Energy Spot flaws

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) seems to believe that we’re causing global warming and we must be stopped.

The alternative is that they’re really trying to save us money. But it’s impossible to accept that they really want the best for us. As the old joke puts it: “I’m from the government; I’m here to help you.” Ha ha.

EECA spends about $130,000,000 a year (p48). In the year ended June 2012 the actual expenditure was $123,016,000 against a budget of $155,761,000 from revenue of $127,926,000 (budget was $154,600,000). I don’t yet know where all the money goes. Through the “Energy Spot” they tell us we spend too much on electricity, although they don’t mention that could be due to constant price hikes from the “national” power stations our fathers and grandfathers proudly paid for, rather than actual increases in the cost of generating electricity. [The original comment here said that our power stations now have private owners, but that’s wrong. The shareholder is our government. My apologies. – RT] They also nag us nightly to use less petrol and they hand out government subsidies for biodiesel and an experimental wave power device. Continue Reading →

NZ windfarms blowout

The Herald reports a gigantic increased loss for NZ Windfarms Ltd.

They lost over 700% more money last June year than the year before – $25 million down the gurgler. The directors say the share price dropped 6.3% in the last 12 months, down to just 15 cents each, and the value of their assets fell to $74.6 million at June 30, from $99.2 million a year ago.

Power generation was 25 per cent below budget and the company had “a very poor wind year,” yet sales rose to $9.76 million from about $4.1 million, total electricity generated rose 37 per cent to 114,498 Megawatts [it’s very likely this should read megawatt hours (MWh) or they’ve been generating the equivalent of 114 Huntlys - h/t Richard C] and electricity revenue jumped 156 per cent to $8.25 million, reflecting the first full year that the full complement of 97 turbines were operating.

“The financial position of WTL remains a concern to directors,” NZ Windfarms said today.

A major setback was an impairment charge of $30.7 million against assets. According to Investopedia an impairment charge reduces assets, often to write off worthless goodwill.

Most significantly, the directors confess that, since “early this year” they’ve been trying to sell the company. It’s also developing a new business model to reflect its position “as a single wind farm operator,” not, as originally hoped, a “developer of wind farms.”

Oh dear! Even in Kiwiland, sitting as it is smack in the middle of the Roaring Forties, wind power is not the easy cure for our “addiction” to hydrocarbons that a lot of shiny-eyed people promised us.

Because even if wind power is very expensive, it still might work – but it’ll never work if the operators don’t make a profit.

- h/t Terry Dunleavy

Electric cars will crash system

the Chevy Volt electric car

Electric cars are a great idea and they’ll save the earth, right? Well, sorry, but it’s going to be a whole lot harder to handle large numbers of electric cars than we hoped.

The whole point of electric cars is that they’re powered by clean, far-away electricity generators instead of petrol engines putting out that dirty carbon dioxide which dangerously heats our planet.

We would prefer to gently erect some pretty windmills or softly lay delicate and lovely solar panels to generate electricity non-intrusively, without antagonism and free of violence to our beloved Mother Earth.

But no matter what we might prefer, if we eliminate all those wonderful, rumbling newtons (known to Jeremy Clarkson as horsepowers) from petrol we must make them up from somewhere else. Ok. Simple question: can we make it up with electricity?

A New Zealand study

A long time ago, in 2008, the CCG published NZ sustainable energy supplies, a paper by local engineer Gary Kendall. Continue Reading →

Letter to the editor

Greens rediscover hydrogen car

quill pen

To the Editor
Climate Conversation

19th August 2012

I saw my first and only hydrogen car in Brisbane City Square in the 1960’s. No one saw it work, but now, fifty years later, the “hydrogen economy” has become green gospel.

Hydrogen combines readily with oxygen to produce energy via combustion engines, gas welders or fuel cells – there is nothing new about this process. And the sole exhaust product is pure water, another greenhouse gas.

Hydrogen is an abundant element. However, pure hydrogen gas is very rare on earth – it is almost always combined with other elements, commonly oxygen or carbon.

Hydrogen is not a primary source of energy. Continue Reading →

Crush the starving: burn their food

20 July 2012

quill pen

Archbishop Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace Road
London SE1 7JU

Dear Archbishop Williams

There was a report this morning on the Today programme, to which I trust you paid due regard. If you didn’t, you should have.

The report, concerning the effect of the current American drought on levels of grain harvests, aired a remarkable and arresting statistic – disturbing too, if you have a conscience. It appears that 40% of the grain production of the Western world’s primary producer has been diverted to the generation of feed stocks for the so-called ‘biofuel’ industry. That this will result in hardship to countless within the developed world can be predicted with a high degree of confidence. That the already dispossessed, impoverished and disenfranchised will be the ones mainly to suffer, even unto starvation and death, is an absolutely foregone conclusion.

