Energy and fuel

This page is for discussion of energy supply, electricity generation, fuel sources and related matters not covered by other threads.

330 Thoughts on “Energy and fuel

  1. Richard C (NZ) on December 16, 2010 at 10:56 am said:

    Rare eagle’s safety puts energy plans in limbo

    5:30 AM Wednesday Dec 15, 2010 – NZH

    Fears that wind turbines could kill protected golden eagles have halted progress on an important part of the US Government’s push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments.

    The US Bureau of Land Management suspended issuing wind permits on public land indefinitely after wildlife officials invoked a decades-old law for protecting eagles.

    The restriction has stymied efforts to “fast-track” approval for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals, including all three in California.

    Now, these and other projects appear unlikely to make the year-end deadline to potentially qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds.

    If extensions aren’t granted in the lame-duck session of Congress, the future of many of these plans could be in doubt.

    “Companies are waiting to know the criteria to get a permit,” said Larry LaPre, a wildlife biologist for BLM’s California desert district.

    He said he expected it to be “at least a year or longer” before permitting resumes.

    Golden eagles are the latest roadblock to establishing wind farms on federally owned land, already an expensive process plagued by years of bureaucratic delay.

    The projects also have been untracked by other wildlife issues, a sluggish economy and objections by defence and aviation authorities that wind turbines interfere with the country’s aged radar system.

    The delays are occurring despite a target set by Congress in 2005 that directed the Interior Department to approve about 5 million homes’ worth of renewable energy on public land by 2015. Since then, only two of the more than 250 proposed wind projects have been approved and neither has been built.

    The four fast-track projects in jeopardy of losing stimulus funds because of eagle issues would alone generate about 416MW of clean energy, enough to power roughly a half million US homes during peak usage.

    There are now 28 US wind farms operating on public lands.

    The vast majority of public land regulated by the BLM is in western states, where all onshore wind farms approved or in planning stages will be located.


  2. Richard C (NZ) on December 16, 2010 at 11:02 am said:

    Where climate and conservation collide

    December 13, 2010 – smh

    If ever a case signalled the end of easy answers to our search for clean energy, it’s that of the wedgie.

    We have had a complex relationship with the wedge-tailed eagle. Last century it was nearly annihilated as a sheep killer.

    This writer remembers driving along a ghastly fence line hung for a kilometre with wedgie carcasses after a local shoot in Victoria’s western district.

    Today such prejudices have largely disappeared. Respect for the country’s great raptor instead approaches the historic norm. Eagles have stood for us as symbols of strength and power from the days of the Ancient Greeks.

    Still the wedgie gets run over on our roads, and flies into things that share its aerial domain — such as wind turbines.

    As we search for means to sharply cut carbon emissions from energy production, increasingly we are turning to wind farms.

    In Victoria alone there is the prospect of 1322 new turbines and their towers being built in 28 separate developments.

    Another 376 would slice the breeze at three farms planned for Tasmania. And the country’s single largest wind farm, under development at Silverton, New South Wales, plans to landscape a tract of the outback with 598 towers.

    All of this doesn’t happen without opposition, particularly from people who see losses to their previously unindustrialised homelands. Occasionally the issue will flare into national controversy, such as over the orange-bellied parrot.

    The Howard government environment minister, Ian Campbell, halted a $220 million wind farm development at Bald Hills in Gippsland in 2006 because it might kill small numbers of the critically endangered parrot.

    Campbell was ridiculed by Labor for a decision that coincidentally delivered electoral good news to a marginal Coalition seat around Bald Hills. Eventually he had to reverse it.

    It’s a pity that the parrot, a fleet little beauty now close to extinction, became a joke in the Bald Hills barney. We should hope that if the wind farm explosion happens, we would deal much better with species protection.

    That’s why the case of the wedgie, more exactly its endangered Tasmanian sub-species, gives pause for thought.

    Larger than its mainland cousin at a 2.2-metre wingspan, its head often encircled with a regal golden feather ruff, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed numbers fewer than 1000 birds.

    Its heartland is the state’s wild forests, where it can be glimpsed soaring the ridgelines, disdaining the harassing ravens and currawongs like a monster from prehistory.

    At the state’s largest wind farm at Woolnorth in the island’s north-west, 19 wedge-tailed eagles are known to have been killed since it began operations in 2003. Another three sea eagles also have hit the rotors.

    This is allowed. Federal and state environmental permits recognise Woolnorth’s rotors may kill a small number of eagles each year.


  3. Richard C (NZ) on December 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm said:

    Energy bills could double to pay for green power as ministers plan minimum carbon price

    Last updated at 1:26 AM on 16th December 2010 – MailOnline

    Energy bills are set to rocket to pay for wind turbines and wave power as the Government announces a shake-up of ­electricity prices today.

    Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne is paving the way for a minimum price for carbon generated by coal-fired and gas-fuelled power stations.

    Energy firms will have to stump up for the cost of the carbon they use – but they are set to pass the burden on to consumers.

    Proponents of the scheme insist the carbon ‘floor price’ is meant to reflect pollution caused by fossil fuels, and will encourage investors to pour their money into ‘green’ energy instead.

    But experts warned it could lead to a doubling of energy bills, hitting the poor and elderly the hardest.

    There was a separate warning yesterday that winter energy bills are already at a record high of £630 for the average family after most suppliers hiked prices.

    Website said families have been hit by a combination of higher tariffs and plunging temperatures and face an average gas bill for heating and hot water of £509.80, with electricity at about £120.

    Mr Huhne will admit to MPs today that the up-front costs of moving to cleaner energy are high but his aides insist it will give consumers more protection from wildly fluctuating energy prices.

    But Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘It could mean a doubling of costs. The elderly, poor and those on fixed incomes will be hit disproportionately hard by this.’

    Mr Huhne will today also introduce a ban on building new coal power stations unless they are fitted with greener technology.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on December 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm said:




    “Energy bills could double to pay for green power”

  5. I hope for Chris Huhne’s sake that he has a bullet proof car.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm said:

    Christopher Booker: Chris Huhne has a blueprint for a green, cold, dark Britain

    Saturday, December 18th 2010, 2:31 PM EST – Climate Realists

    The government’s new energy policy will lead to widespread power cuts and economic disaster,

    As much of the northern hemisphere last week froze under the snows of the fourth unusually cold winter in a row, our ministers, led by David Cameron and Chris Huhne, the Climate Change Secretary, laid out a blueprint that promises to inflict on Britain a social and economic catastrophe unique in the world. They chose this moment to announce what Mr Huhne called “a seismic shift” in Britain’s energy policy, the purpose of which, according to Mr Cameron, is to replace our “clapped-out” electricity supplies by making Britain “the greenest economy in the world”.

    The chief driving force of the policy is the EU’s requirement that, within 10 years, 30 per cent of our electricity must come from renewables, mainly through thousands more wind turbines. This would be so expensive that the Government accepts it could only be made economical by massively rigging the market against any form of electricity derived from fossil fuels, such as the coal and gas which were last week supplying more than 80 per cent of our electricity. By a complex new system of regulations, including what in effect will be a tax of £27 a ton on CO2 emissions, the Government thus hopes to make renewables “competitive” with conventional power.

    In addition, it will in effect make it impossible to replace the coal-fired power stations that will be forced to close in the next few years under an EU directive, while proposing a hidden subsidy to any new nuclear power stations. (Although, since the EU does not count carbon-free nuclear power as “renewable”, this may well fall foul of its ban on state aid.) All this, Mr Huhne assures us, might lead to a modest rise of £160 a year in the average household energy bill, but in the long run it will make electricity cheaper than if he had not intervened.

    So riddled with wishful thinking and contradictions are these proposals that one scarcely knows where to begin. For a start, even if we could hope to build enough windmills to provide, say, 25 per cent of our electricity (10 times the current proportion), this would require not the 10,000 turbines the Government talks of, but more like 25,000, costing well over £200 billion, plus another £100 billion to connect them up to the grid.

    At least the Government admits for the first time that the wind doesn’t always blow; so it proposes a Capacity Mechanism to subsidise the building of dozens of gas-fired power stations, to be kept running all the time, emitting CO2, just to provide instant back-up for when the wind drops. More than once on these recent cold, windless days, the contribution of wind to our electricity needs has been as low as 0.1 per cent – so the back-up to all those turbines will cost billions more, doing much to negate any CO2 savings from the turbines when they work. It does not take long to estimate that the capital cost of Mr Huhne’s new energy policy could well be more than £300 billion over 10 years, or £30 billion a year. Since the total wholesale cost of the electricity we used last year was only around £19 billion, this alone would be well on the way to tripling our bills by 2020.

    When Mr Cameron talks of wanting to replace our “clapped-out” power supplies, what he should have had in mind was the need to meet the terrifying shortfall due in a few years’ time when we lose those older nuclear and coal-fired power stations which currently suppply 40 per cent of our needs. In a sane world, the Government would be planning to get that infrastructure replaced as a matter of the highest national priority, at a cost of around £100 billion. Instead, it puts forward an incoherent farrago of uncosted policies which, even if they could be put into practice, would cost three times as much, paid for by all of us through our already soaring energy bills. They include no practical proposals to meet that fast-looming energy gap, without which, within five years, we face the prospect of wholesale power cuts, bringing much of Britain’s economy to a halt.

    No other country in the world has an energy policy so utterly mad and unworkable. Yet all our major political parties are equally locked into the same self-deceiving bubble of unreality. Any final hope that we might be saved from this absurdly unnecessary disaster seemed last week to vanish, even as the ice and the snow closed in.

    Source Link:

  7. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm said:

    The next oil shock?


    Parliamentary support, Research papers
    October 2010



    Oil market basics [Instructive graphics]


    Running out of low-cost oil

    Production constraints

    Geological constraints

    Infrastructure constraints

    Supply crunch/price spike

    Growing demand

    Decreasing supply buffer

    Economic implications

    New Zealand’s oil potential and domestic implications of oil shocks


    The global economy is heavily dependent on affordable oil.

    It may seem counter-intuitive that, when oil reserves and production capacity are higher than ever, the future of the oil market appears bleak. The problem is that production capacity is not expected to keep up with demand. That fact leads to severe economic consequences.

    To replace the declining production from existing oil wells and increase production, oil companies are forced to extract oil in more difficult and expensive conditions (deep-water, oil sands, lignite to liquids) from smaller, less favourable reserves. The marginal (price-setting) barrel of oil costs around US$75-$85 a barrel to produce. This will continue to rise with higher demand and exhaustion of reserves.

    Although there remain large reserves of oil which can be extracted, the world’s daily capacity to extract oil cannot keep increasing indefinitely. A point will be reached where it is not economically and physically feasible to replace the declining production from existing wells and add new production fast enough for total production capacity to increase. Projections from the IEA and other groups have this occurring, at least temporarily, as soon as 2012.

    The difference between the global capacity to produce oil and global demand is the supply buffer. When the supply buffer is large, oil prices will be low. When the supply buffer shrinks – due to demand rising faster than production capacity or production capacity falling – prices will rise as markets add in the risk that supply will not be available to meet demand at any given point in time.

    When a supply crunch forces oil prices beyond a certain point, the cost of oil forces consumers and businesses to cut other spending, inducing a recession. The recession destroys demand for oil, allowing prices to drop. Major international organisations are warning of another supply crunch as soon as 2012.

    The world may be entering an era defined by relatively short periods of economic growth terminating in oil price spikes and recession.

    New Zealand is not immune to the consequences of this situation. In fact, its dependency on bulk exports and tourism makes New Zealand very vulnerable to oil shocks.

    Clint Smith

    Research Analyst, Economics and Industry Team

    Parliamentary Library
    Copyright: © NZ Parliamentary Library, 2010

    Except for educational purposes permitted under the Copyright Act 1994, no part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means…….

  8. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm said:

    Electricity generation: NZ and selected OECD countries

    Parliamentary support, Research papers

    7 December 2004

    This paper provides a brief overview of the electricity generation sector in New Zealand, it outlines present and potential generation capacity. It also provides a comparison between productivity (measured as GDP) and electricity consumption in New Zealand and selected OECD countries.

