Thursday, May 16, 2024

Ian Bradford: We almost had a power crisis. Here’s why.

I was listening to the radio on Thursday night the 9th May when it was announced in the news broadcast at 10 pm that it would be very cold overnight and in the morning, and that everyone was asked to conserve power between 7am and 9am next morning. Out of the blue came the statement- “there is no wind”! Did anyone hear that, and wonder what that was about? Well it was very clear to me what that was about. It meant that the wind farms were near useless. They couldn’t produce any power to help out the national grid, and of course it had been dark all night and so solar panels were not much use either. 

How many times has it been said: “When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine there is no power.”
The anthropogenic global warming cult members just take absolutely no notice of this. The completely false idea that humans are causing climate change by putting Carbon Dioxide into the air just propels them into building more and more wind and solar farms. In spite of this, Carbon Dioxide levels just keep going up.

But what is amazing here is that it is clear that the power companies are using wind and solar as back-up in case the national grid, fed mostly from hydro schemes cannot cope. In every other country, banks of large Lithium batteries are used to back-up wind and solar!! It’s a concern that Genesis, Meridian, and Mercury energy companies list wind power as one of their energy sources. They obviously have not learned anything about what has happened overseas. We may well be in deep trouble.

We in NZ had no need to build these wind and solar monstrosities. We could have built another one or two hydro schemes. In the past, the greenies have managed to find an insect or snail, in the way, or some other “problem”, and so proposed hydro schemes have had to be abandoned. Failing that, nuclear is the way forward. Modern nuclear power stations take up a fraction of the room that wind and solar do and are very safe. Because the spent fuel is still mostly fissionable material, some countries (eg France and Russia), reprocess their spent fuel by extracting fissile and fertile elements for fabrication into new fuel. We only have a few years to wait before fusion reactors come on stream. What waste products there are from fusion reactions have a very short half life, so pose no problem. They cannot get out of control either, and the contents cannot be used for nuclear weapons. They give reliable power 24/7.

New Zealand has to get over its ancient anti-nuclear stance and come into the modern world.

I’m extremely pleased that James Shaw has left Parliament. This science illiterate prompted the building of more and more wind and solar farms. Clearly, he did not bother to do any research into what is happening overseas. Nor did he care one little bit about all the birds, bats, insects and whales killed by wind turbines. Who would vote for the Green party?

We have the Huntly power station- Just ONE coal fired power station. It had four coal fired units and two gas fired units. Less than half the units are now operating, the rest having been closed down. In April 2016 Genesis Energy- the owner, announced that the Huntly power station would continue to operate on its two remaining coal/gas fired burning units till 2022 but later set a new date of 2025 to stop using coal. Of course green MP Gareth Hughes said that the time to stop burning coal is now. So what back-up for wind and solar do we have Mr Hughes? This is a complete joke when you look at China with more than 1100 coal fired power stations and are building two a week.

Huntly is now trialling biomass – black wood pellets. It is found about 25% more pellets are needed compared with coal, so it may not be economical.

Let’s have another look at wind turbines.

Good things about wind turbines

Sorry can’t think of anything.

Bad things about wind turbines.

1. They take up a lot of land. Often, large areas of forest are cleared. One proposed wind farm near where I live will need to have cleared a largish area of native forest containing native birds. Native lizards in the area will have to be shifted. Not far away is a bat colony. Some of them are bound to be killed as they cannot be shifted. In Scotland an incredible 14 million trees have been chopped down to make way for wind farms.

The German wind industry has ruthlessly clear-felled dozens of ancient forest, once considered out of bounds, to help make way for over 30,000 wind turbines. Trashing thousand year old oak trees and carving up pristine woodland is treated as just part of the process for those promising to save the planet. Now the green energy cult has sent the bulldozers into the Reinhardswald in the State of Hesse, a magical place where the brothers Grimm brought Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to life. Work has started on clearing of up to 120,000 trees in the forest. Who is opposing this massive destruction? Certainly not the Green party.

2. They are only about 25% efficient. No wind, no power. If the wind is too strong they need to be feathered-so no power. 

Every turbine in this photo has been damaged by high winds

3 They catch fire. Approximately 1 in 2000 catch fire every year. The thick acrid smoke pours over the countryside. They are difficult to put out due to the height above ground. Flaming parts that fall off can cause fires in surrounding pasture and buildings. Going on the number of turbines in 2017 about 175 turbines caught fire that year. 

