A Subsidy That’s Blowin’ in the Wind

Guest post by Steve Goreham

Logo of the American Wind Energy Association.

Logo of the American Wind Energy Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. wind industry is in despair. The Production Tax Credit (PTC), a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour to producers of electricity from wind turbines, is set to expire at the end of this year. The American Wind Energy Association cites a study by Navigant Consulting, claiming that, “…37,000 Americans stand to lose their jobs by the end of the first quarter of 2013 if Congress does not extend the PTC.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups have rushed to the defense of the PTC. The Sierra Club states, “At a time when we need clean energy more than ever, we simply cannot afford to let the PTC expire.” The PTC is the cornerstone of President Obama’s green energy program and a key measure supported by environmental efforts to fight global warming.

The Production Tax Credit was established by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to support the nascent wind industry. But twenty years later, is this subsidy still needed? By the end of 2011, 39,000 wind turbine towers were operating in the United States and about 185,000 turbines were in operation worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency. This is no longer an infant industry. Despite the large number of wind towers, wind provides less than one percent of U.S. energy and less than one percent of global energy. A one-year extension of the PTC would cost American taxpayers over $12 billion.

In September, 19 companies sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives, urging extension of the PTC. Why would Johnson & Johnson, Sprint, Starbucks, and other signers of the letter support subsidies for another industry? They voiced concern that “Failure to extend the PTC for wind would tax our companies and thousands of others like us that purchase significant amounts of renewable energy…”

Never has corporate America been so misguided. Foolish policies like the PTC and proactive company programs to buy “green” renewable energy are based on Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate. An increasing body of science shows that climate change is natural and that human emissions are insignificant. Nevertheless, Johnson & Johnson’s web site claims a reduction of 23 percent in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990‒2010. That emissions reduction and two bucks might get you a cup of Starbuck’s coffee.

While many people would like to power the world with zephyrs, the intermittency of the wind means that wind turbines cannot replace conventional nuclear, natural gas, or coal power plants. The 39,000 U.S. wind turbines generated only 29% of their rated output during 2011. When the wind doesn’t blow, conventional power plants must provide backup power if continuity of electrical supply is to be maintained.

In fact, electricity sourced from wind turbines does not cut CO2 emissions from a power system. Because of the rapid variation in the wind, backup coal or natural gas power plants must frequently and inefficiently cycle on and off to support demand. Studies from electrical power systems in Netherlands, Colorado, and Texas show that combined wind-conventional systems emit more CO2 and use more fuel than conventional systems alone.

Wind is also more costly than conventional systems. Analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows that electricity from both coal and natural gas is much less expensive than from wind power, without requiring subsidies for operation. The DOE estimates the world has 200 years of technically recoverable reserves of natural gas, thanks to the hydraulic fracturing revolution. If the theory of man-made global warming is wrong, why subsidize another wind turbine?

The government can always provide subsidies to create jobs or to sustain jobs, but this may not be the best public policy. Thomas Jefferson was correct when he said, “It is error alone which requires the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” Suppose we let the wind industry compete on its own merit?

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the new book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania

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125 thoughts on “A Subsidy That’s Blowin’ in the Wind

  1. Interesting numbers – if correct: $12bn/yr buys 37,000 jobs. These jobs pay (to be precise, cost us) an average $324,000 dollars per year. No wonder PTC receivers fight for an extension furiously.

  2. Maybe J&J et al believe their customers strongly support climatist fantasies and are pandering to this. If so, it is a form of brand advertising for them.

    Or maybe they want to just get on the gravy train themselves.

  3. Economics and logic do not matter. Building and operating windmills gives you a warm, tingly, green feeling. That’s what counts. Dominion Power just sent their users an offer to by RECs for green energy. I can have 100% of my home’s electricity from green sources for only $130/mWh. That’s about twice the residential rate and 3 times the typical spot rate. I’m not all that thrilled to pay twice as much for my power and I know most businesses don’t want their rates significantly increased. So, tell me why wind turbines with subsidies are so wonderful?

  4. , “…37,000 Americans stand to lose their jobs by the end of the first quarter of 2013 if Congress does not extend the PTC.” <- total bull, people need to read "Economics in One Lesson"

  5. Oh yes, and the wind turbines are unsightly. Ask the people of northwestern Ohio who are now …”pitching a fit” over their new landscape. All energy production has its local impacts, and the cost/benefit on wind is the worst of the lot.

  6. I abhor subsidies.
    But I also abhor financial step functions.
    The mistake, aside from creating the subsidy in the first place, is to terminate it cold turkey. It is therefore much too easy to extend it!

    Far better is to sunset any such ill conceived program gradually, say reduce the $0.022/kwhr by $0.002/kwhr per quarter. It is gone in 2.5 years and there is no “cliff” of sudden layoffs. The most inefficient go out of business first leaving the survivors with better economics via lesser competition.

  7. In Oklahoma, OG&E is pushing windpower with a bizarre claim that that the customer will receive Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) which of course cannot be resold. The cost is quoted (@100% entry) as 0.007/KWH which they claim is only about $7 a month for the average user of 1000 KWH /month. This however is about my base usage and actual is about 2.5 times more @ around $18/month (all electric). Not a lot considering, but then when the PTC drops off…..
    They also pulled another sneaky in that they failed a rate increase request (probably needed from wind power as natural gas prices have taken a big dip), but then increased their Fuel Factor Adjustment which use to bounce around and typically average negative, to a constant 0.0313 /KWH to make up for it. This is obviously a lot more than 0.007/KWH and amounts to around $75/month average for me. Another 0.022 /KWH would push that up another $55/month. I would say that wind power is already starting to make a significant impact.

  8. Well I for one am looking forward to freezing to death during the next LIA waiting for my wind electricity. These morons need to grow a pair and tell them live or die but do it on your own.

  9. Bob says:
    November 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Economics and logic do not matter. Building and operating windmills gives you a warm, tingly, green feeling. That’s what counts. Dominion Power just sent their users an offer to by RECs for green energy. I can have 100% of my home’s electricity from green sources for only $130/mWh.

    =======================================================================

    They don’t actually rewire your supply. You get it off the grid, just like your neighbors.

    https://www.dom.com/dominion-virginia-power/customer-service/energy-conservation/pdf/renew-energy-cert.pdf

  10. $18B in subsidies to retain 37,000 jobs for a year. Very bad deal. $18B would yield 500,000 jobs paying $16.60/hour ($35k for a year).

  11. As the analysis indicates, wind generated electrical power results in an increase in CO2 emissions and an increase in SO2 and NO2 emission due the cycling of power plants that are not designed to be cycled on and off.

    So in addition to increasing the cost of electric power to individuals and industry which is a hidden tax, there is no offsetting “green” benefit.

    As many are aware wind turbine construction is moving to China. So the wind jobs are for erection and maintenance of the wind turbines.

    “Green” wind power is win-win if one is an AGW fanatic that who has no understanding of basic engineering and economics facts.

    The following is an excerpt from one of the studies linked to above.

    “This result is shown in the last column of table 2. A reduction of overall efficiency say from 55 to 50% does not appear dramatic. But it does mean that the total wind turbine and auxiliary investment is useless in the sense that no emission reduction or fossil fuel saving has been achieved. This fact, that the investment in the hardware has meant a significant amount of extra fossil energy that will never be recuperated, aggravates the situation.

    One can question whether a reduction in conventional generating efficiency by wind turbine involvement has been noticed at all, because this reduction is spread out in a random manner over the many providers and types of power stations.

    We like to stress again that our estimate is only concerned with the operational phase of wind turbines. Extra energy and labour costs resulting from the need to have 90 to 100% back-up and the energy and expense required for bringing wind electricity to and on the high tension network have not been considered.
    The back-up issue will with high certainty remain below the radar in the Netherlands for as long as the amount of wind power is modest. It certainly has not yet been noticed by the environmental movement nor the Dutch environmental minister Jacqueline Cramer or minister of Economic affairs Maria Van Der Hoeven.”

    The following are other independent studies that reach the same conclusion.

    http://www.aweo.org/windEon2004.html

    Eon Netz, the grid manager for about a third of Germany, discusses the technical problems of connecting large numbers of wind turbines [click here]: Electricity generation from wind fluctuates greatly, requiring additional reserves of “conventional” capacity to compensate; high-demand periods of cold and heat correspond to periods of low wind; only limited forecasting is possible for wind power; wind power needs a corresponding expansion of the high-voltage and extra-high-voltage grid infrastructure; and expansion of wind power makes the grid more unstable.

    http://www.aweo.org/windCourtney1.html

    This paper is the explanation provided by Richard S Courtney of why it is not possible for electricity from windfarms to be useful to the UK electricity grid. The explanation was presented at the 2004 Conference of “Groups Opposed to Windfarms in the UK.” It includes explanation of why use of windfarms is expensive and increases pollution from electricity generation.

  12. Where was the bailout for the 18,000 Hostess workers about to be out of work? The people who won’t be hired due to Obamacare? The people laid off due to Obamacare? Etc. Jobs are not a good reason for extending subsidies. Jobs are lost every day. To keep paying for an expensive, very useless form of energy to just maintain jobs is not good. However, if one must retain the jobs, pay the workers, pay the wind plant owners and pay for the electricity they would have generated without damaging the planet with more of those spinning bat-killers. It would be better for electric costs, the environment and the grid. It would, of course, be brutally transparent. Right now we can pretend the money is spent on something valuable.

  13. The wind industry has taken advantage of the public’s ignorance about utility operations and costs and have produced simplistic and misleading “analyses” of wind energy costs and carbon reductions. One point made in the article above, however is misleading and irrelevant per se : the
    low output capacity of wind turbines. The turbine’s capacity is only relevant when it is proves
    distinctly lower than the capacity planned and expected. 29% (for land based turbines) is not much lower than that typically expected (usually around 33%) . While a much lower capacity certainly would drive up the cost of wind power, the actual economics are determined by much broader considerations than wind proponents admit. That is where they mislead – since wind cannot replace a single megawatt of reliable power capacity, you end up with near duplication of capacity, which drives up costs enormously. And the need for backing upwind requires fossil fuel burning (with no power output),and that accounts for wind’s inability to reduce CO2 . The subsidy
    amount, interestingly enough, is about the same as the cost of producing nuclear power..

