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Old 11-07-2012, 07:40 PM
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Default Renewable energy is cheaper than coal, nuclear

This was in a major German newspaper today:
Studie zu Energiekosten - Das Märchen vom teuren Ökostrom - Geld - sueddeutsche.de (in german)

Here is the interesting figure from it. The boxes on the left represent the different ways of generating electricity. The symbols explain what it is: Photovoltaic, wind, water, nuclear, coal and lignite. The numbers are the cost per kilowatt hour in Euro cent in the year 2012. The numbers represent the actual cost, that means not only the amount people pay to the provider, but also what people pay in the form of state subsidies for these forms of energy. Nuclear turns out to be the most expensive because it gets the most subsidies (especially for R&D, security and the search for a nuclear waste deposit), photovoltaics is next, then comes coal and lignin and wind/water are actually the cheapest. That should be a surprise to some.

Oh and to the right is the track of the sum of all subsidies for these energy forms.

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Old 11-07-2012, 07:46 PM
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Wind and water have always been my personal favorites, the only big downside really being maintenance.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:13 AM
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Is this including storage costs?
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:35 PM
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It is not a projection that includes any future developments in storage systems, in more efficient or cheaper machines or better transport systems for energy. It is an analysis of present day costs of electricity. For water, there is no storage needed - they are actually storage systems. Solar obviously is not very favourable, but the main point is, that all the whining of people about these high subsidies for solar and wind energy are ridiculous when looking at the massive amount of subsidies especially for nuclear power but also for coal! If these "classical" energy sources are so great and cheap, why did the state pay many billions to the companies that provide them? I mean, coal should be one of the most economical energy sources tehre is and nuclear was always claimed to be "cheap abundant energy" that may one day be "too cheap to meter". Instead even including the massive amounts of energy output of both these systems, the actual costs per kilowatt hour including subsidies for both are massive. Together they have received in Germany alone over 400 billion! Euros of subsidies. Solar/water/wind have received 50. I am quite sure if you give some people the remaining 350 billion Euros, they can set up any kind of storage system for these other forms of energy, build solar plants in the Sahara, build power lines to Germany and the lot. The 350 billion would not even have to cover all the costs either, it is just the subsidies - the main portion would come from the companies that make a profit of selling that energy. I dont say I am in favour of all this energy madness, but clearly at least that stupid argument that nuclear or coal is such an incredibly cheap energy is debunked by that.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:13 AM
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It depends on the country. Here, the subsidy is zero for coal compared to £1.7bn/year for wind, which is still incapable of competing on price. Extrapolating any country to the world is inaccurate with the best of intentions and outright dishonest in most cases (would anyone ever compare the availability of energy in France to any other country with the possible exception of China?).

One of the main offsets of wind cost is the feed-in tariff: An additional cost of around 5p/kWh levied by the energy company to meet the mandated prices they must pay for wind energy, which is higher than profitable companies charge for other sources. This is typically excluded as a subsidy, but is nonetheless a hidden cost on the consumer, ironically requiring the presence of government schemes to help people on low incomes with energy bills that would otherwise not be necessary, further raising taxes, while the only beneficiaries are a few landowners, construction companies and importers.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:48 AM
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I don't trust your numbers, sorry. There's too many variables behind the scenes that aren't being presented - for instance, the profit of the energy companies.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
It depends on the country. Here, the subsidy is zero for coal compared to £1.7bn/year for wind
This simply is not true:
Wind power still gets lower public subsidies than fossil fuel tax breaks - 28 Feb 2012 - News from BusinessGreen
Environment and trade - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

What is counted in the stats I posted is not how much money is given to energy companies or something like that, it is the total cost/benefit for the society. A tax break of some billion pounds is a form of cost as well. Especially if it comes to distorting prices. A Starbucks for example (and these are real examples as well) only has to pay 1% tax on profit in Germany because they made legal arrangements with respect to franchising and evading taxes by not being one company on paper but many small ones - with the one making the profit sitting in a low tax country. The local coffeshop however has to pay up to 30% tax on profit, just like anyone else. Who do you think can sell the coffee and sweets for a higher profit, make more investments and expand further? And who could at least in theory even lower prices to a level that others cannot compete with. In this example the tax cut is unwanted, but it has the same effect as a deliberate tax cut for fossil fuels.
The key is how much net profit can be made with one scheme compared to another and so only the relative subsidizing is relevant.
And until this year, the UK subsidized nuclear power heavily as well - not just by tax costs as I understand it but also directly and most of all by covering all the costs of the risks - the nuclear power company will not (and cannot) pay for all the costs of an accident if one happens. As can be seen in Japan, the public has to invest a lot more than Tepco now - in the form of increased health insurance costs, more medical bills, land restoration efforts, drops in sales, export and fish/algae that cannot be harvested anymore. This is called the externalization of risks and is a huge benefit for companies.
A more hands on example are mines in southern countries - they make a profit by mining and selling the ores but when they are gone, they just leave the pit - the local people get sick, rivers are polluted and the public has to deal with the costs of that and any efforts of restoration for decades with the liability of the mining company being very low. If these costs would have been included in the price the company has to charge for the ore, they would not have made much profit or could not have undercut other companies who do have such plans of restoration of mine sites.

Quote:
One of the main offsets of wind cost is the feed-in tariff: An additional cost of around 5p/kWh levied by the energy company to meet the mandated prices they must pay for wind energy, which is higher than profitable companies charge for other sources. This is typically excluded as a subsidy, but is nonetheless a hidden cost on the consumer
In the way of distortion markets it is similar to a subsidy, though it is more the second kind of influence of the public on corporate decisions - lawmaking, while the first would be direct financial benefits when dealing with the state. In the case of these tariffs, the costs of supporting wind power certainly will be reflected in the price of energy that people or companies have to buy, so it is not really a hidden subsidy at all, it is an increase in the price of energy. This is something very different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
I don't trust your numbers, sorry. There's too many variables behind the scenes that aren't being presented - for instance, the profit of the energy companies.
The energy companies always make a profit - they sell the energy to the price that they can get no matter where they bought it from. So they make more profit from getting it cheap. As I understand it, these numbers are the ones that the energy companies have to pay - to that price they add their profit before they sell it to the consumers. The numbers should be rather good because the newspaper that published it is one of the major and trustworthy ones in germany - it is read by a large fraction of academics of all sorts.
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"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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