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


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

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

Richard C (NZ)

“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)

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

I wonder if it’s coal-fired?


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)

“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]


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.””


Without the Hot Air

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

“The Freakonomics of conservation, climate and energy.”


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


This letter is repeated here with the permission of the author via Facebook. Mr Michael Clarke CEO, RSPB The Lodge Sandy Bedfordshire 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… Read more »


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


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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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. Continues……. ——————————————————————————————————————– 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. [Snip] 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… Read more »


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… Read more »


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.


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

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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.… Read more »


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)

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,… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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.



Public health and wind farms

video report from Australia.

Some rather disturbing health issues here:


Greenhouse gas storage possible – NZ study

Another waste of taxpayers money


Renewable Energy


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)

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.


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)

“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)

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)

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)

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)

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.


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)


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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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.


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.


Wind Energy


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.


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.


Wind Farms Provide Negligible Useful Electricity

By: Richard S. Courtney, March 2006

Richard C (NZ)

[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



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)

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).


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.


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]


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)

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.


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)

New Zealand Wind Turbine – Google Search

New Zealand Wind Turbine Controversy – Google Search


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?

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »


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


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?!


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)

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… Read more »


The cost of wind farms – short video from UK

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

val majkus

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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

val majkus

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


You might want to read Richard North’s comments on the 1 billion pounds being allocated to a carbon capture and storage demo project in the UK

Is he angry? Whatever makes you think that?

As I said in the comments, it’s a bit like trying to get toothpaste back in the tube


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.

Richard C (NZ)

See “Electricity generation: NZ and selected OECD countries 2004”


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


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… Read more »


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.


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


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)

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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »


The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme

See – ETS and carbon taxes


Decarbonising Australia

By 2020, power bills will shock

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


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)

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)

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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

“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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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.


Richard C (NZ)

THE COSTS OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL A MULTI-MODEL EVALUATION May, 1999 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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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


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]

Richard C (NZ)

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.


ETS Fuel Levy – Google Search


New Zealand ETS Fuel Levy – Google Search


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.


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.


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.



Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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.… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

New Zealand Energy Coal Statistics – Google Search

New Zealand Energy Coal Steam Electricity – Google Search

Richard C (NZ)

New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development – Crown Minerals

Coal Industry News

Beginner’s guide to the New Zealand Coal Industry

Richard C (NZ)
Richard C (NZ)

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.


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

val majkus

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

“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?


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

All those non-jobs counting up non-problems.

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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)

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)

Seen at JoNova pat: 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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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

Thank you Richard for that link

val majkus

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)

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,… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

From Richard S Courtney: November 26th, 2010 at 8:52 pm Pattoh: 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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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.


Coal-fired Power Plant Pollution – Thread

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Lignite – Google Search

Links to news articles and commentary

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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)

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.



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.

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

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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.


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.

Richard C (NZ)

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.


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)

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?

Richard C (NZ)

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?” [Snip] 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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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]


Tidal Power


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.


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?


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… Read more »


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


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.


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.


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)

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.


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)

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)

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.


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


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… Read more »


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.


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 |


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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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.


Richard C (NZ)

BRITAIN IS FREEZING TO DEATH 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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)




“Energy bills could double to pay for green power”


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

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

The next oil shock? NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT Parliamentary support, Research papers October 2010 SUMMARY Introduction Oil market basics [Instructive graphics] OPEC 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 Conclusion 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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

North America: The new energy kingdom NEIL REYNOLDS 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… Read more »


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

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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

Richard C (NZ)

Electricity generation: NZ and selected OECD countries Parliamentary support, Research papers 7 December 2004 Introduction 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. Background 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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)
Richard C (NZ)
Richard C (NZ)

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)

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)

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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

$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.


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


Here is any interesting comment on nuclear potential in NZ

Some well reasoned arguments with facts and numbers

Richard C (NZ)

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.


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)


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:


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… Read more »


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:


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.


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

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »


This is very exciting stuff Richard.


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)

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… Read more »


Mining the moon for Helium 3

The potential for powering the planet lies on the Moon. Amazing stuff


fascinating, there was also a Horizon program about this in 2007 (“Moon for Sale”)
exciting if it is feasible


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.


Protest boats return to oil prospecting site

The protesters say the oil exploration fuels climate change and the environmental risks of offshore oil rigs are unacceptable.


“Windfall”, the trailer to the new movie about the Wind industry, is here


“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.


Also, Sir Paul Callaham has joined Pure Advantage

This is the man who recently stated that NZers chose to be poor.


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),… Read more »


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.

Richard C (NZ)

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.

Douglas Field

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)

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… Read more »

Douglas Field

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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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).

Douglas Field

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)

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Richard C (NZ)

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]

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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)

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.

Richard C (NZ)

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.

Richard C (NZ)

Not entirely out of the realms of possibility given Spain produces solar energy at night

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Jim McK

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


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”.

Richard C (NZ)



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?)


Scottish wind turbines might emit more CO2 than they “save”, because of CO2 released from peat bog

Richard C (NZ)

Andy, I think you will enjoy this:- TonyfromOz 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… Read more »


It’s interesting for sure. However, I have to temper my enjoyment and fun. That gets me banned from websites.

Richard C (NZ)

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”


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)

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… Read more »


We should give a shout out to another NZ blogger who is doing good work in this area


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.


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.

Anthropogenic Global Cooling

This is what I think of wind turbines:!

Sorry I couldn’t help myself.


Offshore Cork oil reserves are now upgraded to between 1 and 1 .6 billion barrels of oil, according to the Irish Press today.

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »


Thanks Richard, I was aware of the em6live site but the other links are helpful

Richard C (NZ)

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).


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)

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)

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)

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)

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.


Apparently the performance of the UK wind fleet has been extremely poor for some time now – this 0% was not an outlier.


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


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.


My infamous screenshot now gets cited by Booker in his weekly column

Richard C (NZ)

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)


“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”


My infamous screenshot now gets cited by Booker in his weekly column

Well done.

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »


Interesting to see Bishop Hill now picking up on this

Amazing how much internet traffic you can generate from a simple Crtl-Alt-PrintScreen


Christopher Booker personally thanks me at Bishop Hill
Nice bloke

Richard C (NZ)

“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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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”

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)

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)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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” But, “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] Conclusions –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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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”

Richard C (NZ)

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… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)

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)] Highlights: […] ————————————————————- >> 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… Read more »


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


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)

“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”.


Wind turbines noise in Scotland.
A video showing the high level of noise (measured with a dB meter) from a windfarm in Ayrshire


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.

Richard C (NZ)

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).


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)

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