Green/Greed Energy….Long Past it’s “Best Before” date……

Goodbye, Green Energy

The green energy movement in America is dead. May it rest in peace.

No, a majority of American energy over the next 20 years is not going to come from windmills and solar panels. One important lesson to be learned from the green energy fad’s rapid and expensive demise is that central planning doesn’t work.

What crushed green energy was the boom in shale oil and gas, along with the steep decline in the price of fossil fuel that few saw coming just a few years ago.

A new International Energy Agency report concedes that green energy is in fast retreat and is getting crushed by “the recent drop in fossil fuel prices.” It finds that the huge price advantage for oil and natural gas means “fossil plants still dominate recent (electric power) capacity additions.”

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Most of the government experts – and many private investors, too – bought into the “peak oil” nonsense and the forecasts of fuel prices continuing to rise as we depleted the oil from the earth’s crust.

Oil was expected to stay way over $100 a barrel and potentially soon hit $200 a barrel. National Geographic infamously advertised on its cover in 2004: “The End of Cheap Oil.”

President Barack Obama told voters that green energy was necessary because oil is a “finite resource” and we would eventually run out. Apparently, Mr. Obama never read The Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon which teaches us that human ingenuity in finding new resources outpaces resource depletion.

When fracking and horizontal drilling technologies burst onto the scene, U.S. oil and gas reserves nearly doubled almost overnight. Oil production from 2007-2014 grew by more than 70 percent and natural gas production by nearly 30 percent.

The shale revolution is a classic disruptive technology advance that has priced the Green Movement out of the competitive market. Natural gas isn’t $13; it is now close to $3, an 80 percent decline. Oil prices have fallen by nearly half.

Green energy can’t possibly compete with that. Marketing windpower in an environment of $3 natural gas is like trying to sell sand in the Sahara. Instead of letting the green energy fad die a merciful death, the Obama administration only lavished more subsidies on the Solyndras of the world.

Washington suffered from what F.A. Hayek called the “fatal conceit.” Like the 1950s central planners in the Politburo, Congress and the White House thought they knew where the future was headed.

According to a 2015 report by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, over the past 5 years, the U.S. government spent $150 billion on “solar power and other renewable energy projects.” Even with fracking changing the energy world, these blindfolded sages stuck with their wild green-eyed fantasy that wind turbines were the future.

Meanwhile, the return of $2.50 a gallon gasoline at the pump is flattening the battery car market. A recent report from the trade publication Fusion notes: “electric vehicle purchases in the U.S. have stagnated. According to auto analysts at Edmunds.com, only 45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle. That’s down from just over 60 percent in 2012.”

Edmunds.com says that “never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent” and it speculated that “many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment.”

That’s what happens when the world is awash in cheap fossil fuels.

This isn’t the first time American taxpayers have been fleeced by false green energy dreams. In the late 1970s the Carter administration spent billions of dollars on the Synthetic Fuels Corporation which was going to produce fuel economically and competitively.

Solar and wind power were also brief flashes in the pan. It all crash landed by 1983 when oil prices crashed to as low as $20 a barrel after Reagan deregulated energy. The SFC was one of the great corporate welfare boondogggles in American history.

A lesson should have been learned there, but Washington went all in again under Presidents Bush and Obama. At least private sector investors have lost their own money in these foolish bets on bringing back energy sources from the Middle Ages like wind turbines.

The tragedy of government as venture capitalist is that the politicians lose OUR money. These government-backed technologies divert private capital away from potentially more promising innovations.

Harold Hamm, president of Continental, and one of the discoverers of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota tells the story of meeting with Obama at the White House in 2010 to tell him of the fracking revolution. Mr. Obama arrogantly responded that electric cars would soon replace fossil fuels. Was he ever wrong.

We don’t know if renewables will ever play a significant role in America’s energy mix. But if it does ever happen, it will be a result of market forces, not central planning.

*Stephen Moore is a distinguished visiting  fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

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Great News! Useless Wind Turbines May Soon Kill the Wind Industry!

Faulty Turbines Sending Siemen’s Wind Power Division Broke as Samsung Cuts & Runs from Europe

siemens-turbines

German fan maker, Siemens has been running a huge propagandacampaign in South Australia over the last couple of weeks, surrounding the opening of the extension of the Snowtown wind farm – wheeling in Australia’s 2011 Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans as their pet-pedal-powered mascot.

