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 — the $300 billion dollar vested interest that hardly anyone mentions

Imagine there was a $300 billion dollar industry that depended almost entirely on a pagan belief that cars cause storms, and coal caused floods. Imagine this industry produced nothing that consumers would voluntarily buy unless the government banned cheaper options. Now imagine how much money these investors might be willing to donate to lobby groups, Superpacs, and activists in koala suits. Purely hypothetically…

Global clean energy investment[1] totaled $332.1 billion in 2018, down 8% on 2017. Last year was the fifth in a row in which investment exceeded the $300 billion mark, according to authoritative figures from research company BloombergNEF (BNEF).

Global investment in renewable energy, 2018  | Bloomberg.

With 100% of their income at risk of evaporating if the voters pick the wrong person, or if public faith in the pagan religion starts to wane, these investors have a reason to create a PR campaign that called anyone who questioned the faith an idiot denier, funded by fossil fuels, out of touch, old, white and unfashionable.

Fossil Fuels, on the other hand, wouldn’t need to worry. They’ve tried the solar and wind research already. They know how uncompetitive they are and how people will be using coal [...]

Huge bang and house burns to the ground — just an e-bike battery mishap

World made 0.000001°C cooler, but house made 600°C hotter

Remember The Precautionary Principle: something about “no House-B”?

An Orange Flash and then Melanie’s House Burnt Down

Melanie Sandford was sitting in bed on a rainy Sunday morning listening to a podcast about enlightenment when she heard a “huge bang”.

“A nanosecond later, there was an orange flash that ripped down past the bedroom door,” Ms Sandford said.

All signs point to the lithium ion battery of Ms Sandford’s beloved eZee Sprint e-bike as the culprit.

The firefighters arrived promptly – “I’m told it was four minutes but it felt like three hours” – but it was too late to save her home.

Another hidden battery cost?

GlowWorm Bicycles said eZee has recalled some faulty batteries, but lists these Handy safety tips for all e-bike batteries: Don’t charge them unsupervised, don’t overcharge, undercharge, charge near flammable things or charge overnight, and have a fire safety plan.

B A T T E R Y       S A F E T Y

[...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Australia’s $25b renewables bubble set to bust: ABC starts promo to prop it up

Is this the peak of Australia’s renewables bubble?

A Crash Test Dummy Update: Last year our renewables capacity grew 50%. We have more renewables per capita than any other country on Earth. Investors spent $25 billion in just one year, and that doesn’t include the cost of the rampant uptake of home solar PV or presumably, all the subsidies. Our 56 gigawatt grid now includes six gigawatts of unreliables. But Lordy, lo, look what’s coming in the next three years in the table after this graph … potentially another 30GW. How many billion will we burn on this pyre?

In the graph below, note how dependent investors are on government rules and largess. Kevin Rudd started at the end of 2007. Abbott won in mid 2013. Turnbull took over in mid 2016. Investors came and went, not with demand, but with politics.

The headline: “Renewable energy investment looks to be going from boom to bust as prices collapse”

by Stephen Letts, ABC News

Figure 1: RHS Renewables investment (the dotted line). LHS Energy generation by Wind and Solar (columns).

 

Uh-oh. Look at what’s coming:

How big is the oversupply that’s on the way? Check out the ominous table hidden [...]

Another socialist boom and bust in solar in Victoria

Behold, the Victorian Govt are proving yet again that Soviet-style electricity management can crush lives, hopes and wallets. The free market is never as cruel and destructive as one run on “good intentions” or the desire to win virtue-signaling fashion parades.

The invisible hand of the market was replaced with Daniel Andrews whimsy. This might work if he was smarter than the collective brains of 5 million people. Apparently Andrews assumes serfs people don’t understand the true value of solar panels and the benefits of creating jobs in China, so he has mandated glorious subsidies in the hope of getting nice weather one day, and the desperate punters took them up in droves. The industry boomed. But now they’ve temporarily halted the free gifts, orders have disappeared as the free market returns to accurately valuing solar installations. So the workers are being sacked. The rebates will come back again in July, so business-owners somehow need to get a different income stream for two months, survive the turmoil, and then the golden gravy will run again.

As per usual ABC policy, no free market voices were harmed, interviewed or asked to provide comment:

Victorian solar company reeling after popular rebate [...]

