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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China has giant unused wind farms — thousands of spinning white elephants

Wind farm in Xinjiang viewed from the Lanxin railway. | Image by “Train to Xinjiang Provnice” (sic)

The command economy strikes again. China is touted as the renewables leader, installing a gobsmacking one third of all the worlds wind towers. But with a recent economic slowdown, when push comes to shove, coal power is used and wind farms are not.

It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle.

[NY Times] — More than 92,000 wind turbines have been built across the country, capable of generating 145 gigawatts of electricity, nearly double the capacity of wind farms in the United States. One out of every three turbines in the world is now in China, and the government is adding them at a rate of more than one per hour.

But some of its most ambitious wind projects are underused. Many are grappling with a nationwide economic slowdown that has dampened demand for electricity. Others are stymied by persistent favoritism toward the coal industry by local officials and a dearth of transmission lines to carry electricity from rural areas in the north and west to China’s fastest-growing cities.

[...]

Wind turbine manufacturer admits liability for noise damage. If word gets out…

These are Enercon wind turbines in Germany, Lower Saxony. Image: Philip May

This could be a watershed — if word gets out that turbine manufacturers will not even contest claims of noise damage, there could be many more claims around the world. There are rumors these cases are often settled out of court with confidentiality agreements, but who would know?

In an update to the Irish court case we discussed last month, the latest news confirms that the wind turbine manufacturer has admitted liability without contesting it. The court will be deciding damages in April. As I deduced at the time, the wind industry was using desperate wordsmithing to minimize attention on the story. The news item related to it even disappeared from the Irish Examiner.  The turbine industry must be hoping no one notices this story.

Stop These Things has an update:

Wind company admits nuisance damage to neighbours Irish Farmers Journal Paul Mooney 5 January 2017

High Court to determine compensation for seven families in April hearing.

[...]

Victoria paying big to drive at breakneck speed to repeat South Australia’s blackout

Victoria is driving down Blackout Drive. They have reports from South Australia up ahead, they know where the road goes, but the state is paying for the first class ticket on a trip to RiskyGrid.

Victoria has 5.7 million people, over three times bigger than South Australia. Right now SA relies on the Victorian grid stability to keep running, and gets up to 800MW of reliable electrons from the state-next-door. But Victoria wants to add more wind power — theoretically the equivalent of a big coal fired plant (like Hazelwood).

Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly looked closely at the numbers and patterns and see the writing on the wall. To help expensive, unreliable, intermittent green energy survive the government subsidizes it by around 9c per KWhr (bear in mind the wholesale rate for coal fired power is 3 – 4c per kWhr.) The government also demands retailers have a 12.5% mix of renewables, and that they accept most electrons from wind power whenever and wherever it is available. This strange anti-free market rule is called “nondispatchable” power, meaning the system can’t just throw it away if there is any demand at all. Whereas coal [...]

How much wind power can a grid handle?

Could Australia end up with synchronous failure across states?

When wind power is maxing out it’s bad for grid stability — it pushes out the reliable spinning inertia — the massive rolling turbines that relentlessly pull the grid back to 50Hz. Here’s a graph of SA and Victoria wind farms last month, and you can see that for all the thousand kilometers that might separate them, they are controlled by much larger common weather patterns.

Wind power in South Australia and Victoria often both max out or crash together.

Tom Quirk looks out our national grid in light of the SA blackout debacle. The message from South Australia is that wind power does not make for nice stable and synchronous grids. As I mentioned before the whole idea of alternating current (or AC electricity) is about the exact push pull of electrons at a set frequency. The grid lives and dies by its frequency. We can’t add a 53Hz current to a 47Hz one and get a 50 Hz average. When different frequencies meet we get interference patterns –  a mess of spikes and dips.  Say hello to Lumpy Electricity. Say goodbye to your computer.

Indeed when the frequency [...]

Wind power sucks money and electricity in South Australia

On a good day South Australia has more than 40% renewable energy. On a bad day, it’s -2 or something. Wind towers suck in so many ways.  They can even draw more power out than they bring in and best of all — their peak electron sucking power comes just when the state needs electricity the most.

Business blows up as turbines suck more power than they generate

The sapping of power by the turbines during calm weather on July 7 at the height of the ­crisis, which has caused a price surge, shows just how unreliable and ­intermittent wind power is for a state with a renewable ­energy mix of more than 40 per cent.

