How is this for a scary thought?
Tim Flannery says renewables will run the economy:
“What we can now see is the emerging inevitability that renewables are going to be running the economy…”
And I say: Prepare for economic armageddon. Picture an Australia where we all have jobs — jobs digging holes, mucking out the stables, and chopping those last few remaining trees down. We may lead the world installing chinese-made solar panels, but they won’t help us make anything that anyone else wants to buy. Anton gives us some numbers no one seems to have mentioned to Tim. Like, it takes 1,000 new wind towers to kinda equal one coal plant. – Jo
Guest Post: Anton Lang
Get ready — this is how much the 25 most recent, powerful, high-tech wind plants generate. Not the red line — that’s how much electricity we used. Look at the expanse under the blue line — every bit of that (“bit” being the word) is all thanks to those brand spanking new wind turbines.
Courtesy of the National Electricity Market. (NEM)
The red line at the top shows total electricity demand for NSW, Vic, Qld, SA, and Tasmania over 2011. The blue line the total generation from the 25 most recently constructed Wind Plants in that same 5 State area.
Note how the total demand average is between 22,000 and 28,000MW. Wind power from those 25 new plants generates as much as 650MW (the blue line). That’s 2.6%. This is from a total Nameplate Capacity of 2072MW being generated from those 25 Wind Plants which are made up of 985 huge towers.
The killer here, however is not shown on this graph. That is the absolute 24 hour requirement for power, the baseload or 17,000 MW running day and night.
Flannery on page 16:
The idea of ‘baseload’ power comes from fossil fuel electricity generation. Traditionally the cheapest source of power has been from coal‑fired power plants designed to operate continuously. This constant source of cheap power is called baseload power.
The Wind power Nameplate Capacity of 2072MW is the equivalent of one large scale coal fired plant, so exactly how many of those plants have closed down thanks to wind-power? Not one.
How many wind towers would we need if we were to move to a completely wind power future? To get the Base Load Requirement of 17,000MW we’d need 27 times as many towers, or 26,000 turbines.
For Total demand make that 38,000 huge wind towers.
This is what the full story is, not some warm and fluffy hope from Tim Flannery.
In his pdf document he shows the current power generation at Figure 1. It indicates that renewables currently supply 10% of all Australian power. Of that 10%, two thirds is Hydro, (thanks to the Snowy Mountains Scheme) Wind makes up 23% or 2.5% of the total. Solar makes up 3% which is 0.3% of the total demand.
Flannery, to put it politely, is just gilding the lily.
Image: Reference for the image is at this link, and it’s the graph at the bottom right, the top graph for 2011.