Posts Tagged ‘ renewables ’

Damn that’s taxing


What an excruciating read. PM Gillard has come out today and equated the Greens’ her carbon tax with the Snowy Mountains scheme.

Unbelievable. She’s equated a giant, useless TAX with one of Australia’s greatest achievements in infrastructure.

I was going to quote but I don’t have enough brain bleach to go around.

Somehow, the PM thinks making electricity more expensive, including (but not exclusively) by means of forcing power plants to close, should be equated with a scheme that provided more and cheaper electricity.

The party that once started building seven power stations at the same time now wants to close power stations one at a time.

Oh for the Labor of old.

They’ve descended from a party that started building 16 dams in one big hit to a party that won’t build a single dam even in the middle of a drought.

That woman is living in a watermelon dreamland. I never thought I’d see a Labor party become so out of touch with ordinary working people and families.

The perils of going Green


Lord Lawson is talking about events in the UK, but the same applies in Australia, not least because of the carbon dioxide tax we will be unnecessarily burdoned with in a few months.

It is sad that fashionable obsession can lead an intelligent man like Tim Yeo into such a farrago of factual error and economic illiteracy. The reason why there is no economic case for ‘going green’ is simple. It is that green energy is hugely more expensive than carbon-based energy, it always has been and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

That, and no other reason, is why the world relies on carbon-based energy – coal, oil and, increasingly, gas.

And that is why to ‘go green’ requires either a heavy tax on carbon-based energy, to make it less competitive, or a massive subsidy for wind power and other forms of green energy, to make them more competitive – and probably both. Either way, these represent a huge economic cost and a burden on the consumer that bears especially hard in an age of austerity, but which would be unjustifiable at any time.

Read on.

Just what benefit will be achieved from raising Australia’s already high electricity costs via the CO2 tax? Least of all when the Gillard government claims people will be compensated?

Well if they’re going to be compensated, then what’s the point of the tax in the first place?

It’s just a money-go-round, a massive government-led collection of private wealth to be then redistributed as the government sees fit.

Hello? That’s Socialism, and Cory Bernadi is right to call Gillard out on that.

And socialism? If (too much of) your hard-earned work, as represented by money, is taken away from you and given to someone else who didn’t work, then where is the incentive to work?

Nobody works too hard, and then what happens to society?

Climate change: follow the money


The big story this weekend is what Jo Nova has dubbed FakeGate. On Thursday we saw the DeSmogBlog getting very excited that *shock horror* the anti global-warming-and-we’re-all-doomed mob The Heartland Institute received an evil $6.5 mil in funding. Never mind the likes of Greenpeace receiving $310 mil, no, the scandal of the day was directed at man-made global warming sceptics.

Also, to a lesser extent, we read the diabolical news that sceptic Professor Bob Carter is on the take to the tune of $1500-odd per month from private donors (but never mind the $1200 per day PM Gillard’s Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery receives courtesy of the Australian taxpayer).

Well, it turns out the leaked Heartland memos that DeSmog got all uppity about may well have been faked. Law enforcement officials have been contacted.

Nice try, well-funded doomists.

In other climate news over in the States, we read about researchers – this time courtesy of the American taxpayer – receiving “$850,000 to study the effects of climate change on prairie dogs in an area where the climate hasn’t changed in 50 years“. Good work if you can stoop low enough to get it, I suppose.

Still in the US, there is some good news however. Finally a step, albeit a small one, towards common sense; that is, not throwing good money at wasteful gimmicks.

The wind power industry is predicting massive layoffs and stalled or abandoned projects after a deal to renew a tax credit failed Thursday in Washington.

The move is expected to have major ramifications in states such as Illinois, where 13,892 megawatts of wind projects — enough to power 3.3 million homes per year — wait to be connected to the electric grid. Many of those projects will be abandoned or significantly delayed without federal subsidies.

Ahh, subsidies. Because in what should be a thriving free market economy, governments picking winners and losers – kind of like in the old USSR – is surely the way to go (/sarc).