South Australia has more “renewable” wind power than anywhere else in Australia. They also have the highest electricity bills, the highest unemployment, the largest number of “failures to pay” and disconnections. Coincidence?

The emergency measures are needed to ease punishing costs for South Australian industry as National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000MWh maximum price.

Complaints from business about the extreme prices – in normal times they are [...]

BBC finds wind farms have no effect on climate

For a moment I thought the BBC was tackling a very important question:

Wind farms’ climate impact recorded for first time

Most taxpayers want to know whether wind farms have an impact on our global climate. But the BBC are looking at whether wind farms cause warming on the square kilometer below them. A question hot on the lips of almost no people.

In the first study of its kind, scientists have been able to measure the climatic effect of a wind farm on the local environment.

The team said its experiment showed that there was a very slight warming at ground level and that it was localised to within a wind farm’s perimeter.

Data suggested the operation of onshore wind farms did not have an adverse ecological effect, the group added.

That will presumably reassure all three residents living under wind-farms who were worried about their house overheating, or the clothes not drying on the line.

It may not reassure the 99.9% of the UK people who pay for the BBC and hope to see it report something useful. Voters might have preferred to see a cost benefit analysis on the billion-dollar industry: [...]

Polish wind power suddenly not so popular

Another snippet for the next time a climate saviour tells you the “whole world” is moving to clean energy.

Last year Poland  installed almost as many new wind turbines as Germany (the Kingland-of-Wind-towers). Wind make about 13% of Poland’s electricity. This year,  according to the wind industry,  the  new conservative Polish government wants to regulate them out of existence.

Bill threatens Polish wind power, warns industry -

Poland’s thriving wind energy industry has warned that it faces bankruptcies, rapid divestment and an end to growth under a bill that threatens executives with prison.

“For some projects, it will be terminal . . . it will kill them,” said Wojciech Cetnarski, president of the Polish Wind Energy Association, an industry lobby group. “This will result in bankruptcies. That is for sure.

“No one will invest any more in this country’s wind energy industry if this law is passed.” The bill will make it illegal to build turbines within 2km of other buildings or forests — a measure campaigners said would rule out 99 per cent of land — and quadruple the rate of tax payable on existing turbines — making most unprofitable.

This [...]

German govt plans will “kill” wind industry

Sigmar Gabriel, the German Economy Minister, has announced they’d like to amend the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) in the next few months or so. The plan is for the total amount of renewable energy on the grid to be capped at 40 – 45% by 2025.  It was at 33% at the end of 2015 but was still climbing rapidly. Check out the eyewatering transition being planned now:

A study by consultants ERA on behalf of the Green Party’s parliamentary group concludes that under these provisions the development of wind energy will collapse fairly soon: A target of 45 percent would mean that only 1500 megawatts could be installed annually after 2018, according to the study. That’s less than half as the average of wind energy installed in the past five days.

Boom, meet Bust.

This would be such a turnaround, that not only would new wind turbines not be added, there would be less of them:

A 40% cap for wind energy completely stop the construction of new wind farms by of 2019, according to the ERA [consultants] study. Overall, this would reduce onshore wind power by almost 6000 megawatts compared to the [...]

It’s “irresponsible” to research health effects of wind-farms says Prof Chapman, USyd

Welcome to the cult of climate control where it’s responsible to spend $10 billion of Taxpayer dollars to change the weather with windfarms and such, but it’s irresponsible to spend $3.3 million to check if that harms anyone.

I hear that in houses kilometers away from a wind tower, the water in a glass can ripple, along with the water in the toilet bowl. Obviously since humans have no water molecules it couldn’t possibly …

Is it news that this research will finally be done? Not according to the ABC where the headline is about how much money is being wasted.

Millions in funding for research into wind farm illness criticized

IMOGEN BRENNAN: Sheep farmer Donald Thomas has lived near Waubra in Victoria for more than 50 years.

Since wind turbines were erected nearby about seven years ago, he says he and his family have had headaches, pressure in their ears and many sleepless nights.

DONALD THOMAS: It’s extremely frustrating. But the thing is, what the point they’re missing is the fact that yes, it is affecting us and it’s extremely unpleasant and so many of my neighbours have actually had to leave. It’s [...]

