Tilting at windmills in Germany

by Judith Curry

The wheels are falling off of Germany’s green energy revolution. – Walter Mead

The Economist has a special report entitled Tilting at windmills:  Germany’s Energiewende bodes ill for the country’s European leadership.  Excerpts:

OSTERATH’S 12,000 citizens are angry. Their quiet backwater in the Ruhr, close to Düsseldorf, is the proposed site for the biggest converter station in Europe. This vast installation will transform high-voltage direct current to alternating current. It will be an important link in Germany’s new “power highway”, a network of transmission lines that will send electricity generated by wind farms in the north of the country, and offshore in the North and Baltic Seas, to the manufacturing belt in the south. Osterath’s residents reckon it will be a monstrous eyesore, and intend to stop it.

This kind of nimbyism is only one of many problems facing Germany’s Energiewende. The literal translation is energy change or turn, but this is more of a revolution, designed to convert Europe’s biggest industrial economy so that it runs largely on renewable energy. This includes ambitious conservation and efficiency goals, but above all it involves changing the power supply. By 2022 all nuclear power plants, which now produce 16% of the country’s electricity, are to be switched off. And by 2050 about 80% of electricity is to come from renewable sources, compared with 22% now.

Businessmen say the Energiewende will kill German industry. Power experts worry about blackouts. Voters are furious about ever higher fuel bills. The chaos undermines Germany’s claim to efficiency, threatens its vaunted competitiveness and unnecessarily burdens households. It also demonstrates Germany’s curious refusal to think about Europe strategically.

The result is a web of grotesque distortions. On sunny days Germany pushes its excess power into the European grid at a loss. Because producers of renewables are paid a fixed price, their subsidy rises as the spot price of electricity falls. On cloudy days Germany relies ever more on brown coal. Last year its CO2 emissions rose.

The cost of this mess is passed on to electricity users. Household fuel bills have gone up by a quarter over the past three years, to 40-50% above the EU average. And because the contracts guaranteeing renewables prices are set for 20 years, the problem will get worse as more such supplies come on stream. Thomas Vahlenkamp of McKinsey reckons that the cost of the Energiewende will double over the next decade. Rising electricity bills will dampen German consumers’ spending, exactly the opposite of what is needed to rebalance the economy.

All this is happening as prices for natural gas and electricity in North America are plunging, thanks to the shale revolution, so Germany’s most energy-intensive industries are now eyeing expansion on the other side of the Atlantic. There is a risk of a ripple effect as their customers start to move, too.

The strategically minded are pushing for more fundamental overhauls. Bold ideas include replacing the pricing distortions with a market based on production capacity rather than output: power producers would be paid by the amount of capacity they had installed rather than the amount of electricity they actually produced. There would also be a greater focus on energy conservation, including more incentives for investment in retrofitting buildings; more public investment into energy-storage research; and, from planning the expansion of the grid to the creation of new renewables capacity, a European, rather than a national, vision for the Energiewende.

Such boldness would be good for German economic rebalancing and for Europe as a whole. After all, Europeans live so close to each other that a national energy policy makes little sense: how safe is a reactor-free Germany when nuclear power stations go on running next door in France, the Czech Republic and, in due course, in Poland? And in a supposedly single European market, is a renewables revolution at national level even possible? Instead of a national Energiewende marked by U-turns and uncertainty, Germany needs to think European. 

Walter Mead

Walter Mead has a post at The American Interest entitled Germany’s Green Plan is Crumbling that comments on the Economist article.  Excerpt:

The Economist does an excellent job painting the grim picture, but it draws the wrong conclusions, suggesting that Germany should push for “a European, rather than a national, vision for the Energiewende.” That could be disastrous for Europe, which is already struggling to find its footing in the wake of the recent debt crisis.

Instead, Germany—and Europe, for that matter—might consider developing domestic shale reserves, and start diverting government subsidies for wind and solar towards the research and development of the technologies underpinning these resources.

Germany’s struggles with green energy should be a warning to leaders and policymakers around the world. Renewable energy isn’t ready for primetime, and no amount of government subsidies or green pie-in-the-sky hopes are going to change that.

JC comments:  This post underscores the complexity of transitioning to green energy and some unintended consequences that can arise from government regulations.  I think that Walter Mead’s analysis is spot on.

429 responses to “Tilting at windmills in Germany

  1. Willis Eschenbach

    JC comments:

    This post underscores the complexity of transitioning to green energy and some unintended consequences that can arise from government regulations. I think that Walter Mead’s analysis is spot on.

    Thanks, Judith, for an interesting article and and interesting blog. For me, this post underscores the imbecility of subsidizing energy, period. When and where solar and wind make sense, they’ve already being installed without any subsidies.

    And where they are subsidized, either directly or by “renewables targets”, we get … well … Germany.

    It’s not about the “complexity of the transition to green energy”. It’s about the idiocy of subsidies.

    It’s not about the “unintended consequences that can arise from government regulations”. It’s about the idiocy of subsidies.

    In the US, we’ve been subsidizing renewables for years. Rather than fading away as their proponents claim, here in California the subsidy continues to increase, with no end in sight.

    So no, it’s not a problem of complexity or of government regulations as you think, Judith.

    It’s just the latest in a long line of examples that prove beyond a doubt that:

    1. Subsidies for inefficient energy sources don’t work, and

    2. Climate alamists don’t care.

    w.

    • Just like our inefficient banking sources, hard at work without the labor part though. Don’t care either?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      +1000

      Excellent comment

      For me, this post underscores the imbecility of subsidizing energy, period. When and where solar and wind make sense, they’ve already being installed without any subsidies.

      I agree!

      And where they are subsidized, either directly or by “renewables targets”, we get … well … Germany.

      … and Australia

    • Don’t leave out United Kingdom
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/10122850/True-cost-of-Britains-wind-farm-industry-revealed.html
      “A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job”
      Who can beat that for sheer madness and I am one of the payers and can do nothing about i..

    • The Engineer

      Or the danes (ground zero). Massive government subsidies started the industry making money from subsidies in other countries.

      http://www.cepos.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/Arkiv/PDF/Wind_energy_-_the_case_of_Denmark.pdf

    • The Eurocommie-wannabies in the US still have France to emulate but without all of those nuclear power plants. That’s the ticket.

    • Rubbish. The UK national grid was built by government and had the effect of reducing bills for everyone that had previously been paying through the roof for an inefficient overpriced private collection of substandard networks.Too much dogma about subsidies and not enough history doesnt help. If the US grid and the US fossil fuel industry grew initially without subsidy I’d be highly surprised. It’s about getting the public and private sector balance right. Both private and public sector funding can be good or bad. The consumer ends up paying for both one way or another.

    • Yup, and by God, we’ve got to rubbish through the details.
      ==========

    • David Springer

      I’d be surprised if subsidies for fossil fuels were ever used to make it competitive against whale oil. I’d also be surprised if taxes levied at time of sale on fossil fuels was ever less than any subsidies going to the producers.

      The subsidies going to fossil fuel industry are for the purpose of price stability and universal access. Those subsidies are not and were not ever for making it price competitive with alternative fuels. Secondly the subsidies paid to producers always came out of taxes levied on the consumers when they buy the product. The government simply acts as market intermediary to keep demand and supply balanced. The same is done with all critical commodities. Oil subsidies are no different than farm subsidies.

      This is quite unlike how wind power subsidies are levied and where the money comes from. Wind power is subsidized to make its price competitive with other power sources and the source of the subsidies is definitely not a tax levied on consumption of wind power.

      In other words you’re comparing apples to oranges and are so ill-informed you don’t know the difference between them.

    • Wind power is subsidized to make its price competitive with other power sources.
      No
      Wind power is subsidized to give it unfair advantage over other power sources and the result is that What we really need is not being built.

      The subsidy and tax credits mean what we really need runs in the red because the junk wind and solar suck off all the profits while the good stuff runs bad because it is being turned on and off to balance a sick grid.

    • patrioticduo

      But Willis, a “subsidy” is just another way that politicians try to recast the actual reality “Government regulation” into something that sounds much more palatable. A subsidy sounds so much better than Government regulation. It’s the same thing as “revenue” instead of “taxes”. So both you and Judith are correct but are arguing semantics. A Government subsidy cannot exist unless laws were enacted. Those laws are described as “regulations”. Government regulations are the foundational problem that causes the most and largest ills in the energy industry. Get the Government out of the way and watch all of the “efficient” ah “profitable” ah “sustainable” (that’s market sustainable not environmental wackery sustainable) energy industry options flourish. Those that don’t, won’t. Those that work, will. Under free market conditions, most wind “farms” (doesn’t “farms” sound so much better than “noisy throbbing machine behemoths”) would fail and disappear. Only Government regulation can enact the subsidies that keep those darn whirly-gigs going. End the regulations. Get Government out regulating energy. Until people generally think (or know) that CO2 is good for planet earth, the biosphere and all living things, we shall be keeping up a good fight but losing.

  2. Sorry Judith, I must beg to differ with Mr. Mead, as well as the Economist.

    Going for the green is not absurd–but rebalancing the contracts signed with producers, as Spain has already done and other European countries are contemplating, is not a bad idea either. The green lobbyists secured lucrative and unrealistic contracts for green energy. Germany can force them to the bargaining table and get more realistic terms as a result of what Spain did.

    Offshore wind is an idiocy. Shale gas is a blessing. Solar power on residential rooftops and in gardens falls somewhere in between. People who are criticizing ‘green’ energy need to understand (or to mention somewhere in their criticism) that there are differences in ‘green’ energy sources, and that solutions that look stupid in one place make sense in another. It is folly for America to convert 40% of its corn into ethanol. It is environmentally sound and good business besides for Brazil to convert its sugar cane into ethanol.

    People who have refused to fall into lockstep with the environmental/climate consensus have been victims of this broad brush over-generalizations for a couple of decades now. It would be a mortal pity if we fell into the same trap.

    • Tom Fuller,

      Offshore wind is an idiocy.

      So is onshore wind. See my comment here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/15/tilting-at-windmills-in-germany/#comment-332658

      Solar power on residential rooftops and in gardens falls somewhere in between.

      roof top solar PV is one of the most idiotic renewable energy schemes of all/ Have you looked at the real costs? If not, you may want to read this short, carefully worded, “Discusion Paper” by ‘Energy Supply Association of Australia’ http://www.esaa.com.au/Library/PageContentFiles/0ed86edb-b445-43f7-b1da-04dba6c4b4bf/Who_pays_for_solar_energy.pdf . And also this excellent, recently published paper about the hidden costs of roof top solar PV in sunny Australia: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/5/4/1406

      Applying Palmer’s methodology and realistic assumptions about the average life expectancy and average capacity factor of residential roof top solar PV installations, the CO2 abatement cost is over $600/tonne – i.e. over 100 times higher than the EU carbon price. Given that, do you still believe that roof top solar PV is something we should be paying over $200/MWh for (plus a lot more when the grid costs and costs transferred to the dispatchable generators are included)?

    • David Springer

      Tom Fuller | June 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply

      “It is folly for America to convert 40% of its corn into ethanol.”

      Why? The US has corn coming out its wazoo. Our grocery store shelves are filled with stuff made unhealthy by large amounts of corn syrup sweeteners. Farmers are paid to NOT plant corn just to keep the price stable against declines driven by oversupply. There’s no hunger problem in the US that can be traced back to not enough corn. There’s a shitload less foreign oil we have to purchase from countries that hate us due to ethanol. There’s a growing fleet of transportation vehicles with engines capable of using 85% ethanol fuel which is critical for next generation biofuel production which doesn’t use food crops or arable land as inputs and has far larger capacity than diversion of corn can ever have.

      The only losers so far as I can tell are junk food junkies in the US who have to pay more for foods sweetened with corn syrup and for other countries who have to pay more for US corn exports. Where then is the so-called “folly” of this for the United States of America? It’s a win-win situation for US farmers and US consumers so far as I can tell.

    • David Springer

      Tom Fuller | June 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Reply

      “It is folly for America to convert 40% of its corn into ethanol.”

      Why? The US has corn coming out its wazoo. Our grocery store shelves are filled with stuff made unhealthy by large amounts of corn syrup sweeteners. Farmers are paid to NOT plant corn just to keep the price stable against declines driven by oversupply. There’s no hunger problem in the US that can be traced back to not enough corn. There’s a schitload less foreign oil we have to purchase from countries that hate us due to ethanol. There’s a growing fleet of transportation vehicles with engines capable of using 85% ethanol fuel which is critical for next generation biofuel production which doesn’t use food crops or arable land as inputs and has far larger capacity than diversion of corn can ever have.

      The only losers so far as I can tell are junk food junkies in the US who have to pay more for foods sweetened with corn syrup and for other countries who have to pay more for US corn exports. Where then is the so-called “folly” of this for the United States of America? It’s a win-win situation for US farmers and US consumers so far as I can tell.

    • The other losers that you don’t want to mention are all the classic cars, modern boats, and general aviation airplanes that can’t reliably use gasoline with 10% ethanol.

    • Berényi Péter

      i>“Going for the green is not absurd”

      Indeed. It is beyond absurd by now. For the very definition of “green” is spoiled. With carbon dioxide declared a pollutant by green minded legislation, even “pollution” is becoming meaningless.

      New terms are needed. We are all for a healthy, wealthy, splendid environment, free of toxic stuff, teeming with life, but the “green” movement went off track in this respect a long time ago.

      The ferocious attack on all things “nuclear” first, instead of differentiating between Cold War Plutonium factories (which do have some energy as a byproduct) and umpteenth generation nuclear plants with inherent safety, two orders of magnitude higher energy output for the same fuel consumption and no long half life isotopes in waste. Even research & development was stopped dead by these loonies, an unspeakable crime against humanity.

      Then the attack on the use of fire, the single most important ingredient what makes us human. It is even ingrained into our anatomy, small teeth, big, thin skull, atrophied masticatory muscles, a digestive system with little resistance to food poisoning. We could have never developed large & able brains, creativity and intelligence without it.

      We are all for burning stuff cleanly, that is, with no other airborne waste products than carbon dioxide & water vapor. However, if carbon dioxide is declared a pollutant by the law, we either quit using fire altogether or let people emit pollutants into the environment indiscriminately. For one can’t say carbon dioxide is a “good pollutant” while heavy metals, sulphates, dioxin & sooth are bad ones.

      One simply can not burn organic material with no carbon dioxide emission. “Carbon sequestration” is the most preposterous idea ever invented. It can never be done economically on the spot.

      However, we can encourage the biosphere to use the extra carbon dioxide to its benefit. In fact it does it on its own, with no encouragement whatsoever, Earth is greening on a large scale during the last several decades. In spite of land use changes over vast areas forced by the “biofuel” craziness.

      Of course we could always mine vast quantities of ultramafic rock, dump it into shallow seas to be ground to fine dust by waves to transform dissolved carbon dioxide to bicarbonate if we abhor all things green to the extent we get determined to pay the price needed to starve plants to death.

    • Not only that, but the Ethanol industry is subsidized by US tax payers to the tune of billions of dollars per annum. Take the subsidy away and you get an industry that is unprofitable and would quickly turn to planting other crops. But as long as The Bernanke (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUY16CkS-k) keeps printing money to turn into Treasuries, this madness will continue. But one day the printing presses will stop. And then the correction against inefficient/unprofitable enterprises will be dramatic, painful and will cause great social upheaval.

    • Tom Fuller, please get your facts straight. The gross conversion of US corn into ethanol is misleading, because the post fermentation distillers grain is used for higher protein animal feed. The net consumption is about 17%. The US produces about a third of the worlds corn. So the net net is 5 % of corn. Corn is planted on 11% of arable land, same as rice. Other cereals including wheat are 27%, and soybeans are 7. So even among the ‘grain’ crops, you are talking roughly 1 percent of grain based food calories. Rounding error.
      More details in the ebook Gaias Limits.

    • Mr. Istvan, I appreciate your description of the net effects on the value chain. However, the price swings are a result of availability at the margins, and a net-net effect of 1% of global production is enough to cause the price jumps (and occasional falls) we have seen in the past decade.

      I do not argue that there is a shortage of grains to feed the world. That’s absurd–the problems are logistical, obviously. But diverting a large percentage of U.S. production–40%–away from human consumption has a knock-on effect that is disproportionate to the total amount, and the benefits to the environment are non-existent.

  3. Judith – A more accurate description of “unintended consequences” would be “predictable consequences”.
    Germany is building new coal fired power stations again, and their next government will hopefully start building up their nuclear power again. But it will be a very long time before the green insanity is fully overcome.

  4. I wouldn’t put it past the Germans to come up with an effective energy storage technology by 2050. This could either be batteries at the domestic level or storage on a mass scale at the source. Renewables will rely on this to penetrate to more than 50% of the energy supply market. 2050 is a long way in the future. I think a focused effort will lead to a solution before then.

    • Actually it could be boring old hydrogen or hydrogen enhanced LNG. Germany has one of the most kick butt hydrogen pipelines in the world. Nothing like a little infrastructure to get a head start.

    • By some accounts, the most innovative battery technology is coming from other than the USA. I am seriously looking at improving the characterization of batteries and shooting for some universal modeling techniques of the charging and discharging cycles.
      see this analysis:
      http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/06/characterization-of-battery-charging.html

      Wind will never go out of the picture. Intermittent throughput is balanced by charging schemes. Predictable in its unpredictability is the key thing to remember with well-characterized fluctuating sources such as the wind.

    • David Springer

      I was on the small engineering team that took Lithium Ion batteries to the big time. Dell was the first to market with Li-Ion batteries in laptops. We partnered with Sony and beat IBM to market by about 6 months. It was almost exactly 20 years ago. Not much progress in batteries since then. We had a buttload of patents related to charge/discharge cycle and power managment beginning in 1993 the first of which are expiring now. Twenty years is a long time without a breakthrough. Lithium Ion is still high end and finds few uses for bulk storage where lead-acid is an option. Hell I still use Ni-Cads in my power tools because Li-Ion is too damn expensive.

      So where, when, and how do you see this breakthrough in battery technology? I think you’re full of schit but it’s only fair that I ask first.

    • Ni-Cads

      Would one of those fit under the hood of my hydrogen car? I would like to go somewhere.

    • David Springer

      Sure. Since your hydrogen car is imaginary you can simply imagine a compartment for Ni-Cad batteries too. Realistically I’d advise you to imagine yourself taking the subway instead.

    • Dave – I just ordered the ultimate in drills – a hand drill. No more stringing extension cords when I need to drill a couple of holes in the fence and no more expensive damn batteries!

    • David,

      Patience – Li batteries were first proposed around 1910, so that’s 80 years from concept to application.

      There’s plenty of possibilities kicking around, and they won’t take another 60 years to develop.

    • We’re a fracking family. I live in Fort Worth. We don’t have a subway.

    • SpringyBoy, Having problems with characterizing charge/discharge cycles and wish to improve algorithms for managing battery power? I suggest that you go to my blog and read this analysis:
      http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2013/06/characterization-of-battery-charging.html

      I was fortunate to have attended a week-long training course on Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology last month, which turned out to be very informative. What I find is that any time you can get that buried in the details, something usually jumps out at you and catches your interest.

      In this case, what caught my eye was how disordered the anode storage matrix is in a typical Li+ based battery such as LiFePO4 and LiFeSO4F. So I solved the equations for discharge under greater amounts of uncertainty, and the results were surprising in how well they fit published discharge profiles.

      The research in electrochemistry still mainly revolves around putting various materials together in complex ways, but occasionally one can step back and describe the mechanisms very cleanly in mathematical terms. After looking at the results, it seems as if the disorder and uncertainty is a benefit in maintaining a more level discharge voltage and current. The spread in the material characteristics tends to even out the flow of diffusing ions, which is good for practical applications. This appears to be a very general model approximation, so it gets documented and added to the knowledgebase.

      This kind of information will be part of a large-scale semantic web server that I will be rolling out in the near future. Calling it Context/Earth, it will provide environmental (land, aquatic, atmospheric) and natural process models for various applications in the energy and transportation sectors.

      Beating the fossil-fuel grip is going to take lots of incremental advances and spread over a range of technologies, but I think we may get there yet. That’s part of the rationale for Context/Earth, putting the knowledge and information out there for people to use conveniently. You want to know the probability of a specific wind speed in a locale such as Germany ? Go to Context/Earth and pick the web service that provides the information, drawn from the knowledgebase and you can link it into your application.

      The semantic web is about knowledge, and combining knowledge with usable models is an approach that will appear sooner or later. If we want to squeeze blood from the turnip that is alternative and renewable energy, this kind of approach will be needed and will meld with Smart Grid technology, adaptive battery management technology, and all the other incremental strategies on the horizon.

      This is about developing models to meet the needs of future use, and not dwelling on Springer’s past intellectual property triumphs at Dell Inc, whatever those were (hint: no one really cares).

      Best hopes for the future!

    • Steven Mosher

      haha. Dave was “on the team”

      Here is a clue guys. When a guy leads the team, he says “I lead the team”. When he designed circuits, he says “I designed circuits.” When he worked QA, he says “I worked QA”. Engineers are like that, they are precise in their descriptions.

      When the guy got coffee, did schedules, and was a gofer– he says “I was on the team”.

      But in Dave’s mind he is up there with Akira Sanpei

    • But in Dave’s mind he is up there with Akira Sanpeiand Dale Dye.

    • “Innovative storage system could enable offshore wind farms to deliver power whenever it’s needed”

      “Whenever the wind turbines produce more power than is needed, that power would be diverted to drive a pump attached to the underwater structure, pumping seawater from a 30-meter-diameter hollow sphere. (For comparison, the tank’s diameter is about that of MIT’s Great Dome, or of the dome atop the U.S. Capitol.) Later, when power is needed, water would be allowed to flow back into the sphere through a turbine attached to a generator, and the resulting electricity sent back to shore.”