R&D, R&D folks. Ideas like wind and solar power aren’t bad per se. But what I don’t understand is why more people can’t see that these two potentially excellent technologies need considerably more development before we can begin to even think about them as viable options for replacing base-load power.

For example, a far better investment for the UK (Conservative???) government would surely be to throw £35 bil at research and development of wind power technology rather than agreeing to new subsidies worth the same amount for yet another wind project that, sorry, will make a negligible yet intensely costly contribution to the island’s energy resources.

Ho hum. At least they’re not being completely mad (although I think I’m being very generous here).

Half of the UK’s houses may not be able to claim the full subsidy for fitting solar panels from April, under new government plans.

Again, who wouldn’t love it if they could buy a cheap solar panel and have their electricity bill slashed… without having to rip off their fellow taxpayer?

R&D, R&D.

Finally, back on home soil, I wonder how much flak this bloke is going to cop.

WakeUp2TheLies reports that ‘Former Bureau of Meteorology chief to hold forum arguing that “global warming is natural”‘.

Nasty, NASTY!

Cartoon by John Spooner at – wait for it – the Age.

Greenies poo poo massive energy find


If people want to live “green”, fine. Just don’t be waving fingers at the rest of us, telling and legislating how we get by.

OK, now where was I? Ah, yes.

A company exploring for controversial “shale gas” in the UK says it could drill hundreds of wells in Lancashire to tap into vast gas resources underground.

Cuadrilla Resources, whose exploration efforts near Blackpool had to be halted earlier in the year amid concerns they were causing tremors, said there were 200 trillion cubic feet of gas under the ground in the area.

A percentage of the gas could be recovered for use in the UK’s energy mix, providing up to 5,600 jobs, including 1,700 in the local area, at the peak of production, the company has suggested.

But campaigners against the unconventional source of gas warned developing the fossil fuel could draw investment away from the UK’s potentially huge renewable industry.

Hmm, would that be the same renewables industry that is outrageously expensive, woefully inefficient and largely propped up by government subsidies?

Well tough, greenies. Go rant in a cave somewhere (it worked once before in history).

Meanwhile, a bit more on that sense.

Britain’s first drilling campaign for shale gas has beaten expectations, with the company responsible estimating 5,660bn cubic metres lie beneath the county of Lancashire in north-west England. This suggests the UK has significantly more of the resource than earlier surveys predicted.

After completing three exploration wells, Cuadrilla Resources said on Wednesday that its licence area held enough “gas-in-place” to supply Britain’s entire annual gas requirement for more than 56 years – at least in theory.

In practice, only a fraction is likely to prove recoverable. Experience in the US, where shale gas production has transformed the energy market, suggests recovery rates of 10-20 per cent.

Mark Miller, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said: “The big recoverable reserves start with a very big ‘gas-in-place’ number. We’ve ticked that first box.” He added: “We’re equivalent to – or exceeding – the gas per square mile that you’d find in the really successful plays in the US.”

Earlier estimates for the amount of shale gas in the UK now look very cautious. The British Geological Survey had thought the country possessed only 150bn cu m.

Cuadrilla’s estimate – the first to arise from an actual drilling campaign – applies only to its 437 square mile licence area between the cities of Blackpool and Preston, where the Bowland shale rock formation lies 10,000ft beneath the surface. Three other concentrations of shale rock, known as “plays”, are found elsewhere in Britain.

Mr Miller declined to say what proportion of the resources in Lancashire was likely to prove recoverable.

Nonetheless, Tim Yeo, the Conservative MP who chairs the energy and climate change select committee, described Cuadrilla’s announcement as “very good news” and “more significant than I had appreciated”. He added that shale gas production should go ahead. “I see no practical or regulatory reason why we should not,” he said.

And we have a similar story of re-emerging energy independence from over in the Americas.

For the first time in decades, the emerging prize of global energy may be the Americas, where Western oil companies are refocusing their gaze in a rush to explore clusters of coveted oil fields.

Brazil has begun building its first nuclear submarine to protect its vast, new offshore oil discoveries. Colombia’s oil production is climbing so fast that it is closing in on Algeria’s and could hit Libya’s prewar levels in a few years. ExxonMobil is striking new deals in Argentina, which recently heralded its biggest oil discovery since the 1980s.

