Claim: Funding Cuts an “Existential Threat” to Aussie Renewables Research

solar-and-wind-energy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

What do you call a field of energy research so economically useless that it is utterly dependent on government funding for its very existence? We may be about to find out, thanks to the desperation of cash strapped Aussie politicians fighting to retain Australia’s shaky AAA credit rating.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding cuts will lead to ANU job losses: Andrew Blakers

Dozens of researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra will lose their jobs if cuts to Australia’€™s renewable energy research agency are passed by the Parliament, according to one of the sector’s pioneers.

Deep cuts to the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, contained in the Turnbull government’s omnibus “œbudget repair” bill before the Parliament this week, is an “existential threat” to clean energy innovation in Australia, Professor Andrew Blakers says.

Professor Blakers, a world leader in renewables research, says scores of his colleagues around the country will lose their jobs if the government gets its bill through the Parliament and advances that would deliver major economic benefits to the country would be lost.

“€œThere is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia,” Professor Blakers said.

“€œIf ARENA is dismantled, then many people would lose their jobs including dozens at ANU.

“œIn the longer term, Australia’s leadership in solar energy would vanish.

“After the fiasco involving CSIRO climate scientists, we now have a potential fiasco in mitigation of climate change.”

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/australian-renewable-energy-agency-funding-cuts-will-lead-to-anu-job-losses-andrew-blakers-20160830-gr49i9.html

If we accept Professor Blaker’s premise, that withdrawal of government funding poses an “existential” threat to renewables R&D, the total lack of private interest in clean energy R&D tells us everything we need to know, about whether scientific breakthroughs which improve renewable efficiency would yield useful economic benefits.

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129 thoughts on “Claim: Funding Cuts an “Existential Threat” to Aussie Renewables Research

  1. A ‘renewables’ gardener from Pinner,
    believed our Earth was bubbling to a simmer,
    so he let his lawn grow,
    ‘cos it burns carbon to mow,
    then took a week cutting it down with a strimmer.

    Ah, the hypocrisy of renewable electricity.

      • More like: “Pay us or die”.

        The Commies haven’t changed one bit, they just shifted their strategy and started using different language to keep the scam going.

      • The so-called climate “scientists” may not be qualified for anything other than burger-flipping.

        Not only are they suspect scientifically, but also ethically.

      • I would much rather see research funding be preserved for projects that might actually benefit humanity. Or that might actually benefit the natural world. Generally speaking, renewables are not doing much for either.

        Much good, that is.

      • I wouldn’t trust a climate pseudoscientist with flipping my burger. Be my luck he’d use a computer model to determine the doneness and I’d end up with a gut full of Hep or Ecoli or something worse.

        Maybe they could be trusted with doing the fries. Maybe.

  2. First thing the Canberra Times is a socialist newspaper for the A.C.T. . ACT is the Australian Capital Territory that is the home of our federal parliament. ACT is also heavily dependent on the federal bureaucracy.
    The ACT is also known as the Australian Communist Territory.
    So anything coming from them has to be taken with a large grain of salt.
    With an enormous federal debt left by the climate change boondoggle party, Labor, Australia has to trim everywhere to start moving the annual budget back from overspent position. So if these people have to share the pain then so be it.
    They have another few centuries of coal and gas to find a renewable source that is cheap to run and easy to use.

    • Is there something in this very short article suggesting it is ?

      BTW the Chinese are leaders in fabricating cheap PV, most of the “technology” was developed in the west.

      • Reply to Greg

        Phillip Bratby
        August 29, 2016 at 10:56 pm

        I didn’t realise that Australia was a leader in solar energy. I thought it was mostly Chinese technology.
        Reply

        Greg
        August 29, 2016 at 11:19 pm

        Is there something in this very short article suggesting it is ?

        This: “In the longer term, Australia’s leadership in solar energy would vanish.”

        SteveT

      • We need a study into the urban heat affect of all the solar panels on the local environment .

      • In this case, “leadership in solar energy” seems to mean, “staying on board with ClimateChange™ propaganda and continuing government subsidies”.

    • Apparently initial solar research was led by Australia. A Chinese student involved took the technology back to China which had a Govt interested in developing it.
      We also have one of the best climates to use said technology in.
      Oh well.

      • There was a Chinese student who took the technology developed in Australia back to China, but I saw that a few years later it was bankrupt. Supposedly because of a massive slow-down in sales.

      • You know you are being scammed when your research institutions describe themselves as “world leaders”.

        Solar cells have been around for almost 100 years and there have only been about 1,000 different solar cell breakthroughs over time making them that little 0.0001% more efficient.

        Some day, there may be economic solar technology but we are nowhere near that today.

