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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Solar Homes use more grid electricity than non-solar homes

There are probably more solar panels in QLD than anywhere else in the world. Back in February last year, the boss of the Queensland state power company announced the awkward result that households with solar panels were using more electricity than those without. Apparently people without solar were turning off the air conditioner because electricity cost too much, but the solar users didn’t have to worry about the cost so much.

Queensland solar homes are using more grid electricity than non-solar, says Energex boss

Feb 2016:  Solar-powered homes in south-east Queensland, which boasts the world’s highest concentration of rooftop panels, have begun consuming on average more electricity from the grid than those without solar, the network operator has found.

Terry Effeney, the chief executive of state-owned power distributor Energex, said the trend – which belied the “green agenda” presumed to drive those customers – was among the challenges facing a region that nevertheless stood the best chance globally of making solar the cornerstone of its electricity network.

From October 2014 in Queensland, the average grid electricity use of solar homes started to exceed the average use of people without solar power and stayed higher for the at least the [...]

Australia “invented airconditioning” but can’t keep them running

James Harrison (click to enlarge)

Peter Hartcher points out that the country that invented refrigeration and thus airconditioning can no longer guarantee to keep them working.

In 1854 [James Harrison of Geelong] invented a commercial ice-making machine. He expanded it into a vapour compression refrigeration system, the basis for modern refrigeration.

“That’s right – an Aussie invented the fridge and it’s first real use was making beer,” remarked the US technology website Gizmodo. “You have to love this country.”

And one more big coal generator shuts down soon in Victoria:

In the next few weeks 4 per cent of Australia’s power supply will vanish when Victoria’s big Hazelwood power station shuts down, clapped out after 50 years of turning coal into electricity. It’ll be the ninth coal-fired power station to close in the past five years. New solar and wind plants are being built, but they are intermittent, and that means they are unreliable.

“Taking out Hazelwood is taking out a big buffer,” says Tony Wood, energy program director at the Grattan Institute policy research centre in Melbourne. And, as we’ve just witnessed, Australia’s power system lacks buffers. “Managing intermittency is [...]

Rolling blackouts ordered in SA in 40C heat

South Australia, with 40% renewables, is lucky this has been a mild summer.*

Welcome to your load-shedding future:

Rolling blackouts ordered in Adelaide as city swelters

Widespread power blackouts were imposed across Adelaide and parts of South Australia with heatwave conditions forcing authorities to impose load shedding.

About 40,000 properties were without electricity supplies for about 30 minutes because of what SA Power Networks said was a direction by the Australian Energy Market Regulator.  — The Australian

Premier Jay Weatherill blamed the AEMO for not ordering a gas power station to come online.

Electricity prices spiked to $13,440 MWh. Total demand was about 3,000MW. Things are expected to be the same tomorrow.

At 6pm tonight wind power was producing less than 100MW (about 7% of its rated capacity):

Look at the price spike and the forecast for tomorrow:

AEMO, Electricity Prices, Feb 8, 2016

Perhaps with better planning and more money they can reduce the need for planned blackouts — but why bother?I guess they’ll have those gas powered stations running tomorrow.

It has been smack on average at Adelaide Airport at 28.1C for January 2017.

*The Wind power graph was supplied in WA time, so [...]

Wind turbine manufacturer admits liability for noise damage. If word gets out…

These are Enercon wind turbines in Germany, Lower Saxony. Image: Philip May

This could be a watershed — if word gets out that turbine manufacturers will not even contest claims of noise damage, there could be many more claims around the world. There are rumors these cases are often settled out of court with confidentiality agreements, but who would know?

In an update to the Irish court case we discussed last month, the latest news confirms that the wind turbine manufacturer has admitted liability without contesting it. The court will be deciding damages in April. As I deduced at the time, the wind industry was using desperate wordsmithing to minimize attention on the story. The news item related to it even disappeared from the Irish Examiner.  The turbine industry must be hoping no one notices this story.

Stop These Things has an update:

Wind company admits nuisance damage to neighbours Irish Farmers Journal Paul Mooney 5 January 2017

High Court to determine compensation for seven families in April hearing.

[...]

Wind power sucks money and electricity in South Australia

On a good day South Australia has more than 40% renewable energy. On a bad day, it’s -2 or something. Wind towers suck in so many ways.  They can even draw more power out than they bring in and best of all — their peak electron sucking power comes just when the state needs electricity the most.

Business blows up as turbines suck more power than they generate

The sapping of power by the turbines during calm weather on July 7 at the height of the ­crisis, which has caused a price surge, shows just how unreliable and ­intermittent wind power is for a state with a renewable ­energy mix of more than 40 per cent.

South Australia has more “renewable” wind power than anywhere else in Australia. They also have the highest electricity bills, the highest unemployment, the largest number of “failures to pay” and disconnections. Coincidence?

The emergency measures are needed to ease punishing costs for South Australian industry as National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000MWh maximum price.

Complaints from business about the extreme prices – in normal times they are [...]

Green Electricity in Denmark, Germany, costs three times as much as US

It’s a bit costly trying to control the weather:

“Germany has been paying over $26 billion per year for electricity that has a wholesale market value of just $5 billion (see here).”

That’s $21 billion that could have been spent on health or education that was used instead to feed the Green Machine.

A few handy facts to memorize. The cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour: 

Denmark, 42c; Germany 40c, and the USA, 12.5c. ( — Forbes)

Wind and solar power supplies 28% of electricity in Germany (is it really that high?) This is what Australia is aiming for?

 

Graph from Forbes (link below)

Europe is a “green energy” basket case. Washington Post

“Germany’s Energy Poverty: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good.” — Der Spiegel

Europe’s Energy and Electricity Policies are a Bad Model, Jude Clement, Forbes

[...]

A bonfire of waste: $100 billion burnt by big-government renewables mismanagement

Renewables, are not just inefficient, unnecessary, and deadly to wildlife, but they were also a disaster of planning and management. The list of dollars and euros destroyed in the Glorious Renewables Quest has gone “nuclear”. The World Economic Forum estimates $100 billion Euro has been wasted, but its even worse than it looks. I had to read their opening sentence twice. I thought it read “European countries could have saved approximately $100 billion if each country had invested in the most efficient energy source.” I was thinking they could have saved that sort of money by using coal instead of windmills… but no, those huge savings would be over and above those ones. The WEF is talking about money saved if “badly managed renewables, had been “well managed ones”.

The inefficiency here is the scale only big-government could achieve.

The Energy Collective

Europe Loses Billions in Badly Sited Renewable Power Plants

European countries could have saved approximately $100 billion if each country had invested in the most efficient capacity given their renewable energy resources, that is, by installing wind turbines in windier countries and solar power plants in sunnier places.

But why would we be surprised? [...]

Australia can meet it’s 2020 targets with just 35 nuclear power plants or 8000 solar ones!

Roger Pielke, Jr. has looked closely at Australia’s ETS targets and helpfully put some numbers into the hypotheticals.

With all their subsidies, goodwill and fervent wishes, solar, wind, and geothermal produce just 3% of our energy needs. Fossil fuels produce a whopper 94%.   And “energy” on these grand continental scales is measured in quadrillion BTUs which is known as “one quad”. Australians use about 5 quads / year, and to make that we pump out about 400 Mt of carbon dioxide per year. (These kind of big-picture numbers are often hard to find, so I wanted to capture that to keep things in perspective.)

Population growth is a big factor in Australia [...]