People talkin’ #8

It’s been a long time, as the man sang, since the last open thread, and as a few comment threads have been wandering a long way off topic, here’s a new opportunity to discuss matters of current concern and/or controversy in climate science, politics and policy. There’s a lot to talk about in the run up to Rio…

221 thoughts on “People talkin’ #8”

  1. Response to this:

    > a very fine distinction

    No Richard C2, a huge difference — as you will notice when the corrected paper / corrigendum comes out.

    > peer-review was useless in uncovering the flaw(s)

    Peer review is not replication, and not expected to be. It can only spot the more obvious flaws, which this was not (though the described use of a non-standard procedure should have put bells ringing)

  2. Mustakissa – focusing on carefully selected pieces of information, i.e. cherry-picking, neglects the big picture of the Medieval climate:

    1. The geographical distribution of the proxy data, and their inferred temperature & precipitation anomalies matches our knowledge of the atmospheric circulations. In other words the proxy data is consistent with climate modeling.

    2. The cooler La Nina-like pattern in the tropical Pacific Ocean during Medieval times is consistent with the North American (US southwest) megadroughts that persisted throughout this time.

    3. The more-or-less stable sea level trend throughout the Medieval period effectively demonstrates it was cooler than present. Recent sea level rise, in comparison to the last 6000 years or so, is anomalous.

  3. Reply to John ONeil:

    John, what you write sounds very strange. If I were in that situation, I would shut down gas or coal based power generation first before nuclear. I cannot imagine that in Germany at any time they wouldn’t be running any coal or gas plants at all, only nuclear and wind… their mix just isn’t like that. Sure this isn’t urban legend? It might be good to look for a source for this.

    1. This is an article from Spiegel Online

      Germany Plans Boom in Coal-Fired Power Plants — Despite High Emissions

      A total of 12 plants are being planned or built in North Rhine-Westphalia alone. If they were all to be connected to the electricity grid, they would produce an annual 68 million tons of emissions, according to calculations by North Rhine-Westphalia’s Green Party — more than Switzerland’s total annual emissions.

      The coal business is also booming in former East Germany, where brown coal or lignite is traditionally extracted in open pit mines. Saxony-Anhalt alone is thought to have reserves in the order of 10.9 billion tons. Merkel has explicitly encouraged energy companies to invest in coal-burning: “Germany has considerable natural resources in the form of brown coal which we shouldn’t downplay,” she told an audience of businesspeople last year.

      Meanwhile, in the failing Spanish economy, they are putting the squeeze on the renewables sector

      Spanish renewable-energy companies that once got Europe’s biggest subsidies are deserting the nation after the government shut off aid, pushing project developers and equipment-makers to work abroad or perish.


        1. As with the ‘China builds one coal power station a day’ claims that go round and round, it is worth looking at what existing coal and other plant is being retired, and what the net effect of these new plants will be on coal burning and emissions.

  4. Query: are the snowfalls of the last few NZ winters anomalous?

    There is evidence that the AGW-induced reduction of the temperature differential between the Northern Hemisphere equator and poles is causing more severe winters; has any work been done on this for the Southern Hemisphere?

    Just asking….

    1. I think you’re referring to this recent paper: Arctic Ice Melt Is Setting Stage for Severe Winters. The thesis is that the reduced temperature gradient allows the jetstream to wander in bigger “loops” – allowing cold weather further south and for longer (and vice versa: see this blog post by Ricky Rood).

      Of course the SH is very different, so different factors are in play: the observed strengthening of the circumpolar westerlies, the behaviour of the southern oscillation, a suspected increase in the intensity of high-pressure systems and perhaps an increase in blocking events, in which those big highs get “stuck” and feed cold air up from the south on one side, and warm down on the other. There’s also an observed pattern of circulation over Antarctica which has lead/is leading to increased sea ice growth to the S of NZ. I’m not aware of any synthesis that tries to pull all that together in relation to current weather here, but I’d be most interested to learn more, or to have someone who knows more than I chip in…

  5. Mustakissa- not sure of the details on that- just stumbled on it while looking for something else- but from what I understand the German government’s arrangement with the nuclear operators ( in the original shutdown scenario) was that the plants could keep operating but only for a fixed total of gigawatt hours each. So the operators had an incentive to husband their production for when they really needed it, whereas the grids were obliged to take all the renewables produced whether they needed it or not

    1. John, thanks, that sounds much more plausible.

      Does this mean then that the total amount of GWh from nuclear was fixed? Then judiciously choosing when to use it would indeed help to make the most of variable energy sources like wind — or am I missing something?

      1. A nuclear plant owner is unlikely to vary their output in response to demand or marginal cost as the plant costs more to run that way. They are more likely to run at a steady output with scheduled maintenance periods regardless of the spot price. Like wind, nuclear has no significant variable cost of production so will always take any spot price to run, even if it is low. Fuel burning plants will not want to run at a spot price below the cost of the fuel burnt, thats why wind and nuclear have the lowest spot prices.
        I dont know the German power market, they may have fixed price agreements (as currently being proposed in UK) as an incentive to nuclear. I understand that their grid has much slower and longer gate closure periods than the UK, and such lumbering management makes it harder to sell intermittent power, so that may be the drive behind any obligation to take renewables.
        Here in the UK we have a nimble grid with short gate closure times. after you make each commitment you get fined if you pump to much or to little into the grid. Does anyone know the gate closure terms in NZ – or is that getting too geeky even for an open thread.

    1. With El Nino about to take shape, it is likely to be a long cold winter here in NZ. And drought on the horizon for those of us in the north. The last month has been much drier here in Northland already- a discomforting observation.

  6. Not sure how the market works,but most of the wind farms here are owned by the big three government owned power companies, who also own hydro; some of the planned wind farms were explicitly designed to tie in with transmission from nearby dams. Contact, the fourth big generator, was sold by the government a few years ago; it has no wind farms currently but some planned I think. The government is currently planning to sell 49% of it’s power companies, and they may be positioning themselves for a better market price- some wind and hydro projects, probably contentious, were cancelled recently, and the big coal/gas plant at Huntly will be progressively shut down.
    My friend sells to the grid from his small windmill at parity with retail price, but only one power supplier does that, and probably not for too much longer.

    1. The tie in with transmission from nearby dams is most likely to take advantage of a grid connection. New grid connections are expensive and may be subject to their own consenting procedure. The hydro operator may also have a degree of control over land in the reservoir watershed. I do not know what NZ grid network operators permitted development rights are. I would be surprised if this limited coincidence of wind and hydro was for any degree of ‘pairing up’ of generators to cover intermitancy.
      A generator and retailer of electricity is not going to exclusively sell you electrons from their generator. They will sell into a pool and then pay back to that pool for your consumption, exactly the same way a power retailer does who has no generation capacity of their own.
      I did note that Meridian abandoned its hydro (consented) and wind (project Hayes being appealed) projects, most likely to be better able to put a price on shares. From the little I know of the scheme, I would be very surprised if Project Hayes does not come back under a new developer as the case against was weak, flailing and emotional to say the least.
      I have sympathy for the power suppliers not paying much or anything to residential mini wind turbines. On a cost curve of actions we need to take to slash CO2 emissions from modern power grids, incentivising domestic windmills comes low down the list.

    2. Contact has planning consent for two big windfarms, pardon my ignorance of the distribution of NZ hydro generators, but I dont think these are tied to existing hydro generation, Contact’s or anyone else.
      outline info at
      It is projects like these that make me daydream about moving to NZ.
      The advantage of the UK industry is the incentive (andyS – ‘subsidy!’) we have for new renewable development (ROCs) to promote new clean generation where there is no shortage of existing generation capacity (a crowded market). This lets us plan and develop small and medium sized wind farms in confidence – activity needed to bring down our emissions. In NZ it appears that, being driven by projected market demand, the big projects dominate, with correspondingly big developers, as margins are lower and risk is greater.

      1. There are no wind farms in NZ being built at present because there is no demand. No demand because no economic growth.

        I thought that’s what you guys wanted. Stick to the script can’t you?

  7. Of all the sordid dreck…

    Well, here’s something that’s just blown up in some faces.

    Remember this? How about this?

    We’ll have a quote, shall we, from andy’s hero, the gangly, sneering self-described ‘Rock Star’ of the Deniers? Let’s…

    Maybe it’s time someone did an FOI to see whether the UEA’s dodgy and discredited Phil Jones really did get any of those “death threats” he claims to have received after Climategate and which allegedly drove him to consider suicide. Speaking for myself, if Phil Jones released a report claiming that grass is green I’d feel compelled to go outside just to double check.

    That’s from last month. In a charming piece entitled ‘Lying climate Scientists lie again – about death threats, this time.’

    Well, one of the Great Man’s sleazy little acolytes may even have done so, at any rate, here’s just some of what whoever did netted:

    Your children and family will know, because we know where you live. expect us at your door to say hello

    We have the right to bear arms and these perverted assholes will be wasted. We have plans for you as well. If you bring your family, all the merrier.

    Not all will tolerate your thieving lying ways when it impacts their family. Beware of retribution upon yours. Someone some where will hunt you down.

    You are the scum of the earth and should be put in front of a firing squad.

    Please, for Christ’s sake, kill yourself.

    8 pages of it. Link below. (In my experience 3 links and your post goes west.)

    And shall we wonder how many of the Great Man’s sleazy little acolytes may have been responsible for the abuse and threats in the first place?

    Eh, andy? Recognise any ‘Brown Shirts’ in the above, do you?

    It is hard to find words to convey my disgust.

    Here’s how the four-step, Foxtrot to Hell works –

    1: Abuse.

    2: Contemptuous denial that any abuse has occurred.

    3: Grudging acknowledgement that abuse has occurred, but it’s the abusee’s own fault, combined with nit-picking about what constitutes a threat that would never be applied to verbal thrusts directed at the ‘skeptic’s own precious carcass.

    4: Revisionist claims that any grudgingly acknowledged abuse is actually all a ploy anyway because we all know the abusees are actually the abusers.

    This last is already happening, of course. Because Denial is a sick, sad, sordid little world…

    1. I was waiting for one of you [self snipped] to post something about the UEA emails that were released under FOI and universally condemned at Bishop Hill and WUWT

      [self snipped]

      1. Universal condemnation? Yeah, right. Here’s some of your friends at Bishop Hill.

        What about the possibility that many/all of these e:mails are “false flag” attacks?

        I’m with you on this one.
        Have these emails been peer reviewed?

        Should the death threat makers imply these individual emails were taken out of context from their larger body of expressive work..? Perhaps these folks should just only admit that some of this is “unhelpful” and leave it at that. 🙂

        Of course they are vile, but once again I am amazed at the preciousness of people who want to drive major changes in the way we live without any consequences.

        Some vile stuff for sure. But almost all of them are not death threats. People say “I hope you die” and “kill yourself” and stuff like that. Only a couple threaten actual harm.

        I cannot see death threats in it.

        Ah, yes, there’s rather a lot of that at BH. Stage 3 – nitpicking about death-threats. Imagine if any of the following was directed at you, andy.

        Your children and family will know, because we know where you live. expect us at your door to say hello

        I’d kill you in a second if given the chance. I’ve grown to absolutely hate you leftist bastards and I’m now going to take physical action against you.

        I really am close to killing one of you personally [all caps removed]

        Since you’re so offended by being caught up in a very just call-out of your own community, feel free to simply leave. No-one would miss you

        1. They are not my “friends”. People who post on blogs that I read are not my friends by default.

          The main issue I have is that Phil Jones was probably at a very low ebb mentally at the time. He may well have been suicidal as he claimed. Posting this kind of material is a kind of mental cruelty even though people in public life get this kind of abusive drivel all the time.

