Greens Simply ‘Clueless’: Miners say “Wind Power NO ‘Alternative’ to REAL Power”

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We’re spending $billions subsidising wind power, but if the wind’s not blowing we’re all in the DARK? And we’ve already built a system that’s like totally worked for a century, so we don’t need wind power, anyway.
I think I get it?

****

Greens clueless on energy
The Australian
Brendan Pearson
16 January 2015

DURING his formative years, the legendary 20th-century American journalist Walter Lippman spent a lot of time with revolutionaries, radical intellectuals and others with a weak grip on reality.

But Lippman soon grew tired of “dilettante rebels, he who would rather dream 10 dreams than realise one; he who so often mistakes a discussion in a cafe for an artistic movement, or a committee meeting for a social revolution”. It was, he complained, “a form of lazy thoughtlessness to suppose that something can be made of nothing; that the act of creation consists of breathing upon the void”.

It is a description that is apt for activists, the Greens and related vested interests who argue blithely that fossil fuels can and should be phased out in the next few decades. No thought of the practicality of the goal or consideration of the consequences. No evidence is presented on whether such a transition is possible, or at what cost, including to the world’s poorest people. Nothing is allowed to interrupt the addiction to the pleasures of intellectual condescension.

Certainly no reference is made to the lessons of recent history. Between 1990 and 2010, 1.7 billion people secured access to electricity for the first time. More than 1.27 billion people secured access to electricity powered by fossil fuels. By comparison, 65 million people secured access to electricity for the first time from renewable energy sources. Put another way, 19 gained access to energy from fossil fuels for every one person who secured access via renewable energy sources.

Now let’s consider the plausibility of the challenge. Within a generation, can non-fossil fuel sources provide reliable, affordable electricity to 1.3 billion people who have no access to energy and another two billion people who have only limited access, while also replacing the 82 per cent of global primary energy that is currently supplied by fossil fuels?

According to the International Energy Agency, non-fossil-fuel energy sources (nuclear, hydro and other renewables) accounted for 18 per cent of energy in 2013. Let’s test this proposition using the IEA’s most aggressive emissions reduction scenario, consistent with the goal of limiting the global increase in temperature to 2C. Even under this scenario, fossil fuels will still provide 59 per cent of primary energy in 2040.

In short, if campaigners get their wish and fossil fuels are phased out by 2040, the world will face an energy gap of at least 9.2 billion tonnes of oil equivalent. That is the equivalent of 147 countries with no energy.

To illustrate, an energy gap like that would mean that the 56 nations of Africa, the 44 nations of Latin America, the 12 nations of the Middle East and 35 nations in Asia, including China, would have to exist without energy.

It would be a neo-medieval existence for most of the world’s population — much lower life expectancy and much higher levels of infant mortality, poverty and abject misery.

If nuclear and hydropower are off limits — the Greens are hostile to both — the situation is even worse. You can add the US and Japan to the list of 147 countries with no access to energy.

It is a point that demonstrates the farcical nature of the anti-fossil-fuel movement’s central proposition.

But why can’t renewables fill the gap? Independent analysis has shown that replacing existing fossil fuel-powered electricity with solar power by 2030 would take 470 years at the current rate of deployment. To do so with wind energy would take 270 years and require 3,460,000 wind turbines. (Incidentally that would be good news for the coal sector — every offshore wind turbine uses 250 tonnes of coking coal in its manufacture.)

What’s more, back-up power storage would be necessary for when the sun didn’t shine and the wind didn’t blow. That would mean 4600 new hydro projects — 13 times the number of large dams operating globally today.

The simple reality is that fossil fuels will continue to be indispensable if the world is to meet rapidly growing energy demand.

The good news is that continued fossil fuel use and lower emissions are not mutually exclusive. In addition to good progress on carbon capture and storage, conventional technologies are slashing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired generation by as much as 50 per cent.

The bottom line is that all energy sources will be needed. To pretend otherwise is to substitute an ideological prejudice for empirical evidence. In Lippman’s words, it is simply “breathing upon the void”.

Brendan Pearson is chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia.
The Australian

Not a bad little wrap-up there by Brendan, but his line “that all energy sources will be needed” – if taken to include wind power – represents the kind of woolly-headed thinking that got the great wind power fraud going in the first place.

The wind industry parades as an “alternative” energy source. Which begs the question: “alternative” to what?

When it comes to their demand for electricity, the power consumer has a couple of basic needs: when they hit the light switch they assume illumination will shortly follow and that when the kettle is kicked into gear it’ll be boiling soon thereafter. And the power consumer assumes that these – and similar actions in a household or business – will be open to them at any time of the night or day, every day of the year.

For conventional generators, delivering power on the basic terms outlined above is a doddle: delivering base-load power around the clock, rain, hail or shine is just good business. It’s what the customer wants and is prepared to pay for, so it makes good sense to deliver on-demand.

