Brilliant Discussion on the Issue of “Global Warming”….

The Sensible Believer

I consider myself a “sensible believer” in Global Warming.
In my definition, what does “sensible believer” mean?
I believe that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and thus that increased concentrations of it in the atmosphere would tend to increase the amount of heat trapped by that same atmosphere.
Also, I believe there is enough relatively unbiased evidence to state that over the past 50 years, the average temperature of the planet has increased by ~0.64°C.
So far, so good, but then come some “inconvenient” questions, like, for example:
  • Of the ~0.64°C, how much is man made?
  • Is all this temperature increase due to increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere?
  • Are there other mechanisms that would provide positive / negative feedback to the effect of the CO2?
  • Would all the effects of an eventual warming of the planet be negative? Or, could there be positive consequences also?
  • If there could also be positive consequences, would they compensate, at least in part, the negative consequences?
Now, as a “sensible believer,” let me state what I don´t believe in:
  • That we know for sure how much the average temperature of the Earth will increase vs the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.
  • That there is a “carbon budget” we shouldn’t exceed.
  • That Global Warming is the most serious problem for humanity.
  • That any cost / suffering is justified to fight Global Warming.
  • That renewables (in particular Solar and Wind) are the best solution to reduce our CO2 emissions.
  • That the IPCC is perfect and that it’s intentions are purely the presentation of science.
  • That the believer side is “pure” and thus that no paid lobbyists are pursuing interests that have nothing to do with Global Warming.
  • Carbon taxes. When you boil them down to their essentials, carbon taxes are just another tax. So thanks, but no thanks.
  • “Freak” energy such as wave, tide, etc. They are “interesting” but will continue to be almost irrelevant in our total primary energy supply.
  • That we have all the questions and all the answers: in other words, we are too arrogant. If the persons in 1915 would have tried to prevent our problems today, they would have failed miserably.
So, as a “sensible believer” these are my inputs to the energy / climate discourse:
  • Intensely pursue improvements in efficiency. We have barely scratched the surface here and it is, for the most part, a win-win situation because efficiency does not reduce our standards of living.
  • Aggressively replace coal with natural gas. Aside from efficiency, probably nothing can reduce CO2 emissions faster.
  • In general, increase as much as possible the production of natural gas to not only replace coal with it, but minimize the usage of coal in the first place in developing economies.
  • Do not go all out for renewables (Solar & Wind), this might end up being counter-productive. Thus, remove all overt / covert subsidies for renewables. They are valuable under some circumstances but let them stand on their own feet. While at it, let’s remove subsidies for FF also, however, let’s consider that per unit of energy produced renewables are today more subsidized than FF.
  • Let current nuclear continue to flourish, but more important, invest in R&D for future generations of nuclear (fission and fusion). Eventually (say in 100 to 150 years, nuclear may be our #1 energy source).
  • Support innovation in general.
  • Help reduce population growth in countries that cannot afford it.
  • Carefully evaluate other “controversial” partial solutions: CCS, geo-engineering, etc.
  • Our global energy use is of such gigantic proportions that whatever we do, will take decades to show results. “It takes time to bring an elephant to term.” Hysteria and doing something (anything) for the sake of doing it might prove counter-productive.
  • Essentially, the Global Warming issue is not primarily scientific. It is a political, economic, engineering, psychological, (plus many other things) issue.
Both Robert Bryce and Richard Muller consider natural gas the best energy source we have, and the former states that our plan, long term, should be N2N, in other words: natural gas to nuclear.
From the energy point of view of our civilization, this plan seems to me perfectly reasonable.
Thank you.
Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram

It’s time for the Wind Industry to PROVE that they are reducing CO2, or Go Away!

Senator Chris Back: Wind Industry must prove its CO2 abatement claims

Chris Back

In our last post we tipped a bucket on the central, endlessly repeated lie trotted out by the wind industry and its parasites, that Australia’s great wind rush has resulted in substantial reductions of CO2 emissions in the electricity sector.

In Australia, the central object of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 is for “renewable” energy to “reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector” (see s3). The legislation provides that wind power outfits receive 1 Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) for each MWh dispatched to the grid. That relationship proceeded on the mammoth assumption that – for each MWh of wind power dispatched to the grid – there will be a 1 tonne reduction of CO2 emissions in the electricity sector.

Were the mandatory RET retained in its current form, Australian power consumers will see some $50 billion added to their powers bills and transferred to wind power outfits over the next 17 years (see our post here). With that amount at stake, it would be fair to assume that there was some measurable benefit attached – of the kind envisaged by the legislation (ie substantial reductions of CO2 emissions in the electricity sector) – to what will be the biggest wealth transfer in the history of the Commonwealth.

And, with that amount in play, it would also be reasonable to assume that our political betters had already satisfied themselves that the benefit in question is, in fact, being delivered – and that they are sitting on hard evidence quantifying that benefit – especially since the mandatory RET has been in operation for over 13 years.

A few starry-eyed, policy-pygmies seek comfort in a report by ACIL Allenthat’s been used to pump up wind industry CO2 abatement claims. But that document is nothing more than a desktop study, based on Alice in Wonderland assumptions that: uses irrelevant annual averages for wind power output; bases its conclusions about CO2 emissions intensity from conventional generators on assumed (not actual) thermal efficiencies; and, critically, ignores the actual figures from coal/gas fired generators – in particular, the actual coal/gas use data from conventional generators (which ACIL Allen never bothered to ask for) against which power output comparisons can be made to determine actual (not assumed) CO2 emissions intensity; and, therefore, whether wind power has, in fact, reduced CO2 emissions in the electricity sector.

At no point since that legislation took effect over 13 years ago has the wind industry provided any actual proof that it has in fact reduced CO2 emissions in the electricity sector. In what might come as a rude shock, none of our political representatives on the Federal stage has ever had the temerity to ask for any hard evidence to substantiate the wind industry’s mantra; and have seemed content to oversee the wholesale punishment of power consumers on nothing more than blind faith.

Until now.

Chris Back is a Liberal Senator from Western Australia – and he gets it (see our posts here and here and here).

Chris has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging the wind industry to stump up concrete proof to back its wild claims about reducing CO2 emissions in the electricity sector. Here’s a speech Chris delivered in the Senate last Wednesday.

Renewable Energy Target
Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Senator BACK (Western Australia) (13:36):

I wish to discuss the renewable energy target review and its report, now that it has actually been handed to the government by the independent panel, chaired by Mr Dick Warburton. I want to make some comments about the review itself.

The first point I want to put to bed is around some allegations that have been bandied about in this place during the week to do with the apparent incompetence of the panellists to review the RET.

I just want to point out that, in addition to Mr Warburton, the other panellists include the eminent Mr Brian Fisher AO PSM, a previous executive director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. He is a renowned economist.