            1. It’s that “you people” thing again Bill

              Who is this “you people”?

              I’ve had half a dozen mates kill themselves. I feel empathy for people in this position, regardless of whether I agree with them or respect their position. It’s a terrible thing and one of the great taboos of our age.

            2. andyS at 8:48pm June 14th – ‘Who is this “you people”?’

              andyS at 7:32am June 14th – ‘I thought that’s what you guys wanted. Stick to the script can’t you?’

              andyS, you are a twit, and not in an endearing way.

            3. ‘You people’ is a term that ‘jerks’, ‘climate skinheads’, ‘brown shirts’ and the ‘khmer vert’ might use to describe the kind of people who describe them as ‘jerks’, ‘climate skinheads’ etc.. They’re that much less likely to use it if they’ve never been abused in such a way in the first place.

              And he should just have deleted the emails, eh? A: oh, the irony. B: No, he should not. I can assure you that if I received such threats via email at my workplace I would be required to do nothing of the sort, as you, of all people, must be only too aware.

              And speaking of failures to meet the most basic standards of both ethics and empathy; what, if there’s no formal police report, there’s no problem? Woah, not only are a remarkable number of ‘you people’ re-embracing bad-old-days concepts such as ‘contributory negligence’ in an assault, but if the victim then doesn’t react in the ‘proper’ way you’ve decreed he or she must, then there’s no problem, right? Gee whiz, where have I heard all this before?

              What really pisses me off is that it’s all abuse. Abuse abuse. Denial of abuse abuse. Hypocritical hair-splitting about what constitutes abuse abuse. Trivialisation of abuse abuse. ‘Abusee didn’t follow procedure so abuse is moot’ abuse. Revisionist inversion of abuse (e.g. ‘it’s a false-flag operation’) abuse. It’s all abuse.

              There are, sadly, many historical precedents where we see precisely this range of compounded abuses being directed at out-groups. None of them are pretty…

          1. Simon Hopkinson, who it appears put in the origial FOI request for the “death threat emails”, made this comment at Bishop Hill

            By way of a quick follow-up, in my FOI to the UEA I had also requested some detail about consequent actions by UEA as a result of each of the threats they received. As Bish and others noted, some of these threats do appear to be criminal in nature. UEA did not respond with this particular detail.

            In anticipation of this, I had also put in a FOI to Norfolk Constabulary:

            Please provide a breakdown per month, the number of:
            a) threats to life
            b) threats of bodily harm

            which were reported to Norfolk Constabulary by members of the
            University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit in the period 1st
            November 2009 to 30th April 2012, inclusive.

            They responded this morning:

            Response to your Request

            Norfolk Constabulary were made aware of emails that had been received by a member of the staff at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. No specific complaint or report was made to the Constabulary and no crimes were recorded detailing threats to life or threats of bodily harm.

            OK, so they are nasty emails, and as I suggested at BH Phil Jones should have just deleted them, but Norfolk Plod have received no complaints etc

      1. This is yet another example of pollutocrats using the reactionary lumpen-proletariat mob to oppress intellectuals and progressives. Here’s Leon Trotsky on Mussolini’s rise to power:

        “Through the fascist agency, capitalism sets in motion the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of declassed and demoralized lumpenproletariat – all the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy.”

        As for the “crazed petty bourgeoisie”, we’ve seen quite a few of those on this site, haven’t we, Andy?

        1. Actually it’s “Petit Bourgeousie” Rob, a term used to describe “small-scale capitalists such as shop-keepers and government employees”

          These people that you despise are taking to the streets across Europe as we speak. You may amuse yourself over the coming months as the eurozone collapses.
          You may take delight in watching cars burned, policemen getting torched, and buildings bombed.

          All coming to a TV near you, for your amusement.

          1. One: andy playing the petit pedant? Puhleese. And that Wikipedia page clearly needs serious tweaking given it’s describing ‘government employees’ as ‘small scale capitalists’.

            Two: andy, there is something wrong with you. You simply cannot stop yourself in your idiotic bad-faith projections onto others.

            You may amuse yourself over the coming months as the eurozone collapses.

            You may take delight in watching cars burned, policemen getting torched, and buildings bombed.

            How many times has this been pointed out to you? And yet you take umbrage at ‘you people’? Keeeriste! Yet another thin-skinned oaf…

            And as if it’s just some petty-bourgeois uprising in Greece, anyway!

            You inhabit the most astonishing fantasy world, and I’m sure that almost everyone here that is exposed to your moribund antics is constantly thankful that they’re not lost in it, too.

            1. Which fantasy world do I live in Bill?
              The world economy is on the brink of a recession potentially at least as bad as the great depression, and our so called leaders and media prattle on about inconsequentialiies.

              Your fantasy world seems more concerning to me.

            2. The global economy is about to/has enter/ed a double-dip recession that may well become another great Depression because this is the logical culmination of the Triumph of the Idiots inaugurated by Saints Margaret and Ronnie in ’79.

              Despite the clear precursors of the Savings and Loans Crisis and then the Enron / WorldCom crashes of the turn-of-the century Stupidity maintained its cheery iron grip, allowing Idiot Deregulation to finally create the 2008 crash, and now Idiot Austerity insists on making it much, much worse.

              To prove a point.

              Because to bona-fide, card-carrying Drongos nothing happened between ’29 and ’79, except there was a short, unpleasant reign of the Anti-Christ, name of Roosevelt, F.D., and then we won a war.

              That’s your side of politics, chum – nothing to do with me.

              Funnily enough, the self-same Drongos also almost universally deny the reality of Climate Change, too, because the (truly) dismal science is their true dogma.

    2. Speaking of angry white males, there is an interesting article on bullying in the NYT today:

      Whether it is a Republican debate audience booing a gay soldier or Rush Limbaugh’s vicious attack on a female Georgetown law student or Newt Gingrich’s salvos at the poor, bullying has become boilerplate. Hiss and taunt. Tease and intimidate. Target your enemies and torture them mercilessly. Maintain primacy through predation…

      The country is changing, and that change is creating friction: between the traditional ruling classes and emerging ones; between traditional social structures and altered ones; between a long-held vision of an American ideal and growing reality that its time has passed.

      And that change is coming with an unrelenting swiftness. Last month, the Census Bureau reported that for the first time in the country’s history, minority births outnumbered those of whites…

      A Gallup poll released Thursday found that a record number of people (54 percent) say that they would be willing to vote for an atheist for president, and a Gallup poll last month found that more people support same-sex marriage than oppose it.

      These dramatic shifts are upending the majority-minority paradigm and are making many people uneasy.

      The Republican-Democratic divide is increasingly becoming an all-white/multicultural divide, a male/female divide, and a more religious/less religious divide — the formers the traditional power classes, and the latters the emerging ones.

      This has led to some increasingly unseemly attacks at traditionally marginalized groups, even as — and possibly particularly because — they grow more powerful.

      Women are under attack. Hispanics are under attack. Minority voting rights are under attack. The poor are under attack. Unsurprisingly, those doing the attacking in every case are from the right.

      Seldom is power freely passed and painlessly surrendered, particularly when the traditionally powerful see the realignment as an existential threat.

  8. EV enthusiasts may be interested that bankrupted Swedish car maker Saab has been bought out and will only make electric cars

    I’m not sure where their market is since hardly anyone is buying electric cars at the moment, but good luck anyway. Saab was a good car and it was a shame to see it go to the wall.

  9. Beaker – the New Zealand spot prices go in half hour blocks, with auction starting three days out and closing (for wind) five minutes out. Most wind farms sell in advance at hedge prices though.

    1. It’s intriguing; James Lovelock is one of those people who, rather like Al Gore, is constantly presented to me/us by ‘you people’ generally as though what he thinks must somehow be of great import to me/us.

      I don’t agree. Just as I’ve never actually seen Gore’s film, I’ve always been underwhelmed by Lovelock. The Gaia hypothesis has always struck me as being, like the Anthropic Principle it resembles, close to banal in the weak form, and close to ludicrous in the strong.

      A great many sane people are pro-Nuclear, but, frankly, as I’ve said before, both politically and economically, they’re dreaming, at least for the foreseeable future. As to the other two, well: old men do believe some odd things, and they will be cantankerous! His ‘humanity will be reduced to a few couples starving on the shores of Antarctica’ stuff was equally over-wrought, and doubtlessly earned your passionate derision.

      1. Yes I completely agree Bill.Why bother with Thorium energy that could provide us with endless energy for thousands of years when we could chose to live in poverty ?

        1. If you ever found a way to market the endless Straw Men you manufacture, andy, you might actually feel you’d achieved some of the success that has so palpably eluded you…

  10. Free Lunch anybody? (with a smidgen of Thorium…?)

    Wake me up when there’s a commercial thorium reactor up & running somewhere on Earth. Then, and only then, will we know the true costs & benefits of energy from thorium.

    Even if thorium technology does progress to the point where it might be commercially viable, it will face the same problems as conventional nuclear: it is not renewable or sustainable and cannot effectively connect to smart grids. The technology is not tried and tested, and none of the main players is interested. Thorium reactors are no more than a distraction

    …meanwhile on a house near-by another 4kW of Solar PV go up, turning the place into yet another net producer on an annual scale…. no mess, no fuss or fission, and the only radiation is coming from the broad grin on the face of the home owner…. 😉

    1. Thorium LFTR was actually demonstrated in the 1950 s but the world moved down the uranium path presumably for the weapons potential.

      LFTR has passive safety, ie no chance of meltdown, little waste problems, small compact reactor design and virtually unlimited fuel.

      There is more radioactivity emitted from coal burning than the average nuclear station emits.

      1. > passive safety

        Nuclear planners are soo like generals preparing to fight the last war, Maginot line and all.

        Yes, the new nuclear fission technologies will be safe against the accidents the planners can imagine, i.e. the accidents of the past. Chernobyl.
        The new accidents will be of a different type altogether. What type? Ask me after the event… the ingredients for unimagined possibilities are there.
        That’s what’s to like about renewables: nothing to blow up, leak out or glow in the dark. And proven technologies that work now.

        BTW using resistance electric heating of homes is just dumb in the age of the heat pump. Stone-age tech.

  11. Physicists chatting on some of the significant LFTR and Thorium issues:

    and here:

    According to one colleague, there was a problem of freezing (solidified) salt or plugged lines, and apparently nearly an unintended criticality event. However, I haven’t verified this.

    ….Marketing versus Reality… the umpteenth sequel of the never ending story…..

    Wake me up when there’s a commercial thorium reactor up & running somewhere on Earth……

    1. For someone who has a physics degree you seem to have remarkably little interest in this.

      Around 50 years ago we managed to put a man on the moon. Now all you can do is whinge about some potential problem that could probably easily be solved.

      However,all you want is to deconstruct our industrial economy, live in the dark and die young from disease and poverty.

  12. ‘ Wake me up when there’s a commercial thorium reactor up & running somewhere on Earth.’
    The smart grids that nuclear power plants are supposed to be unable to interact effectively with are also currently notable for their nonexistence. If there were any, and if they were powered by sources such as current PV and wind, with currently plausible amounts of storage, but no fossils, they would be very much like the Indian grid now – plenty of blackouts (unless you were able to afford very high peak prices ) – except the blackouts would cluster in the evening and winter and during calm periods, rather than being just during peak demand. Anyone needing energy who couldn’t afford electricity would be forced to go without or use alternatives.
    Something similar has happened in Germany, where high electricity prices leave most people using gas for home heating. The French, with cheaper electricity, use more resistance heaters. In the extreme cold spell last northern winter, much was made of nuclear France having to rely on renewable German imports. This ignored a few facts; peak demand was after sunset on calm nights, so nearly all of the German exports were from coal and gas; and French use of electric heating instead of gas is one of the reasons their CO2 emissions are about forty percent lower per head than Germany’s.

