Argonautica

Professional investors can review published thought leadership and market updates from the Argonaut Investment Team.

‘The Wind Trap: Why Wind Power Has Already Peaked’

Governments are currently outbidding each other in a race to zero carbon emissions. They have also just woken up to the importance of energy security. It may then seem an odd time to predict that the usefulness of wind power has already peaked. The allure of wind power in resolving these issues is a trap: the wind trap.

Wind energy has already passed its optimal share of power generation in the UK. There is simply no benefit to the grid to continue to add more variable renewable energy, resulting in abundant power only when the weather is favourable, but which makes zero contribution to the grid when cheap power is scarce. Wind power crowds out capital investment in more reliable fuels and results in power generation that is unstable and insecure (the weather is no more reliable than Putin).

The costs of building a UK grid powered exclusively by renewables will be financially ruinous. It will also result in a grid that produces abundant electricity for a few days a year and prohibitively expensive power the rest of the time. Rationing power according to the weather for industry and consumers will be the logical result.

The economic consequences will be deindustrialisation, loss of blue-collar manufacturing jobs, structurally high inflation, loss of energy security and economic recession, akin to that witnessed in the 1970’s with the OPEC oil-shocks and the 3-day week. The implications for investors in all financial assets outside of commodities of this 1970’s redux are clearly negative.

King Lear rages against intermittency

SCENE II. Another part of the heath. Storm still.

Enter KING LEAR and Fool

KING LEAR

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

William Shakespeare, King Lear 1608

 

It was the absence of human dominion over nature that drove King Lear mad: chaotic weather symbolised political anarchy in the realm and an unstable body politic. The problem with the weather - as Lear and his Fool found on the heath - was that energy generated by the wind was inherently capricious and unreliable. It was the genius of Shakespeare that he recognised that it would be difficult to construct a drama where Lear got so upset with a lump of coal, a bundle of firewood or a cake of dung: those were all stored energy at the command of man.

The constraining factor behind the renewable grid is not the lack of built wind generating capacity but the chaos of nature. Using half hourly publically available data from the UK grid, Argonaut analysed the intermitancy of wind power during calendar year 2021 (see Fig 1. Contribution by Fuel to Total Daily UK Power Generation by Day). We found that there were just 7 days when renewables (predominantly wind but also solar) contributed more than 50% of energy generation and 16 days when they contributed less than 10%. By contrast, fossil fuels (largely gas but also coal) contributed more than 50% of energy generation on 153 days and there were no days when they were less than 10%. Adding more wind capacity might mean renewables providing more than 100% of grid power needs on those same 7 days a year when the wind blew consistently so that the contribution of fossil fuels would be near zero, but what would power the grid and prevent blackouts on the other 358 days in the year?

Fig 1: Contribution by fuel to total daily UK power generation by day1


 

The fairy tale renewable grid

“The amount of fossil fuels burned to power the UK's electricity grid has fallen to a record low. Just before midnight on Wednesday fossil fuels including coal and natural gas generated 1.7 gigawatts of electricity, just 6 per cent of the total used by the grid, according to power firm Drax Group. Renewables – including wind, biomass and hydroelectric power – were responsible for 24.19 gigawatts, around 65 per cent of the UK's electricity needs”.2

“Just before midnight” on a blustery night in December 2021, with demand two thirds of its daily peak, “renewables” did indeed briefly account for nearly 65% of UK power generation and fossil fuels only just over 6%. But there was also a high degree of midnight fantasy about this story: over the same day, fossil fuels had accounted for 20% of power generated with wind and solar 35%. “Biomass” – ironically highly carbon dioxide emitting wood pellets imported from the US, burned by power company Drax, but classified as “renewable” and oddly recipient of government subsidies3 - another 8%. Over the year, natural gas accounted for 44%, coal 2%, offshore wind 11%, onshore wind 10%, solar 2%, nuclear 18%, hydro 2%, and biomass 8%. In other words, over half of the UK’s power generation in 2021 came from fossil fuels and just a quarter from wind/water/solar renewables4(see Fig 2. UK Power Generation Fuel 2021). Cinderella’s carriage turned back into a pumpkin, her coachmen back to mice: the just-before-midnight decarbonisation of the UK power grid had been a greenwashing public relations fairy tale.