Another panellist is Ms Shirley Int’t Veld. As a Western Australian, she was the managing director of Verve Energy in WA from 2007 to 2012. Verve was the energy instrumentality that used more renewable energy sources than any other in Western Australia, so I do not know how she could not be regarded as credible.

The other panellist is Mr Matt Zema, managing director of the Australian Energy Market Operator. So I want to dispel the myth that this group was not competent to undertake the work.

For those who might be interested, I will review what the RET is all about. The RET is a government intervention designed to mandate the proportion of electricity generated from selected sources. It is designed to support a policy of at least 20 per cent of Australia’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2020; as such, the policy taxes electricity users and, in some cases, non-renewable generators.

How does it work?

The renewable energy certificate market emerges from the energy targets. Renewable energy certificates, or RECs, are issued to power station generators classified as renewable under the act. They are a form of energy currency as electricity retailers must purchase the RECs to cover their liability. Costs are passed on to consumers through purchase of mandatory certificates by electricity retailers. That, of course, is where it becomes a tax on energy consumers.

The first point I make about the target is that the objectives of the act have not been met, principally because there has not been to any extent a reduction of greenhouse gases in the time the target has been in place.

The second point is that whatever achievements the renewable energy sector has made have largely come from hydroelectricity. Hydroelectricity, as we all know, was around for a long time before the renewable energy target was formed. Having lived and worked in Tasmania and having even had to declare an interest because a company of which I was the managing director actually supplied lubricants and fuels to the hydroelectricity scheme in Tasmania, I place on record that it is a wonderful scheme.

Senator Singh interjecting –

Senator BACK: I want to place on record that I, for one, want to make sure that – whatever outcome is eventually decided by government – the hydroelectricity scheme is enhanced, protected and encouraged independent of the RET system, because it preceded RETs by so many years, as Senator Singh herself indeed knows.

At the time it was suggested that to achieve a 20 per cent contribution of renewable energy by 2020 would require some 41 gigawatt hours to be generated by renewable sources. We know that two things have happened. First of all, there has been a drop in demand –

Senator Singh: Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I offer a correction to Senator Back; it is 41,000 gigawatt hours, not 41 gigawatt hours.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Seselja): Order! Senator Singh, there is no point of order.

Senator BACK: Senator Singh’s contribution is quite right, for which I thank her. It is 41,000 gigawatt hours. I will check the Hansard to see what I did say.

Indeed, as a result of a reduction in demand, we now realise that to achieve that 20 per cent target the figure is probably closer to 23,000 gigawatt hours. I do appreciate Senator Singh’s keen attention in listening to my contribution. That is the background of the RET.

The RET comes under two broad categories: the small-scale renewable energy target and large-scale renewable energy targets.

The small renewable targets, which are probably 10 per cent or less, are mainly to do with photovoltaics and solar hot water systems. In relation to the small-scale RETs, the recommendation of the panel is that there is probably little if any need for further support at this time. This is because power charges have gone up – somewhat because of the carbon tax, which has now been repealed through the excellent work of Senator Cormann and others – and costs in the solar sector have come down considerably.

Nevertheless, power charges have gone up while the costs of putting photovoltaics on roofs have come down. It is arguable that photovoltaics are now cost neutral. I was the chief executive of an organisation that introduced seven or eight different forms of solar energy many years ago on an island that I had the pleasure of being responsible for and I am a great supporter of solar energy. If indeed there needs to be some continued support for a limited period of time then I would not violently object to that. However, market forces have applied and the costs of photovoltaic installations have come down while electricity charges have come up, and I hope that we are now at the point of cost-neutrality. The panel has said that we are probably already at that point and that, if we are not there currently, we will probably be there reasonably soon.

I want to move to the issue of the large-scale renewable energy targets.

I have spoken in this place before of how concerned I am with regard to the wind energy sector. This report and others support the fact that there is an enormous amount of misinformation out there in the wider community about the large-scale RETs, particularly those relating to the wind industry.

The industry have employed very effective tricks to – I believe – mislead the public into believing that paying them billions of dollars in subsidies will lower power prices. Of course, it will not; there is no evidence to say that it will. The reason that the public is not outraged about this, as I said earlier, is that the public do not pay this money in taxes; rather, they pay it as part of their energy consumption. The modelling has shown that it is possible that some $37 billion over the next 15 years – or $2.5 billion per year – may be wasted on wind farms. Again, because the costs are concealed, they will not be picked up.

Comment was made that currently the RET is responsible for only around four per cent of household electricity bills. I have to say to you that other evidence refutes that. I will quote this document from AGL Energy and then seek the authorisation of the chamber to table it. I have passed the document to others in the chamber seeking authorisation.

The interesting point in the document is that AGL estimate that, in their commitment to buy 1.3 terawatt hours per year through the various wind associated organisations, it will cost them some $32 per megawatt hour above the 2015 wholesale market. They say that as a headline figure that will cost them some $40 million a year more for electricity than would have been the case without the wind strategy in place. I seek leave to table the document.

Leave granted.

Senator BACK: We are seeing the possibility that the estimated cost of the REC scheme could add some $50 billion to power bills over the next 17 years, with some 600 million renewable energy certificates being issued at a unit cost of about $90. So, in other words, we are looking at having $50 billion added to consumers’ power bills, transferred to wind-power companies. I think this is unacceptable.

I know that Senator Polley wishes to follow me and I am anxious to make sure that she is given adequate time to do so, but first I would like to comment on emissions reductions, because I think this is important.

The arguments regarding the long-term effect of the RET on price are fundamentally flawed, simply because the energy generated by wind farms does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector.

I challenge the wind energy sector to produce the evidence relied upon to assert that wind power has reduced GHG emissions in the electricity sector.

Wind power is delivered intermittently, on repeated occasions not at all, meaning of course that the entire installed capacity from wind power has to be matched with equal capacity of fossil fuel generation. I challenge that industry to produce evidence to this chamber to say that what I am indicating is not correct.

Once awareness of the existence of the RET, let alone the magnitude of its cost impact, becomes more widespread in the public arena, support for it will evaporate. Renewable energy is not free. It is high cost compared to alternative forms of generation. It is not commercially viable without large subsidies, which ultimately come out of the consumer’s pocket.
Senator BACK (WA)  

Clearly on a roll, Chris followed up his speech in the Senate with this media release.

Dr Christopher Back
Liberal Senator for Western Australia
3 September 2014 

Can the wind industry meet my Emissions Reductions Challenge?

In the Senate today, Senator Back said that the RET acts as a tax on energy consumers and conventional energy suppliers to fund a subsidy to selected renewable energy generators.

“But – and this is the big issue that the Coalition Government is now addressing – after 13 years of operation it has become clear that the objectives of the Act have not been reflected in the outcomes. While the investment in renewable energy sources has increased, from a carbon abatement perspective, the Act has been all but totally ineffective in its objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector.”

Arguments regarding the long-term effects of the RET on price are fundamentally flawed. This is because energy generated by wind farms does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector. In fact, there is some evidence that the addition of wind energy onto the grid actually increases carbon emissions. This is the great tragedy of the scheme.

