Tax Breaks & Subsidies or Australia / New Zealand
Democrats in Congress are huddling in their low-carbon-footprint backroom in search of a compromise energy bill, and all eyes have been on the issue of raising fuel-economy standards. ...the bill undermines energy independence by raising taxes on domestic production and throwing up new barriers to exploration. ...But its worst (and little noticed) provision may be a requirement that 15% of U.S. electricity be generated from "renewable" sources by 2020. Utilities that can't meet these goals are fined -- taxed, really -- based on how far short of this Eden they fall. Currently, only about 3% is provided by such renewables as wind, solar or "biofuels." ...The "renewables" mandate in the House energy bill, by contrast, is a multibillion-dollar stealth tax on electrical utilities, and ultimately on electricity users. The danger is that, with all eyes on car-mileage standards, this tax could become law without many people even noticing.
Presumably the reserve generating capacity will be set lower to encourage more renewable generation but we shall see; political safety was the Government's priority at that time and there is no reason to believe it would be braver now. Sustainable energy and secure energy are "not mutually exclusive goals", the Prime Minister maintains. But the fact is oil- and gas-fired stations are the country's security against low hydro levels and it's hard to see that any weather-dependent power plant could pick up the slack in a dry season.
Let's call it "greensumerism". Forget the simple mantra of "less is more"; with the help of the green movement you can now indulge in a frenzy of consumerism, with each luxury purchase excused by the idea that you are helping the development of the "green" sector. ...The latest convert to this idea is the NSW Water Minister, Nathan Rees, who now claims his dreaded desalination plant is actually terrific news for the environment. The ebullient new minister ran through the logic this week: since the power used by the plant will come from wind farms, the plant will give much-needed certainty to the industry, and thus assist in the development of the whole sustainability sector. Thus the planet is better off with the Sydney desalination plant than it would have been without it.
Wind power is not the answer to global warming. Do we have alternatives? We certainly do have alternatives to windmills but they would disrupt the lifestyle of electors and consumers. In Paris, an article in the September 2007 issue of the medical journal, The Lancet, shows with supporting calculations that it would be better to minimize human consumption of meat, for 80% of agriculturally produced methane comes from farm animals. Wind turbines won't even alter the greenhouse gas equation but by a mere .03%, as mentioned above. The way to reduce CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases is to use less energy. Governments must massively invest in energy conservation measures rather than in these wind machines. According to another research, if every English household switched for one single low energy light bulb, a fossil fuel-burning electrical plant could be shut down!
Wind power would only be interesting if energy produced can be stored. It has been proposed to fill reservoirs of large hydroelectric dams, for example. An Australian method has just offered in September 2007 to store electricity in liquid accumulators. Quebec would thus be able to utilize wind energy because the major part of our electricity comes from hydroelectric dams, which is not the case for Ontario or New York where, as almost everywhere else in the world, wind power must be backed up by carbon-based generating stations.
JEFFREY Corrigan of Broadview Energy company (letters, October 5) should tell us how many megawatts of electricity the proposed turbines at Westnewton will produce.
It is high time these energy company representatives stopped all their "spinning" about how many houses will be supplied by these industrial monsters.
THE great wind-scam keeps soaking up taxpayer and consumer dollars and blowing smoke. All much more reliably than the electricity flowing from those lazily turning windmills.
An energy company's greedy quest for politically correct power is putting a world celebrity heritage site at risk of being lost forever.
A subsidiary of Conergy (XE:604002: news, chart, profile) , a German renewable energy firm, has announced plans to construct an enormous wind farm in the Australian outback.
There, in a nutshell, is the twin problem with wind. On average, across a year, you might get 30 per cent of its theoretical capacity, but often you get zero or so close to zero as not to matter. It happens frequently and at any time; and when the wind chooses, not you.
"Somebody", therefore, has to keep unused surplus capacity in some other form of generation equivalent to all the wind generation capacity. And keep it either operating, or able to at the flick of a switch.
I am disgusted by fly-by-night companies installing wind turbines and solar panels just to showcase technology (see "This Wind Turbine Should Be Turning") or because they are heavily subsidized by government tax credits. Tax incentives are meant to stimulate growth of the renewable energy sector, not feed faux energy companies who don't have a clue. If a renewable installation cannot provide return on investment without a tax crutch, the project is not viable to begin with and should not be allowed to proceed.
The purchase price of a two megawatt turbine has been pushed up from about $3 million to about $4.4 million as a result. The actual turbines represent from 20 to 50per cent of the final installed cost of any new wind farm, the rest being spent on site investigation, assessment and testing, as well as the installation and infrastructure costs required to connect to the grid, often from remote locations. ...Optimal sites require constant wind speeds of about eight to 10 metres per second. A wind capacity factor of about 35 per cent -- the amount of time the wind actually blows over a year -- is needed to make a site viable.
Germany has 18,300MW (megawatts) of installed wind capacity -- close to half Australia's total installed electricity generation capacity, about double Victoria's.
E.ON Netz draws on 7600MW of that.
In the precise German way, it tells us that maximum feed-in was 6234MW at 9am on 15/12/05.
