The Winds Of Climate Change

In our township, local letters to the media always seem to be claiming the need for more ‘climate change’ action, though I have no idea whether it’s just a very vocal minority making all the noise or an indication of a wider concern. Certainly people I come across on a regular basis don’t exhibit climate change fear and simply consider it a fuss about natural events over which we have absolutely no control. I often suspect that many of the very recent ‘tree changers’ from Melbourne suburbs have increased the number of warming worriers, given that it’s increasingly the metropolitan dwellers that appear to have become infected by the propaganda of fear pushed by the media. When we have a record early snow season, despite warnings that it will never snow again, it’s somewhat difficult to think that the planet is experiencing catastrophic global warming. Nonetheless, there are those who live in daily fear of roasting alive whenever they venture onto the streets and push for all manner of renewable energy so that Australia can turn off the heating switch.

Yallourn Power Station - Once it goes, another Dark Ages begins

Yallourn Power Station – Once it goes, another Dark Ages begins

One such venture is state government subsidised initiative to install a community, solar based, energy hub into which townsfolk can connect and where everyone pays the same amount of money to keep things all hunky dory, reduce power bills and save the planet. I note that none of these planet saving initiatives can ever progress without government grants. Why is that? I’m not really sure whether they have thought out the requirements for connecting houses into this grid and disconnecting them from the AUSNET grid, or whether it’s even possible or legal, but that seems to be the grand plan. At least someone is making money installing the first of the solar panels on existing council owned buildings, but whether that’s going to be the extent of it, who knows. The other issue is the purported same power bill for all (as I’ve been told). I have a suspicion that a single pensioner living on their own would be somewhat upset about paying the same amount for their power as the family of six with all their modern household gadgets and power needs. I’m not sure how that’s going to be addressed and I certainly haven’t seen anything explaining how it’s supposed to work but hey, if it’s saving the planet why would people be upset?

Saving the planet, one solar panel at a time

Saving the planet, one solar panel at a time

The area is also well known for other forms of planetary climate saving initiatives, such as ‘no coal’,  ‘no fracking’ and ‘no logging’ protests aplenty. As I noted in a recent post, saving the planet’s lungs or maybe just the equivalent of an alveolus is essential, so you’d think that there’d be wholehearted support for more initiatives to save the planet. But this is where the irony begins. A proposal has been put forward to install a number of windmills in the local area, thus replacing the venerable Hazelwood power station that was recently closed and which provided cheap and reliable electricity, which of course heated the planet as well as homes in Winter. So when such a plan was proposed, you’d think there’d be gatherings of joy and celebration as another nail was put into the coffin of climate change and that terrible heating that was plaguing our planet. But such was not to be, the moment that this planet saving initiative was announced, the protests against the plan arose with fury. 

Delburn Wind Farm Proposal - (source: Osmi)

Delburn Wind Farm Proposal – (source: Osmi)

By no means am I a fan of any of this ‘renewable’ energy euphoria; I think I’ve made that clear a number of times. My belief is that if renewable energy can’t stand commercially on its own two feet; that is, exist without taxpayer subsidies, then it isn’t worth supporting. At least I’m consistent with these beliefs, unlike so many of the latest protesters of the Delburn wind farm proposal who want to get rid of inexpensive and efficient coal fired power, but then protest one of their favourite renewable options when it doesn’t suit them. It seems quite OK to put up these Eco-Crusifixes as long as they are put up somewhere else, but suddenly what were considered beautiful vistas are now considered ugly monstrosities. I’m just awaiting for someone to discover a previously hidden bird, bat or butterfly that can be used as an excuse to ban the proposal, never mind that all around the world, millions of bats and bird are chomped up yearly by these Eco-Crusifixes and no warming worrier seems to mind.

Birds and windmills don't mix - (source: birdlife.org)

Birds and windmills don’t mix – (source: birdlife.org)

What’s also interesting are the meetings that have been held regarding this wind farm proposal. I’ve been told (not verified) that one such meeting attracted around 500-1000 concerned people, which is kind of odd given that the residents surrounding the proposed wind farm site are no where near that number. What it does evidence is the fact that once again the rent-a-crowd movement is active, travelling far and wide to push their agenda on all and sundry. We had this with the forest protests and the fracking protests etc, where there’s always a bunch of protesters willing to travel anywhere (like Bob Brown and his cabal during the recent election) to foist their opinions on everyone else; busybodies who seem to think that only their views matter. Of course not everyone is against the plan. There are those warming worriers that laud it, which is of course predicated by the fact that it’s not happening in their backyard and they won’t have to look at these Eco-Crucifixes every day. So that makes me wonder whether we’ll be seeing a clash of civilisations (or ideology) as the debate heats up and people take sides.

