Climate Advocacy: Incompetence Versus Intentional Fraud — Lazard Edition


Francis Menton

My last post, on December 14, asked readers, when considering climate advocacy journalism and reports promoting wind- or solar-generated energy, to ask themselves whether the author is merely incompetent versus perhaps committing intentional fraud. The post focused on a particular piece that had been published in November in, byline Lauren Crosby Medlicott. In that piece, Ms. Medlicott had egregiously cherrypicked some operating data from the Spanish El Hierro Island wind/storage electricity system to make it appear that that system is a success, when in fact it is a disastrous failure. Could this really have been mere incompetence on her part, or was Ms. Medlicott intentionally seeking to deceive her readers?

Ms. Medlicott’s piece was so appalling that I was unable just to let it pass. On the other hand, to be honest, Ms. Medlicott is a relatively small fish in the climate advocacy game. Are the larger fish any more honest?

Among the big players in this game, one that stands out is the investment bank Lazard. As an investment bank, Lazard makes its money — in its case quite big money — by causing deals to happen between investors and project developers. Investment banks often promote themselves by issuing reports on conditions for investment in various economic sectors. In Lazard’s case, back around 2008, they decided to become the gurus of green energy investing by issuing annual reports on what they call the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE. They have continued to issue the LCOE reports annually since then, so I’m gathering that this must be quite a lucrative business. Here is a link for the most recent Lazard LCOE Report, which came out earlier this year in April 2023.

The Lazard LCOE Reports are famous for their repeated conclusion that wind turbines and solar panels have become the cheapest sources for generation of electricity. When you read someone in climate advocacy journalism reciting that talking point, most often the source of the point is one of these Lazard reports. In a post back in March 2019, title “Why Do Renewable Energy Sources Need Government Subsidies?,” I put together a sample list of half a dozen outlets citing Lazard LCOE studies for the proposition that wind and solar are the cheapest source of electricity. Those sources included, for example, the Financial Times, CBS News, Australia’s governmental research arm CSIRO, Axios, Think Progress, and others.

For the first decade or so of its LCOE reports, Lazard calculated the cost of energy from wind and solar without including any cost at all for the backup or storage needed to turn those sources into a fully-functioning 24/7/365 electrical grid. But somewhere in there Lazard starting adding to its reports some additional pages on what they call the Levelized Cost of Storage, or LCOS. Remarkably, after adding in the cost of storage, Lazard still seems to be coming to the conclusion that wind and solar generation are usually cheaper than generation from fossil fuels, or at the very least they are competitive. Could this possibly be right?

The Lazard 2023 LCOE Report is presented almost entirely in the form of charts and graphs. There is very little text, and you will struggle to try to figure out what assumptions underlie the conclusions. (From the website Watt-Logic, commenting on the 2023 Lazard LCOE report, and particularly on Lazard’s calculation of the cost of “firming” intermittent renewable generation with storage: “It’s actually quite hard to work out what’s going on here.”; from Andy May at Watts Up With That, December 11, “[T]hey bury critical details in the fine print and do not define their terms.”)

With that introduction, here is the key chart from the 2023 Lazard LCOE Report giving figures for cost of wind and solar power with “firming,” supposedly compared to the cost of generating electricity from natural gas “CT” or natural gas “combined cycle.”

By all means take your time to try to digest all of that. If you go to the Lazard Report for assistance, you will not find any useful text beyond what is there in the footnotes at the bottom of the chart. I read the chart as putting the “levelized cost” of “firming” intermittent wind and solar generation at as little as $23/MWh in the Midwest, up to a maximum of $98/MWh in California. Add this cost of “firming” to the “unsubsidized” cost of wind and solar generation, and you get a total for “firmed” power from wind and solar that is mostly within the range (and often toward the lower end) of costs for generation from combined cycle natural gas plants, and at most toward the low end of the range of costs for generation from natural gas “peaker” plants. In other words, while wind and solar are not proven to always be “the cheapest” after including the costs of “firming,” they are generally toward the cheaper end of the range of costs from natural gas generation, and certainly not out of the range of affordability.

But wait a minute. Where did they get these costs of “firming”? These costs appear ridiculously low compared to amounts that I find in my December 2022 energy storage Report. Study those fine print footnotes all you want, and I do not think you are going to find the answer. Can we find anything anywhere else in this Lazard document to help us understand the difference?