“My challenge to the wind industry is to produce the evidence relied upon to assert that wind power has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector at all. Wind power is delivered intermittently and, on repeated occasions, not at all, which means that an entire installed capacity from wind power has to be matched with an equal capacity of fossil fuel generation at all times.”

Grid managers are required to keep fossil fuel generating plants constantly running in the background to maintain balance within the grid in order to account for dramatic fluctuations in wind power output which occur on a minute by minute basis and base-load generators are required to maintain spinning reserve for occasions when wind power output collapses as it does on a routine but unpredictable basis. The requirement to maintain spinning reserve means that base-load generators are burning coal and gas at a constant rate even though no power is being dispatched to the grid.

“The case to abolish the RET is driven by its cost to electricity consumers compared to the corresponding reduction (or lack of reduction) in greenhouse gas emissions achieved through its 13 year lifespan. This cost comparison, extending the RET tax to 2031 for no measurable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector is completely futile. It becomes a drag on the Australian economy and an insidious impost on every electricity consumer in the nation – large and small businesses, families and individuals.”

The wind industry is trumpeting two issues in the media: one is that wind is dropping the wholesale price of electricity; and the second is that the RET will cause the retail price of electricity to fall. Put simply, if wind is causing the wholesale price of electricity to fall, then the renewables industry no longer requires the billions of dollars in subsidy it receives through the large-scale RET scheme, as renewable energy is therefore cost competitive in the market.

In reality, the RET is causing electricity prices to rise significantly as it is the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that is and always has been the fundamental relationship between the power generator and the retailer.

These PPAs lock in prices of up to $120/MWh compared to the average wholesale price of between $30-$40/MWh. The price set by the PPA is paid by the retailer irrespective of the wholesale price. This PPA price is passed on to retail customers along with the retail margin over the life of the PPA which is usually 15 and up to 25 years. I have tabled a confidential document showing proof of this in the Senate chamber today to ensure transparency for the Australian public.

It is a legislated requirement that 600 million RECs will be issued between now and 2031, adding a cost of at least $50 billion to power bills over the next 17 years. This represents a significant wealth transfer to wind power companies from Australian power consumers and achieves no measurable benefit to the environment.

The RET scheme was never intended to act as an unchecked subsidy. “Once awareness of the existence of the RET, let alone the magnitude of its cost impact, becomes more widespread, public support for the scheme will evaporate. Renewable energy is not free; it is high cost compared to alternative forms of generation and commercially unviable without large subsidies. What people need to understand is that they pay these costs in their electricity bills and not through their taxes. It hurts everyone.”
Senator Chris Back (WA).


Brazilian Court Lowers the Amount of Electromagnetic Pollution, Allowed to be Emitted by Power lines

Brazilian Courts Order Lower Power Line Electromagnetic Pollution

RETA Lady Justice photo logoRETA Health hazard imageThe Court of the State of Sao Paulo recently determined that the Sao Paulo electricity transmission provider must reduce the level of electromagnetic (EMF) pollution produced by power lines to standards adopted by Swiss law (1.0 microtesla or 10 mG) (Environmental News Network). Currently, EMFs generated by overhead transmission lines in Sao Paulo, and most other places around the world, are at least 10 times higher than this near the lines. (For example, the EMF levels are about 12 to 14 times higher than 10 mG near transmission lines in the Edmonton, Alberta area.)

The court decision was based on the Brazilian Federal Constitution and the United Nations Precautionary Principle, which both declare the protection of health and the environment. The court also widely examined the international research on the effects of EMFs on health, and recognized “the great possibility of the electromagnetic field of low frequency to be a carcinogenic agent in human beings”.

Wind Turbines Kill More than Birds and Bats……They Kill Jobs, and Economies!

Subsidising Wind Power: A Sure-Fire Job Killer

spain unemployment

As the wind industry gravy train shudders to a halt in Australia, the wind industry and its parasites are working overtime to garner support for retention of the completely unsustainable 41,000 GWh mandatory Renewable Energy Target.

One of the “pitches” being made is that winding back the RET will costs tens of thousands of jobs. Never mind that the wind industry has generated only a handful of permanent jobs in Australia; that the bulk of the jobs created were in fleeting construction work; and that new wind farm construction has more or less ground to a halt: “investment” in the construction of wind farms went from $2.69 billion in 2013 to a piddling $40 million this year (see this article).

When the “wind industry creates jobs” mantra is being chanted, what the Clean Energy Council doesn’t say is that every single job it’s “created” depends entirely on the mandatory RET and the Renewable Energy Certificates issued to wind power outfits under it.

The REC operates as a Federal Tax on all Australian power consumers – that is paid as a direct subsidy to wind power generators. The REC Tax/Subsidy has already cost power consumers over $8 billion and – if the current RET remains – will add a further $50 billion to power bills over the next 17 years (see our post here).

A subsidy paid to “create” a job in one part of an economy, means that a job (or jobs) will be lost elsewhere. A study by UK Versa Economics found that for every job created in the wind industry 3.7 jobs are lost elsewhere in the UK economy (see our post here).

One Australian study has forecast that the current mandatory RET will kill over 6,000 jobs (see our post here).

The idea of wind industry job “creation” is like robbing Peter to pay Paul, except that the thief has to filch $4 from Peter to end up handing $1 to Paul.

The Germans have worked out that their dream of “creating” thousands of sustainable “green” jobs was just that: a dream. The hundreds of €billions spent subsidising wind and solar have killed the German’s international competiveness, with major companies heading to the USA – where power costs are a third of Germany’s (see our post here). And, as renewables subsidies are inevitably wound back, the jobs they “created” are disappearing fast (see our post here).

The renewables subsidy story in Spain is no different. The Spaniards have thrown 100s of billions of euros in subsidies at solar and wind power, and have achieved nothing but economic punishment in return. The much touted promise of thousands of so-called “green” jobs never materialized. No surprises there. Instead, the insane cost of subsidising wind and solar power has killed productive industries, with the general unemployment rate rocketing from 8% to 26% – youth unemployment is nearer to 50% in many regions (see our post here). For an update on the Spanish renewables disaster see the study produced by the Institute for Energy Research available here.

A study undertaken by Gabriel Calzada Álvarez (PhD) of the University of Rey Juan Carlos back in 2009 – “Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources” (available here) summed up the adverse employment impacts of the Spanish renewables disaster as follows:


Europe’s current policy and strategy for supporting the so-called “green jobs” or renewable energy dates back to 1997, and has become one of the principal justifications for U.S. “green jobs” proposals. Yet an examination of Europe’s experience reveals these policies to be terribly economically counterproductive. This study is important for several reasons. First is that the Spanish experience is considered a leading example to be followed by many policy advocates and politicians.

