The Washington Post Eilperin emissions trick

Dave Burton, via his Facebook page writes:

The Washington Post’s caption says “…emissions spew from the smokestacks at… coal-fired power plant…”

Inline image 4

Do you want to know what propaganda looks like?

Take glance at this article from the Washington Post. The photo at the top is purest propaganda, blatantly and deliberately deceiving readers and smearing a private company:

Here’s the letter I wrote to the Washington Post’s “Reader Representative” (now that they’ve terminated their longstanding Ombudsman position):

From: David Burton Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 1:21 PM
To: “Doug Feaver, Washington Post Reader Representative” <>
Inline image 4 Inline image 5

Dear Mr. Feaver,

Now that there’s no Ombudsman at the Washington Post, do the reporters and editors think truth doesn’t matter?

Here’s a March 15 story by the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin:

This is the lead photo, of Westar Energy’s Jeffrey Energy Center “spewing emissions” from coal:
Inline image 1

Charlie Riedel/AP – Silhouetted against the sky at dusk, emissions spew from the smokestacks at Westar Energy’s Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant near St. Mary’s, Kan.

And what do you suppose those black, deadly-looking plumes of “emissions” really are?
Condensing steam, that’s what. Just plain water.
Plumes of condensing water vapor normally look white and benign, but by artfully choosing a vantage point to the east of the plant, and a time just after sunset, AP photographer Charlie Riedel managed to make the pretty white plumes look black and threatening.
That power plant has state-of-the-art “scrubbers,” which which cost over $400 million, and which remove 95% of the SO2 and nearly all of the particulate matter. Almost nothing visible is left except steam. Here’s what those same stacks really look like, under normal lighting conditions:

Inline image 3

You’ve got to grudgingly admire the AP / Washington Post’s mastery of the propaganda craft.
I sent an email similar to the above to Westar Energy, and got back the following reply:

———- Begin forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 10:35 AM
Subject: Re: Washington Post / AP propaganda photo – “emissions spew” from power plant
To: David Burton

Hello, and thanks for forwarding this information. 

We have contacted AP numerous times regarding this photo. We agree that it is a skilled photographer using lighting to create a dramatic image that reinforces the story. 

Here’s the latest that Gina Penzig, Director, Corporate Communications, sent: 

I appreciate that Charlie is a skilled photographer who used backlighting to capture a dramatic image of the plant that reinforces the emissions story and the perception that power plants are dirty. I fully acknowledge that plants are a source of emissions and the EPA work to reduce emissions has been important. We’re in the midst of spending billions of dollars to change the make up of that plume from our coal plants to almost completely steam. In fact at JEC, we’re very close. (I’d love to set up a tour and talk about what we’ve done. We’re pretty proud of it.) 

I’d like to point out that the photo is nearly four years old. I’m not asking that it be replaced with a photo that we provide. I’d challenge the photo editors to look up Jeffrey Energy Center on Google images. You will see a variety of photos from a variety of sources that show a more accurate representation of the plant and what it emits. A photographer can easily capture a plant photo from off of our property, but I’d gladly set up an escort for a photographer who would like to go onto the plant site. 

Thank you again for sharing the information with us!
Alice K. Landers
Communications Representative
Corporate Communications
Westar Energy, Inc.
———- End forwarded message ———-
What shameful, shameful misbehavior by the Washington Post!
Please print an apology, and appropriately discipline the responsible parties, and tell me what action you’re taking.

EPA likely to delay climate rules for new power plants

Move could bolster agency’s legal case, but worries environmentalists.
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March 20, 2013 9:05 am

WP will choose one of 2 options:
a) ignore the complaint completely (most likely, since it’s all about the “narrative” now – the picture is “fake but accurate”.)
b) grudgingly print a note of correction in tiny print on the bottom of page 24, where no one will ever see it, with full knowledge that the damage has been done and the narrative has been advanced.

March 20, 2013 9:20 am

Amazing that these people will exaggerate to the point that they’re thought to be shameless liars. It would be interesting to find out what religion and political party they are.

March 20, 2013 9:25 am

Pepco, the power company that supplies D.C. with their electricity, produces 0% of their usage. It buys all its electrical power from the other companies on the grid like Duke & others. The main players should either raise their rates through the roof for the D.C. elite, or cut them off completely. Let them feel the pain they wish to impose on us first this time. Brownouts in D.C. might even save this country some money. No A/C in the summer in D.C. would be great to see.