After spending some time trying to figure this out, the best I come up with is this chart from page 17 of the Lazard LCOE Report:

This appears to be the set of assumptions they apply for how energy storage will be used to “firm” the intermittent wind and solar generation. Let’s pluck a few key numbers out of this chart:

  • In the column headed “Storage Duration (Hours),” we find a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 4. Four hours of duration just happens to be the norm for the capability of today’s most cost-effective battery storage technology, lithium ion batteries. Unfortunately, the studies that I feature in my energy storage Report calculate that the number of hours duration of storage needed to fully “firm” a system using only wind and solar generation would be at least one month (720 hours), and potentially two to three months (1440 to 2160 hours). Lazard would seem to be off by a factor of somewhere between 180 and 540 of what would be needed.
  • Then there is a column headed “90% DOD Cycles/Day.” In each case the entry is “1.” I interpret this to mean that whatever battery we are dealing with here is assumed to have one full charge/discharge cycle per day. The next column tells us they are assuming 350 days per year, so therefore they are assuming that the batteries cycle 350 times per year. So the batteries can spread their costs over 350 cycles per year, or 7000 cycles in 20 years. Unfortunately, as shown in my energy storage Report, due to seasonal patterns of the wind and sun, much of the battery storage capacity needed to “firm” a wind/solar generation system will only go through one full charge and discharge cycle per year. Thus, for this part of the storage capacity, Lazard would appear to be understating the cost of the storage by a factor of 350.

Am I maybe interpreting this chart incorrectly? Perhaps. The Lazard people certainly don’t make it easy to figure out their assumptions. But the two issues that I have identified would be about right in their effects to explain the differences between the costs produced by Lazard, and the costs that I estimated, where the difference is about one to two orders of magnitude (that is, a factor of between 10 and 100).

Now, consider the question of whether cost figures in the Lazard Report are the result of rank incompetence versus intentional deception. Could the people at Lazard who produce all these fancy and complex charts and graphs really not know that 4 hour duration batteries cycling once per day are not going to come close to solving the intermittency problems of wind and solar generation? Or do they really know that, and they are just hoping to sell a few hundreds of billions of dollars worth of wind turbines and solar panels before the stupid politicians and investors figure out the scam?

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December 18, 2023 10:57 pm

Even with adequate storage capacity, whatever that is, there are other significant challenges to wind and solar supplying all electric power needs. Line frequence, voltage, and VAR requirements are not intrinsically supplied by wind or solar. The costs of assuring stability for these factors has to be significant yet I don’t recall any articles addressing those costs even though the needs are occasionally acknowledged. Who is studying those costs?

Rapid charging and discharging of batteries is often claimed to be destructive of battery lifetime. A full cycle every day seems likely to fall into that category. If true, batteries used as imagined in the Lazard report may well need to be replaced every year, if not more frequently.

Reply to  AndyHce
December 18, 2023 10:59 pm

Replaced frequently, quite aside from the fact that neither wind nor solar are reliable enough to assure the batteries could always be recharged within a week (or longer period).

Peta of Newark
Reply to  AndyHce
December 19, 2023 12:23 am

THE significant thing to appreciate about batteries is that they are = Living Things.
Maybe not sentient but every part of their operation they share with critters/plants/bacteria

Treat them like shit and they will die. Prematurely.
Treat them with care & respect and they will be faithful, hard-working and long-lasting/durable.
NB for climate scientists: Strangely enough, people are also = Living Things

Tom Johnson
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 19, 2023 5:58 am

As I read the Page 17 Lazard report shown in the article, they describe the worst-case battery degradation to be 2.6 % per year. That would give them a lifetime of about 40 years. Given that the batteries would cycle 100% per day for solar power, that would mean they could survive about 14,000 complete cycles before losing functionality. No wonder Lazard is a couple of orders of magnitude off.

My experience with rechargeable batteries is that they will last a very long time, as long as you don’t use them much. This clearly violates that experience.

Reply to  Tom Johnson
December 19, 2023 11:12 am

ANother factor is that as batteries age, the lose storage capacity. A battery that is half way through it’s usable lifespan, whatever that turns out to be, will have less capacity than a battery that is brand new.
This means that as they age, new batteries will have to be added to your battery farm in order to compensate for this loss of capacity. Once again, adding more to the cost.
Another factor is that like all manufactured items, a certain percentage of them will die early. Often within weeks or months. Those batteries, or whatever is left of them, will also have to be replaced.

Reply to  Tom Johnson
December 19, 2023 11:13 am

Did they account for the fact that around 10% of your energy is going to be lost in charging and discharging those batteries? That means your wind/solar plants are going to have to be larger to make up for those losses.

Reply to  MarkW
December 19, 2023 11:15 am

When will we get edit back? Whine, whine, whine.

Another point, the batteries can’t get too hot or too cold, so you have to add in the both the costs of providing this environmental conditioning, but also subtract the energy needed to provide it from the energy that will be available for consumers to use.

Steve Case
Reply to  AndyHce
December 19, 2023 1:22 am

“Even with adequate storage capacity, whatever that is, there are other significant challenges to wind and solar supplying all electric power needs”

All electric power needs includes charging the batteries once a day. So unless that’s actually figured in – which I wonder if it is or not – the claims for the windmills to provide 24 7 365 power for communities requires twice the nameplate output to do the job.

The windmills can’t power the community while they are charging the batteries.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Steve Case
December 19, 2023 9:24 am

Times four or five again – actual generation is only a fraction of “nameplate.”

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Steve Case
December 20, 2023 9:35 pm

The windmills can’t power the community while they are charging the batteries.