And the reason for this? Why, to be sure, to pursue policies common on both sides of the Atlantic aimed at sustaining the greatest scientific swindle in history. Continue Reading →

Coal not candles

African village

The Carbon Sense Coalition today proposed that coal, not candles, should be the symbol of Earth Hour.

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps. Continue Reading →

Carbon War erupts in Europe

A battle of world significance has started quietly in Europe. Like all battles it is about energy, resources and ideology.

In the red corner, with a coercive utopian green ideology, is Germany, strongly supported by Denmark and Britain. This group wants to forcibly wean Europe off carbon fuels by replacing them with sunbeams, sea breezes and fermented food crops. They get self-serving support from places like nuclear-powered France, hydro-powered Scandinavia and geothermal Iceland. They are now proposing more drastic cuts in Europe’s usage of carbon fuels after 2020. Continue Reading →

Saving lies in the wind

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association commissioned a report from Infometrics which was released a few days ago. It claims that New Zealanders could be $390 pa better off with 20% more wind energy than at present.

However, Bryan Leyland has some harsh things to say about it, including that it is “riddled with flaws” and makes a number of “very dubious assumptions”.

The Climate Science Coalition might (probably will) produce a press release with more detail, but watch this space; if they don’t, we will.

UPDATE: The press release from Terry Dunleavy has been published on Scoop.

Our headline says “saving lies” with good reason; when an insider organisation gives out such misleading statements as this economic nonsense (I mean assuming ridiculously high prices for “carbon”) they do so not from ignorance but deliberately.

They lie.

Monday, 28 November 2011, 12:50 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

28 November 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Continue Reading →

Wind farms v. radar

This one’s really off the radar.

Wind farms, along with solar power and other alternative energy sources, are supposed to produce the energy of tomorrow. Evidence indicates that their countless whirring fan blades produce something else: “blank spots” that distort radar readings.

Now government agencies that depend on radar — such as the Department of Defense and the National Weather Service — are spending millions in a scramble to preserve their detection capabilities…

Read more at Fox News.

What’s this shale gas gig?

shale rock

Shale gas will save us. It has no nasty emissions like coal does, its modest wellheads sit in our landscapes much gentler than great, ugly, noisy wind turbines, it’s more abundant than oil, it’s easy to extract (with a clever new technique), it’s far cheaper than any “renewable” energy, including nuclear, it could last the world for 250 years and it beats wind and solar handsomely when the wind stops and the sun sets. What’s not to like? Here I’ve somewhat shortened Ridley’s superb summary, but his laconic style is available in full at The Rational Optimist. H/T Bob Carter.

Which would you rather have in the view from your house? A thing about the size of a domestic garage, or eight towers twice the height of Nelson’s column with blades noisily thrumming the air. Over ten years, eight wind turbines of 2.5 megawatts (working at roughly 25% capacity) roughly equal the output of an average Pennsylvania shale gas well (converted to electricity at 50% efficiency).

Let’s make the choice easier. The gas well can be hidden behind a hedge. The eight wind turbines must be on hilltops, where the wind blows. New pylons are needed; the gas well is connected by an underground pipe.

Newspapers

This is an adopted article.

Unpersuaded? Wind turbines kill thousands of birds of prey every year. And bats: the pressure wave from the passing blade just implodes the little creatures’ lungs. You and I can go to jail for harming bats or eagles; wind companies are immune.

Still can’t make up your mind? The wind farm requires eight tonnes of an element called neodymium, which is produced only in Inner Mongolia, by boiling ores in acid leaving lakes of radioactive tailings so toxic no creature goes near them. Continue Reading →

Gas or coal? The quandary, the indecision!

coal protest

It’s hard to know what to say about Tom Wigley’s new paper on the climatic repercussions of replacing coal with natural gas: he says gas and coal are both good, and they’re both bad, but the truly remarkable thing is that, where for years the greens have been telling us to hate coal and everyone who uses it, now it’s hard to choose between coal and gas.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe mankind is warming the planet dangerously or not, Wigley tells us that it makes hardly any difference to the warming whether you use gas or coal. So why switch to gas? There’s no advantage in it. Continue Reading →

Wind shifts

wind turbines in New Zealand

A happy coincidence this week revealed at once the folly of Britain’s growing reliance on wind turbines and the wisdom of the NZ government’s apparent preference for fossil-fuelled power generation.

