Sustainable, affordable, eco-friendly renewable energy?

Unsustainable cow manure
By Paul Driessen 21 Sep 2010


Seek a sustainable future! Wind, solar and biofuels will ensure an eco-friendly, climate-protecting, planet-saving, sustainable inheritance for our children. Or so we are told by activists and politicians intent on enacting new renewable energy standards, mandates and subsidies during a lame duck session.

It may be useful to address some basic issues, before going further down the road to Renewable Utopia.

Blowing Away Money

Mark Lawson

The Federal Government may have dumped (technically deferred) one nutty green scheme (emissions trading) but an equally nutty scheme remains in place – requiring electricity distributors to buy green electricity.

This scheme is nutty because no one has shown that green electricity supplied to an operating power network actually reduces emissions. The government, various green lobby groups and the mass of voters have simply assumed that it does. There are doubts about efficiency losses due to the whole network having to be retailored to accommodate renewables. And more doubts over just how much additional backup generator capacity will be required for intermittent power sources. These doubts are either ignored or dismissed as “myths”.

The Australian government has dived head-first into renewables with both eyes shut, and with the general approval of the voters, who mostly have no idea of what they have approved or how much it will cost. The government should drop the whole renewable energy scheme as too complicated and expensive and unlikely to save much carbon.

The full article: blowing-away-money.pdf [PDF: KB]

Mark Lawson is a senior journalist with The Australian Financial Review. He has written: “A Guide to Climate Change Lunacy – bad forecasting, terrible solutions”.
Connor Court – $29.95. or book stores.

Carbon Sense Newsletter: Silly Roof Schemes

1. Solar Panels – another Silly Roof Scheme

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called for the immediate suspension of another of Mr Garrett’s silly roof schemes – the Roof Solar Panel Scheme.

“This scheme is driven by the Renewable Energy Target Scheme, Renewable Energy Certificates and obligations on power companies to buy the inconsistent dribbles of electricity produced by solar panels on domestic homes.”

The Chairman of Carbon Sense, Mr Viv Forbes, said that like the roof insulation scheme, the Roof Solar Panel Scheme was dangerous, ill planned and a massive waste of community funds…

2. Petition on the Flawed Carbon Trading Scheme

Liberal MP, Dr Denis Jensen, has drawn up a petition on the Flawed Carbon Trading Scheme.

To sign go to:

3. The Big Picture on World Temperature Swings.

Jo Nova has published a set of graphs produced by David Lappi, an Alaskan Geologist.

4. Tampering with the Temperature Records

Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts have produce a masterful analysis of the state of the world instrument temperature records that have been used to support the claims that the world has warmed alarmingly since man started using large quantities of carbon fuels…

5. Chief Warmist Surrenders

Faced with the above and other fast mounting evidence, Professor Phil Jones of CRU, who is at the centre of the “Climategate” affair and a key promoter of the Global Warming Scare, has conceded that there has been no “statistically significant” rise in world temperature since 1995…

6. Big Business gets Nervous

The collapse of the so-called Consensus, the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Confab, the emerging evidence of the foolishness of wasting tax payers funds on wind/solar “power” and ethanol production, the Climategate Scandal, the roof insulation fiasco in Australia, the Carbon Credit frauds, the lack of evidence to support the weekly scare forecasts and the rapid change in public opinion is having an effect on big business support for the Global Warming Scam…

7. The Carbon Wall of Shame

We need a list of the chief promoters of the Ration-N-Tax Scheme and the Climate Change Industry in Australia so that shareholders, customers, employees, tax payers and voters can start putting pressure on directors, politicians, academics and officials who betray us all by refusing to do their homework…

Full newsletter: [PDF, 205 KB]

Emissions Targets & Electricity Generation – Some Inconvenient Realities

Touring politicians have a habit of making wild promises in international forums, leaving the difficult engineering consequences to overloaded power engineers and the unpalatable cost consequences to the suffering consumers.

Peter Lang is a professional with more than 40 years experience in the energy industry. His experience includes coal, oil, gas, hydro, geothermal, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste disposal and energy end use management.

