Ironically, that made U.S. steel more competitive and U.S. steel has a lower CO2 footprint than the Chinese," Blank said.
Full story
5) Time for COP26 deal running out, says UN climate chief
China Daily, 22 June 2021

With less than five months to go until the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, the United Nations' head of climate change has warned that heads of government remain "far away" from securing a deal to limit the full consequences of global warming.
In an interview with British newspaper the Observer, Patricia Espinosa said previous promises to make one hundred billion dollars available each year to developing countries, for investment in green technology, had not been kept.

"I'd have really hoped for a clearer signal on how and when we will be able to see the commitment to mobilize the $100 billion fulfilled," she said, when asked about the prospects for a breakthrough before the conference starts on Nov 1.

"There isn't much time. We are already in the second half of June," she continued. "This is one condition to be able to have a good basis to have a successful COP26. It is essential. We cannot afford a lack of success. COP26 should be able to give some sense of hope to the world."

At the 2015 Paris climate conference, 196 countries signed an agreement pledging to reduce fossil fuel emissions, in an effort to limit temperature rises preferably to 1.5 percent, compared to preindustrial levels.

The gathering in Glasgow will be the first chance to assess what difference this has made, but after three weeks of discussion at the UN Climate Change intersessional meetings earlier this month, there was clear disappointment and frustration about what assistance has been made available to developing countries.

"The issue of climate finance still remains the most difficult part of all these negotiations," Molwyn Joseph, environment minister for Antigua, told the Financial Times. "I do not believe that particular aspect was dealt with as it should have been."

The United Kingdom currently holds the presidency of the G7 and former UN climate envoy Rachel Kyte told the Observer that the country needed to show leadership and pull countries together before COP26, to ensure a positive outcome.

"The UK has six months left to its G7 presidency and five months to go until COP26. (Prime Minister Boris) Johnson has to muster the world to significant climate finance commitments, purposing development finance and detail behind the global Marshall plan that (United States) President (Joe) Biden calls Build Back Better World. Then, and only then, can we get the agreement we need in Glasgow," she said.
Full story

6) French senators give mayors right to veto wind turbine projects
EurActiv, 22 June 2021

Senators adopted an amendment Friday (18 June) giving municipalities the right to veto a wind turbine project as part of the currently debated Climate and Resilience Law. 

Following a stormy debate, senators voted in favour of mayors obtaining the right to veto wind farm projects with the aim of promoting “social acceptability of wind farms, with a view to ensuring harmonious development, i.e. more in tune with the territories and their inhabitants”.

According to conservative Les Républicains senator Etienne Blanc, light pollution, noise pollution, protection of biodiversity and impact on bird migration corridors are all criteria to be taken into account before launching the construction of a wind farm.

“We had not sufficiently taken into account the recycling of the wind turbine itself, but also the recycling of the concrete,” Blanc said.
“It is a question of better establishing consultation and dialogue. Before the environmental authorisation is submitted, the file must be submitted to the municipality where the plant is to be installed and to its mayor,” added Blanc, who sits among the Senate’s right-wing majority.

The amendment provides for a one-month period during which mayors will be able to study the project, and possibly veto it. Speaking to his fellow senators, Blanc pointed out that his party was defending a “reinforced democracy”, with “more consultation” of local authorities when it comes to other facilities such as nuclear power.

“We cannot be in favour of consultation when it comes to nuclear power and against consultation when it comes to wind power,” he argued.
Full story
7) Why everything they said about solar energy was wrong
Michael Shellenberger, 21 June 2021 

Solar Panels Will Create 50 Times More Waste & Cost 4 Times More Than Predicted, New Harvard Business Review Study Finds

Three years ago I published a long article at Forbes arguing that solar panels weren’t clean but in fact produced 300 times more toxic waste than high-level nuclear waste. But in contrast to nuclear waste, which is safely stored and never hurts anyone, solar panel waste risks exposing poor trash-pickers in sub-Saharan Africa. The reason was because it was so much cheaper to make new solar panels from raw materials than to recycle them, and would remain that way, given labor and energy costs.

My reporting was near-universally denounced. The most influential financial analyst of the solar industry called my article, “a fine example of 'prove RE [renewable energy] is terrible by linking lots of reports which don't actually support your point but do show that the RE industry in the West considers and documents its limited impacts extremely thoroughly.’” An energy analyst who is both pro-nuclear and pro-solar agreed with her, saying “I looked into this waste issue in the past and concur with [her].” 

The Guardian said solar panel waste was a “somewhat ironic concern from [me], a proponent of nuclear power, which has a rather bigger toxic waste problem” adding that “broken panels… are relatively rare except perhaps in the wake of a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake.” 

But when reporters eventually looked into the issue they came to the same conclusions I had. In 2019, The New York Times published a long article about toxic old solar panels and batteries causing “harm to people who scavenge recyclable materials by hand” in poor African communities. In 2020, Discover magazine confirmed that “it is often cheaper to discard them in landfills or send them to developing countries. As solar panels sit in dumps, the toxic metals they contain can leach out into the environment and possibly pose a public health hazard if they get into the groundwater supply.” 