    For year ended March 2004 an estimated 40,006GWh of electricity was generated in New Zealand, which was derived from the following sources:1
    Hydro 61.6 percent (approximately three-quarters generated in the South Island)
    Gas 21.5 percent
    Coal 7.1 percent

    Geothermal 6.3 percent
    Others 3.5 percent (biogas, industrial waste, wood & wind, including cogeneration)

    The Ministry of Economic Development estimates that electricity demand is increasing at around two percent per annum, requiring over 150MW of new generation capacity on average each year 2 (although this figure is challenged by some industry commentators)3. Figure 1 illustrates the diversity and growth in generation capacity.

    [Snip – see Figure 1.]

    The Ministry for Economic Development forecasts that hydro will continue to be an important source of generation, but New Zealand’s generation profile will become more diverse as the best sites for hydro stations are occupied by generation facilities. Renewable energy resources such as wind and geothermal are expected to be significant minority contributors. Natural gas will continue to play a role in powering thermal stations, depending on the successful development of new gas fields, now that gas from the Maui field is declining.7 In addition, some energy commentators believe that coal will also play a greater role as a generation fuel.8

    Hydro powered generation contributes the largest portion of generation capacity in New Zealand and is currently the largest available renewable resource. New Zealand’s present hydro generation capacity is 5,524MW. The Ministry of Economic Development estimates that about 1,600MW of hydro power still remains to be developed, mostly in small hydro stations.9


    Around 41% of New Zealand’s available gas is used for electricity generation, including cogeneration.


    Coal resources occur widely in New Zealand. Total in ground coal resources are estimated at approximately 15 billion tonnes, of this 8.6 billion tonnes is judged to be economically recoverable. About 90 percent (by weight) of the economically recoverable coal is located in the South Island. Of the economically recoverable resources, about one third is in existing mines, while the remainder could be mined without significant investigatory work.16

    As a generation fuel, coal provides five percent of New Zealand’s electricity supply needs. This compares to coal providing 37 percent of worldwide electricity generation and as much as 86 percent of electricity generated in Australia.17

    State owned coal mining company Solid Energy, who produce over three quarters of New Zealand’s total production, contend that new coal-based electricity generation:

    “could maintain the wholesale electricity price near current rates (approximately 6c per kWh) for years to come. A carbon tax of $15 per tonne is likely to increase the cost of all electricity in New Zealand by about 1.5c per kWh.” 18

    The Government has specified that the carbon tax will be no more that $25 per tonne and will be introduced after 2007 (the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period is from 2008-2012). Carbon emission trading proponents refer to the global energy sector as “carbon constrained” and that a price on carbon is being gradually and irreversibly embedded in the global economy. Minister Hodgson has acknowledged:

    “We may well see new coal fired electricity generation built in New Zealand in the next decade. A carbon tax will not prevent that happening. It will simply ensure that the price we pay for that electricity will be a little more reflective of the environmental cost of choosing that source of energy.” 19

    New Zealand industries using coal are working on increasing the efficiency of coal firing to produce electricity, and to reduce the emission of particulates. Genesis Power and Solid Energy have formed a task force to enhance the performance of coal firing at Huntly Power Station (Huntly is a dual fuel power station and can run on gas or coal) and to introduce the next generation of coal technology to the station. Solid Energy is seeking similar arrangements with other major industrial customers, including BHP New Zealand Steel and the dairy industry.20

    Solid Energy mines over 3 million tonnes of coal each year. Over half of this annual production is exported to major international customers. This earns $150 million a year for New Zealand in export earnings. Solid Energy exports to Japan, South Africa, China, India, Chile, Australia, the United States and Northern Europe. Supporters of coal powered generation have observed that modern emissions scrubbing technology can make coal no more polluting than gas fired plants,21 and that purpose built power stations in New Zealand would be able to make use of this technology more effectively, and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions, than countries where New Zealand might otherwise export coal.22

    New Zealand’s current generation capacity from geothermal power stations is 513MW. The New Zealand Geothermal Association contends that 3,600MW of electrical generation capacity is available if geothermal resources are developed to their full potential.23 The estimate from the Ministry of Economic Development is more conservative and suggests that 632MW of new geothermal capacity will be developed over the next twenty years. The Ministry of Economic Development is of the opinion that geothermal power is a significant minority resource, and that is unlikely to become a major source of energy in the future.24

    Other Renewables
    Other than hydro generation, renewable energy sources include technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, and wave/tidal generation. New Zealand has approximately 155MW of wind powered generation capacity. In May this year Trustpower completed the second stage of its Tararua wind farm, bringing the farm’s generation capacity to 68MW. Meridian Energy recently commissioned its 90MW Te Apiti wind farm near Woodville. Of note is the fact that the Te Apiti wind farm gained resource consents and was built within a year. The Te Apiti wind farm replaces the Tararua wind farm as the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The Ministry of Economic Development estimates that 634MW of wind power will come on stream over the next twenty years.25 However, industry observers believe wind has the potential to generate up to 2500 MW of new capacity if all potential sites are developed.26

    There are no commercial solar or marine generating facilities, and biomass fuelled generation is confined to limited industrial site-specific applications.

    Possible Future Plant Changes
    Information on possible future power plant developments (10MW or greater), obtained from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Energy Data File, are summarised in table 1 below.27

    Table 1. Future power plant developments (10 MW or greater)

    Overall, the Ministry reports that 843MW of new generation capacity will come on stream over the next 4 years.

    In addition, Solid Energy reports that it is finalising plans for a coal fired plant north of Westport and has not ruled out building a second plant at Rapahoe, also on the West Coast of the South Island, with a combined generation capacity of around 400MW. Solid Energy is planning to lodge resource consents for the building and operation of these plants in 2005. Genesis Power is also undertaking a feasibility study on the recommissioning an old coal fired plant at Meremere in the Waikato, with a projected generation capacity of 500MW.28

    Various wind farms are also in the pipeline at different planning stages (with no fixed start-up date) including: New Zealand Wind Farms’ proposed Te Rere Hau wind farm of about 50MW in the Manawatu; the Wainui Hills Wind Farm company’s proposed plant of up to 30MW, near Wellington; Genesis Energy’s proposed Hau Nui wind farm extension of 5MW in the Wairarapa; and Genesis Energy’s proposed Awhitu wind farm of about 19MW near South Auckland.

    Mighty River Power has begun a public consultation process as a precursor to seeking resource consents to operate the Marsden Point B power station using coal as a fuel source. The station was originally built to run on oil, but was mothballed in 1978 without generating any electricity. Mighty River Power is proposing to refit the plant at Ruakaka, Northland, into a station capable of generating up to 320MW.

    Although not part of the generation sector, the successful functioning of the national transmission grid is vital for electricity distribution. In addition, recent developments in the transmission sector are of special note.

    State Owned Enterprise Transpower (New Zealand) Ltd is the owner and operator of the high voltage electricity transmission grid, which links generators to distribution companies and to direct supply customers (large industrial users) throughout the country. Transpower has primary responsibility for maintaining power quality and security between 40 grid injection points and more than 100 grid exit points.

    The average age of the assets in the existing network is forty years. Earlier this year Transpower announced the development of a “Grid Augmentation Plan” that will see major infrastructure development, with capital costs in the region of $1.5 billion, by 2010. The most heavily loaded parts of the grid, Auckland and Christchurch, are to have new or upgraded lines in place by 2009. By 2010 it is proposed that significant parts of both the North Island and South Island system will be upgraded from 220 KV to 400KV, and the high voltage direct current link between Benmore and the Haywards substation will be upgraded to 1400MW capacity. Post 2010 will see further 400KV line upgrades in both islands. Transpower CEO, Dr Ralph Craven, has stated that “a strong transmission backbone is essential to facilitate connection and market access for diverse sources of new generation.” 29

    The planned upgrade of the national grid has not been without controversy. Farmers and other landowners are concerned that the project requires 65 meter wide easements over some areas of private land, in the central North Island and Canterbury. Transpower has said a compensation package, which forms a significant portion of the project’s total cost, is being put together for affected land owners.30



    An infrastructure audit commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development, and released in May this year, was, in general, positive about the state of New Zealand’s infrastructure. But it also highlighted some areas of concern regarding electricity supply and transmission.32

    The audit raised concerns regarding the capacity of the transmission network and about the level of investment in new generating facilities which will be required in the near future. It suggested new investment is being delayed because of uncertainty about the proposed carbon tax, concern about the role of the Electricity Commission, questions about gas supply, and the capacity of the national grid. Although the audit acknowledges that the national grid needs investment, it suggests that investment is being delayed because of debate over who should pay and questions about Transpower’s ability to secure resource consents for its Grid Augmentation Plan.

    The audit suggests that, despite New Zealand’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the most likely sources of new generation are thermal, especially coal. However, it also points out that some renewable forms of generation, such as wind power, can be developed in relatively short time-frames, and their economics are likely to be enhanced by gaining carbon credits awarded by the Government under their “Projects to Reduce Emissions” programme.

    The Government’s response has been that since the report was written new generation facilities such as Stage II of the Tararua Wind farm, the dry year reserve plant at Whirinaki, and the Te Apiti wind farm have all been commissioned, which will provide more security in the generation sector.

    International comparisons
    Table 2 illustrates that New Zealand enjoys relatively low electricity prices compared to a selection of OECD countries.

    Table 2. International electricity prices and GDP per capita

    Energy Efficiency
    In 2001 the Labour-Alliance led government released New Zealand’s first National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, prepared as a requirement under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000. One of the aims of the Strategy is to decouple economic growth and energy demand, as Energy Minister Pete Hodgson noted in a speech earlier this year:33

    “The economies that have decoupled economic growth and energy demand growth are not starving themselves of energy and stunting their growth as a result. In fact they show that more continual improvement in energy efficiency is an economic strength. It is an investment that pays off in higher productivity.”

    The Strategy focuses on the demand side of energy use, and the extent to which consumers can moderate demand growth by increasing energy efficiency and conservation. The Strategy aims for a 20 percent improvement in the nation’s energy efficiency by 2012.

    Concluding remarks


  9. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm said:
  10. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm said:

    See “Electricity generation: NZ and selected OECD countries 2004”

  11. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm said:
  12. I got an email recently to inform me that my business web hosting company is “100% wind powered”, and that I can now display a green badge on my web page to show how environmentally conscious I am
    Tempting to go for the “live chat option” to tell them what I think of their bloody green badges.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 10:33 pm said:

    Relax Andy, your (very impressive) “Eco-Friendliness” is via Renewable Energy Credits according to their blurb.

    Being a Phoenix Arizona company, the electrons they actually use are pushed along by quite an assortment of generators – including coal, gas and a nuke:-

    Coal-fired plants supply almost two-fifths of Arizona’s demand for electricity. Natural gas-fired plants and nuclear power supply most of the remainder. Arizona’s sole nuclear power plant, the 3-unit Palo Verde plant, provides about one-fourth of the State’s total electricity generation. Palo Verde is the Nation’s largest nuclear plant and has the second-highest rated capacity of any power plant in the United States. The Glen Canyon and Hoover dams, both located on the Colorado River in northern Arizona, provide hydroelectric power. Although Arizona is a leader in the Nation in solar power potential, its solar-powered generation facilities are small and the State has not yet developed its solar resource on a large scale. In February 2006, Arizona adopted a renewable portfolio standard that requires electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.”

    Bur Green servers? Made of bamboo? Recyclable?

    Oh – 50% less energy reqd

    Just up the road in Wyoming, NCAR is building a new supercomputing facility to study climate,

    The initial supercomputer will likely consume about 3 to 4 megawatts of electricity. The NWSC will initially derive 10 percent of its power from wind energy, with the option to increase that percentage. Of the energy used by the NWSC, 92 percent will go directly to supercomputing as opposed to support functions such as keeping the machines cool. Many measures are being taken to enable this efficiency, including capitalizing on Wyoming’s naturally cool climate, which will allow the NWSC to use outside air for cooling during much of the year. For more information about energy efficiency and sustainability efforts, see (FAQs)

    No doubt they will get a green certificate too.

  14. Richard C (NZ) on December 19, 2010 at 10:55 pm said:

    There was also this stoush which, although an untenable threat, if carried out, would have flooded the Arizona market with cheap electricity, undercutting the renewables

    “Arizona official threatens to cut off electricity to L.A. in retaliation for boycott’

    I am sure that in a case like that, the redundant green certificates if in print would be recyclable and the electronic ones could be released back into the ether.

