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Renewables – the certain route to national economic suicide

Monday-Wednesday blog

I attach below a short article I’ve just written to be translated into Korean for a South Korean newspaper. I know I’ve dealt with this subject several times before. But I’m back on it again as I think it’s sort of important. While getting the figures for this piece, I noiticed that it doesn’t matter what mix of energy sources a country uses for its non-renewable energy production because renewables are so expensive compared to fossil fuels that there is an extremely good correlation between a country’s level of renewable energy production and its energy costs – the higher the level of renewables, the higher the energy costs for homes and businesses.

The fact that I seem to be almost the only person who has noticed this could be attributed to one of two possibilities:

  • either I am one of the most brilliant geniuses our once great country has produced
  • or our experts and rulers know how disastrously-expensive renewables are but they don’t want to tell us in case this ‘frightens the horses’ and turns people against the miserable, cold, restricted Net Zero future the elites have planned for us

The second of these two options seems to me to be the most likely.

Anyway, here’s the article:

Bankrupting South Korea’s homes and businesses?

by David Craig

In May 2023 South Korea raised electricity prices by 5.3% to partly reflect increased generation costs, a move delayed more than a month because of the likely effect on already high inflation and the cost of living.

It was the second increase in power prices that year after a sharper 9.5% hike that took effect at the beginning of the year. The price adjustment had been due on April 1 but was delayed after a public outcry about the increased cost of living. Energy Minister Lee Chang-yang started his announcement on the decision by saying he was “heavy-hearted about the burden and concern coming from the price increases”. But if South Koreans are worried about the 2023 rises in electricity costs, I have news for them, these rises are nothing compared to what is coming.

The quote: “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” has been attributed to many people, from the Nobel prize-winning Quantum physicist Niels Bohr to legendary American baseball player (and amateur philosopher) Yogi Berra. However, I’m ready to make a prediction about the future which I believe is easy to make. I predict that, as South Korea moves to cut its CO2 emissions under its obligations to achieve Net Zero by 2050, there will be eye-watering increases in the prices South Korean homes and businesses will have to pay for their electricity.

Currently around 6.7% of South Korea’s electricity comes from renewables – mainly wind and solar. The South Korean government plans to increase the share of renewables to 21.6% by 2030 and further to 30.6% by 2036. The more renewables a country uses, the higher its electricity costs tend to be. There is a simple reason for this. With renewables, you’re almost paying twice for your energy. You have to pay once to set up the wind and solar farms and then you have to pay again for backup (usually gas) which can be switched on at short notice when the wind is either too weak or too strong for wind turbines to function and for when the sun doesn’t shine.

But the big question is: by how much will South Korea’s electricity costs rise? According to an international comparison of household energy prices conducted by the World Population Review in 2023, in South Korea, with 6.7% renewables, electricity costs around US $0.09 per kilowatt hour (kWh). This is similar to Taiwan which has about 6.5% renewables and household electricity costs of also $0.09 per kWh.

Now we need to look at electricity costs in developed countries which have levels of renewables at around South Korea’s 2030 target of 21.6% and 2036 target of 30.6%. Around 21.1% of Japan’s power comes from renewables and households there pay $0.25 per kWh. In the US renewables provide 23% of electricity and household electricity cost is $0.18 per kWh. So this suggests that if South Korea hits its 2030 target of 21.6% renewables, its household electricity costs will at least double to the US’s level of $0.18 or even go higher towards Japan’s level of $0.25. The exact figure will depend on what other sources of energy South Korea develops.

If we look at developed countries which are around the South Korean 2036 target of 30.6% renewables, the two closest countries are Australia at 26.7% and Netherlands at 33.1%. Household electricity costs in Australia are $0.22 per kWh and in the Netherlands $0.34 per kWh. This indicates that South Korea’s household electricity costs by 2036 will probably be somewhere around $0.28 per kWh – three times their current level.

If the South Korean government does move ahead with its Net Zero plans, soon poorer families might have to make the difficult choice in the winter between heating and eating. As for South Korean companies, they’re going to find that increasing energy prices make it ever more difficult to remain competitive.

Hopefully, while planning its huge increase in renewables, the South Korean government has thought about the effect on electricity prices and has remembered to inform its citizens and South Korean businesses that their electricity costs could well double by 2030 and treble by 2036.

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