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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Renewable Australia update: Fear of blackouts means diesel generator sales up 400%

Welcome to a clean green Australia where we gave up coal to move to diesel.

Back to the future. Diesel’s prototype engine circa 1892.

Channel Ten news tonight discusses the sudden surge in demand for diesel generators

Homes and businesses are so afraid of blackouts in Australia that some retailers are selling four times as many generators as normal. Mygenerator.com.au reports a 425% increase year on year. The strongest growth has been in South Australia, Victoria and western Sydney.

According to Channel Ten, Energy companies across Australia have sent letters to their customers to warn customers to be prepared in case there is a blackout. But one company says it’s just a precaution they are required to do every year. (Does anyone ever remember getting a letter like that?)

Once, the renewables industry just wanted “certainty” for business (as in certainty of taxpayer funded subsidies). Now “certainty” means a diesel generator.

h/t Dave B

 

South Australia heads back 100 years to diesel (with battery back up)

The new SA rescue plan is more diesel than battery

Diesel’s prototype engine circa 1892.

A big fuss was made today over the world record battery, but the diesel generators put on a hire-purchase plan three days ago are more than twice the power:

The world’s biggest lithium ion battery has been launched in South Australia, with Premier Jay Weatherill declaring it an example of SA “leading the world”.

The first diesel generator was patented in 1892. Go, Go, SA.

A battery bandaid arrived barely in the nick of time:

That reliability was tested before the battery’s official launch when it began dispatching around 59 megawatts into the state’s electricity network on Thursday afternoon as the state hit temperatures above 30C.

How fragile is this system?

The facility has the capacity to power 30,000 homes for up to an hour in the event of a severe blackout but is more likely to be called into action to even out electricity supplies at less critical times.

There are 673,540 households in South Australia and the Big Battery can supply 4% of them for an hour with electricity, or all of the state for a [...]

Antarctic wind turbine crashes in normal wind conditions — no one hurt, diesel saves day

We are trying to collect dilute energy across a million square kilometers with heavy machinery in extreme conditions. What could possibly go wrong?

Last night around 9pm, the top part of the 30-metre turbine fell off in 40 knot winds — which is not unusual in Mawson (in September wind gusts of 185km/hr were recorded). Fortunately no one was killed because people were inside. Though it looks pretty close to that red building (was anyone there?)  No one knows why it happened. The other turbine at the station has been turned off as a precaution (though I wouldn’t be walking underneath it). Maybe someone can tie ropes with a helicopter?

ABC News: Mawson Antarctic research station relying solely on diesel after wind turbine crashes to ground

Wind Turbine, Antarctic research station, Mawson, break, collapse.

Right now things have warmed up a lot at Mawson, and temperatures even climb above 0C by 3pm some days. Though on November 1 the maximum temp was -8.8C.  Naturally diesel saves the day.  Of course Mawson is fully backed with diesel power.

These are 300kW turbines installed in 2003, so only 14 years old. Maybe it was just bad luck.

The maintenance costs [...]

Green plan causes air pollution, may kill thousands in the UK, thanks to dirty diesel

A Greenpeace Bio-diesel Campaign, November 2000

Golly — who would have thought that policies based on a logical fallacy and a pseudo-religion would be a bad idea? It’s not just bad, it’s deadly. For the last ten years environmentalists and greens told Europeans to buy diesel cars, not petrol, because they produce less CO2. So British people, and a lot of Europe too, did exactly that — lured by generous tax breaks, pushed by the guilt trip if they were thinking of buying a petrol car. The car fleet of the EU was transformed. Back in the early nineties, hardly anyone owned a diesel, but now, as many as half of all new cars in the UK are diesel, and some extra 45 million diesel cars have been bought across Europe. But clean energy turned out to be dirty fuel, with diesels producing tons of small dangerous particulates, black carbon, and other real pollutants.

It’s so bad, the UK is not meeting air pollution standards, and more importantly, by at least one estimate, some 7,000 deaths a year can be attributed to diesel pollution from cars.

Diesel pollution is becoming such an issue in London that Boris Johnson is [...]