Friday, August 11, 2023

Ian Bradford: The PM reveals plan to accelerate NZ’s switch to wind and solar

The PM  Chris Hipkins has revealed the Government’s plan to accelerate  NZ’s switch to clean energy with wind and solar. 

Many more of these unreliable, polluting, environment destroying projects, will soon take up more of our valuable land. 

“These projects can proceed faster, provided they meet the normal environmental tests as determined by expert consenting panels.”  So say the government. 

In my view, not one should meet the normal environmental tests, but then the panels will be government appointed so they will approve all. Fast-tracking, intended to be a temporary measure through the pandemic, would soon become permanent through the Natural and Built Environment Bill.  

Energy Minister Megan Woods, qualified in History, said solar energy will help keep household power bills lower and, like all renewable electricity development builds resilience into our energy network. Ms Woods needs to do  a bit of serious research.  The simple fact that any country that’s increased wind and solar power generation is dealing with rapidly rising power prices and rapidly diminishing power supplies ought to be enough. But in an age when feelings trump facts, the grand wind and solar transition narrative remains. 

This is from Franicis Menton writing for the Manhattan Contrarian:  “ Every place that tries increasing the percentage of electricity generation that comes from wind and solar then experiences rapidly rising consumer electricity costs. The reasons why this happens are not complicated.  At low levels of wind and solar penetration, backup fossil fuel or other generation cannot be closed, so consumers must pay for two duplicate generation systems. At higher levels of wind/solar penetration things like curtailment, overbuilding, and hugely expensive grid scale energy storage comes into play. i.e. huge banks of storage batteries. Could anyone possibly be stupid enough to believe the line that wind and solar generators can provide reliable electricity to consumers that is cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels.”  

Ms Woods goes on to say that three wind farm projects would generate about as much electricity as the Clyde dam.  The proponents of wind farms always quote the maximum amount of electricity that could be generated. In fact, wind farms are only about 30% efficient, so you would actually need nine of the kind of wind farms Ms Woods talks about to generate as much as the Clyde dam.  We all know that there is no power when there is no wind or in fact too much wind and when there is no sun there is no power from solar panels. However, there is another problem with solar panels. In the summer, the surface of a panel can reach 60 deg C and sometimes 70 deg C. They are designed to work best when the surface temperature is 25 deg C.  Every degree over 25 deg C means a 0.5% loss in efficiency. So at 65 deg C the panel loses 20% of its rated efficiency.  The panels don’t perform well in winter either. So at times when the electricity is needed when very hot, and very cold, the panels do not perform. 

Why we should not build any more wind farms:

·      One in every 2000 wind turbines catches fire. In 217 about 175  wind turbines caught fire.   Fire is caused by overheated bearings in the gear box, a lightning strike, or sparks thrown out when the turbine is slowing.  The oil and plastics produce a thick black toxic smoke when burning.  Turbines also collapse, particularly when the blades get out of balance.


·      Human rights abuses:  in the past dozen years, hundreds of human rights abuses have been committed by over 90 corporations mining minerals critical to the production of “clean” energy, a UK based humans rights organisation said in a recently released report. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre said the alleged abuses involve global mining for Copper, Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel and Zinc, all used in critical renewable technologies like solar panels, vehicle batteries and wind turbines. Environmental crimes involve the pollution of drinking water and other natural resources and the violation of communities’ rights to be consulted about projects that affect them.  I have written before about child labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where amnesty estimated that 40,000 children work in the mines- some as young as seven. These children die in mine collapses, and develop serious lung disease because they inhale the dust from the various mine minerals. 


·      Habitat Destruction.  The wind industry is wiping out vast tracts of virgin rainforest. Once upon a time, environmentalists were known as tree huggers. These days the new green cult cannot wipe them out fast enough. In the Scottish highlands 14 million trees spread over 17,000 acres have been cut down.  There is no replanting. The trees are gone for good. Germany’s Black forest has been overrun with chainsaws, bulldozers, and blazing torches, paving the way for the green energy transition. Hundreds of ancient oaks in its thousand year old Fairytale Forest, the Reinhardswald, are under threat of being felled and shredded. In the Amazon bush the wind industry is merrily wiping out virgin rainforest, in order to collect millions of tonnes of balsa wood it needs to build hundreds of thousands of 50-80metre turbine blades each year. There are only 83,000 Ha of wet sclerophyll forest left in North Queensland . Ark Energy is just a ministerial tick away from ripping into a thousand of them to construct a wind turbine development.  


·      The Noise Factor:  The huge magnetic generators produce a low frequency hum. Each time a blade passes the tower there is a deep resonating thump. The difference in speed between the top and bottom of the blade produces a swishing sound. This sound is more pronounced further away from the turbine, and the collective noise from all the turbines has been described as being as loud as a motorcycle or aeroplane.  In the US the recommendation is that wind turbines be placed no closer than 1km from any dwelling. In Germany it is 2 Km. There is also a disturbing flicker when the sun is behind the blades.  Major problems are sleep disturbance, nausea, heart palpitation, depression, headaches and vertigo. It is clear wind turbines can harm human health if placed too close to residents.  As more wind farms are built, more people can be expected to present themselves at medical centres with ongoing health problems caused by wind turbines. 

·      Worn Out Blades: Each year the wind industry is dumping millions of tonnes of blades. Recycling does not seem to be a viable option.  The blades are supposed to last for about 20 years but 12 years seems to be about the average.  The blades contain a cocktail of fibreglass and toxic plastics including epoxy. They are simply being buried in landfills leaving a burden for future generations to come. There will be toxic waste dumps everywhere. If this wind turbine production continues there will be by 2050, 43 million tonnes of blade waste EVERY YEAR.  As wind farms age, the turbines break down and require maintenance, but due to the high cost of removing them, the broken turbine is just left in place.  So there is the potential for oil leaks as time goes on and the overall negative impact on the landscape.  These abandoned wind turbines pose significant environmental and safety risks, as they can leak toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials into the surrounding environment and can even collapse and catch fire.   


