The wind: as it is in Oz it is in Britain

In our hard-hitting exposé – The “Great Oz” has spoken: the wind will no longer be “intermittent” – we crushed the myth peddled by wind weasels and their parasites that wind power can be safely relied upon because wind turbines are spread all over Australia and the wind is always blowing somewhere. As Johnny Rotten might have put it: “what a complete load of bollocks”.

Oh and while we’re on the topic – here’s STT’s riddle of the week: what do you call a $3 million wind turbine when the wind stops blowing? (see below for the answer)

STT has looked at the consequences of what happens when the wind does what it has done since the dawn of time – ie stop blowing – on the wholesale price of electricity when ultrahigh cost Open Cycle Gas Turbines are cranked up to make up for “lost” wind power capacity in our posts here and here.

There are one or two natural phenomena unique to Australia – like Min Min lights:

min min

But the intermittency of the wind isn’t one of them.

Britain also experiences extended periods when its thousands of wind turbines are as useful as a chocolate teapot.

The Telegraph reported – in the middle of Olympic fever – back in August 2012 that:

At one point last week, Britain’s 3,500 turbines were contributing 12 megawatts (MW) to the 38,000MW of electricity we were using. (The Neta website, which carries official electricity statistics, registered this as “0.0 per cent”).

Everything about this is delusional. There is no way we could hope to build more than a fraction of the 30,000 turbines required. 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.

Here’s the full article:

The great wind delusion has hijacked our energy policy
The command of Britain’s electricity supply has fallen into dangerous hands
The Telegraph
Christopher Booker
11 Aug 2012

Anyone impressed by the efficient way in which Britain has organised the Olympic Games might consider the stark contrast provided by the shambles of our national energy policy – wholly focused as it is on the belief that we can somehow keep our lights on by building tens of thousands more wind turbines within eight years. At one point last week, Britain’s 3,500 turbines were contributing 12 megawatts (MW) to the 38,000MW of electricity we were using. (The Neta website, which carries official electricity statistics, registered this as “0.0 per cent”).

It is 10 years since I first pointed out here how crazy it is to centre our energy policy on wind. It was pure wishful thinking then and is even more obviously so now, when the Government in its latest energy statement talks of providing, on average, 12,300MW of power from “renewables” by 2020.

Everything about this is delusional. There is no way we could hope to build more than a fraction of the 30,000 turbines required. 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. But, as more and more informed observers have been pointing out, the ministers and officials of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) seem to live in a bubble of unreality, without any practical grasp of how electricity is made, impervious to rational argument and driven by an obsession that can only end in our computer-dependent economy grinding to a halt.

The latest attempt to get them to face reality is by Prof Gordon Hughes, a former senior adviser on energy to the World Bank, now a professor of economics at Edinburgh, whose evidence to the Commons committee on energy and climate change has now been published on the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. His most shocking finding is that the pursuit of our Climate Change Act target – to reduce Britain’s CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – would cost us all £124 billion by 2020, or £5,000 for every household in the land: not just to build tens of thousands of absurdly subsidised wind turbines, but also for the open-cycle gas-fired power stations needed to provide back-up. To guarantee the same amount of power from combined-cycle gas-fired plants would cost £13 billion, barely a tenth as much.

Furthermore, as Prof Hughes explains, ramping the back-up gas plants up and down would mean running them very inefficiently, and give off so much CO2 that we could end up increasing our overall emissions rather than reducing them. And who is expected to build them or pay for them?

The likelihood that any of this will be understood by those in charge of our national policy can be measured by the fact that the chairman of that Commons committee is Tim Yeo, whose business interests (see the They Work For You website) show that last year he earned, on top of his MP’s wages, more than £100,000 by working – at up to £800 an hour – for firms which make money out of renewables.

When Peter Lilley MP raised Prof Hughes’s figures in the Commons, he was contemptuously put down by the DECC minister Charles Hendry, saying that he did not agree with Prof Hughes (on grounds which showed he hadn’t understood the points at issue at all) – and, he added, “neither does the Committee on Climate Change”. The new chairman of this committee, set up under the Climate Change Act, is Lord Deben (formerly John Gummer), whose various lucrative activities relating to the environment include his chairmanship of Forewind, an international consortium planning the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with thousands of turbines, on the Dogger Bank.

The promoters of the wind industry have managed to occupy all the commanding heights of our energy policy, and the only way it might conceivably be brought back into any contact with reality would be through a massive and well-informed counter-attack by a large number of those elected to represent us in Parliament. But as we learnt from the letters on the Climate Change Act recently sent to my readers by more than 70 MPs, they seem to be just as firmly locked into the bubble of make-believe as those who framed these delusional policies in the first place.

I have now been asked by an Oxford academic, specialising in the interface between science and politics, whether she could undertake a detailed analysis of the letters, to see what they tell us about the degree to which our MPs grasp one of the most critical issues confronting our country. In due course, I hope to report on the results. I fear they will not be very encouraging.