      “The concept is detailed in a paper published in IEEE Transactions and co-authored by Alexander Slocum, the Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT; Brian Hodder, a researcher at the MIT Energy Initiative; and three MIT alumni and a former high school student who worked on the project.”

      http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/wind-power-even-without-the-wind-0425.html

    • Do tell me the amount of CO2 generated in digging the hole, making the steel and the concrete.

    • David Springer

      A electrical turbine bathed in saltwater on the ocean floor hundreds of meters deep.

      What an asinine idea. Salt-water is like demon blood. You don’t want it to touch fooking anything. High pressure salt-water working environment makes every bit of maintenence and repair about a hundred times more expensive as well as making failures happen a hundred times more often.

    • David Springer

      Imagine the storm proofing. Imagine 100x more wind loading than floating oil platforms and probably more wave loading too. If you thought land based wind power was a boondoggle. Energy storage via elevated water is older than the dirt on Christ’s sandals. If it was economical at all it would be economical to pump freshwater to a natural or mostly natural impoundment up a mountain or alternatively you can tunnel down 400 meters and frack a cistern as big as you want. You only need combination well pump/generator at the bottom of the shaft. Pump to a holding pond at ground level next to the wind turbine and drain back into the cistern when you want the stored power.

      Unfortunately even in those vastly simpler, cheaper situations using gravitational energy in water is too inefficient. It’s only when the gravitational energy is free, having been put there by sun evaporating ocean water and then falling as rain on higher elevations, is hydropower doable. And even then it barely competes with natural gas in the US.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source#US_Department_of_Energy_estimates

      Hydropower (when the gravitational energy is FREE) is $89/MWh (see above) while advanced combined cycle natural gas is $65/MWh.

      Nothing beats natural gas. Nothing comes even close.

    • David Springer

      In fact, now that I look at it, CO2 sequestration brings natural gas electrical generation cost to $93/MWh which ain’t bad at all. Third generation biofuel production takes that as an input (see here for example http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2013/04/16/joule-demonstrates-conversion-of-waste-co2-into-precursors-for-gasoline-jet-fuel/ ) so there’s no need to pump it underground just take it almost straight out of the generating plant exhaust into a biofuel plant. This is how to cheaply harness the sun to produce economical liquid transportation fuels. Forget about everything else. This is happening now. The limiting factor in biofuel production today is CO2. In order to get cost/performance of bioreactors down (which are essentially inflatable clear plastic) enough to compete (unsubsidized!) with fossil fuel they need to bubble CO2 through the nutrient. In that way with good sun 20,000 gallons/acre/year has been done in pilot plants. Problem is there’s only so much waste CO2 available. I expect further improvements in materials (plastics and other bioreactor materials) and synthetic biology improving the efficiency of the microorganisms doing the heavy lifting for us that atmospheric CO2 concentration becomes a viable source. There’s an over abundance of non-arable land, non-potable water, and sunlight which are the other limiting factors in third generation biofuel.

    • Latimer Alder

      @jim d

      If and when somebody comes up with large-scale affordable energy storage, then all bets will be off and the picture may be transformed.

      But wishing and hoping and wanting for something isn’t the same as it being done.

      And it is just plain stupid to be betting the farm on the idea that such storage will happen forty years ahead by building the windmills right now.

      It’s the equivalent of building a railway station in Wyoming in 1820, hoping first that Stephenson will show that a long-distance railway is possible (1830) and then that the transcontinental line will decide to pass by in the 1870s.

      In other words – putting the cart before the horse – and all at great expense to the public.

    • Cees de Valk

      This is indeed the key issue. All that is being done now on deployment of renewables is pissing in the wind.

    • Latimer, it is not like batteries don’t exist already. They are a bit bulky as were the first generations of computers, but “needs must”, as they say, meaning necessity compels. A great area for manufacturer profits in the future is in technologies related to renewables because everyone needs energy.

    • Latimer Alder

      @jimd

      Sure – I know batteries exist already. I’ve bought a few in UPS systems designed to keep data centres going in case of a temporary power outage. And I’m a chemist by training. The concepts – and practicality are familiar to me.

      But they are many orders of magnitude too small in terms of capacity and too expensive to be viable parts of anything other than a single building level solution for a short period. If you want to make use of intermittent renewables like wind you need county or country level capacities. And the don’t exist.

      The basic physics is well understood, the thermodynamics is well understood. The chemistry is mostly understood. And – unless I have read the runes wrong – we do not have any thing remotely technologically capable of doing the job in prospect in the next 25 years.

      That’s just about a complete ‘generation’ of power generation solutions. A sensible designer would only plan – at this stage – to use tried and tested equipment…not to rely on stuff that hasn’t even been invented yet – and may never be.

    • I found it interesting that the kind of battery in today’s electric cars store 30-50kWh of electricity, which can run a house for 3 days. Just a few of those in each house will get you through a power shortage due to wind or sun. I can visualize people charging these up in off-peak hours and using them at peak hours or when the grid supply is low.

    • Latimer Alder

      How much do such batteries cost? How long do they last? How do you integrate them into the existing grid/domestic power supply? How do you handle shared ownership properties? How big a construction do you need to store them?

      And most of all…why on earth would anyone go to all the effort – when they have reliable power already without any of these expensive and inconvenient gizmos.

      Just makes ‘renewables’ even less attractive as a power source.’Spend your money to make your power more trouble and less reliable’ is really not a good sales pitch.

    • Yes, how many people would be willing to shell out the equivalent of a year’s pay on batteries, especially if they have to be replaced every few years?

    • Latimer Alder, these are the questions to think about. Electric cars are charged from the grid, so this is the same deal. You could have some coordinated controlled interface per household that charges them up at particular times of day and keeps the grid load uniform over time. The “smart grid” concept is already starting in that direction.

    • Latimer Alder

      @jim d

      The BIG question to think about is WHY?

      What could possibly persuade anybody to want to do what you suggest?

      Today in UK we already get reliable electric power at the flick of a switch from the grid. How is your scheme an improvement on that?

    • phatboy, mass production would bring the prices down, and they can be significantly recycled for re-use. You can imagine a door-to-door pick-up and delivery like some use for bottled water.

    • Jimd

      No snark but can I have your definition of ‘can run a house for 3 days’

      What could it run exactly?. It is 220 volts here with many households having electric ovens, immersion heaters, micro waves , electric kettles , likely a few electric fires as supplementary heating, lighting, tv, computers etc etc.

      Run all that for 3 days? Seriously?
      Tonyb

    • My idea is a way to use intermittent renewables as a basis for a power grid. It is workable and not inconvenient, and would be almost invisible to the user, depending where the actual batteries are located (on the property or not).

    • tonyb, you can check your power bill, but it is probably 10-20 kWh per day unless you also use electricity to heat the house or for air-conditioning.

    • Jm D, fine, I’ll wait for mass production to bring down prices – as I imagine most people will do.
      Now we just have to worry about setting up the approx. one turbine for every square mile in the UK to keep our batteries charged.

    • Tesla Roadster battery: “The pack operates at a nominal 375 volts, stores about 56 kilowatt hours(kwh) of electric energy and delivers up to 200 kilowatts of electric power”

      http://www.batterypoweronline.com/images/PDFs_articles_whitepaper_appros/TeslaRoadsterBatterySystem.pdf

    • Jimd

      You haven’t really answered my question but I think you overestimate the battery capacity and underestimate a households electricity usage.

      As a back up system if it were cheap and easy to install it might have a place as the uk governments insistence on not having a sensible energy policy will inevitably mean power rationing in the years to come

      the lack of capacity will be heightened if the climate change,sharply downwards, continues. I can buy a robust generator for my Back up power needs for around £750 , how much would your system cost that could achieve the same output?
      Tonyb

    • $10,000 for a battery will pay my electric bill for 2.7 years.

    • I did not say this was something that can be done today in any practical sense, but with mass production and a systemic change in how we think about home energy distribution, this is an option that works with intermittent sources. If your electric car battery still costs half the price of your electric car (really?), it won’t work in those either, unless you get a recycling rebate.

    • Jimd

      It seems the tesla battery costs 36000 dollars. I think I will also wait for mass production to bring the price down . When it becomes feasible I might be interested. Of course to be a green solution it doesn’t want to be charged through the non green grid but via renewable energy…hmmm

      Tonyb

    • Latimer Alder

      @jim d

      But even if you could make the technology work…you still avoid the fundamental question – why do it at all? What advantages does it give over today’s arrangements? Why should I wish to disrupt those? Why do we need ‘a systemic change in the way we think about home energy distribution?’

      We have a workable, working solution right now

      Your scheme is a solution looking for a problem – and struggling to find one. And it’s not even much of a solution either.

    • “why do it at all? What advantages does it give over today’s arrangements?”

      climate, etc

    • Indeed, I checked and costs could be $500 per kWh storage for a (car) battery, amounting to $10k-$20k if you want emergency storage for a few days. The lifetime is twenty years at one cycle per day, so you could imagine a lease system distributing the cost over the lifetime, which is $500-$1000 per year, comparable with your electricity bill today, perhaps, so these prices have to come down or the lifetime has to go up. The lifetime depends on charging cycles (one cycle per day per battery) so there may be ways to economize on those too with multiple smaller batteries instead of one big one, something you can do with a house, but not a car.

    • Latimer Alder, consider a situation in the future where fossil fuel prices have risen due to excess demand from the developing world and depletion, a situation gradually getting worse, and you have a choice between wind/solar or going back to coal. The wind/solar route becomes viable with this kind of energy distribution system, which admittedly I haven’t thought through completely.

    • Latimer Alder

      @lolwot

      I think I’d need a rather better justification than ‘climate etc’ before I undertook such a project.

      Maybe 5 years ago those magic words were sufficiently powerful to turn otherwise rational beings into gibbering wrecks happy to throw public money into every hare-brained scheme that could put ‘CAGW’ somewhere in its publicity.

      But those days of collective climate insanity are fading fast away. People do not suspend their faculties on hearing that spell any more, and the scammers and subsidy junkies are not having such an easy ride.

      Can you come up with a whole sentence? Or even a paragraph? Coz ‘climate etc’ doesn’t cut it any more.

      So yesterday. So dated…….

    • Latimer Alder

      @jim d

      ‘consider a situation in the future where fossil fuel prices have risen due to excess demand from the developing world and depletion’

      Ok – I’ll consider it if and when it happens. But until then the current arrangements are perfectly satisfactory.

      BTW – why would demand from the developing world be ‘excessive’.

      Are they not to be entitled to the same standard of living as we enjoy? And that has been driven very much by the availability of plentiful and affordable energy from fossil based sources. Nothing ‘excessive’ about it at all.

    • I meant excess demand, not from a moral viewpoint, but from demand in excess of supply, more an economic factor. Their countries will be hotter, obviously, so they may want air-conditioning just to survive the imposed climate change thanks to us who have burned the fossil fuels so far and continue to do so. If you want to be moral, consider that part.

    • Just thought of another advantage of my household battery system. Downed power lines or other things like lightning cause widespread power outages. That would be a thing of history. Can I patent this somewhere?

    • Jimd

      No you can’t patent it because you’ve now told all of us about it. Not that we were over enthusiastic of course. Probably because we’re not all millionaires. I am owed a lot of money in back pay by big oil however so when that arrives I might place a provisional order with you

      Tonyb

    • Apparently there is a big business in the US suing for patent infringement. The problem is that patents are accepted with very general descriptions of ideas that can then be used to sue anyone that, even decades later, makes money from something like it. Many of these are settled out of court gaining the patenter, or special businesses that buy these patent rights, and the lawyers, who also make a business out of this, some significant money each time they sue. They can make a living off it.
      That said, specifically my idea for an intermittent power and home battery system is that each household would have something like a few car batteries to store a few 10′s of kWh (a month or so’s worth) of power. There would be a smart-grid type of system to distribute the generated power as evenly as possible over time, taking into account the variable generation rate. Such a grid would insulate homes from the intermittency of solar/wind driven power grids, plus also have an emergency supply if the grid fails or stops for days for some reason and also would be immune to the problems of peak loads on hot days, for example. Costs are estimated above, and it would only become practical with a reduction in these battery prices, especially if heating and cooling are also from electric power.

    • Plain old water power… Germany’s got lots of mountains and water

    • Jim D

      OK, Jim. You won’t be able to patent the concept of storing electrical energy in batteries, since that has been around for a while.

      But let’s say you can come up with handy-dandy home units for installation in each home as a backup power supply system to cover outages from: blackouts due to overloads, storms, lightning, extreme weather events, earthquakes, etc.

      And let’s say you can produce these for a reasonable price including the rectifiers, inverters, transformers and interconnecting wires plus switches, etc. that would be required.

      And let’s assume that your units could store enough electrical energy to run a normal US household for three days at full load (or six days at half load).

      EIA tells us that the average US residential utility customer uses 30 kWh per day, so 3 days would require 90 kWh (1,250 Watts over 72 hours).

      A new powerful car battery can store around 1 kWh, so it would take 90 car batteries (plus accessories). The car batteries cost about $100 each, so this is $9,000. Adding in the transformers and everything else your system would end up costing around $12,500.

      For comparison, a 12kW Diesel generator costs around $7,000. It could supply standby power for four or five households. And it could run for much longer than just 3 days.

      But if you could get the battery cost down by around half, you might have an alternate.

      Max

    • Your estimate of $100 per kWh storage is lower than the $500 that I found, so this is encouraging. 30 kWh per day might apply in areas where electricity is used for home heating (storage heaters?), and cooling (AC). Otherwise it would be in the 10-20 kWh per day range. Spreading the cost over the lifetime or ten years also mitigates the expense. So, take 100 kWh at $100 per kWh, and you get $10k, divided by ten years is $1k per year. Not practical yet, as it compares with the annual electricity bill itself, but I agree, if the $100 per kWh can be knocked down by a factor or the lifetime can be increased to more decades, it becomes practical. Longer-life ones could even be folded into the house price for new houses equipped this way.

  5. ‘paid by the amount of installed capacity rather than production’. OK, whose idea was this?
    ==============

    • I read Atlas Shrugged almost 40 years ago and can’t remember the exact quote, but that plan to be paid by installed capacity is eerily similar to:

      “By crafting the plan to reward income based on amount of track owned instead of service provided, Taggart will reap huge profits. Smaller railroads will maintain the lines it is using, and its own lines will carry almost no traffic. The most successful railroad under the plan would be one that owns the most track but runs no trains at all. ”

      Source. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/atlasshrugged/section12.rhtml

    • Yeah, my jaw dropped at that one too.

      Sheer lunacy. It takes the command and control model to a new level.

      What incentives are there for efficient production, or indeed any production at all?

    • In the US, there’s an old precedent for that. Paying farmers to not grow crops.

  6. A good number of people pointed out the stupidity of wind and solar long before Germany got a lesson on the unintended consequences of centralized government control. The sad thing is, that greenies can’t seem to learn their lesson, and people suffer for it.

    • The greenies aren’t likely to learn the lesson that you’re trying to teach them because they are studying a different course!
      Their objective is not to make renewable energy more reliable or efficient but to force the human race back two or three centuries (what I have described as “unpicking the Industrial Revolution”) by denying us all the cheap, abundant energy we need to maintain the civilisation that we have worked our butts off to establish over the last millennium or so.
      It’s as simple as that.

    • Judith mentions unintended consequences. Here is an example from Germany just this past winter. Followed up by a lesson from Scotland in 2010. Spot the nuclear abandonment irony? Spot the inefficient wood burning? Green insanity.

      Spiegel – 17 January, 2013
      “Woodland Heists: Rising Energy Costs Drive Up Forest Thievery
      With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country’s forests. Woodsmen have become more watchful.”

      Scotsman – 26 December, 2010
      “‘Green’ Scotland relying on French nuclear power
      SCOTLAND’S wind farms are unable to cope with the freezing weather conditions – grinding to a halt at a time when electricity demand is at a peak, forcing the country to rely on power generated by French nuclear plants.”

  7. Walter Meade says: “Germany’s struggles with green energy should be a warning to leaders and policymakers around the world. Renewable energy isn’t ready for primetime, and no amount of government subsidies or green pie-in-the-sky hopes are going to change that”.
    ______

    Something tells me Walter Meade hasn’t been following the German stock market listen. The DAX is up by more than one-third this year. But Maybe he has been following it, and is suggesting now’s the time to go short. Is anyone here planning on shorting German stocks?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=%5EGDAXI#symbol=%5Egdaxi;range=1y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;
    ———–

    • Correction: the DAX is up by almost one-third in twelve months. Whyis it left to me to fact check my own statements?

    • Correction: Max_OK must’ve read another Mead column.
      ===========

    • kim, you are wrong. Those are Walter’s Meade’s very words. Why do I have to fact-check your fact-checking?

      Moreover, you can’t even spell “Meade” right.

      “Germany’s struggles with green energy should be a warning to leaders and policymakers around the world. Renewable energy isn’t ready for primetime, and no amount of government subsidies or green pie-in-the-sky hopes are going to change that.”

      http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/06/15/germanys-green-plan-is-crumbling/

    • Heh, I wasn’t fact-checking. I was commenting on the pertinence of your comment after the quote.
      ===============

    • kim sees no connection between the German stock market, the German economy, and German energy policy.

    • Max_OK stretches for a sucker. But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.
      =============

    • The US stock market was at about 14,000 in October, 2007. 18 months later it was about half that.

      Stock markets are great for providing liquidity and market discipline (over time). They can also signal the over all health of an economy, and of specific segments of the economy, or not. Stocks in 2007 would have told you the housing and financial markets were rock solid.

      But leave it to the economically illiterate progressives here to think they tell you anything about the viability of alternative energy.

    • GaryM, I’m afraid you missed my point, which was the German stock market has been ignoring critics of renewable energy who predict the Country’s economy will be dragged down by it’s increasing dependence on wind power and solar power. If investors in stocks believed those critics, they would be selling instead of buying.

      You may have misinterpreted my comments as a rosy forecast for the German stock market in the immediate future. I have no idea where the market is headed. If you believe it is headed for a crash, as you seem to be suggesting, find a way to sell German stocks short. If you are right, you will make money. If you are wrong, you will lose money.

  8. “OSTERATH’S 12,000 citizens are angry. Their quiet backwater in the Ruhr, close to Düsseldorf, is the proposed site for the biggest converter station in Europe. This vast installation will transform high-voltage direct current to alternating current. It will be an important link in Germany’s new “power highway”, a network of transmission lines that will send electricity generated by wind farms in the north of the country, and offshore in the North and Baltic Seas, to the manufacturing belt in the south. Osterath’s residents reckon it will be a monstrous eyesore, and intend to stop it.”

    http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21579149-germanys-energiewende-bodes-ill-countrys-european-leadership-tilting-windmills

    If they are angry about that imagine how they would feel about a nuclear power plant being built at Osterath.

    • I would imagine their anger would glow in the dark.

    • “The day after Fukushima Mrs Merkel decided that Germany would ditch nuclear power after all. Eight reactors were to be switched off immediately, the rest by 2022.”

      http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21579149-germanys-energiewende-bodes-ill-countrys-european-leadership-tilting-windmills

      Hip hip hooray!

    • The Japanese, too, ditched nuclear after Fukushima, than thankfully came to their senses.
      ===========

    • kim, you aren’t keeping up with the news. Fukushima is still having problems.

    • Did I say it wasn’t? Read my comment again. Maybe take a nap first.
      ===========

    • Yeah, the Germans are really worried about all those earthquakes and tsunamis

    • They are only a few km from some of the largest open pit brown coal mines in the world. They won’t mind.

    • Brown coal = Lignite. One step above peat.

      A bit of history most people never knew about:

      http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8460

      The peat bogs in Holland and Utrecht were up to 4.5 metres thick, but because of the high water table in the region (why we call these the “Low Countries”), only the top layer could be stripped away using conventional techniques. …..
      If we take 1850 as the start of the “modern” peat mining era (the Netherlands were very late to enter the Industrial Revolution), the pre-industrial use of peat in the country amounts to just over 190,000 hectares from about 1300 to 1850. Of this, some 70,000 hectares were mined from 1600 to 1700, which roughly corresponds with the “Golden Age” of the Netherlands. All these figures are deduced from a 1978 paper by J.W. de Zeeuw, “Peat and the Dutch Golden Age” (see references). Other authors (like Jan de Vries) give higher estimates in more recent studies, with about 275,000 hectares of peat stripped after 1600. Either way, almost all peat that existed in the Netherlands has been mined.

    • Max_OK calls BS on something I didn’t say. He must think you are a sucker.
      ===========

    • Max_OK

      You can forget about a nuclear power plant being built at Osterath or anywhere else in Germany for a long time.

      WWF, Greenpeace and all the other environmental lobby groups did such a good job of anti-nuclear fear mongering in Germany that most Germans have an irrational phobia against nuclear power generation. The politicians of all major parties are just as fearful.

      Meanwhile, just across the Rhine, the French are merrily generating three-fourths of their electrical power demand from safe and reliable nuclear power plants. And they are selling (nuclear generated) power to the Germans.

      Go figure.

      Max_CH

    • Maybe they could be persuaded to come around if the UK or France offered to take their waste. To me, this is the big deal about nuclear. It leads to major nimby issues.

    • France has a nuclear repository on the way. They, smartly, recycle spent fuel to make more fuel rods.

      “The trip to the lab 500 meters below takes seven minutes in France’s longest elevator.

      Officials at Andra hope the 35 billion euro plan, if successful, will become a model for other countries and provide a business opportunity.

      “The French model is a real reference in the world, whether in large countries like the U.S., China and even Russia or in smaller countries,” said Gerald Ouzounian, head of Andra’s international division.