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 [...]

Megawatts that come and go — Wind energy, shaking up the National Grid in Australia

This postmodern art is what wind power looks like on our national electricity grid. (Like a kindergärtner on steroids). There are 35 wind farms on this spaghetti graph, spread across 6 of our 8 states and territories. They cover thousands of square kilometers and are connected in allegedly the largest electricity grid in the world. This frenetic action covers the last two weeks, and is pretty normal.

You might think the wind “averages out” across the nation.  Noooo. Some days, Australia is windy…

Graph from ANEROID ENERGY for 1 – 16 August, 2015

The total megawatts output varies as per the black line, from zero megawatts right up to 3000.

This below is a typical days national grid demand in winter. Even in the dead of night, the minimum baseload demand is 18,000MW. The nation is talking of going 26% renewable (unless it goes 50%). What could possibly go wrong!

According to AEMO Australia has the largest interconnected electricity grid in the world covering the east coast from Port Lincoln in South Australia to Cairns in Queensland (See the green and red squiggles on the right hand side of the map below) . That’s most of the [...]

Labor wants to waste $100b to make Australian energy 50% renewable, more expensive, by 2030

The Coalition in Australia must be thrilled that Bill Shorten wants to make the next election about “climate change”. What a gift from Labor.

Just before the last election Labor had a plan to spend $60,000 dollars per person to try to change the weather by 2050. Labor lost nearly a quarter of their seats. Bill Shorten’s new election vision is to repeat the same mistakes. Like the G7 leaders, he wants symbolic and unachievable promises — only, unlike them, he’s making pie-in-the-sky, uncosted plans for 2030, not 2100. Five of the seven G7 nations are increasing their coal use. Get with the game Bill, other countries are winding schemes back and putting off the promises til long after most people alive today will be gone.

Shorten is pushing a dead dog. The sweet end of the wind and solar power deals have already been done and the numbers get uglier from here. As more and more of the grid is taken over by a massive erratic and unreliable supply, the marginal returns shrink, prices go up. The carbon “savings” falls. Full baseload back up must be maintained regardless, whirring away inefficiently on standby. The Labor Party are making [...]

Wind farms only 80% effective at CO2 reduction (0% effective at temp reduction). UK to allow homes to stop turbines!

In the latest news about wind-generators, The Australian reports that a new Australian study estimates we wasted $70m on RET* certificates last year because of losses the wind turbines put on the rest of the grid. About a fifth of the CO2 supposedly cut by wind-farms was emitted by the rest of the grid as it ramped up and down trying to cope with the erratic supply from the on-and-off whirly-gigs.

If we double our wind-farms the losses are proportionally even greater (every extra wind farm is even more useless than the one before). With twice as many, all of the wind towers would only be 70% effective. But this is all a wild fantasy overestimate, since the point of wind towers is not to reduce CO2, but to reduce global temperatures, stop storms, and hold back the tides. The 3.5% reduction in total Australian electricity emissions changed global temperatures by 0.00C, hence RET on wind is 100.00% useless, accurate to two decimal places. The Clean Energy Council said they had no answer at all, and wouldn’t talk about it, except to say that Australians like “renewables”.

In other news in from the UK, the new majority conservative government says [...]

Wind Turbines useless for carbon reduction — From $50 – $120 ton. Greens should hate them!

Wind Turbines around 7 times more expensive than Direct Action

You would have to be bonkers to use wind turbines to reduce CO2. The Australian RET Review estimates that the cost of reducing CO2 via wind power is $32 – $72 per ton of CO2 avoided, which means it’s far more expensive than the Direct Action plan, which costs $14 per ton. Peter Lang is concerned the real story is even more costly than that, because it appears the RET Review does not account for the way wind turbines become less effective as they supply a larger portion of our electricity grid. The gas and coal generators get less efficient and they ramp up and down and burn fuel on standby, trying to cope with the fickle supply from the wind. The study of the Irish grid shows that nearly half the CO2 savings of wind turbines disappear as rest of the generators on the grid burn more fuel per unit of electricity. From my reading of Peter’s submission the real cost is more like $80 - $100/ton.

The Australian Parliament is seeking submissions to the ‘Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines’. It closes Monday. Peter Lang has submitted a 36 page report which [...]

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 [...]