And its highly paid wind farm ambassador, Tim Flannery – Australia’s world-renowned (but self-appointed) long-range weather forecaster – has been on the front foot in the press in recent weeks screaming about imminent “global incineration”. Tim’s “solution”? Why more giant (Siemens) fans, of course!

Not that he makes much noise about it, but Tim sits on Siemen’s Sustainability Advisory Board and – true to the title – has been working flat-out to “sustain” Siemen’s ability to flog its fans in Australia – with a mix of hysterical hectoring and overweening political pressure – all built around the mystical ability of wind turbines to suck CO2 out of the sky and drop world temperatures on a made-to-measure basis. A bit like a heavenly thermostat, apparently.

Although, being a loyal and faithful servant of his German masters, Tim hasn’t limited himself to just being Siemen’s top fan salesman. Oh no – Siemens is in the Carbon Capture & Storage business – so Tim took tospruiking the merits of CCS as only a recent “covert” could.

This little “switcheroo” required Tim to bury his hitherto well-publicised revulsion to coal:

Interviewed in 2007, he likened the coal industry – which employs thousands of Australians and provides the vast majority of our cheap power generation – to those that had sold asbestos. He also argued their ‘social license to operate’ should be withdrawn. A year before, he wrote that ‘the old coal clunkers need to be closed as quickly as possible’ and proposed that they be replaced with hitherto unproven technologies like geothermal and wave energy (see this article for more).

One thing’s for sure, this boy knows how to sing for his supper!

Tim – an expert on extinct giant Australian marsupials – and obviously the first person you’d call when it came to water management issues – predicted right throughout one of Australia’s frequent, prolonged droughts – that it would be “hotter and drier forever”.

flummery

Check out his doomsday interview with Maxine McKew in 2005 – here – a classic example of how being wedded to a delusional belief in “Catastrophic Global Warming” overtakes history and science all in one breath.   He kept that rubbish up – right until the floods started inQueensland in December 2010 –  a totally normal La Nina related flooding event – preceding the three wettest years (on average) recorded since white settlement. In 2013, Adelaide – in the driest State – recorded one of its wettest Julys ever. Onya Tim!

If it was just a bit of good-ol-fashioned shamanism, you might forgive Tim for his over-blown rantings – but his doomsday drought prophecies came with a multi-$billion price-tag. Tim warned that Australian cities would all die of thirst: the “solution”? Massive desalination plants for Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide (all bar Perth’s were mothballed, no sooner than the concrete had set). Thanks Tim!

But this wasn’t all wasted effort on Tim’s part. Oh no, through his “it’s desal or death” mantra Tim was able to help “sustain” Siemens – itbagged a very big slice of the desal plant action.

But Tim may need to think about where his next meal is coming from, as his paymaster’s wind power division hits the wall. Not only did Siemens find itself in huge strife being convicted of bribery and corruption – leading to hundreds of $millions in fines (see our post here) – its wind turbine arm is losing money hand-over-fist. The problem?: Siemens turbines are suffering catastrophic bearing and blade failures, requiring urgent, wholesale replacements. Here’s Reuters setting out a little of Siemen’s escalating financial woes.

Turbine faults cost Siemens €223million
Wind Power Monthly
Patrick Smith
6 November 2014

GERMANY: Costs related to faulty wind turbines have hit Siemens’ results, forcing the wind division into a loss for both the fourth quarter and 2014.

The German manufacturer said it was impacted by EUR 223 million in charges for inspecting and replacing main bearings in onshore turbines, as well as repairing blades on both onshore and offshore turbines.

Head of the Siemens energy business Lisa Davis said: “The charge is related to inspecting and replacing bearings due to the early degredation in certain turbine models. We believe this is related to recent batches of bearings and we are in discussions with the supplier.”

She said that the blade degredation was due to “harsh weather conditions both onshore and offshore”. She added that Siemens has “implemented a design change for leading edge protection” for new blades and will be implementing a “similar retrofit” for existing blades.

These faults resulted in a loss for the wind division of EUR 66 million in the quarter to the end of September. This compares with a profit of EUR 179 million a year before. Revenue remained steady at EUR 1.62 billion.

For the year, the division made a loss of EUR 15 billion, compared to a profit of EUR 306 billion despite a 6% increase in revenue to EUR 5.5 billion.

Siemens has previously had issues with faulty blades and bearings. Blade breakages on a number of onshore turbines last year caused the curtailment of 700 turbines worldwide. And in 2010, the company was forced to carry out maintenance work on four offshore wind farms after it was discovered the bearings in the 3.6MW turbines’ were corroding.