But for wind power generators it’s never about how much the customer wants or when they want it, it’s always and everywhere about the vagaries of the wind. When the wind speed increases to 25 m/s, turbines are automatically shut-off to protect the blades and bearings; and below 6-7 m/s turbines are incapable of producing any power at all.

The basic terms of the wind power “deal” break-down like this:

  • we (“the wind power generator”) will supply and you (“the hopeful punter at the end of the line”) will take every single watt we produce, whenever that might be;
  • except that this will occur less than 30% of the time; and, no, we can’t tell you when that might be – although it will probably be in the middle of the night when you don’t need it;
  • around 70% of the time – when the wind stops blowing altogether – we won’t be supplying anything at all;
  • in which event, it’s a case of “tough luck” sucker, you’re on your own, but you can try your luck with dreaded coal or gas-fired generators, they’re burning mountains of coal and gas anyway to cover our little daily output “hiccups” – so they’ll probably help you keep your home and business running; and
  • the price for the pleasure of our chaotic, unpredictable power “supply” will be fixed for 25 years at 4 times the price charged by those “evil” fossil fuel generators.

It’s little wonder that – in the absence of fines and penalties that force retailers to sign up to take wind power (see our post here) and/or massive subsidies (see our post here) – no retailer would ever bother to purchase wind power on the standard “irresistible” terms above.

If you think we’re joking – or you’re suffering the kind of mental incapacity for which greentards are renowned – we’ll spell it out in pictures.

Here’s a little hard data from July and August last year for the entire Eastern Grid  – which covers every wind farm in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, as well as including the 1,329 MW of installed capacity that comes from Australia’s “wind power capital” – South Australia. All of these wind farms are connected to the Eastern Grid and, back then, had a total installed capacity of 2,952 MW. Oh, and if our data looks a little fuzzy, click on the image, it will pop up in a new window, use your magnifier and it will look crystal clear.

JULY20

Entire Eastern Grid – 20 July 2014 – from 12 noon to 6.30pm (6.5hrs):

Total wind farm output: never more than 140 MW; generally less than 70 MW; collapsing to less than 20 MW for 2hrs.  (Note the collapse of over 600 MW between 4.30am and 3pm).

Output as a percentage of total installed wind farm capacity: 12 noon to 6.30pm – 4.7%, generally less than 2.3%, falling to 0.67%.

Total demand (average): 22,000 MW.

Contribution to total demand as a percentage: 12 noon to 6.30pm – never more than 0.64%, generally less than 0.32%, falling to 0.09%.

JULY21

Entire Eastern Grid – 21 July 2014 – from 11am to 8.30pm (9.5hrs):

Total wind farm output: never more than 120 MW; generally less than 60 MW; collapsing to less than 20 MW for 2hrs.  (Note the collapse of 580 MW between 3am and 3pm).

Output as a percentage of total installed wind farm capacity: 11am to 8.30pm – 4.1%, generally less than 2%, falling to 0.67%.

Total demand (average): 24,000 MW.

Contribution to total demand as a percentage: 11am to 8.30pm – never more than 0.5%, generally less than 0.25%, falling to 0.08%.

JULY22

Entire Eastern Grid – 22 July 2014 – from 3.30am to 6.30pm (15hrs):

Total wind farm output: never more than 140 MW; generally less than 70 MW; collapsing to less than 20 MW for 5hrs.

Output as a percentage of total installed wind farm capacity: 3.30am to 6.30pm – 4.7%, generally less than 2.3%, falling to 0.67%.

Total demand (average): 24,000 MW.

Contribution to total demand as a percentage: 3.30am to 6.30pm – never more than 0.58%, generally less than 0.29%, falling to 0.08%.

AUGUST2

Entire Eastern Grid – 2 August 2014 – from 4.30am to 9pm (16.5hrs):

Total wind farm output: never more than 165 MW; generally less than 140 MW; dropping to 80 MW.

Output as a percentage of total installed wind farm capacity: 4.30am to 9pm – 5.6%, generally less than 4.7%, falling to 2.7%.

Total demand (average): 22,000 MW.

Contribution to total demand as a percentage: 4.30am to 9pm – never more than 0.75%, generally less than 0.63%, falling to 0.36%.

Bear in mind that the 30 wind farms covered by the data above are spread over 4 States.

Eastern grid3

On the Eastern Grid Australia’s wind farms are spread from: Jamestown in the Mid-North, west to Cathedral Rocks on lower Eyre Peninsula and south to Millicent in South Australia; down to Cape Portland (Musselroe) and Woolnorth (Cape Grim) in Tasmania; all over Victoria; and right up to Cullerin on the New South Wales Tablelands.