    1. The inability of Nucear to work with the non existent smart grid is possibly the lamest excuse I have ever heard.

      So called smart grids are designed to cope with crap energy solutions like wind.

      If my non crap solution doesn’t work with your so called solution to the crap solution you are proposing, where does the problem lie?

  13. As a Physicist I am very interested in nuclear technology indeed. In fact I worked some 30 years ago with a group on Tokamak plasma enclosure experiments with the outlook towards the advancement of fusion technology…..
    Hence my well researched reservations to jump on any bandwagon carrying the nuclear sign that markets itself as a “fix all” and “fix quickly” solution. The LFTR designs have to deal with significant technological issues just as all other nuclear technologies. There is no “free lunch”.

    Thorium reactors may well play a role in decades to come. But besides trying to do some Voodo by hyping Thorium in the Blogosphere what can the ordinary citizen do about it? Precisely Nothing!

    In the meanwhile however “ordinary citizens” can do a host of things towards making a sustainable future more likely by: turning their home into net electricity exporters using PV solar + solar HW; switch to low consumption or electric vehicles; use public transport when possible; avoid unnecessary air travel; switch to low energy lighting; plant a veggie garden; …. just to name a few…

    The future of our industrial economy will be build on the basis of sustainable energy and production technology, smart grids, smart power use and a well needed evaluation of the actual goal of our civilization’s trajectory into the future.

    1. I am already doing most of the things that middle class people like you and I can do Thomas.

      Meanwhile, carbon taxes and inefficient energy sources like wind and solar drive millions into fuel poverty

      These people are poor, but so calked caring left wing types don’t give a stuff because all they care about is their dreary pc world view that enables them to get on the Internet and participate in a massive circle jerk about how many solar panels and hybrid vehicles they own.

    1. Yes, do notice the references to fuel poverty, notice the claim of GBP80 added to household fuel bills, while the actual data released by Ofgem is less than GBP5 per household. Hmmm.
      They have that nice Mr Constable from the Renewable Energy Foundation (origins here and a local CPRE representative decrying a stealth tax (printed on your electricity bill).
      So what do we have, a Telegraph article letting some egregious NIMBY claims past unchallenged, and a Chancellor with popularity problems in his own party trying to win browny points with the most knuckle dragging elements of his own party by goading the Lib coalition partners. Add to that he is apparently signalling a desire to overrule a carefully analysed and appraised 10% cut in onshore ROC reward with a 25% one with no evidence base what so ever. And the knuckle draggers, they put their name to a letter claiming wind turbines are inefficient showing their indifference to comprehending a subject.
      Although NZ politics will be a bit more grown up with regard to coalitions, I am sure that this sort of game playing is not unknown.
      Even IF our chancellor does have an opinion on onshore wind, this is most likely just tubthumping, those nasty Liberals threatened to pull the plug unless we keep the (assessed and agreed) ROC system. And by 2020, we should already be in the brave new world of Contract for Difference for nuclear and renewables.
      Top tip andyS, if the statement in the article title is in inverted commas, it may just be someone jerking your chain.

      1. Hey beaker, when I checked yesterday, the glorious wind fleet of the Uk had soared to a massive 3% of the grid.
        That was up from 0.5% earlier in the week.

          1. Indeed. How many wind parks (sic) do you think we will need to supply all of Britain’s energy needs?

            If you don’t think wind parks (sic) can supply all of Britain’s energy needs, then perhaps you can suggest other ways it can generate energy without using nuclear or fossil fuels.

            If you suggest solar, then perhaps you could show me how much of the UK grid is being generated from solar, and what happens at night.

            1. wind power supply ALL of britain’s energy needs?
              Straw man andyS. Why do you persist with these buffoons arguments on this site? Is it just that you had no opportunity to engage any rational thought in the 4 minutes between mustakissa’s post and your reply.

            2. …and yes Beaker, a straw man indeed. Building as many wind and solar power plants as zoning and grid parity allow is a no-regrets option. After two years max the footprint of the construction materials is paid back, and they start grinding out pure, CO2 free, clean power. And when after 30 years they are written off in the books, we still have the same energy choices we have now — but with 30 more years to work on them. What’s not to like?

            3. What’s not to like?
              I confess it puzzles me. Yes they are prominent and some people, as with any type of development may prefer not to be able to see them (this is me trying to channel the most hostile yet rational case against them) but the amount of scaremongering, bonkers accusations and fabulist claims made by opponents is truly extraordinary. andyS here claims he lives no where near any (or any proposed sites) but still seems compelled to take the time to make these repeated accusations with either no evidence, or evidence he should be able to see is fabricated (fuel poverty, photos off facebook, swivel-eyed nut jobs like Dellinpole etc add-nausium). Why?

            4. What’s not to like?
              Well other than the usual arguments about aesthetics, birds, human health, property prices etc, there is no evidence that wind energy actualy decreases CO2 emissions when backed by gas, above a certain penetration of wind. Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University proposed this recently, plus he suggested that wind plus gas was about 10 times more expensive than wind alone.

              My question about 100% wind for the Uk was obviously rhetorical, but when your stock response is to build more, I naturally am interested in how many you propose and how you intend to achieve it.

              The deep greens are anti nuke, anti fossil fuel, anti hydro. Wind yesterday dropped to 0.3% of the grid.

              Many coal stations will be decommissioned over the next few years, and many people won’t be able to afford to heat their houses.

              I can only assume that the deep greens actually want to kill off the population. Either that or they are deeply irrational people.

            5. plus he suggested that wind plus gas was about 10 times more expensive than wind alone

              What I meant to say was

              plus he suggested that wind plus gas was about 10 times more expensive than gas alone

            6. “…they start grinding out pure, CO2 free, clean power”

              Yes, in an oft undispatchable supply-side demand-side mismatch.

              What backs up that mismatch mustakissa?

            7. There’s a long long way to go before reaching that point Richard C2. And all along that way, every kWh of wind energy is 100% dispatchable, at no more than the cost of generating it.

              Why not get to that bridge first before trying to cross it? It’s amazing how folks that usually take no interest in problems many decades into the future, suddenly get terribly, terribly worried when solutions are proposed that just work here and now… amazing.

            8. mustakissa – why is this “amazing”?

              If wind backed by gas is 10 times more expensive that gas alone, and is unlikely to reduce CO2 emissions overall ( for a non-hydro backed grid with more than about 15% wind), what is the point?

              If you think that CO2 emissions are the biggest crisis facing humanity, then the easiest way to reduce emissions is to adopt shale gas as a bridging solution and then ramp up modern nuclear solutions.

              The fact that you can’t sell your message to “deniers” (sic) is because your message is rubbish.

            9. Wind is already a bone of contention among dispatchers and non-wind generators e.g. from an insider on June 17:-

              “…notice how the wind generation now is only about 20MW and the market price of electricity is over $300. And this on a Sunday when the factories aren’t working. That is what most except the Greens said would happen. There is an inverse relationship between wind and power demand through the peaks. That is why the country needs thermal hydrofirming plant.

              That evil coal is doing 700MW as they only have 3 units in – it takes about 48 hours to get a unit up from cold and then they want to keep it running at above $150 /MWh to be profitable. The units can only easily go down to 150MW. Every time they have to shut off, it takes a lot of life out of the boiler and other high temperature components.

              Not a “long long” way to go at all mustakissa – we’re already there.

            10. Please provide references to support these assertions, RC2. Otherwise your comment is little better than trolling.

            11. > Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University

              Eh, that’s Gordon Hughes of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, well known to some of us.

              Credible sources please.

            12. “And all along that way, every kWh of wind energy is 100% dispatchable”

              Yeesss, sort of.

              Impact of Wind Power Forecasting on Unit Commitment and Dispatch

              Jianhui Wang, Audun Botterud Vladimiro Miranda, Cláudio Monteiro, Gerald Sheble


              HIGH penetration of renewable generation such as wind
              has posed great challenges to power system operators
              in grid management and generation scheduling. The inherent intermittency and variability of renewable resources such as wind require that current industry practices, such as unit commitment (UC) and economic dispatch (ED), be altered to accommodate large amounts of renewable generation. While large amounts of research exists on how to formulate and improve the general UC algorithm [1] the unit commitment research that considers uncertain wind power is limited.

              Unlike other conventional and controllable generation
              sources, wind power is unpredictable and intermittent.
              The impact of large amounts of wind has complicated implications to UC and ED. First of all, wind forecasting errors bring great uncertainty to the system operations, since the real-time wind power output may be very different from what is forecasted. The reliability of the system may be hampered in case of unforeseen decreases in wind power because the available ramping capability of on-line units in the system may not be sufficient to accommodate this change. Also, a large upward ramp in wind power may be unfavorable in a system in which sufficient downward reserves from other resources are not present. In this case, wind power may have to be curtailed, which leads to a waste of available resources.

              The same rationale applies to the wind power supply surplus that may happen at night, when the wind is usually the strongest but the system load is low. In this case, wind generation may also have to be spilled to maintain normal operation of other slow-start units, such as coal and nuclear, because of the physical and economic constraints of those units. Second, variability is also an issue to generation scheduling. Since wind power is normally assumed to have an operating cost of zero in the UC
              formulation, the system operator tries to utilize wind power
              as much as possible, with the objective of minimizing the
              supply cost to meet the system load. The system operator has to adjust other generation sources to address the variability of wind power. Accordingly, because wind power may vary to a great extent, the non-wind generation
              resources have to be scheduled skillfully through unit
              commitment and dispatch

              Even though wind power might be forecasted perfectly, variability is still an important issue that has to be taken into consideration when the other resources are being scheduled. The physical constraints of other non-wind units, such as ramping up/down constraints, minimum-on and minimum-off time constraints, etc., are also influenced, which leads to the question of how to change the overall unit commitment and dispatch algorithms to accommodate wind power. Consequently, several areas for improving unit commitment and dispatch have been proposed to address the uncertainty and variability of wind power. Some researchers focus on revising the current security-constrained unit commitment (SCUC) formulation. Others aim at novel UC methods.


              “…the question of how to change the overall unit commitment and dispatch algorithms to accommodate wind power

              It seems to be more a job of “accommodating” wind power than it is to dispatch it.

            13. mustakissa June 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

              > Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University

              Eh, that’s Gordon Hughes of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, well known to some of us.

              Credible sources please.

              Professor Gordon Hughes was an energy advisor for the World Bank.

              You meanwhile, are a sockpuppet with a name that sounds like a Justin Bieber album, and your offsider Beaker is a sockpuppet that names herself after a muppet.

              Credible sources?

            14. “Please provide references to support these assertions, RC2. Otherwise your comment is little better than trolling.”


              Base-load Cycling on a System with Significant Wind Penetration

              Niamh Troy, Student Member, IEEE, Eleanor Denny, Member, IEEE, and Mark O’Malley, Fellow, IEEE

              May 2010

              Abstract—Certain developments in the electricity sector may
              result in suboptimal operation of base-load generating units in countries worldwide. Despite the fact they were not designed to operate in a flexible manner, increasing penetration of variable power sources coupled with the deregulation of the electricity sector could lead to these base-load units being shut down or operated at part-load levels more often. This cycling operation would have onerous effects on the components of these units and potentially lead to increased outages and significant costs. This paper shows the serious impact increasing levels of wind power will have on the operation of base-load units. Those base-load units which are not large contributors of primary reserve to the system and have relatively shorter start-up times were found to be the most impacted as wind penetration increases. A sensitivity analysis shows the presence of storage or interconnection on a power system actually exacerbates base-load cycling until very high levels of wind power are reached. Finally, it is shown that if the total cycling costs of the individual base-load units are taken into consideration in the scheduling model, subsequent cycling operation can be reduced.