        So why are we still rolling it out then. Wake me up when it actually works.

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_solar_cells

      Actually, according to the Wikipedia timeline above, the first practical solar panel was invented by Bell Labs here in the U.S. in 1954. So that would mean the solar panel has actually been around for just 62 years rather than 100 if my understanding is correct here.

      From the Wikipedia timeline:

      “1954 – On April 25, 1954, Bell Labs announces the invention of the first practical silicon solar cell.[3][4] Shortly afterwards, they are shown at the National Academy of Science Meeting. These cells have about 6% efficiency. The New York Times forecasts that solar cells will eventually lead to a source of “limitless energy of the sun.””

      Still, if an invention cannot scale up to significant commercial levels here in the U.S. in 62 years (solar still provides less than 1% of U.S. electricity needs according the EIA.gov), then its my guess that it probably never will. However, I could be wrong.

      • Your site references “practical” solar cells.
        There could have been other cells, even earlier, that weren’t considered “practical”.

      • Einstein’s Nobel is actually for his work on the photo-electric effect, involving selenium photo-cells. Said cells being developed by an American, Charles Fritts in the early 1880’s. So, the effect has been demonstrated for over 130 years. Practical is entirely a matter of opinion. The first application was, I believe, for satellites and their cost was, well, astronomical.

  3. “There is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia,”

    Oh GOOD!

    • LOL..

      Well, they haven’t managed to make any TRUE clean energy in all that time. Besides, researching panels from China is something anyone with a garage and a roof can do.

    • We need the heighten the threat down here. Some of the utilities have got on to the subsidy train and are looking at creating “Virtual Power Stations” with household solar and battery installations, managed by the utility. Unsurprisingly, it’s first being rolled out in South Australia.
      https://aglsolar.com.au/power-in-numbers/

    • Just use SA as a guide for what renewables are not capable of , that’s producing reliable cheap electricity .

    • I think you’re all being a little unfair. The main “renewable” argument was that it would “create jobs”. These are some of the jobs it created. Nobody said anything about the jobs being economically viable. It’s sort of like creating jobs when you hand one guy a pick and another a shovel. The first guy digs a hole and the second guy fills it back in. Presto! Two jobs created!

      • You forgot the bit about creating even more jobs if you give them forks and spoons instead of picks and shovels.

      • ” It’s sort of like creating jobs when you hand one guy a pick and another a shovel.”

        Too much chance of industrial accidents. Better to provide each guy with an electronic device of some sort (smart phone, iPad, laptop) so they can “dig” and “fill in” virtual holes. :-)

      • You are correct – and now there are no jobs until someone gets the idea to wash, rinse and repeat. Over ane over with no wealth created at all because nothing is created that can be sold because there is no demand for filled holes!.

    • Oh GOOD

      +1

      It is by all means good if we have suddenly found a way to stop the subsidy industry called “renewables”. This is not funny, but just good news. Really. There is nothing wrong in renewables in principle, it is just that if you (or your government) promise money for crappy power, you will get crappy power.

  4. I’m weeping tears thinking about these people who will have to find work in the private sector, yes, that private sector where showing your boss you can turn a profit means having a job or not. Welcome to reality my soon-to-be-out-of-work citizens.

  5. Professor Andrew Blakers, is Director of the Australian National University Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems, which employs 60 staff. He is responsible for several innovations in solar energy photovoltaic technology, including “Sliver cells”. He also has interest in sustainable energy policy. (What a surprise!).

    He was lead inventor of PERC silicon solar cell technology (current sales about $9 billion per year) and co-inventor of Sliver solar cell technology, the subject of a $240 million commercialisation effort by Transform solar (including $11 million royalties paid to ANU). He has extensive project management experience, and has procured more than $100 million in externally-sourced research-related funding.

    So really there doesn’t seem to be a need for government funding, the money is flowing in from all this innovation – or if not, where is it all going?

    The PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) solar cell technology, developed by Meyer Burger, has been successfully implemented under the product name “MB-PERC” by customers in order to increase the standard solar cell process in existing manufacturing environments as well as an upgrade in standard production lines.

    For every gigawatt of solar power installed, 80 metric tons of silver is required costing about $40 million. Follow the money.

  6. Is the professor concerned about the fate of the concept of “renewable energy” (whatever that misnomer may mean, energy is not “renewable”) or is he concerned about the jobs, including his own I presume?

    • Yes, government programs create a lot of entrepreneurs entrepreneuring money from government bureaucrats and political connections. When the programs go, so do the shysters.

  7. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Q: “What do you call a field of energy research so economically useless that it is utterly dependent on government funding for its very existence?”

