“Renewable” electrical energy sources are not even remotely equivalent to conventional energy sources, and this is perhaps the most important reality of energy to understand.
Green lobbyists go to great lengths to disguise this. Everything they propagate is based on an “equivalency” between “renewables” and conventional power sources that does not exist in the real world. Even generally objective sources, like the Energy Information Administration (EIA), seriously err when they show levelized cost charts that have wind energy and nuclear power in contiguous columns.
The first problem encountered is the term “renewables.” This word is treated like it is a scientific definition and a homogeneous group of energy sources. This is lobbyist sleight of hand, as neither is true. The definition is very subjective, and there are extraordinary differences between various “renewables.” (See here and here.)
The next hurdle is getting our heads around the fundamental difference between a “renewable” like wind energy, and nuclear power. Let’s look at two types of transportation (a parallel energy sector), using concepts we are all familiar with.
Take a business that repeatedly needs to get 50,000 pounds of goods from New York City to Denver in two days, and cost is quite important. (In the electricity business, this translates to satisfying a demand (load) through dispatchable energy, reliably and economically.)
So who do we subcontract this job to? A good option is to put this merchandise on an 18-wheeler and send it on its way. Will it always get there 100% of the time without fail? No, flukes do happen. However, if this experiment was repeated 100 times, the truck would arrive well over 90% of the time, on schedule and within budget. This is equivalent to using a conventional energy source, like nuclear power.
Now let’s introduce green into the equation, arbitrarily adding the requirement that no fossil fuel can be used: our options are now severely restricted. The parallel choice to using wind energy is to send the merchandise with golf carts (battery powered so no fossil fuel will be consumed during transport). How many golf carts will it take to dependably replicate the performance of one Mack truck?