  14. Ethanol has lost its direct subsidy – so too should wind and solar both. I’d be ok with allowing renewable fuel credits in some fashion for wind and solar, but the subsidies have produced no real benefit in reducing fossil fuel use.

    Worse – the vast majority of the money is going overseas – for both solar and wind equipment.

    Worse yet is crap like this – DOWN-RATING wind generators to take advantage of higher rates for “small” installations – what a load of crap

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8766481/the-great-british-wind-scam/

  15. Wind energy is the least green energy on the planet. It’s costs in materials, manufacture, ecological footprint, noise pollution, shadow pollution, ice throwing, maintenance, and seriously limited lifetime means that wind energy is just plain not practical and is indeed unsustainable. It uses resources that are in very short supply—finally, something that fits the UN’s idea of unsustainability!

  16. “Failure to extend the PTC for wind would tax our companies and thousands of others like us that purchase significant amounts of renewable energy…”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    LOL. They want to buy green energy, but they want someone else to pay for it.

  17. They are happy to kill hundreds of thousands of jobs in the real economy through their catastrophic advocacy, yet they protest loudly at the loss of a few thousand pseudo-jobs that they ‘created’. Without enormous subsidies those ‘green’ jobs would not exist; they’re dishonest endeavors that add no value to the economy. Let the regular economy thrive once more and for every ‘green’ job lost +2.8 jobs in the real economy will be gained and the taxpayers will save billions in unnecessary taxes, levies, and bureaucracy.

  18. A. Scott, yes, the subsidy for ethanol got dropped, but the trade off for the industry was a planned mandate to increase the % from 10 to 15%, creating a larger volume market. Get the damned government out of both subsidies and mandates! Yes, the loss of the PTC will be a blow to the wind industry, but with the dumb public policy of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) for wind in so many damned states, that will keep the turbines being erected. I live in Maine. Connecticut, which consumes 3 times as much electricity has a 20% by year 2020 RPS. Where do you suppose the wind turbines will go, in the rich gentry countryside of Connecticut or in the poor rural towns in beautiful Maine? The RPS is bad public policy created by pandering politicians kowtowing to the greenwashing mania in this country.

  19. Someone needs to seriously investigate the link between George Soros (the hedge fund manager aka currency manipulator) and Michael E. Mann (data manipulator). Soros’ billions are (1) currently heavily invested in green energy companies and (2) the source of Mann’s legal defense fund. Soros’ green hedge fund even has Cathy Zoi, an ex-undersecretary of Energy under Obama, on staff. Conflict of interest, much? Please, investigative journalists need to look into this. Soros is like an octopus with tentacles up every skirt.

  20. So approximately the entire annual salary of 500000 average Americans is wasted on subsidies that keep 37000 people working. Assinine idiotic government controlled BS. My grandfather survived the 1930s Depression and said the words he feared most was I am from the government and I am bere to help.

  21. Bob,

    If congress is transparent enough and calls a spade a spade, the correct name for the PTC should have been an Act to repeal the law of supply of and demand for the Wind Power Industry. It will never work in the long run, not after 20 years, 50 years, 100 years. In fact if the Wind Power Industry is to mature and stand on its own two feet, the 20 year subsidy was too long. It is making the industry a spoiled brat. A 20 year subsidy period is not nurturing an emerging industry. This holds true for the other renewable energy industry.

  22. So they are saying that we can solve unemployment by using tax money to pay people to work. It It will result in more tax revenue from the incomes which we can use to pay for it. So that works out well. Doncha just love the Socialist free lunch?

  23. In one respect, I find myself in agreement with the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition letter in support of the PTC, which says, “The nation’s wind industry is again facing the boom-bust cycle in large measure due to an inconsistent tax policy.” I agree that we should reduce the uncertainty by adopting a consistent policy. Specifically, a policy of government non-interference in the industry — zero subsidy. Let the generating companies decide which is more cost-effective. Where wind power is less expensive than conventional power sources, it will be used; where it is less efficient, it won’t be.

    The Representatives’ letter opposing extension of the PTC says, “Our nation can simply no longer afford to pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace.” The problem is that government has an inherent tendency to favor losers; winning approaches tend to be self-starting and don’t need to lobby for government support.

  24. In the good old days, the idea was to make large amounts of electricity with as few a number of employees as possible – it’s called productivity. In the new era of wind power, the idea seems to be to make a small amount of electricity with as many employees as possible – it’s called economic madness (or, to be politically correct – sustainability).

  25. It is not only about subsidies. The full weight of environmental protection & regulation should be brought down on industrial scale wind farms. Externalities like infrasound emissions (down to 0.1 Hz & up to 120 dB), road networks built for heavy trucks in pastoral landscapes, endangered birds chopped and the like should be payed for by the industry itself, at full price. End-of-lifecycle decommissioning should be enforced, by compulsory reserves built for that specific purpose. Never let them escape to bankruptcy, making the general public pay for it from taxpayer’s money.

  26. at least the MSM in Australia are calling out Tim Flannery for once:

    27 Nov: Andrew Bolt: Flannery’s 100 per cent fantasy
    Terry McCrann fact-checks Chief Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery’s latest prediction:
    The latest effort from its so-called ‘chief climate commissioner’ really takes the cake with his absurd claim that Australia could be powered “almost entirely by renewable energy.” …
    Yes, the body of his report does note that some 65 per cent of that 10 per cent comes from hydro. It’s arguably closer to 80 per cent in non-drought years.
    That means barely 2 per cent of our total electricity comes from what the average person would think as ‘renewable’… Wind and solar…
    That means even using his optimistic numbers for current wind and solar generation, we would have to increase our installations of wind and solar by at least forty times what they are today to get 100 per cent of our electricity from these two “plentiful” sources….
    But that’s to produce today’s power. Flannery’s talking about some decades ahead, when our demands will probably have doubled. So make that a 160-fold increase in windmills…
    Solar and wind could even be the cheapest sources of power for retail users by 2030, Flannery trumpeted. As carbon prices rise, he added.
    Yes, the greatest half-truth of the climate propagandists. Make real power sources ridiculously, unnecessarily expensive and suddenly wind and solar become “cheap.”…

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/flannerys_100_per_cent_fantasy/

    the day of reckoning is coming as more and more people find they can’t pay their bills on account of this CAGW lunacy…

  27. Here is a ripper of a quote, sums it up in a few words…
    Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
    — Ronald Reagan (1986)

    “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” – Former U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, 1986

    Sorry I added another quote…
    Rupert

  28. “A one-year extension of the PTC would cost American taxpayers Chinese Lenders over $12 billion.”

    There, that’s more accurate… by the time we pay back the debt, it will be over $24 Billion… then again, maybe we’ll just “Pull an Argentina” and default on it…

  29. Years ago I was sailing from Boston to the Bahamas on a sailboat, and the engine quit. So I know what it is like to have to rely on the wind.

    We spent three days standing still with the water glassy in a dead calm. Each hour that passed, the Gulf Stream was drifting us back northwards around two miles. After three days we had drifted over a hundred miles the way we didn’t want to go.

    People can get all romantic about the age of sail, and marvel over how beautiful clipper ships were, and scorn how dumpy tankers look. However when the wind is blowing you towards a reef, it sure is nice to have some sort of back up power. Many sailors died, during the “beautiful” age of sail, because they relied on wind alone.

    Considering wind power is so dependant on back up power, to get us where we want to go, one wonders why we don’t skip the wind, and rely on back up power alone. This is especially true when you consider the fact wind turbines are neither as clean, cheap nor as environmentally friendly as people orginally promiced.

  30. 37,000 jobs to be lost if the US doesn’t subsidise wind-power? I wonder how many lives will be LOST if America doesn’t get its government finances in order? Witness the depression in Greece where ordinary people cannot get life-saving medicines because the government cannot be trusted to pay the pharmaceutical companies.

  31. eo:

    At November 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm you say

    If congress is transparent enough and calls a spade a spade, the correct name for the PTC should have been an Act to repeal the law of supply of and demand for the Wind Power Industry. It will never work in the long run, not after 20 years, 50 years, 100 years. In fact if the Wind Power Industry is to mature and stand on its own two feet, the 20 year subsidy was too long. It is making the industry a spoiled brat. A 20 year subsidy period is not nurturing an emerging industry. This holds true for the other renewable energy industry.

    The wind industry is the most “mature” energy industry in the world.
    The falsehood that wind needed “support” to “mature” is an example of Goebbles’ technique of propaganda; i.e. if a lie is to be believed then it has to be so outrageously untrue that few would doubt such a thing would be said unless it were true.

    Wind power has been used for centuries. Wind energy powered most of the world’s shipping for thousands of years. Primitive wind turbines powered pumps (notably in the Netherlands and England) and mills throughout Europe for centuries.

    There are a number of types of wind turbines. They are divided into Vertical-Axis and Horizontal-Axis types.

    Vertical-axis windmills to mill corn were first developed by the Persians around 1500 BC, and they were still in use in the 1970’s in the Zahedan region. Sails were mounted on a boom attached to a shaft that turned vertically. The technology had spread to Northern Africa and Spain by 500 BC (3). Low-speed, vertical-axis windmills are still popular in Finland because they operate without adjustment when the direction of the wind changes. These inefficient Finnish wind turbines are usually made from a 200 litre oil drum split in half and are used to pump water and to aerate land (3). Low speed vertical-axis windmills for water pumping and air compressing are commercially available (a selection of commercial suppliers is at http://energy.sourceguides.com/businesses/byP/water/wPumpMills/wPumpMills.shtml).

    The horizontal-axis wind turbine was invented in Egypt and Greece around 300 BC. It had 8 to 10 wooden beams rigged with sails, and a rotor which turned perpendicular to the wind direction. This type of wind turbine later became popular in Portugal and Greece.

