JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Renewables subsidies are slashed in UK. Solar, Wind, Hydro industry “shocked”

Renewable power is always as “cheap as coal” except when subsidies are slashed, then it’s “the end”, “terrible”, and “fragile”.

If only renewable power could actually compete with coal.

Greenclick tells us the UK solar industry is “reeling” in “shock and anger” as the UK conservative government cuts the renewables feed-in tariff there by as much as 86%. Even for the hydro industry (about the only renewable industry that can survive on its own), the news could spell the “end”.

Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, which represents more than 300 green energy businesses, said: “The proposals in the Comprehensive Feed-in Tariff Review are, quite simply, terrible news for homeowners, businesses, communities and those local authorities which have plans in place to develop renewable energy schemes.

“The levels of reduction in support announced today will severely curtail development of small-scale onshore wind and solar projects and endanger jobs and investments across the country.

“The cuts could also spell the end for much of the hydro industry, which has enjoyed a recent renaissance but relies more heavily on Government support because of the length of time taken to develop projects and the sector’s high capital costs.”

“If the consultation is enacted, we can expect to see a wholesale collapse in solar take up by homeowners and businesses – just at a point in time when most other countries are escalating their solar deployment having seen the dramatic impact the technology can make in tackling climate change.

The fountain of endless cheap energy is always almost, nearly, just-around-the-corner:

“The timing couldn’t be worse as the young and potentially booming solar industry is on track to go subsidy free but if these cuts happen, it will be too sudden, too soon and too dramatic. It is highly likely to irrevocably damage the domestic solar industry.

Hear all the many benefits of renewables…

Strangely, they don’t mention how the solar panels will cool the world. I thought that was the point?

Mr Blamire told how renewables developed under the Feed-in Tariff scheme have brought multiple benefits – all of which are now in jeopardy.

He added: “Support for small-scale renewable energy has enabled the public to share in the recent success of the green energy industry, saving on their energy bills and doing their bit to mitigate carbon emissions from our power sector.

The public that shared in the “success”, also paid for it. What does success mean when an industry produces something no one wants to buy, unless they are enticed by forced payments from other citizens?

Is it “success” if we make lower and middle class taxpayers poorer to offset electricity bills for people wealthy enough to “buy solar”? Is it “success” if taxpayers prop up a whole industry that always lobbies to increase the tax burden. It’s “positive feedback”. ;- ). The tax that begets more tax.

Seems the benefits are so weak, and renewables so useless, the advocates resort to justifying them for “price stability”. (Yes, electricity will be predictably expensive).

“FiT-scale renewables have allowed both rural and urban businesses to grow by taking control of their own energy use and insulating them from the volatile, uncertain costs of imported fossil fuels. Reducing that support so far, and so quickly, could be hugely damaging.”

But there are other ways. If those businesses in need of stability wanted to pay 2 – 5 times as much for electricity  there might just be a few coal companies (say “all”) willing to write those futures contracts and guarantee that supply.

The ugly truth — British families won’t want solar:

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, said: “The proposed cuts mean that installing solar panels at home will no longer be attractive to British families.”

 That’s what happens when it is a terrible product. It’s called the “free market”.

Apparently renewables is “democratic” energy?

“The Feed in Tariff has transformed the way the UK generates its power over the last 3 years, with over 22% of the UK’s power coming from renewables in the early part of 2015, and over 700,000 homes generating their own power. It’s helped to take us away from the old-fashioned fossil fuel companies to a cleaner, local, more democratic system.”

I do believe cutting the subsidies is democracy at work.

Most of the time we hear how competitive and cheap renewable energy is. But as soon as the subsidies are cut, the truth comes out.

 

h/t GWPF

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174 comments to Renewables subsidies are slashed in UK. Solar, Wind, Hydro industry “shocked”

  • #

    “They used to tell me I was building a dream …”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4yT0KAMyo

    Pointman

    250

  • #
    gai

    When ever I see the word ‘Democratic’ or worse ‘Peoples’ I immediately think COMMUNIST! (The USA is not democratic we are a republic … or were.)

    391

    • #
      David Maddison

      Good point gai. The US is a republic and not a democracy although it is (or was) democratic.

      50

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        The USA system of government is Republican, based, I understand, on the Roman and Greek republics.

        Democracy is a process whereby representatives of the people are selected, by the people, and for the people, based on the ethics exspoused by the candidates.

        In a Capitalist society, you get the representitive you can afford, who hopefully delivers what you think you paid for.

        In a Socialist society, you don’t even get that.

        The UK is a Democratic country, with a Socialist society.

        80

    • #
      James Murphy

      I would dearly love to hear one of these people provide a straight answer regarding just how it is really ‘democratic’ to spend ones own money on solar panels and equipment in order to reduce ones bill slightly.

      90

      • #
        Apoxonbothyourhouses

        I don’t pay any more tax than legally required. Similarly if “they” offer an un-asked for scheme that will save our family money, who am I to reject it? I doubt you are going to pay my power bill; a bill made exorbitant by incompetence at every level of government. Sad but true is the fact that you have to look after the ones you love because no one else will.

        00

    • #
      Hugh

      It’s the difference between democracy and people’s democracy. Democracy means the president is chosen from several candidates. People’s democracy means there is only One real candidate, votes are not counted but forged,or voters are checked and shot if needed.

      Simple. Communists by large are people who want good and don’t have the faintest idea what they do.

      BTW, fyk this spellchecker.

      20

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        … or voters are checked and shot if needed.

        Only if you didn’t vote for Pol Pot.

        BTW, The language in the spell checker defaults to Aussie English. If you don’t like the spelling, either change the language, or ignore the red underlines.

        10

  • #
    James Murphy

    I would still much rather see money well spent on research and development, than on subsidies for technology which is currently of limited application and suitability for the way the majority of people (with access to regular power) actually live, and consume power.

    I am still at a loss as to how anyone living in an apartment block in a large city could install or benefit from any sort of renewable energy system. I guess they just have to take the higher prices on the chin, or move out of the city? (anyone for a decentralised agrarian utopia run by the state…?)

    I live in central Paris, supposedly one of the most densely populated cities in Europe, even if solar panels were installed on the roof of my building, then it would not generate enough power to noticeably benefit any of the 20-ish apartments in the building, and that’s not even involving the practicalities of how that power gets distributed to the residents, or if, instead, any electricity sales are divided equally amongst owners, or residents (tenants have some remarkable authority and legal powers in France)…

    481

    • #

      You are lucky to live in a country that invested in cheap (now operationally) and reliable nuclear power but not so lucky to live in a country run by socialists with a large immigrant population that is not interested in allowing democracy and free enterprise. Many of enterprising French people have already pulled out their money and moved it to Switzerland or even to the less safe countries such as USA and Britain.

      120

      • #
        James Murphy

        Perhaps even after my few years here, the rose-coloured glasses persist slightly, but I still think France is doing better than Australia in a lot of ways, although obviously it is far from perfect, and it suffers from many of the same problems as Australia – high unemployment, even higher youth unemployment, shocking suicide rates in rural areas, and indeed as you suggest, a noisy minority of immigrants who wish to change the country to suit their way of life.

        I do not have children, but from what I understand, the education system is not yet completely over-run with stupid, irrelevant, and pointless subjects, and the tertiary system still maintains high standards, along with genuinely equitable access, and no direct debt generated by attending university, putting Australia to shame in many areas.

        Sadly France is succumbing to the european CO2 reduction miasma, despite the fact that the vast majority of power generation is nuclear and hydro. One level of government recently passed legislation requiring all new buildings over a certain size (area) to have solar panels, or roof gardens installed, which made lots of Greens excited, but what was not mentioned by said Greens was that while it exists on paper, there are no plans to fund, or develop any official way of tracking, or enforcing such a requirement, so it is indeed, entirely pointless.

        70

    • #

      Of course, coal and oil etc attract huge subsidies. ATM they don’t have to pay to dump GHGs and worse into the atmosphere.

      Your point, Jo?

      223

      • #

        Renewables subsidies are real. Fossil fuel companies pay lots of tax, and greens say that any discount on the total theoretical maximum tax they could pay is a “subsidy”. Again, they abuse English, because it’s the only way they can defend silly ideas.

        372

      • #
        dariusz

        what planet you from?
        working in the oil industry we have been used as a milk cow from in the inception.
        who do you think subsidises my job again?

        121

      • #
        tom0mason

        Yes Maxine,

        Extracting ‘subsidy’ since the Iron Age!
        You sound like you wish to go back to the Stone Age Maxine.

        111

  • #
    Andrew

    Yep the UK was going to be the Saudi Arabia of solar.

    Who are these “most other countries” that are accelerating solar subsidies? All the ones I know are running away from contracts that would have bankrupted the govt. See for example in WA.

    how is it an “investment” if it cannot generate a commercial return? Sounds very much like the announcement prevented wealth destruction.

    Since GetUp told us we have to copy NZ policy, do we have to copy the UK? Or do we only copy the people that GetUp tell us to?

    541

    • #

      Not quite a good analogy. You see Saudi Arabia has a huge amount of oil in the ground. But Britain does not have much sunlight. When it the sun is shining in Britain, energy use is low. In the middle of winter even on a clear day the strength of the sun is far less than in mid-summer, and for a much shorter period.

      281

    • #
      Turtle of WA

      On the topic of Western Australia, I saw a report yesterday in which treasurer Mike Nahan was making extraordinary claims for solar over the next ten years. He to used the argument that solar was more ‘democratic’. What nonsense.

      211

      • #
        Dariusz

        This is a quite extraordinary statement on the part of wa lib, particularly in the light the significant gas discovery in the Perth basin by AWE just recently that would provide cheap and lasting gas for WA. This will undercut any green energy schemes.
        To make this statement you have to be apt to the global warming crap propaganda and succumb. How disappointing.

        120

      • #

        Is it? You can put solar cells on your roof, even erect a windmill, and save huge $$$ for energy. How the hell is that not democratic?

        In the meantime, thousands of people die from emissions from cola fired power stations, thousands of coal miners die in mining accidents etc.

        027

        • #
          Andrew

          Good. You should exercise your democratic right to produce your own power. And my democratic right not to be forced to buy your surplus at 6x the FIT rate applying to reliable 24hr a day coal that I prefer to use.

          270

        • #
          dariusz

          have ever been to a coal mine or you.e just another latte seeping do gooder.
          Yes I am a geologist I know what is like to be there. Danagerous but people still do down because it is their choice, just like mine. in fact most of mines in Australia are open mines and their saflty record is examplary.

          140

        • #
          tom0mason

          Maxine,

          Does no one die mining and refining the minerals that are required to manufacture solar cell or windmills?

          Humans are, by their nature, excavators and miners, and have been mining for a very long time.
          And also from http://newsrescue.com/ancient-200000bc-human-metropolis-found-in-africa/
          Where it says

          GOLD MINING — HOW LONG AGO? Is there evidence that mining took place, in southern Africa, during the Old Stone Age? Archaeological studies indicate that it indeed was so.Realizing that sites of abandoned ancient mines may indicate where gold could be found, South Africa’s leading mining corporation, the Anglo-American Corporation, in the 1970s engaged archaeologists to look for such ancient mines. Published reports (Optima) detail the discovery in Swaziland and other sites in South Africa of extensive mining areas with shafts to depths of fifty feet. Stone objects and charcoal remains established dates of 35,000, 46,000, and 60,000 B.C. for these sites. The archaeologists and anthropologists who joined in dating the finds believed that mining technology was used in south- ern Africa “during much of the period subsequent to 100,000 B.C.”

          So mining appears to be in our very DNA, and as an ingenious method of obtaining minerals to enhance humankind’s survivability.
          Before we mined humans just banged the rocks together. Maybe that is what you want Maxine but I don’t!

          130

        • #
          Harry Passfield

          Oh dear, oh dear:

          You can put solar cells on your roof, even erect a windmill, and save huge $$$ for energy. How the hell is that not democratic?

          Democratic? In order to be democratic the ‘solar cells’ would need to be able to vote. Sadly, many of them will never reach the age of majority.

