Europeans Lament their Wind Power Fiasco

German wind farm

Insanely expensive, hideously ugly, noisy &
utterly useless – what’s not to like?

****

The colossal, hugely expensive windfarms that are spread across huge areas of Europe’s land and sea, which are projected to drive up household energy bills by more than 50 per cent in coming years, have achieved … almost nothing in terms of reducing EU carbon emissions.

We here on the Reg energy desk only noticed this particularly this week because of a chirpy press release that flitted past us just the other day, claiming that “wind energy provides 8 per cent of Europe’s electricity.”

Hey, we thought, that sounds almost like it’s getting somewhere! So we looked into it. The eight per cent figure comes from the latest Wind Status Report (pdf) from the EU Joint Research Centre, and sure enough, it’s claimed therein that all those massive wind farms produced no less than 238 terawatt-hours of the 2,942 TWh of ‘leccy used in the EU nations last year.

That’s eight per cent, right enough – and that’d be a noticeable bite out of EU carbon emissions, maybe even one worth tying an energy-prices ball and chain round the ankles of the European economies.

Except it isn’t, of course. Like most developed economies, the EU nations use the great bulk of their energy in non-electric forms: we burn fuels to run transport, to provide heating and cooking and hot water, to power most of our industry. And this accounts for most of our energy use and carbon emissions.

By the most recent figures available, in fact, the EU is using around 1,666 million-tonnes-of-oil-equivalent of energy from all sources every year: that’s 20,710 TWh. Wind electricity makes up just over one measly percentage point of that. Solar? About half that again, for a total renewable-‘leccy contribution of around 1.5 per cent and a roughly corresponding CO2 reduction.

The large majority of the “renewable energy” figure claimed by the EU is produced by optimistic accounting on biomass and renewable-waste, much of which is dubiously renewable at best. Even the proper renewable electricity figures are not to be relied on, particularly in southern Italy where the Mafia is well known to be heavily involved in the industry.

Actual renewables, despite their horrific expense, are not even scratching the surface of real-world modern civilisation’s energy requirements.

Comment

It really is getting clearer and clearer. Bill Gates is right: top Google engineers are right: global-warming high priest James Hansen is right: the UN IPCC is wrong. The renewable energy technologies of today simply cannot provide the power needed to keep the lights on, not at any cost.

Anybody who thinks that carbon emissions are a big threat to humanity – or alternatively, anybody who thinks that becoming ever more dependent on Russian gas and Middle Eastern oil is a bad idea, for instance – needs to get their head around this and move on. The current, cripplingly expensive schemes which crank up the price of energy and channel the resulting cash to windfarms and solar panels need to be scrapped – they will never achieve anything useful.

Perhaps the money saved could be spent on R&D instead, to find some new source of low-carbon energy. But in fact, such a source already exists; the problem is really one of public understanding, rather than a lack of low-carbon energy in the world.
The Register

turbine collapse 9

In Europe they call it a ‘flop’, too …

 

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Most people still can’t see that the whole human experiment has been too large for many decades. Fossil fuels will all peak and decline, and even uranium is a finite resource. Nuclear fusion remains a pipe dream and it’s still not a portable, liquid fuel (we can’t run heavy transport or agriculture on electrons). We really need to scale back economies and population sizes as humanely as possible over time instead of pursuing blind growthism with any energy source. Oil, especially, should be stretched as long as possible via conservation. It’s literally black gold but people keep squandering it based on temporarily low prices.

    Talking about oil, gas or coal as if they were quasi-renewable resources (just because they’re still flowing) is as dangerous as pro-wind propaganda. Wind turbines can’t be built or maintained without fossil fuels, anyhow. It seems like few people have thought the whole energy scenario through to it’s final conclusion. A wise species would be conserving like madmen as of yesterday. We are living on energy capital, not income, like a trust fund brat blowing a finite savings account.

    • EA, with respect, in relation to your comments above and below, we disagree with your Malthusian pessimism.

      The fastest way to reduce population growth is to increase incomes and wealth. The wealthiest economies have the lowest birth rates in the world: birth rates in Japan and Germany, for example, are lower than that required to maintain a stable population. It is only immigration that prevents Germany’s overall population from falling; Japans’ already is. For the latest on birth rates in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China, see this Economist article:

      http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21661805-europe-shows-how-asias-demographic-crisis-might-correct-itself-asias-new-family-values

      Birth rates are highest in deepest, darkest Africa: and when we mean “darkest”, we’re referring to those without reliable and affordable electricity.

