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The crazy world of Renewable Energy Targets

Nothing makes sense about Renewable Energy Targets, except at a “Bumper-Sticker” level. Today the AFR front page suggests* the federal government is shifting to remove the scheme (by closing it to new entrants) rather than just scaling it back. It can’t come a day too soon. Right now, the Greens who care about CO2 emissions should be cheering too. The scheme was designed to promote an  industry, not to cut CO2.

UPDATE: Mathias Cormann later says “that the government’s position was to “keep the renewable energy target in place” SMH.  Mixed messages indeed.

We’ve been sold the idea that if we subsidize “renewable” energy (which produces less CO2) we’d get a world with lower CO2 emissions. But it ain’t so. The fake “free” market in renewables does not remotely achieve what it was advertised to do — the perverse incentives make the RET good for increasing “renewables” but bad for reducing CO2, and, worse, the more wind power you have, the less CO2 you save. Coal fired electricity is so cheap that doing anything other than making it more efficient is a wildly expensive and inefficient way to reduce CO2. But the Greens hate coal more than they want to reduce carbon dioxide. The dilemma!

The RET scheme in Australian pays a subsidy to wind farms and solar installations. Below, Tom Quirk shows that this is effectively a carbon tax (but a lousy one), and it shifts supply — perversely taxing brown coal at $27/ton, black coal at $40/ton and gas at up to $100/ton. Because it’s applied to renewables rather than CO2 directly, it’s effectively a higher tax rate for the non-renewable but lower CO2 emitters.

Calculating the true cost of electricity is fiendishly difficult. “Levelized costs” is the simple idea that we can add up the entire lifecycle cost of each energy type, but it’s almost impossible to calculate meaningful numbers. Because wind power is fickle, yet electricity demand is most definitely not, the real cost of wind power is not just the construction, maintenance and final disposal, but also the cost of having a gas back-up or expensive battery (give-us-your-gold) storage. It’s just inefficient every which way. Coal and nuclear stations are cheaper when run constantly rather than in a stop-start fashion (just like your car is). So the cost of renewables also includes the cost of shifting these “base load” suppliers from efficient to inefficient use — and in the case of coal it means producing more CO2 for the same megawatts. South Australia is the most renewable-dependent state in mainland Australia, and it’s a basketcase (look at the cost stack below). Real costs only come with modeling, and we all know how difficult that is.

If the aim is really the research and development of renewables (and not “low CO2″) then I’ve long said that we should pay for the research and development directly, not pay companies to put up inefficient and fairly useless versions in the hope that companies might earn enough to pay for the research out of the profits. Tom Quirk points out that it’s all frightfully perverse again, because most innovations come from industry, not government funded research, but in Australia we hardly have any industry making parts used in power generation — we don’t have the teams of electrical engineers working on the problem anymore. I suppose the theory is that Chinese companies will profit from solar panels and do the R&D for us (keeping “our” patents too)? It would be cheaper just to gift them the money direct wouldn’t it — rather than pay an industry to produce and install a product that no one would buy, which doesn’t work, and hope that the “profits” translate into discoveries that will produce royalties and jobs for people overseas. I’m sure Chinese workers and entrepreneurs will be grateful. Yay.

Meanwhile, Green fans have suddenly discovered the idea of sovereign risk (where were they while the Rudd-Gillard team blitzed Australia’s reputation for stable, predictable policy?). According to the AFR, the government is scornful (and rightly so):

The government source said the market was oversupplied with energy and there was no longer any cause for a mandated use of any specific type of power. The source said while there would be investment losses if the RET was abolished, or even scaled back, investors “would have to have been blind to know this wasn’t coming’’.

On Catalaxy files, Judith Sloan mocks the Fin for pushing a press release from a rent-seeking firm, and guesses the Abbott government will be too “gutless” to ditch this economic and environmental dog of a policy.

—   Jo

 

—————————————————————————————–

Renewable energy sources – Complications!

Guest post by Tom Quirk

Early in 2014 the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) issued a report entitled The Economics of Climate Change[i]. This report proposed a way forward in assessing and ordering the development of technologies to combat the uncertain source of climate change, fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).  The report casually mentions that the science is “settled” for understanding climate change despite the obvious failures of climate models to predict the almost constant global temperature of the last 12 years while atmospheric concentrations and fossil fuel emissions of CO2 have continued to rise.

In passing it is worth noting that many countries offer subsidies to renewables similar to our Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme. CEDA does not consider the scheme very helpful for emission reduction. The table below shows just how extraordinary the scheme is. Generators of renewable energy in Australia, in fact mainly wind farms with some small solar contribution, are paid a subsidy of $40 per megawatt hour (MWh) for electricity produced. This source of electricity displaces that generated from conventional power plants. The equivalent carbon tax is the $40 subsidy paid for one MWh of wind generated electricity with no CO2 emissions displacing one MWh of electricity from black coal that would give rise to one tonne of CO2 but for brown coal electricity with 1.5 tonnes of CO2 the equivalent tax is $27. The tax equivalents for these and other energy sources are shown in Table 1.

 


Table 1: Carbon tax equivalent for $40 per MWh subsidy paid to renewable generators

Plant Type

t CO2 per MWh

Carbon tax equivalent

per t CO2

Brown Coal

1.5

  $27

Black Coal

1.0

  $40

Gas turbine (open cycle)

0.5

  $80

Gas turbine (combined cycle)

0.4

$100

So the payment of a subsidy to renewables has the peculiar structure that implies a higher carbon tax on the lower fossil fuel emitting generators – the opposite of the intention to reduce the use of the highest CO2 emitters.

The intention of having wind farms in the electricity supply system was to drive out the highest emitters of CO2 but the cost structure of the electricity market is such that the coal burning power stations are the lowest cost generators and higher cost but lower carbon emitting generators became more vulnerable to being stood down. This is abundantly clear looking at the short run marginal costs of generation (see the figure below). These costs are the fuel needed with any additional variable operating and maintenance cost but no carbon tax to produce a MWh of electricity[i]. The cost stack orders the low to high marginal cost generators and gives a rough indication of which generators are dispatched as prices change with changing electricity demand. The order to a generator to start producing electricity is termed dispatch.

 

Up to 6,000MW of Victorian energy may be dispatched from cheap brown coal, but rapid changes or increases in demand cause a dramatic rise in costs as gas is called into action.

In South Australia, only 500MW comes from cheap coal and variations up to 1,000MW in wind power need gas turbines to follow the variations. Above 3,500MW of demand, the costs rise — becoming 6 times as expensive as the most expensive Victorian electricity.

 

The rewards to the wind farms were thus likely to drive out the lower carbon emitters. This is a splendid example of policy making without informed analysis.

Now returning to the CEDA report, on the assumption that the science is settled, it is worth examining the methods proposed for sorting and developing new technologies. There are two parts to this, firstly assessing technologies and second understanding innovation.

Levelised Costs

A common starting point for many assessments of alternative technologies is levelised costs. Levelised costs are the $ per MWh cost appropriately discounted of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. The CEDA report considers levelised costs for geothermal, nuclear, super critical pulverized brown coal with carbon capture and storage, solar with central receiver with thermal storage and wind.

The problem with levelised costs is that there is no level playing field. There are two distinctions that must be made, first whether the power source is dispatchable and second the time characteristics of electricity demand.

Wind power is not dispatchable; it is accepted as and when generated. While solar power with storage is an attempt to become dispatchable as would be the case if storage were to be added to wind power generation. Sources such as wind power require a backup of dispatchable generators to compensate for the inherent variations in the supply of power. On the other side of supply is demand. Demand varies continuously over a twenty four hour cycle. It is different from State to State and, more generally, from region to region depending on climate, industry and spread of population. There are rough common characteristics with minimum load in the early morning and peak loads around breakfast, mid-day or dinner times. The ratio of these in Australia is the peak being about two to three times higher than the minimum. In Victoria the demand varies from 3,000 MW to 9,000 MW but with random demand variability of the order of 10s of MW per minute.  So the power supply has to cope with changing demand. In general thermal power stations can cope with following demand variations at a rate of about 20MW per minute. But to complicate matters supply from wind power also varies unpredictably like that coming from demand and so increases the difficulty of matching supply with demand. South Australia is the extreme example with demand varying from 900MW to 3,000MW but with wind capable of contributing up to 1,200MW.  The matching of supply and demand is essential not only for a stable transmission grid and constant voltage to avoid brown- and black-outs but also to provide frequency stability so that time clocks do not distort arrival and departure times of workers! Two examples of the performance of supply systems are shown in Table 2 below for Victoria[3] and South Australia[4].

Table 2: Performance of Electricity supply for Victoria and South Australia in 2012

Victoria

Capacity power in MW

Generation energy in GWh

Average Supply MW

Utilisation

(capacity factor)

% Generation of total GWh

Coal

6,599

44,808

5,115

77.5%

85.4%

Gas

2,382

2,953

337

14.2%

5.6%

Diesel

0

0

0

0.0%

0.0%

Hydro

2,254

3,162

361

16.0%

6.0%

Wind

400

1,333

152

38.0%

2.5%

Total

11,635

52,440

5,986

53.4%

South Australia

Capacity power in MW

Generation energy in  GWh

Average Supply MW

Utilisation

(capacity factor)

% Generation of total GWh

Coal

770

2,238

255

33.2%

17.1%

Gas

2,672

6,786

775

29.0%

51.9%

Diesel

270

12

1

0.5%

0.0%

Hydro

3

6

1

0.0%

0.0%

Wind

1,203

3,483

398

33.1%

26.6%

Solar PV

400

497

57

14.2%

3.8%

Other

16

55

6

39.2%

0.4%

Total

5,334

13,077

1,493

28.0%

 

The fraction of supply and the utilisation of the generators (the last two columns) are often missing from the levelised cost considerations. There is a good discussion of levelised costs from the Energy Information Agency in the United State[5] but again assumptions are made for the capacity factors that are not based on regional electricity demand performance.

Victoria, with relatively little installed wind power draws 85% of it supply from brown coal burning power stations while gas turbines and a gas thermal generator along with hydro are used to match demand to supply and wind power variations. The utilisation of the coal source is 78% while gas is only 14% and this implies very different pricing with such differences in use.

South Australia, with less demand than Victoria and with a relatively large renewable sector, draws 30% of its supply from the latter and needs a quite different pricing for its coal and gas generators with their utilisation of around 30%.

In general, nuclear plants are best run to supply a constant amount of the base load demand.  Geothermal plants may require continuous operation to keep fluid flow through the rocks so also a base load supplier. In New Zealand their utilisation is 90%. The utilisation of a super critical coal plant will depend on the mix of other plant types in the system as would solar with storage. Wind as a non dispatchable power source cannot be considered without assumptions of its extent. None of these considerations cover the size of plants and the transmission costs that are determined by industry and population concentrations.

Thus there is no level playing field for assessing levelised generator costs. It is properly handled by modelling the supply system using the known electricity demand characteristics of the particular State or region.

Innovation – Research and Development

Increased funding of research and development (R&D) is frequently suggested by policy-makers. This was a recommendation of the Garnaut report and is also suggested in the CEDA report. The CEDA report prefers spending on R&D rather than on subsidies. In principle this is the better approach as innovation should either produce a product or service at less cost than those currently in the market. But innovation also serves unmet needs and of course the cause of climate change is a market failure to recognize the need to stop or reduce global warming by curbing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use.

The difficulty with the CEDA approach is that it assumes levelised costs. This is not the way to evaluate technical choices for a complicated electrical power system.

There is a deeper structural problem with the R&D approach. In Australia as in the United States and the United Kingdom less than 10% of innovations come from universities and government laboratories.[6] It is industry that makes the major and the most cost effective contribution. Australia does not have large companies that make the components for power generation or transmission and this includes renewables.  So our universities and government laboratories will have to team up with oversea corporations. It could work if we have special skills that others lack but the universities have reduced their intake of electrical engineers who might be the backbone of any initiative. General Motors has kept a special design team in Australia for presumably just that reason of special skills but it has not helped the local manufacture of cars. Innovation is frequently described as a random walk and the nearest CEDA gets to that is the discussion of the ATSE assessment of technical progress and likely success.

