Posts Tagged ‘renewables’

Enthusiasm fading for renewables targets?


This could put a bit of sanity back into UK electricity generation policy, if it happens.

Britain is preparing to scrap EU green energy targets which will add more than £100 to the average energy bill as part of a bonfire of red tape after Brexit, says the GWPF.
 
Government sources told The Daily Telegraph that the target, under the EU Renewable Energy Directive, is likely to be scrapped after Brexit.

The UK is currently committed to getting 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. Ministers have long been critical of the targets because they exclude nuclear power, carbon capture or gains from energy efficiency.

The UK is currently on course to miss the target and incur millions of pounds in fines from the European Union.
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Renewables’ deep-sea mining conundrum 

Posted: April 14, 2017 by oldbrew in exploration, Geology
Tags:

Deep sea mining for rare earth minerals [image credit: BBC News]


To what extent do ‘renewables’ depend on finding sources of non-renewables? Mining is involved – the raw materials have to be found and extracted from the earth.

British scientists exploring an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean have discovered a treasure trove of rare minerals, reports BBC News.

Their investigation of a seamount more than 500km (300 miles) from the Canary Islands has revealed a crust of “astonishingly rich” rock. Samples brought back to the surface contain the scarce substance tellurium in concentrations 50,000 times higher than in deposits on land.

Tellurium is used in a type of advanced solar panel, so the discovery raises a difficult question about whether the push for renewable energy may encourage mining of the seabed. The rocks also contain what are called rare earth elements that are used in wind turbines and electronics.
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What could possibly go wrong? Like all pumped storage, every ‘refill’ uses more electricity for the pumping than is generated by its water release. The UK is also looking to develop similar schemes. The motivation is the intermittency of renewables.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine in Bottrop into a 200 MW pumped-storage hydroelectric plant reports PEI.

The facility will act like a battery and will have enough capacity to power more than 400,000 homes, according to state governor Hannelore Kraft.

Other mines may also be converted after Prosper-Haniel because the state needs more industrial-scale storage as it seeks to double the share of renewables in its power mix to 30 per cent by 2025, she said. North-Rhine Westphalia generates a third of Germany’s power.
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Artist’s impression of Dogger Bank island [credit: The Independent]


The construction agreement is planned to be signed on 23 March 2017, reports The Independent.

A vast artificial island is to be built at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, complete with a harbour, airstrip and homes, to help provide a vast new supply of renewable energy, under plans drawn up by two companies with the blessing of the European Union.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub would act as a hub for offshore wind turbines and a new place to put solar panels, according to the German and Dutch arms of electricity firm TenneT and Danish company Energinet. The firms will sign a deal creating a consortium to develop the plan further in Brussels on 23 March in the presence of European Energy Union Commissioner, Maos Sefcovic.

Torben Glar Nielsen, Energinet’s Danish technical director, said: “Maybe it sounds a bit crazy and science fiction-like, but an island on Dogger Bank could make the wind power of the future a lot cheaper and more effective.”
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The tide is starting to turn, in America at least.

STOP THESE THINGS

01-coal-640x480

James Delingpole has been slugging it out with lunatics from the Greenblob for more than a decade. Now, as the world wakes up to the scale and scope of the great wind power fraud, Slim Jim finds himself on the right side of history. Here he is letting the world know about it.

Why Renewables Are Doomed and Fossil Fuels Are the Future
Breitbart
James Delingpole
9 February 2017

We’re on the verge of a new energy revolution. Except it’s the exact opposite of the one the “experts” at places like BP, the International Energy Agency and – ahem – the Guardian are predicting.

For years we’ve been assured by politicians, energy industry specialists and green advocates that renewables such as wind and solar are getting more and more cost-competitive while dirty fossil fuels are so discredited and wrong and evil we’ll soon have to leave them in the ground.

But…

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Reality is catching up with wind power dreamers in South Australia as the public wake up to the truth – via power failures.

STOP THESE THINGS

alice_in_wonderland17 Fantastic in theory, but reality is another place.

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It’s been barely 5 months since South Australia experienced a state wide blackout on 28 September, when a typically vigorous spring storm delivered wind speeds in excess of 90km/h, causing the majority of turbines operating at its 18 wind farms to automatically shutdown to avoid self-destruction. The ensuing collapse in wind power output overloaded the interconnectors with Victoria, which tripped automatically; and thereafter South Australia suffered what is now known as a ‘system black’ (see our post here).

