JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Nothing shows how pathetic solar and battery power are like the pitiful celebrations

Strap yourself in: Solar Power and batteries made a whole town 100% renewable (for 80 minutes).

It’s an Australian first! Put out a press release. No seriously, they did:

Solar and battery microgrid takes WA town to 100% renewables in Australian first

Western Australia has again demonstrated its remote renewable energy generation chops, after successfully powering the Pilbara town of Onslow entirely on a combination of large and small-scale solar and battery storage for a total of 80 minutes.

Only 520,000 minutes short of a whole year.

“The milestone achievement was announced by WA energy minister Bill Johnston on Friday morning after being demonstrated by state government-owned regional utility Horizon Power, which established the solar and storage microgrid next to an existing gas plant.”

Onslow is a metropolis of 847 people sited in one of the sunniest zones in one of the sunniest countries in the world. With at least 3650 hours of sun a year, Onslow vies for a top ten position globally.

If solar power was going to make it anywhere, this would be it. But we all know what keeps the lights on in Onslow and it isn’t solar power.

The […]

Queensland’s Near Miss: hydrogen may have exploded at a coal plant (and renewables don’t save the day)

Tuesday was a wild day for Queensland Electricity. An explosion struck the Callide C Power Plant triggering a cascade of other plants to switch off within seconds. The massive 2.5GW fall in supply took the grid frequency in Brisbane to a hair raising 49.55Hz. How close did it come to falling over? Half a million people lost power for a couple of hours but a Statewide blackout was averted. Luckily no one was hurt.

Meanwhile the people in power were not saying “Hydrogen”, or “explosion” but the Supercritical Units at Callide are cooled with hydrogen, and there was an explosion. The owner CS Energy called it just “a fire”. But in other news reports people in the nearest town said it was “the loudest explosion they have ever heard”.

Hydrogen, it seems, is used in some coal plants as a coolant, but Holy Hindenberg, it is known to explode. (See Ohio in 2007, Pittsburg in 2017 and India, 2019) . A Union official said it appeared the hydrogen filled generator of the main turbine had suffered a catastrophic failure. And it’s all exquisitely awkward, as David Archibald points out, happening while a two day Hydrogen Conference is on — as […]

Fifty years of failed renewables predictions

For five decades, experts have been predicting renewable energy would supply 20 – 50% of the US Electricity Grid. Instead it’s taken twice as long to get to one fifth of the original prediction. (And to get to that pitiful 10%, that includes Hydropower).

Renewable Energy is the wordsmiths Great Hopium. The seductive temptation of “free energy” rolls on, never mind about the vast infrastructure and land it takes to capture a low density energy source. The price for “free fuel” is expensive maintenance, costly transmission, extra stability charges, and eye-bleeding storage costs (or an entire national spare grid for “back up?”).

For fifty years people have been overestimating the renewables transition.

The graphs comes from the JPMorgan, Energy Review. Even back in 1970, the need for 24 hour supply and frequency stability were well known.

A search online did not find a copy anywhere of Bent Sorensen’s original 1970-ish prediction, but it did find about 500 articles and nine of his books, showing that if at first you don’t succeed, you can make a career out of it.

Joe Biden is also marching down Failure Boulevard:

What are the odds?

Globally we used to get […]

Wednesday’s mass failure of $20 billion worth of Wind power in Australia

What grows on a wind “farm” ? Debt-cows

On Wednesday nearly all the wind generators in the country failed. About 4,000 turbines across five states of Australia were hit by some kind of simultaneous fuel crisis. At one point all the wind power in our national grid was only making 3% of Australia’s electricity, and that was the best part of the day. At its worst, all those turbines produced about 1.2% of the power we needed. It was that bad.

Across the nation, something like $15 to $20 billion dollars of infrastructure ground to a halt.

Welcome to the clean green energy future:

The black line in this image is the total power generation across the day, and that equates equally to power consumption across the day. The green colour rolling along the bottom is wind generation, all of it, across the day. Who pays for the battery back up for these dysfunctional non-farms?

As Rafe Champion would say — it was a “choke point” all day.

It would be nice to believe this incident was due to all the old failing wind towers that used to be reliable workhorses. If only. Then there would be hope […]

Germany shuts too much coal, lasted 8 days without them, now admits they can’t close them

Emden, Germany by Gritte

On January 1st, Germany shut 11 coal fired plants with about 4.7GW of generating power — supposedly as a part of the Big Phaseout. But eight days later the wind wasn’t blowing and according to Pierre Goslin the system got so unstable that the managers had to turn back on some of the coal power.This on-off-cycle repeated so many times that one large plant — Heyden –was restarted six times in the next eight weeks.

The Federal Network Agency have reclassified the four of the big plants as “system relevant” which means they have to hang around on standby ready to rescue the grid at any time. So the largest efficient and cheap generators on the grid will be paid to sit around waiting for the unreliable expensive energy to fail.

2021 German Coal Plant “Phaseout” Lasted Only 8 Days…Put Back Online To Stabilize Shaky Grid

The Federal Network Agency has now confirmed that it has reclassified the Heyden, Datteln, Walsum 9 and Westfalen power plants, which had already been shut down, as system-relevant and that they now must remain […]

Africa to double coal fired power by 2030

In the next ten years, Australia will close a couple of coal plants, while Africa will build 1250.

