Matt Ridley: Wind power makes 0% of world energy

From Jo Nova:

Matt Ridley: Wind power makes 0% of world energy

It’s all in how you spin it. Supra-zoogle-watts of new wind power capacity was added last year. Wind and solar grew faster than fossil fuels. There are now 341,000 wind turbines around the world! Thus do Meaningless Big-Numbers flow.

Instead  Matt Ridley gets down to the small numbers that tell us what is going on: Wind Turbines are neither clean nor green.

The Spectator:  Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.

IEA world Energy Production, Graph, 2016.

Key Renewable Trends IEA 2016

The only renewables superstars are those you never hear about — wood and hydro:

Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.

…world energy demand has been growing at about 2 per cent a year for nearly 40 years.

If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum.

So we’d have to build 350,000 wind turbines every year just to keep up with the growth in electricity demand each year.

To be fair, apparently wind power generates nearly 5% of Australia’s total energy, which is at the same time, pretty remarkable, and also maybe why manufacturing here is dying.

Here’s a meanginless small number:

Portugal ran for four days straight once on renewable energy alone. Four whole days!

Read the whole article Wind Turbines are neither clean nor green.

Greens Logic


A report by the National Electricity Operator (AEMO) found that NSW suffered a big shortfall in electricity production last week due to problems with some of the traditional generators. A couple of smaller generators were off-line due to mechanical or gas supply issues.

So this morning’s ABC Radio News featured the obvious response from the Greens: “Fossil fuel generators are not reliable and need to be replaced with renewable energy sources.”

So Greens logic is that you can depend on wind and solar which only operate when the weather is right, but not on coal or gas generators which run night and day regardless of the weather. Yes traditional generators do break down and do need to be taken down for maintenance some times. But so do wind generators and solar systems.

Brilliant logic from the Greens, as usual.


Hurricane Drought Continues in USA

Despite the alarmist squeals of the climate change crowd that the frequency of “extreme weather events” (one of those very vague terms that the very unscientific boosters of man-made climate change like to use to hide the fact that they are telling porkies), the US is undergoing a very large hurricane drought that has lasted for 4001 days- almost 11 years.

The Greens will be all over Hurricane Michael when or if it lands in Florida and say it is evidence of man-made climate change and we must act now, as if this is the first ever category 3 storm to hit America.

The fact is that the southern parts of the USA like the northern parts of Australia have historically been subject to regular tropical storms- called cyclones in Australia, hurricanes in the USA.

Here is a graph that looks at the 78 hurricanes to hit the US since 1900. For each one (labelled 1 to 78) on the horizontal axis, the graph shows the days between that storm and its predecessor. The red line shows an estimated “trend” line, although I am not sure that on this type of graph that is very helpful, especially as we do not yet know if this latest “drought” will be followed by a dozen storms in quick succession.


If there is any statistical link between temperature, CO2 and storm occurrences I think it is clear that rising temperatures are associated with fewer storms not more.

Jo Nova: SA Blackout: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster


(Generic photo, not necessarily indicative of anything in SA)

I heard SA Premier, Jay Weatherall (there’s an ironic name for you). the man must be the biggest dill in politics in Australia. When the AM presenter asked him about the AEMO report indicating that the sudden shut-down of the wind farms was a big factor in the state-wide blackout he flat out denied it. Then he blustered for a few minutes and said that there was a glitch that shut down these wind generators on that day. And the cause of the shut down? At this point I couldn’t take any more and went for a shower.

Jo Nova details the steps that led to the catastrophic shut down of a state.

SA Blackout: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster

Finally, the gritty info we’ve been waiting for: The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) preliminary report. The message here is of how a combination of both transmission towers failing and probably the auto-shut-off of wind farms combined in 12 seconds to crash the South Australian system. It’s looking awfully bad for the wind industry. The AEMO pins the crash on the sudden reduction from the wind generators, but stops short of declaring why they dropped power so suddenly. Was it the auto-shut-offs, lightning strikes, a software glitch,  turbine failure, or was it a key transmission line that broke?  Reneweconomy is about the last-man-standing trying to defend the wind industry in Australia. Giles Parkinson argues it was the third transmission line that took out some wind generation.

Even if the third transmission tower took out two “farms”, the fragility of wind-dominated grids is on display. And above and beyond this, South Australian electricity is a management debacle. The only question is, which mistake was the worst: Is this is epic indulgence of running the wind farms flat out in a storm only to trigger a blackout with their auto shut offs? There’s a compelling case, but there are tenths or less of a second between events in these graphs, and no confirmation.

If it was transmission towers that ultimately broke the system, things don’t look better for wind power which needs so many long transmission lines to capture energy from sites spread far and wide, rather than connecting a few centralized spots like coal stations — and that’s expensive (thanks to Tom Quirk for pointing out that).

