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« Saint George | Main | Mutant meme »


The defence of windfarms put forward by Mark Lynas and Chris Goodall, which was discussed a couple of days ago, has now had a response from Gordon Hughes. Hughes is less than impressed with the two greens' table manners:

A final note on civility. After my GWPF report on the economics of wind power, Mark Lynas contacted me by email with a substantial number of requests for elucidation and additional data. I replied promptly and at considerable length. He is entitled to take a different view of the evidence and to reach different conclusions about the impact of further investment in wind power on future emissions of CO2. However, it is neither courteous nor constructive in the broader context to create a straw man that is supposed to represent my position when I have provided detailed analysis and arguments that are clearly different. It is an elementary precept of both journalism and academic enquiry to check whether the views presented are accurate. No attempt has been made to carry out such checks in this case.

He seems even less impressed with their analysis of the electricity grid:

[T]he Goodall-Lynas evidence is incomplete. It relies upon data about the plants which are supplying electricity to the grid. It takes no account of the CO2 emissions of plants that are operating as spinning reserve. For simplicity, let us suppose that all spinning reserve is provided by gas combined cycle plants (CCGTs). If changes in wind output are balanced by changes in the level of spinning reserve, then the total amount of gas that is burned – and, thus, CO2 emissions – is completely independent of change in wind output. In terms of the Goodall-Lynas evidence, higher levels of wind generation displace gas generation one-for-one. But, there is absolutely no saving in CO2 emissions because the gas plants carry on running as before but they are just feeding less electricity into the grid. The reason for the error is that their figures take no account of what is happening in the parts of the electricity system that they have ignored.

There's much more in this vein. Read the whole thing - it will cheer you up no end.

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Reader Comments (85)

Although I think that there is much wrong with wind power, I'm not convinced by your argument that spinning reserve emits as much CO2 as when the plant is supplying output.

Unless the plant is dumping power into a dummy load when not supplying the grid, the electricity generated must reduce and this suggests that the input (gas) also reduces; therefore CO2 emissions must also reduce (assuming complete combustion). The plant must of course consume enough gas to provide power to overcome frictional losses and all the ancillary equipment and processes so it's CO2 output can't go to zero - you would however expect to see a drop (approximately) proportional to the electricity not generated.

Can anyone with knowledge of the industry comment? It would be a pity to advance an argument against wind power that turned out to be false as that would undermine the credibility of the many other valid arguments.

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergareth

We seem to get this all the time. A report/paper comes out and then someone else usually persuasively says that the people who did it have made what are, in essence, schoolboy errors in their research, methods, or understanding. Are a lot of journalists/scientists/commentators just for the most part incompetent?

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterRB

The last paragraph is particularly telling. It is the essence of why we have a failing energy policy.

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

gareth: CCGTs have to operate at a minimum load, in some cases 60%, otherwise the boiler will fail through thermal fatigue. Some CCGTs can operate at lower loads if gas is diverted to the boilers to maintain temperature.Others have a clutch so operate as OCGTs with 20-30 min to heat the boiler.

There is no way you can get a zero gas consumption standby system. The problem is the greenies have zilch engineering knowledge and keep it zero so they remain pure. North Holland has banned more windmills because even with a dc link to Norwegian hydro, they calculate the windmills save 1.6% CO2 for their output compared with the same output by CCGT at the most economical setting.

In our case to save any CO2 with the planned 30 GW nameplate capacity, we need to build another 6 or 7 Dinorwigs pumped by ~5 dedicated nuclear power stations at time of high wind variability. [needed to make the 30% efficiency loss CO2-free]. Including the CO2 cost of the windmill infrastructure, they are otherwise negatively green.

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

The justification for wind energy, as put forward by successive Governments, is that there are two benefits: increased security of supply and reduced CO2 emissions. Both benefits are based on the same premise; namely that a unit if wind energy displaces a unit of fossil fuel energy. As Prof Hughes has so eleoquently demonstrated, the premise is false.

Over the years that I have been studying the wind industry, through RenewableUK (BWEA as was) it has lied through its teeth to maintain the falsehood so as the maintain its growing and highly profitable subsidy-stream. The amazing things is the compliance of reporters in the media, such as Mark Lynas, to maintain and support the falsehood. One could even think that they were paid by Big Wind to lobby on their behalf. Alternatively, one could think that they are just useful idiots, as none of them has the technical competence to do anything other than repeat the wind lobby propaganda.

