Retirement of Huntly power generator

Energy News has announced an inaugural survey of the electricity industry. The headline promised to test the market on “renewables, smart grid, Huntly retirement, Brownlee reforms”.

Some folk saw “Huntly retirement” and took it to mean the station was about to be closed. Understandable, but that’s not the case. The first clue was in the description of the survey:

Key topics covered in the inaugural survey include the options to replace Genesis Energy’s coal-fired Huntly units

So the unadorned “Huntly retirement” becomes “replacement of Huntly coal generation” – not the whole plant, just the coal-fired parts of it! Big difference. It’s covered in the first survey question:

1. With the impending retirement of the Huntly coal-fired units (1000MW) this raises some questions around generation fuel mix. What should replace it? Taking an NZ Inc view and thinking about transmission capacity, dry-year risk, fuel diversity, smart grids and fuel availability what do you think Huntly should be replaced with as it’s phased out?

  • One new mainframe gas-fired generator (assume gas availability)
  • Lots of small sub-25MW generation
  • 8 mid-sized, geographically positioned gas-fired peakers (assume gas availability)
  • Demand response and energy efficiency
  • Solar PV and battery storage at a residential level
  • Scale renewables

Industry insiders wouldn’t have been confused but this clears things up for the rest of us. When they’re filling out their survey, let’s hope those insiders aren’t persuaded that avoiding about 1 °C of warming is better than the multifarious benefits brought to us by public power reticulation. In other words, let’s hope they choose a properly reliable source of base-load power generation like gas, oil, coal or nuclear. Oh, that’s right, nuclear’s verboten in God’s Own. – h/t Robin Pittwood

Our world-leading ETS actually hikes hydro

Bluff aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point

The Bluff aluminium smelter has won an award from a xenophobe group for milking the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme). That’s interesting by itself, however the award draws our attention for the unexpected proof it provides of a little-known, hidden effect of the ETS: instead of penalising carbon dioxide “polluters” at source while making wind and solar seem cheaper, it actually increases the cost of all generators by creating windfall profits for them.

It’s a testament to years of calculated deception of the electorate and a recipe for ruin. Continue Reading →

Cheap, unlimited energy

E-Cat demo module

Mark Gibbs, at Forbes Magazine, introduces, with caution, the E-Cat process, invented by one Andrea Rossi.

This is a room-termperature fusion device, promising almost unlimited energy from relatively small amounts of nickel and hydrogen. Electricity could be produced in every suburb without the need of gigantic power stations, at so little cost it wouldn’t be sensible to meter it.

Some measurement data seem to be available from a demonstration.

An apparently public demonstration in the US planned for October 28 could produce more confirmation.

I hope it proves true and it’s not just another false alarm. H/T Michael Treadgold


UPDATE 1, 20 Oct 2011, 12:25 NZDT: There’s a long, rambling article about the inventor, Rossi, at Pure Energy Systems that includes a graph of machine temperatures and is followed by a bunch of links to articles covering the E-Cat.

NZ shale gas – will we get lucky?

A member of the NZ Climate Science Coalition asked about shale gas exploration in New Zealand. He received the following reply. — RT

I can advise that several petroleum exploration companies are actively looking at shale gas potential in NZ.

At present almost all of the onshore eastern North Island (the “East Coast Basin”, east of the main North Island ranges) is covered by petroleum exploration permits, or by applications for permits. Operators of these permits are investigating shale gas potential as well as more conventional (sandstone) reservoir targets.

More recently there have been applications for new petroleum exploration permits in the onshore Canterbury basin, as well as in Marlborough and Southland, specifically targeting shale gas. It is unlikely that the offshore basins are prospective for shale gas at present, but as the technology develops, it may happen. Across the Tasman, there is also great interest in exploration for shale gas. Continue Reading →

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.

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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 →

Contrary climate voices grow in confidence

Obsession with climate change ‘damaging Britain’

The Government’s highly damaging decarbonisation policy, enshrined in the absurd Climate Change Act, does not have a leg to stand on. It is intended, at massive cost, to be symbolic: To make good David Cameron’s ambition to make his administration “the greenest government ever”.

So says Lord Lawson, respected former Chancellor under Margaret Thatcher, in a scathing attack in the Daily Mail against Prime Minister David Cameron’s energy policy. Continue Reading →

Bogus profits from solar power axed

solar panels on a house

UK solar industry feels chill

Complaints are purpling the British air after the government announced drastic cuts in formerly cosy subsidies for solar panels.

