Saving lies in the wind

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association commissioned a report from Infometrics which was released a few days ago. It claims that New Zealanders could be $390 pa better off with 20% more wind energy than at present.

However, Bryan Leyland has some harsh things to say about it, including that it is “riddled with flaws” and makes a number of “very dubious assumptions”.

The Climate Science Coalition might (probably will) produce a press release with more detail, but watch this space; if they don’t, we will.

UPDATE: The press release from Terry Dunleavy has been published on Scoop.

Our headline says “saving lies” with good reason; when an insider organisation gives out such misleading statements as this economic nonsense (I mean assuming ridiculously high prices for “carbon”) they do so not from ignorance but deliberately.

They lie.

Monday, 28 November 2011, 12:50 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition


Wind energy report riddled with flaws

The report issued by the New Zealand Wind Energy Association claiming that New Zealanders could be $390 per annum better off with 20% wind energy is riddled with flaws and makes a number of very dubious assumptions, says Bryan Leyland, energy commentator and member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

“The most dubious assumption is that carbon dioxide will be costed at $50 or $100 per tonne. This is a key assumption and without it, their whole economic argument collapses. In Europe, the current carbon price is about €7.5 per tonne and falling rapidly. Everyone agrees that there is now no chance that Kyoto will be extended or that a new agreement will occur before 2020 – if ever. At the same time, more revelations are coming out about the dubious science behind the whole global warming myth and, with economies all over the world in serious trouble, the prospect of them saddling their consumers and industries with carbon charges is decreasing rapidly. The world has not warmed the last 10 to 15 years and it is almost certain that the world has entered a sunspot driven cooling period.

“The next dubious assumption is that they assume gas will increase to $17 per gigajoule. In the USA (and soon in Europe and the UK) gas prices are falling rapidly due to the development of shale gas which has massively increased reserves. Even if there were no more gas discoveries in New Zealand, we could import liquefied natural gas for less than $17/GJ,” said Mr Leyland.

“Finally, they assume that wind generation could supply 800,000 plug-in electric vehicles. This is nonsense. Wind generation is unpredictable and electric cars must be charged every day. So additional – probably gas-fired – generation would be needed and this is likely to supply more than half the power needed by the electric vehicles.

“The report uses an economic model of New Zealand which is totally unsuited to analysing the effect of 20% energy generation from wind. Any model that does not take into account the intermittent and seasonal nature of wind and its effect on power prices and the fact that, in a dry year, hydro cannot back up wind, is worthless. The model makes no allowance for the fact that over peak demand periods, only about 10% of the wind generation can be relied on. It also does not consider the need for extra transmission lines and the poor efficiency of the gas fired power stations that must be built to back up wind. For example, one study in the United States showed that, in Texas, a large amount of wind energy results in a tiny reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

“This flawed report reflects little credit on Infometrics and on the New Zealand Wind Energy Association. It does not alter the fact that wind is expensive, requires backup, and has only a small effect on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide – which is, in any event, an entirely beneficial gas that causes plants to grow,” Mr Leyland concluded.


Right. Well, if they could get the carbon price jacked up anywhere near the levels they “assume” in the report, it would constitute a juicy subsidy for their fashionable little industry, don’t you think? It would quite guarantee their Christmas bonus, oh yeah.

I see that the report’s very front page contains this primary school howler:

… New Zealander’s are better off financially as well as environmentally.

That’s repeated on the web page cited above, which contains:

… New Zealander’s are better off with more wind.

I say that people whose first language is English and yet, in a major report, apply an apostrophe to a plural are no more educated than cattle.

Views: 84

38 Thoughts on “Saving lies in the wind

  1. Andy on 28/11/2011 at 12:51 pm said:

    I wonder if there is a wind element to the so-called “asset sales” that the NZ government are proposing? Maybe it is being talked up prior to a share issue?

    • Gary Kerkin on 28/11/2011 at 4:13 pm said:

      Of course there must be Andy. Genesis and Meridian, at least, have substantial investments in wind farms.

