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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97 percent of Australian renewables investment dries up without subsidies (so the ABC gives free adverts to the industry)

We’re told “clean” energy is a viable and cost effective. But cut the government subsidies, and 97 percent of investors vanish (in Australia it’s collapsed from $2.6b annually to $80m). The truth is that renewables are almost totally dependent on taxpayer largess. No wonder they lobby like their life depends on it. It does.

Peter Hannam of the SMH:

“Australia’s investment in renewable energy all but dried up in the first half of 2014 amid uncertainty fuelled by the government’s latest review of the mandatory target, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In the six months to June, just $40 million was invested in large-scale renewable energy, such as wind farms, the lowest level since the first half of 2001, according to Kobad Bhavnagri, head of BNEF’s Australian unit.

The investment tally compared with $2.691 billion in 2013, the second largest annual inflow of funds to the clean energy sector behind the peak year of 2010.”

Elsewhere investment in renewables has slowed from its peak in 2011 but still running at $64b a quarter, or nearly $700 million every day. Spot that vested interest! From The Australian:

“Global clean energy investment surged to $US63.6bn in the second quarter of [...]

Solar panels: warm your house or burn it down? Bankrupt your company?

A little too much solar success perhaps?

Solar panels in Queensland and NSW in Australia have been providing some householders with energy in a more concentrated form than they bargained for. At least 70 houses with rooftop solar panel arrays have had solar driven burnouts. The fire risk means that nearly 30,000 faulty solar power isolators have been recalled. The company that imported them went bust on Friday. (Ain’t that the way?)

Remember if your house burns down, it is the price we pay to save the planet. It will, unfortunately, blow your personal carbon footprint through the roof. (A point that will, no doubt, grieve you as you sift through the smouldering ruins.)

[...]

Long live satire. Amen. Germans mock their green faith.

We’ve reached the end-game. The sensibles have all left the room and there is no point trying to fight a religion with reason.  What utter foolishness to treat their ideas as sensible! The only response to satirical science (thank you Green-ecologicists) is to hold it up for the world to see its true nature.

Green-electricity may not run your heaters well, but it is excellent fuel for the funnies. Enjoy!

These Germans are so good at this, I have to learn to speak German.

H/t to the brilliant James Delingpole

As the video notes, every single German must now pay Euros 240 a year (“a total of 21.8 billion Euros for power which on the market had a value of only 2 billion. That’s sick!”) in order to subidise worthless green energy projects – such as the ugly wind farms for which swathes of forest are being cut down and the ludicrous solar panels now found on every other roof (in a country not exactly known for its sunshine) – which, as even Germany’s former Godfather of Green Professor Fritz Vahrenholt has now conceded, are the wrong solution to the wrong problem.

Germans spend ten times as [...]

Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short

While some global whiners are predicting death, disease and reckless fish, an ominous array of other forces are gathering. The time of plenty, peace and abundance could be coming to an end. I’ve finally had a chance to look at David Archibald’s hot new book, and it’s a book that needs to be discussed. It’s the debate we ought to be having. (I’ll be referring to it again on this blog).

In the West we have rarely had it so good: since World War II things have been relatively peaceful; the sun reached a once-in-8000-year global maximum, keeping us warm; the big easy oil fields were tapped, gifting  us the cheapest energy in human history; and the most obvious gains in agriculture meant food supply increased even faster than populations grew.  David Archibald paints a provocative argument of a world where a cooling sun means grain supply can’t keep pace with demand, oil production starts to slide and forces of unrest in the mid East collapse to chaos while those in the far East rise ascendant.

David Archibald writes:

Who are those four horsemen?  A severe, solar-driven cooling is one.  Over the next twenty to thirty years, we are [...]

Thanks to Green schemes Queensland dumps gas for coal

Green Fairy Gods of Economic Management

Another unintended consequence of policies to control the climate. Who would have guessed? Laws aimed to disrupt the energy market, disrupted the energy market. Just like Germany, parts of Australia are now dumping expensive gas, resurrecting old coal burners, and voila: The Fairy Gods of Economics tinker — and get the opposite of what they intended.