In addition to the write down due to turbine faults in the latest quarter, the wind division’s performance was adversely affected by a lower profit contribution from the higher margin offshore business. The division’s margin slumped from 11.1% to negative 4% in the latest quarter.
Wind Power Monthly

One of the wilder claims made by the wind industry and its parasites is that wind power production costs will inevitably fall (sometime over the next space-time-continuum, apparently) – some fantasists even go so far as to claim that wind power is already cheaper to deliver than coal and gas-fired power – as to which, see our post here.

However, the fact that Siemen’s turbines – barely out of the factory – need wholesale bearing and blade replacement doesn’t bode well for claims that wind power production costs fall over time: a line that’s proved to be nothing more than hot air – as blades continue to fracture; and bearings, generators and gearboxes wear out twice as fast as predicted (see our post here). And more and more turbines spontaneously combust (see our post here). The cost of replacement is phenomenal (see our post here).

Bearings: The Achilles Heel of Wind Turbines
wattsupwiththat.com
Eric Worrall
26 August 2014

A few years ago, I used to know a senior wind turbine engineer. One evening, over a few beers, he told me the dirty secret of his profession:

“The problem is the bearings. If we make the bearings bigger, the bearings last longer, but making the bearings larger increases friction, which kills turbine efficiency. But we can’t keep using the current bearings – replacing them is sending us broke. What we need is a quantum leap in bearing technology – bearing materials which are at least ten times tougher than current materials.”

At the time there was very little corroborating online material available to support this intriguing comment – but evidence seems to be accumulating that bearings are a serious problem for the wind industry.

Siemens citing bearing failures as part of the reason for a substantial fall in profit:
http://www.offshorewind.biz/2014/05/07/siemens-energy-division-profit-down-54-pct/

In the announcement of the opening of a new Siemens research facility:
http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2013/03/19/siemens-wind-turbine-research/
“… The Brande test center would evaluate the main parts of their wind turbines such as main bearings …”

http://www.geartechnology.com/newsletter/0112/drives.htm (an attempt to make direct drive turbines, to reduce bearing wear) “… More accurately, it is typically the bearings within the gearbox that fail, in turn gumming up the gearbox, but that’s a story for another time. …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burbo_Bank_Offshore_Wind_Farm
“… During summer 2010 Siemens decided to change the blade bearings on all 25 turbines as a pre-emptive measure after corrosion was found in blade bearings found on other sites. …”

Of course, there is the occasional video of catastrophic turbine failure:

And suggestions that the industry is trying to conceal the scale of the turbine fire problem:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2695266/Wind-turbine-fire-risk-Number-catch-alight-year-ten-times-higher-industry-admits.html

All of which creates an interesting question – just how much of our money is the government prepared to waste, to keep their wind dream afloat? If the costs are far greater than the industry admits, how long is the wind industry going to carry that additional hidden cost, before they try to push the costs onto taxpayers, or abandon wind technology altogether?:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116877/Is-future-Britains-wind-rush.html

Wattsupwiththat.com

runaway train lone ranger

Meanwhile, in yet another sign the walls are falling off of the wind industry’s gravy train, Korean fan maker, Samsung has pulled the plug on its European operations; and appears set to abandon major projects on its home turf.

Samsung winds down European wind activities
Wind Power Monthly
Patrick Smith
16 October

SOUTH KOREA: Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has shut two of its wind energy offices in Europe and is downsizing its wind business in Korea.

A spokesperson confirmed that SHI has shut down wind activities at its Hamburg and London offices, but denied that the company was pulling out of wind altogether.

“We are now downsizing the [wind] business based on our new strategy. It has not been closed down,” she said. The company refused to comment further.

A source within the company said that SHI would still explore opportunities in Europe, but was unable to define what those activities would be.

Windpower Monthly reported in June that SHI was initiating a review of its offshore activities in Europe.

The London office had been the base for the marketing of the 7MW offshore turbine, a prototype of which started operating in Scotland earlier this year. SHI said that the ship building division would continue to operate out of the London office.

While the spokesperson said that the offshore project is still alive, she was unable to point to any activity concerning plans to take the turbine into production.

Windpower Monthly spoke to a number of Korean employees that had been moved from their previous positions in the wind division to roles in the shipbuilding business.

Several employees said that SHI was winding down the division entirely, but the company said that this is merely a “rumour”.

The fate of the 7MW prototype at the Fife Energy Park in Scotland is unclear. A spokesperson for Fife council, which is running the project in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise, said that activities are continuing to certify the turbine. SHI said it is still operating an office at the energy park.