          Then again, how is saving money a ‘democratic’ exercise?

          120

        • #
          Unmentionable

          … and save huge $$$ for energy.

          You’re not innumerate are you?

          I watched a bloke once walk into a motorbike dealership and says he would like to take a new sportbike for a test ride, so the owner of store takes details offers him a helmet and the guy says is there a jacket and gloves? Owner says no. He gets snooty and says he never rides without protection, so why not provide jackets and gloves fpr customers? Owner looks at him now, “You could just buy one.“, motions to a long wall full of jackets, gloves and helmets. Bloke looks a bit stunned, clearly not expecting this, has no money on him, walks out and spots a bus pulling up so runs to catch it.
          ___

          90

        • #
          Bulldust

          If you are firing your electricity generation plant with cola, you are doing it wrong.

          But fun aside, I am glad you bring up the issue of deaths per kWh generated. On that basis we should be making the switch to the safest technology of the lot per kWh generated… nuclear. Here’s a sample article:

          http://www.forbes.com/sites#/sites/jamesconca/2013/09/29/forget-eagle-deaths-wind-turbines-kill-humans/

          Then there’s the clean green rare earths plants in Mongolia vital for supplying the neodynium for the magnets in the transformers in the top of the green crucifixes – here’s an image search link. Beautiful green landscapes…

          To paraphrase Princess Bride… I don’t think green means what you think it means…

          110

  • #
    AndyG55

    PEAK RENEWABLES…..happens….

    ..as soon as the subsidies and mandated feed-in tariffs are removed and renewables have to compete on an even footing.

    All that screaming that renewables are cheaper than coal..

    Well now you have to live with it, scammers. ! :-)

    761

    • #
      Dave

      .

      Andy

      Can I steal that?
      I love it!
      “PEAK RENEWABLES”

      420

      • #
        AndyG55

        Dave… Its not mine, came from someone else. (can’t remember where I saw it, sorry.)

        I can’t take credit. :-)

        30

        • #
          Oksanna

          Just wondering, if Peak Oil advocates have their own shorthand moniker, (refer this contribution to Urban Dictionary), then could we call squealing Peak Renewables advocates “Penoobs”?

          10

    • #
      Peter C

      Right on Andy

      “The proposals in the Comprehensive Feed-in Tariff Review are, quite simply, terrible news for homeowners, businesses, communities

      Well No, actually very good news for homeowners, businesses and communities. Their tax burden is reduced!

      550

      • #
        Mark D.

        Their tax burden is reduced!

        Yes Peter C, people have to be reminded that these government subsidies are moneys collected from taxpayers. It isn’t free money.

        110

    • #
      handjive

      The Green Energy Scam Exposed By … Berkley!?!

      If this were any other cause than “green energy,” the Left would be screaming about the redistribution of income from the middle class to the upper class.
      ~ ~ ~
      The Energy Institute at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley has posted a working paper entitled “The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits.”

      The paper is a devastating indictment of who’s getting Cecil the Lion’s share of the tax credits.

      Abstract quotes:

      We use tax return data to examine the socioeconomic characteristics of program recipients.

      We find that these tax expenditures have gone predominantly to higher-income Americans.”

      (via powerline, August 28, 2015)

      210

  • #
    Mikky

    Solar is now a mature and competitive technology … for powering watches, garden lanterns and pocket calculators.

    660

    • #
      Mikky

      … forgot to mention garden sheds, solar panels on the roof, recharging a 12 volt car battery, for lighting.

      260

      • #
        Dennis

        Not the best system for caravan travelling, unless you like to park without shade overhead, as in under trees. I was interested to discover that the latest caravans offered for sale in Oz have a house battery and LED lighting, 12 volt TV, etc., and a built in battery charger that operates from the towing vehicle or 240V plug in connection when available.

        But a caravan is not a family home.

        40

    • #
      Manfred

      Solar is now a mature and competitive technology … for powering watches…

      ‘Fraid not Mikky. It can hardly do that either.

      You will find solar is most frequently utilised as an augmenting source of energy in “solar” watches, that is of topping up an installed battery that will eventually require replacement. The additional power may be used to proliferate watch functions. These days, as watch batteries are capable of powering watches for a decade (with or without solar augmentation) ‘solar’ hardly seems necessary, as most of such watches have an intrinsic or extrinsic obsolescence (technical or fashion) that may occur within a decade.

      Casio (for example) do produce one of the only pure solar watches I have identified. It is cheap, not particularly robust, not significantly water proof and nearly useless. It is in its way testament to the severely limiting characteristics of pure solar power — subject to the diurnal cycle, variable light intensity, and further in the case of watches the obvious, overlying clothing (shirt sleeves).

      The Casio pure solar watch relies on an ugly juxtaposed solar array that supports a capacitor capable of providing approximately two weeks of timekeeping without full recharge (see operation guide). The small, minimally functional digital display provides time, stop watch, alarm, count down timer and date. There is NO display light so the watch is almost completely useless at night.

      ‘Solar’ watches are markedly limited in function. ‘Solar powered’ is a marketing ploy, a fine example of cashing on the fashion proclivities of the eco-sheeple. Solar can no more power watches than it can houses, cars, aeroplanes, cities, or the future….no matter how much (or little) one pays.

      COI Statement: The author has no known conflict of interest.

      260

    • #
      FarmerDoug2

      ….for powering selling watches…
      Doug

      150

  • #
    ivan

    I have yet to work out just how the con was worked on the unsuspecting public. It was a master stroke to get people to install solar panels in the hope of saving the planet – all it did was create subsidy farmers.

    Here in the south of France where we get a reasonable amount of sunshine solar produced electricity isn’t really viable, taking the chill off water is OK though.

    As an example, a friend of mine lives out in the country too far from the nearest electrical power for it to be cost effective to run the poles and cable. EDF used my friend as a test case for a solar power installation. Various measurements were made of the power used – I had installed a 10kW diesel generator to replace the oil lamps. Calculations were made as to the number of panels needed and the size of the battery bank. Detailed specifications were produced and a contractor started work. I happened to be there when the first panels were installed and pointed out to the installer that the angle of the panels was wrong for the latitude. I was told that it was as specified.

    When the install was finished the monitoring started and then the fun began. This was supposed to have a 7 day autonomy, it was stretching it to get 2 days. After many meetings they finally agreed to change the angle of the panels to the correct one for winter and also add 50% more panels. that brought it up to 6 days autonomy and that was considered to pass the specifications.

    It was after a very gloomy two week period the we found that they had not connected the generator into the system because it was considered unnecessary. That was eventually rectified and everything has been working well for the past 15 years. The batteries, inverters and control equipment sit in a 3m x 3m shed with the enclosed and vented battery space taking up two thirds of that area. The maximum power that can be drawn is 9kW before the generator cuts in (the generator has been changed for a 20kW unit).

    If that attention to detail is required where we have reasonable sun I hate to think of the poor showing of any panels that are just installed on the roof of normal houses, incorrect angle and most of them only pointing in a very vague southerly direction.

    I forgot to mention that my friend has to clean the panels at least once a week.

    550

    • #
      Mikky

      Given the cost of all that equipment would it be cheaper to ditch it all, and use only the generator?

      320

      • #
        ivan

        Mikky, basically yes, except there would need to be some battery backup and inverter system because you don’t want the genset starting in the dead of night when the freezer cuts in.

        The other thing was that this was an experimental setup and as such was subsidised by the Department. I know of one other install like this and it had similar initial problems.

        230

    • #
      ianl8888


      The maximum power that can be drawn is 9kW …

      For how long, please, before the batteries die or the hydrocarbon diesel fuel saves the day ?

      [For those interested, look at the specifications plate of your home appliances - TV, radio, toaster, computer, light bulbs, toaster, frig, freezer etc - and add up the kW required for each. And see how quickly 9kW stacks up. Then decide which appliances you can do without during winter nights]

      140

      • #
        ivan

        The maximum of 9kW can be drawn continuously for 2 days, slightly less during summer, that being limited by heat buildup in the inverters. Intermittent use with a 40% duty cycle is 6 days. Exceed that 9kW and the genset starts.

        There is also a manual start on the generator which allows for running such things as washing machine, welder and other power tools – it is a working farm after all.

        80

      • #
        Griffo

        Probably do without the fridge in winter,solar energy is a joke,but try telling that to a bloke I know who is the proud owner of a brand new array,there is nothing these things cannot do.He claims that he is connected to the grid and runs his house appliances when the grid supply is cut off,well informed people on this blog have posted comments that the power companies cut off grid feed ins from solar panels during emergency situations,they don’t like the line workers getting killed.There were problems in Darwin NT in 1975 when people were running home generators when the grid was down and feeding the power into the house wiring without cutting off the connection from the grid to the house.
        Solar water heaters worked OK,especially before Darwin got cheap CCGT power from Channel Island,I have kept my old Beasley hotwater 1970′s model,because it works fine without an electric booster,most of the time.

        40

        • #
          AndyG55

          “Probably do without the fridge in winter”

          Well no.. My fridge went and out-gassed itself.

          I’ve now been without a fridge for over a week while I try to get it replaced under warrantee.

          You can’t buy meat, milk etc more than one day in advance, you can’t freeze anything.

          Beer, white wine etc is warm unless I take extra trips to the bottle shop or buy ice. :-(

          Believe me when I say that its a massive PITA !!!

          90

          • #
            gai

            OH boy is it! We had a power surge (Wind? Solar?) That blew the transformer on the street. Fried the refrigerator. Fried my freezer Fried the computers and caused the battery back-up/surge protector to catch on fire. It was a nice clear sunny day so it was not a lightening strike. Someone else commented they had the same thing happen in a different state. Transformer on the street blew and home appliances fried.

            I wonder if we have that sort of thing to look forward to as the load becomes increasingly unbalanced?

            90

  • #
    gai

    SOLAR? The United Kingdom???

    Are they completely NUTS?

    >>>>>
    Latitude
    London: 51° 30′ N
    Edinburgh: 55° 57′ N
    Belfast: 54° 35′ N
    Liverpool: 53° 24′ N
    Cardiff: 51° 28′ N
    Falmouth: 50° 9′ N
    Lerwick: 60° 9′ N
    Scapa: 58° 58′ N
    Dover: 51° 7′ N
    >>>>>>>>>>>

    So the UK is roughly between 50°N and 60°N.

    RACookPE1978 on WUWT was nice enough to provide a spreadsheet giving radiation received on the equinox for solar radiation at each latitude at noon.

    The value at the equator at mid day is 1150 W/m^2.

    The value at the 50°N at mid day is 673 W/m^2.

    The value at the 60°N at mid day is 487 W/m^2.

    And that is a CLEAR day and we all know the UK reputation for nice clear days especially in the winter and spring.

    491

    • #
      Oswald Thake

      Not to mention the summer and the autumn!

      170

    • #
      John F. Hultquist

      … radiation received on the equinox for solar radiation

      Winter solstice!
      I think planning should be based on the sun angle of the Winter Solstice.

      With lots of money and a new house, design ideas are many.
      Do a web Images search using the following:
      – building with solar wind design –

      [BTW, We live 11 km north of the 47th Parallel in North America. That gives us a sun angle of near 19.5° on the solstice.]

      120

      • #
        ivan

        John, you have hit the nail squarely on the head.

        There are very few solar panels that are optimised as to tilt angle and as a result their output is mediocre to say the least. I have seen one solar subsidy farm of several hectares where the only good thing that could be said about it was that the panels pointed in a very general southerly direction – the tilt angle was a case of ‘we need a slope on these, this will do’. But then it didn’t really matter as long as they got the FIT.

        160

        • #
          TedM

          Quite correct ivan: I look around town and see panels on the east or west side of roofs. The same for solar hot water.

          I have a 1.5KW grid connect system and am at about 34.5S. My panels are at an angle of only 23 degrees from the horizontal. The only time I get my maximum 1.5kw produced is when there is bright broken cloud and the panels get not only direct sunlight but also diffused light. Otherwise the output on a clear day is between 850W and 1100w.