  15. I do hope, Andy, that you have sufficient battery back-up to maintain service when the wind stops blowing!

  16. Richard C (NZ) on December 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm said:

    From Bulldust at JoNova (AU context)

    Anyway, a couple stories of interest this morning… Heather Ridout is slamming renewable energy targets as costly (thanks for some pragmatic common sense Heather):

    and the Queensland Government is giving ZeroGen the flick as well for being uneconomic:

    It is worth highlighting stories such as these when the Greens keep banging on about renewables being competitive. They are not. If they were we would be using them already. Hydro is tapped out, bagasse is a side product from sugar cane production, and the rest is uneconomic, feel-good tokenism.

  17. Richard C (NZ) on December 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm said:

    Cost blowout hits clean coal vision

    # The Australian
    # December 20, 2010 12:00AM

    AUSTRALIA’S hopes to lead the world in generating “clean” electricity from coal have taken a hammering.

    A massive cost blowout forced the Queensland government to scrap a prototype power plant that was to be in action by 2015.

    The decision to go back to the drawing board on the ZeroGen project in central Queensland means carbon capture technology to trap greenhouse gases produced from coal-fired plants will not be in use for a decade at least.

    While Premier Anna Bligh said yesterday the $192 million invested in ZeroGen had not been wasted, and the state and federal governments remained committed to developing clean coal processes, she admitted this was not yet economically viable.

    ZeroGen decision on the money

    # The Australian
    # December 20, 2010 12:00AM

    BY pulling out of ZeroGen, the Queensland government has made a pragmatic decision.


    According to Peter Cook, chief executive of the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies in Canberra, the research effort is swinging back in favour of capturing carbon emissions after the coal has been burned rather than trying to radically alter the coal itself before combustion.

    “We are seeing that more conventional ways of making electricity are being looked at again for post-combustion capture,” Dr Cook said.

    This included both underground storage and research into algae to soak up carbon emissions that could be turned into crude oil and other projects to lock up CO2 emissions in new generation cement-like construction products.

    Research will continue on pre-combustion technology that turns coal into a synthesis gas, which is used in a gas turbine to produce electricity, with the heat generated used to drive a steam turbine, including at the Wandoan power plant project, also in Queensland, and in China.

    The $150 million written off by the Queensland government on ZeroGen is small beer in the context of the more than $US26 billion ($26.3bn) committed by governments around the world to research and develop CCS technologies.

    The fact of life in research is that not every project will bear fruit.

    However, the Queensland government said that it remained committed to continuing support for CCS research.

    And federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said the Australian government was considering advice from the Independent Assessment Panel on allocating $2bn in funding for so-called flagship projects.

    “I expect to be in a position to announce the next significant state in the development of CCS flagships in the first half of 2011,” Mr Ferguson said.

    The remaining projects are:

    – The Wandoan power plant project northwest of Brisbane, which is based on integrating General Electric’s existing technologies with CO2 storage in the Surat Basin.

    – The Collie South West Hub project, which aims to store up to 3.3 mega tonnes of CO2 a year, captured from surrounding industry including coal-fired power plants.

    -The CarbonNet project in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, which aims to store between three and five mega tonnes of CO2 a year, captured from coal-fired power plants in the region.

    The $2bn CCS Flagships program was announced in the 2009-10 budget and is part of the federal government’s $4.5bn Clean Energy Initiative.

    Leaders of the G8 countries who met in Hokkaido in Japan in 2008 had set a goal of having established at least 20 large-scale CCS projects around the world by 2020.

  18. Richard C (NZ) on December 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm said:

    Renewables forcing consumer energy price rise in Oregon

    Posted on December 19, 2010 by Anthony Watts

    By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian

    Come New Year’s, better strip the lights off the house and the Christmas tree ASAP.

    Customers of Pacific Power will see their electric rates spike 14.5 percent in January. The increase comes in a one-two punch: an 8.4 percent general rate increase state utility regulators approved Friday, and a 6.1 percent increase for increased power costs they are expected to approve Dec. 28. Both take effect Jan. 1.

    Meanwhile, customers of the state’s largest electric utility, Portland General Electric Co., will see a lesser, but still significant, rate increase of about 3.9 percent. A few mandatory cost adjustments in the works will bump that overall increase to 4.2 percent, effective Jan. 1.

    The biggest factor driving the increases: renewable power.


  19. Richard C (NZ) on December 21, 2010 at 10:52 am said:

    Chinese endure power shortages as coal runs short

    AP Business, Monday December 20, 2010, 9:17 am EST – Yahoo News

    SHANGHAI (AP) — Communities in central and northern China are facing power cuts and rationing as winter coal supplies fall short of surging demand.

    Cold weather and transport disruptions typically cause shortages most years, but the problem has been complicated by coal producers’ unhappiness over price controls that are crimping their profits.


    China depends on coal for more than three-quarters of its electricity and also to fuel centralized winter heating systems in northern cities. Spates of unusually cold weather often strain supplies, with power rationing not uncommon.


    Meanwhile, unusually dry weather is also hitting hydroelectricity plants, with water levels on average 10 percent below normal.

    At China’s Three Gorges dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric dam, the water flow was 26 percent below normal, the State Grid reports said.


  20. Richard C (NZ) on December 21, 2010 at 11:14 am said:

    Todd to build $100m power station in Taranaki

    8:00 AM Tuesday Dec 21, 2010 – NZH

    Todd Energy is to build a $100 million gas-fired power station alongside its McKee oil and gas production station near Waitara in Taranaki.

    Todd managing director Richard Tweedie said the new station would be capable of generating up to 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power up to 100,000 homes.

    “We’re signing the contracts this week. We’ve already made the necessary arrangements with GE for the supply of two 50MW gas-fired turbines, and we’re planning for the construction work to begin fairly early next year,” he told the Taranaki Daily News.

    The project will include the erection of about 17km of power lines that will feed electricity to the Transpower network.

    Tweedie said Todd Energy planned to have the station fully-commissioned by 2012, in time to meet winter’s peak demands for power.

    Continues……(a bit)

  21. Richard C (NZ) on December 21, 2010 at 11:39 am said:

    List of power stations in New Zealand


    National power stations (greater than or equal to 10 MW)

    Regional power stations (less than 10 MW)



  22. Richard C (NZ) on December 21, 2010 at 11:46 am said:

    New Zealand Energy Data File 2009

    A_Energy Overview [90 kB PDF]
    B_Balance Tables [137 kB PDF]
    C_Coal [126 kB PDF]
    D_Oil [245 kB PDF]
    E_Gas [230 kB PDF]
    F_Renewables [81 kB PDF]
    G_Electricity [203 kB PDF]
    H_Reserves [134 kB PDF]
    I_Prices [146 kB PDF]
    J_International Comparisons [86 kB PDF]
    K_Fuel Properties [68 kB PDF]
    L_Contributors [47 kB PDF]
    M_Glossary [70 kB PDF]
    N_Conversion [50 kB PDF]
    NZ Energy Flows for 2008 [65 kB PDF]

  23. Richard C (NZ) on December 21, 2010 at 11:56 am said:

    New Zealand electricity market

    Current Design

    The New Zealand electricity market is an energy only market exchange with prices set through a process similar to a uniform price auction. Locational pricing is another key feature of the market design. It has the virtue of being relatively simple and transparent. All electricity is required to be traded through a central pool, with the exception of small generating stations of less than 10MW.[7] Bilateral and other hedge arrangements are possible, but function as separate financial contracts. Trading develops by bids (purchaser/demand) and offers (generator/supply) for 48 half hour periods over 220 pricing nodes on the national grid.

    Bids and offers start 36 hours before the actual real-time consumption or `trading period’. Up to 4 hours (pre-dispatch) before the `trading period’ starts a new `forecast price’ is calculated to guide participants in the market. From four hours to the start of the trading period every half hour a `dispatch price’ is calculated and communicated. Two hours before the start of the `trading period’ bids and offers can no longer be revised (with some exceptions) and the new prices reflect Transpower’s adjustments in load forecasts and system availability.

    During each half hour period Transpower publishes a new real-time price every five minutes, and a time-weighted 30-minute average price. The real-time prices are used by some large direct-connect consumers to adapt demand. The above prices are all guiding only as the `final prices’ are calculated ex-post (normally noon the following day, unless there are irregularities or disputes) using the offer prices as established two hours before the `trading period’ and volumes as established during the `trading period’. Differences between forecast, dispatch, real-time and final prices can be significant.

  24. Richard C (NZ) on December 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm said:

    NSW power prices will rise again

    # From: The Daily Telegraph
    # December 21, 2010

    HOUSEHOLDS face even higher power prices from January 1 as electricity retailers recover the $360 million cost of the federal renewable energy scheme.

    About 370,000 AGL electricity customers will be the first hit.

    From next week a 3.8 per cent increase in charges will push up customers’ annual bills by $54.

    It’s the first case of a NSW provider jacking up charges to recoup the cost of buying small-scale technology certificates, or STCs, which the Federal Government is introducing to help fund a shift towards green energy.


  25. Richard C (NZ) on December 23, 2010 at 8:32 am said:

    $1b power station gets quick okay

    5:30 AM Thursday Dec 23, 2010 – NZH

    Contact Energy has used new fast-track rules to gain approval for a $1 billion geothermal power station but is not saying when it will start building.

    The company says the Tauhara 2 development near Taupo will proceed “when market conditions allow”.


    Tauhara 2 was the first project processed under the national consenting process of the reformed Resource Management Act. The average time before the reforms was two years with some projects taking as long as eight years, Smith said.


    Its 250MW output would be sufficient to power more than 200,000 homes or the equivalent of Hamilton and Tauranga.

    Contact’s chief operating officer, Graham Cockroft, said both the submitters and Contact’s willingness to work through issues saw all but two of the 60 submissions withdrawn, and the station would be built on farmland about 5.5km northeast of the Taupo township.

  26. Richard C (NZ) on December 24, 2010 at 8:22 pm said:

    Anna Bligh opens door to nuclear power

    # The Australian
    # December 24, 2010 12:00AM

    ANNA Bligh has backed calls for the Labor Party to review its policy on nuclear power.

    The Queensland Premier has warned that renewable sources cannot meet the surging demand for baseload electricity.

    Ms Bligh and ALP national president said development of the only other viable alternative energy, hydro-electricity, had been hamstrung by resistance to new dams.

    Ms Bligh said pointedly that “parts of the environment movement” had shifted on the nuclear option, and now supported it as an abatement measure for climate change.

    Ms Bligh’s comments to The Australian reflect an important shift on nuclear power among Labor leaders, who now cite cost and perception issues rather than philosophical considerations as the impediment to introducing nuclear energy.


  27. 33noa333 on December 26, 2010 at 10:37 am said:

    The influence of sea tides reaches of the Amazon River is surprisingly
    more than 1000 km upstream from the sea. (anomaly ?)
    Amazon tides are max. 5m
    Tides on NW Australia are huge max 12m
    how far will Australian tidal reach upstream from the sea be with 12m tides ?

    We can bring tidal sea water into desert.
    ( this is engineering and there are many ways how to do it,
    tidal river is part of land ecocology and environment around river
    and not just tidal river.)

    Huge deserts have plenty of low laying
    areas where swamps or underground tidal water supply can be provided
    for seawater tolerating plants.
    like mangroves to grow to increase evaporation for more rain on NW and
    elsewhere across Australia.

    Desert soil and desert underground water lacks: – nutrients – oxygen – Co2
    tides twice a day can provide all that is necessary
    for salt tolerating plants like mangrowes to grow in middle of desert.

    for more see:

  28. Richard C (NZ) on December 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm said:

    There’s been plenty of rain water lately (e.g. Carnarvon) but no reservoirs to catch it (the CSIRO didn’t predict it so it wasn’t planned for). So the sea water is not necessarily reqd for vegetation.

    If rain water can be retained, the tidal power could drive irrigation if levels and gravity are a problem. Fine for wet cycles – not so good in dry cycles.

  29. Richard C (NZ) on December 29, 2010 at 11:39 am said:

    Bryan Leyland: Wind farms not everything they’re cranked up to be

    5:30 AM Wednesday Dec 29, 2010 – NZH

    Virtually all the main electricity generators in New Zealand have wind farms in operation, under construction or going through the Resource Management Act approvals process.

    The primary driver seems to be that we need more renewable energy to “fight climate change” and that wind power is a very good way of doing this. It isn’t.

    The fundamental problem with wind power is that it is intermittent and unpredictable. This means that the system operator must take a pessimistic view and assume that no wind power will be available over critical periods.