The picture below shows hundreds of blades being buried.  A toxic legacy for hundreds of years. 



The Slaughter of Birds and Bats:  The wind industry is doing a good job extinguishing millions of birds and bats every year.  Entire species are under threat, including Europe’s Red Kite and Tasmania’s Wedge Tailed Eagle.  In Britain, the Lesser Black Backed Gull has suffered a huge decrease in numbers. The decline in these birds is estimated at 99%.  A 2019 study by the British Trust for Ornithology found that the gulls are particularly vulnerable to collisions with wind turbines. GPS tracking found that the gulls are at risk from turbine blades during migration and in the winter months. Vast areas of wind farms lie just off the coast.  It has been found that offshore wind farms leave lobsters with deformed and crippled young. Large numbers of lobsters will not survive.  The magnetic fields generated from the cables attract crabs which then become immobilised.  The Spanish Ornithological Society reviewed actual carcass counts from 136 sites.  They concluded that the 18,000 of Spain’s turbines were killing somewhere between 6 and 18 million birds every year. Similar stories come from other countries including the USA.  Now it seems, offshore wind farms are killing whales as well. 

·      Leading Edge Erosion:  The plastics in the turbine blades are highly toxic and contain bisphenol A , considered so dangerous that the European Union and Canada has banned it. It is bad enough that this chemical will be buried with the old blades but the blades shed plastics off the leading edge and these particles enter the atmosphere.  These fine particles find their way into the oceans and our drinking water.  Some of these particles are very fine, and they are breathed in by all living creatures.  These fine particles containing expoxy and Bisphenhol A have been found a very long way from the source. They take a very long time to break down.  They are dangerous for the food chain. A study found that Bisphenol A caused genetic change for several generations in rainbow trout. 


leading edge erosion


This is but a sample of the problems with wind turbines.  I have not mentioned the materials used to make one turbine. For example one turbine uses about 70 tonnes of copper, which requires the extraction of 50, 000 tonnes of earth- that’s just for one turbine. Then there is the oil needed. Oil is flung from a turbine constantly. The gear box and moving parts need about 850 litres.  The transformer at the base of a turbine contains up to 2500 litres of oil. The substation transformers into which the turbines are connected require 40, 000 litres. Multiply these figures by the number of turbines and it adds up to a huge quantity of a precious resource being used.  Then back-up Lithium ion batteries are needed for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Now and then one of these batteries catches fire. These are hugely expensive and require yet more land. The consumer eventually pays for all these installations. This is on top of what is normally paid for power usage. 


Successive generations will look back and ask who were the £$”%*(&^?  who had such a lack of foresight, and who pushed ahead with these projects on the false pretence that Carbon Dioxide was causing global warming  and that we had to get rid of fossil fuels. NZ does not need more power at present. We have a perfectly good hydro system. We could easily build one more hydro power station except the Greenies always find some excuse for not building one.  The future is with nuclear. With another hydro station, we can afford to wait for a fusion reactor. When you think about it, with a fission reactor and burying the radioactive waste in a sealed cave is a whole lot better than spreading toxic waste ALL OVER THE WORLD. That toxic waste will be in our soil for hundreds of years. 

Ian Bradford, a science graduate, is a former teacher, lawyer, farmer and keen sportsman, who is writing a book about the fraud of anthropogenic climate change. 


Anonymous said...

Yes Ian, what with destructive wind turbine farms, solar panel farms and especially here in NZ, pine tree farms, it's like some evil plan to deprive us of food producing land. Surely not!!

Anonymous said...

Sadly Ian, I don't think Greenies read your rational expositions in BreakingViews, and persist with their irrational insistence that wind is the solution.
Whenever anything industrial is built, there should be considerable thought about removing it at the end of life.
Look at the industrial waste lands in developed countries.
Also, we now have Maori asking who owns the wind.
Bring on the small local nuke power units.

Rob Beechey said...

In the old days a project as radically stupid as this one would be attacked by the opposition.
We now find that all politicians are either too gutless to challenge or have been seduced by this climate change Alarmists. The MSM, who have made it their religion, are ready to pounce on anyone that questions their delusional beliefs. The hissy fit that met MP Maureen Pugh’s, off piste dalliance to question the greatest lie ever told stopped our nation for 48 hours until being forced publicly apologise to the protectors of this nonsense.
So we find ourselves in this strange new world where MP Megan Woods can publicly tell giant porkies with impunity.

Robert Arthur said...

All proposals muct be examined in terms of whole of life whole world CO2 production.

Peter van der Stam, Napier said...

Hello Ian, good on you to publish the TRUTH.
I have been a Biology teacher and am following your articles and seldom I find something ??? Questionable.
It is only a petty that Intermediate and Highschool students don't get this information for COMPULSORY reading.
That would kick the Greenies in the ( you know where).
Of course it will be seen as ??mis-information ??
No wonder the Greens want the voting age down to 16 years of age, then they get a few more votes and can go on with their BS.

Murray Reid said...

The "Thump" of the blades passing the tower is because they pass very close and that is to reduce the weight on the bearing.
Putting the tower In front of the blade solves the "Thump"
Putting a blade on either side of the tower (possibly counter rotating) would allow for all the bearing weight to be directly over the tower.
A modern 2 blade outboard motor demonstrates the above.
Patents pending.

Anonymous said...

No supply of power is without other consequences. Sounds like you would prefer coal fired or maybe nuclear.... just as bad side effects.