          I am installing a small stand alone system with 1000ah battery storage, the panels for that system will be at 45 degrees.

          60

          • #
            Mike

            Orientation is paramount to get the most out of panels. I feel your pain. excellent point about poor tilt angle optimization and the like.

            In my case, i just shift the panels around according to the season. One panel is mounted up high and can be aimed in any direction at any angle.

            This will be my next project. planting a pole in a concrete foundation which can later be retrofitted with servo actuated linear screws for sun tracking all six panels.

            In full sun, my 6X250 watt panels can generate 90 amps from two MPPT charge controllers into a 12 volt 400 amp hour battery setup. The decision to use 12 volts meant i needed to spend more money on two 50 amp MPPT charge controllers when i could simply have used one 50 amp MPPT charge controller into a 24 volt battery system. My reasoning was that it is less expensive to replace batteries in a 12 volt system than a 24 volt system, so went 90 amps into 12 volts instead of 45 amps into 24 volts.

            The MPPT charge controller from MPPSolar was around 400 Au dollars then, so i went 12 volts as one 12 volt battery is a much smaller outlay if battery dies than getting two 12 volt deep cycle batteries to comprise 24 volts.

            10

    • #
      Robber

      Exactly. And what happens in winter time? Do all greenies with solar panels turn the lights off at dusk, turn the heating off, and sleep under a pile of blankets?

      90

  • #

    The skeptics who doubted the UK (London 51+ degrees N) could ever be the Saudi Arabia of solar are like those critics who said Death Wish V would never win the Oscar for Best Picture.

    140

  • #
    Sean McHugh

    I was feeling a bit down but that cheered me up. Thank you, Jo.

    190

  • #
    Ruairi

    Renewables subsidies slashed,
    Leaving warmist ambitions dashed,
    Which was long overdue,
    Having failed through and through,
    Before grids and economies crashed.

    431

  • #
    Dave in the states

    The best way to mitigate the eventual crash of the un sustainables, and the destabilization of the worlds energy infrastructure, is to make the unsustainables sink or swim on their now.

    170

    • #
      Dave in the states

      Should read: sink or swim on their own now

      BTW, renewables = unsustainables in my lexicon, but I’m sure most know that.

      140

  • #
    Richard Ilfeld

    Once again, the wisdom of Milton Friedman, who summed up economics in one very short sentence, is appropriate.

    “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

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    Two Comments I’m going to make here because they need to be separated, so each can be commented upon individually. This first is general in nature, and the second is so utterly unbelievable.

    I’ve been accused of being a Luddite (can you believe it?) because of my stance about Renewables.

    What I so thoroughly detest about them, wind and all forms of solar power is that they take advantage of traditional power generation, eg, coal fired power, to give the impression that they actually are worthwhile.

    Because you have humungous amounts of coal fired power being generated, electrical power is always available at the grid in vast amounts.

    So, when you connect a tiny amount to it in the form of wind and solar, and that’s all they are, tiny amounts, the impression is given to the vast overall general populace that they actually can do something, because the power is still always there.

    So, naturally, the people will believe that wind and solar can deliver power, and hey, why bother even checking when it’s not broken, eg, power always there.

    As long as people remain uninformed about wind and solar power, they remain clueless about it, and it’s in the best interest of wind and solar proposers to keep it that way. They will NEVER explain the real truth about how variable their power generation is, how tiny it actually is, and how short lived it actually is.

    Every web site for every one of these renewable power plants tells the truth about them, but that truth is couched in terms that the public has no understanding of what they actually mean, so, effectively, these renewable operators have hidden the truth in plain site.

    Until REAL power is taken away, people will NEVER see the truth about these plants. Their supporters just make stuff up about them, and shout down and abuse anyone who even tries to show the real facts about them.

    Probably, the real truth of the matter is that people really just don’t WANT to know.

    Electrical power will always be there available at the grid, no matter what, so what reason is there to even know about the truth.

    There’s only one way for them to be shown the truth.

    Take away that REAL power and just see what happens then.

    The renewable plant owners and operators will scream when their source of money in the form of subsidies is taken away from them, because if they had to compete on a like for like, MegaWattHour for MegaWattHour basis, then they would sink like a stone.

    The only way they can survive is with the free money they get from the virtually half the construction cost given to them by federal and State Governments, then the subsidies they get on top of that, and an absolute guarantee to purchase ALL the power they generate at a set price for life, no matter when it is actually being generated, safe in the knowledge that there will ALWAYS be REAL power there to back them up when they are not generating, thus giving the clueless public the false impression that they actually can deliver.

    The same applies here with rooftop solar power. Again, the ONLY way it can survive is because the grid power is always there, so as long as the people ….. SEE the panels on their roof, they believe that those panels are supplying all their power. The only time they KNOW for absolute sure and certain that they are not generating is during the night, but there are dyed in the wool believers who have grid connected rooftop solar power who actually believe their systems are supplying ALL their home power demands both day and night, because their system is large enough to cover all their consumption, thinking that the grid is their own personal battery, generate it during the day, and suck the remainder back during out of hours generation. Again, it’s not their power any more. They have SOLD it and taken the money.

    If it wasn’t for REAL power from the grid, they wouldn’t have electrical power at all.

    It’s never marketed as stand alone off grid, because the cost is absolutely horrendous, when done correctly. You get people thinking this magic powerwall is the dream they have been waiting for. Again, this is a totally incorrect solution. They keep thinking that a magic new battery is just around the corner, will last forever and cost virtually nothing. It’ll never happen, never.

    Renewables are a crock, and the grid is their saviour. Real power makes renewables look something they most decidedly are not ….. a viable solution. That’s something they will never be.

    And because I tell these truths, I’m the bl00dy luddite.

    Tony.

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      Bill

      lucky they don’t try to burn us heretics at the stake.

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      Mike

      TonyfromOZ,

      I am only talking about domestic off grid solar power use here as that is what i am experienced in. Empirical trial and error, observing, some pondering, and inner logical confrontation.

      All that was needed amongst other things was a change in behavior. By this i mean, in my case which i talk about a little in the post below, when the sun shines, that is the time to make the hay.

      All the big jobs like doing the washing, cooking, vacuuming using a 900 watt vac, fridge that is of chest design that freezes ice during the day to maintain a cold temp during the night and so on mean i hardly ever need town power during the summer other than to operate a welder or other more powerful appliance.

      This is a very big thing when the devices the solar power is used on are fractional horsepower motors using 12-24 volts as far as is possible and the new and more efficient PC’s that are now available, LED screens and so forth.

      Changes to domestic electrical infrastructure needs to be implemented to make off grid solar combined with ordinary town power work, and a shift in behavior (Make hay when it shines). For example, the removal of arcane and ultra inefficient fractional horsepower motors that use 240 volts replaced with 12-24 volt, particularly in domestic fridges.

      It is not enough to merely get solar. To make it work, efficiency and the right electrical equipment needs to also follow to complete the infrastructure. The typical household is filled with inefficient devices although it is no where near as bad as it was a few decades ago when a TV used 300 watts, a tower PC used 300 watts and so on. LCD screens now use 24 watts more or less. We have come a long way already.

      In my case, my off grid solar and tiny battery system works amazingly well because the rest of the house is only using efficient electrical equipment that is well matched. And it works well due to the change in my behavior, that can be called ‘making hay while the sun shines.

      Batteries are only prohibitively expensive if one expects to drive amazingly inefficient appliances in the dead of night, then 10,000 dollars on batteries is easily possible. If behavior is changed, and the the domestic household has the correct electrical infrastructure, then 1000 dollars worth of brand new deep cycle batteries will do fine.

      For example, at one time i was using a single 12 volt car battery and had 1000 watts of continuous power limited by the inverter in this case when the sun shines, or for 10 minutes of 100 watts without sun. The MPPT charge controller will deliver 80 amps into 13.6 at 1066 watts. That is continuous availability for the inverter when the sun shines and is not something i sneezed at. On a low income, the cut in my electricity bill especially in summer was huge. The ability to operate a inverter driven split system Hitachi air conditioner is also huge. When the sun is out, in summer or winter.

      Your arguments and logical confrontations i agree with, but only if the solar power is used in arcane energy inefficient households using inefficient appliances with poor solar behavioral habits like washing at night or expecting to cook a family roast during the night and so on.

      The idea of using 10,000 dollars worth of Lead acid batteries to store power in a fake green off grid solar rig is as poisonous to me as it is to the environment where the lead processing for the batteries takes place.

      But then, people would need to be retrained to consider Lead pollution as being as dangerous or heaven forbid, more dangerous than CO2. What a dilemma.

      So, i agree with almost all of your logical confrontations.

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        ivan

        Mike, while what you describe works fot YOU I don’t think it would survive teenagers in the household.

        Am I correct in assuming you use gas for cooking and heating water? A lot of people don’t have that option and need to use electricity for that.

        I note that you confirm Tony’s statement that a connection to the grid is necessary to do any heavy work. That was his main point – renewables don’t work adequately and you need a grid connection or a large generator to back them up.

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          Mike

          For me the main point is Lead acid batteries and the poisoning of the environment they cause during manufacture and decommissioning.

          40

          • #
            AndyG55

            And lets not go into the absolute toxicity of the manufacturing and decommissioning of solar panels and wind turbines. !!!!

            And because the subsidies paid out will all have been transferred out of the shell companies, all the clean-up will be left to the tax-payer, yet again.

            How the heck do you remove a 2000 tonne block of wind tower foundation !

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              tom0mason

              Too true AndyG55,

              Minerals required to make solar cells (info from http://www.mineralseducationcoalition.org/pdfs/Solar-Panel.pdf)

              Arsenic (gallium-arsenide semiconductor)

              Bauxite (aluminum). (Required huge amounts of concentrated electricity to refine)

              Boron Minerals (semiconductor chips):

              Cadmium ((solar cells, semiconductor chips)

              Coal (For steel manufacture and electricity for processing minerals)

              Copper (wiring; thin film solar cells):

              Gallium (solar cells, semiconductor chips).

              Indium (solar cells,semiconductor chips).

              Iron ore (steel) (Reqires coal (as coke) and large amounts concentrated electricity to process)

              Molybdenum (photovoltaic cells).

              Phosphate rock (phosphorous).

              Selenium (solar cells).

              Silica (solar cells).

              Tellurium (solar cells).

              Titanium dioxide (solar panels).

              Lead (for batteries, if used.)

              Note: all these minerals require substantial amounts of electricity to process them.

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              Also note –
              The manufacture of solar panels produces, as byproducts, hexafluoroethane, nitrogen trifluoride, and sulfur hexafluoride.
              Relative to the CO2 green house gas effect, C2F6, NF3, and SF6 have green house gas effects 12,000, 17,000, and 23,000 times more powerful. (Info from http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/738098 and wikipedia)

              Further, C2F6 survives for 10,000 years when introduced into the atmosphere. By comparison, the atmospheric residency of CO2 is said to be only a few decades at the most.

              The big question is do the manufacturers vent these gaseous chemical byproducts to the atmosphere or fully recapture them?
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              INTERESTING FACTS
              In 1954 Photovoltaic technology was born in the United States when Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson develop the silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell at Bell Labs—the frst solar cell capable of converting enough of the sun’s energy into power to run everyday electrical equipment.

              Molybdenum is “sputtered” onto the photovoltaic cells as a base conductive layer for all the other layers. Sputtering is a process that uses ions of an inert gas to dislodge atoms from the surface of a crystalline material, the atoms then being electrically deposited to form an extremely thin coating on a glass, metal, plastic, or other surface.