March 20, 2013 9:28 am

Did you notice the Westar Energy letter? It says, “We have contacted AP numerous times regarding this photo.”
Considering that, I think their letter is a model of restraint. I’d be more inclined to write something like, “You’ve deliberately deceived your readers into thinking that we’re ‘spewing’ soot into the atmosphere, when you knowthere’s no truth to that at all. You’ve intentionally damaged our company’s reputation with your deception. See you in court, jerks!”

March 20, 2013 9:33 am

Like a great many things since “Enlightenment”, freedom is just an experiment, one which can succeed or fail. Let there be no question that freedom does indeed carry with it the ability to distort the truth. The experiment is completed when distorted truth distorts freedom.

Henry Galt
March 20, 2013 9:33 am

We are worked off our feet by their masters. We don’t have time to verify anything but our transport timetable so as not to be late for work. We have to trust the Fourth Estate to expose untruths, villains and criminality. What else do we have?

Ben Wilson
March 20, 2013 9:36 am

They posted that picture because it fit the narrative.
I wonder just how long it has been that the journalistic profession, as demonstrated by the main stream media, has been quite willing to deceive and mislead their readers to promote their favored ideology. Were they this dishonest 50 years ago? Was it this way 100 years ago, but were they just not exposed like they are on occasion now?
There is no doubt that the way in which the internet has expanded communication that their lies are now more easily exposed.

March 20, 2013 9:41 am

Deceit is necessary for this cause. Reality is way too benign.

Mark Bofill
March 20, 2013 9:42 am

The Washington Post clearly didn’t get the message. RealClimate tells us we’re living in Hansen’s scenario C and therefore there have been no increases in atmospheric CO2 for over 13 years now. They can stop running stories on power plants; the power plants aren’t contributing to AGW. See (
Good work Dave. That photo is shameful propaganda.

Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen
March 20, 2013 9:55 am

A very similar trick was used in the recent book by UK economist ‘Dieter helm ‘The Carbon Crunch’ ..Yale 2003. Cooling towers spewing out black clouds… merging in to a black page.

Sonja B-C

March 20, 2013 9:55 am

Ongoing green brainwash.
In Germany’s ZEIT newspaper, a young student, living in the woods, under primitive circumstances is presented as “Saving the world”. Posterchild for a new generation. obviously.
How sick are all these people?

Chuck Nolan
March 20, 2013 9:56 am

I believe this is an opportunity for the press to show they are at least willing to be fair.
The intent of the photo is to show BS.
Now they know it and we know it.
Let’s see how they respond.

lurker, passing through laughing
March 20, 2013 9:56 am

The WP (like most modern media) is so far removed from reality they couldclaim that the photos they chose are actually better because they show in better detail the actual amounts of emissions from the wicked plants. Next the WP will whine away at the power companies for daring to raise prices to cover for the extra costs of wind and ever more scrubbers and new nat. gas plants.

March 20, 2013 9:58 am

Politics politics !!!!
Good points,meanwhile countries around the world are passing us up with renewable resources of energy such as Solar. Did you know with the help Government subsidies Germany is the leader in solar power accounting for over 30 percent of their residential energy.

Crispin in Waterloo but actually in Phnom Penh
March 20, 2013 9:58 am

I recall that same photo being exposed as a misrepresentation at the time it was taken, not so? It seems someone did not perform any due diligence.
It is not the least surprising that a mendacious tagline is attached to anything to do with a coal plant because if things were judged on facts there would be a very different outcome for public opinion.

Theo Goodwin
March 20, 2013 10:01 am

Thanks for standing in the gap for journalism. The Post should send a memo to all their journalists and photographers that propaganda is beneath them. The Post should run an apology for this photo.

March 20, 2013 10:02 am

This image is almost surely faked. Do a simple test. Use youre favorite image pgm and click on “negative”, (some pgms call it ‘invert colors’). The sky is a lovely natural blue and the ‘smoke’ is white water vapor and fluffy white clouds. The chimneys are unnaturally all pure white, indicating in-filling. Suggestion: put “click for WAPO version” on the image. It really is obvious.