Conclusion

The conclusion from the above is that the CEDA report The Economics of Climate Change does not offer any new approach that would help the development of government policy. Levelised costs are not the appropriate way to assess technical options for generating electricity.

 


[2] ACIL Tasman 2007  Fuel resource, new entry and generation costs in the NEM

[3] NEM HISTORICAL MARKET INFORMATION REPORT 2013 Australian Energy Market Operator

[4] 2013 SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ELECTRICITY REPORT  Australian Energy Market Operator

[5] http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

[6] http://www.ipa.org.au/library/NAHAN&QUIRK_science.pdf

* I said “reports”, but should have said “suggests” — so I corrected it. Mathias Cormann came out later today and said the RET is going to stay. The libs may be sending mixed messages to try it on and see how big the complaints are. h/t The Griss.

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188 comments to The crazy world of Renewable Energy Targets

  • #
    gnome

    I’m with Judith Sloan on this- the government will be too gutless to can the MRET!

    (That’s M for Mandatory, which is what they called it before they all realised that “mandatory” is too forceful a term to be used for a political initiative.)


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    • #
      Winston

      The Libs need to realise that dropping the MRET, as you quite rightly refer to it, would be an enormous vote winner, electricity prices would drop dramatically and more importantly tangibly, and even an unpopular government could bypass the media Labor love train by giving businesses a huge reduction in impost to do business efficiently, and Joe Public would have a demonstrable and 3 monthly reminder why they voted for the Coalition, and why they should keep doing so.

      Tony needs to man up- scrap the useless thing (or wind it back to negligible levels, or at least be seen to) and open his eyes and see it as the one potential saviour for his public profile as the “infrastructure PM”. It’s a gift horse that they would be stupid to pass up, no matter what its dentition looks like.


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    • #
      cohenite

      Simply put, without AGW, renewables are a thought bubble; and AGW is disproved theory.


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  • #

    I’d wait to see what really happens rather than rely on AFR rumors. Scaling back is possible and investors are hedging their bets in that direction (as is sensible), but “scaling back” can mean a bunch of things anyway.


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  • #
    the Griss

    Seems that the Libs are destined to be a one term party that did nothing worthwhile in that one term.

    I hoped they would do better, hopes dashed, it seems.

    Seeing all this nonsense looks like it is being retained, we may just as well have a Labor government as well. !!


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  • #

    Since starting out on all this in March of 2008, I’ve seen every proposal for renewable power here in Australia, and I want to show you something here that points directly at the Levelised Cost argument.

    Say a plant costs X Dollars. That cost has to be recovered over the life of the plant, spread evenly across every unit delivered for consumption, in other words KiloWattHours (for consumption purposes) but sold as cost in dollars per MegaWattHour.

    Now, while I have serious doubts about any LCOE, because of the so many differing variables, the biggest of which is an arbitrary age of 30 years, No wind plant will ever reach 30 years of age while the average life span of coal fired plants is around 50 years. On top of that, they give wind an arbitrary Capacity Factor of 35%, and there is no wind plant on Planet Earth that will still be averaging 35% after it’s real life span, let alone 30 years. It may average that at the start, but after even ten years will have fallen away quite markedly.

    However, as I mentioned above, the total cost is spread across that cost per MWH.

    Every renewable plant proposal since 2008 has been subsidised by Governments, both Federal and State, the Feds contributing the most. Those subsidies in almost every case add up to a total of 50 to 60% of the total up front cost. This is not in the form of a loan, but as an outright gift, the classic renewable subsidy.

    So now, instead of having to recover the FULL cost of the plant over its projected life span, it only has to recover anything as low as 40% of that cost, and as is now plain to see, that cost per unit of power delivered is now considerably cheaper.

    Even so, that cost per unit is still way way higher than what is currently being provided by existing coal fired power which, all costs included, can still provide power (minus the CO2 Tax) at around $30 per MWH, or 3 cents/KWH, and look at your most recent power bill to see what electricity sells for at Retail.

    So, the jimmy up their LCOE in any manner they can in an attempt to make wind seem cheaper than coal fired power.

    Note how they never compare wind with existing coal fired or existing nuclear power, and how it’s always new plants they quote. They make new coal fired plants at the most expensive they can, and then even add on a percentage, and then on top of that they add on the chimera of CCS to make it even more expensive again. CCS adds anything up to 45 to 50% to the original cost, and then consumes 40% of the power from the plant, increasing the cost per unit twice, by increasing the up front cost, and then lowering the power delivered to cover that cost. CCS will never be made to work on the scale required.

    However, the biggest con of all is that up front gift of more than half the original cost, which lowers wind power unit costs to a level where they look like they can compete, something that most LCOE figures still show wind as being more expensive, even with a new for new comparison.

    They can do all they like with LCOE, but the biggest, no, the ONLY factor should be what is shown with a typical Load Curve, (as shown at this link, which is typical for Australian figures here, but similar for EVERY developed Country) which shows that at least 60 to 65% of every watt of power being generated is required absolutely for 24 hours of every day of the year, and that has not changed in the six years I’ve been doing this.

    Renewable power will NEVER be able to supply that at all, no matter how much they trick up the LCOE.

    Tony.

    LCOE – Levelised Cost Of Electricity

    CCS – Carbon Capture and Sequestration


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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      The other major factors are the variability of wind and solar, and the frequency variances.

      All power distribution systems need to be able to cope with varying load, and in most cases this is supplied by “spinning reserve”, that can be brought on stream very quickly. Ergo we need a constant power input, from coal, or hydro, or nuclear, or thermal, in order to maintain the spinning reserve to a) keep pace with load changes, and b) maintain the frequency at 50Hz (60Hz in US territories). The frequency is very important, not only as a time signal, but because a lot of very expensive medical equipment relies on that frequency for its operational accuracy. Lives are at stake.

      But with solar and wind, we have another variable supply, which adds another level of complication on a square-law basis. And Solar and wind produce a Direct Current output that must be converted to Alternating Current at the right frequency and in sync with the main supply frequency. The main supply is, of course, used as a reference signal, but what happens to your wind and solar supply, when that signal is not present?

      You cannot just compare costs 1:1 between base supply and the add-on supply, because you always need that base supply to provide the reference frequency and to cover for seasona supply shortfalls. You also need to keep your spinning reserve going, so that it can respond to sudden peaks in demand. So those costs must be on both sides of the equation. Wind and solar are nice to have, as the icing on the cake, and for a feel-good factor. But you can get rid of very little base infrastructure as a result of the massive capital investment made in wind and solar plant.


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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Of course all of the criticisms I mention are solvable, but you need to account for the cost of those solutions when comparing the overall efficiencies of the old and new.


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    • #
      NZPete

      TonyfromOz, I admire the manner in which you can explain matters relating to the supply of electricity. Straight forward and logical; it makes sense.

      It seems to me that that there are so many dreamers who have no concept of how important energy is to modern society, and how harsh life is without it. Modern living requires a stable supply of energy, and lots of it. The drive to efficiency can only take you so far.

      The key to a secure energy future does seem to lie with nuclear in some form or other – the benefits of having vast quantities of “process heat” as a source of energy not only for electricity generation but for a variety of other purposes (such as the gestation and processing of waste to truly recycle matter) are huge.

      Thanks for taking the time to do this.


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  • #
    Neville

    I wonder if Tony from OZ or Tom Quirk has watched this 4 corners program about solar energy.
    They infer that Abbott etc are just stupid and we should be following California into a wonderful solar future with heaps of new green jobs.

    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2014/07/07/4038488.htm


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    • #
      King Geo

      As I have said previously California is going down the gurglar with it’s obsession with RE, meanwhile Texas is going gangbusters with its booming shale gas/shale oil industry. And in the EU the other “RE Dysfunctional Economy”, I had a chat with a couple at tennis last weekend (she is an Aussie, he is native Italian). They have been long standing residents of Italy and have 2 teen aged daughters and have decided now to migrate to Oz to give their kids a future. Why you may ask? Well it seems there are few jobs for young Italians these days since the GFC struck some 5 years back – in fact 40% unemployment for the young she told me – so how did this once great Economy (5th largest in the World) take such a dive? Sure it can be partly blamed on the GFC – but the real “Economy Killer” has been the fast tracking to RE. The twin edged swords of the “GFC + RE” have literally brought the EU to its knees via sky rocketing electricity prices – that is fact. A wake up call for economies like Oz – please continue Tony and rid Oz of the “Greenie RE Scourge” which only brings economic misery to its citizens via sky rocketing electricity/energy prices.


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      • #
        OriginalSteve

        My parents recently were building a new house. I said to them to make sure they put 4kW of solar on, so they can survive when power rationing starts.

        Oh and I made sure they put plenty of space aside for solar batteries later.

        Solar panels also shut down when the street supply drops off – this stops the solar panels liveningup the street grid area. However all you need is to drop the house off the grid ( open the isolator ) and run a small 240V inverter to provide voltage the panels can sense, and off you go – self sufficient house.

        This will become the norm I think in years to come – solar + batteries.

        PS – 240V will kill you. Be careful…..


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        • #
          the Griss

          “This will become the norm I think in years to come – solar + batteries”

          Not if people have to pay for it out of their own pocket. !!


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        • #
          the Griss

          ps.. Hopefully governments will wake up and start rebuilding regular, solid, reliable coal, gas and nuclear energy system.

          These will always provide cheaper electricity and be less polluting overall than any solar system.

          Solar systems are highly polluting (real pollution) in their production..

          … but that’s in another country, so it doesn’t count, right ???


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    • #

      neville,
      Anyone who believes anything shown on ABC or SBS TV or ABC Radio has left wing blinkers before their eyes which affects their small brains. I have stopped watching both. That Lee Lin Chin on SBS is one of the worst and most biased presenters with regard to AGW, renewals, damage to barrier reef, boat people etc etc. The ABC/SBS sports coverage is soccer in Oz, soccer in UK, soccer in Germany, bikes in France, soccer in spain -what a pain when it rains. Both ABC & SBS should be scraped.


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      • #
        Glen Michel

        Not to mention all things British……and I mean BBC British.All appealing to the “friends” of course, who have some atavistic longing for the verdant fields and copses ( without the Fox hunting of course).I won’t mention 4 corners.


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  • #

    Tom makes some wonderful points in his text.

    You cannot take wind power costs in isolation, and just arbitrarily say that costs associated with wind are cheap ….. which, let’s face it are not.

    Let me demonstrate that here, and again, you can look at each of these links by itself, and say one thing, and yet, you don’t get the real explanation unless you look at both links together, and associate them together.

    The first link is to the AEMO chart at this link, and this is for just this Month August of 2014.

    Now, at this chart, look particularly at the 4th of August, a work day Monday. Now, note the cost for electricity in the South Australian column Peak RRP. Note above where it explains Peak RRP as between 7AM and 10PM. Despite some people trying to tell you that Peak Power is perhaps only a couple of days a year, the AEMO (the Australian energy regulator) classifies Peak Power as being 15 hours of EVERY work day per week.

    The cost for electricity for ALL of those 15 hours averaged $106.62 per MWH.

    Note in general the relative stability of the other States compared to SA, where the swings can be quite large.

    Now, why was electricity so costly for those 15 hours?

    Okay then, now look at this chart at this link, and this is for wind performance for that specific same date as the cost chart, Monday 4th August, and note how Andrew Miskelly has now changed his Wind performance site.

    Okay now, under that chart are the coloured icons indicating each wind plant. Under that are the icons for all the States. Here, untick all States except for SA. So now, only the actual performance of those South Australian wind plants is shown on the chart with the solid black line indicating total power delivery.

    Now, note that between the times of 7AM and 10PM, (the peak cost from the other link) ALL of those SA wind plants were only delivering an average of around 100MW, from a Nameplate of 1477MW, a Capacity Factor of only 6.8%, a pitiful total really.

    Because of that, other power plants only scheduled to run for perhaps a couple of hours a day were tasked to run for that whole time, incurring premium costs because of the plants extra costs. At the same time, SA is sucking all it can out of its Victorian Interchange, also at a premium cost.

    Now some (green acolytes) might say that this is not actual wind power cost.

    It is however the unintended consequence of wind power not delivering the power they claim to be delivering, so, in actual fact it is a REAL cost which is associated with wind power, other plants having to supply power on short notice because wind can’t.

