Today I hope to change the pace here at the Sandpit so I invite you all to consider the issue of alternate sources of energy. Our friends who follow the Green religion are very keen to suggest that anything is better than coal but I think that the reality is that wind certainly isn’t a better way to make electricity for the times when we actually need it.
“People are fed up with having their property devalued and sleep ruined by noise from large wind turbines,” says the association’s president, Boye Jensen Odsherred. “We receive constant calls from civic groups that want to join.”
In one typical battle, in the central city of Svendborg, the local council set height and number limits on turbines under heavy pressure from locals. “The violent protests and the uncertainty about low-frequency noise means that right now we will not expose our citizens to large windmills,” said the deputy mayor, Lars Erik Hornemann.
There has also been growing scrutiny of the wind industry’s macro claims. Though wind may indeed generate an amount of electricity equal to about a fifth of Danes’ needs, most of that electricity cannot actually be used in Denmark.
Except with hydropower, electricity cannot be stored in large quantities. The power companies have to generate it at the moment you need to use it. But wind’s key disadvantage – in Denmark, as elsewhere – is its unpredictability and uncontrollability. Most of the time, the wind does not blow at the right speeds to generate electricity. And even when it does, that is often at times when little electricity is needed – in the middle of the night, for instance.
So most of the wind electricity Denmark generates has to be exported, through interconnection cables – to Germany, to balance the fluctuations in that country’s own wind carpet, or to Sweden and Norway, whose entire power system is hydroelectric, and where it can be stored. (The Swedes and Norwegians use it themselves – or sell it back, at a profit, to the Danes. If they use it themselves, there is, of course, no saving whatever of C02 – because all Norway and Sweden’s domestically-generated hydropower is carbon-neutral anyway.)
“I would interpret the [export] data as showing that the Danes rely on their fossil-fuel plants for their everyday needs,” says John Constable, research director for the London-based Renewable Energy Foundation, which has commissioned detailed research on the Danish experience. “They don’t get 20 per cent of their electricity from wind. The truth is that a much larger unit, consisting of Denmark and Germany, has managed to get about 7 per cent – and that only because of a fortuitous link with Norwegian and Swedish hydropower.”
But worse till is the fact that the large subsidies that have been paid to build these turbines have resulted in much higher energy prices for the average Dane
Unfortunately, Danish electricity bills have been almost as dramatically affected as the Danish landscape. Thanks in part to the windfarm subsidies, Danes pay some of Europe’s highest energy tariffs – on average, more than twice those in Britain. Under public pressure, Denmark’s ruling Left Party is curbing the handouts to the wind industry.
Take note of this Comrades because under the influence of the Green Faith we will see a lot more of these three-legged white elephants built in this country under the pretence that they are “good for the environment” or that they will help to “reduce our Carbon footprint” when in fact they are neither. Here in Australia we lack both the precipitation or the geography to store the energy by pumping water for Hydro-power we have no neighbours who can do that for us and as the Danish experience shows subsidising alternative energy by increasing the cost of electricity just distorts the market for no overall gain in energy security. There is a lesson here too for those who advocate a carbon tax. The rational for a “carbon price” is that making the cost of energy form fossil fuel more expensive the relatively more expensive (and less reliable) alternate sources of energy become more competitive. This strikes me as being a completely arse about line of thinking. The efforts should obviously be addressed at the short comings of the alternatives rather than adding a burden on the systems that work to make things like wind and solar appear viable.
The other thing that I think will happen is that once we reach a fairly low saturation point with domestic Photovoltaic installations that are connected to the grid we are going to see the enthusiasm of utilities to buy the energy thus collected rapidly decline, quite simply because it will be produced at a time when it is least needed and once there are enough people claiming a credit off their energy bills for what is essentially unusable energy the utilities will have to raise the general cost of electricity per KWH to compensate for the added expense that they are incurring.
Ah the distorting effect of ideologically induced subsidies!
Ain’t it grand?
Well I suppose we had better get used to it because this is just the sort of nonsense that the Warminisitas have in mind for the country as they flex their tail muscles in preperation for wagging the Labor Dog.