Invisible costs of renewables: “Staggeringly high” $125b for US electricity consumers

A major new “nail in coffin” study shows the more renewables we force onto the market the more expensive electricity gets.

Everyday someone tells us renewables are cheap, but these estimates come from flawed “LCOE” method (at best) supposedly the lifetime cost, but without many indirect costs. Granted, it’s hard to figure out what the bill for renewable energy is. But what really matters to every man and his dog, is the cost effect on the whole system, not a cherry-slice comparison of a few sunny-windy hours a day which doesn’t take into account the effect that renewable energy has on the rest of the 24/7 electricity grid.

Greenstone, McDowell and Nath have analysed all 29 states in the US where there are laws demanding a certain percentage of energy be renewable. On average a 4% increase in renewables led to a price rise of 17% and the impost was wildly high compared to any remotely sensible cost-benefit analysis. Renewables are the car insurance bill that costs 3 times as much as your car. Any serious environmentalist would hate renewables.

Michael Shellenberger, Forbes

The cost to consumers has been staggeringly high: ”All in all, seven years after passage, [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Solar Power at $70 is still twice the price of brown coal

More fake news: Miners are only switching to solar because they can’t get access to cheap coal fired power.

“Miners switch on to renewables”

A better headline would be: Renewable targets make electricity so expensive miners are forced to switch to renewables.

The money quote:

Emily Alford is a principal consultant at Oakley Greenwood …  [she] told The Weekend Australian that solar generation cost about $200 a megawatt hour five years ago, and had dropped to about $70-$80 now.

Compare that to 53 year old Hazelwood coal power which was selling electricity for $30/MWh in it’s last month of operation. When brown coal stations set the price in Victoria they were winning bids at prices like $13/MWh.The cheapest electricity in the world comes from 30 year old brown coal plants.

The $70-$80 estimate is artificially low. Unreliable power makes the other baseload generators more expensive, adding $30/MWh to gas generators for example. Because the back up generators have to be there, not earning money while solar feeds in, they have to charge more to recoup those costs in a shorter working period. Doh. So add that cost to solar, not the gas.

Compare the real costs and weep:

I’ll repost [...]

Attenborough’s climate facts fell off a cliff with the Walruses

Is this the tipping point for David Attenborough’s reputation?

Will anyone see David Attenborough the same way again after the Netflix debacle that is  “Climate Change: The Facts”?

The Attenborough subspecies may present itself as an impartial scientist but under scrutiny this is revealed to be a chameleon-like illusion that hides the real intent, which appears to be to garner prizes, funds, fame and better dinner invitations. Evolutionarily, Attenborough may be seeking to increase his own status (and resources for kin) at the expense of taxpayers, donors and hapless walruses.

David Attenborough, homo propagandis, wears the guise of environmental scientist while spruiking pagan fears, cherry picked evidence and lying by omission.

The facts turn out to be half-truths that fit the pattern of exploiting primal fears to create deep psychological spin. He says “we don’t know” but then shows the opposite — associating every kind of bad weather, fire, and storm with man-made emissions even though data shows that these were worse in the past or are caused by other factors. In probably his lowest career point, rumours are spreading that not only did thriving polar bears cause the falling walrus episode rather than coal power stations, but his [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Earliest recorded snow event in Western Australian history

Remember when climate modelers told us fossil fuels cause longer snow seasons?

No neither do I.

Albany, snowboarding, earliest snow, WA, 2019.

It is the earliest recorded snow event in a calendar year in the state’s history. Statistically, we can tell how anomalous this is by the behaviour of the local wildlife – seen snowboarding in shorts on the driveway in Albany. (Even going across the road). It’s possible this is the longest snowboard ride in the state’s history too. Though technically it is hail-boarding.

See snowboarding in Albany Western Australia

For foreign readers, WA (Western Aust) doesn’t have a snow season. Last regular snow was probably circa 20,000BC.

The ABC reports:

BOM forecaster Matt Boterhoven said snow was an extremely rare occurrence in April.

“It’s exceptional. We’ve only recorded once, in the last 100 years, snow as early as this on top of the Stirling Ranges,” he said.

“It’s related to a very strong cold air mass moving over the south-west of the state, so when conditions get below freezing and there’s precipitation, snow can form on top of Stirling Ranges.”

