Environmentalist Tells Tucker Carlson: Renewables Can’t Save The Planet

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

charles the moderator /

From The Daily Caller

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Environmental activist Michael Shellenberger explained to Fox News host Tucker Carlson that it’s not possible to shift the country’s grid completely to renewable energy.

“I was one of the founders of, sort of, the first Green New Deal back in 2003, 2007,” Shellenberger, the founder of Environmental Progress, began. “People don’t remember President Obama, we spent about $150 billion on renewables between 2009 and 2015, and we just kept encountering the same kind of problems.”

WATCH:

Shellenberger laid out the two main problems that plague wind turbines and solar panels: unreliability and low energy density.

“They just depend on when the sun is shining and when the wind is blowing, which is 10 to 40 percent of the year,” he said, demonstrating how the intermittent energy production of wind and solar makes them unreliable sources of power. “Something people are not as aware of: the low energy density of sunlight and wind. Basically what we’ve been finding is that the lower the energy density of the fuel … the bigger the environmental impact.”

Because solar and wind produce such small amounts of energy, according to Shellenberger, they require a much larger amount of land to generate electricity.

Instead, the Environmental Progress founder touted the benefits of nuclear energy, a source of power that can generate large amounts of reliable energy while emitting zero carbon emissions. However, Shellenberger said the public has yet to fully embrace nuclear energy because they associate it with nuclear bombs, past nuclear accidents and a desire to use energy that harmonizes with the natural world.

“That turns out to be a bad idea because the more natural resource we use, the worse it is for the natural environment,” he said.

Nuclear-Plant

Nuclear power plant Ohu near Landshut, Bavaria, Germany. Shutterstock

As environmental activists become more alarmed about the threat of climate change, many are re-evaluating how they perceive nuclear power. The U.S. nuclear industry currently supplies about 20 percent of the country’s total electricity, but it provides roughly 60 percent of its zero-carbon electricity. A growing number of climate change-oriented lawmakers are now passing subsidies and support programs to keep nuclear plants in operation. (RELATED: Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Vote To Modernize US Nuclear Fleet)

Shellenberger went on to say it was “very disappointing” that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s widely publicized Green New Deal does not include provisions for nuclear energy.

Ocasio-Cortez’s original FAQ document on the Green New Deal, in fact, called for a phase out of nuclear power. However, following the botched roll out of the deal, her team took the anti-nuclear language off their website.

Wind farms are the ‘new apex predators’: Blades kill off 75% of buzzards, hawks and kites that live nearby, study shows

From the UK Daily Mail:

  • Predatory bird numbers are four times higher in areas away from win turbines
  • This is having a devastating ‘ripple effect’ across the food chain
  • It means numbers of certain small animals are growing unchecked

Wind turbines are the world’s new ‘apex predators’, wiping out buzzards, hawks and other carnivorous birds at the top of the food chain, say scientists.

A study of wind farms in India found that predatory bird numbers drop by three quarters in areas around the turbines.

This is having a ‘ripple effect’ across the food chain, with small mammals and reptiles adjusting their behaviour as their natural predators disappear from the skies.

Birds and bats were assumed to be most vulnerable to the rise of the landscape-blotting machines.

But their impact is reverberating across species, experts warned, upsetting nature’s delicate balance.

The news is particularly worrying as most wind farms are built on wide open plains and other environments where birds are typically found.

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Wind turbines are the world's new 'apex predators', wiping out eagles, hawks and other carnivorous birds at the top of the food chain, say scientists (stock image)

 

Wind turbines are the world’s new ‘apex predators’, wiping out eagles, hawks and other carnivorous birds at the top of the food chain, say scientists (stock image)

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru studied lizard and bird populations at three wind turbine sites in the Western Ghats.

They found almost four times fewer buzzards, hawks and kites in areas with wind farms – a loss of about 75 per cent.

In areas without turbines around 19 birds were spotted every three hours, while nearer to the machines this number dropped to around five.

This led to an abundance of the fan-throated lizard, a species only found on the Indian sub continent and a favourite snack of the predatory birds.

The reptile also had lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone and this changed how it lived.

For instance, humans were able to get much closer than usual before they ran off, as without predatory birds around, they had become less fearful.

The analysis has implications for wind farms all over the globe – including Britain, where the top predators include many birds of prey such as owls and eagles.

Study coauthor Professor Maria Thaker said: ‘We have known from many studies that wind farms affect birds and bats.

