Letters to the Editor

Climate alarmists turn back the clock

quill pen

To the Editor
Climate Conversation

6th January 2015

Three centuries ago, the world ran on green power. Wood was used for heating and cooking, charcoal for smelting and smithing, wind or water-power for pumps, mills and ships, and whale oil for lamps. People and soldiers walked or rode horses, and millions of horses and oxen pulled ploughs, wagons, coaches and artillery.

But smoke from open fires choked cities, forests were stripped of trees, most of the crops went to feed draft animals, and streets were littered with horse manure. For many people, life was “nasty, brutish and short” (Thomas Hobbes).

Then the steam engine was developed and later the internal combustion engine, electricity and refrigeration. Green power was replaced by coal and oil. Carbon energy powered factories, mills, pumps, ships, trains and smelters; and cars, trucks and tractors replaced the work-horses. The result was a green revolution—forests began to regrow and vast areas of crop-land used for horse feed were released to produce food for humans. Poverty declined and population soared. Continue Reading →

Coal not candles

African village

The Carbon Sense Coalition today proposed that coal, not candles, should be the symbol of Earth Hour.

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps. Continue Reading →

Dutch treat

Owen McShane draws our attention to a report from the Netherlands showing that wind farms are a net cost to human society and the environment.

Who would have thought?

The report is titled Electricity in The Netherlands – Wind turbines increase fossil fuel consumption & CO2 emission, and the author is C. le Pair.

He says the models commonly used to calculate the economic and environmental benefits of wind farms are incomplete and overstate the expected savings.

The conclusion is stark:

The wind projects do not fulfill ‘sustainable’ objectives. They cost more fuel than they save and they cause no CO2 saving — on the contrary, they increase our environmental ‘footprint’.

A decision to invest billions (thousands of millions) of Euros in the construction of wind projects ‘to save fossil fuel and to reduce CO2 emissions’ is irresponsible. There are no savings, THERE IS LOSS!

We do not consider it likely that more knowledge of the factors influencing the present outcomes would change our results appreciably. It is more likely that including the factors we identified as not having sufficient data on, would actually increase the loss.

So far, our New Zealand windfarm operators are happy to go it alone with no overt subsidies, only hidden ones. This post from December 2010 reveals how we help our fledgling wind operators.

But if they start to whinge about losing money, now you know that it’s the nature of wind turbines to cost money and degrade the environment, you won’t let the government waste our money in subsidies, will you?

Cheap, unlimited energy

E-Cat demo module

Mark Gibbs, at Forbes Magazine, introduces, with caution, the E-Cat process, invented by one Andrea Rossi.

This is a room-termperature fusion device, promising almost unlimited energy from relatively small amounts of nickel and hydrogen. Electricity could be produced in every suburb without the need of gigantic power stations, at so little cost it wouldn’t be sensible to meter it.

Some measurement data seem to be available from a demonstration.

An apparently public demonstration in the US planned for October 28 could produce more confirmation.

I hope it proves true and it’s not just another false alarm. H/T Michael Treadgold


UPDATE 1, 20 Oct 2011, 12:25 NZDT: There’s a long, rambling article about the inventor, Rossi, at Pure Energy Systems that includes a graph of machine temperatures and is followed by a bunch of links to articles covering the E-Cat.

NZ shale gas – will we get lucky?

A member of the NZ Climate Science Coalition asked about shale gas exploration in New Zealand. He received the following reply. — RT

I can advise that several petroleum exploration companies are actively looking at shale gas potential in NZ.

At present almost all of the onshore eastern North Island (the “East Coast Basin”, east of the main North Island ranges) is covered by petroleum exploration permits, or by applications for permits. Operators of these permits are investigating shale gas potential as well as more conventional (sandstone) reservoir targets.