The Government’s decision to cut subsidies for solar energy to all but the smallest projects will threaten investment and job creation in the alternative energy sector, environmental and industry groups warned yesterday.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said the change to feed-in tariffs would maintain funding for households to put up panels by diverting them from larger projects.

So-called feed-in tariffs provide an operator with a guaranteed price for surplus power sold (or “fed in”) to the national grid. The subsidy is all that makes the expensive solar panel technology profitable. 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 →

Nick Smith: heed German dilemma

German wind turbine

This account is the more arresting for being written by a man clearly well-informed about and sensitive towards environmental considerations. If even he is questioning the wisdom — financial and environmental — of wind turbines, we should take notice. It is also instructive that this is the experience of the largest and strongest economy in Europe; if they cannot solve the problems even with their enormous resources in both research and manufacturing, then New Zealand cannot. You’ll read below how German consumers are grossly overcharged for the generation AND DISTRIBUTION of electricity — surely the only financial reason these behemoths can survive. If you want energy now, don’t rely on wind generation. I’ve said before that the only sensible use for wind power is for digging a big hole you don’t need yet.
- Richard Treadgold

      

A new dark age for Germany?

published at CFACT Europe December 1, 2010 – h/t Roger Dewhurst

Offshore wind power projects pave the way to frequent blackouts

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Thousands of bureaucrats are preparing for another cushy climate confab in Cancun — while U.S. Senators Bignaman, Brownback and Reid are contemplating how to ram renewable energy standards through a lame-duck session of Congress. If they’re wise, American voters and congressmen will pay extra careful attention to the awful dilemma of German climate and energy policy, as exemplified by recent events, and make sure their country doesn’t make the same “green” mistakes Germany did. 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
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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 →

Earth doesn’t care about our lights, our electricity

Every night in the two Koreas

(thanks to the Competitive Enterprise Institute)

Viv Hughes, chairman of the Australia-based Carbon Sense Coalition, frequently talks sense about the carbon dioxide “demon”. Today he takes aim at the guilt-easing, yet nonsensical, notion of “Earth Hour”, an increasingly popular expression of opposition to so-called “climate change”. His focus is of course Australia, but that’s not so far from us, is it? Note that we get 70% of our electricity from hydro power, not oil, and, for Penny Wong and rationing, read John Key and the ETS, which will have largely the same effect. I want to say more about the folly of Earth Hour, but first read Viv’s no-nonsense dose of cold reason for these hot, fanciful fears of man-made disaster.

Earth Hour or Blackout Night?

A statement by Viv Hughes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

Visit the Carbon Sense web site to download a pdf of this statement – spread it around.

Earth Hour should be renamed “Blackout Night” and be held outdoors, for the whole night, in mid-winter, on the shortest and coldest day of the year – 22 June in the Southern Hemisphere.

All supporters of alternative energy should spend just one night in the cold and the dark, emitting no carbon dioxide from coal, oil, gas, petrol or diesel for lights, TV, hot coffee, barbecues or cars. This will be good practice for the blackouts and shortages to come if Penny Wong’s rationing of carbon products and carbon energy is attempted. Continue Reading →

Destroy the countryside? What, climate change or the windmills?

The Telegraph says:

Ed Miliband, the [UK] Energy Secretary, last week announced that planning rules would be relaxed to make it easier for an extra 3,500 onshore turbines to be built as part of a £100 billion plan to generate more energy from wind power by 2020.

That’s a lot of windmills—and they’re just the extras. Including offshore windmills, he’s planning to build a total of 10,000 of them. You won’t be able to miss them. No way.

But then, in what could become the quote of the decade, Mr Miliband clarified matters:

“We need to change the default position so that people will come to understand the dangers of climate change to our beautiful countryside.”

The only danger is the unholy havoc Miliband plans to wreak upon the countryside and the drastic weakening he will achieve in energy security. And all for the sake of a tiny reduction in emissions of a minor greenhouse gas which won’t affect the climate.

NZ sustainable energy supplies surprise

download pdf (92 KB)…

by Gary Kendall, Engineer
This paper examines the practicality of replacing base-load power generation in New Zealand with renewable resources, including hydro, wind, solar, geothermal and tidal. It reveals, surprisingly, that introducing significant numbers of electric cars would seriously strain our present power supply. If you’ve heard about the government’s desire to restrict thermal power generation to mitigate climate change, you should read this paper.   pdf (92KB)…