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Roger Helmer's takedown is pretty good too.

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C

Not precisely about CO2, but the following sums up the back-up generation meme quite well:

'Wind power is not like riding your bike to work and leaving your car in the driveway. It’s like riding your bike to work and having someone follow in your car. When you get tired of pedaling (which is at least 70% of the time in this analogy) you ride in the car the rest of the way.'

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterB.O.B.

Sep 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM | B.O.B.

That's a reminder of one of Cameron's silly stunts when 'leader of the opposition'.

Sep 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

A picture tells a story. Official data from the end of last month:

The killer question. What do you do when output is very close to zero?
Answer? Sell the windmills to the Nigerian scammers?

Sep 28, 2012 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

I'll add here anecdotal evidence from a 'Unit Controller' in a coal fired power station. Above ~10% wind energy as a proportion of instantaneous demand, steam turbines go out of control. The data show that from then on fuel efficiency falls approximately linearly with wind 'penetration'. This was in Western Australia where the northerly trade wind up the coast is steady so the winn surges aren't that bad.

In Texas where the wind is much less steady, the onset of instability is much lower penetration. We'll be like that hence we must have dramatically expensive pump storage to sink say 5 GW surges out of 50 GW name plate windmill capacity. The CO2 cost of the dams and the excavation will take perhaps a Century to be recouped. Windmills are the technology and economics of the madhouse dreamt up by Green fanatics who have refused to think through their plan.

This is why I refer to them as a cross between the Windmill in Animal Farm, the Easter Island Statues and the Swastika, a symbol of totalitarian power with CO2 saving purely in the mind.

Sep 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

This from paragraph 9, my emphasis:

My calculations suggest a requirement for 36 GW of wind capacity in 2020, while current official projections suggest that wind capacity would be 28-29 GW. The difference is partly a consequence of downward revisions in official projections of electricity demand in 2020.
I was tempted to take issue with Ben Pile the other day over a similar interpretation of the word "demand",
It seems that we are into Newspeak here since the "official projection" is to do with supply, not demand. When Ben, rather kindly I thought, referred the other day to the plan to "manage demand" he was speaking of the "smart meter" idea which will not do anything to manage either the consumer's need for energy or his desire for a constant energy supply but to the implied policy that energy is something to be rationed and will be available only at the whim of the supplier.
Similarly here. The projection does not address the demand only the supply. We are in grave danger of sleepwalking into an era when our entire lives could — at least in theory, and where the theory exists there will be those keen on putting it into practice — come under the absolute control of government to an extent that did not even hold in the old Soviet Union.

Sep 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It's a shame with all the smart metering etcetera - that proponents of wind power can't be connected in a fashion that accurately mimics the output and financial performance of the present turbines.

Then, at least we'd have to put up with less of their dishonest preachy drivel while they're disconnected because they've no green painted electrons - or can't afford to pay for them.... They want everybody else to wear hair shirts of their choosing but one suspects that their personal preference is for silk - paid for by you...

I watch my electricity and gas bills ratchet up unrelated to the actual raw material costs and hear the outpourings of deluded toxic zealots like Lynas + Goodall and it's hard not to be rather angry.

As to civility - anybody familiar with the antics of "Gweens" when they're subjected to any confrontation over actual evidence will know that the insults and sneering valve jams wide open and a flood of bile issues forth.

Sep 28, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Registered Commentertomo


I think maybe I could have made the point better: I didn't say that "you can get a zero gas consumption standby system". I said that the suggestion by Gordon Hughes (that using gas as a spinning reserve for wind would not result in any lowering of CO2 output) was wrong.

If, as you say, CCGTs can be operated at down to 60% of rated output, the remaining 40% can be used as a spinning reserve. I don't expect than a CCGT operating at 60% burns the same amount of gas as the same plant at, say, 90% so the CO2 output would be reduced if the CCGT plant were used to balance out variability in wind output.

(that's the trouble with being a skeptic - just because I generally agree with the GWPF doesn't mean I think they are incapable of error)

Sep 28, 2012 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergareth

Anyone any knowledge of our right to refuse a smart meter if the government tries to force them on us?