More recently there have been applications for new petroleum exploration permits in the onshore Canterbury basin, as well as in Marlborough and Southland, specifically targeting shale gas. It is unlikely that the offshore basins are prospective for shale gas at present, but as the technology develops, it may happen. Across the Tasman, there is also great interest in exploration for shale gas. Continue Reading →

What’s this shale gas gig?

shale rock

Shale gas will save us. It has no nasty emissions like coal does, its modest wellheads sit in our landscapes much gentler than great, ugly, noisy wind turbines, it’s more abundant than oil, it’s easy to extract (with a clever new technique), it’s far cheaper than any “renewable” energy, including nuclear, it could last the world for 250 years and it beats wind and solar handsomely when the wind stops and the sun sets. What’s not to like? Here I’ve somewhat shortened Ridley’s superb summary, but his laconic style is available in full at The Rational Optimist. H/T Bob Carter.

Which would you rather have in the view from your house? A thing about the size of a domestic garage, or eight towers twice the height of Nelson’s column with blades noisily thrumming the air. Over ten years, eight wind turbines of 2.5 megawatts (working at roughly 25% capacity) roughly equal the output of an average Pennsylvania shale gas well (converted to electricity at 50% efficiency).

Let’s make the choice easier. The gas well can be hidden behind a hedge. The eight wind turbines must be on hilltops, where the wind blows. New pylons are needed; the gas well is connected by an underground pipe.

Newspapers

This is an adopted article.

Unpersuaded? Wind turbines kill thousands of birds of prey every year. And bats: the pressure wave from the passing blade just implodes the little creatures’ lungs. You and I can go to jail for harming bats or eagles; wind companies are immune.

Still can’t make up your mind? The wind farm requires eight tonnes of an element called neodymium, which is produced only in Inner Mongolia, by boiling ores in acid leaving lakes of radioactive tailings so toxic no creature goes near them. Continue Reading →

Gas or coal? The quandary, the indecision!

coal protest

It’s hard to know what to say about Tom Wigley’s new paper on the climatic repercussions of replacing coal with natural gas: he says gas and coal are both good, and they’re both bad, but the truly remarkable thing is that, where for years the greens have been telling us to hate coal and everyone who uses it, now it’s hard to choose between coal and gas.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe mankind is warming the planet dangerously or not, Wigley tells us that it makes hardly any difference to the warming whether you use gas or coal. So why switch to gas? There’s no advantage in it. Continue Reading →

Wind shifts

wind turbines in New Zealand

A happy coincidence this week revealed at once the folly of Britain’s growing reliance on wind turbines and the wisdom of the NZ government’s apparent preference for fossil-fuelled power generation.

First, a new study sheds light on the failure of British wind farms to live up to expectations. Second, a leaked report shows the National-led government apparently plans to go all out for oil, coal and mineral wealth, not wind farms. Hurrah.

In James Delingpole’s article “Official: wind farms are totally useless“, we learn the facts of two years of British wind generation. James explains that there are five oft-repeated claims by wind operators and Government representatives that:

“Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year.”
“The wind is always blowing somewhere.”
“Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.”
“The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.”
“Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.”

But statistics from two years of operation, analysed by Stuart Young using publicly available data, reveal alarming discrepancies between these slick promises and the actual performance of the British wind farms: Continue Reading →

Green power generates red ink

quill pen
To the Editor
Climate Conversation

12th December 2010

It’s time to end the mollycoddling of wind and solar energy toys before this stupidity does irreversible damage to Australia’s electricity supply and costs.

The mindless green dream of producing serious base load power from whimsical breezes and intermittent sunbeams has caused a halt to new low-cost coal power, a boom in expensive gas power, a national debate about nuclear power and no effect at all on global climate.

The frivolous wind and solar generators already installed have caused a surge in electricity prices, a bonanza for Chinese manufacturers and well founded doubts about our future ability to keep the lights on.

Provision of cheap reliable energy is a basic requirement for modern civilisation and is the engine that lifts people from poverty. It is far too important to be left to green dreamers, anti-industrial zealots, vote seeking politicians, engineering illiterates and guilt-ridden millionaires.

