Energy and fuel

This page is for discussion of energy supply, electricity generation, fuel sources and related matters not covered by other threads.

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330 Thoughts on “Energy and fuel

  1. THREAD on 17/10/2010 at 6:44 am said:

    Energy: Wind, Solar, PV, Coal, Thermal, Hydro, Nuclear, Prices, Economics, Failures, and Controversies

    • Andy on 19/10/2010 at 10:39 pm said:

      I think we owe our friend “samoth” an apology.

      At least he walks the walk, and built his own electric car:

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/10/2010 at 9:00 am said:

      “apology” !

      I want to offer him my heart-felt and deepest thanks for turning up and providing us with such a fortuitous opportunity – that’s if the Sarc Police will allow me, of course.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/10/2010 at 9:02 am said:

      “At least he walks the walk, and built his own electric car”

      I wonder if it’s coal-fired?

    • Andy on 20/10/2010 at 9:35 am said:

      I expect it’s powered by a mixture of coal, gas, wind and hydro. Like everything else in this country

      Apology? Just my wry sense of humour. And “Samoth” appears to have one to, given he spells his name backwards when appearing in this supposed parallel universe to the “real one” of Hot Topic, where he posts as Thomas.

      The plot thickens…

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/10/2010 at 9:50 am said:

      “Just my wry sense of humour. And “Samoth” appears to have one to”

      Yes, I was “warming” to the guy – I miss him.

      “when appearing in this supposed parallel universe to the “real one” of Hot Topic, where he posts as Thomas.

      The plot thickens…”

      It does indeed. You are quite a detective Andy.

      The little snippet above will be filed in the appropriate place (wink) – thank you Andy.

      [Also see “oh dear” for a pearl of JN wisdom]

    • THREAD on 23/10/2010 at 7:13 pm said:

      First carbon victim is the truth – smh

      See “Australia”

      “Cutting through the climate change rhetoric has been Elaine Prior, the senior environment, social and governance analyst at Citigroup.

      Last week, in the wake of a Greenpeace report on lending to the coal industry in Australia (covered previously here), Prior and her colleagues tried to quantify the exposure of our big four banks if a price on carbon were to wipe out the value of their loans to coal-fired power stations.

      This is not far-fetched. The banks are definitely worried – especially in the Latrobe Valley of Victoria, where the first plant shutdowns are expected.

      Bank shareholders are worried too. ”Investors, including super funds, have expressed concern about bank exposures to coal-fired power,” Prior says, ”more than about the banks’ internal carbon footprint.””

    • Andy on 30/10/2010 at 9:09 pm said:

      Without the Hot Air

      Sustainable Energy – without the hot air
      Prof David J.C. MacKay

      “The Freakonomics of conservation, climate and energy.”

    • Andy on 08/08/2011 at 7:35 am said:

      At least 6 Golden Eagles killed by Californian wind farm,0,2891547.story

    • Andy on 07/02/2012 at 7:42 pm said:

      This letter is repeated here with the permission of the author via Facebook.

      Mr Michael Clarke
      The Lodge
      SG19 2DL

      February 6, 2012.

      Dear Sir,

      This is in response to you letter of 24 January 2012 which replied to mine of 9 January in which I terminated my membership of RSPB. .

      Firstly, I must thank you for the courtesy and length of your letter, which is in marked contrast to the very anaemic responses that usually emanate from politicians.

      On the subject of human induced global warming I remain convinced that there is no such thing and that we are entirely wrong to be spending enormous amounts of money chasing specters. It is a fact that earth temperature has remained stubbornly stable since 1997, despite a considerable increase in CO2 levels.

      What concerns me very greatly is the seeming indifference to bird and bat deaths that are being caused by wind turbines and the enormously extended power lines that are required to support them. Recent publications indicate that the level of deaths is actually alarming and should be a matter of prime concern for RSPB.

      You will doubtless be aware of the First Scientific Congress on Wind Energy and Wildlife that was held on 12 January 2012 at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. At the congress the Spanish Society of Ornithology made public its estimate that every year the 18,000 wind turbines in Spain cause between 6 and 18 million bird and bat deaths. This is an average of between 333 and 1,000 deaths every year for every turbine.

      In Germany the death rate is as high as 309 per annum and in Sweden it is as high as 895 deaths per annum. (Benner et al). In USA the American Bird Conservation group says that there are 44,000 birds killed per annum but admit that this is a probable major under-estimate. Similar rates of death are seen in studies elsewhere. For example, when I was in Australia in 2010 there were newspaper reports of several brolgas being killed at one wind turbine site and at another a flock of corellas was decimated. Concern has also expressed that the Tasmanian Wedge Tailed eagle will soon be extinct if death rates continue as at present.

      We know that the death rate of birds from hitting high-tension lines is very significant. There is a considerable increase in these lines to serve turbine sites, which are often located at long distances from existing grid lines. Hoerschelman et al (1988) claim that HT lines in Germany kill at the rate of 400 birds per annum per kilometer of line in migration areas. Bird Life International (2003) claim a rate of 500 bird deaths/km/annum in migration areas. Koops (1987) claims a rate of 200 deaths/km/annum in the USA and from this he extrapolates that there are 130 million to 174 million bird deaths per year in the USA.

      At the infamous Altamount Pass wind turbine site in USA recent estimates suggest that bird death rates are as much as 14,000 per annum. This has so caused concern that the turbines are shut down during migration seasons but even so, many deaths continue.

      There appears to be no worthwhile study of death rates in UK but it is not likely that they will be any less than we find in nearby European countries and may well be worse in migration areas. I would not expect BTO to do any useful studies because they are affiliated to University of East Anglia of climategate notoriety.

      It seems to me that any organisation that is supposedly devoted to protection of birds should be screaming blue murder at what are totally unacceptable death rates of our birds and bats. If actual death rates were even 10% of what is being claimed, they would still be unacceptable. But from RSPB we hear the occasional whimper and a few objections, very few of which result in effective rejection of planning applications.

      Many of the bird and bat species that are being killed are protected and if people or companies are found to be killing them then they may be subject to heavy fines. RSPB has done much to stop poisoning of raptors by prosecuting in appropriate cases. Oil companies have been heavily fined when birds have died in oil spills. But when wind turbines kill they do so with no penalty or even complaint from RSPB. I believe that RSPB should be actively pursuing developers who are killing our wild life.

      Yours sincerely,

    • Andy on 01/11/2010 at 8:40 am said:

      Green Subsidies Will Kill Industry, Says Egger Plant Chief

      This story is about green subsidies that are pushing up the price of timber.

      Essentially, the biomass energy companies find it cheaper to burn freshly felled timber than use recycled or off-cuts, as was intended.

      This is yet another example of where subsidies create vastly skewed economics.

      There’s a thread at Bishop Hill

    • Andy on 19/12/2010 at 8:08 pm said:

      I got an email recently to inform me that my business web hosting company is “100% wind powered”, and that I can now display a green badge on my web page to show how environmentally conscious I am
      Tempting to go for the “live chat option” to tell them what I think of their bloody green badges.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2010 at 10:33 pm said:

      Relax Andy, your (very impressive) “Eco-Friendliness” is via Renewable Energy Credits according to their blurb.

      Being a Phoenix Arizona company, the electrons they actually use are pushed along by quite an assortment of generators – including coal, gas and a nuke:-

      Coal-fired plants supply almost two-fifths of Arizona’s demand for electricity. Natural gas-fired plants and nuclear power supply most of the remainder. Arizona’s sole nuclear power plant, the 3-unit Palo Verde plant, provides about one-fourth of the State’s total electricity generation. Palo Verde is the Nation’s largest nuclear plant and has the second-highest rated capacity of any power plant in the United States. The Glen Canyon and Hoover dams, both located on the Colorado River in northern Arizona, provide hydroelectric power. Although Arizona is a leader in the Nation in solar power potential, its solar-powered generation facilities are small and the State has not yet developed its solar resource on a large scale. In February 2006, Arizona adopted a renewable portfolio standard that requires electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.”

      Bur Green servers? Made of bamboo? Recyclable?

      Oh – 50% less energy reqd

      Just up the road in Wyoming, NCAR is building a new supercomputing facility to study climate,

      The initial supercomputer will likely consume about 3 to 4 megawatts of electricity. The NWSC will initially derive 10 percent of its power from wind energy, with the option to increase that percentage. Of the energy used by the NWSC, 92 percent will go directly to supercomputing as opposed to support functions such as keeping the machines cool. Many measures are being taken to enable this efficiency, including capitalizing on Wyoming’s naturally cool climate, which will allow the NWSC to use outside air for cooling during much of the year. For more information about energy efficiency and sustainability efforts, see (FAQs)

      No doubt they will get a green certificate too.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2010 at 10:55 pm said:

      There was also this stoush which, although an untenable threat, if carried out, would have flooded the Arizona market with cheap electricity, undercutting the renewables

      “Arizona official threatens to cut off electricity to L.A. in retaliation for boycott’

      I am sure that in a case like that, the redundant green certificates if in print would be recyclable and the electronic ones could be released back into the ether.

    • I do hope, Andy, that you have sufficient battery back-up to maintain service when the wind stops blowing!

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/12/2010 at 5:45 pm said:

      Cost blowout hits clean coal vision

      # The Australian
      # December 20, 2010 12:00AM

      AUSTRALIA’S hopes to lead the world in generating “clean” electricity from coal have taken a hammering.

      A massive cost blowout forced the Queensland government to scrap a prototype power plant that was to be in action by 2015.

      The decision to go back to the drawing board on the ZeroGen project in central Queensland means carbon capture technology to trap greenhouse gases produced from coal-fired plants will not be in use for a decade at least.

      While Premier Anna Bligh said yesterday the $192 million invested in ZeroGen had not been wasted, and the state and federal governments remained committed to developing clean coal processes, she admitted this was not yet economically viable.

      ZeroGen decision on the money

      # The Australian
      # December 20, 2010 12:00AM

      BY pulling out of ZeroGen, the Queensland government has made a pragmatic decision.


      According to Peter Cook, chief executive of the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies in Canberra, the research effort is swinging back in favour of capturing carbon emissions after the coal has been burned rather than trying to radically alter the coal itself before combustion.

      “We are seeing that more conventional ways of making electricity are being looked at again for post-combustion capture,” Dr Cook said.

      This included both underground storage and research into algae to soak up carbon emissions that could be turned into crude oil and other projects to lock up CO2 emissions in new generation cement-like construction products.

      Research will continue on pre-combustion technology that turns coal into a synthesis gas, which is used in a gas turbine to produce electricity, with the heat generated used to drive a steam turbine, including at the Wandoan power plant project, also in Queensland, and in China.

      The $150 million written off by the Queensland government on ZeroGen is small beer in the context of the more than $US26 billion ($26.3bn) committed by governments around the world to research and develop CCS technologies.

      The fact of life in research is that not every project will bear fruit.

      However, the Queensland government said that it remained committed to continuing support for CCS research.

      And federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said the Australian government was considering advice from the Independent Assessment Panel on allocating $2bn in funding for so-called flagship projects.

      “I expect to be in a position to announce the next significant state in the development of CCS flagships in the first half of 2011,” Mr Ferguson said.

      The remaining projects are:

      – The Wandoan power plant project northwest of Brisbane, which is based on integrating General Electric’s existing technologies with CO2 storage in the Surat Basin.

      – The Collie South West Hub project, which aims to store up to 3.3 mega tonnes of CO2 a year, captured from surrounding industry including coal-fired power plants.

      -The CarbonNet project in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, which aims to store between three and five mega tonnes of CO2 a year, captured from coal-fired power plants in the region.

      The $2bn CCS Flagships program was announced in the 2009-10 budget and is part of the federal government’s $4.5bn Clean Energy Initiative.

      Leaders of the G8 countries who met in Hokkaido in Japan in 2008 had set a goal of having established at least 20 large-scale CCS projects around the world by 2020.

    • Andy on 28/04/2011 at 12:47 pm said:

      Letter: Powerful case against renewables stance

      Published by The Scotsman, 27th April 2011

      No developed economy can function without a reliable and economic supply of electricity but with present UK policies we have been warned that within a few years there will be a risk of power failures while increases in prices to consumers will rise by more than 50 per cent by 2025.

      On a standalone basis the situation in Scotland would be even more disastrous. The huge investment required to remedy the neglect and wishful thinking of recent years will require two decades or more to take effect and in the run up to the May elections we urge all political parties in Scotland to put the future of our electricity supplies at the top of their agendas.

      The pretence that our electricity can in future be supplied from renewables, mainly wind and marine, has gone on too long. These matters are not a question of opinion; they are answerable to the laws of physics and are readily analysed using normal engineering methods. All of these energy sources are of very low concentrations and intermittent; they are and will remain inherently expensive and no amount of development will have more than a marginal effect on this conclusion.

      Nor can wind and marine energy sources be relied on to provide electricity when it is needed; a recent analysis has shown that for over 30 per cent of the time the output from wind farms has dropped to below 10 per cent of their nominal output and during extremely cold weather has fallen to virtually zero. Furthermore it is unfortunately not correct that marine energy constitutes a vast untapped energy resource on our doorstep; studies (now apparently accepted by government) have shown that at best it could provide only a few percent of our electricity supplies and at costs which, including the necessary back up generation, would be entirely unacceptable to consumers.

      Fossil fuelled generation (coal or gas) with carbon dioxide capture and underground storage may yet prove a useful technique but it is important to realise that it is an unproven technology on the scale required; that it may never be acceptable to dispose of such huge quantities of gas in underground storage and at present its costs are too uncertain to gamble on its playing a significant part in our forward energy policy.

      So by all means let us have some wind power, development programmes for other renewables, home insulation programmes, heat pumps etc but let us not pretend that all these taken together will substitute for proven generation sources such as coal, gas and nuclear.

      And if low carbon is to be the principal driver of energy policy, we can build on Scotland’s half century of experience with nuclear, generating some 50 per cent of our electricity requirements, reliably and at low cost.

      Scotland needs a balanced electricity system which can deliver economic and reliable supplies; we are at the 11th hour and there is now no more time to lose in getting to grips with this task. There can be nothing more urgent on the political agenda.

      Colin Gibson C Eng FIEECCMI Network director National Grid 1993-97)

      Prof Ken W D Ledingham FInstP

      Prof Colin R McInnes FREng FRSE

      Sir Donald Miller C EngFREng FRSE, Chairman ScottishPower 1982-92

      Prof Anthony Trewavas FRS FRSE

      Prof Jack Ponton FREng FIChemE

    • Andy on 02/05/2011 at 10:48 am said:

      Scots windfarms paid cash to stop producing energy

      Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged.

      The turbines, at a range of sites across Scotland, were stopped because the grid network could not absorb all the energy they generated.

      Details of the payments emerged following research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).

      The REF said energy companies were paid £900,000 to halt the turbines for several hours between 5 and 6 April.

      According to the REF research, the payments made cost up to 20 times the value of the electricity that would have been generated if the turbines had kept running.

      The largest payment was given to Whitelee windfarm in East Renfrewshire, owned by Scottish Power, which was paid £308,000 in April.

      The RWE nPower-owned Farr windfarm, south of Inverness, received £265,000 in the same month.

    • Andy on 08/08/2012 at 12:59 pm said:

      Here’s some great photos from the Mail on the formerly beautiful Scottish Highlands now blighted with wind turbines

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/08/2012 at 2:30 pm said:

      I would that a nice shade of green would have been an appropriate turbine colour to alleviate the visual pollutant aspect. Dynamite, Semtex, or C-4 would take care of the other symptoms.

      Those turbines would not get planning approval on the slopes of Mt Pironga next to the tour bus route to Waitomo Caves. Farm buildings have guidelines for colour and form. Neither would the planning process get far around Arrowtown – ask Shania Twain about that.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 22/05/2011 at 10:14 pm said:

      New Solar Sheet Captures 90 Percent of Sunlight

      Efficiencies should get a healthy boost from capturing a boarder range of wavelengths

      May 17, 2011 5:24 PM

      Traditionally, solar powered devices suffer from a two-fold problem. First, they have difficulty converting the light they capture to electricity. Second, they only capture a small band of wavelengths out of the wide range of wavelengths found in sunlight striking the Earth. Improving in either area can offer gains to the net power output (and efficiency) of a solar cell.

      Researchers at the University of Missouri are claiming a breakthrough in the second category. They claim [press release] to have developed a device that can capture 90 percent of sunlight, versus the 20 percent that current photovoltaic (PV) panels capture.

      To capture the wider range of wavelengths, Patrick Pinhero, associate professor of chemical engineering, used a special thin, moldable sheet of small antennas called nantenna. The resulting material converts heat to electricity and can be used both for industrial heat recycling and for solar designs. In solar designs it is capable of collecting both optical (visible) sunlight and the near infrared band sunlight that most cells miss.


    • Andy on 15/06/2011 at 4:05 pm said:

      Merkel Says Germany Needs 20GW of Fossil-Fuel Power Plants Over Next 10 Years

      To Replace Nuclear Power Plants Scheduled to be Shut Down
      Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, announced that her country would need to build a lot of fossil fuel power plants to pick up the slack from nuclear power plants that are scheduled to be shut down. She said: “If we want to exit nuclear energy and enter renewable energy, for the transition time we need fossil power plants. At least 10, more likely 20 gigawatts [of fossil capacity] need to be built in the coming 10 years.”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 6:16 pm said:

      UK firm’s failed biofuel dream wrecks lives of Tanzania villagers

      The collapse of Sun Biofuels has left hundreds of Tanzanians landless, jobless, and in despair for the future

      A quarter of the village’s land in Kisarawe district was acquired by a British biofuels company in 2008, with the promise of financial compensation, 700 jobs, water wells, improved schools, health clinics and roads. But the company has gone bust, leaving villagers not just jobless but landless as well. The same story is playing out across Africa, as foreign investors buy up land but leave some of the poorest people on Earth worse off when their plans fail.


      Why Sun Biofuels went bust is unknown, as attempts to contact the previous owners were unsuccessful. Whatever the reason, the company is far from alone. A large jatropha plantation created by a Dutch firm called Bioshape in the southern Tanzanian district of Kilwa has also gone bankrupt, leaving locals complaining of missing land payments. Also in Tanzania, a large ethanol biofuel project set up by Swedish company Sekab went bust. In both cases, the land has not been returned to its owners.

      Further afield, in Ghana, a Norwegian-backed jatropha project has collapsed, while in Mozambique a UK-linked company called Procana, behind a huge ethanol project, has folded in acrimony. The Observer’s investigations and those of journalist Stefano Valentino have identified at least 30 abandoned biofuels projects in 15 African countries.

      The thirst for biofuels to meet the UK and EU’s rising targets has led British companies to lead the charge into Africa. Half the 3.2m hectares of biofuel land identified is linked to 11 British companies, the biggest proportion of any country. ActionAid’s estimate suggests that up to 6m hectares has been acquired. But with landowners frequently illiterate and unaware of their rights, the potential for exploitation is high.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/12/2011 at 9:46 am said:

      Climate Common Sense: Solar Panels overloading electricity grid!


      Any power system designer could have foreseen the problems with reverse feeding single phase power onto a distribution network. The system is just not designed for it and when all solar panels in a street are at maximum output at midday the unbalanced power can saturate transformers with unpleasant results. The whole silly “rip off your neighbour” solar panel scheme needs to be scrapped as the electricity generated is incredibly expensive as shown in the US analysis below. In Queensland the solar costs are twice that shown because of the policy forcing retailers to buy solar at inflated prices of 10 times the cost of coal generation.


    • Andy on 13/12/2011 at 8:40 pm said:

      Public health and wind farms

      video report from Australia.

      Some rather disturbing health issues here:

    • Andy on 22/12/2011 at 7:53 am said:

      Greenhouse gas storage possible – NZ study

      Another waste of taxpayers money

  2. THREAD on 17/10/2010 at 6:49 am said:

    Renewable Energy

    • Andy on 30/10/2010 at 11:13 am said:

      Chirk factory workers protest over ‘subsidy threat’

      Mike McKenna, director of Kronospan’s Chirk factory, said the subsidies for electricity generators which use biomass encouraged them to take “the easy option” of burning freshly felled timber.

      He told BBC Radio Wales: “The easy option for them is cutting down trees and burning them for electricity generation.

      “That’s because the subsidies are worth more than twice the value of the wood.

      h/t Bishop Hill

    • Richard C (NZ) on 30/10/2010 at 8:35 pm said:

      California could feel Spain’s pain

      Tuesday, October 26, 2010

      This article from the Orange County Register is by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, professor of applied environmental economics in Spain and lead author of a 2009 study detailing the economic costs of Spain’s experiment with the green economy.

    • Andy on 08/11/2010 at 11:09 am said:

      Here’s a link to some of the many biogas projects in NZ

      Some of these have been around for quite a while – the Christchurch project that powers QEII from the Burwood plant has been in operation since 1996.

      These sound quite useful to me, don’t know of any other opinions.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/11/2010 at 12:03 pm said:

      “These sound quite useful to me, don’t know of any other opinions.”

      Very useful I think to capture waste energy.

      The Forestry sector uses woodwaste extensively and ranks behind the Dairy sectors use of coal.

      See “Energy Use Survey: Industrial and trade sectors 2009”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/11/2010 at 5:02 pm said:

      Global gas glut threatens alternative power sources, warns IEA

      * From: The Times
      * November 10, 2010 8:48AM

      Speaking at the launch of the International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook report, Fatih Birol, its chief economist, said that the world was entering a “golden age of gas” because of surging production of shale gas using new technology developed in the United States.

      He said that the IEA, the Paris-based agency that advises the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on oil and energy issues, was now predicting a global surplus of the fuel of about 150 billion cubic metres annually in the years ahead.

      That is equivalent to 5 per cent of world demand of 2940 billion cubic metres.

      However, Dr Birol warned that depressed prices for the fuel were boosting investment in gas-fired power stations and having a knock-on impact on rival technologies considered critical for meeting international carbon-reduction targets, which are now less competitive.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/12/2010 at 1:43 pm said:

      From Bulldust at JoNova (AU context)

      Anyway, a couple stories of interest this morning… Heather Ridout is slamming renewable energy targets as costly (thanks for some pragmatic common sense Heather):

      and the Queensland Government is giving ZeroGen the flick as well for being uneconomic:

      It is worth highlighting stories such as these when the Greens keep banging on about renewables being competitive. They are not. If they were we would be using them already. Hydro is tapped out, bagasse is a side product from sugar cane production, and the rest is uneconomic, feel-good tokenism.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/12/2010 at 10:03 pm said:

      Renewables forcing consumer energy price rise in Oregon

      Posted on December 19, 2010 by Anthony Watts

      By Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian

      Come New Year’s, better strip the lights off the house and the Christmas tree ASAP.

      Customers of Pacific Power will see their electric rates spike 14.5 percent in January. The increase comes in a one-two punch: an 8.4 percent general rate increase state utility regulators approved Friday, and a 6.1 percent increase for increased power costs they are expected to approve Dec. 28. Both take effect Jan. 1.

      Meanwhile, customers of the state’s largest electric utility, Portland General Electric Co., will see a lesser, but still significant, rate increase of about 3.9 percent. A few mandatory cost adjustments in the works will bump that overall increase to 4.2 percent, effective Jan. 1.

      The biggest factor driving the increases: renewable power.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/02/2011 at 12:08 pm said:

      Spain produces solar energy at night

      Thursday, April 15, 2010 – The Reference Frame

      Between November 2009 and January 2010, about 4,500 megawatt-hours of electricity was pumped by “solar sources” into the Spanish grid after the midnight but before 7 a.m. The subsidized price paid for this amount of solar energy is about 2.5 million euros and the authorities assume that this is the total amount of fraud.

      That’s of course ludicrous because if the diesel engines could have been running at night, they were probably running during the days, too. Both during the nighttime and during the daytime, it is always economically better to get energy by burning fossil fuels than from the solar sources.

    • Andy on 08/06/2011 at 9:30 pm said:

      Wind farms aren’t just a blight, they’re a folly

      It’s bad enough that these turbines spoil the landscape, but they don’t even work, writes Philip Johnston.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/10/2011 at 9:58 am said:


      This calculator estimates the solar energy that can be collected by a solar capture device (solar panel) at a given address, panel direction and roof slope:-

      This is weird. Cloudless days (and insolation) are zero at the beginning and end of each month but max out in the middle of each month according to the calculator.

      Nelson case study (Robertson family) gives costs; $8500 full cost [retrofit] but $5100 with a “Nelson City Council initiative and a cheaper system”. They think they will pay it off in “five to seven years” by saving 30% on normal bills. That means their normal average monthly bill (using 6yr payback) was $472 ($236 per month) and they’re saving $70 per month average so will be paying $166 per month in 6 yrs time:-

      From Case Studies:-

      I’m sure they could have saved as much with some thought and discipline if they really wanted to before SWH. Does demonstrate that yes, solar power is free – until you try to harness it.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 6:49 pm said:

      Britain’s solar energy boom is built on unsustainable foundations

      By Greg Barker, UK minister for energy and climate change

      The government is proposing measures to reform the feed-in tariff scheme and ensure the industry has a long-term future


      It’s easy to see why solar is so attractive: it’s simple, accessible, reliable and fits discreetly into homes and communities. It’s a vital component of our decentralised local energy revolution. But however convinced we may be of the long-term potential of solar, we have to face up to the economic reality that every other sector of the economy is challenged by. The green economy does not exist in a bubble.

      The huge subsidised returns for people investing in solar photovoltaic panels – funded from everybody’s energy bills – have now broken double figures and cannot continue. The good news is that the costs of the technology have plunged – by at least 30% – since the scheme started in April 2010. A home installation can now cost around £9,000 or less. A similar installation would have set you back an extra £4,000 less than two years ago.

      With installed capacity nearly three times that projected by the last government when it launched the scheme 18 months ago, it all means that solar is burning through its budget at an unsustainable rate. The generous pot of £867m secured for the feed-in tariff scheme by the coalition last year will be completely devoured if we don’t act now.

      Solar subsidies to be cut by more than half

      Government documents prematurely published online reveal feed-in tariff cut will double the payback period for householders

      Solar subsidies will be dramatically cut by more than half, according to government documents that were prematurely published online and quickly taken down.

      The cut will almost double the payback period for householders, the document revealed, meaning someone installing £10-12,000 solar panels will only be in credit after 18 years rather than the current 10. The rate will be reduced from 43.3p per kilowatt hour of solar electricity to just 21p, the document revealed, cutting returns from around 7% to 4%.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 6:54 pm said:

      Germany Plans Solar-Subsidies Cut, May See Installation Rush

      Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — Germany, the world’s biggest solar- panel market, will cut subsidies for photovoltaic power by a record amount next year as the government tries to control the pace of installations and wean the industry off support.

      Rates under the feed-in-tariff system will be reduced 15 percent from Jan. 1, 2012, after Germany added about 5.2 gigawatts of panels in the year through Sept. 30, the Bundesnetzagentur, the federal grid regulator, said in a statement on its website today. Power from panels will earn 17.94 euro cents (25 cents) to 24.43 euro cents a kilowatt-hour.

      “The cut is part of the push down toward competitive pricing without subsidies,” Charles Yonts, an analyst at CSLA in Hong Kong, said by e-mail.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/11/2011 at 5:44 pm said:

      Pssst, wanna buy some cheap US green energy stocks?


      Buy at the bottom, sell at the top. Buy low -sell high (hello – bye bye). You wont regret it.

    • Andy on 12/12/2011 at 1:35 pm said:

      1,500 accidents and incidents on UK wind farms
      The wind energy industry has admitted that 1,500 accidents and other incidents have taken place on wind farms over the past five years.

      The figures – released by RenewableUK, the industry’s trade body – include four deaths and a further 300 injuries to workers.

      The scale of incidents – equivalent to almost one a day – emerges following the publication of dramatic photographs showing one turbine which had crashed to the ground in a field near a road and another exploding into flames, caused by 150mph winds which buffeted Scotland and northern England last week.

  3. THREAD on 17/10/2010 at 6:50 am said:

    Wind Energy

    • THREAD on 17/10/2010 at 7:57 am said:
    • Andy on 17/10/2010 at 8:44 am said:

      There is a 20 min film entitled “Europe’s Ill WInd” at

      It covers a lot of the serious problems around the wind industry in the UK and Denmark.

      Well worth a watch.

    • Andy on 17/10/2010 at 5:12 pm said:

      There’s an article today by Booker entitled
      ” Renewables will add £880 a year to bills”

      Trying to meet our EU renewable energy target would cost more than we currently spend on our entire electricity production, says Christopher Booker.

      It exposes the pure fantasy land that the British government live in. These soaring energy prices are kicking in at a time when cold weather payments for the poor and elderly are being slashed, and another cold winter is forecast.

    • THREAD on 18/10/2010 at 6:51 pm said:

      Wind Farms Provide Negligible Useful Electricity

      By: Richard S. Courtney, March 2006

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/10/2010 at 10:04 am said:

      [I received this email from Richard S. Courtnet]

      Dear Richard:

      In a previous message you said:

      In a message dated 18/10/2010 02:36:35 GMT Daylight Time, rscumming[snip] writes:

      Now if you will excuse me, I have to read “Wind Farms Provide Negligible Useful

      I think you may find this more interesting: it includes the same information and much more, too.

      All the best


    • Andy on 03/01/2011 at 8:28 am said:

      John Muir Trust Study Reports Wind Farms at 22% Efficiency

      Front page article on today’s Sunday Times (UK) reports (behind a paywall so no link):

      “One of Scotland’s leading conservation bodies has called on ministers to ditch their ‘obsession’ with wind power amid evidence that turbines produce about a quarter less energy than developers claim. The John Muir Trust (JMT) said a study of 47 wind farms in Scotland and England over a 13-month period revealed that they ran at 22% capacity. The wind farm industry has claimed that during the course of a year a turbine operates at 30% efficiency.”

      The paper reports Helen McDade, head of policy at JMT says

      “Wind farms are costing huge amounts of money, much of it from consumers’ bills, yet it isn’t delivering what the industry claims. The economics of this is a scandal and needs to be urgently reviewed.”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/01/2011 at 9:21 am said:

      JMT website only has this related report that I can see
      Wednesday 15th December, 2010
      Public Inquiry needed for Viking wind development

      The size and scale of the Viking development, which consists of 127 turbines reaching to 145 metres high, 104 kilometres of tracks, and associated buildings and quarries, makes it unsuitable for one of the wildest areas in the UK.
      And not suitable near the dwellings of rural (or any other) folks I suggest, the sound waves are a torture. Intense sound was investigated as a weapon of war, that was until a French prototype similar to a large scale policeman’s whistle killed the technicians when first tried (so the story goes).

    • Andy on 18/10/2010 at 10:05 pm said:

      12-Sept 2010
      The Daily Telegraph

      An ill wind blows for Denmark’s green energy revolution

      Last month, unnoticed in the UK, Denmark’s giant state-owned power company, Dong Energy, announced that it would abandon future onshore wind farms in the country. “Every time we were building onshore, the public reacts in a negative way and we had a lot of criticism from neighbours,” said a spokesman for the company. “Now we are putting all our efforts into offshore windfarms.”


      Unfortunately, Danish electricity bills have been almost as dramatically affected as the Danish landscape. Thanks in part to the windfarm subsidies, Danes pay some of Europe’s highest energy tariffs – on average, more than twice those in Britain. Under public pressure, Denmark’s ruling Left Party is curbing the handouts to the wind industry.