              Also of interest is that consumer solar cells only convert around 20%-27% (maximum) of all solar energy irradiating them into electricity. This conversion rate drops when the cell temperature rises. (http://www.nrel.gov/ncpv/images/efficiency_chart.jpg)

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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            • #
              tom0mason

              MODS

              Could my comment be released now?

              tom0mason
              Your comment is awaiting moderation.
              August 30, 2015 at 4:03 pm

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              Stupendus

              actually at about $20 a ton of crushed concrete less costs it could be a little earner,http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/~/media/resources/documents/publications%20and%20research/research/market%20analysis/market%20analysis%20bricks%20stone%20concrete%20sept%202014%20pdf.pdf especially if you could get someone to pay (poor old farmer) to take it away

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          Mike

          Thanks Ivan. I thought i better give a more detailed reply.
          Town electricity for heating water at night for cups of tea and bottle gas for an instantaneous hot water system. As an experiment, because i was against the danger of using any form of gas appliance indoors, i purchased a second hand Primus kero pressure stove that is a lot safer to use than gas for heavy duty cooking, otherwise, cooking with 1000 solar watts (during the day) is very do-able for a single person like myself using a 1.5 Kw system with a small battery storage for lights and electronics at night.

          Teenagers are better equipped than we were a decade ago to make the transition to ultra high efficiency living. Electronic devices and screens that teenagers usually have can all be driven off a single panel generally. In the old days, a teenage using an X-Box and a plasma screen consuming 500 watts all afternoon resulted in a big bill. These days, less than a decade, a teenager on an X-Box only consumes about 40 watts. Teenagers on an Iphone less than a watt or two.

          IN my case, around 90% of the energy i use comes from the sun. In winter that falls to around 70%. To get those figures requires a change in behaviour as i said and some smart gadgets.

          “renewables don’t work adequately and you need a grid connection or a large generator to back them up.” Yes i agree with that statement.

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        gai

        Mike,
        What about ME? Both my husband and I worked and since we were exempted that meant 50 to 60 hour weeks. The only time you could do laundry and dish washing and cooking for the week is at NIGHT.

        You say:

        …All that was needed amongst other things was a change in behavior. By this i mean, in my case which i talk about a little in the post below, when the sun shines, that is the time to make the hay.

        All the big jobs like doing the washing, cooking, vacuuming using a 900 watt vac, fridge that is of chest design that freezes ice during the day…

        So that means I would not only have to work five days a week but also work during the day on Saturday and Sunday to do the washing, cooking for the week, house cleaning…. AND during the week I would be stuck washing and drying the dishes by hand…

        WHY should I become a de facto slave just because some enviro-wack jobs have a bug up their behind about a climate change that will never ever happen?

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        Mike,

        you give a good example of what is required to effectively use rooftop solar at its optimum, but you are just one in a hundred thousand or so. 97% of the majority of rooftop panel owners just want to put the panels on the roof and live their home life as they always have, and always will.

        The grid will ALWAYS cover that, and while it does, the cluelessness will persist. The grid covers them for days of overcast. The grid covers them for all the non Summer months. The grid covers them for at least 60 to 70% of ALL their power consumption, those out of daylight hours when power consumption in the homes is at its highest.

        I take gai’s point below about the husband and wife both working and the necessity of doing all the electrical consumption outside of work hours, eg, at night, when the grid covers that too.

        Consequently, the correct application of true off grid solar means an education program for the whole family, the husband, the wife, the children. There will be no out of hours washing the clothes, and from that, the need for a dryer as clothes strung up on the line during the night, well, you be the judge of how that will go down. The mealtime changes so major meals are only eaten during daylight hours. The use of non 240 Volt appliances to minimise overall consumption, and the subsequent extra cost for those items, and the ramping up of their manufacture, and sale. The complete change to a normal home lifestyle, not just as a fad, but for the rest of their lives. The locking in of not moving home for 25 years. Etcetera etcetera. I can envisage perhaps a tiny number of people doing that, but the vast majority will just want life to go on as normal.

        Explain that to people and I’m certain that very very few people will even begin that journey, and even fewer once begun, keep it up.

        The grid is always there, and while it is, rooftop solar in its current form will persist, and no one will change.

        As I mentioned, you now have 1.5 million installations here in Australia. Perhaps 99.9% of them are grid connected. Every one of those 1.5 million homes homes, the grid connected ones lose their rooftop supply just as the largest consumption from the Residential sector kicks in, just as the Sun drops from the sky, but hey, look again at that image I linked to in Comment 17 below here and note that even after 4PM, that rooftop system is generating very little power, down to around a third of maximum, so after 4PM, you are virtually back on the grid anyway. See, it’s always there, giving the impression that the panels are doing what is required.

        You will not change human nature without a monster education program, and that will only succeed for those who WANT to do it, the WHOLE family.

        1.5 million installations at an average 2.2KW gives a total Nameplate of 3,300MW, a seemingly huge number. At that 12.5% CF, the total power generated is down to an average of only 412MW. So that is all there is, and it’s not localised, but spread out across the whole of Australia. There is no change in power generation, because 80% of that power is consumed by the home actually with the panels on the roof, so barely 80MW is being fed back to the grid, spread across the whole of the Country.

        And then, from 4PM on, the grid takes over completely.

        NOT ONE large scale coal fired plant has altered its power delivery.

        Rooftop solar could be viable as off grid in remote areas, but done anywhere outside of that requires a vast education program that very few people will continue with.

        Grid connected solar is virtually absolutely useless.

        Tony.

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          tom0mason

          Here’s one for you Tony

          The Isle of Wight (just south of Southampton UK) is to go 100% renewable by 2020.

          Interestingly they seem to think that there will be enough excess power to resell it back to the mainland.
          Also it has a population (mid-2014 est.) of 138,400, that has historically ballooned to over 700,000 during the Isle of Wight Festival. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Wight)

          And they try and advertize this island as a holiday destination — hummm.

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        • #
          J Martin

          A UK university professor did a study on the best orientation for solar cells and found that pointing them due South as most are is next to useless as the national grid needs a reduction in output at midday not an increase.

          He found that pointing them almost due west in order to provide maximum output at the most useful time was the best strategy.

          50

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        Hasbeen

        I lived perfectly happily off grid for about 10 years. This was on my yacht, in the islands.

        I adjusted my lifestyle too. I had a gas stove, & gas fridge. I pumped my water, both fresh & salt with simple hand operated pumps, even flushed my toilet that way.

        I threw out the solar panels, & the wind generator, as neither was much use other than as time consuming hobbies, & used a 600 watt Honda generator, & very occasionally the main engine. An hour a day was enough to run a couple of 12 volt lights, & my radios, 2 way & receiver.

        Used on 240 the Honda would drive lighter power tools, or my sewing machine for repairing sails.

        As the entire accommodation area of my yacht was about half by area of my lounge room, I doubt it would work in my current home, but it can be done if set up completely for it.

        This was brought home to me during the last flood. Flooded in for 5 days without grid power, or access to more liquid fuel or gas for the barbeque, I found my 1.6KVA gen set would not start the fridge, was most annoying when drawing water from an underground tank, & very noisy. I most definitely was not properly set up for it.

        Yes I am now better set up with a 10KVA diesel, with a large fuel tank. I won’t be caught again, which should ensure the greens are right, & it ain’t gonna rain no more no more.

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      • #

        so what you are saying is that if we reduce our energy usage by increasing our efficiency, we wont have to take cars off the road? Tony will be relieved.

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    • #
      Peter Miller

      Tony

      There are a couple of instances where renewable energy (solar or wind) is economically justifiable:

      1. Human habitations in remote areas, located far from a reliable electricity supply,

      2. On spacecraft,

      3. Where the cost of conventional energy is more expensive, which never happens except when politicians start meddling with subsidies and carbon taxes.

      Of course, there are “the saving the planet for future generations” arguments, but they are all totally spurious except to those greenies blinded by their own smug ignorance and simple mindedness.

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        Manfred

        PM, not wishing to be a pedant nor beholden to a future incarcerated by solar dependence, space craft appear to presently work quite well as you suggest in near sun orbit reliant on their delicate solar arrays pointing in the correct direction and assuming limited energy budgets are adhered to. Martian rovers Opportunity and Spirit(RIP 2010) have also ‘managed’ quite well on their solar arrays topping up batteries, but they do need to be parked up for the duration of winter to ‘survive’. Traveling beyond the utility of solar radiance has just been demonstrated by the aptly named NASA New Horizons that recently arrived at Pluto. Not a solar panel in sight of course.

        Future incarnations of ‘warp drive’, ion motors, ‘impulse power’ (whatever) that may conceivably permit us to roam around the galaxy at will where no one has gone before, remain fantastical at present. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the future will consider the low density energy source of an umbrella like solar array utterly useless, a museum curio deserving of less than a second of passing attention.

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        Mike

        Thanks Tony. “spacecraft” are a very good example.
        Thanks
        mike.

        10

      • #
        David Maddison

        Is solar or wind truly economically viable in remote areas compared with say a generator? Of course, if an area is so remote fuel deliveries are difficult then it might be OK but if you could resupply fuel, say every month or two, what then?

        30

        • #
          gai

          American farmers answered that when they replaced the old windmills drawing well water for livestock with a diesel.

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        • #
          AndyG55

          Its about reliability.

          Wind can NEVER supply that without a massive battery system..

          and solar at night or in winter is too inefficient and always subject to the weather.

          I can be done if one is prepared to work around these drawbacks and live without any modern conveniences.

          Not many people are prepared to do that, ESPECIALLY NOT your average climate change alarmista from their inner-city, far-left, latte ghettos.

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    • #
      ianl8888


      Probably, the real truth of the matter is that people really just don’t WANT to know

      If it wasn’t for REAL power from the grid, they wouldn’t have electrical power at all

      It’s the second statement that most people do not want to know. It scares them; the concept that without coal, they are not safe is just too much

      I’ve tried, very very gently, to bring some to the understanding that they are protected by the mighty combination of coal mining and electrical engineering. They simply refuse to believe it … and there is no compassionate way of changing their minds

      During a recent bushfire season, some wooden street poles burnt, causing the power to be shut off until the poles were replaced. A local Greens candidate, who also ran a weekly hour on local FM radio, was heard to complain most bitterly about the loss of power for about 3 days. There is no hope whatsoever of convincing her of her hypocrisy

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      • #

        The recent Cyclone event we had here in Rockhampton was an eye opener for me.

        The power went out at around 10AM. I have a 1968 vintage transistor radio which works from three D cells. That radio is used for hours every day, and was the only source of news about what was happening.

        The talking head on the local ABC mentioned that the power might be out for perhaps a day or so, and I just knew it would be longer.

        We were prepared as well as we could be.

        The local Mall lost power and the backup didn’t kick in until the following day. On the evening of that day, I went searching for some milk, and I did find surprisingly, stores of longlife milk at our local Woolies. They had started early, and all the staff did was clear out ALL the cool and cold stored items, straight to Trash. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of food, gone. The same applied for the Coles in the same Mall.

        On the fifth day, we visited that Mall, because it was the only cool place open in stinking hot weather.

        As we walked around, there were quite literally hundreds and hundreds of people charging their devices, phones, tablets laptops from every available power outlet in the Mall, and every second shop had a sign in the window saying people could come in and use their power points for just that purpose.

        The food court was absolutely jam packed solid, the most people I have ever seen there, including during the Christmas rush. The Maccas and KFC and Subway actually opened early and ran late into the evening, and the lines were solid all day at virtually every one of the 15 or so food outlets.

        Coles and Woolies had restocked, and were also flat out.

        The takeaway thing from this.

        Remove electrical power from people and they are lost, and that is the most sought after thing of all.

        We are now totally reliant on access to a CONSTANT and reliable supply of electricity.

        That is something that the renewables just cannot supply.

        Incidentally, for the duration of the power outage, not one home with rooftop panels grid connected had power.

        When the power goes out, so does grid connected rooftop solar power, again accentuating its uselessness.

        Tony.

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      David-of-Cooyal in Oz

      G’day Tony,
      Wear the attempted insult with pride, as did our soldiers in North Africa in WWII, the “Rats of Tobruk”.
      And I note that the successful users of solar power are all talking of their individual expeiences, as single households. How about a high rise, electric trains, a radar installation or a town lighting system?
      Thank you for your posts. I learn a lot.
      Cheers,
      Dave B

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      • #
        Bob Malloy

        How about a high rise,

        electric trains

        , a radar installation or a town lighting system?