Mr Boterhoven predicted further snow flurries were [...]

Burn oil so we can eat more chocolate

The fake scare of the season — “climate change is impacting chocolate production”.

Chocolate is produced from the beans that grow on cocoa trees. These plants can only grow in a fairly narrow range of conditions, which makes them vulnerable to changes in the environment.

Unfortunately, climate change is threatening some of these key growing regions. According to the IPCC, rising temperatures and a relative reduction in rainfall could make areas like West Africa less suitable for cocoa production in the future. Changes to the climate are also pushing cocoa-growing regions to higher altitudes in some parts of the world, which can make some crops unsustainable.

We can see just how hard cocoa crops have been hit by record heat and 500 billion tons of carbon.

Global Cocoa production

Since 1989 humans have put out more than 50% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions since homo sapiens went sapien. There is an undeniable trend here.

Happy Easter to everyone.

h/t Dave B

Kenney wins landslide in Alberta against carbon tax: vows War Room against energy activists

Yet another big win against carbon taxes: Abbott, Trump, Ford and now Kenney

Provinces of Canada.

The first pledge was to get rid of the carbon tax. The victory was a scorching 63 to 24 seats, or 55% to 32%.

Alberta is a conservative province of Canada with 4 million people. It’s wealthy from oil, gas and agriculture. (It’s not that different to Queensland and WA.). Jason Kenney is on a mission to get the province back from environmental zealots: fergoodnesssake, he even vowed to set up a ‘War Room’ against energy activists.

The greens were the main target and the people said “Yes”.

Conservatives win big victory in Alberta, Canada

The right-leaning United Conservative Party (UCP) has taken power in the oil-rich Canadian province of Alberta, routing the left-leaning NDP.

It was a landslide victory:

…Kenney defeated center-left incumbent Rachel Notley, 55, whose New Democratic Party snapped four decades of conservative rule in 2015. His UCP won 63 seats in the provincial legislature, against 24 for Notley’s NDP,

He’s vowed to get stalled pipelines built, scrap the province’s carbon tax, and create a “war room” to hit back at [...]

Australia to pay $25b to foreigners so we get better weather

In a nutshell, if the Labor Party wins (and that’s looking likely) Australia will pay $25b, maybe $35b to foreigners for paper certificates that claim to have reduced a tiny amount of beneficial gas. This is hard earned money leaving the country so that our foreign minister and PM can sit at better tables at UN Gala Dinners. The paper certificates have a long history of fraud, are often based on good intentions of Chinese or Russian businessman saying they will put out more CO2 but can stop if we pay up. It’s so stupid sometimes people even create pollution just to get paid to clean it up. They’re unauditable, worthless, and based on scientificy assertions that are also unaudited and worthless. It’s a double layered scam.

Welcome to pagan Australia, obedient fool serf for namecalling rulers of Europe, giant banks, and multinational corporations.

A witchdoctor calls PM “cave-dweller“:

This is mature policy debate in the lucky country.

Richard Ferguson, The Australian

Bill Shorten has angrily dismissed claims his carbon reduction policy could cost business $25 billion as “nonsense” and labelled Scott Morrison a “climate-denying cave dweller.”

 But wait — why’s that number wrong?

Facebook finds truth by “Groupthink” — may the deepest pockets win the info war

In a flash of insight, or possibly rank capitulation, Facebook has announced last week that it will “fight misinformation” with censorship.  Seems Facebook thinks Facebook-users are too stupid to figure out the misinformation themselves. Besides, fighting misinformation with the truth is especially hard if the misinformation is true:

Facebook crackdown on groups spreading misinformation

Barbara Ortutay and Rachel Lerman, The Australian

Facebook says it is rolling out a wide range of updates aimed at combating the spread of false and harmful information on the social media site – stepping up the company’s fight against misinformation and hate speech as it faces growing outside pressure.

 And it’s not even transparent censorship but the the most weaselly hidden kind:

The updates will limit the visibility of links…

How does Facebook define misinformation?  Wait til you hear this: Groupthink = truth?

…limit the visibility of links found to be significantly more prominent on Facebook than across the web as a whole, suggesting they may be clickbait or misleading.

So that pretty much rules out Facebook spreading the word of whistleblowers, rebels, new theories, suppressed ideas, oppressed people and anything controversial, interesting or not completely predictable. [...]