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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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 [...]

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 – [...]

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 [...]