Denmark is incredible. Fly over it and the extent of the wind turbine invasion is amazing. It seems every field and every garden has one.
The green movement has a dilemma though. They are against most forms of conventional power, and against nuclear, and against any development. They need to work out what they for, rather than what they are against. Then maybe we can support things rather than resist things.
More of your usual fudding I see Iain.
Your points are your usual recycled nomesense, I guess you’ve at least learn the value of recycling! 😉
the refuting of your argument (such as it is) has been done ad nauseum many times over the years, so really why bother doing it again when we all know you won’t listen to the facts!
Let us know when you have something new to say ok?
CRAW I agree with you on nuclear – the argument against it when it provides the only source of green power suitable for our base load needs isn’t helping.
But i don’t buy your last argument as it IS pretty obvious what the greens are for -solar, wind and geothermal. they just don’t have a good story when it comes to meeting the base load needs.
the facts are that wind and solar don’t do not what their advocates claim and what precisely is wrong with saying so?
Your article on the subject is significant by its absence though 😉
Nuclear power is needed. I read a lot of:
He started off like most people is thinking that we could do it all with renewables but came to the realisation that more was needed. Don’t forget that as technology and population increases our power needs will grow not shrink.
The biggest problems with nuclear energy are waste, weapons and image. Generation 4 nuclear power will solve all those issues and coal fired power stations can be easily converted. Unfortunately most people who really want to do something about climate change are stuck in the old environmental battle against nuclear power and weapons. Because of how dangerous it was in the past they have completely shut off their minds to see that the technology has changed.
Also Iain you should read this section of his blog.
Yes I’ve heard Barry Brook’s argument about Nuclear energy before NAR and I don’t dispute that it will have to be part of the energy economy into the future
Yes I’ve read that part of Barry’s blog before 🙄
“I would interpret the [export] data as showing that the Danes rely on their fossil-fuel plants for their everyday needs,”
is complete and utter nonsense.
Ergs (ie. units of energy) don’t come with manufacturers labels. The Danes DO produce 20% of their energy needs from wind. Unless they’re giving it away to Germany and Sweden it doesn’t matter two hoots that they “export” some of it and import it later.
They can’t tell the difference between what left and what came back, and neither can their power meters.
Also I think you need to understand that the “analyst” in this story appears to have something against a long term European endeavour to deal with the base load “problem”. What they’re looking at doing is using the hydro-electric facilities in Sweden and Norway to store power shipped there from all over the Continent. This guy can’t have it both ways – he can’t raise the base load objection in one breath and then slander an arrangement to deal with it in the next.
What you forget (or don’t appreciate) JM is that of the energy used to pump water up to storages you would be lucky to recover even 10% of that when the equivalent amount of water is run through the hydroelectric turbines. This is the problem when you try to store any of the energy that you gather from either wind or solar by the time you calculate the actual usable energy it is very much smaller than the rated capacity of the collection devices.
So the Danes don’t really get good value for the energy that they export.
1. The first part of your argument is about the 2nd law of thermodynamics, to which I can say nothing but “doh”. Of course usable energy is lost when it is transformed. As it is in every process, including the burning of fuel in the engine of your car.
But how else would you suggest that power companies balance supply and demand if they don’t have storage mechanisms? Perhaps you could propose an infinite source of free energy? A perpetual motion machine?
2. The second part however completely overturns the first. As the “analyst” attempts to point out there is a time value to energy (like money actually) – use it or lose it. This is true of all forms of energy including coal fired generation where the start up and shut down times of plants are the sole basis of the so-called “base load problem”*
Since money has a time value – it’s worth less if it gets paid back to you later – it makes sense to capture some of what you’ve spent and store it for sale later. A milk bar owner would understand this. He doesn’t buy ice-cream expecting to sell it immediately, he puts it in the fridge.
* What happens here – for example in Victoria – is that it takes about 12 hours to start up and stop a Gippsland valley power plant. The demand however drops at about 6 in the evening and starts up again about 6 in the morning. For everything. So rather than running a startup/shutdown cycle every day the power companies sell off the overnight excess as “off-peak”. Better to make a buck on something that lose it alltogether. This is the “base load problem”. It’s an artifact of the intersection of demand and the constraints of the technology behind the supply. It isn’t written in stone.
