Biden Claims Wind and Solar Power Are the Cheapest Forms of Electricity, but It Cost Taxpayers $1.8 Trillion

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Apr 24, 2024

President Joe Biden has been pushing for the country to move to “greener” methods of electricity, explaining that wind and solar power are the cheapest forms of electricity, especially when compared to coal and oil.

However, new evidence has revealed that wind and solar remain incredibly expensive — and worldwide governments have had to pay $1.8 trillion on the conversion to green energy just last year alone.

Green Subsidies

The Biden administration has supported green subsidies, handing out billions of dollars to corporations to try to create more green energy alternatives.

President Joe Biden in front of a White House podium and microphones.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

According to the Energy Information Administration’s Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy report, the U.S. government has more than doubled its subsidies for renewable energy producers just in the years 2016 to 2022.


Green Energy Is Cheaper

For years now, both Biden and many green activists have claimed that converting to green energy — and using solar and wind power — is cheaper than continuing to use coal and oil.

Many rows of solar panels on top of a building during sunset.

Source: Nuno Marques/Unsplash

While some aspects of this statement may be true, critics have pointed out that the conversion process itself is incredibly expensive. Now, reporting has also revealed that the country still has a lot of obstacles in its way when working with green electricity.

How Renewable Energy Works

Wind and solar energy can produce power easily — but only if the wind is blowing, or the sun is shining. During periods when this isn’t happening, complications can ensue.

A close-up of two wind turbines seen against a cloudy blue sky.

Source: Leo chen/Unsplash

Therefore, many in support of green energy have explained that more storage batteries are needed. These batteries can store leftover forms of energy. So, during periods of no wind or no sun, an energy or electricity system can simply use what’s in these batteries.

Connection to the Grid

Many people have recently moved to installing solar panels on their homes, often for a variety of reasons. Though the cost upfront can be expensive, the realization that you can save money in the long run is ideal to many.

Many large electric wires seen going across land at sunset.

Source: Matthew Henry/Unsplash

However, many of those with solar panels on their home are still connected to the grid. During periods when the sun isn’t shining and there is no renewable energy to connect to these panels, their home uses electricity from the grid as a backup.

Green Energy Expenses

Biden has claimed that green energy is cheaper. The reliability of renewable energy, however, can make it incredibly expensive.

A light bulb on green grass.

Source: Ashes Sitoula/Unsplash

One study has even revealed that green energy can increase in price by 11 to 42 times when you take into consideration reliability and storage issues.


Making More Batteries

Both those for and against converting the country to more renewable sources have said that more storage batteries are needed. However, the U.S. currently doesn’t have a good storage system.

Many wind turbines seen on green fields in the daytime.

Source: Karsten Würth/Unsplash

Though more companies are making more battery storage for renewable energy, it still isn’t enough. Costs remain high because of this.


Backing Up the System

To truly get to 100% solar or wind electricity throughout the country, the United States cannot rely on the normal electric grid as backup. Therefore, a proper storage system is needed to stop relying so much on oil and coal.

An aerial view of many solar panels on green grass.

Source: Andreas Gücklhorn/Unsplash

Currently, the U.S. has only seven minutes of battery storage for renewable energy. Clearly, that isn’t enough. Ideally, the country should have about three months of storage.


Expensive Batteries

Unfortunately, the creation of these storage batteries remains incredibly expensive. To pay for the batteries that would allow the U.S. to be fully 100% on renewable energy, the government would have to pay about five times of the country’s current GDP.

Many solar panels on green grass seen during the daytime.

Source: Sungrow EMEA/Unsplash

Critics have pointed out that this just isn’t sustainable. It’s also obviously not cheaper than the country’s consistent coal and oil energy system.


Recycling Components

Critics have also examined what happens when parts of wind turbines or solar panels have ceased to work. Often, these parts are recycled. However, it has been discovered that the recycling process isn’t as ideal as green advocates would like.

Many wind turbines seen in the daytime in Texas.

Source: Pete Alexopoulos/Unsplash

For example, one town in Texas currently has many wind turbine blades that they cannot recycle. Meanwhile, many countries in Africa have ceased using their solar panels, leaving these panels and their batteries to leak toxic chemicals into the land.


Changes Should Be Made

Even advocates for renewable energy have admitted that changes need to be made. Some have claimed that, eventually, the cost of green energy will become cheaper for the country when compared to the status quo system.

A close-up of many solar panels on green grass seen during the daytime.

Source: Zbynek Burival/Unsplash

However, many have a hard time looking at the far future when the price tag in the present day is enormous. For that reason, coal and oil have successfully stuck around thus far.


A Push for Research

Others believe that renewable energy can be great — but not in the stage it’s in now. Instead, more money needs to be spent on research and technology development. This alone could make things cheaper in the short and long term.

Many wind turbines seen in the United States during sunset.

Source: American Public Power Association/Unsplash

For example, research on ways to reduce solar panel and wind turbine trash is necessary. Improving battery storage that holds renewable energy is also essential.