They also can’t power the community while they are powering all of the equipment, factories, processes, transportation, etc. etc. etc. required to make another windmill to replace it when it wears out.

I’d really like to see an end-to-end lifecycle demonstration of a wind turbine providing all of the energy required to replace itself. Not an analysis. Not a patchwork of measurements of how much energy each step takes. An actual end-to-end demonstration, with no energy from any other source introduced at any step of the way. I don’t know what the outcome would be. Neither does anyone else. The difference between me and everyone else is that I’m not willing to bet the continued existence of industrial civilization on something that has never been demonstrated.

Steve Case
December 19, 2023 1:10 am

Climate Advocacy: Incompetence Versus Intentional Fraud — Lazard Edition


     Never attribute to incompetence & stupidity,
    that which is adequately explained by malice.

See my post from three days ago here

See General Custer’s post from three days ago here it’s 400 words well worth reading again.

Reply to  Steve Case
December 19, 2023 6:11 am

It’s two. It’s two. It’s two scams in one.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 19, 2023 1:52 am

Lazard Corp makes their money as investment bankers, and a few bucks consulting. We shouldn’t fault them for their heavy thumb on the LCOE scale for investment opportunities where the product is mandated and that can sustain earnings at negative prices because of tax credits and curtailment payments, plus much more. That’s good marketing.

The problem is the “less than wise” critical thinking challenged voters who can’t see through the facade and the corrupt politicians who use the Lazard LCOE tables to justify their support for environmentally and economy destroying wind and solar.

The reason that Lazard uses a maximum of 4 hours storage is (1) no one will ever again try to store more than 4 hours because doing so is off the chart too expensive (California tried 10 hours for a Project with the expected result), and (2) under certain circumstances there is a market for battery storing electrons from 10AM to 2PM for the 5PM to 9PM peak load.

Here’s the key statements buried in the Lazard graphs and footnotes: (Note especially this phrase below, “a 15% ELCC provides 0.15 MW of capacity contribution and would need to be supplemented with 0.85 MW of additional firm capacity)”

Direct comparisons to “competing” renewable energy generation technologies must take into account issues such as dispatch characteristics (e.g., baseload and/or dispatchable intermediate capacity vs. peaking or intermittent technologies).

The incremental cost to firm (1) intermittent resources varies regionally, depending on the current effective load carrying capability (“ELCC”)(2)

(1)   (2) ELCC is an indicator of the reliability contribution of different resources to the electricity grid. The ELCC of a generation resource is based on its contribution to meeting peak electricity demand. For example,
(2)  a 1 MW wind resource with a 15% ELCC provides 0.15 MW of capacity contribution and would need to be supplemented with 0.85 MW of additional firm capacity in order to represent the addition of 1 MW of firm system capacity. (3) LCOE values represent the midpoint of Lazard’s LCOE v16.0 cost inputs for each technology adjusted for a regional capacity factor to demonstrate the regional differences in both project and firming costs. (4) For PV + Storage cases, the effective ELCC value is represented. CAISO and PJM assess ELCC values separately for the PV and storage components of a system. Storage ELCC value is provided only for the capacity that can be charged directly by the accompanying resource up to the energy required for a 4 hour discharge during peak load. Any capacity available in excess of the 4 hour maximum discharge is attributed to the system at the solar ELCC.

Richard Page
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 19, 2023 7:42 am

I think it is expressly for a solar system – assuming that solar will cover daytime needs then 4 hours evening use and charging the next day. Which is clear PollyAnna thinking at best, lying through their teeth at worst. Lazard are only interested in promoting investment opportunities in the best possible light, even if they have to lie to do so.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Richard Page
December 19, 2023 5:28 pm

Richard, agree, but Lazard footnotes contain enough disclaimers to protect them from lawsuits. Most commenters here on WUWT fail to understand that grid scale battery storage beyond 4 hours is forever too expensive. The enclosure, switchgear, overcurrent protection, fire suppression, and much more costs $2000/kwh capacity installation cost without the battery, if the batteries were free battery storage would still be 10x too expensive. End of discussion.

When storage is reported in the media it’s for an hour or so to bring a natural gas generator up to speed, or for frequency control, or other grid stability issue. Not storage for filling gaps that weather dependent electricity sources will always be dependent on from conventional sources. BTW connecting all the electric grids in the world won’t solve the w gap problem. None of this is complicated. What was a hoax five years ago has now devolved into fraud IMHO.

Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 20, 2023 11:17 am

Who in the world gave you a downvote!? Unless someone here is insulted that you think they don’t know grid scale storage is too expensive – but to be fair I’ve never seen any commentor say “storage is cheap” or even something vaguely similar.

You are right that ‘storage’ will only ever be a huge, central UPS to bridge the gap while the gas turbines heat up or a turbine spins up to speed at a dam.

It’s insane that politicos all over the developed world are interfering with gas turbine installation – they are shooting their green ideas in the proverbial foot because the gas turbines are the only thing that can help mask the full cost of ruinable energy like wind and solar.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 20, 2023 12:23 pm

Oops, typo, $200/kwh without batteries, $500/kwh with batteries, bad enough!

Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 20, 2023 11:08 am

Can’t fault them for lying?? Investment houses and financial planners, etc., can’t lie in their advertising or prospectuses – it’s a crime, even if just exaggerating returns. LCOE is just plain lying, not exaggerating.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  PCman999
December 20, 2023 12:35 pm

PC, I agree with your attitude, I would like to see Lazard held accountable for the damage they are doing. A huge problem in our culture is willfully misleading statements. As I reported, Lazard has enough CYA in their footnotes to protect them for fraud, not lying, just less than being fully honest, “spin”. Ethics isn’t part of a woke culture,

December 19, 2023 2:06 am

If Lazards are lending money to wind farm developers based on their belief in these LCOE figures, I’d advise anyone holding Lazard shares to sell them as soon as possible!

Richard Page
Reply to  atticman
December 19, 2023 7:43 am

Anyone who invests in windfarms deserve everything they get.

Reply to  Sommer
December 20, 2023 11:21 am

The stupidity with woke governments like Trudeau’s knows no bounds – not only will our electricity bills spiral out of control with ever increasing woke regulations, but now our pensions are at risk!

December 19, 2023 2:08 am

If there is money to be made, or political power to be gained, leftists will deceive or deliberately lie to get that money and/or power.

And 10% for The Big Guy, the most corrupt president in American history … which does not bother his leftist supporters at all.

They seek power by whatever means necessary. Their goal is to tell everyone how to live. Such as demanding unreliable energy. Based on the Liars Cost of Energy from the lizards at Lazard.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 20, 2023 12:38 pm

Richard, spot on! I’ll be passing along your closing sentence, nice.

December 19, 2023 2:15 am

Just have a look at the UK last month.

On 15 Nov at 23.00 generation fell to 1.98GW. It stayed low until it rose to 4.49GW on Nov 17 at 2100. Twice during this period it fell below 0.5GW for a few hours. This was from an installed base of 26GW of wind. This was a fairly short calm as these things go – they happen tens of times a year and mostly last for a couple of days, but a few times a year they will last over a week, and there are occasional season long calm periods if you go back decades.

The Royal Society estimate what it would take to meet these calms, including the seasonal ones.

“The demand for electricity in Great Britain in
2050 is taken to be 570 TWh/year in this
briefing, roughly twice current annual demand.
Modelling finds that meeting this demand
cost-effectively with wind and solar supply
supported only by hydrogen storage (and some
batteries) would require a supply of between
740 TWh/year and 800 TWh/year and
correspondingly, a storage capacity (including
contingency) ranging from around 123 TWh
capable of delivering 85 TWh/year (with 740
TWh/year supply), to 76 TWh capable of
delivering 76 TWh/year (with 800 TWh/year

Royal Society
Large-scale electricity storage

They are assuming roughly a doubling of present demand, which varies from 25-45GW, so say this is to meet peak demand of 100GW, with a range of 50-100GW.

A few hours of storage will not cut it, and the attempt to get to Net Zero generation without adequate storage will basically be to close down a usable electricity supply. You will have repeated nationwide total outages. Its impossible to run a grid when supply varies as shown on gridwatch, and its impossible to run a business on it.

Is it even possible to build this much storage? 100TWh+? You can get what people are actually doing at the moment from

A couple of GWh in plan is front page news. Most are measured in MWh. The idea that you can run a country with the Lazard levels of storage is simply ridiculous.

Mark BLR
Reply to  michel
December 19, 2023 4:06 am

On 15 Nov at 23.00 generation fell to 1.98GW. It stayed low until it rose to 4.49GW on Nov 17 at 2100.

This caught my eye at the time as well, which resulted in me generating the following graph..

Note that Gridwatch only copies the “metered” set of wind turbines on and around the island of Great Britain.

I use the BM Reports set of “Metered Wind” data (a regular 30-minute resolution version of Gridwatch’s very irregular 5-minute dataset), and add in the ESO “Embedded Wind” (and “Embedded Solar”, copied from the University of Sheffield) numbers, which they calculate as having 6.5 GW of the theoretical 18.5 GW of “Total Wind” capacity.

All the activists hysterically shrieking that “We have to stop burning all fossil-fuels tomorrow ! ! !” need to calm down and explain exactly what “we” are supposed to replace the “CCGT” and “Coal” contributions with the next time there’s a 2-day (or longer) “wind drought”.

Reply to  Mark BLR
December 19, 2023 5:05 am

Why not also compare to DEMAND? That will show how large is the deficit. It will also show how much of DEMAND supply is off shored.

Mark BLR
Reply to  corev
December 19, 2023 9:27 am

Why not also compare to DEMAND? … show how much of DEMAND supply is off shored.

Your wish is my command 😉

The attached graph shows that for most of the selected 7-day period “CCGT” was used by ESO (the GB grid operator) as the main “demand follower” component.