£5bn a year saved, £4bn a week borrowed

It was rash of Francis Maude, described in one report as “the Cabinet minister in charge of savings”, to boast that the Government has “slashed a staggering £5.5 billion” off our public spending in a year.

What Mr Maude didn’t tell us, of course, any more than does the “cuts”-obsessed BBC, is that in recent months the Government has been having to borrow up to £4.5 billion every week just to cover its ever-rising deficit. If our “minister in charge of saving” could save £5.5 billion a week instead of a year, he might have something to boast about, and we might believe that his Government was actually getting spending under control.

But as yet there is no more sign of that happening than there is of the BBC telling us that we are now having to borrow up to £180 a week for every household in the land.
The Telegraph

So there you have it: there really is a global fossil-fueled conspiracy to make wind power redundant.  How else can it be that the wind can be sucked up for days at a time in both Britain and Australia?

The greentard wants to believe – in the same way our youngsters hang on to their belief in Father Christmas long after they’ve twigged to the fact that it’s mum and dad behind the Christmas day bonanza – that if you have thousands of fans spread from one end of the country to another you’ll get wonderful “free” power – forever.

The problem has been – until now – that the greentard’s myth about a “widely distributed wind power generation system” has been bought and pedalled by the Green-Labor Alliance.  But with that lot on the ropes – it seems the “wind power sales pitch” is about to get a whole lot harder.

STT thinks the challenge for the ecofacist and their faithful minions – the greentards – is to develop a whole new sales mantra.  But don’t expect it to be based on fact or grounded in reality  – none of what we’ve seen or heard so far has been.  Chances are it will be shrill, guilt laden drivel – spouted by Martians like Green’s Senator Sarah Hanson-Young:

sarah-hanson-young

I wish they’d stop publishing photos that make me look completely deranged.

STT hears that – with Ms Hanson-Young now looking highly likely to lose her Senate seat to STT Champion Nick Xenophon – the wind industry have promised to throw a fat pile of cash in the Green’s direction.  It seems the boys from Infigen and Pac Hydro are none too happy about Nick’s appearance at the National Rally and are lining up to use Hanson-Young as a stalking horse to keep their beleaguered industry alive for a little longer.

xenophon madigan

A couple of very safe bets in September –
South Australia’s favourite Greek is the one in the mask.

One big problem for the wind industry is the fact that Nick Xenophon – who will romp it home in September – will hold the balance of power in the next Parliament – along with that other STT Champion John Madigan from Victoria.  STT hears that Mr X is all for renewable energy – provided it is truly pollution free and base-load – so expect him to come out swinging in favour of hydro. Hydro is the only system that fits that bill and it’s been allowed to languish at the expense of unreliable and intermittent wind power – a matter – we hear – that Nick is none too happy about.

In our next post we’ll look at what happens when bags of cash, renewables politics and vested interests collide. The fallout from some grubby renewable dealing in the UK may well be a precursor to political embarrassment closer to home.

What do you call a $3 million wind turbine when the wind stops blowing?

Answer: a very expensive stick.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. You probably have enough geothermal and hydro to support your country’s renewable energy targets. These are base load and far superior than intermittent wind and solar.

Trackbacks

  1. […] generation sources, requiring 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  2. […] acutely aware that wind power is inherently unreliable and intermittent – see our posts here and here and […]

  3. […] always – IGNORES the very real and INSANE cost of backing up a generation source delivered at crazy, random intervals with OCGTs and banks of diesel […]

  4. […] believes Britain can continue to roll out countless giant fans, rely upon wind power produced at crazy, random intervals and have low power prices at the same […]

  5. […] STT has looked at the cost of peaking power to the grid – delivered by Open Cycle Gas Turbines and Diesel generators.  The only reason for the investment in “fast-start-up” generation of that type is that wind is simply so unpredictable. […]

  6. […] is no answer to the fact that the wind is intermittent and that wind power goes AWOL every day and for days on end.  It would be kind of funny – if we weren’t paying for […]

  7. […] And SA Federal Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young: […]

  8. […] Australian power consumers (which means all of us) are painfully aware of the escalation in their power bills.  And the mainstream media are finally waking up that it has nothing to do with a carbon tax, nothing to do with “poles and wires” and everything to do with the inbuilt cost of wind power.  Spiralling costs – the result of the mandated RET and PPAs (when the wind is blowing) and the insane costs of peaking power when the wind stops blowing 80-100 times a year as a meteorological certainty. […]

  9. […] to point to the elephant in the room: spiralling power prices being driven through the roof by intermittent and unreliable – subsidy fuelled – wind power – driving Australian businesses to the […]

  10. […] the last few weeks STT has thrown a spotlight on the UK – where the people are in uproar about the wind weasels’ lust to profit from a ludicrous […]

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