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62 responses to “Climate clippings 63”

  1. Huggybunny

    The anti CSM people are just so wrong in their opposition to CSM – maybe they get their funding from the same source as the wind denialists :) .
    They do not d seem to understand that the issue – much the same as for wind turbines – is the method of extraction. The extraction methods used for CSM are designed to maximise profits not minimise environmental effects.
    The really sad thing is that the methane is going to leak out any-way, far better to reduce it to water vapour and CO2 from a Greenhouse forcing perspective -but hey that’s science and we all know science is the enemy.
    On the topic of lithium batteries: I am using Li batteries in some largish grid connected energy storage systems. The industry really need to get its act together. The battery management systems (BMS) from virtually all manufacturers – not to put too fine a point on it – are totally shit. No way would you want to put these in your house and burn your kids up.
    Huggy

  2. akn

    Re: wind farm popularity survey.

    The Pacific Hydro report claims that

    The level of support for wind farms was 83% overall with just 14% opposed to their development.

    within communities residing in areas where there are already or are plans for wind farms. At the same time the report states that

    The perceived impacts of wind farms causing some level of concern are the depreciation of property values (5 in 10), the effect on visual amenity (4 in10) and noise (4 in10). Of a much lower order concern for survey participants were the perceived health problems (only 1 in 10), despite the media focus on this issue.

    So, there is 83% “overall” support despite 50% of respondents expressing concerns about property values, 40% expressing concerns about landscape visual blight and 40% expressing concerns about noise.

    This report is crap without a link to the questions asked and some raw numbers.

  3. akn

    The CSIRO study on windfarm acceptance/support is very weak depending as it does on no more than 27 phone interviews (that’s right, 27) and some deeply biased assumptions underpinning the media analysis. Worst of all is the totally fallacious argument for rejecting ocean based turbine farms at 7.1.3 in which the claim is made that it is just too expensive and anyway the Europeans have ocean based farms because they don’t have any more land on which to build them. The report should have read that ocean based turbine farms have never been studied by the CSIRO, European dirt is expensive and Australian dirt is cheap and therefore there is no need, notwithstanding the objections of rural populations, to go to the expense of building offshore farms.

    The citation for this in the CSIRO report is dodgy. The report shows that the above assertion was made by D. Rice of Science Alert. A look at the reference reveals that the comments were made by the PhD student who participated in the WA study (reported by Rice) that identified Australia’s most attractive offshore wind options. But these comments were the personal opinions of the junior researcher Ms Yun Zhang rather than a finding of the study (www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20081605-17335.html).

    The CSIRO report has seriously misrepresented personal opinion as research finding.

    The good thing about this limited report is that it shows that visual pollution of turbine blades is the main objection. That’s my view too. Put them offshore. Locating them near relatively low income rural communities is environmental racism akin to putting toxic waste dumps on cheap land where the locals don’t count.

  4. Doug

    wind turbines as visual pollution? I happen to find them attractive rather than otherwise. The view to the wind farm on the other side of Lake George from the Federal Highway is a thing of haunting beauty.

  5. John D

    Akn: You are not the only one who finds wind power ugly. Those slowly rotating arms look like…….However, everything I have seen says that off-shore is far more expensive than onshore. Effort needs to be put into finding visually more attractive alternatives.
    I rather liked this horizontal helical turbine Apart from the visuals it is claimed that this design makes less noise and provides a steadier output.

  6. jumpy

  7. Chris

    akn – starting to see the same people who oppose wind farms oppose the NBN building large towers for wireless access too. They add the standard health scares about raditiation too of course. I’d guess there’s a non trivial proportion of the rural population who find any large man made structure ugly.

  8. akn

    Vertical helix with maglev bearings may be the go John D.

    It is a matter of aesthetics and values. What do we value about where we choose to live? Static ridgelines are important to me. Thankfully I’m not alone in this. Both reports seem to come down to the fact that there is significant opposition to these types of wind farms because people just don’t like the look of them.