    Wind Power cheap. You must be joking!

    Tony.


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    • #
      Robber

      Tony, are you able to extract any cost reduction in electricity prices that has occurred with the removal of the carbon tax in the daily pricing?
      As a simple soul, I simply follow the money. From June 2007 to March 2014, the cost of living rose by 20%, but the cost of electricity rose by 114% according to the Bureau of Statistics. That’s money straight out of my pocket, and who profited?


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      • #

        Okay then, here’s the AEMO (wholesale) electricity costing chart for July, at this link.

        The CO2 Tax was repealed on the 17th July, and took a week or so to filter through.

        Note how the costs for actual power generation are consistently cheaper towards the end of this Month than they were at the start of the Month.

        Now, here you need to realise that this is not the retail price for electricity, just what the retailers buy their power for.

        Depending on the mix in your particular State, the savings amount to around 12 to 17% at the retail end.

        Tony.


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        • #

          Keep in mind here that the actual generating entities themselves are not profiteering here, as the AEMO is right onto that.

          Every other little addition to your power bill adds to it, as those wholesale prices are set in stone as shown here.

          Tony.


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  • #
    pat

    18 Aug: Guardian: Alexander White: Australia needs the renewable energy target (and should increase it)
    Fossil fuel addicted energy companies are attempting to reduce or abolish Australia’s successful renewable energy target using the Warburton review as a stalking horse.
    The renewable energy industry woke to a shock this morning with a front-page Australian Financial Review headline that the conservative Abbott government was planning to abolish the renewable energy target…
    (according to Climate Institute)71 percent of Australians support the renewable energy target as it is or want it strengthened…
    ON ABC radio on Monday, Senator Cormann would not confirm that such a plan was afoot, but he said the government intended to keep the target in place…
    UNSW associate professor Mark Diesendorf recently wrote in The Conversation how renewables could make up 100% of Australia’s electricity industry “without significantly affecting supply.” …
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/southern-crossroads/2014/aug/18/renewable-energy-target-abolish-abbott-hunt-warburton

    18 Aug: WSJ: Stephen Bell: Apache Makes Big Oil Find Off Western Australia
    Field Off Western Australia Could Hold as Much as 300 Million Barrels of Crude
    Apache said testing has confirmed at least four distinct oil “columns” in the seabed rocks ranging in thickness between 26 meters to 46 meters, with six light oil samples recovered from three intervals so far.
    Apache is the operator of the WA-435-P block where the discovery was made, and owns a 40% stake in the license and the adjacent WA-437-P permit. Other investors include Carnarvon Petroleum Ltd., a unit of Japan’s JX Holdings Inc., and closely held Finder Exploration Pty Ltd.. News of the discovery led to Carnarvon’s stock tripling in value Monday…
    http://online.wsj.com/articles/apache-makes-big-oil-find-off-western-australia-1408341216?tesla=y&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204616804580098801020772676.html


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      Leigh

      I know the panic has set in big time in the global warmists humpy but please.
      “(According to Climate Institute)71 percent of Australians support the renewable energy target as it is or want it strengthened…”
      WT? 71%?
      Nobody’s asked me if I wanted to pay more for my electricity.
      Where do they pluck these figures from?
      I have my own idea but on a civilized blog like Jo’s it would’nt be polite to elaborate.
      How many of that 71% are here?
      Come on all you closet greenies, own up.
      Who here is part of that 71%?
      Where was the “poll” held?
      Bob’s kitchen.
      Fairdinkum, I’m just suprised it wasn’t the good old 97% consensus figure.


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    pat

    sounds like more than the repeal of the RET is involved here:

    18 Aug: Businessweek: Iain Wilson: Silex Unit Scraps Solar Station as Australia Reviews Renewables
    Solar Systems Pty Ltd. suspended plans for a 100-megawatt plant in the Australian state of Victoria amid growing uncertainty about the government’s commitment to develop clean-energy sources.
    Solar Systems, a unit of New South Wales-based Silex Systems Ltd. (SLX), and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency decided to scrap the project near Mildura after a review, according to a statement from the partners. The funding for A$75 million ($70 million) of conditional support from the renewable energy agency was terminated, the statement said…
    The decision on Mildura was based on a number of factors, including low wholesale electricity prices and uncertainty surrounding the renewable energy target, the statement from Silex and ARENA said. Silex was down 9.5 percent at 76.5 cents in Sydney trading as of 2:16 p.m…
    Conditional funding of A$35 million for the Mildura project from the Victorian government under the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy Fund also was terminated, Silex and ARENA said in today’s announcement…
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-08-18/silex-unit-scraps-solar-station-as-australia-reviews-renewables

    18 Aug: Guardian: Lenore Taylor: Australia’s chief scientist tells PM’s business adviser to stick to economics
    Global cooling proponent Maurice Newman urged not to ‘trawl the internet’ for papers questioning scientific opinion
    “If you want to put up alternative theories you have to find some kind of credible evidence to support them … if you can’t do that you tend to resort to name-calling, calling global warming things like a religion or a cult or some kind of conspiracy,” Chubb said…
    Chubb said he was “not an economist so I would be unwise to make a comment on the economy. I try to speak where I have knowledge. Almost everyone with knowledge would say Mr Newman’s comments are at odds with what they know, but people with no scientific knowledge persist in the view that they can find three or four papers from the hundreds and hundreds of papers on the subject and then dismiss the overwhelming bulk of evidence … it is a silly response to a very important issue.”…
    Tim Flannery, head of the climate council, said last week he was keen to meet Newman to discuss his understanding of climate science because the businessman appeared to have “little regard for science and facts”…
    Asked whether he had sought to speak to Newman, Chubb said: ”Neither of us has sought to speak to the other…
    ***”The claims made by Newman in his article have been fact checked by Guardian blogger Graham Readfern.
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/aug/17/australias-chief-scientist-tells-pms-business-adviser-to-stick-to-economics

    ***Readfearn the fact-checker.


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      Safetyguy66

      Nice going Pat. Silex proves once again (as if any more proof was needed) that the market is not interested in large scale renewables. These projects depend on tax payer inputs to even get off the ground. Once running the infrastructure paid for by tax payers is sold off either in whole or in part and the profits from generation are usually taken offshore while no savings are passed to consumers and often an extra charge is added to access so called green power.

      Now we see a little glimmer of truth on pricing. After 10 years of being told renewables drive down energy prices as sceptics laughed knowing the truth was the opposite, well here it is in black and white. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-24/ret-target-to-increase-power-prices-cost-jobs-research/5622232 and its even on the ABC!


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      • #

        How I just love the way the media refers to projects like this Silex proposal as, umm ‘Large Scale Solar’.

        The plant was going to be 100MW at a capacity factor of 33%, so in effect a 33MW plant, relatively tiny by comparison with large scale well, any other traditional power plant.

        This large scale solar plant would have generated 292GWH of power each YEAR, the same power which is being delivered from Bayswater in 4 days and 15 hours with all 4 units in operation.

        And the Feds and the State were stumping up $110 Million as a gift, umm, a subsidy, a gift for this.

        Give me strength!

        Tony.


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          Safetyguy66

          Yeah I hear ya Tony. I have spent years explaining to people that the 1+ billion dollar wind farm I worked on put out 20% of the power of the gas turbine generator 80km down the road and cost around 2.5 times as much to build. They look at me like Im talking crap, they just don’t believe it because common sense tells them it cant be true, who would be dumb enough to sign up to that?


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      the Griss

      “Tim Flannery, head of the climate council, said last week he was keen to meet Newman to discuss his understanding of climate science”

      I’m sure that Bob Carter could be arranged as mediator. :-)


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    • #
      Angry

      Readfearn the fact-checker ?

      More like Readfearn the IMBECILE !


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    pat

    17 Aug: UK Northern Echo: Chris Webber: Protests against giant wind turbines near Redcar
    Organiser Peter Sotheron said the turbines, to be erected off the A174 by renewable energy company Airvolution, would be too big.
    He said: “The turbines will be taller than the giant offshore turbines in Coatham Bay (Redcar). They will be three times higher than the flare stacks at the Wilton International Site and one-and-a-half times higher than the Cleveland Hills behind them…
    Airvolution has said it would donate £20,000-a-year to local causes if it is allowed to build the turbines.
    More than 200 objections have been received by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. The council’s planning committee is expected to decide whether to grant permission for the turbines next month.
    http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/11414995.Protests_against_giant_wind_turbines_near_Redcar/

    15 Aug: Bloomberg: Stefan Nicola: Nordex Profit Falls 23% as Wind-Turbine Orders Slow; Shares Drop
    Nordex SE (NDX1), a German wind-turbine maker, said second-quarter profit declined 23 percent from a year earlier as orders for its equipment slowed…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-15/nordex-profit-falls-23-as-wind-turbine-orders-slow-shares-drop.html


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  • #
    pat

    18 Aug: Bloomberg: Obama’s Green Dilemma: Punish China, Imperil U.S. Solar
    By David J. Lynch and Robert Schmidt
    “We’ve reduced our carbon pollution over the past eight years more than any country on Earth,” the president told supporters recently at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. “We now generate 10 times the solar electricity, creating tens of thousands of jobs across the country.”
    Less than 24 hours later, however, Obama’s Commerce Department took an action that may threaten those gains: It upheld a complaint by the U.S. unit of SolarWorld AG (SWVK) that China is illegally selling solar panels at prices below their production costs. Pending a final ruling in December, the U.S will impose broader tariffs on imported panels that will increase prices by almost 15 percent.
    “It’s going to kill the demand,” said Ocean Yuan, the president of Grape Solar, a Eugene, Oregon-based retailer of imported solar systems…
    The solar industry’s intramural clash reverberates all the way to the White House, where a second-term president seeks to fulfill his promise of “a new clean-energy economy.” How the quarrel ends may hinge on Obama’s ability to balance two priorities: what he describes as the imperative to battle climate change and a desire to thwart China’s bid to dominate a 21st-century industry…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-18/obama-s-green-dilemma-punish-china-imperil-u-s-solar.html


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  • #
    Ceetee

    As an enthusiastic amateur I have a question for the technically minded boffins (lots of them here). I have often looked at wind turbines and wondered if just maybe their design is not particularly good since the blades are mounted on a horizontal axle. Would not that configuration lead to excessive wear and tear which in turn necessitates high maintenance?. Furthermore and in terms of the crony capitalist world we seem to live in would that be deliberate perhaps?


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      bobl

      No,
      The wind turbines are in a vertical axis because that allows them to intersect the greatest volume of moving air (wind movement is largely horizontal). The power generated depends on the swept area and the wind velocity (cubed) power drops of very quickly as they slow.

      So, no the turbines are they way they are for efficiency.

      However, thats not to say there isn’t other ways, for example I postulate that your could use a wind vein to create a vortex and combine that with a vertical axis turbine, to build a turbine that works in low wind or even thermals.


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        bobl

        Oops, the wind turbines are on a horizontal axis ( along the shaft ), I meant vertical plane


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        • #
          Ceetee

          Doesn’t that mean that the shaft or axle flexes with every rotation?. The weight of the turbines and the stress on them surely contributes to this. Why not a shaft on a vertical axis?


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          • #
            ROM

            Ceetee @ # 11.1.1.1

            The advantages and disadvantages of the Horizontal Axle Wind turbine [ HAWT ] and the Vertical Axle Wind Turbine [VAWT ] are discussed in this very pro wind site here.

            WHY AREN’T VERTICAL-AXIS WIND TURBINES MORE POPULAR?

            I have had my say about one of modern mankind’s most useless, most expensive, most unreliable, most unpredictable, most inefficient, most scenic blighting, most heavily subsidised, most corrupt of all energy businesses, most deadly to wild life, most likely to cause severe reactions to infra sound in about one fifth of the population. Plus the most costly of all generation technologies other than paying somebody to pedal a bike generator [ They tried that at Copenhagen Conference in 2009 to light a symbolic tree but after the first three days they couldn't get anybody to volunteer to pedal those bike generators anymore as it was damn hard work which as we all know, the greens abhor. ] along with the innate stupidity of the green blobs that imagine something that has all of the above characteristics can be used to power a seven day a week 24 hours a day, 52 weeks of the year civilisation that is utterly reliant for it’s entire existence on that cheap but above all absolutely dead steady, utterly reliable electrical energy coursing through the great network of wires and poles that keeps our entire modern civilisation operating.