‘They kill them and disrupt their movement. But we took that one step further and discovered that it affects lizards too.

‘Every time a top predator is removed or added, unexpected effects trickle through the ecosystem.

Researchers  studied lizard and bird populations at three wind turbine sites in India's Western Ghats. They found almost four times fewer buzzards, hawks and kites in areas with wind farms - a loss of about 75 per cent (file photo)

 

Researchers studied lizard and bird populations at three wind turbine sites in India’s Western Ghats. They found almost four times fewer buzzards, hawks and kites in areas with wind farms – a loss of about 75 per cent (file photo)

‘What is actually happening here is the wind-turbines are akin to adding a top predator to the ecosystem.’

The study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution compared populations of raptors and lizards on a plateau that has had a wind farm for around 20 years to an adjacent valley that has no turbines.

It also took blood samples from 144 lizards captured on the two locations in the northern area of the mountain range.

Wind turbines are known to kill large birds, such as golden eagles.

A recent study by an international team of scientists found the decline of apex predators is ‘arguably humankind’s most pervasive influence on the natural world.’

These include wolves and lions on land, whales and sharks in the oceans and large fish in freshwater ecosystems.

There have also been dramatic falls in populations of large herbivores like elephants and bison. The trophic cascade has moved down the food chain.

Representing the wind industry, RenewableUK’s Executive Director, Emma Pinchbeck, told MailOnline:

‘Strict rules mean that wind farms can only be built in the UK in the right locations which meet rigorous standards, protecting our country’s rich biodiversity.

‘A comprehensive 2-year study published in April, supported by the RSPB and Natural England, showed that birds avoid flying near wind turbines in the English Channel, as they are carefully sited.

‘Wildlife organisations including the RSPB and WWF agree that the biggest threat to all species is climate change, so cutting carbon emissions by generating electricity from wind is one of the most important steps we can take to safeguard wildlife.’

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST WIND FARMS IN THE WORLD?

Wind farms are measured by the amount of megawatts a farm is capable of producing.

A single megawatt (MW) of wind power can run around 1,000 homes for a year.

The five largest offshore wind farms in the world are currently:

  1. The Walney Extension (UK), 659MW
  2. London Array (UK), 630MW
  3. Gemini (Netherlands), 600MW
  4. Gode Wind (Germany), 582MW
  5. Gwynt y Mor (UK), 576MW

The five largest onshore wind farms are currently:

  1. Gansu wind farm (China), 7,965MW
  2. Alta Wind Energy Center (California), 1,548MW
  3. Muppandal wind farm (India), 1,064MW
  4. Shepherds Flat Wind Farm (Oregon), 845MW
  5. Roscoe Wind Farm (Texas), 781.5MW

A Brutal Example Of Why 100% Renewables Can’t Work

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

The brutal cold wave that just struck America provides a stark example of why 100% renewables cannot possibly work. Once the massive high pressure system was in place there was almost no wind, so no significant wind power. And the coldest temperatures by far were at night or early morning, when there was no solar power either.

For example, take the Mid Atlantic region overseen by the PJM regional transmission organization. PJM coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. They also monitor system reliability.

At 8 am on January 31, PJM was in the deep freeze. Total electric power usage was reported to be roughly a whopping 140,000 MW. Of that wind provided just over 1,000 MW (next to nothing) and…

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Western Europe Power Mix In January

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public

There is a useful site for collecting data on the European power sector, called Energodock:

image

http://energodock.com/germany/electricity-generation

It gives a variety of data by country. I have used it to analyse generation data across Western Europe for last month. (I have ignored Eastern Europe at this stage).

image

Some observations:

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Green Electricity Grid Collapses During Aussie Heatwave

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

NPS West Coal Bunker and Tower Demolition

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

South Australia’s green politicians recently demolished their last coal plant.

Record heat blackouts: Tens of thousands without power across South Australia and Victoria

By Gemma Bath
Lexie Jeuniewic
Nick Pearson
2:03am Jan 25, 2019

Tens of thousands were last night sweltering through a blackout on one of the hottest days in history after power was cut across large areas of South Australia and Victoria.

There were 76 outages across Adelaide, affecting more than 28,000 customers during the hottest day in the city’s history.

In Victoria, about 5800 properties were without power on an “oppressive” night of hot and humid weather.

“Crews continue to work through the night – we understand it’s uncomfortable being without power in the heat,” SA Power Networks said on Twitter.

“If your power goes off, turn off all appliances and leave a single switch in the ON position so you know when it’s been restored. Turn appliances on gradually when power is back.”