  9. Huggybunny

    Those vertical axis drag type (Savonius) turbines have crap efficiency. The lift types horizontal axis that you see all over the place can get close to the Betz limit so can the Darrius vertical axis turbines but they are not self starting.
    Out to sea is absolutely the best place for wind turbines, no-body but yachties will ever see them (and cruise liner passengers as they head for the rocks) The wind over the sea is free of turbulence and the wind is fast.
    Listen guys if you want green energy you are going to have swallow some of that rampant aestheticism. You want ugly ? Build thousands of nukes.
    Huggy

  10. Salient Green

    Absolutely agree with Huggy that out to sea is the best place for wind turbines where they can be linked with wave and tidal energy systems.
    This one’s been around since ’09.
    http://www.gizmag.com/wave-power-wind-power-hybrid/10950/

    I have no problem with wind farm penetration at the moment and there are many more sites whcih could be utilised without community resistance if chosen carefully but onshore wind will very quickly hit it’s limits.

    My house overlooks the Murray River and the last ten years have seen a lot of development over the other side, both ‘shacks’ down close to the river and housing development along the skyline. If I had a choice in the matter it would be for no development but if there was a wind farm over there instead of houses I wouldn’t have the light pollution or the fireworks at night or the effing speed boats.

  11. Mercurius

    Heh…there are locals around my part of the world who are opposed to wind farms, nuclear, CSG, coal mines and dams. They like solar ‘cos it pays them a subsidy.

    I hope they have fit hamsters to run their wheels! :D

  12. uniqerhys

    “Don’t crack open the champagne yet. They plan to have a prototype in 2103 and commercial batteries by about 2020.”

    I presume they plan to meet the 2020 ship date by using a time machine they intend to invent in 2102? :-)

    [Fixed, thanks - Brian]

  13. Chris

    Mercurius @ 11 – the wind farm rule changes may actually see a decrease in local protests. Since everyone within a 2km range will have a veto I think the wind farm companies will end up financially compensating all of the people within a 2km range rather than just the owner of the land that the turbines sit on.

  14. Salient Green

    @ 11, there’s a lot more to like about Solar PV than just the subsidy which at least your ‘locals’ have the nouse to realise. I’m sure that most of them are prepared for the time when most of their transport energy will have also have to come from PV.

  15. Fran Barlow

    Putting aside the efficacy of wind farms I quite like the aesthetics. I don’t believe that anyone within 2km should be allowed to object without showing sufficient cause. Low level noise or “no, sir, I just don’t like it” wouldn’t cut it.

  16. uniqerhys

    If visual aesthetics of wind farms are the issue, then why not make them look more like a quaint Dutch windmill rather than an aircraft propeller on a stick? I suspect though that even if they were pretty and quaint, it would make no difference to the wind farm opponents, who see it as competition to coal and gas (and in some quarters, solar). Business rivalries are setting the agenda rather than engineering realities. We need to get over it – do anything and everything in parallel!

  17. Huggy

    Brian, I understand that by locating the turbines way out in the North Sea they gain more energy and more constant energy. For some-one standing on a beach the horizon Is only a few miles away, 50 km is possibly a tad excessive for aesthetic reasons. I agree with you, they are strangely attractive. The ugliest power stations I have ever seen were a bunch of nukes in the UK. Sinister and ugly giant frogs defecating in the countryside, yuck.
    Huggy.

  18. Fran Barlow

    Sinister and ugly giant frogs defecating in the countryside

    What do you have against frogs, Huggy? I find them also to be rather attractive.

  19. akn

    Good. I’m pleased to see the aesthetics of current model wind turbines attracts a range of opinion. The next step then is for those who actually find them attractive to commit to campaigning to have them within their normal range of vision. Otherwise, those who find them attractive need to address the second stage of my objection and present a convincing argument as to why those of us who object to living with them in line of sight ought to accept them.

    The argument that they are less ugly than nukes or coal fired power stations is weak because it fails to address the cost issue of sighting them offshore. Proponents are effectively saying i) we want wind energy; ii) we don’t want to pay for energy produced on offshore farms; iii) the social cost of the visual disturbance can be carried by someone else because it’s cheaper to impose that cost on other people than pay for power produced where there there is no visual disturbance to anyone except a small handful of people.