      We (that’s a generic “we”) have come to a pretty pass when we have to think in such a cynical (“sceptical”?) way, haven’t we? Bryan Leyland’s comments not withstanding it is very obvious what the economics must be like just seeing the large windfarms in California where so many of the turbines are obviously damaged and yet haven’t been repaired or replaced.

      I can only hope that potential investors look closely at all the information available. Or has “due diligence” disappeared from the lexicon too?

    • Astute, Gary, as ever.

      I suspect it is through such very avenues as “due diligence” that sceptical views such as ours will sway opinion-makers. So long as we continue to cite observations, solid reasoning and time-honoured principles, we continue to chip away at the foundations of lies, hyperbole and wishful thinking.

    • Andy on 28/11/2011 at 4:31 pm said:

      The Deloittes report that was posted here a while back showed what a risky investment wind is.
      There is a very large capital cost so the lead time to profit is quite long.

    • Conor on 16/12/2011 at 3:42 pm said:

      All large projects go through due dilligence and the viability of wind has been well demonstrated all over the world. It is particularly useful in NZ where it can be matched with hydro and removes much of the peaking power requirement, hence reducing cost to the consumer. A mix of generation types is the best thing for lower prices.

  2. Jim McK on 29/11/2011 at 1:04 pm said:

    The most successful Port in New Zealand by any measure you want is Tauranga. The relevance of this is that it is the only one listed on the stock exchange and owned 49% by the public and 51% by the Local Authority. I think that it could safely be stated that it has returned the Local authority more by way of dividends for its 51% that it would have ever returned for 100% had that 100% been Local Authority owned.

    Once the energy companies are public listed they will need to furnish proper divisional accounts and the true economics round the various energy sources will be exposed. All directors will be required to make rational decisions around capital expediture. I can not see an independant director agreeing to funny money credits being built into a 50 year feasibility analysis of a new power project.

    Bring on the mixed ownership model

  3. Conor on 16/12/2011 at 3:32 pm said:

    I don’t get it. Mr. Leyland refers to ‘dubious assumptions’ and then trots out complete ignorance as to how wind energy works, and you guys just lap it. You can’t call something a ‘dubious assumption’ and then counter with complete mistruths. Assumptions have to be made in order to predict future trends, unless you are using some kind of new crystal ball from Dick Smiths I haven’t head of. Much of the disgreement here hinges on the future price of conventional fuels. Leaving that aside and agreeing to disagree, lets deal with wind being ‘unpredictable’ and the charging of electric vehicles. ……Electric vehicles store electricity…true? Electric vehicles are best charged at night when they are least likely to be in use…true? At night there is less electrical demand and electricity is cheaper …true? It is highly likely that somewhere in NZ the wind will be blowing, but in the unusal case that it is not, it is only part of, even a large part by 2030, but still only a part of the supply….true? If Mr. Leyland can’t get the basics right…why do any of you listen to him.

    • Andy on 16/12/2011 at 5:02 pm said:

      Electric vehicles? How many of these do we have in NZ?

      Are you representing the NZ wind energy business Conor? if not, what is your expertise in this area?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/12/2011 at 7:32 am said:

      The electric forklifts and mobility scooters comment should have been placed here obviously.

      I’ve done this a couple of times lately, I think some rainwater has got in somewhere.

    • Andy on 17/12/2011 at 11:46 am said:

      It is highly likely that somewhere in NZ the wind will be blowing,

      Possibly, but in order to exploit that, you have to have wind turbines there.
      How many are we prepared to put up? How much of the countryside are we prepared to turn into one vast industrial landscape, like Scotland is rapidly becoming?

    • Australis on 17/12/2011 at 5:16 pm said:

      Conor – if your wind turbines are to earn their returns from charging vehicles at night, “when electricity is cheaper”, they will obviously earn considerably less than all the other generators which are on offer during peak periods.

      The fact that the “wind is blowing somewhere” is no use unless New Zealand has a ‘smart grid’. That probably isn’t going to happen. If it did, those billions of extra cost would have to be offset against any benefits that accrue from the use of extra wind.

