‘But wouldn’t it be useful to move to alternative energy anyway?’ #9 My perspective on climate change

The quotation in the title of this essay comes from something I noted down in 2010. It was part of a comment somewhere, and it carried the implication that even if you didn’t think AGW was a real problem there were good reasons to go down the alternative energy path. Why was alternative energy a good thing? Well, it was said to be ‘free’, would continue forever, and didn’t require the use of fossil fuels, which were not sustainable even if they weren’t bad for the planet.

I had a particular interest in solar energy, because the Australian Research Grants Committee (ARGC) had pushed considerable funding into a group at the University of New South Wales who were improving the efficiency of solar panels. I had used solar heating panels in the early 1980s to warm a swimming pool, and they were quite effective at that task. But these new solar cells were something else again, able to capture 40 per cent of the sun’s energy, which could then turned into electricity. I needed some ‘priorities’ to persuade government that the ARGC and later the Australian Research Council (ARC) should have more money, and solar energy was one of them.

I’m sure I added at the time that Australia was one of the countries that could benefit most from solar power, given the abundance of sunlight everywhere, especially in the inland areas. That was an argument that had some weight at the time. Most readers will know that the efficiency of the panels has improved since then, and that their price has also come down. Doesn’t that mean that the future is really going to be one of solar energy?

My answer is — at least at the moment — maybe, perhaps in the long run, but not in the foreseeable future. The two problems with solar power are storing it for later use, and garnering enough of it to make an appreciable difference to the needs of the electricity grid for constant and reliable electricity. If the whole world were to be powered by solar energy (assuming some kind of superior storage for evenings and cloudy days) you would need 500,000 square km of land devoted simply to the panels — an area the size of Spain. And you’d need more to provide the interconnections. Until these two problems are solved, solar energy will only be a small part of national grid systems.

In 2014, thirty years after solar cells had become practicable, the sources of electricity for the eastern Australian grid were: coal 73 per cent, natural gas 13 per cent, hydro 7 per cent, wind 4 per cent, rooftop solar 2 per cent and biomass 1 per cent). The rooftop solar panels wouldn’t be there at all were it not for substantial and continuing subsidies for their installation, and they are not suitable for every dwelling. In any case, the commercial and industrial uses of electricity outweigh those of domestic origin.

You will read from time to time how there are provinces in Germany that get 50 per cent of their power from alternative sources, and that on one day South Australia, which has little coal, managed to get an equivalent fraction of its power from alternative sources (wind and solar). In my judgment these results come from seeing what is happening through rose-tinted spectacles. In 2014 the whole alternative sector contributed just 30 per cent of Germany’s electricity needs, and 11 per cent of total energy needs. What is more, solar energy collection has probably reached a peak in Germany, whose power needs are greatest in winter, when the availability of solar power is at its lowest. In South Australia, the nearest supply of electricity from outside the State is Victoria, and there the source is the brown-coal power stations east of Melbourne. Brown coal is indeed the dirtiest of coals; it is used in Germany, too, because that is the chief coal available there.

It is not coincidental that after Denmark (which tries to rely on wind), Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe, and that South Australia has the highest electricity prices in Australia. The aim of the subsidies to alternative energy is first to improve the efficiency of solar and wind as contributors to the grid, and eventually to make them competitive with fossil-fuel generation, so that coal will no longer be used to generate electricity. Why would we want to do that? Well, that is the AGW orthodoxy: if coal-fired power stations are closed, then there will be fewer greenhouse gas emissions and the planet will be saved. The earlier essays in this series suggest that the AGW scare has little validity, that coal is a useful and relatively cheap source of electricity, while burning it increases the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which all plants depend on for their food.

The ACT Government has spent a lot of money and effort on trying to make the national capital ‘carbon free’, at least in its use of electricity. To study what is being done there is to be embarrassed at the empty showmanship of what is nothing more than a political initiative, whose aim is to convince Canberra voters that they are doing something really worthwhile with their high electricity prices. In fact, all the ACT Government is doing is to increase the number of solar and wind-powered sources to a point where their total output would be something equivalent to the total electricity demand within the the national capital. But anyone who flicks a switch within Canberra will find that her power is still coming from the grid, at the ratio set out above, with coal leading the way at 73 per cent.

While I have some  leaning toward solar power, and would be perfectly happy for much more public funding of solar R&D (without subsidies for roof-top installation), I have virtually none  for wind turbines, unless you are a long way away from the grid and there is some useful wind much of the time. Both solar and wind are intermittent, which means that something else has to be available as a back-up all the time. Electricity grids are there to provide just  the right amount of electricity all the time as needs change. In winter where I live there is a sudden surge in demand for power around 5 pm, when it gets dark and a couple of hundred thousand households go into evening-meal mode. Grid operators know this, and are ready for it. In most Western grids, the back-up is a gas turbine, which can start producing power almost at once. The gas, of course, is a fossil fuel, a form of methane, which AGW scary people like to point to as the real devil. The need for back-up means that it would simply be impossible, with current knowledge, to have any large system solely powered by wind and solar. And the higher the proportion of alternative energy in the grid, the greater the need for greater back-up. It is a real, and at present quite unsolvable, problem.

Wind turbines have almost everything going against them. They are expensive, the CO2 already generated in making them is enormous, they require rare earth minerals which are in short supply, they kill birds, some people living near them hate the sounds they make, and no one would want one across the road. Their value in the grid is always grossly overstated by those who operate them or want to put them in. You will hear that a particular turbine installation will power 45,000 households. And it would, if it ran all the time at optimum speed. The real value is usually a quarter to a fifth of that stated. In my judgment, they are a waste of time, energy and money, and should be dismantled.

I could say all the above without reference to the positive value of carbon dioxide and the weakness of the AGW scare case. The world is not short of coal, natural gas or oil. But once governments start down a particular road, with goals, regulations and subsidies, it is very difficult for them to stop and change course. So many promises and quasi-promises have been made; so many companies have started up on the expectation that these conditions will continue forever; so many public servants have been employed to regulate the system; and so on. And of course such a large proportion of the electorate has been persuaded that all this is not only good for the planet, but effective and efficient as well.

It is none of those things.

Next: But aren’t 97 per cent of climate scientists sure that humans are causing global warming?

Further reading: There is a lot of useful stuff on the Internet, usually by engineers. You will also find lots of pro-alterntive-energy stuff, usually by people who want to sell you something, or industrial associations with the same intent. It is another of those matters that really hasn’t changed in the last few years, save that governments everywhere seem to be backing away from more subsidies. I have written a lot myself, which you can consult by going to the magnifying glass icon on the top right 0f the screen’s home page, and typing in ‘solar’ or ‘wind turbines’, or whatever you wish.

136 Comments

  • alan moran says:

    Fine piece, as usual, Don.

    I do however find your continuing faith in public funding of solar R&D a little optimistic. You know who would get the grants and if there is money to be made the rewards are sufficient enough to attract private funding.