      The only sure fire way of increasing incomes (and, therefore, decreasing birth rates) is to provide cheap, reliable electricity to power industry, businesses and homes.

      Try studying for a High School maths exam with candlelight; or cooking your evening meal over twigs and dung. You’ve spent most of the day swinging a hoe, tending your fields, the rest of it fetching water and gathering wood, returning to a dirt floored hut. After doing your best to feed a nest of hungry mouths, you are hardly likely to feel like swotting up on developmental economics, say.

      STT doesn’t profess to have all the answers, but we’re 100% confident that wind power isn’t a solution to anything: whatever the “problem” is said to be.

      The industrial revolution, which lifted millions out of abject poverty, wasn’t fuelled by wood. Economies didn’t switch to coal because they were running out of wood; they did so because it was a far more efficient source of energy and, more importantly, controllable power.

      STT is peopled by born optimists: uranium, thorium, geo-thermal or whatever it is that replaces coal or gas (which, despite plenty of wailing about their finite reserves are dragging millions out of stone-age poverty as we speak) will involve an ordered transition; just like that from wood to coal.

      In the US it’s been a rapid and beneficial transition from coal to gas. In the background, nuclear power (always said to be a dangerous energy “monster”) generates affordable and reliable power all over the globe. There are 437 reactors chugging away as we speak; another 80 or so are being built. Australia has uranium and thorium reserves that will outlast religion: due to narrow minded Labor party policy, we are only allowed to have 3 uranium mines and no nuclear power plants. Australia runs on coal and gas, not because of any lack of uranium, but because of a childish set of energy policies, centred on ludicrous technologies like wind power, that guarantee more coal and gas are being burnt than ever before.

      This little orb is said to be four-and-a-half billion years old. Humans have hassled it for a fraction of that time. Whether we like it or not, it is unlikely to last for another 4 billion years. The sun will run out of juice, long before then; and our planet will be just another icy blob hurtling through space.

      While some seem to regard human beings as ‘cockroaches’, obsessively devouring the planet, we don’t. Whenever we hear people talking about the need to remove some of the earth’s inhabitants (apparently in order to save it), we’re ready to hand such protagonists a mirror and to ask them whether what they see is what they want to remove?

      Ditto, those who claim that someone else – usually somewhere else – is selfishly using up all of the world’s dwindling resources; except the question is, are you ready to sit in a dirt floored hut, freezing or boiling in the dark, cooking what you scratched from the soil that afternoon, over a pile of smoking dung?

      Well, are you ready to give up what you’ve got?

  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    At least the Register reads what goes across its desk, and more importantly questions it.

    Pity others are not as conscientious in their reporting.
    It doesn’t matter how often some are told they will still simply print the waffle put before them – why – because they are lazy, intent on rubbishing the Government, or have reporters and editors ideologically constrained to a point they can no longer report the truth.

    Every aspect of the wind industry is soiled by its constant lies, deceit and seeming corruption.

    Yes, a cleaner environment is something to work toward, but it cannot be achieved by simply relying on how electricity is produced and championing useless production methods.

    What is needed are people with vision, people who will find ways to produce electricity more effectively, ways to stop the destruction of forests, and ways to capture what are considered dangerous emissions. We need people who with vision to see concentration on Wind Energy production is making things worse by damaging the environment we are meant to be saving, and peoples lives.

    A challenge to all media outlets – wake up, read and question, do research and then report in an unbiased manner.

    • Sure, we need people with vision but we also need fewer total people using energy, land and water. Human bloat was inflated with fossil fuels and there’s slim evidence than anything else can sustain this scale of activity. Of course, talking about population control doesn’t go over well, no matter how logically it’s explained (a major failing of our “intelligent” species). For example, I’ve even heard militant vegans claim the world can support 10+ billion people with no problem. They focus solely on food or water issues and ignore energy. Monomania prevails.

      But when it comes to other species, population logic isn’t debated much. It comes down to anthropocentric arrogance (we are the Chosen Ones, they are mere animals). Few argue about the land’s carrying capacity for lemmings, feral hogs, deer, rabbits, kangaroos, coyotes or locusts, but with Man there’s always some future tech miracle with which we can defy limits. In the words of an old Fogerty song: “Someday Never Comes”

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