    • THREAD on 26/10/2010 at 1:54 pm said:

      Wind power reduces the value of homes

      Swedish Wind Energy appears in a new increase in the deliberate attempt to conceal the fact that properties near wind turbines drop significantly in value, among others, writes Elisabeth von Brömsen, Föreningen Svenskt Landskapsskydd. Confederation of Swedish Landscape Protection.

      [Wait 10 secs – Google Translate]

    • Andy on 01/11/2010 at 10:11 am said:

      From Rob Schneider’s blog

      Power Produced by Wind in UK Nov 2008-Sep 2010

      Schneider examined the figures reported from UK wind and found that the load factor (i.e the amount of energy produced as a percentage of maximum theoretical output) was only 9.2%
      (as opposed to the published load factor of 25-30%)


    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/11/2010 at 11:50 am said:

      Andy, the wind power situation in GB is nuts.

      I ‘ll set up a thread “Wind Energy in New Zealand” under “Wind Energy”

      At least we we don’t have GB economic problem but there are still the the same impacts – human, visual, property values etc.

    • THREAD on 01/11/2010 at 11:57 am said:

      Wind Energy in New Zealand

      “Wind – New Zealand’s Energy” – NZ Wind Energy Asscociation

      Wind energy in New Zealand – NZ Govt

      Power Generation from Renewables – NZ Windfarms

      Welcome to Windflow Technology – WINDFLOW nz

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/11/2010 at 12:04 pm said:

      New Zealand Wind Turbine – Google Search

      New Zealand Wind Turbine Controversy – Google Search

    • Andy on 26/11/2010 at 10:38 am said:

      Matt Ridley:

      For a glimpse of a truly scary future dependent on volatile suppliers look no farther than Mr Huhne’s favoured technology, wind. Every wind turbine has a magnet made of a metal called neodymium. There are 2.5 tonnes of it in each of the behemoths that have just gone up to spoil my view in Northumberland. The mining and refining of neodymium is so dirty (involving repeated boiling in acid, with radioactive thorium as a waste product), that only one country does it: China. This year it flexed its trade muscles and briefly stopped exporting neodymium from its inner Mongolian mines. How’s that for dangerous reliance on a volatile foreign supply?

    • Andy on 26/11/2010 at 10:40 am said:

      Local suppliers too:

    • Richard C (NZ) on 06/12/2010 at 1:02 pm said:

      Costs deflate windy issue

      The Manawatu Standard 06/12/2010

      Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor says it is taking an “absurd” amount of time for a Government board of inquiry to decide if the Turitea Wind Farm should go ahead.

      Manawatu is still awaiting a result on the contentious proposal after a hearing spanning nine months finished nearly nine months ago.

      Figures obtained by the Manawatu Standard show the process has also cost millions of dollars.

      Mighty River Power, which wants to build a wind farm of up to 104 turbines on the Tararua Range near Palmerston North, disclosed that the hearing to decide the matter cost the company more than $1.5 million.

      The cost to Palmerston North City Council of making sure residents’ interests were protected was more than $800,000.

      Some submitters also paid lawyers and brought in experts for the hearing, as well as often giving up their own time to be there.

      See Also

      Nick Smith: heed German dilemma

      NZ wind farm subsidies

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/12/2010 at 10:56 am said:

      Rare eagle’s safety puts energy plans in limbo

      5:30 AM Wednesday Dec 15, 2010 – NZH

      Fears that wind turbines could kill protected golden eagles have halted progress on an important part of the US Government’s push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments.

      The US Bureau of Land Management suspended issuing wind permits on public land indefinitely after wildlife officials invoked a decades-old law for protecting eagles.

      The restriction has stymied efforts to “fast-track” approval for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals, including all three in California.

      Now, these and other projects appear unlikely to make the year-end deadline to potentially qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds.

      If extensions aren’t granted in the lame-duck session of Congress, the future of many of these plans could be in doubt.

      “Companies are waiting to know the criteria to get a permit,” said Larry LaPre, a wildlife biologist for BLM’s California desert district.

      He said he expected it to be “at least a year or longer” before permitting resumes.

      Golden eagles are the latest roadblock to establishing wind farms on federally owned land, already an expensive process plagued by years of bureaucratic delay.

      The projects also have been untracked by other wildlife issues, a sluggish economy and objections by defence and aviation authorities that wind turbines interfere with the country’s aged radar system.

      The delays are occurring despite a target set by Congress in 2005 that directed the Interior Department to approve about 5 million homes’ worth of renewable energy on public land by 2015. Since then, only two of the more than 250 proposed wind projects have been approved and neither has been built.

      The four fast-track projects in jeopardy of losing stimulus funds because of eagle issues would alone generate about 416MW of clean energy, enough to power roughly a half million US homes during peak usage.

      There are now 28 US wind farms operating on public lands.

      The vast majority of public land regulated by the BLM is in western states, where all onshore wind farms approved or in planning stages will be located.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/12/2010 at 11:02 am said:

      Where climate and conservation collide

      December 13, 2010 – smh

      If ever a case signalled the end of easy answers to our search for clean energy, it’s that of the wedgie.

      We have had a complex relationship with the wedge-tailed eagle. Last century it was nearly annihilated as a sheep killer.

      This writer remembers driving along a ghastly fence line hung for a kilometre with wedgie carcasses after a local shoot in Victoria’s western district.

      Today such prejudices have largely disappeared. Respect for the country’s great raptor instead approaches the historic norm. Eagles have stood for us as symbols of strength and power from the days of the Ancient Greeks.

      Still the wedgie gets run over on our roads, and flies into things that share its aerial domain — such as wind turbines.

      As we search for means to sharply cut carbon emissions from energy production, increasingly we are turning to wind farms.

      In Victoria alone there is the prospect of 1322 new turbines and their towers being built in 28 separate developments.

      Another 376 would slice the breeze at three farms planned for Tasmania. And the country’s single largest wind farm, under development at Silverton, New South Wales, plans to landscape a tract of the outback with 598 towers.

      All of this doesn’t happen without opposition, particularly from people who see losses to their previously unindustrialised homelands. Occasionally the issue will flare into national controversy, such as over the orange-bellied parrot.

      The Howard government environment minister, Ian Campbell, halted a $220 million wind farm development at Bald Hills in Gippsland in 2006 because it might kill small numbers of the critically endangered parrot.

      Campbell was ridiculed by Labor for a decision that coincidentally delivered electoral good news to a marginal Coalition seat around Bald Hills. Eventually he had to reverse it.

      It’s a pity that the parrot, a fleet little beauty now close to extinction, became a joke in the Bald Hills barney. We should hope that if the wind farm explosion happens, we would deal much better with species protection.

      That’s why the case of the wedgie, more exactly its endangered Tasmanian sub-species, gives pause for thought.

      Larger than its mainland cousin at a 2.2-metre wingspan, its head often encircled with a regal golden feather ruff, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed numbers fewer than 1000 birds.

      Its heartland is the state’s wild forests, where it can be glimpsed soaring the ridgelines, disdaining the harassing ravens and currawongs like a monster from prehistory.

      At the state’s largest wind farm at Woolnorth in the island’s north-west, 19 wedge-tailed eagles are known to have been killed since it began operations in 2003. Another three sea eagles also have hit the rotors.

      This is allowed. Federal and state environmental permits recognise Woolnorth’s rotors may kill a small number of eagles each year.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 29/12/2010 at 11:39 am said:

      Bryan Leyland: Wind farms not everything they’re cranked up to be

      5:30 AM Wednesday Dec 29, 2010 – NZH

      Virtually all the main electricity generators in New Zealand have wind farms in operation, under construction or going through the Resource Management Act approvals process.

      The primary driver seems to be that we need more renewable energy to “fight climate change” and that wind power is a very good way of doing this. It isn’t.

      The fundamental problem with wind power is that it is intermittent and unpredictable. This means that the system operator must take a pessimistic view and assume that no wind power will be available over critical periods.

      In other words, he has to make sure that there are sufficient conventional power stations available to meet peak demands. It is often claimed that New Zealand has ample hydropower that can easily back up wind. While this tends to be true during a normal rainfall year, it is most definitely not true during a dry year. Dry years, not normal years, dictate the need for new power stations.

      The wind blows least during the autumn-early winter period when the lakes are low and at a maximum in the springtime when the snow is melting and, usually, it is raining.

      So windpower generates most when it isn’t needed and least when it is most needed. As a result its contribution is less than it would be if the wind blew hardest in the autumn.

      Windpower is expensive. According to my calculations, its true cost is between 11c and 17c/kWh. This is between 50 per cent and 100 per cent more expensive than conventional power. As an expert witness in the wind farm debate, I have put forward my evidence and my calculations on a number of occasions. No one has refuted them.


      Bryan Leyland is a power industry consultant.

    • Andy on 01/03/2011 at 10:43 am said:

      Why the £250bn wind power industry could be the greatest scam of our age – and here are the three ‘lies’ that prove it

      Christopher Booker in the Mail

    • Andy on 12/03/2011 at 3:50 pm said:

      This is a six month old article but still relevant.

      Christchurch firm goes subsidy farming.

      : Windflow Chases British Windfarm Subsidies
      (my emphasis in bold)

      A new British Govt incentive scheme for small-scale wind projects is causing rocketing demand for 500KW turbines, perfectly fitting the specifications of Christchurch two-bladed turbine manufacturer, Windflow Technology. With no new orders beyond those required to complete the Te Rere Hau wind farm, Windflow needs to find new customers or faces a production wind-down in early 2011. The new UK scheme, announced on April 1, guarantees both a fixed level of payment for embedded generation and feed-in tariffs for 20 years on any new, low carbon generation below 5MW. Feed-in tariffs give otherwise uneconomic generation a guaranteed rate of payment for any electricity exported to the national grid. Total tariffs of approximately NZ 45c per kWh are on offer.

      Good to see a local ChCh company cashing in on the scam. Stuff the British countryside eh?!

    • Andy on 07/04/2011 at 11:50 am said:

      Official: wind farms are totally useless

      This is referring to the report from the John Muir Trust showing that wind output in the UK is much lower than advertised.

      Also covered by Anthony Watts

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/06/2011 at 9:57 pm said:

      The green killer: Scores of protected golden eagles dying after colliding with wind turbines

      By David Gardner

      Last updated at 11:11 PM on 6th June 2011 – MailOnline

      California’s attempts to switch to green energy have inadvertently put the survival of the state’s golden eagles at risk.

      Scores of the protected birds have been dying each year after colliding with the blades of about 5,000 wind turbines.

      Now the drive for renewable power sources, such as wind and the sun, being promoted by President Obama and state Governor Jerry Brown has raised fears that the number of newborn golden eagles may not be able to keep pace with the number of turbine fatalities.

      The death count along the ridgelines of the Bay Area’s Altamount Pass Wind Resource Area has averaged 67 a year for three decades.

      The 200ft high turbines, which have been operating since the 1980s, lie in the heart of the grassy canyons that are home to one of the highest densities of nesting golden eagles in the US.

      ‘It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production,’ field biologist Doug Bell, manager of East Bay Regional Park District’s wildlife programme, told the Los Angeles Times. ‘We only have 60 pairs,’ he added.

      Continues……….(it gets worse)

      Read more:

    • Andy on 30/11/2011 at 10:12 am said:

      The cost of wind farms – short video from UK

    • Richard C (NZ) on 18/08/2012 at 1:26 pm said:

      Wind Power in the Windy City: Not There When Needed

      According to the American Wind Energy Association, Illinois has one of the most aggressive wind energy programs in the country. At the end of 2011, over 2,700 megawatts (MW) of wind generation had been installed, and another 600 MW was under construction. (For comparison, the Braidwood Nuclear Plant southwest of Chicago has a generating capacity of 2,300 MW.) Thus, during the recent heat wave, when temperatures in Chicago soared to 103 degrees, wind turbines stood by to do their part to keep the Windy City cool. And stand they did…still, that is.

      Illinois wind generated less than five percent of its capacity during the record breaking heat last week, producing only an average of 120 MW of electricity from the over 2,700 MW installed. On July 6th, when the demand for electricity in northern Illinois and Chicago averaged 22,000 MW, the average amount of wind power available during the day was a virtually nonexistent four MW, less than the output of two large wind turbines, or about and enough power to operate 4,000 blow dryers. In fact, the most electricity wind produced on any day during last week’s heat wave was an average of 320 MW on July 3rd, or about 10 percent of the capacity of the wind turbines built in Illinois, when temperatures soared to 103 degrees.

      Wind power’s failure during last week’s extended heat wave is no fluke. When I performed a similar analysis last summer, the results were the same: the hotter the weather and greater customers’ demand for electricity, the less electricity produced from wind. Of course, this should not really be surprising. After all, the most miserable summer days are hot, humid, and still.

  4. val majkus on 17/10/2010 at 12:14 pm said:

    I’ve been looking for a spot to post this and here seems appropriate
    There’s a recent article titled The Major Physical Impossibility Of Solar Thermal Power
    The author is ‘Tony from Oz’; for his bio go to the tag at the top of the page ‘writer’s views are their own’ and click on his acronym – in brief he served for more than 25 years as an aircraft electrical and electronics technician on a variety of combat aircraft, and later in supervisory, administration, and man management positions. For the last 6 years served as an electrical and electronics trade instructor at the Air Force’s trade school, and as the senior electrical trade examiner. … He also posts extensively on the use of Renewable sources for the generation of Electrical Power, and how these Renewable Power Plants can only supply marginal amounts of Electrical power that cannot replace traditional methods of power generation, which actually can supply their power on the 24/7/365 basis that it is required

    his conclusion to this article is to generate the 24 hour requirement for power, solar plants must burn Natural Gas for some portion of the 24 hour cycle to drive that turbine to drive the generator. Natural gas emits CO2, so this supposedly renewable plant now still emits its own greenhouse gases. … So when you read all about how Concentrating Solar (Solar Thermal) is the way of the future, you need to be fully cognizant of all the facts surrounding the millions of words of spin. It will be touted as a wonderful solution to a vexing question of how to replace those coal fired power plants. … there is a major physical impossibility in this
    It’s a long article but worth a read

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/10/2010 at 1:13 pm said:

      Same problem with wind. Only supplies about 2% base-load in Britain but requires 100% spinning reserve (i think) – daft. They’ll be in trouble again if they have a cold winter (snows predicted already).

      Argentina was forced to shut down gas-fired supply to industry in order to supply domestic demand 2010 SH winter. “Green” renewables ain’t got a prayer if there is a 30 yr planetary cool phase.

      The NZ dairy industry (NZ$4bn) runs on coal (steam raising – Greenpeace protests) and except for nuclear there is no practical alternative to source the energy reqd.. Maybe gas but certainly not from green alternatives. Forestry is better off, they can use wood/bark waste.

      Got all the links,data etc for this rant if anyone’s interested.


      Water, wind and kilowatts – Statistics New Zealand

      Note whats happened to electricity prices since 1990’s de-regulation as shown on The CPI and the CPI electricity price index graph, And re-regulation was supposed to make the sector more efficient and lead to cheaper pricing – yeah right!

      Thanks for the post Val, I’ll read the link when I’ve got more time.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/10/2010 at 9:05 am said:

      See thread: “Water, wind and kilowatts” – Statistics New Zealand

  5. val majkus on 17/10/2010 at 12:24 pm said:

    Peter Lang (also Australian) is another favourite of mine; he is a retired geologist and engineer with 40 years experience on a wide range of energy projects throughout the world, including managing energy R&D and providing policy advice for government and opposition. His experience includes: coal, oil, gas, hydro, geothermal, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste disposal, and a wide range of energy end use management projects
    Here is his Emission Cuts Realities – Electricity Generation
    Cost and CO2 emissions projections for different electricity generation options for Australia to 2050
    It’s long but well worth it

  6. Andy on 18/10/2010 at 11:01 am said:

    Bjorn Lomborg writes in The Australian on the tremendous costs of renewables.

    First do the research, then make deep carbon cuts

    A selective quote:

    Denmark itself has also already tried being a green-energy innovator; it led the world in embracing wind power. The results are hardly inspiring. Denmark’s wind industry is almost completely dependent on taxpayer subsidies, and Danes pay the highest electricity rates of any industrialised nation. Several studies suggest that claims that one-fifth of Denmark’s electricity demand is met by wind are an exaggeration, in part because much of the power is produced when there is no demand and must be sold to other countries.

  7. THREAD on 22/10/2010 at 5:50 pm said:

    3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken Formation—25 Times More Than 1995 Estimate

    • Andy on 26/04/2011 at 7:25 am said:

      Energy in America: EPA Rules Force Shell to Abandon Oil Drilling Plans

      Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight

      Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

      The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.

      The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.

      “What the modeling showed was in communities like Kaktovik, Shell’s drilling would increase air pollution levels close to air quality standards,” said Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case. Earthjustice was joined by Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League in challenging the air permits.

      At stake is an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil. That’s how much the U. S. Geological Survey believes is in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean. For perspective, that represents two and a half times more oil than has flowed down the Trans Alaska pipeline throughout its 30-year history. That pipeline is getting dangerously low on oil. At 660,000 barrels a day, it’s carrying only one-third its capacity.

      Production on the North Slope of Alaska is declining at a rate of about 7 percent a year. If the volume gets much lower, pipeline officials say they will have to shut it down. Alaska officials are blasting the Environmental Protection Agency.

  8. THREAD on 26/10/2010 at 2:02 pm said:

    Climate Activists learn their ‘solutions’ are absurd

    Bjørn Lomborg, Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Although some activists still rely on scare tactics – witness the launch of an advertisement depicting the bombing of anybody who is hesitant to embrace carbon cuts – many activists now spend more time highlighting the “benefits” of their policy prescription. They no longer dwell on impending climate doom, but on the economic windfall that will result from embracing the “green” economy.

    You can find examples all over the world, but one of the best is in my home country, Denmark, where a government-appointed committee of academics recently presented their suggestions for how the country could go it alone and become “fossil fuel-free” in 40 years. The goal is breathtaking: more than 80% of Denmark’s energy supply comes from fossil fuels, which are dramatically cheaper and more reliable than any green energy source.

  9. THREAD on 26/10/2010 at 2:07 pm said:

    Environmental Coalition: Biofuels result in higher emissions than fossil fuels

    Bioenergy’s Carbon Neutrality Dismissed by Coalition of NGOs

    October 20, 2010 by Antonio Pasolini

    • Andy on 10/11/2010 at 8:56 am said:

      Forced use of biofuels could hit food production, EU warned

      Area the size of Ireland could be lost to conventional farming as global warming accelerates, says environmental study

      Plans to make European motorists use more biofuels could take an area the size of Ireland out of food production by 2020 and accelerate climate change, a study has found.

      The report by the independent Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) is based on plans that countries have submitted to the EU detailing how they intend to meet their legal requirement to include 10% of renewable energy in all transport fuels by 2020.

      IEEP calculations suggest that the indirect effect of the switch will be to take between 4.1m and 6.9m hectares out of food production. In addition, say the authors, opening up land to compensate for the food taken out of production will lead to between 27m and 56m tonnes of additional CO² emissions, the equivalent of putting nearly 26m more cars on the road.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/11/2010 at 11:41 am said:

      In my early years as a MOW Civil Eng drafty (1970’s), I did some graphics for an Engineer doing a feasibility study on biofuels in the Taranaki region using Sugar Beet and something else. The Govt eventually went to the ill-fated Mobil Synfuel plant that sank a huge amount of taxpayers funds although it seemed like a good idea to me at the time given the oil shock.

      I also saw feasibility plans that were drawn up before I started for an 8 lane motorway Auckland to Hamilton that was virtually straight. Did some computer modeling and simulation using punchcards with MOW’s $5m (big money then) computer that was networked all over NZ. The software was US and the “small car” was bigger than our large cars. The US cars stalled going up the western Kaimai simulation. You can do the same simulations on a PC now.

      I’m still in favour of biofuel production from marginal land. I think we could learn a lot from Brazil and the Pacific Islanders in this regard although from what I can gather, the use of cocanut oil requires an ambient temperature of at least 19 Deg C for diesel engines.

    • Andy on 26/04/2011 at 10:04 pm said:

      From Pravda, no less..

      Biofuel pushes millions of people towards poverty

      The growing production of bioethanol increases the shortage of food. Corn, sugar, other types of farm crops are required for the production of the biofuel. In addition, the growth of sowing for the green fuel reduces the square of lands designated for food cultures, which leads to smaller harvest and higher prices on food.

      FAO’s food prices index gained 2.2 percent in February, which marked the highest point since the analysis of the prices in 1990. The index embraces the fluctuations of prices on 55 sorts of food products.

      FAO’s crops prices index in March (includes wheat, rice and corn) increased by 3.7 percent. The prices on corn doubled last year, whereas wheat gained 65 percent.

      The index of prices on vegetable oil and fats increased insignificantly. It is currently staying at the level of a bit lower than the peak point of June 2008. The index of prices on meat in February increased by two percent. The index of prices on sugar went 16 percent higher than it was a year ago.

      A report from the World Bank confirmed that prices on food products continued to grow. WB’s index of food prices increased by 15 percent from October 2010 to January 2011.

      According to experts’ estimates, the number of undernourished people in the world will exceed the level of one billion people already in near future. According to the UN, there were not more than 925 million of such people last year. The growing prices on food push people towards poverty and puts pressure on most vulnerable layers of the population – those who spend over 50 percent of their income on food. As a result, when prices increased by 15 percent from October to January, as many as 44 million more people found themselves below the poverty line, WB specialists said.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/11/2010 at 1:15 pm said:

      Study says biofuels worse for climate

      Published: 2:29PM Monday November 08, 2010 Source: Reuters

      European plans to promote biofuels will drive farmers to convert 69,000 square km of wild land into fields and plantations, depriving the poor of food and accelerating climate change, a report warned today. The impact equates to an area the size of the Republic of Ireland. As a result, the extra biofuels that Europe will use over the next decade will generate between 81 and 167 percent more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels, says the report. Nine environmental groups reached the conclusion after analysing official data on the European Union’s goal of getting 10% of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020. But the European Commission’s energy team, which originally formulated the goal, countered that the bulk of the land needed would be found by recultivating abandoned farmland in Europe and Asia, minimising the impact.

      New science has emerged this year casting doubt on the sustainability of the 10% goal, but EU energy officials have argued that only around two thirds of that target will be met through biofuels, with the balance being vehicles powered by renewable electricity. But 23 of the EU’s 27 member states have now published their national strategies for renewable energy, revealing that fully 9.5% of transport fuel will be biofuel in 2020, 90% of which will come from food crops, the report says. The EU’s executive Commission is now considering whether to tweak legislation to take account of the emerging science. This year’s fractious quest to understand the impact of EU biofuels policy has already led to allegations of bias, court action against the Commission and warnings that the probes will kill the nascent industry.

      Trade dispute

      The debate centres on a new concept known as indirect land-use change. In essence, that means that if you take a field of grain and switch the crop to biofuel, somebody, somewhere, will go hungry unless those missing tonnes of grain are grown elsewhere. The crops to make up the shortfall could come from anywhere, and economics often dictate that will be in tropical zones, encouraging farmers to hack out new land from fertile forests. Burning forests to clear that land can pump vast quantities of climate-warming emissions into the atmosphere, enough to cancel out any of the benefits the biofuels were meant to bring. The indirect effects of the EU’s biofuel strategy will generate an extra 27 to 56 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, says the report. In the worst case, that would be the equivalent of putting another 26 million cars on Europe’s roads, it added. The UK, Spain, Germany, Italy and France are projected to produce the most extra greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels, generating up to 13.3, 9.5, 8.6, 5.3 and 3.9 extra million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year respectively.

      But the whole picture is far more complex.

      The European Commission’s energy team says shortfalls in grain can be avoided in several ways, including by improving farming yields and cultivating abandoned land.

      “The EU has a sufficient amount of land previously used for crop production and now no longer in arable use to cover the land needed,” said a statement from the Commission’s energy department.

      “It makes sense to bring this land into use.”

      Biofuels producers also argue that European Union officials should not alter biofuel-promoting policies to take account of the new science, as it is still too uncertain.

      “Any public policy based on such highly debatable results would be easily challengeable at the World Trade Organisation,” says Emmanuel Desplechin, of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

      The report was compiled by ActionAid, Birdlife International, ClientEarth, European Environment Bureau, FERN, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Transport & Environment, Wetlands International.

  10. THREAD on 26/10/2010 at 6:45 pm said:

    The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme

    See – ETS and carbon taxes

  11. THREAD on 26/10/2010 at 7:36 pm said:

    Decarbonising Australia

    By 2020, power bills will shock

    Once the carbon tiger’s tail is grasped, there is no letting go.

    • THREAD on 28/10/2010 at 9:27 am said:

      Power blame game heats up

      * From: The Australian
      * October 28, 2010 12:00AM

      THE states face pressure to wind back schemes that pay households to generate electricity using rooftop solar panels.

      This comes after NSW slashed its scheme in the wake of a surge in installations that threatened to add $2.5 billion to power costs by 2016.

      Premier Kristina Keneally attributed the blowout in the scheme to the “windfall” gains participants experienced as a flood of cheap imports from China and Spain caused the cost of solar panels to halve since last year.

      The unanticipated uptake has sent the cost of the scheme – recouped by electricity retailers from all customers – skyrocketing from an estimated $1.5bn over the six-year life of the scheme to about $4bn.

      Ms Keneally was unwilling to say how much the scheme had pushed up the cost of power for the average household, but said the figure would be between $80 and $130 a year if the scheme were not pared back.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2010 at 8:43 pm said:

      Solar flare-up will burn a hole in every pocket

      Brian Robins and Tim Barlass October 31, 2010 – smh


      HOUSEHOLDS will pay an extra $600 on their electricity bill over six years to cover the $2 billion cost of the failure of the state government’s overly generous solar power scheme.

      If elected in March, the opposition will have the scheme, which runs to the end of 2016, reviewed by the auditor-general so that it can decide on its future.

      From midnight last Wednesday, the government slashed from 60¢ to 20¢ per kilowatt hour the tariff paid to households installing solar panel systems because the surging number of applications has blown out the scheme’s cost.

      In reports tabled in Parliament last week, the government disclosed that it had been advised that even after slashing the tariff for solar panels, it anticipated 777 megawatts of solar panels would be installed by the time the scheme closed.

      Already, 200 megawatts of capacity has either been installed or ordered.

      The reports detailed the total cost to households is forecast to reach $1975 million by 2017, placing a burden on homes at a time when power prices are rising sharply already

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2010 at 8:34 am said:

      The Future of Energy in Australia

      David Archibald 20thJuly 2009

      •The Oil Price Driver
      •Electric Power
      •Liquid Fuels
      •Convergence through Plug-in Hybrid

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/11/2010 at 6:26 pm said:

      Victoria facing electricity crisis, says opposition

      * From: The Australian
      * November 03, 2010 11:30AM

      POWER cuts and brownouts will hit Victorians because of government red tape, the shadow energy spokesman Michael O’Brien has warned.

      And he has placed the blame for soaring energy costs – power bills have risen by about 20 per cent in Victoria in the last year – squarely on the shoulders of the Brumby Labor government.

      But energy minister Peter Batchelor has dismissed the warning and defended his government’s record.

      Mr Batchelor, who is retiring at this election, said power prices for Victorias were some of the lowest in the country and attacked the federal Liberals and Greens for walking away from putting a price on carbon.

      In a radio debate on 3AW this morning, Mr O’Brien said there was a “very real risk that Victorians are going to see brownouts’’.

      Power bills had risen by 55 per cent in the nearly three and a half years since John Brumby took over as premier, he said.

      “We are going to see problems, particularly on those really hot summer days we have seen disruptions to supply and we need to have new electricity generation coming online,’’ he said.

      “The government has put all its eggs basically in the wind basket, there have been a lot of wind farms approved but not many operating and the government is actually holding up the development of a lot of gas-fired electricity which would be better, cheaper and cleaner.’’

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/11/2010 at 6:59 pm said:

      Solar power plan without a carbon price is too good to be true

      November 9, 2010 – smh

      When Julia Gillard and Hillary Clinton announced they wanted to ”make solar power competitive with conventional power sources” within five years, they left out one important detail.

      Their goal was based on solar being competitive with coal-fired power after a carbon price had been imposed.

      When you think about it this is obvious – if solar power could provide electricity as cheaply as coal-fired power without putting a cost on the emissions from coal, then we wouldn’t need to impose that cost. The problem would be solved. We could forget the whole carbon price thing, because the only reason to have one is to give a leg-up to more expensive, low-emission sources of power.
      Advertisement: Story continues below

      But according to the executive director of the Australian Solar Institute, Mark Twidell – who will be managing the $50 million the federal government has stumped up for the initiative – cost-competitive solar without a carbon price sounds too good to be true because it is too good to be true.

      Solar is getting cheaper but the prediction that it could enter the market as a competitive alternative in 2015 is based on the assumption that conventional forms of power will be also more expensive by then for a number of reasons, and one important reason would be a carbon price,” he said.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/11/2010 at 9:48 am said:

      “Already, several hundred million pounds have been squandered through government subsidy to build up a solar power network around Britain. How much energy does this entire network produce? A total of 2.3 megawatts (MW). To put that into perspective, a medium-sized gas-fired power station produces an annual 800 MW. And a medium-sized coal-fired station between 1,500 and 2,000 MW. In other words, we would need to build nearly 1,000 times more solar panels than we already have in order to equal the power generated by just one conventional power station.”

      Huntly (Gas/Coal) is 1000 MW

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/12/2010 at 4:57 pm said:

      Solar Panel subsidies: A billion dollars to provide cheap electricity to wealthy households

      There is no sunnier first world country than Australia. If solar was going to be a raging success anywhere, surely it would be in the land of the Sunburnt Country. Instead the Australian government has poured in more than a billion dollars to install solar panels on the roof tops of private homes. Its a text book case of misdirected spending.

      In the end the government drew money from the population-at-large to help Chinese solar panel manufacturers, and to provide cheap electricity to 107,000 households in mostly medium-high wealth areas. It reduced Australias emissions by a piddling 0.015 per cent, at an exorbitant carbon price of $300/ton.

      Solar power is clearly not viable yet. So that billion dollars could have been spent on research to make solar power economic (in which case no subsidies would be needed). It could have made us world leaders with a product to patent and sell (or it might not). Instead governments of both major parties chose to pour a billion dollars into a program that never had any chance of helping the environment, or our export industry. Mere feel-good window dressing.

      The program gifted up to $8,000 dollars as a rebate to encourage people to install solar panels on their roofs, but it had to be canceled suddenly last year because the bill for the overly generous scheme was blowing out. Another different rebate for solar generated electricity promised to pay 60c a kwhr (compared to the usual 20 c/kwhr) and met the same fate. It too was suddenly canceled. In both cases the local solar industry had to deal with rapidly changing rules and rewards, leading to bubbles and overnight busts. It makes a mockery out of the free market driving small businesses to the wall, and discouraging long term planning and employment.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/12/2010 at 12:29 pm said:

      NSW power prices will rise again

      # From: The Daily Telegraph
      # December 21, 2010

      HOUSEHOLDS face even higher power prices from January 1 as electricity retailers recover the $360 million cost of the federal renewable energy scheme.

      About 370,000 AGL electricity customers will be the first hit.

      From next week a 3.8 per cent increase in charges will push up customers’ annual bills by $54.

