Wind Industry’s CO2 Abatement Claims Smashed by Top Physics Professor – Dr Joseph Wheatley
The mandatory RET has seen the cost of around $9 billion worth of Renewable Energy Certificates added to retail power prices and recovered from all Australian power consumers.
Under the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target, a further $45 to $55 billion will be transferred from power consumers to wind power outfits via the REC Tax/Subsidy over the next 17 years; depending on whether Ian “Macca” Macfarlane and his youthful ward, Gregory Hunt strike a deal with Labor to cut the ultimate annual target from 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh (see our post here). The ‘deal’ is aimed at saving their mates at Infigen, Vestas & Co – and is doomed to fail, in any event (see our postshere and here).
With that phenomenal cost being added to already spiralling power bills – there will be many more households who will be unable to afford power; adding to the tens of thousands of homes already deprived of what was once a basic necessity of (a decent) life. And thousands more destined to suffer “energy poverty” as they find themselves forced to choose between heating (or cooling) and eating:
If our political betters in Canberra don’t get a grip and line up to kill the LRET very soon – in less than a decade – Australia will have created an entrenched energy underclass, dividing Australian society into energy “haves” and “have-nots”.
There’s something deeply troubling about thousands of Australian households descending into gloom after dark – unable to afford the power needed for electric lighting; or troubling, at least, for those with a social conscience.
The ONLY justification for the massive stream of subsidies filched from power consumers and directed to wind power outfits is the claim that wind power reduces CO2 emissions in the electricity sector and, therefore, provides a solution to climate change (or what used to be called “global warming”). The former proposition is a proven fallacy (seeour post here). And, because the planet hasn’t reached boiling point (in bitter defiance of the IPCC’s models), the once concrete relationship between CO2 emissions and increasing global temperature now seems murky, at best.
Claiming the “global warming” moral high ground, wind power proponents continue to blindly chant the mantra that wind power reduces CO2 emissions – although they rarely, if ever, talk about the actual cost of the claimed reductions. Probably because there are, in fact, no reductions.
STT has focused on the fact that industrial scale wind power does not – and will never – reduce CO2 emissions simply because it is intermittent; being delivered at crazy, random intervals, such that 100% of its capacity must be backed up 100% of the time by fossil fuel generation sources (see our post here). Accordingly, we call it an environmental fraud.
Because wind power fails to deliver on its primary claim (and the wind industry’s only reason for existence) the $billions in subsidies purloined from taxpayers and power consumers have been received on an utterly false premise. Accordingly, we call it an economic fraud. Wind power, whichever way you slice it, is not, and will never be, a meaningful power generation source.
With that in mind, power consumers and taxpayers are clearly entitled to ask whether the subsidies received by wind power generators represent a cost-effective means of reducing CO2 emissions; if, indeed, there is any such reduction at all.
One such group is the Association for Research of Renewable Energy in Australia (ARREA): a band of hard-hitting, pro-farming and pro-community advocates, with a mission to ensure Australia gets the sensible energy policy it needs. Rather than the present policy fiasco, foisted on power consumers and rural communities by eco-fascist nutjobs – that wouldn’t know the first thing about markets and/or power generation – and the rent-seekers from the wind industry and its parasites that profit from the useful idiots they pay handsomely to run cover on their behalf: like yes2-ruining-us, GetUp!, the Climate Speculator and ruin-economy.
On that score, ARREA’s latest effort is to put some facts before the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud – that kicked off in Portland on 30 March, and which continues at a clip this week in Cairns and Canberra. ARREA’s submission is available here: sub372_ARREA
ARREA has a very solid crack at the most colossal industry subsidy scheme in the history of the Commonwealth; and the fact that, despite the ridiculous cost of the LRET (set up as a $3.8 billion a year subsidy for wind power), there has never been any cost/benefit analysis of the policy in its 15 years of operation.
ARREA also takes a well-aimed swipe at the ludicrous claims by the wind industry that each and every MWh of wind power dispatched to the grid results in the abatement (or reduction) of 1 tonne of CO2 gas in the electricity generation sector.
It’s that relationship that is said to justify – what Greg Hunt calls – the “massive $93 per tonne carbon tax” imposed on all Australian power consumers under the LRET (see our post here).
Under the LRET, a REC is issued for each MWh of wind power dispatched to the grid, on the assumption that it in fact reduces or abates 1 tonne of CO2, that would otherwise be emitted by a conventional generator. The figure of $93 talked about by Hunt as a 1 “tonne carbon tax” is the full cost of a REC, that will be reached when the shortfall penalty starts to apply: the full cost of the REC is added to retail power bills.