        We can only wish the Dutch & Indians good luck then!

        Between them they intend to use Wind and Solar to power their railways.

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      bobl

      Finally you’re getting it. You can’t compare renewable and fossil generation because they DON’T make the same thing. If what you want to do is cut down coal generation then what you need to do is make 24x7x52 reliable electricity which none of the available technologies can really do – even hydro has limits and it IS possible to run out of water to run it.

      CAPACITY needs to be valued at the maximum sustainable generation that meets the national standards for reliability for solar with a day of storage that’s about 2.5% and for wind its about Zero – since there isn’t a storage interval that can achieve guaranteed 99.9% uptime for wind.

      40

    • #
      Sean McHugh

      Probably, the real truth of the matter is that people really just don’t WANT to know.

      You have got it. Eco crucifixes saving the planet is a good story. Their being a waste of time, space and money is just so dreary.

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  • #
    Mike

    I have solar. I did it privately over many years. I still have town power for operating power tools,
    My system is 1500 watts of panels, two MPP tracking chargers for a very small 400 amp hrs of battery storage using twelve volts and 100 watt inverter. I decided on 12 volts so that even if my batteries fail, getting another 12 volt battery or more will be inexpensive when financial SHTF or other unforeseen event.

    I think getting panels and paying them off is a scam, especially here in Australia where the owners of these panels are providing ultra cheap solar (They get paid very little per Kw) to electricity companies who then sell the electricity at a much higher rate. In effect, solar panel subsidies are an example of tax payers working for the electricity companies, or the feed in tariff would be more substantial.

    I am glad i went the way i did. It has taught me a lot about energy and how much is really required. Although the off grid system does not provide a lot of power at night, enough to boil a jug of water or two, LED lights, a PC with an Atom processor that uses less than 15 watts and a 12-24 volt chest style fridge, and converted a front loading washing machine to 12-24 volts using a wheelchair motor and some other components. The washer is unique in that i incorporated a timer so that soaking does most of the work. I other words, the washer only turns on every hour for instance for less than a minute. The duration and length of time the washer actually moves are both infinitely variable. I even used a gravel bed filter to filter particulates out of the wash water which really helps keep the wash water free of particulates so that i can use the wash water for more than one wash cycle. The clothes also last longer with the abrasive effect of particulates. Big bonus. it is all i need. I have other devices but i am not able to talk about them here at this time.

    All those applications and much more off 1500 watts of panels and 100 amps of MPP charge controller and a small pure sine-wave. 1000 watt inverter.

    The key to all the earths energy needs (IMO) can be summarized in one word. ‘Efficiency’. To this end, things are getting better all the time.

    Another thing to watch out for, or my fear with respect to this/Jo’s post, is what has happened in Spain or something similar.

    http://www.thelocal.es/20131112/spains-solar-police-to-kick-in-your-door

    ” All this means generating your own solar energy without paying for the privilege is a risky business now in Spain.

    Whereas Spain once flung money at companies who set up solar power programmes in the country, it now plans to slap a fee on people who create their energy for personal consumption.”

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    • #
      Mike

      Typo *1000 watt inverter.

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    • #
      Mikky

      I would do something like that if I lived in a country prone to long power cuts, solar panels recharging several 12 volt car batteries, to power lights, radios, computers, electric fans and a small fridge.

      But cooking and heating requires serious energy, which can only come from the grid, or from burning ones own fossil fuels (gas, oil, wood).

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    • #
      ianl8888

      I appreciate your honesty here. Most solar power “spruikers” refuse to go anywhere near describing the actual sacrifices and changes that are needed to survive off the grid using solar and batteries

      If your descriptions were actually published by a large-circulation MSM outlet, the disquiet and yuk! factor would rumble around for decades. This is why the MSM will NOT publish these facts and have stubbornly refused to for over 20 years now

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      Another Ian

      Mike

      “The key to all the earths energy needs (IMO) can be summarized in one word. ‘Efficiency’. To this end, things are getting better all the time.”

      I think this used to be called Scotchenomics didn’t it?

      Not unknown to depression days parents.

      And points you to recycling as other than an abstract concept – you have to know what is recyclable and where it is likely to be recycled.

      And you need it flat filed so you can find just the item that you need just now.

      A point my wife still hasn’t got about the farm scrap pile.

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    John F. Hultquist

    … end for much of the hydro industry, which has enjoyed a recent renaissance …

    Mini Hydro appears to be the only game in town, so to speak, and then only because it is “green” (ignoring any stream damage, and so on) and worthy of other people’s money (OPM).
    Did not the Renaissance begin in the late 1300s? Fancy that. We are progressing backwards.

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    Okay then, this is just so totally and utterly unbelievable that I have to very carefully explain the maths behind it. I can just say it up front and because it sounds so unbelievable people will quite naturally think it must be wrong. It just MUST be wrong.

    There are now 1.5 million rooftop installations in Australia. The average for all of them is 2.2KW, and that is virtually the same on a Worldwide basis. 2.2KW is the average system.

    Because of the nature of solar PV, they only generate power while the Sun is shining on them, and even that is variable, as shown in this diagram from a large array, but indicative of absolute best case for a Mid Summer day which is cloud free, sort of looking like a half sine wave during daylight hours, so the only time it is even close to maximum generation is for a couple of hours at Peak Sun. Keep in mind that this is for a large array totalling at 1300KW at that time, so even then, it never reaches the total Nameplate anyway.

    This is expressed as the Capacity Factor, (CF) and for Australia, the average year round CF for rooftop solar power is around 12.5% for here in Australia, more in the North, less in the South, and most certainly less in the U.K.

    They have an absolute best case life span of 25 years, and after ten years, generation steadily decreases, so that CF falls away, and in most cases, it starts to fall away after five years let alone ten to fifteen.

    Okay then, and note here I’m using the best case life span of 25 years, and the best case CF of 12.5% for ALL of those 25 years.

    So then, the total power generated by the average rooftop system of 2.2KW over the full 25 years at best case CF is as follows.

    0.0022 X 24 X 365.25 X 0.125 X 25 = 60.266MWH (MegaWattHours)

    (where 0.0022 is Nameplate, here 2.2KW or 0.0022MW, 24 hours in a day, 365.25 days in a year, leap year as the extra .25. 0.125 is 12.5% CF, and 25 years, with the answer expressed in MWH)

    60.266MWH

    Have you got that. That’s over the full 25 year life span of the average 2.2KW rooftop system.

    SIXTY MegaWattHours – six zero.

    Sunk in yet.

    Bayswater has a Nameplate of 2640MW, so if that plant ran all four units, (typical) for one hour then it generates 2640MWH.

    Bayswater will generate 60.266MWH in ….. one minute and 22 seconds.

    So, the average rooftop system will generate for 25 years the same power as Bayswater delivers in 82 SECONDS.

    So, effectively, that average rooftop system on ONE home has save 82 seconds worth of CO2 emitted from Bayswater.

    Don’t you just love it when the reality of Mathematics reduces the seemingly sublime to the absolutely ridiculous.

    82 bl00dy seconds. 25 years worth of power generation.

    Tony.

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    • #
      Bill

      Love it, Tony, can’t stop laughing. It’s priceless when facts, science and logic all come together.
      If I could post a picture, I’d put one up of a tinfoil fedora for the greenies to wear as “just because you’re crazy doesn’t mean you have to look tacky.”

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    • #
      Mikky

      Are you missing a factor in the maths, the number of hours in a day? Even so, your conclusion probably stands.

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    • #
      gai

      Tony seems the Red Thumber does not like the truth. Either that or the Red Thumber is Math-challenged. Probably both.

      A personal thanks for all your hard work. I read each of your posts very carefully.

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        AndyG55

        And in reality , the value is more likely around 1/5 to 1/4 of that 60MWh. !!

        So.. Bayswater for 20 seconds !!!!

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    • #

      “So, the average rooftop system will generate for 25 years the same power as Bayswater delivers in 82 SECONDS.”
      How much electricity was used in the manufacture of the components? Take for example just the aluminium frame work around the solar panels.
      How much average down time will a system have due to both total failure and partial failure including leaves on the panels or trees that have grown up in front?
      How many solar panel systems have reduced the albedo of a reflective roof?
      How much fuel is used to freight, install, maintain and repair the system including all manufacured components, their waste by product disposal, plant employees fuel usage.
      How much fuel and electricity is used by government and electricity supply companies soley due to the solar panels including extra training meter readers home inspectors and fire fighters etc.
      Could that 82 number be refined to a much larger negative number?

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    • #
      Tel

      So, effectively, that average rooftop system on ONE home has save 82 seconds worth of CO2 emitted from Bayswater.

      Finish the calculation though: there’s about a million rooftops in Sydney. If all of them save 82 seconds when you add it up that’s about 2.5 years, which is quite a lot of CO2.

      Problem is that it takes 25 years of panel life to save 2.5 years of power generation, so you would need ten times more rooftops, by which time you also have ten times more consumers living under those rooftops.

      That’s calculating using Bayswater at full output, and perhaps that’s implausible, cut that in half and we are up to 5 years power savings for 25 years of panel life (only 5:1 factor). People could be forced to used less electricity, so you could stretch that out a bit more… still probably coming up a bit short, and yeah as other said the manufacturing and steady replacement of the panels needs to be considered.

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      • #
        Manfred

        …which is quite a lot of CO2

        Tel, I consider this is part of the attribution distortion myth.
        What infinitesimal fraction of the attributable 3.5% anthropogenic fraction of the 0.04% total global atmospheric fraction of CO2 constitutes ‘quite a lot’ exactly?

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      • #
        gai

        Tei says:

        …Finish the calculation though: there’s about a million rooftops in Sydney. If all of them save 82 seconds when you add it up that’s about 2.5 years, which is quite a lot of CO2….

        No it doesn’t because you have to subtract out the energy used to mine the ores, build, ship and set up the panels.

        I am not sure about solar but Charles S. Opalek, PE did the calculation for wind.

        Wind turbines have an embarrassingly low Energy Returned On Energy Invested value of 0.29. The manufacture, installation and operation of wind power facilities will consume more than 3 times the energy they will ever produce.

        This article, What’s the EROI of Solar? shows solar is even worse than wind with 1/4 the EROI of wind. The article also shows Coal and Nuclear.

        We already know that it is embarrassingly easy to fudge the EROI numbers. (That article does a dandy job of showing how ‘optimism taints them) Just leave out mining the ore or all the transportation. If I recall correctly it is something like 7 different companies involved from raw material to consumer in my old field. Now add in the energy for those workers going back and forth to work and the energy consumed to feed and cloth them… It is as bad as Reagan’s 151 taxes on a lof of bread.

        This is another area where THE BIG LIE is found.

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    • #
      King Geo

      Game, set and match to Tony. As a former cricketer do you play tennis these days? I do and I am the most hated social player at my tennis club – oh how I love playing those “drop shots” – you don’t win many friends but the condescending comments from the other side of the net are priceless. My excuse to the disgruntled why I play this effective shot so often is “you can only master this shot by playing it frequently”. Likewise Tony you keep putting the boot into the economic viability of RE – the fast tracking to RE globally is steering the World Economy towards oblivion.

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      Robert O

      I just wonder about the advice that is given to Mr. Shorten, Australia will rely on 50% renewables by 2030; really pretty unlikely isn’t it? Suppose they are all going to Paris at the end of the year.

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    • #
      AndyG55

      And seriously, how many people are really going to keep the panels clean and dust free until the first hail storm ?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYyVxQgnhDo

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    • #
      Lucky

      More detail relating to the TonyfromOz costing:

      My solar panel is nominally 1 kW.
      Location Perth WA.
      It generated 1,520kWh pa when new.
      Now at 7 years it generates 1,460 kWh.

      From these figure I would calculate the capacity factor for last year as
      = 1460 / (1 x 24 x 365 )
      = 0.17 or 17%

      The generation is declining tho’ at a rate less than 1% pa.

