solar energy

State subsidies screw up solar sector, surprisingly

Neglected Solar array
Credit: First Solar

NoTricksZone reports from Germany that the promised prosperity from the “Solar Valley” in the old East Germany has gone tits up.

After hundreds of millions of Euro in subsidies, the green hi-tech German future has lost its lustre.

How many times have we heard the chorus from those in power about the “green jobs” that are going to be created as we transition to the “Zero Carbon” (whatever that stupid statement means) economy? Read more »

So there is someone with brains in Labour

Stuart Nash has got some brains, and he is challenging the Labour party to ditch their stupid power policy.

Labour’s controversial power-pricing plan is in the firing line, with energy spokesman Stuart Nash urging the party to dump the “questionable” policy.

The party is reviewing its manifesto after last year’s crushing election defeat. Nash is working on a discussion paper which proposes that NZ Power be dropped in favour of promoting cheaper solar power.

The brainchild of ex-finance spokesman David Parker, NZ Power would see the creation of a new state agency to buy electricity wholesale and bring down prices. It was announced in tandem with the Greens two years ago.

But critics said it would damage the renewable energy sector – and Nash, who took on the energy portfolio in November, agrees. He also believes the market is competitive.

“It will be my very strong recommendation that we drop NZ Power,” he said. “There are very few people that think it is a policy that’s needed in 2015. Maybe 10 years ago there was a strong argument for it, but not now.

“We have got a regulatory framework – the Commerce Commission and the Electricity Authority – which is out there looking at predatory behaviour, and also with a strong mandate to foster competition . . . you could argue that the level of competition necessary to drive prices down is coming in.” ?? Read more »

They fry birds now they are a hazard to aircraft…welcome to green energy

Birds are being fried by the new solar plant in California and now the massive plant is blinding pilots…not sure this green energy malarky is working so well.

Airplane pilots cruising over southern California have been complaining about a ?nearly blinding? glare emanating from a massive government-funded solar thermal facility.

The Ivanpah solar energy plant in San Bernardino County is the world?s largest solar thermal plant and has 173,500 large mirrors that reflect sunlight onto boilers in three 459-foot towers. A feat of modern engineering ? to green energy advocates, but a flying hazard to pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration?s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) got two anonymous complaints in August that mentioned a ?blinding glare? coming from the Ivanpah solar facility. One complaint came from a Los Angeles air traffic controller and the other from a small transport plane pilot that took off from an airport in Boulder City, Nevada.

?The FAA is aware of potential glare from solar plants and is exploring how to best alert pilots to the issue,? an FAA spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.? 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 ?photovoltaic world champion?, doling out generous subsidies?totaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany?s Ruhr University?to 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?s generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, more than double what the government had deemed ?acceptable.? It is estimated that this increase alone will lead to a $260 hike in the average consumer?s annual power bill.

According to?Der Spiegel,?even members of Chancellor Angela Merkel?s staff are now describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp R?sler, Germany?s minister of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a ?threat to the economy.?

Germany?s enthusiasm for solar power is understandable. We could satisfy all of the world?s energy needs for an entire year if we could capture just one hour of the sun?s energy. Even with the inefficiency of current PV technology, we could meet the entire globe?s 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.

If solar power is the answer it must have been a bloody stupid question

Now don’t get me wrong, I know solar power on a small scale works very, very well but when you scale that is when things go wrong.

A windy stretch of the Mojave Desert once roamed by tortoises and coyotes has been transformed by hundreds of thousands of mirrors into the largest solar power plant of its type in the world.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 13 square kilometres of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opened Thursday (NZT Friday) after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.

”The Ivanpah project is a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy,” US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement after attending a dedication ceremony at the site.

”This project shows that building a clean-energy economy creates jobs, curbs greenhouse gas emissions and fosters American innovation.”

The US$2.2 billion (NZ$2.5b) complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts – enough power for 140,000 homes. It began making electricity last year.

A shining example? Really?? Read more »

The ugly reality of alternative energy

The Green Taliban blight spreads over the world like a cancer. ?Hideous wind farms despoil the horizon; inefficient and ugly solar panels carpet the ground, the Amazon forests are levelled and burned so that green troughers can suck up biofuel subsidies and starve the poor.

Has there ever been a greater threat to the environment?

Row after row, this astonishing array of solar panels has completely engulfed an enormous 30-acre field in the heart of the countryside.

As this aerial photograph reveals, acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside have been blighted as a result, by 18,000 solar panels.

The solar farm covers a staggering 30 acres of land creating a massive eyesore in the centre of an otherwise picturesque view.