It is already obvious from Denmark, Spain, California and Germany that subsidising green power creates very little power but much red ink in the accounts. It always causes massive burdens for tax payers, electricity consumers and industry. Tax payers and investors will rue the day they allowed politicians to waste their savings on chimeras.

Get rid of all the mandated markets, subsidies and tax breaks for all energy generators, and leave power engineers and business managers to work out how best to supply our future energy needs in a free competitive market.

Subsidised power must collapse under its own dead weight. But every day’s delay increases the eventual cost.

Viv Forbes

NZ wind farm subsidies

NZ wind turbine

Subsidies? In New Zealand? For wind power?

 

A conversation was under way here, sparked by my post on Germany’s “new dark age”. A reader (Andy) posed the question:

“I am intrigued by the NZ wind industry, because it seems, on the face of it, to be just about the only example in the world that is not surviving on subsidies (other than the ETS, of course). Am I missing something here?”

Now Bryan Leyland provides the startling information that NZ wind turbines do enjoy substantial public subsidies. He laid them out for me. I’ll start with the smaller ones and shock you with the biggest at the end.

First, they don’t have to predict in advance what the output will be. Of course, this would be a practical impossibility, like predicting the exact rainfall next month. But we are immediately alerted to one of the most serious drawbacks of wind generation. Continue Reading →

Nick Smith: heed German dilemma

German wind turbine

This account is the more arresting for being written by a man clearly well-informed about and sensitive towards environmental considerations. If even he is questioning the wisdom — financial and environmental — of wind turbines, we should take notice. It is also instructive that this is the experience of the largest and strongest economy in Europe; if they cannot solve the problems even with their enormous resources in both research and manufacturing, then New Zealand cannot. You’ll read below how German consumers are grossly overcharged for the generation AND DISTRIBUTION of electricity — surely the only financial reason these behemoths can survive. If you want energy now, don’t rely on wind generation. I’ve said before that the only sensible use for wind power is for digging a big hole you don’t need yet.
Richard Treadgold

      

A new dark age for Germany?

published at CFACT Europe December 1, 2010 – h/t Roger Dewhurst

Offshore wind power projects pave the way to frequent blackouts

Newspapers

This is an adopted article.

Thousands of bureaucrats are preparing for another cushy climate confab in Cancun — while U.S. Senators Bignaman, Brownback and Reid are contemplating how to ram renewable energy standards through a lame-duck session of Congress. If they’re wise, American voters and congressmen will pay extra careful attention to the awful dilemma of German climate and energy policy, as exemplified by recent events, and make sure their country doesn’t make the same “green” mistakes Germany did. Continue Reading →

Will sanity secure UK power supply

Rupert Soames.

Harsh reality threatens misty-eyed green dreams

excerpted from The Scotsman 13 November 2010 – h/t Andy
Newspapers

This is an adopted article.

THE “lights could go out” over Scotland unless new power stations are built in the next two years to ward off a looming electricity crisis, the head of one of Scotland’s most successful companies has warned Alex Salmond.

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.

Wishful thinking

He urged both the Scottish and UK governments to postpone green energy targets by a decade. Unless “the concrete is poured” on a new fleet of power stations within the next two years, Mr Soames warned, “we will be in serious danger of the lights going out”. Continue Reading →

Earth doesn’t care about our lights, our electricity

Every night in the two Koreas

(thanks to the Competitive Enterprise Institute)

Viv Hughes, chairman of the Australia-based Carbon Sense Coalition, frequently talks sense about the carbon dioxide “demon”. Today he takes aim at the guilt-easing, yet nonsensical, notion of “Earth Hour”, an increasingly popular expression of opposition to so-called “climate change”. His focus is of course Australia, but that’s not so far from us, is it? Note that we get 70% of our electricity from hydro power, not oil, and, for Penny Wong and rationing, read John Key and the ETS, which will have largely the same effect. I want to say more about the folly of Earth Hour, but first read Viv’s no-nonsense dose of cold reason for these hot, fanciful fears of man-made disaster.