On the 18th and 19th, however, they decided for some reason(s) to switch the aggregate “ICT Sum” (of the undersea inter-connectors to/from Ireland, continental Europe, and Norway) from importing to exporting mode so as to “follow” the demand dips instead.

On those days they were using the combined ICTs in the same way as a “very big rechargeable battery”.

As Mr. Spock would have put it, “Fascinating …”.

Mark BLR
Reply to  michel
December 19, 2023 4:40 am

A few hours of storage will not cut it …

I recently checked the minimum and maximum values of the total energy supplied each day (in GWh) by the “Solar (PV)” contribution to the GB grid for the last 13 months, and came up with the following graph to start investigating the various options for summarising that energy as a single “daily average (/ peak ?)” number.

How much “storage” will be required to “firm up” the GB grid’s “Solar” contribution on an annual basis ?

Note that the (NH) winter solstice this year is at the end of this week (Thursday or Friday, depending on your time zone). No day this December has fallen below 1.15 GWh for the GB grid, but it may still do so some time in the next 10 days or so.

NB : Before responding to this post, make sure you double-check the different scales on the two Y-axes first …
_ _ _ _ _

PS : This specific issue is still very much WIP (Work In Progress) for me. [ Polite ! ] Suggestions for improvements on how to simplify and/or clarify it would be appreciated.

Reply to  Mark BLR
December 19, 2023 12:46 pm

Its a bit complicated to assess because you are dealing both with the timing of the demand and of the wind production, but also at the same time the question is whether you’ve picked an optimum wind installation.

Maybe this would be a way. Get the wind production series csv from BMreports:

Unfortunately it needs to be very short time intervals, so there will be a huge lot of observations. Then, we know the installed base is 28GW, on- and off-shore. So calculate the capacity factor for each time interval.

Then for the same period get the total demand observations.

Now you can take varying amounts of wind, and see what they would have generated in the real world. I am imagining this as a series of Excel or Libre Office columns, but it would probably best to go at it with a real programming language. You might exceed the permitted number of rows! Showing my age, but in the dim distant past AWK was what one would have reached for…. I guess now maybe it would be Perl? Or Python perhaps? Or maybe people use R?

Anyway, we can now say that with 100GW (or any other value) of wind installed we’d have generated certain outputs by very small time intervals.

Now take the difference between demand for those time intervals and what would have been generated at a given total installed parc of wind. Do a running cumulative total and it will show how much storage capacity you would need to get through it. This way you would deal with the reasonable objection that you could have reduced storage requirements by building more wind. Maybe, but this way you’d be able to quantify both of them and see whether building more helps..

I haven’t worked through the Royal Society report in detail, but I think this is something like what they did. They went back decades however, and found that the last ten years are not an adequate guide. Every couple of decades you have a real several month calm, so that has to be figured in.

Tom Johnson
Reply to  michel
December 19, 2023 6:08 am

A doubling of demand by 2050 is extremely optimistic. I would argue that TODAYS electrical energy requirements would double, once you include all transportation, heating, and industrial usages. That would make the 2050 requirement a factor of 4, not 2.

Reply to  Tom Johnson
December 19, 2023 1:00 pm

Yes, I think that’s right. You have to allow for rising demand as well as increases from the conversion. And there is also the fact that the local transmission network will generally not handle everyone charging their EVs and turning on their heat pumps and water heaters.

This site has a piece which is a decent starting point:


“Total electricity needs are therefore going to peak at close to 125 GW, or two and a half times current levels. This is a very substantial challenge for electricity supply.” Not only that, its a real challenge for the local distribution networks, as the author makes clear.

Francis is always asking for a pilot site for this stuff. Looks like the UK has volunteered. One’s advice is, buy a good bike, a few duvets, and some thermal underwear. Maybe candles, too?

Reply to  Tom Johnson
December 20, 2023 11:38 am

Playing the part of a woke devil’s advocate: what if you subtract out most industrial demand? Surely they won’t be able to stay in business with the future cost of electricity.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  PCman999
December 20, 2023 1:05 pm

PC, yes, I’ve thought that about Germany’s newfound energy “efficiency”.

December 19, 2023 2:56 am

“Or do they really know that, and they are just hoping to sell a few hundreds of billions of dollars worth of wind turbines and solar panels before the stupid politicians and investors figure out the scam?”

You said it.

December 19, 2023 2:59 am

Could the people at Lazard who produce all these fancy and complex charts and graphs really not know that 4 hour duration batteries cycling once per day are not going to come close to solving the intermittency problems of wind and solar generation? — NO

Or do they really know that, and they are just hoping to sell a few hundreds of billions of dollars worth of wind turbines and solar panels before the stupid politicians and investors figure out the scam? – YES

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  SteveG
December 19, 2023 9:42 pm

Lazard is working from the correct assumption that regardless of the future energy mix on the grid it will never include more than four (4) hours of battery storage because longer than that is forever off the chart too expensive.