The semipublic energy corporation Petrobras is investing more than $200 billion to help make Brazil a major oil player.

Up and down the Americas, it is a similar story: a Chinese-built rig is preparing to drill in Cuban waters; a Canadian official has suggested that unemployed Americans could move north to help fill tens of thousands of new jobs in Canada’s expanding oil sands; and one of the hemisphere’s hottest new oil pursuits is actually in the United States, at a shale formation in North Dakota’s prairie that is producing 400,000 barrels of oil a day and is part of a broader shift that could ease American dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

For the first time in decades, the emerging prize of global energy may be the Americas, where Western oil companies are refocusing their gaze in a rush to explore clusters of coveted oil fields.

“This is an historic shift that’s occurring, recalling the time before World War II when the U.S. and its neighbors in the hemisphere were the world’s main source of oil,” said Daniel Yergin, an American oil historian. “To some degree, we’re going to see a new rebalancing, with the Western Hemisphere moving back to self-sufficiency.”

BTW, just touching back on renewables again…

Wind power deaths for 2011: five

Nuclear power deaths for 2011: zero

PS Lest we forget about the possibility of unlimited oil.

PPS Workers here were encouraged yesterday to take the bus or ride into work today, you know, because of peak oil, or global warming or something.

Car park’s full.

UPDATE

With greenies, it’s the same story in Australia. Via Bolta, we see a $30 billion gas operation being stalled for the sake of four friggin’ bilbies.

*facepalm*

Giant fireball in sky may be more important than essential mostly natural trace gas


Anybody else’s universe crumbling down around them after reading that headline?

Scientists are gathering this week in Arizona for the 2011 SORCE (Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment) Science Meeting at which there is much discussion of the link between the Sun and climate change given the many new findings in the subject.

Dr Hari Om Vats of the Physical Research Laboratory in India said at the conference, “The Sun-weather relationship is becoming increasingly important. It is true that our understanding of the Sun and solar processes has increased dramatically during recent years, however, it is realised that the Sun affects the Earth’s environment is a much more complicated manner than we had imagined.”

In the wake of news about the CERN cloud chamber experiment that demonstrated a link between cosmic rays and the first stage of the cloud formation process Hiroko Miyahara of the University of Tokyo suggests that cosmic rays modulated by the Sun’s magnetic field played an important role in the so-called Little Ice Age – a period of cooling in the 17th century.

No worries. Power bills in Australia and, for example, the UK, are still going to rise  – are rising – dramatically thanks to giant useless carbon (dioxide) taxes, and billions wasted on so-far completely ineffective, massively costly (and subsidised) renewables.

Meanwhile, a brief explanation of what all the fuss is about.

PS Heard on the radio today that last night “Independent” Labor stooge, Mr 13% popularity Rob Headshott, said green energy to Australia will be like oil to Saudi Arabia.

:roll:

Snakes selling snake oil [updated]


What a conjob.

Bjorn Lomborg:

AUSTRALIA’S carbon tax is being sold to the public with government-funded ads in which representatives from renewable energy companies make the case for the government policy.

Their arguments range from, “it’s got to be better to put wind turbines up”, to “other countries around the world are doing it”. One cites the example of Germany, which has led the world in subsidising solar panels.

Yes, Germany has spent more than $75 billion on inefficient solar technology delivering a mere 0.1 per cent of its total energy supply. And this will postpone global warming by how much? A whole seven hours by the end of the century.

The ads give the impression that solar and wind are ready to take over from fossil fuels. Yet, even in a very optimistic scenario, the International Energy Agency estimates that by 2035, solar and energy will contribute only about 1.6 per cent of global energy.

Read on.

Fancy that. The very people who will benefit the most from Julia’s carbon (dioxide!) tax via subsidies (read: your tax dollars taken from you and given to someone else) are the very people spruiking it.

How convenient.

UPDATE

Not content with silencing An Inconvenient Media, the Greens are now calling for boycotts of anyone who opposes their plans. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we just put a star on their shopfronts and sleeves, Bob?