Fig. 2 UK Power Generation by Fuel 20215

 

The decarbonisation shock

The UK government has congratulated itself that between 1990 and 2019, carbon dioxide “emissions fell by 44% while GDP rose by 76%, with the UK decarbonising faster than any other G20 country since 2000.”6 What is not admitted is that this was mainly achieved by replacing coal with natural gas as the main source of reliable baseload7 power (with roughly half the emissions). The UK energy mix has changed substantially from the 1980’s when it was largely coal based with some nuclear and the only renewable power was hydro (see Fig 3. UK Power Generation since 1985). Scottish and UK governments decided to switch off fossil fuel investment before it was prudent to do so. With declining North Sea production, over half of UK natural gas is now imported either via pipeline or LNG ships, creating a now obvious energy security problem.8 Rather than wash its hands of fossil fuel production, the UK will now need to bring energy production back onto its own balance sheet.

Fig 3. UK Power Generation by Fuel since 19859

Nuclear power generates reliable carbon-free baseload power. Enthusiasm for new projects has until recently10 been limited owing to misplaced safety fears, cost overruns on new builds and legacy technology (a lack of innovation caused by over-regulation). Solar was never going to work in the UK. The least difficult political option was wind. Energy policy then pivoted away from onshore wind when local opposition to eyesore developments resulted in Prime Minister Cameron promising to end all onshore wind subsidies in the Conservative election manifesto of 2015. Through offering the most generous government subsidies11 the UK ended up as the proud global leader in the previously nascent offshore wind industry.

The UK government has announced plans to achieve “net zero emissions” by 2050 and “decarbonise” the grid by 2035, with a more ambitious target of 40GW from offshore wind by 2030 (from just 10GW in 2020) (see Fig 4. UK Wind Power Generation MW). Assuming a more generous load factor for new deep water offshore projects of 50% (above the current 42% average) this extra 30GW would equate to an additional theoretical TWH generation of 131TWH (around 40% of the UK’s current demand).12 If we simply consider the cost of building the additional 30GW of offshore wind, including transmission costs to onshore substations (but excluding the additional costs of transporting power from offshore Scotland down to English population centres) UK offshore wind projects are currently running at a capital cost of £4.5m per MW.13 This means the stated 30GW of additional capacity will cost £135bn or 6% of UK GDP.

Fig 4. UK Wind Power Generation MW (2009 to 2030E)14

Overall UK power demand has been in slow decline over the last decade (see Fig 3. UK Power Generation since 1985). Plans to electrify factories, home heating and cars (the government plans to outlaw the sale of new internal combustion engine cars by 2030 and hybrids by 2035) will according to government estimates mean that “electricity demand will grow again and potentially double by 2050.”15 Goldman Sachs goes further claiming that demand will triple over the same time period (and double by 2030) noting that “the purchase of an electric vehicle and a heat pump would more than triple the power consumption of a typical European household. In other words, full electrification of mobility and heating would broadly be equivalent to tripling Europe’s population."16

A doubling of UK electricity demand would require at least 313 TWH17 of additional power generation at a time when fossil fuels (currently providing 55% of power) are due to be phased out. In other words, a 100% “carbon free” grid – with double the demand - would require not just that the 172 TWh of fossil fuel generation be replaced but that and additional 313 TWh are also built (485 TWh in total). Assuming the same generous 50% load factor on new deep water offshore wind, this would require an additional 111 GW of theoretical carbon free power generation (compared to the additional 30GW proposed from offshore wind).18To put the capital cost of this offshore wind capacity into perspective: 138 GW of deep water offshore wind to decarbonise the grid would cost roughly £500bn or nearly a quarter of UK GDP 19. This is not a “one-off” cost since all UK offshore wind projects are currently subject to government subsidies under a guaranteed price CFD regime, which in recent years we estimate to have resulted in average subsidies of £14bn per annum, based on the difference between the average guaranteed CFD price and an average historic market price of UK power of £45 per MWh.20 Assuming no change in realised historic average, realised power prices or CFD prices, this annual subsidy would increase to £55bn (2.5% GDP) with the additional capacity.21 We will also demonstrate that in a free market wind energy would never achieve average power prices at high market shares.