            15. That is not a reference supporting your “insider” comment. Any further unreferenced assertions will not pass moderation.

          2. When the heats on, an inverse relationship between wind supply and demand – “disappointing” apparently

            Wind Generation’s Performance during the July 2006 California Heat Storm

            So what happened in California during the mid-July heat storm when that electric grid was put to the test, and California avoided rolling blackouts amid a Level 1 Emergency in which Californian’s were asked to raise their thermostats to 77 and many manufactures and business voluntarily shutdown? By most people’s analysis, wind’s performance was disappointing. Specifically during this period of peak demand, statewide wind often operated at only 5% of capacity, or less. The specific data is plotted in the attached graph The upper line shows the peak daily electric demand as recorded by the California Independent System Operator, CASIO, during the heat storm. Daily peak power usage increased fairly steadily in mid July, reaching its peak on July 24 at 50,270 MW. Wind’s availability during this same period is presented in the lower line. Specifically this is the percent of the CASIO available wind capacity, 2,500MW, which was actually putting electricity into the CASIO grid at the time of peak demand on each day plotted.

            By most measures these numbers are disappointing. On the day of peak demand, August 24, 2006, wind power produced at 254.6 MW at the time of peak demand. 254.6 MW represents only 10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW. Another perspective on the data, over the preceding seven days, August 17 to 23, wind produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.

            This data presents wind’s performance during roughly two week’s of only one heat storm, California’s July ’06 storm. This author recommends caution in reaching larger conclusions about its significance. However as a minimum the data suggests that analysis of wind’s performance during periods of peak demand in other grid systems with different wind sited facilities would be useful. And until other such data is available, this experience implies caution in assuming a significant fraction of wind capacity will be available for periods of peak demand such as California’s July level 1 emergency.


            1. Yep, and all through the heat storm, electricity from wind was 100% dispatchable…
              You’re good at changing the subject.

          3. Credible sources:

            Also: the annual wind energy conferences of the NZWEA are available to the public and offer a host of information in form of dozens of papers being presented, many from engineers from the wider electricity engineering community including papers on network integration, reliability and much more. I can very much recommend to anybody who wants to have an informed opinion on the matter of wind energy to engage with the industry body and the conferences.

            BTW at a recent discussion at Huntley I was told that one of the main reasons that one of the four coal fired generators will be decommissioned in the near future is the fact that now wind and geothermal generation are more cost effective and coal can not compete on price of generation anymore. Investing in an overhaul of the to be decommissioned generator is simply not cost effective and the money will likely be invested in renewable generation such as Wind or Geothermal instead. How the times are changing!

            BTW people who actually engage with the facts of NZ’s power generation will also learn that at night we have a lot of spare capacity due to the large thermal generators who can not turn off for economic reasons (heat stresses on components etc.).

            The whole sale market therefore runs “Must-run dispatch auctions” daily where stations bid for the right to dump power for FREE into the grid because it is cheaper for them to do so than to throttle the unresponsive large thermal generation down! Its cost free to turn the wind turbine off or turn the water flow down, but shoveling coals into the fire at great speed without getting paid is another matter entirely….


            1. Citing The Telegraph to challenge someone else’s claim to providing a credible source? You could not make it up!

            2. “… birds, human health, property prices etc.”
              andyS may or may not have the wits to make this up himself, but rest assured, people are making this up.

            3. Beaker June 20, 2012 at 12:59 am

              Not making it up. The health aspects of sub-audible noise are now well established by the medical profession.

              I could go on, but what’s the point?

            4. bill June 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

              Citing The Telegraph to challenge someone else’s claim to providing a credible source? You could not make it up!

              As always I thought you’d find this absolutely hilarious Bill.
              My point is that, Gordon Hughes was an energy advisor for the World Bank. I would have thought his opinions counted for something. Clearly not, we get our “independent advise” from an industry funded lobby group.

              Presumably I get independent advise on cancer treatment from pharma companies that make cancer drugs, independent advise on which car to buy from the manuafacturer of the car I am interested in?

              The EU funding for climate activism is well know and was reported in 2007

              Also by the IEA recently


              Of course the interesting thing is if this whole EU edifice collapses, then the funding for climate change activism will take a severe pounding.

              Not that you are interested, of course.

            5. Its cost free to turn the wind turbine off or turn the water flow down

              So why do UK wind producers get paid NOT to produce energy then?

  14. In other UK news.
    Household energy bills will be ‘unaffordable’ by 2015

    If bills then hit £2,000 a year – which the forecast suggests could happen in 2016 – almost nine in 10 households (88%) will be rationing their energy use, 75% will be going without adequate heating and over half (55%) will turn their heating off entirely.

    1. From the article you link to “According to the research, household energy bills have more than doubled in the last eight years” So given that the uk average household contribution to onshore wind is below GBP5, do you still maintain that onshore wind causes UK fuel poverty?
      Global gas price spikes (as with many raw materials due in large part to China and other rapidly growing markets) had a significant impact on UK energy prices because about 40% of our electricity is gas powered.

    2. Would that “unaffordability” of power in the UK have perhaps something to do with the power mix there which is predominantly Thermal fossil fuel energy and nuclear? Fossil fuel prices have gone “south” of cause due to the demise of the UK gas and oil production (North Sea) and the cost burden of the nuclear industry we better not even get into…

      The more thermal fossil fuel plants you build the more demand there will be on the world’s “once in a planets life” limited fuel resources and the more expensive the unsustainable power they generate will become.

      Perhaps if the UK had rapidly evolved off-shore wind generation over the past decades things would look up a tad now…

      1. Offshore wind is even more naff than onshore. It has a cat in hells chance of success.

        It costs a hundred grand a day to get a boat out to fix one of these things

          1. I think andyS is describing the ballpark figure for a jack-up barge, for instance if you needed to change a blade, not common, or take it down at the end of its 25 to 30 year life. (Perhaps we should call the developers and check they remembered to budget this in?)
            Anything short of blade replacement, smaller boats and the integrated crane in the turbine nacelle.
            andyS would of course say that no offshore oil and gas is economic because the annual maintenance has a similar kit requirement to the deepwater horizon cleanup or some such.

            1. Your opinion is as worthless as his. You must find a lot of “intellectual equals” in the fantasy land you seem to live in.

              Try the real world for a change, it is a very exciting and innovative and honest place.

            2. His opinion is worthless?
              It is not his opinion. He is an engineer working in the offshore industry. Part of his job is to commission and cost ships to do engineering work in the North Sea.

            3. The problem is that your and his, if he in fact exists and is not just a figment of your imagination aka a lie, opinions are worthless because you have a history of dishonesty everywhere you post. It is also worthless because nobody in their right mind would even give you the time of day let alone some really, really important information about wind farms.

              There is an old legal term, “Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus ” so none really believes a word you say. Dishonest once then we can assume that just about everything else you have to say is equally dishonest.

              It will take a very long time for anyone to trust anything you have to say again. You are just a dishonest fool.

            4. That’s fine Ian. You have repeatedly called me a liar and a despicable person for using the HadCrut3 dataset (which the Met Office and the CRU use also)

              You have also repeatedly compared me to a Holocaust Denier, even for giving you a quote on hiring a boat

              I have been told that I failed climate school” for using a quote from IPCC AR3..

              So similarly, I regard to as borderline insane and don’t take anything you say seriously either.

            5. Ah so it is not jack up barges, it is ROV’s for subsea work. Again, hardly routine andyS no matter what your subsea engineer (who’s opinion may not be worthless) told you. Their routine work is the inspection and maintenance of all those gas and oil well heads and pipes, not the much more simple and robust cables.
              As to valuing your opinion on the economics of maintaining off shore wind turbines, well andyS I would have to pass over a lot of authoritative sources before I got to your £100k/day anecdotes.

            6. The $100K quote came from my engineer friend when we were discussing the cost of offshore wind in the North Sea.

              I don’t have a specific breakdown of where the costs lie. I am sure we could prattle on about this for days.

              Nevertheless, I do wonder about the economics of putting turbines in the North Sea. It’s not a particularly forgiving place and those turbines are huge.

            7. andyS stop talking about your fictitious “engineering friend.” Since you are continually being shown to be dishonest your opinion of his opinion is worthless. We just don’t believe a word you say. You are just a dishonest fool.

              And more dishonesty from you, where did I ever compare you to a “Holocaust Denier”? Try being honest just once in your life.

            8. Given your appalling track record as a sock-puppet, an abuser, and a fabricator, andy, you have precisely zero credibility in claims of both highly-convenient association and victimhood.

              Get a life instead of trying to drag ours down to your level.

            9. Bill, I am actually being quite restrained in my language. My contempt for you and your fellow travelers knows no boundaries

              You have completely lost the plot, all of you.

            10. Ian Forrester June 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

              I assume the term “denier” is used as a pejorative term that tries to compare anyone who has anyscepticism of the CAGW thesis with a holocaust denier. If that is not your intention then I apologise.

              Similarly, when Rob Taylor uses the term “Rent Boy” to compare me with a male who has sex with other males in exchange for board and lodging, he is also doing this to compare me with someone who prostitutes themselves for money. Of course I don’t get paid for writing here, but the term seems to give Rob some kind of entertainment.

              I hope that clarifies things.

              I am sorry that you don’t believe anything I say. I have tried to use references where possible. Occasionally I make the odd slip up by using Non-Approved Sources (NAS) like the Daily Telegraph.

              My “imaginary friend” does exists as far as I know, although some people believe in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas. Some people also believe that Europe will have a happy ending.

              You can’t account for all tastes.

            11. In all seriousness, why do we have to tolerate this guy? His repugnant omnipresence is really getting on my nerves, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

              Take your dreary contempt elsewhere, you pathetic little man.

        1. I guess those who actually invest into wind energy think about the cost/benefit of wind energy quite differently.
          It would seem that reasonable minds in the UK believe that by 2020 the UK could derive 20% of its annual electricity demand from off-shore wind power. Further, here is a great resource to compare power costs from various technologies in the UK:

          UK Electricity Generation Costs Update, Mott McDonald

          Scroll down into the range of Page 68 and look at the cost of various technologies. Already, onshore wind produces power at the lowest rate for projects started in 2013 and its gets better as the industry matures and due to scale of production and growing experience of the industry cost drop. Offshore is indeed more expensive as one would imagine but considering that there is little upside risk in cost for a technology that is not relying on fossil fuels and their predicted upwards trend in cost or on nuclear technologies which in no case are factoring in the true cost of decommissioning or the unknown cost of the final deposit of radioactive waste and its safeguarding for millenia to come. And the true cost of burning carbon fuels, well, we will get the bill this century and boy, its going to be a wake up call all right, especially if it is laid squarely at the producers of CO2 as it should.
          So going by the numbers of the McDonald report already and without factoring the true cost of CO2 and nuclear long term care and storage, Wind should be the favorite investment. No wonder that so many pension funds with their long term investment view are in…
          In the end, all the naysayers will sit on their ignorable views as the clever money goes where its always gone: to the place where the best returns are beckoning for the lowest risk.

          1. How does wind not rely on fossil fuels? There is the components of the steel tower, the concrete bases, the composite materials that make up the blades, the cost of the vessels to service and install the turbines, the roads required for the onshore turbines, etc etc etc.