This study marks the very first time a critical analysis of the actual performance and impact has been made. Most important, it demonstrates that the Spanish/EU-style “green jobs” agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs, detailing this in terms of jobs destroyed per job created and the net destruction per installed MW. The study’s results demonstrate how such “green jobs” policy clearly hinders Spain’s way out of the current economic crisis, even while U.S. politicians insist that rushing into such a scheme will ease their own emergence from the turmoil.

The following are key points from the study:

1. As President Obama correctly remarked, Spain provides a reference for the establishment of government aid to renewable energy. No other country has given such broad support to the construction and production of electricity through renewable sources. The arguments for Spain’s and Europe’s “green jobs” schemes are the same arguments now made in the U.S., principally that massive public support would produce large numbers of green jobs. The question that this paper answers is “at what price?”

2. Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data, we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.

3. Therefore, while it is not possible to directly translate Spain’s experience with exactitude to claim that the U.S. would lose at least 6.6 million to 11 million jobs, as a direct consequence were it to actually create 3 to 5 million “green jobs” as promised (in addition to the jobs lost due to the opportunity cost of private capital employed in renewable energy), the study clearly reveals the tendency that the U.S. should expect such an outcome.

4. At minimum, therefore, the study’s evaluation of the Spanish model cited as one for the U.S. to replicate in quick pursuit of “green jobs” serves a note of caution, that the reality is far from what has typically been presented, and that such schemes also offer considerable employment consequences and implications for emerging from the economic crisis.

5. Despite its hyper-aggressive (expensive and extensive) “green jobs” policies it appears that Spain likely has created a surprisingly low number of jobs, two-thirds of which came in construction, fabrication and installation, one quarter in administrative positions, marketing and projects engineering, and just one out of ten jobs has been created at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance of the renewable sources of electricity.

6. This came at great financial cost as well as cost in terms of jobs destroyed elsewhere in the economy.

7. The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job.

8. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.

9. Principally, the high cost of electricity affects costs of production and employment levels in metallurgy, non-metallic mining and food processing, beverage and tobacco industries.

10. Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

11. These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain’s approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources.

Gabriel Calzada Álvarez (PhD)
University of Rey Juan Carlos

Well, that couldn’t be much clearer.

In Spain, just as here, the great bulk of employment in the wind industry involves fleeting construction work (once the turbines are up, there’s nought to do) – as noted in point 5 – of the jobs created:

“two-thirds of which came in construction, fabrication and installation, one quarter in administrative positions, marketing and projects engineering, and just one out of ten jobs has been created at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance”.

That the Spaniards had to stump up “subsidies of more than €1 million” to create each wind industry job; that each wind industry job thus created, killed off 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy; and that each MW of wind power capacity installed destroyed 4.27 jobs – is nothing short of an economic disaster.

Faced with an unemployment calamity, the Spanish government has moved to dramatically slash the subsidies to renewables: tearing up wind farm contracts; retrospectively stopping subsidies for wind farms built before 2005; reducing the insanely high rates paid for wind power (previously guaranteed for 20 years) – capping the (subsidised) profits wind power outfits can make at 7.4%, above which the outfit must sell at the (unsubsidised) market rate (see our post here).

Given the results of Spain’s disastrous wind power experiment, the Australian wind industry’s “fan-tastic” claims about an employment Eldorado at the end of the RET rainbow are little more than fool’s gold.


The Wind Turbine Scam is Destroying Our Economies, as Well as Our Communities!

Professor Ross McKitrick: Wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies.


As STT followers are acutely aware, wind power is an economic and environmental fraud. Because wind power can only ever be delivered at crazy, random intervals – and, therefore, never “on-demand” – it will never be a substitute for those generation sources which are – ie hydro, nuclear, gas and coal (see our posts here and here and here and hereand here and here and here and here).

Were it not for government mandates – backed by a constant and colossal stream of subsidies (see our post here) – wind power generators would never dispatch a single spark to the grid, as they would never find a customer that would accept power delivered 30% of the time (at best) on terms where the vendor can never tell customers just when that power might be delivered – if at all (see our post here).

Ultimately, it’ll be the inherently flawed economics of wind power that will bring the greatest rort of all time to an end. The policies that created the wind industry are simply unsustainable and, inevitably, will either fail or be scrapped.

The Canadians are reeling under the ludicrous wind power policies of a hard-green-left Liberal government, clearly intent on committing economic suicide. Power prices – driven by exorbitant guaranteed rates to wind power outfits – have rocketed – tripling in less than a decade, driving energy intensive businesses – like manufacturing – out of business or offshore – stifling business investment – killing off or threatening thousands of sustainable (unsubsidised) jobs across Canada and otherwise creating economic chaos (see our post here).

The scale and scope of Canada’s wind power disaster hasn’t been lost on top energy market economists, like Ontario’s Professor Ross McKitrickfrom the University of Guelph.

Downwind - Ross McKitrick - Uni of Guelph (Time 0_06_00;22)

Ross was interviewed for the brilliant Sun News documentary ‘Down Wind’ by presenter, Rebecca Thompson, which has been extracted in the video below. The transcript appears below.


Downwind – Ross McKitrick – Uni of Guelph

Downwind – Ross McKitrick – Uni of Guelph


Rebecca Thompson: First we turn to Professor Ross McKitrick, an economist. He recently published a very scathing review of how economically unsound the Ontario Liberal government’s Green Energy Act is.

Professor Ross McKitrick: Well the important thing to understand about wind turbines is that they don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies.

Rebecca Thompson:  We went to see McKitrick at the University of Guelph.

Professor Ross McKitrick:  All the arguments that they’ve put forward for the Green Energy Act they really turned out to be phoney once we looked at them closely. They said that it would improve the economy, reduce air pollution emissions and it would replace coal fired power. And the problem is with the first one, it is not going to improve the economy because of what you are doing is replacing power that costs 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour to generate, and you’re replacing it with power that costs at least 13 1/2 cents per kilowatt hour to generate. So you’re raising the cost of doing business, it will drive down the rate of return in manufacturing and mining and that has to translate into job losses and reduced investment and shrinking the economy.

Rebecca Thompson: So you’ve pointed out that wind energy in fact, isn’t in the public interest in the short term but will it be in the long term?

Professor Ross McKitrick:  Nobody was building wind turbines in Ontario until the government started throwing money at it. It is not a profitable source of electricity, it’s not cost-effective. Wind turbines can’t compete on the wholesale market without a lot of government support.

Rebecca Thompson: The system used to fund wind energy in many places around the world is called a Feed-In-Tariff (FIT).

Professor Ross McKitrick:  And that means if you build a bank of wind turbines somewhere, and you get the contract that everyone is looking for you get a guarantee of 20 years being paid 13 1/2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the electricity that’s generated while the wholesale rate in Ontario is typically between 2 – 4 cents per kilowatt hour.