    A: A field that researches and obsesses over: Intermittent, inefficient, unwanted, costly, weather dependant, feel-good, unreliable energy – Wind and Solar.

  8. The Australians funded their Solar Roof Panel adventure by subsidising rich people to install solar panels (so that they could get paid for returning energy to the grid) at the expense of the poorest consumers whose electricity bills increased dramatically to help out their wealthy neighbours.
    It was exactly this kind of lunacy that relegated Green-Labor to a political generation in the wilderness.
    P.S. When I said ‘generation’, no pun was intended.

    • Nonsense. First of all many of us were persuaded that we were “doing the right thing” when we installed them. Okay now we know better.
      Secondly the vast majority of installations were far too small to supply more than was being consumed by that household.
      Thirdly the real reason for higher than international prices is because there has been a total failure by Canberra to initiate reform by encouraging replacement of old and dirty plants by modern and far more efficient versions. Contrast this with the visionary policies of China, Vietnam, India and even the UAE. Their leaders understand that world parity prices are entitlements for both citizens and industry.
      Oz is in the dark ages.

      • er… Vietnam abandoned construction of coal plants… India is building over 150GW of new wind and solar by 2022.

      • It really is fascinating how so called environmentalists really don’t have any idea how economies work.

      • It really is fascinating how so called environmentalists really don’t have any idea how economies work.

        It is really fascinating.

        Reasons why this (greens don’t understand economy) is the case:
        – Greens are not interested in numbers but art.
        – Greens don’t study engineering or business skills.
        – Greens prefer personal choices and good feeling over efficient industrial structure
        – Greens prefer centralized solutions over market driven approach
        – Greens prefer taxes and subsidies over market driven approach
        – Greens don’t care about productivity
        – Greens won’t think about their own externalities. They go for local optimizations even when claiming to think globally.
        – Greens don’t care if something is implementable, since that is a Problem of Somebody Else leading to childish requests.

      • The little Griff is back spreading manure and nonsense.
        Glouds, smoke and mirrors griffy!

        Vietnam, “Coal-fired plants account for 37% of Vietnam’s total electricity generation capacity, but would provide 60% by 2020, said Mr. Ngai.”

        “Coal, nuclear, and renewables expected to boost Vietnam’s electricity capacity”

        The building spree here is hardly unique. Since 2010, Chinese state enterprises have finished, begun building or formally announced plans to build at least 92 coal-fired power plants in 27 countries, according to a review of public documents by The New York Times.”

        Plus extensive plans for Vietnam to expand LNG wells and production, (which likely includes fracking). China is already expecting Vietnam to be a big competitor in plastics.

        Nuclear. The first nuclear reactors for power generation in Southeast Asia are planned to be built in Vietnam. In 2010, Russia agreed to build two 1,000-megawatt (MW) reactors at Nin Thuan 1. Japan followed in 2011 with an agreement to build Nin Thuan 2.”

        What Vietnam did state is that they did not have the funding resources to expand coal mining and production, at present. With reserves of 5.9 billion tons of quality coal, Vietnam has little reason to import coal; except for devoting their limited funds towards electric generating and supply infrastructure. Along with expansions of their industrial capacities.

  9. That’s what happens when they build a fake market w/o a demand for it. If it’s real, those guys should land on their feet; if not, they’ll have to find real jobs.

  10. The ACT government has legislated 100% renewable-sourced electricity by 2020, has no traditional generation plant within the borders, so would be an ideal ‘test-bed’ simply by cutting the connections to the national grid.

    • Chris Hanley
      August 30, 2016 at 1:47 am

      “The ACT government has legislated 100% renewable-sourced electricity by 2020, has no traditional generation plant within the borders, so would be an ideal ‘test-bed’ simply by cutting the connections to the national grid.”

      Exactly Chris!

    • Cutting the connections isn’t the best way to give the ACT the 100% renewables experience. Hard-wiring the ACT grid inputs to purely reflect the outputs from their contracted 100% renewable sources would be sufficient. Phase shifting, step up transformers at the borders are perfectly feasible with today’s technology.

      For the present, Hornsdale (100 MW) and C00nooer Bridge (19.4 MW) windfarms have been contracted so 119.4 MW of ACT demand, at any time, should be restricted to the output of these farms. Then, as an example, when demand is 550W, they should be allowed 430.6 MW from the Victorian and NSW grid + whatever Hornsdale & C00nooer Bridge are producing. Once the contracted 80.5 MW Ararat wind farm comes online, the same demand would be “met” by 350.1 MW of general Victorian and NSW generation + the output of these 3 wind farms.

      How they cope with any shortfall (if, god forbid, that the wind farms ever produced less than their nameplate capacity) would be their business (and our entertainment).