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Solar farms like this one have sprung up in recent years as farmers collect up to ?50,000 a year in green subsidies – this site is made up of 18,000 solar PV panels, mounted on nine kilometres of frames using 5,000 ground screws

Read more »

Unravelling the great renewables scam

The green taliban go on and on about renewables, even pretend conservative like Farrar rabbit on about the ‘benefits’ of wind power.

But more and evidence mounts that even though they may be ‘renewable’ energy projects, they are far from sustainable.

Energy insiders have long known that the notion of ?renewable energy? is a romantic proposition ? and an economic bust. But it is amazing what the lure of guaranteed ?few strings attached? government subsidies can achieve. Even the Big Oil companies bought into the renewables revolution, albeit mostly for PR reasons. Like Shell, however, many quickly abandoned their fledgling renewable arms. Post-2008, they knew, the subsidy regimes could not last. Neither was the public buying into the new PR message.

Now it was just a question of time before Europe?s world leading pioneers of solar and wind power, Germany and the UK, decided they had had enough of the self-inflicted economic pain. And all the signs are ? as Germany?s solar sector just went belly up and the UK is made aware of how much every wind job actually costs ? that the slow implosion of the renewables revolution is under way.

The plain fact is that installing solar panels, especially in the northern hemisphere, makes about as much economic sense as Iran heading up a UN Human Rights Commission (which it has done by the way). Equally, the viability of windfarms has always been the renewables industry?s worst kept secret.

And yet, aided by aggressive and heavily-funded green lobbies, leftist social engineers, appalling journalism, naive politicians and unscrupulous opportunistic renewable energy entrepreneurs, wind turbines and the photovoltaic industry quickly became established facts on the ground, giving the appearance of economic ?viability?. Why else would government back them using our cash? ? Read more »

Whale Week What Was

QC7kkThe blog started Saturday by having a look at a number of Christchurch?people taking pictures up women’s skirts?at malls. ?And wouldn’t you know it? ?A teacher was arrested as well. ?Iain Lees-Galloway shows he is a slimy git by opening a Burger King and then refusing to take a bite, preferring to preach sensible food choices. ?Cam then called for nominations for Worst Political Journalist, and Barry Soper and John Campbell appeared hot favourites. ? Next we had a vote on Best Political Journalist, which Larry Williams took out with a massive 47% of the vote. ?Graham McCready withdrew?litigation?against John Banks because it made no sense to anyone – as in – they couldn’t understand what it said. ?Whale then claims a win on his Hekia Parata predictions and wonders why Key has let this train wreck happen. ?We raise our eyebrows about Nelson looking for a scooter riding bottom pincher and then watch a video of what happens to a pig at the bottom of the sea over 7 days. ?Next a post where Greens are fighting Greens over the Google solar plant. ?On the one side: solar energy. ?On the other? Turtles. ? Charles Krauthammer explains why gun control alone isn’t the solution to mass shootings. ? A MENSA spokesperson calls people with low IQs carrots and the BBC feels they have to apologise. ?There is a property for sale next to Kim Dotcom‘s place. ?Cam suggests the GCSB or the US should have bought it to set up spying operations. ? WOBH is calling for The Whale Army to send in their holiday snaps, in a new feature called Snapped! ?Cam takes a brief look at who will enter parliament if Tim Groser leaves for the WTO. ?To close the day, a?WhaleTech post looks at a the cull-de-sac that’s the QII roll-up keyboard. Read more »

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Breaking Wind

The relentless, daily, news about the collapse of every dingbat Green environmental policy is getting hard to endure.

And reading this, (in the New York Times mind you)?together with every other report about Green political failures in ethanol, carbon tax, electric cars and solar energy at the same time as polls show these fools might be in government in NZ is pretty hard to take.

At its peak in 2008 and 2009, the industry employed about 85,000 people, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry?s principal trade group.

About 10,000 of those jobs have disappeared since, according to the association, as wind companies have been buffeted by weak demand for electricity, stiff competition from cheap natural gas and cheaper options from Asian competitors. Chinese manufacturers, who can often underprice goods because of generous state subsidies, have moved into the American market and have become an issue in the larger trade tensions between the countries. In July, the United States Commerce Department imposed tariffs on steel turbine towers from China after finding that manufacturers had been selling them for less than the cost of production.

And now, on top of the business challenges, the industry is facing a big political problem in Washington: the Dec. 31 expiration of a federal tax credit that makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity.

It would be nice if the MSM in NZ picked up some of the load from bloggers and informed people about this useless party and their failing policies.

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