Rebecca Thompson: The Ontario government piggybacked off what is a European idea of a feed in tariff policy where the prices are locked in for 20 year contracts. And here’s another head scratcher …

Professor Ross McKitrick: The other provision of the contracts is that the system has to buy the power from you whenever you produce it. So the standard power plants, nuclear plants and hydro plants and so forth – there is no guarantee for them to buy their power, they have to compete on a wholesale market they have to price their product, in this case electricity, so that the system operator will buy it. With wind turbines, if the blades are running, the system operator has to buy it. Now they have adjusted that slightly in the last year because of this problem of the system operator being forced to buy tons and tons of power when it doesn’t need it, at 13 1/2 cents per kilowatt hour and sell it on the export market at one or two cents per kilowatt-hour – it was costing hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the system operator to do that. So the province now allows the system operator to reject some of the power that the wind turbines produce and instead the province will pay the wind turbine owners a benefit for what they call ‘deemed production’. So it’s really just transferred that same costs on to the taxpayer now.

Rebecca Thompson: The bottom line is pretty good for the wind energy sector.

Professor Ross McKitrick:  They get a 20 year contract to sell wind power at far above market rates and it doesn’t matter that they are generating power at times when the province absolutely doesn’t need it, and we can’t use it, and we just have to try to find some neighbouring jurisdiction to buy it from us. We used to have a few large power plants in Ontario and we had our grid that was optimised to source electricity from a few large central locations. We’re now shutting down the large central locations and replacing them with this proliferation of tiny little unreliable wind farms and you have to build a whole new grid to accommodate that. So that’s again an extra cost to get something that we already had.

Rebecca Thompson: What’s more is that the Green Energy Act hasn’t even come close to creating the number of jobs the Liberals claimed it would.

Professor Ross McKitrick: It turned out that the province had claimed that there were going to be 50,000 new jobs created from the Green Energy Act. When the Auditor General asks them to back that up because it doesn’t really make sense that this would create any jobs – what they admitted was they were really talking about were temporary construction jobs – as you put up wind turbines you need some workers in to do that. But then once the wind turbines are built, then those jobs disappear and there are no ongoing jobs. In economics, it’s an old fallacy, what’s called the broken window fallacy. If you go around breaking shopkeeper’s windows, since they have to hire repair people to fix the windows then you’ve somehow improved the economy. But, you haven’t. All you have done is increase the cost of having what you had before – which was windows in stores.

Rebecca Thompson: If the new shift to green power is so inefficient why hasn’t anyone working in the system spoken out?

Professor Ross McKitrick:  There are a couple of reasons. The power workers union has spent money on advertisements. They did try to fight against the closing of Lambton and Nanticoke – they understood that this was a bad deal for the workers in the province. But they did want they could. But it’s hard to be up against a government that is pushing so much propaganda on coal. There were people certainly in the power generating sector that understood that the government’s numbers weren’t correct and didn’t add up. But, they were effectively muzzled.

Rebecca Thompson: McKitrick speaks to people all the time about the changes in the system.

Professor Ross McKitrick:  I do find people working in the power sector, they know that this is a crazy system. These wind farms are displacing hydro electricity which is just a waste on every level because we have the hydroelectric facilities, they don’t generate any air pollution emissions. They give us reliable, predictable baseload power. And now we run wind turbines and let those hydro-facilities sit idle. So people who work in the sector, they can see what’s going on and they know that this is a waste. But, for understandable reasons they’re not about to make a big noise about it because they could lose their jobs if they do.

Rebecca Thompson: Whether any government would actually be able to get out of existing contracts is debatable. Ross McKitrick says it’s possible.

Professor Ross McKitrick: One option might be to buy out some of the wind turbine companies and take those wind turbines off the grid, or only use their power when they’re competitive. In Europe, what governments have started to do though is put on special new taxes on renewable sources, solar and wind, to try and recover some of these costs. Alternatively, the government may look to try and tear up the contracts and accept the legal liability that goes with it, but it’s not going to be easy.
Sun News: Down Wind

Down Wind, which runs for 96 minutes, can be purchased as a file and downloaded or as a DVD for those in the US and Canada (here’s the link). For those outside the US and Canada the file can be purchased and downloaded (using this link). If you’re in there fighting the great wind power fraud, Down Wind is essential viewing.

For a detailed synopsis of Down Wind – see our post here.

down wind

Industrial Wind Turbines….Not the First Time, that Sound Has Been Used As a Weapon!

A History of Using Sound as a Weapon

Written by
July 30, 2014 

Last week, a collaborative research project known as AUDiNT (short for Audio Intelligence) released Martial Hauntology,a box set of vinyl and literature that explores the darker history of sound. It’s a journey into the lesser known realms of sonic weaponry.

The project is the latest in-depth study from Glaswegian electronic artist Steve Goodman (perhaps best know as Hyperdub label owner Kode9) and Manchester University research fellow Toby Heys. Heys describes AUDiNT as a “research cell investigating how ultrasonic, sonic and infrasonic frequencies are used to demarcate territory in the soundscape and the ways in which their martial and civil deployments modulate psychological, physiological and architectural states.”

The incorporation of sound into warfare may sound like a modern tactic, but the first reports have their roots in history. Back in 1944, as World War II slipped through Germany’s fingertips, it was rumoured that Hitler’s chief architect Albert Speer had set up research to explore his own theories of sonic warfare, with the intention of creating tools of death. An episode of the History Channel’s Weird Weapons claimed that his device, dubbed an acoustic cannon, was intended to work by igniting a mixture of methane and oxygen in a resonant chamber, and could create a series of over 1,000 explosions per second.

This sent out a deafening and focused beam of sound which was magnified by huge parabolic reflector dishes. The idea, apparently, was that by repeatedly compressing and releasing particular organs in the human body, the cannon could potentially kill someone standing within a 100-yard radius in around thirty seconds. Fortunately, the weapon was never actually used in battle.

The actual volume of sound frequency isn’t the only way sound has been used in war. In his 2009 book Sonic Warfare, a key body of research in the understanding of contemporary sonic thought, Goodman included a chapter titled “Project Jericho,” which explored the US PSYOPS campaigns during the Vietnam War.

Goodman described a particular campaign known as Operation Wandering Soul. The Curdler, a helicopter-mounted sonic device, produced the “voodoo effects of Wandering Soul, in which haunting sounds said to represent the souls of the dead were played in order to perturb the superstitious snipers, who, while recognizing the artificial source of the wailing noises, could not help but dread what they were hearing was a premonition of their own postdeath dislocated soul.”

It was these operations, Goodman wrote, that directly inspired the famous scene of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, in which a fleet of helicopters fly towards their target whilst blasting Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”

And while Wagner might not exactly be a torturous sound, the use of popular music for non-lethal weaponry goes further than Apocalypse Now. In 2003, the BBC reported that US interrogators were using songs by Metallica, Skinny Puppy and, erm, Barney the Dinosaur, in a bid to break the will of Iraqi prisoners of war. As Sergeant Mark Hadsell told Newsweek at the time, “These people haven’t heard heavy metal. They can’t take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”

All this kicked off a bizarre discussion about whether music used during torture meant royalties were owed to the artists. Skinny Puppy jumped on this and filed a sizeable $666,000 royalties bill claim against the American defence department.