      Or if they argue a capacity factor of say 33% vs nameplate should be applied, then power from the wind farms should be multiplied by 3 for the sake of the “renewable” power transmission. While this would reduce the times where there would be a shortfall, there would be times where demand was low and the wind was strong so they would have to deal with overvoltages (hence the step up requirement for the transformers).

      As an example, a mild but windy night might see demand down to 250 MW and a total (current) wind farm output of 98 MW. Then 294 MW would be pumped into the ACT grid and they could deal with the excess 44 MW as they see fit.

  11. The thought of these poor people being forced to find real jobs with a genuine purpose is so sad that words fail me.

    Suppose this sets a precedent? There could soon be hundreds of thousands of ‘climate scientists’ around the world looking for a real job. As the private sector will look right through their supposed abilities, it will be up to government to provide alternative employment – step forward another generation of leftist teachers with a chip on their shoulders for ‘not having their true worth recognised’.

      • I read an article about a completely automated burger making machine a year or two back.
        All you did was load the beef, tomatoes, lettuce and condiments in and stand back.
        It formed the patties, cooked them, sliced and applied the lettuce and tomato and squirted it with the requested condiments all based on the customer’s request. If I remember correctly, said machine was reputed to be able to do 600 burgers an hour.
        The only thing holding it back was cost.
        Break even point was somewhere between a minimum wage of $10/hr to $15/hr.
        Of course the cost of the machine will go down over time as more are built.

      • How many of you are old enough to remember when you wanted a re-fill at a burger joint, you went up to the counter and bought a new drink.
        Most food outlets turned the drink machine around and gave up the second cup revenue shortly after the minimum wage saw a big boost back while Carter was president.

  12. ‘advances that would deliver major economic benefits to the country would be lost’

    Examples required. Otherwise, just big talk.

  13. “tells us everything we need to know, about whether scientific breakthroughs which improve renewable efficiency would yield useful economic benefits.”

    Wrong. It would be truer to say that it tells us about investor *belief* in the product (profit from breakthroughs) * (likelihood of breakthroughs). If you think breakthroughs would have fantastic benefits, but are extremely unlikely to happen, you’re not going to invest in them.

  14. Right you are. The existential threat is to their iron rice bowl. Throw them out and make them get a real job.

  15. I have found that when someone uses the word ‘Existential’ they are more interested in sounding important than in conveying any useful ideas.

    This is a word you can always delete and the meaning of the sentence is exactly the same.

  16. Maybe one day Eric Worrall creates the suprise of the decade, by performing a careful research of all national research and develpoment activities (paid by citizens’ taxes, and not by electricity consumers) undertaken in the area of using nuclear power to produce electricity.

    I guess the sum of all costs won’t be far away from some hundreds of billions US$.

    The same holds for Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, etc. Of course: apart from Germany for well known historical reasons, all these countries firstly invested public resources in that domain to obtain plutonium breeded out of U238 through U235 fission. But till the first plants were built by private firms in all these countries, huge amounts of public money were invested worldwide.

    Imagine, Eric Worall: all that money would have had to be obtained by private funding… how many nuclear plants would we then have actually on Earth?

    • Hey, if it is such a great idea then how about you do it?

      Meanwhile have you got anything to say about the output of people who will lose their jobs? That was the subject of the article after all.

      • Forrest Gardener on August 30, 2016 at 6:51 am
        That was the subject of the article after all.

        That, Forrest Gardener, is your appreciation. Mine is that though the article indeed refers to another one really talking about many people soon losing their jobs, it nevertheless seems to put strong emphasis on something quite different, by beginning with a clear

        What do you call a field of energy research so economically useless that it is utterly dependent on government funding for its very existence?

        and ending with an even stronger

        If we accept Professor Blaker’s premise, that withdrawal of government funding poses an “existential” threat to renewables R&D, the total lack of private interest in clean energy R&D tells us everything we need to know, about whether scientific breakthroughs which improve renewable efficiency would yield useful economic benefits.

      • A hell of a lot more plants than you expect.

        “The Columbia Generating Station nuclear facility is the third largest electricity generator in Washington, behind Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams. Its 1,190 gross megawatts can power the city of Seattle, and is equivalent to about 10 percent of the electricity generated in Washington and 4 percent of all electricity used in the Pacific Northwest.

        Columbia is the only commercial nuclear energy facility in the region. All of its output is provided to the Bonneville Power Administration at the cost of production under a formal net billing agreement in which BPA pays the costs of maintaining and operating the facility.”

        Nor is that the only one.

        Even the government subsidized nuclear power plants have paid back their construction fees.

        Unlike all of the wind/solar power subsidized silliness. Instead a high number of solar/wind construction companies have gone bankrupt, leaving no-one to pay the people back their taxes.
        Nor the fact that daily energy production from these ‘renewable’ sources still require tax subsidies.