      It’s the first case of a NSW provider jacking up charges to recoup the cost of buying small-scale technology certificates, or STCs, which the Federal Government is introducing to help fund a shift towards green energy.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 24/12/2010 at 8:22 pm said:

      Anna Bligh opens door to nuclear power

      # The Australian
      # December 24, 2010 12:00AM

      ANNA Bligh has backed calls for the Labor Party to review its policy on nuclear power.

      The Queensland Premier has warned that renewable sources cannot meet the surging demand for baseload electricity.

      Ms Bligh and ALP national president said development of the only other viable alternative energy, hydro-electricity, had been hamstrung by resistance to new dams.

      Ms Bligh said pointedly that “parts of the environment movement” had shifted on the nuclear option, and now supported it as an abatement measure for climate change.

      Ms Bligh’s comments to The Australian reflect an important shift on nuclear power among Labor leaders, who now cite cost and perception issues rather than philosophical considerations as the impediment to introducing nuclear energy.


  12. Richard C (NZ) on 26/10/2010 at 9:26 pm said:



    International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE)

    Introduction and Overview

    by John P. Weyant and Jennifer Hill (Energy Modeling Forum, Stanford University)

    This Special Issue of The Energy Journal represents the first comprehensive report on a comparative set of modeling analyses of the economic and energy sector impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. Organized by the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum (EMF), the objectives of this study were the same as for previous EMF studies: (1) identifying policy-relevant insights and analyses that are robust across a wide range of models, (2) providing explanations for differences in results from different models, and (3) identifying high priority areas for future research. This study has produced a particularly rich set of results in all three areas, which is a tribute to the active participation of the modeling teams and the care each team took in preparing its paper. The volume consists of a paper by each modeling team on what it did and what it concluded from the model runs that were undertaken, proceeded by this introduction and summary paper. This summary focuses on the motivation for the study, the design of the study scenarios, and the interpretation of results for the four core scenarios, which all the teams ran. Each succeeding chapter contains ideas and insights drawn by the modeling teams from applying their models to issues they were able to address selected from a small set of important areas on which the group had mutually agreed to focus.

    [359 Citations]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/12/2010 at 5:05 pm said:

      Kyoto Protocol Scorecard

      Global Cost: $868 Billion
      Global Warming supposedly averted by 2050: 0.009C
      CO2 Emissions Reduction: 0.3%
      Cost per 1C of Global Warming supposedly averted by 2050: $96.4 Trillion
      Number of Delegates in Cancun aware of these numbers: estimated to be 0

  13. THREAD on 26/10/2010 at 9:44 pm said:

    Forestry and the carbon market response to stabilize climate

    Massimo Tavoni*, Brent Sohngen#, Valentina Bosetti*

    This paper investigates the potential contribution of forestry management in meeting a CO2 stabilization policy of 550 ppmv by 2100. In order to assess the optimal response of the carbon market to forest sequestration we couple two global models. An energy-economy-climate model for the study of climate policies is linked with a detailed forestry model through an iterative procedure to provide the optimal abatement strategy. Results show that forestry is a determinant abatement option and could lead to significantly lower policy costs if included. Linking forestry management to the carbon market has the potential to delay the policy burden, and is expected to reduce the price of carbon of 40% by 2050. Biological sequestration will mostly come from avoided deforestation in tropical forests rich countries. The inclusion of this mitigation option is demonstrated to crowd out some of the traditional abatement in the energy sector and to lessen induced technological change in clean technologies.

    [Please note the energy sector relevancy]

  14. Richard C (NZ) on 26/10/2010 at 9:56 pm said:

    CO2 emissions limits: Economic adjustments and the distribution of burdens.

    Jacoby, Henry D. Reiner, David M.

    Energy Journal; 1997, Vol. 18 Issue 3,

    Subject Terms: *EMISSIONS trading CARBON dioxide — Environmental aspects

    Abstract: Explores the consequences of policies under consideration within the Climate Convention imposing carbon dioxide controls on a subset of nations. Distribution of economic burdens among nations; Influence of emissions trading on policy costs.

  15. THREAD on 28/10/2010 at 9:41 am said:

    ETS Fuel Levy – Google Search

  16. THREAD on 28/10/2010 at 9:46 am said:

    New Zealand ETS Fuel Levy – Google Search

    • THREAD on 28/10/2010 at 10:06 am said:

      Pacifica Shipping

      Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and Levy

      From 1 July, 2010, Pacifica Shipping added an ETS Levy to its freight rates to cover the cost of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) imposed on domestic transport operators. It is important to note the Levy is applied in accordance with New Zealand statutory provisions of the ETS

      Using the capped $25 rate for example, Pacifica’s obligations would be calculated as follows:

      Fuel Type Carbon Credit Cost CO2 Emissions Obligation per MT
      _______________(Per MT)_________Factor__________(Less 50%)

      HFO Fuel Oil______$25.00__________3.015___________$37.69

      Pacifica has calculated its ETS Levy by multiplying actual fuel tonnage usage by the ETS obligations per tonne as above, then dividing by the number of TEUs moved.

      Currently the ETS Levy added by Pacifica is $6 per TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit), based on the $25 New Zealand unit price.

    • THREAD on 28/10/2010 at 10:12 am said:

      The Rising Costs of Driving – AA New Zealand

      Emissions Trading Scheme

      As of July 1 2010, New Zealand has joined the handful of nations that has imposed a charge for carbon emissions in its fuel costs. Although technically it is not a tax, it will effectively behave like one until 2013.

    • THREAD on 28/10/2010 at 10:34 am said:

      Introduction to the Vehicle Economy Standard – NZ MoT

      February 2009

      Why are we proposing a Vehicle Economy Standard?

      * Evidence indicates the climate is changing.
      * New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are growing.
      * Transport is a significant contributor to New Zealand’s emissions footprint.
      * The New Zealand Government takes climate change and sustainability very seriously.
      * Reflected in the targets contained in the NZES and the NZEECS.
      * Reflected in the “Sustainable Transport” documaent.
      * Emissions Trading Scheme will help but…

      Evidence indicates the climate is changing: IPCC 2007.

  17. THREAD on 02/11/2010 at 12:08 pm said:


    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 12:09 pm said:

      Keep coal in the hole, or green efforts will remain futile

      By Jeanette Fitzsimons
      5:30 AM Tuesday Nov 2, 2010 – NZ Herald

      For 35 years I have been wrong about how to prevent climate change. It’s time I confessed.

      For 35 years I have worked to improve energy efficiency – insulating homes, efficiency standards for appliances, better light bulbs, fuel-economy standards for cars and energy-saving technologies in industry and farming.

      The assumption was that this would result in less fossil fuel being burned and less carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. Well, it doesn’t.

      For 35 years I have promoted renewable energy – solar water heating, solar electricity, wind power, log and pellet burners, bio-gas – assuming that these would result in less fossil fuel being burned and less carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. Well, they don’t.

      We would be stupid not to make those changes, which achieve cost savings, health benefits, warmer homes, jobs, more affordable energy, more profitable businesses and a stronger economy. But to protect the climate, we have to change tack. I’m changing tack.

      [Fitzsimons cites Hansen and “Storms of My Grandchildren”]

      Nasa climate scientist James Hansen has calculated how much more fossil fuel we could afford to use if we were to get back to 350 parts per million of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: the level that he calculates will allow climate to stabilise.

      His recipe, set out in his book Storms of My Grandchildren, published last year, allows us to use all the conventional oil (though not tar sands, shale or oil from extreme environments like that of the Southern Ocean) but coal must be phased out completely by 2030, starting now.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/11/2010 at 1:47 pm said:

      Clean technology the only alternative to coal mining

      5:30 AM Wednesday Nov 3, 2010 – Chris Baker: NZ Herald

      Coal is needed to make steel, and the Glenbrook steel site alone pumps $80 million a year into the South Auckland economy. Photo / Richard Robinson
      Coal is needed to make steel, and the Glenbrook steel site alone pumps $80 million a year into the South Auckland economy. Photo / Richard Robinson

      Jeanette Fitzsimons confesses that for 35 years she has been wrong about the solution to climate change. She now suggests that not mining coal will somehow help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      Until China and India (and many other developing and developed countries) find a way of producing electricity for less than 6c per kilowatt-hour using something other than coal, those countries will burn coal.

      There’s about 1 trillion tonnes of easy-access coal available. All the negotiations in the world will not alter this fact.

      All the greenhouse gas-reduction efforts to date have not altered the fact that large quantities of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, including coal, enter the atmosphere and will continue to enter the atmosphere over the next decades.

      In New Zealand, coal and gas are the chief energy sources used to convert milk into milk powder: the basis of a multibillion-dollar export industry.

      Fonterra’s Edendale processing plant alone employs 400 staff and produces 230,000 tonnes of product a year.

      If there were an alternative source of energy that was as cheap and as reliable, it would be used.

      Steel cannot be made without coal. New Zealand coal and ironsands are used to make steel at Glenbrook, which employs 1200 staff and injects $80 million a year into the South Auckland economy.


      Carbon capture and storage is a vital component in the global response to reducing greenhouse emissions. The Government and industry are assessing these technologies and are working with Australia to advance them.

      [And there it is – Chris Baker seduced by unsubstantiated group-think]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 2:47 pm said:

      New Zealand Energy Coal Statistics – Google Search

      New Zealand Energy Coal Steam Electricity – Google Search

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 3:09 pm said:

      New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development – Crown Minerals

      Coal Industry News

      Beginner’s guide to the New Zealand Coal Industry

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 2:50 pm said:

      Coal power drops

      5:30 AM Thursday Sep 16, 2010 – NZ Herald

      Electricity generation from coal fell 60 per cent in the June quarter from the same quarter last year as geothermal generation rose to record levels, according to the New Zealand energy quarterly report.

      A total of 10,831GWh of electricity was generated in the June quarter, of which 73 per cent was from renewable generation.

    • Andy on 02/11/2010 at 3:17 pm said:

      Geothermal may be classified as “renewable”, but its emissions still come under the ETS

    • val majkus on 02/11/2010 at 3:32 pm said:

      Who better to tell us the ineffectiveness than two Australian experts;
      the first is Terry Cardwell who published a letter in the Morning Bulletin Rockhampton on December 22, 2009. Here’s the first para
      I have sat by for (many) … years frustrated at the rubbish being put forth about carbon dioxide emissions, thermal coal-fired power stations, renewable energy and the ridiculous Emissions Trading Scheme. Frustration at the lies told (particularly during the election) about global pollution. Using power station cooling towers for an example. The condensation coming from those towers is as pure as that that comes out of any kettle.Terry has had a worldwide response to that letter;
      His latest article, ‘The Madness of King Rudd’, is at; Terry says, ‘in spite of all the screaming facts from all corners of the globe that now has become apparent about renewable energy and global warming Kevin Rudd still refuses to listen or look at the truth and still declares that 20% of our power generation will be renewable energy. IT IS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DO THAT.”
      The other expert is Peter Lang; Peter is widely publicised on the net but has an article ‘Solar Power Realities” at his Conclusion is: solar power is uneconomic. Government mandates and subsidies hide the true cost of renewable energy but these additional costs must be carried by others
      Why have one taxpayer subsidise the other which is really what happens with these renewable schemes

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 4:21 pm said:

      Ah yes, cooling tower steam – what would the MSM do without those photos?

      Terry Cardwell (Australia context)

      “Coal fired thermal power generators can respond rapidly to system load changes and can cover the instant loss of the largest unit (660 megawatts) without instability being created in the system. It is this type of response that is required to compensate for the erratic output from wind and solar generators if they were to have a 20% input to the grid.”

      So it’s either spinning reserve or brown-out/black-out load shedding, the greater the contribution from “green” renewables.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 4:10 pm said:

      “Geothermal may be classified as “renewable”, but its emissions still come under the ETS”

      Forgive me for doubting your word Andy, but I had to check that for myself.

      Sure enough:-

      Guide to Reporting for
      Geothermal Fluid Activities under
      the New Zealand Emissions
      Trading Scheme

      December 2009

      Well, that’s an eye opener – I did not know that.

      I wonder if Jeanette Fitzsimons wants to keep that in the hole too?

    • Andy on 02/11/2010 at 4:19 pm said:

      If you start digging into the ETS legislation, it is truly terrifying.

      All those non-jobs counting up non-problems.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 4:30 pm said:

      And its only just started, we haven’t seen the full extent of the “counting” yet.

      Must confess I wouldn’t mind a “counting” contract. If it’s good enough for CCG to carry carbon credit ads…….

      There’s a farm in the Mamakus where around 2000 acres of forest and bush was cleared recently. I’m curious as to how the MAF ETS Police dealt with it.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 02/11/2010 at 4:55 pm said:

      Environment BoP and Western Bay Dist Council turned a blind eye to the stream sedimentation so I suspect MAF took a similar approach.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/11/2010 at 10:19 am said:

      A suggestion to Dr. James Hansen: go protest coal in China

      November 15, 2010 by Anthony Watts

      Over at the Air Vent, Jeff Id has a very interesting story by Roddy Campbell, and in particular one graph that struck me as thought provoking. When I first saw it, these two stories immediately came to mind:

      Breaking: NASA GISS Dr. James Hansen – arrested yet again

      Dr. James Hansen of NASA GISS arrested

      You see, Dr. Hansen of NASA GISS, has been using his position to protest the use of coal in America. That’s certainly his right. But, since his concern is global CO2 produced by coal, is he really being effective by protesting here? It seems that he should think locally, but act globally. Have a look at this graph and see if you think he’s making any difference in the places coal is being used the most:

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/11/2010 at 7:07 pm said:

      Seen at JoNova

      November 23rd, 2010 at 3:37 pm

      why on earth would australia be trying to stop coal?

      22 Nov: Reuters: Timothy B. Hurst: World Bank Loans to Energy Projects, Both Clean and Dirty, Soar

      Recent loans for coal-fired power plants is evidence to the fact that the World Bank is still in the business of loaning money for massive construction projects with the most favorable cost-benefit ratio — with benefits measured almost entirely in terms of economic benefits…
      World Bank loans for fossil fuel projects topped $6.3 billion in the fiscal year ending in June, $4.4 billion of which was for the construction of new coal-fired power plants, according to the Bank Information Center, a Washington-based watchdog group.
      One project in particular, the 4,800-megawatt Medupi Station in South Africa and will emit about 26 million tons of carbon dioxide annually until roughly 2050. Together with another World Bank project, India’s Tata Ultra Mega plant, set to go online in 2012, the two projects will emit 50 million tons of carbon dioxide annually — roughly equivalent to the carbon emissions of the country of Ireland…
      And heavy criticism for the $3.75 billion loan for the South African Medupi Station — criticism that included a protest from the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and Italy in the form of abstaining to vote on the approval of the loan — has led the World Bank to take steps to present the institution as pro-renewables, including the hiring of an internationally-renowned clean energy expert to help shape strategy.
      In September, the World Bank announced that Daniel Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley would be the bank’s first chief technical specialist for renewable energy and energy efficiency…

      22 Nov: Businessweek: Alistair Holloway: South African Coal Price Highest in Two Years on Chinese Demand

      A cold wave is sweeping across China from the west, lowering temperatures in northern regions by as much as 18 degrees Celsius today, the National Meteorological Center said. That may spur coal demand. Power-station coal prices at Qinhuangdao port, a Chinese benchmark, rose today to the highest since Jan. 25, data from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association show…
      Buyers have increasingly turned to South Africa for coal because supplies from Indonesia have been hampered by rainfall and Australian shipments face infrastructure bottlenecks, she said…
      India may not be able to meet its own coal needs. Demand in the year starting April 2011 is forecast at 713.2 million tons, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told parliament today. Production in the next financial year is estimated at 591.8 million tons, he said…

    • Richard C (NZ) on 24/11/2010 at 7:07 pm said:

      Condolences for the Pike River victims

      Send your condolences to the families of the victims of the Pike River coal mine disaster.

      To leave a message for their loved ones please use the comment field at the foot of this page.

      24/11/2010 – Stuff

      The Pike River coal mine victims: Conrad John Adams, Malcolm Campbell, Glen Peter Cruse, Allan John Dixon, Zen Wodin Drew, Christopher Peter Duggan, Joseph Ray Dunbar, John Leonard Hale, Daniel Thomas Herk, David Mark Hoggart, Richard Bennett Holling, Andrew David Hurren, Jacobus (Koos) Albertus Jonker, William John Joynson, Riki Steve Keane, Terry David Kitchin, Samuel Peter Mackie, Francis Skiddy Marden, Michael Nolan Hanmer Monk, Stuart Gilbert Mudge, Kane Barry Nieper, Peter O’Neill, Milton John Osborne, Brendan John Palmer, Benjamin David Rockhouse, Peter James Rodger, Blair David Sims, Joshua Adam Ufer, Keith Thomas Valli.

    • val majkus on 24/11/2010 at 8:36 pm said:

      Thank you Richard for that link

    • val majkus on 24/11/2010 at 9:17 pm said:

      Richard, I’ve sent that link to a number of my contacts and the blogs I visit regularly including WUWT

    • As a Kiwi temporarily living in the UK, my UK family and I join all our countrymen in sorrow at the passing of the victims of the disaster in the Pike River mine.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 25/11/2010 at 10:15 am said:

      Eerie similarities to West Virginia mine disaster

      25/11/2010 – Stuff

      Residents of a tiny US town where 29 coal miners were killed in an explosion earlier this year have sent their best wishes to the families of the New Zealand miners presumed dead at Pike River Mine.

      The explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine, in Montcoal in Raleigh County, West Virginia on April 5 bears much resemblance to the Pike River disaster, particularly because 29 men also perished.

      Not all of the bodies of the men were able to be recovered immediately – with the last four not recovered until several days later – and an investigation was held up for months by toxic gases. Conditions were so bad in the mine that rescuers who were in the mine on the first day of rescue unknowingly walked past the bodies of the four miners.

      Dawn Dayton, the managing editor of the Register-Herald, a newspaper published in Beckley, West Virginia, said the “similarities give me goose bumps”.

      Dayton said she and many members of the community had been following the story of the plight of the New Zealand miners.

      She said, like Greymouth, the community surrounding the mine was small and tight knit.

      Dayton said investigations were continuing and there was a lot of “rancour” towards Massey Energy, the company which owned Upper Big Branch Mine, and many in the community were still grieving.

      “I don’t know if the wounds are going to heal.”

      A worker at the Charles Jarrel Merchandise Store, a local meeting spot only a few kilometres from the mine, said residents of the area had been following the Pike River disaster story.

      “I am really sorry to hear that.”

      She said there was an enormous amount of grieving continuing in the area.

      “It is still a really touchy subject down here.”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 27/11/2010 at 3:09 pm said:


      Richard S Courtney:
      November 26th, 2010 at 8:52 pm


      At #54 you ask (I think me):

      The question is what would the comparative cost be to produce diesel & kerosene as opposed to traditional refining of crude? What comparative environmental costs are associated with surface or in ground gassification prior to liquefaction?
      And on a different level:- If the costs are comparable or less, what does this mean for the geo-political balance of the world? (& big oil).

      Wow! Those questions are far, far too big for an adequate answer here, but I will provide some responses.

      The most important fact concerning these issues is the existence of the novel liquid solvent extraction (LSE) process. LSE has been capable of converting coal to synthetic crude oil (syncrude) at competitive cost to crude oil since 1994.

      The LSE process was developed by the Coal Research Establishment (CRE) of British Coal (aka the National Coal Board: NCB). I worked on its development while at CRE and UNESCO commissioned a paper about it from me. We proved the process both technically and economically with a demonstration plant built and operated at Point Of Ayr in North Wales.

      British Coal was owned by the UK government and ownership of the LSE process devolved to the government when the government abolished British Coal. There are good reasons why details of the LSE process are a state secret (see below), but the basic method is as follows.

      LSE dissolves the coal in a solvent in an ebullating bed at high temperature and pressure. The solution includes hydrogen (obtained from coal and water by a ‘water gas shift’) that combines with the dissolved coal to form syncrude in the presence of a zeolite catalyst. The proportions of the various hydrocarbons (i.e. oil fractions) in the resulting syncrude are ‘tuned’ by adjusting the temperasture and pressure while the hydrogenation of dissolved coal occurs. Reducing the temperature and pressure causes the syncrude to come out of solution, and the solvent is returned to the start of the process for reuse.

      The surprising economics of LSE are provided by its abilities to be tuned to provide syncrude that provides a match of refinery products which match market demand, and to consume sulphurous refinery bottoms.

      An oil refinery separates crude oil into its component parts for sale. These components must match market demand: obtaining a correct amount of one fraction (e.g. kerosene) must not provide too little or too much of any other fraction (e.g. benzene). Disposal of an excess of a fraction has disposal cost and a shortage of a product causes market difficulties. This match to market demand is achieved by blending. Crude oils from different places has different proportions of components. So, an oil refinery obtains crude oils from different places, mixes them together such that the resulting blend consists of components that match market demand when they are separated by refining.

      Blending has costs. Different crudes have to be obtained from different places then transported to the refinery and mixed in correct proportions. LSE product does not have these costs because the LSE process can be tuned to provide syncrude which has components that match market demand when they are separated by refining.

      Crude oil contains sulphur that forms sulphurous ‘bottoms’ in the refinery process. Disposal of these ‘bottoms’ is expensive. But sulphur is removed from the syncrude during the LSE process and becomes part of a solid cake consisting mostly of ash minerals and some carbon (LSE converts more than 98% of the carbon in the coal to syncrude). The cake can be burned as fuel in a fluidised bed, and the sulphur then collected can be converted to saleable gypsum as a product. Hence, the oil refinery obtains no sulphurous ’bottoms’ when refining the syncrude.

      The UK government owns the LSE process. But the UK produces little coal (because it closed its coal industry) and produces crude oil. Importantly, the UK produces Brent crude that has high value because it blends with Saudi crude (i.e. the cheapest crude). The required Saudi:Brent blend has approximate proportions of 2:1).

      Use of the LSE process would collapse the value of Brent crude with resulting severe harm to the UK economy. So, details of the LSE process are a UK state secret.

      However, the existence of the LSE process constrains the maximum price of crude oil. If the price were to rise sufficiently then the UK would benefit from release for use of the LSE technology.

      In the future (at least 50 years and probably more than 100 years in the future), oil will become scarce if it continues to be used. In that circumstance crude oil supplies would become very expensive. The LSE product could be adopted as a replacement for crude oil. But the world will then be a very different place, so there is no purpose in considering what may/could/would then happen.

      I hope this answer is sufficient.

      November 27th, 2010 at 11:02 am

      University of Texas did a coal to liquids study for Canada and found coal could produce liquid transport fuel at a fully loaded cost of under $30 barrel oil equivalent.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 05/12/2010 at 12:26 am said:

      Rain swamps rural recovery

      # From: The Australian
      # December 04, 2010 12:00AM

      The big wet along Australia’s eastern and southern agricultural belts is devastating the current winter grain harvest, with rain delaying harvesting and turning prime food-quality wheat worth $300 a tonne into $170-a-tonne wheat suitable only for feed.

      There are projections that NSW and Victoria could sustain losses to the value of wheat, barley and canola crops of more than $1bn. In the nation’s west, the continuing drought is expected to slash $3bn off farm and farm industry incomes.

      The La Nina rainfall pattern is also causing havoc for the coal industry, with the owners of one Queensland mine warning severe weather could put further upward pressure on coal

    • Richard C (NZ) on 06/12/2010 at 8:55 am said:

      Germany’s Coal Boom Highlights Nation’s Big Energy Dilemma

      May 1, 2009

      Germany plans to bring a slew of new dirty coal plants online by 2012 and even later, Reuters reports. That fact highlights both the extent of its coal addiction and the growing energy and climate dilemma facing the nation as it prepares for a nuclear phase-out.

      Specifically, 14 coal plants, totaling 14,000 MW of capacity will open by 2012. At least 9,000 more megawatts worth could be built after 2013.

      The news comes at a time of mounting global policy backlash against coal. The UK and Canada are moving to impose moratoriums on new coal plants that don’t capture and sequester climate-warming CO2. Germany is moving in the opposite direction.

    • THREAD on 07/12/2010 at 8:38 am said:

      Coal-fired Power Plant Pollution – Thread

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/12/2010 at 1:18 pm said:

      Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

      Latest news

      Lignite a bad choice for NZ – Environment Commissioner
      09 Dec 2010
      Plans for a large-scale increase in lignite use would dramatically increase New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

      Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal
      09 Dec 2010
      This report assesses the environmental effects of plans to increase lignite use a hundredfold or more

      “Value of good science speech” to WasteMINZ conference
      13 Oct 2010
      Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today.It’s good to be here and to hear the news the Minister has just given us.But unlike the Minister I do not come bearing gifts.Your conference theme – the value of good science — is a challenging one.Preparing this talk has…

      Mining’s special access status concerning – Environment Commissioner
      21 Sep 2010
      Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Jan Wright, has voiced concerns over mining’s special access rights to Department of Conservation land in her latest report, Making difficult decisions: Mining the conservation estate.

      Making difficult decisions: Mining the conservation estate
      21 Sep 2010
      This report looks at and recommends improvements on how mining is managed on non-schedule 4 public conservation land.

      Submission on draft NZ Energy Strategy
      03 Sep 2010
      In my role as an independent advisor I have often commented that climate change is the biggest environmental problem of our time. I was therefore disappointed to see that in terms of the draft Energy Strategy the aim to “Reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions” was relegated to the twelfth area of focus.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/12/2010 at 1:43 pm said:

      Lignite a bad choice for NZ – Environment Commissioner

      Plans for a large-scale increase in lignite use would dramatically increase New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

      Dr Wright makes the call in her latest report, Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal, which assesses the environmental effects of plans to increase lignite use a hundredfold or more.

      She says there are considerable problems with proposed large-scale lignite use.

      “The plans to increase lignite use are extremely concerning as they would produce huge quantities of carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change – the biggest environmental threat we have ever faced.

      “Just one of the two proposed lignite-to-diesel plants would hugely increase our annual carbon emissions and send New Zealand in the wrong direction.

      “Those extra emissions are likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year and much of that cost could be borne by the taxpayer unless changes are made to the Emissions Trading Scheme.

      “The sheer scale of investment and production involved in significant use of lignite are likely to lock us into using lignite for decades which would make it harder to move to cleaner technologies.

      “Such a move would also threaten our clean green reputation and the industries we have built on it.

      “We are heading into a future where, one way or another, we are going to pay the price for our carbon emissions and a decision to use lignite would make that a very high price indeed.”

      There are three recommendations in the report.

      That the Minister for Climate Change Issues:

      1. Amend ETS to exclude large scale lignite industries from receiving free carbon credits.
      2. Amend ETS to set criteria for deciding which new activities are eligible for free carbon credits. One criterion to be that activities deemed eligible will reduce New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions.

      That Cabinet:

      3. Establish a clean green taskforce to explore growing our green economy. Include considering implications for the country of large scale exploitation of lignite.

      The full report, appendix, and a video interview with the Commissioner are available here.
      Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal

      Commissioner’s overview

      Thirty-two years ago, my interest in the oil price shocks of the 1970s took me to the University of California at Berkeley to study energy. That same year the Liquid Fuels Trust Board was established in New Zealand. The Board clearly saw lignite as the country’s
      future source of transport fuel. However, because lignite is poor quality coal, extracting energy from it creates particularly high emissions of carbon dioxide. My concern about this is not new. Twenty years ago I co-authored a report called Transport fuels in New
      Zealand after Maui – lignite on the back burner.

      It now looks as if lignite is making its way to the front burner. Two companies, stateowned enterprise Solid Energy and the L&M Group, are proposing to mine lignite in Otago and Southland and convert it to diesel. In addition, Solid Energy is proposing to make two more products from lignite: the nitrogen fertiliser urea, and briquettes (made by drying out lignite into a better form of coal) primarily for export. Using lignite for generating electricity is another possibility.

      The foundation of this report is a set of carbon footprint calculations for these four uses of lignite – diesel, urea, briquettes, and electricity. These calculations are presented
      in as open and transparent a manner as possible. I ask those who may question these calculations to be equally transparent.

      The standard technology for turning lignite into diesel is well-established. The Fischer-Tropsch process was developed in the 1920s and has been used in South Africa for many years to make diesel from coal. In greenhouse gas terms, such diesel is almost twice as bad as the diesel we use now.

      It may be that this can be mitigated by carbon capture and storage, that is, trapping the carbon dioxide emitted from an industrial process and storing it underground. But carbon capture and storage is very much a technology under development.

      On the other hand, no technological development is required to use trees for sequestering carbon. But a forest stops removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when it is mature, so over a long period of time a continually expanding permanent forest would be required.

      At the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, New Zealand took responsibility for reducing our annual greenhouse gas emissions to between 10% and 20% below the 1990 level by 2020. Even with the current Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and other measures in place,
      our greenhouse gas emissions are on track to be 30% above the 1990 level by 2020.

      This is a huge gap. Certainly, because our commitment is to a ‘responsibility target’, we can purchase carbon credits offshore. However relying only on this for closing the gap
      would be at odds with the clean green image that we use to differentiate ourselves in the international marketplace. Indeed for some of our trading partners, lignite is best known as the brown coal that powered East Germany with dire results for their environment.

      The production of diesel from lignite on the scale contemplated would increase New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Just one of the two proposed ligniteto-diesel plants would increase the gap between the international climate change commitment we have made and where our greenhouse gas emissions are headed by 20%. If both proposed lignite-to-diesel plants were to be built, the gap would increase by 50%. The production of urea and briquettes from lignite would have a much smaller impact, but still do nothing to close the gap.

      For good reasons the Resource Management Act does not give regional councils the ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This means that the ETS is the only significant mechanism currently available for curbing the growth in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

      In its current form the ETS exposes the Government – and therefore the taxpayer – to potentially enormous financial risk. This is because of the rules governing the allocation of free carbon credits. For ‘free carbon credits’, read ‘taxpayer subsidy’. New lignite developments may well qualify for significant subsidies under the scheme. The subsidy for one lignite-to-diesel plant would be likely to be billions of dollars over its lifetime. It makes no sense for taxpayers to subsidise new investment in carbon-intensive technology. This is the opposite of what the ETS is intended to achieve. The review of the scheme in 2011 provides an opportunity to address this and other serious shortcomings.

      Lower prices, security of supply, and employment opportunities are all being spoken of as benefits of lignite developments. But diesel, urea, and briquettes are all traded internationally and so would be sold at world prices. As for supply security, it is many years since national self-sufficiency has been Government policy. If employment is to be subsidised indefinitely, there is no case for favouring carbon-intensive jobs in a region with relatively low unemployment.

      If the ETS were to be revised so that new carbon-intensive industries were not eligible for any free carbon credits, some may still be commercially viable. A business case may well be made for converting lignite to diesel. The South Island lignite is generally more accessible than other coal in New Zealand, so while it is a poor resource it is a cheap resource.

      However, there are wider matters to consider. For instance, the risk of such a long-term investment of billions of dollars must be very great, given the difficulty of predicting both oil prices and carbon prices. This is a risk that should not be underwritten in any way by the Government.

      The value of our clean green image in the international marketplace can never be accurately measured. But the marketing strategies of the two biggest sectors of our economy – tourism and dairying – rest on it, along with those of many small innovative companies. If New Zealand can be said to have a brand, ‘clean green’ is it. Using lignite on a large scale is not consistent with that brand.

      For all of these reasons, New Zealand’s lignite should remain in the ground, at least until subsidies for its large scale exploitation are ruled out and mitigation options are proven sufficient and reliable. But even if these requirements were met, increasing the amount of lignite mined in this country by a hundredfold or more would not be the right thing to do because it would take the country in the wrong direction.

