The media went nuts when former Greens leader, Bob Brown turned on a wind farm in his backyard. Rampant hypocrisy, was just the first of the charges levelled at a man renowned for his hatred of reliable and affordable electricity.
In the result, the Liberal/National Coalition were very grateful that Dr Bob’s hatred of coal led him and his acolytes on a protest tour of Far North Queensland during the Federal election campaign in May, where Bob and a bunch of sandal wearing troglodytes railed against Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine.
Locals were ready to lynch him and his entourage (pubs refused to serve them beer) and, thanks to Bob’s job and economy wrecking stance, voters took their baseball bats to the heavily green tinged Labor party, returning the Coalition to Federal government.
The party that he founded, the Australian Greens enjoy enormous financial support from renewable energy rent seekers and wind turbine manufacturers, such as Denmark’s Vestas. Which is probably why his old party ran very silent, while Bob ran wild about the carnage caused by wind turbines amongst our feathered friends.
If nothing else, Bob Brown’s brand of NIMBYism has prompted a storm of attention directed at the wind industry, at a time when it needed that kind of ‘help’ like a month of calm weather.
Here’s Alan Moran and David Bidstrup enjoying the pile on.
When Even Bob Brown Gets It …
19 July 2019
Some people think wind turbines are structures of beauty. Bob Brown is no longer among them and we’ve all had fun pointing out his apostasy. The half-million birds which turbines are estimated to kill every year in the US and the 200,000 German bats minced annually by the same machines might also take heart at his belated conversion, although the louder and less intelligent members of another species lately gluing themselves to Brisbane’s roads and elsewhere will probably take longer to absorb the truth about these taxpayer-supported environmental destroyers.
The sad truth is that many still see wind and solar power as the future, displacing those old-fashioned coal and nuclear plants. But even though wind and solar are said to be competitive, their supporters continue to demand increased subsidies, often dressed up as National Energy Guarantees or soft loans from the taxpayers’ greenbank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Those subsidies have caused commercial coal generators to collapse, doubling the cost of electricity and savaging its reliability.
In other words, and even allowing for Brown’s Damascene conversion, idiocy continues to prevail.
Shell has advocated getting rid of coal using measures that include a $250 carbon tax (Gillard’s was only $20), that increases the price of electricity fivefold plus several new Greenbanks to subsidise the batteries that wind and solar need to back-up their intrinsically unreliable output. The Australian Financial Review, which generally supports renewable energy, sardonically noted that Shell CEO Ben van Beurden stepped out of his firm’s greenhouse-gas spewing corporate jet to advocate the emissions plan. Meanwhile, the delightfully named Ursula von Der Leyen, the new EU President, had herself elected by backing a plan to see a 50 per cent renewables share in the EU by 2030, something Boris Johnson also says he supports.
There’s almost certainly not a megawatt of wind/solar anywhere in the world that has been built without subsidy. And while global construction is slowing, due to lowered Chinese subsidies, the existing momentum means further construction will continue. For Australia, wind/solar is projected to represent 16 per cent of supply this year. Not only is this driven by subsidies and regulations but it requires ever more of them in order to shore up the commercial market that is being poisoned. Hence more subsidies for pumped-storage facilities, like Snowy 2, and the proposal to duplicate the Tasmania-mainland transmission line at a cost of $3 billion to allow a continued expansion of the renewables feeding their inconsistent contributions into the grid.
The latest: we have a “negawatts” proposal to set a baseline level of demand for firms and allow them to sell excess needs back to the grid when the price is high. This will be subject to considerable gaming as players exaggerate how much they might have used in order to increase their payments. One ludicrous forecast was that it would reduce prices by 25 per cent. Stupid policy, yes indeed, but not entirely new. A variation has long been in the armoury of the market manager under provisions known as the Reserve Trader. Retailers are also able to negotiate with their customers for load shedding. What is new is that in the first 15 years of the national market, before subsidies started to destroy it, reserve trading never actually occurred. It has now become common as wind has created massive market price volatility and dangers of black-outs. The ACCC is promoting the new measure, mistakenly believing it might temper what it sees as generator market power. But the intervention reflects the damage inflicted on our system by politicians and regulators.
Another non-solution is carbon capture and storage to eliminate emissions from coal generators, championed by David Byers, the CO2CRC chief executive. Australian taxpayers under Kevin Rudd bankrolled a $700 million initiative for this. Ten years on, there is no carbon-capture commercial plant operating anywhere in the world and, even if the technology were to prove feasible, widespread implementation would double the already staggering cost of electricity.
