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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Finally, a way to get energy from Wind Turbines. Burn them, make cement!

Blades being chopped for transport. | Global Cement Magazine

It’s the new alternative fuel — decommissioned turbines. There are 21,000 wind turbines in Germany alone at the moment. With 15,000 tons a year of old blades expected to be dumped by 2019, it’s a real problem to get rid of them. The EU says they can’t be dumped in landfill. Here’s the perfect solution. Chop them, shred them, then deliver the fibreglass reinforced plastic to the local cement plant. The resins hold 15MJ per kilo. “One tonne of resin saves 600 kg of coal at the cement plant!”

It’s a win-win all round. Residents get rid of the bird chopping towers, the cement plant gets energy, and the windmills may, possibly for the first time, save some CO2 for the Greens. What’s not to like?

Indeed this is recycling you can like. The raw materials in old blades can even be used in the cement too.

Wind Turbines make good alternative fuels for cement production.

Global Cement Magazine Sept 2014 page 10

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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 [...]

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 [...]

Big Oil, Big-Gas lobby against coal. Shell leans on World Bank to nobble the competition

Well, well, well. When Big-Oil fund skeptics, they’re evil polluters. When Big-Oil pay green lobbyists, they’re just being good citizens (see the ads, right?). Naturally Royal Dutch Shell are concerned about the environment, families, rare marsupials and what not. They wouldn’t just be green for the profit would they… oh, wait. Shell is one of the six gas “super majors” and all gas providers profit when coal is unfashionable. In terms of resources, Shell is now more of a gas company than an oil company.

Big-Gas loves wind turbines. Wind farms are fickle and coal power can’t ramp up and down quickly to fill in the gaps, but the more expensive gas can. No wonder Shell are lobbying actively against coal, and for wind.

Thanks in part to Shell’s campaign, the poor family in the Shell Ad are going to have to pay more to stay warm this winter. Meanwhile the marsupials will manage without Shell lobbyists like they have for the last 100 million years, and the environment won’t notice any effect from a carbon tax.

As with all cut-throat business deals, Shell (and others) are doing what they are supposed to do: make money. There is nothing [...]

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 [...]

Let’s copy Germany: 23,000 wind towers make 7% of its electricity to stop 0 degrees of warming

Steve Goreham describes how one of the leading Green economies works: Germany has 23,000 wind turbines, half as many as the United States but packed into one 27th of the area. Average turbines are producing 17% of their stated capacity. All up, they make 7 percent of the nation’s electricity but consume 2 percent of the nation’s energy. Crikey! There would be a PhD thesis in making sense of those numbers, because most of that consumption is in the construction phase and depends on assumptions about how long those towers will work. I’d like to see a lifetime calculation of a Joules in and Joules out. Here’s a part I can’t quite wrap my head around: total renewables share of energy consumption (so that includes oil, gas, coal, wood and the like) apparently rose from 4 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2012. I can see a most unfortunate meeting of two lines on a graph here…

The Big-Green-Government in Germany decreed that everyone had to pay a lot more for the holy electrons from wind and solar (those electrons have good intentions, after all). Thus and verily (and partly thanks to the angel of [...]

India threatens Wind farms with fines. They must accurately predict the wind a day in advance or else!

What the Nanny-State Goddess Giveth…

The intermittent power of wind towers plays havoc with electricity grids. Power black outs in India are so bad, they cut off the supply to 600 million or so people for two days last year. To make the grid more stable, an official somewhere decided it would help to have at least one day’s warning of how much electricity will flow from those towers.  (Why not two days I say?)

“A directive took effect this week ordering wind farms with a capacity of 10 megawatts or more to forecast their generation in 15-minute blocks for the following day. “

To put some perspective on this, here is what 7000 wind turbines across Northern Europe (between the North sea, the Baltic Sea and the Austrian-Swiss border) produced in 2004. You can admire the stable predictable output that comes from averaging so many turbines over such a large area. Right?

Percentage of peak grid power supplied by 7000 wind turbines in Northern Europe in 2004

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