            Then of course we have the gas backup required for non-hydro based grids.

            All this has a lifetime of a couple or three of decades max, then you have to repeat the cycle. Last time I checked, wind was supplying 0.4% of the UK grid.

            So maybe investments funds are putting their money into wind. Big deal, they might have invested in Facebook and lost 30% of their value in 2 weeks.

            Then we have this announcement from the UK

            (sorry for the NAS – Not Approved Source)

            The Chancellor will shortly give them just that. In a few weeks, as part of the Energy Bill, ministers will announce a reduction of up to a quarter in the value of Renewable Obligation Certificates – or “Rocs”. Yes, I realise that’s hardly a sentence to set the pulse racing. But if one considers that Rocs are the means by which the taxpayer subsidises the wind farm industry, and that the Chancellor proposes to slash that giveaway by 25 per cent, then translated into plain English it means this: onshore wind farms will be killed stone dead.

            Don’t know whether that statement has any validity, but if I were an investor I’d be getting a bit nervous about my wind portfolio right now.

            1. So, Andy, in your world, energy sources such as wind power are only acceptable if they are a perfectly clean alternative to fossil fuels?

              Do you also believe that only virgins can be raped?

            2. Oh andyS, you are a twit. Again with the energy payback when you already know that onshore wind turbines are paying back their complete invested energy (including removal and recycling) within a year – or all the way up to 3 years on deep peat.
              You read the telegraph article, did you come away with any confidence that the author knew what he was taking about. No apparent awareness that a decrease in ROC returns to onshore wind (down to 0.9) has already been recommended by an evidence based review, and the Chancellors 25% cut is just a number plucked out of the air. Even the description of the ‘value of the ROCs being reduced’ suggests that they do not have a clue.
              Never mind, the assorted blinding intellects of the 102 MPs who signed a letter calling wind power inefficient, will be pleased with this tease that some red meat may be thrown their way.
              You are right that some investors may be nervous at the Chancellors shenanigans. That however is hard to see as an endorsement of the chancellor, jeopardising infrastructure investment that his evidence base is clear is required. Perhaps he is close to his last throw of the dice as given his performance as chancellor and influence on party strategy, ‘shares in Osbourne’ are very low. That must make the support of Nadine Dorries suddenly look attractive to him.
              Elsewhere andyS, you claim a growing evidence base that wind turbine noise is resulting in negative health effects, but that you can not be bothered to point to any of this extraordinary evidence. Hmmm.

            3. Rob Taylor June 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm
              Do you also believe that only virgins can be raped?

              I don’t believe virgins, or anyone else for that matter, can be raped.

              Please take a ticket and stand in line ……

  15. Applying Ockham’s Razor, Beaker, the simplest explanation is that andyS is a professional shill for fossil fuel interests, a.k.a. a rent boy for pollutocrats…

    Beaker June 19, 2012 at 2:56 am: “the amount of scaremongering, bonkers accusations and fabulist claims made by opponents is truly extraordinary. andyS here claims he lives no where near any (or any proposed sites) but still seems compelled to take the time to make these repeated accusations with either no evidence, or evidence he should be able to see is fabricated (fuel poverty, photos off facebook, swivel-eyed nut jobs like Dellingpole, etc, ad-nauseum). Why?”

    Richard C2 “What backs up that mismatch mustakissa?”
    The same back up that the grid opperates at present to marry variable demand and the inflexibility of some types of large generator – CCGT, nuclear and for you in NZ geothermal.
    Some of these systems are quite high CO2 such as OCGT, old coal plants and diesel generators. Others are low carbon such as pumped storage and demand management. Expand wind, nuclear and/or CCGT and we will have to progresively develop the ‘back up’. That development, including that shared with others on a grid with interconnectors, should also be cutting CO2 emissions by progressively displacing the highest emission systems. What is the problem to which you allude.

  17. andyS said:

    If that is not your intention then I apologise..

    As you well know, since it is only AGW deniers who think like you do, I want an apology. I would also like to see you apologize for your disgraceful behaviour when you adopted a real person’s persona in one of your disgusting sock puppet attacks on climate science and climate scientists. Does your despicable behaviour know no bounds? How about apologizing to the friends and relatives of the poor lady in Scotland whose house burned down and you made fun of?

    You are truly a disturbed and despicable person.

  18. Re andyS and his contempt for “you and your fellow travellers”, I have little doubt that several of us regard him as as the most offensive troll yet encountered here – and that’s saying something, given the competition.

    1. That is fairly impressive – “The most offensive troll yet encountered here”

      Was there anything specific that upset you?
      Was it my ad-hoc day rate for the North Sea vessel?
      Was it my citation of IPCC AR3?
      Was it my use of HadCrut3?
      Was it my continued badgering of the useless wind industry?

      What exactly is your problem?

  19. Here’s an interesting article on pollutocrats’ fear-mongering re solar power in the US that may also shed light on Andy’s similar antics with wind power:

    Harvard researchers estimate that coal-based utilities are passing on $500 billion a year in externalized costs to everyone — much of it in the form of public health costs for coal-related ailments. Likewise, natural gas utilities and their customers are passing on untold externalized costs to everyone else in the form of drilling/fracking side effects (contaminated water, ruined open spaces, etc.). And, not to be forgotten, customers of fossil fuel-based utilities are devoting more of their electricity dollars to creating future climate change costs. At the same time, these energy consumers disproportionately benefit from public subsidies that are, according to Bloomberg News, six times larger than the total subsidies for any form of renewable energy, solar included.

    1. I thought the “problem” with coal was CO2 emissions, not particulate pollution which have been addressed to a large extent in modern coal burning stations.

      Speaking of health issues, Rob, you might be interested in this

      “Wind Turbine Syndrome”

      Many people living within 2 km (1.25 miles) of these spinning giants get sick. So sick that they often abandon (as in, lock the door and leave) their homes. Nobody wants to buy their acoustically toxic homes. The “lucky ones” get quietly bought out by the wind developers—who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that Wind Turbine Syndrome exists. (And yet the wind developers thoughtfully include a confidentiality clause in the sales agreement, forbidding their victim from discussing the matter further.)

      Dr. Nina Pierpont explains in simple, layman’s terms how turbine infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) create the seemingly incongruous constellation of symptoms she has christened Wind Turbine Syndrome. (Incongruous only to the non-clinician who does not understand Mother Nature’s organs of balance, motion, and position sense.) For the high level clinician, Pierpont provides a parallel chapter written in sophisticated medical language and format, complete with voluminous, up-to-date clinical and scientific references.

      (My emphasis)

      There are documented and frequent instances of this syndrome (reported in the medical profession) in the UK, Australia, NZ and the US.

      I expect we’ll get the usual suspects dismissing this as “NIMBY” rubbish, which of course is par for the course.

      1. andyS, rather that just emphasising ‘up-to-date clinical and scientific references’ from the promotional literature, why not look at it yourself?
        Why not look at some of the responses to this. A good one in the UK can be found by Googling NHS + wind turbine syndrome. The Australian NHMRC has also looked and finds nothing to support the claims Pierpont makes.
        I would also take issue with Dr Pierpont describing their work as published and pier reviewed, as they will well know what these phrases mean in a medical publication context, not published by your spouse and read through by friends you gave the text to.
        It was once pointed out to me that Pierpont registered their domain address before the start of their ‘research’ claiming to find this syndrome.
        You may be happy to endorse a study where an anti wind campaigner phones up a very small number of people who claim their health as been affected by a wind turbine, and asks them if their health has been affected by a wind turbine. You may be delighted that it comes with sciency looking references, despite some of those referenced authors pouring scorn on the egregious misrepresentation of their work. This is because you are clutching at straws.
        andyS, you are a twit.

        1. Twit? I thought Rent Boy was the currently in vogue turn of phrase.

          As you know, there are many cases of WTS reported around the world. Many people have abandoned their homes because your useless bird choppers make them uninhabitable,

          [Snip: Read the comment policy please. GR]

  20. The so called “Wind Turbine Syndrome” is the brain child of a Nina Piepont, MD, and wife of a vociferous anti-wind energy activist in the USA.
    Her self published book is not peer reviewed and the 25 or so subjects she bases her theories on are a small group of carefully selected anti-wind activists.
    Her work is not accepted by the mainstream health science nor is her “Syndrome” recognized medically.
    A detailed review of her “work” here:

    1. That was quick Thomas. I was expecting a little more time before the Rent Boys for the industry dismissed my claims

      We do have plenty of other evidence of course, medical notes etc.

      [Snipped: Less invective, please, from all concerned in this conversation. GR]

  21. Richard North has an interesting post on the recent op Ed from the Failygraph on the green industry

    As he points out, now that the conservatives have discovered ( inasmuch as a cretinous Tory brain can discover anything ) , that opposition to birdchppers might actually prove to be a vote winner, and enable them to unleash themselves from the even more cretinous LibDims

  22. BTW: Nina Piedpont’s partner Calvin Luther Martin is the guy who wrote this:

    A quote about Calvin:

    Calvin Luther Martin, PhD (Univ. of Calif., Santa Barbara) is retired as Associate Professor of History from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. Martin never rose above the rank of associate professor because, shortly after getting tenure, he refused to attend another department meeting, since he discerned that department meetings cause early dementia.

    Sure to say, these guys do harbor a serious grudge…

    1. By the way Thomas, if you bothered to read the article I linked to, you would seevthat sub audible noise is a problem not restricted to wind turbines. In fact I have a problem with a neighbors heat pump that is left on all night and causes resonating in the wall cavities that prevents sleep on one side off the house.

      There are solutions to this of course, such as politely asking the neighbor to turn off the heat pump at night.

      Unfortunately, the rent seeking parasites who run the wind industry refuse to acknowledge this problem exists at all, despite the medical evidence. A 400 ft bird chopper within a few km of your house can cause these problems.
      This of course is of no concern to you naturally.

    2. Large numbers of humanity live in cities where the 24/7 hum of civilization from traffic to sirens to air conditioners and all create a constant audible background that many people would find horrible. Others pay millions to live in the audible area of the surf at the beach with its rhythmic sounds…. Sound, natural or man made is part of our lives. Wind Farms are located generally in rural areas with a low population density and I suggest that there are some people there (especially in those countries where the law allows to sue for huge damages) who want to line their retirement pockets with a golden payout from a disease that they invent….

      1. So you completey deny the existence of this condition, the fact that people have had to abandon their houses?

        You are suggesting that they are doing it for the money?

        What about the ones who didn’t get paid out by the developers?

        Did they do it for the money?

      2. There is another issue that you seem to have missed Thomas. We are talking about sub-audible noise here. Noise from traffic and sea shores don’t have this issue. I have spent a large part of the last 10 years living next to the sea and the sounds from waves are no problem – in fact I quite like it. Similarly, there are those who live in traffic areas that find it hard to sleep when that noise is taken away

        The sub-audible noise from my neighbours heat pump makes the walls resonate. I can’t make the noise go away even with earplugs. This is the kind of problem reported by so-called NIMBYs

        This sub-audible noise was actually used as a torture device during WW2.

        Of course this is of no interest to you. Your dogma is set in stone.
        These last comments of yours about people being in it for the money have set a new low here.

        1. Amazingly, I’m 100% in agreement with Andy on the noise issue.

          Wind proponents do their cause no good by denying the real physical and psychological harm that sub audible and low frequency noise can cause some people.