First, a new study sheds light on the failure of British wind farms to live up to expectations. Second, a leaked report shows the National-led government apparently plans to go all out for oil, coal and mineral wealth, not wind farms. Hurrah.

In James Delingpole’s article “Official: wind farms are totally useless“, we learn the facts of two years of British wind generation. James explains that there are five oft-repeated claims by wind operators and Government representatives that:

“Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year.”
“The wind is always blowing somewhere.”
“Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.”
“The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.”
“Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.”

But statistics from two years of operation, analysed by Stuart Young using publicly available data, reveal alarming discrepancies between these slick promises and the actual performance of the British wind farms: Continue Reading →

Why wind won’t work

quill pen
To the Editor
Climate Conversation

13th February 2011

Why are governments still mollycoddling wind power?

There is no proof that wind farms reduce carbon dioxide emissions and it is ludicrous to believe that a few windmills in Australia are going to improve global climate.

Such wondrous expressions of green faith put our politicians on par with those who believe in the tooth fairy.

Tax payers funding this largess and consumers paying the escalating power bills are entitled to demand proof.

Not only is there no climate justification for wind farms, but they are also incapable of supplying reliable or economical power.

It is also surprising those who claim to be defenders of the environment can support this monstrous desecration of the environment.

Wind power is so dilute that to collect a significant quantity of wind energy will always require thousands of gigantic towers each with a massive concrete base and a network of interconnecting heavy duty roads and transmission lines. Then when they go into production, they slice up bats and eagles, disturb neighbours, reduce property values and start bushfires.

Finally, to cover the total loss of power when the wind drops or blows too hard, every wind farm needs a conventional back-up power station (commonly gas-fired) with capacity at least twice the design capacity of the wind farm to even out the sudden fluctuations in the electricity grid.

Why bother with the wind farm – just build the backup?

There is no justification for the continuation of mandates, subsidies or tax breaks favouring wind power over reliable and cheaper electricity generation options.

Wind power should compete on an equal basis with all other electricity options.

Viv Forbes


The above statements

are supported and expanded in a recent submission to the Australian Senate entitled: “Why Wind Won’t Work – It’s as Weak as Water.”

See a summary of the submission.

See the full report with pictures and all the gory and depressing details.

Green power generates red ink

quill pen
To the Editor
Climate Conversation

12th December 2010

It’s time to end the mollycoddling of wind and solar energy toys before this stupidity does irreversible damage to Australia’s electricity supply and costs.

The mindless green dream of producing serious base load power from whimsical breezes and intermittent sunbeams has caused a halt to new low-cost coal power, a boom in expensive gas power, a national debate about nuclear power and no effect at all on global climate.

The frivolous wind and solar generators already installed have caused a surge in electricity prices, a bonanza for Chinese manufacturers and well founded doubts about our future ability to keep the lights on.

Provision of cheap reliable energy is a basic requirement for modern civilisation and is the engine that lifts people from poverty. It is far too important to be left to green dreamers, anti-industrial zealots, vote seeking politicians, engineering illiterates and guilt-ridden millionaires.

It is already obvious from Denmark, Spain, California and Germany that subsidising green power creates very little power but much red ink in the accounts. It always causes massive burdens for tax payers, electricity consumers and industry. Tax payers and investors will rue the day they allowed politicians to waste their savings on chimeras.

Get rid of all the mandated markets, subsidies and tax breaks for all energy generators, and leave power engineers and business managers to work out how best to supply our future energy needs in a free competitive market.

Subsidised power must collapse under its own dead weight. But every day’s delay increases the eventual cost.

Viv Forbes

Cold facts crush green dream

Wind power fails freezing Britons

Richard Littlejohn, of Climate Realists, describes Britain’s alarming winter which has exposed the practical impossibility of ever relying on wind turbines for electricity generation. Three days ago, their 3150 turbines were contributing only 1.6% of the nation’s power supply; some days it’s been zero. But Richard says:

It gets better. As the temperature has plummeted, the turbines have had to be heated to prevent them seizing up. Consequently, they have been consuming more electricity than they generate.

So it was just a bad day for them? No, because, sadly:

Even on a good day they rarely work above a quarter of their theoretical capacity.

The combined output of all 3150 of these landscape despoilers is equal only to that of a single, medium-sized, gas-fired power station. And they cannot even replace that power station, because they need constant backup — that means constant running, because you have seconds to react when the turbines (which are exempt from forecasting their production) shut down. Consider the myth that wind turbines eliminate emissions of carbon dioxide destroyed.

What more does Nick Smith need to know?