      “We sell our know-how in different countries,” he added, citing contracts with Lithuania, Slovenia and Ukraine.”

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/13/us-nuclear-waste-idUSBRE85C0YM20120613

  9. I will be putting on line a semantic web server with the name Context/Earth in the near future. This is based on work that has been open-sourced over the last year, with significant funding by the DOI.

    It will grow over time but currently has information ontologically organized according to land, ocean, and atmospheric topics using JPL’s SWEET ontology.
    One of the areas of interest is wind energy analyses, with Germany as one of the data sets.

    Cheers.

    • Your performance over the last twenty-four hours would indicate it is unlikely you will post anything of much value

  10. A rally opposing wind power is being held at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday. I’ve just responded to an article advocating wind power. The article is here: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/how-wrong-can-a-press-release-for-an-anti-wind-rally-be-26047 . My response is as follows:

    Wind Realities – Response to ‘Whoppers’ published on ‘RENewEconomy
    “How wrong can a press release for anti wind rally be?”

    It is astonishing how confident wind advocates are, when the facts don’t support them at all. You can see that in Climate Spectator just about every day.

    Having just looked through the list of what the author asserts are “Whoppers”, I’d summarise that his responses are a mass of misinformation, distortions, and, in his own terms, whoppers! There are so many misleading statements I wouldn’t know where to begin. Therefore, to avoid wasting much time on this I provide a quick brain-dump. Following is a short, off-the-top-of-my-head response to each of his eleven points.

    Wind Reality 1: Wind energy is saving Australian consumers money

    Wrong! Wind energy is very high cost. It is already costing consumers in higher electricity prices despite contributing only 3 of our electricity. It has to be mandated as ‘must take’ by legislation, otherwise no wind farms would be built. The wind farms need about $110/MWh to make them viable; this should be compared with the roughly $30/MWh for the coal fired electricity it is intended to displace. But there are many hidden extra costs: grid costs and costs transferred to the dispatchable generators, – similar to solar PV as described by Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA): http://www.esaa.com.au/Library/PageContentFiles/0ed86edb-b445-43f7-b1da-04dba6c4b4bf/Who_pays_for_solar_energy.pdf

    Windpower Reality 2: Wind energy is cheap once fossil fuel subsidies and negative externalities are accounted for

    Wrong! See above. There is little subsidy for fossil fuel electricity generation. But the subsidy for wind is more than 100%. The LCOE of wind power is around $110/MWh plus grid costs and costs transferred to dispatchable generators. This must be compared with the average cost of coal fired electricity of about $30/MWh (coal is what the mandating of wind power is intended to displace).

    The link for his assertion there are high subsidies for fossil fuels goes to “Crikey” another ‘Progressive’ web site. They just keep regurgitating the same baseless assertions. They mix up claims about subsides for petroleum products and try to imply these apply to electricity generation. They do not and it is disingenuous they keep repeating it.

    The chart showing cost of electricity (LCOE) and external costs is unreferenced. It is nonsense. The LCOE’s shown in the chart bear no relation to the authoritative figures for Australia: http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf
    The external cost estimates should be taken seriously. They are highly contentious and depend entirely on who you believe.

    Windpower Reality 3: RECs aren’t a tax, but a market-based incentive

    Nonsense. If REC’s were market based they wouldn’t have to be a product of politics and bureaucrats and they wouldn’t have to be legislated. They add about $40/MWh to the cost of electricity generated by wind. There are other costs that are also added such as grid costs and hidden costs transferred to dispatchable generators that must be, and are, then included in their cost of electricity. The consumer pays.

    Windpower Reality 4: Wind energy and other incremental renewables are on target to avoid the rarely paid REC penalty price

    Irrelevant and disengenuous! There is no realistic prospect that wind can make a major contribution to Australia’s electricity generation. Like us, the European countries are now recognising the high cost for no benefits and are backing away from mandating and subsidising wind and renewable energy as fast as they can unwind the subsidies and regulations that mandate it.

    Wind generates less than 3% of Australia’s electricity and would have to get to close to 20% by 2020 to meet the RET. So, at first blush, the additional cost of renewables paid by consumers will increase by a factor of up to seven by 2020. It may not be as high as this, but could be more if the legislation is not repealed.

    This recent article shows the cost per MWh escalates as the proportion of renewable generation increases: http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/michael-shellenberger-and-ted-nordhaus/no-solar-way-around-it/

    Windpower Reality 5: REC will continue to be a reasonable percentage of the overall electricity cost structure and drive consumer prices down

    Nonsense! Renewable energy will drive consumer prices up. This is obvious. More high cost generation means higher electricity prices. But it’s worse than it appears because as the proportion of renewable energy increases the cost per MWh increases disproportionately. See the first figure here: http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/michael-shellenberger-and-ted-nordhaus/no-solar-way-around-it/

    Windpower Reality 6: Jurisdictions with wind farms have the lowest electricity prices in their countries

    Nonsense! The highest electricity prices in the OECD are in the countries with the highest proportion of wind power. In fact the top three are: Denmark, Germany and South Australia (see Figure 3 here: http://www.euaa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/FINAL-INTERNATIONAL-PRICE-COMPARISON-FOR-PUBLIC-RELEASE-19-MARCH-2012.pdf

    Windpower Reality 7: A few people have left their homes because of anti-wind activists creating stress and health fears

    No comment.

    Windpower Reality 8: Wind farms displace greenhouse gases from fossil fuel generation on almost exactly a 1:1 basis

    Nonsense! Many studies show wind power is nowhere near 100% efficient at displacing emissions. An recent study by Joe Wheatley shows that wind power was just 53% effective at cutting GHG emissions in Ireland in 2011: http://docs.wind-watch.org/Wheatley-Ireland-CO2.pdf . Ireland’s grid is similar to South Australia’s in many relevant ways so this study is particularly relevant.

    Windpower Reality 9: Wind farms are the best choice of any form of generation for wildlife, the environment and ground water

    No comment.

    Windpower Reality 11: Wind energy is the cheapest new form of generation except shale gas, and has virtually no downsides compared to the alternatives

    Nonsense! You have to include the costs of back up generation, the cost of the grid and the hidden costs transferred to the dispatchable generators caused by mandating wind as ‘must take’. When you include all these costs, wind is far more expensive than fossil fuels and nuclear power.

    “Objectively speaking, intermittent renewables are still very far from challenging fossil fuels as the preferred energy source of our industrialized civilization. Some tremendous technological breakthroughs will be necessary to change this outlook and such amazing advances, if they are even possible, are likely to require many more decades of basic R&D. “

    http://theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/235431/renewable-energy-grid-parity-reality-check-part-1

    • Peter Lang

      Thanks for your long expose of the wind-lobby “whoppers” out there, as they apply to Australia. I’m sure they apply elsewhere (like Germany) as well.

      The one key factor that IMO is the most important argument against wind power as a significant component of the overall mix is simply its lack of reliability.

      This requires stand-by plants operating on natural gas to supply the 75% of the time that the wind turbines do not generate power.

      These plants burn fossil fuel over this 75% of the time.

      But even worse, they run at around 20% lower overall thermal efficiency when operating intermittently as standby plants than they would if operating continuously.

      As a result they require 90% of the fuel in standby operation (75% of the time) as they would use in full service (100% of the time), which means that the wind turbines have only reduced the fossil fuel requirement (and CO2 load) by around 10% of the theoretical reduction.

      Add to this the premium capital investment, which is required, plus the added operation costs and you have a double “loser” (as the Germans are apparently discovering).

      Max

    • “This requires stand-by plants operating on natural gas to supply the 75% of the time that the wind turbines do not generate power.”

      75% of the time wind turbines do not generate power? where did you get that number from?

      “As a result they require 90% of the fuel in standby operation (75% of the time) as they would use in full service (100% of the time), which means that the wind turbines have only reduced the fossil fuel requirement (and CO2 load) by around 10% of the theoretical reduction.”

      That sounds weird. Plants on standby require 90% of the fuel? Where did you get that figure from?

      The UK Energy Research Centre provides a figure of about 10% which seems to be the polar opposite:
      “The fuel savings not realised because of the reduced efficiency tend to increase as intermittent generation penetration level rises but the actual losses are generally small – up to the 20% penetration level, the studies present efficiency losses ranging between a negligible level and 7% (as a percentage of theoretical maximum fuel savings)”

      http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/Downloads/PDF/06/0604Intermittency/0604IntermittencyReport.pdf

    • Manacker,

      Further to your comment, at a system level the emissions avoided by wind generation are much less than claimed by the proponents. Furthermore, wind becomes less effective at emissions abatement as the proportion of electricity generated by wind increases.

      Good data on total emissions from the entire electricity system, at the level of detail needed (per generating unit per 15 minutes or less) are not available for most grids. Some of the best data that is available is for Ireland (EirGrid).

      Wind generation was only 53% effective at cutting emissions in EirGrid in 2011 (c.f. proponents claim 100% effective and more).

      EirGrid is an excellent case study for these reasons:

      Empirical approaches based on real world grid data can help shed further light on these issues. Ireland is a good empirical test case for the following reasons:
      1. high average wind penetration (17% in 2011)
      2. minimal electricity exports means that virtually all wind generation must
      be accommodated on the domestic grid
      3. modern thermal plant portfolio with large amounts of relatively flexible gas generation ( 58% of demand) as well as coal and peat plant
      4. zero nuclear and a low level of hydro ( 2%)
      5. Ireland’s highly volatile wind resource favours statistical even over relatively short timeframes such as one year
      6. availability of relatively high frequency grid data and mandatory emissions reporting at plant level under EU-ETS.[12]

      The abstract:

      The contribution of wind power generation to operational CO2 savings is investigated for the Irish electricity grid. Wind contributed 17% of electricity demand in 2011 and reduced CO2 emissions by 9%. Wind energy saved 0:28 tCO2/MWh on average, relative to a grid carbon intensity in the absence of wind of 0.53 tCO2/MWh. Emissions savings are
      at the lower end of expectations. It is likely that this reflects decreasing
      effectiveness of wind power as wind penetration increases.

    • Here is a link to the pre-publication version of Joe Wheatley’s paper:
      Quantifying CO2 savings from wind power: Ireland
      http://docs.wind-watch.org/Wheatley-Ireland-CO2.pdf

    • lolwot

      25% is a high estimate for wind turbine online time. Check the literature out there.

      The overall thermal efficiency of a combined cycle gas fired plant running continuously is around 60%.

      When this same plant is running intermittently as a back-up generator for the 75% of the time that the wind plant is not generating power, its overall thermal efficiency is reduced to around 48%.

      This means that 20% more fuel is required per MWh generated than when the same plant is operated continuously.

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/08/open-thread-weekend-21/#comment-330974

      Max

    • Peter Lang

      Thanks for the link to the Wheatley Ireland study.

      Wheatley estimated a decrease of thermal efficiency of 12.5% for gas plants operating continuously at 75% capacity rather than 100%.

      I used a 20% decrease of thermal efficiency for gas plants operating at 100% capacity (as standby plants) on an intermittent basis 75% of the time when there is no wind power.

      The two things are slightly different.

      Intermittent operation involves startup losses each time the unit comes on line and thermal losses when it goes off line, so the efficiency loss is somewhat greater than the loss for continuous below-capacity operation.

      But the overall difference between the two is relatively small, with the conclusion being that wind power only saves a relatively small portion of the fuel it would theoretically save if it operated all the time. And that’s what the wind enthusiasts, like lolwot, forget in their enthusiasm.

      Max

    • Manacker,

      From memory, without referring back to the paper, Wheatley determined the efficiency penalty from empirical data derived from several independent sources. The analysis is for the entire system. There are many papers that have preceded this over the past 20 years but, IMO, this is the best of them. I think it is an excellent paper. I’d commend to any one interested and also to those who reckon they are experts in statistical analysis.

      Another recent analysis, but not as valuable IMO, is for Texas ERCOTT [1]

      However, whereas the EirGrid has 17% of electricity generated by wind, ERCOTT has just 4%. So, IMO, we can get better indication of where we are heading (with pro-wind policies) with the EirGrid data.

      By the way, if you are interested in the cycling costs of fossil fuel plants, have a look at this excellent article. (It’s 4 pages so click through them and not the structural damage done by heat stresses).
      http://www.powermag.com/issues/features/Make-Your-Plant-Ready-for-Cycling-Operations_3885_p2.html

      [1] Daniel T. Kaffine, Brannin J. McBee, and Jozef Lieskovsky (2013) “Emissions Savings from Wind Power Generation in Texas”, IAEE, Volume 34 – Number 1
      http://www.iaee.org/de/publications/journal.aspx

    • Thanks, Peter

      Max

    • Manacker,

      “Intermittent operation involves startup losses each time the unit comes on line and thermal losses when it goes off line”

      I should have been more specific about the PowerMag paper I linked above. The article shows the effect of cycling, shut downs and warm starts and cold starts. It gives the costs, they are in the order of upt to hundreds of thousands of dollars per start. the pictures of the damage are dramatic. It’s worth a quick look through even if just to see the pictures and some of the tabulated costs involved.
      http://www.powermag.com/issues/features/Make-Your-Plant-Ready-for-Cycling-Operations_3885.html

    • So about 50% less CO2 is emitted. That’s fine.

      That number can be increased with the introduction of smart grids and energy storage, reducing the need for gas backup.

    • lolwot

      So about 50% less CO2 is emitted. That’s fine.

      That number can be increased with the introduction of smart grids and energy storage, reducing the need for gas backup.

      No. Wind is hopelessly un economic without adding more costs to it. it requires subsidies of over 100% before you even begin to add all these other ‘bright ideas’. Many people like you think only of science and physics. You also need to think of costs and financing and investment risks. Do some simple cost calculations and challenge your beliefs.

    • ‘Smart meters and energy storage’, he says. I hear ‘iron fist in imaginary glove’.
      =============

  11. The Left: Old and New,”
    Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, 167

    Old-line Marxists claimed [falsely] that they were champions of reason, that socialism or communism was a scientific social system, that an advanced technology could not function in a capitalist society, but required a scientifically planned and organized human community to bring its maximum benefits to every man, in the form of material comforts and a higher standard of living . . . . [T]oday we see the spectacle of old Marxists blessing, aiding and abetting the young hoodlums [of the New Left] (who are their products and heirs) who proclaim the superiority of feelings over reason, of faith over knowledge, of leisure over production, of spiritual concerns over material comforts, of primitive nature over technology, of astrology over science, of drugs over consciousness.
    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/new_left.html

    • Communists, Socialists, Libertarians

      All impractical ideologists.

      Ideologies are for saps.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      On the other hand – ignorance is strength.

    • “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
      ― George Orwell, 1984

  12. Germany Exports Electricity Despite Nuclear Phase Out

    “The Federal Statistical Office reports that Germany exported 66.6 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2012, while only importing 43.8 TWh via the European electricity grids. This surplus, 22.8TWh, has almost quadrupled the surplus in 2011.” 

    “The goal is that by 2050, 80 percent of the country’s electricity production will come from renewable energy and at least 60 percent of its total energy demand (including heating, transportation, and industry) will come from renewables.”

    http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/__pr/P__Wash/2013/04/04-Electricity-Exporter.html

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘The result is a web of grotesque distortions. On sunny days Germany pushes its excess power into the European grid at a loss. Because producers of renewables are paid a fixed price, their subsidy rises as the spot price of electricity falls. On cloudy days Germany relies ever more on brown coal. Last year its CO2 emissions rose.’

      Haven’t taken your Ritalin today? Btw – the name is Mead without an e on the end.

    • Congratulations, Chief, you are right about something. Yes, it’s Mead, Meade.

      Australian’s have German envy. Australians can’t make world-class cars. Ford says Australians can’t make cars at all.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      You should be used to a web of grotesque distortions.

    • Max_OK’s been suckered, but Ford wasn’t, though they took the sucker punch of Australia’s Carbon Initiative, er Moral Imperative.
      =============

    • Max,

      I understood from our discussion about Pickering nuclear power station that your main concern ended up being that it is an eyesore. So I am wondering what your comment might be about the local Osterath’s residents’ concerns:

      Osterath’s residents reckon it will be a monstrous eyesore, and intend to stop it.

      Are nuclear eyesores evil and renewable eyesores acceptable, perhaps even beautiful?

    • An eyesore to 12,000 (Osterath) doesn’t offend as many eyes as an eyesore to 2,800,000 (Toronto).

      Peter, here’s a link to something to cheer you up, a recent New Yorker article titled A New Way to Do Nuclear. Don’t miss Nuclear Engineer Leslie Dewar’s following statement.

      “I’ve always thought of nuclear as something that’s good for the environment,” she said. “I worry about my polar bears.”

      http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/06/a-new-way-to-do-nuclear.html
      ——-

    • Max_OK,

      Did you ever learn to do division? Do you understand how to compare like with like – e.g. by comparing on the basis of amount of energy supplied? Ever heard of that?

    • If you are saying you want me to teach you how to do division, I don’t really understand it that well myself.

    • How many divisions does Max_OK have?
      ===============

    • It wuz cotton pickin time in Muskogee so Ah missed long divi-shun.

    • Max_OK,

      You never did answer these questions I asked you regarding your baseless assertion. You dodged them despite me asking you repeatedly. Eventually, it turned out your concern about nuclear power was because it is an ‘eyesore’. Perhaps a solution might be to design special blindfolds for people suffering nuclear phobia, like yourself. Would that work for you?

      Following are the questions you’ve been trying to ignore and haven’t answered yet.

      1. You say Pickering is an eyesore. I asked would you prefer a fossil fuel or renewable energy plant that produced the same energy over 40 years? How big and ugly would such plants be? If coal, what would it look like after 40 years? How big would the ash pile be now (at 400,000 tonnes per GW-year)? Or would you suggest the ash be dumped in the lake, out of sight? How much heavy metals and other toxic chemicals would have leaked into the lake over 40 years? How many ships of coal would be delivered each year? I expect you’ll avoid answering these questions. If you do it demonstrates, again, you are not motivated by an interested in the environment. Your motivation, like most other CAGW doomsayers, is about progressing your ideological agenda, right?

      2. You said: “ BTW, is the Pickering plant the one that had the accident back in 2011, and dumped a lot of contaminated water into the Lake?

      I asked you: “ What does “a lot” mean, please? Please quantify and put in context. You haven’t answered that question yet.

      3. You called Pickering an eyesore but did not respond to my comment asking whether you’d prefer the eyesores of renewable energy plants (large enough to give the same energy as Pickering over 40 years) I gave links to these photos of the eyesores of the abandoned renewable energy plants: http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2009/05/04/10-abandoned-renewable-energy-plants/

      4. You haven’t acknowledged that having a nuclear plant nearby does not reduce real estate values. In fact, it probably increases them because more highly qualified and educated professionals and technical people are attracted to the area.

      I await your responses

    • OK, Peter, I’ll give your questions as much answer as they deserve.

      1. Pickering is an eyesore, and I wouldn’t want any kind of power plant located in Toronto.

      2. Enough to make the management say it wasn’t a good thing.

      3. See answer to #1.

      4. I didn’t make money in real estate by being a fool.

    • Max_OK,

      You might not think you are a fool, but that doesn’t mean much!

    • I didn’t make money in real estate by being a fool.

      All that demonstrates is that you are good at being devious, slippery, not very honest, not to be trusted.

      But I already knew all that by the way you continually make baseless assertions and then can man up to admit when you are shown to be wrong – which you have more times than can be counted.

    • Peter Lang says
      “All that demonstrates is that you are good at being devious, slippery, not very honest, not to be trusted.”
      _____

      I always did have a head for business. You forgot to mention I know a sucker when I see one.

    • Max_OK,

      That’s quite an admission about your lack of integrity.

    • Peter, I have admitted to being human. You haven’t.

    • Max_OK,

      You’ve admitted you are a dodgy character, lacking in professional integrity, ethics and moral values: http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/15/tilting-at-windmills-in-germany/#comment-332709

    • Nah, I said I always had a head for business, and knew a sucker when I saw one.

      Peter, you are projecting your own characteristics, and accurately I think.

    • Heh, so you got out of this green bubble before the crash? Or did you never partake?
      ===========

    • Steven Mosher

      peter,

      You should be aware that those who have a good head for business have also been described as sociopaths. Max is telling you everything you need to know about him through his behavior. Personally, I’d avoid sociopaths.

    • Google “Max_OK sociopath” and you get 143 results.

      Google “Mosher sociopath” and you get 170,000 results.

      Need I say more?

    • Google “kim sociopath” and you get 588,000 results.

      No surprise there.

    • Steven Mosher

      sadly max_ok if you compare your full name search results with my full name search results, you will find 2 results for my name and 143 for yours.

      but, it was an interesting sociopathic thing for you to try

    • Thom Hartmann author of “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight” wrote about the CEO/sociopath connection:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thom-hartmann/profiling-ceos-and-their_b_245373.html

    • Re ‘sociopath’: I’ll post the first five of a list of fifteen characteristics from the first site that came up in a Google search. They certainly describe the subject well.

      This website summarizes some of the common features of descriptions of the behavior of sociopaths.

      Glibness and Superficial Charm

      Manipulative and Conning
      They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

      Grandiose Sense of Self
      Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

      Pathological Lying
      Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

      Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
      A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

      See the rest here: http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

    • Max_OK writes: “I know a sucker when I see one”

      Suckers come in all colors – including green

      Max

  13. gallopingcamel

    We should love the Germans, Brits and Danes for demonstrating the deficiencies of wind, wave and solar.

    Thanks to their dismal failures the USA won’t have to do any of that……..with the possible exception of California that seems bent on driving out manufacturers.