Jump forward to June 13, 2005, when the late Israeli president Ariel Sharon had just agreed to the disengagement from Gaza. That involved the displacement of settlers from the West Bank area, and stories soon started filtering in that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) was trying out a new weapon on the streets. “The knees buckle, the brain aches, the stomach turns, and suddenly nobody feels like protesting anymore” reported the Toronto Star’s Middle East Bureau.

“An Associated Press photographer at the scene said that even after he covered his ears, he continued to hear the sound ringing in the back of his head,” wrote Amy Teibel for the Associated Press. This special vehicle-mounted weapon was an LRAD (long range acoustic device). They’re mostly used at sea as a defence against pirates, and can fire beams of up to 150-decibel alarm sounds at crowds.

Its victims on the streets knew it by another name: “The Scream.”

An LRAD on a ship. Image: Wikimedia Commons/Tucker M. Yates
Other sonic tactics against Palestinians were also reported, like jets breaking the sound barrier at low altitudes over settlements to cause what The Guardian described as “sound bombs.”

And sonic weapons weren’t limited to that part of the world, either. In 2004, the American Technology Corporation landed a nearly $5 million deal to supply LRADs to US troops in Iraq.

By 2011 and 2012, the use of LRADs began domestically in the US, when the government issued devices to various police forces, with their most publicised use coming during the Occupy Wall Street and G20 protests. Only seven months ago, the American-based LRAD Corporation also struck a $4 million deal with “a Middle Eastern country” for their most powerful hailing device yet: the LRAD 2000X, which gazumps previous models by beaming sound over 3,500 metres.

Despite domestic use elsewhere, the UK is yet to use an LRAD on its own civilians for crowd dispersal. How it feels about the accelerating industry, however, is confusing. When London mayor and water cannon enthusiast Boris Johnson was asked about LRADs in March, he denied knowing of their existence, responding, “Is this some sort of April fool?” Another politician pointed out that the devices were installed on the Thames during the 2012 Olympics.

In fact, London is home to one of the only non-military or police owners of LRADs in the world: Anschutz Entertainment Group, or as you probably know it, The O2. It was once left outside the venue and unattended, where it was photographed by a worried Twitter user (the O2 insisted it couldn’t have been misused).

The increased use of sonic weapons by armies and police forces around the world, and the growing stock market value of LRAD Corporation, reveal a continuing fascination with utilizing sound as a weapon, and the release of ever more in-depth studies like Martial Hauntology offers an insight into how sonic warfare is entering an age of global amplification.


“Professional” Windweasel, Mike Barnard, Tries to Defend Harm Caused by Wind Turbines

Bullying a windfarm victim

In an article of August 22, 2014 by Lindsay Abrams, trying to discredit the claims of wind farm victims, we read: “Since 1998, 49 lawsuits in five countries have alleged that the clean energy source [wind farms] is making people sick. But according to new research published by the Energy and Policy Institute, the courts have shut those claims down in all cases but one.”

– I say: we could find similarly meaningless statistics if we went back in time, when the courts were absolving the Tobacco Industry.

– Most courts, like governments, have swallowed the windfarm scam hook, line and sinker. This recent judgment, evidencing a strong pro-wind bias, says it all:

– Court decisions can’t be held as the gold standard of truth and fairness. All the more in a society obsessed with political correctness, where certain ideas are arbitrarily declared “consensual”, and turned into dogmas which become ipso facto more important than the facts. Don’t we know that progress in science is almost always achieved by rejecting the “consensus”? And so it is with infrasound emitted by wind turbines: the dogma saying these emissions are benign is about to be blown apart, and this is what sparks desperate attempts at bullying and discrediting windfarm victims and the health professionals who support them.

The article proceeds to say: “The name “wind turbine syndrome” was coined by Nina Pierpont, a pediatrician who also happens to be an anti-wind activist”.

– This is the pot calling the kettle black. Mike Barnard, cited as a reference, is one of the world’s best known activists of the windfarm scam. He is in fact a professional activist, making a living from it, and receiving all kinds of help from the industry.

Mike Barnard
Mike Barnard

– Barnard, as quoted by the author of the article, criticizes people who “have declared themselves as experts”, forgetting that this includes himself. Indeed, he has no qualifications for doing what he does, yet he calls himself the “lead researcher” in the “new study” that is calling thousands of windfarm victims “liers”. The man does not know the meaning of the words “consistency” and “intellectual honesty”. He is the typical odious bully, and so appears to be Lindsay Abrams, who quotes him while adding a layer of smear of his own brew.

– Dr Nina Pierpont, on the other hand, is a courageous pediatrician who conducted field research years ago, paid with her own money, in which she found that wind farm neighbors who were complaining of sleep disruption, headaches, nauseas etc. had very consistent symptoms, which prompted her to coin a new ailment: the Wind Turbime Syndrome. She published a book on her findings, and is giving evidence in court around the world: does that make her an activist?

Dr Nina Pierpont
Dr Nina Pierpont

The propaganda piece continues: “But a review of 60 peer-reviewed articles published earlier this summer in the journal Frontiers of Public Health found only that audible noise from turbines can be annoying to some people — electromagnetic fields, low-frequency noise, infrasound and “shadow flicker” all were deemed unlikely to be affecting human health.”

– How could all these articles pretend that infrasound is “unlikely” to affect people, when we know that the military and the police have developed weapons using infrasound for debilitating enemy troops or unruly crowds? The technology is not mature yet, as a way must be found to spare friendly troops. But more devices are being patented all the time: (click article: “Deadly Silence”)

– And what about the Vibro Acoustic Disease, a long-known ailment which affects people exposed to machines that produce infrasound?

– Then ask yourselves: if infrasound were harmless, would the wind industry and governments that promote it systematically refuse to conduct research into infrasound emitted by wind turbines? And this at the risk of being sued one day for gross negligence?
I can smell a rat, can’t you?

Finally, the author of the article resorts to personal attack: “When Dr. Pierpont attempts to appear in court as an expert witness, she is rejected outright along with her 294-page vanity press book, as happened in a tribunal related to the Adelaide wind farm in Ontario.”

– She did not “attempt to appear in Court”. Her testimony was called by windfarm victims but, abusively, the judge refused to hear their expert witness. What does that tell you about the independence of justice in Ontario, a Canadian Province thoroughly corrupted by the windfarm scam?
In other countries, she was allowed to testify, and her interventions have been very helpful, whatever the outcome.

– “rejected outright along with her 294-page vanity press book” says Lindsay Abrams.
– I say: while pro-wind litterature flourishes thanks to billions of dollars of public money spent to inundate the world with it, independent researchers must finance their own publications. Does that make these less valuable?
But Abrams could not resist bullying Dr Pierpont on this score, thereby bringing discredit upon himself.