    I’m waiting for someone to suggest a common good argument. It goes like this: the social good derived from imposing this (nuclear waste dump, nuclear power station, high temperature chemical incinerator and yes phone tower) where you live outweighs any (all) considerations of your amenity because the people who already own property in other places where we might site these things are too powerful/wealthy/well placed to consider disrupting.

    Otherwise the South Head of Sydney Harbour would already be covered in them.

    If the left environment movement wants to get some traction on this issue then it needs to campaign for offshore farming and then factor in the cost to power prices. Otherwise I fail to see what is of the left in the idea that someone has to pay the social cost of wind farms so it may as well be those who are out of sight and out of mind.

    Failure to address this issue is strategically short sighted as it leaves the door open to the sort of manipulation engaged in by the so called ‘Landscape Guardians’ who are so crude in their approach that they don’t even bother to run a line on any other issues except wind farms which is what a clever operator would do to at least create a smoke screen.

  20. Fran Barlow

    More on wind turbines:

    Heads up Terje for this one …

    Wind Lens Turbines

  21. Salient Green

    Here’s a bit more on the Wave Treader device with photos, some dimensions and a short explanation of the technology.
    http://www.power-technology.com/projects/greenoceanenergywav/
    A full scale prototype is scheduled for the 2nd quarter of this year and full commercial deployment in 2015/2016.

  22. Huggy

    Nothing against frogs per se Fran, just giant ugly and sinister ones pooing in my backyard.
    Nuclear reactors are best sited 96 million miles away, oh we have one there and it came for free.
    Harnessing the power of this rather beautiful fusion reactor with whatever means we have available strikes me as being a very sensible idea. Those wave powe gadgets that fit on the base of existing sea based wind turbines are an eample of the sort of lateral thinking that Is going to save our sorry arses. That we might have to site them out ofthe view of our limp wristed

  23. Huggy

    Oh bugger, bloody iPad , meant to say limp wrested aesthetes.

  24. billie

    Victorians were incensed when Baillieu effectively stopped development of further wind farms because in the same week he granted permission to build a [brown] coal mine in Bacchus Marsh 200m from existing suburban subdivisions.

    There is no scientific evidence for the damaging effects of infrasound, niose pollution from wind farms, but there is clear scientific evidence that solid particulate matter from coal mines and coal burning causes lung conditions like asthma, lung disease and death.

  25. akn

    Oi, Huggybunny, smile when you call me a limp wristed aesthete. I’m a heavy handed son of toil with cultural capital who’s very capable of defending his aesthetic preferences.

  26. akn

    I should add, in my limp wristed fashion, that as I write this I’m wearing hi-viz overalls with a T-shirt (sleeveless) stating “MUA Here To Stay” and this garb because only this morning I was out harvesting the potatoes. My mate says “Aesthete? I should be so lucky!”

  27. jumpy

    SG@22
    Maybe some of these on them sticks in the water? Or these ?

  28. Huggy

    Akn, and here is me thinking all aesthetes have to be limp wristed. Then I should know better, I lived with an artist for 27 years and she is certainly not limp wristed.
    Any-way if you want ugly just drive down any major shopping street in Oz .
    Huggy

  29. Roger Jones

    @3 akn

    very much misrepresented the CSIRO report. The findings used the basis of semi-structured in-depth interviews. This is a legitimate social research method that uses the findings, not the numbers. These studies typically have 20-40 interviewees because of the time it takes to transcribe and analyse the results.

    I also checked the reference you followed, locating the chapter that described the research the second author was describing. That work described opportunities for offshore wind in Australia but noted that all aspects were more expensive not just land. The brief para reflected that, though the science alert reference wasn’t the best. ’twas easy to find the chapter.

    Nor did the Pacific Hydro report seem that awful. People were mostly supportive but recognised some negatives. They can do that, you know. The responses in the report pretty much described the methodology.

    Not going to say anything about D Cass but Brian posted the disclaimer in any sense.

    So you don’t like windmills. Nor did Don Juan.

