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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There’s no such thing as clean energy

 All good environmentalists detest renewables and are appalled at the money wasted on the industrial renewables corporations.

All the rest are unwitting marketing agents who provide free advertising for banks and multinational conglomerate profits. In the process they hurt the poor and scorch the Earth.

In short: The world spent $3.6 trillion dollars over eight years, mostly trying to change the weather. Only a pitiful 5% of this was spent trying to adapt to the inevitable bad weather which is coming one way or another. Both solar and wind power are perversely useless at reducing CO2, which is their only reason for existing in large otherwise efficient grids. Wind farms raise the temperature of the local area around them which causes more CO2 to be released from the soil. Solar and wind farms waste 100 times the wilderness land area compared to fossil fuels, and need ten times as many minerals mined from the earth. Biomass razes forests, but protects underground coal deposits.

The role of large wind and solar power in national grids is to produce redundant surges of electricity at random or low-need times. They are surplus infrastructure designed in a religious quest to generate nicer weather. They [...]

€225,000 reasons mammals need a 1km exclusion zone from wind towers

 Another cost of wind towers

Laura David and Jack Kelleher had to leave their family farm at Gowlane North, Donoughmore, Cork, four years ago after a shuddering, flickery 10-turbine wind farm began operating a bit more than 700 metres from their home.

They suffered from “nosebleeds, ear aches, skin rashes, swollen and painful hands, loss of power in their limbs, sleep disturbance, and headaches.” Naturally, they moved into a hotel, and then found a new home eight miles away, and took it to the High Court.

Family in Cork win a €225k payout:

by Ann O’Loughlin, IrishTimes

Two brothers and a sister from the same family who claimed they suffered illness as a result of noise, vibrations and shadow flicker from a Cork windfarm have settled their High Court actions for a total of €225,000.

The settlements which were without an admission of liability were approved by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds and occurred after mediation.

The defendants had denied all the claims they had been allegedly negligent resulting in the siblings becoming ill. They also denied that noise, shadow flicker and vibration from the windfarm had intruded onto the family’s [...]

Wind Power failure: on average every 3 days, there is a 500MW fail

On average, every 3 days, wind farms generating as much as one coal fired unit, fail on the Australian grid

TonyfromOz exposes a failure rate so common it’s hidden in plain view. Wind “Farm” intermittency is even worse than we thought.

On average, every three days within a one hour period there’s a sudden failure of 500 MW of wind generation — equal to one industrial coal turbine. That’s four full wind farms or about 250 spinning turbines that stopped spinning.

Every time a coal plant trips out, it’s reported as a problem of relying on our “old coal fleet”. But when the same power output fails from wind, it’s the new clean green future at work (!) , and a sign we need to spend another $20 billion to “upgrade the grid” with interconnectors we don’t need, and Hydro schemes we don’t want.

A few wind farms are bad for the grid. More windfarms are worse.

100 times a year we get a 500MW outage

TonyfromOz (Anton Lang) laboriously finds and documents two different kinds of failure. The largest and longest outages are when wind farms are becalmed. But there are many more short sharp and very sudden failures [...]

Windfarms threaten peat bogs and turn them into carbon emitters

More ironies.  One fifth of all soil carbon is stored in peat bogs.  Unfortunately when industrial wind turbines are built on them, the damage turns them from carbon sinks to carbon sources thus neutralizing the point of building the wind farm.

The headline evokes some supernatural power:

Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs lose their ability to fight climate change

As if the magical whirly totem stick loses the gift of weather control when placed on a peat bog?

But the real damage is not just to wallets for another pointless windfarm. Peat bogs are so much more than carbon sinks — they are also an archive of paleohistory and the  ancient climate. Indeed, even though cattle, wind and rain can damage the bogs, the researchers now say the wind farms now pose the “most serious risk” of all. Apparently the vehicle access tracks create artificial streams that drain the peat. The drainage changes are pervasive and “affect the whole peatland” not just the part near the track.

The “blanket bogs” are rare, but occur from Spain to Norway in Europe as well as in Canada, New Zealand and Korea.

The paper is a thinly disguised plea from bog experts to save [...]

Victoria blows up cheapest electricity generator in the state

In 2017 in its last month of operation, the 53 year old Hazelwood coal plant was still operating reliably 24 hours a day at around $30/MWhr and producing 1360MW of electricity. Despite its age, it could peak at 86% of its original rated output.

After Hazelwood closed, wholesale prices jumped 85% in Victoria. And the annual average spot wholesale price in Victoria in the last year was $100/MWH.

So naturally Victoria wants to build more wind power, and blow up old reliable coal. Every single week in January, when electricity demand peaks in Australia, there were days when one old coal plant could have provided more electricity than all 57 new wind farms on the National Electricity Market could.

How much did it cost to build 57 not-there-when-you-need-it wind farms?