      We face a carbon-constrained future and one way or another we will be paying the price for our greenhouse gas emissions. A decision to lock us into low grade coal would make that a very high price indeed.

      Dr Jan Wright

      Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/12/2010 at 1:49 pm said:

      Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Lignite – Google Search

      Links to news articles and commentary

    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/12/2010 at 10:52 am said:

      Chinese endure power shortages as coal runs short

      AP Business, Monday December 20, 2010, 9:17 am EST – Yahoo News

      SHANGHAI (AP) — Communities in central and northern China are facing power cuts and rationing as winter coal supplies fall short of surging demand.

      Cold weather and transport disruptions typically cause shortages most years, but the problem has been complicated by coal producers’ unhappiness over price controls that are crimping their profits.


      China depends on coal for more than three-quarters of its electricity and also to fuel centralized winter heating systems in northern cities. Spates of unusually cold weather often strain supplies, with power rationing not uncommon.


      Meanwhile, unusually dry weather is also hitting hydroelectricity plants, with water levels on average 10 percent below normal.

      At China’s Three Gorges dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric dam, the water flow was 26 percent below normal, the State Grid reports said.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/02/2011 at 7:28 pm said:

      China currently commissions a new 500 MWH coal fired power station every nine days and plans to continue to do so for the next 10 years


      Lone Labor leader leads the way on nuclear power

      * Piers Akerman
      * From: The Daily Telegraph
      * February 04, 2011 12:00AM

    • Richard C (NZ) on 06/07/2012 at 7:34 pm said:

      Fossil Fools: Europe’s Cap-And-Trade Triggers Coal Boom

      Demand for coal grew 3.3 percent last year in Europe while sales of less- polluting natural gas fell 2.1 percent. Gas-fired plants need about half the carbon permits of coal burners. Even so, the 17 percent drop in permit prices to about 8 euros a ton has reduced their competitive advantage. Coal will continue to remain on the money in Europe because it’s more competitive to burn than gas. More and more of the coal to Europe will come from the U.S. where just the opposite is happening.


  18. Andy on 14/11/2010 at 10:28 am said:

    Scotland ‘risking a blackout’ in a bid to go green

    Rupert Soames, chief executive of power supply firm Aggreko, told the First Minister that the National Grid will lose a third of its capacity by 2018 as a string of nuclear, gas and oil-fired power stations across the UK are retired – including several in Scotland.

    Mr Soames claimed that no other industrialised country in the world is at risk of losing so much of its energy supply at the same time – and without a realistic back-up plan.

  19. I would like to offer my condolences to all who have suffered in the terrible loss at New Zealand’s Pike River mine disaster.

  20. Richard C (NZ) on 26/11/2010 at 9:01 am said:

    Biofuel truck quietly proves nothing need go to waste

    Nov 26, 2010 – NZ Herald

    A waste truck which is fuelled by what you threw out last week has begun its rounds.

    The truck, launched in Rodney yesterday by Auckland Mayor Len Brown, is the result of the first successful New Zealand project to turn landfill gas into a transport fuel.

    Its creators say the truck’s performance is exactly the same as its diesel-powered equivalent, but it is quieter and has far fewer emissions.

    The founder of the project, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research engineer Stephan Heubeck, said the “sky was the limit” when it came to capturing the latent fuel in waste dumps.

    He has a vision of 5 per cent of Auckland’s transport being run on waste.

    For a start, waste company Transpacific hopes to run its entire fleet on the biogas. Diesel trucks can be converted to a dual-fuel system for around $20,000.

    Mr Heubeck said that cost would be earned back within a year.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/11/2010 at 9:19 am said:

      More on Redvale here:

      Redvale had been producing methane for more than 10 years from pipes buried in the landfill and had been using it to produce electricity.

      Transpacific’s managing director, Tom Nickels, said most people considered biogas to be a harmful greenhouse gas but it was a valuable resource if managed correctly.

      “Extracting biogas from waste, whether it’s human waste, household, industrial or agricultural waste, is a huge environmental opportunity for Auckland and for New Zealand.”

      He said projected peak gas flows, forecast for 2025, would place Redvale as New Zealand’s ninth-largest gas field, based on 2009 gas field outputs.

  21. Andy on 02/12/2010 at 8:55 pm said:

    Interesting article from Chiefio on Methane Clathrates:

    The energy stored in methane clathrate deposits on Earth has been estimated at twice that in all conventional hydrocarbon deposits of oil, gas, and coal.

    Yes that’s right, twice as much as the entire world’s fossil fuel reserves, and production is already being investigated.

    The article’s comments are rather interesting too, as they veer off into the radiative properties of Methane as a GHG.

    Definitely a must read.

  22. Richard C (NZ) on 02/12/2010 at 11:23 pm said:

    I saw a TV documentary on Methane Clathrates in either Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean that can only have been about two or three years ago but it seemed to be highly speculative then so I’m surprised at the progress (maybe the doco was a rerun).

    The meandering comments thread is mind boggling – explains the “musings” theme..

    You’re right about must read, it’s one of those classics that I will go back to from time to time.

    • Andy on 03/12/2010 at 7:28 am said:

      I was particularly intrigued by the comments from Adrian Vance in the Chiefio article.

      His comments about the IR absorption bans of methane, and its half life, have particular relevance to NZ and our agricultural sector. Well worth following up, I feel. Might have to contact him.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/12/2010 at 9:00 am said:

      Good idea. It does beg questions as to whether the US$90m (US$32.5m NZ) pledged at COP15 to study animal emissions is based on faulty assumptions i.e.they should be starting with the spectroscopy, not the animals.

      US$32.5 million is not an insignificant amount in my books.

      I also wondered if methane clathrates occur around NZ, Taranaki Bight? Kermadecs?

  23. Richard C (NZ) on 03/12/2010 at 10:48 am said:

    Cars, Cattle and Ethanol

    23 November 2010, Press Release: Carbon Sense Coalition (Australia)

    The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused climate alarmists of scientific incompetence in promoting ethanol as an offset to animal emissions.

    The Chairman of Carbon Sense, Mr Viv Forbes, was responding to claims by Mr Combet that agriculture (mainly cattle and sheep) made up 23% of Australias emissions.

    Why are emissions from cattle eating grain classed as bad whereas emissions from cars burning grain ethanol are good?”


    Over the life of a car or a cow, they both produce the same carbon emissions. Every atom of carbon extracted from the air by the green plant eventually returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, the plant food. This is the cycle of life.”

    It is therefore scientific incompetence or deliberate fraud by government climate alarmists to claim that consuming ethanol in cars is good and should be subsidised but consuming the same plant material in cows must be rationed and taxed.”

    An ethanol industry propped up by subsidies and mandates is not sustainable. This industry damages taxpayers and pushes up the cost of grains, beef, pork, eggs, milk and cereals.”

    Subsidising ethanol brings no environmental benefits and is the enemy of the poor and hungry of the world. Its special privileges should be immediately removed.

  24. Richard C (NZ) on 04/12/2010 at 12:28 pm said:

    Birthing pains with electric car roll out

    Dec 4, 2010 – NZ Herald

    The first mass-market electric cars go on sale in the United States next month, and the nation’s electric utilities couldn’t be more thrilled – or worried.

    Plugged into a socket, an electric car can draw as much power as a small house. The surge in demand could knock out power to a home, or even a neighbourhood. That has utilities in parts of California, Texas and North Carolina scrambling to upgrade transformers and other equipment in neighbourhoods where the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are expected to be in high demand.


    Governments are promoting the expensive technology as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

    [Duh – the happiest beneficiaries will be US coal companies.]

    [Unintended consequences strikes again]

  25. THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 3:46 pm said:

    Tidal Power

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 3:53 pm said:

      33noa333 says:
      November 29, 2010 at 10:41 am

      How to make deserts and continent
      green + energy + food + land + water + cooler climate.

      Use mighty power of nature. In the northwestern Australia, we have huge tides,
      huge evaporation and huge dry rivers and lakes.
      Tides are up to 12m. Evaporation is up to 4m per year and can be increased.
      Huge 12m tidal erosion can revive old dry paleo dormant once mighty rivers, creeks and lakes,
      desalinate the country and change deserts to rain forests to provide more rain across Australia.
      World population is growing rapidly and we need more energy, food, land and water.

      this will change deserts and whole continent for better climate –
      environment, provide hydro energy, permanently and economically.

      energy + food + land + water + cooler climate

      Plenty of energy and HYDROGEN TO RUN YOUR CAR environment friendly.

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 3:55 pm said:

      Richard Treadgold says:
      November 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm

      33noa333 (gee, I hope you give us a proper name to use),

      I nearly binned this, but I’ve had a quick look and I’d like to hear comments from others.

      This is a proposal to use seawater to desalinate and revitalise the North-Western Australian desert. I notice the copyright claim on the material at the Australian government site you link to.

      I strongly suggest that you get someone to edit your material to improve the English and WRITE A SUMMARY describing the concept.

      My main question is how do you get the tides — large though they may be — to flow onto the land? Maybe I overlooked it.

      Why do you advertise “plenty of energy”? Where would it come from?

      How would you increase the evaporation?

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 3:57 pm said:

      val majkus says:
      November 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      I’m no scientist and I have no engineering training; I did however look at the submission with interest and afterwards googled tidal power on the web
      here’s a link
      from page 5
      The North West of Australia has some of the highest tides in the world with
      up to 10 metres. Tidal power has been proposed in the Kimberley region of
      Western Australia since the 1960s, when a study of the Derby region
      identified a tidal resource of over 3,000 MW.
      In recent years a proposal to construct a 50 MW tidal plant near Derby was
      developed by Derby Hydro Power. This project received a substantial grant
      from the Australian Greenhouse Office’s to further develop the project. To
      make use of the energy generated a 500 kilometre transmission line was
      needed to take the electricity to Broome and Fitzroy Crossing as well as a
      number of remote Aboriginal communities (SMEC 2003). The tidal power
      proposition faced significant challenges in terms of the initial construction
      cost and perceived impacts on the environment. Consequently, a natural
      gas powered system was adopted for most of the regional power needs.
      and here’s another link more recent
      Wilson Tuckey’s tidal power
      there’s a couple of links and a couple of explanations of how it would work which I think is missing from the submission
      Tuckey quoted the World Energy Council in a 61-page document, which is available as a pdf on his website, that lists Australia as one of nine countries that has potential sites for huge tidal energy projects. Of particular interest are Walcott Inlet and Secure Bay, north of the Kimberley town of Derby.

      What makes these two sites so attractive is that their surface or basin area is about 400 square kilometres, and these basins fill and empty with seawater, twice a day, through narrow entrances. The power of the seawater emptying and filling these bays, pounding through really narrow gaps, is breathtaking. Just these two Kimberley sites, Walcott Inlet and Secure Bay, have the potential to generate 4280 MW of electricity, according to the World Energy Council.

      The great problem with harnessing electric power in the Kimberley has always been the difficulty of transmitting the electricity generated. The long distances to places where it can be used, such as Perth or the Eastern or Southern seaboards, would see the electricity dissipate before it reached its destination. Wilson Tuckey says that this problem has been solved by a system called HVDC � High Voltage Direct Current transmission. The largest HVDC transmission line in the world is currently in operation in Australia. BassLink which connects Victoria and Tasmania, via a cable under Bass Straight, uses the latest HVDC transmission technology.
      can 33noa333 point to a successful operation anywhere in the world?
      there was a planned operation proposed to be built in Korea but I don’t know what happened to that

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 3:58 pm said:

      val majkus says:
      November 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm

      there’s also quite a comprehensive overlook at the various kinds of ‘green energy’ here
      tidal power doesn’t get a mention

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 4:01 pm said:

      33noa333 says:
      December 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

      Why do you advertise “plenty of energy”? Where would it come from ?

      Lets say that technology how to use energy of huge 12m tides on NW Australia is developed.
      how much energy is in 12m tides – how much hydrogen can be produced
      and price compared to petrol.

      If tidal river is constructed huge hydropower stations can be built.
      Not to forget Amazon has 5m tides with 2 huge hydropower stations.
      Amazon river has very little slope (1 to 2 cm per km)
      Amazon river currents can be strong up to 3m/sec (well tidal)

      NW Australia has 12m tides.
      Once first tidal river is operational second is much easier to construct
      using tidal power of first for erosion of second.

      Plus more hydro power for existing hydropower stations across Australia because of more rain.

      Oil is finite.
      Tides are permanent.

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 4:02 pm said:

      Richard C (NZ) says:
      December 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      “Tides are permanent.”

      Except for high and low slack water but there’s a dollop of tide energy NW AU nonetheless

      A tidal project at Kaipara harbour mouth NI NZ has in feasibility stage but I don’t know how far it’s got. There huge Resource Management Act (RMA) consent hurdles to overcome that require all environmental impacts to be considered. Don’t Know how that works in WA AU.

    • 33noa333 on 11/12/2010 at 10:18 am said:

      In north west Australia are huge deserts size of many countries.
      .. Great Sandy Desert , Simpson Desert
      with extremely high temperatures

      During December and January, temperatures are in excess of 45 degrees Celsius.
      Temperatures above 37.8° Celsius are common throughout
      northwestern Australian deserts for about 154 days each year.
      huge evaporation – wet shirt is dry in about 10 minutes.
      Huge evaporation makes area unsuitable for life
      any rain water will quickly evaporate .
      Huge desert areas are uninhabited.
      Tidal river would improve environment and quality of life.
      – where is water there is life.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/12/2010 at 10:35 am said:

      Lot’s of water in NT.

      Farm values skyrocketed there before the rains in VIC, SA, NSW. Don’t know what’s happened since.

      Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Plot shows a lot of warm sea water off NW WA

      Keep an eye on that. If it cools there will be big climate changes (maybe a climate shift) in WA.

      Pumped storage of water might be an option although I don’t know how the efficiency works out.

      “Tidal river would improve environment and quality of life.
      – where is water there is life.”

      You have to get pure water from somewhere – tidal water will be sea water up to point inland but it would provide power to pump water for irrigation and afforestation.

    • 33noa333 on 26/12/2010 at 10:37 am said:

      The influence of sea tides reaches of the Amazon River is surprisingly
      more than 1000 km upstream from the sea. (anomaly ?)
      Amazon tides are max. 5m
      Tides on NW Australia are huge max 12m
      how far will Australian tidal reach upstream from the sea be with 12m tides ?

      We can bring tidal sea water into desert.
      ( this is engineering and there are many ways how to do it,
      tidal river is part of land ecocology and environment around river
      and not just tidal river.)

      Huge deserts have plenty of low laying
      areas where swamps or underground tidal water supply can be provided
      for seawater tolerating plants.
      like mangroves to grow to increase evaporation for more rain on NW and
      elsewhere across Australia.

      Desert soil and desert underground water lacks: – nutrients – oxygen – Co2
      tides twice a day can provide all that is necessary
      for salt tolerating plants like mangrowes to grow in middle of desert.

      for more see:

    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/12/2010 at 12:04 pm said:

      There’s been plenty of rain water lately (e.g. Carnarvon) but no reservoirs to catch it (the CSIRO didn’t predict it so it wasn’t planned for). So the sea water is not necessarily reqd for vegetation.

      If rain water can be retained, the tidal power could drive irrigation if levels and gravity are a problem. Fine for wet cycles – not so good in dry cycles.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 31/12/2010 at 2:23 pm said:

      33noa333 is Milan?

      Years ago a project such as this was called “Think Big” in NZ. This is definitely thinking big on a grand scale.

      I’ll have a closer look at this next year and “Happy New Year” to you Milan.

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 4:03 pm said:

      Richard C (NZ) says:
      December 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      “Oil is finite.”

      There’s more than you think

      3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken Formation—25 Times More Than 1995 Estimate

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 3:59 pm said:

      val majkus says:
      November 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      As a matter of interest I did ask a friend of mine with expertise and this is what he says:

      No one has to date successfully hardnessed tidal power.
      Broome certainly has big tides but it is along way from any where to have a viable power production to supply where there is large power demand ie Perth.
      In the long term the only viable large scale power will be nuclear. Unfortunately, I missed the presentation at the Sunshine Coast IEAust branch from Martin Thomas about small (25 to 50 MW) portable (and cheap) nuclear plants. These are now available in Russia and US . You may know small units have existed for some time in nuclear submarines. I understand the units are modular fuel and garanteed for 10 years after which the supplier would replacement and take away the old units for renewal.
      Both the Russians and US are progressing with nuclear fusion (mechanism in hydrogen bombs) which has an unlimited supply of fuel, deuterium, in the oceans.
      The “greens” alternative energy solutions such as solar, wind, geothermal, tidal are not viable for base enrgy supply now and will never be viable.

      Does 33noa333 have any comment

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 3:59 pm said:

      33noa333 says:
      December 4, 2010 at 12:19 am

      val majkus – well I was looking something to improve Australian climate
      but more energy is just luck and makes proposal more economical
      true that tidal power is nearly discarded evrywhere
      reason probably engineering structure in sea are much more difficult to build and managed than on land
      Tidal power could be devided into structures in sea and structures on tidal river like
      – tidal river Amazon (5m tides)
      Amazon provides about 80% of environment friendly electrical energy for Brasil
      and they are building another huge hydro power station.

      more evaporation from tidal river water, mangrove swamps along tidal river = more rain
      and more rain once desert gets green because of more rain.

      more rain = more water in 12m tidal river
      and more rain – water for existing hydropower stations across Australia like Snowy Mountain.

      my opinion about transmision of energy … its easy to get hydrogen from water with
      electrolysis of water.
      cars, busses, planes already run on hydrogen… environment friendly.
      and probably some better technology for storing hydrogen will be developed.

      well it would be nice
      to have farm or ranch in Flinders ranges Green Valley with fresh water lake full of fish.

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 4:10 pm said:

      Kaipara Tidal Power Project – Google Search

      Tidal power – Crest Energy

      Radio New Zealand : News : Regional : Govt accused of turning deaf…

      Anger mounts as Kaipara tidal power plan gets nod – Local News

      Kaipara tidal power station endangers snapper – Harawira – Stuff

      Power to the Kaipara – local-news – auckland |

    • THREAD on 06/12/2010 at 4:16 pm said:

      Crest Energy

      Marine turbine power generation project in the Kaipara Harbour in Northland, northern New Zealand

      Crest Energy Limited has applied for RMA consent to construct a marine turbine power generation project in the Kaipara Harbour in Northland, northern New Zealand, for a period of 35 years. The Project comprises up to 200 completely submerged marine tidal turbines with a maximum generating capacity of around 200MW, located near the entrance of the Harbour.

      Crest Energy estimate its plans when fully implemented, will generate power for up to 250,000 NZ homes by harnessing the power of the tidal flows in to and out of the Kaipara Harbour. The Project may contribute 3% of New Zealand’s supply.

      The harbour is one of the largest harbours in the world covering 900 square kilometres with 3,000 kilometres of shoreline. The Kaipara extends for 60 kilometres north to south.

      Tidal turbines follow similar principles to wind turbines, except that it is possible to forecast the tides and therefore both the level of generation and the time of day for production of power. There are about ten companies constructing tidal turbines and others joining the industry, mainly from northern Europe and North America.

      Tidal and wind power generation have many similarities and some differences. Since sea water is 830 times denser than air the same flow generates several hundred times more power in water than in air. In addition tidal turbines are totally submerged and therefore invisible, and silent.

      The Kaipara Harbour has a number of factors making it suited to marine turbines. Up to 8,000 million cubic metres of water pass in and out of the harbour each day, which is equivalent to flooding the island of Manhattan to half the height of the Empire State Building (185 metres / 600 feet). The harbour is rarely used for shipping due to the treacherous tides and sand bars at its mouth.

      The project maintains New Zealand’s tradition of harnessing renewable energy. About 60% of New Zealand’s electricity is produced from hydroelectric, geothermal, wind and other sustainable sources.

      Crest Energy hopes its application to use the resources of Kaipara Harbour for 35 years will be approved by late 2008, but the consenting process has dragged on following an appeal against recommendations in favour of the project and as at August 2010, the judicial process is remains in progress. If Crest Energy proceeds to the construction phase the initial capital requirement is estimated to be approximately NZ$40 million. Estimated total costs over ten years are about NZ$600 million, offset by modest but growing revenues from year three. Annual revenue from 200 turbines is theoretically up to NZ$100 million at current wholesale electricity prices.

      Crest Energy also notes the following:

      * The development of the consent applications is the culmination of about eight man years of effort to date and has been funded privately within NZ
      * Northpower and Crest Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, the principles of which include “to establish and agree commercial terms between the parties that will provide for the formalisation of an effective and equitable working relationship” and “to support each other in finding efficient ways to deliver the Project requirements”
      * Crest Energy has a Certificate of Compliance dated 19th July 2007 issued by Kaipara District Council pursuant to Section 139 of the RMA certifying that the overland reticulation of power generated by the project is a permitted activity as defined in the District Plan
      * Crest Energy is conducting a carbon footprint analysis of the Project in comparison with local geothermal, hydroelectric and wind energy sources in anticipation of negotiations concerning the carbon value of the Project
      * Investigations of opportunities for tidal power in the South Pacific islands region, initially in Samoa and Tonga, are in progress
      * A financial audit of Crest Energy’s financial statements for the year ended March 2007 was completed in August 2007 by Hayes Knight Audit. The same auditors are currently reviewing the year ended March 2009.
      * Crest Energy commissioned a Cultural Impact Assessment which forms a part of the applications of July 2007. The assessment raised a number of issues which were reviwed at the Hearings ending 30th May 2008.
      * Compared to OECD averages NZ has relatively low labour costs, and the NZ legal system is based upon English law
      * The government announced the Emissions Trading Scheme which is good news for the Project (20Sep07)
      * NZ government announced the New Zealand Marine Energy Deployment Fund in 2007 and Crest was awarded the maxumum available in the first year, NZ$1.85 million, by the Energy Minister in May 2008. The award is subject to the granting of consents for the project.
      * An opportunity to buy shares in Crest Energy in September 2007 was oversubscribed. It was not open to the general public. Interested potential investors should visit our Investors page.
      * Ex-Prime Minister Helen Clark launched the New Zealand Energy Strategy (NZES) which includes a target to generate 90% of electricity from renewable resources by 2025. This implies a doubling of renewable energy generation of about 60%. NZES is also concerned with energy efficiency. (12Oct07)
      * NZES limits the construction of new fossil fuel generation plants for a decade making the implementation of large renewable energy projects much more likely, particularly when combined with the Emissions Trading announcements.

      Kaipara tides average 2.10 metres (nearly seven feet). The Kaipara Harbour has a temperate climate with an average annual air temperature of 16ºC (61ºF). It is close to New Zealand’s most populated city, Auckland, an area with 1.5 million residents, and another large centre, Whangarei. There are readily available routes to sell electricity using existing transmission lines.

      Many bodies are actively involved in the management of Kaipara Harbour including Government departments and local community groups, Northland Regional Council, Auckland Regional Council, Kaipara District Council and Rodney District Council .

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/02/2011 at 9:27 am said:

      Tidal power station for Kaipara approved

      Tuesday Feb 8, 2011 – NZH

      More than half a billion dollars will be spent on sinking tidal power turbines to the seabed of the Kaipara Harbour after the approval of New Zealand’s first tide-driven power station.

      But the Environment Court has set conditions of consent for the project after a year of mediation among four objectors.

      The key requirement for applicant Crest Energy is two years of environmental monitoring and evaluation and starting with only three turbines.

      The company wants to sink up to 200 turbines off the harbour mouth in a $600 million plan to harness the swift tidal flow to power homes from Albany to Cape Reinga.


  26. Richard C (NZ) on 07/12/2010 at 9:56 am said:


    Sunday December 5,2010 – Express UK

    MIDDLE class families are among millions of Britons who cannot afford to heat their homes this winter, as elderly ride on buses all day to stay in the warm.

    After a week of snow and freezing temperatures a shocking picture has emerged of the bleak months ahead for 5.5 million households.

    Pensioners, who are among those most ­vulnerable to the cold, are resorting to ­extraordinary measures to keep warm.

    Many have been using their free travel ­passes to spend the day riding on buses while others are seeking refuge from the cold in libraries and shopping centres.

    Dot Gibson, spokeswoman for pressure group the National Pensioners’ Convention, said: “Now that we have one of the coldest winters, older people are going to have to make the unenviable decision whether or not to put the heating on. The Government should guarantee that they won’t cut the winter fuel allowance.”

    The death toll from the big freeze rose to seven yesterday. They included two men who were killed in a crash on the M62 in Humberside and two teenage girls who died when their car collided with a Royal Mail van in Cumbria.

    The winter death toll is set to rise steeply as official figures show that nine elderly people died every hour because of cold-related illnesses last year. The number of deaths linked to cold over the four months of last ­winter reached nearly 28,000.

    Charities claim this country has the highest winter death rate in northern Europe, worse than colder nations such as Finland and Sweden.

    About half of the people forced to spend over 10 per cent of their income on energy bills – the official definition of fuel poverty – are aged over 60.

    But working families also face a tough time meeting the cost of keeping the central heating turned on as fuel prices continue to rise.

    Ann Robinson, director of ­consumer policy at price ­comparison service, said: “Middle-class households are now in fuel poverty.”

    ­National Energy Action estimates that 5.5 million households will have plunged into fuel poverty by early next year due to price rises.

    This is up 400,000 on the group’s last estimate and represents 21 per cent of the UK’s 26 million households.

    The last official figures, for 2008, showed there were 4.5 million fuel-poor households in the UK. On Friday, British Gas will raise prices for eight million customers. Millions more customers of Scottish & Southern Energy and ­ScottishPower have already been hit by price rises.

    Last winter 70 per cent of household were forced to cut down or ration their energy use because of cost.

    Uswitch’s Ms Robinson, who advised Tony Blair’s government on energy policy, warned: “Winter price hikes will simply force even more people down this route.”

    Energy minister Greg Barker admitted last week that the system to deal with fuel poverty was “completely broken” and said he was “very worried” by the NEA figures.

    Charity Age UK estimates that nearly a third of pensioners have resorted to extreme measures to keep warm. The National Pensioners’ Convention has described the situation as “Dickensian”.

    Widow Rita Young, from Thorny, near Peterborough was struggling to stay warm last week. Mrs Young, 75, said: “I’ve worked all my life. It doesn’t feel fair.

    “People my age don’t want to put hats and scarves on in their homes, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I sit in a blanket put on a hat and sometimes go to bed at 7.30 in the evening.”

    Last week Lillian Jenkinson, 80, and William Wilson, 84, were found dead in the gardens of their homes 70 miles apart in Cumbria. Both are thought to have lain ­undetected in sub-zero temperatures for hours.

    On Thursday a driver who stopped to help a stranded motorist in the Yorkshire Dales was killed when he was struck by another vehicle.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/12/2010 at 4:25 pm said:

      Energy bills could double to pay for green power as ministers plan minimum carbon price

      Last updated at 1:26 AM on 16th December 2010 – MailOnline

      Energy bills are set to rocket to pay for wind turbines and wave power as the Government announces a shake-up of ­electricity prices today.

      Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne is paving the way for a minimum price for carbon generated by coal-fired and gas-fuelled power stations.

      Energy firms will have to stump up for the cost of the carbon they use – but they are set to pass the burden on to consumers.

      Proponents of the scheme insist the carbon ‘floor price’ is meant to reflect pollution caused by fossil fuels, and will encourage investors to pour their money into ‘green’ energy instead.

      But experts warned it could lead to a doubling of energy bills, hitting the poor and elderly the hardest.

      There was a separate warning yesterday that winter energy bills are already at a record high of £630 for the average family after most suppliers hiked prices.

      Website said families have been hit by a combination of higher tariffs and plunging temperatures and face an average gas bill for heating and hot water of £509.80, with electricity at about £120.

      Mr Huhne will admit to MPs today that the up-front costs of moving to cleaner energy are high but his aides insist it will give consumers more protection from wildly fluctuating energy prices.

      But Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘It could mean a doubling of costs. The elderly, poor and those on fixed incomes will be hit disproportionately hard by this.’

      Mr Huhne will today also introduce a ban on building new coal power stations unless they are fitted with greener technology.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/12/2010 at 4:44 pm said:




      “Energy bills could double to pay for green power”

    • Andy on 16/12/2010 at 6:04 pm said:

      I hope for Chris Huhne’s sake that he has a bullet proof car.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2010 at 1:21 pm said:

      Christopher Booker: Chris Huhne has a blueprint for a green, cold, dark Britain

      Saturday, December 18th 2010, 2:31 PM EST – Climate Realists

      The government’s new energy policy will lead to widespread power cuts and economic disaster,

      As much of the northern hemisphere last week froze under the snows of the fourth unusually cold winter in a row, our ministers, led by David Cameron and Chris Huhne, the Climate Change Secretary, laid out a blueprint that promises to inflict on Britain a social and economic catastrophe unique in the world. They chose this moment to announce what Mr Huhne called “a seismic shift” in Britain’s energy policy, the purpose of which, according to Mr Cameron, is to replace our “clapped-out” electricity supplies by making Britain “the greenest economy in the world”.

      The chief driving force of the policy is the EU’s requirement that, within 10 years, 30 per cent of our electricity must come from renewables, mainly through thousands more wind turbines. This would be so expensive that the Government accepts it could only be made economical by massively rigging the market against any form of electricity derived from fossil fuels, such as the coal and gas which were last week supplying more than 80 per cent of our electricity. By a complex new system of regulations, including what in effect will be a tax of £27 a ton on CO2 emissions, the Government thus hopes to make renewables “competitive” with conventional power.

      In addition, it will in effect make it impossible to replace the coal-fired power stations that will be forced to close in the next few years under an EU directive, while proposing a hidden subsidy to any new nuclear power stations. (Although, since the EU does not count carbon-free nuclear power as “renewable”, this may well fall foul of its ban on state aid.) All this, Mr Huhne assures us, might lead to a modest rise of £160 a year in the average household energy bill, but in the long run it will make electricity cheaper than if he had not intervened.

      So riddled with wishful thinking and contradictions are these proposals that one scarcely knows where to begin. For a start, even if we could hope to build enough windmills to provide, say, 25 per cent of our electricity (10 times the current proportion), this would require not the 10,000 turbines the Government talks of, but more like 25,000, costing well over £200 billion, plus another £100 billion to connect them up to the grid.

      At least the Government admits for the first time that the wind doesn’t always blow; so it proposes a Capacity Mechanism to subsidise the building of dozens of gas-fired power stations, to be kept running all the time, emitting CO2, just to provide instant back-up for when the wind drops. More than once on these recent cold, windless days, the contribution of wind to our electricity needs has been as low as 0.1 per cent – so the back-up to all those turbines will cost billions more, doing much to negate any CO2 savings from the turbines when they work. It does not take long to estimate that the capital cost of Mr Huhne’s new energy policy could well be more than £300 billion over 10 years, or £30 billion a year. Since the total wholesale cost of the electricity we used last year was only around £19 billion, this alone would be well on the way to tripling our bills by 2020.

      When Mr Cameron talks of wanting to replace our “clapped-out” power supplies, what he should have had in mind was the need to meet the terrifying shortfall due in a few years’ time when we lose those older nuclear and coal-fired power stations which currently suppply 40 per cent of our needs. In a sane world, the Government would be planning to get that infrastructure replaced as a matter of the highest national priority, at a cost of around £100 billion. Instead, it puts forward an incoherent farrago of uncosted policies which, even if they could be put into practice, would cost three times as much, paid for by all of us through our already soaring energy bills. They include no practical proposals to meet that fast-looming energy gap, without which, within five years, we face the prospect of wholesale power cuts, bringing much of Britain’s economy to a halt.