        Nuclear power is a proven, safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. It can generate massive quantities of electricity with almost no atmospheric emissions and can offset Amer­ica’s growing dependence on foreign energy sources. The French have used it to minimize their dependence on foreign energy, and at one time the United States was on the path to do the same.

        However, the commercial nuclear energy industry in the U.S. is no longer thriving. Investors hesitate to embrace nuclear power fully, despite significant regu­latory relief and economic incentives.

        This reluctance is not due to any inherent flaw in the economics of nuclear power or some unavoidable risk. Instead, investors are reacting to the historic role that federal, state, and local governments have played both in encouraging growth in the industry and in bringing on its demise. Investors doubt that federal, state, and local governments will allow nuclear energy to flourish in the long term. They have already lost bil­lions of dollars because of bad public policy.

        The United States once led the world in commer­cial nuclear technology. Indeed, the world’s leading nuclear companies continue to rely on American technologies. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, federal, state, and local governments nearly regu­lated the U.S. commercial nuclear industry out of existence. U.S. companies responded by reallocating their assets, consolidating or selling their commer­cial nuclear capabilities to foreign companies in pro-nuclear countries.

        This paper reviews how overregulation largely destroyed the nuclear industry and why it remains an obstacle to investment in the industry. This dynamic must be understood and mitigated before the true economics of nuclear power can be har­nessed for the benefit of the American people.

        Private Investors in U.S. Industry

        Private investors have a key role to play in rees­tablishing America’s nuclear industry. The industry is no longer owned or supported by the govern­ment, although the Energy Policy Act of 2005 does provide some incentives to utilities. In general, pri­vate investors provide the capital and take the risks necessary to develop the nuclear industry. The gov­ernment’s role should be to ensure safety and allow the industry–just like any other–to compete and flourish in open markets.”

      • Forrest Gardener on August 30, 2016 at 11:58 am

        Bindidon, these people are losing their jobs (your asserted focus) because their output is economically useless.

        You agree with me but still want to argue. Go figure!

        1. Where did I agree with you? I did not at all! Here below is my text:

        Mine is that though the article indeed refers to another one really talking about many people soon losing their jobs, it nevertheless seems to put strong emphasis on something quite different…

        So it was not my asserted focus, but rather yours.

        2. Moreover, Forrest Gardener: all these people are losing their job because political newcomers who won the last elections have decided their output be economically useless. That’s quite different, isn’t it?

        3. Germany, Forrest Gardener, is a very, very small country compared with USA. Nevertheless it needs actually yearly over 600 TWh of electricity.

        In 1991, about the same quantity was generated out of 4% renewables (100% hydro), 28% nuclear, and 68% coal.

        Inbetween, we had to give up the nuclear corner due to a complete fail in engineering long range storage for highly radioactive waste (started by 1976). We are 80 millions on 350,000 km², with 0% desert :-)

        It was therefore decided around 2000 to give up the nuclear corner over the long term.

        Last year, we produced electricity out of about 195 TWh = 33% renewables.

        In 2020, due to a very late but now real start in offshore wind energy, we should reach about 40% renewable electricity production. And move toward 80% in 2050.

        Yep: this output is economically useless!

      • Sorry Bindidon but you are arguing with yourself. Among other things you quote your own words and attribute them to me. Try again when you have figured out what you want to say.

    • I love the way fascists promote fallacy after fallacy.
      Here it’s the if one subsidized research line produced something useful, nobody can criticize any form of subsidized research.
      BTW, the nuclear research you bring up was to create nuclear power plants for warships. Not to produce civilian power.
      Are you even capable of presenting anything honestly?

      • Maybe I should propose Anthony to add this stinking word fascist to the list of trigger words?

        It’s incredible to be named that way on this site – especially by poor-minded people who aren’t even able to carefully read a comment before answering to it.

    • Comparing the development of nuclear energy with windmills and even solar panels is ridiculous.

      Yes, the creation of an entirely new technology and industry did require, at that time, government aid. The expansion of so-called renewables doesn’t.

      The subsidies should be stopped immediately, to see if “Green” energy can stand on its own economically.

  17. Government can never cut funds for anything it funds without it being an existential threat. But so what?

  18. … the total lack of private interest in clean energy R&D tells us everything we need to know, about whether scientific breakthroughs which improve renewable efficiency would yield useful economic benefits.

    For sure the right breakthrough would be a game changer. The trouble is that if you’re trying for a breakthrough, you stand little chance of finding it. The best you can hope for is an incremental improvement. Business understands that.