  30. Huggybunny

    “So you don’t like windmills. Nor did Don Juan.”
    The limp-wristed aesthetes in Paris totally hated the Eiffel Tower when it was built, petitioned the gummint to tear it down.
    “However, the controversial tower elicited some strong reactions, and a petition of 300 names — including those of Guy de Maupassant, Émile Zola, Charles Garnier (architect of the Opéra Garnier), and Alexandre Dumas fils — was presented to the city government, protesting its construction. The petition read, “We, the writers, painters, sculptors, architects and lovers of the beauty of Paris, do protest with all our vigour and all our indignation, in the name of French taste and endangered French art and history, against the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower.”
    So much for aesthetics, it’s all bullshit. Now we all hate pomo buildings, get over it. However shopping streets are irredeemable.
    Huggybunny

  31. akn

    Ah yes Roger Jones. Suggesting I’ve misrepresented a misrepresentation isn’t fair. Any apparent misrepresentation published as CSIRO findings is unacceptable. No room for manoeuvre at all I’m afraid. The researcher made the comment cited by D. Rice that was then cited, incorrectly, as a research finding by the CSIRO authors. It wasn’t a research finding as the original research was intended to identify the best offshore windfarm locations in Australia and concluded that West Aussie was the best. That project did not set out to conduct a cost benefit analysis of offshore windfarms. It was designed to do so. The the comment by the researcher that the cost was prohibitive simply reinforces current politico-economic dogma and is not, as already stated but the point needs to be made again, a research finding.

    Pants down around the ankles mate and a serious methodological error that is deserving of criticism.

    As to quantitative analysis – it all depends, dunnit, on what questions are asked. Not reliable at 27 interviews and I’d need to know the balance between open and closed questions before we could even start to examine the research critically.

  32. akn

    @31 “It was designed to do so.” should read “was not”.

  33. Ootz

    Roger, I suspect you are referring to El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha aka Don Quixote, as he was ’tilting his lance at windmills’. This is the phrase used to describe an act of attacking imaginary enemies, derived from the iconic scene in the book by Cervantes.

    billie, that decision really takes the cake! One would not think we’re in much trouble while we can afford to haggle over aesthetics of wind power and continue brown coal mining in suburbia. In fact every suburb should have one, fake it if there is no brown stuff buried, make it a theme park with drive in Maccas and shopping complex, perhaps a pokie featuring leagues club, a sure vote winner.

  34. akn

    Actually Huggy I’m always after first principle questions such as “why do we need more electricity?”. The conservationists always argued for wise use and frugal ways. If we’re going to start wind mining the ridgelines then it is going to have to be for far better purposes than freezing gelato for lard arsed guzzlers who then need to air condition their homes because they can’t move enough to perspire and lack the capacity to imagine how to structure their needs and desires into the requirements of a small planet and then there are shopping malls, car dependency, power boats, 4×4 ‘recreational vehicles’, fast food, lights on in the big end of town…add infinitum.

    How about this: schools and hospitals and food transport and storage can be air conditioned. Homes can be air conditioned. Everything else must be either fitted from scratch or retro-fitted for passive cooling. And ban ‘standby’ on all electric domestic appliances. The length of the working day in hot conditions (inside uncooled buildings) needs to be reduced or re-structered.

    That ought to cut down demand after which thenwe can have a fair dinkum discussion about energy production. Otherwise there is an awful lot of lookin’ on the bright side in the expectation that we can continue to sustain our energy rich lives let alone increase consumption. It’s the limits to growth, mate.

  35. Mercurius

    @33

    Is there any internet conversation that xkcd cannot harbinge?

  36. Huggybunny

    AKN,
    We need more electricity because in ten years we will have another 2 million homes to service. I know that is not what you mean but our metric should be the services enabled or provided by electricity. We are not going back to the state of noble savagery. Well we are actually, but there is nothing noble about the present destination.
    I think that necessity will force us to adopt lower energy ways to do stuff like air conditioning, like totally banning those grey/black low albedo roof-tops that you see in every new housing development. We know all this stuff but we appear to be incapable of implementing it.
    Banning standby is not that simple, it can actually reduce power consumption in some cases if properly implemented.
    Huggybunny

  37. alfred venison

    dear all
    you guys are thinking of don quixote. i recall that at the time he tilted against the windmills don quixote was delusional & under the impression they were giants. in the circumstances its hard to know with any certainty what his real views about windmills might have been.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  38. jumpy

    News is thin on the ground about “World Future Energy Summit 2012″ in Abu Dhabi, Jan 16-19.

