Gas/Oil Prices Update

I think it would be interesting to see the cost of a wind farm alongside its annual output, vs the cost of solar alongside its output, vs the cost of a coal plant, natural gas well, etc vs their respective outputs. Every time I look online, all I can really find are the percentages of each that power the grid, which is really low for renewables. Some argue that we haven’t invested in renewables heavily enough, and that’s the reason for the low output. Could be. Or are those things even viable for replacing fossil fuels on the grid? Would be nice to know for certain without a lot of cheering from one side and naysaying on the other.

Read an article recently claiming carbon zero by proposed date was basically not attainable - it laid out how much solar, windfarms, etc would have to be produced annually vs how many were produced in a record year to theoretically achieve it.

Probably possible in localized areas, a state will probably claim to be carbon neutral in the not too distant future, but world-wide, that’s a much tougher problem.

Right. I’d like to see a state do it. Or a country. Before I’m taxed to pay for a bunch of infrastructure that may or may not be feasible. I tend to think if solar and/or wind were viable alternatives on their own, we’d already be doing it full scale, or at least at a lot higher rate than we are at this point.

I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to be truly “energy independent” (not the exports are greater than imports definition, but the we literally can stand on our own definition). If solar and wind plus our own oil production could achieve that, I think it would be great, climate change aside. I’d just like to see that cost vs energy produced factor. I tend to think igniting a fossil fuel is going to produce a lot more energy for less investment, unfortunately.

Perhaps they deliberately invested in solar and wind companies that produced over priced or inefficient and unreliable products that will have high maintenance costs and fail in a decade or two.

Yep, they’re idiots. Or maybe they aren’t, and see the writing on the wall.

They are buying power from providers just like the rest of us. They don’t have their own power plants.

Ah NO. As with all large companies they diversify. It’s only smart for ExxonMobil to invest in many other businesses. Solar and Wind farms can also be very lucrative. Hedge fund managers (who are extremely frugal with their money and only look for large returns) are investing BILLIONS and BILLIONS every year in Solar, Wind and battery research.

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But, it’s not just Hedge Fund managers. A couple of years ago, the Vanguard Energy Fund–which was traditionally concentrated solely in fossil fuels–began to diversify into solar and wind power.


Life cycle costs are more accurate. The costs you ask for only look at one aspect. Life cycle costing would look at the cost to obtain the fuel, set up the power facilities, run the power facilities, and remove them when they are no longer useful. Other costs like the toll to population health are not commonly assessed, but would be with life cycle costing. Climate change due to power generation is another issue that has a cost and could be added in if anyone could figure it out. It’s complicated.

Here’s plenty of info on costs. Wind looks pretty cheap:
Projected Costs of Generating Electricity 2020 – Analysis - IEA

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Isn’t the least expensive electricity in areas with a lot of hydro-electric power? Niagra Falls, that big dam on the Columbia river in Oregon, etc?

Yeah, take all that out and it’s much less complicated. Just power produced per dollar spent annually (or over the life) is all I’d like to see.

Hydro and nuclear look cheapest, if I’m reading the first graph right on my phone. Followed closely by the fossil fuels. Which is about what I’d expect, really.

It’s difficult to compare the prices. Hydro is just an add-on to the dam. The dam is very expensive to construct, but is already needed to control floods and to provide water. So it could be argued that most of the price of constructing the dam should be excluded from the electricity price. Nuclear on the other hand, the cost of the plant has to be accounted for.

Then there’s accounting for the cost of potential accidents. The dam could fail, causing billions of dollars of damage downstream. But it could be argued that the dam wasn’t for electricity primarily, so the dam-failure damage shouldn’t be part of the price of the electricity. Harder to make that same argument for damaged caused by a nuclear plant failure.

There are hundreds of pages of private sector analysis available if you look.

Just curious, how much does electricity cost the consumer in Buffalo NY (where electricity presumably mainly comes from Niagra Falls) vs an area that gets its electricity mostly from a Nuclear Power plant?

That’s misleading. Don’t you want the whole truth to make an informed decision?

There aren’t any more rivers to dam up in the USA. The Western drought has been so bad for so long that some dams like Hoover are in danger of losing the ability to produce power. One month ago power production was down 33% from full power capability. If you aren’t bummed out enough, read this:

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Buffalo NY pays 19.74 cents a kWhr. Higher than the US average.

I pay 12.4 a kWhr in Florida. No hydro here!

Ohio was 10.5 but that was 8 years ago. Likely higher now.

I feel like it could be misleading to factor in things such as “toll to population health”and “environmental impact on climate change”, to be honest, as those can be (rather those are going to be, in my opinion) somewhat subjective and invite biases. This: “the cost to obtain the fuel, set up the power facilities, run the power facilities, and remove them when they are no longer useful” I intended to be factored in as a cost, though. Just a simple total dollars invested vs total power produced analysis.

The “legacy” expenses of nuclear plants when the old fuel has to be properly disposed-of can be huge.