Infrasound Can Cause Physical Distress, But Authorities Refuse to Monitor It!

Wind Turbine ‘Infrasound’ May Be Making Thousands Sick In UK, US

The windswept Scottish highlands are increasingly becoming home to thousands of wind turbines due to government policies seeking to boost green energy production and fight global warming.

But such well-intentioned policies may be having an unintended side effect: They could be making people sick.

The Scottish Express reported Sunday that the Scottish government has commissioned a study into the “potential ill effects of turbines at 10 sites across the country.” There are more than 33,500 families living within two miles of these turbines, meaning thousands could be getting sick.

Activists warn that “infrasound” emanating from nearby wind turbines are causing people to feel sick. Infrasound is noise that is at such a low frequency, it can’t be heard but can be felt by those nearby.

Former U.K. army Capt. Andrew Vivers has been looking into the issue and was surprised that local authorities were unwilling to accept that infrasound could make people sick, even though it’s a “known military interrogation aid and weapon.”

“When white noise was disallowed they went on to infrasound,” Vivers told the Express. “If it is directed at you, you can feel your brain or your body vibrating.”

“It is bonkers that infrasound low frequency noise monitoring is not included in any environmental assessments. It should be mandatory before and after turbine erection,” Vivers added.

Vivers also noted that there has been an “acknowledged and unexplained increase of insomnia, dizziness and headaches” in the town of Dundee, which is where two wind turbines been in service since 2006.

The Scottish government study has been welcomed by communities that have complained about infrasound sickness, but anti-wind farm campaigners say it doesn’t go far enough.

“On the face of it, it does look like a step in the right direction, but can we really trust it? My issue is that it is not independent enough,” Susan Croswaithe, U.K. spokeswoman for the European Platform Against Windfarms, told the Express.

“Our website is full of examples of people not being listened to,” Croswaithe said. “We have two very large wind farms near us in Ayrshire, Arecleoch and Mark Hill – 60 turbines and 28 turbines.”

“If people in my area have noticed they are feeling better at the moment but do not understand why, it may be because the turbines have been switched off while they do maintenance on the grid,”she added.

But complaints about nearby wind turbines causing sickness have not been isolated to Scotland. U.S. residents have also complained of “wind turbine syndrome” causing headaches and nausea.

A Falmouth, Massachusetts woman was diagnosed with “wind turbine syndrome” by a Harvard Medical School doctor in 2011, after complaining about “headaches, ringing in her ears, insomnia and dizziness,” ABC News reported last year.

Sue Hobart didn’t immediately blame the three wind turbines that were installed 1,600 feet from her home in 2010, but after finding her symptoms went away when she left for vacation, it all started to fall into place.

But Hobar wasn’t the only Falmouth resident to supposedly become sick from wind turbines. Dozens of residents have filed lawsuits, arguing that three 400-foot tall wind turbines have been causing them to get sick.

Before Hobart was diagnosed with wind turbine syndrome, New Jersey state lawmakers proposed legislation outlawing the construction of wind turbines within 2,000 feet of residential-zoned land. The bill was championed by some coastal communities, but derided by environmentalists who want to see more green energy generation.

State Sen. Sean Kean introduced the bill after hundreds in his district turned out to protest a “proposed 325-foot windmill by Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at the National Guard training center in Sea Girt,” which residents said could “threaten birds, cause noise, pose health risks and decrease property values,” reports

So can wind turbines really make people sick? Wind turbine syndrome is not recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An expert Medical panel in Massachusetts was reported to have found “insufficient evidence that noise from wind turbines is directly… causing health problems or disease.” However, research shows that “human response to wind turbines relates to self-reported ‘annoyance,’ and this response appears to be a function of some combination of the sound itself, the sight of the turbine, and attitude towards the wind turbine project.”

Other state health departments and medical review panels have also concluded that there are no direct health impacts from wind turbines.

But complaints of sickness from wind turbines keep cropping up across the world as government policies cause wind farms to sprout up in places where they previously were not.

Aussies Determined to Scrap the Renewable Energy Targets to Save the Poor!

Senator David Leyonhjelm: “Wake Up Clive!” – It’s Time to Kill the RET & Save the Poor

clive palmer sleeping

STT hears that Tony Abbott is hard at work on his mission to kill off the mandatory RET – with the aim of bringing an end to the most expensive and pointless policy of all time. One of the cross-bench Senators the PM needs to help demolish it during this parliament is David Leyonhjelm – the Liberal Democrats Senator for NSW – and he gets it.

David has come out with a cracking piece published by The Australian – which is pitched squarely at Clive Palmer and his PUPs. The Palmer United Party’s 3 Senators – Glenn Lazarus (QLD), Dio Wang (WA) and Jacqui Lambie (Tasmania) – are the only obstacle that stands in the way of scrapping the mandatory RET during the life of this parliament. Big Clive and his Senators should consider David’s article a timely “wake up” call.

Ditch RET to set economy free
The Australian
David Leyonhjelm
27 August 2014

If Labor and Clive Palmer care about the poor they will stop subsidies for windmills.

ELECTRICITY bills are a huge worry for many Australians. In coming months a lot of people will receive the biggest household utility bills they have seen.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in the five years to June 2012, Australia’s retail electricity prices rose by 72 per cent with even higher increases in Melbourne and Sydney.

The Queensland Competition Authority’s annual report revealed recently that 344 households were disconnected every week in the Sunshine State because of non-payment of electricity bills.

Senators and MPs, however, don’t need to worry about whether staying warm in chilly Canberra may send them broke. Perhaps if they had to pay for their own heating and airconditioning in Parliament House, it would concentrate their minds on the important discussion we need to have on the future of the renewable energy target.

The repeal of the carbon tax will help, but studies show that the RET has an even greater impact on the bottom line, reducing our living standards and the competitiveness of our entire economy.

The dramatic surge in power bills has been a major factor in the decline of our manufacturing sector and the loss of thousands of jobs. In a little more than 10 years the RET has rocketed Australia from almost the cheapest to almost the most expensive electricity in the world: Australian states occupy four of the top six spots beaten only by Denmark and Germany. These countries also are sapped pointlessly with punishing renewable energy policies producing small amounts of extremely expensive, intermittent power that has to be backed up by fossil fuel power anyway.

Contrary to claims by industry lobby groups and consultants representing Big Wind producers and merchant bankers, it is no coincidence that power prices went up so steeply when mandatory renewable energy targets were introduced. A report from the accounting firm Deloitte shows the RET will stifle the economy, cost jobs and drive up prices, and is a very inefficient means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It concludes that abolishing the RET would increase real GDP by $29 billion in net present terms relative to the RET continuation.