Those wind farms have hundreds of fans spread out over a geographical expanse of 632,755 km². That’s an area which is 2.75 times the combined area of England (130,395 km²) Scotland (78,387 km²) and Wales (20,761 km²) of 229,543 km².

One of the wilder claims made by the wind industry is that if you erect thousands of giant fans over a large enough area wind power will produce base-load power and replace on-demand sources such as hydro, gas and coal: the “distributed network” myth.

Nowhere else in the world are so many interconnected wind farms spread over such a large geographical expanse. If there was a shred of substance to the distributed network myth, then it would be just jumping out of the pictures above, but – surprise, surprise – it just ain’t there.

When you have 2,952 MW of installed capacity – connected and spread over an area more than twice the size of Great Britain – producing less than 140 MW for hours on end – and, on plenty of occasions, less than half that figure – the idea that wind power is providing (or could ever provide) “base-load” power – or even power “on demand” – by having wind farms spread far and wide is pure, infantile nonsense.

For a solid debunking of that and other wind industry myths see our post here.

Oh, and if you think the data we’ve picked represents a few “unlucky” days for wind power generators see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here.

On the FACTS laid out in the pictures above, STT is happy to go all out and say that in Australia wind power requires 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time by conventional generation sources.

Where the TOTAL output from all of the wind farms connected to the Eastern Grid was a derisory 20 MW (or 0.67% of installed capacity) for hours on end (see our post here), the 99.33% of wind power output that went AWOL for hours (at various times, 3 days straight) HAD to come from somewhere.

And that somewhere was from conventional generators; the vast bulk of which came from coal and gas plants, with the balance coming from hydro.

Now and again we get comments which query the comparative costs of wind power and conventional power. But there is simply NO comparison: the question is patent nonsense.

Conventional generation – is available 24 x 7 – ON DEMAND – and doesn’t depend on the weather – therefore, comfortably earning the tag “generation system”.

Wind power will NEVER be available on demand (can’t be stored) – is entirely dependent upon the weather – and is, therefore, not a generation “system” at all: “chaos” and “system” are words that come from completely different paddocks; and which mean completely different things.

If an economy started out with a power generation “system” that was entirely based upon the inherent chaos of wind power generation – in order for its people to enjoy a meaningful power supply (ie, one available around the clock and every day of the year) so as to live, thrive and survive – that economy would inevitably need to build an entire conventional power generation system based on coal, gas, hydro, geo-thermal or nuclear power – with enough capacity to supply 100% of the predictable needs of all power consumers in that economy.

In other words, if an economy with no power generation system at all built a “system” based on wind power alone, it would inevitably need to build a conventional generation system – capable of supplying every last MW of power used by homes, business and industry – of the kind enjoyed by first world economies, like Australia, in any event.

The pictures tell the story.

Rod-Stewart-Every-Picture

Rockin’ Rod had it right: “Every Picture Tells a Story”

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. luisadownunder says:

    The Greens are mentioned in this article but we know that it is really Labor, hiding behind the Greens, that are pushing for more windmills.
    On Mr Albanese’s Facebook page, he states, with unambiguous authority, that we need “more wind farms”!
    I’ll bet he didn’t volunteer his back yard.

  2. luisadownunder says:

    Unfortunately, Brendan still waxes lyrical about supposed “carbon capture and storage” and reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, as if this was of some consequence.
    I have no idea how you “capture and store” carbon, and is carbon the same as carbon dioxide?
    As for reducing carbon dioxide – why would you want to do so? Doesn’t this imply that someone would have to hold their breath? Permanently?

  3. Our little children lose their baby teeth; to make it more joyful for them they put their lost teeth in a glass of water – and when they wake the next morning there is a coin in the glass and their teeth are gone (courtesy of the tooth fairy).

    But, FYI greentard windweasel goons, there is no such thing as a wind fairy. Get real grubs, wind will never make up a constant power supply, only coal, gas, hydro and nuclear will.

  4. Terry Conn says:

    I suggested to Mr. Pearson in the ‘comments’ in The Australian that until he and the industries he represents stop supplying ‘back up’ for a defined area that uses the installed capacity of wind farms then the clowns who think wind farms provide useful power will never get the message. As Paul Miskelly has pointed out time and again ‘wind farms are not fit for purpose’ but how do you get that message across if the dreaded fossil fuel generators keep doing the responsible thing and keep backing up the total failure of wind farms? So, how can it be arranged to put these absurd monsters to the test?

    • Martin Hayles, Curramulka says:

      Interesting point Terry.
      There would be no better example, if all base-load power generation was to cease output for a week across eastern Australia.
      I would suggest it wouldn’t take a week, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see the South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill banging on about what a great example we are to the rest of the world and having to front press conferences in the dark.

      C’mon power generators, grow a set and just do it, or at least threaten it.
      This is the way peaceful resistance and revolution and the resulting resolutions can change the world for the better.

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