To get back to commercial normality, abolition of subsidies is essential. But even this may not be sufficient since, first, the market is poisoned by zero marginal cost renewables preventing coal operating as it should to provide the bedrock of a low-cost, reliable electricity supply system. Secondly, fossil fuel outfits are being demonised not only by green shareholder agitators, such as the group called Market Forces, but also by superannuation funds increasingly controlled by activists, especially union activists.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor thinks that holding firm, not expanding, existing commitments (even keeping the subsidy behind the rapidly expanding increase in rooftop solar). He is deferring a new Commonwealth state ministers meeting, recognising that this is just a means to bring further pressure on the Commonwealth to expand support for renewables. And he was quick to point out the unacceptably high transmission costs entailed in the wind/solar expansion championed by the Victorian energy minister and the head of AEMO, Audrey Zibelman.
So there you have it. Bob Brown floats gently back to Planet Earth and confronts reality while the policies he once championed continue to take their toll, albeit with what appear to be ministerial reservations. Killing birds by their thousands is one thing. Killing their killers quite another.
NIMTAS (Not in my Tasmania)
16 July 2019
The chief Earthian is upset about a proposed wind farm in North West Tasmania. Apparently the 1,000 MW scheme will affect the pristine beauty of his island because the 200 metre tall structures, all 200 of them, will be visible “from 50 kms out to sea and elevated landlubbers will see it, like it or not, from greater distances on land”. I am no fan of wind farms, partly because they are a visual blight on the landscape but mainly because they are useless in providing reliable electricity.
Having lived for 2 years in Queenstown Tasmania I understand that there is some magnificent scenery to look at in Tasmania if you are lucky enough to be there on the day they have summer and that the place has a certain rustic charm if you can stand the sound of Banjo’s plinking in the background.
Another source of grief is the proposed transmission line that will be needed to connect the 200 turbines to the grid. The route takes it across Leven Canyon, another beauty spot, on its way to Georgetown substation to enable connection to the Basslink cable so Tasmania can be “the battery” of Australia.
I wonder if the Earthians have ever heard of the h word. I do not recall them making any noises about the plethora of unsightly wind farms that the “mainlanders” have to look at, or intervene in any of the cases where people opposed the siting of wind farms but were run over by “progress”. Think Waubra for one and perhaps Waterloo in SA amongst many others. I have never heard them ask about the recommendations from the report by the then senator Madigan, (which seems to have suffered the fate of all other senate “reports”), in fact they were against his recommendations. Nor do I hear them making any noise about the research into wind farm noise and its effect on people living nearby or raising any concerns about the death of birds shredded in turbine blades.
Also, if they are so concerned about the global environment, they might make a noise about the catastrophe in Batou China where environmental devastation has taken place as a result of refining rare earths that are vital to wind turbine manufacture or perhaps raise a protest about child labour mining cobalt in the Congo. Not a peep, but when the chief Earthian has his paradise threatened it is a different story.
In 2018 the 2 wind farms that call Tasmania home had a capacity factor of 40%, which is not bad for a wind farm. They operated at less than 75% capacity for 80% of the year, below 50% for 65%, below 20% for 34% and produced zero for 2%. If I am charitable and allow the 1,000 MW proposed wind farm a 40% capacity factor then its output in a year will be the equivalent of a 400 MW “conventional” generator, so it is two and a half times oversized but still unreliable.
It seems that it does not matter whether any “renewable” proposal makes sense just as long as some carpetbagger says it will “reduce emissions” and some dim witted and desperate politicians believe them.
3 thoughts on “Double Standards: Greens Run Silent on Wind Turbine Bird & Bat & Bug Slaughter”
Time to stop calling them ‘mistakes’ and call them for the dumbed down stupidity that they are (back to the Ideocracy movie). There is no lack of resources just intelligence: Overpopulation vs underdevelopment – who could have foreseen carbon fibre replacing steel?
When oil companies get in on the act it’s sure to be a scam. AU exports light crude and imports heavy, giving a taxpayer subsidy for its costly refining.
Ask a kid from a large family if there is any such thing as level playing field (free market forces), they well know it’s first in best dressed.
As to subsidies who is stupid enough to believe that builders don’t take the First Home Owners Grant into consideration: As ScoMo said in the 3rd leader’s election debate, “Subsidies drive prices up.” Was he wrong?
If solar panels are so great how come BP Solar, as the largest manufacturer of panels in Europe, but after the fire that had to be allowed to burn out because of the roof-top panels, carcinogens were spread over Buerstadt, Germany in 2009, they did a runner like James Hardie Industries over asbestos compensation. Funny how the info disappeared off the net.
Seems the ‘alternatives’ to new generation nuclear power are very dangerous indeed: Whoops, up goes another chemical storage dump.
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