Earth Hour or Blackout Night?

A statement by Viv Hughes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

Visit the Carbon Sense web site to download a pdf of this statement – spread it around.

Earth Hour should be renamed “Blackout Night” and be held outdoors, for the whole night, in mid-winter, on the shortest and coldest day of the year – 22 June in the Southern Hemisphere.

All supporters of alternative energy should spend just one night in the cold and the dark, emitting no carbon dioxide from coal, oil, gas, petrol or diesel for lights, TV, hot coffee, barbecues or cars. This will be good practice for the blackouts and shortages to come if Penny Wong’s rationing of carbon products and carbon energy is attempted. Continue Reading →

Pain of ETS will do no good

Power transmission lines at sunset

When will we fight it?

John Boscawen, Act List MP, today issued this press release.

Genesis Energy Confirms Price Increase

New Zealanders can definitely expect to have to pay more for power from July 1, with Genesis Energy CEO Albert Brantley’s confirmation before the Finance Select Committee today that his company “will recover the cost” of complying with the Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme, ACT New Zealand ETS spokesman John Boscawen said today.

“And it is not only the cost of electricity that will increase, but that of petrol and industrial processes as well. The cost of basic food items – such as bread and milk – will also rise as the increase in electricity filters through the economy,” Mr Boscawen said.

“Kiwi families are facing massive price increases and a lower standard of living for no other reason than the Government’s desire to be seen as a world leader heading into the Copenhagen summit.

“But the summit was a failure, and now New Zealand is the only county to implement an all sectors, all gases tax. Not one of our three major trading partners – Australia, the US or China – has implemented an ETS, nor are they likely to.

It is time the Government acknowledges that it is out of step with the international community, and puts the ETS on hold. The pressure on low-income families, the cost in reduced incomes and lost job opportunities is entirely avoidable. It’s not too late to stop,” Mr Boscawen said.

Taxing the air we breathe

No doubt the government is pleased finally to have found a pretext for taxing the very air we breathe. This makes taxation very simple and in future they can avoid straining their creativity trying to arrange for ever greater interference in our lives and increasing their regulation of innocent pleasures. This interference, restricting the innocent pleasure of breathing out, is superlative, for it comes closer to the tyrant’s dream of relentless restraint of the population than any measure before it.

But the price we are to pay for this folly is unacceptable. Continue Reading →

Windmills increase CO2, pollution & costs

An ugly windfarm near Palm Springs, California.

A good man learns from experience; a wise man from the experience of others. The following story describes actual experiences with modern windfarms. It has a Canadian focus, but can instruct us too if we listen. Let us do what we can to prevent these mistakes from occurring in New Zealand.

This story is about windmills proving a disaster, both financially and for energy security, but they are disasters in the literal sense, too. These monstrous machines in our landscapes can cause enormous damage when they fail, which they do quite frequently, adding even more to their great expense, not to mention that people have died. We have pictures of some of the failures. Here’s a site that actually supports wind power, claiming they reduce “carbon footprints”, whatever they are, but loves looking at accidents. It makes chilling viewing. Here’s a sample failure:

windmill failure

See more on our new page of wind turbine failures.


Wind power is a complete disaster

[subheads, emphasis, added]

There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).

Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.

Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, depending on the carbon-intensity of back-up generation required because of its intermittent character. On the negative side of the environmental ledger are adverse impacts of industrial wind turbines on birdlife and other forms of wildlife, farm animals, wetlands and viewsheds.

When the government picks winners look out for havoc

Industrial wind power is not a viable economic alternative to other energy conservation options. Again, the Danish experience is instructive. Its electricity generation costs are the highest in Europe (15¢/kwh compared to Ontario’s current rate of about 6¢). Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries says, “windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense.” Aase Madsen, the Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, calls it “a terribly expensive disaster.” Continue Reading →