    Most actual breakthroughs are a result of serendipitous accident plus a researcher with a prepared mind. Anyone interested in why this is so should read Why Greatness Cannot be Planned – The Myth of the Objective.

    … our society has become obsessed with a seductive illusion: that greatness results from doggedly measuring improvement in the relentless pursuit of an ambitious goal.

    The book shows why that doesn’t work. It’s an MBA’s pipe dream. The involvement of MBAs and their government bureaucrat bretheren is a near certain guarantee that breakthroughs will not occur. (Henry Mintzberg has a lot to say about MBAs.)

    Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding should be reined in, not because a breakthrough wouldn’t be important, but because continued funding almost certainly will not result in a breakthrough. The best they can hope for is an incremental improvement and, as the lack of business interest shows, that is a waste of time and money.

  19. There are funding cuts across the board in Australia, esp in areas not so important such as non-tertiary education, basic health cover and border security. This is just another tax rent seeker in their death throws.

    Try finding a real job in the private sector, in the current economic climate today in Australia. You and your like can rest in comfort that you were in part responsible for what is economic reality in Australia today.

    • The West is approaching debt Armeggeddon brought on by the policies of the left and the ignorance of their innumerate followers who think that their desires overrule the laws of economics and of physics. All this is aided by the cowardice of conservatives in facing these lies head on and instead being almost as spendthrift.

  20. “Creating jobs” by building things that don’t need to be built and can’t replace existing comparable things is not something that makes economic sense. And if it can replace comparable things, people that work in those things lose their jobs. In renewable energy technologies, the claim is that they require fewer workers to manage the system. That claim is non-speciifc, of course, so costs cannot be determined. Biggest worker need is for errecting the wind mills and installing the solar panels. After they are built those “created jobs” become extinct. The biggest mystery is why most of the enviros are so ignorant about future energy technologies and why they are so attracted to such environmentally crappy stuff like wind mills and solar panels? Once again, ignorance is the answer.

    • Bastiat’s Parable of the broken window

      The parable of the broken window was introduced by Frédéric Bastiat in his 1850 essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen) to illustrate why destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is not actually a net benefit to society. The parable, also known as the broken window fallacy or glazier’s fallacy, seeks to show how opportunity costs, as well as the law of unintended consequences, affect economic activity in ways that are “unseen” or ignored….

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

      • It’s called the glazier’s fallacy but it isn’t always wrong, depending on circumstances.

        The shopkeeper had a broken window and paid the glazier to replace it. If the shopkeeper would have spent the money on something else, then the economy was not improved. The glazier got some money instead of someone else.

        If the shopkeeper was just amassing a useless pile of money and the broken window resulted in economic activity that would not otherwise have happened, then the economy was improved.

        The situation is complicated and you really can’t make blanket statements.

      • The fallacy that you fall for is the same one that tripped up Keynes. IE, the belief that rich people have a pile of money sitting around that isn’t doing anything. This has never been true.
        Money in banks is lent to others and produces just as much economic activity as money that is being spent.
        Even if this mythical pile of money did exist, all you have done is move economic activity from the future to now, while decreasing future activity.
        Stealing money from one person in order to give to someone else has never increased economic activity.
        In fact the misallocations caused by it have always hurt the economy.

      • MarkW says: August 30, 2016 at 10:59 am

        The fallacy that you fall for is the same one that tripped up Keynes.

        I’ll see your Keynes and raise you a Piketty.

        In any event, I suppose that Adam Smith would have said that if the broken window had prevented the shopkeeper from speculating, that would have improved the economy.

        You can always find an economist to support any idea. ;-)

      • MarkW,

        “It’s like taking a bucket of water from the deep end of a pool and dumping it into the shallow end. Funny thing — the water in the shallow end doesn’t get any deeper.” – Russell Roberts, as quoted by Dr. Walter Williams

  21. It’s high schools physics. The energy content, constancy and concentration are simply not there, by several orders of magnitude, even if you made wind and solar 100% efficient. But the smarter warmists know this. Their goal is to destroy modern Western Civ.

  22. So ….the parisites discover that they are killing the host before they can reproduce ?
    Awwww….must be due to global warming…:))

  23. If it can’t exist unless subsidized, then it probably shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

  24. Despite how often the left (er, now “progressives”) relishes the opportunity to scold the rest of us from their high moral ground of “sustainability”, none of their socialistic schemes can ever be economically sustainable. Their open fretting about funding cuts is an admission that their trojan horse of “climate change” cannot be sustainable and depends on funds seized from other productive areas of the economy to survive. People who value their liberty and their property and the liberty and prosperity of their grandchildren must slay this monster at every possible opportunity. It is a parasite that does not care if it consumes its host. Actually, it is “hell bent” on doing so.

