A new report out of the World Economic Forum in Davos suggests that sub-optimal deployment of renewable energy has cost Europe a whopping $100 billion. Reuters reports:
[The report] said that even though Spain gets about 65 percent more solar energy than Germany (1750 kilowatt-hours per square meter/year compared to 1050 kWh/m2 for Germany), Germany has installed about 600 percent more solar photovoltaic capacity (33 gigawatts compared to 5 GW).
But while Spain has less wind than northern European countries, it has still installed 23 GW of wind power capacity.
“Such sub-optimal deployment of resources is estimated to have cost the EU approximately $100 billion more than if each country in the EU had invested in the most efficient capacity given its renewable resources,” the WEF report said.
The benefits of capitalizing on comparative advantages is one of the first things you learn in Econ 101, but in their haste to install green energy resources at any cost, Europe’s policymakers have deployed their beloved solar panels and wind turbines inefficiently. It simply doesn’t make sense to blanket one’s countryside with solar panels if the sun rarely shines, or to erect row upon row of wind turbines in the doldrums.
Renewables already struggle to compete with fossil fuels on cost before subsidies are factored in; siting them poorly is a needless handicap to an already struggling energy resource. That mistakes this obvious and this foolish should play such a prominent role in Europe’s green policies rather conclusively demonstrates that greens as a group just aren’t any good at this ‘policy’ business. People who screw up this badly on a relatively simple assignment simply cannot be trusted with the complex policy interventions and long term planning that any serious effort to create a sustainable economy will require.
Green incompetence is one of the greatest threats to the future of our planet; sadly, green incompetence is a theme the mainstream press studiously ignores in the mistaken belief that to expose green idiocy is a bad thing.
They are wrong: green dogmatism, lackwit policy planning and corruption (special interests using ‘green’ hype to push worthless boondoggles like ethanol and solar plants in the shade) are among the greatest of the dangers humanity faces at a critical time. Until the green movement has a leadership worthy of the name, and until the press learns to hold green halfwits and poseurs to rigorous standards, there is precious little chance that the world will move forward with a sustainable climate agenda.