Sunday, March 04, 2012

Matt Ridley on the "Wind Farm Scam"

From Matt Ridley's new cover story in The Spectator, "The Winds of Change":

"To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero

Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.  

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often willfully deaf." 

HT: Warren Smith

21 Comments:

At 3/04/2012 10:02 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Over at the excellent R Squared Blog, questions are being raised about solar power plants as well.

There are some issues here. The price signal does not capture pollution costs, and so the cost of pollution has to be jiggered into the final price.

Additionally, true economic and military security probably requires a greater percentage of domestic energy consumption be domestically produced. The world's oil is controlled by unreliable thug-monkey states.

However, it may be that ramping up natural gas production is nearly a silver bullet. it burns more cleanly, and will probably be cheap for generations.

This sets aside the global warming argument. I am sure there are many experts on global warming out there, based upon your partisan posturing.

 
At 3/04/2012 10:28 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

BTW, Los Angeles is a great place to live. Views from oceans to mountains. Why?

"Q: Smog in Los Angeles is not nearly as bad as when I visited 15 years ago. Is it really better now, and if so, how did it get that way? Or did I just happen to visit on a good day?

Los Angeles is almost as famous for its choking smog – a haze of ground-level ozone and particulate pollution that can aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems – as for its Hollywood stars. The reason so much smog forms there is because the city is in a low basin surrounded by mountains, with millions of cars and industrial sites spewing emissions into the air.



But thanks to tougher state and federal air quality standards, L.A. residents can breathe easier than they’ve been able to for decades. According to the non-profit Environment California, air pollution from cars and trucks across the state has decreased since the 1970s by more than 85 percent, with peak smog levels in the city of Los Angeles itself dropping some 70 percent. Meanwhile, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has been tracking smog levels in the area since 1976, and reports the number of ozone advisories – where residents are advised to stay indoors due to unhealthy local accumulations of smog – fell from a high of 184 days in 1977 to between zero and a few days a year now.

"

The reality of Los Angeles---a one-time poison gas chamber and now a great place to live---does throw a monkey wrench into the "let's wipe out the EPA" crank calls, or the "we are over-regulated" snivelers. If you are polluting private property, and the air other people breathe, are the regulations stiff enough?

Polluters do not respect property rights, air or water rights, and do not pay the freight for damage inflicted.

 
At 3/05/2012 4:56 AM, Blogger rjs said...

hmmm...
with a few changes, the second paragraph could have just as easy been written about the tar sands...

 
At 3/05/2012 5:51 AM, Blogger Ian Random said...

California as a whole is pristine because they scared the !#@!@#$ out of manufacturers who obliged by leaving the state. Remember the T2 movie, they used an abandoned steel plant and had to spray water on the actors to simulate sweat.

Jobs:
http://www.calwatchdog.com/2010/08/30/do-high-taxes-cost-state-jobs/

Clark Foam:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_Foam

 
At 3/05/2012 8:34 AM, Blogger Ironman said...

In the U.S., the proposed Keystone pipeline alone would outproduce the energy generation output of the entire American wind industry by a margin of 5 to 1 (and that's not counting all the other, already-built pipelines!...)

 
At 3/05/2012 9:24 AM, Blogger marmico said...

Are you a dimwit Political Calculations or do you just play one on your own blog? Does it matter that bitumin is piped from Canada or bonny light shipped from Nigeria relative to the wind industry?

I'm just LMFAO at the Koch leveraged buyout of CATO!

 
At 3/05/2012 11:25 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

South Dakota has joined Iowa in the list of states that get 20% of their electricty from Wind.

 
At 3/05/2012 12:28 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I have no major problems with wind power. I just have one concern: the amount of power generated.

Mass Maritime Academy in Wareham, Massachusetts, has a wind turbine. It's situated on the Cape Cod Canal and, having grown up just a few miles away, I can tell you there is plenty of wind. The single wind turbine powers the Academy and the street lights on the road. That's all. In order to make wind power viable, you'd need massive farms of these things. When compared to the fact that a single coal/gas/nuclear power station can provide power to millions of users, that seems to be a highly inefficient use of time, space, and resources, no?