Australian Energy Market Operator CEO Audrey Zibelman said an extra 400 megawatts had been added to the grid.

“We are going forward and reactivating our reserve power (of) 400MW of additional energy.”

“The system is being utilised to its maximum – what we need everyone to do is just be aware of that and over this peak period make sure that you are not wasting energy.”

Read more: https://www.9news.com.au/national/2019/01/24/05/54/weather-heatwave-south-australia-victoria-thursday

Not much more to say really. Thanks to the renewable supply duck neck (power only arrives when it isn’t needed), even during optimum weather, renewable electricity is useless for supplying households during heatwaves.

You can have reliable electricity or you can have renewable electricity but you can’t have both.

California Renewables to Lose PG&E $$$

Bottom Line Up Front:

Summary

California continues to serve as a learning laboratory for misguided and futile climate policies.  This time the lesson (for those with eyes to see) is to demonstrate that renewable energy programs are parasites who feast on the financial lifeblood of their host utilities until the cash is gone.

Science Matters

The investigation continues into the origin of the Camp fire, which some say started with a faulty PG&E wire in Pulga, California. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times / TNS)

Sammy Roth of LA Times digs deeper than others into the fallout from PG&E’s wildfire-induced bankrupcy. The article published in The Seattle Times is PG&E bankruptcy could undermine utilities’ efforts against climate change. Excerpts below with my bolds.

Solar and wind developers depend on creditworthy utilities to buy electricity from their projects under long-term contracts, but that calculus changes in a world where a 30-year purchase agreement doesn’t guarantee 30 years of payments.

The Golden State has dramatically reduced planet-warming emissions from the electricity sector, largely by requiring utilities to increase their use of solar and wind power and fund energy-efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses. Lawmakers recently set a target of 100 percent climate-friendly electricity by 2045.

But those…

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Isles of Scilly “Smart” Energy Future To Come At Crippling Cost

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

h/t Chris

This was in the Telegraph a couple of months ago:

image

Remoteness need not preclude integration into the 21st century, as a case study at the 2018 Hitachi Social Innovation Forum in London today makes clear. The event, hosted by The Telegraph, brings together 350 global business leaders to explore how IoT (internet of things) technologies can transform communities and corporations.

The Isles of Scilly lie in the Atlantic Ocean about 30 miles off Land’s End in the far south west of mainland Britain. Average domestic electricity consumption in the islands is among the highest in the UK. There is no natural gas supply and locals rely on imported fossil fuels and electricity.

So the Isles of Scilly are fertile ground for Hitachi’s £10.8m Smart Energy Islands project, a scheme that is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and a collaboration with UK smart home…

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Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

From The Spectator

We urgently need to stop the ecological posturing and invest in gas and nuclear

Matt Ridley

The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’.

You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.

Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.


Matt Ridley and climate change campaigner Leo Murray debate the future of wind power:

Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.

Such numbers are not hard to find, but they don’t figure prominently in reports on energy derived from the unreliables lobby (solar and wind). Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.

Even in rich countries playing with subsidised wind and solar, a huge slug of their renewable energy comes from wood and hydro, the reliable renewables. Meanwhile, world energy demand has been growing at about 2 per cent a year for nearly 40 years. Between 2013 and 2014, again using International Energy Agency data, it grew by just under 2,000 terawatt-hours.

If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s.

At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs.

Do not take refuge in the idea that wind turbines could become more efficient. There is a limit to how much energy you can extract from a moving fluid, the Betz limit, and wind turbines are already close to it. Their effectiveness (the load factor, to use the engineering term) is determined by the wind that is available, and that varies at its own sweet will from second to second, day to day, year to year.

As machines, wind turbines are pretty good already; the problem is the wind resource itself, and we cannot change that. It’s a fluctuating stream of low–density energy. Mankind stopped using it for mission-critical transport and mechanical power long ago, for sound reasons. It’s just not very good.

As for resource consumption and environmental impacts, the direct effects of wind turbines — killing birds and bats, sinking concrete foundations deep into wild lands — is bad enough. But out of sight and out of mind is the dirty pollution generated in Inner Mongolia by the mining of rare-earth metals for the magnets in the turbines. This generates toxic and radioactive waste on an epic scale, which is why the phrase ‘clean energy’ is such a sick joke and ministers should be ashamed every time it passes their lips.

It gets worse. Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal, not just to provide the heat for smelting ore, but to supply the carbon in the alloy. Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy.