          1. Sub audible and low frequency noise can impact on health, this is well known. What is also well known is the full spectrum of noise that is emitted by wind turbines, including sub audible and low frequency noise. Wind proponents such as myself point out the discrepnacy between the noise known to be harmful and the noise wind turbines are known to emit. The Pierpont work falls down badly on this important distinction.
            The Pierpont work can not be used to claim that there may or may not be a problem, because the work is trash. Trash that is very popular with sensation seeking media and anti wind farm campaigners.
            Just one quote from Dr Leventhal on the Pierpont study for you to ponder
            “A review of published measurements of infrasound from wind turbines shows the levels to be low and inaudible. However, Pierpont assumes that infrasound at 1–2Hz and at 4–8Hz is the cause of the effects she noted, incorrectly basing this on previous work on whole body vibration, which is not relevant to excitation by sound. She also bases her theories on work for the Apollo Space Program, when potential astronauts were exposed to very high levels of infrasound in the 120–140dB range, which is also not relevant to the inaudible infrasound from wind turbines.”

            1. It seems a bit odd that so many people report this problem around the world, including from Wellington NZ

              I guess Thomas is right then, all these people are liars and just in it for the money.

            2. Wind proponents such as myself point out the discrepnacy between the noise known to be harmful and the noise wind turbines are known to emit. The Pierpont work falls down badly on this important distinction.

              The problem with this Beaker is what (and who) defines what is harmful.
              As a layperson (and a supporter of wind power) I can at the moment only refer to personal experience of noise in general. So,anecdotally, I am intolerant of noise my wife happily tolerates, or doesn’t even notice, until I draw attention to it. Low frequency spill from music systems for example. The frequency I object to cannot be defined as harmful, yet another city resident using a home stereo 100 meters away has the capacity to drive me nuts, and at barely audible SPL levels, at frequecies circa 20-40Hz. – Seriously, it’s chinese water torture to me and it’s no joke at all – .Wide-bore vehicle exhaust systems (for some reason tolerated in this country at SPL levels illegal throughout the rest of the civilized world) also make my life a misery.

              We’re driven to relocate to more rural environs because of noise.

              We are all different, auditory stimulus affects all by varying degrees, from the tone-deaf to those with perfect pitch, from noise intolerant to noise tolerant.

              To dismiss noise complaints as psychosomatic or motivated by monetary gain makes me question the integrity of those making the claim.

            3. Ah, but psychosomatic conditions are real – that’s the point – but they’re not necessarily linearly/mechanically caused by the thing the claimant claims they’re caused by!

              Sadly, here in SA the whole anti-wind-turbine thing has many of the hallmarks of a mass-hysteria.

              While I don’t doubt that there’s a range at which living near the turbines could be extremely discomfiting – much like having a railway line at the end of your backyard (as I do) could drive you nuts (if you let it – and ‘if you let it’ is also a very real issue) – despite the extensive use of zoom lenses forcing the turbines right up to housing in photographic reporting we are talking pretty damn significant distances between the turbines and any local residences. Inverse square law and all that.

              Then there was the Adelaide University study that cleverly examined the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to determine if there really are adverse health-impacts from low-frequency noise in the vicinity of turbines.


              “There is no hint of any effect on a population basis for an increased use of sleeping pills or blood pressure or cardiovascular medications whatsoever,” he said.

              Some particular individuals particularly if close to turbines – that’s one thing, of course, but those who live closest are usually the property owners who benefit from the turbines’ presence, and they’re generally happy with them.

              Here’s another interesting study from the CSIRO this year. Note that, despite the ‘totalitarian state’ hysteria generated by the likes of andy, the Waitpinga project here in SA did not get approval, mostly for aesthetic and landscape-character reasons, the actual no. 1 objection from respondents.

              Personally, I think you clearly have to look at each case on its merits, but the problem here is that a small army of reactionary troublemakers are fomenting an anti-wind community hysteria in order to ensure that we do not act to mitigate climate change, their actual goal.

              They have deliberately created an over-wrought atmosphere where wind-turbines have an almost magical capacity for malignant evil – sort of the great-white-witches of the landscape. In such an atmosphere, reason and a sense of proportion becomes the first casualty of any public discussion.

              Now, I know some of the prominent anti-windfarm campaigners, and have done for years, and they have been opposed to pretty-well everything; nuclear power, uranium mining, moving the dolphins from the old MarineLand when it closed, new gas-powered booster turbines (whose outfalls were going to boil dolphins alive – have a guess if that ever happened!), even new sets of traffic lights! NIMBY indeed…

              Need I point out that mobile phones were going to fry our brains, microwaves were going to sterilise us all – the same things even happened with the introduction of the telephone, for chrissakes! It took me ages to convince my partner that malignant electric fields don’t sort of ‘leak out’ of the wall-socket if it’s left on with no device plugged in!

              This is not to say that there are no health-effects involved with any of these technologies, of course. Or sensible precautions to take. Or individuals who are particularly susceptible. But catastrophic health calamities? Not so much.

              It’s notable that, as the CSIRO points out, media reporting does not match the general community’s surveyed approval of wind power – it actually more-or-less inverts approval/disapproval!

              If the andys of this world are allowed to succeed, so much the worse for everyone.

            4. Re Richard Christie’s comment 23/6 at 13:21
              “To dismiss noise complaints as psychosomatic or motivated by monetary gain makes me question the integrity of those making the claim.” Hang on a minute. I am criticising a study that is badly flawed, can not be used to demonstrate anything, is misrepresented by the author, is criticised by the authors cited, and was bandied about on this blog comments by andyS.
              Pointing out that claims that overhead power lines cause Leukaemia are not supported by evidence, is not claiming someone does not have Leukaemia. Pointing out that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism is not dismissing autism.
              I do not doubt that the small number of people in the Pierpont study have conditions they find distressing and/or life limiting.
              Remember this study talked to 23 people who had previously made claims of health impacts from wind turbines, some giving evidence of other individuals taking the total up to 38. the pre existing health problems for this small group include
              Seven people with a history of mental disorders; Eight people with pre-existing migraine disorder; Eight people with permanent hearing problems; Six people with continuous tinnitus; Twelve people who had previously been exposed to significant noise, such as through work in industrial or construction settings; Eighteen people who were motion sensitive; Seven people who remembered a history of a single concussion.
              The study is trash, the flaws in the methodology mean it can tell us nothing, and the support claimed from prior papers on noise impacts on health is shoddy, and in several instances criticised by those papers authors. Pile on top of this the work being used to aggressively campaign on an issue and you have what appears to be a cynical scaremongering effort. That deserves no sympathy from you or me. Like Dr Wakefield and his MMR Autism circus, Pierpont deserves criticism for their sustained egregious scaremongering.

            5. I’ve no beef with your comments on the Pierpont study, Beaker.
              My reply regarding your earlier comment was in regard to what can be defined as “harmful” effect. The latter comment that you quote immediately above was more directed toward an earlier commenter. Sorry for confusion.

              Determining nuisance or harmful effects of a subjective sensory experience is very difficult – even in the audible spectrum. Authorities tend to prefer to fall back on measurable criteria such as SoundPressureLevels.
              A-weighted SPL limits are, in my experience, an absolutely useless measure of the nuisance and psychologically harmful values of low frequency noise. The reality is that extremely low SPLs at low frequencies in particular, can have a considerable effect, yet complaining about it is often useless because the noise registers such a low SPL.

  23. We do have plenty of other evidence of course, medical notes etc.

    “Of course” you do, Andy, but anecdotes are not evidence…

    I am just a jerk trying to earn a living.What I say or think is of little consequence.

    At last, we all agree on something… now, exactly how do you earn a living by frenzied trolling on climate change websites?

    Ah, I see…

    1. Rob, you are actually lacking something here.
      It is quite easy to find videos on the Internet of guys holding up DB meters displaying the noise from the turbines. There are also a lot of interviews with doctors etc.

  24. Andy, if evidence is “videos on the internet”, then you’d better let Ewen Macdonald know, so he can exonerate himself from Scott Guy’s murder, simply by putting up a Youtube video saying that he didn’t do it…

    Sheesh, and you claim to have a Cambridge degree!

      1. I’m referring to you, ‘Brown Shirt’ andy. This long-running explication of your particular take on sociopathy has become very old indeed, and is actively interfering in peoples’ enjoyment of this blog, in my opinion.

          1. Not having conversations disrupted by your trolling, perhaps?

            Rob: Stop winding him up, please.

            Andy: Please attempt to discuss subjects in good faith, and politely. Otherwise you will be on moderation, and I will only pass comments that add to the discussion.

  25. Re psychosomatic afflictions from wind turbines, I was peripherally involved with the Painted Apple Moth spraying in Auckland some years ago, and remember a parade of complainants, many of whom reported symptoms either before the spray planes took to the air, or on days when adverse winds had stopped previously advertised flights from going ahead…

    When I asked one of the anti-spray campaign leaders for evidence that the spray caused the symptoms, I was angrily informed that they had plenty of “anecdotal evidence”.

    I also recall the Waitakere City mayor, Bob Harvey, being accused of “killing” two people, one of whom had died two days before the spraying began.

    The mind is a powerful and mysterious thing, Andy – you could try using yours sometime.

    1. I take it that you completely deny the existence of the problem with noise from turbines then Rob.

      If I were to show you medical evidence, evidence that people have abandoned their homes, etc, you would still deny it

      Denial is a powerful force Rob. You should try looking outside the 2 dimensional world you inhabit sometime.

      1. Here is a video from Australia for you Rob. There are several doctors names attached to this video.

        Of course this is all lies. They are in it for the money
        All of them Rob
        There is a massive conspiracy

        1. What a load of utter rubbish. Did you like the bit at the end andyS where they played some synthetic noise as if it was supposed to be from wind turbines? Have you ever been close to wind turbines? I have been closer that 300 m and there is no sound or if there was any it was “drowned out” by other natural sounds such as the wind in the grass. You people are just dishonest shills for polluting oil and coal industries.

          Why you are allowed to post such bogus rubbish is a mystery to me.

          Psychosomatic illness is induced by the thought of monetary rewards.

          1. So you deny the existence of the medical symptoms that the doctors cited in the Australian video?

            Do you think they are being bribed by Big Oil?

            Here’s another one for you:
            Living with Industrial Wind Turbines in Wisconsin.

            Do you think the people in the NZ video are just doing it for the money Ian?
            Do you think that when the woman says she has to go to the city she is lying?

            Do you think she is a dishonest despicable liar being bribed by Big Oil and the Koch Brothers Ian?

          2. It’s true what you say though Ian. The road outside my house is quiet, therefore those people who complain about road noise outside their houses are dishonest despicable liars.

  26. This whole wind noise issue is such a non-issue when looked at globally. How many people are truly affected? Compare this with the effects of fossil fuel burning!

    Wind farms tend to be in rural areas and the number of truly affected people is surely minimal when compared to the affect that CO2 emissions have of the planet proper. This is noise thing is something we can solve and all but a very minor distraction really.

    It falls into the same category of building roads (the noise will drive some people nuts a 1km away) or building power lines (some people will claim radiation hazards) and so on. Still, we all drive and we all want to have power delivered to our homes.

    The system has means to deal with actual and factual grievances of a few people who are affected by matters that are of great importance to society.

    So lets settle with them if they can prove they have a case beyond the requirement that we all carry some burden for the greater good in some way. I can hear planes fly over (distant but audible), I can hear cars on the road, I can hear the fire siren when it goes in the middle of the night…. so what!

    1. Given that there is very little evidence that there is any substantial reduction in CO2 emissions from wind energy, it appears to be all pain and no gain.

      Anyway, the glory days of wind are over. The UK is rapidly backpeddling on commitments and Vestas have just cancelled their plans to build a factory in the UK.

