Why do taxpayers have to subsidize this? Why do environmentalists give it a free pass?
By Ron Arnold
It uses tons of fossil fuels every day, emits a greenhouse gas that’s like CO2 on steroids, can’t do the job it’s made for, costs taxpayers exorbitant fees, and makes the federal government look mentally ill for giving it outrageous subsidies. It also chops up birds, bats and scenery with roads and monstrous 400-foot-tall machines. “It” is wind power, of course.
These harsh facts were condensed into a preliminary draft study of wind subsidies by researcher Teresa Platt, who circulated it to specialists for vetting. I obtained a copy of the extensively footnoted working draft, which gave chilling reality to the truth behind wind industry claims.
“Every year since the 1980s,” Platt’s study said, “the 5,000 turbines at NextEra’s Altamont Pass in California kill thousands of slow-reproducing red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls, kestrels, as well as iconic golden eagles, and bats.” The birds Platt mentions are raptors – birds of prey – particularly valued for their agricultural role in killing mice and other crop-damaging rodents. Eagles, both golden eagles and bald eagles, have long impressed Americans for their majesty, and the bald eagle was selected by our Founding Fathers as our national emblem.
I asked Bob Johns, spokesman for the American Bird Conservancy, about wind farm eagle mortality. He confirmed Platt’s study and told me the Altamont operation alone has killed more than 2,000 golden eagles. But that’s not all. “Nationwide, the wind industry kills thousands of golden eagles without prosecution,” Johns said, “while any other American citizen even possessing eagle parts such as feathers would face huge fines and prison time.”
Huge is right. Violate either the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or the Eagle Protection Act, and you could get fined up to $250,000 or get two years imprisonment.
Not a single wind farm operator has yet been prosecuted for killing birds, yet in 2009 ExxonMobil got whacked with a $600,000 fine for killing 85 common ducks and other birds that flew into uncovered tanks on its property. Other similarly outrageous revenge-style penalties have been assessed on oil companies by the viciously ideological anti-fossil fuel Obama administration.
James Lovelock has written a letter of objection regarding a wind-farm development in Devon. The final paragraph of his letter reads:
“I am an environmentalist and founder member of the Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation.”
Creating Bushfire Hazards
A recent report from friends who suffered terrible losses of buildings, fences, pasture and cattle in the Coonabarabran fire commenced with the ominous and oft-repeated message: “a raging fire came out of the National Park straight for us”.
There is only one way to limit fire damage – reduce the fuel available.
Fuel load can be reduced in three ways – by grazing animals, by planned small “cool” fires, or by mechanical reduction with slashers, mulchers or dozers.
Australia’s grassland landscape was created and managed by generations of Aborigines who were masters at using man’s most useful tool – fire. Every explorer from Abel Tasman (1642) and Captain Cook (1770) onwards noted the smoke in the sky and the burnt trees whenever they landed. This burning created the open grassland landscapes that dominated pre-European Australia. Aborigines lit fires continually, mainly to keep their fires sticks alight. Their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and fortuitously created and maintained the healthy grasslands and open forests on which many animals and Aborigines depended.
There have been two major changes to the tree/grass balance since European settlement. In the fertile well-watered coastal strip, large areas of thick scrub and open forest were logged and cleared for timber, farms, towns, roads, schools and the domesticated grasses of suburban lawns. Most of those trees have been displaced by those people who now, in ignorance, are also destroying the grasslands and remaining open forests by locking up land and preventing any form of regrowth control. Having destroyed much of the coastal forests and scrubs, they are now destroying the open forests and grasslands.
Misguided tree lovers and green politicians have locked the gates on ever-increasing areas of land for trees, parks, heritage, wilderness, habitat, weekend retreats, carbon sequestration etc. Never before on this ancient continent has anyone tried to ban land use or limit bushfires on certain land. The short-sighted policy of surrounding their massive land-banks with fences, locked gates, fire bans and exclusion of livestock has created a new alien environment in Australia. They have created tinder boxes where the growth of woody weeds and the accumulation of dead vegetation in eucalypt re-growth create the perfect environment for fierce fires.
