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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The German electricity crisis – twice the price, but everyone’s going broke

When the Germans mess something up, they do it properly

Germany — is aiming for a 40% cut in carbon by 2020, and have “led the way” with solar and wind power. Electricity bills are now twice the price of those in North America, and some 800,000 poor people had their power cut off because they can’t pay their bills.  Despite the high prices, gas power has become uneconomic, even though it is one the best methods for dealing with the erratic energy delivered from wind and solar. Nuclear can’t save them, they will have none after 2022 when the last reactor turns off.

The pain is pointless. For all the money spent, they aren’t saving much CO2, and aren’t changing the weather.  They end up importing many of the goods which need energy, so the emissions occur in other countries without emissions controls. The German manufacturing sector can’t compete and struggles by on subsidies. Consumers pay more for goods or pay more through tax for the subsidies. Meanwhile, in the EU politicians seem to have realized that biofuels won’t work, but they don’t have the courage to kill them off and face the backlash — instead they fund it just [...]

Coal is like “torture” rage Guardian, Friends of the Earth

Oops. Who hates “the environment”? Green lobbyists keep revealing  how little they care. Friends of the Earth want to categorically rule out one of the most cost effective ways to reduce our carbon emissions.  New supercritical hot burning coal plants can reduce emissions by an amazing 15%. But Friends of the Earth and The Guardian hate coal more than they care about CO2.

The green climate fund (GCF) refused an explicit ban on fossil fuel projects at the contentious meeting in Songdo, South Korea, last week.

“It’s like a torture convention that doesn’t forbid torture,” said Karen Orenstein, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth US who was at the meeting. “Honestly it should be a no-brainer at this point.” — The Guardian

Poor old solar and wind power are so useless that the debate is about whether they achieve any reductions at all.  Their intermittent power means some kind of back-up base load power source has to run on standby to pick up the pieces when they collapse. The more wind power you have, the less CO2 you save. Solar Power provides “cheaper” electricity to the rich at the expense of everyone else, and potentially [...]

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? [...]

Germany gives up on emissions target. Japan emits more CO2 than ever

So much for momentum on climate change. Reality bites. Without nuclear power, Japans emissions have hit a new record high. At the same time, even with 17% of its energy from Nuclear power, and with 23,000 wind turbines, Germany stands no chance of reaching its emissions targets. The rich, technologically advanced nation that has spent more than any other on green energy admits they’ve failed.

Those who want to stop producing CO2 have billions of dollars to spend on advertising and pointless windmills, but in the end, chemistry and physics can’t be bought. If renewables could provide cheap reliable power, they wouldn’t need subsidies. Everyone would buy them.

Germany to Abandon “Strict” 2020 Target – 40% cut not possible

Breitbart London

Germany’s Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has indicated that the country will abandon its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020, from a 1990 base level. In doing so he has won the ongoing clash with his own environmental minister Barbara Hendricks over energy policy, telling her that he will tolerate no further resistance to the change of direction, according to Der Speigel.

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Renewable Energy Target costs miners millions, green electricity cost 9 – 15% of bills

Who was it that said that Renewable Energy is making electricity cheap?

The Minerals Council added up the numbers on the RET (the Renewable Energy Target) and checked the invoices. And even though “Renewable Energy” is made from the free* wind and sun, somehow, being forced to use inefficient, diffuse, and unreliable electricity costs coal miners millions.

For some reason foreign competitors didn’t voluntarily offer to match it. Perhaps they like their weather and don’t want to change it?

Cartoon with thanks and permission from Steve Hunter

Credit Steve Hunter illustrations

 The Australian

RET costs causing a heavy burden: miners

MINERS have moved to counter arguments from the renewable energy industry that the target scheme is lowering electricity prices, releasing figures showing it is costing millions of dollars and comprising up to 15 per cent of total electricity bills.

A briefing sent to MPs interested in the renewable energy target debate, circulated by the Minerals Council of Australia, shows six coalmines in Queens-land and NSW paid a combined $7.7 million in RET costs last year and $7.3m in 2012.

The proportion that the RET charge made up of [...]

The crazy world of Renewable Energy Targets

Nothing makes sense about Renewable Energy Targets, except at a “Bumper-Sticker” level. Today the AFR front page suggests* the federal government is shifting to remove the scheme (by closing it to new entrants) rather than just scaling it back. It can’t come a day too soon. Right now, the Greens who care about CO2 emissions should be cheering too. The scheme was designed to promote an  industry, not to cut CO2.

UPDATE: Mathias Cormann later says “that the government’s position was to “keep the renewable energy target in place” SMH.  Mixed messages indeed.

We’ve been sold the idea that if we subsidize “renewable” energy (which produces less CO2) we’d get a world with lower CO2 emissions. But it ain’t so. The fake “free” market in renewables does not remotely achieve what it was advertised to do — the perverse incentives make the RET good for increasing “renewables” but bad for reducing CO2, and, worse, the more wind power you have, the less CO2 you save. Coal fired electricity is so cheap that doing anything other than making it more efficient is a wildly expensive and inefficient way to reduce CO2. But the Greens hate [...]

ABC bias against coal hurts the poor and the workers: Sell the ABC

A new report shows ABC journalists are fond of renewables and overlook their dismal economic value, while putting out bad news on coal, and ignoring the benefits of vast cheap profitable energy. Who could have seen that coming: a large public funded institution attracts employees who like large public funding?

The IPA arranged for a media analysis firm to compare the ABC reporting on coal and renewables.

ABC gives the green light to renewables, and the red light to Australia’s largest export industry and provider of 75% of our electricity.

ABC accused of bias against coalmining

Andrew Fraser, The Australian

The analysis of 2359 reports broadcast on the ABC over six months before March 15 this year found 15.9 per cent of stories on coalmining and 12.1 per cent of those about coal-seam gas mining were favourable, while 53 per cent of those on renewable energy were favourable.

It also found 31.6 per cent of stories on coal mining and 43.6 per cent of stories on coal-seam gas were unfavourable, while only 10.8 per cent of stories on renewable energy were ­unfavourable.

The ABC has become its own best case for privatizing the ABC. How much could we get? The [...]

Let’s copy California and have less jobs, less money, less energy. Feel that Green Glory!

NSW (and a lot of Australia) is a closeted corner of the world where electronic news can take decades to arrive. The electrons themselves make it downunder in 150 milliseconds or so, but the message may never make it past the ABC-Fairfax filter. Apparently the highest office in NSW wants to emulate California. It’s like it’s 1994.

“When it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California.”

– Rob Stokes, NSW Environment Minister.*

Maurice Newman sets him straight in The Australian.

In short –  companies are fleeing from a green California to Texas where electricity is half the price. For some reason jobs, profits, products and opportunities are following the energy. California’s unemployment rate is 7.4%. Texas’ is 5.1%.

California dreaming is nuts in NSW

“The NSW government must also be oblivious to the steady exodus of Californian businesses and jobs. Companies like Toyota, which after 60 years has moved its US headquarters to Texas, or Occidental Petroleum, which after 50 years has left for Houston. Chevron is next. Other stalwarts like ARCO, Getty Oil, Union Oil, Fluor, Calpine and Intel have all moved in search of a more business friendly environment and [...]

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.)

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