STT hears that young Greg has taken to arguing that there is no such assumption: his argument appears to be that a REC is issued for a MWh of wind power, irrespective of whether any CO2 is abated elsewhere in the electricity sector; which simply begs the question as to what Australians are getting for their $93 per MWh electricity tax? Hmmm …
ARREA’s submission also picks up on the work done by Dr Joseph Wheatley, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin with a PhD in condensed matter physics from Princeton University. Here’s a little primer on Dr Wheatley’s submission from Graham Lloyd.
Emission cuts due to wind power ‘not so big as claimed’
16 May 2015
Carbon dioxide emissions savings from wind turbines were 20 per cent less than claimed, leading to the overpayment of renewable energy certificates worth about $70 million last year, according to an international analysis of Australia’s national electricity market.
The study found wind farm inefficiencies were likely to grow as more turbines were added to the grid under the renewable energy target.
Joseph Wheatley analysed the output of 256 generators connected to the national electricity market last year. His research, funded by private individuals through the Association for Research of Renewable Energy in Australia, found that while wind provided 4.5 per cent of national electricity generation, it reduced emissions by only 3.5 per cent.
“This represents a significant loss of effectiveness,” Dr Wheatley said. His research found the possibility that wind power was 100 per cent effective in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as is the current basis for issuing renewable energy certificates, was not supported by evidence.
“The evidence in this study suggests that effectiveness in the national electricity market would fall to less than 70 per cent if the proportion of energy provided by wind is doubled from 2014 levels,” the report says.
Dr Wheatley said more data was needed on actual fuel consumption at coal-fired power stations but there were several reasons for the inefficiencies of wind in abating emissions.
“Lower emissions gas and black-coal plant were displaced more than brown-coal plant,” he said. “Displaced thermal generators operating under part load were less efficient on average and wind power also tended to be subject to larger system losses.”
Dr Wheatley is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin with a PhD in condensed matter physics from Princeton University. He has worked as a researcher at Cambridge University. A report of his findings has been submitted to the Senate inquiry into wind turbines and health issues.
The Clean Energy Council said it would not respond to the detailed findings in Dr Wheatley’s paper. But Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said “the vast majority of Australians support renewable energy and would be better served by objective scientific analysis rather than a group of grumblers brainstorming imaginary problems”.
ARREA is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2013 by a group of senior businessmen including former liquidator, Tony Hodgson. ARREA spokesman Rodd Pahl said the group believed “the behaviour of wind farm companies and the level of subsidies they are given is the result of bad policy settings and sloppy administration”.
Nice ‘work’ there from wind industry spruiker, “Rusty” Marsh!
STT followers will remember Rusty as the creator of the “Atari defence“, which he conjured up in answer to the highly relevant work done by NASA in the 1980s, that proved the direct causal relationship between turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound and adverse health effects, and which Rusty and his ilk have spent 30 years covering up, ever since (see our post here).
Now, Rusty appears to be more than just a little flummoxed by the hard-hitting qualifications of Jo Wheatley and what he has to say. So, as is the wind industry fashion, he sets out to attack the boys at ARREA, instead. Clever!
Jo Wheatley’s submission to the Senate Inquiry is available here:sub348_Wheatley
STT thinks that Dr Wheatley is on the right track – he’s travelled the path before (see his paper on the Irish situation here).
However, his findings are estimates, based on assumptions, rather than a complete set of actual fuel use data. As is noted in the piece above, where Dr Wheatley says: “more data was needed on actual fuel consumption at coal-fired power stations”. For that reason, his finding that the chaotic delivery of wind power connected to a coal/gas fired grid might reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector as a whole is a form of polite flattery.
The coal and gas generators have never been that keen to hand over their fuel use data; the ‘carbon’ tax set up under the Green/Labor alliance would have seen them liable for a much greater whack if they did. And, with the threat of such a tax always on the horizon, they have no incentive in opening their fuel use books to public scrutiny, any time soon.
And it was for that reason that, STT Champion, Hamish Cumming ran into a brick wall, as he set about thumping the wind industry’s wild claims about CO2 abatement. Hamish – a farmer and grazier and engineer with 20 years of international experience – has already given evidence to the Inquiry about the wind industry’s bogus CO2 abatement claims:
Senator LEYONHJELM: Thank you. I have a couple more questions, and then I will give someone else a go. Mr Cumming, in your submission you say that the Loy Yang A power station annual report shows a rising carbon intensity, which is increasing proportionally to the increase in wind turbine output. Why is this so?
Mr Cumming: If you look through the annual reports from 2005 report through to about 2013 you will see that carbon intensity has continued to rise. Off the top of my head, it was something like 1.14 tonnes of carbon per megawatt and it is currently running at about 1.35. If you look at all the power stations, you will see where you can get the information – it is very hard to get some of it – and you will see that it is happening across the board, even in Queensland.
The Queensland power stations are the same. It is all to do with backing up wind farms and making the grid safe so that it will not blackout. The more wind farms that come on, the higher the backup has to be. In 2005, it was something like 600 megawatts and now it is over 1,000. Nothing has changed in the grid. In fact, demand is less. The reasons for having it should be less. Industry is less. And it is all in line with wind farms coming on line.