    I posted a piece on the consequences of all the intervention in support of renewables on catallaxy recently. http://catallaxyfiles.com/2016/04/12/australian-electricity-policy-arm ageddon-or-slow-economic-strangulation/

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Alan, I do have faith in competitive research funding. I accept that a lot of it goes nowhere (though sometimes that is useful), and that some can be captured by bushrangers — people who game the funding rules by renaming or rephrasing what they do. But if memory serves, the efficiency of solar capture improved from about 7 per cent to 45 per cent through that public funding. I would like to see it continue, and that attention be paid to the storage issue. I don’t think there is great urgency, but it is worth doing for the future, and indeed for isolated settlements right now.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        And your piece in Catallaxy is excellent. I hope other readers go to it as well.

      • alan moran says:

        Thanks Don,

        Refreshing to hear that public funding has brought a payoff. I am not sure I have ever seen another example (I know, I know CSIRO’ s stump jump plough in 1920). I’d be interested in the source of the claim that the advances in solar were due to public funding (as opposed to the same private financed advances that have made our computers go faster).

        • Ross says:

          Interesting piece, Don. I ‘d like to concour with Alan Moran. Great to hear that public funding has brought a payoff. You may be right that solar is more ‘for the future’ than for now, but obviously if we don’t get started now, the future gets further away.
          Unfortunately, many in the private sector will always try to ‘game’ the system. All we can do is hope government stays vigilant , and has processes in place to minimise it. Well, we can hope, eh?

        • Don Aitkin says:

          I dan’t provide it. I do know that some of the principals at UNSW have been involved in consultancy elsewhere in the world, esp. China. In genial, I think that the effect of pure research is widespread and hard to evaluate. Part of it, of course, is the high standing that surrounds’ science’ today. Whether or not that is a good thing is moot.

  • Alan Gould says:

    Thanks Don,
    Cogent as ever.

  • Neville says:

    Don’t forget OZ and NZ combined only emit about 1.4% of global emissions. Thanks Don and Alan for this info.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emis sions

  • David says:

    This post reminds me of this pitch for a home computer in the 1980s.

    “By itself the Commodore 64 is all the computing power you will ever need.”

    http://i2.wp.com/commodore.ca/gallery/adverts_commodore/computers_for_ everybody_compute_aug83.jpg

    Don, things change!

    • William ROBINSON says:

      David, of course things change. And do you believe every bit of advertising. Did you know that “The burgers are better at Hungry Jacks”.

      And regarding “By itself the Commodore 64 is all the computing power you will ever need.” was probably was a reasonable statement at the time, simply because computers at that time were “Personal Computers”, that is, just for the one person operating it. I think you know what I mean – “type up your resume and print it” was about all that the machines could do, and all that a single operator wanted. Obviously, you were not around when starting a car required a crank handle (which had a tendency to back fire and break a forearm), but I accept it as part of the development of mechanical devices, and I am not prepared to put it down.

      No one was able to predict the massive growth of data and connectivity. I recently purchased a flash drive of 128gb capacity, and it all fits within the diameter of a 10 cent piece. There is a small handle at one end (not like the usual size of a cigarette lighter), so one wonders where the chip is – I suppose the chip resides somewhere in the frame of the USB insertion bit. But I also accept that there was such as a device as the 5.25 inch FDD, and indeed the 8 inch FDD, which served their purposes on the day.

      So David, we do not need reminding that things change.

      • David says:

        Hi William

        Perhaps it was “… a reasonable statement at the time” but aren’t you glad that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did not think so.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        Frankly, the PC on my desk all those years ago did exactly the same job, just as fast.

        Maybe it didn’t download porn, or play games, but Microsoft Word version something plus one is no better, and in many aspects, considerably worse, than the original.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            When you get a gig as a comedian, David, let us know. If i held my breath, I wouldn’t be around to see it.

          • Ross says:

            Early 20th century.
            Wright brothers declare that their flying machine, Kitty Hawk is the way of the future.
            It was pointed out to them, that you would need to build 1000 ‘Kittyhawks’ to match the capacity of JUST ONE ocean liner.
            Further, that since their flying machine only had a range of about 100 metres, we would sooner travel on flying pigs, than travel in Orville and Wilber’s ‘flying machine’ sceptics were quoted as saying.
            Moral, Don’t do calculations on future technology based on what you know, now.
            Trial and error, can get you to the moon.

          • Bryan Roberts says:

            Ross, have you actually used the various versions of MS Word? Which did you prefer?

          • Ross says:

            Ha ha, point taken Bryon.
            Still think my metaphors holds, but yes, I know where your coming from.

          • Ross says:

            Apologies for grammar. Spellcheck and fat fingers fighting against me, today. (Again)

        • gnome says:

          A few years ago I used a desktop computer, fast and fancy, with a big screen when I was at home and a laptop when travelling.

          I gave away the desktop stuff for a relative’s convenience, and now I just use the laptop everywhere. It’s probably more than I need, but it has features I like.

    • Dasher says:

      David
      Your response indicates that you did not read what Don wrote which is not unusual………of course technology will advance as Don has said but there is still much to be done. Switch off those awful coal fired power stations and even clean green Canberra will be in deep trouble……not too hard to grasp.

      • David says:

        “Doesn’t that mean that the future is really going to be one of solar energy?
        My answer is — at least at the moment — maybe, perhaps in the long run, but not in the foreseeable future.”

        I read OK Dasher.

        • dasher says:

          So David what is your view? stop coal (noting the massive investment worldwide in coal fired power stations), ramp up wind which will never ever do the job without storage, go nuclear? how about geothermal? maybe go for broke of solar with fingers crossed? Go the Lomborg route and put our money in research for affordable clean power the world (not just the rich nations ) can afford. Its easy to snipe mate but lets hear your views if of course you have a view.

          • Ross says:

            Yes Dasher, but as David Points out with his quote, he did indeed read Dons article. Embarrassed, you demand he come up with a solution to all the problems of the world.
            What do YOU think the solution is….mate? As you say, it’s easy to snipe.

  • Doug Hurst says:

    Excellent piece Don. Pity the ALP with their 50% renewables target are ignoring such facts. All fantasy when you consider the current figures (7% hydro, 4% wind and 2% solar), little capacity for extra hydro and a consequent need for about seven times as much wind and solar to meet the 50% target. Add to that the complexities to the associated grid and the back-up needs you outline and the target is obvious nonsense – but don’t expect hard questioning of Shorten & Co by the press who seem oblivious to these simple facts.

    Interviews this week on Radio National ‘The Business’ (a model for what the ABC should be) of the boss of Shell and a senior Russian oil and gas man addressed the future role of gas, suggesting that it would be needed for some time as a ‘transition’ fuel. Both men correct the interviewer, declaring gas a ‘destination’ fuel and something much of the world was adopting longterm because of its abundance, reliability, flexibility and low CO2 output. The Shell man predicted continual growth in demand for gas in the foreseeable future and a 50% increase in world energy needs by (I think) mid century.

    If they are to be believed, and both men were very convincing, maybe we should all buy gas share for our grandchildren. I already have a few Santos, but no plans to move into solar and wind.