Sep 28, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Thanks for Gareth's question and for answers that I assume are accurate from AlecM.

The more general problem as I see it is that the real metric against which to judge cost is the public and industry's level of satisfaction with our electricity supply over a whole year. Not an easy function to quantify - until politicians start to lose elections because of power cuts, at which point I'm sure the pennies, academic and wonkish, will start to drop.

I also valued Gareth's comment on the previous thread on the Bish's superb ending yesterday on "whether Ed Davey actually gives two hoots about poor people in the UK". Just because there is much hypocritical rhetoric doesn't mean this point is unimportant. But the danger of further distorting the market through gesture politics is a real one.

This is mostly to say thank you to a wide variety of contributors from someone who is mainly a lurker on this subject - because for me there is so much to learn.

Sep 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Anyone any knowledge of our right to refuse a smart meter if the government tries to force them on us?
Sep 28, 2012 at 1:30 PM |Dung

I remember in the 1970s, at least, there was a great deal of Heath Robinson bypassing of electricity meters in squats to restore the supply to empty houses. Would it be as possible to bypass the smart meter control of supply?
If so, I can see a great deal of bypassing happening if supply is rationed - perhaps on a more sophisticated level so that the bypassing was not blindingly obvious as a household's usage apparently dropped to zero.
In the 1970s the process relied on having access to someone who knew what they were doing with mains electricity supply or were extremely foolhardy. Now with the internet I can envisage simple "do it yourself" instructions on the internet and any useful specialist equipment being produced and made available from abroad.
It wouldn't be that attractive to the nervous novice but it's difficult to imagine, if practicable, that it wouldn't become very popular even to the otherwise law-abiding as fuel prices both went through the roof and power was cut off without notice..

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Thanks Artwest

I am trying to pursuade my wife that a generator is a good idea but a proper job might cost £7,000 and for us that is a lot. I also thought that although the meter installed in the outside wall of my house is the property of either the government or my supplier, the wall belongs to me so that perhaps I could erect a cover over the meter and display "for access please apply to the house owner".

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:09 PM | Registered CommenterDung

David C, in Roger Helmer's previous post, he reports an email conversation with Roger Harrabin regarding why the latter will not mention Professor Hughes's work.

Helmer also tweeted today:
"Wordpress has blocked new posts on my blog, because of an anonymous complaint about content. Check recent posts and guess who!"

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:19 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

gareth; the issue is the fall-off in efficiency of the steam turbine when the output of the central power plant is raised or lowered to match demand. This is basic thermodynamics and engineering. It's to to do with the maximum 'slew rate'. Steam turbines can't move that quickly so you have to use OCGTs with their much lower thermodynamic efficiency fill in the gaps between the wind surges.

So, with fossil fuelled grids, taking account the CO2 cost of the windmill infrastructure, ~10% is the maximum wind energy you can put in if you want to save any CO2. The maximum you can put in without crashing the grid is 20% but by then CO2 output is much higher than with no windmills at all.

Hydro can get that figure up to ~30% and save CO2 but if it's pump storage hydro, you have to use nuclear plant to pump the water at times of high demand to sink wind surges.

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

But, there is absolutely no saving in CO2 emissions because the gas plants carry on running as before but they are just feeding less electricity into the grid.

Gordon Hughes.

Is that really true? I find it impossible to believe.

The fuel needed to keep a gas turbine and a synchronous generator coupled directly to its shaft spinning at constant speed just has to be consumed at a much lower rate than when the generator is delivering its maximum rated output.

It obviously needs to be burning some fuel to keep spinning - but the same rate of consumption at zero load as at full load? Come on. Think about it.

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A; Hughes has got it wrong: it's to do with the steam turbine efficiency, see above.

Fred Udo's paper shows real data for the Irish grid:

See figure 7 which shows that at 30% penetration, fuel use is about 28% more. This was very influential on the North Holland province decision to stop adding wind farms. the cost isn't worth it.

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM


First the bad news:

Current Transformer Electricity Meters from 2020
12.27 After 31 December 2019, the licensee must not supply electricity to any Designated Premises or Domestic Premises through a Current Transformer Electricity Meter which is not also an advanced meter.