      Electric cars are clearly going to be expensive luxuries for 20-30 years (the life of your non-renewable wind plant). Who would want to pay for an extra massive battery in the garage to store enough wind-power for an overnight charge?

  4. Andy on 16/12/2011 at 5:56 pm said:

    This photo came to my attention today.
    It is in the Lammermuir range in the Scottish Borders

    Word fail me

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 17/12/2011 at 7:28 am said:

    Lots of electric forklifts and mobility scooters Andy.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/12/2011 at 8:31 am said:

      A kiwifruit packhouse/coolstore in full day/night production has duplicate fleets of mostly rental forklifts – one in operation, the other on the chargers.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/12/2011 at 4:16 pm said:

      When the heavy lifting is to be done loading and unloading trucks outside with double bin forks 3 high (I think, maybe 4 and depending on bin size) they use diesel and LPG forklifts because the electric ones are too small and haven’t got the grunt, they are for inside work mostly for safety reasons (guys have died of CO inhalation from using diesels in storerooms).

      Even then the LPG-powered forklift drivers (the last to sign on, the first grab the diesels) complain that they can’t match the required work rate that is set by the diesels because theirs lack grunt.

      EVs have their place but they are not a practical replacement for most functions IMV.

  6. Andy on 17/12/2011 at 3:26 pm said:

    Letter in Saturday’s Press:

    Flaming Danger

    Mr Pyle, CEO of the NZ Wind Energy Association, claims that the Environment Court’s approval of wind turbines on the Mt Cass ridge “will be a big win for the environment” (Dec 15)
    How can he justify that barely a week after high winds destroyed two Scottish wind turbines? One of the turbines ignited, sending flaming debris hurtling high above the town of Ardrossen (Dec 10). The other, near Coldingham collapsed to the ground.
    Such failures would pose an enormous threat to the unique ecology of the ridge, where gale-force winds and sudden changes of wind direction are common. Both are risk factors for spontaneous fires at the top of turbine towers. Potential damage from fire would be even greater in nor’west gales, which increase the flammability of the surrounding vegetation.
    In addition, wind turbines on Mt Cass face risks unknown in Scotland. They are vulnerable to earthquake damage.
    The resource consent given is for massive turbines twice as high as the collapsed Cathedral spire. They will be close to areas of remarkable biodiversity, in which more than 160 species of native plant have been found. If the turbines burn or collapse, there will be unavoidable and irreparable damage to the best remaining remnant of limestone bush left in Canterbury.
    This is not a win for the environment. It’s a disaster.

    • Andy on 18/12/2011 at 5:46 pm said:

      I just spoke on the phone to one of the guys involved in opposing this development. It appears that there are several other. wind projects in the pipeline in the vicinity in Waipara, Nth Canterbury

      So maybe North Canterbury could be heading towards the industrialisation we are seeing in Scotland?

      It would be good to know where these proposed developments are.I’d hate to buy a property that was reduced in value by wind energy projects

  7. Andy on 19/12/2011 at 8:44 am said:

    I have to let everyone know what an experience I had in the Ouimet Canyon area.
    I went ice fishing with a friend on a small lake that used to be pristine before the wind turbines were installed. These towers stand tall on the cliff sides of the lake. After drilling a few holes for fishing, we settled in for a relaxing day, we thought.
    The winds were blowing at 10 kilometres per hour and the turbines were turning. Instead of peace and quiet we heard the sound of the turbines. They sounded like jet engines and it was constant. Within a hour-and-a-half I had a headache and we had to leave.
    Another ramification to these wind turbines is that access to many small MNR-stocked lakes that we used to snowmobile or quad into are now blocked off to motorized vehicle access. Roads were built on the trails that we used to access these lakes.
    There are also No Hunting signs everywhere.
    I have been in the area two times this fall and have not seen a deer track or moose track in the snow. This area of land used to be full of wildlife; moose and deer used to thrive in the harsh landscape of mountains and swamps. The only animal tracks that I did see were made by a fox.
    If this is what the consequences are, do we really want them here or near our homes? Noise pollution, no animals, no hunting, no access to stocked fishing lakes, power lines and large roads through the land?
    This is awful.
    And before you get all angry and try to defend these things, I encourage you to go for a ride and get close to these monsters and see how long you can stay.
    Rick Lyons
    Thunder Bay

  8. Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2011 at 6:08 pm said:

    THE wind farm industry has lobbied the state government to drop the contested issue of possible health impacts from guidelines that will determine the future of wind power in NSW.