    • Ross says:

      Would it be in these ‘convincing’ oil and gas men’s commercial interest, to nobble government investment in solar and wind power, Doug? Since you have shares in Santos, I guess it would be in yours.

      • dasher says:

        Ross

        I do have a view and thank you for asking. I think we need to hasten slowly. I don’t think the world is about to spiral into an apocalyptic inferno after all we should be here now according to the alarmists of years gone by.. We clearly have no clear idea of what is happening with the climate change, but we (properly) continue to analyse what is going on. Why do I think this? because I have seen so many tipping points (the point after which no amount of effort will stop the planet destroying itself from apocalyptic climate change) come and those making the predictions don’t seem to notice or care. (??) Unless you rely on, for example, the ABC or Fairfax, you will not read about the volatility around this subject. I do think Bjorn Lomborg has a sensible view that we should not spend obscene amounts of money worldwide on “just doing something” like more solar and more wind which makes no material effect on the climate…it is such a small amount of the world’s energy production. Lomborg also suggests that unless we can find a cheap new energy resource that is accessible to the poor countries we will not make serious inroads on this problem. In the meantime it is a matter of risk management. If the world is really about to implode, why would we not buy time, for example by expediting nuclear power around the world, with the rich nations paying the bills…base load clean and green. Don’t worry about the waste , in this scenario this is a second order issue that can be dealt with later (after all the world is about to implode right?) Frankly I don’t think the world leaders believe it..they are doing as little as they get away with because they see more pressing problems. In a nutshell. lets keep improving our environment, keep working on research to find solutions that really make a difference but don’t waste resources on feel good measures. Stop wasting money on wind farms and solar power until we sort out the storage issues. Redouble our research on new nuclear technology. Encourage worldwide research on new technology with massive rewards for success (financed by a massive reduction is subsidies for wind, solar and nonsense cap and trade schemes.). Thats just a start , what do you think Ross? Oh and please don’t rely on the precautionary principle which is really saying we don’t know what the problem is but we will spend obscene amounts of money “just doing something” until you can prove that we are wasting our money.

        Over to you Ross.

        • David says:

          Dasher,
          One of the big hurdles to solar power has been storage. But the price of commercially available storage is coming down as we speak. Check these ads out for Telsar home storage batteries. Look at the prices! I am not talking about ” in the foreseeable future”. I am talking about today!

          The ability for the average home to go off-grid is fast becoming a reality. Don ignores this latest development completely in his essay because it does not fit with his “nothing-can-be-done” message. What person could write an essay on the feasibility of solar power in 2016, and make NO mention of rapidly falling price of power storage? Its embarrassing.

          http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/tesla-already-forcing-down-battery-sto rage-prices-in-australia-57681

          I do agree with you that nuclear power will be a part of the solution in the future. But not nuclear fission! It is dirty. We cannot be leaving future generations piles of radioactive waste to maintain. It basic manners to clean up after yourself. Leave the place how you found it etc.
          However, I do think nuclear fusion will play an important role.

          • dasher says:

            David

            No doubt that battery technology is improving but Tesla batteries are not a silver bullet and will not power steel production or infrastructure….there are some outstanding ideas on integrating battery cells into buildings but all these things have a long way to go before we ditch coal. In the meantime we will be paying three times for our power, the initial subsidy for wind and solar, the price of the electricity and the price of the subsidy to keep the coal fired backup going (because the amount of renewables will start to make coal plants less viable). The trouble is that wind and solar have and almost religious significance for too many people in the community and our weak politicians do not have the guts to get the whole approach right so we will most likely end up with a lopsided mess that helps no-one least of all the climate which will barely flicker. Oh and David I repeat I think the waste issue with nuclear power is likely to be a minor issue in the future. I have complete faith in our ability to find a use for or a way to discard it, and yes I think Australians should capitalise on our geography and store the worlds waste for a handsome sum.

  • Neville says:

    Australia in 2013 obtained nearly all its TOTAL primary energy from gas, coal and oil. Biofuel and waste was 3.9%, hydro 1.2% and Geo thermal solar and wind combined about 1%. Here is the pie chart from the IEA. (note not EIA)

    http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/AUSTRALI4.pdf

    • Boxer says:

      At last, we have someone who is talking about TOTAL energy use. Most of this discussion is based upon the assumption that electricity is the only form of energy we use, and the same applies to community attitudes in general. With such a low level of understanding of total energy demand and supply, we have no chance of forming rational policies about energy, regardless of the AGW issue.
      I enjoy your writing Don, and the following comments are also unusually interesting. But on this topic, Neville is the only person here with the any appreciation of the fundamentals of energy use by modern societies.

      • Ross says:

        Neville?? Perhaps too long in the ring, boxer.

        • Boxer says:

          None so blind as he who will not see. Thanks Ross for illustrating my point about the level of knowledge about energy and the markets thereof.
          But you’re right about Boxer, he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, which is partly why I adopted his name.

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Boxer, perhaps I don’t make the point strongly enough for you but if you go back to the essay you’ll see the distinction made there:

        ‘ In 2014 the whole alternative sector contributed just 30 per cent of Germany’s electricity needs, and 11 per cent of total energy needs.’

  • Neville says:

    Dr Lomborg prepared a 2015 PR study to coincide with the COP 21 meeting in Paris. Here is his quote about renewable energy ———-
    What should countries do instead?

    “Dr. Lomborg said: “Instead of trying to make fossil fuels so expensive that no one wants them – which will never work – we should make green energy so cheap everybody will shift to it.

    The Copenhagen Consensus on Climate project gathered 27 of the world’s top climate economists and three Nobel Laureates, who found that the smartest, long-term climate policy is to invest in green R&D, to push down the price of green energy.

    Subsidizing inefficient renewables is expensive and doesn’t work. The IEA estimates that we get 0.4% of our energy from wind and solar PV right now, and even in optimistic scenarios the fraction will only rise to 2.2% by 2040. Over the next 25 years, we’ll spend about $2.5 trillion in subsidies and reduce global warming temperatures by less than 0.02°C. ”

    Here is the study. http://www.lomborg.com/press-release-research-reveals-negligible-impac t-of-paris-climate-promises

  • Neville says:

    Here is the IEA pie chart for Denmark. Amazing that this country and Germany are promoted as the countries that we should look to in the future. But Denmark still gets 72.4% of total prim energy from fossil fuels and just 6% from geo,S&W.

    http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/DENMARK4.pdf

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Thanks Don, a gem full of useful information. What a pity that so many witless pollies don’t get this, particularly ACT pollies. I’ve heard it said that the ACT has the highest proportion of well-educated people. That only diminishes my confidence in ACT education. But back to topic. I agree that all wind turbines should be dismantled and that at least some R&D should go to studying distributed systems if it doesn’t already — the ‘horses for courses’ approach. These thoughts pop into my head whenever I hear talk of ‘the grid’. I’m sure that isolated communities are off the grid and that they already have found means of generating electricity on-site. But to what extent can we extend this to towns using mixes of solar and fossil fuel, particularly gas. What volume of gas is required to run a back-up plant for say 14 hours a day for a population of say 1000 or 2000 and could such a volume be delivered in tankers? And what about R&D on distributed nuclear facilities? What size town could be supported by a reactor from a nuclear submarine? Another ‘throw-away’ thought bubble on large-scale solar for the Australian outback. They could soak up all of Australia’s unemployed on clean-up jobs after some of the dust storms that I have seen there. Keep writing.

