Energy Secretary Granholm says solar panels may bring about world peace

By Thomas Catenacci

Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm suggested that solar panels and wind farms could be the key to ensuring world peace in the future.

Solar, wind and other renewable sources would be key for the U.S. and its European allies to have energy security, Granholm said during her remarks at the U.S.-EU Energy Ministerial hosted by the State Department on Monday. The energy secretary added that fossil fuel dependence puts the West at greater risk of volatile energy prices.

“High energy prices have been putting strains on households on both sides of the Atlantic,” Granholm remarked. “In Europe, you have seen prices go through the roof. Of course, tensions between Russia and Ukraine pose threats to the energy security of the European Union, our friends and partners.”

“All of this underscores the benefits of clean energy,” she continued. “I was at a ministerial last week and my counterpart in Ireland, Minister Ryan, said words that I thought were very interesting. No country has been held hostage to access to the sun. No country has been hostage to the wind. This is not just an energy and climate issue, it is also potentially the greatest peace plan that ever existed.”

Granholm, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and their EU counterparts discussed a range of issues at the ministerial including global net zero ambitions and clean energy investment, according to a joint statement issued by the U.S. and EU on Monday. But the meeting also focused on the European energy crisis in part caused by Russia’s decision to cut off natural gas supplies as the weather got cold over the last several months.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has stood by his decision to support Nord Stream 2, a direct Russia-to-Germany pipeline that would tether EU natural gas supply to a Russian state-run energy firm. The president said Nord Stream 2 would be killed only if Russian troops invaded Ukraine, following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Monday.

“Energy security is tied directly to national security, regional security, global security,” Blinken said during a news conference. “Europe needs reliable and affordable energy, especially in the winter months.”

“When Russia halted gas supplies to Europe over a dispute with Ukraine in 2009, people died from the cold. And when energy supplies fail, economies falter,” he added.

On Jan. 25, the White House announced it would help facilitate greater non-Russian natural gas flows into Europe amid the increasing tensions on the Ukrainian border. Such imports would come from North Africa, the U.S., Middle East and Asia.

Biden has pushed renewable energy alternatives, including solar and wind projects, aggressively since taking office in 2021. The White House has outlined plans to ensure the entire U.S. grid is carbon-free by 2035 and the economy reaches net zero emissions by 2050.

The Biden administration has also waged a war on traditional energy production, nixing the Keystone XL pipeline, ditching an oil drilling project in Alaska and confirming it would review the possibility of shutting down a Michigan pipeline supplying much of the Midwest.

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Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy
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15 thoughts on “Energy Secretary Granholm says solar panels may bring about world peace

  1. Granholm has concocted a SOLAR PLAN for the US that:

    1) stinks to high heaven
    2) is unaffordable
    3) would bankrupt the US

    The US electricity fed to grid is about 4,000 billion kWh/y, not counting future useless heat pumps, and future useless electric vehicles.

    Installed capacity of panels required = (4,000 billion kWh/y)/(8,766 h/y x 0.20, US average CF) = 2.28 billion kW, or 2.28 million MW, plus 10% margin = 2.5 million MW

    Area required = 2,500,000 MW/(7 MW/acre) = 357,143 acres

    Capital cost = 2.5 million MW x $2 million/MW = $5 trillion, plus grid extension/augmentation costs

    But that electricity would be mainly a midday event.

    Assume one month of storage

    Monthly consumption is 4000/12 = 333.33 TWh

    The battery must be operated between 15% full and 80% full, for long 15-y life.

    Battery turnkey capital cost = (333.33 billion kWh/0.65) x $500/kWh, plus 10% margin = $282 TRILLION to be spent EVERY !5 YEARS

    For comparison, Biden’s BBB plan would be only $4.5 TRILLION for 10 years; 75% for the Sanders/Wyden social programs, 25% for energy/environment

    “BUILD BACK BETTER” WOULD COST $4.490 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT DECADE, IF PROVISIONS WERE MADE TO LAST 10 YEARS
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/build-back-better-would-cost-3-95-trillion-overt-the-next-decade

    • Also utility-grade, grid-scale battery systems age at about 1.5% per year, because they operate 24/7/365

      Batteries for EVs age at about 1% per year (depending on driver habits; frequency of high-speed charging, heavy foot, etc.), because they operate at most 4 hours per day.

      See Appendix 5 and 6 in this article for capital costs and losses.

      HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN US NORTHEAST
      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

      • Revised calculations

        Granholm has concocted a SOLAR PLAN for the US that:

        1) stinks to high heaven
        2) is unaffordable
        3) would bankrupt the US

        The US electricity fed to grid is about 4,000 billion kWh/y, not counting future useless heat pumps, and future useless electric vehicles.

