HVDC lines have one big problem against them, cost. These wires cost money. The losses may be minimal on paper but they also add up over time.
I'm going to try the peer-reviewed study in Nature that I read on the subject, which determined that they save nearly four times as much as they cost.
(I've also done back of a napkin calculations, and ended up with a number well less than the Nature estimate)
This is compounded by the issue that wind and solar are not cheap.
Once upon a time that was true. Not any more. Even solar, which used to be playing catchup with wind, way behind, is now coming in at some crazy low cost figures, like the $1/W plant that just opened in India, which is bloody nuts.
Not even going to bring the conversation into the costs of dumping pollution into the environment. Or the costs and consequences of having to have huge amounts of cooling water (and the curtailments you have to do during droughts). Or geopolitical issues.
r just to avoid the "N" word... nuclear.
Yeah, if you have $10+/W just to spend on construction, not even counting operations and decommissioning or the government-provided catastrophic accident insurance (which no private industry would ever put themselves on the line for - Fukushima's now estimated at $200B). And of course which uses even more cooling water than fossil fuels. And if you like having to estimate future power supply and demand 10-20 years into the future before your plant even comes online.
K Street loves nuclear. Wall Street, not so much.
We've seen government subsidies for wind and solar power going on for decades and little to show for it
You have to be joking. First - beating around the bush here - wind subsidies are not that great, and more to the point, the constant year-to-year uncertainty on the PTC has been a big hindrance to the industry. But more to the point, wind has gone from absurdly expensive to very cheap (as low as 2,5 cents per kWh in 2014), growing with an average annual 30% rate of growth for 10 years. Last year wind made up 41% of new nameplate generation and solar 26%.
Whether you want wind and solar or not, they're happening. They've gotten too cheap to stop. You'd have to actively try to stop them with punative taxation policies at this point if you wanted to stop wind and solar's percentage of the grid from growing.