    • Buckwheaton

      One quibble, “other productive areas of the economy”, implies that the renewables are a productive area. Otherwise, bang on!

    • Use tax and regulation to rob from the middle class. Line the pockets of the rich. Give enough handouts to the poor to keep them on your side. It is the socialist way.

      Eventually, the middle class is squeezed out of existence, the money train stalls, and the whole scheme falls apart.

  25. Read between the lines. The job that Blakers is worried about is his own. That hardly makes him a credible voice to speak against the funding cuts “in the name of science”.

    I will add that Blakers demonstrates noteworthy narcissism with the statement that the demise of his resaerch group woukd be “a fiasco in (the) mitigation of climate change”.

  26. If they really are ‘world leaders’ they wouldn’t be needing government handouts, never mind being dependent on them for their very survival.

  27. I don’t think that funding for research into renewables should be cut. That is not the main problem of renewables. The main problem is the enormous sums of money thrown into the massive application of renewables which are not technically and economically survivable without subsidies,

    Lots of fundamental research is paid for with only a far away chance of getting something back in return. Like the search of the ultimate elementary particle or a telescope looking for a “nearby” second earth.

    In this case research into better solar cells, or even more interesting, massive, cheap storage for power has the potential to give a huge return on investment, even nowadays, for remote locations far from the grid, or for when fossil fuel costs get higher than for renewables + storage.

    • Exactly! The most incredible example in my mind was in France, where a more or less perverse mix of politics, administration and industry led to the installation of thousands of wind turbines everywhere in the country
      – mostly at wind-free places
      – stuff imported from China
      – with promises of electricity high buy to the investors, who therefore didn’t care about any ROI.

      What we soon will need is, I guess, something like
      http://www.heindl-energy.com/
      But there is till now no prototype of it: everybody awaits the very last minute to start I guess…

  28. Use the budget savings on a large solar PV array from a low cost leader if renewable energy is really the common goal. You don’t need research and education spending for more ludicrous demonstration projects to nowhere at this point.

  29. ATheoK on August 30, 2016 at 9:37 am

    A. A hell of a lot more plants than you expect.

    Sorry: you completely bypassed the subject. I didn’t speak of what happens actually, but about what happened before the industrial use of nuclear power began.

    B. Nuclear power is a proven, safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.

    It is true that thermodynamic plants (fossile or nuclear fuel) have a much higher energy output per installed GW than any renewable-based plant (solar, wind or even hydraulic) could ever produce.

    But… how deep is your knowledge about the nuclear plant industry’s background, ATheoK?

    1. Before comparing the use of nuclear energy for electricity production with other primary energy sources, one first should build coherent balance sheets in the financial, energetic and emission contexts for the process as a whole.

    That means to calculate the cumulated costs, energy needs and CO2 emissions produced by
    – extracting, refining, enriching, reprocessing, waste disposal and definite storage of all nuclear fuel components;
    – construction, maintenance, dismantling, waste disposal and definite storage for all sites involved in all phases of the nuclear chain.

    Having done that job you see
    – how expensive the chain really is;
    – that it consumes over the long term nearly as much energy as it produces (especially the breeder chain);
    – that it well emits far less CO2 than coal or gas, but nevertheless more than renewables, when you consider the process in its entirety.

    2. Moreover, the waste circuit of that chain is barely incredible.

    A traditional nuclear plant with a gigawatt of installed power needs about 30 tons of enriched unranium every year. Together with special steal and zirconium: about 120 tons a year, most of it radioactive enough to impose a long time storage far away from civilization.

    One ton of enriched fuel needs 6.5 tons of uranium oxyde; one ton of uranium oxyde requests at mining site not less than 2,000 tons of rough extracted material.

    The remaining 1,999 tons plus lots of hard chemicals plus lots of water? That all lies in never processed so called tailings in Africa, Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan etc etc.

    3. The immediate waste processing future doesn’t look much better: in France, Japan and Great Britain, the nuclear industry has introduced the MOX concept (a mix of plutonium and depleted uranium oxides). Used MOX fuel needs to rest for 60 years instead of 6 before processing for long time storage.

    For 4G breeders building plutonium out of depleted uranium by using high energy neutrons, the cost and energy balance is even worse: more (and more dangerous) reprocessing activities, and more complex dismantling due to the high energy neutrons and to the liquid sodium technology.

    The thorium is no escape at all: it is fertile but not fissile, and must be therefore be breeded into uranium 233 (by avoiding, of course, collateral generation of uranium 232).