As Usual you are being incredibly and needlessly patronising. The point being made by the article is that for all of the expense of creating the many wind farms in Denmark that country’s use of fossil fuel to generate its electricity has not actually substantially declined. that means that all of the subsidies and all of the capital investment has produced no benefit to the Danes (except for those who saw the wind farm business as a way to scam some government money).
This is a poor argument for wind farms but a good argument for having some capacity in your energy system for quick start capacity
But a milk bar owner would not buy a whole lot of dairy substitutes and fill his fridge with them (to the exclusion of real dairy products) if he wanted to sensibly serve his customers real needs rather than try to force them to drink Soy Chai lattes because that is what he has filled his fridge with.
Sorry Iain, but have a read of this: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/09/01/wind-power-emissions-counter/
You have fallen for another bit of Newspaper rubbish. It is just plain logical, if you think about it, that a source of power is a source of power and in US studies wind clearly reduces carbon output. The Danes do subsidise their industry because they export 90% of their wind turbines. It is much the same as the Japanese who support their car industry inside Japan, to keep the exports going.
It does pay to read a bit more than what is printed in a Tabloid.
Yeah Craigy from your Wiki link:
Your attempted extension referring to “substitutes” that fail to meet my requirements is bogus.
Unless you’re trying to argue that a kilowatt produced from coal is a bigger, tougher, more reliable kilowatt than the weedy, wimpy, flaky wind-generated variety your analogy is false.
But you can’t argue that because there is no difference between the two kilowatts – both satisfy my needs equally well.
As JM said Iain, a KW of power is a KW of power.
I did read the bit you selectively quote, but as I pointed out in my comment, which you didn’t read very carefully, they prop up their wind sector to support their turbine business, which brings the country much needed export dollars.
“The Danish wind turbine industry is the world’s largest. Around 90% of the national output is exported, and Danish companies accounted for 38% of the world turbine market in 2003, when the industry employed some 20,000 people and had a turnover of around 3 billion Euros.”
This easily accounts for the $270 million in lost GDP Iain.
You see it now? – They get $4.1 Billion in income for a loss of $270 million
Good deal don’t you think?? Well I know you don’t think so, but what about the Danes?
“To encourage investment in wind power, families were offered a tax exemption for generating their own electricity within their own or an adjoining commune. While this could involve purchasing a turbine outright, more often families purchased shares in wind turbine cooperatives which in turn invested in community wind turbines. By 1996 there were around 2,100 such cooperatives in the country.[ Opinion polls show that this direct involvement has helped the popularity of wind turbines, with some 86% of Danes supporting wind energy when compared with existing fuel sources.
Yes that’s right, even though they pay more for power they LOVE IT!!
You got this wrong Iain and I, like most Australians look forward to more alternatives to fossil fuels and a happier, safer, cleaner Australia.
WTF does that mean???? Or what part of my comment does it refer to?
Likewise where do you get this straw man argument?
The major argument against most forms of ‘alternate energy like wind power is not that they can’t produce useful kilowatts of power but they can’t do it on demand and or they are not very good at satisfying variations in that demand. So if that kilowatt of energy is produced at 3 am rather than when you needed it at the previous evening to cook your dinner its is is hardly equivalent to the kilowatt that is available when you need it from a coal fired (or even nuclear) power station now is it?
So perhaps the praise for wind power from various Danes should be seen as wishful thinking to help sales of turbines 😉
Really? I wonder how much of that love is actual and how much is the result of those surveyed believing that saying they love wind power is an act of religious piety?
Well I too want a clean environment for this country But I an as yet unconvinced that wind turbines are going to make much of a difference or that the toll that they will take on bird life is worth either the capital cost or the small amount of power that they add to the grid.
I would have thought it was obvious. I point out that spoilable goods (like ice-cream) have a time value but the economy continues to work, you start talking about substitutes like Soy Chai that may not meet the tastes or requirements of customers.