Ian Blanchard
March 20, 2013 10:14 am

I complained to the BBC about something very similar about 5 years or so ago and actually had some success in stopping them using a similarly lit picture of cooling towers showing ’emissions’. They did though reject the remainder of my complaint which related to a TV news item on coastal erosion of the East Anglian coast and how it was the fault of extreme weather based on model predictions (anyone that knows the first thing about geology knows that erosion has been a serious issue along the east coast of England for as long as records have been kept).

Dave L
March 20, 2013 10:16 am

Do what I did: cancel your subscription to the local socialist Democrat newspaper. Refuse to support evil.

March 20, 2013 10:18 am

If you were to blow powdered charcoal into the air, would it even appear so black?

March 20, 2013 10:20 am

@wwschmidt & four-of-them
As an amateur photographer I can attest that there is nothing fake about the photograph. The sky is the color it is because it was taken facing into the sunset. I have plenty of photos with sky that looks like that. The steam plumes are dark because they were photographed from a vantage point where they are vary weakly back lit so little light is comming through the plumes to reach the camera nor is their any light comming from behind the camera to illuminate the plumes.
That image can be redily produced inside a camera with no trikery at all. It’s all about the lighting.

March 20, 2013 10:24 am

four-of-them, that seems excessively complicated. Just waiting for sunset could easily yield an image like that.
Invert this one (just searched for photos of smokestacks at sunset) and you get similar blue sky.
Taking a misleading photo seems easier than outright fraud, and with no risk.

March 20, 2013 10:25 am

Most of the UK media have been pulling this trick for years.
Eventually you get tired of complaining, I’m afraid.

March 20, 2013 10:26 am

Gee, it isn’t the first time. The standard environmental report is the reporter standing in front of a cooling tower or stack with billowing white clouds as, usually, she talks about pollution. That leaves the viewer under the impression that pollution is spewing from those stacks. Every time they see the white clouds, they will know it is pollution. Water vapor makes a great visual and the media have used this visual to falsely depict pollution for years. I’ve written broadcasters and some print media for many years. It is pointless for a single person to complain about this propaganda. I know I’m tired of doing it. Why do you think the EPA and others can get away with absolutely stupid things? The population has been long brainwashed.
When you see your local media doing stupid stuff like this, write them a letter of complaint. Not sure it will change them, but maybe you’ll feel better.

March 20, 2013 10:29 am

“Careful not step on Wapo.”

March 20, 2013 10:37 am

Ohhh, but that is water vapour pouring from those stacks. Water vapour is ten times more potent as a greenhouse gas, than CO2. Yikes!!
Close this power station down immediately. We all want to go back to the good old Middle Ages, when everything was Green and wonderful.
Hey, its bl**dy cold in here, who turned the electricity off? Hey, open that power station again, I’m freezing….

Martin Hodgkins
March 20, 2013 10:42 am

Well I recently did some work for an examinations board and all the science papers had climate change questions in them and to let the kids know what they meant they all had photos of cooling towers. So what’s new?

March 20, 2013 10:42 am

Prof Mackay, a UK government advisor on renewable energy, did something similar. He wrote a paper saying that electric vehicles were five times more efficient than fossil fueled cars.
What the disingenuous professor had done, of course, is to ignore all the inefficiencies involved in creating electricity from fossil fuels and transmitting it to the vihicle. But when such disingenuous advice like this is going direct to brain-dead government ministers, who suck up green propaganda like this like blotting paper, it is more like fraud.

March 20, 2013 10:43 am

bill said:
March 20, 2013 at 9:20 am
Amazing that these people will exaggerate to the point that they’re thought to be shameless liars. It would be interesting to find out what religion and political party they are.
They are warmunists; their religion and political party are the same thing: extreme leftism.

March 20, 2013 10:48 am

@wwschmidt & four-of-them
I was going to say exactly the same thing as MattS. Of course if you switch to the opposite colours of black and sepia they will come out as white and blue but that doesn’t mean that that is what they were originally.
Shoot any similar chimney against the sky near a sunset and you will get a broadly similar image. The dishonesty is not with the photographer unless they misrepresented the image.