      No other country in the world has an energy policy so utterly mad and unworkable. Yet all our major political parties are equally locked into the same self-deceiving bubble of unreality. Any final hope that we might be saved from this absurdly unnecessary disaster seemed last week to vanish, even as the ice and the snow closed in.

      Source Link:

  27. Richard C (NZ) on 07/12/2010 at 6:15 pm said:

    Cold weather pushes oil price to two-year high

    03 Dec 2010 – Telegraph UK

    Oil traded at a two-year high above $90 per barrel for most of Friday, as JP Morgan predicted that the price will be $120 per barrel within two years.

    The cold weather and surging demand have sent Brent crude for January delivery to $89.44 per barrel in London. at the close on Friday.

    “Brighter sentiment on financial markets, friendly equity markets and the stronger euro have all helped to push crude oil prices up further,” said analysts at Commerzbank. “The cold weather in Europe is allowing the price gap to widen in Brent’s favour [against US prices] to almost $3.”

    Analysts say it will now be crucial to see whether the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the cartel in control of 40pc of the world’s oil, raises its output. The latest report from JP Morgan predicted that OPEC will hold out for $100 before increasing production.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2010 at 2:31 pm said:

      The next oil shock?


      Parliamentary support, Research papers
      October 2010



      Oil market basics [Instructive graphics]


      Running out of low-cost oil

      Production constraints

      Geological constraints

      Infrastructure constraints

      Supply crunch/price spike

      Growing demand

      Decreasing supply buffer

      Economic implications

      New Zealand’s oil potential and domestic implications of oil shocks


      The global economy is heavily dependent on affordable oil.

      It may seem counter-intuitive that, when oil reserves and production capacity are higher than ever, the future of the oil market appears bleak. The problem is that production capacity is not expected to keep up with demand. That fact leads to severe economic consequences.

      To replace the declining production from existing oil wells and increase production, oil companies are forced to extract oil in more difficult and expensive conditions (deep-water, oil sands, lignite to liquids) from smaller, less favourable reserves. The marginal (price-setting) barrel of oil costs around US$75-$85 a barrel to produce. This will continue to rise with higher demand and exhaustion of reserves.

      Although there remain large reserves of oil which can be extracted, the world’s daily capacity to extract oil cannot keep increasing indefinitely. A point will be reached where it is not economically and physically feasible to replace the declining production from existing wells and add new production fast enough for total production capacity to increase. Projections from the IEA and other groups have this occurring, at least temporarily, as soon as 2012.

      The difference between the global capacity to produce oil and global demand is the supply buffer. When the supply buffer is large, oil prices will be low. When the supply buffer shrinks – due to demand rising faster than production capacity or production capacity falling – prices will rise as markets add in the risk that supply will not be available to meet demand at any given point in time.

      When a supply crunch forces oil prices beyond a certain point, the cost of oil forces consumers and businesses to cut other spending, inducing a recession. The recession destroys demand for oil, allowing prices to drop. Major international organisations are warning of another supply crunch as soon as 2012.

      The world may be entering an era defined by relatively short periods of economic growth terminating in oil price spikes and recession.

      New Zealand is not immune to the consequences of this situation. In fact, its dependency on bulk exports and tourism makes New Zealand very vulnerable to oil shocks.

      Clint Smith

      Research Analyst, Economics and Industry Team

      Parliamentary Library
      Copyright: © NZ Parliamentary Library, 2010

      Except for educational purposes permitted under the Copyright Act 1994, no part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means…….

  28. Richard C (NZ) on 08/12/2010 at 11:41 am said:

    UN Continues Push for Global Carbon Tax at Climate Confab

    Written by William F. Jasper, New American | 07 December 2010

    s a global “carbon tax” still in the works, even though political support, as well as scientific support, has been steadily plummeting for legislative and regulatory regimes aimed at dealing with global warming?

    The failure to produce a binding agreement at last year’s United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen has led many observers to view the current summit in Cancun, Mexico, as an anti-climactic event that is unlikely to produce anything of substance.

    However, Cathie Adams, who is in Cancun covering the conference, reports that many of the official delegates and non-governmental organization (NGO) activists there are pushing ahead with plans for global taxation. Adams, who has covered many UN summits over the years as a reporter for USA Radio Network, has posted a series of daily reports here providing information and perspective not available through most of the major media coverage.

    In her December 2 report, “Global Taxation Being Discussed at the UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico,” Adams reminds readers:

    Last year in Copenhagen, President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the UNFCCC COP 15 to commit $30 billion to a new Fast Start fund by 2012 with a follow-up goal to raise $100 billion annually from developed nations for a new Green Fund by 2020.

    One year later in Cancun, the U.N. is prodding nations to create the infrastructure for the new Green Fund that would not be limited to $100 billion.

    Adams further notes:

    Panelists from the Climate Action Network on Wednesday revealed that nations are discussing new taxes either on international monetary transactions or preferably on international shipping and aviation.

    The U.N. does not currently have the authority to tax, but it is guiding negotiations to accept “monitoring, reporting and verification” from some taxing authority for money received from the new Green Fund. The new tax assessor-collector could possibly be the International Maritime Organization, which is a U.N. affiliate.

    Soros Green for the Green Lobby
    Enter George Soros, billionaire green activist and champion of global government. Soros was among the elite glamour contingent that swarmed into Copenhagen on private luxury jets last December and debarked from stretch limos at the climate conference to deliver harangues calling for the peoples of the developed countries to sacrifice, change their lifestyles, and decrease their consumption in order to save Mother Earth. Soros was appointed to the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance, which was tasked with coming up with the ways and means for reaching “the goal of mobilizing US$100 billion annually for climate actions in developing countries by 2020.”

    The Advisory Group issued its report on November 5, 2010, just a little more than three weeks before the start of the Cancun conference. Among the proposals put forward by group are taxes on aviation jet fuel, airline passenger tickets, and “bunker fuel,” the heavy diesel fuel used by maritime shippers. The report states:

    Revenues generated from taxes on international aviation and shipping: this would either involve some levy on maritime bunker/aviation jet fuels for international voyages or a separate emissions trading scheme for these activities, or a levy on passenger tickets of international flights;

    Revenues from carbon taxes: this is based on a tax on carbon emissions in developed countries raised on a per-ton-emitted basis;

    But in the current economic recession, and with a new U.S. Congress recently chastened by voters angry over huge deficits and wild spending, can the climate activists truly expect to win approval of any kind of carbon tax? Apparently so; it seems the tax on “bunker fuel” is one of the most popular proposals, perhaps because it affects the 90 percent of world trade that moves via maritime shipping and could raise hundreds of billions of dollars. However, consumers — who ultimately would pay the tax passed along by shippers — would be less likely to revolt against this kind of indirect tax spread invisibly over virtually everything they consume, as opposed to an income tax hike or an additional sales tax at the supermarket or gas pump.


  29. Richard C (NZ) on 09/12/2010 at 8:21 pm said:

    North America: The new energy kingdom


    Includes correction
    Published Wednesday, Dec. 08, 2010 5:58AM EST
    Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 08, 2010 6:15PM EST

    The American Petroleum Institute reports that the United States produced more crude oil in October than it has ever produced in a single month, “peak oil” or not.

    This reversal of trend helps explain why U.S. domestic production for the year will be 140,000 barrels a day higher than last year (which was 410,000 barrels a day higher than 2008). Although the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says U.S. production will decline next year, who knows?

    Could these numbers reflect the beginning of the end for U.S. dependence on Mideast oil? Well, in fact, they could be. As Forbes magazine publisher Steve Forbes optimistically asserted the other day, the whole world is “awash in energy.”

    Mr. Forbes isn’t the only one to notice. As an article last month in The New York Times observed: “Just as it seemed that the world was running on fumes, giant oil fields were discovered off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, and Canadian oil sands projects expanded so fast, they now provide North America with more oil than Saudi Arabia. In addition, the United States has increased domestic oil production for the first time in a generation.” Further still: “Another wave of natural gas drilling has taken off in shale rock fields across the United States, and more shale gas drilling is just beginning in Europe and Asia.”

    Mr. Forbes was explaining why CNOOC, China’s principal state-owned oil company, was paying Chesapeake Energy $1.08-billion (U.S.) in cash for a one-third interest in the company’s next shale gas play in Texas – and paying 75 per cent of the cost of developing it.

    Yes, China was investing in drilling technology: China itself has abundant shale gas reserves. But China had another objective. “Within a decade,” Mr. Forbes said, “the U.S. will be a major natural gas exporter.” And China will be a major importer.

    The two countries signed an accord ( the U.S.-China Shale Gas Resource Initiative) last year to reflect this coming U.S. energy reversal. “The United States,” the accord notes, “is a world leader in shale gas technology.” The accord commits the U.S. to deliver this technology to China – and, by implication, requires China to open further its oil and gas industry to Western companies.

    With rising production from shale fields, the U.S. surpassed Russia last year to become the world’s largest supplier of natural gas. Shale now accounts for 10 per cent of the country’s natural gas production – up from 2 per cent in 1990. Chesapeake’s production from its next Texas project, expected by the end of 2012, will by itself supply the energy equivalent of 500,000 barrels of oil a day.

    For new oil, the U.S. has the huge Green River play that overlaps Colorado and Utah, one of the largest shale oil fields in the world. The EIA reports that the country’s proven reserves of crude rose last year by 9 per cent to 22.3 billion barrels.

    For natural gas, the U.S. has the four largest fields in the world: the Haynesville field in Louisiana (with production up by 77 per cent in 2009); the Fayetteville field in Arkansas and the Marcellus field in Pennsylvania (both with production up by 50 per cent); and the Barnett field in Texas and Oklahoma (with production up by double-digit increases). The EIA reports that proven U.S. reserves of natural gas increased last year by 11 per cent to 284 trillion cubic feet – the highest level since 1971.

    Beyond shale oil and shale gas, there’s the awesome energy promise of methane hydrates, frozen crystals of water and gas that lie beneath the northern permafrost and beneath oceans floors around the world in quantities that boggle the imagination.

    “Assuming 1 per cent recovery,” the U.S. Geological Survey says, “these deposits [in U.S. territory] could meet the natural gas needs of the country (at current rates of consumption) for 100 years.”

    The UN Environment Program describes methane hydrates as “the most abundant form of organic carbon on Earth.” The agency says field testing, in which Canada has been a leader, will be finished by 2015; and that commercial exploitation will be under way by 2020 or 2025. Within a decade or so, North America will almost certainly emerge as the world’s biggest supplier – and exporter – of reasonably cheap energy.

    Correction: U.S. domestic crude oil production reached 5.5 million barrels a day in October, half the production of the U.S. “peak oil” high in 1970. Incorrect information was published in this online and in the print versions of this column.

    • Andy on 26/09/2011 at 7:49 pm said:

      Peak Oil Scam is Based Upon Ideological, Fact-Blind Liberalism

      “Hubbert had a powerful mind, taking three different degrees as an undergraduate. But he also had, as is true of many intellectuals, a bent towards demanding leadership of the elites over the uneducated. This is the model used by all socialists, Marxists, and other progressives, first adumbrated by Joachim of Flora in the 12th century”

      Some interesting facts here on the size of potential reserves in the US. e,g prospects in Colorado are thought to have three times the oil of Saudi Arabia

  30. Richard C (NZ) on 12/12/2010 at 7:57 pm said:

    COP16 to cut US$ 26 trillion energy costs by 2030?

    By WBRi IBNS Newswire on 07 December 2010

    Geneva (Switzerland), Dec 7 (IBNS) The sixteenth Conference of the Parties, COP16, aims to cut US$ 26 trillion energy costs by 2030, said a new World Economic Forum report on Tuesday.

    The report, developed in partnership with Accenture, was presented on Tuesday at the Green Solutions Event at COP16 in Cancun.

    ‘The Energy Efficiency: Accelerating the Agenda’ report emphasizes the urgent need for energy efficiency to be at the forefront of the global agenda.

    According to the report, energy demand is expected to increase by 40% by 2050. The estimated capital required to meet projected energy demand through to 2030 amount in cumulative terms to US$ 26 trillion.

    Of all the energy options, energy efficiency is able to provide the largest capacity for cutbacks in energy demand in the medium term. This potential can be measured in energy savings, cost savings and reduction in emissions.

    Research has identified that of the carbon abatement required, 57% could be achieved through implementation of energy efficiency measures by 2030.

    Despite commitments to energy efficiency made to date, there is a substantial gap between policy and implementation, challenging the concept of energy efficiency as “low hanging fruit”.

    ‘The Energy Efficiency: Accelerating the Agenda’ report sought the expertise from over 20 stakeholders across the public and private sectors to create a pulse check on where energy efficiency stands today and address solutions to bridge the gap.

    The report reveals reasons behind this gap range from market to institutional failures, which need to be overcome if energy efficiency is to be used to effectively meet rising energy demand, support economic development and meet the critical challenges of climate change, energy security and economic competitiveness.

    “Tapping into the largely unrealized potential of energy efficiency will be critical for us to meet growing energy demand of the 21st century without leading to water, food or social crises,” said Pawel Konzal, Head of the Oil & Gas Industry, World Economic Forum.

    The report focuses much more on the roles that the varying stakeholder groups can play rather than on identifying industry-specific recommendations in an effort to provide cross-sector market clarity and identify market accountability.

    “Energy efficiency remains a big prize, but it cannot be delivered by one set of stakeholders,” said Mark Spelman, Accenture’s Global Head of Strategy.

    “To create a step change and capture the potential of energy efficiency, we must ensure a more systematic and rigorous dialogue between the public and private sectors. The private sector can do more for its part by beginning to forge more innovative global alliances. New business models combined with new financing mechanisms to support global scale-up will demonstrate the positive business case for energy efficiency.”

    The report’s output formed an integral part of private sessions co-hosted by the World Economic Forum and the Mexican Government at Green Solutions alongside the COP16 negotiations in Cancun, with the ultimate objective to inspire concrete action across stakeholder groups throughout 2011.
    ‘The Energy Efficiency: Accelerating the Agenda’ – Report pdf

  31. Richard C (NZ) on 16/12/2010 at 9:33 am said:

    High power prices cause business pain

    16 December 2010

    Major Energy Users Group says the Bluff aluminium smelter won’t be the only business cutting production due to high power costs


    © 2010 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

    High lake levels.

    Please explain.

    $1 million a week in lost export earnings

  32. Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2010 at 5:08 pm said:

    Electricity generation: NZ and selected OECD countries

    Parliamentary support, Research papers

    7 December 2004

    This paper provides a brief overview of the electricity generation sector in New Zealand, it outlines present and potential generation capacity. It also provides a comparison between productivity (measured as GDP) and electricity consumption in New Zealand and selected OECD countries.

    For year ended March 2004 an estimated 40,006GWh of electricity was generated in New Zealand, which was derived from the following sources:1
    Hydro 61.6 percent (approximately three-quarters generated in the South Island)
    Gas 21.5 percent
    Coal 7.1 percent

    Geothermal 6.3 percent
    Others 3.5 percent (biogas, industrial waste, wood & wind, including cogeneration)

    The Ministry of Economic Development estimates that electricity demand is increasing at around two percent per annum, requiring over 150MW of new generation capacity on average each year 2 (although this figure is challenged by some industry commentators)3. Figure 1 illustrates the diversity and growth in generation capacity.

    [Snip – see Figure 1.]

    The Ministry for Economic Development forecasts that hydro will continue to be an important source of generation, but New Zealand’s generation profile will become more diverse as the best sites for hydro stations are occupied by generation facilities. Renewable energy resources such as wind and geothermal are expected to be significant minority contributors. Natural gas will continue to play a role in powering thermal stations, depending on the successful development of new gas fields, now that gas from the Maui field is declining.7 In addition, some energy commentators believe that coal will also play a greater role as a generation fuel.8

    Hydro powered generation contributes the largest portion of generation capacity in New Zealand and is currently the largest available renewable resource. New Zealand’s present hydro generation capacity is 5,524MW. The Ministry of Economic Development estimates that about 1,600MW of hydro power still remains to be developed, mostly in small hydro stations.9


    Around 41% of New Zealand’s available gas is used for electricity generation, including cogeneration.


    Coal resources occur widely in New Zealand. Total in ground coal resources are estimated at approximately 15 billion tonnes, of this 8.6 billion tonnes is judged to be economically recoverable. About 90 percent (by weight) of the economically recoverable coal is located in the South Island. Of the economically recoverable resources, about one third is in existing mines, while the remainder could be mined without significant investigatory work.16

    As a generation fuel, coal provides five percent of New Zealand’s electricity supply needs. This compares to coal providing 37 percent of worldwide electricity generation and as much as 86 percent of electricity generated in Australia.17

    State owned coal mining company Solid Energy, who produce over three quarters of New Zealand’s total production, contend that new coal-based electricity generation:

    “could maintain the wholesale electricity price near current rates (approximately 6c per kWh) for years to come. A carbon tax of $15 per tonne is likely to increase the cost of all electricity in New Zealand by about 1.5c per kWh.” 18

    The Government has specified that the carbon tax will be no more that $25 per tonne and will be introduced after 2007 (the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period is from 2008-2012). Carbon emission trading proponents refer to the global energy sector as “carbon constrained” and that a price on carbon is being gradually and irreversibly embedded in the global economy. Minister Hodgson has acknowledged:

    “We may well see new coal fired electricity generation built in New Zealand in the next decade. A carbon tax will not prevent that happening. It will simply ensure that the price we pay for that electricity will be a little more reflective of the environmental cost of choosing that source of energy.” 19

    New Zealand industries using coal are working on increasing the efficiency of coal firing to produce electricity, and to reduce the emission of particulates. Genesis Power and Solid Energy have formed a task force to enhance the performance of coal firing at Huntly Power Station (Huntly is a dual fuel power station and can run on gas or coal) and to introduce the next generation of coal technology to the station. Solid Energy is seeking similar arrangements with other major industrial customers, including BHP New Zealand Steel and the dairy industry.20

    Solid Energy mines over 3 million tonnes of coal each year. Over half of this annual production is exported to major international customers. This earns $150 million a year for New Zealand in export earnings. Solid Energy exports to Japan, South Africa, China, India, Chile, Australia, the United States and Northern Europe. Supporters of coal powered generation have observed that modern emissions scrubbing technology can make coal no more polluting than gas fired plants,21 and that purpose built power stations in New Zealand would be able to make use of this technology more effectively, and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions, than countries where New Zealand might otherwise export coal.22

    New Zealand’s current generation capacity from geothermal power stations is 513MW. The New Zealand Geothermal Association contends that 3,600MW of electrical generation capacity is available if geothermal resources are developed to their full potential.23 The estimate from the Ministry of Economic Development is more conservative and suggests that 632MW of new geothermal capacity will be developed over the next twenty years. The Ministry of Economic Development is of the opinion that geothermal power is a significant minority resource, and that is unlikely to become a major source of energy in the future.24

    Other Renewables
    Other than hydro generation, renewable energy sources include technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, and wave/tidal generation. New Zealand has approximately 155MW of wind powered generation capacity. In May this year Trustpower completed the second stage of its Tararua wind farm, bringing the farm’s generation capacity to 68MW. Meridian Energy recently commissioned its 90MW Te Apiti wind farm near Woodville. Of note is the fact that the Te Apiti wind farm gained resource consents and was built within a year. The Te Apiti wind farm replaces the Tararua wind farm as the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The Ministry of Economic Development estimates that 634MW of wind power will come on stream over the next twenty years.25 However, industry observers believe wind has the potential to generate up to 2500 MW of new capacity if all potential sites are developed.26

    There are no commercial solar or marine generating facilities, and biomass fuelled generation is confined to limited industrial site-specific applications.

    Possible Future Plant Changes
    Information on possible future power plant developments (10MW or greater), obtained from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Energy Data File, are summarised in table 1 below.27

    Table 1. Future power plant developments (10 MW or greater)

    Overall, the Ministry reports that 843MW of new generation capacity will come on stream over the next 4 years.

    In addition, Solid Energy reports that it is finalising plans for a coal fired plant north of Westport and has not ruled out building a second plant at Rapahoe, also on the West Coast of the South Island, with a combined generation capacity of around 400MW. Solid Energy is planning to lodge resource consents for the building and operation of these plants in 2005. Genesis Power is also undertaking a feasibility study on the recommissioning an old coal fired plant at Meremere in the Waikato, with a projected generation capacity of 500MW.28

    Various wind farms are also in the pipeline at different planning stages (with no fixed start-up date) including: New Zealand Wind Farms’ proposed Te Rere Hau wind farm of about 50MW in the Manawatu; the Wainui Hills Wind Farm company’s proposed plant of up to 30MW, near Wellington; Genesis Energy’s proposed Hau Nui wind farm extension of 5MW in the Wairarapa; and Genesis Energy’s proposed Awhitu wind farm of about 19MW near South Auckland.

    Mighty River Power has begun a public consultation process as a precursor to seeking resource consents to operate the Marsden Point B power station using coal as a fuel source. The station was originally built to run on oil, but was mothballed in 1978 without generating any electricity. Mighty River Power is proposing to refit the plant at Ruakaka, Northland, into a station capable of generating up to 320MW.

    Although not part of the generation sector, the successful functioning of the national transmission grid is vital for electricity distribution. In addition, recent developments in the transmission sector are of special note.

    State Owned Enterprise Transpower (New Zealand) Ltd is the owner and operator of the high voltage electricity transmission grid, which links generators to distribution companies and to direct supply customers (large industrial users) throughout the country. Transpower has primary responsibility for maintaining power quality and security between 40 grid injection points and more than 100 grid exit points.

    The average age of the assets in the existing network is forty years. Earlier this year Transpower announced the development of a “Grid Augmentation Plan” that will see major infrastructure development, with capital costs in the region of $1.5 billion, by 2010. The most heavily loaded parts of the grid, Auckland and Christchurch, are to have new or upgraded lines in place by 2009. By 2010 it is proposed that significant parts of both the North Island and South Island system will be upgraded from 220 KV to 400KV, and the high voltage direct current link between Benmore and the Haywards substation will be upgraded to 1400MW capacity. Post 2010 will see further 400KV line upgrades in both islands. Transpower CEO, Dr Ralph Craven, has stated that “a strong transmission backbone is essential to facilitate connection and market access for diverse sources of new generation.” 29

    The planned upgrade of the national grid has not been without controversy. Farmers and other landowners are concerned that the project requires 65 meter wide easements over some areas of private land, in the central North Island and Canterbury. Transpower has said a compensation package, which forms a significant portion of the project’s total cost, is being put together for affected land owners.30



    An infrastructure audit commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development, and released in May this year, was, in general, positive about the state of New Zealand’s infrastructure. But it also highlighted some areas of concern regarding electricity supply and transmission.32

    The audit raised concerns regarding the capacity of the transmission network and about the level of investment in new generating facilities which will be required in the near future. It suggested new investment is being delayed because of uncertainty about the proposed carbon tax, concern about the role of the Electricity Commission, questions about gas supply, and the capacity of the national grid. Although the audit acknowledges that the national grid needs investment, it suggests that investment is being delayed because of debate over who should pay and questions about Transpower’s ability to secure resource consents for its Grid Augmentation Plan.

    The audit suggests that, despite New Zealand’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the most likely sources of new generation are thermal, especially coal. However, it also points out that some renewable forms of generation, such as wind power, can be developed in relatively short time-frames, and their economics are likely to be enhanced by gaining carbon credits awarded by the Government under their “Projects to Reduce Emissions” programme.

    The Government’s response has been that since the report was written new generation facilities such as Stage II of the Tararua Wind farm, the dry year reserve plant at Whirinaki, and the Te Apiti wind farm have all been commissioned, which will provide more security in the generation sector.

    International comparisons
    Table 2 illustrates that New Zealand enjoys relatively low electricity prices compared to a selection of OECD countries.

    Table 2. International electricity prices and GDP per capita

    Energy Efficiency
    In 2001 the Labour-Alliance led government released New Zealand’s first National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, prepared as a requirement under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000. One of the aims of the Strategy is to decouple economic growth and energy demand, as Energy Minister Pete Hodgson noted in a speech earlier this year:33

    “The economies that have decoupled economic growth and energy demand growth are not starving themselves of energy and stunting their growth as a result. In fact they show that more continual improvement in energy efficiency is an economic strength. It is an investment that pays off in higher productivity.”

    The Strategy focuses on the demand side of energy use, and the extent to which consumers can moderate demand growth by increasing energy efficiency and conservation. The Strategy aims for a 20 percent improvement in the nation’s energy efficiency by 2012.

    Concluding remarks


    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2010 at 5:34 pm said:
    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/12/2010 at 5:43 pm said:
    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/12/2010 at 11:14 am said:

      Todd to build $100m power station in Taranaki

      8:00 AM Tuesday Dec 21, 2010 – NZH

      Todd Energy is to build a $100 million gas-fired power station alongside its McKee oil and gas production station near Waitara in Taranaki.

      Todd managing director Richard Tweedie said the new station would be capable of generating up to 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power up to 100,000 homes.

      “We’re signing the contracts this week. We’ve already made the necessary arrangements with GE for the supply of two 50MW gas-fired turbines, and we’re planning for the construction work to begin fairly early next year,” he told the Taranaki Daily News.

      The project will include the erection of about 17km of power lines that will feed electricity to the Transpower network.

      Tweedie said Todd Energy planned to have the station fully-commissioned by 2012, in time to meet winter’s peak demands for power.

      Continues……(a bit)

    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/12/2010 at 11:39 am said:

      List of power stations in New Zealand


      National power stations (greater than or equal to 10 MW)

      Regional power stations (less than 10 MW)



    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/12/2010 at 11:46 am said:

      New Zealand Energy Data File 2009

      A_Energy Overview [90 kB PDF]
      B_Balance Tables [137 kB PDF]
      C_Coal [126 kB PDF]
      D_Oil [245 kB PDF]
      E_Gas [230 kB PDF]
      F_Renewables [81 kB PDF]
      G_Electricity [203 kB PDF]
      H_Reserves [134 kB PDF]
      I_Prices [146 kB PDF]
      J_International Comparisons [86 kB PDF]
      K_Fuel Properties [68 kB PDF]
      L_Contributors [47 kB PDF]
      M_Glossary [70 kB PDF]
      N_Conversion [50 kB PDF]
      NZ Energy Flows for 2008 [65 kB PDF]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/12/2010 at 11:56 am said:

      New Zealand electricity market

      Current Design

      The New Zealand electricity market is an energy only market exchange with prices set through a process similar to a uniform price auction. Locational pricing is another key feature of the market design. It has the virtue of being relatively simple and transparent. All electricity is required to be traded through a central pool, with the exception of small generating stations of less than 10MW.[7] Bilateral and other hedge arrangements are possible, but function as separate financial contracts. Trading develops by bids (purchaser/demand) and offers (generator/supply) for 48 half hour periods over 220 pricing nodes on the national grid.

      Bids and offers start 36 hours before the actual real-time consumption or `trading period’. Up to 4 hours (pre-dispatch) before the `trading period’ starts a new `forecast price’ is calculated to guide participants in the market. From four hours to the start of the trading period every half hour a `dispatch price’ is calculated and communicated. Two hours before the start of the `trading period’ bids and offers can no longer be revised (with some exceptions) and the new prices reflect Transpower’s adjustments in load forecasts and system availability.

      During each half hour period Transpower publishes a new real-time price every five minutes, and a time-weighted 30-minute average price. The real-time prices are used by some large direct-connect consumers to adapt demand. The above prices are all guiding only as the `final prices’ are calculated ex-post (normally noon the following day, unless there are irregularities or disputes) using the offer prices as established two hours before the `trading period’ and volumes as established during the `trading period’. Differences between forecast, dispatch, real-time and final prices can be significant.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 23/12/2010 at 8:32 am said:

      $1b power station gets quick okay

      5:30 AM Thursday Dec 23, 2010 – NZH

      Contact Energy has used new fast-track rules to gain approval for a $1 billion geothermal power station but is not saying when it will start building.

      The company says the Tauhara 2 development near Taupo will proceed “when market conditions allow”.


      Tauhara 2 was the first project processed under the national consenting process of the reformed Resource Management Act. The average time before the reforms was two years with some projects taking as long as eight years, Smith said.


      Its 250MW output would be sufficient to power more than 200,000 homes or the equivalent of Hamilton and Tauranga.

      Contact’s chief operating officer, Graham Cockroft, said both the submitters and Contact’s willingness to work through issues saw all but two of the 60 submissions withdrawn, and the station would be built on farmland about 5.5km northeast of the Taupo township.

  33. Andy on 03/01/2011 at 3:01 pm said:

    Wind farms becalmed just when needed the most

    Wind farms in Britain generated practically no electricity during the recent cold spell, raising fresh concerns about whether they could be relied upon to meet the country’s energy needs.

    This article was penned by one Ms Louise Gray, whose prose normally gets not much beyond rewording press releases from WWF

  34. Andy on 03/01/2011 at 3:07 pm said:

    Here is any interesting comment on nuclear potential in NZ

    Some well reasoned arguments with facts and numbers

    • Richard C (NZ) on 03/01/2011 at 3:31 pm said:

      That was an eye-opener. There’s also a two related posts at WUWT

      Clean Coal (Say WATT?) – Our Energy Future
      Posted on December 30, 2010 by Ira Glickstein, PhD

      US Energy Independence by 2020
      Posted on January 1, 2011 by Anthony Watts

      Guest post by David Archibald


      My thesis is that the rising oil price will drive inter-fuel substitution to the highest value markets, which are those transport applications that require a high-density liquid fuel with good storage characteristics – essentially diesel and jet fuel. Coal will be substituted for oil into the transport fuels market. That in turn will make it too valuable to burn for power generation, in which nuclear will substitute for coal. I am a thorium nut as well as a coal-to-liquids (CTL) proponent.

  35. Andy on 08/01/2011 at 3:07 pm said:

    Wow, check out these coal projects in the pipeline for Germany:

    – EVONIK, Walsum (Duisburg), 800 MW black coal (2010)
    – RWE, Neurath (Cologne), 2 x 800 MW lignite (2009)
    – RWE Westfalen (Dortmund-Hamm, 2 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – EON Datteln (Dortmund), 1 x 1100 MW (!) black coal (2011)
    – ENBW Karlsruhe, 1 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – Trianel (municipality) Lünen, 1 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – Vattenfall Moorburg (Hamburg), 2 x 800 MW black coal (2011)
    – Vattenfall Boxberg (close to Leipzig), 1 x 800 MW lignite (2011)

  36. Andy on 31/01/2011 at 9:00 am said:

    In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

    On the outskirts of one of China’s most polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across an immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust. He remembers it as fields of wheat and corn.
    Yan Man Jia Hong is a dedicated Communist. At 74, he still believes in his revolutionary heroes, but he despises the young local officials and entrepreneurs who have let this happen.

    ‘Chairman Mao was a hero and saved us,’ he says. ‘But these people only care about money. They have destroyed our lives.’
    Vast fortunes are being amassed here in Inner Mongolia; the region has more than 90 per cent of the world’s legal reserves of rare earth metals, and specifically neodymium, the element needed to make the magnets in the most striking of green energy producers, wind turbines

    Read more at The Mail Online:

  37. Andy on 07/02/2011 at 8:10 pm said:

    Austerity Pulling Plug On Europe’s Green Subsidies

    The Spanish and Germans are doing it. So are the French. The British might have to do it. Austerity-whacked Europe is rolling back subsidies for renewable energy as economic sanity makes a tentative comeback. Green energy is becoming unaffordable and may cost as many jobs as it creates. But the real victims are the investors who bought into the dream of endless, clean energy financed by the taxpayer. They forgot that governments often change their minds.

