Let’s assume (as STT does, for the sake of argument) that the global warming/climate change Chicken Littles are right: the sky really is falling, and it’s all CO2’s fault.
STT has always thought that if man-made CO2 emissions really were destroying the planet, then sensible governments would have moved to build nuclear power plants from the moment the Chicken Littles started wailing about the heavens collapsing, some 25 years ago.
The French generate around 80% of their sparks using nukes – and have used nuclear power – safely and successfully – for over 50 years: the first plant kicked off in 1962.
Nuclear power is the only stand-alone thermal power generation source that is base-load, and which does not emit CO2 emissions when generating power.
Under Australia’s Large-Scale Renewable Energy target, power consumers are going to be belted with a $40-50 billion electricity tax, which, if the wind industry gets its way, will all be directed as subsidies to wind power outfits. Using that kind of money, Australia could, instead, build enough nuclear power generating capacity to meet its entire electricity needs for a Century to come. For a rundown on the economics of nuclear power see this article.
So, if advocates for “action on global warming” want to be taken more seriously than Chicken Little’s flights of fancy, they’ll have follow Robert Bryce’s lead; and start laying out a gas-to-nukes path to a CO2 free power generating future.
Bryce takes the view that if it’s a “low-carbon” future you’re after, then, get on the front foot and go after his natural gas to nuclear (‘N2N’) approach:
STT concurs. Because wind power can only ever be delivered at crazy, random intervals (if at all) and cannot be stored, it will never amount to a meaningful power source; and, therefore, will never result in any reduction in CO2 emissions in the electricity generation sector. The wind industry has never produced a shred of credible evidence to the contrary (save “smoke and mirrors” modelling).
Instead, the evidence continues to mount that – if CO2 emissions are the problem – wind power, sure as sugar, ain’t the solution. Here’s another take on the great wind power fraud from the US.
Wind power isn’t making the big impact its champions claim
Bangor Daily News
Paula Moore, Special to the BDN
17 May 2015
The Maine Renewable Energy Association recently released information from a white paper to clarify the 2013 benefits of wind power in Maine and predict future benefits in 2020. Unfortunately, the association’s press release touted at least one simplistic conclusion: Wind power theoretically offset the CO2 emissions from 94,000 vehicles in 2013. If only wind power could offset vehicle emissions.
To state the obvious, wind power never will offset emissions from vehicles, though that would be helpful because much of the CO2 in Maine — and the U.S. — is produced by vehicles.
The point of wind power is to offset emissions from traditional power plants. How much CO2 did Maine wind power offset from power plants in 2013? Not much. ISO New England, the entity responsible for managing electricity across the six New England states, reported CO2 emissions from power generators in 2013 were 40,901,000 tons.
By comparison, as estimated in the Maine Renewable Energy Association white paper, Maine wind power generated 27.8 percent of its nameplate capacity to offset an estimated 490,000 tons of CO2. That’s about a 1 percent offset. No wonder the Maine Renewable Energy Association chose to use a theoretical analogy instead of the real but puny 1 percent figure.
But the Maine Renewable Energy Association white paper and a 2014 report by ISO New England outline other conclusions that do clarify several aspects of wind power generation:
— Maine and New England already have lower emissions from electricity generation compared with the nation.
— Because of the planned retirement of two large coal plants in New England, there will be fewer emissions for wind power to offset in 2020 than in 2013 because wind will be displacing power generation from a less polluting system.
— The Maine Renewable Energy Association paper estimates wind power will offset about 2 million tons of CO2 by 2020 because of an increased number of wind projects and more efficient turbines. But there will be lower system emissions overall because of cleaner and more efficient natural gas electricity generators replacing coal and oil. At best estimates, wind power in Maine may never offset more than 5 percent of annual emissions from other power generators.
— Increasing the number of wind projects could increase inefficient ramping and cycling of the standby generators compensate for wind’s often rapid and sizable swings in output, thus eroding some of the emissions-offset benefit of wind.
— Wind speeds often are at their lowest levels during summer and cold snaps, when electricity demand is highest. Other power generators always will be needed to ensure demand for cooling and heating is met and to avoid black- and brownouts when the grid is under stress from sudden changes in power supply.
— Electricity from Maine’s remote wind projects may be curtailed to prevent overloading the fragile transmission lines not designed for large amounts of power.
— Electricity from Maine’s wind power also may be curtailed when electricity demand is low — at night, for example — reducing the emissions-offset benefit further.
Touting a theoretical analogy is a ploy by the Maine Renewable Energy Association to distract the public from the pertinent facts about wind power generation. It appears designed to make Maine wind projects appear as though they are making a big difference in reducing CO2 when they aren’t and may never. The amount of land needed for a multi-turbine wind project is more than that of a natural gas power plant that predictably, reliably and less expensively provides electricity near population centers, where and when it is needed.
Paula Moore is a retired assistant professor in the University of Maine School of Education.
Bangor Daily News
Not a bad little wrap-up there, save for the line about the life expectancy of wind turbines being 20 years.
It depends on what’s meant by “life expectancy”?
If that means a turbine remaining in the same spot, but having its bearings and gearbox changed 5 times; its generator changed 10 times; and its blades being replaced 3 or 4 times? Then, sure, it’ll “last” 20 years:
The same could be said of a favourite motor car, when the owner’s prepared to shell out for new engines and gearboxes every time they fail, when ditching it and buying a new one would make a whole lot more economic sense.
But, that little quibble aside, what comes across loud and clear in the article above, is that the wind industry’s ONLY ‘justification’ – meaningful CO2 emissions reduction – is nothing more than fallacy wrapped in fiction.