    In other words, he has to make sure that there are sufficient conventional power stations available to meet peak demands. It is often claimed that New Zealand has ample hydropower that can easily back up wind. While this tends to be true during a normal rainfall year, it is most definitely not true during a dry year. Dry years, not normal years, dictate the need for new power stations.

    The wind blows least during the autumn-early winter period when the lakes are low and at a maximum in the springtime when the snow is melting and, usually, it is raining.

    So windpower generates most when it isn’t needed and least when it is most needed. As a result its contribution is less than it would be if the wind blew hardest in the autumn.

    Windpower is expensive. According to my calculations, its true cost is between 11c and 17c/kWh. This is between 50 per cent and 100 per cent more expensive than conventional power. As an expert witness in the wind farm debate, I have put forward my evidence and my calculations on a number of occasions. No one has refuted them.


    Bryan Leyland is a power industry consultant.

  30. Richard C (NZ) on December 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm said:

    33noa333 is Milan?

    Years ago a project such as this was called “Think Big” in NZ. This is definitely thinking big on a grand scale.

    I’ll have a closer look at this next year and “Happy New Year” to you Milan.

  31. John Muir Trust Study Reports Wind Farms at 22% Efficiency

    Front page article on today’s Sunday Times (UK) reports (behind a paywall so no link):

    “One of Scotland’s leading conservation bodies has called on ministers to ditch their ‘obsession’ with wind power amid evidence that turbines produce about a quarter less energy than developers claim. The John Muir Trust (JMT) said a study of 47 wind farms in Scotland and England over a 13-month period revealed that they ran at 22% capacity. The wind farm industry has claimed that during the course of a year a turbine operates at 30% efficiency.”

    The paper reports Helen McDade, head of policy at JMT says

    “Wind farms are costing huge amounts of money, much of it from consumers’ bills, yet it isn’t delivering what the industry claims. The economics of this is a scandal and needs to be urgently reviewed.”

  32. Richard C (NZ) on January 3, 2011 at 9:21 am said:

    JMT website only has this related report that I can see
    Wednesday 15th December, 2010
    Public Inquiry needed for Viking wind development

    The size and scale of the Viking development, which consists of 127 turbines reaching to 145 metres high, 104 kilometres of tracks, and associated buildings and quarries, makes it unsuitable for one of the wildest areas in the UK.
    And not suitable near the dwellings of rural (or any other) folks I suggest, the sound waves are a torture. Intense sound was investigated as a weapon of war, that was until a French prototype similar to a large scale policeman’s whistle killed the technicians when first tried (so the story goes).

  33. Wind farms becalmed just when needed the most

    Wind farms in Britain generated practically no electricity during the recent cold spell, raising fresh concerns about whether they could be relied upon to meet the country’s energy needs.

    This article was penned by one Ms Louise Gray, whose prose normally gets not much beyond rewording press releases from WWF

  34. Here is any interesting comment on nuclear potential in NZ

    Some well reasoned arguments with facts and numbers

  35. Richard C (NZ) on January 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm said:

    That was an eye-opener. There’s also a two related posts at WUWT

    Clean Coal (Say WATT?) – Our Energy Future
    Posted on December 30, 2010 by Ira Glickstein, PhD

    US Energy Independence by 2020
    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Anthony Watts

    Guest post by David Archibald


    My thesis is that the rising oil price will drive inter-fuel substitution to the highest value markets, which are those transport applications that require a high-density liquid fuel with good storage characteristics – essentially diesel and jet fuel. Coal will be substituted for oil into the transport fuels market. That in turn will make it too valuable to burn for power generation, in which nuclear will substitute for coal. I am a thorium nut as well as a coal-to-liquids (CTL) proponent.

  36. Wow, check out these coal projects in the pipeline for Germany:

    – EVONIK, Walsum (Duisburg), 800 MW black coal (2010)
    – RWE, Neurath (Cologne), 2 x 800 MW lignite (2009)
    – RWE Westfalen (Dortmund-Hamm, 2 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – EON Datteln (Dortmund), 1 x 1100 MW (!) black coal (2011)
    – ENBW Karlsruhe, 1 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – Trianel (municipality) Lünen, 1 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – Vattenfall Moorburg (Hamburg), 2 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – Vattenfall Boxberg (close to Leipzig), 1 x 800 MW lignite (2011)

  37. In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

    On the outskirts of one of China’s most polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across an immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust. He remembers it as fields of wheat and corn.
    Yan Man Jia Hong is a dedicated Communist. At 74, he still believes in his revolutionary heroes, but he despises the young local officials and entrepreneurs who have let this happen.

    ‘Chairman Mao was a hero and saved us,’ he says. ‘But these people only care about money. They have destroyed our lives.’
    Vast fortunes are being amassed here in Inner Mongolia; the region has more than 90 per cent of the world’s legal reserves of rare earth metals, and specifically neodymium, the element needed to make the magnets in the most striking of green energy producers, wind turbines

    Read more at The Mail Online:

  38. Richard C (NZ) on February 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm said:

    Spain produces solar energy at night

    Thursday, April 15, 2010 – The Reference Frame

    Between November 2009 and January 2010, about 4,500 megawatt-hours of electricity was pumped by “solar sources” into the Spanish grid after the midnight but before 7 a.m. The subsidized price paid for this amount of solar energy is about 2.5 million euros and the authorities assume that this is the total amount of fraud.

    That’s of course ludicrous because if the diesel engines could have been running at night, they were probably running during the days, too. Both during the nighttime and during the daytime, it is always economically better to get energy by burning fossil fuels than from the solar sources.

  39. Richard C (NZ) on February 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm said:

    China currently commissions a new 500 MWH coal fired power station every nine days and plans to continue to do so for the next 10 years


    Lone Labor leader leads the way on nuclear power

    * Piers Akerman
    * From: The Daily Telegraph
    * February 04, 2011 12:00AM

  40. Austerity Pulling Plug On Europe’s Green Subsidies

    The Spanish and Germans are doing it. So are the French. The British might have to do it. Austerity-whacked Europe is rolling back subsidies for renewable energy as economic sanity makes a tentative comeback. Green energy is becoming unaffordable and may cost as many jobs as it creates. But the real victims are the investors who bought into the dream of endless, clean energy financed by the taxpayer. They forgot that governments often change their minds.

    Spain is famous for its housing bubble, whose bursting drove the national unemployment rate to 20 per cent-plus. Less well known is the renewable energy bubble, inflated by a government bent on shaking down the taxpayer to subsidize clean energy – a social program disguised as a politically correct industrial program.

    It worked. Sunny Spain became the world’s top solar power producer. Since 2002, about €23-billion has been invested in Spain’s photovoltaic (PV) industry, which sucked up €2.7-billion in subsidies in 2009 alone, or more than 40 per cent of the freebies doled out to the country’s entire renewables sector.

    When the Spanish economy went into the toilet in 2008 and 2009, austerity measures were put into place. At first, it appeared the solar industry would be spared the worst of the cutbacks. That changed a bit, but only a bit, in November, when a royal decree reduced tariffs by up to 45 per cent on new PV plants; existing plants would remain untouched. Then – whammo! – a new royal decree landed with a thud just before Christmas. While it didn’t change the tariff, it retroactively limited the number of production hours that PV plants could qualify for the subsidies.

    Spain’s solar industry lobby group, the Asociacion Empresarial Fotovoltaica, estimated that the second decree would effectively reduce tariffs received by PV plants by 30 per cent, forcing many of the PV companies to default on their debt. Infrastructure Investor magazine called the second decree “the Christmas Eve massacre.”

  41. Richard C (NZ) on February 8, 2011 at 9:27 am said:

    Tidal power station for Kaipara approved

    Tuesday Feb 8, 2011 – NZH

    More than half a billion dollars will be spent on sinking tidal power turbines to the seabed of the Kaipara Harbour after the approval of New Zealand’s first tide-driven power station.

    But the Environment Court has set conditions of consent for the project after a year of mediation among four objectors.

    The key requirement for applicant Crest Energy is two years of environmental monitoring and evaluation and starting with only three turbines.

    The company wants to sink up to 200 turbines off the harbour mouth in a $600 million plan to harness the swift tidal flow to power homes from Albany to Cape Reinga.


  42. Northern New Brunswick wind turbines frozen solid

    A $200-million wind farm in northern New Brunswick is frozen solid, cutting off a potential supply of renewable energy for NB Power.

    The 25-kilometre stretch of wind turbines, located 70 kilometres northwest of Bathurst, N.B. has been completely shutdown for several weeks due to heavy ice covering the blades.

    GDF SUEZ Energy, the company that owns and operates the site, is working to return the windmills to working order, a spokeswoman says.

    “We can’t control the weather,” Julie Vitek said in an interview from company headquarters in Houston, Texas. “We’re looking to see if we can cope with it more effectively, through the testing of a couple of techniques.”

    She says the conditions in northern New Brunswick have wreaked havoc on the wind farm this winter.

    Read more:

  43. Why the £250bn wind power industry could be the greatest scam of our age – and here are the three ‘lies’ that prove it

    Christopher Booker in the Mail

  44. Andy on March 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm said:

    Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

    I guess having electricity when you need it is sooooo last century … UK families will have to get used to “only using power when it was available”. That constant electricity at home was dangerous anyhow, the unending hum of the wires can drive a man so insane that the only way to cure him is to make him head of the National Grid …

    Christchurch residents are experiencing what will soon be the norm in the UK.

  45. A couple of good pieces by Richard North.

    New study in Scotland shows that for every job created in the alternative energy sector, almost four jobs are lost in the rest of the economy.

    Electric Van company goes into administration

  46. This is a six month old article but still relevant.

    Christchurch firm goes subsidy farming.

    : Windflow Chases British Windfarm Subsidies
    (my emphasis in bold)

    A new British Govt incentive scheme for small-scale wind projects is causing rocketing demand for 500KW turbines, perfectly fitting the specifications of Christchurch two-bladed turbine manufacturer, Windflow Technology. With no new orders beyond those required to complete the Te Rere Hau wind farm, Windflow needs to find new customers or faces a production wind-down in early 2011. The new UK scheme, announced on April 1, guarantees both a fixed level of payment for embedded generation and feed-in tariffs for 20 years on any new, low carbon generation below 5MW. Feed-in tariffs give otherwise uneconomic generation a guaranteed rate of payment for any electricity exported to the national grid. Total tariffs of approximately NZ 45c per kWh are on offer.

    Good to see a local ChCh company cashing in on the scam. Stuff the British countryside eh?!

  47. Richard C (NZ) on March 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm said:

    The reactor that saves itself: safe nuclear does exist and China leads the way with thorium

    March 23, 2011 – Telegraph UK

    A few weeks before the tsunami struck Fukushima’s uranium reactors and shattered public faith in nuclear power, China revealed that it was launching a rival technology to build a safer, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper network of reactors based on thorium.

    This passed unnoticed –except by a small of band of thorium enthusiasts – but it may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.

    If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”.

    The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball. Further evidence of Barack Obama’s “Sputnik moment”, you could say.

    Chinese scientists claim that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster.


  48. This is very exciting stuff Richard.

  49. Official: wind farms are totally useless

    This is referring to the report from the John Muir Trust showing that wind output in the UK is much lower than advertised.

    Also covered by Anthony Watts

  50. Andy on April 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm said:

    Why Electric Cars are Really Coal Cars

    Written by Professor Chris Rhodes
    Tuesday, 05 April 2011 10:58

    Some good analysis in here, including the number of wind farms needed in the UK.

    h/t Bishop Hill.

  51. Richard C (NZ) on April 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm said:

    Like wind, the technology needs to be targeted. Wind is very useful in remote locations for example, where it is uneconomic to string distribution lines or for where continuous supply is not reqd.

    Same with EVs, there’s plenty of electric forklifts around – nothing new there, and a small EV is ideal for CBD one or two person transit or for large sites like ports (so is small petrol for that matter) but the key is the charge time. EVs are great for electricity generators….IF…..they are charged off peak because it helps flatten their load curves, the ideal load being flat across 24 hrs. But if EVs are charged at peak times – ‘nuther story entirely. Not only do generators have to call upon increasingly more expensive fuel sources but if EVs ore adopted in volume then plugged in to charge during peak time, the electricity supply system is loaded from generator to transmitter to distributor (including zone and local transformers).