With a string of blackouts during December (see our post here) and mass load shedding during a heat wave when, yet again, wind power output plummeted (see our post here), humour among South Australians is now a rare and treasured commodity.

Inversely related to South Australians’ fury at their power pricing and supply calamity, is the battle that the wind…

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Vertical axis wind turbine [credit: Challenergy]

Vertical axis wind turbine [credit: Challenergy]


‘Wind power on steroids’ or another madcap ‘sustainability’ scheme that never gets off the ground? No mention of storage, and typhoons are far from everyday events.

In what could be the ultimate clean energy, Japan is set to start harnessing the energy of typhoons, with wind turbines that are able to withstand intense storms – and turn them into power, reports the IB Times.

Typhoon turbines, also known as the Magnus Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT), were first thought up by Atsushi Shimizu, chief executive of Challenergy Inc. After seeing the widespread destruction caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, he wanted to find a way to provide a safe and sustainable source of energy.
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South Australia has found out the hard way that relying too much on wind turbines is bad news for everyone, including the politicians who ordered it.

STOP THESE THINGS

jay weatherill Jay Weatherill’s political future all but blacked-out.

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While the power pricing and supply calamity that is South Australia is down to the subsidies awarded to wind power under the Federal government’s Large-Scale RET, the state Labor government has done plenty to create the unfolding disaster and nothing to mitigate it.

It’s vapid Premier, Jay Weatherill must know that, as a wind power champion, he’s yesterday’s ‘hero’ and, as a so-called political leader, today’s fool.

Third world beckons as Weatherill plays the fool
The Australian
Nick Cater
14 February 2017

It would be wrong to give Mike Rann and Jay Weatherill all the credit for turning South Australia into wackadoodle windmill world. We should recognise the contribution of those who egged the premiers on, like Al Gore, auteur of An Inconvenient Truth. When it came to showing leadership on renewable energy, said Gore, South Australia was “one of best examples…

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Phase-shifter [image credit: Reinhausen]

Phase-shifter [image credit: Reinhausen]


This has been going on for a while but is probably getting worse. The Poles and Czechs are now setting their phase-shifters to ‘stun’. 😉
H/T GWPF

Germany’s excess power spills over the border into Polish and Czech territory and threatens their electrical grids with collapse, companies and governments there say.

A battle is raging in Central Europe over the balance of power—the electrical kind. Poland and the Czech Republic see Germany as an aggressor, overproducing electricity and dumping it across the border. Germany sees itself as a green-energy pioneer under unfair attacks from less innovative neighbors.

As part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Energiewende, or energy revolution, Germany will shut its nuclear power plants by 2022 and replace them with its rapidly expanding wind and solar power. But the volatile renewables don’t always perform, and the Germans are also relying on coal- and gas-powered plants to keep the lights on.
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A Merc in the murk

A Merc in the murk


The ideologically-driven dash for renewable energy in Germany is heading towards a natural obstacle hiding in its winter weather. Will ‘traditional energy’ always be there to provide security of supply when needed?

Germany has a reputation for being a renewable energy leader – but some believe that the nation’s long, still and dim winters threaten such green aspirations, reports DW.COM.

The “dark doldrums” conjures images of the deep Middle Ages, when the only light to be had flickered from a tallow candle. In fact, it is the loose translation for the German word Dunkelflaute, which describes this time of year, when neither sun nor wind are to be found in great abundance.

And this is the very scenario some are suggesting could plunge the nation into, if not quite a re-enactment of its medieval past, then energy uncertainty. An article published recently in the German daily “Die Welt” warned that the Dunkelflaute could be pushing Germany’s power supply to its limits.
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Politicians who sabotage the public’s power supplies do so at their own risk.

STOP THESE THINGS

turnbull-frydenberg Yes, boy wonder, it’s a place called ‘Queensland’.

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In 2016 no two words struck more fear into the hearts of the city-bound, political elite than ‘Trump’ and ‘Brexit’.

In both instances, ignorance amongst the media and political class meant that – for them – what were predictable, if not inevitable, results came as visceral, gut-wrenching, bewildering shocks.

If there is a single issue that has the potential to destroy political incumbents, it has to be energy.