March 20, 2013 10:54 am

Ben Wilson @9:36 am
During the lead in to the Spanish American War, in 1898, legend has it William Randolph Hearst sent an illustrator to cover a revolution in Cuba. The illustrator cabled Hearst and told him there wasn’t any revolution. Hearst is said to have told him ‘You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.’.
So apparently what is happening today with the main stream media is nothing new.

Eyes Wide Open
March 20, 2013 10:54 am

Just cut of electical power to the Washington Post. That might get their attention!

March 20, 2013 10:56 am

My advice to Westar: Sue the WhitewashPost for enough to put them out of business.

March 20, 2013 10:56 am

legaltrex2013 wrote on March 20, 2013 at 9:58 am, “Did you know with the help Government subsidies Germany is the leader in solar power accounting for over 30 percent of their residential energy.”
Germany is, indeed, the country most heavily invested in Wind and PV (solar panel) electric generation. But they aren’t getting 30% of their electricity from solar. In 2012 it was only about 5%.
I recently posted the following comment on a blog site about their dismal Wind Power results:
Nuclear capacity factors are typically around 90%, but [based on this report] the German nation-wide average wind capacity factor for 2012 was apparently just under 17.5% [45867 GWh/yr / (29.9 GW * 24 * 366) = 0.1746]. I.e., actual generated power was 17.5% of nameplate capacity, despite the fact that a lot of their windmills are pretty new, and electricity prices there are so extraordinarily high there (thanks to the “green” politics) that there’s a strong incentive to keep the turbines well-maintained and running. Where electricity prices are lower, that incentive fades. I expect wind to blow, but that really sucks.
And, believe it or not, PV (solar panels) fared even worse. Even when you adjust for the fact that a lot of the German solar panels are new, and were only online for part of the year, the average German PV capacity factor in 2012 was just 10.5%.

March 20, 2013 10:59 am

“which remove 95% of the SO2 and nearly all of the particulate matter. ”
Ignore those reductions in real pollutants thanks to advancing technology. We just can’t have CO2 released and our Ministry of Truth will tell you what is real. Deceptive is the polite term.

March 20, 2013 11:05 am
March 20, 2013 11:06 am

Which is why every time a reporter is laid off, an angel gets his wings.

March 20, 2013 11:07 am

AP = Agenda Pushers
Don’t see anything resembling journalism…

March 20, 2013 11:12 am

Woops! Link does not work.
Just go to Google images and enter the search term “CO2 pollution”. Miracolo!! The “Invisible Gas” is made visible! Hundreds of images…all bad, as bad as you any which way you want.

March 20, 2013 11:12 am

It is indeed propaganda, but then again, it serves their advocacy position. Another subliminal trick is to show a cooling tower backlit. The viewer sees the “pollution” (which truly is 100% H2O plus many believe it’s a nuclear plant…the best of all deceptions!!!

March 20, 2013 11:13 am

Any industrial plant like the photo that spewed exhaust from its stack actually like the portrayal would be shut down instantly by federal, state and local clean air authorities. Pollution abatement techniques have been in place for decades that truly make the air clean. You can’t get a dirty plume like the photo unless there is pollution control equipment failures.
Remember too, CO2 is an orderless, colorless gas. What is shown in the photo is mostly water vapor presented in a tricked up lighting.

March 20, 2013 11:14 am

The way to get the message across to The Washington Post is clearly give them the impression that people have caught on. Once a liar is a known liar, his attitude about lying changes a lot.

Mac the Knife
March 20, 2013 11:17 am

Photographic technique for dramatic, sinister effects – Yes.
Photographic documentation of pollution – No.

Barry Cullen
March 20, 2013 11:25 am

Burton; it’s not propaganda, it is agitprop, plain and simple.

Peter Miller
March 20, 2013 11:40 am

The greenies have ensured there are unsustainable amounts of seals living on the shores of eastern Canada, which have destroyed the huge fish populations which once used to live there.
The harp seal population has grown almost 700% to 8 million over the past 30 years – see official Canadian government figures:
However, in the area of Hudson Bay, which is the subject of this study, the ringed seal is dominant. Unlike other seal populations, this one is declining and is subject to occasional catastrophic decline – almost amusingly, this seems to occur in years when there is an abnormal amount of winter ice. I would suggest polar bear health is all about the relative size of seal populations and has almost nothing to do with supposed climate change:

March 20, 2013 12:04 pm

The mainstream media continues to struggle financially with the loss of readers and advertising. They do not understand that they are the architects of their own decline, it is their own dishonest reporting that has driven the explosion in blogging and the other alternative news sources to whom they are losing market-share.