            The Egyptians used sail boats at least by 3500 BCE.
            Hero of Alexandria possibly invented the first wind power device in around the very early period AD.

            A windwheel operating an organ, marking the first instance of wind powering a machine in history.[3][4]

            However the the Chinese may have used wind power some 2000 years BCE.

            Yet despite the stupidity of trying to use wind power to run a 24 hours a day civilisation, even the industrialists of the pre steam eras tried to steer clear of wind power and preferred water wheels to drive their factories and mills, unreliable as those water wheels still were

            And then came the great British Industrial revolution, an industrial revolution which is still ongoing today and which, using the very cheap, highly concentrated energy source in coal and oil to drive those first steam engines which for the first time in human history could provide a dead steady reliable energy source and which today continues to provide a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks of the year energy source, a source that has done so much to lift not only billions of humanity out of the short brutish existence of the eras long gone but will continue to do so for those yet to come far into the unknown future.

            From Wiki
            Steam power during the Industrial Revolution

            The steam engine was one of the most important technologies of the Industrial Revolution, although steam did not replace water power in importance in Britain until after the Industrial Revolution. From Englishman Thomas Newcomen’s atmospheric engine, of 1712, through major developments by Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer James Watt, the steam engine began to be used in many industrial settings, not just in mining, where the first engines had been used to pump water from deep workings. Early mills had run successfully with water power, but by using a steam engine a factory could be located anywhere, not just close to water. Water power varied with the seasons and was not available at times due to freezing, floods and dry spells.

            Note no mention of Wind as those pre steam industrialists just could not operate with the unreliability and low power output of wind.

            Yet here we are, almost exactly 300 years later since the start of the industrial revolution with a whole cohort of mindless ignoramuses and green gentrified, ignorant of the real world, whack jobs who are so bereft of intellect that they can’t comprehend that as soon as an alternative to wind and then water power was even crudely operating, those old industrialists of 250 to 300 years ago got to hell out of wind and water just as fast as they could as it was so useless that to even try to run the beginnings of a nascent industrializing civilisation was a recipe for failure.

            And these ignorant uncomprehending green watermelon whackos along with all the narcissistic carpet baggers of the renewable energy industry want to force the rest of us to go back there into the darkness literally of the pre industrialisation eras with their feeble, failed and futile wind power.

            End of rant!


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            • #
              Vince Whirlwind

              Wind provided 43% of South Australia’s electricity needs last month.

              Wind is driving down electricity prices.

              Wind is cutting CO2 emissions.

              Wind is real, unlike your [Snip - ad hominem ~ Fly].


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              • #
                Rereke Whakaaro

                See my comment at #4.1, and the comment from TonyfromOz at #6.


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                Debbie

                Vince.
                Driving down electricity prices?
                I think you need to do some research into how the electricity market works.
                I suspect that SA’s electricity bills reflect no such thing.
                Even that 43% fig is more a case of creative stats than a representation of REALITY.
                Tony has repeatedly and simply explained .


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                The Backslider

                Wind provided 43% of South Australia’s electricity needs last month.

                Utter rot! C’mon, show us the numbers…. we know you cannot.


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                The Backslider

                Here is some light reading for you Vince, just to show you how “clean and green” wind power is.


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                The Backslider

                Oh, and don’t forget the Prius for rare earth as well….


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                ROM

                And the other 57% of South Australia’s power needs came from where?

                I haven’t heard whether the South Australians spent around an average 13.7 hours a day sitting around in the dark and cold waiting for the wind to blow again so as to run their water and sewerage and lights and ATM’s and phones and computers and machine tools and hospital equipment and shops and banks and offices all waiting for the wind to start blowing again as only Nature knows when that wind will start blowing again and how much.

                It seems they weren’t happy to be facing that prospect so they fired up their coal fired generators , some of even the big diesel generators.
                The bought a lot, a hell of a lot of power at grossly inflated prices from Victoria’s brown coal fired generators, from Tasmania’s Hydro through the Bass Strait link and then on through the Victorian / SA interconnect in South west Vic all of which gives them the honour of having amongst the highest electricity prices in Australia and is right up there in global prices as well.

                All of which the wind farm owners no doubt rejoice in.

                And in about 15 to no more than 20 years as those turbines age and their efficiency falls off due to aerodynamic blade deformation and gearbox and component wear and stresses to only about 60% efficiency compared to the new turbines, they become uneconomical and have to be replaced all over again at new prices.

                Meanwhile those coal fired generators which cost less than a third of the price per Kw of plated generating capacity to build compared to wind turbines which operate at no more than an average maximum of 32 % [ Germany's land based turbines average just 18% of their plated generating output ] keep on generating power at 85% to 90 % of their plated output over some 85% or more of their operational life of 50 years or more

                If somebody, somewhere, some day brings down a single pylon in that interconnect then South Australia just sits there for a week in the cold and dark and nothing to do or can be done without power for most until the Interconnect is restored.
                The SA’s will get to experiencer what it is like live with those miniscule amounts of energy those third world citizens have to live with all their lives.
                And this in what is supposed to be one of the world’s most advanced and richest per capita countries on Earth.

                Then again SA could turn to Spain or Germany for advice on running a country using renewable energy as it’s main intended energy source of the future.
                Well for Germany. like the Spanishj have already experienced and severly suffered under, the consequences of a renewable energy powered future has arrived rarther early .

                Via the GWPF

                Energy policy, reform roll-back put German economy in uncertainty

                [ quoted ]

                In reality, economists and some government officials acknowledge, there are deeper reasons for the recent downturn. And they have little to do with the spike in geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe or the Middle East.

                They start at home, where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s abrupt exit from nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster in Japan and aggressive push into renewables has unnerved German industry.

                A recent overhaul of the country’s complex renewable energy law has done little to alleviate uncertainty over future policy or assuage fears about German energy competitiveness.

                “Energy intensive industries in particular have lost confidence in the future of Germany as a business location,” said Thomas Mayer, a former chief economist at Deutsche Bank who now runs the Cologne-based Flossbach von Storch Research Institute. “I think this is a major issue that will burden German industry for years to come.”

                [ / ]

                Try living using just wind power.

                When you get a 6 week spell of little or no wind which did actually occur in my youth and will occur again, all your wind turbines will about as useful as tits on a bull as that old country saying goes.
                And a damn sight more expensive.


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                Angry

                Vince Whirlwind,
                You just make up this crap as you go along !

                Provide facts to backup your assertions or shut up and stop wasting everybody’s time !


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              • #

                Vince has to make his Comments short.

                He’s only working off wind power, so he can only (very patiently) wait for the turbines to supply, make a swift comment, and then get offline before the power fails.

                Tony.


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                the Griss

                I’m not surprised his wind is enough to drive a computer. !


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    Peter Miller

    In a reasonable rational world, it would be self-evident that there is a choice between two types of energy supply, one is expensive, unreliable and unpredictable, and the other is cheap, reliable and predictable.

    So no surprises that our glorious political ‘elite’ went for the former.


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    • #
      Vince Whirlwind

      Wind is cheaper than coal.


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        Rereke Whakaaro

        Have you got any costings to support that statement?

        Because all of the Government figures I have seen show the opposite if Government subsidies are ignored. That is why the subsidies exist, and in fact that is how they are calculated.

        But let us not forget that the subsidies are just sourced from taxation, so in the long run, we all pay extra for wind power.

        Also you have to consider maintenance costs. Turbines require a higher level of maintenance, and since they are distributed (to prevent “wind shadow effects”) you need a greater investment in spares, greater non-productive travel, and the maintenance setup, and closure costs.

        Practicalities, practicalities.


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        Angry

        Vince Whirlwind says “wind is cheaper than coal”…….

        BULLS.IT !!!!!!!


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        James Bradley

        Vince’

        If wind were cheaper than coal it wouldn’t need generous tax payer funded grants to start up and generous tax payer subsidies to continue.

        If it were cheap enough it would go on its own and be making a motza charging consumers 32c kw.

        If it was that good punters would be kicking down doors to invest in it.


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      • #
        Glen Michel

        I think most of us would support renewables if the arrays needed were not so ugly and uncompetitive.Hydro aside all these others are not consistent in any sense.have a look at the North German plain near Leipzig and Dresden and despair.


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      • #
        the Griss

        Beans don’t cause coal !!

        You ought to offer to help pump up the SkyWhale, you seem to have heaps of waste hot air.


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    Joe

    Ceetee,
    Who cares, wind can never amount to anything.
    Try LFTR (Lithium Fluoride Thorium Reactor) technology instead.


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    • #
      Ceetee

      Joe like you I don’t care. I just wondered is all.


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      • #
        crakar24

        CT,

        Think thia way, it works opposite to a prop on a plane


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      • #
        Safetyguy66

        Ceetee as a former industry insider I can tell you the maintenance issues vary. Some turbines have very expensive and complicated gearboxes to deal with the issues you mentioned. Depending on the conditions some turbines work well for long periods of time with low maintenance and failure, where as others suffer almost immediate effects and damage from unexpected environmental factors. Main drive shafts operate on tolerances of fractions of a mm. Things like wind sheer such as was experienced at Woolnorth windfarm in Tassy can be extremely damaging and some turbines have had major replacements of blades, gearboxes and drive shafts.

        So like any machine it depends on a lot of factors, the design, the conditions, the operating parameters etc etc.


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    Matty

    The thought of all that money wasted on renewables always makes me RETch.


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    James Bradley

    Slightly OT.

    BoM tonight reported on Nine News that this extreme weather is unusual for this time of year.

    For the last sixty odd years, (with the exception of the last five or six years when it came a couple of months earlier) I have always experienced this very blustery, rainy weather in August-September.

    Hence the term I grew up with – August/September Winds.

    How did a minor anomaly over the last five years become determiined to be the the norm by BoM and traditional weather patterns become unusual and extreme?


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      Yonniestone

      James try not give yourself a headache trying to make sense of this.

      Simply put you are being rational about analyzing information and the BOM are not, nor have for quite a while actually I wonder how long it’s been now?…….damn now I’m doing it, my head hurts! :(


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        ROM

        Look at it this way, guys!
        We are the pioneers. the first.

        Civilisations have regularly collapsed through out history either through war or drought or leadership incompetence or sometimes just sheer abject corruption and sometimes through a complete break down in the Empire’s bureacracy and the imposition of untold numbers of minor laws and endless rules until the peasants got to the revolting stage.

        But every one of those old Empires, Kingdoms and Powers knew intimately about the natural processes around them. For on the fall of those natural events and processes depended their very lives and existence.
        For when the food supplies became short, people suffered.
        When the crops failed and then the food supplies failed through drought, disease, floods or any other natural event, they died often in large numbers.

        Our civilisation is the FIRST where the majority of the population no longer knows much about Nature as Nature really is, not as they imagine it is from the media and glossy magazines and the pure propaganda of the deliberately untruthful, emotion based, money leeching green websites.

        Well over half of ALL of mankind now live in cities of more than 100, 000 population

        They have an image of Nature as some sort of golden glow out there in the far distance, a Nature which mankind must not upset or damage in anyway as if he ever could..
        They are incapable of comprehending that we, the species Homo Sapiens are also just another facet, another offshoot out of hundreds of millions of species both past and present, of Nature about which Nature couldn’t give a damn about any more than any other species.

        They are so ignorant of the real Nature, the uncaring, red in tooth and claw, full blooded, ever changing, unpredictable harsh and non judgmental real Nature that they are fast losing touch with the realities of food production, of water supplies, of disease and even the realities of hunger, suffering and famine as it is imposed by Nature and not of mankind’s creation as so much of it is these days.

        We see this daily in the way in which climate science alarmism no longer understands that it is still Nature that rules the world and not some self aggrandising climate modeler’s biased and incoherent climate model that categorically rules what Nature is supposed to be doing or how Nature is supposed to be behaving and then doesn’t believe it when Nature does something else entirely
        .
        Nature is supposed to be standing aside as we humans take over Natures role in controlling and influencing the global climate if you want to believe the climate alarmists and the green blob.
        But Nature just laughs as she turns the solar wick down.
        And we will feel the consequences of Nature’s casual disregard for mankind’s beliefs and comfort perhaps in the very likely, possibly very uncomfortable and possibly hungry future, God forbid.