    Around 1200 AD, the crusaders built and developed the post-mill for milling grain. The turbine was mounted on a vertical post and could be rotated on top the post to keep the turbine facing the wind.

    This post-mill technology was first adopted for electricity generation in Denmark in the late 1800’s. The technology soon spread to the U.S. where it was used to pump water and to irrigate crops across the Great Plains. During World War I, some American farmers rigged wind turbines to each generate 1 kW of DC current. Such wind turbines were mounted on buildings and towers. On western farms and railroad stations, wind turbines for pumping water were between 6 and 16m high and had 2 to 3m diameter. With 15kmh wind speed, a 2m-diameter turbine operating a 60cm diameter pump cylinder could lift 200 litres of water per hour to a height of 12m. A 4m diameter turbine could lift 250 litres per hour to a height of 38m.

    The above brief history demonstrates that wind turbines can have useful niches to the present day. For example, small wind turbines can be used to economically pump water or generate electricity in remote locations distant to – or disconnected from (e.g. on boats) – an electricity grid supply. But wind power lost favour when the greater energy concentration in fossil fuels became widely available by use of steam engines.

    Wind power has recently found favour for large scale electricity generation in some places, but the use of windpower was abandoned for such purposes with invention of the steam engine because it is uneconomic and impractical. Windpower is intermittent, inefficient and controlled by the wind. Water power was also used for centuries but was not abandoned with invention of the steam engine because water power is continuous, efficient, and controlled by its operators.

    The steam engine is a much more modern technology than windpower and is inherently more economic and practical than windpower. Clearly, according to the arguments of windpower advocates, steam engine technology should be subsidised so it can “mature”.

    Richard

  32. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/18/mcintyres-talk-in-london-plus-the-uks-tilting-at-windmills-may-actually-increase-co2-emissions-over-natural-gas/#comment-1062160

    [adapted from a 2009 comment]

    Here is an excellent report from Germany. E.On Netz is (probably still) the largest wind power generator in the world.

    E.On Netz Wind Power Report 2005, Germany

    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf

    Capacity Factor was ~20% (” The average feed-in over the year was 1,295MW, around one fifth of the average installed wind power capacity over the year”).

    Perhaps more important than Capacity Factor is Substitution Factor, ~8% in 2005 and dropping to 4% by 2020 (this is “an objective measure of the extent to which wind farms are able to replace traditional power stations”).

    Because wind does not blow all the time, you need almost 100% conventional power station backup for installed wind power.

    In conclusion:

    Wind power does not require “75% backup” or “4 times backup” – when wind power forms a significant component of grid generating capacity, it requires almost 100% backup from conventional power sources.

    That is why wind power requires huge life-of-project subsidies and why it is fundamentally uneconomic.

    Pumped storage is not a solution, except perhaps in the few parts of the world where hydro power is significant, and where additional pumped storage is available that is not already dedicated to other uses.

    When wind power is significant, it can dangerously destabilize the entire electrical grid – see the example below from Christmas 2004 in Germany.

    ****************************************

    EXCERPTS from
    E.On Netz Wind Power Report 2005, Germany
    formerly at http://www.eon-netz.com/…/EON_Netz_Windreport2005

    FIGURE 5 shows the annual curve of wind power feed-in in the E.ON control area for 2004, from which it is possible to derive the wind power feed-in during the past year:
    1. The highest wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid was just above 6,000MW for a brief period, or put another way the feed-in was around 85% of the installed wind power capacity at the time.
    2. The average feed-in over the year was 1,295MW, around one fifth of the average installed wind power capacity over the year.
    3. Over half of the year, the wind power feed-in was less than 14% of the average installed wind power capacity over the year.

    The feed-in capacity can change frequently within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6, which reproduces the course of wind power feedin during the Christmas week from 20 to 26 December 2004.

    Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only 10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.

    Handling such significant differences in feed-in levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.
    __________

    In order to also guarantee reliable electricity supplies when wind farms produce little or no power, e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related shutdowns, traditional power station capacities must be available as a reserve. This means that wind farms can only replace traditional power station capacities to a limited degree.

    An objective measure of the extent to which wind farms are able to replace traditional power stations, is the contribution towards guaranteed capacity which they make within an existing power station portfolio. Approximately this capacity may be dispensed within a traditional power station portfolio, without thereby prejudicing the level of supply reliability.

    In 2004 two major German studies investigated the size of contribution that wind farms make towards guaranteed capacity. Both studies separately came to virtually identical conclusions, that wind energy currently contributes to the secure production capacity of the system, by providing 8% of its installed capacity. As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability of the wind farms determines the reliability of the system as a whole to an ever increasing extent. Consequently the greater reliability of traditional power stations becomes increasingly eclipsed.

    As a result, the relative contribution of wind power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously to around 4% (FIGURE 7).

    In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.

    *****************

  33. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/06/from-the-ieee-a-skeptic-looks-at-alternative-energy/#comment-1026391

    “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

    Written by Sallie, Tim and me in 2002 – apparently, that was just too difficult to understand.
    Full article at http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    Ten years and a trillion wasted dollars later, even some of the dimmest politicians are beginning to realize that wind and solar power and corn ethanol are “wasteful, inefficient energy solutions” that “simply cannot replace fossil fuels”.

    Ten years and a trillion wasted dollars later, even some of the dimmest citizens are beginning to realize that we are governed by scoundrels and imbeciles. :-)

  34. Reality check says:
    November 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Where was the bailout for the 18,000 Hostess workers about to be out of work? The people who won’t be hired due to Obamacare?…
    _________________________________
    However putting money in the pockets of your buddies is. Crony capitalism at its finest!

  35. Well that is a mere pittance of lost jobs compared to those that are going to be lost come January, if the Congress RINOS cave to the President’s 51% “mandate” to raise the capital gains tax, and all those other taxes.
    Oh I forgot, it is only on those making more than $250,000 per year (AGI). Guess who all is going to be making more than $250,000 per year AGI after the print and spend inflation finally kicks in, and the dollar really goes in the toilet.

    Well I’ll bet that our new soon to be President again never considered that, when he said he was only going to stick it to the rich. So who’s going to force the rich to work to support the rest of us; slavery was outlawed a long time ago.

    I may just give my ownself a tax break, and simply quit working, and spending except for food. I already got more toys than I really need. Yes 2013 is going to be a nice year for me.

    Sorry for all you unemployed PhD Physics graduates, who are stuck depending on your climatism grants to keep you in the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to.

  36. Sustainable = Profitable. Anything that cannot exist without subsidies cannot be called sustainable.

  37. “””””…..richardscourtney says:

    November 27, 2012 at 3:04 am
    eo:

    At November 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm you say

    If congress is transparent enough and calls a spade a spade, the correct name for the PTC should have been an Act to repeal the law of supply of and demand for the Wind Power Industry……”””””

    Richard, where I came from, we know a lot about wind power, been using it for eons. Use it to push boats along instead of paddle wheels; and we are pretty good at it too.
    One thing about wind power that became quite obvious, since the Americas Cup campaigns, from 1995 onward, is that a lot of people discovered there ain’t much wind power at ground level, or sea level, so all those racing sloops started to look more like Chinese Junks, with their highly square top sails, to put the sail area up high where the wind energy is.

    Funny thing is our Polynesian Mates knew that eons ago, so they put their triangular sails upside down. Did I say, we do know a thing or two about wind power, which is why most savvy people don’t build vetical wind turbines, if they want a lot of wind power.

    Of course horizontal wind turbines eventually shake themselves to pieces, with the synchronous vibration built in, as a result of that same vertical wind shear gradient.

  38. Well has it occurred to anyone that subsidizing wind power is just a different slant on the broken window fallacy. The money stolen from other people for the subsidy payments, could have been used by its original owners to pay for some real work to be done, by productive people. Well Obama doesn’t want any productive people, which is why he is going to fine them till they quit woorking productively.

  39. Don’t forget the subsidy is more than the federal 2.2 cents/kWh, much more. It includes RPS money from the states and additional transmission costs. In one region the extra wind-required transmission costs are more than the all-in cost of generating from natural gas. Wind is being rejected for many reasons and the PTC is just a convenient excuse.

  40. george e. smith says:
    November 27, 2012 at 3:58 am

    ‘highly square top sails’

    Nothing new under the sun I think with gaff topsails and bowsprits too, just like my little 1935 carvel pitch pine on oak 4 tonner. Thames barges and spritsails too of course.

  41. Interesting – that the logo of the American Wind Energy Association shows wind blowing at a wind turbine – but nothing coming out…
    Says it all, really…

  42. “Failure to extend the PTC for wind would tax our companies …” That’s enough of a reason to put a stop to it right there. Addiction to subsidies is real and it’s ugly. In this case, it’s so ugly you can even find a bunch of Texas conservatives down at the ol’ crack barrell.

  43. “But extending the PTC can bring America’s homegrown, affordable, clean and abundant wind energy industry across the finish line to establish economic viability and long-term stability.” Wow. That’s quite the sails (pun intended) pitch, for those with not much upstairs or who were born yesterday. So is the lame excuse of saving 37,000 jobs, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $325,000 per job. Big Wind is one industry which deserves to die. What they are anxiously waiting for of course, is for the Environmental Protection Rackets’ greenhouse gas rules to go into effect, making coal less economical.

  44. george e. smith:

    Thankyou for your post at November 27, 2012 at 3:58 am which comments on my post at November 27, 2012 at 3:04 am.

    My post explained that windpower is the world’s most “mature” energy industry and, therefore, does not merit a subsidy to bring it to maturity.

    My post was mostly an extract from the introductory sections of an Annual Prestigious Lecture I had the hounour of providing in 2006. It is not clear to me whether your comment is – or is not – in agreement with my post. However, although the lecture is old, it is not dated and – whether or not you agree with my post – I think it may interest you. It can be read at

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    The lecture provides much more information and detail than my earlier brief presentation to a public forum in 2003 which William links in his post at November 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm.

    Richard

  45. The problems of system frequency have become apparent as more wind is added onto the grid. Even moreso with solar PV.