As well as being capital intensive offshore wind is also particularly metal intensive. The IEA – an organisation which has championed the energy transition - has estimated that an onshore wind farm requires nine times more mineral resources compared to that of an equivalent gas-fired plant (See Fig 5. Mineral Intensity of Energy Technologies) and that “since 2010, the average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50% as the share of renewables has risen.”22 Whereas a new gas-fired plant might have a useful life of over 40 years,23 wind projects have an official useful life of no more than 20 years,24 though there is considerable evidence to suggest it may be as short as 10 years.25 It is unusual in economic history for productive assets to be replaced by less efficient assets in a process that requires such a significant re-allocation of national economic wealth; even more odd that it should be done in the name of environmentalism when the additional costs of regular mineral extraction are considered.
 

Fig 5. Mineral Intensity of Energy Technologies26

 

There are further costs to consider. We have already demonstrated how owing to intermittency installed renewable power capacity (MW) does not translate directly into reliable energy output (MWh). This means that relative to normal reserve margins (overproduction as a safety buffer relative to demand) of 15%, a solely renewable grid would have to be overbuilt by a factor of at least 2.5x to considering average load factors of 40%. But as the proportion of reliable baseload (gas, nuclear, biomass) decreases then this overbuild of variable renewable capacity (wind and solar) to compensate for intermittency increases exponentially considering the loss of energy in conversion, storage, and transmission as much as “five to eight times system demand” to provide enough storage according to Meredith Angwin, author of “Shorting the Grid”: “it would never be cost effective to build enough storage to accommodate this surplus. We would waste too much electricity…This would be an unbelievably wasteful way to run a grid.”27 In such a scenario the cost of a fully decarbonised grid could be more than 100% of UK GDP.28 In all scenarios the cost of an exclusively renewable power grid would be financially ruinous for the UK.

Reliables, the poor second cousin

In UK grid economics there is currently a discount rather than a premium for reliable fuel for baseload power. When the wind blows UK power utilities are contractually obliged to accept power generated from wind turbines at a guaranteed non-market price (which in practice is subsidised). Renewable generation is given “first dibs” at supplying the grid but its ability to do so is entirely dependent on favourable weather (see Fig 1 Contribution by Fuel to Total Daily UK Power Generation by Day).

The wind industry likes to claim that it produces “cheap” electricity. Odd then that there are no wind projects in the UK currently willing to compete in a liberalised power market. All wind projects have their production guaranteed to be purchased at an agreed price (Contracts For-a-Difference) or receive guaranteed additional payments for their renewable production (Renewable Obligation Certificates).29 This regulatory guarantee means that renewable projects are highly attractive to institutional investors and can therefore be financed with more debt and less equity (lowering the overall cost of financing particularly when interest rates are near zero). It also means that even in a period of structurally higher power prices - where the CFD price is lower than the market price - wind power may continue to receive subsidies since the realised price of wind projects will always be below the market price. When the wind blows the power price will be lower than average because there will be abundant wind energy production. As the market share of wind increases, this problem exacerbates.

Wind energy is therefore protected from its own intermittency, since the market price of power can turn negative in periods with high winds and high wind power output. Even if the average market price of power increases (which we expect) wind energy will always realise low prices, reflecting its low value to the grid. This is why SSE – a leading wind farm operator in the UK - has concluded that its own offshore wind projects will never be economically viable without subsidies.30Assessing the economic viability of wind projects by simply looking at the declining prices of guaranteed CFD’s in new auctions over time is a trap – the wind trap that the UK government has fallen into without even realising.

This is like a factory owner deciding to hire additional workers who guarantee to turn up only when they are not needed: to give those unreliable workers long-term guaranteed contracts and by contrast, pay the existing workers who agree to turn up to work at specified hours less; whilst insisting on the ability to fire these reliable workers without notice. The outcome would encourage all workers to become unreliable and the factory owner would end up having to employ far more workers overall than needed to compensate for unreliability, with no guarantee of being consistently adequately resourced. Declines in offshore wind CFD auction prices simply reflect a lower long-term contract cost for renumerating unreliable workers who add no economic value. In any case, CFD auction prices may soon reverse with higher interest rates and commodity input prices, as wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm operators look to recover margin. With such an unproductive allocation of capital, overall costs will go up to compensate for unreliability. This is an obvious economic recipe for disaster for power grids.