Then the ray of hope:

12.29 The prohibition imposed by paragraph 12.27 does not apply where the licensee is unable to install or arrange for the installation of an advanced meter at the Designated Premises or the Domestic Premises in question despite taking all reasonable steps to do so

So it sounds like you might be safe if you can prevent installation?

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Gareth is right. There is a big difference in energy consumption to providing spinning reserve (bugger all) and actual energy consumption for electricity generation. Gas fired CCGTs are actually not very good at providing spinning reserve - the old fashioned coal and nuclear power stations provide most spinning reserve due to their much greater inertia.

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark W

Dung: I shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that they can't change my meter. Gates padlocked and garage locked should do the trick.

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I seem to remember I advocated [my own] civil disobedience on smart meters as a comment some time ago.

Wait for the headlines:

"Grandmother imprisoned for refusal to have smart meter...."
(any married woman over 50 being referred to by the press as a grandmother)

Sep 28, 2012 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

"refuse a smart meter"

I certainly intend to, but I wonder how these things have been costed? To turn off individual appliances requires a lot more than a black box where the mains comes in - it either needs house rewiring or, more likely, individual appliance controllers, using the existing wiring to transmit data. Expensive, and what if the wiring is already used for the purpose of distributing ethernet data? They may be trouble ahead...

Sep 28, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

One of the (many!) things that annoyed me about the Lynas article was that he 'quoted' conversations with anonymous sources to back up his story. That doesn't even rate as anecdota, let alone data.

We can argue till the cows come home about the numbers, but in principle:

- wind energy gets priority, even though it is many times more expensive
- spinning reserve cost arguments, moo moo. The point is, it is like arguing over the change in annual infrastructure costs for the water supply system because whenever a truck carrying bottled water appears in the street, the drinking water taps are turned off. To save the planet. And we have to pay the bottled water price. To save the planet.

These diversions are - well - diverting.

Sep 28, 2012 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Marc W
No, Alec M is right. Inertia (rotational) has very little to do with reserve since (a) the energy content isn't high enough and (b) you want your plant to stay at synchronous speed. You won't be using CCGTs at 0 MW sent out as a reserve plant, they'll be part loaded at ~60 % power, running at reduced efficiency, supplying steam to the steam range (which may well include a steam drum), and partly reliant upon the stored energy capacity in the steam range to provide any fast (primary) response required to cope with wind.
An issue forgotten for CCGT operation is that part-loading does not only reduce efficiency but also increases maintenance costs. I'm not sure why (perhaps someone here knows) but I think it's to do with thermal stressing of the gas turbine blades.
Nuclear plant can provide response, again playing the steam range trick. But to sustain any changes in power delivery will require changes in reactor operation levels and I'm again not sure how fast a PWR can be power shifted, nor whether this would lead to any possible argon poisoning (as occurs with magnox stations).
So apart from pumped storage (and Dinorwig is really fully committed to stabilising the present fossil-fueld grid) that leaves us with OCGT and coal as security against the foibles of wind and solar.

Sep 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

> To turn off individual appliances requires a lot more than a black box where the mains comes in

They are planning on having "smart appliances" which will switch themselves off when told to by the smart meter (see this Which article).
If they ever do produce these "smart" appliances then the first thing I will do is disable this ability.

Sep 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

In the US smart meters are different in different regions, but basically all use radio at about 900 MHz. The one we have can be queried for consumption, which allowed them to fire all the meter readers. It can also be turned on and off remotely making it simple to disconnect you.

The more complex variety that some people want to see require a much more invasive change, identifying and switching circuits of high consumption such as heating/cooling.

Anyway, if they ever tried such a thing around here, there would undoubtably be a nasty outbreak of high power 900 MHz interference.

Sep 28, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterPJP

I imagine a Faraday cage around any device needing to send/receive a radio signal would prevent such.

Sep 28, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnon

If we have a government that is planning to enable them to turn our freaking kettles on and off for us then things have gone way too far, vote UKIP is now an absolutely urgent priority.

Sep 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Am I to understand from your various discussions that, it is now an established fact that CO2 is to be reduced because it is the cause of climate change, warming, whatever? And all you are doing at the house of skepticism is arguing where to put the decimal point?

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

"Assuming complete combustion"

This is the whole point - any type of combustion process has a peak efficiency point at which the maximum conversion of fuel to heat is achieved. CCGT's make use of the surplus heat to generate steam in a boiler - this won't work properly, or at all, if the main stage is not doing little or no useful work.