    The talk of a “smart grid” that can manage rapid decline and rise of output from scattered generators ( wind and solar ) is still just talk. The issues of managing a myriad of small, variable, inputs coupled by a robust grid designed to handle a one directional flow to very large and stable power sources are beyond any technology at the moment.

    I watch the British grid via http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ and it is very instructive. The installed capacity for wind is about 8500 Mw and right now it is running at 2200Mw with national demand at 4568 Mw. It looks like gas is used as the “throttle/brake” on the system.

    As the German says at E.On , wind is not the answer to anything other than subsidies for the operator, higher costs for all consumers and a warm fuzzy green feeling for the cognoscenti.

  46. Alex says:
    November 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm
    , “…37,000 Americans stand to lose their jobs by the end of the first quarter of 2013 if Congress does not extend the PTC.” <- total bull, people need to read "Economics in One Lesson"

    Alex, that’s the most sensible advice I’ve heard in a long time. Unfortunately, this country is run by economic illiterates who were put in power by economically illiterate voters. Equally unfortunately, economic common sense is heterodox to current mainstream economic thought.

  47. A couple of weeks ago a representative of the UK wind industry told a very obvious lie on the BBC Today program, but naturally the presenters didn’t pick him up on this. He stated that renewables were generating ‘just under ten percent’ of power generation. Of course, the installed base probably is ‘just under ten percent’. But there is a vast gulf between the installed base and the actual amount of generated electricity. Utilisation is probably around 20%, which means the amount of power actually being generated by wind farms is around 2%. Clearly the representative would have been fully aware of this, so this was, by definition, a lie. The terrifying thing is that our politicians may actually believe that lie.
    .
    I wonder if the US wind industry tell the same basic lie?
    Chris

  48. The argument against the PTC is actually even much simpler than this post implies.

    Utilities only buy wind power because state level Renewable Production Standards (RPSs) mandate that they do so. They will buy exactly the same amount of wind energy with or without the PTC, because wind projects are never economically justifiable.

    The PTC impacts neither supply nor demand of wind energy. The PTCs only function is to spread the cost of wind energy across the whole country instead of making only states with RPSs pay for it.

    The job losses thing is a lark. Projects get the PTC subsidy for several years if they are in service before the subsidy expires. Finish a project today, get the subsidy on all production for a decade. Finish it in five weeks and you’re SOL. But, everybody thinks the PTC will be renewed. So, they’re putting projects on hold until it is renewed (thus the job losses today). If it isn’t renewed, the projects (and jobs) will come back in a few months because the industry exists for the sole purpose of fulfilling state level mandates that are insensitive to economics.

    Lose the mandates, and the industry would rapidly disappear. Lose the PTC, and they’ll moan about it for a bit then get back to the business of supplying a product that no utility wants to deal with.

  49. george e. smith says:
    November 27, 2012 at 4:08 am

    … Well Obama doesn’t want any productive people, which is why he is going to fine them till they quit woorking productively.
    __________________________________
    You got it. I quit the rat race a decade or more ago. My little business earns just enough to put food on the table and pay the bills but not enough to have to pay taxes except for property tax. I shop direct from other farmers & second hand so sales tax is hit and miss (More miss than hit)

    People are “Going Galt” though they do not call it that.

    There are 28,952,489 small businesses, 21,351,320 have no employees and 7,601,169 have employees. Of these 4,608,036 or over half earn less than a million a year (gross) These are the firms that employ half the private sector jobs and account for more than half the new job growth.

    There are only 18,469 of the ‘Big boys’ that is firms with 500 employees or more.
    90,386 Firms have 100 to 499 employees
    and 526,307 Firms with 20 to 99 employees
    These last two catagories are the firms that have to make hard decisions about Obamacare and the increases in Unemployment tax. The federal unemployment tax has not gone up but The state UC tax rate paid by employers is based on the state’s current unemployment rate. As their unemployment rates go up, the states are required by federal law to raise the UC tax rate paid by employers.

    So what do these firms earn (gross)?
    1,305,233 firms that hire employees earn less than $100,000., and as I stated above 4,608,036 or over half of the small firms earn less than a million a year. That is a pittance for a firm employing others and paying for all the overhead needed for running a business.

    SOURCE

    If you want to stimulate the economy it is simple, get rid of the [selfsnip] red tape! Red Tape is the hidden tax that saps the lifeblood out of small business and petty DICTATORS bureaucrats do not give a rodents behind on whether they kill the economy. They rather justify their job. Politicians want to please the ‘big boys’ who pay for their re-election while giving lip service to ‘Helping small business’

    Killing unnessary ret tape is the simple solution for creating new jobs and Congress and state and local governments will never ever consider it because most of them are lawyers or connected to big business, both of who find massive red tape to their advantage.

  50. Does anyone have figures for:
    Total # and capacity of wind turbines installed in US since the 1992 subsidy
    Total # and capacity of wind turbines installed in US since 1992 still producing power
    Total # and capacity of wind turbines actually removed in US since 1992
    Total # and capacity of wind turbines no longer functioning but still in place (can be calculated from above).

    Clearly prime turbine locations are at a premium. So if the technology is commercially viable dead turbines in prime locations will be removed and replaced with newer ones, just as older buildings in prime locations will be replaced with ones representing “highest and best use”. If instead new turbines are installed mainly in new locations and dead turbines are left in place (especially in better locations), then what is viable is the building of turbines, not the operation of them.

    There is no point subsidising a type of power generation if the people collecting the subsidies clearly aren’t in it to generate power. We can argue about the value of renewable power, but I can’t imagine any argument to create more non power producing, public nuisance eyesores.

  51. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups have rushed to the defense of the gravy train and crony capitalism.

    Corrupt eco-activists. They should all be in jail.

  52. @Brad Blake says:
    >…yes, the subsidy for ethanol got dropped, but the trade off for the industry was a planned mandate to increase the % from 10 to 15%, creating a larger volume market.

    It seems to get forgotten that the mandate to have xx many miles per gallon in undermined by the addition of ethanol to the fuel. Ethanol has an energy content of about 32.9 MJ/kg and gasoline about 48. Adding 15% ethanol of fuel reduces the MPG rating by about 5%.

  53. If the entire enterprise relies on 2.2 cents/killowatt hour, the entire enterprise has no economic validity.

    When businesses strain to make a profit, the management know it. This is the situation when those who can take the maximum salaries and bonuses they can, and sell stock at each good opportunity (leaving stock “on the table” is used as evidence that you still believe in the company, but it is actually just the red herring to distract from the profit you are actually taking). I’ll bet all but the line-workers are coming off the wind (and solar) excitement with mansions near Al Gore’s.

  54. @Crispin in Waterloo,

    “Ethanol has an energy content of about 32.9 MJ/kg and gasoline about 48. Adding 15% ethanol of fuel reduces the MPG rating by about 5%”

    While your statement is reasonably accurate as applied to blended fules, you do need to consider more than just the raw energy content. The octane rating of the fule and the octane level the engine was designed for must both be considered as well.

    The octane rating is a measure of a liquid fule’s resistance to spontaneous ignition under preasure. The higher the octane rating the more torque the engine can apply to the pistons. Increased torque makes an ICE engine more mechanically efficient.

    Runing a high octane fule in a engine designed for a lower octane fule will result in reduced efficency. Runing a low octane fule in an engine designed for high octane fule will dammage the engine.

    Gas has an octane rating in the range of 80-95 depending on the precise blend.
    Pure ethanol has an octane rating of around 150. An IC engine properly designed for pure ethanol from the ground up would be both mechanically and thermally more efficent than an IC engine designed for gasoline. From what I have read the efficency gain is more than enough to compenaste for the reduction in raw energy per unit volume.

  55. No problem here, if the Sierra Club and friends want the raptor dicing machinery to keep spinning, they can put up the money themselves. I intend to see these people pay for their scams/stupidity. If you are still pushing CAGW in whatever guise today, you are either lying or incompetent. Retribution (Justice) will require compensation from the malicious liars and ridicule for the gullible. Projection being a bitch and as ,our intellectual betters from, the team see us a violent ignorant rabble, unfit to question their wisdom, what the hell I can play along with that. Where are the alarmists going to hide? Once the western countries are bankrupted and enslaved? China? China will sell the useful idiots to the highest vengeful bidder, equal weight trade for iron ore? After all there appears to be no shortage of fools and China won’t need them once they own us.

  56. george e. smith says:
    November 27, 2012 at 3:47 am

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people are in favor of raising someone else’s taxes.

  57. MattS says:
    November 27, 2012 at 8:51 am

    How do you plan on converting the millions of cars already on the road so that they can burn ethanol efficiently?

  58. There is a fetish aspect to green energy. David Suzuki wears a solar backpack when he walks to provide constant arousal. My neighbour gets wood when he talks about wind and solar. His activist friend promotes wind, solar and straw bales hoping to get laid with enviro-chicks. They pray to the planet before eating and debate “is green green enough”.
    Logic and engineering are not relevant concepts

  59. The costs of wind power and the subsidies associated with it are confusing, to say the least. Often, the cost is stated simply as a number and the units are not clear. I was able to find some more detailed discussions on several web sites, and I have tried to simplify the information.
    The subsidy for wind power generated is $02.2 per KWH, the Production Tax Credit.
    The total subsidy for the PTC is $12.18B over the period 2013 to 2022.
    The yearly PTC is therefore about $1.2B per year.
    The cost of the 37,000 jobs saved by the PTC is therefore about $32K per year per job.
    There are other tax credits and grants associated with wind power. The WSJ reported that the total cost is around $4.9B per year for the wind power industry.
    Power companies are required to buy the power, sometimes when they can’t use it, increasing the cost to the consumer. They must also maintain hot standby backup, with the net result that there is no reduction in fossil fuels burned .
    Total jobs claimed directly and indirectly created by wind power is around 85,000. The cost to the taxpayer per job is therefore about $57,000 per year. On that basis, clearly it would be beneficial to let the industry die by eliminating all the grants, loans, subsidies, tax credits, etc.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/316854/cost-wind-energy-jobs-robert-bryce#

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903285704576559103573673300.html

    http://www.masterresource.org/category/windpower/subsidiescost-of-windpower/

  60. “””””…….richardscourtney says:

    November 27, 2012 at 5:54 am

    george e. smith:

    Thankyou for your post at November 27, 2012 at 3:58 am which comments on my post at November 27, 2012 at 3:04 am.