Here’s the chain of events as best as I can figure. The greener-governments raised the cost of all electricity, but tried to slap an advantage on some forms at the expense of others. The catch is that there is just not enough alternate energy to go around.

More projects used gas, partly due to other state based green schemes like the Gas Electricity Scheme of Queensland. So gas demand rose and gas became more expensive. At the same time, those who owned gas found that export markets will pay more for gas for other uses. So it didn’t make sense to keep the gas for the power-stations here when they could sell it for a greater profit elsewhere. Meanwhile, other forces were also at play. The Green drive created a glut in fickle solar and wind power. [...]

Germany’s Greens help the coal industry, while the US cut emissions by ignoring the greens

Oh the dilemma. German Greens have been so “successful” that coal use is rising fast. They helped get rid of the nukes in 2011, punished coal, and subsidized “renewables”. But woe…. energy has to come from somewhere, so the paradoxical crunch comes. Green policies mean that everyone is poorer, but the cheapest energy comes from coal …

The coal industry must be praying for more Green activism:

“IT’S been a black Christmas for green thinkers as Germany, the world leader in rooftop solar and pride of the renewable energy revolution has confirmed its rapid return to coal.

After scrapping nuclear power, Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions are back on the rise as the country clamours to reopen some of the dirtiest brown coalmines that have been closed since the reunification of east and west. The Australian

Though some say the problem is “carbon credits” are too cheap. (We need to be poorer?)

“…new figures show that coal power output in 2013 reached its highest level in more than 20 years. Researchers blame cheap CO2 emissions permits, and demand urgent reforms.

The stats: Germany is using almost as much coal as it did in 1990:

In 1990, Germany’s brown coal-fired [...]

OK to kill endangered birds? Yes if you are a windfarm. Greens seem to be fine with that.

It’s one rule for you, and another for their friends. If a coal plant was wiping out thousands of birds and bats you can be sure Greenpeace would be launching a campaign. But when an industrial turbine with blade-tips travelling at 180mph does the killing, who cares?

The law for normals makes it expensive to kill birds and bats:

“Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, BP was fined $100 million for the damage it caused to bird populations in the area, both migratory and resident.  — AlaskaDispatch

“Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay $600,000 in penalties after approximately 85 migratory birds died of exposure to hydrocarbons at some of its natural gas facilities across the Midwest.  — NY Times

And it was going to get expensive for windfarms:

“Nov 22 2013 Duke Energy has agreed to pay a $1 million fine for killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two Wyoming wind farms. – audublog

That was the first time a windfarm got pinged. And it works out to be about $6000 a bird. Could get expensive, eh?

“The Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that 440,000 birds are killed [...]

There goes a massive windfarm – £4bn UK project kaput before it began

More money leaves the room. Last week David Cameron said the UK needed to get rid of all that green crap (or double-speak words to that effect). The message, confounded as it is, may be getting through.

(Reuters) – German utility RWE has scrapped plans to build one of the world’s largest offshore wind parks in Britain, as soaring gas and electricity prices fuel uncertainty over the UK government’s commitment to renewable energy subsidies.

[Bloomberg] RWE’s renewable-energy unit has decided to drop a 4.5 billion-pound ($7.3 billion) offshore wind project in the U.K. because engineering challenges made it too expensive.

RWE says that it’s because of engineering challenges, but we could assume they didn’t suddenly discover how deep the water was this week.

[Bloomberg] “At the current time, it is not viable for RWE to continue” the Atlantic Array farm because of deep waters and adverse seabed conditions, RWE Innogy said in a statement on its website. The 278-turbine project in the Bristol Channel can’t be justified under “current market conditions,” it said.

Engineering challenges can usually be fixed with money. But translate “current market conditions” and we see that it was really a money [...]

Bill McKibben says wind is cheap as coal. Jo Nova says “so who needs a carbon tax then?”

Bill McKibben wants to stop a mine in Australia because it might affect the weather. He says wind power is as affordable as coal.

The Australian, Friday Oct 25:   “… we’ve reached the point where alternatives have become realistic.Wind power is now as affordable as coal-fired power in Australia, not to mention the limitless energy potential of the powerful sun that shines on your continent.”