        We are the first ever civilisation that is losing touch, fast losing touch with the real time, harsh realities of the real Nature and that could presage our downfall and collapse as a civilisation sometime in the still unknown future as Nature just does what Nature does and will continue to keep right on doing as long as the world exists.
        And we both fail to comprehend what is happening and go blithely on our way believing that we control our own destiny and nothing else has any say.

        Nature just smiles and turns another trick we hadn’t ever though of or believed would happen to us. the species Homo sapiens.


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        • #
          sophocles

          Drought is the `elephant in the room.’ It’s the major cause of empire collapse throughout history, and it’s one of the major causes of war. We produce more than enough food at the moment.

          When food (grain) becomes scarce, simple economics dictates its price rises. We saw what happens when food is priced out of reach in 2011 with the so-called `Arab Spring,’ with rioting in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria. When enough people are hungry, they riot. Period. Our history holds the lessons in full view, yet insufficient attention is paid to them. That scarcity cycle is clearly marked in one of the West’s best known homilies: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

          We are no less vulnerable to prolonged drought than any preceeding civilisation. The only real difference is how fast it will affect us. Russia’s interference in the Ukraine is, therefore, no surprise. Their scientific establishment has long scorned the CO2 myth and preached the Solar link. They know what creates the present food surplus. The Ukraine is known as `the bread-basket of Europe’ for good reason.

          China is buying farm land around the world. They’re not silly either.


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            Lawrie Ayres

            Sophocles,

            I read an interesting book some time back that linked the rise and fall of various civilisations to severe El Nino events. I’m sorry I can’t recall the name. One example I found intriguing was the demise of the Mayans and the postulation that the priests had knowledge of the timing of rains and could manage the population accordingly. The advent of a major El Nino caused the commoners to lose confidence in the priestly class and through necessity deserted the capital at Tikal for better resourced areas. Weather events, particularly droughts, have played and will continue to play a significant role in human history. People with little connection to agriculture and the effects of weather on it will have trouble accepting the fine line that exists between bountiful supplies and famine. Hence the reluctance to build dams for irrigation and the waste of irrigation water to maintain a fresh water Lake Alexandrina.


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          James Bradley

          ROM,

          Bang on the money.

          Just watched a news story about a group of people who managed to survive a boating mishap and were beached for a short while. Within 5 hours they were reduced to drinking their own urine and eating leaves to survive.

          I sh#t you not.


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      James Bradley

      Thanks, Yonnie’, all better now… thank god for the ability to abuse prescription medication.


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    • #

      Would that be the Bureau of Misinformation?


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    • #

      August/September Winds

      Yep. Up here referred to as the mango winds …


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      Raven

      Hence the term I grew up with – August/September Winds.

      Yeah, don’t these ‘extreme’ weather events always occur during the change of seasons?
      After summer fades we’ll get those ‘mad March days’.


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    pat

    another reason not to watch abc tonite:

    18 Aug: ABC Four Corners: Battle for the Reef
    By Marian Wilkinson and Ali Russell
    Four Corners and reporter Marian Wilkinson take you inside the agency that approved one of the most contentious environmental decisions this year. In January, the body tasked with protecting the Great Barrier Reef approved a plan to dump three million cubic metres of dredge spoil inside the marine park to expand the Abbot Point coal port.
    The decision by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has shocked and angered the scientific community. Internal documents obtained by Four Corners reveal deep divisions between the scientists and bureaucrats behind the decision…etc
    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2014/08/18/4067593.htm


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    pat

    even CAGW believers face reality occasionally:

    15 Aug: CS Monitor: Ken Silverstein: Sorry, Mr. Obama, Africa needs coal
    Africa faces a dilemma: It’s vulnerable to climate change but needs coal to grow robustly. So which way are Africans going?…
    For Africa to reach its growth potential, it will need coal. Because of climate concerns, President Obama has stopped US government financing of overseas coal projects that don’t include carbon capture. That pushes Africa into the middle of an ongoing debate: Is development or climate more important? Africans need the first and they’re vulnerable to the effects of the second (especially drought)…
    “We need 20-times more power than we have today,” said Ashish Thakkar, chief executive of the Mara Group, an African conglomerate.
    Mr. Obama’s new Power Africa Initiative commits the US to spend more than $7 billion over the next five years to add more than 10,000 megawatts of cleaner electricity generation. In its first phase, it will work with six countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. But meeting the continent’s overall demand with renewable energy alone, or perhaps in conjunction with natural gas, will be difficult.
    “If we say no coal and no nuclear, then we are not serious,” says Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank. “We know that intermittent energy [alone] will not lead to economic development. We have made a clear commitment to battle climate change. [But we are also] serious about African access to energy. In certain places where the only option is coal, we have to look at that.”…
    In 2010, for example, the World Bank approved a $3.75 billion loan to build a coal plant in South Africa that was highly efficient but didn’t include carbon capture. While the United States voiced concerns over the loan, it abstained from voting. In the end, bank officials agreed to the deal.
    The US government’s stance on coal may become less relevant, however, since many African nations are wooing investment from private energy firms…
    “We have seen growth of 6 percent,” said Sospeter Muhongo, energy minister for Tanzania. “We want to move to 8 to 9 percent. To do that, we have to factor in population growth. We will use natural gas. We will use coal.”
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/0815/Sorry-Mr.-Obama-Africa-needs-coal


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      Safetyguy66

      The warmistas conveniently forget or ignore the fact that no one is going to develop new technologies while they are still burning dung for heating and cooking. It may well be that the energy solution the world wants is in the head of a small African child right now, if that child starves because green lobbyists have ensured his life is cut short through lack of first world services and technologies, then we all lose.

      But this is completely unimportant to eco-loons. I had an argument with a guy at a party a couple of years back when I suggested the 3rd world should be assisted to develop its resources in the same way we have. After much double talk and broken logic he finally came out with his basic position, the same basic position all greens share. He informed me sternly that he couldn’t give a rats clacker what happens in the 3rd world, as long as his white kids could enjoy the same or better living standards as he had enjoyed. Greens are racists and eugenicists and they are completely comfortable with it.


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      Safetyguy66

      Also as much as I hate referring to anything that could suggest a conspiracy theory….

      If you watch “Great Global Warming Swindle” it unashamedly puts forward the proposition that AGW is a western plot to suppress development in the 3rd world. Sounds crazy right? So how do you explain this?

      http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-planet-will-boil-over-if-young-africans-are-allowed-cars-air-conditioning-big

      No its not a conspiracy. Conspiracies are generally secret, this is just out and out eco racism, plain and simple. If Obama was white, there would have been riots across the USA from those comments.


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    crakar24

    OT,

    Channel flicking and i landed on QandA, they were talking about taxation, the silver fox pointed to a man to allow him to ask his question.

    Q, If the government wants to raise taxes to reduce the national debt, why dont the government tax the banks rather than the people?

    Silver fox, Ok we will take that as a comment.

    LOL, LOL, LOL, F&*^*ng LOL


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      Safetyguy66

      Yeah Christine Milne was spouting some more economic genius on the ABC this morning.

      Bring back carbon pricing and put a levy on coal exports.

      If Christine’s role was to destroy our economy, while doing nothing other than shifting the business off shore, she should get an award for her brilliance. If her role is to represent Australians, then she needs to put in a soft room for her own safety.


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        Dennis

        I heard Wayne Swan interviewed about his book on radio this morning, he feels certain that there will be a new emissions trading scheme sometime in the future because of global warming, and a mining tax because even though the one he created did not get close to revenue target it was still a great idea.


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    Agnostic

    Jo, I wonder whether a post improving on what I am about to outline but doing a better job would be worthwhile?

    My objection to renewable energy is due to its low energy density, and how the scale of the issue is neglected, especially in terms of its necessity for mitigating fossil fuel use.

    To get some idea of the scale of power demand now and the capacity for renewables (specifically solar) to be able to meet it, I did some back of envelope calculations which I am sure could be improved on. It seems to me that the scale of future energy requirements require a solution orders of magnitude larger than anything that could be provided by low density so-called “renewable” energy.

    - Currently, according to Hans Rosling, around 1/7th of the worlds population use half of the worlds energy.

    - In 2008, world energy demand was about 144 Pwhs (according to wiki).

    - If, based on 2008 numbers the top 1/7th energy users could improve efficiency of energy usage by 25% (optimistic I know), which becomes the model or upper limit for the rest of the worlds population, and we further say that we have to allow for every human being on the planet to have equal access to energy, then by the time the population tops out at around 11 billion, we will need to be able to produce and deliver 4 times more energy per year than we do now. This is a moral point rather than a practical point – I have no idea whether the poorest people will be able to make sufficient economic progress in 40-50 years from now, but it’s not unreasonable to suppose they might, and more to the point they should have the same right to energy that the developed world does.

    - I used this website as a basis for making calculations and their numbers. Googling around it seems to be fairly well agreed: http://www.factsaboutsolarenergy.us/solar-energy-facts.html

    - You can get about very roughly 1 kwhs per day from 1 m^2 of PV. That’s assuming: 4-7 kwh/M^2 insolation and 20% efficiency. Obviously some days will be cloudy, and although PVs are about 6-20% efficient, lets assume they can become more efficient and you could get the average to that.

    - So 365 kwh/year/ m^2.

    - So at 149,000 Twhs/year you would need (if my calcs are correct) 408,219 Km^2 of solar PV. That’s about twice the area of the UK.

    - If half of 149,000 Twhs is for 1/7th of the population, and we want to spread energy usage evenly, AND we manage somehow to make 25% efficiency savings on how much energy we use, we would need, about 55,000 Twhs plus per billion, or 615,000 Twhs per year for a population of 11 billion.

    - Just for fun, if this were all to be supplied by PV, at the levels calculated above you would need about 1,685,000 km^2. About 6 times the size of the UK or about 2/3 of Western Australia.

    Not-with-standing the rather extreme nature of a venture of that size, and even allowing for the other renewable technologies such as geo-thermal and hydro which reduce the need for all of the energy to be supplied by PV, there is the problem of transmission. On a post recently at WUWT Prof Robert Brown at Duke University explained why you can’t transmit electricity more than 300 miles or so before you start using more energy than you are delivering. It’s not a hard limit to be sure, but it indicates a key difficulty with energy infrastructure.

    I am not in favour of any low-density solution. I’m not keen on fossil fuels for similar reasons: its energy density means you need to dig a lot of it up, transport it to be refined, refine it, then transport it to where it needs to go. But it is far superior to the alternatives proposed – save for nuclear and in particular modular nuclear and nuclear fusion. All of the renewable solutions require what I consider to be an unacceptable degree of impact on the environment, especially when considering the transmission infrastructure required. I believe the only realistic solution is high density small scale modular nuclear energy that can be placed easily within the existing infrastructure and does not require large scale new infrastructure to be built.

    It’s looking at the scale of the problem, the moral imperative to ensure all of the worlds population have an equal access to energy, that makes me think that the solution requires something of an order of magnitude that renders renewable solutions redundant.


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      NielsZoo

      I like to do similar comparisons (when pointing out the obvious) to the mathematically impaired that fill the ranks of the eco loons. They would be thrilled if you told them that you were going to pave the Gobi Desert with PV’s to replace coal. They would force shutters on the coal plants and then tie you up in court for a decade to protect the Lesser Gobi Sand Flea or other equally important organism and prevent the majority of the solar project as well… and that’s the point. Their goal is to get that 1/7th of the world’s population back down into the Stone Age where they believe Man should have remained… it ain’t about the environment it’s their desire to see man knocked back a few thousand years.


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        ROM

        Agnostic @ #19.

        Like you, I’ve done quite a number of calculations over the last few years on land areas required to power Australia and the world with the so called renewable energies of wind and solar.
        But i did some more digging on the net this morning where it seems quite a lot of individuals have had a go at this with all sorts of highly biased and suspect outcomes according to their own individual biases.

