Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future

Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future

Chapter 9    Myth: Wind Power Reduces CO2 Emissions

By Journalist Robert Bryce, author of Gusher of Lies and managing editor of online industry newsmagazine Energy Tribune.   In this informed, opinionated state-of-the-industry overview, Bryce contends that energy policy must be based upon four imperatives: “power density, energy density, cost and scale.” Wind and solar power, he says, fail those standards due to storage problems and the vagaries of weather.

6 thoughts on “Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future

  1. All the brainwashed gullible Greenies that dote on every nonsensical word uttered by David Suzuki and Al Gore need to read this book and discover the truth: In terms of providing reliable and significant quantities of energy, wind and solar don’t cut it. Not now, not ever.

  2. Quoting from a review …

    “Most importantly, he tells why wind can’t offset meaningful CO2 emissions or replace fossil fuels. To do this, he introduces the work of engineers like Australian Peter Lang, Canadian Kent Hawkins, and Britain’s Jim Oswald, who demonstrate how wind’s existential volatility and unreliability must make everyone and everything involved with wind integration work much harder just to stand still, in the process greatly increasing both cost and thermal activity. Wind is a fuel supplement that requires a lot of supplementation, since no one can be sure how much of its capacity will be available for any future time. A wind plant’s output unpredictably bounces around between zero and its maximum possible yield …

    As Lang shows, even the best possible thermal entanglement with wind, comprised of several types of natural gas systems, can save only 15 percent more CO2 than can be achieved with the natural gas systems alone, without any wind. Inefficient use of natural gas systems with wind, such as responsive open cycle units normally used only at peak demand, would save no net carbon dioxide emissions. As Hawkins shows, using a combination of coal and natural gas for wind balancing results in more carbon emissions than would be the case without any wind. Any fossil fuel saved when it is sporadically displaced by wind is often consumed in even greater volume as it is called upon to compensate for wind’s relentless skittering.

    More than 2500 skyscraper-sized wind turbines, spread over 500 miles of terrain, and a passel of natural gas units at 90 percent of wind’s maximum output–and hundreds of miles of new transmission lines/voltage regulation–would be required to provide parity with the capacity of a 1500MW nuclear facility.

    Bruce makes vividly clear that wind is neither clean nor green–and is in the hunt solely because of massive government support, which is 23 times the per kilowatt-hour subsidy given for fossil-fired plants that produce copious reliable capacity. It provides only sporadic energy–not modern power performance. Wind is not only inimical to all the primary goals of modern electricity production–reliability, affordability, security; it also actively subverts them. It is not cutting edge, effective, and progressive; rather, it is antediluvian, dysfunctional, and uncivil.”

    Ref. : http://www.phibetaiota.net/?p=25095

  3. And the myths just keep on coming…
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10500164.stm

    “Outlining the “Solana” project at Gila Bend near Phoenix, Abengoa said it would have an area of 1,900 acres, using thermal storage-equipped parabolic trough technology, with 280 MW of power output capacity.

    According to the company’s website, 1,500 new jobs will be created during the plant’s construction with 100 positions for staff to maintain it.”

    yadda yadda yadda…

  4. It is not hard to come to the conclusion in Robert Bryce’s book. Anyone with an inquisitive mind and a bit of grid management background can figure something does not add up. Most analysis done with “green” energy is the best case outcome. In theory the best would be a 15% improvement, with natural gas systems. Due to management realities and trying to be less punishing on the mechanics of the natural gas systems 15% is a way too optimistic. If there is no CO2 savings it means there is no economic benefits to consumer if supporting generating systems using fuel are running more with wind than without. The situation is worse than could be imagine so take Robert Bryce’s book as being the cautious outlook.

  5. Barry: Thanks for the link to Jon’s review.
    One detail of many not to miss as taken from Jon’s detailed review “So why are so many willing to trade the high power density of coal, natural gas, and oil for such unreliable, low-power-density sources as wind and solar? Part II, The Myths of Green Energy, attempts to answer this question. Bryce looks closely at the claims for wind especially and debunks them all as mainly the result of snake oil, a too-gullible public suffused in scientific illiteracy, “happy talk” from media (viz, Thomas Friedman), and self serving bombast from industry pundits like T. Boone Pickens. Thinking that wind technology, for example, could put a dent in the use of fossil fuels as an “alternate” energy source is just plain goofy, akin to believing that a book of matches could melt a glacier.”
    What appears to be missed in the comment “More than 2500 skyscraper-sized wind turbines, spread over 500 miles of terrain, and a passel of natural gas units at 90 percent of wind’s maximum output–and hundreds of miles of new transmission lines/voltage regulation–would be required to provide parity with the capacity of a 1500MW nuclear facility.” is that the 2500 skyscraper-sized wind turbines would be an attempt to theoretically create 10% of the capacity which would be better met in reality with upping the natural gas units to 100% maximum output. Anyone who thinks building 2500 industrial sized wind turbines in an attempt to theoretically provide a bit of power to the grid should get theoretical electric equipment to use with the theoretical wind power because that is what world they are living in.

  6. Taken from Watts Up With That web site: “If there was a big effect from Earth Hour, you’d see a step event like the street lights at 7AM as everybody turned off their home lights in California at 8:30PM (2030). Plus, the greens don’t seem to realize that no power plants get switched off, so there’s really no CO2 savings. The power plants are run based on demand forecast. Short term spikes from well intentioned stunts really don’t make a blip of difference to CO2 emissions.”
    If Earth Hour fails to make a difference in reliable power production how can industrial wind make a difference? Power from industrial wind can change in 5 minutes or less. Earth Hour is an hour and most know when that hour is happening.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/27/2010-earth-hour-in-california-just-as-ineffective-as-last-year/

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