December 19, 2023 3:55 am

Lazard is a financial services outfit, selling tax shelters to rich clients.
Lazard LCOEs are totally incorrect, and have been that way for decades.
The proof is the high LCOE of offshore wind, which is at least 15 c/kWh, after 50% subsidies, as revealed by project developers to New York State

Reply to  wilpost
December 19, 2023 6:24 am

Levelized Cost of Energy by US-EIA

The wind/solar/battery bubble is in meltdown mode. This is not a surprise, because the US-EIA makes LCOE “evaluations” of W/S/B systems that purposely exclude major LCOE items.
The EIA deceptions reinforced the delusion W/S are competitive with fossil fuels, which is far from reality.
The excluded LCOE items are shifted to taxpayers, ratepayers, and added to government debts.
W/S would not exist without at least 50% subsidies
W/S output could not be physically fed into the grid, without the last four freebies.
1) Subsidies equivalent to about 50% of project owning and operations cost,
2) Grid extension/reinforcement to connect remote W/S to load centers
3) A fleet of quick-reacting power plants to counteract the W/S up/down output, on a less-than-minute-by-minute basis, 24/7/365, 
4) A fleet of power plants to provide electricity during low-W/S periods, and during high-W/S periods, when rotors are feathered and locked,
5) Output curtailments to prevent overloading the grid, i.e., paying owners for not producing what they could have produced



Batteries Far From an Economic Alternative to Power Plant Fleets

Turnkey capital costs of large scale-battery systems are $575/installed kWh; based on 2023 pricing of Tesla-based systems. See article

With 6.5% money on a 50% bank loan, and 10% for owner return on a 50% investment, and 19% HV grid to HV grid loss, and 15-y life:

At 10% throughput, the delivered electricity cost is about 183.8 c/kWh, no subsidies, about 91.9 c/kWh with 50% subsidies, on top of the 6 c/kWh cost of the electricity from the HV grid to charge the batteries
At 40% throughput, about 23 c/kWh, on top of the 6 c/kWh

Excluded costs/kWh: 1) O&M; 2) system aging, 3) HV grid to HV grid loss, 3) grid extension/reinforcement to connect the battery systems, 5) downtime of parts of the system, 6) decommissioning in year 15, i.e., disassembly, reprocessing and storing at hazardous waste sites.
NOTE: The 40% throughput is close to Tesla’s recommendation of 60% maximum throughput, i.e., not charging above 80% full and not discharging below 20% full, to achieve a 15-y life, with normal aging

NOTE: Tesla’s recommendation was not heeded by the owners of the Hornsdale Power Reserve in Australia. They added Megapacks to offset rapid aging of the original system, and added more Megapacks to increase the rating of the expanded system.


Dave Andrews
Reply to  wilpost
December 19, 2023 9:36 am

In their Annual Energy Outlook 2022 (March 2022) EIA did at least manage to say

“LCOE and LCOS by themselves do not capture all of the factors that contribute to investment decisions, making direct comparisons of LCOE and LCOS across technologies problematic and misleading as a method to assess the competitiveness of various generation alternatives”

Presumably Lazards missed this 🙂

Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 19, 2023 11:35 am

Some years ago, I had an email exchange with one of the EIA analysts and brought up the same points as I made in my comment.
She promised to look into it.

The result is that lame statement

However, with high W/S on the grid, you need a lot of counteracting plant capacity, especially when it is windy.

The W/S is jerking around the grid’s other generators, causing them to operate in a highly inefficient manner, which adds more and more cost to the 15 c/kWh
That big adder starts at about 8 to 10% W/S on the grid, and builds EXPONENTIALLY, with more W/S on the grid

This has been known and analyzed at least 25 years ago

michael hart
December 19, 2023 3:59 am

“My last post, on December 14, asked readers, when considering climate advocacy journalism…”

And therein lies the rub.
Richard Lindzen is of the opinion that the much-expanded field of climate scientists is relatively overpopulated with C-grade students.

Imagine what the sudden relative flood of funding has also done for “climate advocacy journalism”.
I’m occasionally tempted to give some of them the benefit of the doubt because they are simply not equipped to ask any of the right questions, even if they are able to earn a living through such ignorance.

It is slightly sad that once or twice in the past year I have told myself (on non climate-related topics), “Wow, this guy really knows his stuff. That’s pretty good for a journalist.” 
It wasn’t always this way. Journalism may not be the oldest profession, but I suspect it is the profession that has fallen the furthest.

Richard Page
Reply to  michael hart
December 19, 2023 7:48 am

Oh I don’t know, I think the 4th Estate has either come to mimic the oldest profession or embraced it’s methods and practices whole-heartedly.

general custer
Reply to  michael hart
December 19, 2023 7:54 am

Rock and roll journalist Chuck Klosterman points out that in the case of journalists gathering the information for an article on any subject means contacting the most accessible single source for a viewpoint and then moving on.

Richard Page
Reply to  general custer
December 19, 2023 9:34 am

In that case I would refer the good general to my post just above his with the obvious postscript that modern journalists are behaving much like prostitutes.