        However there is a quite good study of the land areas required for the various energy generating technologies to be found at Massachusett’s Lincoln Institute of Land Policies study;

        Climate Change and Land Policies

        The link above takes you to Chapter 5;

        Alternative Energy Sources and Land Use

        I would direct you to page 93; Fig 5.1 where there is a graph which I really would like to post here on Jo’s blog which indicates the percentages of global land areas required to meet both 10% and also 100 % of the world’s 2010 energy needs withy the various renewable energy technologies.

        That graph is quite an eye opener particularly for the likes of Bio fuels area requirements to meet the world’s current energy needs. It would take 100% of the world’s land area to grow the necessary tonnage of soy bean crops to run the world on bio-diesel from soy beans which really makes the idea of subsidising bio-fuel production arguably one of the craziest, most stupid decisions that the politicals and green blob have ever come up with.
        And it is certainly some sort of record for total intellectual vapidity to achieve that, a record for which there is an immense amount of competition amongst the politicals, bureaucracies and the green blob eco-loons.

        Of course the graph only shows the land use requirements for renewable global energy production needs up to 2010 but does not account for the fast growing energy requirements in the years ahead as the developing nations accelerate economically along with their living standards rising quite fast in most cases.
        Nations such as the world’s fourth largest nation by population, Indonesia with it’s 255 millions and which is only an hour or so flight time from Australia’s Darwin.

        And then we have the rapidly rising energy needs of the now starting to accelerate economically, the undeveloped nations in the rest of the world such as in sub Saharan and central Africa.


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        Safetyguy66

        Spot on Nielszoo.

        The end game for greens is less humans. But not less white middle class western humans, less brown, developing, 3rd world humans. They hate their own humanity, but none of them have the courage of their convictions to do anything about it. Show me a green with children and I will show you a drooling hypocrite.


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      steverichards1984

      Prof Brown is wrong, there are many long distance power lines around the world, just see the list on wiki – HVDC, there are many over 1000 km.

      These people do not build these things to lose money.


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    Tim

    Forget the dithering ‘Scaling Back’. Renewable Energy Targets are a Gillard Government service to their international socialist overlords. Why would a rational Abbot Government continue with this crap?

    Just grow some cojones and make a Climate Commission decision, guys. And the termination of the Gillard Climate Council should follow.

    Let’s get serious.


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      gnome

      Only one red thumb (at 7.30 PM 19/8) I wonder which side delivered that. You clearly aren’t aware that the mandatory renewable energy target was introduced by the Howard government, and you probably don’t know, but should, that the climate council is the idiot-funded successor of the publicly funded Climate Commission which the Abbott Government defunded.

      Keep up, if you want to be taken seriously. That second red thumb is from me- I like the debate to be stick to fact!


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        Tim

        I am suitably shamed on just who signed up to the RET. Thanks for pointing that out. But on your other points, I suggest a re-read of my comments. A ‘Climate Commission decision’ was the decision to defund it, so let’s do the same with the Council. I think we agree on that.

        I like debate to stick to comprehension.


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    Gamecock

    “So the cost of renewables also includes the cost of shifting these “base load” suppliers from efficient to inefficient use — and in the case of coal it means producing more CO2 for the same megawatts.”

    The assumption is base load suppliers will stay in business. Unless they have a large enough revenue stream to cover their cost and produce some profit, they won’t. In other words, they won’t.

    “Increased funding of research and development (R&D) is frequently suggested by policy-makers. This was a recommendation of the Garnaut report and is also suggested in the CEDA report. The CEDA report prefers spending on R&D rather than on subsidies.”

    The underlying assumption is there is some big discovery that is just one project away from making renewables viable. It is a preposterous assumption.


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    Roy Hogue

    Can I use renewable energy targets for target practice? No? Well I thought not. But I had to ask.

    “Renewable energy” is certainly alive and well here in the states. I get two or three email solicitations from solar installers every week. I fear that the same thing is happening that happened to solar water heating. Everyone and his brother jumped on what looked like a profitable bandwagon and started installing systems. Then as soon as the government subsidy went away, so did the companies that installed them, leaving the buyer holding the bag.

    And yes, I get solicitations for solar water heating again too. I expect that any day now I’ll get email from someone offering to install a wind turbine in my backyard. It’s deja-vu all over again. ;-)

    This would be serious comedy if it wasn’t such a tragic mistake.

    Meanwhile, Obama is bent on destroying the coal industry. But his latest approval rating from a reliable poll (but what poll really predicts the future?) was 31%. His political ship is sinking and along with it, the Democrats hold on the Senate. Unfortunately we need the ability to override a president’s veto in both the House and the Senate and I don’t know if we can get there.

    In the meantime, government and government entities like park districts are installing solar all over the place. So also for the community college district where I taught and maybe others. As far as any serious attempt to get the most efficient use of the sun for energy, every installation I’ve seen is a joke. They’re all for a show of political correctness. That they produce anything at all will impress those who don’t know better. But when you do know better you end up laughing. And of course, when those great big panels are really oriented correctly toward the sun to get the best advantage of what they can do, they’re an eyesore that no one wants to see. Go figure. It’s a giant (im)practical joke.


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      Roy Hogue

      And there’s a lot more to the story than what I said above.


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      Gamecock

      Agreed. “ME TOO! ME TOO!” Not government leaders, but government followers, wanting everyone to know that they are “green,” too.


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      Angry

      Bet those solar panels work well covered in SNOW !


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        Roy Hogue

        No snow here at only a few hundred feet above sea level. But in a city environment they collect dust really fast and that does wonders for their efficiency. Then you have a night when the temperature drops below the dew point, the dirt turns to mud and it sticks like glue. You can accumulate quite a layer of sun blocking crud in just a week or two. It’s the same problem you have with your car. And rain doesn’t clean them any more than it does your car.

        I doubt that anyone is cleaning them. Most probably don’t give it a thought. You would have to wash them with a hose like your car and wipe them dry. Who’s going to do that? And California is in a bad drought with 20% water use reduction in place. If you’re green you just can’t win.


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    James Bradley

    Not OT because it eventually concerns Senate outcomes for abolishing our RET’s:

    Clive Palmer rants about China on last night’s Q&A (didn’t watch it – saw the WIN News this morning).

    … The Chinese are mongrels, they shoot their own people, they want to control our ports, they want to take over this country…

    Ok, Clive, so this is old news, it was in all the video from Tiananmen Square, if you belived this is the agenda, why were you complicit in that ‘agenda’ and why scream about it now only when you got your sticky fingers caught in their cookie jar?


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      scaper...

      And Clive is also intending to hold a climate conference at Coolum. Gee, so many warmists in one location…tempting.


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      Yonniestone

      Interesting that there’s no code of conduct that applies to Australian Senators http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/Brief_Guides_to_Senate_Procedure/No_22 I wonder if Clive has ever had a proper look at this?

      Making sweeping statements to sum up anything contributes nothing in the search of truth, I could easily make such an effort towards real estate agents.


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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Interesting that there’s no code of conduct that applies to Australian Senators

        Just speaking generally about that problem, even when there is a code of ethics it may not make a bit of difference because they’re self policing. No independent body gets to pass judgment on them.

        Now if you’re the Governor of Texas and you actually care enough to carry out your responsibility… …well then you can be indicted for “abuse of power” with the possibility of 99 years in prison hanging in the balance. One alcoholic DA (District Attorney) who should have been tossed out of office after being convicted of driving under the influence can convene a grand jury and as the saying goes, “Indict a ham sandwich.” Governor Perry did nothing more than what he was legally entitled to do, veto a bill funding a “public integrity” unit headed by said alcoholic DA. Yes, public integrity is hard at work in Austin Texas.

        The cheaters always get the upper hand. And this one is carrying water for Barack Obama and the Democrats as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

        If there’s been any abuse of power it starts with the Chicago thug in the White House.

        I expect it’s made news around the world. So much for ethics, huh?


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      gnome

      Someone should warn clive those orientals are very devious- that Jackie Lam is probably related to Jackie Chan (they are so devious they put the surname before the given names). (Then again, they are also very clever, so- Jacquie Lambkins- probably seriously occidental.)


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    Vince Whirlwind

    The crazy world of climate change “sceptics”!

    What CEDA actually says:


    “In fact we appear to be one of the only countries trying to wind back its legislative approach to greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps it’s time for a policy rethink on an emissions trading scheme,” he said.”


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    WindStrider

    OT but perhaps this publication is of interest to you and Dr Evans: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2225.html


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    handjive

    O/T UPDATE

    RUPERT DARWALL
    An Unsettling Climate
    Global-warming proponents betray science by shutting down debate.

    An up-to-date critique of Murray Salby, no-holds-barred.
    His financial matters are for all to see.

    This quote hopefully will pique your interest:

    “However, all these matters have involved bureaucratic rights and wrongs.
    They have no bearing on his science, just as Antoine Lavoisier’s being a tax farmer had no bearing on his demolition of the phlogiston theory of combustion.”


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    Neville

    O/T but interesting info.

    An interesting graph from WUWT showing the extreme mega droughts that occurred in the west of the USA over the last 1000 years.
    The last hundred years is by far the wettest period over that long period of time and seems to match NOAA’s PDO reconstruction.
    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/california_drought_timeline.png


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    pat

    perfect topics for the COOLum agenda!

    18 Aug: UK Daily Mail: So much for summer: Snow set to blast Scotland as forecasters warn of ‘coldest August spell in a century’
    Forecasters have warned that Cumbria and Yorkshire could see the coldest August spell in 95 years
    The temperature rose no higher than 8.9C in 1919 and it is expected to dip that low again later this week
    Bitter Arctic winds could plunge parts of Britain into the coldest spell of August weather for almost a century…
    It is not expected to rise above 9C in parts of the north during the day all week with chilly winds making it feel much colder.
    The Met Office said Loadpot Hill, in Cumbria, is unlikely to see a maximum daytime temperature of more than 8C on Thursday…
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2727734/Wet-cold-bank-holiday-way-forecasters-warn-two-weeks-bad-weather-ahead.html

    16 Aug: The Weather Channel: Snow Pile in Winnipeg, Canada, Still Standing Nearly 60 Feet Tall in Mid-August
    http://www.weather.com/news/winnipeg-snow-pile-20140816


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    pat

    the Crazy World of the CAGW alarmists:

    5 Aug: OwenSoundSunTimes, Ontario: Lakes rising but group warns it won’t last
    by Scott Dunn
    Lake levels have risen more than 30 centimetres above those seen this time last year, thanks largely to a memorably cold winter which froze lakes, limited evaporation and let snow pile up…
    But Mary Muter, chair of the Great Lakes section of Sierra Club Canada, said don’t be fooled by unusually high precipitation over the past 1 1/2 years and by last winter’s cold stretches which froze the lakes and minimized evaporation. “This is temporary relief,” she said.
    “We are about to be hit with the next cycle of warm weather,” she said, referring to an El Nino weather pattern which is setting up, causing forecasters to predict next winter will be warmer than average…
    http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2014/08/05/lakes-rising-but-group-warns-it-wont-last


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    Neville

    A new study finds the sun is guilty again of climate change and temp etc in Greenland.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/new-paper-finds-sun-controls-greenland.html


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    Angry

    Clive Palmer supports Australians paying UNAFFORDABLE electricity prices !!

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/clive-palmer-vows-to-block-ret-changes-as-industry-fears-worst-20140818-105g53.html

    WTF !

    Obviously Palmer is no better than the communist GREENS !

    Clive Palmer to host World Climate Change convention at Coolum resort:-

    http://www.news.com.au/national/clive-palmer-to-host-world-climate-change-convention-at-coolum-resort/story-fncynjr2-1227028254603

    By the way Palmer and his party also support the devil worship cult of islam !

    http://www.hotheads.com.au/say no to pup.htm


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    Neville

    The leader of the party that controls the senate numbers calls our largest trading partners mongrels and bastards and silly Penny Wong continues to look silly.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/clive_palmer_calls_partners_chinese_bastards_and_mongrels_wong_silent/


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    pat

    18 Aug: Phys.org: Ellen Knickmeyer: Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air
    A new form of solar energy is having an unwanted side effect: It makes some birds ignite in midair.
    California’s energy commission is studying the issue of bird deaths at a new kind of solar plant that works with concentrated sun rays. The technology has proved unexpectedly deadly to birds at a new solar plant in the Mojave Desert. It’s owned by Google and two California energy companies.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is urging the state to hold off on permitting another plant of the same kind. It wants more study of what it says is the significant number of birds igniting and falling as they fly above the plant…
    http://phys.org/news/2014-08-emerging-solar-birds-mid-air.html


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  • #

    I’d like to point out something important here.