4 There is leading edge erosion of the turbine blades. The very fine particles that are spread far and wide by the wind contain epoxy resin in which is Bisphenol A. This compound poses a serious danger to health. It has been carried very long distances.

Leading edge erosion

5 The noise from turbines poses a health risk. It has been reported that noise from wind turbines can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, the sensation of ear pressure, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleeping disorders, headache and other symptoms. Noise from wind turbines is generated to a lessor degree by the rotary hub. However virtually all other wind turbine noise is generated by the downward movement of the rotating blades which results in the characteristic audible swishing pulses. During the night these swishing pulses can become more dominant and pulses from several wind turbines in the same vicinity can propagate in phase and lead to increased pulse sounds with increased sound levels of 5dB. Further, the noise from wind turbines will increase with increasing wind speed. There’s also the question of infrasound,which is basically a low frequency hum which can be very annoying to close neighbours. The wind industry has worked very hard to cover up sleep deprivation and other adverse health effects caused by the turbine generated low frequency noise. Infrasound and low frequency noise is an important issue that the wind apologists do not want to discuss or debate. Research is now showing that this noise may trigger a stress reaction at the cellular level.

Those living in these houses will suffer sleep deprivation and other illnesses. The properties will have very little resale value. 

6 Turbines use a large amount of oil. The gearbox alone takes about 250 litres of oil. In total there may be 850 litres of oil in one medium sized turbine. The transformer at the base of each turbine contains about 2,500 litres of oil. The substation transformers where the turbines connect to the grid contain about 40,000 litres of oil each. So each windfarm uses a huge amount of a valuable resource. Turbines leak oil and this oil is flung around onto the ground around the turbine making that the ground unusable for crops or cattle.

7 The toll on birds, bats and other animals: Bird life across the globe could be facing its worst nightmare in the 21stcentury because of some of mankind’s ardent love for wind turbines. Data from across the world indicates that that the situation is much worse than previously thought. The wind cult which includes the Green parties, barely bat an eyelid at the slaughter of millions upon millions of birds, and bats. The tips of the turbine blades travel at 250km/hr. Birds and bats have no chance. The killing of bats is a serious issue because bats control forest pests and serve as pollinators. In South Africa, wind farms were reported to have caused a considerable amount of damage to the bird population. In Kenya wind farms are believed to be a major hurdle in efforts towards conservation of vultures. The situation is even worse in countries like India, which faces continuous pressure of generating electricity for nearly 1.3 billion people. The Great Indian Bustard is a critically endangered species and is one of the victims of wind turbines in India, as well as Portugal. In 2008 there were about 250 Great Indian Bustards in existence but by 2018 that number had fallen to 150. 

The Great Indian Bustard

As the wind industry rips up huge tracts of Australia’s wilderness, including pristine tropical forest, the iconic Koala is literally for the chop. The wind industry treats the koala as yet another expendable critter just like whales, dolphins, eagles, hawks, bats and more. Smashing up eucalypts with bulldozers as they clear a path for hundreds of turbines across hills and mountain ranges not only leave koalas homeless but plenty get killed or maimed in the process. Those that don’t die are simply clubbed to death by those in charge. The instruction is to “kill koalas with a hard sharp blow to the base of the neck” This “blunt force trauma” can be used to kill reptiles, amphibians and mammals, as well. 

This happy family becomes this:

A koala which has been bashed on the head. You can see the bleeding from the mouth.

This is but a tiny sample of what is happening world –wide. All to satisfy the green energy cult.

8. What about the whales? Try as they might, the offshore wind industry cannot conceal the fact that their construction operations are killing hundreds of whales, dolphins, seals, and much more. As the Biden administration expands its offshore wind projects as part of its goal to reach a carbon free energy system, whales and other marine life will become collateral damage according to new research. Two independent studies measuring ocean wind turbine construction noise found that the sound emitted by vessels mapping the seafloor was significantly louder than estimated. Intense noise causes hearing loss in whales and other marine mammals, turtles, and fish, compromising their ability to navigate, avoid danger, detect predators, and find prey, according to scientific studies. Robert Rand, an acoustic consultant with 44 years experience found that even the most advanced sound dampening technologies did not adequately control harmful noise.

From 2016 through to April 2024, 220 humpback whales have died and have washed ashore.These elevated humpback whale mortalities have occurred along the Atlantic coast of the USA. As well as these, 126 North Atlantic Right whales have also died.

