Are Wind and Solar the Future of Energy or a Utopian Pipe Dream?

Can Wind and Solar Provide Reliable, Consistent Power or is it a Utopian dream?

Is it possible for wind and solar power to be reliable and consistent? Let’s look at the facts.

WIND

Wind power needs a narrow range of wind speeds. Too slow and no power is generated. Too fast and turbines could be damaged, so they must be shut down. Output is intermittent and variable.

Each wind turbine needs several hundred pounds of rare earth elements for super magnets needed to generate electricity.

Cables from each turbine are needed to connect all of them to the grid, unlike thermal, hydro and nuclear plants where the energy is generated in one location.

Wind power requires vast areas to be cleared, to provide the level of output needed for any one area. Wind farms disrupt the ecology of the environment, and produce annoying or harmful low and infra sound.

A wind turbine can last 15 to 20 years with regular maintenance by trained technicians.

Wind turbines create a vacuum behind their blades that pull birds and bats in to be killed by the blades. The insect population, normally kept in check by birds and bats, would necessarily increase as would crop damage and diseases carried by insects.

 

SOLAR

Solar power needs full sun to deliver optimum output. Clouds, rain, fog, dust and night block sunlight. Photovoltaic solar cells need to be aimed directly at the sun, so tracking mechanisms are needed for optimum output. Without tracking, less power is generated. Output is intermittent and variable.

The sun yields up to 1 Kilowatt or power per meter. Solar cells yield 15 to 30% output when directly aimed at the sun, but power output declines with angle away from vertical. At higher latitudes maximum output can never be reached because the sun is never directly overhead. As cells age, they lose about 1% per year of capacity.

Rare earth elements are needed for high output solar cells. Heat reduces output so cooling may be required.

Cables from each solar panel are needed to connect all of them to the grid, unlike thermal, hydro and nuclear plants where the energy is generated in one location.

Solar power requires vast areas to be cleared and covered by solar arrays, to provide the level of output needed for any one area. Solar arrays disrupt the ecology of the environment.

Solar panels last 10 to 20 years with regular cleaning of surfaces and maintenance of tracking and cooling systems by trained technicians.

 

Backup Power:

Both solar and wind power have inconsistent, intermittant output that requires backup power in the form of fossil fuel thermal, geothermal, hydroelectric or nuclear plants. None of these sources can be switched on and off quickly on demand, and balancing output for consistency would be almost impossible. It would be necessary to run backup power plants constantly on standby, which is less efficient than running them consistently at optimum power.

 

Combined Wind and Solar

The sun is always shining somewhere in the world, so average output can be fairly consistent and constant.

The wind is always blowing at optimum speeds somewhere in the world, so average output can be fairly consistent and constant.

But for any one location or even one region, neither solar nor wind power are consistent and constant.  The only way solar and wind could come close to providing constant, reliable power is by linking wind and solar plants all over the world into one huge distributed worldwide grid that would even out power levels.

This system would require many billions of miles of electrical transmission cables but would suffer from significant power losses over distance, even at very high voltages, and require constant maintenance. It is doubtful that such a system could actually share a worldwide grid due to transmission loses.

Such a grid, if possible, would require one worldwide government to regulate and run the system. All national and political barriers would have to be eliminated. We are talking about a communist/socialist top down Utopia, which requires iron fisted control of every aspect of life from the top.

Conclusion:

A worldwide, distributed power grid is an unrealistic Communist/socialist Utopian dream that can never be accomplished in the real world.

Recommendation:

Since constant and consistent power can never be accomplished with Solar and Wind systems, these systems should be abandoned except for solar panels for very local uses on single homes or as a supplement for single businesses.

The cleanest and greenest sources of reliable electrical power are hydroelectric, geothermal and nuclear. These systems can supply almost all of the power needed for a developing world. On the road to developing these sources in areas lacking infrastructure, it will be necessary to employ fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas until capacity is built up.  Natural gas is the cleanest of these three.  Without having to back up the intermittency of solar or wind, power plants can be run at optimum efficiency to minimize fuel consumption and maximize power output.

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How Much CO2 Gets Emitted to Build a Wind Turbine?

STOP THESE THINGS

turbine base

The ONLY justification for wind power – the massive subsidies upon which it entirely depends (see our post here); spiralling power prices (see our post here); and the suffering caused to neighbours by incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound (see our post here) – is the claim that it reduces CO2 emissions in the electricity sector.

STT has pointed out – just once or twice – that that claim is nothing more than a central, endlessly repeated lie.

Because wind power fails to deliver at all hundreds of times each year, 100% of its capacity has to be backed up 100% of the time by fossil fuel generation sources – which run constantly in the background to balance the grid and prevent blackouts when wind power output collapses – as it does on a routine, but unpredictable, basis (see our posts here and here and here and 

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Why Coal Miners, Oil and Gas Producers Simply Love Wind Power

STOP THESE THINGS

coalminevn Coal miners just love wind power.

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The wind industry parades as an “alternative” energy source. Which begs the question: “alternative” to what?

The lunatics from the hard-green left (like “Greens” head-muppet, Christine Milne) continually whine that “coal is DEATH“; and wax lyrical about the fantasy of going “100% renewable” – all the while pocketing $millions in campaign funding from the party’s wind industry backers (see our post here).

muppets-miss-piggy Christine Milne, snacks out on the wind industry expense account.

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Economic lunatics, like Milne are wedded to the delusion that there really is a choice between powering nations with hundreds of thousands of giant fans (carpeting every last square mile of other peoples’ back yards) and coal or gas fired plant, that comfortably fit on the back of a figurative “envelope”; and, as they’re usually placed in industrial zones, rarely trouble anyone.