Bald Hills Victoria - Efficient and non-subsidised windmill in the foreground, inefficient and subsidised windmills in the background

Bald Hills Victoria – Efficient and non-subsidised windmill in the foreground, inefficient and subsidised windmills in the background

When it comes to the supporting faction, I wonder how much the warming worriers know or care about the manufacturing processes involved in producing and installing these Eco-Crucifixes? Notwithstanding the plastics and rare earths required for many of the components, the amount of concrete required is simply staggering. And the long-term issues are often not considered, as wind turbines have a limited lifespan of around 20 years, even if everything goes right during their lifetime. Once that lifespan is reached there arises the problem of what to do with the wind turbines. Some of the components can be recycled, but the composite materials and the concrete bases create massive problems (lots of assumptions about improving technology in that article), as we’re talking about toxic materials and hundreds or thousands of tons of concrete per turbine buried deep underground. Most of the information that I could find talked about wind turbines that were around 100m or so tall, the Delburn ones will be 250m (850 feet) tall.

GE Haliade-X Wind Turbine - (source: Vox)

GE Haliade-X Wind Turbine – (source: Vox)

Anyway, whatever happens it most certainly has given idle hands something anew to protest about. Never a week seems to go by that a new protest isn’t afoot. I guess with the townships ageing population and growing number of retirees, they need to fill the hours with something to do and protesting often seems the easiest avenue for idle hands, plus you can meet like minded people along the way. And here’s an interesting footnote from The Australian (paywalled) of 16 Jun 2019:

Former US vice-president Al Gore’s chief scientific adviser, Jim Hansen, who put global warming on the agenda back in 1988, agreed, saying: “Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

Most people think renewables are overwhelmingly made up of solar and wind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Solar and wind contributed only 2.4 per cent of the EU total energy demand in 2017, according to the latest numbers from the International Energy Agency. Another 1.7 per cent came from hydro and 0.4 per cent from geothermal energy.

In comparison, 10 per cent — more than two-thirds of all the ­renewable energy in the EU — comes from the world’s oldest ­energy source: wood.

To replace a 1ha gas-fired power plant, society needs 73ha of solar panels, 239ha of onshore wind turbines or an unbelievable 6000ha of biomass.

Some Australians seem to overly worry about climate change while not knowing much at all about what’s going on, merely taking on board anything and everything that the MSM publishes. How many people:

  • believe that the earth has just ‘one’ climate?
    – There is no such thing as a ‘one’ global climate.
  •  know the current atmospheric concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere?
    – It’s a little over 400 parts/million.
  • know the minimum atmospheric concentration of CO2 before life on earth ends?
    – It’s about 180 parts/million.
  • know the percentage of atmospheric CO2 contributed by human activity?
    – It’s about 3%.
  •  know the percentage of atmospheric CO2 contributed by Australia?
    – It’s about 1.4% of that 3%.

We have all too many wanting Australia to ‘lead the world’ with renewable energy, to be at the forefront of saving the planet, a brave example for the rest of the world. But what will that 1.4% of 3% actually achieve, other than make Australia poorer? Meanwhile, the rest of the world seems to be going in a different direction.

Update 1. The following is a must read for anyone that believes renewables are the answer to our energy problems, ‘Inconvenient Energy Realities‘. Read the entire article and dare to have your beliefs challenged:

Regardless of one’s opinion about whether, or why, an energy “transformation” is called for, the physics and economics of energy combined with scale realities make it clear that there is no possibility of anything resembling a radically “new energy economy” in the foreseeable future. Bill Gates has said that when it comes to understanding energy realities “we need to bring math to the problem.”

He’s right. So, in my recent Manhattan Institute report, “The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking,” I did just that.

Update 2. The doom and gloom stories just keep on keeping on, at least when it comes to the climate worriers, with the media once again harping on about out bayside suburbs under imminent threat of going underwater, ‘Rising tide, erosion a threat to Port Phillip Bay’s beachside suburbs‘. If people truly believed in global warming and rising sea levels, why are beachfront properties the most expensive in Australia?

The Soggy Bottom Boys of Bayside Melbourne - (source: The Age)

The Soggy Bottom Boys of Bayside Melbourne – (source: The Age)

Update 3. Does anyone see the irony in this, ‘Former Greens leader Bob Brown campaigns against wind farm‘? When they start placing these things in the Green’s backyards, suddenly they become an environmental danger. Is this a signal now to all Greens, with this declaration coming from the Green Messiah himself, that windmills shouldn’t exist? Just think of it as a great tourist attraction:

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Former Greens leader and veteran activist Bob Brown is campaigning to stop a $1.6 billion wind farm development in Tasmania because it will spoil the view and kill birds.

The proposed Robbins Island wind farm in Tasmania’s northwest will be one of the world’s biggest, with up to 200 towers measuring 270m high from ground to blade tip.

Despite the criticisms levelled at former prime minister Tony Abbott and treasurer Joe Hockey for describing wind turbines as “ugly”, Dr Brown said the Robbins Island plan was, visually, a step too far. “Mariners will see this hairbrush of tall towers from 50km out to sea and elevated landlubbers will see it, like it or not, from greater distances on land,” Dr Brown said. “Its eye-catchiness will divert from every coastal scene on the western Bass Strait coastline.”

Dr Brown wrote: “Besides the impact on the coastal scenery, wind turbines kill birds. Wedge-tailed eagle and white-bellied sea eagles nest and hunt on the island. Swift parrots and orange-bellied parrots traverse the island on their migrations.”

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