Power generated by gas and coal is subject to carbon permit taxation with its output (like nuclear, hydro and biomass) only used as a back-up to renewables. Even when fossil fuel generators have the prospect of higher profits on the back of rising commodity prices this is subject to threats of windfall taxes or price regulation (with the proceeds to be diverted to subsidise more unreliable renewable power).31 As the market share of wind power increases conventional power producers in a “survival of the unfittest” will be exposed to more periods of low and potentially negative prices, incurring higher operating and maintenance costs as they ramp up and down their production.32 According to Meredith Angwin: “This erodes the income of steady suppliers, which rely on being paid for KWhs. When prices go negative too often these plants can be forced out of business.”33 This means that fossil fuel power generation will struggle to attract capital even at inevitably higher commodity prices, with investors exposed to all the downside but none of the upside.

The storage canard

Wind apologists argue that the wind is always blowing somewhere and make hopeful statements about future battery storage technology. Denmark currently generates as much as 48% of its power from wind, but is able to stabilise its grid through importing hydro from Norway and nuclear from Sweden when weather conditions are unfavourable. As such its wind market share is overstated as its power market is international rather than intranational.34 This parasitical solution is unfeasible for bigger economies like the UK or those that are less well connected geographically.

Current battery technology is unable to offer an industrial scale solution for longer than a few hours. In 2017 Elon Musk built a lithium-ion battery with a theoretical capacity of 100MW (now increased to 150MW) to store the excess production of an Australian wind farm.35 This is still a small battery: it is claimed can power 30,000 homes for just one hour, which is not long enough to provide any meaningful back-up to the grid. More recently the Escondido Substation in California has achieved 4 hours of storage but for only 30 MW.36 To put this into perspective the biggest power plant in the UK, Drax has 2.6 GW capacity for biomass and 1.3 GW capacity for coal (130 times more power than the Escondido battery).37 At higher shares of variable renewable energy, electricity will need to be stored over weeks and months, not days and hours.

The economic case for battery storage of renewable energy has been modelled extensively by Dr Prof Nestor Sepulveda of MIT who concluded that if the storage cost of batteries fell to below $20/KWh there be a marginal economic case for the use of battery storage of renewable energy, which diminishes at more northerly latitudes. The problem is that the current storage energy cost of batteries is around $200/kWh (10 times the marginal economic case).38 To put this into perspective, the UK currently uses around 857 GWh of energy per day. At current battery prices £1bn would buy 11 minutes of battery storage for the UK grid; $200 per KWh translates to $171bn (8% GDP) for one day of storage. Even if the battery cost is reduced to 10% of the current price ($20/KWh), £1bn would buy less than 2 hours of storage39. The pace of innovation in battery technology has so far been frustratingly slow, with no “Moore’s Law” of rapid cost and performance progress.

Batteries are also incredibly resource intensive (ironic when they are supposed to save the environment). It has been estimated by William Tahil that each 1 GWH of storage in a lithium-ion battery requires theoretically 73 tons of lithium but in practice as much as 320 tons.40 When we consider the 100,000 tonnes of lithium mined globally in 202141 this suggests a maximum current global capacity of just 312 GWH, enough to store 1GW (the size of just one small power plant) of electricity for just 13 days, or a Drax sized power station for just over 3 days, or the entire UK electricity demand in 2020 for just over 8 hours (and its projected 2035 demand for just 4 hours). A similar exercise with Vanadium yields even more unrealistic outcomes, owing to lower extraction and inferior storage capability per tonne of just 3% of lithium.42 The life of lithium batteries is limited – probably around 10 years if used frequently. If the UK secured all the world’s current annual lithium production, this would be sufficient to support the replacement requirement for storage capacity of 40 hours of UK demand in 2035. Since UK demand in 2035 will be 2-3% of total electricity demand in countries committed to “NetZero”, our pro-rata theoretical share of lithium will be 1-2 hours of storage.