South Australia has proved, without doubt, that skyrocketing power prices and unreliable supply are part and parcel of attempting to run economies on sunshine and breezes. Dutifully ignoring the effect of rolling blackouts and punishing power bills on the businesses and people who grow, build and create things (other than whipping up fair-trade, skinny-soy lattes and smashed avocado on toast at hipster cafés) is a recipe for political disaster.

Ever since it became…

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Which way next?

Which way next?


Those trying to make a business case for renewable energy may want to look away now. The assumption that vast numbers of solar panels and wind turbines are good for the environment is questionable.

Poverty, unemployment and zero economic growth are the likely outcome for countries which choose renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, according to a study.

Energy from fossil fuels appears to ignite economies into greater and more sustained growth, whereas energy from wind and solar power not only fails to enhance or promote economic growth, it actually causes economies to flat-line, as Phys.org reports.

The results, from an in-depth study of more than 100 countries over 40 years, pose a serious ethical dilemma, according to the lead author, economist Dr Nikolaos Antonakakis, Visiting Fellow at the University of Portsmouth Business School and Associate Professor at Webster Vienna University.

Dr Antonakakis said: “Put simply, the more energy a country consumes, the more it pollutes the environment, the more its economy grows. And the more the economy grows, the more energy consumption it needs, and so on.

“This poses big questions. Should we choose high economic growth, which brings lower unemployment and wealth for many, but which is unsustainable for the environment? Or should we choose low or zero economic growth, which includes high unemployment and a greater degree of poverty, and save our environment?”

Dr Antonakakis and co-authors, Dr Ioannis Chatziantoniou, at the University of Portsmouth, and Dr George Filis, at Bournemouth University, set out to study whether environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption were more likely to enhance economic growth.

In the light of recent policies designed to promote the use of green energy, including tax credits for the production of renewable energy and reimbursements for the installation of renewable energy systems, the authors predicted that environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption would enhance economic growth. Dr Antonakakis said: “It turned out not to be the case.”

They argue that societies now need to rethink their approach toward environmental sustainability, and strongly question the efficacy of the recent trend in many countries to promote renewable energy resources as a reliable alternative for helping achieve and maintain good economic growth.

The report continues here.

‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ - German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]

‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]


Grasping the nettle of reporting the views of leading German climate sceptic Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, PEI magazine airs several awkward issues arising from Germany’s ambitious – he says reckless – energy policies.

At a mid-January meeting in parliament buildings in London, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt provided a very detailed monologue on the motivations behind Germany’s energy transition, and why he feels it’s misguided and potentially disastrous, writes Diarmid Williams.

Had the lecture been delivered by somebody from the coal power sector, they might have been written off as a ‘climate denier’, but given Vahrenholt’s background and pedigree as a backer of renewable energy, he is not so easily dismissed and his position must cause some unease for those so adamant that climate change is man-made.
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Dumper truck symbol = coal production [click on image to enlarge]

Dumper truck symbol = coal production [click on image to enlarge]

Can politicians put sanity ahead of ideology for Australian electricity generation following recent blackout fiascos?

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reinforced his belief in the importance of coal as a pragmatic part of the global energy mix, reports PEI. The Australian online reports Turnbull as saying he had the same opinion while leader of the opposition in 2009.

“We are the biggest coal exporter in the world. If anybody — if any country — has a vested interest in demonstrating that clean coal and cleaner coal with new technologies can make a big contribution to our energy mix — and, at the same time, reduce our emissions in net terms — it’s us.”

“Our approach, and my approach, to energy is absolutely pragmatic and practical. This is not a matter for ideology.” Mr Turnbull said both renewables and fossil fuels would have a role to play in energy production in the future.
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Credit: evwind.es

Credit: evwind.es


Bloggers and others have been stating the obvious for years: relying on unreliable electricity generation from renewables like wind and solar energy can’t possibly work. For the hard of thinking, the clue is in the word ‘unreliable’. The penny has to drop with political leaders, or at least their voters, sooner or later – surely?
H/T GWPF

The End of the Energiewende? – by German economist Heiner Flassbeck

Stable high-pressure winter weather has resulted in a confrontation. An Energiewende that relies mainly on wind and solar energy will not work in the long run. One cannot forgo nuclear power, eliminate fossil fuels, and tell people that electricity supplies will remain secure all the same.