    • I understand US President Obama wants to do what Germany and UK have done – mandate and subsidise renewable energy.

    • Uh, been to West Texas?

      USA wind

      I grew up in the Dakotas and it’s very windy there.

    • The suckers found out that even West Texas wind needed gas back-up.
      =============

    • Heh, plenty of shale gas in the Dakotas for gas back-up. Let’s do it, JCH; but let’s see your dollar first.
      =============

    • North and South Dakota have extensive hydroelectric. They’ve always known they needed backup for wind. They’ve been using the wind since Little House on the Prairie.

    • And the Wichita Lineman, is still on the line.
      =============

    • Did someone mention wind power in Texas? Have a look at the black line on the first chart here: http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/michael-shellenberger-and-ted-nordhaus/no-solar-way-around-it/

      Costs of adding intermittent generation are likely to scale super-linearly with penetration, creating a deployment barrier. Some examples (various bases) in the figure: “Wind A” is the marginal cost per MWh of wind in ERCOT relative to the same index at 0% wind penetration.

      What this means is that the marginal cost of wind energy when wind generates 20% of ERCOT’s electricity would be twice the marginal cost of wind when it generates near 0% of ERCOT’s electricity.

      Put another way, the cost of wind energy increases rapidly as the proportion of electricity generated by wind increases.

    • PL – I sent your comments to ERCOT for comment.

      My comment about West Texas was only meant to inform him West Texas is already covered with wind farms. Our Texas power bills are very reasonable.

      I was a TXU customer when Glen Rose, Comanche Peak, came online. The bill was sky high. Killed further nuke construction in Texas. No greenie ever born could stop a Texan from building a nuke. It took bucks out to do that.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      JCH | June 16, 2013 at 5:52 am |

      North and South Dakota have extensive hydroelectric. They’ve always known they needed backup for wind. They’ve been using the wind since Little House on the Prairie.

      North Dakota generates about 8.1% of its energy from wind, and 4.3% from hydro … hardly what I’d call “extensive hydroelectric”.

      South Dakota, on the other hand, generates about 50% of its energy from hydro.

      So you’re half right …

      w.

    • JCH

      Two attributes (among many) of West Texas:

      it has a higher percentage of wind than many other locations
      it is a lo-o-o-ong way off from the locations of maximum power demand.

      As this article points out:
      http://www.windaction.org/documents/18569

      The greatest impediment to wind’s large-scale contribution to our energy supply is its intermittent nature. The wind must blow in order for wind turbines to produce power. In Texas, however, wind blows the least during the summer months when we need power the most. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) relies on just 8.7 percent of wind power’s installed capacity when determining available power during peak summer hours.

      Due to wind’s intermittency, wind turbines have much lower capacity factors-measures of generating units’ actual energy output divided by the energy output if the units operated at its rated power output 100 percent of the time-than conventional (thermal) power sources. As such, wind is not a baseload resource and cannot deliver a large portion of the demand for energy.

      Second, electricity cannot currently be stored on a commercial scale. This lack of adequate large-scale electricity storage amplifies the effects of wind’s variability and lack of correlation with peak demand. Without adequate windpower storage, wind-generating units must be backed up by units that generate electricity from conventional sources. In Texas’ case, that means natural gas, a fuel source with extreme price volatility. Thus, wind energy is an inherently less valuable resource than fuel sources requiring no backup.

      Another major issue surrounding wind-energy development is electric transmission capacity. The infrastructure does not exist to move electricity from the areas of Texas most suitable for wind energy generation-West Texas and the Panhandle-to the state’s metropolitan centers, so new transmission capacity is needed. Texas’ electric customers should be particularly concerned, as they will foot the bill for new transmission lines.

      The distinction between wind and wind energy is critical. The wind itself is free, but wind energy is anything but. Cost estimates for wind-energy generation typically include only turbine construction and maintenance. Left out are many of wind energy’s costs-transmission, grid connection and management, and backup generation-that ultimately will be borne by Texas’ electric ratepayers. Direct subsidies, tax breaks, and increased production and ancillary costs associated with wind energy could cost Texas more than $4 billion per year and at least $60 billion through 2025.

      Wind, like every other energy resource, has its pros and cons, and there is no doubt that wind power should be part of Texas’ energy supply. Texas needs a variety of fuel sources, plus concerted efforts at conservation and efficiency, in order to meet its energy needs. However, wind energy should only be employed to the extent it passes economic cost-benefit muster. Instead of subsidizing private wind development and imposing billions of dollars in new transmission costs upon retail electric customers, Texas policymakers should step back and allow the energy marketplace to bring wind power online when the market is ready. Texas electricity consumers will reap the benefits of such a prudent path.

      Makes sense to me.

      Max

    • JCH and kim

      T. Boone Pickens has “been to West Texas” (even though he is an “Okie” by origin).

      He knows that West Texas wind farms need (natural gas) backup, and he’ll be glad to supply the natural gas to do this (when it’s not being used to replace costly oil imports and helping the nation solve its trade imbalance).

      He’s hoping to “do well by doing good”.

      Smart guy.

      Max

    • Another attribute of wind energy in Texas is that, like everywhere else, wind power abates less CO2 than is claimed by its proponents: http://www.iaee.org/en/publications/ejarticle.aspx?id=2509

      Emissions Savings from Wind Power Generation in Texas
      Author(s): Daniel T. Kaffine, Brannin J. McBee, and Jozef Lieskovsky

      The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE’s Energy Economics Education Foundation
      Volume 34, Number 1

      Abstract: Wind power has the potential to reduce emissions associated with conventional electricity generation. Using detailed, systemic hourly data of wind generation and emissions from plants in ERCOT (Texas), we empirically estimate the SO2,NOx and CO2 emissions offset by wind generation. Our estimation strategy implicitly captures both the marginal unit of generation displaced by wind on the electrical grid, and the marginal emissions reduction from that displaced unit. Our results also reveal substantial variation in emissions reductions, which appear to be strongly driven by differences in the generation mix. The environmental benefits from emissions reductions in ERCOT fail to cover government subsidies for wind generation.

      [my emphasis]

  14. “power producers would be paid by the amount of capacity they had installed rather than the amount of electricity they actually produced.”

    Germans are easily fooled by authority, as Adolf Hitler discovered mearly a century ago. No one told them that renewables were unreliable, so you had to retain fossil fuel or nuclear capacity,judt to fill in for when renewables did not work. It costs almost as much to maintain plant standing idle as it does when working, In fact a plant is at maximum efficiency when it is peoducing full load so renewables is a recipe for inefficiency and low productivity. So the above quote makes some sense as an overlay to the socialist idea that produced it.

    • “Germans are easily fooled by authority, as Adolf Hitler discovered mearly a century ago.”

      Another culturally abusive comment from one of the admired Aussie anti-authority types hanging out here.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Anti-authority? He says it like it is a bad thing. But he might have more credibility if the mouth breather comment below was included. We know they all moved to Minnesota.

    • Which leads to the counterintuitive result that an additional megawatt of wind doesn’t result in a megawatt of fossil base load reduction. That’s the real nub of the problem. You keep adding renewable capacity without a commensurate reduction in fossil consumption.

    • Telescope guy: Hitler’s Nazi party was initially very popular. That is why I said he fooled his own people.

      Mouth breathing. What is that to do with climate? I suppose whether we exhale through through nose or mouth, we all contribute to CO2.

      Harold: Thank you. you are exactly right.

    • Alexander Biggs

      Germans are easily fooled by authority

      Having lived in Germany for several years, I’d agree with this. Germans do tend to accept the word of authority much more than the Swiss or the French do.

      However, there are some caveats.

      Germans today are a lot more skeptical of “authority” than they were 70-80 years ago (just look at their “skepticism” – bordering on irrational phobia – of nuclear power).

      And most of those who still remember the old East German regime, are not very “easily fooled by authority” at all.

      Germans do tend to initially fall for grandiose- sounding schemes – such as “die Energiewende”, (the term taken from “die Wende”, which referred to the reunification of Germany, whereby West Germans were asked to pay the bill for 40+ years of socialist neglect of their East German cousins with a surtax, and most did so without complaining).

      But, as Mead points out, many Germans are now seeing through the “Energiewende”.

      Max

    • Some of Jung’s observations about the Germans in the 1930s were interesting.

  15. June 14, 2013 Report from bloomberg.com

    Electricity in the U.K. is poised to cost almost twice as much as in Germany within two years as Britain lags behind in building solar and wind plants.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-14/u-k-power-price-to-double-german-on-wind-solar-energy-markets.html
    ________

    Despite most of the mouth-breathers emigrating to Australia, the U.K. still has more than it’s share of stubborn people who resist keeping up with the times.

    • “Despite most of the mouth-breathers emigrating to Australia, the U.K. still has more than it’s share of stubborn people who resist keeping up with the times.”

      There used to be a TV character called Maynard G Krebs who was always patting a bongo drum, trying to be cool at all costs, and making a fetish of his (fading) youth. While I’ve grown to be fond of Max_OK (who else can select such gems of silliness in the exquisitely silly Bloomberg news?), I can’t help being put in mind of Maynard G Krebs.

      Keep on keeping up with the times, Daddy-oh – you cool cat, you!

    • mosomoso, according to wikipedia, that character was in TV show that started more than one-half of a century ago. You must be ancient. You probably are almost as old as Peter “Nukey” Lang.

    • Max, I’m 64 years of age. Never been hip for one moment of all those years.

      But you, on the other hand, are clearly no square. Max, oh ever youthful one, have you considered bringing back the Beatnik fringe and the bongo? It would be so you. And think of how you could look down on those mouth-breathing Aussie squares – Daddy-oh!

      Well, that’s all for now from me. Keep on keeping up with the times with that amazing internet thingy and those real clever Bloomberg people.

      Time for me to warm up the Horlicks and the radio set before bed.

    • mosomoso, I wish you many good years to come.

    • Keeping up with the times or faulty crystall ball? Current EU energy prices are easy to find – here: http://www.energy.eu/ – show that things will have to swing a long way to meet the prediction:

      Retail household electricity, USc/kWh:
      Germany – 0.2598
      UK – 0.1547

      Industrial energy, USc/kWh:
      Germany – 0.0497
      UK – 0.0286

      Industrial electricity, USc/kWh:
      Germany – 0.1142
      UK – 0.0990

      Germany’s produces nearly 4 times the proportion of its energy from renewable sources in comparison to the UK.

      Still, bloomberg are predicting the future. But they make a critical error – unlike people who model 100 years into the future, who will never be held to account for their predictions, bloomberg are predicting a complete reversal of energy costs over the next two years, within memory of the prediction. Perhaps the vagueries of exchange rate fluctuations may come to their aid. Perhaps the UK will embark on a suicidal green energy splurge and make their prediction come true. Or maybe their prediction will fall flat on its face. How about we meet here again in 2 years time and have a laugh about it then?

    • Oops, that should be euros per kWh, not USc. Getting my energy price sites mixed up! Tsk.

    • Really good points Spence.

    • Max_OK

      Some advice: read the articles you cite to prove a point more closely.

      On this last one comparing UK and German energy costs, you will see that adding renewables to the mix has actually increased the overall power cost in both locations when all factors are considered.

      The incremental cost of running solar or wind power plants is obviously lower than that of gas-fired plants, but this excludes the capital investment required, including the investment for standby capacity to cover the periods when wind and solar do not generate power.

      In addition, fossil fuel plants are charged a premium for emissions while wind and solar benefit from renewable-power subsidies paid by the taxpayer.

      And the UK changes its fossil fuel plants a higher emissions fee than the Germans do.

      The U.K. makes utilities pay about 18.08 pounds per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted for the year through March 2016, the Treasury said in its March 20 budget. That’s in addition to a European carbon credit price of 4.92 euros a ton for December 2015 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

      So the comparison is skewed (just to clear things up).

      Max_CH

    • The highest electricity prices in the major OECD countries are in the countries with the highest proportion of wind energy. The top three are: Denmark, Germany, South Australia. See Figure 3 here: http://www.euaa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/FINAL-INTERNATIONAL-PRICE-COMPARISON-FOR-PUBLIC-RELEASE-19-MARCH-2012.pdf

    • Of course its gonna be more expensive Manacker. Do you know anything about energy economics?

      The world was gifted with the miraculous energy density of high-grade fossil fuels. There is no way that anything has matched it in cost-effectiveness because it essentially came to us Free-Of-Charge thanks to hundreds of thousands of years and zillions of dead organisms.

      Now that those same fossil fuels are getting more scarce, the price of that fuel will rise until it starts to match the floor price of types of energy that we actually have to work for.

      I hope that helps you to understand the real finite world that we live in, not that skewed cornucopian fantasy realm that you seem to inhabit.

    • WHT,

      The world was gifted with the miraculous energy density of high-grade fossil fuels.

      And uranium is 20,000 times higher energy density than coal when used in light water reactors and up to 2 million times higher energy density when used in breeder reactors. And the fuel is effectively unlimited.

      So I guess there is no technological limit to energy, eh? Just political and ideological beliefs retarding progress.

    • Max_CH, all you cleared up is you know even less than I gave you credit for. Apparently, you think all you have to do is repeat anti-renewable propaganda, and people will buy it.

      BTW, I heard Switzerland is saying NO to any new nuclear power plants, and plans to phase out its existing ones. Where will you get your electricity when those antiques are gone? Perhaps Germany will sell you some clean wind-power produced electricity.

    • ” Just political and ideological beliefs retarding progress.”

      And I was just pointing out the facts of the ideal nature of crude oil. It can be used to fuel anything from a lawnmower to a luxury liner. It is dense and convenient enough to keep jumbo jets and planes that carry tanks aloft. It solves the bootstrap problem, i.e. in remote locations a drilled well can provide the energy to sustain other drilling activities. This was the reason for the explosion in energy technology the last century and a half (the steam locomotive was only the start).

      On the other hand, if we ever figure out how to bootstrap the Green River oil shale deposits, the world will cook. I don’t think this is thermodynamically possible and will likely run into other limitations, such as the need for water, but that is the core of certain cornucopian beliefs.

      I haven’t had a chance to study much of nuclear physics so I don’t comment on it much. It’s not something that garage entrepeneurs can work on. It’s a field with a high barrier to entry. I made the mistake of asking an innocent question about radioactive decay to a researcher in the field and was basically grilled on my intentions = suspicious activity.

      So if Peter Lang wants to keep on with his pro-nuke comments, he can, it’s just that no one is really going o contribute much. Face it, all that this comment board has is an imbalance of Australians, lots of Europeans, several multi-national kranks, and a few Americans, possibly out-numbered by Canadians. I am here to get attacked, because that is what keeps my creative research juices flowing … I think.

  16. Wind Realities – Response to ‘Whoppers’ published on ‘RENewEconomy
    “How wrong can a press release for anti wind rally be?”

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/how-wrong-can-a-press-release-for-an-anti-wind-rally-be-26047

    It is astonishing how confident wind advocates are, when the facts don’t support them at all. You can see that in Climate Spectator just about every day.

    Having just looked through the list of what he asserts are “Whoppers”, I’d summarise that his responses are a mass of misinformation, distortions, and, in his own terms, whoppers! There are so many misleading statements I wouldn’t know where to begin. Therefore, to avoid wasting much time on this I provide a quick brain-dump. Following is a short, off-the-top-of-my-head response to each of his eleven points.

    Wind Reality 1: Wind energy is saving Australian consumers money

    Wrong! Wind energy is very high cost. It is already costing consumers in higher electricity prices despite contributing only 3 of our electricity. It has to be mandated as ‘must take’ by legislation, otherwise no wind farms would be built. The wind farms need about $110/MWh to make them viable; this should be compared with the roughly $30/MWh for the coal fired electricity it is intended to displace. But there are many hidden extra costs: grid costs and costs transferred to the dispatchable generators, – similar to solar PV as described by Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA): http://www.esaa.com.au/Library/PageContentFiles/0ed86edb-b445-43f7-b1da-04dba6c4b4bf/Who_pays_for_solar_energy.pdf

    Windpower Reality 2: Wind energy is cheap once fossil fuel subsidies and negative externalities are accounted for

    Wrong! See above. There is little subsidy for fossil fuel electricity generation. But the subsidy for wind is more than 100%. The LCOE of wind power is around $110/MWh plus grid costs and costs transferred to dispatchable generators. This must be compared with the average cost of coal fired electricity of about $30/MWh (coal is what the mandating of wind power is intended to displace).

    The link for his assertion there are high subsidies for fossil fuels goes to “Crikey” another ‘Progressive’ web site. They just keep regurgitating the same baseless assertions. They mix up claims about subsides for petroleum products and try to imply these apply to electricity generation. They do not and it is disingenuous they keep repeating it.

    The chart showing cost of electricity (LCOE) and external costs is unreferenced. It is nonsense. The LCOE’s shown in the chart bear no relation to the authoritative figures for Australia: http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf
    The external cost estimates should be taken seriously. They are highly contentious and depend entirely on who you believe.

    Windpower Reality 3: RECs aren’t a tax, but a market-based incentive

    Nonsense. If REC’s were market based they wouldn’t have to be a product of politics and bureaucrats and they wouldn’t have to be legislated. They add about $40/MWh to the cost of electricity generated by wind. There are other costs that are also added such as grid costs and hidden costs transferred to dispatchable generators that must be, and are, then included in their cost of electricity. The consumer pays.

    Windpower Reality 4: Wind energy and other incremental renewables are on target to avoid the rarely paid REC penalty price

    Irrelevant and disengenuous! There is no realistic prospect that wind can make a major contribution to Australia’s electricity generation. Like us, the European countries are now recognising the high cost for no benefits and are backing away from mandating and subsidising wind and renewable energy as fast as they can unwind the subsidies and regulations that mandate it.

    Wind generates less than 3% of Australia’s electricity and would have to get to close to 20% by 2020 to meet the RET. So, at first blush, the additional cost of renewables paid by consumers will increase by a factor of up to seven by 2020. It may not be as high as this, but could be more if the legislation is not repealed.

    This recent article shows the cost per MWh escalates as the proportion of renewable generation increases (see the first figure here): http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/michael-shellenberger-and-ted-nordhaus/no-solar-way-around-it/

    Windpower Reality 5: REC will continue to be a reasonable percentage of the overall electricity cost structure and drive consumer prices down

    Nonsense! Renewable energy will drive consumer prices up. This is obvious. More high cost generation means higher electricity prices. But it’s worse than it appears because as the proportion of renewable energy increases the cost per MWh increases disproportionately (see the first figure in the link above)

    Windpower Reality 6: Jurisdictions with wind farms have the lowest electricity prices in their countries

    Nonsense! The highest electricity prices in the OECD are in the countries with the highest proportion of wind power. In fact the top three are: Denmark, Germany and South Australia (see Figure 3 here: http://www.euaa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/FINAL-INTERNATIONAL-PRICE-COMPARISON-FOR-PUBLIC-RELEASE-19-MARCH-2012.pdf

    Windpower Reality 7: A few people have left their homes because of anti-wind activists creating stress and health fears

    No comment.

    Windpower Reality 8: Wind farms displace greenhouse gases from fossil fuel generation on almost exactly a 1:1 basis

    Nonsense! Many studies show wind power is nowhere near 100% efficient at displacing emissions. An recent study by Joe Wheatley shows that wind power was just 53% effective at cutting GHG emissions in Ireland in 2011 [link posted in next comment]. Ireland’s grid is similar to South Australia’s in many relevant ways so this study is particularly relevant.

    Windpower Reality 9: Wind farms are the best choice of any form of generation for wildlife, the environment and ground water

    No comment.

    Windpower Reality 11: Wind energy is the cheapest new form of generation except shale gas, and has virtually no downsides compared to the alternatives

    Nonsense! You have to include the costs of back up generation, the cost of the grid and the hidden costs transferred to the dispatchable generators caused by mandating wind as ‘must take’. When you include all these costs, wind is far more expensive than fossil fuels and nuclear power.

    “Objectively speaking, intermittent renewables are still very far from challenging fossil fuels as the preferred energy source of our industrialized civilization. Some tremendous technological breakthroughs will be necessary to change this outlook and such amazing advances, if they are even possible, are likely to require many more decades of basic R&D. “

    [reference posted in next comment]

  17. Why does anyone care to work hard for a lifetime simply to have their earnings taxed and wasted on windmills dedicated to the West’s gods of nihilism? Do you believe all of the UN/Eurocommunist-inspired green initiatives designed to eliminate free choice in the marketplace have done anything more than signal the Left’s willingness to burn down in the house they’ve torched? If so, the EU is an actual case study. They’re returning to coal. Or, they’re going down — one or the other. Where the idea of going nuclear remains unpalatable we see for example that Germany may be the first of the EU countries to begin the abandonment of the global warming house of cards in favor of coal and gas-fired power plants.

  18. The radiative forcing dF due to change in CO2 from C1 to C2 is given by

    dF = 5.35*ln(C2/C1)

    Since change in temperature dT is proportional to the change in the forcing, we have from the above equation

    dT = k* ln(C2/C1)

    From the above equation, the final CO2 concentration C2 can be written in terms of the change in temperature and the initial CO2 concentration C1 as

    C2 = C1*e^(dT/k)

    In the above equation, if the change in temperature is positive, the CO2 concentration increases. However, if the change in temperature is negative, the CO2 concentration decreases.

    The bankruptcy in AGW theory is that they claim the above equation only works for positive dT. That is not science.

    What the above equation shows is that if the temperature drops to the 1970s value, the CO2 will also drop to its value in the 1970s.

    • In maths, there is no equation that only works in one direction. It works for both increasing and decreasing values x in the equation y=f(x).

  19. Always interesting to see wind myths trotted out. Reminds me of reading the Greek Classics as a small child.

    Portugal gets as much as 70% of its electricity from wind some days.