The only form of storage that currently makes any economic sense is hydro (where water can be pumped uphill in times of excess renewable generation) but this is limited by reservoir capacity and scarce existing hydro assets. Hydrogen might be less resource intensive given fresh water is more abundant but industrial electrolysers would have to operate at very low-capacity utilisation given the intermittency of renewable energy, with energy subject to high losses on conversion, meaning that the economic case remains weak.43 Prof Gordon Hughes has recently estimated that the capital cost to replace gas in final use (not power generation) would be £500+ billion (23% of UK GDP) with annual costs several times the level for gas.44 All current forms of potential wind and solar energy storage are completely impractical for the scale, capital outlay and price involved. Their advocates simply assume technological breakthroughs will magically appear after huge reallocation of capital into further unproductive variable renewable power generation assets. Prof Lion Hirth concludes that “storage will not be a major part of the solution to this problem within the next 20 to 40 years.”45 The storage solution is a canard: utterly detached from reality in terms of cost, scalability, and duration of storage.

Too much wind is problematic

There is every reason to believe that the more investment in renewables the worse the economics for the reliable power industry and for grid reliability. Academic research by Prof Lion Hirth has focused on the lower economic value - rather than cost - of variable renewable energy, arguing that additional wind power that produces more power only when power was already cheap - because the wind is blowing everywhere else too - is of no economic value to the grid.46 He is critical of the subsidy regime that cares only about cash cost of energy production at a time when power is not scarce and doesn’t care about the economic value to the grid of the energy produced. Hirth argues that as the market share of variable renewable energy increases, the value of its energy to the grid decreases. At 30% market share wind energy is according to his model worth 40% less than at 0% (solar is even worse seeing a 50% decline at 15% market share owing to greater seasonality and darkness). His thesis is supported by more than 30 subsequent academic case studies: “Every single study shows a significant drop in the value of wind power”. He concludes that “this is very bad news for the renewable industry” and “puts into question ambitious renewables targets without subsidies.” With the UK already at 21% market share in wind, it follows that additional wind projects have an incrementally negative utility. This is the wind trap.

Why wind won’t work

Wind power in the UK has already surpassed its optimal market share: its usefulness in producing incremental economic value to the power grid has already peaked. New wind capacity will only add abundant cheap power only at the same time as abundant cheap power already exists. This has no economic value. The intermittent nature of wind rather than the installed generating capacity is the constraining factor.

Energy security can be achieved by replacing imports with gas produced in the North Sea. It makes no sense environmentally to phase out low carbon emitting gas – our main provider of reliable baseload electricity – with subsidised biomass that has 3 times the carbon dioxide emissions or with metal intensive offshore wind that will need regular replacing and requires nonsensically inefficient and expensive battery technology to store its power for just a few hours. Nuclear could both provide reliable baseload and energy security; more modern nuclear technology could offer lower construction costs.

Our politicians have accepted the climate change apocalypticism as verbatim and will press on down the road to rapid decarbonisation irrespective of any cost/benefit analysis. They have fallen into the trap of focusing solely on the low cash cost of intermittent renewable production, without realising that the value of this energy to the grid will always be low and as the market share of wind increases negative. Wind energy is protected against its own low value to the grid by the CFD subsidy, without which even at high energy prices, wind projects will not be financially sustainable.

The cost of the energy transition will be financially ruinous for the UK and will result in a more unreliable and costly product for a hard-to-measure environmental benefit. Environmentalists should consider whether they have also fallen into the wind trap: the transition to a renewable grid (and the electrification of factories, homes, cars) clearly has a demonstrable negative environmental impact resulting in a duplicate inferior product with no economic value.

A renewable grid will produce abundant electricity for a few days annually and prohibitively expensive and unreliable power the rest of the time, resulting in demand destruction and supply rationing. This is a monumental misallocation of capital and a generational policy folly.

The economic consequences will be deindustrialisation, loss of blue-collar manufacturing jobs, loss of energy security and economic recession, akin to that witnessed in the 1970’s with the OPEC oil-shocks and the 3-day week. This will create an economic stagflation resulting in rising interest rates, structural inflation, and negative real returns on all asset classes apart from commodities for investors.