UPDATE

Bjorn Lomborg on the radio with Ross Greenwood discussing the carbon (dioxide!) tax.

batsh*t crazy


Not only are they unsightly, drive local residents nuts, are completely ineffective, but now it turns out there’s another problem with PM “carbontax” Gillard’s beloved wind turbines.

Wind turbines have killed more than a million bats in the northeastern United States since 2006.

The butterfly effect suggests the flapping of a tiny insect’s wings in Africa can lead to a tornado in Kansas.

Call this the bat effect: A bat killed by a wind turbine in Somerset can lead to higher tomato prices at the Wichita farmers market.

Bats are something of a one-species stimulus program for farmers, every year gobbling up millions of bugs that could ruin a harvest. But the same biology that allows the winged creatures to sweep the night sky for fine dining also has made them susceptible to one of Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing energy tools.

The 420 wind turbines now in use across Pennsylvania killed more than 10,000 bats last year — mostly in the late summer months, according to the state Game Commission. That’s an average of 25 bats per turbine per year, and the Nature Conservancy predicts as many as 2,900 turbines will be set up across the state by 2030.

This is a bad time to be a bat.

In short: Wind turbines kill the bats that kill the bugs that kill our crops.

Related: Some common global warming fallacies

A reminder: Thorium energy


Thorium reactors would do far more to cut emissions (if that’s what you’re so concerned about) than any kind of carbon tax. It’s decades old proven technology and what’s really interesting is that it barely receives a mention from either side in the public “debate” we’re having.

YouTube “thorium” for more comprehensive videos.

Perhaps when PM Gillard mentions China as a beacon of environmentalism :roll: she’s conveniently omitting the steps China has taken towards implementing Thorium technology.

Thorium is one of the five abundant, long-lived, naturally-occurring radioactive elements in the Earth’s crust. The others are potassium, radon, radium, and uranium. There are several other naturally-occurring radioactive elements but they are rare and/or have short half-lifes.

But don’t worry. Thorium reactors won’t cause a zombie apocalypse.

However, thorium is much different than uranium when used as a nuclear fuel. It is not fissile; meaning it cannot go “critical” and generate a nuclear chain reaction. It must undergo neutron bombardment to produce a radionuclide that can sustain a nuclear reaction.

There are other significant advantages to the use of thorium in nuclear reactors. The raw material, thorium, is much more abundant than uranium and emits only low-level alpha particles. It has one isotope and therefore, does not require an enrichment cycle to be used as fuel. It is many times more energy efficient than uranium.

A thorium reactor produces no plutonium that can be made into atomic weapons and less longer-lived radionuclides than a uranium-based reactor. Because there is no chain reaction, there is no chance of a meltdown. Nuclear waste from past operations that contain fissile uranium and plutonium can be used as start-up fuel.

Read on.

Then there’s this from The Guardian’s eco page. It explains that Thorium reactors are safe, cheap, and produce the abundant energy that renewables simply can’t.

We worry about the environmental effects of mining and processing uranium. But thorium is far more abundant than uranium and is being mined already in the search for rare-earth minerals for renewable energy generators. Thus we don’t need new mining for LFTRs—actually much less—and we can use thorium highly efficiently.

Despite the many potential benefits, as things stand, generating energy from thorium remains unproven although R&D projects are being pursued in France, China and India.

The argument against?

China, Russia, France and the US are also pursuing the technology, while India’s department of atomic energy and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council are jointly funding five UK research programmes into it.

There is a significant sticking point to the promotion of thorium as the ‘great green hope’ of clean energy production: it remains unproven on a commercial scale. While it has been around since the 1950s (and an experimental 10MW LFTR did run for five years during the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, though using uranium and plutonium as fuel) it is still a next generation nuclear technology – theoretical.

As opposed to renewables where it already has been proven they don’t cut the mustard when it comes to powering our cities.