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    • #
      Mike

      Solar panels don’t like being in hot places or getting too hot. This is severe stress for a solar panel. Most solar panels are put on roofs where if surrounded by dark tiles, narrow spacing so that air cannot circulate freely under the solar panels, no air gaps between panels so that the panels in the center of an array get the hot air from the panels nearby and so on.

      When i see panels on roofs that have no air gaps between them, i balk at the poor commissioning. They are arranged in the worse possible way, one hard up against the other and so if you consider all this, getting 25 years out of a solar panel arranged like this is actually very, very good.

      Mine have huge air-gaps between them so they do not overheat. I categorically will not have mine on the roof, instead, well away for objects that emit radiant heat after being heated by the sun.

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Shocked or not, it couldn’t be happening to a group of people who’ve worked any harder to get their subsidies cut. More money has gone down this renewable energy drain to produce inadequate solutions to energy needs than I know numbers big enough to count. And now begins the reckoning. And with any luck it will both continue and spread across the Atlantic and clear down the Pacific to Australia.

    For a change common sense seems to prevail.

    Good guys: 1
    Bad guys: 0

    Amen!

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      And if blockquote could only line everything up the way I typed it I might die of shock myself.

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      • #
        Yonniestone

        Blockquote, is the rooftop solar of the font world Roy. :)

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          Yoni,

          It has nothing to do with fonts or solar. It’s a matter of programming. The first three lines of what you type are offset to the right so they line up with the right edge of that completely unnecessary quote symbol. Then the rest of what you type is left justified. I’ve no idea why that quote symbol was added but like many things in the software world it has unintended consequences.

          Now Jo will think I’m complaining too much. And maybe I am but it frustrates me every time I try to line up something.

          Of course I’m under no obligation to tell you how many complaints I’ve had over the way I did something during the 47 years I had in which to frustrate others. Retirement has its benefits. ;-)

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  • #
    Svend Ferdinandsen

    I would like to see that spelled out with some figures.
    “the dramatic impact the technology can make in tackling climate change”

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  • #
    TdeF

    Everyone is furiously agreeing. Renewables are a fantasy.
    Sustainability is a fantasy, especially in places like Dubai and Las Vegas.

    However that is missing the point that this is a beautiful, attractive dream, a world where we have energy security forever, no motor cars with smelly petrol, elegant windmills and happy animals who do not become hamburger and chickens who give eggs freely in exchange for education and chicken’s rights. A fantastic world with real appeal for ourselves, our children, our children’s children etc. In other words, a big lie.

    If only big oil would stop lying and stopping super solar and wonderful wind and happy hydro. You will not defeat that dream with facts which proponents paint as straight lies. Actually it is the Greens who have stopped hydro, but that is never discussed. ‘Dams do not make water’ according to the Greens.

    The only thing which can be done, a Conservative government is doing. Turning off the money. After all, if solar and wind are of age, why do they need everyone else’s money. Hopefully it will be seen as hypocritical for ‘renewables’ promoters to demand more subsidies. They have had enough. It is finished. The politicians are calling their bluff. We need to stick to that, after enough cash to build a hundred nuclear power stations.

    Who knows what could have been done with Thorium or Fusion and two trillion dollars? The world was too busy building windmills because that is all anyone understands. Roll on Paris and listen to the howls when the ‘Paris-ites’ realise there is no more money. Barack will not be happy.

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    • #
      Yonniestone

      I agree with the idea of humans striving to achieve and having a better understanding of their world with a happier existence as a side benefit, but the green fantasy world you rightly highlighted is akin to replacing mother nature with Belle Gibson!

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    • #
      Griffo

      I thought Vegas gets power from the Hoover Dam,but I could be wrong.

      10

      • #
        TdeF

        Yes. True. Plus the huge solar farm just South. In a sense, a poor example as it is sustainable, but why? Is this the model for the world?

        It has soaked up the Hoover dam output and yes, if we can turn the world into one giant casino to pay for it all and dam another Grand Canyon, we can have ‘sustainability’. As for Dubai, the oil has run out. They do not have food or drinking water and even the sea water is too hot to swim and the sand too hot to cross. Another model which the world cannot follow, another Disneyland for adults. Not that I am being directly critical of either, but more that that is the opposite of any sane concept of sustainability.

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        • #
          Annie

          Dubai never had much oil. It is very reliant on imports but can be great fun. Part of human life is the need for recreation and it’s certainly available there, not that most of it appeals to me! It does demonstrate how inventive humans can be and I applaud that.

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    • #
      Robert O

      Ted, most of Tasmania’s electricity comes from hydro which is close to half of Australia’s hydro production; the Snowy scheme produces a little more. If the greens hadn’t stopped the Gordon R. scheme stage 2, with the able assistance of PM Hawke, there would have been another 180 MW. The country is too flat for much more hydro, but nuclear is the obvious answer if you want to demonise carbon. But alas the greens don’t like nuclear, coal nor hydro!

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  • #
    Prof. Emeritus A.G.W. de Nihilista

    I imagine Bernie Madoff was “reeling” in “shock and anger” when his little boondoggle got wound up by the authorities too. I mean everyone at the country club thought it was a marvellous investment scheme and who could doubt their judgement.

    Country Club, Climate Science Club – same thing really.

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  • #
    jorgekafkazar

    Are these actual cuts, or merely proposed?

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  • #
    Don Keiller

    Most of you should be glad you don’t live in the UK.
    Not only does the sun not shine,
    the squealing of the Greenpigs being removed from the subsidy teats is dreadful

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    • #
      Mikky

      I’m rather enjoying the squealing, made even worse for them because the BBC is currently obsessing about the plight of migrants and has little time left for its climate and renewables obsessions.

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  • #
    ScotsmaninUtah

    Another East Coast (American) Tropical Storm that fizzles out

    O/T
    Here we are, another beautiful sunny weekend, and on the News, just a few minutes ago, Erika the Tropical storm has been re-categorized…

    For those CAGers looking for any confirmation that AGW theory is correct, the report is “disappointing” Erika the Tropical storm has in fact been “downgraded”.

    …and how low has it been downgraded, some reports are saying to the level equivalent to a German Wind farm. :o

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  • #
    ScotsmaninUtah

    The UK faces the unpleasant truth…

    Most of the time we hear how competitive and cheap renewable energy is. But as soon as the subsidies are cut, the truth comes out.

    Sometimes I think the British simply don’t understand that there is nothing for free. perhaps this is a result of them surrendering their self reliance to the government , I am not sure , but in the end, someone has to pay…

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  • #
    LarryT

    I think Mike is telling us how the ultimate off-gridder survivalist type can make do with solar system and that is what I consider to be the proper use for solar/wind. However, if you are like me and live in a urban area in the United States you will find that lots of expense is already loaded in the system that prevents you even doing that. Things I am thinking of are property taxes rates that take in consideration availability of conventional utilities (front foot costs for water/sewage, easements for utilities, minimum charges for gas and electricity use. Also, costs both legal and time of dealing with the zoning, inspections and other community, local, state officials. We are living in a time where you can get cited for having a garden, having a play set of wrong color or size and even your kids lemonade stand.

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  • #
    Yonniestone

    Read this 2 days ago on CCD, apparently PM Cameron was cited in 2013 as saying “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.” but has done the usual political posturing for votes before and after such honest statements, sounds like many other leaders that tried to use the green lipstick only to find it was a permanent marker that left an ugly taint.

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  • #
    el gordo

    ‘Strangely, they don’t mention how the solar panels will cool the world. I thought that was the point?’

    The hiatus in temperatures has been a wake up call, they discovered an elephant in the room and decided to follow Abbott to Paris.

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    • #
      Konrad

      Jo was right to point that out. There is reduced mention of the whole “CO2 = dangerous warming thing” these days.

      The Labor/Green socialist alliance is franticly trying to re-brand, re-frame and re-position their “narrative”. They only want to talk about “renewables” and a “war on coal” in some crazed hope hope that they can hide the permanent Internet record of their CO2 shame.

      But their ludicrous claims that adding radiative gases to our radiatively cooled atmosphere would reduce its ability to cool the solar heated surface of the planet are a matter of permanent record. The pseudo scientific propagandists don’t get to change their “narrative” in the age of the Internet. Not even with the full support of the lame scream meeja. Not even with all the Kings horses and all the Kings men. The shame of every pseudo scientist, activist, journalist and politician involved in this sorry hoax is permanent and instantly accessible with the tap of a keyboard or click of a mouse.

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      • #
        gai

        Unfortunately Konrad I have found sweepers busy cleaning up. Several of the links I want are dead and the Wayback has no record.

        The latest one to disappear:
        Carbon dioxide starvation, the development of C4 ecosystems, and mammalian evolution
        http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/353/1365/159.abstract

        For the last three days all I have gotten is a blank screen.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lvmeCHYyZI

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        • #
          Bob Campbell

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9507562
          Abstract

          Send to:
          Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1998 Jan 29;353(1365):159-70; discussion 170-1.
          Carbon dioxide starvation, the development of C4 ecosystems, and mammalian evolution.
          Cerling TE1, Ehleringer JR, Harris JM.
          Author information
          Abstract

          The decline of atmospheric CO2 over the last 65 million years (Ma) resulted in the ‘CO2-starvation’ of terrestrial ecosystems and led to the widespread distribution of C4 plants, which are less sensitive to CO2 levels than are C3 plants. Global expansion of C4 biomass is recorded in the diets of mammals from Asia, Africa, North America, and South America during the interval from about 8 to 5 Ma. This was accompanied by the most significant Cenozoic faunal turnover on each of these continents, indicating that ecological changes at this time were an important factor in mammalian extinction. Further expansion of tropical C4 biomass in Africa also occurred during the last glacial interval confirming the link between atmospheric CO2 levels and C4 biomass response. Changes in fauna and flora at the end of the Miocene, and between the last glacial and interglacial, have previously been attributed to changes in aridity; however, an alternative explanation for a global expansion of C4 biomass is CO2 starvation of C3 plants when atmospheric CO2 levels dropped below a threshold significant to C3 plants. Aridity may also have been a factor in the expansion of C4 ecosystems but one that was secondary to, and perhaps because of, gradually decreasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Mammalian evolution in the late Neogene, then, may be related to the CO2 starvation of C3 ecosystems.

          PMID:
          9507562
          [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
          PMCID:
          PMC1692178

          Free PMC Article

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          • #
            gai

            Thank you Bob.

            That is one of my favorite references. Bookmarked!

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            • #
              Andrew McRae

              It’s also fruitful to look at the articles that later cited that one, such as this :
              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10884422

              What happened was, uh, I mean… A hypothesis which has not yet been disproved is…
              “The observed decline in species richness may represent a gradual decline in primary productivity, which would be consistent with one current hypothesis of a mid-Miocene decrease in atmospheric CO2 concentrations from higher mid-Cenozoic values.”

              And to think the UN’s fallback crisis is biodiversity loss! We’re one step ahead of them.
              Worried about biodiversity, then increase CO2. It’s peer-reviewed science.

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  • #

    When the subsides go away, the true nature of renewables like solar and wind are revealed for their waste of resources.

    Solar PV in Table 8.1 of Howard Odum’s Book, Environmental Accounting, shows that the EROEI for solar pv for an Austin TX project was 0.48.

    I re-exmained a 1993 EROEI spreadsheet for Livermore Pass which claimed an EROEI of 14.83 and proved the true value to be 0.29.

    Solar and wind are simply unsustainable.