    The draft guidelines are being finalised and may be considered by cabinet as early as today.

    After a briefing from state Department of Planning officials in July, the wind farm developer Infigen Energy wrote to the department, saying the proposed regulation of ”infrasound” should be scrapped before public release.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    Retaining the regulation would give ”credence to the falsehood that wind farms emit infrasound levels anywhere close to the level that can be perceived by human beings, let alone cause any detrimental health effects”, Infigen wrote.

    Anti-wind farm advocates claim infrasound – sound emissions from wind turbines in frequencies below human hearing range – can harm the health of nearby residents.

    Read more:

  9. Andy on 20/12/2011 at 8:49 am said:

    Can folks please add their views to this article on Mt Cass?

    • Have thrown in my 2c. Merry Christmas Andy. Drop in if you’re up this way – the cherries are great this year.

    • Andy on 20/12/2011 at 2:02 pm said:

      Cheers Mike! Happy Christmas to you too, and all “conversationalists” out there!

    • Andy on 20/12/2011 at 2:01 pm said:

      Thanks to nonentity for the sarcasm only I thought I could do.

    • Andy on 23/12/2011 at 11:24 am said:

      8 comments on this article, all anti.

      The one from Alec Ford is interesting

  10. Andy on 21/12/2011 at 12:34 pm said:

    Thousands of people living near wind turbines could find their lives blighted by the noise, researchers have warned.

    Acoustic scientists estimate up to a fifth of Britain’s wind farms generate a low- frequency hum that can be audible for more than a mile.

    With the government planning a huge expansion of wind turbines, some experts want the limits on wind turbine noise — 35 decibels during the day and 43 decibels at night, the equivalent of a buzzing fridge — to be lowered.

    The impact of the pulsating sound, a phenomenon called “amplitude modulation” (AM) which is believed to be caused by the turbine blades striking patches of turbulent air, has already led to payouts from energy companies.

    Earlier this year, Jane and Julian Davis took a wind farm operator to court, claiming that the noise from nearby turbines had forced them from their Lincolnshire home. They settled for an undisclosed sum.

    John Huxtable, 64, has been unable to open the windows of his bungalow in Putford, north Devon, since a 360ft turbine 500 yards away was switched on this year. “The noise is absolutely horrendous.
    It’s worst in the evenings when everything else is quiet,” he said.

  11. Richard C (NZ) on 08/01/2012 at 2:10 pm said:

    The Wind Turbines That Can’t Cope With The Wind

    The impact of the devastating weather which has swept the country is shown by the state of these wind turbines – which couldn’t withstand the strength of the gales. The huge blades – 15ft long – flew off three turbines including one on the aptly-named Windmill Lane in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. The firm which made the turbines in the Hepworth and Upper Cumberworth areas of the town has promised a full investigation. Concerned villagers in Hepworth, where the blade from one turbine was flung across a road, warned: ‘Someone could have been killed’.

    Bizarre photos

    • Andy on 08/01/2012 at 7:32 pm said:

      My comment on the article on the Makara wind project seems to have ruffled a few feathers

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/01/2012 at 6:55 pm said:

      Just had a go at ruffling Mike’s. Hopefully comments aren’t closed and the mods pick it up.

    • Andy on 10/01/2012 at 8:21 pm said:

      I added some more comment, but in case it doesn’t see the light of day, this video from Wisconsin tells a sad story

      The images of the flicker are horrendous, and this is not the first person to claim that the turbines sound like jet engines when running at full speed.

      You’d think that, given the DomPost article mentions the fact that residents nearby sometimes have to leave their homes because of the noise, the newspaper might actually pick this up and make it into a story. Oh no, it’s the mountain bike tracks that are the story.
      Meridian want us to feel all warm and cuddly about their bird choppers, so much that we go and pay homage at the weekends.