Once ignited by lightning, carelessness, or arson, the inevitable fire-storms incinerate the park trees and wildlife, and then invade the unfortunate neighbouring properties. Many of today’s locked-up areas were created to sequester carbon to fulfil Kyoto obligations. Who pays the carbon tax on the carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere by wild fires? The green bureaucracies and politicians are clearly mis-managing their huge land-bank. Aborigines and graziers did a far better job. There should be a moratorium on locking up any more land and a return to sustainable management for existing land holdings.
More, as well as:
- Time to Build Better Infrastructure
- Magic-gas Discovery
- Extreme Weather is Nothing New
- The Blind Worship of Windmills
- The Last Word
Read the full report: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/destructive-green-policies.pdf [PDF, 65 KB]
Keywords: Bushfires, grasslands, parks, floods, infrastructure, carbon dioxide magic, extreme weather, windmill monuments, James Lovelock, CSIROh!, Monckton, politicians on drugs.
“Germany and the European Union have taken a pioneering role on climate protection, under the mistaken assumption that other countries would follow our example. That’s the wrong strategy. Making this kind of advanced effort weakens our bargaining position. Instead of building wind turbines, we should build higher dikes.”
– German government advisor Kai Konrad
James Hansen, an outspoken world climate alarmist says: “Coal-fired power plants are factories of death”. The Australian Greens want a fast end to coal mining in Australia, and support a swift expansion of wind and solar power. As the Greens are part of the coalition which governs Australia, the electricity industry is now being coerced by carbon taxes and green subsidies and mandates to replace efficient and reliable coal-powered electricity with costly and unreliable wind and solar plants. All of this paranoia is driven by climatist claims that carbon dioxide causes environmental harm by triggering dangerous global warming. Let’s look at whether coal energy or green energy does more harm to the environment.
There is absolutely no proof that carbon dioxide causes any measurable changes to climate. In fact, the evidence indicates that changes in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are a result, not a cause, of variations in global temperatures.
Moreover, burning coal in clean modern power stations has definite benefits for the biosphere – it puts food and drink for all life back into the atmosphere. The major coal combustion products are – nitrogen plant food from the air (69%), carbon dioxide plant food from the coal (21%) and water vapour, the liquid for life, from the coal (7%). The other 3% comprises mainly inert atmospheric gases from the air and an ash residue of trace minerals from the coal. The green bogey-man, carbon dioxide, is the gas of life and a free gift from coal combustion to the biosphere. More carbon dioxide has proven benefits in making plants grow faster in good weather and helping them survive better in droughts or frosts. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is insurance for the biosphere no matter what climate change is in store for us.
Green energy, however, can affect local climate and does cause environmental damage…
More, as well as:
- The UN, Agenda 21 and the erosion of land ownership rights
- Killing the Earth to Save it
- The Last Word
Read the full report: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/wind-solar-coal.pdf [PDF, 221 KB]
Cartoon Credit: Steve Hunter http://www.stevehunterillustrations.com.au/political-cartoons/
Keywords: Coal, wind, solar, gas, gases of life, wind farms affect the climate, turbine fires, bird kills, UN, Agenda 21.
The Climate Scare/Green Energy Bubble will be the defining feature of our age. Never before have so many people wasted so much money and time on climate fables, alarmist handouts and energy toys.
Already it has spread further, distracted more people and wasted more community resources than the South Sea Bubble, the Tulip Mania or Y2K. Future generations will read in wonder how sensible people like Germans, British, Spanish, Danes, Californians, Australians and Kiwis lost their ability for critical thinking.
The guilty parties will never admit their foolishness, and the vested interests will fight to keep their privileges, so we will have to fight every inch of the way. They will have to be removed.
But reality and public opinion are on our side. We just need to keep illustrating and lampooning the cost of this foolishness. And keep Tony Abbott to his promise to AXE THE CARBON TAX.
Please help us by passing this on.
- Coal Powered Cars
- Solar Bubble Bursts
- Wasteful Wind Power
- Can Green Energy be Saved?
- The Real History of Global Warming
- Karma Neutral
- How to Vote
- The Last Word
See: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/green-toys.pdf [PDF, 163 KB]
Some at the big end of town are worried that Mr Abbott may keep his solemn promise to repeal the carbon tax. No doubt they and their smart lawyers fear losing the clever green schemes that rely on ripping off tax payers, consumers and other businesses.
Australia’s wealth and jobs have always rested on three legs – mining and farming, making and processing things, and rich foreigners; in short, resources, manufacturing, and money from tourists and investors.
The Gillard carbon tax will white-ant all three legs.