    The other EV inefficiency that gets lost in the hype is line losses from transmission and distribution lines. Auckland is already creating enough transmission problems, the last thing NZ needs is EVs in Auckland – ban them there I say.

    EVs are an adjunct to conventionally fueled vehicles, not a replacement and when real grunt is reqd for locomotives or dump trucks, what turns the electricity generators? Diesel power.

    At least with coal-fired electric vehicles, the emissions can be scrubbed efficiently at the the generation station (particulates and SO2 etc is what I mean – I don’t care about the CO2).

  52. Mining the moon for Helium 3

    The potential for powering the planet lies on the Moon. Amazing stuff

  53. Protesters warned to stay clear or face jail

    If appears that Greenpeace are now opposed to seismic exploration for Oil

    Presumably, if they do not want us to know whether Oil is there or not, we can now call this “Oil Denial”

    Another victory for NZ ludditism.

  54. fascinating, there was also a Horizon program about this in 2007 (“Moon for Sale”)
    exciting if it is feasible

  55. Protest boats return to oil prospecting site

    The protesters say the oil exploration fuels climate change and the environmental risks of offshore oil rigs are unacceptable.

  56. Energy in America: EPA Rules Force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans

    Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight

    Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

    The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.

    The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.

    “What the modeling showed was in communities like Kaktovik, Shell’s drilling would increase air pollution levels close to air quality standards,” said Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case. Earthjustice was joined by Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League in challenging the air permits.

    At stake is an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil. That’s how much the U. S. Geological Survey believes is in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean. For perspective, that represents two and a half times more oil than has flowed down the Trans Alaska pipeline throughout its 30-year history. That pipeline is getting dangerously low on oil. At 660,000 barrels a day, it’s carrying only one-third its capacity.

    Production on the North Slope of Alaska is declining at a rate of about 7 percent a year. If the volume gets much lower, pipeline officials say they will have to shut it down. Alaska officials are blasting the Environmental Protection Agency.

  57. From Pravda, no less..

    Biofuel pushes millions of people towards poverty

    The growing production of bioethanol increases the shortage of food. Corn, sugar, other types of farm crops are required for the production of the biofuel. In addition, the growth of sowing for the green fuel reduces the square of lands designated for food cultures, which leads to smaller harvest and higher prices on food.

    FAO’s food prices index gained 2.2 percent in February, which marked the highest point since the analysis of the prices in 1990. The index embraces the fluctuations of prices on 55 sorts of food products.

    FAO’s crops prices index in March (includes wheat, rice and corn) increased by 3.7 percent. The prices on corn doubled last year, whereas wheat gained 65 percent.

    The index of prices on vegetable oil and fats increased insignificantly. It is currently staying at the level of a bit lower than the peak point of June 2008. The index of prices on meat in February increased by two percent. The index of prices on sugar went 16 percent higher than it was a year ago.

    A report from the World Bank confirmed that prices on food products continued to grow. WB’s index of food prices increased by 15 percent from October 2010 to January 2011.

    According to experts’ estimates, the number of undernourished people in the world will exceed the level of one billion people already in near future. According to the UN, there were not more than 925 million of such people last year. The growing prices on food push people towards poverty and puts pressure on most vulnerable layers of the population – those who spend over 50 percent of their income on food. As a result, when prices increased by 15 percent from October to January, as many as 44 million more people found themselves below the poverty line, WB specialists said.

  58. Letter: Powerful case against renewables stance

    Published by The Scotsman, 27th April 2011

    No developed economy can function without a reliable and economic supply of electricity but with present UK policies we have been warned that within a few years there will be a risk of power failures while increases in prices to consumers will rise by more than 50 per cent by 2025.

    On a standalone basis the situation in Scotland would be even more disastrous. The huge investment required to remedy the neglect and wishful thinking of recent years will require two decades or more to take effect and in the run up to the May elections we urge all political parties in Scotland to put the future of our electricity supplies at the top of their agendas.

    The pretence that our electricity can in future be supplied from renewables, mainly wind and marine, has gone on too long. These matters are not a question of opinion; they are answerable to the laws of physics and are readily analysed using normal engineering methods. All of these energy sources are of very low concentrations and intermittent; they are and will remain inherently expensive and no amount of development will have more than a marginal effect on this conclusion.

    Nor can wind and marine energy sources be relied on to provide electricity when it is needed; a recent analysis has shown that for over 30 per cent of the time the output from wind farms has dropped to below 10 per cent of their nominal output and during extremely cold weather has fallen to virtually zero. Furthermore it is unfortunately not correct that marine energy constitutes a vast untapped energy resource on our doorstep; studies (now apparently accepted by government) have shown that at best it could provide only a few percent of our electricity supplies and at costs which, including the necessary back up generation, would be entirely unacceptable to consumers.

    Fossil fuelled generation (coal or gas) with carbon dioxide capture and underground storage may yet prove a useful technique but it is important to realise that it is an unproven technology on the scale required; that it may never be acceptable to dispose of such huge quantities of gas in underground storage and at present its costs are too uncertain to gamble on its playing a significant part in our forward energy policy.

    So by all means let us have some wind power, development programmes for other renewables, home insulation programmes, heat pumps etc but let us not pretend that all these taken together will substitute for proven generation sources such as coal, gas and nuclear.

    And if low carbon is to be the principal driver of energy policy, we can build on Scotland’s half century of experience with nuclear, generating some 50 per cent of our electricity requirements, reliably and at low cost.

    Scotland needs a balanced electricity system which can deliver economic and reliable supplies; we are at the 11th hour and there is now no more time to lose in getting to grips with this task. There can be nothing more urgent on the political agenda.

    Colin Gibson C Eng FIEECCMI Network director National Grid 1993-97)

    Prof Ken W D Ledingham FInstP

    Prof Colin R McInnes FREng FRSE

    Sir Donald Miller C EngFREng FRSE, Chairman ScottishPower 1982-92

    Prof Anthony Trewavas FRS FRSE

    Prof Jack Ponton FREng FIChemE

  59. Andy on May 2, 2011 at 10:48 am said:

    Scots windfarms paid cash to stop producing energy

    Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged.

    The turbines, at a range of sites across Scotland, were stopped because the grid network could not absorb all the energy they generated.

    Details of the payments emerged following research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).

    The REF said energy companies were paid £900,000 to halt the turbines for several hours between 5 and 6 April.

    According to the REF research, the payments made cost up to 20 times the value of the electricity that would have been generated if the turbines had kept running.

    The largest payment was given to Whitelee windfarm in East Renfrewshire, owned by Scottish Power, which was paid £308,000 in April.

    The RWE nPower-owned Farr windfarm, south of Inverness, received £265,000 in the same month.

  60. Richard C (NZ) on May 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm said:

    New Solar Sheet Captures 90 Percent of Sunlight

    Efficiencies should get a healthy boost from capturing a boarder range of wavelengths

    May 17, 2011 5:24 PM

    Traditionally, solar powered devices suffer from a two-fold problem. First, they have difficulty converting the light they capture to electricity. Second, they only capture a small band of wavelengths out of the wide range of wavelengths found in sunlight striking the Earth. Improving in either area can offer gains to the net power output (and efficiency) of a solar cell.

    Researchers at the University of Missouri are claiming a breakthrough in the second category. They claim [press release] to have developed a device that can capture 90 percent of sunlight, versus the 20 percent that current photovoltaic (PV) panels capture.

    To capture the wider range of wavelengths, Patrick Pinhero, associate professor of chemical engineering, used a special thin, moldable sheet of small antennas called nantenna. The resulting material converts heat to electricity and can be used both for industrial heat recycling and for solar designs. In solar designs it is capable of collecting both optical (visible) sunlight and the near infrared band sunlight that most cells miss.


  61. Richard C (NZ) on June 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm said:

    The green killer: Scores of protected golden eagles dying after colliding with wind turbines

    By David Gardner

    Last updated at 11:11 PM on 6th June 2011 – MailOnline

    California’s attempts to switch to green energy have inadvertently put the survival of the state’s golden eagles at risk.

    Scores of the protected birds have been dying each year after colliding with the blades of about 5,000 wind turbines.

    Now the drive for renewable power sources, such as wind and the sun, being promoted by President Obama and state Governor Jerry Brown has raised fears that the number of newborn golden eagles may not be able to keep pace with the number of turbine fatalities.

    The death count along the ridgelines of the Bay Area’s Altamount Pass Wind Resource Area has averaged 67 a year for three decades.

    The 200ft high turbines, which have been operating since the 1980s, lie in the heart of the grassy canyons that are home to one of the highest densities of nesting golden eagles in the US.

    ‘It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production,’ field biologist Doug Bell, manager of East Bay Regional Park District’s wildlife programme, told the Los Angeles Times. ‘We only have 60 pairs,’ he added.

    Continues……….(it gets worse)

    Read more:

  62. Andy on June 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm said:

    Wind farms aren’t just a blight, they’re a folly

    It’s bad enough that these turbines spoil the landscape, but they don’t even work, writes Philip Johnston.

  63. Andy on June 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm said:

    “Windfall”, the trailer to the new movie about the Wind industry, is here

  64. Andy on June 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm said:

    Merkel Says Germany Needs 20GW of Fossil-Fuel Power Plants Over Next 10 Years

    To Replace Nuclear Power Plants Scheduled to be Shut Down
    Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, announced that her country would need to build a lot of fossil fuel power plants to pick up the slack from nuclear power plants that are scheduled to be shut down. She said: “If we want to exit nuclear energy and enter renewable energy, for the transition time we need fossil power plants. At least 10, more likely 20 gigawatts [of fossil capacity] need to be built in the coming 10 years.”

  65. “Pure Advantage” sides with Greenpeace, and iwi to shut down deep sea oil exploration in NZ

    What is great to see is the groups that are starting to merge and work together. So is holding hands with Pure Advantage and over the weekend an itneresting alliance between Greenpeace and a number of iwi and other environmental organisations joined forces with the goal of stopping the Government’s efforts to dramatically ramp up the exploitation of fossil fuels in Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes oil drilling, underground hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and the mining of coal.

    Pure Advantage is ostensibly a business front. They have big billboards in airports and support from some big names in NZ business.

    To me, they just look like another activist organisation.

  66. Also, Sir Paul Callaham has joined Pure Advantage

    This is the man who recently stated that NZers chose to be poor.

  67. At least 6 Golden Eagles killed by Californian wind farm,0,2891547.story

  68. The price of wind

    David Shukman, the BBC’s environmental correspondent is getting excited about the completion of the Ormonde subsidy farm – thirty 5MW bird choppers planted off the coast near Barrow-in-Furness, rated at 150MW installed capacity.

    What is remarkable about this project is the massive cost. Built at an estimated £500m, that is equivalent to roughly £3.3 billion per GW of installed capacity. Furthermore, while the developers – the Swedish power company Vattenfall – are claiming an optimistic load factor of 38 percent, with the annual production of 500 GWh, that still works out at less than half the average load factor of a nuclear installation, giving a net equivalent cost of £7.4 billion per GW.

    If one were to deliver the entire renewables quota of 20 percent by this means – roughly 20GW delivered – the cost by 2020 would be in the order of £150 billion, not counting the infrastructure cost and the provision of spooling back-up – bringing the overall total close to £180 billion.

    By comparison, the capital cost of nuclear plant to deliver the same net capacity would equate to about £3 billion (at its most pessimistic), something like a third of the total cost of offshore wind provision, or one sixth if relative life spans are taking into account – sixty years as against the 30 for a wind turbine.

    Wind, of course, does not have an ongoing fuel cost, but a working surmise is that the massively expensive maintenance and component renewal over life will be roughly equivalent to the running cost of a nuclear plant, which explains the continued need for a massive subsidy for wind-generated electricity.

    With the ROC currently standing at £39.99 per KWh – and a double ROC paid for offshore generation – the annual subsidy for this development will be in the order of £40 million, if they meet their 38 percent load factor. That means that this Swedish company will be extracting from the pockets of British electricity consumers.

    One gets so used to large sums of money that a “mere” £40 million a year seems chicken-feed. To put it in perspective, the cost of running a medium-sized hospital trust is about £300 million a year and in the current environment of “cuts”, one of the largest trusts, Oxfordshire, is having to slash its staff budget by £100 million over four years. During that time, this one wind farm will soak up £160 million in subsidies – £1.2 billion over its full life of 30 years.