    And it hasn’t exploded.

    Ten US states have large grid share, up to about 24%, wind.

    And they’re doing better economically, not worse.

    So many myths about how catastrophe will befall anyone who builds windmills. It appears these catastrophe fables are just alarmism from people who don’t understand technology, science, business, economics or math.

    Or who just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that there are better ways to do things than the way they were done a century ago.

    • Some here do seem to feel threatened by renewables (wind power and solar power). I’m not sure why. Power is power.

    • Some here don’t understand the difference between power and energy.

      Some here don’t understand that power must be generated precisely when demand calls for it.

      Some here don’t understand that energy is one of the two (or three) fundamental inputs to everything we have; the relevance of this is that if we arbitrarily raise the cost of energy – by irrational schemes such as mandating high cost energy sources such as renewable energy – everyone is worse off.

    • Peter “Nuclear” Lang feels threatened by wind power. As a curious child, little Peter stuck his hand in an electric fan, and he’s gone through life terrified of spinning blades.

    • See, this is a sign. Childlike ignorance and confidence paired with puerile snark is a great schtick, but when this is what you get you’ve overplayed.
      ===================

    • Hey, I did a windmill study. Think I’ll post it on
      Serf Under_ground journal. -)
      Beth-the serf-editor

    • Another gem from Peter Lang:

      “Some here don’t understand that power must be generated precisely when demand calls for it.”
      ______

      A suggested title for Peter’s biography: MY LIFE WITHOUT BATTERIES.

      If Peter starts his car with a hand crank. he better be careful. Those things can kick back like a mule.

    • Max_OK,
      A car battery stores around 500Wh
      A country like the UK uses around 35GW
      To store enough energy to power the UK for just one hour would require the equivalent of 70 million car batteries.
      Get your head around that and stop making ignorant remarks.

    • Actually, it doesn’t end there. You would need ten times that number of batteries for optimum discharge rate, so we’re up to 700 million for one hour. And if the wind doesn’t blow for ten hours at a time, you need 7 billion batteries. And 70 billion if it doesn’t blow for 100 hours (which has been known to happen)
      And we haven’t yet factored in redundancy, power losses etc.

    • You are calculating using batteries of fossil fuel powered cars.

      An electric car’s battery could store 100 times as much energy. Say 50kWh.

      And on top of that there would be pumped storage.

    • lowlot, you’re getting tiresome now, but if you must know, I stuck to talking about car batteries because maxok started out about hand cranks.

    • BartR

      I am not sure quoting a bankrupt country with a tiny economy and little industry is a good example for promoting wind power. Anyway, when making a statement like this its usual to provide a link. Have you got one?

      As I said elsewhere its horses for courses as regards renewables and we need, for the foreseeable future, more conventional power stations whilst perhaps committing ourselves more fully to renewables from the ocean (in the case of the UK)
      tonyb

    • tonyb | June 16, 2013 at 4:11 am |

      Really? You need a link to http://lmgtfy.com/?q=portugal+wind+power+70%25 ?

      I thought you were a competent researcher?

      And let’s face it, anyone from the UK throwing stones at Portugal’s economy is exposing the British Glass House policy to scrutiny.

      The whole world’s been on shakey footing economically since George W. Bush led the alliance of the willing to bad bank regulation and state interference in the natural Market.

      johanna | June 16, 2013 at 7:04 am |

      Citing as a model what now?

      I was providing evidence that the technology is viable, in the face of claims it can’t be done. If even a bankrupt little pimple on the buttocks of the Iberian Peninsula can afford windmills, then perhaps those who value frugality among us might take a page from their book.

      Windmills can be done on the cheap. Solar can be done on the cheap. Both only become more economical with time. Nuclear on the cheap? Not an option. Coal on the cheap? Front end costs may be moderate, but the back end and hidden costs are pretty monstrous, and the cost goes to people who profit not at all nor seldom have consented.

      This idea that the luxury of demand power is an economic necessity, the only economic perogative, or even among the most important economic considerations is bogus. Electric power grids are far more nuanced than such arguments suggest. There are other ways than complete demand generation to achieve stable grids, and these other ways are far less costly.

    • BartR

      As you well know I was pointing out that wind power in a tiny and undeveloped economy such as Portugal hardly compares with that needed in a large economy such as Britain. Quoting a country with very limited energy needs that met them by wind on a couple of days a year is not a ringing endorsement of wind power on a larger scale is it? Which doesn’t get away from the fact that it is usual to provide a link when making such detailed claims.

      I think the world economy is in a terrible state and is built on the sinking sands of debt and overspending (howsoever caused), but again that has nothing to do with Portugal’s windmills does it?

      tonyb

    • It says renewables 70%, not wind. Most of it seems to be hydro

    • climatereason | June 16, 2013 at 10:21 am |

      As you well know..

      I do? I’m pleased to find myself knowledgeable to such a degree. I hadn’t realized I was psychic.

      I was pointing out that wind power in a tiny and undeveloped economy such as Portugal hardly compares with that needed in a large economy such as Britain.

      Huh. But I’ve consulted many electrical technicians and economists, who agree Portugal is ideally placed due its location to represent the UK economy and electrical system.

      You believe the UK, at under 3/10,000′s the area of the globe can represent the entire global climate embodied in some nine-hundred-year old Latin description of Christmas, or some such, and yet don’t find Portuguese windmill power a compelling counterexample to the froth and calumny of nimbyists and rival industry promoters?

      Quoting a country with very limited energy needs that met them by wind on a couple of days a year is not a ringing endorsement of wind power on a larger scale is it?

      Yeah, no.

      You have the argument backwards.

      Smaller regions are more susceptible to the vagueries of intermittent energy supply, and have higher carrying costs for demand production than larger regions. Regions with less industrial intensity can take less advantage of co-generation and planned production cycles, so the example of a smaller nation succeeding tells us it ought be easy for a larger one to.

      Which doesn’t get away from the fact that it is usual to provide a link when making such detailed claims.

      Yeah, no. It may be a courtesy, but absent quoting original material or making citations not readily available, the obligation to provide links is hardly automatic. You certainly don’t practice what you preach to the level you demand it. A simple, ‘cite, please’, or better, “I found this authority that seems in conflict with your claims,” would be in fact if not more usual, more politely likely to forward a discussion.

      It’s a sad day when I’m the guy teaching manners. And to a Brit, no less.

      I think the world economy is in a terrible state and is built on the sinking sands of debt and overspending (howsoever caused), but again that has nothing to do with Portugal’s windmills does it?

      Your opinion may be valid.

      I think it lacks historical perspective. Relative to the Black Death, the world economy is in a brilliant state. The 100 Year War? We’re better off now, if record-keeping from those days can be reliably compared to the present day.

      If Johanna wishes to make Portugal’s economy an issue, who am I to fail to correct her on facts? Well, in this case.. I doubt correcting Johanna on mistaken facts would be a task any one blog commenter could adequately take on alone.

    • lolwot | June 16, 2013 at 10:54 am |

      I stand corrected, and thank you for the clarification.

      And, for tonyb, a link to start from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Portugal

    • BartR

      Good grief you are in a highly pedantic and argumentative frame of mind today aren’t you? Perhaps you ought to treat yourself to the full £10 version at the Monty Python argument clinic;

      There, a nice link for you instead of referring you to google. Have a nice day.
      tonyb.

    • Steven Mosher

      Tony

      There are some good lessons in Portugal

      1. They first moved to gas. UK should follow that example.
      2. Plans to increase wind appear to be on hold ..

      subsidies and cheap energy take their toll I guess

      interesting reading

      http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_GWEC_WindReport_Portugal.pdf

    • Steven Mosher

      Tony, If you wonder whether Portugal is a good example, if other nations could follow suit.. Ask the portuguese expert

      “The potential here in Portugal for sustainable growth is as significant as the progress it has already made.

      But could other countries replicate their progress?

      Manuel Pinho led the infrastructure investment drive in 2005 as minister for economy and innovation.

      He now lectures at universities in the US and China and says the financial crisis makes investment in renewable technology very unlikely.

      “Most of these projects are financed on a long-term basis so they’re very sensitive to interest rates and with the cost of capital in southern Europe it would be unrealistic,” says Mr Pinho.

      In the US Professor Pinho says the low price of natural gas makes wind power uncompetitive, but he adds that heavy investment in Brazil and China gives him reason for hope.

      Indeed one of China’s state owned energy companies, Three Gorges Corp, has just bought a 21% stake in Portugal’s biggest power producer, which was up for grabs in the recent sell-off of state-owned assets here.

      Some reason for hope perhaps that the sustainability lessons from Portugal will not drown entirely in these stormy economic seas.”

      Put another way. The renewable industry was utterly contingent on the robust economies built on Fossil Fuels. Once those economies went in the toilet, well.. go figure.

    • “Put another way. The renewable industry was utterly contingent on the robust economies built on Fossil Fuels. Once those economies went in the toilet, well.. go figure.”

      Richard Muller also writes about this in his books. The important move that nations need to make is invest in the renewable/alternatives research while the fossil fuel energy sources are still cheap. Use the cheap energy as seed corn to bootstrap the process. Don’t foolishly eat the seed corn, as that stuff is valuable.

    • tony b

      Switzerland (also a “tiny” country, but one with an industrial development, standard of living and quality of life all much higher than that in Portugal) also has a very high % of its total power demand covered by “renewable” energy.

      But it is hydroelectric power, not wind or solar.

      Switzerland gets lots of rain and has lots of mountains, so this is a natural fit.

      It does not get a lot of sun or wind, so this would be a poor fit.

      I know that you have been a proponent of “wave power” for the UK

      This report states:
      https://www.gov.uk/wave-and-tidal-energy-part-of-the-uks-energy-mix

      Wave and tidal stream energy has the potential to meet up to 20% of the UK’s current electricity demand, representing a 30-to-50 gigawatt (GW) installed capacity.

      Between 200 and 300 megawatts (MWs) of generation capacity may be able to be deployed by 2020, and at the higher end of the range, up to 27GWs by 2050 (see the Renewable Energy Roadmap).

      The UK is currently seen as a world leader and focal point for the development of wave and tidal stream technologies because it has an abundance of marine energy resource.

      With its excellent marine resource and its expertise in oil and gas exploration, the UK is in a unique position to benefit from this type of renewable energy – and to develop related wave and tidal services. The industry is still in its early stages however, and further research is needed to determine how best to exploit these assets.

      Makes a lot more sense to me for the UK than unreliable solar or wind generation.

      Max

    • Portugal? You are citing Portugal as a model economy? Here are a few quotes from the CIA Factbook:

      https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/po.html

      “GDP per capita stands at roughly two thirds of the EU-27 average.” (GDP per capita is 65th in the world rankings – 2012 estimate $24,500).

      Unemployment (2012 estimate) – 15.3%.

      Population below poverty line – 18%.

      Public debt – 119.7% of GDP.

      All those windmills don’t seem to have made the place, or its inhabitants, anything more than a testament to poor public policy decisions. It certainly hasn’t “exploded”, Bart, more like fizzled in a mire of debt and poverty..

    • Steven Mosher

      “It certainly hasn’t “exploded”, Bart, more like fizzled in a mire of debt and poverty..”

      There was nothing to explode. When you are at the bottom to begin with moving to wind wont kill you and neither will it lift you up.

      Portugal is a good example for other countries like Portugal.

    • Steven Mosher | June 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |

      Portugal is a good example for other countries like Portugal.. ..like the UK.

    • Steven Mosher

      Portugal had no Fossil fuel sources.
      The UK has Gas.

      Which one here is not like the other?

      Next we will talk about night time winds and how they are used.

      Next we will talk about industrial load

      Next we will talk about population density on the coast and how that plays a role.

      Finally we will consider what the man who built the system says.

      Opps. he disagrees with you.

    • Steven Mosher | June 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

      More information is always welcome!

      Be aware that tonyb will be asking for links.

    • Steven Mosher | June 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

      UK has fossil fuel, wind, tide.

      Portugal has solar, wind, tide, geothermal.

      Portugal is virtually bankrupt.

      The UK is, under the paint, virtually bankrupt.

      Both largely depend on a thriving ocean and agriculture at threat from increasingly erratic outcomes of climate kinetics.

      Of the two of them, the one that sucks up by far more of the carbon cycle’s climate moderating services is the UK, at almost twice the per capita rate as Portugal, and that’s only counting domestic emissions (not including from fossil export).

      It could be argued the UK’s free riding contributes therefore to Portugal’s grief, while frugal Portugal lets the UK poach its carbon cycle resources without compensation or penalty.

      As a problem of international trade, the EU ought treat this poaching as no different from the usurpation of any national resource by another nation among supposed equal trading partners.

      Imagine what would happen to NAFTA in the USA, if Americans saw Mexicans or Canadians or Cubans poach US jobs or ruin US harvests in this way by extraterritorial poaching?

    • 9 of the top 12 wind states (by wind’s share of total generation) have emission intensities above the national average – the other 3 get over half their generation from hydro.
      It’s strange that very few people argue all places should aim for really high hydroelectric capacity because the lowest emissions jurisdictions do so, and yet hoards of wind fans happily say a jurisdiction somewhere has lots of capacity so everybody should.
      Tax credits based on production have benefitted the windiest states – but there’s litttle indication that’s benefitted anything environmentally.
      http://morecoldair.blogspot.ca/2013/03/another-reason-to-be-skeptical-about_24.html

    • Cold Air | June 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm |

      I’ve read and re-read your analyses and still have to ask, “so what?”

      Ohio and New York are two states with immense historic emission intensity, and both with demand growing so rapidly they’ve never been able to build out capacity more cheaply than importing from other regions.

      And how do those other regions end up being so cheap? Plentiful hydro.

      New York at least has a prospect of offshore wind meeting a substantial chunk of anticipated future demand.

      Of course, wind isn’t the only part of any puzzle. But crankery is no part of any solution.

    • Bart R,
      “so what?”
      We agree on the question.

  20. The EU-UN global warming hypothesis was founded and maintained on ‘fixed’ data. The real data stopped being alarming a long time ago and by using ‘fixed’ data government scientists’ GCMs (global circulation models) have become little more than briefcase bombs carried by blinded sheiks of nihilism into crowded cafés. The time has come for taxpayers to ‘fix’ things before they are nailed to the frail cross of government-funded UN-ized science.

  21. Germany has to maintain EU show policies, that’s for sure. But not at the cost of dependence on whirlygigs, solar panels and the likes of Gazprom (Thanks but no thanks, Vlad). Its move from nukes coincided with a massive movement toward brown coal. In short, Merkel shrewdly talked Green while she dug the Brown.

    With old and new reserves of lignite showing overwhelming potential, with the carbon price in the toilet, the time was ripe – and it happened. And an unsteady Europe may well be helped by having genuine energy potency at its centre in Germany and Poland.

    French nukes have an interesting history. They were brought about by real and pressing need, and they have been largely a success. When Spain has to buy its power from over the border (except for that one lovely April day when they sold back a trickle), the power is there – thanks to the decisiveness of Pierre Messmer in 1974. France, running out of coal and with a bit of gas near the Pyrenees, was reeling under the oil shocks of the 70s. Yet France was the biggest energy exporter in the EU in 2012.

    Energy in a modern society comes down to potency. If anyone finds a potent way to store and transmit energy from wind etc, then wind etc will be alternatives. Now they are just like those boatloads of woodchips on their way to Drax: a testimony to dithering, impotence and, worst of all, ingratitude.

    • +1

    • mosomoso

      Excellent comment. Its horses for courses as regards energy generation, whilst remembering we are talking about large economies that need considerable power.

      Drax is an absurdity. Building 50 acres solar farms in a country that gets 1700 hours a year of sunshine (UK) that is much weaker in winter when it is needed . Windmills that stop turning in winter when a high pressure system settles over us and the wind drops as do temperatures is an absurdity as well as compromising our finest landscapes.

      Wave/tidal energy has great possibilities for us, being an island with nowhere more than 70 miles from the coast but there is little research going on here about using it.

      So, what do we use for grown up power supplies over the next 50 years as our population increases and demand for electricity also?

      tonyb

  22. GWPF newsletter says:

    “Germany urgently needs to scale back its financial support for the development of renewable energy to contain the spiralling costs of its move to a low-carbon economy, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday. Addressing an energy conference in Berlin, Ms. Merkel called for reducing government spending on energy like wind and solar power to keep Germany economically competitive. She said this should take priority over reforming the European Union’s trading scheme for industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, a cornerstone of the bloc’s effort to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The scheme has floundered amid low carbon prices. –The Wall Street Journal, 13 June 2013

    • More from GWPF (I suspect this one was written especially for Max_OK)

      “German business is starting to realise just how expensive the shift to renewables will be, particularly if the mix of low carbon sources excludes nuclear. Some of Germany’s biggest manufacturing businesses whose operations are energy intensive are considering moving some of their operations to other countries where environmental commitments are weaker and energy costs lower. In a country whose industrial base matters, the competitive cost of energy is crucial. One provocative answer to the problem is now being floated. The most likely partnership after the election in September is a Grand Coalition of the CDU and the SPD. With a sufficient majority such a coalition could decide to extend the life of some or all of the nuclear plants which at the moment are set to close by 2022. –Nick Butler, Financial Times, 9 June 2013

  23. Australia sells lots of coal to China for peanuts / them to pollute; BUT, in Australia is the highest carbon tax in the world – to afford those useless solar panels from China… Australian Warmistas are world leaders in environmental stupidity – they are even proud of it………..

  24. Now that the Left has raised hypocrisy to an art anything is possible — except for one thing: a free people providing value to society without government permission.

  25. So, the Germans’ haven’t got their energy policy right. I wouldn’t disagree with that statement.

    So therefore CO2 emissions can’t be the problem they are cracked up to be? I think I might disagree with that.

  26. You can see climate skeptics running scared at the idea a country will abandon fossil fuels, adopt clean energy, and not suffer any of the economic catastrophes skeptics insist will befall them.

    • Iolwot

      Why should sceptics worry about using clean energy instead of fossil fuel?
      Provided its inexpensive and we recognise that you don’t save the environment by trashing the countryside.

      Renewables are fine but we can’t just place vast arrays of windmills on our finest upland landscapes or 50 acre solar farms in high quality farming land with the resultant transmission lines to get the power to where its needed without thinking if that’s the best energy strategy for a large economy with growing power needs at a price that will keep us competitive

      Its just that the technology of renewables and their power ratio remains undeveloped at present (compared to fossil fuels). I’m all for power derived from the ocean but research on using it is risible as most attention has been diverted to onshore wind.
      tonyb

    • Problem with renewable is jest that. It’s in constant need of
      bein’ renewed.The only thing constant about on-again-off-
      again wind and solar energy is that both require constant
      back-up. ( By fossil fuel technology.) Tsk, lolwot!
      BC

    • inexpensive is wrongly defined as “more expensive than coal”

    • …the idea a country will abandon fossil fuels, adopt clean energy…

      Please explain to everybody here how that country powers its economy on windless days, or hours for that matter?

    • They do what the UK does – they make up the shortfall from conventional power stations, and then hide the fact by quoting the wind output in terms of GWh per year.

    • lolwot, you write “You can see climate skeptics running scared”

      Why should we skeptics/deniers be running scared? Our main, and virtually only, point is that CAGW is a hoax. So no government should base any part of it’s energy policy on the idea that adding CO2 to the atmosphere has anything other than a negligible effect. That is it. As Tony points out if renewables make economic sense, let us use them; If they dont, then abandon them.

    • Tony, you write “that the mass of climate scientists are engaged in a ‘hoax’ would surprise me greatly”

      Fair enough. I have a very limited knowledge of climate science. The people who first proposed that CAGW was real, knew more about it that I do. It is obvious to me that our knowledge of physics is insufficient to tell us what happens when you add more CO2 to the atmosphere. If it is obvious to me, then it must have been obvious to them. So why did they deliberately suggest that CAGW was real?

    • “Why should we skeptics/deniers be running scared? Our main, and virtually only, point is that CAGW is a hoax”

      Uhh because CAGW is real, not a hoax.

    • So you are reading along. I thought I would politely wait for an answer to my question above, but since you are here responding to other comments, I will answer it again, just in case you missed it.

      …the idea a country will abandon fossil fuels, adopt clean energy…

      Please explain how that country powers its economy on windless days, or windless hours for that matter?

    • Well, let’s toss this out: AGW is real, but inadequate to keep us warm; warming catastrophes are a hoax, the real danger is cooling.
      =============

    • We should have mercy, Wij, he’s so dizzy with cognitive dissonance that he’s leaping from beaten bush to beaten horse and back and is taking quite a tumble.
      ====================

    • Iolwot

      Whilst Jim is mostly correct (especially when citing me!) I would like to point out that I do not believe CAGW is a deliberate hoax. Belief in it may be misguided, it may be group think, it may be over reliance on dubious data and models, but that the mass of climate scientists are engaged in a ‘hoax’ would surprise me greatly.
      tonyb

    • The South CO2 Bubble, an extraordinary popular delusion and madness of the crowd.
      ==========

    • Kim

      Whilst pointing out tulip mania as another delusion of the crowd, I thought you would enjoy this description of South Sea bubble mania as being close to your c02 quip. Especially the last reference…

      “As South Sea Company shares bubbled up to incredible new heights, numerous other joint-stock companies IPOd to take advantage of the booming investor demand for speculative investments. Many of these new companies made outrageous and often fraudulent claims about their business ventures for the purpose of raising capital and boosting their stock prices. Here are some examples of these companies’ business proposals (History House, 1997):
      •For supplying the town of Deal with fresh water.
      •For trading in hair.
      •For assuring of seamen’s wages.
      •For importing pitch and tar, and other naval stores, from North Britain and America.
      •For insuring of horses.
      •For improving the art of making soap.
      •For improving of gardens.
      •For insuring and increasing children’s fortunes.
      •For a wheel for perpetual motion.
      •For importing walnut-trees from Virginia.
      •For making of rape-oil.
      •For paying pensions to widows and others, at a small discount.
      •For making iron with pit coal.
      •For the transmutation of quicksilver into a malleable fine metal.