SHI also had plans to construct the 84MW Daejeong offshore wind project in South Korea, but it is not known whether it will go ahead with the development.
Wind Power Monthly

dirtyrottenscoundrelsoriginal

Fracking is a Far Greener Choice, than Wind!

WIND POWER REQUIRES 700 TIMES AS MUCH LAND AS FRACKING

One of the weirder facts of contemporary life is that “environmentalists” generally prefer wind power to fracking. Unless you suffer from an anti-carbon fetish, there is no comparison, as the Telegraph reports:

A wind farm requires 700 times more land to produce the same amount of energy as a fracking site, according to analysis by the energy department’s recently-departed chief scientific advisor. …

Prof MacKay said that a shale gas site uses less land and “creates the least visual intrusion”, compared with a wind farm or solar farm capable of producing the equivalent amount of energy over 25 years.

This is not surprising. Wind power is generally feeble, and intermittent at best.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “This comparison by David MacKay clearly demonstrates that, contrary to what some people may assume, exploration for and production of shale gas would actually have less far less impact on the countryside than wind or solar energy.

“To supply an equivalent amount of energy a shale gas site would occupy just a small fraction of the land required for either wind or solar sites, would have less visual intrusion and significantly less transport impact, given that in the UK we do not anticipate having to truck water to our proposed sites.”

In my experience, many environmentalists don’t actually care much about the environment. “Environmentalism” is most often a cover for something else–either a financial interest, or a general yearning for the government (controlled by them, of course) to have more power over the people they don’t like. There are, no doubt, a few honorable exceptions. But the vast disproportion in environmental impact between fracking and wind power illustrates the point.

Fracking is by Far….Better than Wind Turbines!

Fracking – Fact or Fantasy

by Dougal Quixote

The green movement doesn’t like Fracking but they do like Wind. Why? Fact is wind is intermittent, drives people into fuel poverty and has to be supported by subsidy. Fracking on the other hand has reduced energy prices in the US, created thousands of jobs as energy prices tumble to the benefit of US industry and needs no subsidy. So why has the Green Lobby reacted so viciously to fracking. Their web sites are a liturgy of lies and obfuscations.

fracking objectors

They are the great unwashed, the swampies and the anti capitalist objectors and yet they are also rent a mob. Never has a Wind Farm objection rally needed the police manpower that fracking does. Truth is that it is simply political activism, what Patterson referred to as the Green Blob. How seldom do we see locals in their ranks. Those that are have believed the hype and failed to properly study the fact. Flaming faucets: cold bed methane in groundwater that would be there without any mining. Nothing to do with fracking at 8000ft well below groundwater. There are dangers, but none that cannot be adequately addressed by good management and oversight by an effective regulator. After all it is not in the developers interest to be faced with expensive clear up costs and loss of production.

So what about the real legacy of fracking. In the south we haver been drilling the Whytch oil field for years and few even know it exists. Fracking, as a technique, has been used for the best party of forty years but new equipment and deep wells have brought it into it’s own more recently. Centrica have been fracking wells for gas in Norway for the last few years. Interestingly they are using mostly Scottish engineers. Good well paid jobs for the indigenous population.

So what effect does fracking have. Essentially a fracking site will experience disturbance for about forty weeks after which it will revert to a simple well head.

Fracking well head

 

This is in Marcellus, New York State, and cannot be seen from the road. The alternative is something like this at Ardrossan.

Ardrossan

Ardrossan

Of course the first runs 24/7/365 for some forty years and the second runs as about 21% when the wind blows and has a life of about 16 years before it needs re-powering. We have all been promised a maximum of 25 years but do we believe them? No way. Read the small print. In practice what will happen is either the death of the industry with wholesale bankruptcies and rusting hulks littering our scenery or bigger monstrosities here for forty years or more.

For a safe, sustainable, future the truth is we need deliverable energy at a cost we can afford with a mix of clean coal, gas, nuclear and hydro. It is without doubt that as civilisation moves forward we will have an expanding demand for electricity, not because it is green, but because it is easy. Cars, buses, trains will all demand much higher energy requirements than we could currently(sic) supply. So listen to the Royal Geological Scociety, the Nuclear Industry and the engineers in the power industry. Don’t listen to the Swampys and green ideologues as they peddle dis-information. Get your facts from people who know, not the Green lobby with their eschewed values which even their founders now despair of.