    My post explained that windpower is the world’s most “mature” energy industry and, therefore, does not merit a subsidy to bring it to maturity…….””””””

    Richard, I think you and I have been working on pretty much the same page for long enough now, that we don’t disagree much on anything important.

    My follow on yours was entirely supportive; I always like to read all the factoids you manage to flush out from wherever you go hunting.

    The synchronous shake to bits mode of horizontal wind turbines, is something I actually discovered (for me) while out fishing. My electric trolling motor, which hummed like a fine Swiss watch when the boat was up on the trailer, yet in the water, it rattled like it was about to blow a head gasket; how the hell could it get so far out of balance for no reason.

    Turns out , you run those things quite shallw, so they don’t stick too far below the keel, so the propellor blade gets very close to the surface, where the water pressure is very small. Meanwhile the other blade is down deeper, with more water pressure, so it thrusts more efficiently, while the top blade is just splashing the surface water around (well not quite). So as the blade rotates, the thrust generated, increases to a max near the bottom, and drops to a min near the surface, so that generates a back and forth thrust cycle synchronized to the rotation speed.

    Horizontal wind turbines do the same due to the height wind shear gradient. In addition of course to the axial thrust variation, the blade drive torque also cycles during the revolution, so theree is a torsional cyclic oscillation as well. No wonder they eventually kill themselves. And if you raise the tower heaight relative to blade diameter, you increase the structural problems of the tower itself.

    And when you look at the huge land area required for the intake port, and the exhaust port of the “engine” (it’s really a sun driven gas turbine heat engine), the efficiency of extraction of solar energy from the atmosphere is abysmal.

    George

  61. Billy, I bet you’re from Canada’s left coast. What you’re describing sounds so Vancouver. Are these the same neighbours that agonize about old folks homes and Ronald McDonalds Houses in their backyards because they contain old people and the relatives of sick kids?

  62. So, anyone got a read on whether our gutless wonders in the US Congress are going to renew this disfunctional subsidy?

  63. Chris Wright says:
    November 27, 2012 at 6:46 am

    A couple of weeks ago a representative of the UK wind industry told a very obvious lie on the BBC Today program, but naturally the presenters didn’t pick him up on this. He stated that renewables were generating ‘just under ten percent’ of power generation. Of course, the installed base probably is ‘just under ten percent’. But there is a vast gulf between the installed base and the actual amount of generated electricity. Utilisation is probably around 20%, which means the amount of power actually being generated by wind farms is around 2%. Clearly the representative would have been fully aware of this, so this was, by definition, a lie. The terrifying thing is that our politicians may actually believe that lie.
    .
    I wonder if the US wind industry tell the same basic lie?

    Could someone report on whether this story is similarly mendacious:

    Heading: Germany — 26% of Electricity from Renewable Energy in 1st Half of 2012

    During the first half of 2012, the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity supply has risen significantly in Germany, rising to a sensational 25.97%. That’s a massive increase compared to 20.56%, the percentage during the same period in 2011, and 18.3% in H1 2010.
    PV-Solar Contribution Increases 47%
    In total, renewable energy sources produced 67.9 TWh (billion kWh).
    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2012/07/26/germany-26-of-electricity-from-renewable-energy-in-1st-half-of-2012/#XpL6roYbDz7VWssG.99

  64. If wind power is such a good idea, should not the manufacture and installation of the windmills be by wind-generated power only? I can only imagine the problems of producing the towers, wind vanes, electric generator machinery and concrete emplacements using only wind-generated electricity. It would certainly cut their numbers, and dramatically increase the cost of the windmills, thus showing to the world the fallacy of wind generation.

  65. MattS says:
    November 27, 2012 at 8:51 am
    Nothing to do with windmills.
    Anyways, on ethanol, the benefits of high octane/high compression only occur at wide open throttle. At part throttle cylinder filling is reduced hence lower effective compression ratio. Most of the time the high octane is not neccessary/wasted. In any case lower energy fuel has to be injected at a higher volume to match the oxygen in the cylinder. In current closed loop injection engines high octane fuel can provide more peak horsepower but no benefit in part load economy driving.

  66. “Wind mills keep on turnin’
    Long as the cash keeps flowin’
    Flowin’, flowin’, flowin’ from tax payers
    Flowin’, flowin’, flowin’ from tax payers”

  67. @Roger: Most statistics on renewables are based on capacity factor, not actual output. A quick check of IEA statistics shows the actual percentage of wind/solar/renewables Jan through August was closer to 14 % of the electrical generation in Germany this year. Wind is not separated out.

  68. From MattS on November 27, 2012 at 8:51 am:
    Pure ethanol has an octane rating of around 150.

    Cow pucks!

    http://www.ethanol.org/index.php?id=50

    Because ethanol has an octane rating of 113, adding 10% ethanol to gasoline raises the finished fuel’s octane rating by 2 or 3 points, improving the fuel’s performance.

    A website MADE to promote ethanol is only claiming 113 octane for ethanol. A value of 150 is obviously complete garbage.

    ===

    @ Roger Knights:
    Quick question: Just wondering, how do you feel about Intrade getting rid of US customers after the federal charges? So much for betting on the climate issues. Hopefully this hasn’t affected your retirement income plans.

  69. Since others are posting their musical rewrites, here’s mine:
    They graded paradise and put up a turbine plot.
    With red blinking lights, shadow flicker–ecofriendly they’re just not.
    Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
    They graded paradise and put up a turbine plot.

    Senator, Senator, put away those subsidies now.
    Let the monstronsities die, you’ll be saving the birds and the bees.
    Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
    They graded paradise and put up a turbine plot.

  70. To say ethanol is no longer subsidized is not really true. The government mandates ~40% of corn to be used as fuel. Brilliant!

  71. Billy says:
    November 27, 2012 at 10:51 am
    ……Logic and engineering are not relevant concepts

    Hmm, “Logic” is an organized way to wrong with confidence, and engineering is the art of finding loopholes in Murphy’s law :-).

    A typical greeny is convinced that the technology he/she wishes, using fairydust as fuel, doesn’t exist because nefarious capitalists prevent it from working.
    From discussions with a lot of them I found they they cannot grasp a basic fact:
    Natural laws cannot be broken.
    The typical green thinks they can be mandated. Megalomaniacs with a Messiah-complex describes them best.

  72. KLA:

    I was amused by your post at November 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm which included

    A typical greeny is convinced that the technology he/she wishes, using fairydust as fuel, doesn’t exist because nefarious capitalists prevent it from working.
    From discussions with a lot of them I found they they cannot grasp a basic fact:
    Natural laws cannot be broken.

    It reminded me of a briefing in the 1980s that was provided to a UK Government Minister by scientists of the then government –owned UK coal industry. The briefing was to explain to him why it was that if the AGW-hypothesis turned out to be true then it would require significant and expensive change to energy policy.

    Having been told how GHGs have potential to raise global temperature and that CO2 is a GHG, the Minister asked,
    “OK. So why wouldn’t we just burn the CO2?”

    The scientists providing the briefing exchanged glances, then made excuses and left the meeting.

    Since then the AGW-hypothesis has turned out to be not true but UK government is distorting energy policy on the assumption that it is true.

    Richard

  73. @MarkW,

    I don’t plan on converting existing cars for pure ethanol fuel. I didn’t say it was a practical alternative to gasoline on a large scale. It would be grotesquely expensive to convert the exsiting fleet, since you would basically have to replace the entire engine. There isn’t much that could be salvaged from an 85/87 octane ICE that would be useful in building a 150 octane ICE. From what I have read, for full optimization to 150 octane even the engine block itself would have to be redesigned. You might be able to save the transmission but I wouldn’t even swear to that.

    I just pointed out that simply stating that ethanol contains less raw energy per unit volume is overly simplistic.

  74. @Billy,

    “In current closed loop injection engines high octane fuel can provide more peak horsepower but no benefit in part load economy driving.”

    The key work in the statement above is current. I stated from the beginning that the entire engine would have to be redesigned more or less from scratch.

    In current “High Octane” street cars the ICE is designed for 90-95 octane which is the octane range for premium gasoline and is well short of being able to handle pure ethanol efficiently even at full throttle.

  75. @kadaka,

    That site is mostly promoting ethanol as a blending agent for gasoline. Boosting the octane rating too much actually lowers efficiency (running a higher octane fuel than the engine is designed for) so it could be in their interests to downplay the octane level of pure ethanol. Still even if I was high by that large of a margin that doesn’t change the basic point that an ICE specifically designed for pure ethanol would be more efficient than an ICE designed for gasoline which maxes out at around 95 even with a E10 blend still well below what your source quotes as the octane rating of pure ethanol.

  76. From MattS on November 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm:
    There isn’t much that could be salvaged from an 85/87 octane ICE that would be useful in building a 150 octane ICE. From what I have read, for full optimization to 150 octane even the engine block itself would have to be redesigned.

    More cow pucks!

    I already said above about ethanol having only a 113 octane rating, not 150. Do some research, I gave you that link.

    As I said, that was from a site made to promote ethanol. See the Wikipedia Octane rating entry. Utilizing how octane ratings at the pump are figured in the US ((R+M)/2), ethanol only has a 99 octane rating. That’s not much more than “premium” US gasoline.

    Octane rating says how well the fuel burns, higher ratings mean the fuel/air mix can withstand higher compression before problems with pre-detonation. Octane says nothing about the available energy in the fuel. “Performance” engines squeeze more power out of a certain size engine by using higher compression (more fuel/air mix compressed in the cylinder) thus they need higher octane fuels.