 
At 3/05/2012 1:00 PM, Blogger roark183 said...

The low percentage for wind energy is misapplication of wind technology. All the wind energy farms you see use horizontal axis technology. If they used vertical axis turbines, efficiency would go way up. They just don't have innovation. Use vertical axis wind turbines.

 
At 3/05/2012 1:31 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I'm just LMFAO at the Koch leveraged buyout of CATO!"..

I'm just ROFLMAO at liberals like marmico who seem to take exorbitant pride in their collective cluelessness...

 
At 3/05/2012 1:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3/05/2012 1:32 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

roark-

i hear that argument all the time about horizontal access.

it's not true.

i've spoken to lots of wind farmers and turbine makers as well as utilities and grid operators.

wind will never work.

it cannot be baseline.

it's inconsistency and the nature of the physics guarantee it.

wind energy per sweep is a 3rd power equation.

so, if you have a 10wm faceplate at 20mph, you drop to 4mw at 15mph and only 1 at 10mph. at 22-3, you need to shut down or you'll blow the generator. nothing can alter that. it's a physical law.

horizontal is no different than vertical in that respect.

it's all power over sweep.

 
At 3/05/2012 1:35 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

don't feed the troll.

as my old poli sci adviser used to say: "don't wrestle with pigs. you both get all muddy and stinky and the pig just likes it."

 
At 3/05/2012 1:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon M: "When compared to the fact that a single coal/gas/nuclear power station can provide power to millions of users, that seems to be a highly inefficient use of time, space, and resources, no?"

Yes. These folks felt much the same way. when something better came along, they took advantage of it.

Now some people would ask us to return to those "good old days".

 
At 3/05/2012 1:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

roark183: "The low percentage for wind energy is misapplication of wind technology. All the wind energy farms you see use horizontal axis technology. If they used vertical axis turbines, efficiency would go way up. They just don't have innovation. Use vertical axis wind turbines."

Do you really believe that all of the hundreds of thousands of scientists and engineers, worldwide, involved in designing and building wind machines, could be unaware of something as simple as that?

 
At 3/05/2012 1:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"don't feed the troll"...

Wise words morganovich...

For some reason I forgot about the basic basic character flaw with the marmicos of this country...

 
At 3/05/2012 10:00 PM, Blogger badflash said...

You can't store wind energy, so to use it you must have 100% spinning reserve. That means to use wind you need to have either gas turbines using fuel at idle, or back off on hydro. Both are silly ideas. This means that wind energy is a net negative.

 
At 3/06/2012 7:26 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Same is true in the DC area. Thirty years ago, one could seldom see the Washington monument from the Pentagon.

Now, the view is seldom obscured.

 
At 3/06/2012 7:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The wind turbine at mass maritime is dinky. It is a subscale demonstration.

 
At 3/06/2012 7:57 PM, Blogger rjs said...

dont you think it ironic that the servers that host this blog are run on windpower?

Google is stepping up wind-power purchases to reduce emissions, even as it devotes most of its renewable energy investments to sun-related projects, a trade-off aimed at reining in costs as the company seeks higher returns. Google drew 30 percent of the energy it consumed last year from renewable sources, virtually all of it from wind, up from 19 percent a year earlier...

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-05/google-buys-wind-bets-on-sun

 
At 3/06/2012 10:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

rjs: "Google drew 30 percent of the energy it consumed last year from renewable sources, virtually all of it from wind, up from 19 percent a year earlier..."

That's a bit deceptive. It's not that straight forward.

Did you read the article all the way to the end? Read the last paragraph again carefully - never mind, here it is:

"The company [Google] has set up long-term power-purchasing agreements with NextEra Energy (NEE) in Iowa and Oklahoma, which both contain Google data centers. After purchasing the electricity wholesale from NextEra, Google resells it to a local utility in exchange for renewable energy credits, offsetting the price of conventional electricity from the utilities."

You don't really believe that Google trusts it's server farms to something as variable as wind, do you?

 

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