We have attempted unsuccessfully to find Energiewende advocates willing to explain that inconsistency. Their silence is not easy to fathom. But maybe the events themselves have made the outcome inevitable.

With nuclear power no longer available, a capacity of at least 50 gigawatts is required by other means, despite an enormously expanded network of wind turbines and solar systems.

This winter could go down in history as the event that proved the German energy transition to be unsubstantiated and incapable of becoming a success story.
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Replace reliable power with unreliable power and – guess what – you get problems. The more you do it, the bigger the problems become. Who knew?

STOP THESE THINGS

sa-blackout-adelaide Wind powered capital: Adelaide 28.9.16

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While STT was taking a well earned summer break, South Australians found themselves, yet again, groping around in the dark.

In the lead up to Christmas, South Australians living on its West Coast in places like Ceduna were left powerless for close to 3 days, said to be the result of storm damage to transmission lines and equipment.

Immediately after Christmas, huge swathes of South Australia found themselves without power for days on end.  We’ll start with a roundup from the ABC.

SA storms: Thousands still without power as businesses suffer losses in blackout
ABC
29 Dec 2016

Thousands of South Australian properties remain without power after a day of wild storms, as businesses count the costs of blackouts and lost trade.

Crews were continuing to repair widespread damage to the electricity distribution network caused by the torrential storm that hit South Australia late…

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Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]

Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]


It may sound good but California’s Mojave project showed projects like this are not always exactly what they may seem. Scorched birds brought bad publicity for example.

The world’s tallest solar tower is currently being constructed in Israel’s Negev desert, the latest example of the Jewish state’s newfound emphasis on renewable energy, The Tower reports. The tower, which will be 250 meters (820 feet) tall, is encircled by around 50,000 mirrors, called heliostats.

Unlike the more common photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into power, the heliostats reflect the sunlight into the tower to heat a boiler, which will produce the steam to spin a turbine to generate electricity. With a taller tower, more mirrors can be placed in a smaller area to reflect the necessary amount of sunlight to run the turbine. 

There are only about a dozen solar tower fields around the world, including one in California with three towers, each of which is 140 meters (460 feet) tall, surrounded by 170,000 heliostats.

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os_wind
At the end of the day this still looks like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear in terms of efficiency.

The amount of energy generated by renewables fluctuates depending on the natural variability of resources at any given time. The sun isn’t always shining, nor is the wind always blowing, so traditional power plants must be kept running, ready to fill the energy gap at a moment’s notice.

Because the grid has no storage, and unlike coal or nuclear, there is no control over the fluctuating production of renewable energy, the energy they produce has to be consumed straight away, or risk collapsing the electrical grid.

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So where does this obvious nonsense come from?

TYV says: ‘Installed capacity is not the same as production. Why is that so incredibly hard to understand for journalists?’

Because such realities would ruin their story perhaps? Either that or they are not up to their jobs. Maybe they aren’t up to the job anyway if they are having to resort to distortion of facts.

Trust, yet verify

The journalists of our beloved Flemish media seem to go ballistic lately. Yesterday there was the item in the VTM news about the current “drought” that was “direct result of climate change”. Today the VRT news felt it had to compete with that and went full stupid in an article with the sensational title:

Flemish windmills have almost the same capacity as a nuclear reactor

vrt news 20161228 windmil

Apparently the onshore windmills in Flandres have a total capacity of 920 MW, which is only slightly below the capacity of (some of) our nuclear turbines (at somewhat above 1,000 MW).

Hurraaaah!!!

I am afraid that I have to spoil that party…

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Former US iron mine

Former US iron mine


Whatever the economics of this plan may be, it highlights the fact that lack of storage capacity is one of the serious drawbacks of renewable energy. Phys.org reporting.

Some look at an abandoned, centuries-old iron mine in New York’s Adirondacks and see a relic. An ambitious group of engineers sees the shafts in Mineville as a new way to provide a steady flow of electricity in a growing market for renewable energy.

They are pitching a plan to circulate some of the millions of gallons of groundwater that have flooded the mine shafts over the years to power an array of 100 hydroelectric turbines a half-mile underground.

They envision the operation as a solution for solar and wind power producers, who need ways to ensure an uninterrupted flow of energy when the sun isn’t shining and winds are still.

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