    Spain is famous for its housing bubble, whose bursting drove the national unemployment rate to 20 per cent-plus. Less well known is the renewable energy bubble, inflated by a government bent on shaking down the taxpayer to subsidize clean energy – a social program disguised as a politically correct industrial program.

    It worked. Sunny Spain became the world’s top solar power producer. Since 2002, about €23-billion has been invested in Spain’s photovoltaic (PV) industry, which sucked up €2.7-billion in subsidies in 2009 alone, or more than 40 per cent of the freebies doled out to the country’s entire renewables sector.

    When the Spanish economy went into the toilet in 2008 and 2009, austerity measures were put into place. At first, it appeared the solar industry would be spared the worst of the cutbacks. That changed a bit, but only a bit, in November, when a royal decree reduced tariffs by up to 45 per cent on new PV plants; existing plants would remain untouched. Then – whammo! – a new royal decree landed with a thud just before Christmas. While it didn’t change the tariff, it retroactively limited the number of production hours that PV plants could qualify for the subsidies.

    Spain’s solar industry lobby group, the Asociacion Empresarial Fotovoltaica, estimated that the second decree would effectively reduce tariffs received by PV plants by 30 per cent, forcing many of the PV companies to default on their debt. Infrastructure Investor magazine called the second decree “the Christmas Eve massacre.”

  38. Andy on 17/02/2011 at 9:25 am said:

    Northern New Brunswick wind turbines frozen solid

    A $200-million wind farm in northern New Brunswick is frozen solid, cutting off a potential supply of renewable energy for NB Power.

    The 25-kilometre stretch of wind turbines, located 70 kilometres northwest of Bathurst, N.B. has been completely shutdown for several weeks due to heavy ice covering the blades.

    GDF SUEZ Energy, the company that owns and operates the site, is working to return the windmills to working order, a spokeswoman says.

    “We can’t control the weather,” Julie Vitek said in an interview from company headquarters in Houston, Texas. “We’re looking to see if we can cope with it more effectively, through the testing of a couple of techniques.”

    She says the conditions in northern New Brunswick have wreaked havoc on the wind farm this winter.

    Read more:

  39. Andy on 05/03/2011 at 3:33 pm said:

    Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

    I guess having electricity when you need it is sooooo last century … UK families will have to get used to “only using power when it was available”. That constant electricity at home was dangerous anyhow, the unending hum of the wires can drive a man so insane that the only way to cure him is to make him head of the National Grid …

    Christchurch residents are experiencing what will soon be the norm in the UK.

  40. Andy on 10/03/2011 at 1:24 pm said:

    A couple of good pieces by Richard North.

    New study in Scotland shows that for every job created in the alternative energy sector, almost four jobs are lost in the rest of the economy.

    Electric Van company goes into administration

  41. Richard C (NZ) on 24/03/2011 at 6:01 pm said:

    The reactor that saves itself: safe nuclear does exist and China leads the way with thorium

    March 23, 2011 – Telegraph UK

    A few weeks before the tsunami struck Fukushima’s uranium reactors and shattered public faith in nuclear power, China revealed that it was launching a rival technology to build a safer, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper network of reactors based on thorium.

    This passed unnoticed –except by a small of band of thorium enthusiasts – but it may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.

    If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”.

    The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball. Further evidence of Barack Obama’s “Sputnik moment”, you could say.

    Chinese scientists claim that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster.


  42. Andy on 07/04/2011 at 6:24 pm said:

    Why Electric Cars are Really Coal Cars

    Written by Professor Chris Rhodes
    Tuesday, 05 April 2011 10:58

    Some good analysis in here, including the number of wind farms needed in the UK.

    h/t Bishop Hill.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/04/2011 at 10:04 pm said:

      Like wind, the technology needs to be targeted. Wind is very useful in remote locations for example, where it is uneconomic to string distribution lines or for where continuous supply is not reqd.

      Same with EVs, there’s plenty of electric forklifts around – nothing new there, and a small EV is ideal for CBD one or two person transit or for large sites like ports (so is small petrol for that matter) but the key is the charge time. EVs are great for electricity generators….IF…..they are charged off peak because it helps flatten their load curves, the ideal load being flat across 24 hrs. But if EVs are charged at peak times – ‘nuther story entirely. Not only do generators have to call upon increasingly more expensive fuel sources but if EVs ore adopted in volume then plugged in to charge during peak time, the electricity supply system is loaded from generator to transmitter to distributor (including zone and local transformers).

      The other EV inefficiency that gets lost in the hype is line losses from transmission and distribution lines. Auckland is already creating enough transmission problems, the last thing NZ needs is EVs in Auckland – ban them there I say.

      EVs are an adjunct to conventionally fueled vehicles, not a replacement and when real grunt is reqd for locomotives or dump trucks, what turns the electricity generators? Diesel power.

      At least with coal-fired electric vehicles, the emissions can be scrubbed efficiently at the the generation station (particulates and SO2 etc is what I mean – I don’t care about the CO2).

  43. Andy on 18/04/2011 at 9:55 am said:

    Mining the moon for Helium 3

    The potential for powering the planet lies on the Moon. Amazing stuff

  44. Andy on 18/04/2011 at 11:49 am said:

    Protesters warned to stay clear or face jail

    If appears that Greenpeace are now opposed to seismic exploration for Oil

    Presumably, if they do not want us to know whether Oil is there or not, we can now call this “Oil Denial”

    Another victory for NZ ludditism.

  45. Andy on 12/06/2011 at 2:22 pm said:

    “Windfall”, the trailer to the new movie about the Wind industry, is here

  46. Andy on 04/08/2011 at 10:39 pm said:

    “Pure Advantage” sides with Greenpeace, and iwi to shut down deep sea oil exploration in NZ

    What is great to see is the groups that are starting to merge and work together. So is holding hands with Pure Advantage and over the weekend an itneresting alliance between Greenpeace and a number of iwi and other environmental organisations joined forces with the goal of stopping the Government’s efforts to dramatically ramp up the exploitation of fossil fuels in Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes oil drilling, underground hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and the mining of coal.

    Pure Advantage is ostensibly a business front. They have big billboards in airports and support from some big names in NZ business.

    To me, they just look like another activist organisation.

  47. Andy on 17/08/2011 at 11:31 am said:

    The price of wind

    David Shukman, the BBC’s environmental correspondent is getting excited about the completion of the Ormonde subsidy farm – thirty 5MW bird choppers planted off the coast near Barrow-in-Furness, rated at 150MW installed capacity.

    What is remarkable about this project is the massive cost. Built at an estimated £500m, that is equivalent to roughly £3.3 billion per GW of installed capacity. Furthermore, while the developers – the Swedish power company Vattenfall – are claiming an optimistic load factor of 38 percent, with the annual production of 500 GWh, that still works out at less than half the average load factor of a nuclear installation, giving a net equivalent cost of £7.4 billion per GW.

    If one were to deliver the entire renewables quota of 20 percent by this means – roughly 20GW delivered – the cost by 2020 would be in the order of £150 billion, not counting the infrastructure cost and the provision of spooling back-up – bringing the overall total close to £180 billion.

    By comparison, the capital cost of nuclear plant to deliver the same net capacity would equate to about £3 billion (at its most pessimistic), something like a third of the total cost of offshore wind provision, or one sixth if relative life spans are taking into account – sixty years as against the 30 for a wind turbine.

    Wind, of course, does not have an ongoing fuel cost, but a working surmise is that the massively expensive maintenance and component renewal over life will be roughly equivalent to the running cost of a nuclear plant, which explains the continued need for a massive subsidy for wind-generated electricity.

    With the ROC currently standing at £39.99 per KWh – and a double ROC paid for offshore generation – the annual subsidy for this development will be in the order of £40 million, if they meet their 38 percent load factor. That means that this Swedish company will be extracting from the pockets of British electricity consumers.

    One gets so used to large sums of money that a “mere” £40 million a year seems chicken-feed. To put it in perspective, the cost of running a medium-sized hospital trust is about £300 million a year and in the current environment of “cuts”, one of the largest trusts, Oxfordshire, is having to slash its staff budget by £100 million over four years. During that time, this one wind farm will soak up £160 million in subsidies – £1.2 billion over its full life of 30 years.

    Strangely enough, while the BBC is keen enough to supply data on building costs, it provides no details on the subsides extracted and certainly makes no comparisons with health funding.

    It would take little imagination, though, to anticipate the outrage if people realised that their hard-pressed health trusts were having to shed staff and turn away patients, while offshore subsidy farms, Europe-wide are soaking up the equivalent of £800 million a year, and as much again to come, with the plants under construction.

    This obscenity has to stop – but then so many things should stop. Our masters are no more responsive to this than they are to anything else, but it should be made very clear to the general population that, as long as NHS funding is being cut back and wind subsidies increased, the price of wind is death.

    • Andy on 17/08/2011 at 12:37 pm said:

      The Wind-Energy Myth

      Texas has 10,135 megawatts of installed wind-generation capacity. That’s nearly three times as much as any other state. But during three sweltering days last week, when the state set new records for electricity demand, the state’s vast herd of turbines proved incapable of producing any serious amount of power.

      Consider the afternoon of August 2, when electricity demand hit 67,929 megawatts. Although electricity demand and prices were peaking, output from the state’s wind turbines was just 1,500 megawatts, or about 15 percent of their total nameplate capacity. Put another way, wind energy was able to provide only about 2.2 percent of the total power demand even though the installed capacity of Texas’s wind turbines theoretically equals nearly 15 percent of peak demand. This was no anomaly. On four days in August 2010, when electricity demand set records, wind energy was able to contribute just 1, 2, 1, and 1 percent, respectively, of total demand.

  48. Richard C (NZ) on 05/09/2011 at 9:49 pm said:

    Christopher Booker
    The lights may go out in Germany even sooner than in Britain

    Also below that story:-

    The real ice story: BBC misses the boat again

    Another little parable for our times is the story of Sweden’s refusal to lease its most powerful ice-breaker to help the United States in supplying its McMurdo base in Antarctica. The Swedes told Hillary Clinton that they need the Oden at home, after two years of unusually thick winter ice have brought shipping to a halt in the northern Baltic. The Americans have relied on the Oden’s services for five years because, as revealed by the Autonomous Mind blog, they have run down their own ice-breaker fleet, believing that global warming would render it unnecessary.

  49. Douglas Field on 18/09/2011 at 10:19 am said:

    According to Wikipedia, “wind power in New Zealand generates a small but rapidly growing proportion of the country’s electricity. Currently wind supplies around 4% of New Zealand’s electricity needs, with predictions that this will reach 20% in the next 20 years’.

    Can anyone advise me about the following:

    1. What is the cost of power generation (per GWh) from this source compared with:
    a) hydo generation.
    b) Coal fired generation.

    2. What level and cost of back up resource is needed to deal with the intermittency problem associated with wind generation.

    Thank you

    • Richard C (NZ) on 18/09/2011 at 3:50 pm said:

      Douglas, I can’t answer specifically because each generator will have their own cost-of-supply (cost-of-generation) for each generation source and I suspect will want to keep that information confidential (they will not want other generators to know what their cost structure is).

      The best I can do for 1) is up-thread here:-

      “State owned coal mining company Solid Energy, who produce over three quarters of New Zealand’s total production, contend that new coal-based electricity generation:

      “could maintain the wholesale electricity price near current rates (approximately 6c per kWh) for years to come.”

      PRICE not COST note. Obviously cost-of-generation would have to be less than $60,000 per GWh for a generator to profit at that wholesale price (hope I’ve got my decimal places right).

      See “New Zealand Energy Data File 2009” here:-

      You are looking for I_Prices [146 kB PDF]

      See “New Zealand electricity market” here:-

      “During each half hour period Transpower publishes a new real-time price every five minutes, and a time-weighted 30-minute average price.”

      That’s PRICE note – not COST. A major wind generator like TrustPower might give you their cost-of-generation for their wind power in their company reports (I doubt that they do – but worth a look). Start looking here (link to TrustPower):-

      Bryan Leyland may be able to help you with 2). See:-

      “Bryan Leyland: Wind farms not everything they’re cranked up to be”

      “Windpower is expensive. According to my calculations, its true cost is between 11c and 17c/kWh.” [$110, 000 – $170,000 per GWh but check]

      In regard to backup see:-

      “NZ wind farm subsidies”

      Tip: you can search the blog using the Google search box e.g. enter “TrustPower” and use the Index on the side of the Blog e.g. “Wind Turbines”.

    • Douglas Field on 18/09/2011 at 4:56 pm said:

      Thank you for all these leads. I will follow them up. Obviously it is not a ‘simple straight line’ of comparison. I also appreciate that NZ is better placed than most to get an advantage from wind energy because it can be linked to hydro as a complimentary source thus mitigating the ‘intermittency’ problem but the cost of wind power vis a vis coal or hydro needs to be made clear. I see that we export considerable quantities of coal to be burnt elsewhere on the planet but seem to avoid using it here. Interesting.

      Again, thank you for your assistance

    • Richard C (NZ) on 18/09/2011 at 5:01 pm said:

      I can assure you that although there seems to be a discrepancy (Leyland’s wind cost $110,000 vs wholesale price $60,000 per GWh), TrustPower must be deriving economic profits from wind otherwise they would not be in the wind generation business.

      It comes down to who incurs cost and where but the actual cost incurred by TrustPower will be less than $60,000 per GWh I’m sure.

      Bryan Leyland is saying (to quote Richard Treadgold):-

      “Wind turbines get free transmission. This means that, when connecting the wind farm to the national grid, if the local feeder lines need reinforcement to carry the load, it’s paid for from public funds. While it doesn’t happen often, it is certainly a subsidy.”

      [I have severe doubts that this equates to $50,000+ per GWh over the long-term. That subsidy (whatever it is) is really only for the first unit of energy transmitted (the connection) and the peak load (the capacity) when generation is at a maximum.. Rural consumers discover this concept when they ask for a remote connection where no distribution line already exists (I know this because electricity supply economics was my job for a while) An up-grade is for capacity only – the connection is already in place for overhead (structures poles, cross-arms, insulators etc, just the conductors are changed) but if the connection is underground, an entirely new cable is required (and an underground line can be more than 5x the cost of overhead

      The other point is: what length of transmission line does the generator construct at own cost and what length does Transpower construct at their cost i.e. where is the connection point to the national grid? Each entity retains ownership either side of that point unless there’s a handover agreement]


      “What’s the biggest subsidy of all? Free backup”

      [This is debatable too. When a wind generator cannot supply, it represents an opportunity cost to them but it’s an opportunity for another generator to supply (and probably at higher price) i.e. it’s a market

      The problems will start if coal say is wound down while wind is ramped up and if as in Britain there is a major failure of wind to supply, there may not be another generator waiting to supply and if there is they can’t supply instantly anyway. This is looking like a realistic scenario IMO if coal opposition continues]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 18/09/2011 at 5:58 pm said:

      I suspect too that connecting a new geothermal generation plant to the national grid is little different to connecting a new wind farm to the grid in terms of subsidy (but I stand to be corrected).

  50. Douglas Field on 18/09/2011 at 10:33 pm said:

    What’s the biggest subsidy of all? Free backup”


    The link (Daily Telegraph) below indicates to me the inevitable direction that all this leads to as I see things going

    [This is debatable too. When a wind generator cannot supply, it represents an opportunity cost to them but it’s an opportunity for another generator to supply (and probably at higher price) i.e. it’s a market

    The problems will start if coal say is wound down while wind is ramped up and if as in Britain there is a major failure of wind to supply, there may not be another generator waiting to supply and if there is they can’t supply instantly anyway. This is looking like a realistic scenario IMO if coal opposition continues]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/09/2011 at 6:11 am said:

      I don’t think the British wholesale electricity setup is applicable to the NZ market structure, there’s not the same subsidy incentives (subsidy farming) in NZ. And I’m sure there’s no ‘constraint payments’ being made (or will have to be made in the future but it’s an interesting thought.

      In regard to connecting generation to the national grid, remember that the “line charge” component of your power bill pays for transmission (Transpower) and distribution (e.g. Powerco) line costs (i.e. it’s a toll for energy transport).

    • And this from the home of reason and democracy. Unbelievable.

    • Andy on 19/09/2011 at 11:09 am said:

      This is from the country that joined the EU. In its early stages, this was the Common Agricultural Policy, which paid farmers to destroy food. (Butter mountains, wine lakes etc)

      This is what happens when state interventionism and subsidies create skewed markets.

  51. Andy on 14/10/2011 at 5:50 am said:

    LFTR in 5 minutes – Thorium 2011 remix

    Interesting first 5 minutes of this video gives a good overview of Thorium power.
    It is so abundant, one guys mine in the US can provide enough Thorium to power the entire world for one year.

    Stay for 6 minutes and you get to see the true agenda of the greens – limiting growth.

  52. Andy on 20/10/2011 at 6:41 pm said:

    Britain’s Mark Lynas Riles
    His Green Movement Allies

    Activist Mark Lynas has alienated his green colleagues by renouncing long-held views and becoming an advocate for nuclear power and genetically modified crops. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he explains why he rethought his positions and turned to technology for solutions.

  53. Andy on 23/10/2011 at 2:13 pm said:

    LCES China low carbon energy conference


    Flibe Energy (the Thorium guys) did a presentation here

    Naturally, they pushed the “climate change” angle, as that was the target audience.
    China is probably the number one prospect for development of Thorium energy

  54. Richard C (NZ) on 28/10/2011 at 10:14 am said:

    Germany’s Energy Transition

    Der Speigel asks whether Germany’s ambitious energy transition is going according to plan. From the graph above, which is for Bavaria, it looks like Germany had better stock up on carbon offsets, because something looks to give and I suspect that it won’t be the lights going out.

    Posted by Roger Pielke, Jr. at 10/27/2011 01:08:00 PM

    >>>>>>>>> [See links]

  55. Richard C (NZ) on 28/10/2011 at 10:48 am said:

    I’ve always thought that the NI NZ gas pipeline network is extremely vulnerable and recent events have confirmed my suspicions.

    As a researcher for an electricity utility in the late 80s I witnessed the changeover from coal fired boilers to gas fired boilers, dairy factories were massive coal users – more Joules in total for Waikato factories than say electricity for a city the size of Hamilton and the NZ Dairy Coop (Fonterra) had their own coalmines. Part of my function was to try to capture some of the market for electric hot water systems (e.g. private hospitals) because often it is only hot water that is required for some functions, not steam.

    I had an uneasy feeling seeing the reliance being placed on gas because I had seen the Kapuni pipeline being laid though the farms next to where I was brought up and having since been involved in earthworks and construction for large projects, I have seen how things go wrong e.g. Ruahihi and Wheo hydro canals.

    Smart that some Auckland restaurants had a back up plan but when coal is replaced in industrial facilities where steam is raised without the ability to revert necessitates the use of diesel as a short term measure only but coal is the only viable long-term alternative.

    An earthquake of Canterbury proportions between Auckland and New Plymouth doesn’t bare thinking about if one small leak shuts down Auckland industry for a week. I think some risk managers will be revising mitigation strategies as a result of the shutdown. Lion would have been OK except that their alternative brewery was in Christchurch – dang!

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/10/2011 at 1:57 pm said:

      The NZ industry sector heat plant breakdown is here:-

      Heat Plant in New Zealand

      Obviously NZ heat plant runs on fossil fuels for which there is no substitute (no wind turbines powering heat plant of any substance).

      Fonterra NI factories are now all gas except Te Awamutu (coal/gas) and Puhoi (lignite). Te Awamutu has 53 MW capacity to raise superheated steam with coal, only Whareroa betters that with gas. Te Rapa, that was coal supplied by a Dairy Coop coal mine, is now gas except that Contact Energy now generates electricity on-site with 4x the capacity that Fonterra has. I did foresee this in the 80s and reported it to my mgt thinking Fonterra might enter the electricity generation/retail business after deregulation (and therefore become a major player in the Waikato and a competitor) but obviously that was not Fonterra’s core business and they instead farmed out the Te Rapa capacity to Contact who became the competitor:-

      Te Rapa Co-generation

      Which BTW leads to complications re “co-generator status”, is it permanent or seasonal? See: Contact’s “Submission to Electricity Commission on Review of Offer and Dispatch Rules for Co-generation Plant” [link too long]. That was 2006 so probably been resolved by now.

      And check out Primary Schools (coal mostly) vs Secondary Schools (gas mostly) on page 11.

      Ironically, Lion’s Christchurch brewery boilers were fired by coal (page 58) but that plant is to be demolished and instead they will build a $15 million warehouse and distribution centre

      All other SI breweries are fired by coal except McCashins that the report states is LPG/Butane. I’m sure that is incorrect because in 2009 McCashins got a resource consent to use an already on-site coal-fired boiler (perhaps it was not being used), maybe they now have both LPG/Butane and coal:-

      My favourite brew is Black Mac along with Cascade Premium Lager. Cascade (being in Greenie Tasmania) switched from oil and coal to gas in 2010 and now trumpets its “improved greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency performance”:-

      Black Mac is batch brewed around NZ by Lion who have owned the Mac brewing rights since 1999. Mac’s beer supplies were hit by the Christchurch quake along with Guinness and Becks:-

      Monteith’s have their own versions of Black Mac and Cascade Premium Lager that I find a bit ordinary (can’t be the Greymouth coal surely) but their coal fired boilers are a tourist attraction apparently so who am I to criticize?

      Highly recommended Greymouth tourist attractions include…

      Monteith’s Brewery Tour – Located in Greymouth, the brewery maintains the brewing traditions almost 150 years on from its inception. Tours are available daily and designed so you can experience the making of fine beer in open fermenter’s by coal-fired boilers, learn about a time-honoured tradition that lives on, learn about the origins of each beer and taste profiles plus enjoy formal tasting of each beer style.

      Well, enough of reporting the energy inputs to beer brewing (even as important as it is). I’m off to wash my car – that should work up a thirst.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/10/2011 at 2:21 pm said:

      Oops, this is way off:-

      “Obviously NZ heat plant runs on fossil fuels for which there is no substitute”

      The wood processing sector (Figure 6.2 page 5) say otherwise. Their wood-waste and black liquor energy use is about the same as gas and coal in dairy processing.

      Black liquor

      Black liquor — fuel of the future?—fuel-of-the-future/

    • Richard C (NZ) on 28/10/2011 at 7:20 pm said:

      Checked out beer bottle manufacturing. All gas fired furnaces in NZ boosted by electricity when necessary according to this NZIC report:-

      O-I New Zealand (formerly known as ACI Glass Packaging), based in Penrose, Auckland, is the only manufacturer of glass bottles and jars in New Zealand apparently. Their two furnaces are capable of producing 210 and 250 tonnes of glass per day. Firing is by natural gas.

      Haven’t heard in the news whether that plant has shut down, I presume so.

      Phenomenal amount of new glass making capacity in China almost all gas fired. The following page shows Chongqing Life Furnace Technical Engineering Co., Ltd’s recent design and construction including one 101m2 coal fired furnace:-

      Compare all that new glass furnace capacity in China from just one furnace supplier to O-I’s two NZ furnaces, one 65m2 and the other 81m2.

      No bread at my Countdown Supermarket tonight either thanks to a lack of gas – I got the last loaf,

    • Richard C (NZ) on 29/10/2011 at 10:35 am said:

      Sure enough, an awakening among the Food & Grocery Council’s members:-

      Gas crisis will cost hundreds of millions

      The head of the Food & Grocery Council says the Maui pipeline outage will prompt a review of emergency plans, warning the cost of the disruption will run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

      Chief executive Katherine Rich said she would survey members but she expected the cost would surprise many.


      Rich said many of the Food & Grocery Council’s members conducted extensive contingency planning, covering almost every type of disaster.

      “But even with rigorous processes for identifying risks, some had no idea that natural gas supplies were so vulnerable.”

      Amazing. They looked at every type of disaster except the one that stops production dead.

      I would have thought that the first question those risk managers asked their colleagues would be: what will we do if our gas supply is disrupted?

      At least now they have the answer, even though they didn’t ask the question.

  56. Richard C (NZ) on 31/10/2011 at 2:53 pm said:

    Seen at “The Daily Bayonet – Skewering the Clueless Since 2006”

    …the electricity you use to power your home will increasingly come from solar panels. The conversion is starting with solar replacing the more expensive gas plants that turn on during peak summertime demand. Within a few years, solar could start to replace the 24/7 “base load” plants.

  57. Richard C (NZ) on 07/01/2012 at 9:44 am said:

    Seen at JoNova

    4 Jan: Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia ethanol plant sold, at taxpayers’ loss

    The failed Range Fuels wood-to-ethanol factory in southeastern Georgia that sucked up $65 million in federal and state tax dollars was sold Tuesday for pennies on the dollar to another bio-fuel maker with equally grand plans to transform the alternative energy world.

    LanzaTech, a New Zealand-based biofuel company, paid $5.1 million for the plant in Soperton. Its main financial backer: Vinod Khosla, a California entrepreneur who also bankrolled Range Fuels, and helped secure its government loans, before Range went bust last year.

    LanzaTech hasn’t received the same type of loans, but the company has received $7 million from the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation to assist in the development of alternative fuels

    The Bush administration’s Energy Department steered a $76 million federal grant to Range. The Department of Agriculture followed up with an $80 million loan guarantee. Georgia officials pledged $6.2 million. Treutlen County, one of the state’s poorest, offered 20 years worth of tax abatements and 97 acres in its industrial park.
    Private investors reportedly put up $158 million. In all, the project raised more than $320 million.
    Range, unable to turn wood into ethanol, closed its doors a year ago.
    It never came close to creating the 70 jobs once promised…

    Jeb Simons, an engineer in Savannah whose family hails from Soperton, doesn’t expect much of the taxpayer investment to be recouped. He blames Khosla.
    “He takes government money, builds the place and takes the money and runs,” said Simons, ” . . . and now he’s double-dipping on government funds for round two. That’s taxpayer money that could go toward schools or hospitals or be given back to taxpayers.”

    Khosla, who made his billions as a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has invested heavily in alternative energies, cellulosic ethanol in particular. Khosla is listed as “a key investor” in LanzaTech and sits on the board of directors, according to the New Zealand company’s website. A call to Khosla Ventures was not returned Wednesday…

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/01/2012 at 9:52 am said:

      This down-thread:-

      Rereke Whakaaro
      January 6, 2012 at 11:26 am · Reply

      It is interesting that although LanzaTech is registered in New Zealand, 5.1 million of the 7.7 million shares in LanzaTech are owned by Mr Khosla, through one channel or another.

      Only 1.8 million shares are actually owned by New Zealand residents.

      I also note with interest that 670 thousand shares are registered to holding companies in the Cayman Islands – always an eyebrow raiser.

      And the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation have jointly given the company US$7m … Hmm?

    • What a story! MSM – are you listening?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/01/2012 at 1:17 pm said:

      Don’t think Rereke’s quite right here, Lanzatech got $3m of a total $7m from US DoT i.e. $4m went to other companies.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/01/2012 at 1:12 pm said:

      Range Fuels biorefinery is now “Freedom Pines Biorefinery” and Lanzatech’s “first production facility in the United States” (not producing yet):-

      Freedom Pines Biorefinery

      Founded in New Zealand in 2005, and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, LanzaTech has developed a novel gas-liquid fermentation process that produces fuels and chemicals from gas resources. Backed by global investment, LanzaTech employs a strong technical team in the USA, China and New Zealand, and has a rapidly growing patent portfolio.

      We are proud to announce our first production facility in the United States, Freedom Pines Biorefinery, located in Soperton, Georgia through our acquisition of the former Range Fuels biorefinery on January 3, 2012.

      We plan to leverage some of the existing technology at the facility alongside our own proprietary technology to produce clean, renewable and domestic fuels and chemicals from the bountiful waste biomass in the region.

      We will have more to say and share in the coming weeks and we will update our site as new information is available.

      It will be interesting to see how economically efficient full-scale production is. Basically they “plan to leverage” the massive sunk subsidies (and any others they can get their hands on) of Range Fuels so site updates will be worth looking at.

      They’re also masters of spin:-

      Advanced Engineering and Rapid Scale-up

      Tested in the Lab. Proven in the Field.

      The engineering team is drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds including process, mechanical, electrical and software engineering, as well as experience in industrial fermentation, gas handling and pressure vessel design.

      This process engineering expertise has been the driving force behind our rapid scale-up and commercialization plan. Operating since November 2008, our pilot plant located at the BlueScope Steel mill in New Zealand comprises two 500 liter gas fermentation reactors linked directly to the mill’s off-gas exhaust. The pilot plant is fully automated and has successfully demonstrated the operation of the LanzaTech process at scale with real-world gas resources.

      Following on the heels of this success, our first demonstration facility, producing over 100,000 gallons of ethanol per year, will be operational in 2011 with a full scale commercial facility planned for 2012. The world’s first steel waste to Ethanol and chemicals plant will be operational and profitable by 2013.

      I can’t find at the company website, any details of their “first demonstration facility, producing over 100,000 gallons of ethanol per year……operational in 2011” (despite all the awards and press releases) – that has apparently been re-scheduled for 2H 2012

      LanzaTech has already successfully proven its proprietary gas fermentation platform can be used to convert biomass syngas at laboratory scale and envisages a demonstration facility will be operational by the second half of 2012.

      From what I can gather, the “demonstration facility” and the “full scale commercial facility” will be one and the same – Freedom Pines Biorefinery.

      That will be the reality check that Lanzatech can deliver on its contracts to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), through the Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe Center, to “accelerate commercial availability of the next generation of alternative aviation fuel” and to Virgin Atlantic for development of a “world first low carbon aviation fuel with just half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative”.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/01/2012 at 2:53 pm said:

      Their initial investment “to build the plant” in the US instead of NZ in the following feasibility study should now be considerably less than NZ$170m [US$133m] but meantime US ethanol subsidies have been removed.

      The feasibility of a wood to ethanol plant using a thermo-chemical process

      Executive summary
      A financial model of a thermo-chemical biomass to ethanol plant has been developed for LanzaTech. In a base case modelling scenario the plant produces 150m litres of ethanol and consumes 770,000 tonnes of wood per year. The total investment required to build the plant would be NZ$170m [US$133m]. The breakeven selling price is NZ$0.72 per litre [NZ$2.73 per gallon, US$2.13].

      Viability in New Zealand
      Although the work indicates that LanzaTech’s process is cost competitive with other sources of ethanol, the viability of any New Zealand biofuels producer is uncertain until greater certainty emerges about demand for biofuels in New Zealand. This is a direct consequence of government policy on biofuels and further clarity is not expected until 2010 at the earliest.

      1. Introduction
      This report describes a study carried out for LanzaTech by Scarlatti Limited between April and June 2008 to investigate the feasibility of a New Zealand-based syngas-to-ethanol plant using waste wood as a feedstock.

      So at US$2.13 breakeven, where does Lanzatech stand in the US ethanol market?:-

      Economic Impacts of Not Extending Biofuel Subsidies

      Table 1. Biofuel tax and tariff expiration: 2011-2016 averages.