    Thus with a Plain Jane engine, there is no penalty for using higher octane fuel in an engine designed for lower octane (crappier burning) fuel. Problems may arise these days with idiotic computerized emission controls that get confused by the good stuff, but that’s a different issue. Using higher octane fuel will not cause your engine to explode, the engine will not mistakenly believe it can run at a much higher compression than possible.

    Do you have fuel like gasoline, with no more available energy per volume than gasoline, that’s rated 150 octane? Go ahead and pour it into that 85/87 octane engine, it can take it.

    You might be able to save the transmission but I wouldn’t even swear to that.
    Ah the ignorance, it is so great… Ethanol has less energy per volume than gasoline, if the tranny is built to handle the output of a performance engine using premium gasoline, it can handle that engine using ethanol. With the decreased output, with a 100% ethanol-only vehicle that will never use any gasoline, the tranny might even be considered overbuilt.

    From MattS on November 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm:
    In current “High Octane” street cars the ICE is designed for 90-95 octane which is the octane range for premium gasoline and is well short of being able to handle pure ethanol efficiently even at full throttle.
    So much ignorance, it is nigh overwhelming.

    That is still below the octane of ethanol, those high-compression engines can handle ethanol. It’s a simple rule, higher-rating fuel can go in lower-rating engines, lower-rating fuel doesn’t go in higher-rating engines.

    However, despite what was said, you may still have to somewhat redesign a commercial engine for ethanol. But that relates to the plastic/rubber components as ethanol is a more active solvent than gasoline, and as it readily absorbs water there are additional issues with metal corrosion that may need considering. Manufactures are already complaining that even recently made vehicles can’t handle the planned 15% ethanol blends, let alone straight ethanol. But as there are already race cars that can handle ethanol, the needed changes are known.

  77. @ MattS on November 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm:
    Looks like I just missed this comment before posting mine. Moderation lag?

    You said: Boosting the octane rating too much actually lowers efficiency (running a higher octane fuel than the engine is designed for) so it could be in their interests to downplay the octane level of pure ethanol.

    From Engen, South African petroleum company that would benefit from people buying more octane than needed, note their “regular” with their octane rating system is 95 for coastal areas, lower for inland (bold added):
    Where a vehicle is fully satisfied by 93 octane, in the sense that it delivers optimal performance and fuel economy on that grade, using a higher octane than 93 will not result in any improvement in performance or fuel economy, neither will it result in a decrease, but using the higher octane is unnecessary and inherently wasteful.

    I’ve been searching for “higher octane decreases efficiency”, looking for something more than an anecdote mentioned in comments to something else. The closest I’ve come is that bit from Engen, which is saying it doesn’t. Even Consumer Reports, known for their penchant for giving their readers all the facts, even those you didn’t know you should know, didn’t mention it when pointing out when premium gas is a waste of money. If too much octane lowered efficiency, Hell Yeah CR would’ve noted it.

    It’s late, and much searching later, the absolute nearest I can find is not that there is lower efficiency, but possibly lower energy density. Octane doesn’t say anything about energy density. You can boost octane with additives, like ethanol, that will give you the higher octane rating but will lower the energy density. This might explain the anecdotal range where using higher-octane gasoline yields better, worse, or no change to mileage.

  78. Roger Knights says:
    November 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm
    “Could someone report on whether this story is similarly mendacious:…”
    .
    Roger,
    I was intrigued by your question, so I looked into it. My conclusion is that the claimed generation, specifically for wind, is probably correct. Quite possibly the German wind industry is considerably more honest than our own.
    On their site the pie chart gives a wind power percentage figure of 25.97 * 0.36, which is 9.35%
    So the question is: is German wind power actually generating around 10%
    .
    I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, but these are my sources after a quick Google (specifically for wind power):
    .
    Christopher Booker:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9559656/Germanys-wind-power-chaos-should-be-a-warning-to-the-UK.html

    He states that in 2011 Germany had an installed wind power base of 29 Gw, but that the average actually generated was just 5 Gw. The utilisation factor in Germany, at 17%, is significantly lower than for the UK (20 to 25 %)
    Of course, German wind power generates far more than our own: the UK has 3500 turbines while Germany has 23000.
    .
    This source shows a graph of German wind generation for March of this year:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9205

    .
    After glancing at this graph the obvious question is: how can anyone with two brain cells to rub together take wind power seriously? Anyway, the average generation amount does look to be around 5 Gw, which confirms Booker’s figure.
    .
    So, if the average is 5 Gw and it represents 9.3% of the total (as claimed by the pie chart), the total German power consumtion would be 5 / 0.093 Gw, which is 54 Gw.
    .
    The UK’s NETA web site is extremely useful:

    http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm

    It shows that right now the UK is consuming about 46 Gw. Quite likely Germany consumes somewhat more, so a figure of 54 Gw for Germany seems quite reasonable (after a quick search I didn’t find a specific figure for German total power consumption).
    .
    My conclusion is that the claim for actual wind power generation in the pie chart really does represent actual power generated, and not the installed base. Unlike the gentleman on the Today program, the pie chart tells the truth, at least for the wind component.
    .
    But having said that, my quick Google showed that Germany is facing an enormous crisis caused by their mad energy policies. It seems that in Germany quite a lot of chickens are coming home to roost….
    Chris

  79. Reality check says:

    “Since John in L du B seems a reasonable sort who is not a NIMBY, maybe we can find out where he lives and put in a nuclear power plant next door.”

    Many of us here have lobbied for a nuclear generating station. Would ½ mile from MBY be close enough? Unfortunately, a government with a long eco-socialist history of flooding native peoples off their traditional lands seems to have made such an installation totally redundant

  80. richardscourtney says:
    November 27, 2012 at 3:04 am
    The steam engine is a much more modern technology than windpower and is inherently more economic and practical than windpower. Clearly, according to the arguments of windpower advocates, steam engine technology should be subsidised so it can “mature”.
    ——————————–
    We do use steam engines to generate electricity.
    We use coal and nuclear power to heat the boilers to get steam for the steam driven turbine generators.
    That’s how we did it on US submarines.
    cn

  81. The ONLY wind device that provides economic power generation is the proprietary turbine built by Sauer Energy. Utilizing storage devices ( batteries ) there is minimal supplemental grid power required in small commercial and residental applications. The reason being they operate in low wind conditions. The downside is that they are not in full scale production. But the stock is a bargain at $0.22 a share. I own 1000 shares, all though I am not promoting it in case you’re interested.

  82. How much of the low wind production goes to converting from DC to AC? Some of the small turbines I have read about use the first 3 to 6 mph winds to accomplish the conversion, so you really don’t get usable power until 7 or 8 mph. How many batteries would be required? I am curious because I know several people who use turbines for their electricity and it seems to take a large number of batteries, controllers, etc. Are these any different?

  83. “””””…..John M. Chenosky, PE says:

    November 28, 2012 at 9:37 am

    The ONLY wind device that provides economic power generation is the proprietary turbine built by Sauer Energy…….”””””

    So John, you’re only out $220 (so far). So now where is the big payoff here ? They don’t make anything; well so they kluged together a “proto-type”.

    So it operates in low wind conditions ! Earth to John PE ; there’s very little energy available in low wind conditions; that nasty v^3 thing. Ah, but it has storage batteries. There is usually a presumption of some time elapse process with storage batteries; just like with Electric/pseudo-electric/hybrid electric-fossilfuel/whatever cars. So what is the replacement life of the batteries ?

    Sounds like a real winner. I’m going to go out and buy $5 quickpicks for the 1/2 gigabuck “Powerball” lottery, and then I’ll be right back to give you maybe $50 for your shares; (after I win, that is).

  84. Chuck Nolan:

    re your posts at November 28, 2012 at 7:54 am and November 28, 2012 at 8:04 am.

    Yes, I know. That is what I meant.

    We don’t subsidise – and don’t need to subsidise – the less “mature” steam technology but we do subsidise the much more “mature” wind technology. And the subsidy to windpower is said to be a method to nurture “an emerging industry”.

    The stated reason for subsidising windpower is daft.

    Richard

  85. John M. Chenosky, PE:

    Your post at November 28, 2012 at 9:37 am says in full

    The ONLY wind device that provides economic power generation is the proprietary turbine built by Sauer Energy. Utilizing storage devices ( batteries ) there is minimal supplemental grid power required in small commercial and residental applications. The reason being they operate in low wind conditions. The downside is that they are not in full scale production. But the stock is a bargain at $0.22 a share. I own 1000 shares, all though I am not promoting it in case you’re interested.

    I accept that you are not promoting the stock, but I write to ask some questions because I am minded that when something seems too good to be true then it usually is. My questions are as follows.

    Why is the company’s stock at “bargain” levels if its product is as good as you say?

    Why is the product “not in full scale production” either by the company or under license by a larger company if it is as good as you say?

    How are you defining “economic”; e.g, what is the return on investment in the purchase and use of a ‘Sauer Energy device’, and how does that compare to a low-risk return on savings?

    Importantly, does the investment in such a device recover the purchase, operation and maintenance costs of the product and with what profit rate during the lifetime of the product?

    Richard

  86. “””””…..
    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    November 28, 2012 at 1:46 am

    @ MattS on November 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm:
    Looks like I just missed this comment before posting mine. Moderation lag?

    You said: Boosting the octane rating too much actually lowers efficiency (running a higher octane fuel than the engine is designed for) so it could be in their interests to downplay the octane level of pure ethanol.

    From Engen, South African petroleum company that would benefit from people buying more octane than needed, note their “regular” with their octane rating system is 95 for coastal areas, lower for inland (bold added):
    Where a vehicle is fully satisfied by 93 octane, in the sense that it delivers optimal performance and fuel economy on that grade, using a higher octane than 93 will not result in any improvement in performance or fuel economy, neither will it result in a decrease, but using the higher octane is unnecessary and inherently wasteful……”””””

    I believe that EPA regulations mandate that all cars sold in the USA, shall run properly on ordinary 87 octane unleaded fuel.
    Manufacturers may “recommend” that you run premium in their “fancy” car; well that is like a status symbol isn’t it; but their car still has to run properly with the ordinary dealer maintenance on 87 octane. They have 85 and 86 octane in some Western Mountain States, due to the lower atmospheric pressure.