Still, each of those articles stressed that some solar panels were already being recycled, and that more of them one day would be, which was what many of my original critics had pointed out. “The European Union requires solar companies to collect and recycle their panels,” noted Discover magazine, “with the cost of recycling built into the selling price.” The solar analyst who accused me of making unsubstantiated claims said the reason “there are few solar panels being recycled to date [is] because most of them are still working fine.”

But a major new study of the economics of solar, published in Harvard Business Review (HBR), finds that the waste produced by solar panels will make electricity from solar panels four times more expensive than the world’s leading energy analysts thought. “The economics of solar,” write Atalay Atasu and Luk N. Van Wassenhove of Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires, one of Europe’s leading business schools, and Serasu Duran of the University of Calgary, will “darken quickly as the industry sinks under the weight of its own trash."

Conventional wisdom today holds that the world will quadruple the number of solar panels in the world over the next decade. “And that’s not even taking into consideration the further impact of possible new regulations and incentives launched by the green-friendly Biden administration,” Atasu, Wassenhove, and Duran write in HBR.
But the volume of solar panel waste will destroy the economics of solar even with the subsidies, they say. "By 2035,” write the three economists, “discarded panels would outweigh new units sold by 2.56 times. In turn, this would catapult the LCOE (levelized cost of energy, a measure of the overall cost of an energy-producing asset over its lifetime) to four times the current projection.”
The solar industry, and even supposedly neutral energy agencies, grossly underestimated how much waste solar panels would produce. The HBR authors, all of whom are business school professors, looked at the economics from the point of view of the customer, and past trends, and calculated that customers would replace panels far sooner than every 30 years, as the industry assumes.  

“If early replacements occur as predicted by our statistical model,” they write, solar panels “can produce 50 times more waste in just four years than [International Renewable Energy Agency] IRENA anticipates.” 
The HBR authors found that the price of panels, the amount solar panel owners are paid by the local electric company, and sunlight-to-electricity efficiency determined how quickly people replaced their panels. 

“Alarming as they are,” they write, “these stats may not do full justice to the crisis, as our analysis is restricted to residential installations. With commercial and industrial panels added to the picture, the scale of replacements could be much, much larger.”

What about recycling? It’s not worth the expense, note the HBR authors. “While panels contain small amounts of valuable materials such as silver, they are mostly made of glass, an extremely low-value material,” they note. As a result, it costs 10 to 30 times more to recycle than to send panels to the landfill.

The problem is the sheer quantity of the hazardous waste, which far exceeds the waste produced by iPhones, laptops, and other electronics. The volume of waste expected from the solar industry, found a team of Indian researchers in 2020, was far higher than from other electronics. 

“The totality of these unforeseen costs could crush industry competitiveness,” conclude the HBR authors. “If we plot future installations according to a logistic growth curve capped at 700 GW by 2050 (NREL’s estimated ceiling for the U.S. residential market) alongside the early replacement curve, we see the volume of waste surpassing that of new installations by the year 2031.”

It’s not just solar. “The same problem is looming for other renewable-energy technologies. For example, barring a major increase in processing capability, experts expect that more than 720,000 tons worth of gargantuan wind turbine blades will end up in U.S. landfills over the next 20 years. According to prevailing estimates, only five percent of electric-vehicle batteries are currently recycled – a lag that automakers are racing to rectify as sales figures for electric cars continue to rise as much as 40% year-on-year.”

But the toxic nature of solar panels makes their environmental impacts worse than just the quantity of waste. Solar panels are delicate and break easily. When they do, they instantly become hazardous, and classified as such, due to their heavy metal contents. Hence, used solar panels are classified as hazardous waste. The authors note that “this classification carries with it a string of expensive restrictions — hazardous waste can only be transported at designated times and via select routes, etc.”

Beyond the shocking nature of the finding itself is what it says about the integrity and credibility of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency. It is an intergovernmental organization like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, funded by taxpayers from the developed nations of Europe, North America, and Asia, and expected to provide objective information. Instead, it employed unrealistic assumptions to produce results more supportive of solar panels. 

IRENA acted like an industry association rather than as a public interest one. IRENA, noted the HBR reporters, “describes a billion-dollar opportunity for recapture of valuable materials rather than a dire threat.” IRENA almost certainly knew better. For decades, consumers in Germany, California, Japan and other major member nations of IRENA, have been replacing solar panels just 10 or 15 years old. But IRENA hadn’t even modeled solar panel replacements in those time frames.

IRENA wasn’t the only organization that put out rose-tinted forecasts to greenwash solar. For years, the solar industry and its spokespersons have claimed that panels only “degrade” — reduce how much electricity they produce — at a rate of 0.5% per year. 

But new research finds that solar panels in use degrade twice as fast as the industry claimed. And that report came on the heels of a separate report which found that solar panels have been suffering a rising failure rate even before entering service. “One in three manufacturers experienced safety failures relating to junction box defects, an increase from one in five last year,” noted an industry reporter. The “majority of failures were prior to testing, straight from the box.”
Dealing with the problem requires that government regulators clamp down on solar. “A first step to forestalling disaster,” write the HBR authors, “may be for solar panel producers to start lobbying for similar legislation in the United States immediately, instead of waiting for solar panels to start clogging landfills.”

