No future in submarine turbines

Last November the Herald said:

Plug pulled on tidal turbine projects

The tide has gone out on the New Zealand marine energy sector leaving every one of half a dozen proposed schemes high and dry.

Projects ranging from a 200-turbine tidal stream power station in the Kaipara Harbour to a tiny effort to use the tide to drive pumps at Auckland’s Parnell Baths are either on hold or have been abandoned.

Now our friend Roger Dewhurst, engineer, comments. He says Crest, the company that took public money to develop and sell marine energy, “simply did not do their homework.”

In Roger’s opinion, the titano magnetite (iron sand to the rest of us) would have destroyed the turbines. It would be drawn in magnetically in vast quantities and quickly scour and erode moving parts.

Apparently, those turbines were supposed to take out power equivalent to an Iowa Class battleship at full power. That could not be done without vast changes in the hydrology. The North and South Heads at Kaipara are just sand (not rock). The channel would have changed, North Head eroded away and the turbines embedded immovably in sand.

Let’s hope we pour no more public money into similar marine projects, no matter their “worthiness” according to a prevailing philosophy of producing energy from naturally-moving bits of the earth.

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15 Thoughts on “No future in submarine turbines

  1. Andy on 24/04/2014 at 2:09 pm said:

    Speaking of renewable failures, this German humour show (yes really) gets stuck into the German experience

  2. Seriously good comedy. Thank you!

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 25/04/2014 at 2:12 pm said:

    Here’s a marine project untouched by human hands:

    ‘New paper finds solar activity correlated to hydrological cycle in China’

    A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds a “strong” correlation of solar activity to the hydrological cycle in NW China over the past 700 years.

    According to the authors, “the underlying periodicity in groundwater recharge fluctuations is similar to those of solar induced climate cycle “Suess wiggles” [also known as the DeVries cycle] and appears to be coherent with phases of the climate fluctuations and solar cycles. Matching periodicity of groundwater recharge rates and solar and climate cycles renders a strong impression that solar induced climate signals may act as a critical amplifier for driving the underlying hydrographic cycle through the common coupling of long-term Sun-climate groundwater linkages.”

    The authors find “a stationary harmonic cycle at ~200 ± 20 years” corresponding to the DeVries cycle, also known as “Suess Wiggles.”

    See abstract at link below:

    ‘Imprint of long-term solar signal in groundwater recharge fluctuation rates from North West China’

    R.K. Tiwari, and Rekapalli Rajesh (2014)

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 28/04/2014 at 2:46 pm said:

    ‘Germany’s CO2 and energy policy – about to falter?’

    Guest essay by Fred F. Mueller

    On April 16th, 2014, a few quite remarkable statements were delivered during a discussion event at the premises of SMA Solar Technology AG, a leading German producer of photovoltaic panels and systems:

    “The truth is that the Energy U-Turn (“Energiewende”, the German scheme aimed at pushing the “renewable” share of electricity production to 80 % by 2050) is about to fail”

    “The truth is that under all aspects, we have underestimated the complexity of the “Energiewende”

    “The noble aspiration of a decentralized energy supply, of self-sufficiency! This is of course utter madness”

    “Anyway, most other countries in Europe think we are crazy”

    Had this been one of the small albeit growing number of German “sceptics” casting doubt upon the XXL-sized politico-economical scam that has cost the German populace more than € 500 billion since its inception in 2000, it would not have gotten more than a footnote in the local press, crammed somewhere in between “horoscope” and “lost and found”. In fact, the media actually tried to keep a lid on the facts by giving them as little coverage as possible.

    But the man at the speaker’s desk was Sigmar Gabriel, acting vice-chancellor of the German government, Secretary of Commerce with responsibility for the said „Energiewende” and chairman of the German social democrats (SPD), the second-largest political force in the country. Since December 2013, he is in charge of taming the runaway costs and growing security of supply risks that are unmasking the financial and technical nightmare of this ill-conceived project. In the past few months, he seems to have gotten some unpleasant insights causing him to admit the above-mentioned inconvenient truths when he was pushed too far by a number of aggressive lobbyists of the “renewable energy” sector.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/04/2014 at 3:55 pm said:

      ‘Coal Returns to German Utilities Replacing Lost Nuclear: Energy’

      By Tino Andresen April 15, 2014

      What’s a beleaguered utility to do when forced by the government to close its profitable nuclear power plants?

      It turns to lignite, a cheap, soft, muddy-brown colored form of sedimentary rock that spews more greenhouse gases than any other fossil fuel.

      The story of German power giant RWE AG (RWE) exemplifies the crisis facing the nation’s utility industry — and those of many countries across Europe — as nuclear power plants get shuttered in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, renewables steal away revenue, and consumers and companies complain about rising power costs that are three times higher than in the U.S.


    • Andy on 28/04/2014 at 4:05 pm said:

      I and ofhers have been trying to get the message across to The Faithful at HT that the Energiewende is not going that well, but they seem completey impervious to reason.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/04/2014 at 4:09 pm said:

      >”no presence in renewables”

      Also no presence in extortionate subsidies (see below).

      >”renewables steal away revenue”


      [Dellingpole] “….every single German must now pay Euros 240 a year (“a total of 21.8 billion Euros for power which on the market had a value of only 2 billion. That’s sick!”) in order to subidise worthless green energy projects – such as the ugly wind farms for which swathes of forest are being cut down and the ludicrous solar panels now found on every other roof (in a country not exactly known for its sunshine) – which, as even Germany’s former Godfather of Green Professor Fritz Vahrenholt has now conceded, are the wrong solution to the wrong problem.”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/04/2014 at 4:11 pm said:

      >”completely impervious to reason”

      True to form then.

    • Andy on 28/04/2014 at 4:21 pm said:

      More on Germany from the Telegraph

      These stories all seem to stack up. It has been a disaster for Germany

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 28/04/2014 at 2:55 pm said:

    ‘Power station sues government for axeing contract after MoS exposed its switch from coal to wood from precious U.S. forests’

    # Drax in North Yorkshire has committed to switching from coal to biomass
    # And the government agreed to pay DOUBLE for power generated this way
    # But offer withdrawn after it emerged it was shipping wood from the U.S.
    # The biomass pellets were being brought 3,000 miles from North Carolina

    By Mail On Sunday Reporter

    Read more:

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 29/04/2014 at 6:10 pm said:

    ‘Gone with the wind: England’s most important coastline’

    By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

    “The proposal that bids fair to bring the entire tottering house of cards crashing down is just about to be submitted for zoning consent.”

    • Andy on 29/04/2014 at 8:21 pm said:

      I would hope that economics would determine that this navitus array will no go,ahead. The Atlantic Array, in the same area, (which I submitted an objection to) was canned recently, citing economic and other factors. If they can’t survive with 200% subsidies then they aren’t going to happen.

      Still, the completely barking LibDems are in charge of UK energy policy right now. Polls have suggested that they will get Zero seats in the forthcoming euro elections and probably get routed in the general election.

      The only problem is that Milliband is a birdchopper fan too, and he could well get elected

      Doomed, captain mainwaring, doomed I tell you !

    • Richard C (NZ) on 30/04/2014 at 2:07 pm said:

      Amazes me there’s not a very vocal public backlash just from the subsidy boondoggle and inefficiency, let alone the land/sea scape aspect.

      I guess football, and other escapism – like Coro St, just takes the mind off these things, hence the apathy (that’s assuming the football mind is actually capable of considering them of course).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 30/04/2014 at 2:37 pm said:

      >”hence the apathy”

      I should have added – “except for those finding wind farms appearing in their backyard”.

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