Marine mammals can suffer permanent hearing loss at 173 to 219 decibels. Mr Rand estimated the pile driving noise at 241 decibels. Even at ½ mile distant the sound was still 180 decibels.

But that’s not all. It has been found that offshore wind farms leave lobsters (crayfish), with crippled and deformed young. The magnetic field deform the young of crayfish leaving them as cripples. The same magnetic fields attract crabs which then become immobilised.

9. Balsa wood provides the backbone for the blades in wind turbines. The Amazon has been stripped bare to provide balsa wood. An increased demand has led to deforestation in the Amazon basin. An organisation called Balseros began to illegally deforest virgin balsa from the islands and banks of the Amazonian rivers in order to overcome the shortage of cultivated balsa. This has had a terrible impact on the indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Balseros having stripped out Ecuador then moved into the Peruvian basin.

10. Turbines disintegrate at times. Some collapse completely. The most common type of failure is with the blades. Lightning destroys many towers by causing the blade coatings to peel off. This throws the blades out of balance and total collapse often occurs. Ice on the blades will do the same thing. Pieces thrown off blades are a danger to people nearby. 

11. The life of turbine blades is about 15 years though many fail long before that. Recycling of some of the material in old blades has been tried, and this includes mechanical processing and chemical degradation, but found to be uneconomic. Consequently, most blades end up being buried. There are an estimated 4000 blade failures each year. These are blades that have failed before their life expectancy. These are also buried. 

30 acres of wind turbine blades in W. Texas waiting to be buried.

Here they are being buried. See the tiny yellow bulldozer, top right. 

These buried blades are going to be there for a very long time. The bisphenol A in the epoxy resins may leach into water ways. This compound is a big danger to human health. In the next twenty year many millions of these blades will need to be buried. Do we want them buried in our NZ countryside?

This is called clean – green energy. Of course I haven’t mentioned all the CO2 produced in the formation of wind farms. All the concrete for the foundation, all the trucks and machinery used to dig out the base and form the roads in. Production of CO2 doesn’t worry me because we actually need more CO2, and CO2 does not cause climate change. I haven’t mentioned all the copper needed to be mined for just one turbine. A medium sized turbine may contain 70 tonnes of copper. To extract this amount of copper miners need to dig out 50,000 tonnes of earth and rocks. This ore has to be processed. A lot of the environment destroyed for not much “green” power.

Finally, who has responsibility for removing these monstrosities when either their life is over, or nuclear take their place? Shall we be left with these eyesores forever? 

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...

The best thing to do is to ensure all those with EVs &/or heat pumps as their main source of power for their excessive 4 bedroom plus homes, lose their power first. If you choose to be a woke idiot & take the lion’s share then you choose sit around in the dark, cold & miserable.

Anonymous said...

Bio Bonkers:- how’s this for batshit crazy.
Take a piece of paper, write on the top “ useful things to do with coal”
The answer will probably be , burn it.
Take another piece of paper, write on the top” useful things to do with wood”
The list will be very long. Each item written will have thousands of jobs associated with it. Maybe, paper making, wooden furniture etc.

The Greenies solution to save the Planet. Stop burning coal and burn trees.
Does that even make sense. Wood is a very versatile material, simply burning it is about as low brow a solution you could ever think of.

Ah, I hear the greenies say, you’re wrong because we only burn the slash and off cuts. Well anyone who knows anything about energy knows energy is sold by the kilojoule. Wood is a low kilojoule source compared to coal or gas, hence you will need tonnes of wood to compete with gas.
Once the price of wood chips gets above that of paper or pulp or lineal metre of processed lumber. Why add any value to the tree, simply burn it and make more $$$.
Sounds mad right, it’s already happening!!

CXH said...

'We only have a few years to wait before fusion reactors come on stream.' We have been fed this line for decades now. To make such a claim damages the arguments.

Anonymous said...

Build more damns. The energy is renewable: problem solved.

Anonymous said...

I was going to say Ian, unless you are a Darryl Kerrigan, and admire man's technology and blight on the planet, these things hardly commune with nature, but you left arguably the most damning until last.

James Shaw, and those of his ilk, conveniently overlook that and would prefer to see a veritable sea of towers on our hillsides, and banks of panels on our more valuable level land. A signal of virtue that is far from attractive and sensible longer term.

Andrew Osborn said...

This was easily predicted by anyone with a basic competence in science and engineering and not brainwashed by the climate cult.