Senator LEYONHJELM: So you think Loy Yang, Yallourn and Hazelwood burn more coal now than prior to the penetration of wind energy capacity into the grid?
Mr Cumming: Very much so. The data for Loy Yang is very clear and very public – much to their horror when I point it out to them. Now they have even changed the way they do their carbon intensity calculation. They have removed a third of the input data to try and make it look smaller, but it is very public for Loy Yang.
If you look at the savings that they have made in thermal efficiency and other in-house savings of performance of the plant and then you look at the coal-led burning, there is a gap for Loy Yang of six million tonnes of coal a year today versus 2005.
Senator LEYONHJELM: Did you hear the evidence of Pacific Hydro this morning?
Mr Cumming: No. I was not here for that, sorry.
Senator LEYONHJELM: They basically put a completely alternative point of view to us on that.
Mr Cumming: Did he use Loy Yang’s annual reports and public data?
Senator LEYONHJELM: He did not provide any data. The view was simply that there was no increase in spinning capacity.
Mr Cumming: That is incorrect. You have to look at the documents that the industry runs on. There is a guy called Hugh Saddler, who works for Pitt & Sherry. He does what are called CEDEX reports, ACIL Tasman reports. That is what the industry is always based on. All the emissions, all the RECs – everything – is based on that.
It is all reverse calculated. It is all calculated from what power is sold through theoretical thermal efficiency and data. It has a number of errors in it, including a seven per cent error for the Yallourn power station. When I highlighted this to them, they said, yes, they know. It is the closest thing they have got, whereas carbon intensity is actual fuel burnt. You cannot get away from it.
Senator LEYONHJELM: Do you think the Clean Energy Regulator’s reports of emissions reductions are accurate?
Mr Cumming: No, not at all.
Senator LEYONHJELM: Why is that?
Mr Cumming: Because they are relying on the CEDEX reports and the ACIL Tasman reports and those are all based on reverse calculation. None of it is based on fact. The fact has to come from the actual carbon, the actual fuel burnt –
Senator LEYONHJELM: The actual fuel burnt?
Mr Cumming: The actual fuel burnt. If you have actual fuel burnt for a half-hour period and then you use the AEMO data for the same half-hour period, you can see exactly what is happening.
And this was highlighted in my submission on 4 July 2013, when Macarthur, Lake Bonney and another one went off line at the same time. The power was instantly picked up, without a flicker of a light bulb, without down time of any industry. It was picked up by New South Wales and Queensland coal-fired power stations – 450 megawatts. That is a massive amount of power. It is bigger than the largest Victorian single generating plant, and it was picked up instantly. The only way they can do that is if they are burning the coal already and venting for steam as backup. None of that is covered in the reports that are used officially by government.
Senator LEYONHJELM: Do you have a view on how effectively the Clean Energy Regulator is performing its legislated responsibilities?
Mr Cumming: My personal belief is that they cannot perform their responsibilities if they are not using facts. If they are using reverse calculated data estimates, they cannot perform their responsibilities. They have got to get the facts.
Senator LEYONHJELM: What would you do? Would you broaden their responsibilities or change the way they calculate what they are supposed to calculate already?
Mr Cumming: I would change the rules so that they have to use base data from the entire power industry. That will force the generators to provide the hourly coal feed, gas feed, fuel feed data.
At the moment there is no regulation to enforce those companies to provide the data – and it is not in their interests to because it affects how they get paid. If they tell the truth about what they are doing then the investors are not going to allow AGL to buy more wind farms or build more wind farms when AGL owns Loy Yang A. It is the same with the other power stations. They all own wind farms, power stations and coal seam gas. It is in none of their interests to tell the truth.
Hansard, 30 March 2015
Hamish hits the bulls-eye! The actual fuel use data needed to make any definitive statement on the purported ability of wind power to reduce CO2 emissions just simply isn’t made available, in order to protect the commercial interests of all parties involved. However, getting at that data is very much on the Senate Inquiry’s radar.
No wonder the wind industry and its spruikers, like the CEC’s Rusty Marsh are working in a pool of cold sweat, as they try to deflect, diminish, deny and otherwise attempt to throw cold water on the work of ARREA; and the likes of Jo Wheatley and Hamish Cumming.
STT predicts that this week will see the wind industry, its parasites, spruikers and their institutional aiders and abetters enter a new world of pain, as the Senators on the Inquiry start smacking into the lies, treachery and deceit, that defines the greatest fraud of all time, with an unparalleled zeal for the task.
STT will bring you blow-by-blow descriptions of the carnage; it won’t be pretty, but, in a “let’s get it over with”, kind of way, it will be fun.
“Bring it on”, as the REAL contenders say.