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” [...]
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 [...]
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… [...]
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 [...]
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:
“Green government procurement will also be essential in the early stages of a transition to a green economy. In 2009, global green stimulus [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Simple numbers are hard to get, so when Anton Lang pointed me at the EIA site (U.S. Energy Information Administration), I wanted to give everyone the straight answer to the question: just how much electricity do renewables make on a global scale? The EIA has the only database in the world with a this much accuracy.
The answer is that 80% of our electricity comes from the fossil fuels and nuclear that the Greens despise. Hydroelectricity, with all its pluses and minuses, produces a serious 16% of the total. But all the vanity renewables bundled together make about 3.5% of the total.
Wind power is a major global industry but it’s only making in the order of 1.4% of total electricity. And solar is so pathetically low that it needs to be bundled with “tidal and wave” power to even rate 0.1% (after rounding up).
For all the fuss and money, if the world’s solar powered units all broke tonight, it would not dent global electricity production a jot.
No one connected to a grid would notice.
These are the total global numbers from the US Energy Information Agency (The EIA) for 2009.
I’m away, so this is a good time for Guest posts. Here Tony explains that we need lots of electricity even while we sleep. I didn’t realize our electricity needs were so high at night. The lowest power use each day is still as much as 60% of the peak. That’s the base load at 3am, and solar panels and wind farms just can’t provide it. We can burn the odd $500 billion building hundreds of solar plants, but even then, we would have to go “medieval” for about 8 hours each night. Candles anyone? — Jo
Guest post by Anton Lang
AUSTRALIAN POWER CONSUMPTION LOAD CURVES
There’s a message in these two diagrams that underlies every decision about national energy.
Summer power curve – Time of Day versus power consumption (MW)
These two diagrams are the most misunderstood images in the whole debate — the Load Curves for actual power consumption. These two shown here are for the whole of eastern Australia (including Tasmania and South Australia).
The top diagram shows typical consumption for a day in mid summer (Monday 30th January 2012) and the second is for a typical mid winter day (Friday 22nd July [...]
A joint writing project: Jo Nova & Tony Cox,
based on an idea and research by Anton Lang (who writes as TonyfromOz at PAPundits)
It’s the paradox that will torture the Greens. What if the best way to achieve their environmental aims as well as providing jobs and power was to build more coal fired power stations? Imagine if we could reduce CO2 emissions by more than 5%, supply 24 hour baseload electricity, create jobs, and save thousands of square kilometres of Australian bush from industrial domination. Imagine if “New Coal” turned out to be the lowest cost alternative as well? Anton Lang has researched it, and Tony Cox has confirmed that the big numbers make sense with an Australian electricity company (who shall not be named). Selling the Carbon Tax in Neverland is already a public debate that’s pretzel tied in impossible contradictions, so what’s one more unlikely twist? Possibly, just enough to get us out of a knot, or at least enough to expose the real aims of the carbon reduction plan. Old existing large scale coal fired power plants in Australia are all twenty to forty years [...]
One windfarm: bad; ten windfarms: useless.
If we replace 5% of the power grid with windpower we could reduce our CO2 emissions by 4% or so. (If only there was some point to doing that.)
But here’s the non-linearity trap for the fans of green energy. If we replace 20% of the power grid with wind power, we don’t get a 16% reduction in CO2 emissions: we get about 2% reduction (give or take a lot). Indeed if we use enough windpower we might even increase CO2 emissions. Yes Coal + Wind = more CO2. Oh the irony. Quick, can someone email Julia Gillard?
A review of wind power’s success in reducing emissions of CO2 shows the folly of pretending that successful small wind and solar power units can be upscaled to replace a large part of our electricity grid. The major difference between a coal-burning future and a “clean technology” one turns out to have nothing to do with CO2 — instead, in a coal burning future it’s impossible to waste this much money.
The Gillard Carbon Tax plan very much pretends that Australia can “convert” to wind and solar, but a new review by Herbert Inhaber shows [...]
Click on the image to go to a fully interactive infographic where you can find out just how much money people have buried, I mean, invested in clean energy in your country. It's nifty.
Have you ever thought about how lucky we are that only kind-hearted helpful souls are involved in the erstwhile cottage industry known as “renewable energy”?
Imagine if a less-than-scrupulous agent got into these green-fields of money, and frolicked in the vast acreage of subsidies, schemes, and easy loans? Where would we be? The public would think the people and the industry were here to save us, the industry could prod levers of government to encourage more subsidies and pro-renewable energy legislation. The “cottage” industry could also pay for and help write reports that the government then used in order to convince the people to put more of their goods and chattels in the public-trough. In variations on the circular theme, the industry could apply for grants from the government to help pay for the reports it wrote for the government to help it earn even more subsidies, or to cripple it’s competitors. (eg. See here).
Thus deadly positive feedback would spiral out of control.
Have you wondered just exactly how much money you could pay for the feel-good factor of knowing that your electrons came from fashionable sources?
Thanks to the Victorian government we can get the hard numbers in the Victorian Auditor General’s Report.
In a nutshell, most alternatives are 2-3 times as expensive, except for solar which is 5 times the price.
(Luckily at the moment, renewables only produce 3 – 4 % of all energy in Victoria. Be grateful. You Victorians could be a lot poorer.) As it is, it cost Victorians $415,000 to tell you this, but it may be the most effective money spent on renewable energy in the last ten years. (Though oddly they didn’t produce this helpful comparative graph below. I did that for free.)
The Full PDF
In 2002 the State government of Victoria decided to aim for 10% renewable energy by 2010. You can see how well that worked out for them:
The light blue line (at 10%) was what they were aiming for.
The report is 48 pages. Basically it found that nobody thought too hard about how these aims would be done. Nobody assessed how useful it was to [...]
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