But that’s unlikely since such legislation would significantly increase the cost of solar, and thin profit margins mean that many solar companies would likely go bankrupt. The result is a self-reinforcing feedback loop. “If legislation comes too late, the remaining players may be forced to deal with the expensive mess that erstwhile Chinese producers left behind.”
As such, taxpayers will likely have to subsidize the clean up of solar panel waste. “Government subsidies are probably the only way to quickly develop capacity commensurate with the magnitude of the looming waste problem,” they write.

None of this means there’s no role whatsoever for solar panels, nor that they are not ingenious machines. Like many others I have long been filled by a sense of wonder in how they convert sunlight, photons, into electrons, and I have solar panels in my backyard. Solar panels power satellites. And they can be an important way to generate electricity in off-grid areas.
But solar panels cannot be a primary energy source like nuclear, natural gas, or coal, for inherently physical reasons relating to the unreliable and dilute nature of their “fuel,” sunlight. Low power densities must induce higher material intensity and spatial requirements, and thus higher physical costs. 

Even as the cost of solar panels has come down, the cost of producing reliable grid electricity with solar panels has risen, due to their weather-dependent nature, something that became evident in 2018, was recognized by University of Chicago economists in 2019, and was further supported by spiraling costs in renewables-heavy Germany and California in 2020. 

The new research on the coming solar waste crisis, along with rising blackouts from renewables, reinforces the inherent flaws in solar and other forms of renewable energy. Over-relying on solar panels, and underestimating the need for nuclear and natural gas, resulted in California’s blackouts last summer. It’s now clear that China made solar appear cheap with coal, subsidies, and forced labor. And in the U.S., we pay one-quarter of solar’s costs through taxes and often much more in subsidies at the state and local level.

And none of this even addresses the biggest threat facing solar power today, which are revelations that perhaps both key raw materials and the panels themselves are being made by forced labor in Xinjiang province in China. 
Full post
8) Francis Menton: Texas Starts Waking Up To The Issue Of The Full Costs Of "Renewables"
Manhattan Contrarian, 21 June 2021

The promoters of the climate scam have a variety of deceptions to get the gullible to accede to their socialist plans. Those deceptions range from the quite sophisticated to the completely preposterous. At the sophisticated end of the scale we have what I have called The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time — the deception by which 50 and 100 year old temperature records are altered (reduced) by impenetrable computer algorithms to make it seem like global warming has been much greater than the reality.
At the preposterous end of the scale we have the claim that the fashionable “renewable” sources of electric power, wind and solar, are actually cheaper than fossil fuels to generate electricity.
I call this claim preposterous because the fundamental deception is so obvious that you would think that no one of any intelligence could possibly fall for it. And yet you have undoubtedly read numerous articles in the past few years asserting that wind and solar-generated electricity is now as cheap or cheaper than electricity from natural gas or coal. To make the claim, the promoters of wind and solar simply omit from their calculations the single biggest part of the cost of those sources. That would the cost of intermittency, otherwise known as the cost of providing sufficient backup or storage to run a stable electrical grid while generation from the wind and sun fluctuates wildly. (As wind and solar become a bigger and bigger part of power generation on the grid, the cost of necessary backup and/or storage could easily multiply the cost of electricity by a factor of five or more. For instance, see my post here.).

To divert your attention from this elephant in the room, somebody has come up with the concept of “levelized cost of energy,” or LCOE, supposedly to make fair apples-to-apples comparisons of the total costs of one energy sources versus another. There are seemingly sophisticated and technical discussions of life cycles and discount rates. But then, when putting a cost on wind and solar, they just completely omit the costs of intermittency. I suppose they hope that you won’t notice.

If you don’t believe me, check out this Wikipedia piece on “Cost of electricity by source.” The piece cites some five studies of comparative costs of different generation sources. The five studies come from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Lazard, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the IPCC and OECD. Representative of the conclusions reached is this from BNEF:

"In March 2021, Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that "renewables are the cheapest power option for 71% of global GDP and 85% of global power generation. It is now cheaper to build a new solar or wind farm to meet rising electricity demand or replace a retiring generator, than it is to build a new fossil fuel-fired power plant. ..."

Feel free to click through to verify my assertion that they simply omit all costs of intermittency when calculating the costs of generation from wind and solar.
The state of Texas, with its own power grid separate from the rest of the country, has been a leader in developing generation capacity from the intermittent renewables, particularly wind. While production from these facilities can vary greatly from month to month (depending on wind conditions), in typical months Texas has been getting about 20-25% of its electricity from wind and solar. (It was 23% in October 2020.). Then came February 2021, when Texas had a record cold spell, and the wind and sun died for several days running. Some natural gas and nuclear facilities were also out during that period. The result was a tremendous spike in spot market prices and rolling blackouts imposed by the grid operator (known as ERCOT).
Apparently the February event has caused some people in Texas finally to wake up to the issue of the true costs of the renewables.
Full post

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