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  • #
    pat

    no surprise…read all:

    29 Aug: OregonLive: Drew Johnson: The Sierra Club has become a front group for its donors’ financial interests (OPINION)
    (Drew Johnson is a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C., based Taxpayers Protection Alliance and a columnist at The Washington Times)
    One of America’s most respected environmental nonprofits has traded in one kind of green for another. Some of the Sierra Club’s board members and most important donors have put the almighty dollar before Mother Earth by encouraging the organization to engage in activities that bolster their bottom line.
    In a new report, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute reveals that many environmental activists benefit richly from their donations to the Sierra Club.
    Nathaniel Simons, a hedge fund baron worth an estimated $12 billion, has donated more than $14 million to the Sierra Club since 2009. Those contributions have largely been earmarked for campaigns to “educate the public about clean energy” but have proven quite worthwhile to Simons. While he was underwriting the Sierra Club’s efforts to promote renewables, Simons was quietly creating a venture fund that invests in clean energy.
    The co-founder of Applied Energy Services, Roger Sant, has donated up to $4 million to the Sierra Club. Sant, the chairman emeritus of the renewable energy company, is an outspoken advocate for a carbon dioxide emission tax. That’s because such a policy would mean millions of dollars for Sant and other Applied Energy Services investors..
    The Sierra Club’s well-known “Beyond Coal” campaign has been largely discredited because the campaign appears paid for by board members and other donors who benefit financially from the organization’s anti-fossil fuel crusades.
    Eight of the Sierra Club Foundation’s 18 directors are involved with organizations that profit from the Beyond Coal campaign…
    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/08/the_sierra_club_has_become_a_f.html

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    pat

    reminder:

    24 Aug: Washington Times: Nicolas Loris: California green failure a warning for states facing Clean Power Plan
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/24/nicolas-loris-california-green-failure-a-warning-f/

    29 Aug: Christopher Booker: Met Office sacked by the BBC – but the truth is even odder
    The bulk of the data used by the winning bidder will still have to be supplied by the UK Met Office anyway…
    But the chief reason why the Met Office has been getting so many forecasts spectacularly wrong, as reported here ad nauseam, is that all its short, medium and long-term forecasts ultimately derive from the same huge computer model, which is programmed to believe in manmade global warming…READ ALL
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/11833038/Met-Office-sacked-by-the-BBC-but-the-truth-is-even-odder.html

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    • #
      Another Ian

      Pat

      I seem to recall that BOM bought software from the UK Met Office.

      Being as they have gone to a new model for their seasonal forecasting I’ve wondered if it just happened to this one that they got?

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      • #
        AndyG55

        Not only software…

        At least a few of the climate guys from BOM have done stints at CRU.
        (Stott? can’t remember the other two of-hand.)

        I think you will find that Gavin Schmidt also was at CRU for a period.

        Its one tight knit little bunch if scammers.

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    pat

    being picked up by MSM…but note the spin. “SETS SIGHTS” in the headline gives a clue to what is eventually admitted in the second half of the article:

    29 Aug: Reuters: China passes new pollution law, SETS SIGHTS on coal consumption cap
    Chang Jiwen, an environmental researcher with the Development and Research Council, a government think tank, has described the new law as “not very useful”.
    “It is filled with many slogan-like clauses and is more like a policy document than legislation,” Chang told the state-backed newspaper China Business. He said many experts had said the bill should have been postponed.
    Lawmakers had rejected proposals to include specific coal consumption targets in the law and also ruled out a clause allowing local authorities to set their own restrictions on car use, the official Xinhua news agency said earlier this week.
    Wang Yi, head of the policy committee of the China Academy of Sciences and a member of the NPC’s standing committee, has told Chinese media the law fails to set clear goals on emissions and air quality standards…
    http://news.yahoo.com/china-passes-pollution-law-sets-sights-coal-consumption-093009048.html

    worth a read:

    29 Aug: American Thinker: Norman Rogers: Energy Delusions
    (Norman Rogers is a physicist who often writes about energy and climate)
    Officially clean energy is about generating energy without emitting carbon dioxide. The favorite technologies are wind and solar power. In reality clean energy is about crony capitalism and deluded environmentalists…
    The Clean Energy Summit is a chance for the crony capitalists and the politicians to get together and celebrate their mutual good fortune. Environmental organizations and their followers provide political cover. A political
    exchange of favors is morphed into a noble crusade to save the Earth from global warming…
    The idea that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause disastrous global warming is irresistible because it provides endless financial opportunities for extracting money from the government and the consumers of energy…
    CO2 haters, exemplified by the Sierra Club, focus on coal as the most evil form of energy. The Sierra Club is bent on destroying the coal industry…
    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/08/energy_delusions.html

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    Another Ian

    Jo

    A must read IMO


    There’s a new study out, under the imprimatur of the Energy Institute of the Haas School of Business in Berkeley, California, entitled The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax Credits. As the title implies, it looks at who actually profited from the various “green energy” tax credits across the United States. SPOILER ALERT! It wasn’t the poor folks.” And more.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/08/29/the-hood-robin-syndrome/

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    ScotsmaninUtah

    For fun lovers not ridden with guilt about the state of the atmosphere , the news this weekend comes from the West coast of America…
    Tomorrow (Sunday) tens of thousands of Californians and visitors from afar are going to come together under the banner of spontineity, friendship and love.. to engage in a wonderful week long festival in the temporary City of Black Rock Nevada.

    There, in a town made and unmade in no time at all, people will join together in art , music and sand , and indulge in all kinds whilst breaking down the barriers of social prudeness.

    Huge spectacular structures are erected by the participants that when seen against the back drop of the ultra flat desert are inredible in appearance and strikingly beautiful.
    One in particular “The man” which is the focus of the festival is unique in that each year the theme is different.

    Despite the weeks that are spent designing and building the huge main structure It finally meets its end when gasoline is poured onto it .. and is burned to the ground.

    http://burningman.org/event/brc/

    I wont mention CO2 at this point… :o

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  • #
    John

    A white paper “Development Integration Of Renewable Energy: Lessons Learned From Germany” is an in depth assessment of the Unintended Consequences of Germany’s “Energiewende” policies.

    The authors of this white paper would like to state that they fully support renewables as a part of the overall power portfolio. All the authors have worked with both electric utilities and purely renewable companies. Some of them have 20+ years of experience in the power sector, and a couple have direct equity interests in renewable projects.

    “Large penetration of renewable energy has not only translated into higher costs for the economy, it is also having profound effects on wholesale electricity markets that could ultimately result in a deterioration of the country’s reliability. Subsidized renewables have dispatch priority over thermal generators and come first in the market’s merit order, thus depressing wholesale prices to levels that are making thermal plants uneconomical. At the same time, increasing amounts of renewables require increasing amounts of back-up and balancing power that only thermal plants can provide. The implications of these developments for reliability are evident.” The problem is that prior to the introduction of utility scale renewables the wholesale market was orderly. The subsidized renewables impact on the wholesale market is destabilizing causing the thermal generators to become unprofitable and no longer viable. Ironically Utility Scale Renewables need the thermal producers to exist due to the intermittency of power production. http://www.finadvice.ch/files/germany_lessonslearned_final_071014.pdf

    From the Table of Contents

    UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF GERMANY’S RENEWABLE POLICIES
    Enormous governmental subsidies for renewables
    Ever increasing power prices to residential customers
    Impact on national competitiveness
    Financial impact to thermal generators and reliability
    Impact of renewables’ variability on market operations and thermal plants
    Expansion and additional investment in the power grid
    Repeated redesigns and boom and bust cycles

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  • #

    I lived in Cyprus for a few years back in the early 70′s. Almost every home has a tank on the ridge of the roof that heated water just by sunlight. Cost ? 100 quid at the most.

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    • #
      dariusz

      are they being subsidised?
      no one is arguing that the renewables are bad. this is a question of subsidies.

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      Annie

      Yes, that is so. I remember those too. On our last visit to the island we noticed that houses had not only those rooftop water tanks but also solar panels for the same purpose! We concluded that they were one of the ‘benefits’ of their membership of the EU. The other was that there were many people there lacking the traditional kindness and courtesy of the Cypriots , a trait we always highly valued. Very sad to see in our favourite place.

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    ROM

    Getting tired and clicked the wrong button and lost my entire completed post and the links which had taken a couple of hours to research..

    So very short version;

    From Paul Homewoods “Not a lot of people know that” blog site;

    EU Electricity Prices & Renewable Energy

    The Graph that says it all;

    Electricity Costs vs Installed Renewable Capacity Per Capita
    ————————
    From the King Juan Carlos University of Spain, a 2009 study where every job” created” in the Spanish renewable energy industry cost 2.2 jobs in the rest of the Spanish economy due to increased power costs for industry and consumers.
    The ethically and morally free American renewable energy source of lies and misinformation and propaganda, the National Renewable Energy Laboratories has apparently tried to corrupt just about every link I could find for this 2009 Spanish University study.

    Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources

    Spain is currently being sued in the international courts by a few foreign owned renewable energy companies for removing the lavish subsidies which the Spanish economy was starting to buckle under with an in excess of a 30 billion Euro debt created by the subsidies to those renewable energy outfits.

    The UK in a similar study around the same time came up with a loss of around 4 jobs in the general economy for every job “created” in the UK renewable energy industry.

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    David S

    One of the factors that doesn’t get discussed is the impact of the plunging fossil fuel prices on the cost of renewables basis. In relative terms halving of the price of those resources leads to a doubling of the relative cost of renewables. All governments need to follow the UK example or acknowledge that renewables subsidies will negatively impact their internal economics.

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    Nezy

    Something I have never fully understood – why, despite the “inputs” (wind, solar etc) being effectively free and gratis, is the power so expensive? Surely once capital costs have been expended and each facility linked to the grid, the output (electricity) is at virtually zero cost. On this relatively simple business model it should make a profit in the longer term even if it was actually slightly cheaper than traditionally generated power. Most arguments appear to tacitly acknowledge that renewable energy requires subsidies to just break even or make some small operating profit. Something doesn’t quite fit.

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      ROM

      We had a saying on our farm when arguments got started on what colour machinery was the best make.

      The saying was; If it shakes rattles and rolls it will break regardless of its colour

      To use an analogy; If you take out the cost of the fuel for your car, the rest of your car travel is free for evermore !
      Or not!

      Turbine gearboxes and the huge hub bearings that the turbine blades revolve on are notorious for break down in less than a decade.
      The main blade supporting bearings develop cross cracking that can and does destroy the entire main bearing structure and are responsible for 59% of the turbine failures.
      Thats a serious problem that the turbine blade hub bearing manufacturing companies have still not solved.

      The URL above is an interesting wind turbine failure analysis from India titled ;Major Failures in Wind Turbine Components and The Importance of Periodic Inspections

      All the failure action happens over 100 metres up in the latest turbines so it needs cranes at some figures suggest hire rates of close to $30,000 per day for the very specialised extreme height crane hire.
      Or as another industry person told me not so long ago, many wind farms allow a number of turbines to go out of operation until they reach a point where they can a minimise the cost of a turbine servicing crane by using it to service and repair a number of turbines together during the same time.

      As the entire costs of maintenance and repairs of wind turbines, those maintenance and repair costs are inordinately high when compared to the per Kw maintenance costs from steam generated base load power and compared to the turbines real and actual output which runs at about 28% of their supposed and claimed in all their propaganda, plated generation capacity here in Australia.
      Real and actual turbine generation capacity is now down to 18% of plated capacity in Europe as a whole, the actual generation capabilities falling off to lower and lower percentages as the wind turbine industry expands into ever less windy locations plus increasing aerodynamic wind flow interference from up-wind turbines on extended turbine farms dramatically lowers the efficiency of the down wind turbines caught in the turbulent wind flows from the up wind turbines..

      And just for info’; It takes the energy from 150 tonnes of high grade coal just to build one on-shore turbine and 250 tonnes of coal to build one off-shore turbine.

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      Nezy asks this:

      …..why, despite the “inputs” (wind, solar etc) being effectively free and gratis, is the power so expensive?

      It’s a relevant question, and one which needs careful explanation.

      Keep in mind here that this exercise is just for the recovery of the capital cost of the construction of the plant.