The British Government still clings to plans to erect 12,500 of these “War Of The Worlds windmills” in the sea and across the land. The evidence was already available from power engineers before the turbines were proposed by misguided, starry-eyed greenies — but this winter alone proves the desperate folly of believing that the nation’s power supply could ever depend upon them.

More than desperate — it’s dangerous, because cold weather is dangerous. It will kill people. Does Nick Smith care? If he does, he will stop this nonsense from occurring in New Zealand.

It’s different if you’re installing small turbines to give the gift of electricity far from population centres. Catering for a tramping hut or beach resort, where people don’t mind occasionally doing without, is a completely different kettle of fish.

Listen to the good sense of this, Nick — don’t sink a king’s ransom into wind turbines and stop trifling with our energy security.

Finally from Mr Littlejohn:

According to the BBC, Town Halls across the country have been appealing to owners of 4x4s to offer lifts to ‘essential staff’ during the cold snap.

These would be the same 4x4s which these very same councils want to ban, because they cause global warming and kill polar bears.

You couldn’t make it up.

I couldn’t agree more.

Read more here…

King Coal and Mighty Nuclear

We all know that the becalmed wind turbines produced a derisory trickle of power during this wicked northern winter.

But who is climbing up to clean the snow off the solar panels so they can collect another derisory trickle of energy, around midday only, from the pale winter sun?

Meanwhile, quietly, efficiently and unseen by the green dreamers, King Coal and Mighty Nuclear are keeping the lights on and the heaters glowing.

Viv Forbes

NZ wind farm subsidies

NZ wind turbine

Subsidies? In New Zealand? For wind power?

 

A conversation was under way here, sparked by my post on Germany’s “new dark age”. A reader (Andy) posed the question:

“I am intrigued by the NZ wind industry, because it seems, on the face of it, to be just about the only example in the world that is not surviving on subsidies (other than the ETS, of course). Am I missing something here?”

Now Bryan Leyland provides the startling information that NZ wind turbines do enjoy substantial public subsidies. He laid them out for me. I’ll start with the smaller ones and shock you with the biggest at the end.

First, they don’t have to predict in advance what the output will be. Of course, this would be a practical impossibility, like predicting the exact rainfall next month. But we are immediately alerted to one of the most serious drawbacks of wind generation. Continue Reading →

Will sanity secure UK power supply

Rupert Soames.

Harsh reality threatens misty-eyed green dreams

excerpted from The Scotsman 13 November 2010 – h/t Andy
Newspapers

This is an adopted article.

THE “lights could go out” over Scotland unless new power stations are built in the next two years to ward off a looming electricity crisis, the head of one of Scotland’s most successful companies has warned Alex Salmond.

Rupert Soames, chief executive of power supply firm Aggreko, told the First Minister that the National Grid will lose a third of its capacity by 2018 as a string of nuclear, gas and oil-fired power stations across the UK are retired – including several in Scotland.

Mr Soames claimed that no other industrialised country in the world is at risk of losing so much of its energy supply at the same time – and without a realistic back-up plan.

Wishful thinking

He urged both the Scottish and UK governments to postpone green energy targets by a decade. Unless “the concrete is poured” on a new fleet of power stations within the next two years, Mr Soames warned, “we will be in serious danger of the lights going out”. Continue Reading →

Windmills increase CO2, pollution & costs

An ugly windfarm near Palm Springs, California.

A good man learns from experience; a wise man from the experience of others. The following story describes actual experiences with modern windfarms. It has a Canadian focus, but can instruct us too if we listen. Let us do what we can to prevent these mistakes from occurring in New Zealand.

This story is about windmills proving a disaster, both financially and for energy security, but they are disasters in the literal sense, too. These monstrous machines in our landscapes can cause enormous damage when they fail, which they do quite frequently, adding even more to their great expense, not to mention that people have died. We have pictures of some of the failures. Here’s a site that actually supports wind power, claiming they reduce “carbon footprints”, whatever they are, but loves looking at accidents. It makes chilling viewing. Here’s a sample failure:

windmill failure

See more on our new page of wind turbine failures.


Wind power is a complete disaster

[subheads, emphasis, added]

There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).

Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.

Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, depending on the carbon-intensity of back-up generation required because of its intermittent character. On the negative side of the environmental ledger are adverse impacts of industrial wind turbines on birdlife and other forms of wildlife, farm animals, wetlands and viewsheds.

When the government picks winners look out for havoc

Industrial wind power is not a viable economic alternative to other energy conservation options. Again, the Danish experience is instructive. Its electricity generation costs are the highest in Europe (15¢/kwh compared to Ontario’s current rate of about 6¢). Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries says, “windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense.” Aase Madsen, the Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, calls it “a terribly expensive disaster.” Continue Reading →