To which I say, fantastic. If wind power is as cheap as coal, we don’t need a carbon tax, emissions trading schemes, renewable targets, or other subsidies … people will use wind simply because it is cheaper. Alternatively, Bill is talking out of his hat.

Kill the schemes, cut the subsidies. Bring it on. I say!

We can see how many people rely on Windpower in Australia

That’s the yellow part. Coal is the black or brown part.

Source: ESAA

Source: ESAA

All the assertions of “cheap wind power” are only true if we assume our CO2 emissions cause warming, amplified by water vapor and cloud changes, which causes dangerous and expensive outcomes. Furthermore we must assume that it is cheaper to mitigate rather than adapt (which it isn’t), and then assume that taxes, [...]

UK Government hides its own graphic comparing Nuclear to Wind and solar

Is this a 2013 Streisand-Effect finalist?

The UK has decided to build its first new nuclear power plant in 20 years. The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change posted this graphic below in a News Story probably to help justify why it really did make sense to go nuclear rather than renewable. The Renewable Energy Association called it “unhelpful”, and lo, it disappeared from gov.uk.

Credit goes to Emily Gosden’s Tweet, and  Will Heaven‘s Blog. Hat tip to Colin.

 

(Click to enlarge to see the fine print)

The fine print (edited out in the small copy here) says that Hickley Point C “is estimated to be equal to around 7% of UK electricity consumption in 2025 and enough to power nearly 6 million homes.” About onshore wind, the fine print reads: “The footprint will depend on the location and turbine technology deployed. DECC estimates the footprint could be between 160,000 and 490,000 acres“. That’s quite some error margin.

How many National Parks does one nuclear plant save then?

It’s a good representation of just how much of the Earths surface we have to give up if we want to live off renewables at the moment. So who [...]

The price of moral-vanity: A catalogue of Green economic disaster unfolds across Europe

The real cost of moral-vanity, of name-calling, poor reasoning, selecting one’s evidence, and the triumph of doing things because they “feel-good” rather than because of the cold hard numbers, is measured in the trillions. This disaster was entirely foreseeable, totally predictable, and completely unnecessary.

Thanks to Benny Peiser and The Australian, the utter folly is laid bare.

AS country after country abandons, curtails or reneges on once-generous support for renewable energy, Europe is beginning to realise that its green energy strategy is dying on the vine. Green dreams are giving way to hard economic realities.

Slowly but gradually, Europe is awakening to a green energy crisis, an economic and political debacle that is entirely self-inflicted.

The media is finally starting to do what it should have done ten years ago:

A study by British public relations consultancy CCGroup analysed 138 articles about renewables published during July last year in the five most widely circulated British national newspapers: The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, which enjoy a combined daily circulation of about 6.5 million.

“The analysis revealed a number of trends in the reporting of [...]

In the next 37 years, Labor will spend $60,000 per Australian to change the weather

Peter Lang adds up the numbers from the Treasury and leading economic commentators, and finds that decisions the Australian Labor Government has made will cost the equivalent of about $17,000 for every man, woman and child if paid in a lump sum now, or $58,000 if paid bit by bit over the next 37 years to 2050. And that’s just for the ETS, not for the RET and other measures.

By 2019 Alan Moran estimates each year citizens would have to fork out billions for Green Schemes; Labor policies tally to $22b, Coalition policies to $7b, Greens policies to $27b.

If men-in-black-suits turned up at Australian houses forcing citizens to sign cheques for $17,000 per person in order to change the weather on Earth 100 years from now, there would be a revolt in the streets. That’s $68k per household of four. (Is this how you would spend $68 grand?) But if the government disguises those charges in electricity bills, and hidden increases in the cost of every item that has to be moved, heated or cooled, then some 30-40% of the nation sees no reason not to vote for this. [...]

The data is in: more Green jobs means less real ones

It’s not rocket science. If energy costs more, that means we have to make do with less of it, or make do with less of something else. Thus if the government forces everyone to pay more for electricity, companies have less spare cash to employ people. Their margins are tighter, they can’t make and sell as many products. So when we are told the clean energy revolution is creating jobs, is it virtually self-evident that’s a mythical fairy claim.