We’re still left wondering why were these towers so weak, was it freak tornados — where is that documentation?  Then there is the unknowable — could it have been prevented if the Port Augusta  coal station was still running, or if the wind farms had turned off earlier in an orderly fashion, or if the transmission towers had been solid?

The bottom line is that wind energy comes at a very high cost and makes the system either very expensive or horribly fragile or both. Given that wind farms aren’t providing cheap electricity — when the infrastructure and the costs of having back up “spinning reserve”  and baseload is taken into account — what’s the point of adding all this risk to the system? To change the weather?

How many engineers saw this epic fail coming?

Read the full article here

Inventor of Gaia Hypothesis Now Claims Climate Change Is Religon Not Science

From wattsupwiththat, news of a remarkable conversion

James Lovelock on Climate Prediction: “I’ve grown up a bit since then.”

A 2005 photograph of James Lovelock, scientist and author best known for the Gaia hypothesis.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t RichardJames Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia hypothesis which underpins much of modern environmentalism, now thinks global warming is a religion. He also points out Singapore, one of the warmest cities in the world, is also one of the most desirable places to live.

What has changed dramatically, however, is his position on climate change. He now says: “Anyone who tries to predict more than five to 10 years is a bit of an idiot, because so many things can change unexpectedly.”But isn’t that exactly what he did last time we met? “I know,” he grins teasingly. “But I’ve grown up a bit since then.”

Lovelock now believes that “CO2 is going up, but nowhere near as fast as they thought it would. The computer models just weren’t reliable. In fact,” he goes on breezily, “I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy, this climate change. You’ve only got to look at Singapore. It’s two-and-a-half times higher than the worst-case scenario for climate change, and it’s one of the most desirable cities in the world to live in.”

But there is a third explanation for why he has shifted his position again, and nowadays feels “laid back about climate change”. All things being equal – “and it’s only got to take one sizable volcano to erupt and all the models, everything else, is right off the board”

Lovelock maintains that, unlike most environmentalists, he is a rigorous empiricist, but it is manifestly clear that he enjoys maddening the green movement. “Well, it’s a religion, really, you see. It’s totally unscientific.

Read more:

Lovelock also points out that the rise of robots will completely invalidate concerns about people becoming “heat stressed” performing manual labour. As an IT specialist I have to say completely agree with him on this. Just as smart phones have evolved from huge bricks into intricate computerised assistants, so will the clunky automated vacuum cleaners and other automated appliances of today rapidly evolve into machines which take care of daily housework, and other manual tasks.

What I find most remarkable is that The Guardian is giving airtime to this climate heresy. Perhaps they are testing the water, to see how readers react.

After all, it is obvious to anyone remotely objective that the green religion is dying. It won’t take too many more South Australia style renewable energy disasters to completely finish what remains of the credibility of the green movement.

Jo Nova: There Were Warnings That Renewables Made The SA Grid Unstable

Jo Nova digs deeper than the politicians and mainstream media want you to see about the effect of wind power on the statewide blackout in SA. On the other side we have simultaneous claims that the storm was made worse by climate change (remember weather is not climate except what climate “scientists” say so) and a journal article that says that the flooding in SA was all imaginary because climate change is driving all the clouds in the Southern Ocean south leading to drought. Meanwhile the Greens are saying that now is not the time to “politicise” the issue by blaming the windmills, thereby politicising the issue.

Jo Nova writes:

The South Australian black out — A grid on the edge. There were warnings that renewables made it vulnerable

Australians are going to be talking about this for weeks. Indeed, the SA Blackout is the stuff of legend.

The Greens are blaming coal (what else?) for causing bad storms and blackouts. Forget that Queensland gets hit with cyclones all the time and the whole state grid doesn’t break. Some greenies are also raging against “the politicization” of the storms. Yes, Indeedy. Go tell that toWill Steffen.

We are not being told the whole story. We do know that South Australia has the highest emphasis on renewables in the world. It also has a fragile electricity network, andwild price spikes to boot. (Coincidence?) The death of a few transmission towers should not knock out a whole state, nor should it take so long to recover from. The storm struck worst north of Adelaide near Port Augusta but the juicy interconnector from Victoria runs in from the south, and goes right up past Adelaide and most of the population. Why couldn’t the broken parts of the system be isolated?

Digging around I find ominous warnings that while the lightning and winds probably caused the blackout, the state of the South Australian grid appeared to be teetering on the brink, without enough reserve, or without well planned protection mechanisms to cope with an inherently unstable system.  The excess of wind power made the system more fragile, and also made it harder to restore. There appear to be three reasons (at least) that excessive wind power is less fun, more costly, and golly, but if windmills don’t stop storms, why buy those expensive electrons?

Read the full article here (trigger warning- contains real facts)