"I think it's to do with thermal stressing of the gas turbine blades"

This certainly true, leading to increased maintenance costs. In the aviation industry (which uses lots of gas turbines) the number of engine cycles is more important than the total number of hours run. Flight management software calculates the speeds, and climb/descent rates to get the best fuel economy.

Even in an ordinary modern truck the engine rev counter has a fairly narrow "Green" sector which the driver is encouraged to keep within. He/she could ignore it and let the engine rev, but any small performance gains would quickly be offset by much greater fuel consumption.

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

tomo says-

"It's a shame with all the smart metering etcetera - that proponents of wind power can't be connected in a fashion that accurately mimics the output and financial performance of the present turbines."

Well, most smart meters have remote disconnect capability. A wireless command from central can toggle the customer on and off. This is normally used to punish nonpayers.

However, it has broader implications for green energy.
With this capability, your idea can become reality. Wind farm output power is available almost real-time from the utility's SCADA system. This data can be fed into the revenue meter software. Customers who have selected green energy as their supply will then have their smart meter toggled on and off in synchrony with the wind farm output power. We can call the new feature Green Renewable Output Availability Normalization, or GROAN, which coincidentally will be the noise emitted by the customer every time the power snaps off.

Another benefit of this approach is that customers who select green energy can also be billed for the true cost of that energy. This limits the redistribution of costs among only the users of the green energy, rather than the general public.

I encourage every pro-winder to rabidly promote this solution. I expect the paperless, fossil-fuel-shunning Guardian will line up to promote, er 'report on' this option.

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

Meanwhile back at the funny farm.

according to government figures, renewable electricity fell to 2,498 gigawatt hours (GWh) between April and June from 4,596 GWh the previous quarter, the most dramatic fall in mainland Britain. There has been a 600 GWh drop from the same quarter last year.

Morphs into

Energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “These statistics show once again that Scotland leads the world in renewable energy generation and that our industry goes from strength to strength. We have a responsibility to make sure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs and secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy.”

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

How can you be energy independent when your wind turbines use Neodynium magnets from China????

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

We can all have some amusement watching the Isle of Wight become an EcoIsland, complete with the UK's first smart metering scheme. If you Google EcoIsland you'll be able to read how the scheme is already a triumph before it's started (such schemes always are).

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell


Here you go The word on smart meters from our EU overlords Uses smart meters to price you to switch off, and if thaat don't work, they will switch you off! :-

EcoGrid EU
A Prototype for European Smart Grids Guide to the large-scale project



Sep 28, 2012 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Granddad

I suspect that this whole smart meter scheme is yet another case of a few idiot politicians with their special adivisors making up the legislation and expecting the technology to follow accordingly. As the clock ticks down to 2020 and it becomes apparent that the whole scheme is techologically unfeasible, it will be quietly swept under the rug.

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:45 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

George Steiner: If it was truly zero-cost to reduce CO2 emissions why would any of us wish to hold back, given that some in our society are convinced that this is the only way to avert disaster? The problem arises because it is far from zero cost. But it's also important not to overstate the case. I'm inclined to think Hughes has, through not understanding the physics and engineering of plants providing spinning reserve.

This has been a valuable discussion. Perhaps Harrabin was correct to hesitate and Helmer should have been slower to criticise him. Stranger things have happened.

The debate about whether our projected carbon emissions are remotely likely to lead to any net loss danger is at a different level. I commend the discipline of AlecM and others in not getting into that in this thread. One step at a time - and let's get each step right.

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Dung, re:Installation of smart meters.

I wouldn't be so confident of stopping them. Let me tell you a short story to explain why.

I moved back into my old house, which had been let out for a few years, last October. I arrived home from work one Friday to find an enormous (unrealistically so) gas bill for one month's gas, but since it was based on an estimate went down to the cellar to check the true reading. Damn me if I couldn't see anywhere to take a reading. Made myself a brew, had a sit down then went to re-check at which point it occurred to me that the pipework looked very new and there was a slot for a 'smart card'.

A very irate phone call to the gas company later it turns out they's had a locksmith break into the house whilst I was out and fitted a sparkly new pre-payment smart meter since my ex-tenants owed them some money (as an aside, they owed me more, but that's by the by).