  • Neville says:

    France produces at least 75% of their electricity supply from nuclear power. But when taken as a percentage of total energy produced this drops to 42.9%. Fossil fuels supply 47.5%, hydro 2.4%, biofuels 6.4% and geo S&W just 0.8%. What a joke.

    http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/FRANCE4.pdf

  • Neville says:

    Here is the pie chart AGAIN for the world. Fossil fuels 81.4%, Nuclear 4.8%, Hydro 2.4%, bio fuels and waste 10.2% and geo S&W just 1.2%.

    http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/WORLD4.pdf

      • Neville says:

        Margaret I’ve given you the world’s TOTAL primary energy numbers. Do you have trouble with your eyesight? Geo-thermal solar and wind add up to just 1.2% in 2013 but fossil fuels supplied 81.4%.
        Here’s Lomborg’s quote again in case you missed it————-

        “Subsidizing inefficient renewables is expensive and doesn’t work. The IEA estimates that we get 0.4% of our energy from wind and solar PV right now, and even in optimistic scenarios the fraction will only rise to 2.2% by 2040. Over the next 25 years, we’ll spend about $2.5 trillion in subsidies and reduce global warming temperatures by less than 0.02°C. ” Note that’s 2.5 TRILLION $ .

        Fair dinkum Margaret wasting 2.5 trillion $ to reduce global warming by an unmeasurable two hundredths of a degree Celsius doesn’t seem to make any sense. Like I’ve said before look at the data and forget your silly fairy stories.

      • Neville says:

        Margaret here’s China’s pie chart from the IEA. Total primary energy is fossil fuels 88% and geo S&W 1.2%.

        http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/CHINA4.pdf

      • Ross says:

        I have made the same mistake Margaret. Don’t engage with Neville. No one wins. You just end up feeding his desperate, yet rather sad ego. Neville is desperate for your engagement. Don’t bother. Just let him keep posting his ‘stuff’ and leave him be. I suspect Neville has issues.

        • Neville says:

          Ross I plead guilty, I have very serious issues. For one thing I don’t like seeing trillions $ wasted for zero change to the climate, or SLR, or extreme events, or droughts or floods or polar bears, or etc.
          I also don’t like fairy stories. I’m forever trying to link to real data to disprove your silly comments and we all know you don’t like data. You stick to your fairy stories and I’ll continue to link to real data.

          • Neville says:

            Here are the main points presented to the US senate from the govt’s EIA in August 2013. Note the percentage for fossil fuel use are about the same, but the pie will be 56% larger in 2040 and half of that increase will come from just India and China. Note coal use and total Co2 emissions by 2040 will be 45 bn Ts or about 13 bn Ts more than today.

            Key findings of the International Energy Outlook 2013
            2
            Adam Sieminski, IEO2013
            August 12, 2013

            “With world GDP rising by 3.6 percent per year, world energy use will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040. Half of the increase is attributed to China and India.

            Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year; however, fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040.

            Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the outlook, supported by increasing supplies of shale gas, particularly in the United States.

            Coal grows faster than petroleum consumption until after 2030, mostly due to increases in China’s consumption of coal, and slow growth in oil demand in OECD member countries.

            Given current policies and regulations, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase 46 percent by 2040, reaching 45 billion metric tons in 2040”

          • gnome says:

            It’s horses for courses Neville. Al gore uses more electricity in a month than I use in a year and lectures me on my greenhouse gas emission. That’s relevant in a discussion on whether I should be prosecuted for being a “denier”. Leo di Caprio uses more fossil fuel in a month (day?) in his aeroplane than I will use in a lifetime and yet I am irresponsible in my fossil fuel use, while he is an environmental hero. Flim Flannery has lost almost $100 million in geothermal power investment which anyone with a basic knowledge of chemistry, hydrology and geology could have told him wouldn’t work, but he follows “the science” and I am a “denier”.

            I don’t talk much about total energy use, firstly because I use so much more liquid transportation fuel than would be my share in a fair world, and mainly because large industrial energy users are producers rather than consumers. Both are things I would rather the green monster remained unaware of.

          • Ross says:

            Margaret; You see.

          • margaret says:

            Yes, they are all over the shop.

  • BB says:

    From the National energy market data of 2014 I have done some calculations. I had to applied to wind farms because there is practically no data on solar which you favour. You should ask yourself why is that I’m not really sure are you? I concept was to see what it would take to design a wind farm to replace the typical coal-fired power station. In this case I chose Bayswater in New South Wales. Roughly I found that you would need far more than we currently have to replace it. First you have to work out the efficiency. The mainstream press and supporters typically figure it on the plate capacity that is they assume these things are hundred percent efficient. That’s garbage, if you take our entire installed capacity and consider the plate capacity it’s about 3.6 GW. That sounds good but you get less than 25% of that when you consider the whole grid. If you’re in New South Wales 17.5% so it is nothing like 100% not that any man-made machine is.

    Roughly Bayswater is about 80% efficient so in fact you’re getting a constant 2 GW roundabout, so how many wind turbines do you need? A wind turbine typically is about 2.1 kW. This means you need 952 for a 2 GW. So if you consider the overall efficiency of wind farms on the eastern grid we need 3810 turbines. On the other hand you are confined to having your wind farms only in New South Wales then it is worse than that you need 5442.

    So to replace even one coal-fired power station you need a lot of wind turbines. Could it get worse oh yes it can. I have looked closely at the statistics from the Capital Wind Farm which is the largest New South Wales one built on Lake George new Canberra. Surprise surprise wind is not constant 54 days for the year of 2014 it was below 5% and for a week almost nothing that is much lower than 5%. If you were relying on it as you would have to be if there was no fossil generation this is a big problem. You need energy storage lots of it!

    My estimate is if the whole grid is involved and you can keep it up to the 25% you need to find some way to have energy storage of about half a terawatt hour. If it were New South Wales alone you need it least one terawatt hour. This is sobering particularly when our actual consumption at present comes to light. It is on the eastern grid 210 TW hours per annum.

    My opinion is the hope that that could replace fossil fuel generators is delusional. I have no concern about ever meeting the 50% target. It is just not possible unless we build nuclear power stations nothing else will in fact satisfy the requirement. So why don’t we do that? This is done overseas but not here if you suggest this to any greeny you get a very spirited attack about how dangerous it is. I’m not going to discuss that other than to say garbage.

    I find this difficult to understand there is a solution if you really seriously think we need to stop the omission of CO2. But no it is despised and solutions that obviously by anyone that looks at the figures will never work. Why is that? I have come to think the most likely explanation is that CO2 is a proxy. Saving the planet really means getting rid of most of its population. If the population could be persuaded to give up the use of all fossil fuels it would return us to the beginning of the 19th century. That would do the trick the economy of that time support about 1 billion people. The deep ecologist talks about precisely that 1 billion people. Is that what it is? Is this a movement with a core who wants to attack and destroy our current civilisation with a very large number of useful idiots. I think surely not it is just too bizarre but then I think that quacks like a duck maybe it is a duck.