        SOLAR SYSTEM CAPACITY: Installed capacity of panels required = (4,000 billion kWh/y)/(8,766 h/y x 0.20, US average CF) = 2.28 billion kW, or 2.28 million MW, plus 1.133 margin for solar system aging at 0.5%/y, plus 20% margin for scheduled and unscheduled outages = 3.102 million MW

        REQUIRED AREA: Area required = 3,102,000 MW/(7 MW/acre) = 443,141acres

        TURHKEY CAPITAL COST = 3.102 million MW x $2 million/MW = $6.204 TRILLION, plus costs for 1) high voltage grid extensions, 2) distribution grid extensions, and 3) grid augmentations

        HVDC OVERLAY GRID: The solar setup would require a nationwide HVDC overlay grid, connected at many hundreds of points to existing HVAC grids, to ensure electricity generated in the sunny US Southwest would be distributed to the overcast US Northeast during snow storms, and to fill in for seasonal variations all over the US.
        That item would cost about $500 billion.

        REQUIRED STORAGE CAPACITY : But the solar electricity would be mainly a midday event, which means storage is required.

        Assume one month of storage. That number keeps appearing in various studies

        Monthly consumption is 4000/12 = 333.33 TWh

        The battery must be operated between 15% full and 80% full, for long 15-y life, i.e., available battery capacity is 65%.

        Turnkey Capital Costs of Site-specific, Custom-designed, Utility-grade, Grid-scale Battery Systems = (333.33 billion kWh/0.65, available) x $500/kWh, plus 25% aging at 1.5%/y, plus 10% contingency = $353 TRILLION to be spent EVERY !5 YEARS

        BATTERY SYSTEM LOSS, A-to-Z, LIFETIME BASIS:

        Assume battery annual throughput, at a capacity factor of 0.5, is 2000 TWh
        Loss is 20%, or 400 TWh

        THIS LOSS REQUIRES ADDITIONAL PANELS TO GENERATE IT AND ADDITIONAL STORAGE TO STORE IT

        NOTE: Utility-grade, grid-scale battery systems age at about 1.5% per year, because they operate 24/7/365

        NOTE: Batteries for EVs age at about 1% per year (depending on driver habits; frequency of high-speed charging, heavy foot, etc.), because they operate at most 4 hours per day.

        NOTE: See Appendix 5 and 6 in this article for turnkey capital costs and losses.

        HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN US NORTHEAST
        https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

        For comparison, Biden’s BBB plan would be only $4.5 TRILLION for 10 years; 75% for the Sanders/Wyden social programs, 25% for energy/environment

        “BUILD BACK BETTER” WOULD COST $4.490 TRILLION OVER THE NEXT DECADE, IF PROVISIONS WERE MADE TO LAST 10 YEARS
        https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/build-back-better-would-cost-3-95-trillion-overt-the-next-decade

  2. COST SHIFTING IS THE NAME OF THE GAME REGARDING WIND AND SOLAR
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

    Regarding wind and solar, cost shifting is rarely mentioned, identified or quantified. Those costs, as c/kWh, could be quantified, but it is politically expedient, using various, often far-fetched reasons, to charge them to:

    – Directly to ratepayers, via electric rate schedules, and/or added taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills
    – Directly to taxpayers, such as carbon taxes, user fees and surcharges.
    – Directly to federal and state budgets and debts

    Per Economics 101, no cost ever disappears.

    Eventually, the various shifted wind and solar costs, plus direct and indirect wind and solar subsidies, would increase the prices of energy and of other goods and services.

    Efficiency and productivity improvements elsewhere in the energy sector, and other sectors of the economy, may partially, or completely, offset such increases.

    However, wind and solar subsidies would divert capital from other sectors of the economy, which likely would result in fewer improvements in efficiency and productivity in these sectors.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-demand-and-low-wind-and-solar-during-summer-in-new-england

    LIFECYCLE COST ANALYSIS OF EXISTING AND NE ELECTRICITY SOURCES

    This report uses publicly available data to estimate the average levelized cost of electricity from existing generation resources (LCOE-Existing), as compared to the levelized cost of electricity from new generation resources (LCOE-New) that might replace them.

    The additional information provided by LCOE-Existing presents a more complete picture of the generation choices available to the electric utility industry, policymakers, regulators and consumers.
    https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IER_LCOE2019Final-.pdf

    Existing coal-fired power plants can generate electricity at an average LCOE of $41 per megawatt-hour, whereas the LCOE of a new coal plant, operating at a similar duty cycle, would be $71 per MWh.