What's more, it's going to get worse. My advice is to avoid EVs and make sure you have an LPG gas hub with a couple of bottles so you can store several months' worth of gas.

Anonymous said...

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state. The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

We are carbon based and yet we are allowing ourselves to be led into a dystopian future by anti-human psychopaths.

Anonymous said...

For once I don’t wholly disagree with IB! All human infrastructure impacts wildlife, and we humans absolutely do need to make well-considered, informed trade-offs.

There is clear differential of negative effects on wildlife, though. These range from comparatively low with wind farms (0.27), higher with nuclear power plants (0.6) and substantially higher with fossil-fuelled power stations (9.4) = figures in ( ) are estimated deaths per GWh in the the United States according to this open-access, peer-reviewed journal article “The avian and wildlife costs of fossil fuels and nuclear power” – web search doi:10.1080/1943815X.2012.746993

Also an interesting overview of the multiple human-caused threats to migratory birds in Europe, Central Asia, Western Asia and Africa investigated in this open-access, peer-reviewed article – web search doi:10.1111/geb.13551
– the most significant threats are habitat loss and a diverse range of infrastructure

And of course, there’s also an excellent and accessible summary on Climate Feedback with accompanying references to explore further – web search "wind turbines can kill birds, but not as many as fossil fuels and other anthropogenic impacts"


Anonymous said...

Have you seen the wind turbines dominating the northern German landscape? They are hideously ugly. Nothing but turbines.

I like trees and paths through them and birds and animals and the wind in the leaves and when I can, collecting the windfall. I love the colours and the smells and the undergrowth and again, where permissable, collecting fruit and other forest edibles.

Oh dear, I am so yesterday.

PS I would not vote Green in any circumstances in a free democratic election.

I just like trees.

Rob Beechey said...

Any reference to the far left “Climate Feedback” must be taken with a grain of salt.
The Climate Feedback propaganda website, whose true purpose is to silence those of us who, on sound scientific grounds, oppose the crippling of our energy infrastructure in the name of Saving the Planet from an imagined emergency or catastrophe arising from a mildly warming weather world wide.

Anonymous said...

RB again puts forward baseless criticism of the excellent, science-based website Climate Feedback. For the benefit of readers here who are not conspiracist AGW denialists finding “far leftists” under climate scientists’ beds, I repeat my last rebuttal to RB about this:

It is wonderful that Facebook uses Climate Feedback as an independent fact checking site. I wasn’t aware of that as I scarcely use FB these days. It’s great to know that FB users are prompted to read high-quality, rigorously science-based content. I suppose it makes a sort of sense in denialists’ conspiracist logic not to view this as a good thing?

To reiterate what I’ve noted before on Climate Feedback’s objective merits:
– Climate Feedback is accredited by the Poynter Institute and its parent organisation Science Feedback is a current, verified signatory of Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network.
– Climate Feedback’s editorials are reviewed by research-active climate scientists and the credentials of climate scientists giving commentary there are upfront.
– Many of Climate Feedback’s posts include supporting references to the scientific literature, including peer-reviewed journal articles.
– Climate Feedback aligns well with other websites from national science agencies and with articles from the peer-reviewed scientific literature I have read.


Ewan McGregor said...

So, power users were asked to conserve power for a couple of hours after 7.00 a m because it was going to be a cold night. Oh the sacrifice! To turn the heaters down a botch or two! (I was 11 when the home I live in was connected to the grid, so I appreciate electric power, but a fleeting and minor act of self-denial? Get a life.) Then the statement “there is no wind”. It may have been ‘very clear to Mr Bradford as to what that was about’, but it meant nothing to me. Did the turbines stop? All of them?
How about a bit of research here? What about some facts. The turbines are based on high country where the wind does blow over this country, while down in the low-lands, where people live, it is often calm. There are dozens of turbines flanking the Manawatu Gorge and I have never seen them ideal, though no doubt they sometimes are, but even when there is not a breath of wind along Highway 2, they are turning. So, what portion of the year are they not generating power? Not enough to stop them being installed around the world, obviously. And yes, they are unsightly, but nothing like the thousands of pylons that bring the power to us, but that's okay. Modern living has its downsides.)

And, of course, logic tells us that solar panels only generate when the sun shines. Mr Bradford seems to have a vendetta on them too. These are two new sources of electric generation that are increasingly adding to the growing demands of power. They need to be seen in the context of a mix of generation systems. And seen, too, in the context of a revolution in battery technology.
In the meantime, nuclear power is miles away from becoming a reality in the small country, and we must limit our dependence on fossil fuels for various reasons – greenhouse gas limitation and the reality that it is going to become increasing scarce and expensive.