The chief beneficiary of the RET is the wind industry, which receives Renewable Energy Certificates worth about $30 for every megawatt of electricity it produces, on top of the price paid to it for electricity generated by wind turbines. The certificates are funded by electricity customers as a hidden charge on their bills. The net effect of this subsidy is to hand an additional $17bn of our money to these companies over 15 years for no measurable environmental benefit.

It is undisputed that despite being a mature technology the wind generation industry is not viable anywhere in the world without government or customer subsidies. It is just government mandated corporate welfare.

Grant King, chief executive of Origin Energy, one of Australia’s largest electricity retailers with extensive interests in gas and wind energy generation, has said that the RET would be the main driver of electricity price rises by 2020 and that renewable energy costs now accounted for 14 per cent of electricity bills, up from 2 per cent five years ago; for larger users it is 30 per cent of their bills.

If Labor, the Greens and Clive Palmer really care for social justice they will not allow working families, pensioners and the disadvantaged to be ripped off by wealthy wind generators and will back the abolition of the RET.

David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrats senator for NSW.
The Australian

david leyonhjelm

When David talks about handing wind power outfits “$17bn of our money … over 15 years for no measurable environmental benefit”, he bases that figure on a REC price of $30.

While RECs are currently trading at $30, from 2017 – when the annual figure for the RET starts to increase dramatically – RECs will be worth at least as much as the mandated shortfall charge of $65 per MWh.

The total renewable energy target between 2014 and 2031 is 603,100 GWh, which converts to 603.1 million MWh (1 GW = 1,000 MW). In order for the target to be met, 603.1 million RECs have be purchased and surrendered over the next 17 years: 1 REC is issued for every MWh of renewable energy dispatched to the grid. The REC is a Federal Tax on all Australian electricity consumers.

The cost of subsiding the wind industry through the REC Tax is born entirely by Australian power consumers. As Origin Energy chief executive Grant King correctly put it earlier this week:

“[T]he subsidy is the REC, and the REC certificate is acquitted at the retail level and is included in the retail price of electricity”.

It’s power consumers that get lumped with the “retail price of electricity” and, therefore, the cost of the REC subsidy to wind power outfits.

Even at the current REC price of $30, the amount to be added to power consumers’ bills will hit $18 billion (David gets pretty close with his figure of $17 billion). However, beyond 2017 (when the target ratchets up from 27.2 million MWh to 41 million MWh and the $65 per MWh shortfall charge starts to bite) the REC price will almost certainly reach $65 and, due to the tax benefit attached to RECs, is likely to exceed $90.

Between 2014 and 2031, with a REC price of $65, the cost of the REC Tax to power consumers (and the value of the subsidy to wind power outfits) will approach $40 billion – with RECs at $90, the cost of the REC Tax/Subsidy balloons to over $54 billion (see our post here).

This massive stream of subsidies for wind power stands as the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the Commonwealth.

That transfer comes at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable; struggling businesses; and cash-strapped families.

If Clive Palmer is serious when he says he is out to represent the poorest in society, he has a golden opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.

With thousands of Australian households living without power – having been chopped from the grid simply because they can no longer afford what used to be a basic necessity of life – and thousands more suffering “energy poverty” as they find themselves forced to choose between heating (or cooling) and eating – Australia risks the creation of an entrenched energy underclass, dividing Australian society into energy “haves” and “have-nots”.

For a taste of the scale (so far) of a – perfectly avoidable – social welfare disaster, here are articles from Queensland (click here); Victoria (click here); South Australia (click here); and New South Wales (click here).

Slapping a further $50 billion on top of already spiralling Australian power bills over the next 17 years can only add to household misery. So Clive, if you really do care about the poor? – then it’s time to muscle up and help kill the mandatory RET now.

Beyond the RET’s perverse impact on the poorest and most vulnerable is its wealth and job destroying impact on the economy as a whole.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) – the top body representing Australian business – came out with this press release in full support of the position taken by David Leyonhjelm – calling for the mandatory RET to be scrapped outright.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
WEDNESDAY, August 27, 2014


The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia’s largest and most representative business organisation, welcomes the leadership of Independent Senator David Leyonhjelm in calling for the abolition of the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The RET is a major policy failure that drives up electricity prices and is a highly inefficient means of emissions abatement. Economic modelling by Deloitte Access Economics commissioned by ACCI makes a powerful policy case for the abolition of the RET. The modelling shows that persisting with the policy in its current form will cost the economy $29bn in lost economic output and more than 5,000 jobs.

“It is a matter of deep regret that a policy with such appalling economic foundations has remained uncontested for so long”, remarked Chief Economist Burchell Wilson.

“This insidious tax needs to be taken off energy users and is important step toward restoring the competitiveness of Australian industry.”

“The business community remains hopeful that the Palmer United Party after examining the findings of the Deloitte Access Economics modelling will reconsider their support for a policy that is driving up electricity prices, sending businesses to the wall and destroying jobs”.

While options for appropriate compensation for sunk investment under the scheme will need to be considered, it is clear that abolition of the RET is the best outcome for energy users and the economy.

At the very least the target should be wound back to a level consistent with 20 per cent of demand in the wake of the collapse in actual and projected electricity consumption over the past five years.

A robust Parliamentary debate in which all the facts are on the table is the first step in achieving that objective.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
27 August 2014

kate carnell

The Good People of Maine have made Radio Commercials to Educate the Public about Wind Turbines!

Listen to Saving Maine’s first three radio commercials exposing wind power in Maine

Click right here and turn your speakers on. These spots are being aired as part of Saving Maine’s continuing advertising effort to counter the wind propaganda spewed by the wind industry and their sock puppets at Maine’s so called environmental groups who have sold out the people of Maine.

Click here and then click on each of the three :60 radio spots.
Wind power sailed into Maine on a free pass and has survived thus far based on cheer leading from the Baldacci administration which in 2008 pushed through a law written by and for the wind industry. That law, which completely stacked the deck against ordinary Mainers, will be changed and advertising will speed up the process. For the first time, through the power of paid advertising, large numbers of Mainers are learning the other side of the wind story – paid for by their fellow Mainers.
These wind companies are on the ropes. It is time to put them away. So make sure we keep the pressure on by clicking the DONATE button at Even a small amount will add up so go ahead and click that button and ask everyone you know to do the same. Please do this today.
The following is from a wind industry consultant and it speaks volumes about the importance of getting our message out:

During the webinar, Justin Rolfe-Redding, a doctoral student from the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, discussed ways for wind-energy proponents to get their message out to the public.Rolfe-Redding said that polling data showed that “after reading arguments for and against wind, wind lost support.” He went on to say that concerns about wind energy’s cost and its effect on property values “crowded out climate change” among those surveyed.


The most astounding thing to come out of Rolfe-Redding’s mouth — and yes, I heard him say it myself — was this: “The things people are educated about are a real deficit for us.” After the briefings on the pros and cons of wind, said Rolfe-Redding, “enthusiasm decreased for wind. That’s a troubling finding.”