Energy

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than petrol for global warming

Uh oh…more bad news for those proponents of biofuels…the so-called green fuels are actually worse for the environment.

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

Read more »

Want to combat global warming? You need to agree to fracking and nuclear power

I wonder if Gareth Hughes would care to comment on this news.

To be consistent with the MSM breathlessly reporting all doomsday IPCC predictions (most of which never eventuate) will we see headlines of fracking saving the environment and insightful comment from global warmists backing the IPCC findings ?

I think probably not.

Climate¬†scientists have backed Britain‚Äôs shale gas revolution ‚Äď saying it could help to slow¬† global warming.

The world’s leading experts on climate change say fracking will cut greenhouse gas emissions and should be made central to the country’s energy production.

It will help the UK move away from ‚Äėdirty‚Äô coal and contribute to saving the environment, according to a report by the influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report says it is ‚Äėquite clear‚Äô that fracking is ‚Äėvery consistent with low-carbon development‚Äô and the technology could ‚Äėsignificantly‚Äô reduce emissions.

The unexpected endorsement from 235 eminent United Nations scientists and economists will be a welcome boost to David Cameron, who is a keen advocate of the new technology.

It is also a blow to green activists, who seek cuts in greenhouse gas emissions but are concerned about the effects of fracking.¬† Read more »

Tricky David Cunliffe at it again

David Cunliffe’s messaging on power prices is as wonky as everything else he does.

On Facebook on April 8 he stated that Labour would be bringing prices down.

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That is pretty clear…David Cunliffe says Labour will bring down power prices.¬† Read more »

David Cameron mans up over wind farms

David Cameron is planning on going into the election promising to rid the countryside of appalling bird shredders.

Top stuff, and given they are hopeless at actually providing power will be a massive blessing as their subsidised uselessness is eradicated.

David Cameron wants to go into the next election pledging to ‚Äúrid‚ÄĚ the countryside of onshore wind farms, a source close to the Prime Minister has said.

Mr Cameron wants to toughen planning laws and tear up subsidy rules to make current turbines financially unviable ‚Äď allowing the Government to ‚Äúeradicate‚ÄĚ turbines, the source said.¬† Read more »

How are the Germans getting on with green energy? …Not so well it turns out

The German economy is almost on its knees as a result of green energy policies that are failing to deliver.

Germany is in the middle of one of the most audacious and ambitious experiments a major industrial economy has ever attempted: To swear off nuclear power and run Europe’s largest economy essentially on wind and solar power.

There’s just one problem — it’s not really working.

The energy transformation, known as “Energiewende,” was meant to give Germany an energy sector that would be cleaner and more competitive, fueling an export-driven economy and helping to slash greenhouse-gas emissions. On that count, the policy has floundered: German emissions are¬†rising, not falling, because the country is burning increasing amounts of dirty coal. And electricity costs, already high, have kept¬†rising, making life difficult for small and medium-sized businesses that compete against rivals with cheaper energy.¬† Read more »

Windpower sucks cash too

Windmills were abandoned in England over the late 1800s as the world progressed and developed better technologies, most windmills have been cleverly converted into the sort of homes you see on Grand Designs.

I wonder what they are going to do with all the obsolete bird slaughtering windmills when the taxpaying public finally put a halt to the massive subsidies the renewal industries receive.

Ironically the nasty stuff that is used to manufacture these noise polluting monstrosities are so toxic it means they will have to shipped for disassembly to a place with questionable labour standards.

Windflow Technology has posted a $2.8 million half-year loss.

This is almost 50 per cent higher than the previous half-year loss of $1.9m. ¬† Read more »

Mainstream media and so called “independent” consultants

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I see that TVNZ have trotted out Molly Melhuish as an “energy analyst”.

“It’s basically the generator retailers trying to raise the prices as high as the market will bear,” says energy analyst Molly Melhuish.

TV3 also interviewed her last month as an “independent energy consultant” to talk about the Green’s solar power policy

 

“But one¬†independent energy consultant, Molly Melhuish, believes solar is the way of the future for New Zealand.”

This is the same “independent energy consultant” that spoke at an Aotearoa Is Not For Sale march against asset sales in April last year, according to this (badly spelt) transcript of her speech:

Greypower now has a policy that says energy leglislation must say [that] all household energy and especially electricity must be provided in a manner that‚Äôs fair, sustainable, efficient, and reliable. That was the law in 2001- Labour changed the law to make that. [But] National government took away ‚Äúfair and sustainable‚ÄĚ [from legislation]. That is wrong.

What to do about it? Change the government!