March 20, 2013 12:17 pm

wwschmidt says:
“they’ll print it on page 24”. (first post 9.05 am)
Do they still have that many pages?

Peter in Ohio
March 20, 2013 12:29 pm

If you search Google images for “Jeffrey Energy Center” the first image is another of Riedel’s – a little more steamy but certainly “scary” enough to fool the average person. What both images have in common is that they are cropped to ensure nobody can see the end/edge of the emissions. A lot more people will recognize the emissions as steam if they see the edges where the steam disappears in a way that smoke will not.

Frank K.
March 20, 2013 12:35 pm

Sean says:
March 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Sean is correct, and we can all do something by refusing to purchase their products, and encouraging our friends and contacts to do the same. If someone says they read something in the New York Times or Washington Post, I would challenge them on its veracity, and ask them why they are throwing away their hard-earned money on crap. They may not like that response, but it will make them think twice about the sources of their news. And by most polling, new reporters have about as much trustworthiness as used car salesmen (and certain climate scientists).

March 20, 2013 1:13 pm

The “smoke” in the foreground of the Washington Post photo appears to be from some sort of cooling system that cools the water before returning it to a river.
This website has the Jeffrey Energy Center featured along with photos taken four years ago:
It has a slideshow of 15 photos taken in February 2009. This is the URL for the slideshow:
See the cooling system? And, of course, in these photos the steam appears to be steam from both the cooling system and the smokestacks.

March 20, 2013 1:22 pm

It is absolutely outrageous that a respected major newspaper, one that has no need whatsoever to mislead the publice, nevertheless engages in presenting an outright lie such as this.
The Wall Street Journal is much more attuned to conveying the truth, and that includes its articles and opinions involving global climate matters.
I strongly urge Mr. Burton, Mr. Watts, and the good people at Westar Energy to bring this information to the attention of the editors at the WSJ who might just take it upon themselves to use this outrageous incident to inform millions of readers of the juvenile Wapo shenanigans.

Rhoda R
March 20, 2013 1:52 pm

It’s a damn shame that some subscribers can’t sue the WP for a defective product or mal practice or something like that. Isn’t it defective advertising to claim to be a NEWS paper but instead provide blatent propaganda?

Alan Wilkinson
March 20, 2013 1:54 pm

Cut off their power.

Village Idiot
March 20, 2013 2:00 pm

Keep those chimneys belching black, pile on the subsidies, cancel regulations – freedom to make piles of cash. It’s the only way forward!
Just like in Beijing.

Gene Selkov
March 20, 2013 2:05 pm

There is nothing wrong with the picture, so the request to correct it sounds strange. What needs to be corrected is the legend. Had they used another picture, taken during the daytime, with the same legend, the effect would have been the same. A lie that their brainwashed readership wants to hear.
I imagine, you can just show these morons a picture of an inactive smokestack shot against the blue skye and tell them it is a chemical factory spewing toxic “chemicals” into the air they breathe. Or something radioactive. Or mercury. It does not matter what you say; they are trained to take everything for granted, as long as it is a lie.

Steve P
March 20, 2013 2:16 pm

Good work . The take-away point is that photographs can and do lie, as we’ve seen.
It’s said that a picture is worth 1000 words, but which 1000? Only the photographer knows for sure, and unless we know all the circumstances of its capture and processing, we should be wary of any photograph that seems to prove a point. The same caveat is no less true for video.

James at 48
March 20, 2013 2:24 pm

Well, H2O is an EEEEEEEEEEEVIL GHG, let’s ban this toxic emission!

March 20, 2013 2:56 pm

What normal, expected behavior from the Washington Post. They aren’t going to change, you have to go around them.