      And the most outlandish (and cunningly clever!) of all:
      •For carrying on an undertaking of great advantage; but nobody to know what it is.

      Perhaps we can cut this last one onto a wooden plaque and nail it to the door of the Met Office as a new Diet of Worms proclamation!
      tonyb

    • lolwot, you write “Uhh because CAGW is real, not a hoax.”

      This is what the discussion is all about. We skeptics claim that there is no proper physics to prove that CAGW is anything more than a hypothesis. When you can provide the empirical evidence that proves that CAGW is anything more than a hypothesis, then will be the time to discuss whether or not it is a hoax

    • “Please explain how that country powers its economy on windless days, or windless hours for that matter?”

      the same way a country powers it’s economy when a nuclear plant suddenly trips unexpectedly.

      No the lights don’t go out. It’s called backup reserve.

      The good thing about wind is that such “trips” are not as unexpected as wind intermittency is largely predictable.

    • “Please explain how that country powers its economy on windless days, or windless hours for that matter?”

      the same way a country powers it’s economy when a nuclear plant suddenly trips unexpectedly.

      No the lights don’t go out. It’s called backup reserve.

      And what fuels this backup reserve you speak about, in that country that “abandonded fossil fuels and adopted clean energy”?

      Come on now Lolwot, you always have such a big mouth…but now you display how little you actually understand about modern power grid systems…come on, dazzel us with your insights about clean energy without fossil fuels.

    • Oh and as an afterthought:

      That “backup reserve” of yours has to be some badass backup reserve if it is to replace on the spot say 25% windmill generated capacity on a windless day (let alone 100% in your wonderfull country that “abandonded fossil fuels and adopted clean energy”).

    • “And what fuels this backup reserve you speak about, in that country that “abandonded fossil fuels and adopted clean energy”?”

      Abandoning fossil fuels doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why we need to start now.

      Wind today is about 5% of total generating capacity and coal is about 35%. By 2020 it is thought wind will have increased to 25% of capacity and coal falls to just 15%.

      More gas backup will be needed in the short-term, but over time this can be reduced through increased use of storage interconnection of grids, introduction of smart grids and storage.

    • “That “backup reserve” of yours has to be some badass backup reserve if it is to replace on the spot say 25% windmill generated capacity on a windless day”

      Windless days across the entire country are very rare. Even if it’s windless at one windfarm, it’s usually windy elsewhere. It averages out reducing variability. Interconnecting our grid to foreign grids will reduce the variability further. For bigger countries like the US it’s a no brainer.

      However yes there will always be variability and a need for backup, at least in the forseeable future. But every GWh of electricity generated by wind is less CO2 emitted, irrespective of having to make up the shortfall with gas at other times.

      We already have backup to cope with sudden short-falls such as a whole plants unexpected going down. We already have 25% extra capacity greater than maximum demand. There’s redundancy built into the system already. It’s not a new concept, we just need more of it.

    • Lolwot says:

      Windless days across the entire country are very rare. Even if it’s windless at one windfarm, it’s usually windy elsewhere. It averages out reducing variability.

      Aah of course, that fairytale again. Sorry to burst your bubble Lolwot but it DOES happen quite often that there is no wind over very large areas. See here for instance:
      http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/3/2/the-great-still.html
      So what do we do then huh? Black out time in your wonderfull country without fossil fuels…

      But you are still not answering the question Lolwot.
      What fuels this backup reserve you envision without fossil fuels? Don’t worm your way out of answering that question by implying we dont need this backup reserve anymore due to “storage interconnection of grids”, please put up or shut up.

      You say:

      More gas backup will be needed in the short-term, but over time this can be reduced through increased use of storage interconnection of grids, introduction of smart grids and storage.

      So the backpedalling has started already; first countries can easily do without fossil fuels and achieve wonderfull “clean energy”, but now we still need fossil fuels “in the short term”…

      Storage interconnection of grids“….tell me more about these amazing storage capabilities you see on the horizon. Are you talking about hydrodams? You think it feasible to build somewhere in Europe, say, 10
      Three Gorges Dams, to be able to store 2880 PetaJ, which is less than one percent of the yearly European energy consumption?
      (By the way, at a cost of 18,5 TRILLION euros per dam)
      Will this be enough storage for your great plan?

      You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about lolwot…

    • “Even if it’s windless at one windfarm, it’s usually windy elsewhere. It averages out reducing variability. Interconnecting our grid to foreign grids will reduce the variability further. For bigger countries like the US it’s a no brainer.”

      lolwot, certainly. When we don’t have a lot of alternatives, these are the kinds of things we do. This is actually part of the whole Smart Grid philosophy of intelligently routing power.

      Every new technology has these incremental energy-saving ideas built into their design. From regenerative braking on hybrids, to optimal route-finding, to timed thermostats, no doubt we will see more of this.

      So what if it doesn’t solve the entire problem? Nothing solves the problem of being able to replace a fossil fuel bonanza that we were fortunately gifted due to a quirk of nature. Perhaps nuclear fusion would solve the problem, but that doesn’t mean you have to kick the dog to get your frustrations out!

      That’s the ticket — most of the deniers on this commenting board are dog-kickers.

    • Nuclear fission can solve our energy problem in the moderate term and if we can get thorium salt reactors to work, we won’t have to worry about energy for a long, long time to come.

    • I tell you that windless days across the entire country are rare. You say “fairytale!” and proceed to give me an example of…rare windless days….(?)

      I tell you that gas backup plants are needed in the short-term and you proceed to say: “But you are still not answering the question Lolwot. What fuels this backup reserve you envision without fossil fuels?”. Gas maybe?

      I tell you that in the short term gas backup is needed for periods when wind drops and you respond: “So what do we do [when wind drops] huh? Black out time in your wonderfull country without fossil fuels…”.

      I tell you that abandoning fossil fuels can be achieved in the longrun, and the transition in the short-term requires gas powered backup. You respond: “first countries can easily do without fossil fuels and achieve wonderfull “clean energy”, but now we still need fossil fuels “in the short term””

      You then ask: “tell me more about these amazing storage capabilities you see on the horizon. Are you talking about hydrodams?”

      Which is finally a sensible question.

      Yes hydrodams and any form of pumped storage, or even back-charging of electric cars. Also a smartgrid to restructure demand to times of abundant supply where possible. In the longterm these things can be implemented to gradually overcome the intermittency issues with wind. This is in the longterm, to phase out the need for the gas backup plants. During a day without wind for example pumped storage could provide power.

    • The deniers like to deny lots of stuff. They like to deny that a place such as the UK is not rapidly going through its crude oil reserve supply. And that is from the deniers that live there.

      http://imageshack.us/a/img593/9130/uknorthseaview.gif

      Most of the discoveries of crude oil in the UK were made before 1980. That’s one plot. Since that time, they have extracted the oil at a somewhat steady rate of around 6% per year of their reserve supply. That is another plot. The effect this has on the production is shown by the shock model in the final plot. The UK crude oil production is down 50% from its peak during the Thatcher/Major era.

      Don’t kick the dog by blaming the decline on the greens or climate alarmists. Start to figure out how to get renewable or alternative energy strategies in place. Start being smart about harnessing the energy available from the environment. It’s not necessarily easy, as you know if you keep up with David MacKay’s writings. Just don’t keep hiding the decline and saying that this enduring problem isn’t real. It really makes you look like deniers, which is what you are, I guess.

  27. Another case of anemophobeia. Beth must have caught it from Peter Lange. I hope she recovers. Poor Peter has chronic anemophobia. It’s made his life miserable.

    • Fear of wind, Max_o-kay? Heh, pretenti-us labellin’
      fer stult -i – fy – in back – ter – the – goddam -golden -
      age- technology of the closed – society – and – hell –
      on – earth – existence – fer – serfs.
      (Sorry Tony, jest can’t help me-self.)

    • Careful in the water Max. Serf’s up.

    • A quick resume fer yer M_ who says he’s OK -)
      It’s late so good night ter yer.
      http://www.aweo.org/windCourtney1.html

    • Beth, thanks for the report” Windfarms provide no useful electricity,” by Richard S Courtney.

      I believe Mr. Courtney has confused wind farms with lightning. Electricity produced by wind farms is just as useful as electricity generated by any other means. Electricity from lightning, however, is not useful, unless you are Dr. Frankenstein.

  28. A German and American family live on the same street. For years they have been buying their food from the nearby Oil&Coal Fried Food Takeaway. It’s a convenient and cheap source of food.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Fast Food releases a report warning about excessive fat consumption from convenience food. As a result the German family decide to move to a healthier diet, at extra cost and inconvenience.

    The American family laugh at the Germans. The fried food takeaway is really cheap! Why would they want to switch to more expensive healthy food just because of vague warnings by scientists? They won’t be able to afford it! Well…okay they will be able to afford it…but with less money they will be more unhappy because everyone knows money = happiness.
    What about the health problems from eating fried food? Well it’s all theory, those scientists can’t prove we’ll get health problems. Anyway if we buy cheap fried food today we’ll save enough money to afford medical treatment later IF there is a problem! Adaptation not mitigation.

    A burger joint called the Shale Gas opens on the street. The burgers have less fat than the fried food. Look! say the American family, A Market Solution ™! We will just switch to burgers and we can pretend that this is a clever strategy.

    But the burger shop isn’t going to be around forever. What do you plan to do once it closes? Oh we’ll just mindlessly move on to whatever is most convenient after that. Probably back to the fried food.

    • Hint, lolwot; ideal diet is almost as controversial as climate. And a Hell of lot more poorly understood, heh.
      ==================

    • Tonight I fried bacon with extra olive oil over the fire (big lumps of bloodwood, white mahogany etc, blazing away). Then I dropped in some eggs, and some lovely crusty Aussie salt flakes. Mopped up with home made soda bread, running with butter. After that, home made full fat yogurt. Later, maybe some strong cocoa on full fat milk with muscovado sugar?

      I’ll pay for it when I’m 94.

    • Cookin’ and eatin’ around an open fire, we do it at our forest
      shack too, moso. Bacon and butter an’ full cream milk .mmm
      … better any day than take away hamburger with the lot, lol.
      The serf’s mouth’s waterin’ .

    • Good grief mosomoso, that’s a well balanced diet. I think if I want to ask you anything I need to do it quickly…
      tonyb

    • Oh, don’t worry. Tomorrow it’ll likely be cabbage minestrone with white beans. My tummy will demand it, after this evening’s grease-bomb. There are funny little guavas growing about the yard, three different colours. I’ll nibble on some of them for the anti-fatulents and vitaloids.

      You can’t kill yourself with food, just with intellectualising food. The good really do die young. It’s the lack of pork fat in their diet.

    • And in the end, all members of both families died anyway.

  29. Pingback: The Economist On Germany’s Energiewende: “Web Of Grotesque Distortions” … “Will Kill German Industry”

  30. Yeah, PG, too bad deniers are more diverse than Jews and therefore can’t be demonized so easily.

    Ooh, wait just one minute. It didn’t even take a century.
    ==========

  31. The Energiewende is failing totally.
    Yet, rolling back the “Energiewende”, which is the crusadic march of the green movement, is not an option. Doing that would be admitting failure and the Green Movement would be forever severely handicapped. In Germany the movement is firmly institutionalised at every civic and social level, and is a central plank of every political party. It has been annointed as The Moral Imperative of the time. It has even been hammered into the minds of schoolchildren, and continues to be. There isn’t going to be a change of course until the Green Movement in Europe decides to dismantle itself, and that is not going to happen. Expect another European-style total crash and burn of the type we’ve seen back throughout its history. Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins.For Europe it has been its deadliest.

    • Great Britain is edging back from the abyss, but they have blatantly corrupt public officials to help urge the feet. Is there similar, documentable, corruption in Germany?
      ===========

    • If you call politics buying and skewing science corruption, then of course there’s been widespread, massive corruption.

    • Illl-formed thoughts hesitantly expressed. Venality is an easy target. What’s best for this far more difficult one?
      =========

    • Also, ‘Craft Atomique, oui merci!’
      ================

    • Meanwhile, Switzerland watches and laughs. The more things change…


    • Harold | June 16, 2013 at 11:20 am | Reply

      Meanwhile, Switzerland watches and laughs. The more things change…

      Nevermind the pun “Switzerland watches”, why would Switzerland laugh? Do they have a native source of fossil fuels? Is it true that one of their hydroelectric dams provides enough electricity to power 400,000 households?

      Does Switzerland treat their lack of fossil fuels seriously ? Do they lean on the environment for their energy in other ways?

      Do they laugh at putting wind turbines on the top of buildings?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marthalen_Landi-Silo

      I think the Swiss are forward-looking people just like the forward-looking people of Germany.

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: I think the Swiss are forward-looking people just like the forward-looking people of Germany.

      Tell us how it is “forward-looking” for Germans to dismantle their nuclear power industry and build coal-fired plants as part of the transition to “all renewables” power? It will be a net drag on their economy for decades, and speed the disappearance of the fossil fuels, which you repeatedly remind us are in short supply — sorry, I mean finite supply.

    • That has absolutely nothing to do with making progress on innovative renewable and alternative energy strategies.

      The Swiss electricity production breakdown is 55% hydroelectric and 40% nuclear.

      The Germans will figure it out, but of course this is all part of the process and challenge in moving forward.

    • Harold

      Yep.

      The Swiss are lucky.

      It rains a lot here. And when it doesn’t rain, it snows.

      And there are plenty of mountains.

      Hydroelectric power has been around for over a century, powering one of the first fully electric train systems in the world, plus providing a reliable, low-cost source of energy for industry and households. Up to around 1970, 90% of all electrical power came from hydroelectric generation.

      It covers well over half of the total energy demand here today, with nuclear covering most of the rest.

      Switzerland has made the political decision to get out of nuclear power some day in the future, but it is still not clear how this is supposed to occur. Hydroelectric capacity can be increased somewhat, but not enough to cover the shortfall if all nuclear plants were shut down.

      The Swiss government has set a target to cut fossil fuel use 20% by the year 2020, but no one has an idea how this can be accomplished at the same time as backing out of nuclear power. Many experts realize that doing both will not be possible, but they are both still being given lip service by politicians.

      Solar works here for local domestic use, wind does not, although some token wind power is planned (and both solar and wind are subsidized by the taxpayer).

      Most people realize that if Switzerland really wants to back out of nuclear, it will need to either sign long-term contracts with France, who has plenty of nuclear capacity next door and/or install fossil fuel fired plants to fill the shortfall and forget about cutting fossil fuel use.

      Max

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: That has absolutely nothing to do with making progress on innovative renewable and alternative energy strategies.

      What do you mean by “That”? The article is not about Germany “making progress on innovative renewable and alternative energy strategies”, it is about Germany making a massive investment in current technologies and strategies, and about the resultant need to build fossil fuel plants to provide energy in the transition from nuclear to renewable.

      The US is “making progress on innovative renewable and alternative energy strategies”, as is China. Germany is inflicting a costly wound on its economy.

    • Do you have proof that “Germany is inflicting a costly wound on its economy.” ?

      You really need to compare to a company like Denmark. That country still has offshore natural gas (and crude oil, but not as much as Norway), but decided to bite the bullet and therefore become a world-wide leader in renewable energy, with mainly wind power.

      How do like them apples?

  32. What it underscores Judith is trying to solve a problem that does not exist with a solution which would not work even if it did.

  33. The question that needs to be asked and answered is how did the democratically elected government of a large industrial nation make such a massive and costly mistake.

  34. What I hope is that, following what is happening in Germany, some politician who really matters is going to WANT to believe that CAGW is a hoax. If that happens, and we can convince him/her that CAGW is a hoax, it could be the beginning of the end for the whole shambles of “global warming”.

    • Been there done that can’t remember his face can’t pronounce his name, but there was Peking Duck involved.
      ============

    • Jim Cripwell,

      The beginning of the end was at Copenhagen. It’s been all downhill from there. This chart shows it clearly (scroll down to the Activity Timeline)? Have you seen it?
      http://climatechange.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin/topic?

    • Peter, I thought it was just magnificent the manner in which the chagrin at failure of the shakedown was distracted from by rightful charges of neo-colonialist finagling by the Teleprompter in Chief.
      ===================

    • Peter, you write “It’s been all downhill from there.”

      Yes and no. Yes, we skeptics have been making ourselves heard. No, no politician who matters has stated that CAGW is wrong. We cannot drive a stake through the heart of CAGW until at least one politician who matters states publicly that there is no such thing as CAGW.

      Who are the politicians who matter? Think of the G8, list the countries in order of power, and then think of the current leaders. We need one of the top 5, the USA, Japan, China, Russia or Germany to become a real skeptic. Then we will, in Winston Churchill’s words, have reached the “end of the beginning”.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Jim Cripwell,

      Please don’t give skeptics a bad name and don’t associate a denialist such as yourself with honest skeptics. Real skeptics don’t want to “drive a stake through the heart” of anything. Real skeptics are not sure CAGW is wrong, but they are, well, skeptical about it…duh! Please Admit you are a denialist and then launch your denialist campaign of stake driving with full honesty, but don’t soil the good and noble name of Skepticism.

    • R. Gates, you write “Please Admit you are a denialist”

      Of course I am a denialist. I am sorry you did not get the memo.

    • There are skeptics and “skeptics”. Denialists are “skeptics” in their own terminology. It can be confusing, but these are the ones who are sure that the IPCC is wrong in its whole 2-4.5 C range, no uncertainty or plain skepticism. If someone calls themselves a “skeptic” don’t take their word for it. Read what they say too, because there is a denialist line, which is well defined by the statement above.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Again Jim Cripwell, just refrain from calling yourself a skeptic and own up to the true denialist you are and all will be above board. There is no confusion here and only true believers and true deniers want to drive a stake through the heart of anything.

    • R. Gates

      You call yourself a “skeptical warmist”.

      I can see the “warmist” part, but have a hard time seeing your “skeptical” side.

      Jim Cripwell is the classical “rational (or scientific) skeptic” (as defined by Wiki, for example).

      He insists on “empirical scientific evidence” to corroborate scientific hypotheses (such as the CAGW hypothesis as outlined by IPCC in its AR4 report).

      One could call this the approach of following the scientific method, as described by Feynman.

      He sees that such “empirical scientific evidence”, from actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation, does not (yet?) exist in support of the CAGW hypothesis, so he rejects this hypothesis until such evidence can be presented.

      As I see it, you are more prone to accept the word of “known experts” or bodies, such as IPCC, or accept the results of model simulations or calculations based on theoretical physics as “empirical evidence”, which I would interpret as being much less of a “skeptic” than Jim.

      This has nothing to do with your allegorical comparison of Jim “driving a stake into the heart” – it is simply scrupulously following the scientific method.

      Correct me if I’ve misunderstood the situation, but that’s how I’ve seen it, based on your comments here (also those of Jim Cripwell).

      Max

    • wait you can only convince someone CAGW is a hoax if they want to deny it? wow what an admission

    • Toss wot? To spout your spew intox a few.
      =======

  35. I suspect complaints about wind power will gradually disappear in coming decades as various countries force it through and demonstrate that it works fine with no associated economic/energy disaster. The UK is heading for 25% of it’s electricity capacity being generated through wind power. If the National Grid (and other experts) thought that to be impossible they sure are keeping quiet about it.

    Yes wind power costs more than coal or gas. But that’s known as the Price Of Progress. Sewer systems also cost money to install, no-one complained about that (or maybe they did!).

    Energy poverty is an existing problem even with coal and gas power and must be solved through state welfare.

    • lolwot – Historically, (real) progress has meant more goods at cheaper prices, not less goods at more expensive prices. I think you’ve been playing in la la land too long. Time to come back to reality.

    • only if you define progress as equaling money. But progress isn’t defined like that in the real world.

    • lolwot – more plentiful, better, cheaper goods to consumers. Of course businesses that can pull that off will make money. It’s ALL GOOD!!

    • So why did car companies put carburetors into cars? that just made them more expensive. I guess that wasn’t progress.

    • David Springer

      loltwat and those like him are of the misery loves company mindset. IOW if loltwat isn’t made happier by abundant energy then no one else should be able to enjoy it either. Misery loves company.

    • lolwot | June 16, 2013 at 11:30 am |
      So why did car companies put carburetors into cars? that just made them more expensive. I guess that wasn’t progress.
      ++++++++++++++++
      Tsk tsk, lolwot. You can always cherry pick for exceptions, although I haven’t looked into that particular case.

    • “The UK is heading for 25% of it’s electricity capacity being generated through wind power.”

      Almost 1.2% today as of this post.

      0.39GW of wind out of 31.7GW demand.

      http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

    • About 3 GW all day yesterday. Which was half that produced by nuclear. Quarter that produced by coal.

      Current wind capacity is about 8.5GW. That’s double what it was just a few years ago. By 2020 It’ll likely have doubled again.

    • Yes, it was exceptionally windy yesterday.
      Now look at today’s figure.
      And the monthly and yearly figures.

    • Either way, between peak and trough, it’s a hell of a lot of clean GWh produced over the last year.

    • I took the trouble to download the data and get some averages.
      Over the last two and a bit years the average wind power generated has been 1.5GW, which comprises just 4.2% of the average demand.
      So we would need six times the installed capacity to get to 25% on average, and we’d still need the same amount of backup.
      And, even if we had some practical means of storing vast amounts of power, we’d need twelve times the installed capacity to get 25% without backup.
      And, even if we could get around the fierce public resistance to anything like that number of wind turbines, the big question still remains: who’s going to pay for it?

