Wind sucks – Part 94


All wind turbines should look like this…

I’ve lost count of the number of times ACM has reported on the total uselessness of wind farms as a way to mitigate GHGs.

Added to which, they are inefficient, hugely expensive and ugly. And they kill birds and bats. None of this matters to the Green zealots who see the wind farms as monuments to Gaia, rather than monuments to incredible stupidity.

The Australian reports that Victorian wind farms, for all their hype and subsidies, have eliminated virtually zero GHGs, thanks to the need for backup coal power stations to keep running at full speed to cope with the fluctuations in wind generation:

The early signs are that a $23 carbon tax has displaced some marginal high-cost generation in South Australia and Queensland, but it is too soon to say whether this is a trend or coincidence.

But any gains are swamped by the findings of a two-year analysis of Victoria’s wind-farm developments by mechanical engineer Hamish Cumming.

His analysis shows that despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from green energy schemes driven by the renewable energy target, Victoria’s wind-farm developments have saved virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

A forensic examination of publicly available power-supply data shows Victoria’s carbon-intensive brown-coal power stations do not reduce the amount of coal they burn when wind power is available to the grid.

Cumming says surplus energy is wasted to make room for intermittent supplies from wind.

Cumming’s findings have been confirmed by Victoria’s coal-fired electricity producers and by independent energy analysts who say it is more efficient to keep a brown-coal power-station running than turn it down and then back up.

Without gas or some other form of peaking power supply the Victorian electricity system is not equipped for the vagaries of wind power.

Even in SA, which uses gas, not coal, for base-load power and makes much greater use of wind, Cumming estimates the cost of greenhouse gas abatement at $1484 a tonne.

Cumming used data published by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which tracks power sector generation every five minutes.

The results showed fossil fuel generators, in the same periods when wind turbines had been operating, fluctuated their output to match demand but did not reduce their rate of coal consumption.

In an email to Cumming, electricity generator IPR-GDF SUEZ Australia confirmed his findings.

“Given that the power stations mentioned are all ‘baseload’, their generation output is relatively constant 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, other than due to minor fluctuations depending on market demand and/or shutdown of generation units for maintenance or repairs,” a company spokesman said.

Cumming says his investigation demonstrates how green energy theories do not always match the facts. (source – paywall)

Gee – you don’t say…

How many times do we have to hear this kind of indictment of wind power before anyone takes any notice?

Wind power fades before it even starts


Fitting end?

Wind power sums up green stupidity: it’s expensive, inefficient and ugly. And those are just the good points. It’s also utterly useless.

As such it is a perfect monument to the Greens – in a few years time the turbines will be silent, rusting away, unloved, past their sell-by date, and abandoned.

Yesterday, Bjørn Lomborg wrote in The Australian:

The use of wind turbines has increased tenfold during the past decade, with wind power often touted as the most cost-effective green opportunity. According to Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Action, “People should believe that (wind power) is very, very cheap.”

In fact, this is a highly problematic claim. While wind energy is cheaper than other, more ineffective renewables, such as solar, tidal, and ethanol, it is nowhere near competitive. If it were, we wouldn’t have to keep spending significant sums to subsidise it. (source)

And earlier this month, the Global Warming Policy Foundation released a scathing report on the state of wind energy in the UK:

One of the UK’s leading energy and environment economists warns that wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater as a result of Britain’s flawed wind policies when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants.

“The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Unless the current Government scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder.” (source)

And the UK Daily Mail reports on the rusting wind farms on Hawaii (pictured):

If any spot was tailor-made for a wind farm it would surely be here. The gales are so strong and relentless on the tip of South Point that trees grow almost horizontally. 

Yet the 27-year-old Kamaoa Wind Farm remains a relic of the boom and inglorious bust of America’s so-called ‘wind rush’, the world’s first major experiment in wind energy.

At a time when the EU and the British Government are fully paid-up evangelists for wind power, the lesson from America — and the ghostly hulks on this far-flung coast — should be a warning of their folly. (source)

But no one’s listening. The mad dash to cover the landscape with wind turbines is a result not of careful consideration, but naive environmental ideology. And now Australian industry is suffering as a result:

STALLED investment in renewable energy has forced the country’s largest wind farm tower manufacturer to seek voluntary redundancies from up to 100 of its 450 staff.

Keppel Prince, based in Portland, in southwest Victoria, has experienced a drop in demand for wind farms while the other core part of its business, maintenance of Alcoa’s local aluminium smelter, is also suffering. 

General manager Steve Garner said the wind farm work would dry up in the next two months as production finished for the 140-turbine Macarthur wind farm and a smaller 13-turbine project.

“The wind energy industry’s promise of ‘project, project, project’ just hasn’t materialised,” he said. “There are just so many projects that are still in a state of limbo waiting to try and secure funding.”

The optimism of green energy companies has dimmed since the carbon tax legislation was passed last year, amid political uncertainty and growing concern over the forthcoming review of the 20 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target. The oversupply of renewable energy certificates has also held electricity retailers back from new investment. (source)

The unpalatable reality is that all renewable energy sources available at the moment are hideously uncompetitive and require massive government subsidies. If just a few percent of the billions (trillions?) wasted on climate mitigation globally were directed towards intensive research for genuinely effective and inexpensive renewable energy, we might make some progress (hint: it isn’t wind, solar, geothermal…)

Billions wasted on wind power: study


Freaking useless, and expensive

It doesn’t matter how many times the eco-loons are told that wind is a complete and utter waste of money, they refuse to listen, as they view the monstrosities as a symbol of their cause.

