JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Advertising

micropace


GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Archives

Books

Some days one thousand MW of solar vanishes in Australia

The Australian national grid stretches from the tropics to the cold temperate zone from 16S to 43S. You might think that along those 40,000 kilometers of transmission lines there is always somewhere somewhere sunny at midday, but some days you’d be wrong.

James Luffman at WattClarity,  noticed this extensive cloud arrangement affecting solar on Friday May 19th. On that day, a one thousand MW generator wasn’t there when it was expected to be.

Cloud patterns on Friday 19th May 2017 – leading to a day of low Solar PV output, NEM-wide

By James Luffman | Published Fri, 25 August 201

Cloud cover over Australia, map, preventing solar PV generation.

How often does this happen? Hard to say, since data on rooftop PV has only just started to be released. It may not be as often as wind turbines, which simultaneously flounder across the whole Australian grid every 10 days or so.

This kind of comma-shaped band of cloud is relatively common over eastern Australia, when you have moisture from the Coral Sea area feeding into a trough with a low-pressure system near SA or VIC.

In this particular case of 19th May, the band of [...]

Rooftop solar destroying baseload profitability and proud of it

What other heavily subsidized industry brags about its ability to provide a product for one quarter of the time it’s needed? Vale sunny-day-solar!

Pick a day, an hour, and what are the chances solar will be there for you? A lot less than one in four, because last Monday’s peak in South Australia was an all time record. Every day in the last year was worse.

And so much for cheap… the price when solar power peaked was still close to $50/MWh. Compare that to most of the years of the national electricity market operating when average prices were $30/Mwh.

The price dip at 6am (the black-line bottomless gully), has nothing to do with solar, but was caused by wind power. Far from being useful, essential, or productive, solar and wind power are playing havoc with a normal market, destroying the chance for cheap, reliable energy to find a place. As long as we force the market to accept this non-dispatchable  supply, we are actively punishing reliable power. What investor in reliable energy would look at this and head to South Australia?”

 

Giles Parkinson was excited at Reneweconomy: Rooftop solar provides 48% of South Australia power, pushing grid [...]

SA Solar Thermal plant is a copy of US plant that was out of action for one third of its life so far

Crescent Dunes, Solar Thermal Plant, USA.   | Wikimedia  Author, Amble.

A company called SolarReserve is planning to build the new Aurora 150MW solar thermal plant at Port Augusta, which is apparently a copy of their Crescent Dunes plant in the US. But that project has been offline for most of the time since last October. The whole SA government is meant to be running 24/7 off “solar power”, which allegedly only has about 8 hours of energy stored up (as heat in the molten salt block). So an 8 month break will be a bit of problem for the SA government (except of course, we all know that the real baseload backup here at 4 or 5am everyday, and most of the day in winter, is ultimately the very fossilized gas and coal.) Since the project only began working in Sept 2015 it managed to operate for all of one year and one month before it went offline for 8 months due to a leak. The SA State Energy Minister is not concerned saying it was a construction issue and SolarReserve “have learnt from that”.

The 150MW myth: most of the time it will be less, a lot [...]

Another glorious solar scheme fails ignominiously, “fast clouds”, “rusty pipes”, dumb decisions

Another award winning solar project collapses: it was a $105 million dollar scheme. One company, Areva, lost about $50m and so did the taxpayer. Everything went wrong, management, planning, cheap poor quality steel from China, industrial dispute that left 80% of the pipes rusting on a dock. Three thousand solar reflectors are sitting unused in what was a potato paddock in Dalby. Nobody wants to buy them. They’re obviously worthless. CS Energy is state owned power utility, and it spent $50m but pulled to pin to save wasting another $50m.

In 2011 Julia Gillard raved about how it was going to save 35,000 tons of carbon.

“Ms Gillard says the project could be one of many under the new carbon tax scheme.

“With the clean-energy future I want for our nation, I want it to be a norm,” she said.”

Fans of renewables will cite the management problems as the reason for the failure, not some inherent problem with solar. But the “Clean Energy Culture” is the problem  — the same pathetic, uninformed and corrupt decision-making that subsidizes solar so unnecessarily also creates the same dud decisions in management, legal, and industrial relations. The environment [...]

Green Utopia? Adventure park wants to “go solar” but raze 15,000 trees

It takes bumper government subsidies to destroy this many trees for so little reason:

Six Flags Adventure Park goes Solar – Slate

The plan, the largest solar installation in New Jersey, will generate 21.4 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the amusement park’s Garden State facility. The company projects that the initiative will eliminate approximately 215,000 tons of CO2 emissions over 15 years…

“We are excited about the fact that this project will reduce carbon emissions by 31 times more than the trees and shrubs that will be removed, and that we will become the world’s first solar-powered theme park,” said Kristin Siebeneicher, communications manager for Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari.

The 66 acres of native wildlife may not be so excited.

Nor are the surrounding hominids. Can’t please em’:

Local residents and environmental groups—including Clean Water Action, Crosswicks/Doctors Creek Watershed Association, Environment New Jersey, NJ Conservation Foundation, Save Barnegat Bay, and the Sierra Club—beg to differ, claiming that razing nearly 15,000 trees will adversely impact water quality, air quality and sound quality; decrease the wildlife population; and affect biodiversity,…

Somewhere a plot of underground coal is being protected.

Welcome to [...]

What Green Future? Spain adds solar tax, punishes the wind industry, loses “65,000 renewable jobs”

Remember, all developed countries are going Green, and Clean Energy is everywhere. It’s only (insert your country) that is falling behind. 

When you hear this, think of Spain. It is so green it’s just passed a tax on solar panel generation, so solar users finally pay for grid backup. This Spanish government has been building a renewable future with so much enthusiasm that their wind industry is described as “striken” and it’s estimated that the current government there has cost “65,000 green jobs”.*

That solar tax:

“The tax will be introduced in the next six months, according to a statement from the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism. It will apply to solar power systems with a capacity of over 10 kilowatts.

The Ministry said the tax is intended to ensure that solar panel users contribute to the cost of maintaining the country’s electrical grid, as they use it as a backup supply. “

They’ve been trying to get this tax through for a long time. It’s described as unpopular by the usual suspects and, improbably, as a tax on the “Sun” (but will the sun pay, I wonder?). Supposedly, I imagine, the indignation at solar [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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.)

[...]

Sun dumps 500 times as many Hiroshima bombs of energy as “climate change”

Announcing the all new Solar-Insolation Hiroshima Bomb App, thanks to Dale Kent.

Since 1998, Global Warming has been occurring at 4 Hiroshima Bombs per second, not that we can measure that rate to a statistically significant value*, or that it means anything at all. Every second the sun pours 2700 Hiroshima bombs of energy on the Earth at the top of the atmosphere. 

As well as missing the big-picture, Cook and Nuccitelli show us they don’t have a good grip on cause and effect. The world may have been warming, but that does not  mean that CO2 caused it. Though they would very much like you to think that.

But if you want to scare people out of their money and impress fools, the Skeptical Science widget is just the thing. As SkS say on their page: “ Put a widget on your blog to let people know that climate change is important to you. ” To which  JoNova adds, “The Sks widget performs a valuable service, advertising the bloggers who don’t understand big numbers or trends, and who struggle with statistical significance. If someone wants to show they think-with-the-herd, and not with their brain, the SkepticalScience widget [...]