    If you check the difference in heats of combustion between Ethane, and Ethanol, you will find that Ethanol fall short of Ethane by the energy you get by burning H2 to get water; well ethanol is just Ethane with water added; that’s why you get lower gas mileage. So they burn up part of your gasoline before you even put it in your tank. Most cars are built with a contrivance for “oxygenating” fossil fuels. You can find it usually upfront in the battery compartment along with the alternator , air conditioner, and power steering system. It’s usually called an engine or motor, depending on the car’s price.

    High octane fuels can boost engine power only if they are specifically designed with higher compression ratios (and still no pinging) and operate at higher compression pressures, and Temperatures; and that’s why the EPA requires normal operation capability on 87 octane. They don’t want all the NOx that comes from high pressure high temperature chemistry, that literally burns the air, to combine atmospheric N2 with atmospheric O2. The NOx emissions don’t come from any nitrogen in the gasoline. Well I think Shell claims they put Nitrogen in their gasoline. Maybe they use a Tri-Nitro-Toluene additive or something to give you more bang for your buck.

    So we are all (in California) paying for water in our gasoline.

    Actually, it would be far better if they left the water out of the “oxygenated” fossil fuel, and put a water injector on the oxygenator contrivance (motor), to create evaporative cooling of the intake air, to increase the mass of air taken into the cylinder, which gives more power.

    The reason that all the snobby cars “recommend” that their owners burn premium gas (high octane) is to perpetuate the myth that they can go 50,000 or 100,000 miles without a tuneup.

    With standard gas, your oxygenator contrivance will start pinging when it starts to get all carboned up inside, and high octane will hide that fact for longer, so you think you don’t need a tuneup. It’s a scam; but you overpaid for your velocipede, so why do you care about getting ripped off for boutique gasoline.

  87. Kadaka says:
    @ Roger Knights:
    Quick question: Just wondering, how do you feel about Intrade getting rid of US customers after the federal charges? So much for betting on the climate issues. Hopefully this hasn’t affected your retirement income plans.

    I think they’ll be back with another model within a year. That’s what they’re saying, anyway.

    On climate, I avoided betting much on arctic sea ice–I think I lost about $50. On temperature, where I bet much more, I bet that this wouldn’t be the hottest year, that it wouldn’t be among the top 5 hottest, that it wouldn’t exceed an anomaly over 0.55 (per GISS) (this is more or less equivalent to the top-5 bet), and that it wouldn’t exceed 0.50. The last one looks sure to lose; the others are sure to win. Unfortunately, I sold my three winners early on when their payoff was less (in order to make (losing) bets on non-climate matters) and I let my losses run on the last one.

  88. DR says:
    November 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    To say ethanol is no longer subsidized is not really true. The government mandates ~40% of corn to be used as fuel. Brilliant!
    ____________________________________
    And then subsidized the corn! – just search ADM biofuel.

  89. John in L du B says:
    November 28, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Reality check says:

    “Since John in L du B seems a reasonable sort who is not a NIMBY, maybe we can find out where he lives and put in a nuclear power plant next door.”

    Many of us here have lobbied for a nuclear generating station….
    _____________________________
    Good for you.
    And unlike the rocking chair ecofreaks I live what I preach too. I can see the cooling tower of the local nuclear plant from my window.

    Nuclear is the way to go. If we had spent the money on nuclear research (mini thorium plants) instead of CAGW we would have lifted many many people all over the world out of poverty by now. Of course that has never been the objective. Money from the poor TO the wealthy is the objective.

    I wonder how much the sea level would decline if desalination was used to ‘Green’ the Sahara?

  90. In California, Chevron, have consistently maintained, that they can produce an oxygenate free gasoline, that easily meets all the performance specifications (and that means including all pollution standards, as to EPA and CARB regulations.) But Sacramento is beholden to corn interests, who want to stiff California driverss to buy their ethanol. Well if I want to buy ethanol, which I occasionally do, I prefer to buy it as a naturally occurring “oxygenate” in some of California’s fine red wines. I don’t buy those overhyped “Cabernet” reds though; the yuppies are welcome to those; they suit their beemer/lexus life style.

    California reformulated gasoline is an advance though; the major improvement, is the big reduction of sulphur and Benzene. You see, “big oil” really do look out for their customers.

    We all buddied up to get the nutballs in Sacramento to get the MTBE out, and we should do it again to get the ethanol out. Ethers, just like alcohols, are the same as Alkyls with water added, and for ages we paid good money to the oil companies to burn up their garbage, so they didn’t have to pay to dispose of it. Well at least with ethanol, you can drink it (in moderation) which is more than you can say for MTBE or ETBE.

  91. “””””…..

    Reality check says:

    November 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

    How much of the low wind production goes to converting from DC to AC? Some of the small turbines I have read about use the first 3 to 6 mph winds to accomplish the conversion, so you really don’t get usable power until 7 or 8 mph. How many batteries would be required? I am curious because I know several people who use turbines for their electricity and it seems to take a large number of batteries, controllers, etc. Are these any different?…..”””””

    Well if you are talking about the buy it at Fry’s “wind chime” generators (is it really a turbine), how would the wind know if it was generating power or converting DC to AC or verse vicea.

    It would seem that the big units generate AC, as they are usually all phase locked when they are actually putting out power, so I assume they are Alternators, rather than DC generators. I assume they would have to have some fancy mechanical instantaneous responding phase/frequency responding transmission system , to adapt to wind gusts, or drop outs. Pure free running DC (or AC) put out whatever you can , and then electronic conversion to grid locked AC, would seem less troublesome, but then why mechanically phase lock the windmill.

    And when the wind speed drops to half your design speed, there goes 87 1/2 percent of your generating capacity.

    At least Hydro dams, have exquisite control of the fuel input (water flow KE) to allow their alternators to run line synchronized to the grid, in the face of variable load demand.

    The Electric Power Industry, is an impressive tour de force in how to run a tight ship. So the bigger the system gets, the more opportunities for a snafu; but overall, their record is quite impressive, and anyone who doesn’t think so, obviously has never built anything that works in their life. Misteaks are still made. The Fukushima emergency cooling system, and backup, being a case in point. Probably designed by the same type of people, who designed the Benghazi Consulate defense system, or the ipad/pod/pid/ped/pud mapping system, or M$ Windows. How can you need to apply 100 megabytes of Johnson’s bandaids every three days or so, to stop your creation from bleeding. Just how big would windows be, if they stripped out all the 10,000 layers of boy scout bandages, and just put back in what is needed to make stuff go.

    Windows just connects MY ray tracing software to my keyboard/mouse/flat screen, and OctoCPU, as near as I can discern.

  92. @George-I was referring to home systems that use batteries for storage. You have to convert from the battery DC to AC (with a true sine wave if you are running major electronics) in order to use the electricity in most modern homes. I use solar at my cabin and do not convert because the inverter eats up the batteries. (Wind does not know what “type of electricity” it generates, no. My wording was clumsy. Apologies.) The industrial turbines have permanent magnetic alternators (rare earth magnets, I think) and feed AC into the grid. AC off a home turbine would mean you only have power when the wind blows, just like with the industrial ones unless you are wired into the grid. Then you use wind when it’s there and grid when it’s not.

  93. @John in L du B: I am happy to see you are not a NIMBY and are a fan of nuclear power. I have no problem with the idea of a nuclear plant near my home, and there may be a uranium mine near my cabin. I do object to the multiple useless turbines, not because of the view, but the uselessness of the project.

  94. This kind of idiocy and the climate-gate emails, was my inspiration for this fact;
    Your opinion of your govt will never be higher, than it is today.
    Sorry but there it is .
    Govt must be kept small and powerless. Otherwise the clueless and useless come to infest the structure as we see today.
    This is our wealth being used to push us into poverty.
    Sure its a fact, this is climate science.

  95. “””””…..Reality check says:

    November 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    @George-I was referring to home systems that use batteries for storage. You have to convert from the battery DC to AC (with a true sine wave if you are running major electronics) in order to use the electricity in most modern homes. I use solar at my cabin and do not convert because the inverter eats up the batteries.

    Well #1 Reality, I am NEVER against any one (free person) taking local advantage of whatever is going around. Sounds like you have a situation, that makes a do it yourself energy source practical for you. In which case; “ripper Mate”, glad you can do it.

    And I’m all for your off grid approach, with batteries. Now if you can do out your cabin in LED lighting (off the shelf real stuff), so much the better.

    Makes no sense to turn wind juice into grid AC at substantial efficiency loss, and as you noted battery eating high current spikes; only to then re-convert the grid AC back to low Voltage (12-24 Volt) DC to power LED lighting.

    I have nothing but off the shelf (Home Depot) LED lighting in the house I am renting, and if I was in my own house, I would rewire ALL of the lighting for 24 Volt DC for LEDs, with battery storage (couple of Die Hards), and put up a solar cell array to just run the lights. Then I don’t need PV to AC inversion either.

    So you get a gold star Reality, for doing what comes naturally for your situation.

    But at only 1 kW/m^2 before efficiency losses, large scale solar either PV of wind will never be affordable for massive systems.
    My total lighting is 200 Watts of juice with every light in the house on. We never have more than half on, so a couple of 100 Amp Hour car batteries would do the trick.

    If you’ve got wind where your cabin is, sounds like a plan to me (for you)

  96. As WUWT has said in the recent past, the wind power industry is not yet competitive without subsidies. But, if a mere 2.2 cents subsidy per whatever few KWH generated by wind turbines can save 37,000 jobs, then I think this is a bargain. I think the debate should be primarily if so little subsidy can actually save so many jobs.
    Since article-writers at WUWT tend to try for minimizing or negating effects of CO2 from fossil fuels, I think they would have a better argument on basis of economics than on basis of failing to reduce CO2 emissions or very slightly increasing them.

  97. Donald Klipstein says:

    “…if a mere 2.2 cents subsidy per whatever few KWH generated by wind turbines can save 37,000 jobs, then I think this is a bargain.”