    Similarly, existing combined-cycle gas power plants (CCGTs) can generate electricity at an average LCOE of $36 per MWh, whereas the LCOE of a new CCGT gas plant would be $50 per MWh.

    Non-dispatchable wind and solar impose a cost on the dispatchable generators which are required to remain in service for peaking, filling in and balancing, 24/7/365, to ensure reliable electricity service.

    Non-dispatchable means the output of wind and solar depends on factors beyond our control (the wind blowing and the sun shining) and cannot be relied upon for peaking, filling in and balancing.

    Wind and solar increase the LCOE of dispatchable resources by reducing their utilization rates without reducing their fixed costs, resulting in a levelized fixed cost increase, i.e., higher c/kWh.

    This report estimates the “imposed cost” of wind generation at about $24 per MWh, or 2.4 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

    The CCGT plants compensate for the erratic outputs of wind and solar by inefficiently ramping up and down their outputs at part load, and inefficiently making more frequent starts and stops.

    All that decreases annual production of CCGT plants, adversely affects their economic viability, increases Btu/kWh and CO2/kWh, and increases wear and tear, all at no cost to the wind and solar multi-millionaires.

    This report estimates the “imposed cost” of wind generation at about $24 per MWh, or 2.4 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

    This report estimates the “imposed cost” of solar generation at about $21 per MWh, or 2.1 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

    As a result, existing coal ($41), CCGT gas ($36), nuclear ($33) and hydro ($38) are less than half the cost of new wind ($90) or new PV solar ($88.7), if imposed costs were included.

    NOTE: The imposed cost on ratepayers and taxpayers of various direct and indirect wind and solar subsidies are an entirely separate issue.

  3. HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN US NORTHEAST
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

    Any transition from fossil fuels to low-CO2 sources, such as wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass, could occur only when the low-CO2 sources are: 1) abundantly available everywhere, and 2) at low-cost, say 5 to 6 c/kWh, wholesale, and 3) as reliable as fossil fuels, 24/7/365, year after year.

    This article presents the all-in cost of wind, solar and battery systems in the US Northeast.
    Table 1 shows the all-in cost of wind and solar are much greater than reported by the Media, etc.

    Much of the cost is shifted from Owners of these systems to taxpayers and ratepayers, and added to government debts

    PART 1

    Cost Shifting from Owners to Ratepayers and Taxpayers

    The owning and operating cost of wind, solar and battery systems, c/kWh, is reduced by about 45%, due to subsidies. However, because no cost ever disappears, per Economics 101, the subsidy costs are “socialized”, i.e., added, in one way or another, onto:

    1) Rate bases of utilities, i.e., paid by ratepayers
    2) Taxpayers, by means of extra taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills and fuel bills
    3) Government budgets
    4) Government debt
    5) Prices of goods and services, other than electricity

    If the subsidies had to be paid by Owners of wind and solar systems, the contract prices paid to Owners would need to be:

    – At least 19.3 c/kWh, instead of 11 c/kWh, for large-scale solar
    – At least 15.5 c/kWh, instead of 9 c/kWh, for ridge line wind. See table 1 and URL
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

    Shifting Grid Costs

    Many small-scale solar systems and/or a few large-scale solar systems on a distribution grid would excessively disturb the grid, especially at midday. Battery systems could counteract those output variations.

    Wind and solar systems could not be connected to any grid without the peaking, filling-in and counteracting services of the CCGT plants, i.e., shutting down CCGT plants, and artificially diminishing/obstructing their gas supply, advocated by pro RE folks, would not be an option for decades, if ever, because of the high costs of site-specific, custom-designed, utility-grade, grid-scale battery systems.

    Costs not paid by wind/solar Owners:

    – The cost of extension/augmentation of electric grids to connect widely distributed wind and solar systems
    – The cost of services rendered by other generators, mostly CCGT plants, which counteract the variable, intermittent outputs of wind and solar, 24/7/365
    – The cost of battery systems to stabilize distribution grids, due to variations of the solar and wind system outputs

    Shifting Owning and Operating Costs

    The combined effect of cost shifting, determined behind closed doors, increases a project’s annual cash flow, i.e., “left-over-money”, to provide an ample profit for the RE system Owner.

    RE system Owners are happy, having the “ears” of friendly politicians, saving the world from climate change, and claiming: “See, my project is profitable and competitive”, while everyone else gets hosed.