    What is sure is going down this path heads towards destroying Western civilisation. The two most populous countries in the world China and India think it is a nonsense. There is already signs that we are surrendering our economy’s to them. Now there Don that is a thought from left field which you probably didn’t expect. My motto is if it works it is not Green because nothing they propose does work it is all pretense.

    • David says:

      BB you over complicate things. If take your clothes out of the dryer and hang them on the line then you are replacing coal fired energy with solar and wind.

      • gnome says:

        No David- if you put your clothes into a dryer you are consuming coal fired energy unnecessarily. There are people who use dryers, and presumably they have reasons for it, but they are still in a minority.

  • JMO says:

    Well said BB. I have noted many times the Greens are against anything which makes our (western) lives better, more comfortable, convenient. higher standard, prosperous and enjoyable. Somehow it always seems to wreck the planet, we must feel guilty, we musrt repent our evil ways and absolve our sins by (say) giving money to the Greens or paying more for consumption or doing our bit.
    We can see this in their strong anti -nuclear position, which probably was right about 40 years ago – but the world and technology have moved on. Also they are anti Hydro (No Dams). Incidentally, James Hansen a CAGW extraordinaire (who urges anyone who listens to sabotage coal power stations) is pro- nuclear.

    The very deep Greens want to abolish Homo Sapiens from the planet

    • David says:

      Tell that to Bryan Roberts. No self-respecting latte sipping Green would be seen dead in an internet cafe with some 64K PC

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        The only space that is needed on modern computers, David, is that required to install the operating system.

  • chrisl says:

    It is amazing how pessimistic the warmists are about a poofteenth of a degree of warming.
    And how optimistic they are that a medieval technology will somehow save the world
    All with no evidence!

  • Neville says:

    Dr Jim Hansen called Cop21 a fraud and BS, but he also called the BELIEF in solar and wind energy as akin to believing in the Easter bunny and the Tooth fairy. IOW it’s a Fairytale, but don’t worry we have many pollies and some bloggers and group thinkers who will line up like cultists and drink the Kool aid. They just love their fairy stories but shun the data. Here’s Hansen’s quote from McIntyre’s blog.

    “Hansen on the Easter Bunny
    Hansen likened the belief in renewables as a large footprint solution to climate and energy policy as akin to believing in the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy:

    Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”
    Here’s the link https://climateaudit.org/2011/08/13/hansen-and-ipccs-green-kool-aid/

  • spangled drongo says:

    As a user of off-grid wind since the ’50s and solar since the ’80s It seems to me neither cost nor efficiency has significantly improved in their lifetime but even very limited power in remote places is a luxury. I have also been trying to get a cost/benefits analysis on the Windorah solar thermal off-grid that cost, can you believe, nearly $200,000 per house and yet the town still uses about the same amount of diesel fuel in their stand by generator.

    The only CO2 emission free alternative energy that works today is nuclear.

    • David says:

      Drongo, if you are paying the same price for solar that you were in the 1980’s you need to shop around.

      http://cleantechnica.com/files/2014/09/price-of-solar-power-drop-graph .jpg

      • spangled drongo says:

        That graph is not comparing apples with apples. In the mid ’80s it was $4/watt for a single panel to use on eg a boat or a bore and today it’s not much different.

        • David says:

          Drongo, define “not much different”. This graph suggests the price has now dropped to 80 cents per watt and forecast to drop to 75 cents. Using their estimate of say $10 per Watt in the 1980s that is a 92% reduction and even using your estimate of $4 per Watt that is a 81% reduction.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Buying a PV solar package today is nothing like buying solar panels in the early days of PV solar energy and a different kettle of fish to buying solar panels for specific off-grid purposes which is what I was referring to.

            My last 80 watt panel was virtually the same area and performance as my originals of the ’80s [which I still use] and, while cheaper, it was only about 25% less. Allowing for inflation, of course, makes it considerably cheaper but considering the enormous investment and taxpayer dollars that have gone into solar energy and it’s relative lack of improvement it is doing little and going nowhere.

            Solar thermal which is supposed to be the best is still a disaster. Look at Ivanpah. An ecological AWA a financial disaster.

            http://dailysignal.com/2016/03/29/taxpayers-are-footing-bill-for-solar -project-that-doesnt-work/

          • David says:

            Ivanpah? Drongo, you gota break a few eggs to make an omelet.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “gota break a few eggs to make an omelet.”

            And if you still can’t eat it?

          • David says:

            This is what Don reckons

            “But if memory serves, the efficiency of solar capture improved from about 7 per cent to 45 per cent through that public funding”

            Go argue your case with him.

          • spangled drongo says:

            But you believe that multi-trillion egg inedible omelettes are the future.

          • Ross says:

            Multi trillion egg omelet? Thems’ a lot of eggs!

  • Neville says:

    Dr Goklany’s recent 2015 report is probably one of the best resources for sceptics that highlights the many benefits of increased Co2 levels. He has worked for the US govt as an IPCC representative and is an IPCC lead author.
    The benefits of more co2 are remarkable for human well being and for the planet’s biosphere as well. Even the CSIRO understand this and have a number of studies showing the planet is greening.
    Life expectancy in poor countries has more than doubled since 1900 although there are now 5bn more people on the planet. Here’s his quote———

    Living standards
    “Despite claims that human wellbeing will suffer, living standards, measured by GDP
    per capita, have never been higher globally. Consequently, the absolute poverty rate
    – the share of population living on less than $1.25 per day in 2005 dollars – was more
    than halved between 1981 and 2010. As a result, there were more than 723 million
    fewer people living in absolute poverty in 2010 than in 1981 although the developing
    world’s population increased by 2,174 million.140 In low-income countries, life
    expectancy, probably the single best indicator of human wellbeing, increased from
    25–30 years in 1900 to 42 years in 1960 and 62 years today.”

    http://www.thegwpf.com/content/uploads/2015/10/benefits1.pdf

    • gnome says:

      Sure we’re all better off, living longer, better educated and experiencing more of the world in a positive and meaningful way than ever before, but you just get back to us when that poofteenth of warming since the little ice age starts to recede again!

      Only the irrelevant is relevant to a warmist.

    • David says:

      NASA Headquarters
      300 E. Street SW, Suite 5R30
      Washington, DC 20546
      (202) 358-0001 (Office)
      (202) 358-4338 (Fax)

  • Neville says:

    Just to back up Dr Goklany’s work over the years here’s life expectancy in Australia since about 1880. This is from the ABS. Interesting to note that a person born in one of the World’s poorest countries today has the same life expectancy of an Aussie born in the late 1920s. An Aussie born before that date had a much lower life expectancy than the poorest countries today.