The only way you will get a change is to change the government! Vote for it! Peter Love told you that¬† in the first speech; vote for change. Greypower sez vote for change. That‚Äôs your job ‚Äď We Greypower can support it but it is your job to vote for change.‚Ä̬† Read more »

Bludging wind farming ratbags

The bludging wind farming ratbags of the UK are forcing up the price of energy for consumers due to the massive subsidies for their failed technology.

Consumers face higher energy bills under Ofgem changes designed to help encourage wind farms in Scotland, experts have warned.

The planned overhaul of network charges will slash costs for Scottish wind farm developers by £1.3m a year but increase costs for southern power plants.

The reforms are the subject of fierce disagreement in the energy sector. Ofgem claims the changes, supported by some suppliers such as SSE, will save consumers money in the long term.

However a new report, published by consultancy NERA and commissioned by rival supplier RWE npower, warns they will do the opposite and put up bills by ¬£9 a year.¬† Read more »

Solar isn’t cheaper, or more effective, learn from Germany’s mistakes

The Green party wants to foist an energy policy upon New Zealand that is idiocy in the extreme. Industry sources say it is a hopelessly flawed policy, reliant on subsidies to work and even then it is based on a lie…that solar is cheap and effective.

Germany’s problems suggest the opposite.

Germany once prided itself on being the ‚Äúphotovoltaic world champion‚ÄĚ, doling out generous subsidies‚ÄĒtotaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany‚Äôs Ruhr University‚ÄĒto citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?

Subsidizing green technology is affordable only if it is done in tiny, tokenistic amounts. Using the government‚Äôs generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, more than double what the government had deemed ‚Äúacceptable.‚ÄĚ It is estimated that this increase alone will lead to a $260 hike in the average consumer‚Äôs annual power bill.

According to¬†Der Spiegel,¬†even members of Chancellor Angela Merkel‚Äôs staff are now describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp R√∂sler, Germany‚Äôs minister of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a ‚Äúthreat to the economy.‚ÄĚ

Germany‚Äôs enthusiasm for solar power is understandable. We could satisfy all of the world‚Äôs energy needs for an entire year if we could capture just one hour of the sun‚Äôs energy. Even with the inefficiency of current PV technology, we could meet the entire globe‚Äôs energy demand with solar panels by covering 250,000 square kilometers (155,342 square miles), about 2.6 percent of the Sahara Desert.¬† Read more »

More problems for the Green’s solar policy

The Green’s solar policy is reliant on subsidies…and as we know subsidies always blow out massively.

If you want to know how massively we only need look at a couple of examples…like Germany where the government is now faced with having to curtail the subsidies.

Two interesting stories that show, at least to me they do, that the subsidies offered to solar power were simply too large and too fast. The first is from Germany, where it looks like the European Union is going to take a very large bite out of a number of large companies. The second is from the US, where there’s a disturbing trend of solar cells failing after only a couple of years in the field.

Germany first: the basic story is that Germany has offered some of the world’s highest subsidies for solar PV installation. I work part of the time in eastern Germany and the place is festooned with them: in one of the climates least able to make efficient use of the technology. The method was that those installing PV were offered high and guaranteed rates for the electricity produced. These were paid for by inflating the electricity bills of users. The problem is that large industrial users simply could afford these rates (more like 28 euro cents per unit than the 10 US cents an American company might pay) for energy intensive processes. So, the German government created a system of opts out for large energy users: they would have to pay that extra to subsidise the solar installations.

That’s ludicrous, of course. You want all energy users to be paying for the installation of a new energy system (even if it is one as badly thought out as solar in Germany).

Germany is a silly place to push solar…I would have thought that New Zealand was too…given Aotearoa means “Land of the long white cloud”.

The other story comes from the US. It’s about the very shoddy quality of some of the solar panels that have been installed:

All solar panels degrade and gradually generate less electricity over time. But a review of 30,000 installations in Europe by the German solar monitoring firm Meteocontrol found 80 percent were underperforming. Testing of six manufacturers’ solar panels at two Spanish power plants by Enertis Solar in 2010 found defect rates as high as 34.5 percent.

The story here can be read two ways. There’s a lot of blaming Chinese companies in which case we might read it as just softening up people for the tariffs to be imposed upon Chinese solar panels. But this report is in the New York Times so it obviously couldn’t be something that politically nefarious. The other way is that shoddy production is an inevitable outcome of an industry expanding pell mell. Which would be an indication that we’re just trying to do this switch over to solar too fast. Which in itself would be an indication that we’ve set those subsidies too high: and also that it’s going to cost us a lot more than previously thought to replace those shoddily made components.