    Please familiarise yourself with Frederic Bastiat. Start with the Broken Window Fallacy.

  98. When the wind isn’t blowing, conventional power has to be kept on.

    When the wind is blowing, conventional power has to be kept on in case the wind suddenly stops.

    How does wind turbines reduce co2 from (coal, oil, gas) power generation?

  99. William says:
    November 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm
    …………..As many are aware wind turbine construction is moving to China. So the wind jobs are for erection and maintenance of the wind turbines.

    And here is the result – a toxic lake in China as well as:

    “…….large amounts of highly toxic acids, heavy metals and other chemicals are emitted into the air …..”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html

  100. @George.e.Smith: if I was in my own house, I would rewire ALL of the lighting for 24 Volt DC for LEDs,

    I wonder what it would cost to install parallel power systems, (220-110v 60Hz and 24-12v DC (3-wire)) in a new home? What would the payout time be?

    And would it be practical if you did? In one sense, I would love to get rid of large number of transformers that litter the house these days. But CAN you get rid of them? Not everything will take 24 or 12v. My Vaio laptop transformer outputs 19.5 v. One of the beauties of AC is it is relatively easy to change voltages with minimal loss to heat. DC is tougher without converting to AC first.

  101. @Stephen: Installing parallel power systems sounds a lot like using wind and natural gas. I cannot see how it would be practical and I would think from looking at friends with wind/solar the payout would be far in the future. Living off the grid is not cheap. My cabin is mostly DC by design. My home is not. The only “cross-over” benefits to this arrangement is I bring my cabin’s batteries and lights, etc, home in the winter (cabin is not really accessible in the winter) and when my AC line electricity goes out I have plenty of backup! I even have a solar panel to charge a battery and use an inverter to keep my water line from freezing (runs my heat tape). AC is more flexible which is part of why we use it large scale. You’re probably stuck with the transformers. :)

  102. Ironically I was just at some other site that had some wind advocate bloviating in the comments section that wind farms pay for themselves within 5 years and that wind would be cheaper than coal in 20XX. What is with these people?

  103. “””””…..Stephen Rasey says:

    November 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

    @George.e.Smith: if I was in my own house, I would rewire ALL of the lighting for 24 Volt DC for LEDs,

    I wonder what it would cost to install parallel power systems, (220-110v 60Hz and 24-12v DC (3-wire)) in a new home? What would the payout time be?……””””””

    Well I said if I was in MY OWN house, meaning not one designed by beurocrats. I’m sure electric codes don’t allow you to do your own thing.

    Newer LED lighting products, are quite often designs based on strings of six (blue) LED junctions in series, which comes to about 18 Volts forward Voltage. So the drivers are current regulators designed to put out something in that 18 Volt range of Voltage. The blue LED is of course what pumps the yellow phosphor to create white light out of the mixture. Then you have to do Temperature compensation and dimmer functions, and try and do all of that with lossless conersion systems. My guess is it’s going to take some years of development and evolution to arrive at LED lighting standards, which will catch on. Of course, in the USA, we have that stupid Edison lamp ban, so everybody has to go to mercury poison lamps.
    White LEDs are inherently more efficient than any existing fluorescent technology, either regular tubes or CFLs simply on the basis of Stokes shift energy loss, and potentially, three or four color LED mixtures avoid that Stokes shift loss, so can be higher efficiency still, but a lot more complex and expensive, since each color is a different LED material. Not too practical for volume lighting.

    There’s a lot of track lighting that’s popular but not efficient, but standard Armstrong ceiling fluorescent fixtures are a total joke as regards optical efficiency, which is a shame, since they are also the one geometry case for which the theoretically ideal optical design exists, limited only by the second law of thermodynamics, and reflector efficiency.(95-98%).

    Your children or grandchildren, will probably enjoy efficient lighting.

  104. Think of it this way. These wind turbines have replaced/caused not to be built about 33 nuclear reactors. (I choose Nuclear because our Pres says we aren’t building any more coal…) This is a good thing, Then think of how many of YOUR TAX DOLLARS, went into Yucca Mountain, a facility that is not in use and which may never be put into service. But that is not called a “subsidy”. Then think about all the reactors in the US that have spent fuel pools FULL of spent fuel, because there is no where to put it. Then think of Fukushima, a reactor with the same spent fuel problem. Then tell me that 2.2 cents/kwh is not worth it.

  105. rms,

    2.2¢/kwh is not worth it. See my link to Bastiat above. 0.000002¢/kwh is not worth it.

    Subsidies cost jobs. No exception, ever. The problem is that it’s easy to see the jobs “created” with subsidies. But the jobs lost through misallocation of resources are ‘things not seen’. There are always more jobs lost than are created with subsidies. No exception. Otherwise, the government could subsidize everything, and always have 100% full employment.

  106. rms,
    It seems like the nuke disposal problem is an issue created by the anti-nuke crowd (politics). If the goal is to generate electricity I’d take nuke over wind any day of the week.

  107. Justa Joe says:
    November 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Ironically I was just at some other site that had some wind advocate bloviating in the comments section that wind farms pay for themselves within 5 years and that wind would be cheaper than coal in 20XX. What is with these people?
    ___________________________________
    They own stock in a wind company or are sheep following those with a vested interest.

    Nuclear and Hydro are the only realistic non CO2 power sources. The rest are niche markets making a killing. Wind and solar and for that matter biofuel have been around for over 100 years. They got by passed because the do not work well for mass production of electrical energy.

    Unfortunately the sheep are getting taken in by the ponsi scheme of CAGW. I just hope it collapses before it takes out western civilization too.

  108. george e. smith says:
    November 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

    “””””…..Stephen Rasey says:

    November 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

    @George.e.Smith: if I was in my own house, I would rewire ALL of the lighting for 24 Volt DC for LEDs…
    _____________________________
    It is not the lighting that is the big user of electric. It is all our appliances, A/C, heating, and most of all MANUFACTURING.

    BTW the government uses a version of the ‘broken window fallacy’ when describing the wealth of a nation as GDP.
    GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)
    There are other similar formulas. However a nations wealth is actually derived from its mining, agriculture, building and manufacturing. Anything else is just different ways of divvying up that wealth. Neither a trucker moving a product, a store selling a product or the government taxing a product creates a darn thing.

    Anything that limits the creation of that wealth is bad for the economy and the nation. Sooner or later that reality will come back and bite a nation in the rump. The USA is in the process of finding that out. The EU has already found it out and just has not accepted the fact.

  109. rms says:
    November 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Think of it this way. These wind turbines have replaced/caused not to be built about 33 nuclear reactors. (I choose Nuclear because our Pres says we aren’t building any more coal…) This is a good thing….
    ____________________________
    No it is NOT.

    The USA should have spent the money finishing the 1954 Aircraft Reactor Experiment. Now China is busy trying to STEAL the information so they can patent it. The Oak Ridge Labs have more Chinese visitors than anyone else and their computers have been hacked.

  110. From rms on November 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm:
    These wind turbines have replaced/caused not to be built about 33 nuclear reactors.
    They have replaced exactly ZERO nuclear reactors, as nukes are used for dependable 24/7 baseload generation. Windmills are only transient sources.

    Then think of how many of YOUR TAX DOLLARS, went into Yucca Mountain, a facility that is not in use and which may never be put into service. But that is not called a “subsidy”.
    Except under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 it is the nuke plant operators that are paying for a permanent nuclear waste repository, which was to have been Yucca Mountain. It was supposed to have started accepting waste back in 1998.

    The Act established a Nuclear Waste Fund composed of fees levied against electric utilities to pay for the costs of constructing and operating a permanent repository, and set the fee at one mill per kilowatt-hour of nuclear electricity generated. Utilities were charged a one-time fee for storage of spent fuel created before enactment of the law.

    So the nuke plant operators HAVE PAID for it, not my tax dollars. They are still paying even more for it.

    The Nuclear Waste Fund receives almost $750 million in fee revenues each year and has an unspent balance of $25 billion. However (according to the Draft Report by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future), actions by both Congress and the Executive Branch have made the money in the fund effectively inaccessible to serving its original purpose.

    The operators have had to provide their own storage, after cool-down they use above-ground dry cask storage. The operators have resorted to what is their legal right, suing the government for return of those fees. Example. And they are winning.

    So Yucca Mountain IS NOT A SUBSIDY. It was paid for by the nuclear industry, never delivered, the feds are still collecting payments for what they refuse to provide. Yucca Mountain, at this point, is a blatant rip-off of the industry and ultimately of the utilities’ customers.

    Then think about all the reactors in the US that have spent fuel pools FULL of spent fuel, because there is no where to put it.
    The dry cask storage actually isn’t that bad, the pools are for the cooling-off period. We should have chemical reprocessing of spent fuel in this country.

    If we had CANDU reactors in the US, which are thrifty and made for less-reactive fuels like natural un-enriched uranium, our normal “spent” fuel can be fed into a CANDU after physical reprocessing into CANDU pellets and fuel bundles. There is enough “spent” fuel from our light water reactors to power a fleet of CANDU’s for DECADES.

    Then think of Fukushima, a reactor with the same spent fuel problem.
    Actually it doesn’t, as Japan has a mature fuel reprocessing industry. The spent fuel at Fukushima was at the normal cool-down phase after getting pulled from the core.

    Then tell me that 2.2 cents/kwh is not worth it.
    You’ve been wrong on EVERY point. If you think it’s worth it, the trend shows it absolutely is not worth it.

    • Excellent, but not unexpected, response by you kadaka. It does seem that being green requires more emotion than factual understanding.

  111. rms: Not a valid argument. Wind does not replace nuclear or anything else. If you insist on not using nuclear to lower CO2, then you have the choice of fossil fuels or living in the dark. Oh, and don’t forget those nasty rare earth elements that nature mixed in with radioactive materials and we have to separate them (worked out poorly in China) to make those big magnets for the turbines. Your argument is wind and nuclear are the only choices and a bad choice is better than no choice at all. Doesn’t work that way.

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