My response is simple – energy is energy, no matter how it’s produced. Ice cream is not Soy Chai, but kilowatts are kilowatts. Yet that response is over your head.
Further when I explain that so-called “baseload” power from coal can’t produce energy on demand either – but rather simply pumps out the stuff on a continuous basis regardless of cost recovery, and is made viable by pricing plans – you simply assert that wind can’t do it on demand .
Nonsense. It certainly can if it can be stored. Structure the energy capture, storage and pricing in an economic fashion at it will work fine. And that’s exactly what Europe is looking at doing with Scandinavian hydro-electric storage. If The Economist is signed up for this – which it is – I think you should be taking it seriously.
Yes I talk about substitutes that do “not meet the tastes or requirements of customers” because if the energy is not available WHEN it is needed it won’t meet their needs.
You say that energy has a “time component” to it and then ignore the important fact that if it is not available at the time that it is needed then it is useless
But your explanation is bullshit! Just how can wind do the same thing as you are suggesting here?
Lets see, to make the hydro storages work well enough to significantly repalce thermal generating capacity how may turbines have to blight the landscape? and How much dam capacity is there available? You want to suggest that Scandinavian storages are enough for all of Europe well show me the figures!
Iain, turbines don’t blight the landscape – they’re already there (and they’re a lot smaller than the dams they sit under). They just get reused once water is pumped higher.
This is not actually the article I was thinking of, but it’s worth a read anyway:
The one I was looking for (but can’t find quickly) says existing hydroelectric storage in Scandanavia could power all of Europe for about a month. It was a feature article some time ago. I did find this reference which is what I think I read in the paper magazine a while back but unfortunately you need an on-line subscription:
A grandiose plan to link Europe’s electricity grids may recast wind power from its current role as a walk-on extra to being the star of the show
And this one points out how the economics of this all work once you have storage (and work it does):
I’d also point out this (section Pumped Water) (my bold):
In many places, pumped storage hydroelectricity is used to even out the daily generating load, by pumping water to a high storage reservoir during off-peak hours and weekends, using the excess base-load capacity from coal or nuclear sources. During peak hours, this water can be used for hydroelectric generation, often as a high value rapid-response reserve to cover transient peaks in demand. Pumped storage recovers about 75% of the energy consumed, and is currently the most cost effective form of mass power storage.
Enough for you? Wind can work. Solar can work too. And both are attracting investment – that’s money to mortals like you and I. Real money. There’s a project to provide “baseload” solar right here in Victoria going on right now, just as there is another in Nevada in the good ol’ USA where they take money seriously.
All of that took me about 10 minutes to find. The answers are there if you look and you have an open mind.
You put me back in moderation. I thought you liked a good argument?
What’s the problem this time?
You put too many links in your post JM that makes for automatic moderation 🙄
I was talking about WIND TURBINES 🙄
This article claims that:
Which is ridiculously optimistic in terms of the amount of collected energy that that will be recoverable.
The important word in your quote has been emboldened, this quote is wishful thinking that MAY be right and could just as easily be absolute fantasy.
Your quote does no such thing it is just speculation that does not even consider the capital coat vs the energy benefit
Ponzi schemes attract investment and they make the same sort of grand promises for the future but show me any ponzi scheme that has ever made its investors happy in the long term.
Wind and solar have some value but I would suggest that the problem for Greenies like yourself is that they over sell their virtues and down play their problems.
I have a very open mind but I am not wearing rose coloured spectacles just because someone says that an energy option is “green”
I believe the 75% figure refers to the pumping/turning and regeneration cycle.
According to the US Department of the Interior
The efficiency of today’s hydroelectric plant is about 90 percent.
so that figure seems entirely reasonable.
As for ponzi schemes – they’re illegal. Perhaps you can me how any of the plants I referred to are ponzi schemes?
I don’t believe it, You will have to do better that this vague citation.
Only if you believe in fairy tales 🙄
Yet with all of its subsidies the Danish scheme is precisely LIKE a ponzi scheme in the fact that its promise and its real result are very different.
C’mon – it’s a precise citation. An official document from the US Government. If you don’t believe it, come up with a refutation.
