The wind industry parades as an “alternative” energy source. Which begs the question: “alternative” to what?
The lunatics from the hard-green left (like “Greens” head-muppet, Christine Milne) continually whine that “coal is DEATH“; and wax lyrical about the fantasy of going “100% renewable” – all the while pocketing $millions in campaign funding from the party’s wind industry backers (see our post here).
Economic lunatics, like Milne are wedded to the delusion that there really is a choice between powering nations with hundreds of thousands of giant fans (carpeting every last square mile of other peoples’ back yards) and coal or gas fired plant, that comfortably fit on the back of a figurative “envelope”; and, as they’re usually placed in industrial zones, rarely trouble anyone.
The “green” myth is that fossil fuels can be relegated to history; as every last watt of electricity we need could be generated using ‘wonderful, free wind energy’; and would be, if only “climate deniers”, like Tony Abbott would sod off and die.
The narrative brings with it the claim that we would already be enjoying a wind powered way of life, except that EVIL fossil fuel producers – dead-scared for their futures because of the ‘threat’ posed by “free-wind” – have conspired with blokes like Tony Abbott to protect the ‘dirty’ little businesses they own.
Not bad, as far as ‘green’ yarns go. But, contrary to the Green’s straw-man argument, coal miners, gas producers and diesel suppliers simply love wind power to bits.
While greentards and ecofascists are wedded to the belief that their beloved giant fans emerge magically from Gaia, like new-born mushrooms after autumn rains, their delusions cause them to miss the several heavy industrial processes needed to create a 100 tonne whirling juggernaut, sitting atop 400-500m3 of concrete, threaded with 45 tonnes of steel reinforcing.
Steel, concrete, aluminium, plastics, rare earths etc – all necessary ingredients for those blade-chucking, pyrotechnic, sonic torture devices – require (wait for it …) OIL, GAS and, heaven forbid, most evil of all, COAL.
Cement is a product that uses mountains of gas or oil to turn limestone etc into the stuff that, with a little water and aggregate mixed in, welds turbines to terra firma (most of the time). Steel is a combination of coal and iron ore; the amalgamation of which uses more coal, gas or electricity to create a molten alloy that, in turn, becomes a product of endless structural wonder. And aluminium is congealed electricity – which, in Australia, is odds-on to be produced by, yep, you guessed it – coal-fired power plants. For a breakdown on the CO2 emissions of all of the above see:
So, with eco-fascist plans to carpet the world with millions of these things, coal miners, oil and gas producers can just sit back and get ready to count their loot. But that’s just to notice the oil, gas and coal that’ll be chewed up in the manufacture of endless seas of eco-crucifixes, which would ignore what the diggers and drillers stand to make from wind-power-perverted power markets.
Power consumers have 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 struggling with the kind of intellectual difficulties which seem to trouble Christine Milne and her acolytes – here’s a post where we spell it out in pictures:
Grid managers and base-load generators are driven mad trying to cope with the hundreds of occasions when wind power output collapses on a routine, but utterly unpredictable basis (see our posts here and here).
However, those that supply the extra coal that gets burnt to provide additional spinning reserve (see our post here), or the gas that’s used by the pipeline full to run fast-start-up Open Cycle Gas Turbines, or shiploads of diesel for banks of generators – all of which are used to back-up wind power around the clock – have never had it so good.
In fact, the chaos attached to an increased ‘reliance’ on wind power has guaranteed a bright future for coal miners in Germany (see our post here) and for oil and gas producers (as detailed below).
In Britain, its wind power debacle has seen the roll-out of banks of thousands of diesel generators (see our posts here and here) and Australia’s wind power capital, South Australia has a number of large-scale diesel generation back up plants, including a 65MW diesel plant at Adelaide’s Desal Plant used to back up routine wind power output collapses there (see our post here).
Far from being threatened by Big Wind, fossil fuel producers are all set to reap a stream of fat profits, thanks to the great wind power fraud, as spelt out in the following reports.
‘Big Oil’ and ‘Big Wind’ Keep Public in the Dark About Wind Dependence on Fossil Fuels – And ‘big media’ is missing the story
21 April 2015
The news media is at its best when risking the wrath of powerful interests by telling an underdog’s side of a story. When those rare instances arise, the news media stand tall. What seems to increasingly be occurring, however, features the news media misidentifying some entities as underdogs and failing to realize that a charade is being acted out.
Examples of this circumstance are too numerous to list, but one of the most intriguing involves so-called alternative energy (which is almost exclusively wind energy) and the fossil fuel (or petroleum) industry. It seems evident that most of what is commonly termed the “regular” news media sees wind energy as the underdog to what many would call “Big Oil.”
The casting of what we will call “Big Wind,” in an underdog role to “Big Oil,” is the product of simplistic, uninformed thinking. Big Wind is backed by billions of dollars in taxpayer-provided subsidies and rich political exploiters who funnel dollars to politicians so they can keep making even more money off of the subsidies. It enjoys support from thousands of sincere voters who harbor the erroneous belief that once the wind turbines are in place, whatever energy is produced is free and clean.
But this is only part of what the regular news media keep missing. Big Oil also spends tens of millions of dollars in the political money game to protect its interests, which include bolstering both traditional uses of fossil fuels and (here’s where the news media are 180 degrees off) cashing in on wind energy as well.
The secret that neither Big Oil nor Big Wind wants the public to know is that wind energy is roughly two-thirds fossil fuels – mostly natural gas. Both of these entities have a stake in keeping this fact a secret as long as possible. If that were not the case, the public would have been told the truth about the link between Big Wind and Big Oil by now.