We need to build a future based on fact, not fantasy!

Green is the New Black…..Hearted, that is! Faux Green Terrorists!

Greens go violent

The BBC is reporting that an employee of an unconventional gas company in Northern Ireland has had his home petrol bombed.

The company exploring for shale gas in County Fermanagh has confirmed that the family home of one of its site workers has been attacked with petrol bombs.

Two petrol bombs were thrown at the house in Letterbreen during the early hours of Sunday, but no-one was hurt.

The fracking firm, Tamboran, said it followed a number of unlawful incidents and threats to its security staff.

Staff were threatened at a quarry in Belcoo, where Tamboran is intending to drill a gas exploration borehole.

Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth. They all sound so nice, don’t they?

Discussion on Why Energy Costs in America, Are So High!

NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS

President Obama Keeps Energy Costs High

While Obama has not yet been able to stop the fracking technology that is producing an American oil and natural gas boom on private and state owned lands, he has sharply constricted exploration and development on the extensive federally-owned lands and offshore. That is why gasoline prices have doubled since he became President.

The Heritage Foundation explains that under Obama’s policies, the EPA’s:

Proposed limits for carbon dioxide emissions essentially would prohibit the construction of new coal-fired power plants, and force existing ones into early retirement, driving up the cost of energy on American families and businesses.

Then there is Obama’s indefinite hold up of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would simply transport, at no cost to taxpayers, abundant, low cost Canadian oil and natural gas to American Gulf Coast refineries, assuring American access to low cost, reliable oil and gas supplies. But if Canada cannot sell to America through the Keystone pipeline, then they will sell the oil and gas to our emerging rival in China, through pipelines on the Canadian west coast. These policies would deprive America of 50,000 high paying jobs not only for construction of the extensive pipeline networks, but also for the budding boom and rebirth of American manufacturing and associated higher paying blue collar jobs, which the revival of low cost, reliable American energy supplies is producing.

The Heritage Foundation further explains that “higher energy prices shrink production and consumption, resulting in less income for families, more people in the unemployment line and less economic growth.” All of this means that Obama is on track for increasing electricity and other energy costs that are the inevitable result of a constricted supply of low cost, reliable, American energy.

– See more at: http://environmentblog.ncpa.org/president-obama-keeps-energy-costs-high/#sthash.iy1mLXmu.dpuf

Lefties Try to Scare People About “Fracking”!

“Fracking” was the second most popular UK search term in the “what is?” category on Google in 2014.

(The top ten were: Love; Fracking; Gluten; FGM; Lupus; Anxiety; Twerking; Instagram; Gout; Bitcoin).

What this tells you is that capitalism in general and the fracking industry in particular is losing the argument.

How does it tell you this?

Because what it instantly suggests is that “fracking” is a controversial process.

And indeed fracking is a controversial process. But only because it has been tarred that way as a result of several years of very successful propagandising by the green movement, which the fracking industry and its allies in government have proved hopelessly inadequate at countering.

Let me give you an example of how frackers are losing the culture war. It’s a front page story in today’s Telegraph headlined “National parks to be saved from fracking.”

All right, so the Telegraph is no longer a very conservative newspaper. But it’s still not –yet – the Guardian. Yet here it is, the paper of the Tory shires, taking a line on fracking which might just have come straight off a Friends of the Earth press release.

“Saved” – there in the headline is a heavily loaded term which conjures up the image of fracking as some kind of monster.

Then in the standfirst, there’s this similarly-charged phrase. “Victory for countryside campaigners as new curbs are set on drilling for shale gas.”

Countryside campaigners? Eh? Since when did the raggle-taggle rentamob of urban crusties, greenies, Occupy-style perma-protestors, anti-capitalists, Caroline Lucas etc who descended on Balcombe last year earn that honorific? These are the people who want to carpet our landscape with wind turbines. I call that “anti-countryside.” With knobs on.

And what about this weasel phrase: “Campaigners have warned that fracking could lead to water contamination and the destruction of wildlife habitats”? Nope. The more accurate verb is “claimed” or “alleged.” There is no evidence to support this dishonest, heavily-politicised mischief-making.

Who controls the language claims the culture. Who controls the culture wins the ideological war.

Horizontal fracking – the marvellous technology which enables oil and gas companies to drill, sideways, thousands of feet below the surface and extract, at almost no environmental cost, hitherto unrecoverable resources of cheap, abundant energy – is one of the modern miracles of Western civilisation.

Time we ignored the green propagandists and faced up to the facts.