December 19, 2023 4:44 am

My last post, on December 14, asked readers, when considering climate advocacy journalism and reports promoting wind- or solar-generated energy, to ask themselves whether the author is merely incompetent versus perhaps committing intentional fraud. 

Beats me as it’s a real mixed bag with the climate changer fan base-
SunPower shares slide after raising going-concern doubts (
Electric, hydrogen startup founder heading to jail for fraud (

David Wojick
December 19, 2023 4:51 am

4 hour batteries are okay as long as you have lots of them, which they do not. Also missing is the generating Capacity to charge the batteries. which is much greater than the renewable capacity you are backing up.

David Wojick
Reply to  David Wojick
December 19, 2023 7:00 am

For example solar produces maybe 8 hours on good days so you need (1) storage for 16 hours plus (2) solar to recharge the batteries next day which is 2 times the solar the batteries are making reliable. So 3000 MW of solar to make 1000 reliable.

But a rainy day turns that into 16 plus 8 plus 16 or 40 hours of batteries plus enough solar to recharge them in a day. So 5000 MW of solar to recharge the batteries to make 1000 reliable hence 6000 MW in total capacity.

And that is just for one no solar day. How about a week? NE ISO reported 12 consecutive dark days.

Brian Catt
Reply to  David Wojick
December 19, 2023 9:35 am

Duty cycle in UK is 11%. And nothing in Jan/Feb when its freezing.

So lar only works when we don’t need it. To enrich rich people with masively inflated feed in tarrifs for elctrivity we don’t need to generate, which pushes much cheaper CCGT we already paid to build and has to be there to provide most of the energy off the grid, by law. It is a simple racket. Legalised crime against the consumer.

Mark BLR
Reply to  David Wojick
December 19, 2023 10:33 am

But a rainy day turns that into …

NB : This is an offshoot of my post above on the minimum and maximum outputs from “Solar (PV)” for the GB electricity grid.

Like most of western Europe, and unlike the US, Great Britain has higher electricity demand in winter than in summer.

This means that “baseload” plant like nuclear tends to schedule “planned / preventive” maintenance in summer so that they can run at (close to) 100% capacity throughout the winter months.

The graph below shows the difference for “Solar” input to the GB grid for
a) a cloudy winter day and
b) a sunny summer day
but with identical Y-axes and the “Nuclear” option added for comparison.
_ _ _ _ _

Note to self : This particular graphic definitely needs more “tweaking” …

Reply to  David Wojick
December 19, 2023 11:47 am

If you want one day back up, you need at least ten 4-h Tesla Megapacks in series, because, according to Tesla recommendations of not charging above 80% and not discharging below 20% to achieve 15-y life with minimal a to z, total system aging of about 1.5%/y

10 units x 4h x 0.6, Tesla factor = 24 hours of delivery

Tesla has another factor of about 0.96, because of losses when units are connected in parallel and in series

December 19, 2023 5:17 am

Any crook who makes money on a fraud will do anything to mislead potential customers and investors so that the actual fraud is disguised as ethical behavior.

December 19, 2023 5:17 am

Am I maybe interpreting this chart incorrectly? ” Somehow I doubt it. Alarmism works in strange ways

A volcano is erupting again in Iceland. Is climate change causing more eruptions?

we don’t fully understand the impact a warming climate could have on volcanic activity.

I guess you have to think like they do.

Brian Catt
Reply to  strativarius
December 19, 2023 9:48 am

All of climate science is 180 science, the exact opposite of what is actually happening, or what would fix the claimed problems best.

For a start a lot more CO2 is beneficial to humans and would help by making it a little warmer, a degree or so more towards the Egyptian period, when Carthage bloomed, but with its effect decaying logarithmically with concentration, and in fact natural oceanic feedback is massively under estimated by modellers so it won’t warm that much anyway.

So many less people will die of extreme temperatures than now, as presently many more die of extreme cold than heat, and our agricultural output is further enhanced by more effective photosynthesis due to higher CO2.

There are no bad effects we can measure. Things can only get better.

These are the only significant and measurable impacts of enhanced CO2 on the Earth for humans.

The whole false narrative starts off by denying this absolute, measurable and measured reality, so is wrong from the start. So what’s the problem, exactly?

Asking for a friend.

December 19, 2023 5:47 am

Anyone who refers to “the science” the same way that others quote the Bible are reliable idiots who have no concept of what science is or how it works.

Every major COP declaration refers to “the science” as if it were a religious text.

Science is a process. “The science” – no matter the subject – is a snapshot in time at best, wrongheaded nonsense that is waiting to be disproven at worst.

December 19, 2023 6:28 am

Very clear and not hidden, the first words on the Lazard report…

This study has been prepared by Lazard for general informational purposes only, and it is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, financial or other advice. 

…seem have escaped the attention of the media and governments alike.

Richard Page
Reply to  charlie
December 19, 2023 7:51 am

Haha. That is just a standard statement intended to cover their backsides in case a disgruntled investor cares to sue.