    Here’s the link to the Gov ABS study. But I suppose this is just more stupid data and has to be BS, right?

    http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features10Ma r+2011

  • chrisl says:

    Going by the computer analogy, every single wind turbine is out of date,redundant, useless. They can’t be upgraded and cost a fortune to remove.There be 10 prototypes around the world and (some) money spent on R&D. How they ever got connected to the grid (which is completely reliant on coal fired power to operate) is a complete mystery. Credit to the hucksters and spivs in the wind industry who have convinced politicians that they are saving the world.

    • Ross says:

      If you want to stay with the computer apology…If we come up with a cleaner and more efficient form of renewable energy, then those wind turbines may well become redundant, Chrisl.
      That’s why you don’t see too many IBM Main Frames around anymore. Progress.
      We can make renewable energy better and even more efficient. But…you have to want it, chrisl. Do you?

      • Ross says:

        ‘Anology’. apology.

      • margaret says:

        Unlike Joe Havana Hockey I think they’re beautiful sculptures- testament to mankind’s quest for a better world.
        Unlike – the Super Pit.
        For every 1 million tonnes of ore extracted from the Super Pit, there are between 250 and 300 kg of gold. This equates to 1 in 7 trucks carrying about a golf ball size quantity of gold. Silly greed.

        • gnome says:

          Gross error check- that’s about a quarter of a gram per tonne. Where does anyone mine ores that low in grade?

          How big is your truck? What do you do for a living Margaret? How many grams of produce do you actually turn out in a day? Or do you just do what you do each day in return for what someone gives you, regardless of its real value- just like a gold miner? Greedy woman!

        • BB says:

          I don’t understand Margaret what are you trying to say? Are you saying mining gold is greedy?

          I have seen the super pit but why did you mention it? And I don’t see that it matters much that I have seen it. You go and look at the figures about $960 million of gold is mined every year there. KCGM claims 15 troy ounces to the tonne. Gold is vital to our modern way of life without it we will be back into the dark ages. Anything electronic is totally dependent. So no computers, no cars, no TV or radio, no air conditioners, no wind turbines, no solar energy. No blog, no comments from Margaret! Just about anything you care to name will change radically if there is no gold. We could survive but it would be a very different world. Going to live in a amish community would probably give you an idea.

          • margaret says:

            Digging holes deeper and deeper – guess it shows the value of gold though. I mentioned it because of a previous discussion of wind farms vs coal mines.

          • margaret says:

            But yes BB, of course mining gold is greedy. “A gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar standing near it”
            Of course King Midas was greedy.
            And, if you read Doris Lessing’s story The Antheap you will know where I’m coming from.
            It’s set in Zimbabwe. It has a profound effect on the reader.
            “A rich white man, Mr. Macintosh, runs a gold digging operation that consists of a pit being dug by hundreds of Africans who work in a horribly dangerous environment. This pit grows ever deeper as gold and dirt are withdrawn at the cost of human suffering. Mr. Macintosh hires Mr. Clarke to be his engineer. The only white people living near the pit are Mr. Macintosh, Mr. And Mrs. Clark, and their son Tommy.”
            Gold and greed are synonymous BB – progress or no.

          • William ROBINSON says:

            Margaret, we all contribute to the “digging of holes”. It is the consumers of metals (and anything else) that drive the demand. If there is no demand, why would a mining company dig a hole ?

            If you are so opposed to the “digging of holes”, then tomorrow put your television, computer, car, refrigerator (so damn handy for keeping the beer cold – I will miss it !), out on the footpath for the council to collect, with a sign “I am going non- metal !!”. Oh, and while you are at it, include the kitchen sink, taps, electrical wiring, door knobs, pots and pans, cutlery etc etc. Just to ensure your house is metal free, engage a metal detector to sweep the place.

            I would venture you have a couple (or several) of pieces of gold (or gold plated) jewellery. Well that gold could have come from a hole in the ground. Arr, well, I will use stainless steel jewellery from now on – but wait stainless steel has nickle in it, which will come from a hole in the ground.

            But I would not mind a job in an open pit mine in Australia driving a truck round and round for very good pay, thank you very much.

            Yes mining can be ugly and dirty, and there can be human exploitation. And mining has not had a great history in cleaning up their mess after the mine has expired. But governments are working on that. But that has nothing to do with the metals that are mined.

            What is the connection between wind farms and coal mines ?

          • margaret says:

            Thanks William. Very informative. How sad that you would like to drive a mega truck up and down a mine pit. I met a woman whose daughter did that for awhile – the mind numbingness and the deadly shifts meant that she lasted 3 months – obviously not made of the ‘right stuff’ eh? Or not driven by the mighty dollar. You can if you like respond but there is no connection between wind farms and coal mines (it was a long ago discussion on a long ago post), so maybe don’t bother because I don’t care for lectures from men who know everything.

          • Ross says:

            William, Margaret is talking about the mining of gold, greed and the misery it brings. You are talking about mining in general.
            You drive that great big truck in circles, William. Perhaps there are lots of things you are prepared to do, that I would not be, so long as you were paid handsomely. But that’s the greed thing again. Be careful where that takes you.
            As to your gold jewellery. That’s no ones business but your own.

          • margaret says:

            Yes, I have to say that the jewellery reference is annoying and predictable – baubles bangles bright shiny beads aren’t necessarily every woman’s cup of tea and yet … the expression ‘gold-digger’ …
            But also – William – what about Wittenoon if you want to add that one to holes in the ground.

            But if I work all day on the blue sky mine
            (There’ll be food on the table tonight)
            And if I walk up and down on the blue sky mine
            (There’ll be pay in your pocket tonight)

            And some have sailed from a distant shore
            And the company takes what the company wants
            And nothin’s as precious
            As a hole in the ground

          • gnome says:

            15 ounces to the ton would be enormously rich. These days, even 15 pennyweights is rich. Perhaps 15 pennyweights to the truckload, but we will never know, because Margaret refuses to tell us how big one of her trucks is. (Probably because she knows as little about that as everything else she blows about.)

      • chrisl says:

        The 39 windfarms have not been producing much electricity for days now, and even got down to 200 MW for their rated capacity of 3669 MW. So it’s up to Yallourn to keep the lights on and the trams and trains running.

    • beththeserf says:

      https://stopthesethings.com/2014/08/16/how-much-co2-gets-emitted-to-bu ild-a-wind-turbine/

      I’m as much an enemy of modern wind farms as was Don Quixote of
      Spain’s lesser giants. How much concrete, epoxy, Co2 and fossil fuels
      goes into the creating of these short-lived giants? And when they die,
      (life expectancy around 15 years,) who will rid us of those 80 metre
      corpses stretched out across the country-side.

  • David says:

    Don
    Another month another temperature record. I wonder how Schmidt’s is going to spend Nova-Evans’s $5K ?

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/15/march-temperature-s mashes-100-year-global-record

  • Neville says:

    Here is one of Prof Matt Ridley’s video presentations from Reason TV. It shows how the earth has been greening because of extra Co2 emissions. Plus heaps of other data that some of the more intelligent people at this blog may find interesting. Note this is the real planet earth and not some fairy tale planet that exists in the fevered minds of misinformed donkeys.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-nsU_DaIZE

  • chrisl says:

    Hundreds of wind turbines in the Netherlands are operating at a loss and are in danger of being demolished. The main cause is the very low energy prices, which mean that the maintaining the turbines cost more than what the generated energy bring in, the Financieele Dagblad reports based on own research.