 

The output of all the wind farms in Australia still isn’t enough to reliably produce more than one 50 year old coal plant.

 

In its lifetime Hazelwood made $15 billion dollars worth of electricity (or 520TWH). It paid for itself many times over.

Source: Anero.id

h/t David B, Serp

..

 

[...]

Wind Turbine crashes on carpark in NY

Wind turbines pose a threat not just to bats, birds and bedtime, but also Buicks, buildings and babies.

By some miracle luck, no one was killed. This wind turbine was installed two weeks ago…

Coming soon: insurance premiums to rise in car parks under turbines, and real estate values to fall. Children’s car seats to be reinforced with 6ft thick titanium shells.

Presumably Al Gore and the member for Warringah will dismiss the risk and plan to build one in their own backyards.

Repeat after me: Wind energy is free and there are no hidden costs from installing gigatons of infrastructure across the country to catch low-density random unreliable energy.

 

 

Unexpected UK EarthHour at peak time Friday — just after Wind Power hits new high?

Fragile grids

Over a million people customers lost power in the UK yesterday thanks to the sudden outage of a gas and a wind plant. Some of the country’s biggest railway stations were inoperable.  Passengers were stuck on trains for up to seven hours. Others stayed in hotels, walked miles or paid “hundreds” for taxis. The outpatient sections of Ipswich Hospital were blacked out for 15 minutes when backup generators failed. “At the height of the Friday rush hour, all trains out of King’s Cross were suspended and remained so for most of the evening.” — BBC. Commuters resorted to using their phones as torches to get out of tunnels in the dark.

Urgent Investigation called for into “fiasco”

According to headlines, at this early stage before the investigation all we know for sure is that wind power is definitely not to blame, but Boris might be. (Seriously, it’s the no-deal Brexit that hasn’t happened).

Officially, people are saying in solemn knowing tones that it is “extremely rare”  for two generators to go out at once. But the odd thing about this is how small the loss was. Barfield Gas power is only a 730 MW generator, and Hornsea Wind [...]

Robbins Island Mega wind farm: killing birds and baseload power at 300 kilometers per hour

After nearly two weeks the ABC carrier pigeons finally brought the news that Bob Brown, former Greens leader, is campaigning against this gigantic wind farm — the $1.6b one in NW Tasmania that wants to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Could it be the ABC doesn’t want to admit they were wrong too, pushing wind power non stop for years?

Look how erratic that wind is — 90% one day, zero the next

Tom Quirk looked at the nearest wind farm to Robbins Island, and it’s a fitful machine (see that graph below). Worse, it fails in synchrony with most wind farms in Australia. Thus exacerbating the unstable, fickle supply of wind energy.

 Tom Quirk predicts the demise of another coal plant

Quirk was Deputy Chairman of VENCorp, which managed the transmission and wholesale natural gas market and system planning for the electricity market in Victoria, Australia.

A wind farm on Robbins Island will simply extend the variations in power supplied to the mainland while making no difference to the correlations of wind through the states in the wholesale market. Thus more backup would be required from gas and hydro sources. Loy Yang B with 1,000 MW would [...]

Finally “world first” study on nine houses shows wind towers make pulsing noise for 3.5 km

Generic wind turbine near farm. Photo: @gonz_ddl

Finally, a study looks at data on nine houses within ten kilometers of an old (probably small) wind turbine. What’s amazing about this research is not the result but that this study is so tiny, yet it’s still a “world first”.

There are already probably around 400,000 wind turbines installed around the world.* So you might think that there would have been scores of studies involving hundreds of people and followed up for a year or two. They would have looked at the effect of wind turbines upwind, downwind, side wind, in low wind, high wind, and at different times of day. They’d check for altered sleep patterns, lack of deep sleep, REM sleep, cognitive performance, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and school marks. Dream on. It’s like everything with climate change — who needs data?

Renewables are a $300 billion annual global industry. This work was done with a $1.4 million National Health and Medical Research Council grant. Where is the precautionary principle when we need it?

Can wind turbines disturb sleep? Research finds pulsing audible in homes up to 3.5km away

Nicole Hasham, Sydney Morning Herald

[...]

Wind Turbines are new top predator in the ecosystem

Wind turbines either kill or scare away three quarters of buzzards, hawks and kites at three sites in India. That makes them the new “top predator” in the ecosystem according to new research.  Perhaps not the niche that Greens were expecting wind farms to occupy.

It’s not all bad news though, fan-throated lizards are pretty happy about not being dinner.

h/t GWPF

Lizards vote for wind.

Wind farms are the ‘new apex predators’: Blades kill off 75% of buzzards, hawks and kites that live nearby, study shows

Harry Pettit for Daily Mail Online

Predatory bird numbers are four times higher in areas away from wind turbines This is having a devastating ’ripple effect’ across the food chain It means numbers of certain small animals are growing unchecked [...]