The…

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Internat’l Orgs deny essential resources to poor countries, Part 1

Most people assume that trusted international leaders and nonprofit organizations would value life and want to raise the standard of living and lifespans of people in less developed cultures. This has apparently not been the case for many internationally recognized governmental and non-governmental agencies. Among the preponderance of international organizations, the focus is on reducing the population and maintaining the status quo, not on humanitarian aid or developing underdeveloped cultures.  Although this is slowly changing through various charitable organizations, most official international agencies give only enough aid and support to barely sustain the under-privileged, but not enough to raise their standard of living, develop their infrastructure or change their long range outcome.  It has repeatedly been demonstrated that raising the standard of living and health of impoverished peoples is the best way to both stabilize the population and protect the environment.

Haiti & Dominican Republic border – Effect of biomass burning vs. hydroelectric power. [1]
For those dealing with high infant and childhood mortality and struggling to feed their families, high birth rates in anticipation of those losses, and to provide farm labor for subsistence farming along with an inability and unwillingness to protect the environment are the natural consequences. Destitute people will do whatever is deemed necessary to survive, including harming the environment. You would, too.  Thus, progressive policies that keep indigenous peoples in their poverty and squalor for “cultural preservation” or to “save the planet” have the opposite effect of their stated ends of preserving the environment and improving human life.

Many international organizations propagate drastic population control measures under the radar while publicly advocating and providing (some) aid to the poor and endorsing environmental concerns. This includes governmental and nongovernmental agencies such as UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities), The World Bank, USAID (United States Agency for International Development), the Club of Rome and its many spin-offs, Worldwide Fund for Nature, formerly called World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Green Peace, Population Council, International Planned Parenthood Federation, etc. Many of these organizations swap and share members and leaders, and cooperate to help each other toward common population control goals.

Worldwide Need for UNFPA services – UN Population Fund at http://www.unfpa.org/data

The Population Control agenda is rooted in the Eugenics movement that considered brown and black people to be inferior to the white race.  When that became unpopular, they hid this origin and emphasized the overpopulation myth and population control “for the good of the planet.”  Meanwhile they still maintaining an attitude that brown and black people are incapable of improvement and need to be taken care of and led.  This is a pernicious lie!  The present state of environmental and economic suppression and control is still a form of colonialism.  There is hope for Africa and other underdeveloped countries to become economically independent, but priorities and attitudes must change. 

The Club of Rome describes itself as “a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity.” Its members includes current and former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists and business leaders from around the globe. Ostensively a charitable organization, it really advocates for control of population in underdeveloped countries as its primary goal and attempts to influence governments through its high-level members.  In 1972 it published a report entitled The Limits to Growth. In its own words, its mission is “to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public.”  As such, it has been one of the primary promoters of government and NGO policies limiting reproduction in poor countries by withholding aid and loans unless strict population control measures are in place.


“The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.  All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” (emphasis added)

— The Club of Rome


Although, as a part of the population control agenda, people in developed countries have been encouraged into voluntary sterilization, birth control and abortions, especially among the low income populations [2], the main focus is on targeting the poorest and most vulnerable people in underdeveloped countries.  Aid money to impoverished nations is often linked to a demand for population control quotas on mandatory (forced or coerced) sterilizations, implantation of IUDs and injected birth control chemicals for the poorest people.  This is the ugly secret hidden behind the humanitarian image projected for donations.  Their websites and other publications hide this agenda under euphemistic and colorful terms such as “family planning,” “research” and “improving the lives of the poor.”

In addition to enforced sterilization, abortion and birth control methods, other means of limiting both population and life span have been applied and are often tied to reception or denial of aid. See below for summary and more detail in Part 2 in next post; the list includes denial or failure to provide/ promote :

  • DDT for control of insect borne diseases. (80% of diseases are zoonotic.)
  • Power Plants except unreliable (aka green) wind and solar
  • Clean Water and Sanitation to reduce diseases
  • Transportation: roads and railroads for access to markets and clinics
  • Modern agriculture in favor of slash & burn subsistence (“sustainable”) agriculture
  • Access to EU markets is denied if genetically modified or high yield crops are grown
  • Industry investment outlook is poor due to high absenteeism from disease (see DDT)
  • Medicine: poor facilities and supplies, except for sterilization and birth control
  • Education: failure to train in hygiene, child care, agriculture and small business
  • HIV/AIDS diagnosis without confirmation as excuse for not treating TB, Malaria, etc.
  • Cultural Preservation in toto is encouraged, rather than economic development
  • Political Unrest is allowed to persist that discourages involvement by charities
  • Anti-Colonial Propaganda to scare people from accepting assistance/expertise.

Of these, disease control and electrical power are the most important because they can facilitate many of the other items on the list, and kick-start the economy.  A healthy workforce and power to run industry, business, medical facilities and transportation are key to economic development. Although many African countries need foreign aid and international loans now, the goal should be to help them raise their economy to the point where they are net contributors to the world economy or at least are self sufficient.

[1] Photo from WUWT, post reposted here:  How Environmental Organizations Are Destroying The Environment

[2] The population control agenda has been so successful in developed countries that for many countries birth rates are below replacement levels of 2+ children per couple.  This is becoming a problem for countries like Japan and Germany where employment quotas for even essential services are hard to fill and an aging population is dependent on the care of fewer offspring.  This will remain a problem until birth rates rise again to above replacement rates.