WIND TURBINES Are Neither Clean Nor Green And They Provide Zero Global Energy

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SCIENCE WRITER and best-selling author Matt Ridley discusses Wind Power in a must read piece out of the Speccie…

13 May 2017

9:00 AM

The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’.

You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.

Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.


Matt Ridley and climate change campaigner Leo Murray debate the future of wind power:

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Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.

Such numbers are not hard to find, but they don’t figure prominently in reports on energy derived from the unreliables lobby (solar and wind). Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.

Even in rich countries playing with subsidised wind and solar, a huge slug of their renewable energy comes from wood and hydro, the reliable renewables. Meanwhile, world energy demand has been growing at about 2 per cent a year for nearly 40 years. Between 2013 and 2014, again using International Energy Agency data, it grew by just under 2,000 terawatt-hours.

If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s.

At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs.

Do not take refuge in the idea that wind turbines could become more efficient. There is a limit to how much energy you can extract from a moving fluid, the Betz limit, and wind turbines are already close to it. Their effectiveness (the load factor, to use the engineering term) is determined by the wind that is available, and that varies at its own sweet will from second to second, day to day, year to year.

As machines, wind turbines are pretty good already; the problem is the wind resource itself, and we cannot change that. It’s a fluctuating stream of low–density energy. Mankind stopped using it for mission-critical transport and mechanical power long ago, for sound reasons. It’s just not very good.

As for resource consumption and environmental impacts, the direct effects of wind turbines — killing birds and bats, sinking concrete foundations deep into wild lands — is bad enough. But out of sight and out of mind is the dirty pollution generated in Inner Mongolia by the mining of rare-earth metals for the magnets in the turbines. This generates toxic and radioactive waste on an epic scale, which is why the phrase ‘clean energy’ is such a sick joke and ministers should be ashamed every time it passes their lips.

It gets worse. Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal, not just to provide the heat for smelting ore, but to supply the carbon in the alloy. Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy.

A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.

Forgive me if you have heard this before, but I have a commercial interest in coal. Now it appears that the black stuff also gives me a commercial interest in ‘clean’, green wind power.

The point of running through these numbers is to demonstrate that it is utterly futile, on a priori grounds, even to think that wind power can make any significant contribution to world energy supply, let alone to emissions reductions, without ruining the planet. As the late David MacKay pointed out years back, the arithmetic is against such unreliable renewables.

The truth is, if you want to power civilisation with fewer greenhouse gas emissions, then you should focus on shifting power generation, heat and transport to natural gas, the economically recoverable reserves of which — thanks to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — are much more abundant than we dreamed they ever could be. It is also the lowest-emitting of the fossil fuels, so the emissions intensity of our wealth creation can actually fall while our wealth continues to increase. Good.

And let’s put some of that burgeoning wealth in nuclear, fission and fusion, so that it can take over from gas in the second half of this century. That is an engineerable, clean future. Everything else is a political displacement activity, one that is actually counterproductive as a climate policy and, worst of all, shamefully robs the poor to make the rich even richer.

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Related :

 


POLITICIANS Mad With Global Warming Theory Are Destroying The Economy And Hurting The Poor

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via The Herald Sun

Politicians mad with global warming theory are destroying our economy and hurting the poor.

They have driven cheap coal-fired power out of business and made electricity a luxury the very poor cannot afford this winter – and all this sacrifice will make zero difference to the climate:

Australia is entering the “realm of third world countries” with residential power disconnections rising by as much as 140 per cent in six years and the average household paying more than double what it did a decade ago to keep the lights on.

Australian Energy Regulator figures reveal almost 60,000 households are on electricity hardship payments and another 151,862 customers are on electricity payment plans.

Oz Disconnected

Escalating consumers’ pain, electricity prices increased up to 20 per cent last weekend and Victoria yesterday introduced emissions restrictions that would prevent even the cleanest coal-fired power.

Oz Bill Pain

Energy bill pain: surge in cut-offs – The Australian

This is one of the greatest disgraces of public policy. What makes it worse is that some of the politicians responsible have known that the global warming scare is wildly exaggerated and most know that dismantling our coal-fired power stations actually makes no difference anyway.

This is close to criminal.

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MEANWHILE

WHILST the regressive, green pandering, unreliable-energy-obsessed Australian government blows up its last remaining coal-fired power stations, the rest of the sane/smart World secures its real-energy future with a massive ramping up of cheap, efficient and reliable baseload coal-fired power technology…

Via the NYT

1,600 new coal-fired power plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries.