Reply to  charlie
December 20, 2023 11:50 am

Ha ha, ha! “it is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, financial or other advice. ” … even though Lazard brazenly declares it as a solid fact in the main body of the report!

Frank Pouw
December 19, 2023 6:32 am

You must be joking? In Europe we have The Green Deal from eco terrorist Mr.Timmermans and parlement agreed. The left side that be it.
so we are looking up against this maffia eco wil come to Europe as well. Thanks for the warni

Frank Pouw
December 19, 2023 6:32 am


December 19, 2023 8:02 am

Of course it’s fraud. When was the last time you got 380 watts out of one of your 380 watt solar panels?

Brian Catt
Reply to  heme212
December 19, 2023 10:52 am


Brian Catt
December 19, 2023 9:27 am

The IEA cost of generation reports do not support this claim as regards renewables as being cheaper than nuclear or gas (saving the rather impractical and limited by location onshore wind),

And this is after drinking several bottles of the climate Kool Aid AND without considering the massive cost of managing intermittency .

I doubt Lizards have better knowledge of energy generation than the IEA.

The cost of one weeks back up in the UK, if powered by all renewables, which are unavailable in a dark High Pressure February, as is renewable energy from a similarly strapped Europe via sub sea interconnectors – that cost as much per gigawatt for a cable as a real CCGT power station, BTW, is £2.8 Trillion in batteries for 14TWh capacity @£200/KWh, replaced every 8 years. Even Lizards should be able to figure this out. Simples!

You can build a lot of clean cheap 24/7 nuclear on exisi=ting grid connected sites with that.

All you need to power the grid with 70GW 24/7 with the first year’s £350 Billion amortisation alone, for example.

These costs are laughably deceitful, whether created with intent to defraud or sheer stupid ignorance of Lizards’ “experts”, who are making it up, climate model style, in total ignorance of how a joined up system has to work.

If people are not educated enough to do these sums for themselves, they should not touch such “investments”, and keep Lizard’s liars or idiots at a distance, with a long shitty stick. Or call me, I have a bridge for sale.

In my professional opinion. CEng,CPhys, MBA

Rick C
December 19, 2023 9:28 am

Rank incompetence or outright fraud? – YES.

December 19, 2023 1:40 pm

Thank you! Very illuminating.

Could the people at Lazard who produce all these fancy and complex charts and graphs really not know that 4 hour duration batteries cycling once per day are not going to come close to solving the intermittency problems of wind and solar generation? “

Exactly correct. I wonder how long it took for them to figure out the exact parameters to make the renewables look cheaper?

Thanks again for looking into this, a close examination of all the Lazard numbers is needed. The more criticism published, the more likely they will cough up their numbers and assumptions. Like you, I smell a rat.

Pat Frank
December 19, 2023 7:58 pm

What do they include for the costs of battery manufacture? Do they include the price of batteries in the cost of energy?

Geoff Sherrington
December 20, 2023 12:48 am

Let’s not beat about the bush.
Any professional person publishing reports on this topic would plausibly be well aware of calls to include costs of intermittency, backup, frequency and phase control etc. A decision to exclude and/or de-emphasise these would have to be a deliberate decision and knowingly intended to deceive.
In Australia, the unelected but appointed mastermind is the Australian Energy Market Operator, AEMO, which coceals such costs by stating that Federal Government policy is for effective “net zero carbon” in electricity supply by 2050 – therefore AEMO will report only the economics of renewables as if hydrocxarbon and nuclear fuels did not exist. This can be read as a deliberate deception also, but at least they buck pass the reason to their political masters.
In both cases, the future economic damage to the consumer is too large to dismiss as a quirk. It is, in my opinion, actionable.

December 20, 2023 8:57 am

True cost = cost / capacity factor.

It doesnot add up
December 22, 2023 1:43 pm

This is what happened at El Hierro in December a year ago:

comment image

Dunkelflaute, and excessive reliance on Motores Diesel. On the couple of occasions the wind blew for a few hours the Hidraulica pumped storage was used to provide grid stabilisation, but even on the windiest days the diesel generators continued to run at 1MW, ready to spring into action for more, and providing grid support.

Fortunately REE provides the historical data for El Hierro at 5 minute resolution covering the period of the no diesel operation, allowing us to see what happened.

(increment the date as needed, and download csv files which have to be sorted and pruned)

We find that demand averaged 5MW over the 18 day period, with wind generation averaging 6.7MW – but ranging from 0.7MW to 10.9MW – over twice average demand. The largest cumulative draw from storage was 27.4MWh just as the diesel started up again, and can be taken as the effective capacity – just over 5 hours of average demand, and plainly quite inadequate. Storage is limited by the small size of the lower reservoir: it would be pumped dry if the water pumped to the upper reservoir was not allowed to run back down the twin penstock to replenish it. Pumping does provide a grid stabilisation buffer, which can operate by simultaneously pumping and generating when there is insufficient wind to just pump. In windy conditions there are large surpluses, and the pumped energy goes to waste other than its value in ancillary services.

El Hierro No Diesel Spell.png
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