    1) Grants from various sources, such as the VT Clean Energy Development Fund
    2) 26% federal investment tax credits, plus state FITs. Tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the taxes GMP pays on profits
    3) 100% depreciation over 5 years; the normal for utilities is 20 to 25 years. Write-offs reduce GMP taxable income
    4) Deductions of interest on borrowed money. Interest deductions reduce GMP taxable income.
    5) Various O&M payments are often waved, such as sales tax, fees, property tax, school tax, municipal tax, etc.
    6) RE system Owners sell their output at two to four times NE wholesale rates

  4. WIND AND SOLAR TO PROVIDE 30 PERCENT OF NEW ENGLAND ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY 2050
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide-50-percent-of-future-new-england

    Energy systems analysts of Denmark, Ireland, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, etc., have known for decades, if you have a significant percentage of (wind + solar) on your grid, you better have available:

    – An adequate capacity, MW, of other power plants to counteract any variations of (W+S), 24/7/365
    – High-capacity, MW, connections to nearby grids
    – An adequate capacity of energy storage, such as:

    1) Pumped hydro storage
    2) Hydro plants with reservoir storage
    3) Grid-scale battery systems

    The more presence of variable (W+S) on the NE grid, the more the other generators have to vary their outputs, which causes these other generators to be less efficient (more wear and tear, more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh).
    Owners in European countries with much wind and solar on the grids get compensated for their losses.
    Those compensations are charged to the general public, not to the Owners of wind and solar systems, as part of the political (subsidy + cost shifting) regimen, to make wind and solar appear price-competitive versus fossil fuels.

    RE folks often advocate:

    1) Electricity must be 100% renewable, or zero carbon, or carbon-neutral by 2050
    2) Getting rid of the remaining nuclear plants
    3) Getting rid of natural gas, coal, and oil plants
    4) More biomass burning

    About This Article

    This article has four parts and an Appendix

    Part 1 provides an introduction to miscellaneous energy topics, and consumption of world energy quantities
    Part 2 provides an introduction to existing NE grid conditions
    Part 3 provides an introduction to daily NE grid load shaping, to deal with heat pumps and EVs in 2030
    Part 4 provides the future NE grid conditions with 20% wind and 10% solar in 2050

    The Appendix shows various energy topics, such as:

    – Turnkey Capital Costs of Grid-scale Battery Systems
    – Grid-scale Battery System Operating Cost in New England
    – Energy Losses of Battery Systems
    – “All-in” Electricity Cost of Wind and Solar in New England

  5. PEOPLE!!
    They are setting you up for the next disaster: RECYCLING THESE THINGS>!!

    It took a loan to get them, it’s going to take a loan to get rid of them..
    And what damage are they doing to the soils and ground water as they degrade?

    SEE this???
    I see the table being set for what is next..

  6. Webster’s dictionary new definition of clueless:

    Clueless = Jennifer Granholm

    The new definition of clueless used in a sentence:

    Joe Biden was totally Jennifer Granholm when asked to explain his plan to fight inflation.

    Sorry folks, this is simply where this country’s leadership is at this moment……Totally Jennifer Granholm.

    • Peter,

      She is trying to outdo the IDIOT managing the southern border, or the Blinking idiot managing foreign affairs

      She likely knows solar is just a VERY EXPENSIVE, VARIABLE, MIDDAY EVENT, not existing most other hours of the day, especially on overcast, snowy and winter days.

      Solar and wind could not even exist on the grid, without the OTHER GENERATORS SERVING AS A CRUTCH

  7. Old Joe’s energy secretary must be smokin’ some really good weed. “Solar panels and wind farms will be the key to world peace” said no one ever. Until now.

  8. I went by a solar farm yesterday in which all the panels were covered with snow and it was an overcast day, I could not believe how at peace I felt knowing the small amount of electricity was being produced!

  9. Her boss Brandon says may things some of which are just plain false and others outright lies and none of which are grounded in reality. One thing for sure is she spouts the greenie Leftard line, green energy equeals wold peace, flying unicorns and rain bows.

  10. Well, gee, California, with all its sun still has brown outs, so how would the northern States survive in winter with solar? Not possible, but to the ‘dreamers’ that doesn’t matter! And wind is fine when the wind blows. What happens when those humongous blades are no longer serviceable? They can’t be recycled. And what fuels the service stations for all the EVs? FOSSIL FUELS! Can’t live without them!

    • Kathy, You forgot unicorn farts and pixie dust, those will get us through. Soon we will have those beanie hats with propellers to charge our cell phones and they will sew in a tiny solar panel for when we’re standing still. Apple will have them made in China and they will sell for $2,000.00.

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