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When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as President Trump vowed to “bring back coal” in America, the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.

But new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.

These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.

Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.

Time to Wake-Up Australia…

All that pain, for ABSOLUTELY NO CLIMATE GAIN!

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South Australia Demolished their last coal plant April this year: NPS West Coal Bunker and Tower Demolition.

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Australia Fuel Poverty (RET) Related :


THE Twisted Irony of Deep-Green Energy Policy (RET)

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SOUTH Australia will this weekend overtake Denmark with the highest electricity prices in the world.

The South Australian Labor government’s mad rush into renewable unreliable energy, particularly wind power … has helped generate a surge in South Australian electricity prices.

South Australian businesses face wholesale electricity prices of between $87 and $90 per megawatt hour, compared with $37-$41 in Victoria and $43-$48 in New South Wales.

In South Australia, wholesale prices are regularly spiking to the market-allowed maximum of $14,000 per megawatt hour. In July 2016, South Australia’s wholesale price spiked above $13,000 per megawatt hour 32 times! Reliance on weather-dependent wind and solar power is responsible for these absurd prices.

SA already gets more than 40 per cent of its power from intermittent renewable sources, mostly wind.

That is a nation-leading level, which energy experts say has contributed to higher prices and statewide blackouts by undermining baseload power like the “blown-up” Port Augusta coal plant.

ARTIFICIAL MARKET DISTORTION (“RET”)

WIND and SOLAR projects are primarily funded through subsidies — Renewable Energy Certificates.

The Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target is currently 23.5% green power by 2020.

SA is already easily ahead of the national target, and likely to be for some time.

The subsidy is imposed by the Federal Government, but paid for by power retailers. This forced cost of green power eventually paid for by power users.

Because wind farms make money from these subsidies, they can afford to underbid coal and gas into the wholesale electricity market.

To be financially viable, wind and solar generally require prices for their power that are higher than what other existing power generators receive.

For a while, they helped stimulate competition and put downward pressure on prices in a not-particularly-competitive (aka artificially distorted) market.

Things have started changing rapidly in the past year. This abundance of cheap wind (in a market sense) has helped contribute to the closure of a coal-fired power station and the partial mothballing of a gas plant.

The state now survives on wind, solar, gas, diesel (and perhaps even an offshore Turkish “power ship” if the SA grid destabilises further, especially with the closure of neighbouring Victoria’s “Hazlewood” coal-fired power station which supplied 25% of SA’s baseload power via a giant extension cord).

UNRELIABLE ENERGY = WORLD RECORD POWER BILLS

THE PROBLEM is, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. The high peaks in South Australia’s energy usage don’t always match up with a large chunk of its increasingly intermittent supply.

If the demand for electricity is low – on a public holiday, say – while the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, the price of electricity in South Australia will be low. Conventional generators will make losses, while the market losses of the renewable generators will be (artificially) covered by their sale of Generation Certificates.

If the demand for electricity is high – a heat wave on a working day, say – and it is a still, overcast day, the price of electricity in South Australia will soar, because it will be mostly produced by high-cost, back-up, peaking generators.

The high price of electricity in South Australia is eating away at our economic competitiveness. The probability that we will become, sometime in the distant future, a “low carbon electricity powerhouse” looks extremely low.

Greg Sheridan puts it brilliantly about windfarm-obsessed South Australia:

South Australia, truly the Athens of the south. SA shows that, like Greece, economic misfortune will not drive it to good policy. A state with chronic unemployment, disinvestment and deindustrialisation is determined to have the most expensive and unreliable source of power in Australia, if not the Western world, providing maximum disincentive to any investment other than a socialist enterprise backed by the Australian taxpayer. This is what you get from modern centre-left governments — identity politics, green gestures, economic failure.

THE FALLOUT

NO BUSINESS, big or small, has been spared SA’s skyrocketing power prices.

But, perhaps the most symbolic case of a South Australian business shutting its doors due to soaring electricity costs is that of the very green, ethical, eco-friendly, planet saving recycling business “Plastics Granulating Services (PGS)”, based in Kilburn in Adelaide’s inner-north.

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South Australia’s sky-high electricity prices have forced an Adelaide plastics recycling business to shut its doors, costing 35 workers their jobs, its managing director says.