      Even though there are a number of variables, and it is seemingly not a like for like basis with respect to the Nameplate at construction, this is for currently existing examples, and results in the end cost of a like for like basis, here, the unit cost for electricity being generated ….. in cents per KWH (KiloWattHour)

      This is calculated over the power generated across the life of the plant to recover just the capital cost of construction, and again, be aware that there are variables here also, as the wind plant has a (best case) life span of 25 years, while the coal fired plant has a life span of a projected 50 years. Another variable is the Capacity Factor, which is best case for wind at (again, best case here) 25% across its life, while the coal fired plant will have a Capacity Factor of 78% for its life. (up to 95% for the first number of years and decreasing to around 75% towards its end of life, but averaging 78% for its 50 years, and here I’ve gone a little on the low side, as some really old plants are still delivering at 80% at the end of their life) Even with those variables, the end result for both is in cents per KWH.

      Note that here, I’m using best case for wind and average to low side for coal fired power, so even then, I’m making wind look better than coal fired power, and still it cannot look even close to equality.

      I’ll give an example for a 600MW wind farm, and use the proposal for the now failed King Island wind plant in Tasmania, and for a new USC (UltraSuperCritical) coal fired plant, using an equivalent costing calculated from the Neurath Plant in Germany, converting from Euros to AUD.

      Wind Plant – $2 Billion Construction cost.

      600 X 24 X 365.25 X 0.25 X 25 = 32,872.5GWH (which is 32,872,500,000KWH)

      So, to recover the capital cost the electricity has to be sold at 6.084 cents per KWH

      Coal fired plant – $3.75 Billion Construction cost.

      2200 X 24 X 365.25 X 0.78 X 50 = 752,122.8GWH (which is 752,122,800,000KWH)

      So to recover the capital cost, the electricity has to be sold at 0.498 cents per KWH

      You can see now the just for the capital cost that the wind power electricity is more expensive than coal fired power by a factor of 12, but keep in mind here that this is just for the recovery of the original capital cost.

      Coal fired power has the added expense of having to purchase the coal, and some elimination of the middleman sees coal fired plants constructed at the site of the mine itself. Then add on the maintenance etcetera. Even then coal fired power can still sell its generated power at 2.5 to 3.5 cents per KWH, even adding on those extras, and that STILL results in the operators making a profit.

      So, even with the extras added on wind coal fired power is still half the cost of wind, and that cost for wind is just for the capital cost. The maintenance for wind is horrendously expensive, and that is in the region of 15 to 20 times more expensive, so when that is added on coal fired power is still considerably cheaper than wind power.

      Where wind power is made to appear cheaper is that the original capital cost recovery is halved, and more often than not more than halved, because Governments, at both levels, Federal and State usually give the proposers a grant of more than half that cost. That takes the recovery down to almost the same as for coal. Wind contracts are usually set up so the the Government guarantees a set cost per KWH for every KWH the plant actually delivers, and that’s on top of what they can actually onsell their power to retailers.

      So, at every turn, wind power is subsidised, and still it’s more expensive than coal fired power.

      If the playing field was actually level, and there were no subsidies of any sort to wind power, then wind power is more expensive than coal fired power by a factor of between 4 and 7 times more expensive.

      Be careful here when you see any of those LCOE charts. (Levelised Cost Of Electricity) Every one of them is a model only, and depending on who brings it out and how much they hate coal fired power, they will do everything they can to make coal look expensive, and wind look cheap.

      At every construction, not one plant, wind or coal fired can be related to any of those LCOE’s, because each plant has different things about it, and that’s why in this case here, I have used ACTUAL plants or proposals for plants.

      So, while the answer with respect to costings is an involved one, be very careful what references you use, because all of them differ.

      So Nezy, I hope this has gone some way towards explaining it for you.

      Tony.

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        Cameron

        Tony, There are other factors also which can tend to remain hidden. The vast amount of land that is required for the wind farm could come with a significant lost opportunity cost with respect to other possible land uses. There is also the intermittent nature of wind generation and the fact that using the average capacity factor does not take into account the amount of time that the wind is not blowing and no electricity is generated at all. Other plant must be kept in idle mode to be able to replace the missing wind farm energy. Another issue is with grid stability. Large amounts of money have needed to be spend to protect the grid from these fluctuation energy inputs. Many years ago this type of fluctuating energy would have been called “dirty”energy. None of these costs are usually included with the straight generation costs when doing cost comparisons. For most technical people who have worked for many years in the electricity generation and supply industry this whole renewable energy business is madness. I often wonder who they have got advising the government and where they found them.

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        Andrew McRae

        Loosely related news:
        Qld govt to reassess $400m solar farm
        … “I want to ensure that the economic and environmental interests of this part of the state are promoted and that the impacts on the viability of important agricultural industries are carefully considered,” Ms Trad said in a statement.
        Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/08/31/17/17/qld-govt-to-reasses-400m-solar-farm
        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
        A Labor government re-assessing a solar plant proposal. Pigs flying over Archerfield. News at 11.

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      Bill

      Nezy, thanks for asking and a big thank you to Tony, Cameron, & ROM for their excellent answers. The biggest problem with so-called renewables is that few bother to ask the questions and simply go with the sales hype. Kudos to you for bringing forward your questions, please continue to do so.

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      skeptic56109

      I thought the Germans had demonstrated that a fully functioning windmill could be installed for FREE and it would contribute nothing to the grid. Can you imagine, 25,000 windmills spinning, and the reduction of coal and gas inputs per MWH for the entire grid is not measurable.
      Apparently this is because only an inefficient model of gas turbine (35% efficient instead of 50%) can respond to the variability of wind power fast enough to keep the grid stable. (Of course the gas turbine has to be maintained both spinning and hot.)

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    Owen Morgan

    Here in my part of Britain, generally one of the warmer bits, we have been enjoying a classic British summer: relentless rain for a whole week. I doubt if solar panels have been contributing very much, even in these long daylight hours. It’s not as if we can exploit all the rainfall for hydroelectricity, either, because the landscape is just the wrong shape.

    Hydro works for Norway, for instance, because Norway has the right combination of water (not least, snow melt) and topography, but also because there aren’t actually very many Norwegians. Hydroelectricity is not a significant option in most of Britain, two-thirds of which are pretty flat. You can’t just dam any old river. When the Turks put a major dam on the Euphrates, some years back, attention centred largely on the emergency project to excavate the Greco-Roman site of Zeugma, but thousands of local people had to be re-located.

    Britain has no Euphrates. Our biggest river (in terms of volume, not length) is the Tay, which is a spectacular sight from Dundee, but which, with no need for a dam, bursts its banks pretty frequently upstream at Perth. There’s a bridge in Perth which shows the height of floodwaters, just like the nilometers on the Nile.

    Longer ago than I care to recall, my school used the world’s most boring geography textbook. One of the chapters concerned a hydroelectric power station in North Wales, called Cwm Dyli. Cwm Dyli is in Snowdonia, the most mountainous area in Wales and one of the wettest areas in Britain, probably one of the wettest in Europe. I really resented learning about Cwm Dyli, because my geography teacher owned up, right at the start, that this particular hydroelectric project had already been closed for umpteen years.

    If you can’t run a successful hydro plant in Snowdonia, then there aren’t many other places in Britain where it’s even worth trying. If the Scots really think hydro is the answer to all energy concerns, it’s a bit weird that the Nationalists have spent the last forty years banging on about oil. Scotland, in topographical terms, is a bit like Britain in microcosm. You have the pointy bits, which are the only ones where hydroelectricity is at all feasible (and has been tried), and you have the flat areas, where nearly everyone actually lives.

    I was never any good at physics, but I’m guessing that putting electricity generation miles away from the people who need it still doesn’t work all that well.

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    Some real numbers and graphic presentation of Renewable Energy in Europe using Renewable Energy Industry data sources.

    see
    https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/european-renewable-energy-costs-and-performance-2014/

    Accounting for capacity factors the overall capital cost of all European Renewable Energy installations is about €29billion / Gigawatt, whereas the cost of a conventional gas-fired generation is about €1billion / Gigawatt.

    By 2014 European Union countries had invested of the order of €1 trillion, €1000,000,000,000, in large scale Renewable Energy installations. This may well be an underestimate.

    This has provided a nameplate electrical generating capacity of about 216 Gigawatts, nominally about ~22% of the total European generation needs of some 1000 Gigawatts.

    The actual measured output by 2014 from Renewable Industry sources has been 38 Gigawatts or 3.8% of Europe’s electricity requirement, at a capacity factor of ~18% overall.

    The whole 1000 Gigawatt fleet of European electricity generation installations could have been replaced with lower capital cost Gas-fired installations for the €1trillion of capital costs already expended on Renewable Energy in Europe.

    However Renewable Energy production is dependent on the seasons, local weather conditions and the rotation of the earth, day and night.

    So the Renewable Energy contribution to the electricity supply grid is inevitably erratic, intermittent and non-dispatchable. It is therefore much less useful than dispatchable sources of electricity, which can be engaged whenever necessary to match demand and maintain grid stability.

    That 3.8% Renewable Energy contribution to the grid is often not available when needed and obversely its mandatory use can cause major grid disruption if the Renewable Energy contribution is suddenly over abundant.

    The Renewable Energy industry could not exist without the Government mandated subsidies and preferential tariffs on which it depends. It is not a truly viable business proposition

    Viewed from the point of view of the engineering viability of a nation’s electrical grid, Renewable Energy would never be part of the generating mix without its Government mandate and Government market interference.

    The Greens in their enthusiasm to save the world will destroy civilisation long before the world fails from excessive overheating from CO2 emissions.

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    Terence

    I found this and spent some time reading through the comments on here and I can not believe what I am reading. First the amount of misinformation is unbelievable, renewable energies are far better than what has been said on here. I have not read so much misinformation in one place, it is crazy with even a comment saying nuclear power is a better option. No wonder this planet is dying, to many stupid people on it. Nuclear power has killed millions of people and its still killing more, the Pacific Ocean is now being flooded with radiation and killing off the ocean life. Not to mention that we have not fixed or cleaned up the first nuclear melt down and the current count is 5 melt downs of differing levels. But we don’t talk or hear about that. We just attack renewable energy production with narrow minds, misinformation and lies.

    Here is a fact for you lairs,

    The latest information available form eurostat shows that electricity generated from renewable energy sources contributed more than one quarter (25.4 %) of the EU-28’s gross electricity consumption.

    Perhaps you should all crawl out from under your rock and really see what is going on in this world. Some of us are trying to save it from all the stupid people.

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    dp

    This is a convoluted story so let me summarize my understanding of the situation.

    Green energy is expensive, dirty, and unreliable and so the following is required:

    * Subsidies are taken from taxes collected, for example, by the sale of reliable fossil fuel generation and which is passed on to energy customers.

    * Because the green energy is unreliable the green energy sources are given first access to the grid when they can generate any power at all. And they are paid a premium rate if and when they generate power, and this premium is passed on to tax payers who also provide the green subsidies, and possibly from taxes collected by the sale of reliable fossil fuel and which are passed on to energy customers.

    * Necessarily, the cost of all electric energy has to go up to cover expenses not covered by subsidies, and these increased rates come from tax payers, many of whom have to dip into their welfare income to pay their share. Surely a benevolent government does what it can to cover those welfare recipient expenses from the largess provided by tax payers, including those reliable fossil fuel energy providers who pass on those expenses to the energy customers.

    * Because low-income people do not typically purchase electric luxury cars, tax payers and welfare recipients, through their purchases of electricity, help the wealthy keep the luxury electric car industry thriving.

    * Because low-income people do not normally live in homes where they can load up their roofs with safe, clean, and free solar power, or if they do they cannot afford free solar power even with subsidies, we can assume free solar energy is a privilege of the upper classes who currently absorb the bulk of green subsidies taken from tax payers including any tax revenue generated by the reliable fossil fuel energy industry and which is passed on to energy customers.

    * It has come to the attention of politicians that those who support green programs are being booted out of office and replaced with politicians who are cutting subsidies, and this is not lost on the green mega-industry that can’t exist without those subsidies. So those green mega-industry corporations are using some of that still-existing subsidy money provided by tax payers and possibly by taxes generated by the reliable fossil fuel industry to support green politicians in the hope that a little money goes a long way to keep green politicians in office.

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