Peter has previously written on:

Now he looks at some inconvenient realities concerning the consequences for electricity generation if the government tries to achieve their unrealistic and pointless cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.

The paper compares five “energy mix” options with a “business as usual” case for electricity generation in Australia from 2010 to 2050. The options involve mixes of coal, gas, nuclear, wind and solar thermal technologies. The analysis indicates that continuing with the current mix of electricity sources (mainly coal) will provide the cheapest electricity. Gas, the other carbon fuel, has the next higher cost. All of the non-coal options (nuclear, solar and wind) will substantially increase electricity costs with solar being the most expensive.

Nuclear power is the only feasible option that could achieve the promised cuts in emissions. Wind and solar are very high cost options with little hope of achieving the emissions cuts promised, either alone or in combination.

Viv Forbes

The full paper, Emission Cuts Realities – Electricity Generation, can be seen at: [PDF, 206 KB]

Of Cabbages, and Kings, and Tariff Feed-ins

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

The Walrus and The Carpenter, Lewis Carroll, from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872

Once upon a time there was a land where cabbages were very popular. People used them for all sorts of things. There were central farms where they were grown, and distributed to supermarkets from where people bought them. The subjects in this land could buy the cabbages for about 17 cents each.

One day the King decided that it was a bad thing for the cabbages to be produced by these large farms. He said it hurt the environment to have them transported all the way to the supermarkets. He also said too much water was used on those farms.

Solar Energy Hits the Dust


A dust storm on 25th September 2009 viewed from the office of the Carbon
Sense Coalition.

Read more: [PDF, 271KB]

Solar Power Realities – Addendum

By Peter Lang

This paper compares the capital cost of three electricity generation technologies based on a simple analysis. The comparison is on the basis that the technologies can supply the National Electricity Market (NEM) demand without fossil fuel back up…

The three technologies compared are:

1. Nuclear power;
2. Solar photo-voltaic with energy storage; and
3. Solar thermal with energy storage.

Full article here. [PDF, 52KB]

Here is the original article: Solar Power Realities

Solar Power – a Subsidised Appendage

By Viv Forbes, Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition.

Australian electricity consumers can look forward to soaring charges for electricity and blackouts if state and federal politicians continue to undermine the power grid by mandating and subsidising solar power generation.

Solar power can never produce continuous, predictable low cost power. It must always be supported by expensive power storage systems or by reliable power sources such as coal, gas, hydro or nuclear.

No matter how many millions of taxpayer money is poured into “research”, it can never solve the two fatal flaws of solar power.

Solar Power Realities

Supply-Demand Characteristics, Storage and Capital Costs
By Peter Lang

This paper provides a simple analysis of the capital cost of solar power and energy storage sufficient to meet the demand of Australia’s National Electricity Market. It also considers some of the environmental effects. It puts the figures in perspective…

Conclusions: solar power is uneconomic. Government mandates and subsidies hide the true cost of renewable energy but these additional costs must be carried by others.

The [PDF, 738KB]

Addendum – Comparison of Capital Cost of Nuclear and Solar Power: [PDF, 52KB]

Solar Energy Costs & Economics

As an interesting fact on solar, I had a quote done for my house in Florida for a 2.5kw array (not enough to power the whole house, about 1/3 of the average requirement). The cost benefit worked out as follows:

Cost to purchase and install: $25,000 – this yielded a return of less than 1% on investment (about 0.7%)
Federal tax credit of $7,500
State rebate of about $9,600
Yield after subsidies (if qualified) – a total net cost of $7,900 with a return on my investment of just over 6%.

In other words the state and federal governments (taxpayers) would pay $17,100 in subsidies to support an overall yield on the total investment (theirs and mine) of 0.7%.

Every scrap of the product installed is of foreign manufacture sending the bulk of the taxpayer money overseas.

As a business person, if my company invested in 0.7% return projects, I would be out of business. I wonder if that applies to the Feds and States?

John in Maryland, USA

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