    Note how with that LCOE, they’ve reduced it to cost per MWH (MegaWattHour).

    Now I couldn’t care less about the word cost, because they’ve done everything they can to trick it up to make wind seem cheap, and coal seem expensive, but let’s just look at the MWH part of it, and that’s actual power delivery into the grids.

    This is actually where the concentration should be, not the up front Nameplate of the plant, but the actual power delivered.

    Okay then, go to this wind performance chat at this link, and now it’s in real time, so what you see there is actual wind plant power delivery for the current time, and now, at 11.30AM on Tuesday 19th August, wind is delivering a total of (the equivalent of) 450MW of its Nameplate power, which incidentally is around 13.5% of its Capacity.

    So, scroll all the way to the bottom of that page and note the total Nameplate, 3,342MW. That’s around 1500 of those huge towers in total, spread across 32 Large Scale wind plants, so, in effect, right now, only 200 or so of those 1500 are actually turning and delivering power.

    Okay then, here we have a Nameplate of 3342MW, and at the average of 30% Capacity Factor, all these towers are delivering 8790GWH of power to the grids each year.

    That’s HALF the yearly power delivery from just the ONE large Scale coal fired plant, in this case Bayswater.

    So, here we have 32 wind plants, around 1500 towers, and we are still only getting half the output from the ONE Bayswater power plant.

    So, you can construct new wind plants at a huge rate, and still not replace coal fired power. Well you can’t replace coal fired power with wind anyway, as coal fired is 24/7/365 power, and wind barely averages a tick over 7 hours a day, averaged, anyway.

    But see the point here.

    Here we have 32 wind plants, and still only half the output of ONE coal fired plant.

    Cost per MWH is incidental when that little fact is taken into account.

    Oh, and South Australia with its huge amount of wind power, 1477MW, well that is currently delivering 80MW, a Capacity Factor of 5.4%, with around 32 of its 590 towers actually turning right now.

    Ain’t the Internet grand.

    Tony.


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    pat

    AUDIO: 19 Aug: Radio Australia: Training to meet renewable energy targets for the Pacific
    Pacific leaders reaffirmed their commitment last year to a sustainable future through the adoption of national renewable energy and energy efficiency targets as outlined in the Majuro Declaration on Climate Leadership…
    Critical to the process is gaining access to up-to-date, accurate and appropriate data.
    It’s this aspect that’s been the focus of a training workshop in Fiji organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the International Renewable Energy Agency.
    The head of SPC’s Energy Programme, Solomone Fifita, says the workshop is part of a very important process…
    Presenter: Richard Ewart
    Speaker: Solomone Fifita, Secretariat of the Pacific Community Energy Programme
    http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/training-to-meet-renewable-energy-targets-for-the-pacific/1358278


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    pat

    meanwhile, the crazy world of carbon trading in China:

    17 Aug: Reuters: China’s carbon plans: secrecy and oversupply darken outlook
    By Stian Reklev and Kathy Chen
    As China lays down plans for a national carbon trading scheme, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases risks repeating mistakes made in carbon trading in Europe by flooding its pilot markets with free permits.
    The European Union’s scheme, the world’s largest, suffered a collapse in prices hurting its credibility when the EU gave away too many permits just as the global financial crisis was slashing demand and in turn curbing pollution levels.
    Fifteen traders, brokers and consultants speaking to Reuters said that most of China’s pilot markets launched last year were riddled with an over-allocation of permits, bar pockets of scarcity, such as parts of the Beijing market and the electricity generation sector in Shanghai…
    According to a Shenzhen-based consultant, the market could see an ever bigger surplus for 2014, as eight big power stations had asked the government to give them more permits than last year. The Shenzhen government declined to comment…
    But local governments under pressure from Beijing to get the schemes up and running reportedly handed out too many permits to ensure industries came on board, threatening their capacity to actually rein in emissions, according to industry sources.
    “They have given out many more permits than the companies need,” said one trader at a firm active in several of the markets, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of commenting on the issue in China…
    In a matter of weeks, prices in Guangdong fell by almost a third to 41.50 yuan ($6.75) from 60 yuan, while Tianjin’s price dropped from 42 yuan to 19 yuan.
    And the situation could get worse with the supply of permits set to increase further from September, when China issues its first domestic offset credits. These are handed out for projects that can reduce emissions, such as building wind farms…
    But a refusal to publish data on emission is threatening efforts to improve the schemes, because few trading houses or banks would be willing to join a market where fundamentals are secret….
    (Beijing-based trader)”I asked them, then how can we forecast the price? How can we forecast the demand and supply balance? But they said it is not their concern at the moment.”
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/17/china-carbontrading-idUKL4N0Q61AQ20140817


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    pat

    two incredibly lengthy pieces attempting, once again, to make the CAGW cause palatable to Republicans:

    18 Aug: Bloomberg Review: Christopher Flavelle: Republicans’ Lukewarm Climate Warrior
    Across the street from the Washington Convention Center, through a narrow door tucked between a bar and what used to be a furniture rental store, up two flights of rickety stairs, Eli Lehrer is sitting in his small, sparsely decorated office, drinking a Diet Coke and explaining how to sell the Republican Party on a carbon tax. After listening to him for an hour, I start to think it might work.
    Lehrer is an odd candidate for the job of saving the planet, not least because he doesn’t seem that enthusiastic about it…
    In other words, Lehrer, a 38-year-old Chicagoan who runs a think tank called the R Street Institute, seems as if he could talk climate change with most Republicans without tripping any alarms. His bona fides are good: He was a speech writer for Republican Bill Frist when he was Senate majority leader and was later vice president of the libertarian think tank the Heartland Institute, until he quit over a billboard that made questionable reference to the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
    Where Lehrer parts with the party’s mainstream is his view that a carbon tax is a good way to wring concessions from Democrats…
    His institute, whose funders include State Farm, the Walton Foundation and Google Inc., says its mission is to “promote free markets and limited, effective government.” It’s a tagline that fits nicely in the case of a carbon tax, which Lehrer calls the least-bad way to regulate emissions — and one that allows other taxes to be cut in the meantime. The trick is persuading other Republicans to see it that way…
    Meanwhile, 80 percent of Republicans tell pollsters they oppose a carbon tax; if that tax were to increase energy costs by a hypothetical 10 percent, opposition rises to 87 percent. And even those who don’t hate the idea aren’t clamoring for it either. When the Gallup Organization asked this month what is the most important problem facing the U.S., less than 3 percent of respondents said climate change…
    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-08-18/republicans-lukewarm-climate-warrior?cmpid=yhoo

    16 Aug: Bloomberg: Anthony Adragna: Many Republicans Privately Support Action On Climate
    In stark contrast to their party’s public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem…
    In Bloomberg BNA interviews with several dozen former senior congressional aides, nongovernmental organizations, lobbyists and others conducted over a period of several months, the sources cited fears of attracting an electoral primary challenger as one of the main reasons many Republicans choose not to speak out…
    “Climate change needs to be in the mix of all of our other discussions,” former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), who represented his Ohio district from 1995 through 2013 in the House and is now president of McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies, told Bloomberg BNA. “I do think privately—and some not so privately—Republicans are coming to the point where this has been an issue that’s been pretty much settled with regard to the science. A lot of it has to do with people calming down and saying let’s have a conversation.”…
    “I do believe there is some resistance to come out publicly and say what’s happening here,” Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), who served in Congress from 1993 through 2011 and is now a partner at the law firm DLA Piper, told Bloomberg BNA. “One thing that would be helpful would be having a president who could articulate the issue well and who the Republicans have some confidence in.”…
    In contrast to those statements from party leadership, 52 percent of Republicans nationwide actually believe climate change is real, according to Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. He called Republicans a “diverse set,” but he said the rise of the Tea Party “changed the political climate of climate change” and caused many moderate Republicans to go silent on the issue to avoid primary challengers…
    Many Republicans have elected not to engage in the debate on climate change to avoid attracting a primary challenge and potentially losing their seat…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-15/many-republicans-privately-support-action-on-climate.html


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    Angry

    Your family is paying $260 a year on useless green power because of the “hidden” carbon DIOXIDE (PLANT FOOD) tax known as the RET (renewable energy target) !

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/you_are_paying_260_a_year_on_useless_green_power/

    ABOLISH THIS INSANE RET NOW !!!


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    Angry

    A bit OT but related to our “friend” Al Gore……

    Al Gore invests in fracking company:-

    Former U.S. Vice President and environment advocate Al Gore has closed a deal to make a multi-million dollar investment in a natural gas producer that specializes in fracking.
    In a statement to shareholders, Canada-based PetroBakken Resources announced that Gore and his investment partners would be pumping $200 million into the company in return for a 15 percent stake. ….read more.

    http://dailycurrant.com/2013/02/25/al-gore-invests-fracking-company/

    GORE……WHAT A FU.KING HYPOCRITE AND CON MAN !!


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    pat

    thou shalt toe the line:

    19 Aug: SMH: Tom Arup: Climate change scientist calls on colleagues to speak up on global warming debate
    One of Australia’s most senior climate scientists has called on his colleagues not to sit on the sidelines of the political debate about global warming and other environmental issues, given the evidence they present asks society to consider fundamental changes.
    In a speech to be given to the Australian Academy of Science on Tuesday evening, Dr Michael Raupach will say environment scientists’ position in the public debate had changed because they were now presenting evidence requiring society to make major choices in response.
    Dr Raupach, who heads the ANU Climate Change Institute, told Fairfax Media ahead of the speech ”Exhibit A”’ was human-induced climate change…
    His speech follows the publication of an opinion piece in The Australian by the Abbott government’s chief business adviser, Maurice Newman…
    ”For me, the question is why stuff like this continues to get airplay. It is nonsense on stilts and it has no credibility in terms of the scientific analysis.”…
    Asked whether a scientist should comment on a potential cutback to Australia’s renewable energy target – it is currently being reviewed by the Abbott government – under that criteria, Dr Raupach said he believed they could because future scenario modelling on what it will take to avoid dangerous climate change consistently found the need for a swift uptake of renewable energy…
    His comments come as Australia’s chief scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, told ABC radio on Tuesday morning the scientific community had to make sure it had the patience and the persistence to not let issues go when they have evidence that indicates something should be done in a particular way.
    ”So I think the onus is on the scientific community in ways that it hasn’t been, or with an intensity there hasn’t been for quite some time, that there is a message to give, there is evidence to explain, there is a need to express that evidence in a way that is accessible to the non-expert,” he said. ”We have to do it persistently and with patience. But we can’t stop.”
    Asked whether the renewable energy target should be maintained, Professor Chubb said: ”My view basically is we should be doing all that we can to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and if the renewable energy target helps with that we should make sure we keep it.”…
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/climate-change-scientist-calls-on-colleagues-to-speak-up-on-global-warming-debate-20140819-105qtu.html

    more Tea Party is all powerful garbage:

    19 Aug: Guardian: Dana Nuccitelli: Global warming denial rears its ugly head around the world, in English
    In Australia, USA, UK, and Canada, politicians are rejecting evidence and expert opinion about climate change
    As Graham Readfearn showed in his fact check of The Australian opinion piece, Newman got the science badly wrong in almost every way imaginable…
    Due to his lack of a scientific background, combined with his likely ideological biases, it’s understandable that Newman would get the science wrong on this issue…
    The United States has been moving in the opposite direction, with the EPA drafting rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants as the centerpiece of a larger climate action plan. Some candidates are even beginning to make climate change a central focus of their campaigns. Many in the Republican Party have criticized the Obama Administration for enforcing the law (specifically the Clean Air Act) with these regulations, but all they need do is vote to pass a small government, free market, economy-growing alternative solution to replace them.
    However, many Republican politicians are currently frozen with fear on the subject of global warming. Specifically, fear of the Tea Party…
    Global warming denial remains a tenable position for politicians in English-speaking countries because voters in those regions don’t yet view the issue as urgent or a high priority, in large part due to the false balance in media coverage of the subject. However, as people continue to directly experience more intense and frequent extreme weather events, this will inevitably change.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/aug/18/global-warming-denial-rears-head-in-english


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      gnome

      Aren’t we lucky they got Graham Readfern. with his extensive scientific background, and likely ideological purity to fact-check Maurice Newman’s piece. Wouldn’t want to go against the correct position would we?