 

Barry Norris
Argonaut Capital
March 2022

1Source Argonaut. Public data sourced from Elexon https://www.bmreports.com/bmrs/?q=help/about-us Available on request

230th December 2021 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/markets/article-10356951/Amount-fossil-fuels-burned-UK-electricity-falls-record-low.html

3https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10319045/ROSS-CLARK-madness-burning-wood-pellets-USA-considered-green-energy-UK.html We find it difficult to believe that power generated by wood pellets “biomass” which has 30% more carbon dioxide content of coal (and 2.5x that of natural gas) can continue to be regarded as “renewable” zero carbon because trees can theoretically be replanted over the next 50 years. Why gas is taxed as a dangerous fossil fuel but wood chips are subsidised is symbolic of confused UK government energy policy. These wood pellets can of course provide reliable baseload power, but so can the coal they are replacing and lower carbon emissions

4Source: Elexon https://www.bmreports.com/bmrs/?q=help/about-us

5https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html

6https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-unveiled-to-decarbonise-uk-power-system-by-2035

7“Baseload power” is the minimum amount of power that the grid must generate for its customers. It therefore requires generation that can be switched on/off on command

8https://www.nationalworld.com/lifestyle/money/where-does-the-uk-get-gas-from-how-much-is-imported-from-russia-current-supply-and-if-theres-a-gas-shortage-3391351

9https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html

10The UK government has announced a £210m investment in nuclear technology. But there is no specified generation commitment yet https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-backs-new-small-nuclear-technology-with-210-million#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20investing%20millions,of%20the%20Net%20Zero%20Strategy.

11Development of offshore wind began in 2001: “A portfolio of 17 offshore wind projects were granted permission and the first of these became operational 2003-2013. From 2010 to the present, onshore and offshore wind capacity grew dramatically. For onshore wind, this includes large scale projects as well as smaller scale developments, supported by Feed in Tariffs subsidies. However, in 2018 and 2019 as the growth of onshore wind slowed, major offshore wind sites came online. Over the past two years, notable openings offshore include: Beatrice (0.6 GW), Walney extension (0.7 GW), East Anglia One (0.2 GW of its 0.7GW capacity is operational) and Hornsea One (1.2 GW). With an operational capacity of 1.2 GW, Hornsea One is currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Multiple GW of onshore and offshore capacity is currently under construction and due to become operational between 2020 and 2023 and an additional 5.8 GW of offshore and Remote Island onshore wind capacity has recently gained funding under the Contracts for Difference round 3 auction (2019). This will become operational between 2023 – 2025. A potential 7 GW have also been recently announced by the UK Government and the Crown Estate for new offshore projects to be developed in the waters around England and Wales.” https://gwec.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/GWEC-offshore-wind-2021-updated-1.pdf https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875384/Wind_powered_electricity_in_the_UK.pdf

12Theoretical MW generating capacity needs to be adjusted for load factor (x50%) then converted into MWH by multiplying by days (365) and hours (24) then converted into TWH (divide by 1000)

13These are the estimates of Prof Gordon Hughes, independent world authority on the cost of UK offshore wind. “About £4 million per MW of capacity including transmission but this is quite sensitive to water depth. This figure is for offshore wind projects in deep 30+ metres water. You will see much lower figures quoted but that is because (a) transmission is often excluded, and (b) actual costs in company accounts are about 20% higher than the figures which are quoted in the press. Some of the current big projects under construction are likely to come out at close to £4.5 million.”

14https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875384/Wind_powered_electricity_in_the_UK.pdf

15https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/875384/Wind_powered_electricity_in_the_UK.pdf

16Goldman Sachs SLR@SM Utilities and Green Energy Electrify Now.pdf

17https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1006701/DUKES_2

18Maths as follows: UK 2020 power generation of 313 TWH (Q4 stat from 2021 yet to be released hence using 2020 rather than 2021) dividend into days (365) and hours (24) gives average of 0.0357 TW per hour (35.7 GW) or 35,700 MW) divide by 50% load factor is 71,400 MW, assuming all of the 2020 UK grid were to be theoretically power by wind and that power could in theory be 100% stored and transmitted efficiently. If an additional 55% of 313TMW currently generated by fossil fuels were to be replaced by the same methodology this would require an additional 39,303 MW

19 If we multiply £4.5m per MW by 110,703 = £498m

20The real – rather than pretend – breakeven cost of onshore/offshore wind is at least £90 per MWh and closer to £120 per MWh for solar. With a historic market price of about £45 per MWh weighted by wind + solar generation the effective subsidy required would be about £55 per MWh or about £27 billion per year. The gross value of current consumption at the average historical market price is about £14 billion per year.