      Ethanol price, FOB Omaha plant (Dollars per gallon)

      Tax provisions extended indefinitely: 1.63

      Tax provisions expire as scheduled: 1.34

      Obviously economically unviable on an on-going operational basis and there’s no advantage to be had from minimal initial investment at Freedom Pines Biorefinery (much less than US$133m) that I can see.

      That’s if they are producing fuel ethanol but how it works out for alternative aviation fuel is anyone’s guess.

  58. Jim McK on 28/02/2012 at 12:02 pm said:

    An article here from the Guardian claiming that “Subsidies on tradition fuels far exceed alternative energies”. Another example of a propoganda headline bearing no relation to the content.

    From the article:

    “Gas, oil and coal prices were subsidised by £3.63bn in 2010, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development , whereas offshore and onshore wind received £0.7bn in the year from April 2010. All renewables in the UK benefited from £1.4bn over the same period, according to data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).”

    “Almost 90% of the fossil fuel subsidy comes from the reduced rate of VAT paid by households.” and

    “Green electricity benefits from the [same] price cut delivered by the reduced VAT rate but data is available on the sum”

    Nice bit of creative accounting

    • Andy on 28/02/2012 at 12:39 pm said:

      I wasn’t aware of a reduced rate of VAT for fossil fuels. If this is the case, then it is just a reduced tax take for the government. I fail to see how it is subsidising the fossil fuel industry.

      I also fail to see how wind will “reduce energy volatility”.

  59. Richard C (NZ) on 01/03/2012 at 1:10 pm said:


  60. Andy on 14/03/2012 at 8:48 am said:

    Windflow brushes off nuclear concern

    Windflow Technology’s boss is batting away any unease about his company’s hook up with a United States giant which makes nuclear submarines, saying it is like turning military weapons to peacetime products.

    This week the small, struggling Christchurch turbine manufacturer disclosed a 10-year licensing agreement with General Dynamics SATCOM, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, which manufactures weapons, military vehicles and military communications systems.

    Windflow is strapped for cash and needs new customers if it is to survive.


    Peace-loving Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown is unconcerned that a company in which she holds shares has this new bedfellowin the form of US military giant General Dynamics.
    Alastair Nicholson and Celia Wade-Brown are among the top 20 shareholders of Windflow Technology, with 84,836 shares (0.54 per cent), according to Windflow’s most recent annual report.

    (Emphasis added)

    (What the hell is a “peace-loving mayor anyway? Are the rest of them raving war-mongers?)

  61. Andy on 13/06/2012 at 9:25 pm said:

    Scottish wind turbines might emit more CO2 than they “save”, because of CO2 released from peat bog

  62. Richard C (NZ) on 25/06/2012 at 7:16 pm said:

    Andy, I think you will enjoy this:-

    June 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I just love it every time someone comes here with a new announcement for a renewable power plant.

    Pacific Hydro is sinking its money into this Wind Plant proposal for the North of Brazil.

    Why I like it so much is that it gives me a chance to show the wonder of these extraordinary new fangled power generators.

    This Wind plant will have a Nameplate Capacity of 140MW which will come from around 45 or 50 Wind Towers.

    These will supply what can only be described as a phenomenal amount of power.

    I’m just overjoyed that an Australian Company, Pacific Hydro is willing to sink its own money into this plant for far off Brazil.

    What this does for Pacific Hydro is give them some (imaginary) credits, umm, not at the same value as our home grown credits, (as laid out in the Australian Legislation) but at least they will be able to offset some of their emissions here in Australia.

    Oh, by the way, Bayswater Power Station supplies the same power output that all these towers will provide over a whole year in, er, six days and ten hours.

    Oh, what a hoot!

    This is just so much fun.


    That comparison is I presume, using the Nameplate Capacity of the wind turbines. Not a particularly useful value in that case.

    • Andy on 25/06/2012 at 7:20 pm said:

      It’s interesting for sure. However, I have to temper my enjoyment and fun. That gets me banned from websites.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/06/2012 at 2:13 pm said:

      That Australian MP Craig Kelly in the House of Representatives is on to it. Quite a revelation, I hardly ever see OZ MP speeches repeated for the substance they contain (same could be said for NZ).

      I think there’s an error though, “inefficiently” should be replaced by “efficiently” in the following passage:-

      “Overseas studies have suggested that we could actually lower our emissions of carbon dioxide if we did away with wind turbines altogether and just ran gas power stations inefficiently”

    • Andy on 26/06/2012 at 2:46 pm said:

      Yes, that was an obvious typo. This has been stated repeatedly. Using gas to replace coal will reduce emissions, and shale gas will reduce dependence on imports.

      It seems like a no-brainer to me, but those agendas and that dogma run deep.

    • I think he meant to say inefficiently. The wind farms cause the on-again, off-again inefficiency of an otherwise efficient energy source. Just removing the wind farms would leave them better off, never mind running the gas generation properly.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 26/06/2012 at 5:56 pm said:

      If wind is removed, that source has to be replaced by another supplier. The “overseas study” Kelly alludes to suggests gas power is the best replacement in terms of CO2 emissions.

      So then gas is supplying more constantly, the intermittent supply having been removed and the on/off gas cycles reduced. Therefore the gas supply is running more “efficiently”. Neglecting CO2 emissions, the same can be said for replacing wind with coal.

      Whatever the interpretation, the more wind added to the grid, the more unstable, inefficient and unpredictable it becomes overall. Germany is learning this the hard way with the added complication that they have not planned transmission expansion to cope with wind energy coming from remote locations not serviced by the existing grid. Even when they do construct the transmission links, the links will be inefficient unless there’s conventional generation on the same line to diversify the load. Wind-only loads would range from 0 to peak power in an erratic way. A single coal or gas plant on the end of a line would also vary the load over a line in the same 0 to peak range but not in the same erratic way. The peak would remain constant the whole time between ramp up and ramp down.

    • Andy on 26/06/2012 at 6:30 pm said:

      We should give a shout out to another NZ blogger who is doing good work in this area

    • Andy on 26/06/2012 at 12:22 pm said:

      This wind farm scam reminds me of government IT projects. I have worked on a couple where we have wasted in the order of $50-70 million of taxpayers money on projects that will never work, and you know this from the first day on the jobs.

      There were too many egos, too many stakeholders, too much groupthink, and the developers and engineers just get ignored.

    • Andy on 26/06/2012 at 3:40 pm said:

      There’s a couple of recent posts at BH with regard to costs etc


      This comment from Prof Gordon Hughes was interesting

      The only viable, but politically unrealistic, way of storing intermittent power generation is to build pumped storage schemes in every Highland valley. If onshore wind farms and the associated transmission lines are unpopular, how much more resistance would a commitment to build new pumped storage in every suitable valley generate? Most would have to be in Scotland since locations for large reservoirs with a height difference of 100+ metres are scarce in the rest of the UK.

      Flood every single Highland valley? I can’t see that going down too well.

  63. Anthropogenic Global Cooling on 26/06/2012 at 11:56 am said:

    This is what I think of wind turbines:!

    Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

  64. Andy on 25/07/2012 at 9:19 pm said:

    Offshore Cork oil reserves are now upgraded to between 1 and 1 .6 billion barrels of oil, according to the Irish Press today.

  65. Richard C (NZ) on 09/08/2012 at 7:45 pm said:

    Andy, were you looking for NZ wind generation data? Weekly here (Live at bottom of comment):-

    Energy Link Market Review
    Issue 795
    Week ending 5 August 2012

    Wind 3%

    Movement in Average Generation: Wind & Thermal down, Hydro up, Total down.

    Free subscription

    Big surprise (for me), E3P about equivalent to TCC and those 2 combined outrank Waikato, Waitaki and Manapouri (and about 4x wind).

    E3P 385MW CCGT at Huntly Unit 5

    TCC 380MW Taranaki – combined cycle

    Also, from the New Zealand Wind Energy Association:-

    Generation capacity

    The combined capacity – or the rated output – of wind farms in New Zealand is 622 megawatts. What this means is that at any given moment, if all wind farms were operating at their full capacity they could produce 622 megawatts of electricity.

    New Zealand wind farms generate at an average of around 40% of their rated output – this figure is also referred as “capacity factor” and is among the highest in the world.

    Hydro generation has an annual average capacity factor of around 50%, gas 65%, geothermal, 80%

    By my estimation from the Energy Link graph for Week ending 5 August 2012, wind at about 150MW was operating at 24% capacity factor.

    Live electricity generation information

    Visit to find out how much electricity is being generated by wind farms right now.

    Current Generation 9/8/12 19:00 (7pm) is about 150 MW (est from graph)

    9pm (8/8/12) maybe 10 MW

    12am 0 MW

    3am 0 MW

    • Andy on 09/08/2012 at 7:52 pm said:

      Thanks Richard, I was aware of the em6live site but the other links are helpful

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/08/2012 at 8:16 pm said:

      Estimated weekly CO2 Emissions at bottom of Energy Link Market Review makes interesting reading.

      Huntly Units 1 – 4 from 0 to about 100,000 tonnes fluctuating (Genesis)

      Huntly e3p is almost constant at 20,000 tonnes.(Genesis)

      Genisis therefore, incurs the bulk of ETS (for elec gen) and would be purchasing most of the units, followed only (significantly) by Contact (OTAB and TCC).

    • Andy on 09/08/2012 at 8:42 pm said:

      It gets better Richard. Today the Uk output for wind is….. zero

      Here’s the screengrab I took from NETA about 8.30pm NZT 9th August

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/08/2012 at 9:29 pm said:

      Ha! 12 MW (Current) and 14 MW (Last Half Hour) is considered to be zero contribution,

      1518 MWH over Last 24 Hours would power about 30,360 homes at 50 kWh per day each. Wiki says there’s 3,506 wind turbines in the UK.

      Works out at 8.66 houses per turbine.

      [Actual range is about 5 – 50 kWh per day]

      I just worked out too that if Genesis were paying the AU$23 carbon tax for just for E3P, they would be paying 20,000 x 365 x 23 = AU$167,900,000 per year. Then they would have to pay for Units 1 – 4 on top of that.

      I’m now wondering how much AU generators are actually paying

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/08/2012 at 10:08 pm said:

      My daily average electricity is 8.78 kWh per day for a single person house so at that usage, 1518 MWH would power 172,823 houses and 49 houses per turbine.

      UK installed capacity 6580 MW divided by 3508 gives 1.88 MW per turbine and 45,120 kWh per day which at 40%, that one turbine would power 2056 single person houses.

      So today, just over 2000 people per turbine (on a single person house basis), went without wind power in the UK.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/08/2012 at 10:52 pm said:

      And today, 2007 people x 3506 turbines = 7, 036,542 people in total that went without wind power on a single person house basis.

      Not a good day for wind power in the UK.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/08/2012 at 12:19 am said:

      Good grief, 12 MW from an installed capacity of 6580 MW is a capacity factor (CF) of 0.18 %.

      Wiki cites UK CFs of Winter 38%, Summer 20%


      “Characteristics of the UK wind resource: Long-term patterns and relationship to electricity demand”

      Graham Sinden, 2005

      Figure 1 shows overall reported CFs around 26% 1993 – 2003.

      A more recent paper:-

      ‘Capacity factor of wind power realized values vs.estimates’

      Nicolas Boccard, 2009

      Has UK CF of 26.1 % in Table 2.

      Can’t copy anything but the abstract states that for two decades the European CF was assumed to be 30 – 35 % but the realized value for the last 5 years was 21 % with some financial consequences and a 40 % less than expected carbon emissions reduction.

    • Andy on 10/08/2012 at 11:34 am said:

      Apparently the performance of the UK wind fleet has been extremely poor for some time now – this 0% was not an outlier.

    • Andy on 10/08/2012 at 12:06 pm said:

      em6live showed wind as zero percent of NZ grid at 6am this morning. There was a barely perceptible blip at 9am.

      Wind must be having a go slow at the moment. Anthony Watts also has a piece on WUWT about the Californian supply

    • Andy on 11/08/2012 at 9:05 pm said:

      For some reason all my recent comments have ended up going nowhere (spam filter?)

      My recent “no wind” screenshot made it onto EURef,

      Will the message ever get through to our useless leaders? I doubt it.

    • Andy on 12/08/2012 at 10:19 am said:

      My infamous screenshot now gets cited by Booker in his weekly column

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/08/2012 at 10:21 am said:

      Andy, it seems to me that the relevant metric is not CF but something that indicates the availability of wind when you need it (US CAISO situation) and when you don’t need it (too much energy available).

      I read in the NZ Electricity Authority reports how they were trying to work out how to dispatch DOWN in an equitable manner when they had too much energy.

      The KPI would be Wind Availability vs Demand Profile perhaps. I can’t recall seeing anything like that anywhere just wind prediction success probabilities in on one of the Electricity Authority reports.

      BTW nice contribution to EU Ref.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/08/2012 at 10:34 am said:


      “As the windless days last week showed, we would have to build dozens of gas-fired power stations just to provide back-up for all the times when the wind is not blowing at the right speed”

      Bob Sykes at BH:-

      “…more correct to say that you are installing a gas-powered system with occasional supplements by wind”

    • Andy,

      My infamous screenshot now gets cited by Booker in his weekly column

      Well done.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/08/2012 at 7:33 pm said:

      The Transpower grid upgrade is largely the result of a Government Policy Statement. The following is from:-

      Report and Decision of the Board of Inquiry into the Upper North Island Grid Upgrade Project

      [112] By clause 66 of the Government Policy Statement (GPS),21 (as
      described in Chapter 4), the Electricity Commission was also required to take
      into account the Government’s objective to facilitate the potential
      contribution of renewables to the transmission system; and that the approval
      criteria should allow grid upgrade plans to facilitate the efficient and timely
      development of renewable generation resources, taking into account any
      difference in lead times for transmission and generation investment.

      [321] On 25 September 2008, the Electricity Act was amended by the 48th
      Parliament to create a preference for renewable electricity generation by
      restricting new baseload, fossil-fuelled, thermal electricity-generation
      capacity (except where exempted by the Minister of Energy).

      The “potential contribution of renewables to the transmission system” are from south of Whakamaru ([680]) but, here’s the kicker:-

      [28] Up to 30 per cent of the winter peak load in the upper North Island
      can be supplied by local generation in the Auckland area. Of that 30 per cent,
      over half is supplied by a single combined-cycle, gas-fired generator at

      Why then, would anyone restrict “new baseload, fossil-fuelled, thermal electricity-generation capacity” ?

      If you do a Full Reader Search with “renewable” you will see what it’s all about.- 76 instances.

    • Andy on 12/08/2012 at 8:25 pm said:

      Interesting to see Bishop Hill now picking up on this

      Amazing how much internet traffic you can generate from a simple Crtl-Alt-PrintScreen

    • Andy on 13/08/2012 at 11:23 am said:

      Christopher Booker personally thanks me at Bishop Hill
      Nice bloke

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/08/2012 at 2:15 pm said:

      “The graph from CAISO tells the story, wind power has tumbled when it is most needed”

      The NZ Electricity Authority’s response to a similar situation but caused by low hydro lake levels in 2008 has been that it will introduce “scarcity pricing” on 1 June 2013.

      “The scarcity pricing Code amendment gazetted by the Authority provides for the introduction of a $10,000/MWh price floor and $20,000/MWh price cap to the spot market when an electricity supply emergency causes forced power cuts (called emergency load shedding) throughout one or both islands.

      Although emergency load shedding is very unlikely to occur, the $10,000/MWh price floor is intended to give investors in last-resort generation plant (and investors in demand response capability) confidence that emergency load shedding will not undermine the business case for investing in those resources. This promotes reliable supply by the electricity industry, which reduces the risk of emergency load shedding occurring.”

      [Normal prices are around $80 per MWh]

      I think load shedding could occur if the wind component became too great in the overall NZ generation makeup as in the US CAISO situation but we’re a long way from that.

      A very influential US Professor Bill Hogan has been touting “better” scarcity pricing all over the world to make a “level playing field” for renewables. See his presentation to the NZ Electricity Authority here (essentially heavy going economics):-

      There’s a perverse situation in electricity where normal supply/demand price determination doesn’t work in tight supply situations. Read about that in Hogan’s papers.

      But what I find interesting is the Authority’s Dispatchable Demand initiative (DD).

      “The DD initiative, in particular, is likely to increase competitive pressure on spot prices during tight supply situations, as providers of last resort plant will be competing with demand-side participants for dispatch.

      When fully introduced the DD regime also has the potential to make greater use of standby generation plants, which should also increase competitive pressure on mainstream generators when supply situations are tight”

      There’s only 1 – 3 major demand side users who will be able to take advantage of this initially but wind being only 3% and already dispatched for supply might be the generation sector to be most at risk because they will be competing smack up against major demand side users willing to be dispatched to shed load (stop taking supply by stopping/re-scheduling operations or starting their backup generators).

      The question is: will wind get preferential treatment by dispatchers in a DD situation?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/08/2012 at 2:27 pm said:

      Just realized my question is moot if there’s zero contribution.from wind – lost the thread of my DD point there in the composing of it unfortunately.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/08/2012 at 2:38 pm said:

      DD would compete against Contact Energy’s 200MW fast-start gas peaker plant at Stratford maybe.

      “The gas peaker plant will help Contact manage the increasing volatility of electricity generation as more renewables mean more capacity that depends on the rain falling (hydro stations), or the wind blowing (wind farms). It will perform the critical task of replacing lost generation capacity through any unexpected shutdowns more efficiently and much more quickly”

  66. Richard C (NZ) on 11/08/2012 at 6:14 pm said:

    Analysis of wind integration

    This page provides historical and forecast information relating to wind integration work.

    In this section you will find:

    * Synthetic wind data

    * Longer-term synthetic wind series

    * Correlation between wind generation output and hydro inflows

    The Electricity Commission made a number of presentation at the New Zealand Wind Energy Conference on Wind Integration. Copies of the presentations are available below.

    Related Documents

    Wind Integration Project (WIP) presentation – 2009

    presentation-Apr09.pdf | pdf | 188 KB | Modified: 13/01/2011 2:46pm

    Transmission to enable renewables update

    presentation-Apr09.pdf | pdf | 1 MB | Modified: 25/10/2010 5:58pm

    Wind Integration – the long view

    presentation-Apr09.pdf | pdf | 237 KB | Modified: 05/10/2010 9:32am

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/08/2012 at 6:51 pm said:

      Transmission to enable renewables update

      Generation Expansion Model (GEM) base case inputs

      Main key drivers

      Carbon charge $75/tCO2
      Shortage of gas –import LNG in 2020 at $25/GJ (assumed oil at 100 USD/barrel and exchange rate at 0.65)
      Diesel cost at $33/GJ (~$1.30/litre)
      Coal price at $4/GJ ??

      Wind assumptions

      Capital cost: $2600/kW
      Variable O&M: $15/MWh
      Plant life: 20 years
      Depreciation rate: 19%
      Capacity factor: 0.35-0.45

      LRMC ~$100/MWh

    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/08/2012 at 8:38 pm said:

      Wind Integration – the long view (NZ)

      Consider the 2 graphs:

      Generation Expansion Model Long Run Marginal Cost – Carbon charge = 0 $/t (page 4 pdf)

      Generation Expansion Model Long Run Marginal Cost – Carbon charge = 100 $/t (page 4 pdf)
      0$ carbon charge ranking as MW increase (rough guessing from stupid colour code):-

      1 CCGT
      2 Geothermal
      3 Either – Hydro Peaking or Minor Coal or IGCC/CCS or Lignite
      4 CCGT/CCS

      5000 MW
      5 Major Coal
      6 Minor Wind, Geothermal, Hydro ROR and one of the 3rd rank

      10,000 MW
      7 Major Wind
      8 Minor Lignite, IGCC/CCS, Coal Dry Years
      9 Either – Hydro Peaking, Minor Coal, IGCC/CCS, Lignite
      10 Fast Start Gas Fired Peaker
      11 Minor Wind
      12 Major Lignite
      13 Diesel Peaker
      14 Minor one of the 3rd rank
      15 Major Hydro Pumped Storage
      100$ carbon charge ranking as MW increase (rough guessing from stupid colour code):-

      1 Minor Geothermal, Either – Hydro Peaking or Minor Coal, IGCC/CCS or Lignite, Hydro ROR

      2000 MW
      2 Major Wind, Geothermal, Either – Hydro Peaking or Minor Coal or IGCC/CCS or Lignite, Gas Peaker
      3 Either – Hydro Peaking or Minor Coal or IGCC/CCS or Lignite, Minor Wind

      25,000 MW
      4 CCGT/CCS, Major Coal, CCGT
      5 Lignite, Either – Hydro Peaking or Minor Coal or IGCC/CCS
      6 CCGT
      7 Either – Hydro Peaking or Minor Coal or IGCC/CCS or Lignite
      8 Diesel Peaker, Hydro Pumped Storage

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/08/2012 at 1:00 pm said:

      Interactive Electricity Generation Cost Model 2011

      This model is an interactive tool designed to provide users with insights into the potential costs of new generation, and the uncertainty surrounding these costs when key assumptions such as fuel prices, emissions price, exchange rates, etc. are changed.

      The projects are ranked from cheapest to most expensive based on their estimated “Long run marginal cost” (LRMC). LRMC is the wholesale price a generator needs to earn, on average, in order to recover capital and operating costs and earn an economic return on investment.

      The model also explores how future demand growth might be met. It assumes the cheapest projects are selected first and that sufficient plant must be available to meet both energy demand and peak demand.

      Note that this model is illustrative only and does not represent a complete list of all possible future generation projects.

      This is a simplified version of the electricity model used in the Energy Outlook 2011. The Energy Outlook uses the Electricity Authority’s “GEM” optimisation model to determine the least cost build of new generation. More information on the GEM model can be found in the Technical Guide for Energy Outlook Modelling or on the Electricity Authority’s website.

      Download the document

      Electricity generation cost model [4.1 MB XLS]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/08/2012 at 1:19 pm said:

      Technical Guide for Energy Outlook Modelling

      Version 2.0 January 2012

      1 Overview
      The Ministry of Economic Development’s (MED) current approach to energy modelling for the Energy Outlook uses five distinct (but interrelated) models:
       Supply and Demand Energy Model (SADEM);
       electricity Grid Expansion Model (GEM);
       electricity price forecast model;
       oil and gas models;
       and the Vehicle Fleet Model (VFM).
      These models are used to produce forecasts of energy supply and demand and energy sector greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/08/2012 at 2:06 pm said:

      Contrary to the 0$ carbon charge GEM graph in ‘Wind Integration – the long view (NZ)’, wind ranks ahead of gas base load when I enter a 0$ carbon charge and 8$ per GJ wholesale gas price in the “simplified” spreadsheet.

      Not sure what the simplification is yet, I’ll have to read the Technical Guide for GEM.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/08/2012 at 4:55 pm said:

      Wind generation investigation project (WGIP)

      To accommodate the connection of further wind generation while maintaining the integrity of the New Zealand power system, the Electricity Commission initiated a strategic project to assess the likely impact of wind generation development over the next 5 to 10 years. This study was to identify wider power system and electricity market implications of additional wind generation and how these can be best resolved to enable the development of wind generation on a “level playing field” with other generation sources.

      WGIP scope

      The Commission consulted on the scope of work for this project, with the final scope (72 KB) approved by the Board in September 2005.

      The reports are complete and can be downloaded below:

      * Commission summary report (598 KB)

      * Garrad Hassan report on wind power variability and forecast accuracy in New Zealand (791 KB)

      * Investigation 1 (Part A): Effect of unpredictability of wind generation on pre-dispatch processes (369 KB)

      * Investigation 1 (Part B): Effect of unpredictability of wind generation output on scheduling (1.4 MB)

      * Investigation 2: Effect of wind generation on dispatch (396 KB)

      * Investigation 3: Effect of wind generation variability on asset loading (657 KB)

      * Investigation 4: Effect of wind generation on ability to manage system voltages within voltage quality targets (1.4 MB)

      * Investigation 5: Effect of wind generation on management of frequency excursions (616 KB)

      * Investigation 6: Effect of wind generation on small disturbance voltage stability (1.2 MB)

      * Investigation 7 to 9 (Stage 1): Digsilent Report (574 KB)

      * Investigation 7 (Stage 2): Effect of wind generation on transient stability (4.2 MB)

      * Investigation 8 (Stage 2): Effect of wind generation on small signal stability (3.4 MB)

      * Investigation 9 (Stage 2): Effect of wind generation on reactive power contributions and dynamic voltage responses (1.3 MB)

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/08/2012 at 7:48 pm said:

      WGIP Objectives (from Intro linked below):-

      “Rules and related arrangements that neither penalise nor favour wind generation, relative to its true system costs & benefits”

      From WGIP ‘Implications analysis’ in the briefing list linked below:-

      “Generators must comply with dispatch instructions”


      “Wind generation is not required to comply with dispatch instructions”

      And (from INVESTIGATION 6),

      “The current electricity market arrangements in New Zealand require wind generators to offer their output at a price of $0 or $0.01 per MWh. This effectively results in wind generation being dispatched ahead of most other forms of generation, such that generation plant providing reactive support is displaced by minimum capability wind generation plant”.

      Also some very telling plots:-

      300 MW wind farm output forecast (23 hours out) and actual (at dispatch) – page 64

      Manawatu wind generation, day – pages 71 – 74

      Manawatu wind generation, week – 79

      [Indication of alt/reserve dispatch would be helpful in the above plots]

      –Wind generation forecast [errors] will exceed load forecast error within a few years
      –A review of SO tools and processes in light of wind forecast errors is required

      Briefing covering investigations 1-6

      * Introduction (Peter Harris) (71 KB)
      * Implications analysis (Graeme Ancell, System Operator) (2.1 MB)
      * Variability and unpredictability analysis (Dougal McQueen, Garrad Hassan) (116 KB)
      * Options framework (Jim Truesdale, Concept Consulting) (39 KB)

    • Richard C (NZ) on 19/08/2012 at 9:47 pm said:

      Firming capacity wrt the WGIP Objectives:-

      “Rules and related arrangements that neither penalise nor favour wind generation, relative to its true system costs & benefits”

      Deloitte 2012 report ‘Economics of wind development in New Zealand’ states

      The cost of providing this [firming] capacity is generally carried by the operators of controllable generation plant who may be able to use this ability to capture prices greater than the TWAP.

      Various studies have been carried out on the cost of this firming capacity which have estimated the current cost as being in the region of $2/MWh.

      Wiki tells us that In the 2011 calendar year, wind power produced 1,930,000 MWh of electricity so using that year, the wind sector avoids firming costs of $3.86m pa and $386m over 10 years.

      But (from Deloitte 2012):-

      “The cost of firming capacity is expected to rise if wind plant grows to become a larger proportion of the overall generation capacity. As these costs grow there may be increasing pressure to tie them back more directly to the wind, or other non firm plant”

  67. Richard C (NZ) on 19/08/2012 at 11:10 pm said:

    Introducing the Electricity Demand and Generation Scenarios (EDGS)

    Discussion paper July 2012 PDF Document 639kb

    Proposed base capital cost assumptions for the EDGS 2012 Excel spreadsheet 136kb

    Scenario design rationale

    53. By focusing on the mix of renewable technologies (particularly wind and geothermal) and the quantity of thermal generation, the four proposed EDGS scenarios reflect the Ministry’s current understanding about technology costs and trade‐offs.

    54. Last year, in preparation for the EDGS, the Ministry commissioned Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) to update the technical and capital cost assumptions for use in the Generation Expansion Model (GEM). The final report is published on the Ministry’s website at:

    55. Figure 3 shows the Long Run Marginal Cost (LRMC) of new generation projects using the PB report and the Energy Outlook 2011 Reference Scenario assumptions. The LRMC is a common measure used to compare the relative costs of new generation options.

    56. While there is a high level of uncertainty about the relative costs of each technology, Figure 3 indicates that geothermal may be the cheapest new generation option. The quantity of baseload thermal generation will be heavily influenced by gas resource availability and the price of carbon emissions. If there is sufficient affordable gas available, new gas combined cycle turbines (CCGTs) are likely to be built.

    57. The carbon price will also have a big impact on all existing and potential new thermal generation, particularly coal. Although the coal price is important and will be carefully considered, the carbon price will be used by the Ministry as the primary driver for coal investment, since a high carbon price will make new coal investment uneconomic.

    58. The Ministry is currently unaware of any generator proposals to build new coal fired electricity‐only plants in New Zealand; however there is technically a very large fuel resource available. New coal generation will be included in the assumption sets; however, it is unlikely to be built in scenarios with mid–high carbon prices (as shown in Figure 3). Other generation options such as hydro and cogeneration will also be represented in the assumption sets for all

    59. Table 2 summarises the potential new generation capacity (MW) by project stage for each of the dominant technologies currently being proposed by generators (excluding gas and diesel peakers). It is based on the PB report, with some revisions as new information has become available.

    60. Table 2 shows there is a very large quantity of wind projects already fully consented compared with only a handful of geothermal proposals. Nearly two‐thirds of the around 1,600 MW of the geothermal resource available (and included on the previous LRMC chart) are generic plants that have not been publically proposed by generators. As well as this, many of these resources are greenfield or previously undeveloped resources.

    61. If geothermal resources prove to be plentiful (and cheap) then geothermal energy could dominate future baseload build. On the other hand, if the capital cost of wind technology falls (as some commentators expect) and geothermal resources are limited, then wind generation will be more prominent.

    62. While hydro is likely to always remain New Zealand’s dominant source of electricity generation, Figure 3 and Table 2 show it is not likely to dominate new generation development in the short to medium term. Large hydro developments are particularly difficult to consent and recent cost estimates put them as being more expensive than other generation options.
    Also see MED Technical Papers:-

    • Richard C (NZ) on 21/08/2012 at 3:07 pm said:

      New Zealand’s Energy Outlook

      Download the documents

      * Energy Outlook 2011 [902 KB PDF]
      * Energy Outlook 2011 Technical Guide [985 KB PDF]
      * Electricity generation and build [614 KB XLS]
      * Emissions [1.1 MB XLS]
      * Energy prices [399 KB XLS]
      * Energy supply and demand [1.2 MB XLS]

      From ‘Energy Outlook 2011’ pg 11:-

      Emissions Price Sensitivity Analysis

      The Reference Scenario assumes an emissions price of $25 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emitted from 2013. Two alternative sensitivities are considered, a no emissions price sensitivity case and a sensitivity case where the emission price rises to reach $100 per tonne by 2020 and remains at that level out to 2030.

      [Reference price is lower than the $50 per tonne assumed in Energy Outlook 2010, reflecting lower carbon prices worldwide (from pg 12)]


      >> In the high emissions price sensitivity case, wind generation increases by 80% while coal reduces by 36% relative to the Reference Scenario. The 250% (average) increase in the emissions price results in a 8% rise in the electricity price relative to the Reference Scenario.
      >> In the no emissions price sensitivity case, coal generation increases by 79% while wind falls by 25% relative to the Reference Scenario. A new 560 MW coal plant is built in 2028 and in the early 2020’s one of the Huntly units is refurbished and remains in operation until 2040 (in the Reference Scenario all the Huntly units are fully decommissioned by 2030).
      >> With no emissions price the electricity price is around 5% lower than in the Reference Scenario.

      So the ETS adds to a nominal no emissions electricity price as follows:

      $100 – no carbon charge

      $105 – $25 carbon charge ($5, 5% rise) [Reference Scenario]

      $113.40 – $100 carbon charge ($13.40, 13.4% rise)

      The ‘Electricity generation and build’ XLS spreadsheet makes it much easier to envisage what generation gets built and when using the emissions price Low/High tabs than do the LRMC graphs that are output from GEM.