Africa is going to double its energy and almost all the increase is coming from fossil fuels. This is hard to explain, given that renewables are “free” and Africa is poor. But at the end of the decade unreliable renewables will still make less than 10% of the energy in Africa.

Thanks to the GWPF:

Fossil fuels to dominate Africa’s energy mix this decade – report

Power Engineering International

A new study into Africa’s energy generation landscape uses a state-of-the-art machine-learning technique to analyse the pipeline of more than 2,500 planned power plants and their chances of successful commission.

African power generation, 2030, graph.

The study predicts that in 2030, fossil fuels will account for two-thirds of all generated electricity across Africa. While an additional 18% of generation is set to come from hydro-energy projects. These have their own challenges, such as being vulnerable to an increasing number of droughts caused by climate change.

This is only the start. Most countries in Africa are not even in the race yet:

South […]

Time to boycott Slave-made Solar Panels?

How many Australian houses are covered in the trappings of slave labor? The EU has discovered some ethical rats inhabit their roofs.

Tim Blair spots some turbo-powered hypocrisy among those that normally lecture the rest of us on ethical consumerism.

Solar: Slavery Sourced, Green Endorsed, Tax Subsidised

Ethically-sourced food, clothing, coffee and even magical healing crystals are a big draw to concerned green types, who profess to worry deeply about the origin of anything they buy.

But the same types aren’t too fussed over the origins of their holy solar panels.

Indeed. Awkward news came out last month that “Nearly every solar power panel sold in the European Union has its origins in China’s oppressed Xinjiang region.”

Fears over China’s Muslim forced labor loom over EU solar power

Politico

Panels include components produced in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, where there are concerns about forced labor camps for Muslim minorities, including Uighurs.

The solar industry and Brussels lawmakers argue Europe’s renewable energy push should not come at a human cost amid long-standing international concern over reports China has detained 1 million people with Muslim backgrounds in camps […]

In a fluke moment SA and Vic have got cheap electricity (but only thanks to Black coal, and a screwed market)

Yesterdays free advertisement for the Renewables Industry comes from Peter Martin, ANU, and was swallowed whole by The Conversation, and then repeated by The ABC. (If only the ABC had three million dollars a day to spend on checking things before it published them, they might have warned the economist that he doesn’t understand much about the grid or even the energy market.) This kind of anti-coal PsyOps might work on teenagers: Electricity has become a jigsaw. Coal is unable to provide the missing pieces

March 16, 2021 1.46pm AEDT

Yallourn, in the Latrobe Valley, provides up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s power. It has been operating for 47 years. Since late 2017 at least one of its four units has broken down 50 times. Its workforce doubles for three to four months most years to deal with the breakdowns. It pumps out 3 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.

And here’s Macarthur Wind Power plant, Victoria’s largest at 420-never-attained-MW. It breaks down nearly every single day:

Fig 1: Anero.id Macarthur Wind output

Martin goes on in a non-stop infomercial for wind and solar He must be aiming for 12 year old voters, or perhaps […]

Texas was prepared for global warming but not the return of the cold

If only climate modelers had warned us that children would know what Frozen Fish Tanks were?

Instead Texas spent most of the last decade and billions of dollars trying to cool the world by changing its electricity grid.

Thanks to market-distorting policies that favor and subsidize wind and solar energy, Texas has added more than 20,000 megawatts (MW) of those intermittent resources since 2015 while barely adding any natural gas and retiring significant coal generation. — Jason Issac

Indeed Texas has the fifth largest windpower fleet in the world — bigger than everyone except China, the USA, Germany and India. But having that industrial fleet of free clean energy didn’t save Texas this week. What happened appears to have been a systemic wide failure on so many levels. But one of those levels surely, is the failure to winterize the grid. There are plenty of gas and wind plants in colder places like Canada and they run through winter just fine.

But the awful truth is, that it costs more to add these “heat and de-icing” features and with everyone planning for Global Warming, well, who needs ’em? It’s almost like ERCOT in Texas assumed the […]

Texas: day four without power and water for some, fishtanks freeze, pipes burst, “worse than Africa”

Even if the Texas situation resolves tomorrow the anger will burn for months

A few hours ago, about one quarter of Texas still didn’t have power. After three or four days without power some houses are so cold the fishtanks have frozen over. Some people have been without power for 84 hours straight and ERCOT — the Texas Electricity management can’t say when it will be restored (though they have just announced it might be soon). It is still operating under the EEA 3 highest emergency level. Many people have had their power return for a couple of hours only to lose it again. And there is a burning anger at the unfairness of it all. People say they can see houses, shops and office buildings “lit up like Christmas trees” but have had no power themselves for days. Some are using their cars to warm themselves and charge phones but after three days they are running out of gas. There are restaurants that are offering free food.

It’s so cold in Texas homes that fish tanks are frozen. pic.twitter.com/IRuDjpG5Af

— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) February 18, 2021

Others are desperately using gas BBQ’s indoors even though it […]