Posts Tagged ‘renewables’

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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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In which the law catches up with one of the wind turbine industry’s many excesses, not before time.

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irish-wind-farm

The Irish High Court has just handed down a decision holding German wind turbine manufacturer, Enercon liable in noise nuisance in a claim pursued by 7 families whose lives and livelihoods have been thoroughly and mercilessly destroyed by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound.

A report on the decision follows below, but first we’ll start where it all started back in 2013.

Families bid to sue wind farm operator
Irish Examiner
Michael Clifford
19 March 2013
By Michael Clifford

A group of families in a north Cork village are suing a wind farm operator in a landmark case, claiming the huge turbines are adversely affecting their health.

The seven families from Banteer claim they have been severely impacted, particularly through noise pollution, since the turbines began operating in Nov 2011.

If the action is successful, it is expected to lead to a number of others on similar grounds. Already…

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Facts and Fallacies on World Fossil Fuel Use vs Renewables

Posted: November 18, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy
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Robert Lyman dips into the published data and finds that ‘In spite of trillions of dollars spent subsidizing wind and solar generation around the world, it barely registers as a supply source.’

Friends of Science Calgary

INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY 2016 REPORT ON KEY ENERGY STATISTICS

IMPORTANT POINTS FOR THE CLIMATE DEBATE

Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2016

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is perhaps the premier international authority in terms of collecting data on world energy supply and demand and producing analysis for policy makers. It posts its data online, and each year publishes a report on “key energy statistics”. The following, from the 2016 IEA report, are some notable statistics that call into question the theses that the countries of the world are dedicated to reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions and that wind and solar energy sources will soon replace coal, oil and natural gas.

  • The world total primary energy supply by fuel rose steadily from about 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1971 to about 13,700 Mtoe by 2014.

  • In 2014, the shares of primary energy supply by energy source were:…

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Welsh windfarm [image credit: PA / BBC]

Welsh windfarm [image credit: PA / BBC]


If this research is correct, large windfarms could be losing a huge part of their potential output due to inadequate spacing, as Phys.org reports. Quote: “We found these dramatic effects at turbine spacings commonly used in present-day wind farms on land.”

Wind energy has been remarkably successful in providing an increasing share of cheap renewable energy. But can this trend continue to supply more and more renewable energy for decades to come?

A new study published by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, lowers the expectations of wind energy when used at large scales.

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Credit: Business Finance News

Credit: Business Finance News


Well, that’s a relief 😐 But a spot of thought policing might not be too far way it seems, should Facebook attempt to judge what is or isn’t a ‘fact’ in the climate debate, as it hints it might like to do while referring to ‘denial’.

Facebook’s head of sustainability says although the company believes strongly in renewable energy, it will not be changing its algorithm to force its pro-green principles on users, reports PEI.

The company is committed to investing in renewable power but has a pragmatic approach in how it squares its principles with its daily operations.

Speaking to Power Engineering International on the fringes of the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference in Paris, Bill Weihl, Facebook’s Director of Sustainability said that while the company doesn’t directly work with on-site renewables, it’s position is to pay for green power to offset the energy it uses.

During a later Q&A session, Weihl did acknowledge a possibility that Facebook might change its modus operandi in a way that could benefit proponents of sustainability.

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Wind farm in South Australia [image credit: reneweconomy.com.au]

Wind farm in South Australia [image credit: reneweconomy.com.au]


David Crowe in The Australian reports on the row about renewable energy policies in the wake of the storm that crashed South Australia’s entire state power grid. Phrases like ‘reality check’ and ‘sow the wind, reap the whirlwind’ spring to mind.
H/T GWPF

The Australian government will confront the states over the ­danger of statewide blackouts at an urgent meeting tomorrow to respond to the outage across South Australia last week, amid a furious political fight over ­whether wind farms helped cause the failure.

The states are being warned that their growing use of renewable energy will make their power networks more vulnerable to outages, leaving Australians at risk of blackouts from any repeat of last week’s ferocious storm.

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As the article below says:
‘The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.’

One of many problems with renewables unfortunately. And its even more unfortunate when those problems seem to be getting ignored by those in charge of our electricity supplies.

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kites Wind can be a whole lot of fun – while it lasts …

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Intermittent Renewables Can’t Favorably Transform Grid Electricity
Our Finite World
Gail Tverberg
31 August 2016

Many people are hoping for wind and solar PV to transform grid electricity in a favorable way. Is this really possible? Is it really feasible for intermittent renewables to generate a large share of grid electricity? The answer increasingly looks as if it is, “No, the costs are too great, and the return on investment would be way too low.” We are already encountering major grid problems, even with low penetrations of intermittent renewable electricity: US, 5.4% of 2015 electricity consumption; China, 3.9%; Germany, 19.5%; Australia, 6.6%.

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to…

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Electricity prices going way up and security of supply heading down – is this really what people want, or do they just not yet realize where this is going?

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warning_health-hazard-405x300

America has some perfect examples of what not to do, if it wants to remain an industrial and manufacturing power-house, with a standard of living that much of the World can only envy.

South Australia has set the pace with spot prices that rocket in minutes from $70 per MWh to $2,000 to $4,000 and all the way to the regulated market price cap of $14,000 per MWh, every time wind power output collapses on a total and totally unpredictable basis.

And much of Europe is in the same boat: think Spain, Germany, Denmark and the UK.

From what’s coming out of the USA, Americans don’t seem that keen to follow the path set by countries facing social and economic disaster, thanks to their ludicrous attempts to run on sunshine and breezes.

Donn Dears LLC is among them.

Europe’s High Cost of Renewables
Power for USA
Donn Dears
19 July…

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