March 20, 2013 3:04 pm

MattS and nemo and artwest
Been there, done that, but let’s not stand on reputation.
Here is a gallery of 9 images of smokestacks taken from the web with the same
9 images color inverted. I include WAPO’s.
Now you tell me which are the oddities. “nothing fake” you say?
So what you sayin’ bro? no smoke but only mirrors?
There’s light from behind? Well, I suggest you sit down and consider this:
The pixel values are the only reality so ipso facto there is no reality
that cannot be artificially made in a picture.
Naivete is touching but here the media circus took the easy way out.
Texture analysis of the white areas in WAPO show typical water vapor
evaporation at the edges where droplets disappear. You can use Gabor or Fourier.
Smoke does not have this texture signature, granted the resolution is very poor.
The chimneys have texture and detail which means my guess at
plain fill is wrong , it’s just whitened/darkened.
I don’t know if dedicated WAPO photographers spend months of their time in
the frozen wastes of the artic circle waiting for the right lighting and a
polar bear to come floating by on piece of ice, but the media I know much prefers
their ice in a glass and the unbelievable ease with which a mouse can be clicked.
So I call MattS’s “nothing fake about this picture” and
nemo’s “incredibly complicated” mouse click and raise you, hmmm let’s see,
a brand new photograph of a half-submerged luxury seaside villa on the Maldive Islands
which as you know is in grave danger from rising sea levels 🙂
A little learning is a dangerous thing. I thank those who commented for causing
a suspicion to become a near certainty.

David Joss of Downunder
March 20, 2013 3:24 pm

Newspapers are not the only ones stooping to deceit.
The Australian government used similar doctoring a couple of years ago to sell their stupid concept that carbon (dioxide) is a pollutant which must be taxed.
In fact the power station they used as background in their advertisements was not even in Australia and had been closed for decades!

March 20, 2013 4:34 pm

four-of-them says:
March 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm
MattS and nemo and artwest
Been there, done that, but let’s not stand on reputation.
Here is a gallery of 9 images of smokestacks taken from the web with the same
9 images color inverted. I include WAPO’s.
Now you tell me which are the oddities. “nothing fake” you say?
So what you sayin’ bro? no smoke but only mirrors?

I hope that pixel analysis will be done to see if any fingerprint of photoshopping can be detected. If it is there, it would be a huge embarrassment to the MSM.

March 20, 2013 4:39 pm

“That power plant has state-of-the-art “scrubbers,” which which cost over $400”
Too many whiches spoil the brouhaha.

March 20, 2013 4:53 pm

“Did you know with the help Government subsidies Germany is the leader in solar power accounting for over 30 percent of their residential energy.”
Does that include the contributions from the solar plant that got caught using diesel generators and flood lights to generate “solar” electricity at night.

Peter in Ohio
March 20, 2013 5:02 pm

four-of-them says:
March 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm
I’m with MattS on this. Anyone who has spent time “fixing” a digital image (Photoshopping) knows that you are far better off capturing a good image in the first place. Sure, anything can be faked in editing software, but most journals will look for an original, high res image that doesn’t need editing for exactly the reasons this discussion raises. They are aware of the thousands (millions?) of digital experts that make a hobby out of catching the Photoshopped image.
As for the photographer – he lives in this general area (Overland Park, Kansas) which is less than 100 miles from the power station. I imagine he didn’t give up much of his social life to catch this image. He probably took the picture in passing anyway, and left it as a stock image for the AP.

March 20, 2013 5:07 pm

Oh, you won’t find me claiming that it’s impossible to fake a photo. All I said is based on experience as a photographer and in fact your own link to the set of normal and negative images proves that the picture on this story isn’t faked. It’s a perfectly normal and natural result of lighting conditions.
Go back and take a good close look at all the photos at your link. I can tell you exactly which ones are real and which are the negatives. You simply don’t get the same qualities that the WaPo photo has by taking a photo under clear sky and daylight and turning into a negative. Look at your own pictures the negatives of the daylight photos don’t look like the sunset photos and the negatives of the sunset/sunrise photos don’t look like the daylight photos. Any competent photographer can tell the difference. Hell most idiots who wouldn’t know which way to point the camera could tell the difference with them side by side.
All WaPo did is take a perfectly normal sunset photo of a power plant and put a deceptive caption on it.

March 20, 2013 5:09 pm

“Now you tell me which are the oddities. “nothing fake” you say? So what you sayin’ bro? no smoke but only mirrors? ”
Nope, not even any mirrors, just light and shadow.