Plastics Granulating Services (PGS), based in Kilburn in Adelaide’s inner-north, said it had seen its monthly power bills increase from $80,000 to $180,000 over the past 18 months.

Managing director Stephen Scherer said the high cost of power had crippled his business of 38 years and plans for expansion, and had led to his company being placed in liquidation.

“It’s where the cash went out of the business, and without the cash, we couldn’t service what we needed to service,” he said.

“We process about 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste [and] that’s now currently turned off, so South Australia won’t be recycling 10,000 tonnes [of plastic],” he said.

“To scope 10,000 tonnes for you, 10,000 tonnes is 15 per cent of the Australian market [of low-grade recycled plastic] … so Australia has lost 15 per cent of its supply.

SA plastics recycling business closes due to $100k hike in power bills – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

38 YEARS of hard work over. 35 workers out of a job and 10,000 tonnes of plastic that will now not be recycled, thanks to SA’s mad obsession with windmills, solar panels and their associated economy-wrecking policies.

It is astonishing that a Government should deliberately create such an expensive and unreliable power supply – destroying the cheap and reliable one it had – without even being able to explain just how much difference any of this would make to the world’s temperatures.

This is ideology gone mad. How often must it be said that what South Australian Governments have done to their power system at such vast expense MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO GLOBAL WARMING ANYWAY.

The brutal closure of PGS – yet more evidence of virtue-signalling global warming climate change policies causing far more damage, right now, than any slight warming could ever do by 2100.

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SA Fuel Poverty Related :

Climatism SA Hot Links :

 

 


Australia’s Wind Power Calamity: Canberra’s Government Tells Households to Rug-Up with Blankets

“I received a pamphlet from the ACT government on energy-­saving tips. For winter it featured a picture of a family all in overcoats and beanies, huddled under an electric blanket.”

ELITE green, climate eco-loons; taking you back to the stone-age, one windmill at a time. Literally!

Btw, what’s with the “electric” blanket?! A bit much?

STOP THESE THINGS

Yes, they’re 100% renewable: how many would you like?

The ACT government did something that every bunch of green-left ideologically driven lunatics are programmed to do: it set a 90% Renewable Energy Target.

The ACT government is in a joint venture power retailing business with Australia’s ‘Enron’ aka AGL, ActewAGL; and, in an effort to satisfy its costly vanity project, went far and wide to sign up new wind power projects in NSW, South Australia and Victoria.

Back in April 2014, Liberal Member for Hume, Angus Taylor called the plan, ‘corporate welfare on steroids’ and predicted rocketing power prices for the ACT (see our post here).

Residents of the nation’s capital, Canberra have just been hit by ActewAGL with a 20%, year-on-year increase in their retail power bills (so much for AGL’s guff about its push to carpet Australia in subsidised wind turbines having “no compromises to you

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Turkish ‘Power Ship’ Proposed To Keep The Lights On In South Australia!

Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Indonesia, Zambia, Mozambique.

What do all these countries have in common? They are all third world, mostly war-torn countries who have relied on ship-mounted power plants to overcome chronic electricity shortages.

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A Powership as displayed in the Karpowership Brochure

The “power ship” barge is owned by Istanbul-based firm, Karpowership and comprises 11 towering steel stacks or chimneys that resembles a sort of floating Battersea power station.

“Kapowership’s” next port of call? South Australia!

A 250 MW ship-based power station is under consideration as a solution to the crisis for the Australian state, which has seen an over-investment of ‘unreliable’ energy – wind and solar. While cheap, reliable, baseload fossil fuel power stations were retired (blown up)…

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Playford coal-fired power station in Port Augusta — put out of business by Labor’s green policies — had its towers brought down by explosives.

A third world energy solution for a virtual, third world SA government.

What does this say about the Jay Weatherill Socialist/Green/Labor SA government and its insane global warming policies?!

Opposition politicians are critical of the move, saying that using such ships, typically sent to war ravaged regions, shows the government’s poor decision making on power policy, linking it to the increase in residential electricity bills.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said “Had (the government) invested just A$8m a year in keeping the Northern Power Station open South Australians would have been shielded from these shocking electricity price rises.” 

If it weren’t so serious for the livelihoods of South Australian’s and their flailing economy, it would be hilarious.