Big Oil, in particular, has the ability to make virtually everyone aware of the degree to which wind energy is dependent on fossil fuels. Obviously, it prefers to let the public remain misinformed.
The reason Big Oil prefers that the secret not be revealed is that there’s a lot of money to be made from wind energy subsidies, and many advantages derive from playing two political sides against the middle. The reason Big Wind doesn’t want the fact that it is joined at the hip with fossil fuels to be known, is that its very existence might be jeopardized if the truth were to become common knowledge. The reason the news media have not caught on is because they are comfortable with the preconceptions that allow them to be duped by both Big Oil and Big Wind.
What’s really going on is virtually the opposite of the regular news media’s tragically comical template that Big Wind and Big Oil share an adversarial relationship. As a result, the regular news media assume that Big Oil is behind any effort to point out wind energy’s inefficiency, possible adverse health effects and other flaws. This represents more than ignorance of the facts. Instead, it’s a blind spot that endures due to unjustified trust in superficial assumptions.
But something might be coming soon that could potentially change the dynamics. A group called Ban Fracking in Michigan has submitted language to the Secretary of State for a proposal to prohibit fracking in Michigan. The group wants to put the proposal on the 2016 statewide ballot. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is the technology that has increased our supplies of natural gas exponentially and revolutionized the world’s energy picture. Some claim, however, that it poses a threat to the environment. This supposition appears unsubstantiated and based on misrepresentation but in the world of politics that might not matter much.
The first thing to remember is that ballot proposals are not always what they appear to be on the surface. A proposal could be put on the ballot for an ulterior motive. For instance, in 2016 the anti-fracking proposal could help boost turnout of liberal-leaning voters. Sometimes a prospective proposal is just a device to blackmail the legislature and governor into doing something they wouldn’t do otherwise – which is how the threat of the minimum wage hike proposal was used in 2014.
However, if the fracking ban were to get on the 2016 ballot and polling showed it had a realistic chance of passing, things could get pretty interesting. In the heat of any election battle there is a tendency to pull out all of the stops. That tendency could conceivably lead to Big Oil letting the cat out of the bag about wind energy’s heavy reliance on natural gas. Such a revelation might possibly alter the perceptions of a lot of voters – and a lot of folks in the regular news media as well.
*Readers note – in some past columns the qualifying word “alleged” was used regarding the degree to which wind energy depends on fossil fuels. Since no one, it seems, disputes the claim, and hardcore believers in man-made climate change have actually lamented the wind energy-fossil fuel link, the word “alleged” no longer appears to be necessary.
Here’s a slightly more “starry-eyed” view from a few years ago that – while pulling more than one or two punches, as it tries to pump up the ‘merits’ of wind power – makes it plain enough that the more wind power there is, the better off gas producers will be.
GE’s Gas-Fired Plants Could Enable More Wind and Solar Power
25 May 2011
The variability of solar power and wind power can play havoc with the grid.
In a political era where California and other states are mandating 20 percent or 33 percent or even 40 percent Renewable Portfolio Standards, the current system is not designed to deal with that level of variability, according to Jim Detmers, former COO of the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO). “The system is not designed to accept that proportion of renewables.”
Increasing penetration of renewables like wind and solar actually require an increase in the amount of natural gas-fired backup. And natural gas plants are at their least efficient when they are are ramped up and down. Natural gas, despite its recent good press for being cleaner than coal and of domestic origin, is still a fossil fuel that pollutes the air when combusted and the water when extracted via fracking. Estimates from the Energy Information Administration suggest that shale gas could make up 45 percent of all natural gas production in the U.S. by 2035 — up from the current 14 percent.
Any improvement in the efficiency of natural gas-fired plants is going to help the transition to a more renewable-fueled future — and reduce the amount of natural gas we might use.
General Electric just introduced their new 510-megawatt combined-cycle power plant that offers fuel efficiency greater than 61 percent — the result of an investment of more than $500 million in R&D by GE.
GE drew from the company’s jet engine expertise to engineer a plant that will ramp up at a rate of more than 50 megawatts per minute.
Detmers’ figures differ from that claim. “We can currently ramp generators at 63 megawatts per minute,” but “early studies show that we need over 400 megawatts per minute to cope with a 33 percent RPS,” according to Detmers. “We need new technology,” he concludes.
The GE plant is engineered for flexible operation by integrating a next-generation 9FB Gas Turbine that operates at 50 Hz, a power frequency that is most used in countries around the world; a 109D-14 Steam Turbine, which runs on the waste heat produced by the gas turbine; GE’s W28 Generator; an integrated control system that links all of the technologies; and a heat recovery steam generator.
The International Energy Agency concluded in a report issued yesterday that large shares of variable renewable energy are feasible as long as power systems and markets are properly configured so they can get the best use of their flexible resources. More efficient and flexible natural gas plants are one of the requirements to get more renewables on the grid.
Detmers said that “Germany has some very serious conditions” with its 15,000 megawatts of wind and 17,000 megawatts of distributed solar. “We have a lot to understand about when we transform to a varying supply.
The author’s choice of “variable”, to describe complete daily collapses in wind power output, is a dead give away about his belief in the ‘wonders’ of wind power; and the fact that he’s quoting from the wind industry ‘play-book’.
Flopping to ZERO, every other day, isn’t “variable” – it’s “chaos” – we hammered that kind of language abuse a while back:
And the Germans – Europe’s wind power “kings” – experience precisely the same type of wind power delivery mayhem on a regular basis:
No, truth be told, thanks to the great wind power fraud, the fossil fuel boys have never had it so good.