March 20, 2013 5:26 pm

One last comment. It’s highly unlikely that WaPo staff photographers took that image. I saved the image off of the WaPo site and ran it through a Google image search. I got 131 hits. It’s almost certainly a stock image.

Chuck Nolan
March 20, 2013 5:38 pm

Greg says:
March 20, 2013 at 11:06 am
Which is why every time a reporter is laid off, an angel gets his wings.

Chuck Nolan
March 20, 2013 6:01 pm

MattS says:
March 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm
“Did you know with the help Government subsidies Germany is the leader in solar power accounting for over 30 percent of their residential energy.”
Does that include the contributions from the solar plant that got caught using diesel generators and flood lights to generate “solar” electricity at night.
MattS, I have never heard of that.
Please tell me you just forgot the sarc tag.

March 20, 2013 6:16 pm

Chuck Nolan,
Although I was misremembering the country. This happened in Spain not Germany.

March 21, 2013 4:25 am
“Photovoltaics are threatening to become the costliest mistake in the history of German energy policy. Photovoltaic power plant operators and homeowners with solar panels on their rooftops are expected to pocket around €9 billion ($11.3 billion) this year, yet they contribute barely 4 percent of the country’s power supply, and only erratically at that.
When night falls, all solar modules go offline in one fell swoop; in the winter, they barely generate power during the daytime. During the summer, meanwhile, they sometimes generate too much power around midday, without enough storage capacity to capture it all. The distribution network is also not laid out in a way that would allow the country’s thousands of owners of photovoltaic arrays — a term used to denote an installation of several panels working together — to feed into the grid as well as draw power from it.
To keep the lights on, Germany ends up importing nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic. Grid operator Tennet even resorted to tapping an aging fossil fuel-fired power plant in Austria to compensate for shortages in solar power.
The figures on peak performance of photovoltaic arrays lead to misunderstandings, the German Physical Society writes in an expert opinion, stating, “Photovoltaics are fundamentally incapable of replacing any other type of power plant.” Essentially, every solar array must be backed up with a conventional power plant as a reserve, creating an expensive double infrastructure.”
Sounds familiar……….

ferd berple
March 21, 2013 6:58 am

“Did you know with the help Government subsidies Germany is the leader in solar power accounting for over 30 percent of their residential energy.”
nonsense. The actual amount is 3%. From wikipedia, the climate bible:
The German new solar PV installations increased by about 7.6 GW in 2012, and solar PV provided 18 TWh (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity.[4]
Reuters. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
The real problem for all power generation is the wholesale price of power. Many people are not aware that when power is plentiful on the grid, prices actually go negative? That is because you can’t simply shut off power on the grid by throwing a switch as you do in your house.
Real power on the grid is more like a mighty river. It is a flow and if you try and stop it suddenly it will overflow the banks of the river and flood the countryside, doing immense damage in the process. Thus, if you have coal powered plants producing enough power on a cloudy day, and the skies suddenly clear and the solar plants start producing a large amount of power you have a serious problem. There is too much power of the grid for the load to absorb. Voltages are going to start climbing and equipment will start to burn out unless you cut power in a hurry.
So, when this happens, the wholesale prices drops to zero – and even goes negative – so that everyone that can stop producing power will stop producing. The pricing mechanism works because once the price goes negative, for every bit of power you put on the grid, you are now going to have to pay money. Instead of getting paid to produce power, you are in effect going to pay a fine for producing power.
The problem with green energy is that governments in their infinite wisdom have bypassed the priding mechanism and instead have guaranteed solar and wind a fixed wholesale price. No matter how much power they produce, no matter how much supply is available, the green energy sources are guaranteed a positive wholesale price. So, when there is too much power on the grid they have no incentive to reduce supply.
This is a disaster in waiting for the national power grids of every country with substantial green power, because the grids were never designed to handle this sort of situation. They have no way to deal with run-away power generation from suppliers that are not controlled by the price mechanism, except of course for the grid to fail.