•••

More via PEI…

* I genuinely thought this article was a parody on the SA energy debacle when I first read about it via our friend’s over at Tallbloke’s Talkshop!

You literally can’t make this stuff up…

Turkish power ship proposed for Adelaide

06/19/2017

A large-scale temporary power solution is being considered, as South Australia struggles to ensure its energy security.

A 250 MW ship-based power station is under consideration as a solution to the crisis for the Australian state, which has seen a lot of investment in renewable power over recent years, while old fossil stations were retired.

The Turkish ship could be operational by the end of the year for less than the $360m budgeted for a new state-owned gas-fired power plant of the same capacity.
Turkish powership
The ship-based plant would plug into the high-voltage grid near the 479 MW Pelican Point power station, which returns to full capacity on July 1.

A second option would be for a 125 MW Powership at Outer Harbor and another of the same size anchored off Port Augusta, plugging into the grid near the site of the defunct Northern power station.

The Powership fleet can operate on natural gas, liquid natural gas or heavy fuel oil and it is likely the ship would be leased until a permanent plant was built.

The Istanbul-based firm, Karpowership, has installed the barge or ship-mounted power plants in Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Indonesia, Zambia, and Mozambique.

A national electricity market operator report released this week reveals a government-backed battery, temporary generators and every power station in the state must be up and running in tandem to prevent blackouts in the state this summer.

Adelaide Now online reports that opposition politicians are critical of the move, saying that using such ships, typically sent to war ravaged regions, shows the government’s poor decision making on power policy, linking it to the increase in residential electricity bills.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said “Had (the government) invested just A$8m a year in keeping the Northern Power Station open South Australians would have been shielded from these shocking electricity price rises.” 

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MORE On SA’s Insane Global Warming Policy-Caused Energy Crisis :


Wind Power Chaos Promises to Deliver Mass Summer Blackouts Across Australia

“With the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood plant in April, Victorians are going to get a taste of what their South Australian neighbours have been living with for years: routine load shedding and mass blackouts.”

The mind boggles for SA who are going to incur more mass blackouts, if that’s possible, with the closure of Hazlewood which provided 25% of SA baseload power. Backup coal-fired power from Victoria, on demand, when the wind stopped blowing or it was night time and the SA solar panels went to bed.

It’s gonna be one hell of a summer in southern Australia. Actual lives are now at risk thanks to reckless, feckless, feel-good “global warming” policies ! 🔥

STOP THESE THINGS

The only businesses which are bouncing along in South Australia are those selling portable diesel generators, candles and LED headlamps.

The sort of staple items you might find on a Doomsday Prepper’s list. However, in Australia’s so-called wind power capital, BYO and DIY power and lighting are everyday essentials.

SA’s vapid Premier, Jay Weatherill pretends that he has everything under control. Australia’s Energy Market Operator clearly thinks otherwise.

AEMO warns of more blackouts
The Australian Financial Review
Mark Ludlow and Angela MacDonald-Smith
15 June 2017

Australia is at risk of more blackouts next summer despite new initiatives from energy regulators and governments, according to forecasts from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

The AEMO report to be released on Thursday also warns the looming gas shortage – which resulted in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declaring an “energy crisis” – could still occur if too much gas was exported overseas.

With federal…

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Daily Telegraph: There is No Such Thing as Affordable Renewable Energy

“The biggest deniers in the whole climate change debate are those who think we can have affordable power, lower emissions and a reliable network.”

Peta Credlin for PM! Spot-on, again.

Watts Up With That?

EAPI represents the average commodity price of retail electricity paid by Australian businesses based on a Standard Retail Contract (commences in 6-months and operates for 2½ years). EAPI represents the average commodity price of retail electricity paid by Australian businesses based on a Standard Retail Contract (commences in 6-months and operates for 2½ years). Source Energy Action

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Awareness is slowly permeating through the media that renewables inevitably lead to higher electricity prices – and that the Australian energy grid is in deep trouble. But this awareness is too little, too late, to save what is left of what was once one of the cheapest electricity grids in the world.

Climate change zealots need to get real

Peta CredlinJune 18, 2017 12:00am

WELL, now we know.

The biggest deniers in the whole climate change debate are those who think we can have affordable power, lower emissions and a reliable network.

We can’t.

And after they almost sleepwalked their way to defeat at the last election, it would appear Coalition MPs have found their…

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