    Strangely enough, while the BBC is keen enough to supply data on building costs, it provides no details on the subsides extracted and certainly makes no comparisons with health funding.

    It would take little imagination, though, to anticipate the outrage if people realised that their hard-pressed health trusts were having to shed staff and turn away patients, while offshore subsidy farms, Europe-wide are soaking up the equivalent of £800 million a year, and as much again to come, with the plants under construction.

    This obscenity has to stop – but then so many things should stop. Our masters are no more responsive to this than they are to anything else, but it should be made very clear to the general population that, as long as NHS funding is being cut back and wind subsidies increased, the price of wind is death.

  69. The Wind-Energy Myth

    Texas has 10,135 megawatts of installed wind-generation capacity. That’s nearly three times as much as any other state. But during three sweltering days last week, when the state set new records for electricity demand, the state’s vast herd of turbines proved incapable of producing any serious amount of power.

    Consider the afternoon of August 2, when electricity demand hit 67,929 megawatts. Although electricity demand and prices were peaking, output from the state’s wind turbines was just 1,500 megawatts, or about 15 percent of their total nameplate capacity. Put another way, wind energy was able to provide only about 2.2 percent of the total power demand even though the installed capacity of Texas’s wind turbines theoretically equals nearly 15 percent of peak demand. This was no anomaly. On four days in August 2010, when electricity demand set records, wind energy was able to contribute just 1, 2, 1, and 1 percent, respectively, of total demand.

  70. Richard C (NZ) on September 5, 2011 at 9:49 pm said:

    Christopher Booker
    The lights may go out in Germany even sooner than in Britain

    Also below that story:-

    The real ice story: BBC misses the boat again

    Another little parable for our times is the story of Sweden’s refusal to lease its most powerful ice-breaker to help the United States in supplying its McMurdo base in Antarctica. The Swedes told Hillary Clinton that they need the Oden at home, after two years of unusually thick winter ice have brought shipping to a halt in the northern Baltic. The Americans have relied on the Oden’s services for five years because, as revealed by the Autonomous Mind blog, they have run down their own ice-breaker fleet, believing that global warming would render it unnecessary.

  71. Douglas Field on September 18, 2011 at 10:19 am said:

    According to Wikipedia, “wind power in New Zealand generates a small but rapidly growing proportion of the country’s electricity. Currently wind supplies around 4% of New Zealand’s electricity needs, with predictions that this will reach 20% in the next 20 years’.

    Can anyone advise me about the following:

    1. What is the cost of power generation (per GWh) from this source compared with:
    a) hydo generation.
    b) Coal fired generation.

    2. What level and cost of back up resource is needed to deal with the intermittency problem associated with wind generation.

    Thank you

  72. Richard C (NZ) on September 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm said:

    Douglas, I can’t answer specifically because each generator will have their own cost-of-supply (cost-of-generation) for each generation source and I suspect will want to keep that information confidential (they will not want other generators to know what their cost structure is).

    The best I can do for 1) is up-thread here:-

    “State owned coal mining company Solid Energy, who produce over three quarters of New Zealand’s total production, contend that new coal-based electricity generation:

    “could maintain the wholesale electricity price near current rates (approximately 6c per kWh) for years to come.”

    PRICE not COST note. Obviously cost-of-generation would have to be less than $60,000 per GWh for a generator to profit at that wholesale price (hope I’ve got my decimal places right).

    See “New Zealand Energy Data File 2009” here:-

    You are looking for I_Prices [146 kB PDF]

    See “New Zealand electricity market” here:-

    “During each half hour period Transpower publishes a new real-time price every five minutes, and a time-weighted 30-minute average price.”

    That’s PRICE note – not COST. A major wind generator like TrustPower might give you their cost-of-generation for their wind power in their company reports (I doubt that they do – but worth a look). Start looking here (link to TrustPower):-

    Bryan Leyland may be able to help you with 2). See:-

    “Bryan Leyland: Wind farms not everything they’re cranked up to be”

    “Windpower is expensive. According to my calculations, its true cost is between 11c and 17c/kWh.” [$110, 000 – $170,000 per GWh but check]

    In regard to backup see:-

    “NZ wind farm subsidies”

    Tip: you can search the blog using the Google search box e.g. enter “TrustPower” and use the Index on the side of the Blog e.g. “Wind Turbines”.

  73. Douglas Field on September 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm said:

    Thank you for all these leads. I will follow them up. Obviously it is not a ‘simple straight line’ of comparison. I also appreciate that NZ is better placed than most to get an advantage from wind energy because it can be linked to hydro as a complimentary source thus mitigating the ‘intermittency’ problem but the cost of wind power vis a vis coal or hydro needs to be made clear. I see that we export considerable quantities of coal to be burnt elsewhere on the planet but seem to avoid using it here. Interesting.

    Again, thank you for your assistance

  74. Richard C (NZ) on September 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm said:

    I can assure you that although there seems to be a discrepancy (Leyland’s wind cost $110,000 vs wholesale price $60,000 per GWh), TrustPower must be deriving economic profits from wind otherwise they would not be in the wind generation business.

    It comes down to who incurs cost and where but the actual cost incurred by TrustPower will be less than $60,000 per GWh I’m sure.

    Bryan Leyland is saying (to quote Richard Treadgold):-

    “Wind turbines get free transmission. This means that, when connecting the wind farm to the national grid, if the local feeder lines need reinforcement to carry the load, it’s paid for from public funds. While it doesn’t happen often, it is certainly a subsidy.”

    [I have severe doubts that this equates to $50,000+ per GWh over the long-term. That subsidy (whatever it is) is really only for the first unit of energy transmitted (the connection) and the peak load (the capacity) when generation is at a maximum.. Rural consumers discover this concept when they ask for a remote connection where no distribution line already exists (I know this because electricity supply economics was my job for a while) An up-grade is for capacity only – the connection is already in place for overhead (structures poles, cross-arms, insulators etc, just the conductors are changed) but if the connection is underground, an entirely new cable is required (and an underground line can be more than 5x the cost of overhead

    The other point is: what length of transmission line does the generator construct at own cost and what length does Transpower construct at their cost i.e. where is the connection point to the national grid? Each entity retains ownership either side of that point unless there’s a handover agreement]


    “What’s the biggest subsidy of all? Free backup”

    [This is debatable too. When a wind generator cannot supply, it represents an opportunity cost to them but it’s an opportunity for another generator to supply (and probably at higher price) i.e. it’s a market

    The problems will start if coal say is wound down while wind is ramped up and if as in Britain there is a major failure of wind to supply, there may not be another generator waiting to supply and if there is they can’t supply instantly anyway. This is looking like a realistic scenario IMO if coal opposition continues]

  75. Richard C (NZ) on September 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm said:

    I suspect too that connecting a new geothermal generation plant to the national grid is little different to connecting a new wind farm to the grid in terms of subsidy (but I stand to be corrected).

  76. Douglas Field on September 18, 2011 at 10:33 pm said:

    What’s the biggest subsidy of all? Free backup”


    The link (Daily Telegraph) below indicates to me the inevitable direction that all this leads to as I see things going

    [This is debatable too. When a wind generator cannot supply, it represents an opportunity cost to them but it’s an opportunity for another generator to supply (and probably at higher price) i.e. it’s a market

    The problems will start if coal say is wound down while wind is ramped up and if as in Britain there is a major failure of wind to supply, there may not be another generator waiting to supply and if there is they can’t supply instantly anyway. This is looking like a realistic scenario IMO if coal opposition continues]

  77. Richard C (NZ) on September 19, 2011 at 6:11 am said:

    I don’t think the British wholesale electricity setup is applicable to the NZ market structure, there’s not the same subsidy incentives (subsidy farming) in NZ. And I’m sure there’s no ‘constraint payments’ being made (or will have to be made in the future but it’s an interesting thought.

    In regard to connecting generation to the national grid, remember that the “line charge” component of your power bill pays for transmission (Transpower) and distribution (e.g. Powerco) line costs (i.e. it’s a toll for energy transport).

  78. And this from the home of reason and democracy. Unbelievable.

  79. This is from the country that joined the EU. In its early stages, this was the Common Agricultural Policy, which paid farmers to destroy food. (Butter mountains, wine lakes etc)

    This is what happens when state interventionism and subsidies create skewed markets.

  80. Peak Oil Scam is Based Upon Ideological, Fact-Blind Liberalism

    “Hubbert had a powerful mind, taking three different degrees as an undergraduate. But he also had, as is true of many intellectuals, a bent towards demanding leadership of the elites over the uneducated. This is the model used by all socialists, Marxists, and other progressives, first adumbrated by Joachim of Flora in the 12th century”

    Some interesting facts here on the size of potential reserves in the US. e,g prospects in Colorado are thought to have three times the oil of Saudi Arabia

  81. LFTR in 5 minutes – Thorium 2011 remix

    Interesting first 5 minutes of this video gives a good overview of Thorium power.
    It is so abundant, one guys mine in the US can provide enough Thorium to power the entire world for one year.

    Stay for 6 minutes and you get to see the true agenda of the greens – limiting growth.

  82. Richard C (NZ) on October 17, 2011 at 9:58 am said:


    This calculator estimates the solar energy that can be collected by a solar capture device (solar panel) at a given address, panel direction and roof slope:-

    This is weird. Cloudless days (and insolation) are zero at the beginning and end of each month but max out in the middle of each month according to the calculator.

    Nelson case study (Robertson family) gives costs; $8500 full cost [retrofit] but $5100 with a “Nelson City Council initiative and a cheaper system”. They think they will pay it off in “five to seven years” by saving 30% on normal bills. That means their normal average monthly bill (using 6yr payback) was $472 ($236 per month) and they’re saving $70 per month average so will be paying $166 per month in 6 yrs time:-

    From Case Studies:-

    I’m sure they could have saved as much with some thought and discipline if they really wanted to before SWH. Does demonstrate that yes, solar power is free – until you try to harness it.

  83. Britain’s Mark Lynas Riles
    His Green Movement Allies

    Activist Mark Lynas has alienated his green colleagues by renouncing long-held views and becoming an advocate for nuclear power and genetically modified crops. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he explains why he rethought his positions and turned to technology for solutions.

  84. LCES China low carbon energy conference


    Flibe Energy (the Thorium guys) did a presentation here

    Naturally, they pushed the “climate change” angle, as that was the target audience.
    China is probably the number one prospect for development of Thorium energy

  85. Richard C (NZ) on October 28, 2011 at 10:14 am said:

    Germany’s Energy Transition

    Der Speigel asks whether Germany’s ambitious energy transition is going according to plan. From the graph above, which is for Bavaria, it looks like Germany had better stock up on carbon offsets, because something looks to give and I suspect that it won’t be the lights going out.

    Posted by Roger Pielke, Jr. at 10/27/2011 01:08:00 PM

    >>>>>>>>> [See links]

  86. Richard C (NZ) on October 28, 2011 at 10:48 am said:

    I’ve always thought that the NI NZ gas pipeline network is extremely vulnerable and recent events have confirmed my suspicions.

    As a researcher for an electricity utility in the late 80s I witnessed the changeover from coal fired boilers to gas fired boilers, dairy factories were massive coal users – more Joules in total for Waikato factories than say electricity for a city the size of Hamilton and the NZ Dairy Coop (Fonterra) had their own coalmines. Part of my function was to try to capture some of the market for electric hot water systems (e.g. private hospitals) because often it is only hot water that is required for some functions, not steam.

    I had an uneasy feeling seeing the reliance being placed on gas because I had seen the Kapuni pipeline being laid though the farms next to where I was brought up and having since been involved in earthworks and construction for large projects, I have seen how things go wrong e.g. Ruahihi and Wheo hydro canals.

    Smart that some Auckland restaurants had a back up plan but when coal is replaced in industrial facilities where steam is raised without the ability to revert necessitates the use of diesel as a short term measure only but coal is the only viable long-term alternative.

    An earthquake of Canterbury proportions between Auckland and New Plymouth doesn’t bare thinking about if one small leak shuts down Auckland industry for a week. I think some risk managers will be revising mitigation strategies as a result of the shutdown. Lion would have been OK except that their alternative brewery was in Christchurch – dang!

  87. Richard C (NZ) on October 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm said:

    The NZ industry sector heat plant breakdown is here:-

    Heat Plant in New Zealand

    Obviously NZ heat plant runs on fossil fuels for which there is no substitute (no wind turbines powering heat plant of any substance).