I say “virtually”, because it is theoretical possible it could work, but only if this green power provided some productivity or efficiency gain — that is, if it helped us build more widgets, bake more cakes or warm more toes. In the case of windturbines, the big hope is that they reduce emissions, lower CO2 globally, and in turn stop storms, tornados, floods and what-not and gave us perfect weather again (like the kind we never had).

Might as well bury bottles of money I say. More jobs. Less cost. No infrasound, and no dead bats.

Each green job in Britain costs £100,000 (and 3.7 other jobs):

The Telegraph points out how expensive it is to support a wind-industry job. My plan [...]

Imaginary solar panels rort renewables scheme while Alarmists “worry” about coal investors.

The Australian

ALMOST 150 suspected rorts of the Gillard government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme were reported to the regulator last year, with NSW and federal authorities assisting with the execution of two search warrants as a part of the probe.

The Clean Energy Regulator yesterday released its annual report to government on the administration of the RET — a scheme that provides certificates for both large and small-scale renewable energy generation as part of the bipartisan target of ensuring 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewables by 2020.

The regulator’s audit report revealed that during 2012 it received 147 allegations of rorts, the majority of which related to the creation of dodgy certificates for rooftop solar panels.

So far three “monitoring warrants” have been executed by NSW and Australian Federal police. One matter is before the Federal Court as a civil prosecution. One criminal matter was heard last year.

…businessman John Testoni of Sydney Solar Eco Solutions pleading guilty to improperly creating $170,000 in RET certificates for 24 non-existent solar system installations in the Sydney area.

Fake markets just ask to be scammed. Who can forget the Spanish winter of late 2009 when 4,500Mw hours of “solar” [...]

The free market strikes back. Renewables Investment plummets 22% in first quarter of 2013

What the government giveth, the government can take away. So it came to pass that the glory of green investments fell over its peak and started to slide — a slide we hope will continue forthwith with speed until such day that Renewables Actually Work.

Weakest quarter for clean energy investment since 2009  [Bloomberg] 15 April 2013

Investment worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 was $40.6bn, down 22% on a year earlier, due to a downturn in large wind and solar project financings London and New York, 15 April 2013 – Global investment in clean energy in the first three months of 2013 was lower than in any quarter for the past four years, according to the latest figures from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

2013 Q1 is not marked here (except with a dodgy red star thingy). It s somewhere around 22% below Q1 2012. [Graph: Bloomberg]

Remember in the land of warmer-investments, this is just a global pause. It’s the fourth highest first-quarter investment. Ever. (!)

The US leads the way. Europe is following. Australia is too irrelevant to mention.

“Among the key details of the first quarter 2013 data were a 54% year-on-year fall in [...]

Wind Farms: Turbines break like match-sticks in medium waves, and their capacity is “overestimated”

Not a good news week for wind power.

First windpower probably doesn’t produce as much electricity as people though it could. If the new estimates are right, humanity would need to cover 3 million square kilometers of the Earth to get just 10% of our electricity from wind. (And how many storms will that prevent do you think?) Could the “cure” be worse than the condition?

Second, it appears that wind turbines in the ocean might snap like matchsticks in particular conditions — conditions that are different for each turbine and at the moment, impossible to predict. The authors explain that it doesn’t have to be big waves or big storms — medium sized waves were the worst.

Windpower’s theoretical maximum isn’t what we thought it might have been

When we account for the wind shadows that large installations produce, at best, wind power may only give us 1 Watt per square meter (or 1 MW per square kilometer). According to this team our global energy needs are in the order of 30 terawatts, and one terawatt is one trillion (1012) watts. If that is the case, to to supply 10% of our global energy needs we’d have to cover…  [...]

Australia managed the mining boom so well we can’t afford cancer treatments

Our award-winning treasurer is forcing the nation to spend $8.9 billion on wind-turbines, to generate electricity which will be3- 4 times more expensive than coal powered electricity, probably won’t reduce CO2 at all, and which definitely won’t change the weather. Victoria’s windfarms have saved virtually no coal from being burnt. South Australian windfarms have saved 4% of their rated capacity in fossil fuels at a cost of $1,484 per ton.