And “ponzi scheme” has a fairly precise meaning, not simply “I don’t like it”. Essentially you have to have an investment where early investors are paid fake returns purloined from later investors.
Can you show how this, or something like it, is happening with Danish wind farms? You did make that accusation.
Your citation is not very precise at all JM in fact it is very superficial and as far as I can tell it does not properly address energy efficiency of pumping water to higher storages and then the question of how much of that energy can realistically be recovered at all.
I know exactly what a Ponzi scheme is, the essence of it is that new entrants to the scheme have their investment used to pay dividends to those who have invested earlier, while large subsidies for building wind turbines is not exactly that there are enough parallels to sustain the metaphor
Did you happen to notice that my reference cites hydroelectric being used as storage for power from excess capacity from coal or nuclear sources?
If hydro storage is in action in the field for your faves why won’t it work for solar and wind?
And you still haven’t explained how normal investment in energy ventures is a ponzi scheme if and only if the nature of the generating capacity is solar or wind, but just A-OK if it’s coal or nuclear.
You still haven’t backed up your efficiency claims about using pumped Hydro to “store” electricity and your citation certainly does not do it. This is particularly amusing because earlier in this conversation you accepted my “top of the head” guess that when you use energy to pump water up a hill you would be lucky to recover 10% of that energy when it was run back down the hill through a hydro turbine. So if my ball park figure is right then how can you find that missing 65% to make up your 75% efficiency claim?
What you are claiming is not science it is Green Mumbo Jumbo and wishful thinking.
It’s your estimate, not mine. And the estimate of the US government is 90% for a hydroelectric turbine. Putting that in reverse – which is what a pump does – leads to a result of 81%, so 75% seems perfectly feasible.
To get down to 10%, you’d have to believe that a pump was only 11% efficient. That seems pretty low to me. Is that you experience of pumps? That you have to put around 9x the work in that you can get back?
But this is mostly beside the point, which is:- how does hydroelectric storage become any different in effectiveness when it is labeled “green”?
JM I’ve been looking for some figures and I cam across this:
This is only raising water 120 M and the amount of energy needed to raise water higher increases exponentially the higher you go so the energy efficiency falls the higher you go . Admittedly this is for a domestic system but the principles mist be consistent. I would expect that as this is from a Greenie forum that the efficiency is rather overstated.
as another poste at the same forum says :
Which is precisely what I have been saying
BTW I notice you did not answer my Gender question.
Your reference is to one guys experience with one pump in a particular set of circumstances
Firstly I’d comment that 120 meters is pretty high and there wouldn’t be many dams in the world with that height.
In other situations with other pumps effeciencies of 70-80% are not unusual.
Secondly your statement:
the amount of energy needed to raise water higher increases exponentially the higher you go
had me checking to see if the laws of physics had been rewritten overnight.
The relationship is linear:
Energy required = mass * g * height
where g is the gravitational acceleration.
See that? No exponents, no powers – double the height, double the energy. No more that that.
I’d also point you to the section “Pumped Storage” on the wiki page for hydro electicity. Norway (and other places) already use pumps and the mechanism is commerically viable:
Pumped-storage schemes currently provide the most commercially important means of large-scale grid energy storage and improve the daily capacity factor of the generation system.
I’m sorry Iain, but when something is already in the field and commercially viable and widely used over a fairly long period of time; your objections to it are hollow.
Oh, and I’m not answering your gender question:
1. I don’t see what possible relevance it has
2. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking it
3. You ought to be doubly ashamed for pressing the point
Why not? seems simple and uncontentious I have been addressing you with the male pronoun for ages and I just want to know if I have been doing so correctly or if I have been making an erroneous assumption by doing so. I find your prevarication very strange and I am reminded of the way that I was chided and demonised when, early in my blogging career I wished to post under a gender ambiguous pseudonym, The loudest complainer was insisting that by not clearing up the ambiguity I was being dishonest….
I see no reason why I should be ashamed at all, there is absolutely no reason for you to be so coy about your gender.
Nope You should be ashamed for having a hypocritical double standard.
when it comes to pumped storages 120M is very small beer and in fact as this schematic for The Snowy Mountains Scheme shows higher heads are more general and more desirable.