    2. By the way Thomas, do you still stand by your claim that the people affected by turbine noise are just doing it for the money?

      Will you be contacting the people featured in the John Campbell video and suggesting this to them, and that they need to suck it in and “think of the greater good”?

      I am sure we can get you on Campbell Live if you want to present your case.

        1. If conservative MPs in the UK manage to delay and derail alternative energy projects in the UK the so be it. The UK population will get what they vote for. Expensive polluting power with no path connecting them to the future. Such is democracy at work. No problem.

      1. I said (above) on the matter of wind farm noise claims:

        I suggest that there are some people there (especially in those countries where the law allows to sue for huge damages) who want to line their retirement pockets with a golden payout from a disease that they invent.

        This is entirely different from saying “the (as in all) people affected by turbine noise are just doing it for the money”!

        Some people are indeed affected and they do have a right for support in my opinion. Owners of homes under flight paths of airports have been equally supported in their claims for some form of compensation to the ruckus they are enduring.

        But we live in times where objectionism to any change or development is at an all-time peak. Whatever it is one might want to do, society will divide these days readily on any issue and a host of semi-professional objectionists are well versed in the art of fanning flames with a press all to happy to crank it up and turn controversy into share holder profits of the news multinationals.

        I dare suggest that if AndyS’s “We” wanted to build a nuclear reactor at the Kaipra harbor (just to cite an old idea from the 70ties) or a new coal fired power station anywhere, something AndyS’s “We” might find perhaps appealing to them, they would find themselves pummeled with objections and claims for devalued property in the potential “Chernobyl” or coal pollution zones….

        I maintain that compared to the issues of pollution from coal fired power stations and compared to the matter of AGW the erection of wind farms and the noise they may emit is by far the lesser evil.

        For those most affected by close proximity I am sure society will be able to afford to settle reasonable claims such as support for double glazing of homes etc. and perhaps other recompense. But equally will people affected by proximity to steal mills, mine operations or other industrial areas be compensated? What about people living in areas that due to re-zoning see a change in their property values? Shall perhaps the often insane gains of property developers when areas are subdivided pay for the compensation to those who’s amenity was negatively affected by the same?

        The changing times and the spreading austerity caused by the end of cheap oil and going forward the impacts of AGW will require sacrifices from all. The swoosh of wind mills will hardly register on the scale of things to come.

        1. I’d be happy to live next to a nuclear station.
          Wind farms are implemented by big corporates, who are quite happy to destroy rural communities in pursuit of profit.

          I have no problem with grass roots renewables, such as personal solar and micro hydro. Good on you for doing this.

          Big Wind is the big corporate that you seem to hate. Me too largely speaking.

          1. What andyS said [snip – less of the personal abuse, please Ian. GR] no one in their right mind would choose to live right beside a nuclear power station. Wind farms are quite harmless unless you are already sick when they put one in within 5 Kms of your home then you can say it caused your sickness.

            1. There are lots of people who live close to nuclear power stations. There is also the entire US nuclear submarine fleet where sailors live right against a nuclear power generator for months at a time.

              You are suggesting that all these people are insane, and that all people who complain about wind turbine noise sickness are lying?

            2. There are also lots of people in Europe in particular living in close proximity to wind mills and don’t mind at all. Do you think THEY are lying?

              BTW submarines are dangerous in their own right and when you get paid well to do your work then considerations of risk are shall we say “negotiable”….
              If people got paid to live next to a wind farm I bet you had people cue up don’t you think?

            3. Thomas June 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm

              There are also lots of people in Europe in particular living in close proximity to wind mills and don’t mind at all. Do you think THEY are lying?

              I am sure there are people who don’t mind, aren’t bothered, or where the local conditions don’t lead to problems.
              How does that take away the issues that do exist for people, that you seem to be in complete denial over?

              It is a bit like saying n% of the population don’t have cancer, therefore cancer is not a problem.

            4. AndyS you are back to twisting other peoples words. Stop doing this. I said – for all to read above – that we should settle legitimate grievances with people affected by wind farm noise. We should apply the same principles as are applied with regards to people living under airport approach paths or other places where technology causes noise nuisance.
              I stand by my assertion also that there are people who thrive on grievance memes with an eye on the money out of a situation that others are happy to cope with.
              And the vast majority of people living in environments with constant background noise – town living for example – do not receive any compensation for it. Some, as in downtown locations – pay a hefty premium for their location despite the background hum of the city.
              Also as wind farms indeed are in rural areas the number of materially affected individuals is miniscule when compare the number of people affected by environmental issues from coal burning for example.

            5. Thomas
              People living next to airports generally do so out of choice or necessity.

              If a wind company turns up in a rural community and bulldozes the land to install industrial wind turbines, there is very little choice involved. many objections at the local and council level in the UK are often overruled by central government.

              What you need to realise is that this is becoming a major issue and it is splitting communities and creating a significant amount of public discontent

              We don’t want your windfarms because they don’t add any economic or environmental value. They just make wind developers money at the expense of rural communities.

              The longer you fail to realise this the more damage will be done to your “cause”

            6. We don’t want your windfarms because they don’t add any economic or environmental value.

              On the record by AndyS.

              Already to date in NZ wind energy produces more GHW of electricity than Coal. You called this “no economic or environmental value”!

              At the current growth path wind will deliver 20% of our national electricity requirements by 2025 or so. You called this “no economic or environmental value”!

              In Germany wind power delivers over 10% of the national electric energy needs (end of 2011 figures). This is a massive amount equivalent to 25% of Germany’s coal use.
              You called this “no economic or environmental value”!

              In the case of Germany that was in 2011 over 46,000 GWh of power, valued at a wholesale price of NZ$0.07 for comparison this is NZ$3.35 Billion in power delivered.
              You called this “no economic or environmental value”!

        2. Thomas, I appreciate your superior knowledge of the wind industry.
          Perhaps you could make some suggestions on how the UK will meet its target of 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, as mandated by the UK climate change act?
          As we know, wind has little effect on emissions if it uses gas as a backup. There is no more capacity for hydro, and wave power is a pipe dream.
          Energy efficiency is pretty good in the UK – many homes are double glazed.

          Smart grids don’t actually exist, and the European economies are ill-places to spend billions on upgrading their infrastructure to support all these interconnectors.

          It appears that not one of the MPs asked in a recent survey could answer this question.

          How is it going to work? .

          1. “Thomas, I appreciate your superior knowledge of the wind industry.” andyS, when you write ‘appreciate’ do you actualy mean ‘grind my teeth’?
            Thank you for you continuing concern over the UK Climate Change act. If you think the target is not possible, why not go to the DECC/Makay online tool to demonstrate that there is no combination of feasable measures that works.
            ‘Smart grids don’t actually exist’ all the components do and are already in use. NZ has one in ripple switches. Many UK commercial consumers are on frequency response contracts. The upgrading of the existing grids is a continious process anyway, the cost to transition to a smart grid is a margin above the cost of maintaining the existing, more expensive to run, more limiting to future opportunity, higher emission grid.
            Funding? we have our own cash. My employer I am glad to say is keen to invest and transition toward renewables rather than sink their existing (not from renewables) cash into gold The UK is also open to business and will take investment from overseas. A much better option than using a soverign wealth fund to buy premier football clubs.
            Your other comment on windfarms being paid not to generate. Lots of people are confused by this one. I get incredulous people comming to planning exhibitions thinking that the wind farm takes no risk because if it were to breach all its planing conditions and be shut down, it would still get paid. This of course is rubbish stemming from ‘you could not make it up’ hacks like Dellingpole. Wind farms, like other generators, pay handsomly for their grid access. If that network operator can not provide the service paid for, they compensate the generator. If you had taken a moment to check, you could have found this out for yourself, instead you reproduce the dodgy claims that fit your predudices, from the egregious little papers.

            1. Do you agree that the 80% target is possible beaker?
              Do you have a detailed breakdown on how many turbines are required and how many Highland valleys will be flooded to provide PUmped Storage?
              Prof Hughes calculates that every single Glen in the Scottish Highlands will be need to be flooded for pumped storage to achieve these targets.

          2. Thomas June 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm
            Already to date in NZ wind energy produces more GHW of electricity than Coal. You called this “no economic or environmental value”!

            Do you have any evidence to support this claim?

            At the current growth path wind will deliver 20% of our national electricity requirements by 2025 or so. You called this “no economic or environmental value”!

            The current growth in stationary energy is zero. That is why projects are being cancelled or put on hold.

            1. The following diagram shows current energy by type


              The wind levels are currently running below coal, and it is quite a windy day across the country.

              Can you show me some other data that shows wind outperforming coal?

          3. andyS asks:

            Perhaps you could make some suggestions on how the UK will meet its target of 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, as mandated by the UK climate change act?

            The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US has recently released a report on how the US could switch to 80% renewable energy by 2050:


            I’m sure that what the UK is considering is quite similar.

            This report is discussed at Climate Progress:


            1. It’s quite simple really. Wind requires gas or pumped storage backup. If you want greater than 80% renewables, you can’t use gas backup, therefore you need PS.

              In order to achieve this in the UK, you will have to flood every single glen in the Scottish Highlands.(as calculated by Gordon Hughes)

              The alternative, of course, is a rapid reduction in the human population.of the UK.

              This may well happen anyway once they start to lose the power.

            2. andyS, again with the straw man arguments. Pumped storage is but one existing applied method of balancing fluctuations in supply and/or demand.
              What is your problem with wind power, because on this site you seem desperate to cling to any silly argument against.

            3. Andy’s world has only two colors: Black and White….

              While in fact there is so much more to the matter of grid storage and load/generation balancing than pumped storage or massive fossil fuel reserves. Especially the coming smart grid and changes to our current 24/7 entitlement thinking to any-time all we can eat energy availability….
              Interesting technologies for short term grid storage are flow cell batteries, flywheels or battery storage coupled with individual wind turbines, plug in electric vehicle fleets and many more….

            4. andyS has a very shallow reading list, he only reads fossil fuel funded fishwrap that supports his ignorance of the real world.

              For instance he says:

              In order to achieve this in the UK, you will have to flood every single glen in the Scottish Highlands.

              This is once again complete rubbish. If pumped storage is in fact required there are plans that the storage be carried out in Scandinavia and not Scottish Glens.

              andyS has a one track mind and that is that fossil fuels are great, wind farms are bad. He doesn’t even seem to recognize that there are many many alternative energy solutions besides wind power. For example, I wonder if he has read about the planned import of geothermal energy from Iceland via undersea “inter connectors”? How about the planned tidal power from north west Scotland and the Pentland Firth? Ever read about that andyS? How about solar power, getting cheaper and cheaper by the year? How about import of wind power from the west coast of Ireland?

              Here is a report from a “red brick” institution, institutions where real innovative work has been done since the industrial revolution. I don’t see such innovative thinking coming from the OxBridge crowd:


              I’m sure anyone who has a grade three level ability in maths will be able to add up the contributions from these and find that they total close to 80%.

            5. Ok, so we are planning to import energy fro Iceland to meet the Uk targets? We are also planning to use Norwegian hydro to load balance? We are also going to use smart grids to turn off the power when the grid can’t cope, for example to old peoples homes.

              Sounds like fanTsy land to me. Will this scale across the whole of europe?

              By the way I have looked at geothermal etc, and note that NZ has high geothermal. So how come i am the one track mind when all we get here and other places is constant cheerleading for wind? How comes we only get that from the Uk govt?

            6. Beaker June 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm

              andyS, again with the straw man arguments. Pumped storage is but one existing applied method of balancing fluctuations in supply and/or demand.