Julia’s solar whimsy


And I say “whimsy” because so many of Aussie PM Julia Gillard’s ideas are at best cute, and certainly not thought through. Take the BER, take the live cattle trade to Indonesia, the detention centres in East Timor and PNG that will never be, the Deal or No Deal with Malaysia… the list goes on.

And now this:

TWO of the largest solar power stations in the world will be built in NSW and Queensland, the federal government said today.

More than three quarters of a billion dollars in federal funding will go towards the building of the stations, which will be at Moree in northwest NSW and Chinchilla in Queensland.

Making the announcement in Sydney,  Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the projects were expected to generate enough power to support the electricity needs of more than 115,000 Australian homes every year.

So that’s $750,000,000+ for 115,000+ homes. Or just over $6500 per home, with higher electricity prices to come. That’s not a good deal.

And just look at what Spain’s giant foray into solar energy did for its economy. Hint: It was a disaster.

Also, when taking into account the sun’s energy output is thought to be going into a low-output cycle that could last decades (sunspots baby) thus potentially delivering a colder climate*, it doesn’t seem especially precocious to be relying on it big time for our energy needs, not with the current level of development with solar panel technology, anyway.

Further reading on why solar power and other renewables won’t work can be found here.

*Sure, no one conclusively <i>knows</i> whether a colder sun will produce a colder climate, but at a glance it makes sense – certainly more sense that blaming the Earth’s climate changes on Man’s output of an essential trace gas, CO2, of which said output contributes to 0.001% of the atmosphere.

Related.

Green energy: The Big Con


First up, if you think the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific body rather than a political body with outcomes predetermined by ecotard government policy makers, then you are a moron.

This is especially telling when you have activists like Greenpeace writing key reports for them.

THE United Nation’s peak climate change body has become embroiled in new controversy over its use of Greenpeace and renewable energy industry propaganda in a landmark study on alternative energy.

More cartoons by Josh can be found here.

Continue reading

What’s in a paragraph?


Indeed.

Eventually civilization may well run out of natural gas and other fossil fuels that are recoverable at a reasonable cost, and may be forced to switch permanently to other sources of energy. These are more likely to be nuclear fission or nuclear fusion than solar or wind power, which will be as weak, diffuse and intermittent a thousand years from now as they are today. But that is a problem for the inhabitants of the world of 2500 or 3000 A.D.

Global nothing


Via Andrew Bolt, Canberra experiences “global nothing” over the last 100 years. That’s right. One hundred years and no temperature increase.

Some Cate Blanchett quotes that rival Charlie Sheen’s. Srsly? Our job is to change reality?

Peak Renewables?

The arguments for converting the economy to wind, solar and biomass energy have collapsed. The date of depletion of fossil fuels has been pushed back into the future by centuries — or millennia. We may be living in the era of Peak Renewables, which will be followed by a very long Age of Fossil Fuels that has only just begun.

Go on. Did Cate Blanchett or Aussie PM Julia Gillard hear about this? It’s all to do with fracking and advanced drilling techniques.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these advances mean there is at least six times as much recoverable natural gas today as there was a decade ago.

And gas is cleaner than coal, not that coal is anything to worry about, anyway.

There is enough coal to produce energy for centuries. And governments, universities and corporations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and other countries are studying ways to obtain energy from gas hydrates, which mix methane with ice in high-density formations under the seafloor. The potential energy in gas hydrates may equal that of all other fossils, including other forms of natural gas, combined.

But what about the global warming?

Two arguments for switching to renewable energy — the depletion of fossil fuels and national security — are no longer plausible. What about the claim that a rapid transition to wind and solar energy is necessary, to avert catastrophic global warming?

The scenarios with the most catastrophic outcomes of global warming are low probability outcomes — a fact that explains why the world’s governments in practice treat reducing CO2 emissions as a low priority, despite paying lip service to it. But even if the worst outcomes were likely, the rational response would not be a conversion to wind and solar power but a massive build-out of nuclear power. Nuclear energy already provides around 13-14 percent of the world’s electricity and nearly 3 percent of global final energy consumption, while wind, solar and geothermal power combined account for less than one percent of global final energy consumption.