Gene Selkov
Reply to  ferd berple
March 21, 2013 8:14 am

ferd berple says:
> Real power on the grid is more like a mighty river.
Real power on the grid, if we are to use a mechanical metaphor, is more like a spring mattress with its covers removed, shaking violently. The shaking is induced by vibrators placed at a number of point locations across the mattress. For loads, imagine a few people sitting on the mattress at some random locations. Their soft behinds damp the vibrations, absorbing the energy. The moment a person stands up (disconnecting the load), the whole thing starts shaking more violently, including remote corners of the grid. Same if you connect or disconnect a vibrator.

Bob in Castlemaine
March 21, 2013 10:50 pm

The art of Green propaganda photography unfortunately is a world wide reality. Presumably done in the misguided belief that their “noble cause” justifies this kind of deception.
Here is a picture of the Hazelwood brown coal power station in Victoria as it appears on the web site of Environment Victoria, note how atmospheric conditions have been carefully selected to emphasis the plumes of flue gas “condensation” . In reality more than 95% of the time this is what you’ll see.
Hazelwood is an old station (first unit commissioned in 1964) its 8 x 200MW units were retro-fitted with new electrostatic precipitators around 15 years ago. The station is still vital to power security in Victoria, where no one has been prepared to build a new coal station since the early 90s, partly because of the risk presented by unfavourable legislative regimes e.g. the recently introduced $23AUD per tonne carbon dioxide tax – the growing sovereign risk.

March 22, 2013 5:16 am

MattS wrote on March 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm, “Does that include the contributions from the solar plant that got caught using diesel generators and flood lights to generate ‘solar’ electricity at night.”.
Chuck Nolan wrote on March 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm, “MattS, I have never heard of that…”
I had not heard about that, either, MattS! Can you please share a citation or link? Or were you joking??

David A. Evans
March 22, 2013 8:36 am

The reference to using floodlights to power the Solar panels in Spain was a joke.
What they actually did was feed the grid with diesel generators.
They got greedy & carried on feeding the grid at night which is how they were caught.

March 22, 2013 10:37 am

Thanks, David. I missed that story. (Note that the link in the WUWT page to the original article no longer works, but you can find the original German article here, or a Google-translated version here.)

Gail Combs
March 23, 2013 1:57 pm

bill says:
March 20, 2013 at 9:20 am
Amazing that these people will exaggerate to the point that they’re thought to be shameless liars. It would be interesting to find out what religion and political party they are.
The Bankers of course.

Lee C. Bollinger
….Bollinger is deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a director of The Washington Post Company,….

Christopher C. Davis
Elected to the board January 20, 2006
Christopher C. Davis serves as chairman of Davis Selected Advisers, LP, an investment counseling firm that oversees approximately $70 billion of client assets, including mutual funds and institutional separate accounts…. He began his career as an accountant at State Street Bank and Trust Company.

Barry Diller
Elected to the board August 1, 2000
….From October 1984 to April 1992, Mr. Diller served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox, Inc. and was responsible for the creation of Fox Broadcasting Company in addition to Fox’s motion picture operations.
Before joining Fox, Mr. Diller served for ten years as Chairman and Chief Executive of Paramount Pictures Corporation. In March 1983, in addition to Paramount, Mr. Diller became President of the conglomerate’s newly formed Entertainment and Communications Group, which included Simon & Schuster, Inc., Madison Square Garden Corporation and SEGA Enterprises, Inc. Prior to joining Paramount, Mr. Diller served as Vice President of Prime Time Television for ABC Entertainment….
. He serves on the boards of The Washington Post Company, The Coca-Cola Company and The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC, a private company. He is also a trustee of New York University, a member of the Board of Councilors for the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

That is the first couple of directors I looked at.

March 23, 2013 6:46 pm

Huh? Gail, the CFR has nothing to do with banking. Membership in the CFR is an honor customarily offered to “top government officials, renowned scholars, business leaders, acclaimed journalists, prominent lawyers, and distinguished nonprofit professionals.” Of course, “business leaders” includes some bankers, but the CFR is not a banking institution.

March 28, 2013 11:05 am

Update: Nine days elapsed, and I’ve still not received a reply to my emails to the WaPo’s “Reader Representative,” nor to the Facebook messages which I sent directly to Juliet Eilperin.
It appears that the WaPo’s claimed continuing commitments to the “highest standards of journalism,” and to “remain faithful” to the mission of the abolished Ombudsman position are untrue.

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