              Yes I agree but how are you going to achieve 80% reduction in emissions as mandated by the UK climate change act if you load balance against fossil fuel generation? It is a simple question that no one can answer without coming up with mad cap ideas like cables to Iceland and converting Norway into one giant battery for Europe.

            7. Why is andyS allowed to post such nasty and hateful rubbish as this?

              We are also going to use smart grids to turn off the power when the grid can’t cope, for example to old peoples homes.

              What if some poor unfortunate old lady finds this post and actually believes that andyS is honest and that her power is going to be cut off? What has andyS got against old people? Remember him making fun of a poor old Scottish lady who was burned to death in her house? What sort of a person spouts that sort of hateful rubbish?

            8. Ian Forrester June 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

              Why is andyS allowed to post such nasty and hateful rubbish as this?

              We are also going to use smart grids to turn off the power when the grid can’t cope, for example to old peoples homes.

              What if some poor unfortunate old lady finds this post and actually believes that andyS is honest and that her power is going to be cut off?

              if you don’t have enough power then you need to prioritise who gets the power .
              I am not suggesting we do this. I’d much rather have a system that guaranteed affordable, reliable power for everyone.

              If you (as Thomas has suggested) think we need a system where we don’t get guaranteed power, who decides who gets it?

            9. Stop telling your despicable lies:

              I am not suggesting we do this.

              Anyone with any intelligence at all can see that you do mean what you say. It is part of the despicable game you are playing out in your disturbed state. We do not need to read any more of this rubbish Gareth, andyS and his hateful and dishonest postings have no place in a serious blog discussing the problems we are facing with the over use of fossil fuels.

              These are serious problems we are facing and anyone who considers it a “game” and “fun” to oppose means to solve the problems are seriously deranged and disturbed and should seek help.

            10. Ian Forrester June 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm

              Where the heck did I suggest this is a game or fun?
              I take these issues very seriously and I am merely suggesting a possible outcome from throttling back energy supplies.

              Incidentally, the comment for which I got put on moderation for on this blog (the comment was made on another blog) was taken completely out of context.
              I said I am having a “little fun” trying to explain whatever..

              This is a euphemism for “I am finding it excruciatingly difficult to get my point across”.

              I certainly don’t treat this as some kind of sport. It doesn’t do my health any good anyway.

    1. If you wish to continue with your asinine comments directed at me, Rob, why don’t you head over to Treadgold’s place and you can continue the conversation there? At least my presence wouldn’t offend the locals

  27. Deniers

    There is an excellent article on deniers at


    …..Furthermore, examination of this record over the last 5 million years reveals a sobering fact. We are in an ice age, where the Earth spends 80 to 90% of its geological time in the grip of vast ice sheets that cover the polar latitudes well down into what is currently the temperate zone. We are at the (probable) end of the Holocene, the interglacial in which humans emerged all the way from tribal hunter-gatherers to modern civilization. The Earth’s climate is manifestly, empirically bistable, with a warm phase and cold phase, and the cold phase is both more likely and more stable. As a physicist who has extensively studied bistable open systems, this empirical result clearly visible in the data has profound implications. The fact that the LIA was the coldest point in the entire Holocene (which has been systematically cooling from the Holocene Optimum on) is also worrisome. Decades are irrelevant on the scale of these changes. Centuries are barely relevant. We are nowhere near the warmest, but the coldest century in the last 10,000 years ended a mere 300 years ago, and corresponded almost perfectly with the Maunder minimum in solar activity.

    There is absolutely no evidence in this historical record of a third stable warm phase that might be associated with a “tipping point” and hence “catastrophe” (in the specific mathematical sense of catastrophe, a first order phase transition to a new stable phase). It has been far warmer in the past without tipping into this phase. If anything, we are geologically approaching the point where the Earth is likely to tip the other way, into the phase that we know is there – the cold phase. A cold phase transition, which the historical record indicates can occur quite rapidly with large secular temperature changes on a decadal time scale, would truly be a catastrophe. Even if “catastrophic” AGW is correct and we do warm another 3 C over the next century, if it stabilized the Earth in warm phase and prevented or delayed the Earth’s transition into cold phase it would be worth it because the cold phase transition would kill billions of people, quite rapidly, as crops failed throughout the temperate breadbasket of the world.

      1. Heck, even I know more about paleoclimate than this charlatan (and that’s not saying much).
        Also, calling it ‘excellent’ tells me more about Bryan Leyland than I cared to know.

    1. What the argument misses to consider is the fact that we humans at the moment do something that has to my knowledge not happened in the history of our climate: We release back into the biosphere within a couple of centuries a massive pulse of CO2, carbon, that took hundreds of millions of years to sequester and store out of the natural cycles.
      This pulse in its intensity and speed is rather unprecedented.
      It is we who cause it, not natural cycles. And it is we who have some means over mitigating it.
      And yes, going by the natural rhythms of the climate of the last tens of thousands of years, we are due, over the next few thousands of years for the onset of a new ice age. And if and when that eventuates, humanity will need to consider its options of potentially interfering with that process in a well considered and planed manner.

      But what we are doing at present is something rather different. We are pushing the atmospheric CO2 levels to twice the pre-industrial levels (soon) and perhaps beyond, WITHOUT prior consideration of the implications. And now, as the implications are widely known, EVEN NOW, so called hard core deniers leave no stone unturned to deride and fight every inch of every action that is suggested to mitigate these implications and to bring humanity to embrace a plan-full and well considered response.
      Pointing to a possible future ice age in the next millenia is no excuse whatsoever to prevent us from NOW fixing our fossil fuel addiction.
      Which by the way we need to urgently fix anyway due to the fact that we simply won’t even have the resources to drive our current economy let alone the wish for exponential growth of the developing nations going forward.
      There is ZERO merit in suggesting we should carry on as we were. The next ice age is much further away than the ill effects of AGW. A sea level rise of 2m by the end of this century (well within the very probable range) will do horrendous damage to the very next generations and the temperature and rainfall changes going with it (read floods and droughts) may well diminish food production to the level of mass starvation levels just the same.
      The difference is WE are causing this, we know it, and we could act to prevent it NOW.

      1. The difference is WE are causing this, we know it, and we could act to prevent it NOW.

        OK, how?

        Windmills and solar won’t fix the problem.
        You don’t want nuclear.

        Got any other suggestions?

        1. Wong again (like so many times before): Wind and Solar will play a rather large part in the forming the solution of our energy future!
          NZ’s energy mix will see 20% or more of Wind Power in the next decade or two and home owners in NZ can make their homes electric energy supply neutral on an annual basis if they like already with grid tie solar PV systems.

          Your assertion (Wind + Solar won’t fix the problem) is nonsense. No single technology will “fix the problem” and nobody claims such thing.

          But a very small fraction of the Earth’s surface is theoretically sufficient to generate all of humanities current energy requirements with Solar technologies if we wanted to.

          Geothermal + Tidal power will add to the mix. Deep well geothermal can also theoretically provide all of humanities energy requirements. (MIT report)

          Changes in customer behavior, energy saving technologies and cultural changes to our energy entitlement thinking will also add to the solution – like it or not!

          But no single technology holds the one golden bullet and nobody claims it does! We will rely on a mix of technologies and that mix will differ greatly due to geographical requirements from country to country.

          New types of Nuclear solutions might add to the mix in the future but I want to see it proven before I’d begin to bet on it….!

          We are still waiting for the boundless energy from nuclear fusion, billions of dollars and decades later with no present indication that our generation will see it work for more than fractions of seconds inside or outside the lab. LFTR thorium technologies still have to overcome substantial hurdles before we can consider them to add to the mix and any nuclear revival better work on sorting out the unsolved long term nuclear waste disposal mess we are in and which is growing by the day….

    2. Bryan Leyland June 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Welcome back, rent boy; how was the Heartland conference?

      Did you meant any real climatologists there, paleo or otherwise?

  28. David Archer actually knows something about this, and his book The Long Thaw is easily readable by a general audience. For reasons he explains, in Cahpter 12 “Orbits, CO2, and the Next Ice Age”:
    under Business as usual, 2GTon C, we would likely avoid the next shot at a real ice age, 50K years off but maybe the next set of cool Nothern summers 130K years off would do it.

    If we use all the coal reserves, (5000 GTon C), then we’re talking about half a million years off.

    This is unsurprising, given that 3Mya, CO2 was too high to allow the ice age/interglacial oscillations we’ve had.since then, which only happen with appropriate continental configurations and CO2 levels.

    See Richard Alley, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences giving an award talk at an AGU meeting.

  29. As noted above, we have already guaranteed that it will be a very long time before the next descent into an Ice Age, in the absence of events like a big asteroid strike or major nuclear war, in which case we have other problems.

    When the chance of the next ice age arises,say 5X longer than the history of human civilization, if there is a technical civilization still around, it won’t be fossil-fuel-based (that will be long gone), but in any case, it could easily stave off an ice age by generating SF6, which (over a 500-year horizon) is 32,600X stronger GHG than CO2, and there are lots of other choices.

  30. andyS “We are also going to use smart grids to turn off the power when the grid can’t cope, for example to old peoples homes.”
    You are familiar with the ripple switch I take it? We don’t have them in the UK for domestic use. Tell me, does the use of a ripple switch lead to the homes power supply being shut off as it activates, plunging the home into darkness, missing the Shortland Street cliffhanger, people standing in the dark by the cooker waiting for the power to come back on to finish cooking their mince on toast. That must be absolute hell. You are right andyS, a smart grid would just be a fancy name for rolling blackouts. Thank you for opening my eyes to this. We must not impose this horror on old people’s homes!
    andyS, you are a twit.

    1. Yes beaker I am familiar with ripple switches However any form of switch has limited use with no power.
      This has been experienced in South Africa, where they experience frequent blackouts and brownouts due to lack of investment in infrastructure.
      Mind you, I am a twit, as you correctly point out.
      I always appreciate your superior intellect, wisdom and tact,

        1. Ripple switches are but one example of so-called “smart grids”
          It makes sense to use off-peak power rates when these are available for things like hot water heating and night-store heaters.

          However, the term “smart grid” seems to cover a wide range of bases, including smart appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers that magically turn themselves on in the middle of the night, and other vapourware concepts.

          The bottom line is though, if you don’t have enough capacity in your grid to cope with the peak demands then there will be blackouts. This is still happening in South Africa and it will happen in the UK as well unless they get their act together soon.

          Here is a 2009 article from the Economist on this topic

          1. “The bottom line is though, if you don’t have enough capacity in your grid to cope with the peak demands then there will be blackouts.”… correct, that’s why reducing peak demand is one of the very effective strategies at our disposal via smart grids and smarter consuming. And with smart metered real time power pricing consumers can be rewarded for their smart choices by leaving the wash to the next sunny day when throwing the lot in the dryer would set them back $10 a load…
            The old mentality of simply throwing more CO2 generators into the war is so past time….

            1. And adding new renewable generating capacity to the grid does not magically dematerialise the presence of the existing fossil fuel plant, it is still there and has a remaining operational lifetime just as it would have if the renewables were not built, it just burns less fuel.
              It always seems to get a petulant ranting tangential claim, but here goes – andyS, what is your point?

          2. I don’t use clothes driers. A clothes line works fine in the summer, and I have tonights load in front of the fire.

            We found a survivalist mentality after the Christchurch quake.
            Now, it’s minus 5 outside already, and we have a large generator in the garage for when the mains power fails, as it does often around here. Earning a reasonable living by telecommuting, I amuse myself watching western economies self destruct in pursuit of a mythical manbearpig.

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