    • You can bet Al Gore won’t be paying for it – instead he will get special treatment from the government to make money from it.

    • The government will pay for it.

      they pay for wars and bailing out banks. they can pay for something useful for a change.

    • so the government has its own money does it?
      What you really mean is that Joe Soap ends up paying for it – along with everything else.

    • ” it’s a hell of a lot of clean GWh produced over the last year.”

      It isn’t clean. Spinning reserve power stations have to be running and burning fuel to be ready for the 1000s of times power drops.

    • Latimer Alder

      Right now in UK wind is producing 0.03GW (30 MW). Less than 0.1% of demand. And its been like that for at least 6 hours.

    • yeah it’s clean energy. The myth of spinning backup causing huge emissions is just that: a myth.

    • “The more wind energy penetrates the grid system, the more spinning reserve becomes crucial in meeting demand. The 2003 West Danish Grid [ELTRA] System Report | identified Spinning Reserve capacity as between 300MW and 500MW per 1000MW of installed capacity which means that with a Danish load factor of about 20%, “backup” can be of greater capacity than realised generation.

      The power company E.ON said it would take 50 GW of renewable energy for the UK to meet EU targets, but this would require 90% backup from gas and coal plants to ensure supply when “intermittent renewable supplies” are not available.”

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/195/195we59.htm

    • Lolwot says “About 3 GW all day yesterday”.
      It peaked at 3gw at midnight Saturday night and dropped to less than 1gw before midday and stayed there for the rest of Sunday.
      He can’t even read the graph.

    • Iolwot said

      ‘The UK is heading for 25% of it’s electricity capacity being generated through wind power. If the National Grid (and other experts) thought that to be impossible they sure are keeping quiet about it.’

      reliable citation please, .
      tonyb

    • David Springer

      I think y’all ought to start heading underground now in the UK. With a mean annual temperature around 50F give or take a couple degrees you can remain that temperature year round if you live underground. Just need to ventilate enough to keep CO2 down and oxygen up which isn’t as much as you might think. The b/o would be stifling but you get used to that. It’s not like you’re all living in caves like al-qaida. Oh wait. It actually is pretty much like that. Oh I know. Morlocks. You can be Morlocks!

      How prophetic is THAT I ask you? This was predicted by one of the greatest English philosophers evah! HG Wells in 1895! Morlocks!

      And does this make “The Time Machine” the original CLI-FI?

    • David Springer

      If you breed Eloi from Essex Girls I’m heading out to join y’all underground. Fair warning.

  36. “The solar panels covering a vast warehouse roof in the sun-soaked Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles were only two years into their expected 25-year life span when they began to fail.

    Coatings that protect the panels disintegrated while other defects caused two fires that took the system offline for two years, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

    It was not an isolated incident. Worldwide, testing labs, developers, financiers and insurers are reporting similar problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis just as solar panels are on the verge of widespread adoption. ”

    ““I don’t want to be alarmist, but I think quality poses a long-term threat,” he said. “The quality across the board is harder to put your finger on now as materials in modules are changing every day and manufacturers are reluctant to share that information.” ”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/business/energy-environment/solar-powers-dark-side.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • “All solar panels degrade and gradually generate less electricity over time. But a review of 30,000 installations in Europe by the German solar monitoring firm Meteocontrol found 80 percent were underperforming. Testing of six manufacturers’ solar panels at two Spanish power plants by Enertis Solar in 2010 found defect rates as high as 34.5 percent. “

  37. Today’s headline is, “Korea proposes high-level talks with US,” but…

    When have Americans ever been able to trust Leftists?

  38. “BOLOGNA, Italy, June 5 (Reuters) – Europe’s squeezed utility firms say they cannot cut prices to stop their big industrial clients moving to the United States, where fuel costs around a quarter as much.”

    “In March, Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine said it would build a plant in Texas to capitalise on the U.S. shale gas boom. German carmaker BMW has also said energy costs were decisive in choosing a site in Washington state to build an energy-intensive plant.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100790861

  39. I find the assertions here that 70% of Portugals energy came from wind to be a bit overblown…
    http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/portugal–renewables-supply-70-of-power-in-q1_100010862/#axzz2WODcoCBy

    • Thanks, Andyb.

      Portugal is an economic basket case, and suggestions above that wind or any other expensive, intermittent subsidised energy source play no part in making life there even harder for the unfortunate inhabitants demonstrate economic illiteracy at best and a callous disregard for the local people at worst.

  40. Alexej Buergin

    The Germans do have a real problem: Their rivers regularly flood (just happened again).
    They do nothing to prevent it.
    If the flood is in an election year, the chancellor puts on his/her wellies and stalkes aroung promising the people a lot of taxpayer money.
    (He/she does not have to kiss Obama, though.)

  41. “This post underscores the complexity of transitioning to green energy and some unintended consequences that can arise from government regulations. I think that Walter Mead’s analysis is spot on.”

    Shorter version: “you can’t push on a rope”.

    • The real problem is using the savings of the productive to hire more and more government-funded rope-pushers (and pushers of climate porn). Sure, there it’s an economic disaster, but that leads to a socio-economic disaster. And preparing the way is the Left’s attack on the culture of Americanism.

  42. “Most “cost of electricity” comparisons have significantly understated the cost of wind electricity because they failed to take its unusual indirect and infrastructure costs into account:

    the cost of keeping available the primary plants that must balance wind’s variations, even though adding wind to the system reduces the quantity of generation for which they are paid; the higher fuel consumption (per unit of output) that wind imposes on those plants; the cost of additional long-distance transmission that wind requires, and the losses that come with it.

    Using conservative estimates for these missing costs (and backing out two subsidies) reveals that the full cost of wind electricity is nearly twice what the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in its most recent Annual Energy Outlook [1], three times the current cost of gas- fired electricity, and 40 to 50% higher than EIA’s estimates for the cost of nuclear or coal electricity from new generation facilities.”

    http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Hidden-Cost.pdf

    • “three times the current cost of gas- fired electricity”

      Is that all? I thought it was going to be 5 or 10 times by the wailing and gnashing that’s going on.

      If the American Tradition Institute think it’s only 3x higher than gas, we can assume they’ve squeezed out as much as they can and can take that as an upper limit.

    • What is the cost of all of the lost jobs in Spain?

    • Wagathon

      All those Spaniards blowing hard to make the turbines turn when there is no wind?

      Max

    • If blowhards could make wind power economical, we wouldn’t need to extract another barrel of oil.

  43. “According to the American Tradition Institute, there are numerous hidden costs to wind power, including the cost of back-up power, the cost of extra transmission, and the cost of favorable tax benefits. And, the assumption of a 30-year life used in government calculations for wind power is optimistic given reports from European countries that have invested early in wind power.[vi] Including these hidden costs in calculating the cost of wind power increases its cost by a factor of 1.5 or 2, depending on the power system that is used as back-up. The Institute calculates that ratepayers are paying an extra $8.5 to $10 billion a year for wind power compared to natural gas-fired generation, and this will only grow as more capacity is added. Add to this the more than $12 billion that the American taxpayer is paying for the ‘one-year’ extension for the PTC, and one can see that the wind industry is getting a real boondoggle at the expense of taxpayers and ratepayers.”

    http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2013/01/04/the-hidden-costs-of-wind-power/

  44. As I look into this, it appears the estimated cost for wind generated electricity was obtained from Rosy Scenario. It is very difficult to find the operating and maintenance costs for installed wind farms in terms of dollars per megawatt-hour – the unit used to express the levelized cost. That is a huge red flag. If anyone can find those numbers, then prove me wrong.

    “It later became clear that the cities’ concerns were quite valid. In 2011, a PUC consultant determined that the CREZ lines will end up costing nearly $2 billion more than original estimates, for a total of $6,789,775.933. All told, these new lines will cost the state’s residential, commercial and industrial users more than $1,000 each. Notes one expert: “Texas could have built 6,900 megawatts of new gas-fired capacity for what the state is now spending on wind-related transmission alone.””

    http://texaswindenergy.tcaptx.com/

    • From the texaswindenergy link above;

      The Cost of Transmission Lines to Serve Wind Energy

      Texas is set to spend approximately $7 billion to build transmission lines to serve wind generators in West Texas and the Panhandle. What else could $7 billion pay for?

      The electricity bills for every household in Texas for about seven months.
      The construction of about 7,000 megawatts of natural gas-fired power plant generation — or enough extra capacity to keep the lights on during an extreme heat emergency.
      175 million fluorescent light bulbs with LED lights, which could provide enough energy savings to shut down 10 coal plants.

      Source: Elizabeth Souder, “Texas’ multibillion-dollar cost to build wind energy lines raises doubts,” Dallas Morning News, Dec. 5, 2011

    • Energy overhead costs, Yea, tell me about it

      The energy economists Hall and Murphy found that 60% of energy used by the transportation system is used to move the oil, refine it, move the gasoline, build roads, and build the cars and trucks. Another 10% of energy or so doing the drilling for oil (or 25% for in-situ tar sands). So only 30% to 15% of the energy remains before the engine is started.

      List of Hall’s papers
      http://www.esf.edu/efb/hall/energy.htm

      Electrical losses are sensitive to voltage of the transmitting power. Lots of tradeoffs still possible.

    • Yep, WHT, that’s why pipelines are good things – cheap way to move liquids around. We need more of them.


    • jim2 | June 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm |

      Yep, WHT, that’s why pipelines are good things – cheap way to move liquids around. We need more of them.

      Pipe what around? The Bakken oil is so dispersed geographically and short-lived that infrastructure pipelines are a huge waste. As far as tar sands, bitumen is essentially goo, so they have to mix it with all sorts of chemicals to get it to flow. Beats me why they can’t refine it in Canada first before piping it down to Houston to sell it overseas.

      So you have natural gas, big deal. The costs to liquefy NG so as to transport it overseas is significant.

  45. A study of the green program in Spain showed that, ‘two jobs are destroyed for every one green job created.” Billions of other peoples money hare spent by the AGW Eurocommies that comprise the Democrat-controlled government here and not even a single coal-fired power plant to show for it.

  46. Matthew R Marler

    from my perspective, Germany is doing 2 things wrong: (1) they are dismantling their nuclear power; (2) they are trying to do too much, too soon in solar and wind power.

    Neither wind nor solar is an economic drag everywhere, but to replace a cheap reliable and safe source like a large nuclear power industry with the more expensive, less reliable, and less safe solar and wind technologies that we have now is economically destructive. It’s doubly nonsensical to replace the nuclear power plants with plants that run on imported coal.

    • Small nuclear reactors need a big push. They can be a big plus, energy-wise.

    • Jim2,

      Yes. This is where the future lies, IMO. The cost of electricity from small nuclear plants like this http://www.babcock.com/products/modular_nuclear/ could be half that from cheap coal in Australia by 2050.

    • I love that small nuke plants permit scalability and can supply power to remote locations without wasteful power lines, it doesn’t even need dumb power lines, not to mention the smart ones that will cost me years worth of electricity.

    • Jim2,

      Yes, and lots of other reasons too.

      1. Small plants result in faster development because more are manufactured and lessons learn in previous models are more quickly introduced into the next models (like cars and computers);

      2. there is less fuel inventory so when accidents do occur the consequences are less

  47. More Bad News for Nuclear Power Advocates

    The “World Bank rethinks stance on large-scale hydropower projects” is the title of a recent Guardian article. Here are some excerpts:

    “The World Bank is making a major push to develop large-scale hydropower, something it had all but abandoned a decade ago but now sees as crucial to resolving the tension between economic development and the drive to tame carbon use.”
    “Major hydropower projects in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Nepal and elsewhere – all of a scale dubbed “transformational” to the regions involved – are part of the bank’s fundraising drive among wealthy nations. Bank lending for hydropower has scaled up in recent years, and officials expect the trend to continue.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/14/world-bank-hydropower-dam-rethink

    • Matthew R Marler

      Max_OK: More Bad News for Nuclear Power Advocates

      maybe yes, maybe no. Most of the opponents of nuclear power also oppose large hydropower projects. It’s hard to make a case that hydropower does less damage to the environment or causes fewer deaths per MW-hour than nuclear. In Germany, the topic of this thread, there is no way to replace their nuclear power with hydro power.

      I am in favor of hydropower, but I am also in favor of nuclear power. In California, the state, by law, does not count large hydropower as “renewable”; large hydropower projects have been resisted since the early 60s.

  48. Much like computer programmers who may indulge in a fascination about expensive analog watches, secular, socialist academia has become the experts of a new type of `reason’ that `works’ only in a virtual world of their own making – a world in which the globe is represented digitally according to their preconceptions of reality (much like old nautical charts fancifully depicting oceans simply pouring over the edge of the earth into the abyss like a waterfall).

    It is the disconnect from reality that causes the global warming alarmists to indulge in mystical thinking as an analog to their meta-world. The AGW government science authoritarians and academics that are wedded to the political bureaucracy are driven to indulge in mystical thinking about global warming alarmist climate porn as an analog to the fanciful digital reality in which they live.

  49. It is an interesting social phenomenon on these blogs that the same people opposed to AGW are also the ones rooting against renewable energy with something like a 100% overlap. Surely the success of renewable energy is something we should all hope for, rather than wishing for failures in those efforts. Anthony Watts on the other hand has solar panels on his house and an electric car. Couldn’t more be like him? There is a separation of these values in his mind.

    • Trees are a renewable resource. Founder of Greenpeace Patrick Moore was smart enough to get off the envirowhackpot bus to nowhere.

    • JimD – that is why I am trying to find data on existing installations – and I’m not against “renewable” energy. I’m against government subsidies for it. Surely you can distinguish between the two stances.

    • Are you also against government subsidies or tax breaks for fossil fuel companies. It is fine if you have a consistent opinion. How about incentives for small business trying to develop renewable technologies to put the country in a better position on world markets? Not so simple, is it?

    • JimD – I am ABSOLUTELY against subsidies to the fossil fuel industry – I don’t count the depreciation and other tax rules that apply to every business. I am for the government spending money on basic research, but that certainly does not include funding the establishment of companies. So, yes, it is easy for me.

    • The ‘subsidies for fossil fuels’ talking point is nonsense. There are not and never were specific subsidies or even tax breaks for the fossil fuel industries. What there are are accounting rules that go back to the beginning of the income tax code that allow for depreciation of mining assets. These rules apply to all mining activities and recognize the fact that mines are depreciable assets. If that’s a ‘subsidy’, then so is all depreciation.

      Some accounting literacy would help.

    • Harold, I don’t know, but you can Google Exxon tax breaks, and tax breaks are equivalent to subsidies, to find out more. Maybe not in your country(?), but the US does do this. I believe they do it to be competitive in world markets, and this is an approach that can be extended to renewables, so I am not against it as long as it is realized that their profits are not only due to the cheapness of fossil fuels.

    • JimD – you haven’t pointed to a single tax break that goes to fossil fuels that isn’t enjoyed by other industries.

      Personally, I believe that the corporate tax rate should be between zero and , say, 3% and the citizens should bear the burden of government.

      This would achieve a couple of goals. First, even more companies would move to the US, bringing in a ton of jobs that we desperately need in the US. (Many are moving here now for cheap energy from Europe.) Second, it would make the citizen very sensitive to the cost of government.

      Then, take away all tax breaks for individuals. Implement something like a negative income tax, that pays a supplement to the poor, old, and disabled; but if they get work, the total income for them goes up even as the government subsidy goes down. This maintains the incentive to work and also cuts out a huge chunk of bureaucracy and government spending.

    • I don’t want to get into income tax here much, but I would be in favor of a high-deductible flat tax (the deductible being a significant factor over the minimum wage, and a significant fraction of the median wage), with no other deductions. The flat rate would be 20-25% (including on capital gains) to get the same revenue as the current US income tax. It is fine to say the government should not support the nation’s industries, but if they are exporting or competing with imports, the playing field depends on what the competition is doing, and that depends on other countries’ subsidies and tax breaks. This idealistic free market only works if you can isolate or insulate your free market from outside forces that have ways of undercutting it (e.g. taking advantage of low wages or poor environmental regulations in other countries).

    • JimD – when it comes to cheap goods from overseas – we take every advantage of them we can and as long as the quality is good, we buy from them. If they subsidize their industry, all the better, they are giving us free value (money also).

    • JIm D, you write “It is an interesting social phenomenon on these blogs that the same people opposed to AGW are also the ones rooting against renewable energy with something like a 100% overlap.”

      Not quite. What we skeptics/deniers are against is UNECONOMIC renewable energy, which is foisted on an already overstretched taxpayer, by governments who believe in the hoax of CAGW. Read what I have written before. I believe cellulose ethanol will be the first mass produced, economicly viable, renewable energy, starting next year. If this is ECONOMICLY successful, it will spawn a whole new industry across the USA, and, hopefully, Canada and the rest of the world.

      So no, we deniers are not against renewable energy; we are strongly in favor of it, providing it makes sense ECONOMICLY.

    • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

      Jim Cripwell said:

      “What we skeptics/deniers are against is…”

      Again Jim, stop soiling the noble name of skepticism by conflating it with the religion of denialsim. These two are philosophically worlds apart.

    • Ha, the religious believers would prefer to be skeptics. Give it up, Gates, the passion and fervor of a pseudo religion belong on the alarmist side.

      The skeptics have individuals with idiosyncratic beliefs, the alarmists have a group(large and powerful) singing from the same hymnbook.

      So frame your thought a little more accurately. Sorry it isn’t the way you’d like it to be.
      ========

    • say, kim, ‘and the worst … full of passionate intensity.’

    • Jimd

      That’s a sweeping generalisation. I’m for appropriate horses for courses as far as renewable energy goes, which in the case of the Uk discounts solar power in our cloudy climate and queries wind power for its environmental damage. Add in to that their general inefficiency which equates to further rises in prices with al that this entails. In the case of the uk, making use of the ocean that surrounds us makes sense but is still in the starting blocks.

      I have an electric bike and use a solar panel to charge it via a battery.

      Tonyb

    • And standby legs.

      Don’t mind me, I’m just pretending I’m kim.

    • Maxok

      The only thing you have in common is two shared letters in your name.

      now why don’t you stop thinking we are all afraid of renewables and accept that perhaps sceptics just live in the real world and don’t get scared of every little shadow?
      Tonyb

    • David Springer

      how many miles of driving does the bike displace from an automobile?

    • David

      I would generally use the bike for one to two mile trips where an element of speed is needed. For example if I want to go to the bank in a hurry it’s ten minutes by bike but forty minutes walking. At ten dollars a gallon I don’t like to get the car out for such short and inefficient journeys (and pay through the nose for parking)

      With our steep Devon hills I would reckon a range of around 16 miles per charge.
      Tonyb

    • Tonyb wrote, ” … if I want to go to the bank … ”
      Why would one want to go to the bank? Part of reducing one’s “carbon footprint” is using things like the internet and the mail to eliminate travel.

      Tonyb further wrote, “With our steep Devon hills I would reckon a range of around 16 miles per charge.”
      Energy expended going up a hill is saved coming back down.

      In my experience the utility of a bike is inversely proportional to the amount of precipitation. A bike is useful but not all that useful.

    • Hi Speed

      Some of us try to live in the real physical world rather than the virtual world. Whilst at the bank I may get a coffee and delicious Danish pastry and interact in other ways, such as a walk along the seaside promenade, smelling the fresh air and dodging the sea gulls.. Virtual coffee is terrible.

      Unfortunately I live at the top of a steep hill so my energy is expended coming back rather than going and this return (by bike) would be impossible without the electric bike. I also of course walk a lot and take the ferry according to the travel circumstances. One of those circumstances is, as you rightly point out, precipitation which as you rightly point out is a BIG factor.

      John Keats visited here and wrote about our rainy weather. In the hope you might enjoy it or Beth will happen along, here is an extract from one of my articles tracing Central England Temperatures
      —- ——-

      “But this is not Luny’s story either, as we hasten past his house and stand outside the dwelling where, in spring 1818, the poet John Keats stayed and completed his epic poem Endymion. Something of the climate of this town-influenced by the Gulf Stream and its location in the lee of Upland Dartmoor-can be seen in this account.

      Keats’ arrival in Teignmouth on Wednesday 11th March 1818 coincided with an appalling squall of bad weather, in which rain and heavy sea mists rolled into the port town and must have dampened the spirits of both the poet and his ailing brother. The inclement conditions certainly drew from Keats an exasperated and ironic tenor in a letter to his friend Benjamin Bailey of 13th March 1818:

      “I have used it [his wet jacket] these three last days to keep out the abominable Devonshire Weather–by the by you may say what you will of Devonshire: the truth is, it is a splashy, rainy, misty, snowy, foggy, haily, floody, muddy, slipshod county. The hills are very beautiful, when you get a sight of ‘em; the primroses are out,–but then you are in; the cliffs are of a fine deep colour, but then the clouds are continually vieing with them (Forman 1984: 241).

      http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Ideas+of+landscape+in+John+Keats’+Teignmouth+poems.-a0167977588

      The weather was what locals call “mixie,” mind you Keats must eventually have thought well of the town as he also composed a charming poem-the first verse here;

      HERE ALL THE SUMMER COULD I STAY’

      For there’s Bishop’s teign
      And King’s teign
      And Coomb at the clear Teign head -
      Where close by the stream
      You may have your cream
      All spread upon barley bread. ”

      —- —– —
      The first mention of Devonshire Cream teas perhaps.

      All the best

      Tonyb

      tonyb

    • Jim D, it’s because both AGW and today’s renewable energy are new. Some people fear anything new, any change. These Luddites without a reason are mostly irrational older people who are insecure about the future and would rather dwell in the past. They will slowly fade into history.