With a bit of me doing a shoutybearhead routine they did come back and install a proper, non-smart meter again and, as they'd already disposed of the old meter we agreed that any gas used up to that point was their problem and not mine - and they also gave me some more money not to take them to court.

Long and the short of it, if they want to fit a smart meter, they'll do it while you're not looking.

Oh yeah, they did have a court order to break in, but it wasn't taken out against me and as such was completely unenforceable.

Sep 28, 2012 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

I wouldn't be so sure about that Salopian. Under pressure from a huge number of vested commercial interests, who had previously imagined said 'smart' meters whirring around like that of a jet-powered taxi, the pound signs flickering past their eyes in every greater numbers, I think whatever government we have to misfortune to suffer under in 2020 will be desperately scrabbling to make the system work, hosing money around and issuing ever more sanctimonious claims. A gruesome array of green groups will also on hand, shrieking, demanding, insisting, producing the usual hysterical chorus of imminent end of civilisation, millions dying, fossil-fuel funded conspiracies, etc.

When in the end the whole mad scheme disintegrates, we will all be left counting the cost for years and years to come.

Sep 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts


Didn't know whether to laugh or cry reading your story.

What more precise illustration could there be of the devastating combination of stupidity, incompetence and greed driving this whole sorry business.

Well done for facing them down, though.

Sep 28, 2012 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Richard Drake; the zero CO2 saving argument against the windmills is a powerful debating point against the scam. As for the science, the fact that there has never been any unambiguous experimental proof of CO2-AGW is also very powerful. The Nahle Mylar balloon experiment proves that there is no direct thermaliisation and the physics explaining the real GHE is coming along fine!

Sep 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

The up-side of Smart(!?) metering is that it can be trialled at Westminster & Brussels. Subsequent power-interruptions should at least interfere with Directives-production.

Sep 28, 2012 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I raised Gareth's point in a comment to the first article. I don't think it has been answered satisfactorily.

While it is very easy to belive that 'spinning reserve' CCGT uses a lot of gas, it's pretty hard to beleive that it uses the same gas as a fully loaded power station.

And if there is ANY reduction whatsoever in CO2 when the load is reduced from 100% capacity to say 80% capacity, then the Hughes argument is wrong. The error is in the assumption that wind backup is a spinning reserve, whereas the Lynas argument is that the wind backup is the 80-100% capacity range on the already running CCGT.

Sep 28, 2012 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta

Does anyone know exactly what actual qualifications both Lynas and Goodall have?

Sep 28, 2012 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Mike

I find this a very interesting thread, with plenty of factual (hopefully!) statements to learn from.

I don't doubt the grid instability and other problems that arise with substantial wind generation, but (leaving aside other objections to wind turbines) I still have difficulty seeing why a moderate (<10%) wind generation capacity should not lead to reduced total CO2 emissions, provided CCGT plants operating at highish (>60%) load are the swing factor.

AlecM wrote:
"Fred Udo's paper shows real data for the Irish grid:
See figure 7 which shows that at 30% penetration, fuel use is about 28% more."

Fred Udo's paper is certainly interesting, but I wasn't convinced that a Figure 7 type analysis - showing fuel efficiency for conventional generation declining with wind penetration - was valid. That is because it does not allow for the inverse correlation between wind penetration and demand. When demand suddenly drops, wind penetration automatically jumps and at the same time gas etc. plants become less efficient as they run at a lower level of output. But maybe much the same would have happened even if there were no wind generation, since the drop in demand would still cause a fall in the efficiency of conventional plants.

Does AlecM, or any other commentator with knowledge of how these effects work out in practice, have any comments on my thoughts?

Sep 28, 2012 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterNic Lewis

Richard Drake; the zero CO2 saving argument against the windmills is a powerful debating point against the scam. As for the science, the fact that there has never been any unambiguous experimental proof of CO2-AGW is also very powerful.

How much CO2 is saved by wind farms, if any, is a much easier matter than an unambiguous experimental proof of CO2-AGW - though it won't be easy to achieve consensus even on the first, a subject with which I just commended you for sticking. Inevitably, this observation caused the particle concerned to change, a la Heisenberg. Mysteries abound but the thread, including details and speculations on smart meters, remains educational.

Sep 28, 2012 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

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