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Tesla fingers former Gigafactory hand as alleged blueprint-leaking sabotage mastermind

Alan Brown Silver badge

"Here in NL the government used to subsidise offshore wind energy. But the new wind farms no longer need that subsidy for generation"

The difference between direct and indirect subsidies is only in the visibility of how it's paid.

Forcing gridcos to pay stupidly high feedin tarriffs - that's a subsidy

Forcing gridcos to take renewables energy as first choice - even when there's more generation than demand - that's a subsidy too

Forcing gridcos to eat the entire cost of having to overlay the distribution network in order to handle power flows changing direction without much notice - another subsidy

Forcing gridcos to build transmission lines to the generation point - another subsidy (normal producers have to pay for those lines themselves)

When I see renewables operators being paid the same bulk rates as other generators then I'll believe that subsides are mostly gone.

Apart from the above, some of those rules contribute to grid instability. The infamous South Australian statewide blackouts occured due to dropoffs in wind generation happening, but the weather forecasts being for a resumption in 4-6 hours - not enough time for a backup gas power station to repay its startup costs, let alone the hourly ones, before they would have been forced to turn the plant off again - so the power generator declined to fire it up and the state went dark for 6 hours.

In order to prevent repeats, SA installed Elon's battery farm, but even that isn't enough for prolonged wind outages, so agreements have been made for backup operators to be paid well enough to justify turning the plants on - but a plant that's only run for a couple of hundred hours a year still requires maintenance and effectively produces power costing dollars per kWh instead of a few cents.

All this means that renewables actually cost about 10 times what "normal" generation does - which is ok for a peak-load generation plant but utter bollocks for your economics if they're supposed to be baseline.

If you think rolling blackouts won't happen here, you're being naive. Yes, renewables can just about replace existing electricity generation, but there's no capacity left to cater to the increases coming from decarbonising transport, heating, etc. Electricity generation only accounts for 25-35% of carbon emissions and generation capacity has to be sized for peak loads, not average ones.

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