  • chrisl says:

    Meanwhile in Scotland…
    A RECORD FOR THE WIND INDUSTRY?
    Despite:
    Over 5,000,000 trees felled to make room,
    Hundreds of miles of bulldozed tracks,
    Our finest landscapes trashed by multinationals,
    Giant pylons scarring our beautiful countryside,
    Drumochter Pass completely vandalised,
    Thousands of tons of concrete dumped on our fragile upland ecosystems,
    Millions of birds and bats needlessly slaughtered,
    Wind farms visible from 60% of Scotland,
    Tourists deterred by industrialised landscapes,
    The highest energy bills in Europe,
    Countless millions extorted from the poorest bill payers,
    Multinationals and landowners trousering millions,

    During our coldest nights so far, when we needed power most,
    despite all this, wind’s contribution to the National Grid,
    to the nearest round figure was –

    ZERO!!! (0.15% precisely)
    Right now as I write – 0.18% !!!

    • Neville says:

      Chrisl how dare you, you’re not supposed to be talking about real date. Our leftie donkeys like their info direct from fairyland. They get very annoyed if you quote real world data.

    • beththeserf says:

      chrisl. Say, I was just about to post the same comment from ‘The Scotsman.’
      Renewables as destroyers of landscape … just too much pain for too little gain.

  • Neville says:

    Interesting to look at the previous Eemian Interglacial, dated 130,000 to 115,000 years ago. Here is the abstract from the 2012 NEEM ice core study. Note that temps at this site peaked after just 4,000 years ( 126,000 years BP) and continued until about 122,000 years BP. In fact the warming started as early as 128,000 years BP.
    The highest temp at this site was about 8 C higher than temps today and Hansen has recently agreed that SLs were about 9 metres higher. Here’s an interesting thing, when IGs start WARMING Co2 levels are at the lowest levels ( 180ppm) in 90,000 years and when IGs finish and start COOLING levels are at least 280 ppm. Of course over the ice core record temp is always the driver and co2 levels follow after hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. But this study shows how NATURAL warming so early in the Eemian was much higher than our Holocene temps today after nearly 11,500 years. More food for thought about their so called CAGW.

    Abstract

    Efforts to extract a Greenland ice core with a complete record of the Eemian interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) have until now been unsuccessful. The response of the Greenland ice sheet to the warmer-than-present climate of the Eemian has thus remained unclear. Here we present the new North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (‘NEEM’) ice core and show only a modest ice-sheet response to the strong warming in the early Eemian. We reconstructed the Eemian record from folded ice using globally homogeneous parameters known from dated Greenland and Antarctic ice-core records. On the basis of water stable isotopes, NEEM surface temperatures after the onset of the Eemian (126,000 years ago) peaked at 8?±?4 degrees Celsius above the mean of the past millennium, followed by a gradual cooling that was probably driven by the decreasing summer insolation. Between 128,000 and 122,000 years ago, the thickness of the northwest Greenland ice sheet decreased by 400?±?250 metres, reaching surface elevations 122,000 years ago of 130?±?300 metres lower than the present. Extensive surface melt occurred at the NEEM site during the Eemian, a phenomenon witnessed when melt layers formed again at NEEM during the exceptional heat of July 2012. With additional warming, surface melt might become more common in the future.

    • David says:

      Neveille, what an interesting article. Would you mind cut and pasting the entire article.
      Introduction
      Methods
      Results
      Conclusion

      and then send to

      NASA Headquarters
      300 E. Street SW, Suite 5R30
      Washington, DC 20546
      (202) 358-0001 (Office)
      (202) 358-4338 (Fax)

      • David says:

        then let us know what they say.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        Why don’t you do it, David? The nearest public library will help, and I am fairly sure Neville will not mind being upstaged.

        You guys can rustle up all the advice and suggestions in the world, but never actually do anything.

        Now’s your big chance.

    • BB says:

      Neville which is so makes a lot of sense but the problem is I don’t think all this is about CO2. What it’s about I think was someone or I guess a lot of people in cooperation were and still are concerned about the numbers of the human population. They figured this is going to damage the natural world and those trees plants animals et cetera have just as much right if not more right than humans. So they adopted an eco-centric of the world rather than an anthropocentric one. So what is an ideal population? They have said many times these people the human population should be about 1 billion. That’s about what it was in the early 1800s.

      So what was to be done to achieve this. Greenpeace had an idea they would ban the use of chlorine. This would actually affect human civilisation and they still maintain their opposition today. Much of our efforts to keep bacteria today and sewerage systems involve chlorine. I don’t know who came up with it but I surmise someone said what about fossil fuel? It more than anything else is the underpinning of modern civilisation. If you can stop the use of fossil fuels they would achieve their goals and we would be back into the early 1800s. So CO2 is a means to stop us using fossil fuel if you can make it the villain CO2 that is then the rest follows. The problem may have though is there are countries in the world most the fact will not accept it. So what you need is world government and a means to enforce it. It is an attack on civilisation and that’s what the core of the Green movement wants. Have you seen agenda 21?

      I contend from this point of view wind farms have been very successful. The cost civilised countries a great deal of money and really don’t work.

      Don’t feed trolls!

      • BB says:

        Revised
        Neville that will makes a lot of sense but the problem is I don’t think this is at all about CO2. What it’s about I think was someone or I guess a lot of people in cooperation were and still are concerned about the numbers of the human population. They figured this is damaging the natural world and those trees plants animals et cetera have just as much right if not more right than humans. So they adopted an eco-centric view of the world rather than an anthropocentric one. So what is an ideal population? They have said many times these people that the human population should be about 1 billion. That’s about what it was in the early 1800s.
        So what was to be done to achieve this? Greenpeace had an idea that the use of chlorine should be banned. This would greatly affect human civilisation and they still maintain their opposition today. Much of our efforts to keep bacteria at bay and sewerage systems involve chlorine. I don’t know who came up with it but I surmise someone said what about fossil fuel? It more than anything else is the underpinning of modern civilisation. If they can stop the use of fossil fuels they would achieve their goals and we would be back into the early 1800s. So CO2 is a means to stop us using fossil fuel if you can make it the villain CO2 that is then the rest follows. The problem though is that there are countries in the world most the fact that will not accept it. So what you need is world government and a means to enforce it. It is an attack on civilisation and that’s what the core of the Green movement wants. Have you seen agenda 21?
        I contend from this point of view wind farms have been very successful. The cost to developed countries is a huge for something that really don’t work. What is happening at the moment is that we are in the process of giving the Western world to Asia. China and India are very happy to play along with the current insanity of the West it is to their advantage. China produces more CO2 than anyone else and they are building coal-fired power stations at a rapid pace. It is the same for India in fact undeveloped world cannot afford anything else so they are to. The reduction of CO2 is an unwinnable fight only crazies think you could. I must say there is one way and that would be a 3rd world war in order to impose the will of these idiots on the undeveloped world.
        Don’t feed trolls!