Mining and farming rely on draglines, dozers, scrapers, trains, trucks, bulk carriers, tractors, generators, pumps and machines of all kinds. All need cheap reliable energy. Their energy comes from diesel fuel or coal powered electricity. A tax on carbon will sap their energy and reduce their ability to generate jobs and national wealth.
Our processing and manufacturing industries rely on cheap electricity produced from our marvellous deposits of coal and natural gas. Greens have demonised these national assets and their carbon tax will undermine all Australian industries. Investors always look ahead. Already the threat of a carbon tax has reduced the asset value of every base load power station in Australia. Already one of the biggest, running on Victorian brown coal, is reporting financial stress and may close. We cannot run steel works, refineries or big cities on sunbeams and sea breezes.
Australia is remote from most of the world, and tourists must travel vast distances to get here. They need planes, trains, ships, buses and cars, all powered by carbon energy from petrol, diesel or gas. The carbon tax will strike at the heart of this industry. Harassed by the carbon footprint harpies, tourists may choose to stay home and go camping in their own backyards.
Finally, Australia is leading the world with the most onerous and widely applied carbon tax. This is already deterring the foreign investors who for generations have risked their savings to create businesses and jobs in Australia. Even now, the threat of a carbon tax is increasing capital shortage and debt stress in Australia.
There is no good news in the carbon tax story – no climate benefits, no real jobs and more costs for consumers. And it is white-anting the three legs supporting the Australian economy. Unlike the big end of town, thinking Australians are worried that Mr Abbott may renege on his solemn promise to repeal the carbon tax.
That would really leave Australia powerless and legless in the global storms.
- Saving the Suckers of the South Pacific
- First Successful Low Emissions Economy
- Wind Energy Lights Up
- SWindle Power
- Climatism failed in 2011, but the big battles are ahead in 2012
- Europe’s Green Lobby Fighting For Survival
- White Christmas 2012
- Global Temperatures? – Flat for 13 Years
- Have you checked your Carbon Footprint?
- What Really Happened in Durban?
- The Last Word for 2011
See: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/legless-in-storms.pdf [PDF, 546 KB]
US Government has declared war on efficient energy. Just like an enemy in wartime the US capacity to produce cheap reliable energy is being destroyed while the nation is cluttered with expensive energy failures like wind and solar.
Mike Fox summarises the gathering disaster of wind energy. “Windmills are too intermittent, too undependable, too unreliable and far too costly. “ And most turbines probably “can never generate enough energy during its lifetime to manufacture the windmill”.
See: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/fox-economic-suicide-for-the-us-july-2010.pdf [PDF, 47 KB]
From: Sir Donald Miller. F Eng. FRSE.
Chairman, Scottish Power 1982-92.
Letter to Alec Salmond
09 March 2011
The Right Hon Alec Salmond
It is I believe becoming clear to a rapidly increasing number of voters in Scotland that the Scottish Government’s concentration on so called renewable energy sources to the exclusion of more reliable and economic sources , such as nuclear , is little short of disastrous. Let us look at the facts:-
1. No wind or marine energy sources can be relied on to provide power when it is needed- the only time when electricity is of any value.
2. Wind and marine need nearly 100% back up from conventional generators. Therefore any expenditure on these is additional to ‘normal’ capital required to secure our electricity supplies.
3. Output from wind turbines varies rapidly, not just locally but nationally, so that conventional back up generation is required to run inefficiently at part load, incurring further costs for the consumer.
4. Wind and wave are such extremely low density sources of energy that costs will always be high and no amount of development will alter this significantly.
5. The cost of onshore wind to the consumer is some £200/MWhr taking into account the ROC subsidy, back up generation and additional transmission costs. This is over four times the cost of energy from conventional or nuclear sources. The cost of off-shore wind is even higher at over £250/MWhr.
6. The claim that Scotland has vast resources of marine energy is based on a failure to appreciate the physics. The actual potential is readily assessed by normal engineering criteria (as in studies by Consulting Engineers Black and Veatch for The Carbon Trust and Robert Gordons University). These show that the total tidal current resource of UK waters from the Pentland Firth to the Channel Isles, neglecting costs and practical limitations such as interference with shipping and fishing and impossibility of servicing such a plethora of installations, would amount to no more than 2.5% to 5% of UK electricity requirements.