    4. Last not least, while so many people really believe that fusion is a clean process compared with fission, this „fact“ has been falsified long time ago. The only feasible fuel approach is the deuterium/tritium mix; and since we lack tritium on Earth (we have approx. 5 kg of it), we must breed it too :-) out of lithium (if we can: even for lithium/ion batteries, there might be not enough of it).
    Moreover, the deuterium/tritium produces extremely harsh neutons, what is another problem.

    5. So yes, ATheoK: solar plants are costly toys, but offshore wind energy used in Germany for example has inbetween a load factor which reaches 50%; and all these toys produce far less waste than do nuclear plants of any kind.

    6. And yes, ATheoK: nuclear fusion energy will be over the long term the only practicable solution for our incredibly growing mankind. So we must invest money, thoughts, human power and energy to construct the best possible path to that solution.

  30. Why does this sound familiar? “and advances that would deliver major economic benefits to the country would be lost.” I am old enough to remember that I should be flying around like George Jetson right about now. Of course advances are made but why should it be this particular unit that makes them? The following is an example of one completed project.

    Cane2Fuel: feasibility of producing biofuel from sugarcane waste
    Investigated the feasibility of producing biofuel from sugarcane bagasse.
    The project lasted about 3 years, cost about A$2m and:

    “The project concluded that it is not currently economic to produce biofuels from sugarcane bagasse.”

    Three years phew! I wish them no ill will but Governments work on limited resources and make hard or unpopular decisions sometimes.

      • Exactly. All we need do is look to the future, we have little choice of course and those in the industry know that in spades, but at what price?

  31. My personal favorite “It went to Australia to die” renewable story…..

    When it was founded it was Aurora Biofuels, then it was Aurora Algae and aimed at the protein/nutraceutical markets, and had aimed to raise $300 million back in 2011-12 for a first commercial project in Karratha, Australia.

    There, in the heart of what Australians call “The Never-Never,” the management team said that abundant resources of salt water, sunlight, and a year-round temperature suitable to operating open ponds for lengthy stretches of the year, made it the perfect place to do a first-commercial, open-pond algae project.

    After opening a demo plant in mid 2011, they abandoned the Karratha project by 2013, noting the labor costs and heat, then left Geraldton, closer to Perth, where they had put up a test site in partnership with the Durack Institute of Technology, in hopes of locating there. More about that here.

    After VC money dried up, they found some heft government support for a Western Australia project, and Reliance Industries stepped in with a $20 million investment. More about the Reliance investment here, and the end of it here.

    In 2014, Aurora Algae CEO Greg Bafalis told The Digest: “Western Australia would work, but I felt we were leaving margin on the table. So we looked farther south in Australia where there was less fly-in fly-out type of expense. Then, we came across this viable site in South Texas, 30 miles north of Brownsville.” The company needed to raise $130 million for a 200-acre commercial project, More about that here. But never got there.

  32. The soon-to-be- laid-off ‘scientists’ cry that the economic benefits of their work will be lost. That WOULD be something to be concerned about if there WERE any discernible economic benefits. If it all well and good to do basic research to discover neat things like Higgs Bosons but it is very disingenuous to try to claim economic benefits from such research. The economic part is pure speculation.

    • Sage I get your point (see below) but the Higgs Boson? Honestly? Life, near as I can tell, went on just fine before the Higgs Boson was “discovered” and quite frankly I haven’t noticed the quality going up much since.

      You do have some idea about the cost of the LHC right? In light of that, I very much expected my toilet would be transmuted to gold almost immediately after the Higgs was confirmed.

      • In short, I meant to repeat the old adage (WRT to the Higgs): If you already know the answer, there isn’t much point asking the question.

  33. Dozens? Dozens of researchers at ANU might be displaced? That many? Are there more than twelve weather channels on OZ TV? Maybe they could get jobs changing tires? Or oil? You know, it wouldn’t be that hard for a climate researcher to get a job as a prostitute.

    Wow. That could put Australia right on its ear couldn’t it? An economic collapse! Probably should sacrifice a couple of sheep. That ought to do it.

  34. Hundreds of researchers around Australia, including dozens at both the Australian National University and the University of NSW, will be faced with the dole queue if cuts to Australia’™s renewable energy research agency are passed by the Parliament, according to one of the sector’s pioneers.
    _________________

    Hopefully not. At the dole queue this green profiteers would meet people who worked hard to finance such social emergencies as dole queues.

    Green climate refugees find save space at Christmas island.

  35. They should be summarily fired simply for using the pompous term ‘existential threat’ to their employment. Semantics and obfuscation are the products of those who have to dress up their communications because the message is so trite.

  36. The NSW Climate Fund is shutting down as it has run it’s course, was only meant to be for 5 years, it makes money but only if weather hot, but perfect timing as we enter La Niña cycle. Money can still be made from Gas in cooler weather.

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