Warning! Wind power warms local climate for next hundred years, needs 5 – 20 times as much land

It’s not often we see a report that turns things on their head quite like this.

Wind turbines may cause more local warming than global cooling in the next century.

Photo: Jo Nova

If the US were to install a lot of turbines, Wind power could warm the United States by 0.24 degrees Celsius instead of cooling it, because wind turbines “redistribute heat” in the atmosphere. They mix the surface layers. (0.24C would be equivalent to two decades of recent warming.) The largest effect is at night where wind plants can warm the local area by 1.5C.

At least 10 previous studies have now observed local warming caused by US wind farms. Keith and Miller compared their simulated warming to observations and found rough consistency between the data and model.

Nick Carne — Cosmos magazine

The new studies by Keith and Miller were published in Environmental Research Letters and Joule.

Major downer. The power density of wind energy is up to *100 times* less than predicted.

The new research suggests we can’t put too many turbines to close together or the whole group become far less efficient. That means we need 5 – 20 times [...]

Add that to the windpower bill: SA Battery cost $90m which is $220 per family of four

The ABC reports that finally the people of SA can find out what the emergency Tesla battery cost — $56 per person, or $220 per family, just for the purchase, not for the operation. Hands up South Australians, who would have rushed to sign up to be the Star Renewable State if they had to sign the checks themselves and their electricity bill had a item called: “The price of renewables”.

South Australia didn’t need a battery when it had coal power:

A 505-page report released by Neoen this month ahead of an initial public offering suggested the battery cost around $90 million, at the current exchange rate.

The giant 100-megawatt lithium ion battery near Jamestown in the state’s mid-north commenced operation late last year.

“It actually costs taxpayers’ money. There’s a cost of $4-5 million a year to have the battery in place.

“There are more costs than that involved.

Where does Giles Parkinson think these “revenues” come from?

However, Giles Parkinson said the battery was on track to “make revenues of about $25-26 million in its first year”

The battery makes no electricity. All it does is shift [...]

Old neglected wind turbines — ticking 100 ton bombs

Don’t camp under an old wind turbine

What weighs 100 tons, sits 100 meters above the ground, leaks transmission fluid and may disintegrate into a million sharp fibreglass spikes…

….

NoTricksZone

As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age, the list of catastrophic collapses is growing more rapidly. The turbines are now being viewed by technical experts as “ticking time bombs”.

According to a commentary by Daniel Wetzel of online German Daily ‘Die Welt’, the aging rickety wind turbines are poorly inspected and maintained and thus are now posing a huge risk.

Over the past months alone there’s been a flurry of reports over wind turbines failing catastrophically and collapsing to the ground, e.g. see here, here and here.

Industrial systems in Germany need to get technical inspections and safety approvals, but wind turbines don’t…

Read the rest at NoTricksZone

Vernunftkraft keeps a list of failures.

The Greens, of course, are apoplectic (not).

_______________________

Photo: this particular turbine crashed in Antarctica. If you own a photo of a failing German one, please let me know.

[...]

Is this the start of the death-spiral for old windfarms in Europe

The subsidy that flows whatever the weather  |  by  Josh.

How do you know when an industry is a loser? When even repowering old turbines, which were put in the best spots, is not worth the trouble unless they get a subsidy, I mean, even more subsidies.

Remember the days when subsidies were needed to get a project going?

Maintenance is not an option

Europe is full of old windfarms. The original subsidies have run out and there’s not much appetite for new ones. Without more free money from taxpayers the most economic option for older turbines is to run them into the ground and give up on them. Maintenance costs are the silent plague. But so too is red tape and legal approval. The age of the European turbines is reaching the point where half of the entire fleet is facing do or die decisions.

John Constable of the GWPF wonders if the wind industry in Europe may be on the point of collapse.

And Europe’s fleet is old:

By 2020, 41% of the currently installed capacity in Germany will be over 15 years old, 44% in Spain, and 57% in Denmark.

John Constable is responding [...]

Hidden Costs: how wind generation makes gas power $30/MWh more expensive

Just another hidden cost — intermittent generators are vandals on our baseload suppliers. Wind power needs gas, but gas doesn’t need the wind. When the two are paired together it makes the wind energy “reliable” but adds nearly $30/MWh to the cost of the energy from gas. Right now that cost will be added to the gas plant, but in a free market, it should be paid by the wind farm investors.

Stacy and Taylor compared the cost of running a Closed Cycle Gas plant (CC Gas) on its own or combined with a wind farm. The combination produces reliable electricity “on demand” and uses less gas to do it. The sole benefits to this odd industrial couple are a smaller gas bill and lower emissions of a fertilizing gas (CO2). All the capital and labor costs of running a gas plant are the same, but now it sits idle more often, pointlessly waiting like a spare wheel til the wind slows and gas power is needed again. About the only thing we can predict about the wind farm is that it can be relied on for almost nothing, so the gas plant must be almost as large whether or [...]