Sanity still blowing in the wind

Terry McCrann   Herald Sun

Simply and damningly: If you don’t ask the question, if you don’t do the analysis, you won’t come up with the ‘wrong’ answer.

If you do, you find that not only does wind fail as a power source. Not that that’s a surprise to anyone who’s prepared to ‘look’. When the wind don’t blow, the power don’t flow. Even more devastatingly, as this analysis shows, the wind not only don’t blow an awful lot of the time. It tends to not blow ‘everywhere’ at the same time.

THE Rudd Government’s ‘green power’ strategy has been utterly shredded by detailed analysis which shows the total uselessness of the one form of power on which it is almost entirely based – wind.

Further, this independent analysis is a damning indictment of not only the federal government and all state governments for their betrayal of their most fundamental duty to the public interest. But it also exposes the disgrace of the so-called ‘public service’ bureaucracies.

Where is the official analysis of what wind power generation does in practice – at either federal or state level? Which, if it had been done, would have embarrassingly exposed its uselessness. Why has it had to be done by ‘privateers’?

The answer is of course that the public service at both state and federal level has abandoned not just its broad general duty to the public, but even its narrower duty to tell political government the truth by providing policy advice and analysis.

Simply and damningly: If you don’t ask the question, if you don’t do the analysis, you won’t come up with the ‘wrong’ answer.

If you do, you find that not only does wind fail as a power source. Not that that’s a surprise to anyone who’s prepared to ‘look’. When the wind don’t blow, the power don’t flow. Even more devastatingly, as this analysis shows, the wind not only don’t blow an awful lot of the time. It tends to not blow ‘everywhere’ at the same time.

This utterly shreds the claim that if we build enough of the so-called ‘wind farms’ across southern Australia, the wind will always be blowing somewhere.

No it won’t. But you’ll look in vain for ‘official’ advice saying that.

What makes the analysis even more damning is that wind fails even in the main reason for its costly and ineffective existence – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Precisely because of that pesky little problem.

An unreliable 484MW wind farm would not only cost more than two times a gas-fired 550MW power station. But it would allow perhaps only 25MW of coal-fired generation to be shut down – whereas the gas plant could close its full 550MW.

The analysis comes in a series of papers. The first, from weather analyst Andrew Miskelly and physicist Tom Quirk, tracks the performance of the wind farms across Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania for the entire month of June in five-minute intervals.

They used the data from the Australian Energy Market Operator – the national energy body. Their damning evidence is shown in the graph which measures two things. One the actual performance of all the farms in the four states through every minute of June. The second, assuming equal installed capacity in all four states – to further test the “wind will be blowing somewhere” claim.

Two huge and unmistakable messages leap out of the graph. Wind farms spend most of their time not generating power, or not generating very much. They can move quickly from producing a lot or quite a lot of power to zero.

Second, even though spread right across southern Australia, they tend to produce or not produce at much the same time. That makes impossible any practical ability to ask nature to ‘turn on’, say, Victorian wind farms when nature has turned off SA ones. Or even ‘distant’ Tasmanian ones.

The correlation of failure between Victoria and SA is especially strong. It’s not quite as strong between SA and NSW and Tasmania, but still strong enough to make even those scattered wind farms useless as a combined generating force.

And when you put all the wind farms in the four states together you get a devastating image of practical uselessness – that would require you to keep almost the equivalent capacity of coal-fired stations on and operating pretty much at full power all the time.

A second analysis, from engineer and power industry authority Peter Lang, shows three equally devastating and simple conclusions.

Wind power does not avoid significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. It is a very, very high-cost way to avoid such emissions – costing between $830 and $1149 to avoid one tonne of CO2 emitted per MWh as against just $22 with nuclear power. And wind power, even with high capacity penetration, could never make a significant contribution to reducing those emissions.

A third analysis, from Peter Mitchell – not an expert on anything, ‘just’ a victim of a proposed wind farm in south-western Victoria – uses Lang’s analysis to help compare the proposed Stockyard Hill wind farm with the Mortlake gas power station.

The comparison is devastating, yet again. If you want to have power and reduce emissions, gas wins in a hand canter. And saves quite literally billions.

Every wind turbine that goes up anywhere in Australia is not just a statement of some primitive theology but testament to government and public service betrayal.

I have a dream: to be at the first dismantling of the first turbine. We’ll keep some as a reminder of a time when politicians and supposed intellectual elites lost all touch with reality.

One thought on “Sanity still blowing in the wind

  1. Dismantling turbines has to be a goal in the near future for some people to get their homes and lives back. It is too kind to say the “…politicians and intellectual elites have lost all touch with reality.” The facts we have indicate politicians and not so intellectual elites that support industrial wind are either ignorant or liars or both. There is no other excuse for pushing these expensive industrial wind turbines on the rural citizens of Ontario when it is impossible to make them worthwhile and the havoc to our transmission system with the bits and pieces of power wind might manage to provide. Mechanical failures add to the uselessness of industrial turbines. The sporadic pieces of power produced will become even feebler with time. Keeping non-functional turbines on the landscape to rot should never be an option. Right now there is nothing in writing to determine at what time a turbine becomes non-functional and how soon it would need to be dismantled. Sufficient funds are not put aside to pay for decommissioning. There is no feasible way to fully decommission the area back to productive land. The land loss to the concrete base will be permanent as will altered water flows. Dismantling will be a reality sooner or later. Not building industrial wind turbines is a better solution.

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