20The real – rather than pretend – breakeven cost of onshore/offshore wind is at least £90 per MWh and closer to £120 per MWh for solar. With a historic market price of about £45 per MWh weighted by wind + solar generation the effective subsidy required would be about £55 per MWh or about £27 billion per year. The gross value of current consumption at the average historical market price is about £14 billion per year.

21The additional cost of decarbonisation would be about £41 billion per year (485 TWh @ £100 per MWh minus a saving of 172 TWh @ £45 per MWh). Hence, the total cost of electricity generation to meet final demand will increase from £14 billion to £55 billion per year – a fourfold increase.

22https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/24d5dfbb-a77a-4647-abcc-667867207f74/TheRoleofCriticalMineralsinCleanEnergyTransitions.pdf

23https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-05-21/lifespan-of-new-u-s-gas-plants-exceeds-net-zero-climate-goals

24https://orstedcdn.azureedge.net/-/media/www/docs/corp/com/investor/offering-circular_en.ashx?la=en&hash=F39A9F70F46766CCA481736A4242A0EAA2C6C050&hash=F39A9F70F46766CCA481736A4242A0EAA2C6C050&rev=da4eb3eb5627402991f0fab51192d08b

25https://robertbryce.com/episode/gordon-hughes-professor-of-economics-at-the-university-of-edinburgh/

26https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/24d5dfbb-a77a-4647-abcc-667867207f74/TheRoleofCriticalMineralsinCleanEnergyTransitions.pdf

27Meredith Angwin “Shorting the Grid” P218

28If doubling grid capacity replacing fossil fuels costs 28% GDP, then a 5-8x overbuild would easily run to more than 100% of GDP. There are also the costs of building the storage capacity to consider (currently $200/KWH ) as well as production subsidies (which we have also quantified in this note).

29Government subsidy schemes introduced from the early 2000’s: Renewables Obligation (RO, 2002-2017) , Feed in Tariff scheme (FIT, 2010- 2019) and Contracts for Difference (CfD, 2015-) https://gwec.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/GWEC-offshore-wind-2021-updated-1.pdf

30https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/offshore-power-will-fail-without-subsidies-bx8908gm5

31https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/tax-windfall-profits-of-energy-firms-to-raise-money-for-green-investments-eu-to-tell-countries/

32See Rupert Darwall “Green Tyranny” The Curse of Intermittency P157-170

33Meredith Angwin “Shorting the Grid” P208

34https://ens.dk/sites/ens.dk/files/Globalcooperation/development_and_role_of_flexibility_in_the_danish_power_system.pdf

35https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a31350880/elon-musk-battery-farm/

36https://www.power-technology.com/marketdata/sdge-escondido-substation-bess-us/
https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/04/18/top-8-global-li-ion-battery-projects-tesla-grows-lead-with-hornsdale-expansion-to-150-mw/

37https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drax_Power_Station#:~:text=Drax%20power%20station%20is%20the%20largest%20CO%202%20emitter%20in%20the%20UK.

38https://news.mit.edu/2021/powering-energy-transition-better-storage-0329

39UK daily use is 857 million KWH (312 TWH divided by 365 days). At $200/per KHW this translates at $171bn for one day of storage (£7bn per hour)

40http://www.meridian-int-res.com/Projects/How_Much_Lithium_Per_Battery.pdf

41https://www.statista.com/statistics/606684/world-production-of-lithium/

42https://www.roadmaptonowhere.com/chapter-six/

43https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2020/06/Hydrogen-Fuel.pdf

44Gordon Hughes - The real economics of hydrogen networks - 17Nov21 Gordon Hughes presentation - IPowerE 17 November 2021

45 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caa7HufZiT4

46 https://inis.iaea.org/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/47/013/47013784.pdf?r=1&r=1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caa7HufZiT4