    Fonterra NI factories are now all gas except Te Awamutu (coal/gas) and Puhoi (lignite). Te Awamutu has 53 MW capacity to raise superheated steam with coal, only Whareroa betters that with gas. Te Rapa, that was coal supplied by a Dairy Coop coal mine, is now gas except that Contact Energy now generates electricity on-site with 4x the capacity that Fonterra has. I did foresee this in the 80s and reported it to my mgt thinking Fonterra might enter the electricity generation/retail business after deregulation (and therefore become a major player in the Waikato and a competitor) but obviously that was not Fonterra’s core business and they instead farmed out the Te Rapa capacity to Contact who became the competitor:-

    Te Rapa Co-generation

    Which BTW leads to complications re “co-generator status”, is it permanent or seasonal? See: Contact’s “Submission to Electricity Commission on Review of Offer and Dispatch Rules for Co-generation Plant” [link too long]. That was 2006 so probably been resolved by now.

    And check out Primary Schools (coal mostly) vs Secondary Schools (gas mostly) on page 11.

    Ironically, Lion’s Christchurch brewery boilers were fired by coal (page 58) but that plant is to be demolished and instead they will build a $15 million warehouse and distribution centre

    All other SI breweries are fired by coal except McCashins that the report states is LPG/Butane. I’m sure that is incorrect because in 2009 McCashins got a resource consent to use an already on-site coal-fired boiler (perhaps it was not being used), maybe they now have both LPG/Butane and coal:-

    My favourite brew is Black Mac along with Cascade Premium Lager. Cascade (being in Greenie Tasmania) switched from oil and coal to gas in 2010 and now trumpets its “improved greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency performance”:-

    Black Mac is batch brewed around NZ by Lion who have owned the Mac brewing rights since 1999. Mac’s beer supplies were hit by the Christchurch quake along with Guinness and Becks:-

    Monteith’s have their own versions of Black Mac and Cascade Premium Lager that I find a bit ordinary (can’t be the Greymouth coal surely) but their coal fired boilers are a tourist attraction apparently so who am I to criticize?

    Highly recommended Greymouth tourist attractions include…

    Monteith’s Brewery Tour – Located in Greymouth, the brewery maintains the brewing traditions almost 150 years on from its inception. Tours are available daily and designed so you can experience the making of fine beer in open fermenter’s by coal-fired boilers, learn about a time-honoured tradition that lives on, learn about the origins of each beer and taste profiles plus enjoy formal tasting of each beer style.

    Well, enough of reporting the energy inputs to beer brewing (even as important as it is). I’m off to wash my car – that should work up a thirst.

  88. Richard C (NZ) on October 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm said:

    Oops, this is way off:-

    “Obviously NZ heat plant runs on fossil fuels for which there is no substitute”

    The wood processing sector (Figure 6.2 page 5) say otherwise. Their wood-waste and black liquor energy use is about the same as gas and coal in dairy processing.

    Black liquor

    Black liquor — fuel of the future?—fuel-of-the-future/

  89. Richard C (NZ) on October 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm said:

    Checked out beer bottle manufacturing. All gas fired furnaces in NZ boosted by electricity when necessary according to this NZIC report:-

    O-I New Zealand (formerly known as ACI Glass Packaging), based in Penrose, Auckland, is the only manufacturer of glass bottles and jars in New Zealand apparently. Their two furnaces are capable of producing 210 and 250 tonnes of glass per day. Firing is by natural gas.

    Haven’t heard in the news whether that plant has shut down, I presume so.

    Phenomenal amount of new glass making capacity in China almost all gas fired. The following page shows Chongqing Life Furnace Technical Engineering Co., Ltd’s recent design and construction including one 101m2 coal fired furnace:-

    Compare all that new glass furnace capacity in China from just one furnace supplier to O-I’s two NZ furnaces, one 65m2 and the other 81m2.

    No bread at my Countdown Supermarket tonight either thanks to a lack of gas – I got the last loaf,

  90. Richard C (NZ) on October 29, 2011 at 10:35 am said:

    Sure enough, an awakening among the Food & Grocery Council’s members:-

    Gas crisis will cost hundreds of millions

    The head of the Food & Grocery Council says the Maui pipeline outage will prompt a review of emergency plans, warning the cost of the disruption will run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Chief executive Katherine Rich said she would survey members but she expected the cost would surprise many.


    Rich said many of the Food & Grocery Council’s members conducted extensive contingency planning, covering almost every type of disaster.

    “But even with rigorous processes for identifying risks, some had no idea that natural gas supplies were so vulnerable.”

    Amazing. They looked at every type of disaster except the one that stops production dead.

    I would have thought that the first question those risk managers asked their colleagues would be: what will we do if our gas supply is disrupted?

    At least now they have the answer, even though they didn’t ask the question.

  91. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm said:

    Seen at “The Daily Bayonet – Skewering the Clueless Since 2006”

    …the electricity you use to power your home will increasingly come from solar panels. The conversion is starting with solar replacing the more expensive gas plants that turn on during peak summertime demand. Within a few years, solar could start to replace the 24/7 “base load” plants.

  92. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm said:

    Not entirely out of the realms of possibility given Spain produces solar energy at night

  93. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm said:

    UK firm’s failed biofuel dream wrecks lives of Tanzania villagers

    The collapse of Sun Biofuels has left hundreds of Tanzanians landless, jobless, and in despair for the future

    A quarter of the village’s land in Kisarawe district was acquired by a British biofuels company in 2008, with the promise of financial compensation, 700 jobs, water wells, improved schools, health clinics and roads. But the company has gone bust, leaving villagers not just jobless but landless as well. The same story is playing out across Africa, as foreign investors buy up land but leave some of the poorest people on Earth worse off when their plans fail.


    Why Sun Biofuels went bust is unknown, as attempts to contact the previous owners were unsuccessful. Whatever the reason, the company is far from alone. A large jatropha plantation created by a Dutch firm called Bioshape in the southern Tanzanian district of Kilwa has also gone bankrupt, leaving locals complaining of missing land payments. Also in Tanzania, a large ethanol biofuel project set up by Swedish company Sekab went bust. In both cases, the land has not been returned to its owners.

    Further afield, in Ghana, a Norwegian-backed jatropha project has collapsed, while in Mozambique a UK-linked company called Procana, behind a huge ethanol project, has folded in acrimony. The Observer’s investigations and those of journalist Stefano Valentino have identified at least 30 abandoned biofuels projects in 15 African countries.

    The thirst for biofuels to meet the UK and EU’s rising targets has led British companies to lead the charge into Africa. Half the 3.2m hectares of biofuel land identified is linked to 11 British companies, the biggest proportion of any country. ActionAid’s estimate suggests that up to 6m hectares has been acquired. But with landowners frequently illiterate and unaware of their rights, the potential for exploitation is high.


  94. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2011 at 6:49 pm said:

    Britain’s solar energy boom is built on unsustainable foundations

    By Greg Barker, UK minister for energy and climate change

    The government is proposing measures to reform the feed-in tariff scheme and ensure the industry has a long-term future


    It’s easy to see why solar is so attractive: it’s simple, accessible, reliable and fits discreetly into homes and communities. It’s a vital component of our decentralised local energy revolution. But however convinced we may be of the long-term potential of solar, we have to face up to the economic reality that every other sector of the economy is challenged by. The green economy does not exist in a bubble.

    The huge subsidised returns for people investing in solar photovoltaic panels – funded from everybody’s energy bills – have now broken double figures and cannot continue. The good news is that the costs of the technology have plunged – by at least 30% – since the scheme started in April 2010. A home installation can now cost around £9,000 or less. A similar installation would have set you back an extra £4,000 less than two years ago.

    With installed capacity nearly three times that projected by the last government when it launched the scheme 18 months ago, it all means that solar is burning through its budget at an unsustainable rate. The generous pot of £867m secured for the feed-in tariff scheme by the coalition last year will be completely devoured if we don’t act now.

    Solar subsidies to be cut by more than half

    Government documents prematurely published online reveal feed-in tariff cut will double the payback period for householders

    Solar subsidies will be dramatically cut by more than half, according to government documents that were prematurely published online and quickly taken down.

    The cut will almost double the payback period for householders, the document revealed, meaning someone installing £10-12,000 solar panels will only be in credit after 18 years rather than the current 10. The rate will be reduced from 43.3p per kilowatt hour of solar electricity to just 21p, the document revealed, cutting returns from around 7% to 4%.


  95. Richard C (NZ) on October 31, 2011 at 6:54 pm said:

    Germany Plans Solar-Subsidies Cut, May See Installation Rush

    Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — Germany, the world’s biggest solar- panel market, will cut subsidies for photovoltaic power by a record amount next year as the government tries to control the pace of installations and wean the industry off support.

    Rates under the feed-in-tariff system will be reduced 15 percent from Jan. 1, 2012, after Germany added about 5.2 gigawatts of panels in the year through Sept. 30, the Bundesnetzagentur, the federal grid regulator, said in a statement on its website today. Power from panels will earn 17.94 euro cents (25 cents) to 24.43 euro cents a kilowatt-hour.

    “The cut is part of the push down toward competitive pricing without subsidies,” Charles Yonts, an analyst at CSLA in Hong Kong, said by e-mail.


  96. Richard C (NZ) on November 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm said:

    Pssst, wanna buy some cheap US green energy stocks?


    Buy at the bottom, sell at the top. Buy low -sell high (hello – bye bye). You wont regret it.

  97. The cost of wind farms – short video from UK

  98. Richard C (NZ) on December 9, 2011 at 9:46 am said:

    Climate Common Sense: Solar Panels overloading electricity grid!


    Any power system designer could have foreseen the problems with reverse feeding single phase power onto a distribution network. The system is just not designed for it and when all solar panels in a street are at maximum output at midday the unbalanced power can saturate transformers with unpleasant results. The whole silly “rip off your neighbour” solar panel scheme needs to be scrapped as the electricity generated is incredibly expensive as shown in the US analysis below. In Queensland the solar costs are twice that shown because of the policy forcing retailers to buy solar at inflated prices of 10 times the cost of coal generation.


  99. 1,500 accidents and incidents on UK wind farms
    The wind energy industry has admitted that 1,500 accidents and other incidents have taken place on wind farms over the past five years.

    The figures – released by RenewableUK, the industry’s trade body – include four deaths and a further 300 injuries to workers.

    The scale of incidents – equivalent to almost one a day – emerges following the publication of dramatic photographs showing one turbine which had crashed to the ground in a field near a road and another exploding into flames, caused by 150mph winds which buffeted Scotland and northern England last week.

  100. Public health and wind farms

    video report from Australia.

    Some rather disturbing health issues here:

  101. Greenhouse gas storage possible – NZ study

    Another waste of taxpayers money

  102. Richard C (NZ) on January 7, 2012 at 9:44 am said:

    Seen at JoNova

    4 Jan: Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia ethanol plant sold, at taxpayers’ loss

    The failed Range Fuels wood-to-ethanol factory in southeastern Georgia that sucked up $65 million in federal and state tax dollars was sold Tuesday for pennies on the dollar to another bio-fuel maker with equally grand plans to transform the alternative energy world.

    LanzaTech, a New Zealand-based biofuel company, paid $5.1 million for the plant in Soperton. Its main financial backer: Vinod Khosla, a California entrepreneur who also bankrolled Range Fuels, and helped secure its government loans, before Range went bust last year.

    LanzaTech hasn’t received the same type of loans, but the company has received $7 million from the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation to assist in the development of alternative fuels

    The Bush administration’s Energy Department steered a $76 million federal grant to Range. The Department of Agriculture followed up with an $80 million loan guarantee. Georgia officials pledged $6.2 million. Treutlen County, one of the state’s poorest, offered 20 years worth of tax abatements and 97 acres in its industrial park.
    Private investors reportedly put up $158 million. In all, the project raised more than $320 million.
    Range, unable to turn wood into ethanol, closed its doors a year ago.
    It never came close to creating the 70 jobs once promised…

    Jeb Simons, an engineer in Savannah whose family hails from Soperton, doesn’t expect much of the taxpayer investment to be recouped. He blames Khosla.
    “He takes government money, builds the place and takes the money and runs,” said Simons, ” . . . and now he’s double-dipping on government funds for round two. That’s taxpayer money that could go toward schools or hospitals or be given back to taxpayers.”