      Sorry, think I’d rather hang out at the airport runway.

  12. Andy on 11/01/2012 at 9:19 am said:

    Looks like the UK are now invoking some special laws to deal with anti-wind “cranks”

    Legal Advisor to the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW), George Watson is being investigated by the UK government under special powers which are only to apply to criminal/terrorist activities, claims the Platform. A letter, reproduced below, has been sent to Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, denouncing this improper use of the legislation, and announcing legal proceedings against the UK government. A formal complaint has been made to the Metropolitan Police.

    According to EPAW, Mr Watson was also harassed by a police officer who visited his home in a Scottish rural area … on Christmas Eve!

    Mark Duchamp, Executive Director of EPAW, declared that he was respectfully asking UK government Ministers if they intend to investigate and harass other members of the public who oppose the destruction of the British landscape, the killing of protected bird and bat species, and the deterioration of the health of wind farm neighbours. Mr Watson’s only crime, he said, was to have found legal flaws in the way the UK government’s energy policy is being applied.

  13. Andy on 11/01/2012 at 3:03 pm said:

    This was the latest comment on the Makara thread. They didn’t publish my last comment so they seem to be wheeling in some propagandists.

    Awesome, will definitely visit them with family, the kids also think they’re cool. I have flown into Welly quite a few times and always think they look quite majestic, but while I can accept that aesthetics can be subjective, Andy S obviously has some personal issues with them.

    I would definitely proudly show them to visitors from overseas, and the location is perfect – those hills aren’t exactly covered in beautiful native bush.

    Yes, I d have issues with them, but they are not “personal”. I have, thankfully, no turbines anywhere near me.

    I wouldn’t feel proud to show visitors a bunch of foreign made bird-choppers that are forcing local residents out of their houses. I’d feel ashamed.

    • Andy on 11/01/2012 at 3:24 pm said:

      My latest reply, since it probably won’t get past moderation
      (the last one didn’t).

      In the old days, the media would have picked up the issue of people being forced out of their homes due to turbine noise and shadow flicker and run it into a story.

      This is not exactly an isolated incident. It is happening all over the world where industrial wind turbines are being built.

      Unfortunately, the purpose of the media these days seems to be a channel for press releases for whichever government department or crony capitalist is currently in favour.

      We are supposed to be grateful for Meridian for putting in mountain bike and walking tracks? We are supposed to show off these foreign-made machines to visitors and feel some kind of pride?

      The anti-wind lobby is growing rapidly in Europe and the USA. The NZ wind assoc and their tame journalists will have their work cut out for the next few years.

    • I hope it gets past moderation, but if it doesn’t, I’m grateful that we still have free access to this means of expression.

    • Andy on 11/01/2012 at 3:49 pm said:

      Yes and I am grateful to you too Richard, for that freedom.
      Long may it continue.

    • It’s vital.

    • Andy on 12/01/2012 at 8:40 am said:

      Amazingly, the Dom have published both my comments.
      Here’s the link again.

    • Andy on 13/01/2012 at 12:09 pm said:

      More on the Makara thread

      AndrewH #30 09:11 am Jan 13 2012

      @ Richard Treadgold #17

      Your argument wrt the wholesale electricity market is as flawed as your argument wrt climate change.

      Wind power always bids in at the bottom of the stack of power suppliers and on many occasions will displace electricity supplied from the high priced bidders at the top of the stack. The high prices are predominantly bid from fossil fuel plants or stored hydro when water is short.

      It is impossible for wind farms to increase the wholesale price in our market and the opposite has been documented in NZ and elsewhere.

      I’ve added a comment (not past moderation yet)
      I believe wind depresses the spot price (true?) but overall the cost is higher because of the subsidies.

      If wind is so cheap, why do we need an ETS?

    • Andy on 13/01/2012 at 1:51 pm said:

      If you are interested, you can see the Makara wind turbines on google maps here

      It looks like one house is only 300m from the nearest turbine. In the UK, they are pushing for a 2km set back

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