It’s not the size of the drop across an entire system that’s important. What you pump in this situation is water from the bottom of the dam back to the top, so 120m is about the upper limit of what you encounter with real dams. I believe it is in Norway anyway. In fact, from a quick look I’d estimate most dams as being in the 30-60m range. (It gets pretty tough to hold back all that water at higher ranges – the Hoover Dam in the US I believe is close to the highest in the world at just over 200m).
Also from your diagram – on the right hand side you’ll see a pumping station at Tathra with a rise of around 1000m?
I also believe you got your diagram from here where we find an interesting quote:
Water falls down through the power stations of the Snowy Mountain Hydro to the Murray or Murrumbidgee rivers about 2/3 of the pumping energy can be regained.
Last time I looked 2/3 was very close to 70%
You might also be interested in Figure 3 from this report showing the efficiency of various pump technologies starting and about 60% and rising to almost 90% for turbines – ie. similar to those devices used for generating hydro power in the first place.
Hoist. Own. Petard.
Admit it Iain you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you just make stuff up.
Iain: hypocritical double standard.
What double standard?
Look You were rumbled ages ago:
You post from a proxy server,
You are unnecessarily antagonistic towards me,
You are excessively secretive and the refusal to even say what gender you are is rather telling
You lack any sort of humility
You do not even answer queries sent to the email that you cite when you comment here ( I emailed you in February about using a proxy server) .
Everyone who comments here does so at my pleasure so despite it being very obvious to me precisely who you are I will allow you to continue commenting here for now but you are on notice that your commenting privileges may be withdrawn at any time without further warning.
We have discussed my privacy publically here before. I have reasons – contracts I have signed – to retain privacy.
Secondly we have discussed proxy servers before again publicly. You detect a proxy server, I’ve no idea where it is or who’s running it; maybe my ISP. But it isn’t me. And I don’t know why you would care or go looking for it in the first place.
As for gender:- you say “JM you argue like a girl, are you?” and I refuse to answer for the simple reason, which I gave, that I didn’t see what possible difference any answer could make and I find the question and implication offensive.
I don’t answer your emails because I prefer to debate you in public.
I am not antagonistic to you personally, I don’t even know you. I am antagonistic to many of your views and take issue with them. I disagree with you on many subjects, but I’m not attacking your right to say those things, or you personally in anyway.
On the other hand:-
* I don’t question the identity of other people who use psuedonyms, I respect their use of them as much as I assert my own use
* I couldn’t care less if anyone uses proxies – in fact I’d be very surprised if a large operator like WordPress who host your blog don’t use them. Are you sure that’s not the proxy you’re detecting?
* I don’t care about anyone’s gender
* I can take it as much as I dish it out
There is no double standard that I can see.
That does not ring true at all.
Who Is your ISP then? and I am sure that you know why I went looking.
I did not say that you “argue like a girl” I said that I had been thinking that you were male and that I had changed my opinion and now think that you are female. I can’t for the life of me see how that can be offensive, or how you admitting your gender would in any sense compromise your “privacy”
Do you really want to do this in public???? You don’t answer my emails because you know if you did that your email would show your true IP address and you know that I would recognise the IP address
The evidence of your comments does not support this contention from you at all.
I don’t believe you are sincere about this at all, your respect of pseudonyms is restricted entirely to your own use of them
I am sure that WordPress use their own servers and that I am not detecting a proxy from them but from your deliberate choice to use a proxy to conceal your identity.
The evidence says otherwise, If you did not care you would have no reason not to admit your gender even if it was just to allow other commentators to use the correct pronoun when referring to you in their responses
I don’t think that you can actually
Look in a mirror then
Iain, you’re being ridiculous.
Iain, you’re being ridickless.
JIM if you are being dickless then Iain is right about you being a girl. Come on, which way do you swing?
I am being entirely sensible here, all I am asking from you is the barest minimum of courtesy, namely that you tell me which is the appropriate pronoun to address you by.
What are you so afraid of ?
Maybe JM does bat for the other team and has a penchant for Black WW2 German military uniforms