Sound great? Except when you read the minimum feed in, at 12.15pm on 27/05/05. Just 8MW. And no, I'm not missing a nought or two.
Some 7600MW of installed capacity delivered just 8MW. When the wind don't blow, the electricity don't flow.
On average across the year, the 7600 MW of installed wind capacity produced 1327MW. That's an operational level of 18 per cent of capacity. In rational terms, it's insanity.
Stories of questionable "carbon offset" sales schemes keep blowing in. ...It's beginning to sound like multiple sightings of the emperor's lack of clothing. Perhaps one problem lies in the ambiguity of the term "carbon offset" itself -- which smells of an Orwellian pollution of the English language.
After all, when you buy "carbon offsets" that doesn't necessarily mean you're paying for a reduction in carbon dioxide pollution. You could be sending payments to a utility company that might (or might not) use your money to help build a wind turbine that might eventually generate a small amount of electricity -- as it continues to build more coal-fired power plants that spew even more greenhouse gases.
But that's the magic of the word "offset" -- it doesn't promise a reduction. It doesn't really promise anything.
For very good reason, we feel that we cannot trust Meridian Energy; unfortunately they have not shown themselves to be trustworthy. We are very concerned that Meridian Energy be made to comply with conditions that the Court's decision requires; these conditions are likely to require a considerable number of turbines being de-rated and turned off at times. The Court warned Meridian of this. We question how a wind farm where turbines must be de-rated or turned off to protect residents can be "the best internationally".
Wake up, New Jersey, before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Gov. Corzine's offshore wind farm. ...In these hard financial times, our state and federal governments need to invest taxpayer dollars more wisely than they have. Alternative energy sources are needed, but they must make financial sense. Windmills on land are borderline cost-effective, and that's only because of energy subsidies. Windmills in the north Atlantic never will come close to recovering their cost.
If something doesn't make financial sense, we should be looking at who will benefit from its construction. New Jersey citizens will not benefit from this ocean wind farm. Electric costs will rise because of it. Someone needs to follow the money to see who will benefit.
Now we have reports that investors are pulling out of wind projects in Victoria. The issue continues to be plagued by lots of investment uncertainty and while that continues to be the case, wind power is unlikely to take off here.
Would you want a wind farm next to you? What would it take to win your support? Do we need them, or are there better alternatives, both for investors in renewable energy and for the community?
Millions of pounds of subsidy is pouring into the coffers of multinational energy companies while grave doubts remain about how much renewable energy is actually being produced and how best it can be fed into the national grid. No account is being taken of the damage being done to the finest wild landscapes of western Europe, the consequences for the Scottish tourist industry or the visual impact of enormous wind turbines on local communities and outdoor recreation interests.
Yet another wind energy mirage evaporates as Vestas Wind Energy announced today the closure of their Portland (Victoria) blade manufacturing plant with an estimated 140 job losses........"Premier Brumby has an opportunity to wipe the slate clean on wind energy as well as save some of Victorias' most treasured landscapes. Former planning minister, Mary Delahunty, approved wind turbines at Cape Bridgewater in 2002 but with the caveat "I also stated that planning approvals will not be granted for the four sites until satisfactory evidence is provided that the wind turbine manufacturing facility associated with the proposal will proceed in Victoria.""
Wind power is a problematic energy source, requiring constant back-up from conventional generation as fluctuating winds vary output by up to 70 per cent. It produces a third of installed capacity at best. The loss of the 79-megawatt Dollar wind farm adds to the challenge of offsetting the 100 megawatts needed for a desalination plant - that calls for a 300-megawatt wind farm. In addition to the wider inconsistencies of state policy on climate change, there are questions about wind farms' reliability, cost, siting and commercial viability. The state is offering few answers, only vague assurances that all is well even as its targets recede into the future.
The PSB attached a number of conditions to their approval of the project. As the Ridge Protectors, a group of people who have opposed the project for years, say, the attached conditions contain potential deal breakers and they intend to fight the actual project to the bitter end.
We are with them. The Sheffield voters, when they approved the project for an entirely illusory tax benefit, sold the Northeast Kingdom's birthright for a mess of pottage. Assuming The Ridge Protectors prevail and the project is stopped, these same voters, when they discover the taste of pottage, will be thanking them.
The "inconvenient truth" is out on wind farms. Under-performing around the world, our local line-up at Toora and Wonthaggi are no exception.
With average output levels 10 to 15 per cent below the stated 30 to 35 per cent of installed capacity (and that is when all turbines are operational - rarely the case), investors must be getting a little anxious.
It is a pity. We all wish for a reliable alternative to the burning of fossil fuels and hoped that wind generators, sensitively placed, may have been part of the solution.
They don't pass muster. It is time for the wind industry to come clean and accept that it is promoting a lemon. With the focus now on creative development of radical new technologies, the wind farms currently industrialising our beautiful coastlines will soon stand motionless and abandoned, dripping with gearbox oil. White elephants. The wind power industry and the State Government should make the real performance figures on wind farms public. To not do so is pure "greenwash".