Earlier this week, Matt Ridley argued that the case for wind power had been torpedoed, and now another UK study demonstrates (yet again) that wind power is highly expensive, inefficient (and ugly), claiming that wind power is ten times more expensive than using gas-fired power stations to achieve the same emissions reductions:

GOVERNMENTS are squandering billions of dollars on “uneconomic” wind farms, according to a landmark study that undermines the case for Labor’s huge renewable energy subsidies.

 Investment in wind turbines will fail to cut enough greenhouse gas emissions to justify their cost, economists warned yesterday after a detailed British analysis released this week

The conclusions challenge a cornerstone of Labor’s climate change policy as the federal government pours taxpayer funds into wind projects using direct subsidies, a planned $10 billion investment fund and renewable energy targets.

In a finding with direct relevance to Australia, the study by University of Edinburgh economics professor Gordon Hughes warns that using wind turbines to cut emissions costs 10 times the price of a gas-fired power station.

“Wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined-cycle plans,” he concludes.

Professor Hughes, a commissioner on Britain’s Infrastructure Planning Commission and a former World Bank senior adviser, conducted his study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is chaired by former Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson.

The British study warns of the rising cost to consumers of wind power subsidies on the grounds that governments could achieve the same environmental benefits by other means at much lower cost.

Comparing a £13 billion ($19bn) outlay on a combined-cycle gas plant against a £120bn outlay on wind farms, Professor Hughes found the renewable energy option was too expensive by any standard. (source)

Note that this isn’t just about rubbishing renewable energy, this is about reducing emissions in the most cost effective manner (if you believe that such reductions are required, that is). And on any basis for comparison, wind just sucks – big time. In years to come, when they are finally abandoned,  they will be regarded as a monument to astonishing Green stupidity.

The full report (PDF) is here.

Matt Ridley: The Winds of Change


Climate sense

Matt Ridley’s latest article in The Spectator is a must read:

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.  

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. 

Read it here.

Australian auto manufacturers should be "retooled to produce wind turbines"


We don't need cars. Build more of these!

The Socialist Alliance is an extreme anti-capitalist rag-tag bunch that strives for a “socialist Australia”. Fortunately for the rest of us, they will never see it. But they do provide plenty of Looney Left amusement. Their latest press release will cheer up the struggling motor vehicle manufacturers in Australia no end:

Workers in the car industry have the skills and expertise in logistics, production, engineering, designing for production and quality control that could be applied to help us break from a fossil fuel dependent economy. This is urgently needed to address the climate change crisis.

The industry can be retooled to produce wind turbines and other equipment for renewable energy production, as well as trams, trains and other vehicles and infrastructure for a sustainable transport system.

You have to laugh!

Read it here (Webcite archive – not giving them any of my traffic…)

The pointlessness of wind power


Monument to green stupidity

Once again, the futility of wind energy has been brought into sharp focus in an article by Christopher Booker in the UK Telegraph. The lights will be going out in Britain if the present government, and in particular Chris Huhne, continues with its suicidal plan to wreck the country’s energy generation capacity:

Centrica and other energy companies last week told [the Department of Energy and Climate Change] that, if Britain is to spend £100 billion on building thousands of wind turbines, it will require the building of 17 new gas-fired power stations simply to provide back-up for all those times when the wind drops and the windmills produce even less power than usual.

We will thus be landed in the ludicrous position of having to spend an additional £10 billion on those 17 dedicated power stations, which will be kept running on “spinning reserve”, 24 hours a day, just to make up for the fundamental problem of wind turbines. This is that their power continually fluctuates anywhere between full capacity to zero (where it often stood last winter, when national electricity demand was at a peak). So unless back-up power is instantly available to match any shortfall, the lights will go out.

Two things make this even more absurd. One, as the energy companies pointed out to DECC, is that it will be amazingly costly and wildly uneconomical, since the dedicated power plants will often have to run at a low rate of efficiency, burning gas but not producing electricity. This will add billions more to our fuel bills for no practical purpose. The other absurdity, as recent detailed studies have confirmed, is that gas-fired power stations running on “spinning reserve” chuck out much more CO2 than when they are running at full efficiency – thus negating any savings in CO2 emissions supposedly achieved by the windmills themselves.

How supposedly intelligent people can be taken in by this nonsense is beyond belief, unless of course, rational thinking has flown out of the window, and all that remains is devotion to a green religion.

Read it here.

Senate to investigate damaging effects of wind farms


The best thing that can happen to a wind farm

Wind farms are, as we all know, inefficient, expensive and ugly. And that’s just their good points. They are also a scandalous waste of money, generating pitiful amounts of electricity, and rarely running at more than 25% of their rated capacity. And back-up traditional power stations are still required for when the wind isn’t blowing, or isn’t blowing hard enough (which is most of the time). Not only that but there are other concerns too:

URGENT research should be undertaken into the potentially damaging health effects of wind farms on nearby residents, says a landmark Senate report released yesterday.

In a dramatic win for residents’ groups who have raised widespread concerns about the impact of wind farms on rural communities, the committee recommended that noise measurements be expanded to include low-frequency noise, or infrasound.

Campaigners welcomed the report and said there should be an immediate halt to wind farm developments until the potential health impacts were better understood.

According to the Clean Energy Council, there are 53 wind farms operating in Australia, with 1089 operating turbines that can reach the height of a 45-storey building and have blades up to 50m long.

The majority Senate report yesterday called for tougher rules on noise, new rules to govern how close wind farms can be built to houses, and an independent arbitrator to hear complaints.

It said arbitrary setbacks – the distance that a wind farm must be built from a residence – may not be adequate and each situation may need to be considered on its merits.

But the most dramatic findings were in the area of potential harm from low-frequency noise.

The committee said the commonwealth government should initiate as a matter of priority “thorough, adequately resourced epidemiological and laboratory studies of the possible effects of wind farms on human health”.

It doesn’t matter what route we take, as long as we put a stop to the wind farm madness.

Read it here.

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