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      Angry

      NON professor Chubb what a bloody disgrace and NUMSKULL….

      The mongrel should be sacked for his non scientific BS !!


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    Damien Spillane

    Joe, Tony from Oz et al

    Any feedback on this graph put out by the AFR (source: AEMO)?

    Claims RET only accounts for 3% of avg electricity bill.

    http://www.afr.com/p/national/abbott_plan_to_axe_ret_H2znp8ix2CuwbJe6jyb5ZP


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      Angry

      In recent weeks there has been a cacophony of wind industry rent-seeker bleating. Turbine makers, like America’s GE have been running hard in the press touting the “merits” of retaining the mandatory Renewable Energy Target – a scheme that will see $50 billion added to Australian power bills and directed to wind power outfits over the next 17 years (see our post here): a whopping proportion of which would end up in the pockets of fan makers like GE – no self-interest there.

      Read more:-

      http://stopthesethings.com/2014/08/17/european-governments-rip-up-wind-power-contracts/

      THE RET (renewable energy target) IS THE HIDDEN carbon DIOXIDE (PLANT FOOD) TAX THAT IS THE MAJOR REASON WHY ELECTRICITY PRICES ARE UNAFFORDABLE !

      ABOLISH THE RET !!


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    pat

    some great pics on anthony’s thread about the bird-killing Ivanpah solar plant:

    WUWT: A birds-eye view of the bird scorching Ivanpah solar electric power plant
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/18/a-birds-eye-view-of-the-bird-scorching-ivanpah-solar-power-plant/#more-114605


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    pat

    some comedy gold in here:

    17 Aug: Las Vegas Review-Journal: Henry Brean: Bat deaths prompt change at wind farm
    In June, the wind farm’s 66 turbines — each standing up to 425 feet tall — were adjusted on nights with high bat activity so they would only start turning when sustained winds reach about 11 mph instead of the usual “cut-in” speed of about 7 mph.
    The move was designed to reduce the number bats killed in collisions with the spinning blades because “when it gets too windy, the bats aren’t flying as much,” said Paul Podborny, a field manager with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s office in Ely.
    Podborny is scheduled to meet next week with Spring Valley Wind representatives to review whether the new operating protocols are working. If bats continue to die in unacceptably high numbers, additional measures might include increasing the number of nights the higher cut-in speeds are used, increasing the cut-in speed even more or shutting down the turbines altogether on nights when a lot of bats are active, he said…
    In an email, Pattern’s director of environmental compliance, Rene Braud, said the vast majority of the bats were Mexican free-tail bats, “a very common and abundant species” that migrates by the millions through the Spring Valley each year and is not protected under federal law.
    “The project has had no impact at all on any threatened or endangered bat species,” Braud said…
    Rob Mrowka, senior scientist for the Center for Biological Diversity in Nevada, put it this way: “The Spring Valley Wind project is an important component of a renewable energy portfolio placed in absolutely the wrong location.”…
    Research suggests bats easily can navigate around stationary wind turbines, but not even echo-location will save some of them when the blades are turning…
    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/water-environment/bat-deaths-prompt-change-wind-farm


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    Richard111

    An interesting report written by Dr Jennifer Marohasy here:

    http://www.principia-scientific.org/three-facts-most-man-made-global-warming-sceptics-don-t-seem-to-understand.html

    As a totally non-scientific layman my understanding is that the whole CAGW phantasia is based on the FACT that minute increases in the level of CO2 (carbon dioxide gas) in the atmosphere will lead to catastrophic increase of the global temperature and eventually the extinction of all life on the planet. Stupid or not, this seems to be the core of the alarmists claim.

    Because of this claim I have tried to learn about the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere. I was expecting to find pages and pages of explanation of the SCIENCE of this effect that any high school student could understand, but after more than three years of searching the internet what do I find — NOTHING!!! I did find pages and pages of TEMPERATURE readings claiming to be proof of the effect — no science as to how it works.

    So my own layman research on CO2 lead me to write a short(ish) summary of my findings without any fancy mathematics here:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/bob-fernley-jones-should-there-be-new-laws-of-thermodynamics/comment-page-1/#comment-6148

    This was of course shot down with a link to some fancy maths and many unsupported references to the physics of molecular behavior.

    Does anyone know of an explanation that a layman can understand on how cold radiation heats up an already hotter target?


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    Eddie Ventley

    I would say all of the energy world is crazy, and not just the renewable part. I concur it is extremely complex, and viewing it through spectacles with “carbon-coloured” polarisation does not present the full picture. For the record, my comments are made with no relation to carbon whatsoever. Without writing an esasy, I’d like to add these comments.
    1)A former head of Electricity Trust of SA criticised the proliferation of the number of national authorites presiding of the national electricity markets – cost blowouts, high overheads.
    2) AEMO being one of them presided over a market forecast (in the late 90s) with an assumption of increasing demand every year, and the whole electricity industry got ready for creaming profits for decades to come – prime example being that of the price of peak demand Megawatts in the artificial market – the place where many players would make attaractive profits. This did not happen, due to a) Australian industry consumers pulling their belts in via energy efficiency; b) rampaging uptake of residential distributed-generation PV. The latter, whilst nowhere near as large as the former, was ideally suited to reduce peak demand – even through unprecedented uptake of domestic air-con which contributed to excessive peaks!
    3) ACIL-Allens latest modelling of the RET, as instructed by Dick Warburton and co, recognises that the RET *has* a net price-reduction effect on electricity prices!! So the RET review committees own expert report states that the RET *does not* increase prices, and that prices will rise if the RET is removed.
    4) I do not see coal generators (neither the nuclear lobby) as noble in any way, shape or form. Look at the terrible health effect of the recent uncontained coal-pit fire at Morwell (breathing difficulties with locals etc). If the coal-company ran their affairs in such a way that they could not contain or minimise the effects of that fire, then why would any business running a nuclear facility behave any differently? (eg contaminated fallout entering the food chain as per Fukushima, Chernobyl etc)
    5) Would coal be as ‘cheap’ if sufficient safeguards were in place for Morwell not to have happened? How more expensive would it be if coal emissions did not cause respiratory ailments to those living nearby or working in the industry?

    Leave it to the coal companies if you want – IMHO its not because they are ‘coal’, it is because they are part of a monopolistic cartel that they only want to ‘lock you in’ to spiralling increasing energy prices for the foreseeable future.
    Distributed generation via domestic rooftop PV has been an example of ‘true’ competition to the coal generation industry – owning PV allows people to actually control part of the cost of having to buy in one of the most expensive electricity markets in the world.


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    ROM

    Right down at the back, Sir, where nobody will see you . But we try!

    A small prediction using only the output of my biological computer which screws up regularly.

    Sometime in the quite close future, a renewable energy nut will come onto Jo’s blog and declare that Germany gets half it’s power needs from solar panels.
    Or at least some sort of claim revolving around that piece of blatant deception and abject wrongness.

    It has to be true because it is all over Twitter apparently.

    So be forewarned.
    Be armed with the real facts and situation .
    ________________________

    From “the energycollective” site via the GWPF and I will post the lot of this article . my bolding;

    Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels

    [ quoted ]
    The rise of the Internet means that simple factual issues can be checked quicker than would have been believed possible a generation ago. The rise of social media means that facts are not checked, they are retweeted.

    Such is the case with renewable energy in Germany, where it appears almost anything is to be believed.

    Here is the most popular meme: “Germany now gets half of its energy from solar panels.” This does the rounds of Twitter and Facebook almost every day. In fact, it has now spread to more reputable outlets such as Popular Mechanics, and has even appeared on the website of Richard Dawkins, the inventor of the term meme, under the headline “Germany Now Produces Half Of Its Energy Using Solar.” The problem, of course, is that Germany does not get half of its energy from solar panels, and will not do so any time soon.

    As with any myth there are multiple versions. In this case it is either that Germany gets half of its electricity or half its energy from solar panels. The latter version is easily refuted by pointing out that the majority of German energy consumption is not in the form of electricity. BMWs, Mercedes and Volkswagens run on petrol and diesel, not electricity.

    The more common version of the myth is debunked with simple reference to Germany’s official statistics for electricity generation. And what they tell us is quite simple. Germany does not get half of its electricity from solar panels, instead the figure is around ten times lower. Last year only 4.5% of Germany’s gross electricity generation came from solar panels, far short of 50%.

    And if you want to think that half of Germany’s electricity comes from something green you will be disappointed. 46% of generation comes from coal. And just over half of coal powered electricity in Germany comes from burning lignite, perhaps the most polluting way to generate electricity on the planet.

    These statistics, then, make it clear that the “solar revolution” that has supposedly occurred in Germany is not worth the name, and is mostly just a combination of hype and wishful thinking. I can make this even clearer by comparing the growth of solar in Germany with that of more old fashioned forms of electricity generation.

    In 1990, Britain got no electricity whatsoever from gas power plants. Yet, within one decade this went from zero to forty percent. This is a much more rapid growth than has been in German solar wind, or anything else. In fact, no country has grown any source of renewable electricity at such a speed.

    An even more sobering comparison, given Germany’s much trumped green credentials, is with the growth of coal power plants this decade. At the end of last year Germany had a total of 36 gigawatts of installed solar capacity, and this produced 28.3 terawatt hours of electricity.
    However, between 2011 and 2015 Germany is opening 10.7 gigawatts of new coal power plant capacity. The consulting company Poyry projects that these new coal power plants will have average capacity factors of 80%. If so, they will have a combined average annual output of 75 terawatt hours. In other words, in five years Germany is opening coal capacity which will have an annual output of more than double that from all of its solar panels However, this comparison is perhaps too generous. Solar panels typically last twenty to twenty five years, but coal power plants easily last twice that long.

    What we are seeing in Germany, then, is much more of a coal lock-in than a solar revolution.

    And solar power in Germany faces fundamental problems. For obvious physical reasons – the sun always sets – there is absolutely no output from solar panels a lot of the time. In the case of Germany it is around 46% of the time. However, Germany can, on a sunny day, get a lot of its electricity demand from solar panels. On the occasional sunny day solar panel output can exceed half of total electricity demand. This is the source of the myth that Germany gets half of its electricity from solar panels. Media reports on solar in Germany focus on the peak, and not on the average.

    The average, well, that’s one tenth of the peak, but I guess not even half of the story.

    Germany’s solar output varies massively during the year, and these variations can be made clear by a simple comparison.

    Daily output of Germany’s solar panels peaked last year on 21st of July, when panels produced 20.9% of daily electricity demand

    In contrast, the worst day of the year was 18th January when solar panels produced just over 0.1% of Germany’s electricity demand.
    This second statistic has, unsurprisingly, failed to elicit any headlines.

    During large stretches of winter Germany’s solar panels generate almost no electricity, with output from solar panels being fifteen times higher in July than in January last year. In addition, Germany’s annual consumption of electricity peaks in Winter evenings, when solar panels reliably generate no power. These simple realities mean that Germany, or any other cloudy and high latitude country, will struggle to generate truly revolutionary amounts of electricity from solar panels.

    I will end with a simple calculation of how long it will take Germany to reach 50% solar electricity given current build rates.

    The new German government has put in place a long-term target of having between 2.5 and 3.5 gigawatts of solar panels installed each year. If we take the higher figure, and assume that 3.5 gigawatts is installed each year, it will take Germany almost ninety years to reach 50% solar electricity. This however is an underestimate. Solar panels must be replaced every twenty or twenty fives years, and 50% solar energy in Germany would require massive advances in energy storage techniques. Germany, then, is around a century away from getting half of its electricity from solar panels.

    Does this look like a revolution?


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