      In the “Low” ($0/t) scenario, an 80 MW coal stn gets built in 2023 and a 560 MW coal stn gets built in 2028.

      In the “Ref” ($25/t) scenario, only an 80 MW coal stn gets built in 2021.

      In the “High” ($100/t) scenario, only an 80 MW coal stn gets built in 2020.

      In the “Low” (0$/t) scenario, no new wind plant gets built until 2023.

      In the “Ref” ($25/t) scenario, 284 MW of wind plant gets built before 2023.

      In the “High” ($100/t) scenario, 938 MW of wind plant gets built before 2023.

  68. Andy on 22/08/2012 at 6:43 pm said:

    SNP proposes wind farm ‘propaganda’ for the classroom
    SNP minsters are planning to undermine community opposition to wind farms by having teachers tell schoolchildren that turbines benefit the environment, according to official guidance just published

    Updated advice issued by the Scottish Government stated that councils should include green energy in the school curriculum or after-school activities “to provide a foundation for balanced decision-making in later life”.

    It also recommended that renewable power companies embark on public relations campaigns so that the intermittent power and visual impact of turbines are not “portrayed as show-stoppers or roadblocks”.

    Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister, said the guidance would ensure wind farm planning applications “go more smoothly for everyone involved”.

    But opposition parties last night accused the SNP of infecting classrooms with pro-wind farm propaganda in order that they achieve their green energy targets.

    This should come as no surprise to residents of the Stalinist State of New Zealand where public TV propaganda aimed at children is the norm

  69. Andy on 04/09/2012 at 9:04 am said:

    Germany — Insane Or Just Plain Stupid?

    After the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima plants, Germany moved quickly to shut eight nuclear power plants, and made plans do away completely with their nuclear capability. Despite the best safety record of any industry in the country, and the critical role nuclear plays in fueling German industry, Germany’s past experience with large tsunamis was just too horrific to ignore. And Germany’s strong economy and commitment to protect the environment were small prices to pay for Chancellor Merkel to shore up her weak coalition with the Free Democrats. Maybe she can ask Greece for help later.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 04/09/2012 at 9:46 am said:

      “German industrial and manufacturing sectors – steel, aluminum, paper, cement, plastics, chemical – are migrating to countries with cheaper electricity as energy and carbon-costs are eating up to 50% of their expenses. Almost one in five German industrial companies plans to, or already has, shifted capacities abroad”

      The euphemism I think, is “carbon leakage”.

  70. Andy on 04/09/2012 at 11:01 am said:

    Wind turbines noise in Scotland.
    A video showing the high level of noise (measured with a dB meter) from a windfarm in Ayrshire

  71. Andy on 25/09/2012 at 1:24 pm said:

    Toyota drops plan for electric car:

    (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp has scrapped plans for widespread sales of a new all-electric minicar, saying it had misread the market and the ability of still-emerging battery technology to meet consumer demands.

    Toyota, which had already taken a more conservative view of the market for battery-powered cars than rivals General Motors Co and Nissan Motor Co, said it would only sell about 100 battery-powered eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release.

    The automaker had announced plans to sell several thousand of the vehicles per year when it unveiled the eQ as an pure-electric variant of its iQ minicar in 2010.

    “Two years later, there are many difficulties,” Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development, told reporters on Monday.

    By dropping plans for a second electric vehicle in its line-up, Toyota cast more doubt on an alternative to the combustion engine that has been both lauded for its oil-saving potential and criticized for its heavy reliance on government subsidies in key markets like the United States.

  72. Richard C (NZ) on 03/10/2012 at 7:59 am said:

    Coal costs force Fonterra’s hand

    Dairy juggernaut Fonterra is planning a major new coal mine in north Waikato, saying that will be cheaper than buying coal from Solid Energy, the state-owned enterprise axing 120 jobs at Huntly, blaming falling prices.

    Fonterra’s coal mining company Glencoal is about to apply for resource consents to develop an open cast coalmine on 30ha of farmland it has owned for 10 years between Mangatawhiri Rd and the new State Highway 2 at Maramarua.

    The proposed mine would replace Glencoal’s 18-year-old Kopako 3 (K3) mine 8km south of Maramarua, which is nearing the end of its working life.


    New Zealand’s biggest company uses coal to power its Hautapu, Te Awamutu and Waitoa plants in Waikato.


    The coal energy utilized by those plants is about equivalent to the electrical energy demand of the City of Hamilton I think (last did that calc years ago).

  73. Andy on 15/10/2012 at 10:34 am said:

    A video (in German) about wind developments in Germany

    Around 3 min 50, check out the incredible view of massive arrays of turbines right next to houses

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/10/2012 at 11:11 am said:

      I watched DW In Focus about CFLs on Central TV last night and it’s damning re mercury (and just about everything else), the chemist and environmental health researchers (German) were scathing. Anyone who promotes CFLs after watching that is out of their minds.

      Can’t find the one I watched but I think this one is similar

      From the blurb “Energy-saving lamps contain toxic mercury and are hazardous. They can be collected and recycled in special boxes. Unfortunately, many people throw energy saving light bulbs in the trash – which is harmful to the environment”

      That’s about the least of the problem

  74. Andy on 18/10/2012 at 5:39 pm said:

    Germany facing power blackouts

    Philipp Rosler said Germany is faced with a repeat of the power shortages experienced last year that threatened to plunge parts of the country into darkness.

    “Last winter we had a pretty tense situation, and this year we could see the same again, and perhaps even next year as well,” he said in an interview with the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse.

    The move away from old forms of energy production has become one of Chancellor Angel Merkel’s key policies, and the government wants four fifths of German energy produced by renewable sources by 2050. To achieve this it has begun to take old fossil fuel power stations offline, and has also committed itself to phasing out nuclear energy by 2022.

    Filling the void left by fossil fuels and nuclear power however has already placed a strain on existing capacity in the national grid. During a cold snap in February last year the pressure on electricity capacity in the Hamburg region pushed the grid to breaking point and forced some heavy industry plants to shut down.

  75. Andy on 25/10/2012 at 10:36 am said:

    Professor Jim Al-Khalili, thorium to produce nuclear power – University of Huddersfield

    A short YouTube clip from a well known physicist and BBC presenter

  76. Andy on 31/10/2012 at 12:28 pm said:

    Death knell for wind farms: ‘Enough is Enough’ says minister
    Wind farms have been “peppered” across Britain without enough consideration for the countryside and people’s homes, a senior Conservative energy minister admitted last night as he warned “enough is enough”.

    • Andy on 31/10/2012 at 1:27 pm said:

      and Booker has a piece on this

      Ten years too late, it’s good riddance to wind farms – one of the most dangerous delusions of our age

      The significance of yesterday’s shock announce-ment by our Energy Minister John Hayes that the Government plans to put a firm limit on the building of any more onshore windfarms is hard to exaggerate.

      On the face of it, this promises to be the beginning of an end to one of the greatest and most dangerous political delusions of our time.

      For years now, the plan to cover hundreds of square miles of the British countryside with ever more wind turbines has been the centrepiece of Britain’s energy policy — and one supported by all three major political parties.

      Back in 2008, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his wish to see the country spend £100 billion on windfarms, the only response from the Tory leader David Cameron was to say that he should have done it sooner.

      It was the only way, they all agreed, Britain could meet our commitment to the EU that, by 2020, we must produce nearly a third of our electricity from ‘renewables’ — with the largest part provided by tens of thousands more wind turbines.

      Yet now, out of the blue, has come this announcement by the Coalition Energy Minister that from now on there is to be a moratorium on building onshore turbines other than those for which consent has already been given.–dangerous-delusions-age.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

    • Andy on 31/10/2012 at 1:41 pm said:

      and Bishop Hill
      ***Did Hayes just kill the wind industry?***

  77. Andy on 26/11/2012 at 10:53 am said:

    The Environmental Defense Fund Comes Out In Support Of Fracking

    The Environmental Defense Fund’s chief counsel has written a blog post detailing the non-profit’s support for hydraulic fracturing of natural gas.

    The EDF is well known for pouring money into global warming, clean air and oil spill cleanup fights.

    In the case of fracking, Brownstein says, it mainly comes down to eliminating coal.

    “We fear that those who oppose all natural gas production everywhere are, in effect, making it harder for the U.S. economy to wean itself from dirty coal,” he said.

    The fund’s Mark Brownstein lays out three reasons to back natgas:

    Fracking is already a common, widespread practice
    On balance, they’d rather see natural gas-powered electricity plans than coal-powered ones. “We are glad to see these coal plants go,” he says. Plus, natural gas is the feedstock for chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilizer, and for direct heating and cooling
    Any potential hazards can be regulated. “Effective oversight and enforcement with the necessary financial and human resources [can] make [regulations] real.

    He closes thusly:

    Natural gas production can never be made entirely safe; like any intensive industrial activity, it involves risks. But having studied the issue closely, we are convinced that if tough rules, oversight and penalties for noncompliance are put in place, these risks become manageable.

    • Well done, them. Finally, a group of activists sees past its ideology and approves a harmless, practicable technology. Admittedly, it’s for the wrong reason of avoiding clean, cheap, coal-fired generation, but it’s a step forward.

    • Andy on 26/11/2012 at 1:54 pm said:

      Also, from NZ

      Environment report not likely to seek fracking ban

      New Zealand’s environmental watchdog is unlikely to call for a ban on fracking upon the release of her initial inquiry into the controversial oil and gas industry technique.

      Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright will on Tuesday release her report on fracking, which involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into rock masses, from as little as several hundred metres underground, to help release oil and gas.

      The report follows an eight-month investigation instigated after it was revealed fracking was being undertaken without consent, and some operations had polluted the air, groundwater and soil.

      As Wright prepares to table her report in Parliament, the Star-Times has learnt that any suggestions to either ban fracking or allow it to be continued but with stricter guidelines and consent processes, would instead be included in a second, yet-to-be completed report.

      Wright’s investigation comes at a time when a growing number of overseas countries are banning fracking due to environmental disasters and reported links to an increase in seismic activity.

      Fracking has been carried out in New Zealand for more than 20 years, with numerous operations by energy companies without specific consent from local councils.

      Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes said if Wright did not make a binding stand on fracking in her report, he would call on the Government to order a moratorium on fracking until the procedure was proven safe.

      “Until it can be proven we have got a robust regulatory regime to protect our environment, we shouldn’t be undertaking this massive expansion which is currently planned,” Hughes said.


  78. Andy on 13/01/2013 at 10:21 pm said:

    The conversion of a pro wimd lawyer

    A good read about a decent legal chap in Aussie who saw the light.

    Read the final sentence

  79. Richard C (NZ) on 22/01/2013 at 1:08 pm said:

    Welcome To Green Europe

    Tens of thousands of trees have disappeared from parks and woodlands this winter across Greece as the crisis-hit country’s impoverished residents, too broke to pay for electricity or fuel, turn to fireplaces and wood stoves for heat. –Nektaria Stamouli and Stelios Bouras, The Wall Street Journal, 12 January 2013

    When the mercury falls, the theft of wood in the country’s woodlands goes up as people turn to cheaper ways to heat their homes. With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country’s forests. The problem has been compounded this winter by rising energy costs. The Germany’s Renters Association estimates the heating costs will go up 22 percent this winter alone.–Spiegel Online, 17 January 2013

  80. Bjorn Lomborg via Facebook

    I was asked what I think of the New York Times claim that we can soon live great without fossil fuels.

    In short, this is simply silly. Today, the world get’s 81% of its energy from fossil fuels, in 2035, even with very generously, green assumptions, we’ll get 79% of our energy from fossil fuels.

    When the article approvingly quote: “It’s absolutely not true that we need natural gas, coal or oil — we think it’s a myth,” it just beggars belief. The claim that renewables could power 100% of our lives at about the same cost as fossil fuels (which is also the claim in the background academic papers) is simply belied by the market — even with high subsidies, we only get very little of our energy from renewables.

    The article amusingly says: When I tell colleagues that Portugal now gets 40 percent of its electricity from renewable power, the standard response is “Portugal is windy.”

    Well, the correct answer would have been “Portugal is almost bankrupt.”

    The article in question is here:

  81. Richard C (NZ) on 21/04/2013 at 11:21 am said:

    The Climate Circus Leaves Town

    As traditional energy sources go from doom and gloom to boom.

    Apr 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 31 • By STEVEN F. HAYWARD

    If you had told environmentalists on Election Day 2008 that four years later there’d be no successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, that a Democratic Congress would not have enacted any meaningful climate legislation, that domestic oil production would be soaring even after a catastrophic offshore oil spill, and that the environmental community would be having a lively internal debate about whether it should support reviving nuclear power, most might have marched into the ocean to drown themselves. Yet that’s the state of play four months into President Obama’s second term.

    Start with climate change.


    After two decades of steady and substantial global temperature increase from 1980 to 1998, the pause in warming is causing a crisis for the climate crusade. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. The recent temperature record is falling distinctly to the very low end of the range predicted by the climate models and may soon fall out of it, which means the models are wrong, or, at the very least, something is going on that supposedly “settled” science hasn’t been able to settle. Equally problematic for the theory, one place where the warmth might be hiding​​—​​the oceans​​—​​is not cooperating with the story line. Recent data show that ocean warming has noticeably slowed, too.

    These inconvenient data are causing the climate science community to reconsider the issue of climate sensitivity​​—​​that is, how much warming greenhouse gases actually cause​​—​​as I predicted would happen in these pages three years ago: “Eventually the climate modeling community is going to have to reconsider the central question: Have the models the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] uses for its predictions of catastrophic warming overestimated the climate’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases?”


    The final unexpected aspect of the global hydrocarbon renaissance is that it is starting to cause a few environmentalists to have second thoughts about .  .  . nuclear power. For nearly 30 years nuclear power was the only form of energy environmentalists despised more than hydrocarbons. But even with Japan’s nuclear power plant disaster of 2011, some environmentalists have come to see a positive tradeoff of nuclear power over coal and natural gas. James Hansen recently co-authored a paper concluding that nuclear power has saved 1.8 million lives over coal and gas-fired alternative electricity sources since 1970, and will prevent 7 million deaths by midcentury if it supplants a significant portion of fossil fuel electricity. In June a new documentary film, Pandora’s Promise, will feature prominent environmentalists, such as Stewart Brand, who have changed their mind on nuclear power. The film was screened to good reviews at the most recent Sundance Film Festival; apparently the resolutely anti-nuke host, Robert Redford, hadn’t noticed it on the program. But there’s a lot the old fossils of environmentalism don’t notice these days, starting with the dead-end road they’ve hit.

    Steven F. Hayward is the Thomas Smith fellow at the Ashbrook Center, and the William Simon distinguished visiting professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy.

  82. “More Hydro is Better than Wind”

    There are 54,000 dams in the United States that are higher than 5 ft., and do not currently have equipment installed for generating electricity.

    An assessment by the Department of Energy (DOE) of all non-powered dams (NPDs) in the United States determined that these dams could provide 12,000 MW of generating capacity.

    A mere 100 of them could provide 8,000 MW of generating capacity.

    The report did not determine the cost of installing generating equipment at these existing dams, but there is little doubt that these dams could generate electricity at a lower cost than wind turbines.

    The cost of building the dams has already been incurred, and since the dams are already built, there would be little environmental impact. For example, they wouldn’t kill birds and bats as do wind turbines.

    The electricity from the NPDs would be dispatchable, and would therefore have greater value to grid operators than electricity generated from wind farms.

    Read more..

  83. Andy on 22/06/2013 at 2:52 pm said:

    “Why Wind Power is a Sham”

    A series of recently released studies make it clear that wind power is not going to save us—not from global warming, not from high extinction rates, and not from the system of high-energy-consumption industrial exploitation that is killing the planet.

    Let’s start with the most damning findings: even the most large-scale shift to wind power cannot slow greenhouse gas emissions enough to have any positive effect on the climate, although it may manage to make things worse. Why?

    • Wow. Startling turnaround. Two things stand out.

      let’s not forget what environmentalists have been warning about for decades: wind turbines murder birds.

      Climate deniers have been saying the same thing and nobody listened.

      So what’s the solution? Certainly not wind, solar, or any other industrial magic bullet. The solution is to dramatically scale back consumption and shift to local-based economies not dependent upon stealing resources from distant people and lands.

      The solution is to demolish the global economic system.

      Some people will never leave this alone. We must stay on our guard against them.
      I guess the reason is that nobody is truly interested in saving the planet because they just want to crush humanity’s wasteful ways. And they know that the planet is not threatened from within.

      Finally, the Earth First story ends with a link to some truly destructive revolutionary invective.

      Read it. Learn how to couch every human advance, every improvement, every comfort in terms of destruction, exploitation, colonialism, despair and hatred. Learn how nothing good exists, only the evil we must unite to defeat.

      Unity is great, but making the aim destruction gives even unity a very poor image.

  84. Richard C (NZ) on 11/07/2013 at 3:05 pm said:

    ‘Duke’s Edwardsport coal-fired power plant enters service’

    (Reuters) – Duke Energy Corp’s 618-megawatt (MW) Edwardsport coal-fired power plant in Indiana has entered service, the power company said on Monday, one year late and $1.5 billion over budget.

    Edwardsport is the largest U.S. power plant to use an advanced integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology, which strips out pollutants from coal before it is burned.

    The IGCC technology was touted as a way for utilities to continue to take advantage of the nation’s abundant coal supplies despite rising concerns about global warming.

    However, the lack of federal limits on carbon dioxide emissions, high construction costs and new supplies of affordable natural gas have led developers to abandon more than three dozen IGCC projects over the last decade.

    Only Duke, the biggest U.S. power company, and Southern Co have constructed IGCC projects.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/07/2013 at 3:15 pm said:

      ‘FirstEnergy to shut two Pennsylvania coal power plants’

      (Reuters) – FirstEnergy Corp will shut two coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania by Oct. 9 due to weak power prices and the high cost of complying with stricter environmental rules, the company said on Tuesday. […]

      FirstEnergy said it would cost about $275 million to install the equipment at the two plants to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

      Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, about 15,000 MW of coal-fired power plants have closed as low electricity and natural gas prices have made it uneconomical for generating companies to upgrade those facilities to keep up with the government’s stricter environmental rules. Those generating companies have also announced plans to shut more than 37,000 MW of coal-fired units over the next 10 years or so.

      FirstEnergy said it expected to invest about $650 million in mercury-related control technology to enhance or modify existing air quality equipment or install new equipment on its remaining facilities. After these upgrades, FirstEnergy said it expected to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 84 percent, sulfur dioxide by 95 percent and mercury by 91 percent below 1990 levels. In addition, the company expects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 20 percent to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. […]

      After those closings, FirstEnergy will still operate a fleet of power plants with combined generating capacity of more than 18,000 MW, it said. Of that, 56 percent will be from coal, 22 percent from nuclear, 13 percent renewable and 9 percent gas and oil.


  85. Richard C (NZ) on 13/07/2013 at 11:47 am said:

    German Resistance: Mutiny In The Land Of Wind Turbines

    * Matthias Schultz, Spiegel Online

    Germany plans to build 60,000 new wind turbines — in forests, in the foothills of the Alps and even in protected environmental areas. But local residents are up in arms, costs are skyrocketing and Germany’s determination to phase out nuclear power is in danger.

  86. Richard C (NZ) on 27/07/2013 at 1:44 pm said:

    ‘The Problem with the 10th Circuit’s Ruling in State of Oklahoma et al. v. EPA’

    by William Yeatman on July 26, 2013


    To be precise, EPA disapproved Oklahoma’s estimate of what BART controls would cost. Oklahoma calculated that scrubbers, a retrofit to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, would cost $1.8 billion to install at six power plants. Based in part on this estimate, state officials deemed that scrubbers were too expensive to serve as Regional Haze BART.

    EPA contested this conclusion by hiring an “independent” consultant. According to this “independent” consultant, Oklahoma’s accounting was improper, and the actual cost of installing the six scrubbers was half what the Sooner State claimed it was—about $900 million.


    I followed the case closely, and I thought it would be a slam dunk for Oklahoma. For starters, the State won a stay preventing EPA’s implementation of its Regional Haze rule while the court deliberated the case. This is always a good sign for the petitioners. More importantly, the previous case law made it clear that States get to choose BART. It seemed obvious that EPA had engineered a rationale to impose the controls it preferred. It is, after all, EPA policy under the current administration to see that all coal-fired power plants in the U.S. are retrofitted with scrubbers.

    So I was a bit shocked when the 10th Circuit delivered a ruling last Friday that supported EPA’s takeover of Oklahoma’s Regional Haze authority. My shock turned to dismay after I read the majority (2-1) opinion. Here’s why: The decision’s logic rested on the credibility of EPA’s consultant.

    About that “Independent” Consultant…

  87. Richard C (NZ) on 31/08/2013 at 1:40 pm said:

    “Citizens Rights” Defeats UK Government in Landmark Wind Energy Ruling

    Written by PSI Staff

    This week Christine Metcalfe, 69, a Scottish community councillor, scored a stunning landmark legal victory bringing to a halt the UK government’s unlawful and unpopular wind energy initiative. In effect, all British wind farm development is mothballed until grassroots public consent is granted – if ever.

    Below Christine provides her personal insights on this extraordinary long running battle in which Britain and the EU were ruled to have breached citizens’ rights, protected under the UN’s Aarhus Convention.

    A personal view on the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee’s draft decision on Complaint Ref. ACCC/C/2012/68

    By Christine Metcalfe


  88. Andy on 25/10/2013 at 8:23 am said:

    Al Gore Invests in Fracking Company

    In a statement to shareholders, Canada-based PetroBakken Resources announced that Gore and his investment partners would be pumping $200 million into the company in return for a 15 percent stake.

    The move comes just weeks after Gore sold his shares in cable broadcaster Current to Al-Jazeera, a Middle Eastern channel backed by oil wealth. Both transactions have raised eyebrows because of the dissonance between Gore’s high-profile environmental activism and his investment strategy.

    • Andy on 25/10/2013 at 12:35 pm said:

      and is a spoof, although it is fairly believable.

      Being a “liberal” spoof, it is not very funny.

      Besides, even Michael Mann has tweeted that he is in favour of natural gas via fracking because it has reduced CO2 emission in the USA.

      Not that this is of any concern to the environmentalists, who have other agendas

  89. Richard C (NZ) on 18/03/2014 at 8:50 am said:

    Curtailed Hydro from Wanapum Dam Crack: An ‘Unpredicted Change in the Wind’?

    by Wayne Lusvardi, March 17, 2014

    Steve Weiss, an environmental advocate, is quoted: “Hydro sounds like it’s a great fit for wind, but in turns out to be a pretty terrible fit.”

  90. Richard C (NZ) on 08/04/2014 at 12:58 pm said:

    Car Test — Hydrogen On Demand [Petrol + H2 additive]
    (Pure hydrogen, not HHO)
    Can pure hydrogen (H2) replace HHO to increase MPG?
    Updated : 11/2012
    By: Phillips Company


    Problem and solution
    The future increasing need for hydrogen fuel has created a problem: the problem is the
    lack of a hydrogen-supply infrastructure that is necessary for the proliferation of the use
    of hydrogen. The present invention provides a simple solution, in that hydrogen on
    demand (HOD) is available at any desired high production rate. This makes it
    unnecessary to store hydrogen in a pressurized tank for release later at a high rate.
    The present invention makes it possible to control and sustain the continuous production
    of hydrogen with no requirement for any external energy. The controlled, sustained
    production of hydrogen has been achieved in our laboratory so long as water, aluminum
    and Catalytic Carbon (CC) are provided to the hydrogen-production cell.

    The present invention for hydrogen production improves the state of the art
    The common method to recover hydrogen from water is to pass electric current through
    water and to reverse the oxygen-hydrogen combination reaction, i.e. water electrolysis.
    Another method involves extraction of hydrogen from fossil fuels, for example from
    natural gas or methanol. This method is complex and always results in residues, such as
    carbon dioxide. And, there is worldwide limit to the fossil fuel available for use in the
    future. In these reforming methods the resulting hydrogen must be somehow stored and
    delivered to the user, unless the hydrogen generation is performed “on-board,” close to
    the point of use. The safe, reliable, low-cost hydrogen storage and delivery is currently
    one of the bottlenecks of the hydrogen-based economy. The present invention addresses
    this problem through safe, “on-board/on-demand” production of hydrogen close to the
    user systems, using simple, safe and pollution-free metal oxidation reacting with water
    and Catalytic Carbon (CC).


    First test run: 37 MPG
    First test run on 7/29/2011: 37 MPG on a Buick that usually gets a MAXIMUM of 30
    MPG, even on long road trips. Typical highway gas mileage for this car is about 26 to 28

    Analysis: 32% increase in gas mileage (37 – 28) / 28 = 32% increase in gas mileage

    # # #

    I’ve seen testimonials of HHO systems overseas (e.g. Drive-H20 below) where 13% is easily achievable and 30 – 60% in cases from low cost (less than EUR1000) along with increased power. Why this technology has not been taken mass-market before concentrating on stored hydrogen systems refilled from hydrogen fill stations escapes me.

    Drive H20 [Petrol/diesel + HHO additive]:

    Declaration about fuel saving from one of our clients – company ServuS Information & Communication Technologies.

    7.5l/100 km down to 6.5l/100 km, lowest consumption 4.5l/100 km outside city.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/05/2014 at 6:22 pm said:

      ‘Kiwi out to beat rising petrol prices’


      The days of running his car on the smell of an oily rag are over for Vincent Lowe, now that he can do it on the water from a dishcloth instead.

      Mr Lowe, 76, recently bought a hydrogen-on-demand system from the United States, which partly powers his car on a mixture of distilled water and potassium hydroxide, a compound normally used to make soap.

      All he has to do is keep feeding the mixture into an apparatus connected to his engine, which converts it into hydrogen gas, making his car less reliant on fuel.

      “I’m over the moon with it,” he said. “I’m stoked to have found something like this that actually works.”

      He was confident enough in the system’s abilities to invite The Dominion Post along for a test drive between his home in Paraparaumu and Otaki yesterday.

      According to, the average fuel consumption of his 2005 Toyota Corolla GL hatchback is 8.1 litres per 100km.

      Yesterday, he got that down to 7.3 litres, while running the air conditioning and without any obvious sacrifice in power.

      And he is confident he can get the petrol consumption down much further once the system has been running longer.

      He has had the unit installed for only about a week, but once it has been running for about 1500km, enough hydrogen should have built up in the fuel cell to bring his fuel consumption down to between 3 and 6 litres per 100km.

      His son, Dean, had been running a bigger version of the system in his 4.1-litre Ford Falcon for the past 6 to 8 months and it had improved his fuel efficiency by about 30 per cent, Mr Lowe said.

      He first heard of the hydrogen fuel cell idea from an electrical engineer friend 40 years ago. The pair tried to build one, but could not make it work.

      By the time Mr Lowe had paid for shipping and installation, the total cost of the system was about $1100, he said.

      For every 3.7 litres of water the system consumes, it requires a tablespoon of potassium hydroxide, which sells for about $22.50 for 500 grams.

      “I’m not sure how long it will take, but if I keep driving enough then it will pay for itself.”

      The only drawback is that his failing eyesight means he can no longer do the driving himself, and has to rely on wife Shirley, 77.

      “So for me this is just a bit of fun,” he said. “But I thought I’d share it with the world because there’s plenty of people out there who like saving money.”

  91. Richard C (NZ) on 28/08/2014 at 2:06 pm said:

    ‘The crazy world of Renewable Energy Targets’

    JoNova, August 18th, 2014

    […] The RET scheme in Australian pays a subsidy to wind farms and solar installations. Below, Tom Quirk shows that this is effectively a carbon tax (but a lousy one), and it shifts supply — perversely taxing brown coal at $27/ton, black coal at $40/ton and gas at up to $100/ton. Because it’s applied to renewables rather than CO2 directly, it’s effectively a higher tax rate for the non-renewable but lower CO2 emitters. […]

    Renewable energy sources – Complications!

    Guest post by Tom Quirk

  92. Richard C (NZ) on 25/07/2015 at 11:22 am said:

    ‘What The Solar Industry Forgot To Tell You!’

    By Paul Homewood July 24, 2015

    The solar industry has apparently been bragging about how much power it has been producing recently. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to tell us the full story.

    In overall terms, solar only generated 1.2% of UK’s electricity last year.

    But worse still, in Q1, when demand is at its highest, solar only provided 0.51%.

    And if that was not bad enough, when solar power does ramp up on sunny days, it simply provides problems for the grid, as this presentation from the National Grid earlier in the year showed:

    [see graph]

    At its peak around 2.00pm, solar was contributing about 14% of the UK’s total demand on 11th April, which would be around half the peak in winter months. This brought many problems with it, which required these actions from the National Grid:

    [see bullet points]

    So two additional conventional power stations were brought online for voltage management and 2,500 MW of wind ‘bought off’ (i.e. constrained) to make room for solar.

    According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, “constraint payment records show that payments to wind topped £500,000 on that day. Not all of that will have been caused by solar, but NG’s figures suggest that a large part of it was so.”

    Nobody with more than one brain cell would design an electricity network in this way.

  93. Richard C (NZ) on 08/02/2016 at 9:51 am said:

    ‘$100 Trillion Up in Smoke’

    By John Mauldin February 6, 2016

    “Stop for a minute. Let that sink in. The total value of all the world’s oil reserves is over $100 trillion less than it was just a year and a half ago.”

    # # #

    Obama wants a $10 tax per barrel on US oil, doesn’t realize how much value has just been wiped in 18 months – $70 a barrel on 1700 billion barrels reserves worldwide.

  94. Richard C (NZ) on 12/06/2016 at 10:13 am said:

    ‘Tasmania’s Energy Scandal’

    The Marcus Review 16 March 20163 April 2016

    Tasmania has provided yet another example of what happens when you let the lunatics run the asylum for too long. This time, it has run out of electricity to the point of needing 200 temporary diesel generators – at a start up cost of $44 million, plus operating costs of $22 million per month.

    As you’ll soon see, these costs are merely the steam emanating from the hot pile of dung shoveled up in this scandal – whose key players include a greedy government owned hydroelectric operator, an inept State government and Australia’s most socialistic Prime Minister in history.


  95. Richard C (NZ) on 01/07/2016 at 11:00 am said:

    ‘Wind Turbines In China Aren’t Working And It’s Becoming A HUGE Problem’

    Written by Andrew Follett, Daily Caller on June 30, 2016.

    China shut down numerous wind turbines because much of the new electricity was wasted, causing serious damage to the country’s electrical grid.

    China has poured more than $80 billion building new green energy in 2014 alone, while the U.S. spent a “mere” $34 billion. More than one-in-three wind turbines currently installed worldwide are in China. Even with this enormous number of turbines, China still produces less electricity from wind than America, indicating the country is so over-saturated with turbines that it is damaging the power grid, potentially leading to blackouts.


  96. Richard C (NZ) on 27/09/2016 at 9:25 am said:

    Everything You Need To Know Before Obama’s Global Warming Plan Goes To Court

    Kevin Daley,Legal Affairs Reporter 8:05 AM 09/26/2016

  97. Richard C (NZ) on 06/10/2016 at 9:11 am said:

    SA Blackout: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster

  98. Richard C (NZ) on 06/10/2016 at 9:40 am said:

    Top Environmentalists Aghast As Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ Turns Into A Green Dystopia!

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