MORE than $8.9 billion will be spent importing wind turbines because of the blowout in the Gillard government’s renewable energy target, providing few if any benefits to local industry, one of the nation’s biggest electricity generators warns.

The Australian can also reveal that a new Frontier Economics analysis commissioned by Macquarie Generation has found that the renewable energy target could slash the value of coal-fired power stations by between $11.3bn and $17.3bn – potentially having a greater impact than the carbon tax, which includes industry compensation.

In a new submission to the Climate Change Authority, Macquarie Generation said that 2500 wind turbines – costing $12.7bn – will be needed to comply with a scheme that is set to blow out the amount of renewable energy in the system to [...]

Government burn $70 billion a year subsidizing renewables, and wild claims of “fossil fuel subsidies” debunked

When activists protest about “fossil fuel” subsidies, it is a case of extreme-wordsmithing. Like chinese-whispers, the truth gets turned 180 degrees. It takes a string of half truths stacked in a series to come up with something which is so completely counter to reality it is meaningless.

The reality is that governments around the world are paying billions each year to prop up an industry that is inefficient, uncompetitive and unproductive. It’s money that is desperately needed in health or in real medical and scientific research.

“More than US$70 billion of support is provided by governments to renewable energy production and consumption worldwide.”

[IEA (The International Energy Agency, which promotes "green energy" in it's header)]

That’s an annual figure. And the plan seems to be even more subsidies. (I thought the plan was to make renewables competitive?)

Source: IEA Key Graphs…

Source: IEA Key Graphs

Could it be $200 billion?

This UN group has an even higher number. I don’t know exactly how they define “green stimulus” spending, perhaps it was a one-off:

[UNCTAD]

“Green government procurement will also be essential in the early stages of a transition to a green economy. In 2009, global green stimulus [...]

Wind farms — are 96% useless, and cost 150 times more than necessary for what they do

Thanks to Steve Hunter

Victoria’s windfarms have saved virtually no coal from being burnt.

South Australian windfarms have saved 4% of their rated capacity in fossil fuels at a cost of $1,484 per ton.

That’s only $1,474 above the current price of carbon credits per ton in the EU. They are 96% useless, and cost 150 times more than necessary for what they do (except for the times they are more useless and more expensive).

The point of a windfarm is not so much to produce electricity but to reduce greenhouse emissions.

If we built windfarms for the electricity they generate, we’d be better off paying for reliable electrons from cheap brown coal, and using the savings to research a cure for cancer. The point in putting up expensive, infrasonic thumping towers of steel and concrete that kill eagles and explode bat lungs is because it reduces our carbon dioxide emissions, except that it doesn’t really.

Mechanical engineer Hamish Cumming has written a whopper of a report (though I can’t find an online copy of it*). Because Victoria doesn’t have much of a gas powered grid, it can’t take advantage of the odd intermittent peaks of wind power. Like [...]

Renewable energy is a $250 billion dollar industry that makes about 3% of our electricity

In June this year the UNEP report announced that Global Renewable Energy investment reached $257 Billion in  2011. It’s so large it rivals the $302 billion invested in fossil fuel power. But how much electricity do we get for all that money? When the details are pulled from the fog, a quarter of a trillion dollars appears to produce only about 3% of all our global electricity, and even less of our global energy. All that money, so few gigawatts.

The 2012 UNEP report “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment” compares the

“…despite an increasingly tough competitive landscape for manufacturers, total investment in renewable power and fuels last year increased by 17% to a record $257 billion, a six-fold increase on the 2004 figure and 94% higher than the total in 2007, the year before the world financial crisis.”

Renewables growth has slowed somewhat:

“Although last year’s 17% increase was significantly smaller than the 37% growth recorded in 2010, it was achieved at a time of rapidly falling prices for renewable energy equipment and severe pressure on fiscal budgets in the developed world.”

The last couple of quarters have not been good for [...]