    • Maxok

      Today’s renewable energy is new?
      I have been using solar devices of one sort or anoth for thirty years. Windmills date back hundreds of year, they were milling wheat at Eling tidal mill in the 14 th century.

      The question is whether it can be conomicaly scaled up .

      The other point I keep making is that we need to use the appropriate horses for courses as far as renewables are concerned. Solar farms are proliferating in this region , the sunniest in the country at some 1700 hours per annum. That’s a very heavily subsidised and totally inappropriate horse for this particular course. Perhaps in Spain it’s viable, but cloudy Britain?
      Tonyb

    • Latimer Alder

      @max_ok

      Today’s basic windmill design comes from about the 12th Century – 800 years ago – in the Middle East. The machines erected today differ in detail. but the basic technology is unchanged since then. Nothing at all new there.

      And maybe it is different in your country, but in UK we have many old windmills preserved as ‘heritage’ sites.

      What is noticeable is that very very few new windmills were constructed after the advent of practical steam engines in about 1810. The reliability and controllability of the new machines made windmills rapidly obsolete.

      Even in The Netherlands, the picturesque windmills on the polders were functionally replaced by steam pumps by about 1850. Steam was such a huge advance in technology as to leave everything else for dead for 100 years.

      And nothing has changed since. Even renaming the windmills as ‘turbines’ hasn’t changed their basic deficiencies…intermittent, unreliable and uncontrollable output.

      Your characterisation of renewables as ‘new’ and those who recognise their fundamental problems as ‘Luddites’ is about 180 degrees off.

    • “These Luddites …”

      OK-Man, these guys aren’t really Luddites; they are neo-Luddites. The movements prefixed with “neo” only appear to mimic their namesakes.

      In their original incarnation, the real Luddites did not want to see progress because they thought machinery and automation would displace the human worker.

      In their new uniforms, the neo-Luddites don’t want to see alternative and renewable energy succeed for many reasons, all related to maintaining the status quo and Business-As-Usual. That’s why they also become AGW deniers and attack the mainstream science.

      The only trait that the neo-Luddites share with their ancestors is that of easily being dismissed. The world will pass them by, ignoring the neo plea to do nothing.

    • Call ‘em Neo-Luddites or whatever you like. As you say, “the world will pass them by, ignoring the neo plea to do nothing.”

      These “do-nothings” are like the little engine that couldn’t.

      I think I can’t, I think I can’t, I think I can’t.
      I hope I can’t, I hope I can’t, I hope I can’t
      I knew I couldn’t, I knew I couldn’t, I knew I couldn’t
      Wooooooo ……….. Wooooooo

      Young children shouldn’t be exposed to these negative- thinking losers.

    • Latimer Alder

      @max_ok, @WHT

      You prefer pure unthinking panic in answer to an unproven and only hypothetical threat?

      ‘Do something! I don’t care what it is or how stupid it is or how damaging it is…but just do something. And do it now!’

      Yeah, right. Way to go, guys.

    • Max_OK

      Your “Little Engine that Could” story must’ve been inspired by that famous railroad engineer and torrid cli-fi author, the little Indian that did.

      I’m all for positive thinking, Okie – especially about the future.

      Aren’t you?

      Max_CH

    • There needs to be a thread on what people are for, not just against, in terms of renewable energy. I see precious little of that here. Are we for making sure new related technologies in our countries get the government incentives to lead and survive on the world market so that we don’t have to import them? Or would we be happy for Germany and China to have the manufacturing jobs and profit from monopolies these technologies? These are the questions.

    • Jimd

      I suggested before that we need CERN type project in which interested countries can set up an appropriate research facility with the aim that within ten years efficient, cost effective and appropriate sources of renewable energy would be developed. That might include fusion, wave, a variation on nuclear etc.

      To say sceptics are against renewables or are frightended of them is nonsense, we are against inefficient and inappropriate renewables providing expensive power that is unreliable.
      Tonyb

    • I think a lot of them are against subsidies, research dollars, incentives, and tax breaks for their home-grown industries in this area even though it is globally an area of competition.

    • “Some activists simply couldn’t make the transition from confrontation to consensus; it was as if they needed a common enemy. When a majority of people decide they agree with all your reasonable ideas the only way you can remain confrontational and antiestablishment is to adopt ever more extreme positions, eventually abandoning science and logic altogether in favour of zero-tolerance policies.”

      ~Patrick Moore, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout…

    • Latimer Alder

      There are very few (any?) ‘renewable’ technologies that are inherently more attractive as power sources than those we have already.

      And I see no reasons to give ‘government incentives’ = bribes to dreamers to work on them.

      If China and India want to waste their time with them I’m very happy for them to do so. The economic folly comes from the use, not just the manufacture of these white elephants.

    • Jim D:
      BINGO!
      After reading this site for a couple of weeks I don’t have a clue how we are supposed to generate our energy except via “The Free Market”. Although a significant number want nuclear and a significant number hate nuclear and everything else.

    • tcflood,

      After reading this site for a couple of weeks I don’t have a clue how we are supposed to generate our energy except via “The Free Market”.

      My question to you is, do you want to know?

      If you do, then the answer is pretty clear:

      Free markets (with appropriate light regulation) provide energy that is fit for purpose and at least cost. That is what markets do.

      If we want low-cost, low GHG emissions energy, we need to remove the market distortions that prevent us having it. The most obvious distortions preventing low-cost, low-emissions, clean electricity are the impediments to low cost nuclear power that have been imposed as a response to 50 years of anti-nuke protesting. Once we get the cost of nuclear generated electricity down to below that of fossil fuels, then clean electricity will begin to displace other forms of energy such as some gas for heating and some oil for land transport (through both electric vehicles and synfuels produced using electricity).

      If you are asking about the technology mix, then it will depend on the location. For most places the optimal mix for low-emissions, low-cost electricity will be similar to France’s generation mix; i.e. about 80% nuclear power with most of the remainder being hydro and or natural gas. That is the optimal mix now, but eventually it will inevitably become almost entirely nuclear.

      For examples see the excellent real time chart showing how France is generating its electricity right now, or any date you pick in the past. At time of writing, France is emitting 18 g/kWh of CO2 from electricity generation from 73% nuclear, 19% hydro, 4% wind, 4% other. Of the total being generated it is exporting 19% and storing 1% in pumped storage.
      http://www.rte-france.com/fr/developpement-durable/eco2mix

      Here is how Australia could provide low emissions electricity at least cost: http://oznucforum.customer.netspace.net.au/TP4PLang.pdf Refer to Figure 6.

      It’s all pretty simple and been known for decades. the issues preventing it happening are political, social and ideological, not technical. France has low cost low emissions electricity 30 years.

      Does that help?

    • Jim D

      Agree that it would be good for bloggers here to state “what they are for” rather than only “what they are against” when it comes to renewable (plus non-renewable) energy.

      I can summarize what I’m for very easily:
      universal access to a reliable source of low cost energy

      Those of us here, who are all fortunate enough to live in the industrially developed world, take this for granted today. It has helped our ancestors pull themselves out of poverty and has given us the high standard of living, quality of life and long life expectancy we enjoy.

      Populations of countries, which have not yet industrialized and do not enjoy the access to reliable, low-cost energy, live short and brutal lives. Large nations, such as China and India, are in the process of developing their economies and, with them, their energy infrastructures. As they do this, the quality of life of their populations will increase until it approaches ours.

      Whether the source of this low-cost energy is renewable (such as hydroelectric), nuclear fission or from fossil fuels is less important to me than the fact that it must be low-cost and readily accessible to everyone.

      Unlike peak oil doomsayers, I am optimistic that human ingenuity and economic pressures will ensure that we will be able to transition from the current basic energy sources to new ones, such as nuclear fusion, for example, plus many others we have not even dreamed of as yet. And this will happen long before the current sources are depleted.

      The key is that these new sources also ensure universal access to a reliable source of low cost energy.

      Max

    • Manacker,

      I can summarize what I’m for very easily:
      universal access to a reliable source of low cost energy

      I agree. And very succinctly put.

      I’d refer readers to my reply to tcfloods comment earlier on this thread. I replied:

      “tcflood,

      After reading this site for a couple of weeks I don’t have a clue how we are supposed to generate our energy except via “The Free Market”.

      My question to you is, do you want to know?

      If you do, then the answer is pretty clear:

      Free markets (with appropriate light regulation) provide energy that is fit for purpose and at least cost. That is what markets do.

      If we want low-cost, low GHG emissions energy, we need to remove the market distortions that prevent us having it. The most obvious distortions preventing low-cost, low-emissions, clean electricity are the impediments to low cost nuclear power that have been imposed as a response to 50 years of anti-nuke protesting. Once we get the cost of nuclear generated electricity down to below that of fossil fuels, then clean electricity will begin to displace other forms of energy such as some gas for heating and some oil for land transport (through both electric vehicles and synfuels produced using electricity).

      If you are asking about the technology mix, then it will depend on the location. For most places the optimal mix for low-emissions, low-cost electricity will be similar to France’s generation mix; i.e. about 80% nuclear power with most of the remainder being hydro and or natural gas. That is the optimal mix now, but eventually it will inevitably become almost entirely nuclear.

      For examples see the excellent real time chart showing how France is generating its electricity right now, or any date you pick in the past. At time of writing, France is emitting 18 g/kWh of CO2 from electricity generation from 73% nuclear, 19% hydro, 4% wind, 4% other. Of the total being generated it is exporting 19% and storing 1% in pumped storage.
      http://www.rte-france.com/fr/developpement-durable/eco2mix

      Here is how Australia could provide low emissions electricity at least cost: http://oznucforum.customer.netspace.net.au/TP4PLang.pdf Refer to Figure 6.

      It’s all pretty simple and been known for decades. the issues preventing it happening are political, social and ideological, not technical. France has low cost low emissions electricity 30 years.”

      For those who haven’t yet looked at the French electricity web site, I suggest at least a preliminary browse at the charts.

    • Right now, at 09:00, France’s CO2 emissions from electricity is emitting 46g/kWh. http://www.rte-france.com/fr/developpement-durable/eco2mix/emission-de-co2-par-kwh-d-electricite-produite-en-france Australia’s emissions from electricity generation are about 1000 g/kWh.

      And guess why France’s emissions are so low? Fossil fuel 2%, nuclear 72%, hydro 19% … You can see it all here: http://www.rte-france.com/fr/developpement-durable/eco2mix/production-d-electricite-par-filiere

  50. Jimd

    I’m not against any of those things if it creates more efficient and cost effective renewables than we currently have. It’s a 10 year time scale to get something into production and in the meantime I see no point in installing more expensive white elephants that masquerade as energy solutions
    Tonyb

    • Germany could end up leading the world in these technologies with their self-imposed deadlines. It is an interesting and bold move that could go either way, but I would not put it past the Germans to be able to succeed.

    • Total BS– Germany joined with France with their anti-American allies in the UN to push the AGW agenda knowing full well it was money in the bank. After taking back East Germany with an infrastructure that had been destroyed by socialism, the West Germans were set to get credit for every dated E. German powerplant that was torn down and replaced with modern technology–something that would have been done 40 years earlier by a free people.

    • Germany will succeed in driving its heavy energy using industry to other countries. And the disenchanted will elect a new dictator who will invade Germany’s neighbors.

      Been there. Done that. Killed millions.

    • If you two think that way, all the more reason to keep up with them.

    • Jim D

      A large percentage of the German population doesn’t really care much about the “Energiewende”.

      A few have thought about what it really means.

      Some of these have concluded that it could spell serious trouble for the competitiveness of energy-intensive heavy industry in Germany.

      Others have concluded that there is no problem as long as France continues to build the new nuclear plants Germany is too frightened to build and is prepared to enter long-term power supply contracts with Germany.

      Others think relying on German brown coal is the best long-term solution.

      But almost everyone who has thought about it a bit realizes that relying on solar and wind power for the future would be disastrously foolish.

      Max


    • sunshinehours1 | June 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      And the disenchanted will elect a new dictator who will invade Germany’s neighbors.

      Been there. Done that. Killed millions.

      And that’s why we call her Little Miss Sunshine. How quaintly culturally prejudicial. Second time on this topic.

  51. Attacks on legitimate scientific skepticism and the smear tactics and personal attacks employed by the Left are, as Brad Minor observed, demonstrates an unpatriotic lack of “respect for and trust in the American people, and in the inherent wisdom of the democratic process.”

  52. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” R.W. Emerson

  53. On June 10th of this year the CPUC released it’s latest update on how, and when, they are going to address energy storage:

    http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M065/K706/65706057.PDF

    Order Instituting Rulemaking Pursuant to

    Assembly Bill 2514 to Consider the

    Adoption of Procurement Targets for Viable

    and Cost-Effective Energy Storage Systems

    “…Opening comments shall be due on July 3, 2013. Reply comments shall be

    due on July 19, 2013.

    Additionally, I will be holding an all-party meeting to discuss this

    proposal on June 25, 2013. Any party wishing to speak at the all-party meeting

    should contact Melicia Charles at Melicia.Charles@cpuc.ca.gov by no later than

    5:00 p.m. on June 19, 2013.

    It is anticipated that a proposed decision will be issued in September 2013,

    with a final decision issued in October 2013…..”

    The list of the whos whos on this subject is located here-

    http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M065/K932/65932042.PDF

  54. Is wind power without environmental cost ?

    What effect might it have on LOD ?

  55. Matthew R Marler

    Here is a snapshot of California electrical use today, excluding Los Angeles and Sacramento:
    http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx#SupplyandDemand

    The page is updated regularly. If you click the link to “Renewables”, you can read how much is coming from renewables, including small-scale hydropower. At 1:44, wind and sun were supplying 5,300 MW of 2700 MW of demand, slightly less than 20%. During weekdays, the daytime demand increases but the supply does not. Wind and solar are almost always out of phase as shown for today — least wind at sunniest times.

    My calculations show solar power to be economical for small scale A/C, that is: homes and small businesses (without taking advantage of the subsidies.) The giant wind farms and solar farms, with their long transmission lines, are a drain on the economy.

    • Matthew R Marler

      The figures you cited for California show that, even there, wind and solar have a limited application.

      Germany definitely gets less sunshine and arguably gets less reliable wind (on shore) than CA, so the application is probably even more limited (as the Germans are finding out).

      Max

  56. Matthew R Marler

    oops, that’s 5,300 MW of 27,000 MW of demand.

  57. Walter Mead’s article is spot on.

    German politicians have been deluding the German population with the lofty-sounding term, “Energiewende”, meaning more reliance on “erneuerbare Energie” (renewable energy).

    But the public is beginning to see that this has been a costly ruse.

    Will it kill German industry as some have predicted?

    Or will the power demand simply be supplied by long-term supply contract with France from new nuclear capacity there?

    Or will the Germans come to their senses about nuclear power plants within Germany?

    Or will the Germans build new brown-coal fired power plants and ignore the impact on CO2 emissions?

    Stay tuned.

    Max

  58. Will it kill German industry as some have predicted?

    Well, well, the doomsayers are at it again.

    Oh, and Max – it appears you missed this opportunity for showing that you’re a skeptic and not a “skeptic.”

    Here – allow me to give you yet another opportunity:

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/14/week-in-review-3/#comment-332143

  59. Joshua

    I wouldn’t call Walter Mead a “doomsayer” for his statement:

    Businessmen say the Energiewende will kill German industry. Power experts worry about blackouts. Voters are furious about ever higher fuel bills. The chaos undermines Germany’s claim to efficiency, threatens its vaunted competitiveness and unnecessarily burdens households. It also demonstrates Germany’s curious refusal to think about Europe strategically.

    It is simply his assessment of the current German public opinion on The “Energiewende” as Mead sees it.

    And, having talked to many Germans about this subject myself, I’d say Mead’s observation is spot on.

    Max

    PS A “doomsayer” would be one who would claim that we are headed for potentially catastrophic effects and impacts from AGW (ex: the IPCC in its AR4 report)

  60. Then there’s the stunt where they tell you about successful renewables over whole regions and nations. It’s true! British Columbia, Norway, Paraguay, Three Gorges–Shanghai…

    So string those whirlygigs across the countryside, polish up those dusty, greasy, crackly solar panels…renewables work!

    [Disclaimer: The renewables that work are an old but solid tech called hydro. Not without its probs, but solid. Feeble old renewables like solar and wind may or may not - okay, they will not! - deliver what hydro delivers. In fact, using hydro's effectiveness to reflect on other renewables is like giving Steven Seagal an Oscar because he has the same initials as Stephen Sondheim. But who reads disclaimers, right?]

  61. Pingback: Are the wheels coming off Germany’s green energy revolution? « Economics Info

  62. Not jest inter-mittant …enegy goin’ down, but much much
    more ex-pensive …costs of e-lec-tricity goin’ up.
    Herewith from Peter Lang :
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/See-saw renewables …back ter the golden age…

  63. (In honor of the original tilter at windmills)

    Hear me now
    Oh thou bleak and unbearable world,
    Thou art base and debauched as can be;
    And a knight with his banners all bravely unfurled
    Now hurls down his gauntlet to thee!

    (JAMES HANSEN)
    I am I, Dr. Hansen,
    Director of NASA,
    My destiny calls and I go,
    And the wild winds of warming
    Will carry temps upward,
    Oh whithersoever they blow.
    Whithersoever they blow,
    To thermageddon we go!

    (GAVIN SCHMIDT)
    I’m Gavin! Yes, I’m Gavin!
    I’ll follow my master till the end.
    I’ll tell all the world proudly
    I’m his squire! I’m his friend!

    (JAMES HANSEN)
    Hear me, heathens and skeptics
    And serpents of sin!
    All your dastardly doings are past,
    For a holy endeavor is now to begin
    And virtue shall triumph at last!

  64. Spot prices for electricity in South Australia peaked above $12,100/MWh several times over the past couple of weeks. [for context the average spot price for electricity last year was about $45/MWh]

    The reason for the high spot prices is that the power output from wind farms keeps falling away to near zero. It happened again yesterday. Look at the chart here: http://windfarmperformance.info/?date=2013-06-16

    Deselect all states except South Australia. Notice the power generated by South Australian wind farms between 06:00 and 17:00 (i.e. when it is most needed) varied between about 10 MW and 80 MW. That’s from a total capacity of 1,223 MW.

    The output from all wind farms in all states connected to the National Grid was down to a pathetic 200 MW during the morning.

    The Australian national grid is the largest interconnected grid in the world by areal extent. Wind farms are spread over an area 1200 km east-west by 800 km north-south. So the low output from all wind farms over such a large area demonstrates clearly how irrelevant is the claim that “the wind is always blowing somewhere”. The statement is true in principle but irrelevant in practice because the arfea that would have to be connected, the amount of excess generating capacity and the transmission capacity required makes it impracticable to connect a sufficiently large area to ensure a reliable electricity supply from wind energy.

    From my perspective, no amount of wind energy makes economic sense.

    • That’s a problem pumped storage can solve. There’s one such facility in NSW.

      Charge it up when wind is high to store energy that can be used wind is low. This effectively smooths the intermittency of wind, to a predictable average, therefore not only solving the problem of times of no wind, but also cancelling the need for gas backup.

    • lolwot,

      Wrong! First, there are two facilities in NSW and one in Queensland.

      Second, they are designed to run five to six hours pumping, at night, when power is cheap and excess cheap baseload power is available from coal fired power stations. They cannot be ramped up and down during pumping to follow the fickle wind and solar output.

      And also, do a calculation of how much storage capacity would be required to back up for weeks of below average wind output, as happens frequently – e.g. virtually no wind generation for 6 days on occasions.

  65. The wheels? I thought it was the vanes that routinely fall off. The bigger they are, the farther they throw.

  66. I was in Germany recently. There are a huge number of these windmills polluting the landscape, covering the hills with hundreds of them.

  67. Here’s the future of wind power: Airborne Wind Turbine Cuts Noise & Energy Costs

    During testing, the AWT was successfully transported and deployed into and out of the air from a towable docking trailer. It uses a platform that is easy to set up from a shipping container and is cost competitive with alternate methods. “For decades, wind turbines have required cranes and huge towers to lift a few hundred feet off the ground where winds can be slow and gusty,” said Ben Glass, the turbine’s inventor and Altaeros CEO, in a press release.

    Best thing about it? If people decide to move it, they can. Oh yes, it can also be deployed from floating foundations, which means it can be far enough offshore to not be a nuisance or eyesore.

    • AK,

      Did you know they used to float balloons tethered to the ground by cables to bring aircraft down in the second world war.

      This concept has been floating around for ages. its as loony as many of the the others. Do your cost estimates (yourself!) to work out why.

    • Do your cost estimates (yourself!) to work out why.

      Cost estimates for future technology are myths. There’s no real way to project the cost of future technology: you either assume no new enabling tech, in which case your costs are ridiculously high (by hindsight), or you assume some sort of new tech, in which case your assumptions almost always turn out to be wrong, impacting the cost, one way or the other.

      Right now people doing cost estimates on any sort of inflated technology are almost certainly estimating way too high, due to technology that already exists but hasn’t (yet) been deployed.

      And, yes, I know about barrage balloons. Such high(er)-altitude wind farms would simply have to be no-fly zones. So what?

  68. Wild price gyrations in Victoria (and elsewhere) today following a station trip at Yallourn
    http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2013/06/wild-price-gyrations-in-victoria-today-following-a-station-trip-at-yallourn/

    This three minute video shows the complexity of the interactions in an electricity grid when a generator trips. this happened this morning in the Australian national Electricity Market. Having intermittent, unreilable generators, like wind and solar, in the system adds to the risk of these sorts of events occurring and increases the capital and operating costs of the grid.
    Th YouTube video is here:

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