  • Neville says:

    Here is the pie chart for NZ. Fossil fuels 61.1%, Hydro 10.2%, Geo S&W 22.8% and bio fuels 5.9%. Note that Geo thermal would be well over 22% of the total 22.8%.

    http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/NZ4.pdf

    • David says:

      Neville,

      NASA Headquarters
      300 E. Street SW, Suite 5R30
      Washington, DC 20546
      (202) 358-0001 (Office)
      (202) 358-4338 (Fax)

    • BB says:

      Thanks for that Neville I have been misled. I thought it was mainly hydroelectric maybe I should take it up with my brother who lives in New Zealand. Perhaps not he is a green crazy, member of the party and all. We are all doomed he says doomed! He does approve very much of the deep ecology manifesto.

  • Alex says:

    Don, I suggest you have a look at https://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/, a fascinating insight into why renewables of any sort can never be our dominant source of energy. Unless, that is, we are willing to revert to a less civilized state.

    • gnome says:

      Well spotted Alex- clearly Ross, David and Margaret are willing to revert to a much less civilised state.

      • David says:

        Ross, Margaret and I are not the ones still pining for the 1950s.

        • Ross Handsaker says:

          In the 1950’s we thought wind power had been made redundant by coal as an energy source in the 17th Century!
          Perhaps David would prefer the living conditions of some 4 centuries ago!

    • David says:

      Alex, Figure 2 reports an EMROI of 25 for buffered solar which is above the economic threshold of 18. Weißbach et al are reporting solar is economically viable!

      • Alex says:

        Only if you have sufficient hydro capacity for all the storage you will need, which, if you were to rely on it as your dominant power supply, is not the case in all but a tiny minority of countries (Norway, but I don’t know of any others). And of course Norway has virtually zero solar insolation in winter, when electricity demand is highest. Other storage methods don’t cut the mustard. So yes, solar is economically viable, but only enough of it to use up whatever hydro storage capacity you have. Not enough to run a whole grid. If you read through the (very long) comment thread below that article you will find a lot of interesting discussion of this and a number of other issues.

        I am happy to agree that solar can be part of the energy mix, but it is hard to see how it can ever be the dominant power source.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Alex,

      Yes I read that one when it came out a year or so ago. He makes good sense.

      • David says:

        Agree that Weißbach et al makes some sense but disagree that Alex makes any sense. (Check Figure 2 out for yourself!.)

        • David says:

          So what happened here Don?
          “My answer is — at least at the moment — maybe, perhaps in the long run, but not in the foreseeable future. The two problems with solar power are storing it for later use, and garnering enough of it to make an appreciable difference to the needs of the electricity grid for constant and reliable electricity.”

          did you just un-remember Weißbach et al ?

      • David says:

        Hard to see how any reading Weißbach et al, by anyone but the most ardent delcon, could conclude that using buffered solar would cause society to “revert to a much less civilized state.

      • David says:

        Don if you can say Weißbach et al makes good sense and then write an essay like you did above, one has to wonder how you go about reading a paper. What do you do, just skip the bits you don’t like?

    • BB says:

      Alex thank you very much for that. The rating of the EROEI for nuclear is a surprise. It puts it well in front of everything else. There are many admittedly also anti-nuclear on other grounds who attack it as being un-economic. This is saying that is anything but the case.

  • margaret says:

    Just come in from digging holes – in the garden (no quartz seam unfortunately), but there’s a fair bit of gold in the comments so I’m laughing.

    • margaret says:

      Not yours Alex, haven’t read that link yet – may not make me laugh.

      • margaret says:

        Thank you to the scientists on both sides who are doing all this work. Seriously. I haven’t the foggiest about what the outcome of fossil vs renewable will be so on behalf of myself and others like me, keep up the good work and I’ll find another place to talk as I’m taking a different path. So is Beth I’d say from her last comment.

  • Neville says:

    I see Davy boy is still clutching at straws. Here is part of the article Alex linked to. Hydro is the only renewable power source that is unambiguously viable. What is it you don’t understand?

    “Adding storage greatly reduces the EROEI (the “buffered” values in the figure). Wind “firmed” with storage, with an EROEI of 3.9, joins solar PV and biomass as an unviable energy source. CSP becomes marginal (EROEI ~9) with pumped storage, so is probably not viable with molten salt thermal storage. The EROEI of solar PV with pumped hydro storage drops to 1.6, barely above breakeven, and with battery storage is likely in energy deficit.

    This is a rather unsettling conclusion if we are looking to renewable energy for a transition to a low carbon energy system: we cannot use energy storage to overcome the variability of solar and wind power.

    In particular, we can’t use batteries or chemical energy storage systems, as they would lead to much worse figures than those presented by Weißbach et al. Hydroelectricity is the only renewable power source that is unambiguously viable.”

  • Neville says:

    I suppose if I link to the world’s TOTAL energy IEA pie chart enough times it may eventually sink in. Fossil fuels supply 81.4%, nuclear 4.8%, hydro 2.4%, Geo S%W 1.2%, bio fuels waste 10.2%. Lomborg has quoted the IEA to show at present S&W only supplies 0.4% and that may increase to just 2.2% by 2040.
    None of this power supply is viable at all but these donkey pollies and others tell us we are fighting CAGW. Of course this cannot make any measurable difference to temp by 2040 either. Trillions $ wasted on the biggest fairy tale since the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. Just ask Dr Hansen, the father of the CAGW scare campaign.

    I suppose if I link to the world’s TOTAL energy IEA pie chart enough times it may eventually sink in. Fossil fuels supply 81.4%, nuclear 4.8%, hydro 2.4%, Geo S%W 1.2%, bio fuels waste 10.2%. Lomborg has quoted the IEA to show at present S&W only supplies 0.4% and that may increase to just 2.2% by 2040.
    None of this power supply is viable at all but these donkey pollies and others tell us we are fighting CAGW. Of course this cannot make any measurable difference to temp by 2040 either. Trillions $ wasted on the biggest fairy tale since the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. Just ask Dr Hansen, the father of the CAGW scare campaign.

  • Neville says:

    Sorry for the double post grrrrr.

  • Neville says:

    Here’s another link for the donkey visitors at this blog. Hundreds of new Coal power stations will be built in China, India and other parts of Asia in the coming years. These ultra efficient CFSs could one day be sending power to Germany. China certainly wants to do so.
    Fair dinkum you couldn’t make this stuff up. Germany and Europe stuffs up their grids with fairy land S&W and forces a number of their industries to leave, but in the future they may be getting a top up from CF power from China. Only loony leftie pollies and their followers would find any sense in this, but gawwwrd help the rest of us. Imbeciles voting for imbeciles and zero change to the temp or climate or co2 levels, but much more expensive electricity here in OZ.
    Just vote for the Labor and Green coalition at the next election.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2016/04/will-chinas-coal-power-sell-electrici ty-to-germany/#comments

  • Neville says:

    So David your point is WHAT? Come on don’t be shy, open your bag of pixie dust to make your point.

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