Andrew Osborn said...

Ewan McGregor:

There's a concept in power engineering called 'capacity factor'. It is the average power delivered over time divided by the nameplate or 'installed' capacity.

In the case of wind turbines in New Zealand their capacity factor is only 40%

For solar it is even less - between 12% and 20% depending on the exact location.

Whilst both can and do add to our generating capacity, both suffer from unpredictability in output to the extent that in still, overcast conditions which can occur for days at a time, they will produce zilch.

We cannot run a first world country on an unreliable power grid - commercial and industrial users require consistency of supply or they will go elsewhere - so wind and solar require 100% backup capacity in some other form. Once this requirement is factored in, suddenly neither are cost effective.

As for grid scale batteries, they really aren't a practical option yet. Sure, at great expense, they can cover very short-term interruptions in supply (here we're talking in terms of minutes) but with existing technology could never support the grid for hours let alone days.

What we need are base load generators: Hydro, Coal, Gas, Nuclear and Geothermal. With capacity sufficient in reserve for breakdowns and maintenance.

Fred H. said...

I disagree with first comment: Anon @ 3.05 pm 16 May: the first to lose power should be the Greenies and any others who voted for them or Labour. To find who they are, look for the fake wispy beards, rimless goggles, long hair, and a grotesque sense of self-importance. If that fails, listen for the continual grizzling sound.

It is amazing that NZ, which has produced many of the world's top scientists and engineers, have allowed the Green idiots to do what they want with our environment when they do not possess one iota of science between them, or any logic whatsoever. How many cubic meters of earth has been excavated to produce all of those useless wind towers when that excavation could have been done to excavate our high quality coal. Yes, more carbon dioxide would result but that's good because we need to help renew those forests that have been trashed in the name of "saving the planet". Also we wouldn't have all those useless polluting towers to bury, and we wouldn't need to import poor quality coal from Indonesia.

Of course, with Mr Luxon a believer in manmade climate change, and an economist as the "Climate Czar", what chance has logic to flourish in NZ ?

Ewan McGregor said...

It would appear that the Chinese see things differently from Mr Bradford. This from the Christian Science Monitor.

"China made historic increases in installations of solar, wind, and other renewable energy in 2023, including adding 216 gigawatts of solar capacity. Experts say China’s rapid adoption of renewable energy is helping move the country – the world’s biggest emitter of heat-trapping gases – toward its climate goals faster than expected.
For example, China has committed to reaching its carbon peak by 2030, but some analysts say its emissions could peak as early as this year, and then start declining. This hinges partly on China’s ability to stabilize its surging energy demand, a significant portion of which is still being met by coal. China’s state-led market dominance in renewables is also provoking trade retaliation, with the United States raising tariffs this week on Chinese solar panels, electric vehicles, and other goods.
Experts say Beijing’s investments in renewable energy benefit many countries that lack such industries, and note that trade barriers imposed by developed countries will create inefficiencies and increase costs, at least in the short term."

Andrew Osborn said...

Don’t believe Chinese propaganda. They’re commissioning two new coal fired power stations every WEEK

Rob Beechey said...

Ha ha. Plenty of humour on this thread EM. China is the single biggest coal importer in the world.

KP said...

Well, a complete lack of discussion of the duck curve, solar's biggest problem. Just look across the Tasman where electricity providers are now charging people for every MW they put into the grid from their rooftop solar in the moiddle of the day.

The duck curve demand/supply (or spot price) shows clearly the reliable backup power increasing in the morning as people get up, then solar increasing as the sun gets going, and then it all rushes downwards in the main part of the day. Later in the afternoon it increases again as the evening rush for electricity takes over.

So now there is far too much power generated in the middle of the day when no-one wants it, and none there for the morning and evening rush. Adding more solar just makes this problem worse, we need power 6am-9am and 6pm-9pm, not 11am-2pm.

It will fail of course, but not before stripping the middle class of their declining wealth and enriching the billionaires in charge of the Leftists.

Ewan McGregor said...

So KP, are you saying that solar panels on the roof of you house which provide domestic power, water heating and charging the car battery is bad? Such relieving reliance on the grid. I'd say it has to be good. Personally, I think we are at the dawn of an electricity revolution.