At The Register, Andrew Orlowski attended the talk and has a news article describing Steve McIntyre’s talk at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, which was an event hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
McIntyre’s statement on wind power is interesting:
The entire rationale of policy in US and Europe has been to ignore what’s happening in China and India and hope that petty acts of virtuous behaviour in both countries will cure the problem,” he said. “Even if you install windmills you’re not going to change the trend of overall CO2 emissions.”
Actually, it is worse than that. As Bishop Hill reports, it turns out that windmills in the UK at net positive for CO2 emissions. He writes:
Ever since Gordon Hughes’ report noted that wind power was more likely to produce more carbon dioxide emissions than [natural] gas, I have been looking for the figures behind the claim. In the comments, someone has now posted some details that seem to meet the bill. Although these are not Hughes’ own numbers -they were submitted in evidence to Parliament by an engineer - I assume they are similar.
[A]s wind rarely produces more than 25% of its faceplate capacity it needs 75% backup – which due to the necessity of fast response times needs OCGT generation (CCGT can respond quickly but the heat-exchanger systems upon which their increased efficiency relies, cannot – so CCGT behaves like OCGT under these circumstances). CCGT produces 0.4 tonnes of CO2 per MWh, OCGT produces 0.6 tonnes. Thus 0.6 tonnes x 75% = 0.45 tonnes. Conclusion: Wind + OCGT backup produces more 0.05 tonnes of CO2 per MWh than continuous CCGT.
In case you are not familiar with the terms:
OCGT = Open Cycle Gas Turbine
- In a gas turbine, large volumes of filtered air are fed in the compressor section of the engine. In an OCGT the multistage compressor squeezes the air to from normal pressure up to 40 times atmospheric pressure depending on the type of turbine.
- Fuel is distributed to the various combustion chambers surrounding the gas turbine. This then mixes with the compressed air and ignition and combustion takes place.
- The combustion gasses expand rapidly and this energy is transmitted to the axial turbine blades which drive the rotor shaft.
- The rotor torque is transmitted to both the compressor section of the gas turbine and the external electrical generator.
In a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT), the hot exhaust gases of a gas turbine, or turbines, are used to provide all, or a portion of, the heat source for a heat exchanger (called a heat recovery steam generator) to supply a steam turbine.
So I think the time has come to stop tilting at windmills. End the subsidies that make them temporarily attractive and let shale gas step in and help solve the emissions problem as it has already been doing:
PITTSBURGH (AP) — In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
Everyone acts so surprised by this news, but I had it on WUWT over a month ago.
I predict that in a few years, when the subsidies run out, many wind farms will look like this one in Hawaii, now abandoned because it it too expensive to maintain:
Related, via Jo Nova:
Hydroelectricity produces 16% of the total. But all the vanity renewables bundled together make about 3.5% of total. Wind power is a major global industry but it’s only making 1.4% of total electricity. And solar is so pathetically low that it needs to be bundled with ‘tidal & wave’ power to even rate 0.1% (after rounding up). If world’s solar powered units all broke tonight, it would not dent global electricity production a jot. No one connected to a grid would notice.
UPDATE: Hans Labohm writes in with a supporting study:
In The Netherlands Kees le Pair (Dutchman) has recently completed his
analysis on wind energy over here.
It confirms the conclusions of Hughes.
The English version of his report can be found here:
Hans H.J. Labohm