There’s nothing like reading some good sense, especially if you’ve just listened to a soundbite of Australia’s PM (That whole article is well worth the read, BTW).

And just in case you’re still worried about the rising CO2 (not carbon, not pollution, not carbon pollution) causing the global warming or the climate change, note that 2011 is so far cooler than many previous years (there goes the alarmist theory right there) , and apart from there being less big weather events on average, and them being less severe, there are also less deaths from these weather events than we’ve had in the past.

PS Don’t forget sea level rise is actually slowing downcurrently at about 1.5mm per year – Oooooo!

And a reminder: Why renewables won’t work.

UPDATE

Another Green tax scam, courtesy of Obama’s mates at GM?

Carbon (dioxide!) tax fightback


So the past few days we’ve heard Aussie PM Gillard and even that idiot Turnbull drone on about how the UK is so wonderful because they’ll be introducing an omnibus of a carbon tax on their soon-to-be-even-poorer citizens.*

Well, surprise surprise, Business over there – similar to businesses here – are none too pleased.

Chemical firms lead calls to halt a leap in carbon costs that could lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and will cripple the industry.

One British company uses more power than Liverpool and Manchester combined. Little wonder, then, that Ineos, the chemicals giant, is leading the charge against government plans to raise power bills by much more than the rest of Europe is proposing.

The firm’s pleas have gained little traction. Last week the government accepted the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to agree a new target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2027. It will make Britain the first country in the world to commit itself to targets beyond 2020.

Manufacturers say the move, taken with other plans, including a UK-only carbon tax, will cripple industry. They insist thousands of jobs will be lost as firms move their plants to countries where the cost of doing business is lower.

Idiots. The industries and jobs will move to China, and not a single f*ck will be given by Gaia.

Then we have Australia’s #1 eco-zombie Bob Brown denying he wants to kill off the coal industry and replace it with renewables. But let’s take a quick closer look at them.

You can likewise question the green and clean credentials of other renewables. The wind may never stop blowing, but the wind industry depends on steel, concrete and rare-earth metals (for the turbine magnets), none of which are renewable. Wind generates 0.2% of the world’s energy at present. Assuming that energy needs double in coming decades, we would have to build 100 times as many wind farms as we have today just to get to a paltry 10% from wind. We’d run out of non-renewable places to put them.

All in all, once you examine it closely, the idea that “renewable” energy is green and clean looks less like a deduction than a superstition.

Do read the entire piece. You’ll be glad you did.

*When business is taxed, that cost ultimately is passed on to us, the consumer.

V2G: close but no cigar


OK, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but last night on Discovery HD World, after the main show, there was a little 10 minute clip on a mini program called e-novations (*groan*), or, apparently, Discovery Tech over in the US.

Anyway, the segment was about a new type of electric car that uses Vehicle-to-Grid or V2G technology. At first, perhaps, this sounds like a pretty neat concept. Charge your car off the grid in off-peak times then sell the electricity back to the grid during peak times.

But check out the nitty gritty, and it’s not such a sweet deal. And odd, too, that in 10 web pages I looked up (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10), all of them espouse the wonderful benefits, but none of them mentioned the cost.

Only the video did.

For starters, these V2G units cost about $70,000. So effectively, you will be paying four times more for your average car. Dr Willet Kempton, at the University of Delaware, who’s the bloke plugging this type of car, also acknowledges that if most of your electricity comes from coal (which it does), then the CO2 emissions end up being about the same as a regular car.

So far, we’re at four times the cost for pretty much no benefit.

Then he notes that if we use renewables like wind and solar energy, then, of course (?) the CO2 emissions will go down. But that means the cost will go up, not to mention that wind and solar baseload power is, at present, completely unreliable.

Maybe if we switched to nuclear power…

And how’s this? It seems to be that in the video, the doctor charges up his car at the university, then takes it home to power his house… and a few neighbours’ houses.

How convenient.

So overall, it seems like a neat idea on the surface, and may well work after quite a few more years of R&D, but at present it is at best a gimmick, and at worst a fraud.

PS They don’t exactly go for 500-odd kilometres, either.

*cross-posted at Tizona’s


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