    Khosla, who made his billions as a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has invested heavily in alternative energies, cellulosic ethanol in particular. Khosla is listed as “a key investor” in LanzaTech and sits on the board of directors, according to the New Zealand company’s website. A call to Khosla Ventures was not returned Wednesday…

  103. Richard C (NZ) on January 7, 2012 at 9:52 am said:

    This down-thread:-

    Rereke Whakaaro
    January 6, 2012 at 11:26 am · Reply

    It is interesting that although LanzaTech is registered in New Zealand, 5.1 million of the 7.7 million shares in LanzaTech are owned by Mr Khosla, through one channel or another.

    Only 1.8 million shares are actually owned by New Zealand residents.

    I also note with interest that 670 thousand shares are registered to holding companies in the Cayman Islands – always an eyebrow raiser.

    And the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation have jointly given the company US$7m … Hmm?

  104. What a story! MSM – are you listening?

  105. Richard C (NZ) on January 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm said:

    Range Fuels biorefinery is now “Freedom Pines Biorefinery” and Lanzatech’s “first production facility in the United States” (not producing yet):-

    Freedom Pines Biorefinery

    Founded in New Zealand in 2005, and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, LanzaTech has developed a novel gas-liquid fermentation process that produces fuels and chemicals from gas resources. Backed by global investment, LanzaTech employs a strong technical team in the USA, China and New Zealand, and has a rapidly growing patent portfolio.

    We are proud to announce our first production facility in the United States, Freedom Pines Biorefinery, located in Soperton, Georgia through our acquisition of the former Range Fuels biorefinery on January 3, 2012.

    We plan to leverage some of the existing technology at the facility alongside our own proprietary technology to produce clean, renewable and domestic fuels and chemicals from the bountiful waste biomass in the region.

    We will have more to say and share in the coming weeks and we will update our site as new information is available.

    It will be interesting to see how economically efficient full-scale production is. Basically they “plan to leverage” the massive sunk subsidies (and any others they can get their hands on) of Range Fuels so site updates will be worth looking at.

    They’re also masters of spin:-

    Advanced Engineering and Rapid Scale-up

    Tested in the Lab. Proven in the Field.

    The engineering team is drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds including process, mechanical, electrical and software engineering, as well as experience in industrial fermentation, gas handling and pressure vessel design.

    This process engineering expertise has been the driving force behind our rapid scale-up and commercialization plan. Operating since November 2008, our pilot plant located at the BlueScope Steel mill in New Zealand comprises two 500 liter gas fermentation reactors linked directly to the mill’s off-gas exhaust. The pilot plant is fully automated and has successfully demonstrated the operation of the LanzaTech process at scale with real-world gas resources.

    Following on the heels of this success, our first demonstration facility, producing over 100,000 gallons of ethanol per year, will be operational in 2011 with a full scale commercial facility planned for 2012. The world’s first steel waste to Ethanol and chemicals plant will be operational and profitable by 2013.

    I can’t find at the company website, any details of their “first demonstration facility, producing over 100,000 gallons of ethanol per year……operational in 2011” (despite all the awards and press releases) – that has apparently been re-scheduled for 2H 2012

    LanzaTech has already successfully proven its proprietary gas fermentation platform can be used to convert biomass syngas at laboratory scale and envisages a demonstration facility will be operational by the second half of 2012.

    From what I can gather, the “demonstration facility” and the “full scale commercial facility” will be one and the same – Freedom Pines Biorefinery.

    That will be the reality check that Lanzatech can deliver on its contracts to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), through the Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe Center, to “accelerate commercial availability of the next generation of alternative aviation fuel” and to Virgin Atlantic for development of a “world first low carbon aviation fuel with just half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative”.

  106. Richard C (NZ) on January 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm said:

    Don’t think Rereke’s quite right here, Lanzatech got $3m of a total $7m from US DoT i.e. $4m went to other companies.

  107. Richard C (NZ) on January 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm said:

    Their initial investment “to build the plant” in the US instead of NZ in the following feasibility study should now be considerably less than NZ$170m [US$133m] but meantime US ethanol subsidies have been removed.

    The feasibility of a wood to ethanol plant using a thermo-chemical process

    Executive summary
    A financial model of a thermo-chemical biomass to ethanol plant has been developed for LanzaTech. In a base case modelling scenario the plant produces 150m litres of ethanol and consumes 770,000 tonnes of wood per year. The total investment required to build the plant would be NZ$170m [US$133m]. The breakeven selling price is NZ$0.72 per litre [NZ$2.73 per gallon, US$2.13].

    Viability in New Zealand
    Although the work indicates that LanzaTech’s process is cost competitive with other sources of ethanol, the viability of any New Zealand biofuels producer is uncertain until greater certainty emerges about demand for biofuels in New Zealand. This is a direct consequence of government policy on biofuels and further clarity is not expected until 2010 at the earliest.

    1. Introduction
    This report describes a study carried out for LanzaTech by Scarlatti Limited between April and June 2008 to investigate the feasibility of a New Zealand-based syngas-to-ethanol plant using waste wood as a feedstock.

    So at US$2.13 breakeven, where does Lanzatech stand in the US ethanol market?:-

    Economic Impacts of Not Extending Biofuel Subsidies

    Table 1. Biofuel tax and tariff expiration: 2011-2016 averages.

    Ethanol price, FOB Omaha plant (Dollars per gallon)

    Tax provisions extended indefinitely: 1.63

    Tax provisions expire as scheduled: 1.34

    Obviously economically unviable on an on-going operational basis and there’s no advantage to be had from minimal initial investment at Freedom Pines Biorefinery (much less than US$133m) that I can see.

    That’s if they are producing fuel ethanol but how it works out for alternative aviation fuel is anyone’s guess.

  108. This letter is repeated here with the permission of the author via Facebook.

    Mr Michael Clarke
    The Lodge
    SG19 2DL

    February 6, 2012.

    Dear Sir,

    This is in response to you letter of 24 January 2012 which replied to mine of 9 January in which I terminated my membership of RSPB. .

    Firstly, I must thank you for the courtesy and length of your letter, which is in marked contrast to the very anaemic responses that usually emanate from politicians.

    On the subject of human induced global warming I remain convinced that there is no such thing and that we are entirely wrong to be spending enormous amounts of money chasing specters. It is a fact that earth temperature has remained stubbornly stable since 1997, despite a considerable increase in CO2 levels.

    What concerns me very greatly is the seeming indifference to bird and bat deaths that are being caused by wind turbines and the enormously extended power lines that are required to support them. Recent publications indicate that the level of deaths is actually alarming and should be a matter of prime concern for RSPB.

    You will doubtless be aware of the First Scientific Congress on Wind Energy and Wildlife that was held on 12 January 2012 at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. At the congress the Spanish Society of Ornithology made public its estimate that every year the 18,000 wind turbines in Spain cause between 6 and 18 million bird and bat deaths. This is an average of between 333 and 1,000 deaths every year for every turbine.

    In Germany the death rate is as high as 309 per annum and in Sweden it is as high as 895 deaths per annum. (Benner et al). In USA the American Bird Conservation group says that there are 44,000 birds killed per annum but admit that this is a probable major under-estimate. Similar rates of death are seen in studies elsewhere. For example, when I was in Australia in 2010 there were newspaper reports of several brolgas being killed at one wind turbine site and at another a flock of corellas was decimated. Concern has also expressed that the Tasmanian Wedge Tailed eagle will soon be extinct if death rates continue as at present.

    We know that the death rate of birds from hitting high-tension lines is very significant. There is a considerable increase in these lines to serve turbine sites, which are often located at long distances from existing grid lines. Hoerschelman et al (1988) claim that HT lines in Germany kill at the rate of 400 birds per annum per kilometer of line in migration areas. Bird Life International (2003) claim a rate of 500 bird deaths/km/annum in migration areas. Koops (1987) claims a rate of 200 deaths/km/annum in the USA and from this he extrapolates that there are 130 million to 174 million bird deaths per year in the USA.

    At the infamous Altamount Pass wind turbine site in USA recent estimates suggest that bird death rates are as much as 14,000 per annum. This has so caused concern that the turbines are shut down during migration seasons but even so, many deaths continue.

    There appears to be no worthwhile study of death rates in UK but it is not likely that they will be any less than we find in nearby European countries and may well be worse in migration areas. I would not expect BTO to do any useful studies because they are affiliated to University of East Anglia of climategate notoriety.

    It seems to me that any organisation that is supposedly devoted to protection of birds should be screaming blue murder at what are totally unacceptable death rates of our birds and bats. If actual death rates were even 10% of what is being claimed, they would still be unacceptable. But from RSPB we hear the occasional whimper and a few objections, very few of which result in effective rejection of planning applications.

    Many of the bird and bat species that are being killed are protected and if people or companies are found to be killing them then they may be subject to heavy fines. RSPB has done much to stop poisoning of raptors by prosecuting in appropriate cases. Oil companies have been heavily fined when birds have died in oil spills. But when wind turbines kill they do so with no penalty or even complaint from RSPB. I believe that RSPB should be actively pursuing developers who are killing our wild life.

    Yours sincerely,

  109. An article here from the Guardian claiming that “Subsidies on tradition fuels far exceed alternative energies”. Another example of a propoganda headline bearing no relation to the content.

    From the article:

    “Gas, oil and coal prices were subsidised by £3.63bn in 2010, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development , whereas offshore and onshore wind received £0.7bn in the year from April 2010. All renewables in the UK benefited from £1.4bn over the same period, according to data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).”

    “Almost 90% of the fossil fuel subsidy comes from the reduced rate of VAT paid by households.” and

    “Green electricity benefits from the [same] price cut delivered by the reduced VAT rate but data is available on the sum”

    Nice bit of creative accounting

  110. I wasn’t aware of a reduced rate of VAT for fossil fuels. If this is the case, then it is just a reduced tax take for the government. I fail to see how it is subsidising the fossil fuel industry.

    I also fail to see how wind will “reduce energy volatility”.

  111. Richard C (NZ) on March 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm said:


  112. Windflow brushes off nuclear concern

    Windflow Technology’s boss is batting away any unease about his company’s hook up with a United States giant which makes nuclear submarines, saying it is like turning military weapons to peacetime products.

    This week the small, struggling Christchurch turbine manufacturer disclosed a 10-year licensing agreement with General Dynamics SATCOM, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, which manufactures weapons, military vehicles and military communications systems.

    Windflow is strapped for cash and needs new customers if it is to survive.


    Peace-loving Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown is unconcerned that a company in which she holds shares has this new bedfellowin the form of US military giant General Dynamics.
    Alastair Nicholson and Celia Wade-Brown are among the top 20 shareholders of Windflow Technology, with 84,836 shares (0.54 per cent), according to Windflow’s most recent annual report.

    (Emphasis added)

    (What the hell is a “peace-loving mayor anyway? Are the rest of them raving war-mongers?)

  113. Andy on June 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm said:

    Scottish wind turbines might emit more CO2 than they “save”, because of CO2 released from peat bog

  114. Richard C (NZ) on June 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm said:

    Andy, I think you will enjoy this:-

    June 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I just love it every time someone comes here with a new announcement for a renewable power plant.

    Pacific Hydro is sinking its money into this Wind Plant proposal for the North of Brazil.

    Why I like it so much is that it gives me a chance to show the wonder of these extraordinary new fangled power generators.

    This Wind plant will have a Nameplate Capacity of 140MW which will come from around 45 or 50 Wind Towers.

    These will supply what can only be described as a phenomenal amount of power.

    I’m just overjoyed that an Australian Company, Pacific Hydro is willing to sink its own money into this plant for far off Brazil.

    What this does for Pacific Hydro is give them some (imaginary) credits, umm, not at the same value as our home grown credits, (as laid out in the Australian Legislation) but at least they will be able to offset some of their emissions here in Australia.

    Oh, by the way, Bayswater Power Station supplies the same power output that all these towers will provide over a whole year in, er, six days and ten hours.

    Oh, what a hoot!

    This is just so much fun.


    That comparison is I presume, using the Nameplate Capacity of the wind turbines. Not a particularly useful value in that case.

  115. Andy on June 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm said:

    It’s interesting for sure. However, I have to temper my enjoyment and fun. That gets me banned from websites.

  116. Anthropogenic Global Cooling on June 26, 2012 at 11:56 am said:

    This is what I think of wind turbines:!

    Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

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