7. The costs of tidal energy to the consumer will be significantly higher than offshore wind, even after taking credit for possible developments. Wave energy will be even more costly.
8. Other low carbon technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage are unproven on the scale envisaged, requiring long term sequestration of some 200millions tons of CO2 per year from the UK alone. Taken together with the 25% loss in efficiency of generation, energy costs would more than double.
9. Ofgem has estimated that the UK Government’s energy policy will result in a doubling of electricity prices to consumers within 15 years. The much higher renewable targets of the Scottish Government would, on a stand alone basis, result in even higher prices.
10. The CEO of National Grid in a lecture to the Royal Academy of Engineering in March 2011 stated that the effect of present energy policies would be that the era of having electricity on demand in the UK was coming to an end. The UK Government estimates there is a high risk of power cuts within five years.
11. High energy prices based on subsidies are certain to have an extremely damaging effect on the Scottish Economy as recently quantified in the Verso Economics Report using the Scottish Governments’ own economic model for the Scottish economy. The loss of jobs will far outweigh the few gains, most of which will be of low to medium quality, from renewable installations.
12. Already there has been very significant damage to Scotland’s environment- the massive installation at Doune dominating the route North from Glasgow is a case in point- with consequent loss to one of its greatest assets, the tourist industry. The value of tourism to the Scottish economy is put at £4.2bn a year, far in excess of the value of all the energy produced from wind farms even with the Scottish 80% target for renewables.
13. Prior to privatisation Scotland, with six commercial reactors, produced over 60% of its electricity from nuclear and had a thriving and profitable export trade to England. As a result Scotland benefited from having one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe and this after proper allowances for all the costs involved including waste disposal and decommissioning. Unlike the present energy regime there was no element of subsidy. As distinct from other low carbon generation, nuclear is a tried and tested technology of which we have had excellent experience now for over 50 years. Supplies of nuclear fuel are secure and the cost of energy to consumers from a new generation of reactors would be less than a quarter of that from wind and marine sources.
14. The well being of a modern economy is based on a reliable and economic supply of electricity and will be even more so in future as transport becomes increasingly electrified. If one wanted to go down in history as the politician who did most to damage Scotland’s economy it would be difficult to think of a more effective route than the present energy policy.
15. It is not too late to have a rational and balanced energy policy- but it soon will be. We have only a small window of opportunity- let us grasp it before it is too late.
Sir Donald Miller. F Eng. FRSE.
Chairman, Scottish Power 1982-92.
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Britain scrambles to avoid future blackouts
Chris Huhne, the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change gambled the future of Britain’s energy generation on a massive expansion of giant bird shredders:
February 2007 [before Huhne was in government]:
Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne said: “The doubling of our electricity generation from wind in a little more than a year shows what renewables can do and gives the lie to the need for a new generation of nuclear power. “However, the incentives for wind need to be maintained while the Government is still far short of doing what is necessary to encourage tidal and wave power. “On a windy island surrounded by waves and tides, we should never be short of environmentally-friendly energy sources.”
Huhne expressed his excitement over the findings of a recent report into the value of Britain’s offshore resources. He is quoted saying: “It is right to point out, as that report did, that in due course we may once again be a net energy exporter, as we were during the peak of oil and gas in the North Sea, and that’s a very exciting prospect.”
The Energy Secretary said enabling Britain to be totally self-sufficient thanks to renewable sources – which also included wave power and harnessing tidal streams – would be an extraordinary prize.
I’m pleased that we’ve reached the point where 5GW of our energy comes from onshore and offshore wind – that’s enough electricity to power all the homes in Scotland.
Cartoon by Josh
But wind power is a mirage.
If the promise of wind was real, the UK wouldn’t need to spend £5 billion on new undersea cables linking it to more reliable power from European nations like nuclear-powered France:
The Government plans to spend more than £5billion laying 11 undersea power cables to allow Britain to import electricity from neighbouring countries and prevent blackouts in the next decade. The giant cables would provide up to 10GW of electricity, enough to power 2.4 million homes a year. Ministers are said to be alarmed at Britain’s likely energy shortfall, made worse by the fact the country has less capacity to import power than any other in Europe.
Chris Huhne scattered the land and oceans with anti-avian monuments to stupidity, and all he has to show for it is millions of dead birds and people who can’t afford electricity. Turns out the green dream is more of a nightmare for Britons.