Read the full article here.

 

Polish government: wind turbines will be scrapped within 17 years

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

From wysokienapiecie.pl

Polish government: wind turbines will be scrapped within 17 years

All wind farms operating today in Poland will be scrapped by 2035, with no new turbines built to replace them, stipulates draft “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040” presented by Ministry of Energy on Friday. This is a political decision, the Minister explained.

On Wednesday the government contracted with investors the construction of several hundred new wind turbines (with a capacity of approximately 1 GW). The average prices offered by investors, at which they committed to sell electricity, barely reached 197 PLN/MWh. This is less than the current market price (250 PLN/MWh) and much less that the total production cost in new coal-fired power plants (350 PLN/MWh).

However, on Friday Ministry of Energy presented the draft Energy Policy of Poland, which reads that all existing wind turbines will be scrapped by 2035, with the ones just contracted by the government a few years later. No new wind farms will be built to replace them.

Interestingly, the Ministry is planning the last auction for wind to be held next year. The Minister’s statements indicate that approximately 1.5 GW of capacity may be contracted. However, when aged, the turbines are to be irrevocably removed from the landscape, and the improved sites are to be used for whatever other purposes.

See also: The last coal power plant in Poland may be only wishful thinking

Where Western Europe invested for years in the technology to drive the costs down and replace the old turbines with state-of-the art next generation machines, Poland is the only country on the continent that announced complete elimination of the technology and scrapping of the entire infrastructure left after the decommissioned turbines.

Governmental disputes over wind

“The decrease in production from wind turbines is forced by our political commitments,” explained Minister for Energy, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, who presented the draft “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040”.

The commitments he mentions are the political promises made by some Law and Justice MPs. In particular, the objection of the Lower Silesian Law and Justice MP and Minster for Education, Anna Zalewska, played an important role. When in opposition, she informally represented the voice of organisations opposing to the construction of wind turbines in the vicinity of their places of residence. A study by the Polish Academy of Sciences demonstrates that although less than 2 percent of all wind turbines in Poland is installed in the Lower Silesia region, 9 out of 102 social conflicts related to the construction of wind farms identified by PAS (which in total covered 4 percent of municipalities in the country) occurred in the region represented by MP Zalewska.

Minister Zalewska also appeared during rallies opposing the investments together with attorney-at-law Marcin Przychodzki, the founder of the “Stop Wiatrakom” (“Stop the Wind Farms”) web portal, currently Director of the Ministry’s of Infrastructure Legal Department, which with good effect requested implementation of regulations applying higher tax to wind farms as compared to, for instance, coal-fired power plants. The portal itself commented the Wednesday’s auction results as “making fool of the people by the Morawiecki’s government”, and is long criticising the Ministry’s of Energy and the Prime Minister’s actions in that area, at the same time calling for PolExit.

Eventually the Parliament, under pressure from the European Commission, withdrawn from the discriminating tax regulations in June; however, the decision left on their own the municipalities which, despite warnings, took advantage of the unclear regulations and imposed higher taxes, and are now obliged to return it.

So far the dispute within the government has been won by Anna Zalewska. This is because another provision she lobbied for remains effective. There is a ban on the construction of wind turbines at a distance less than tenfold their tip height. The “10 H” rule de facto means that only the 1990s-sized turbines may be built in Poland. Modern, tall wind turbines could be built only on farmland with no residential houses within 2 km, which is almost impossible in Poland.

See also: Can capacity market really help Polish coal power plants to survive?

In accordance with Minister Krzysztof Tchórzewski the regulation is to completely eliminate the possibility to build new wind farms when the still-existing building permits expire.

The Ministry of Energy wants to fill the market gap caused by the decommissioned wind farms with more expensive offshore wind farms, which lead to protests only from fishermen.

Ministry missed technological progress?

“The practice demonstrates that onshore wind turbines are available only 20 percent of the time, whereas offshore this is 40-45 percent,” Minster Krzysztof Tchórzewski explained on Friday.

The Minister’s rationale leads to doubts as to the validity of the Ministry’s of Energy knowledge, which prepared the draft Energy Policy of Poland. Capacity factor at the level of 20 percent was typical of wind turbines marketed 15 years ago. Last year wind turbines in Poland operated above 10 percent of their installed capacity for 77 percent of hours during the year. The average capacity factor amounted to 28 percent. The figure was contributed to by the oldest turbines, mentioned by the Minister, as well as the more modern machines, which on average achieve 30-35 of installed capacity.

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