    Apparently the;
    “”World Future Energy Summit is the world’s foremost annual meeting committed to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies by engaging political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders to drive innovation, business and investment opportunities in response to the growing need for sustainable energy.”"

    Their site if anyone cares,
    http://www.worldfutureenergysummit.com/

    (by the time you see this I’ll be asleep, catch ya tomorrow )

  39. Salient Green

    Yeah go AKN @ 34. Some here may not realise that AKN lives in a particularly beautiful part of Australia and his case of NIMBYism is thoroughly justified. Wind farm builders are not environmentalists unfortunately. Profit is the motive, not environmental protection.

    As I said earlier, their are a lot of places where onshore wind can be placed that doesn’t interfere with aesthetics. One of those places would be within cities which are fukked already as far as aesthetics goes.

  40. Roger Jones

    Aaargh, sorry Don Quixote – I meant.

    akn – I don’t take a step back from that at all. You don’t like the message – shoot the messenger. So, the report isn’t perfect. What I read in your criticisms are that the researchers came to the wrong answer because they had an agenda. Crap on that, I say.

    Btw, I thought the offshore wind analysis chapter not quoted was good, and agreed with its findings. Wouldn’t have put a red light in the CSIRO report for offshore costs – merely an orange. That’s because policy can change cost profiles quite quickly.

    And the phone interviews are described as qualitative interviews. They are valid. At those numbers. And do not substitute for quantitative methods. So don’t criticise it for being what it’s not.

    You. Don’t. Like. Windmills. Fine.

    Just don’t 1984 everyone who points out a different view. Even if it’s a research view.

  41. Quoll

    Carbon Dioxide Is ‘Driving Fish Crazy’

    Rising human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of sea fishes with serious consequences for their survival, an international scientific team has found.

    Carbon dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of this century will interfere with fishes’ ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators, says Professor Philip Munday of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

    Carbon Dioxide Is ‘Driving Fish Crazy’

  42. akn

    Roger Jones – I’m all for windmills where the wind is and that is offshore. Saying that offshore is too expensive is a political decision.

  43. Lefty E

    Thats study on short-lived warming agents seems very important. Highly achievable.

  44. Dave McRae

    I voted for this one in Behind The Lines – sums up the strange turbines are horrid for me
    http://behindthelines.moadoph.gov.au/2011/carbon-tax/cartoons/8

  45. Nick

    Brian @ 16 : “I have read that the Germans don’t like them visible from the coast, forcing them 50km off shore, which is proving rather expensive.”

    Wondering where you came across this, Brian? It got me interested enough to have a look into it…

    Germany’s territorial waters extend 22km (12 nautical miles) from the coast. Beyond that, you’re in the German EEZ, and from what I’ve gathered, under German national law and current policy, wind farm projects in that zone theoretically must be approved if they “don’t impair the safety and efficiency of navigation”, and are not “detrimental to the marine environment”. There is a “public interest” component buried in there as well, but it’s barely touched upon in their policy docs, and nothing I’ve read so far suggests aesthetic arguments against offshore wind beyond 22km have ever held sway…

    German coastal states must still give permission to run the feeder cables through their waters. This is apparently a horrendous process and currently takes years, as no less than 12 administrative bodies must grant licenses before you get the go ahead. Again, I’d be surprised though if objections to the cables would be on aesthetic grounds…I can’t find anything, even on German wind energy promoting sites, to suggest that’s been the problem…

    So, not sure how that 50km figure comes into it…it does seem excessive. As the Wadden Sea is World Heritage listed, and might extend close to that far from shore in some places, I suspect for now that if such a blanket policy exists, it’d be a lot more about environmental impact than anything else…

  46. Nick

    Just a lot of skimming at this stage, Brian! But do have a bunch of docs I’d like have to a more solid read through now I’ve got them.

    Dudenhausen has some interesting things to say, but as the article is pretty much a marketing pitch for his gas fuel cell company, I wouldn’t expect him to be too positive about offshore wind power. The “Germans don’t want to look at large turbines” seems a bit too easy and simplistic a write-off to me…

    Interestingly, once an application has been submitted for a wind farm in the German EEZ zone, no other company can file for that same patch of water until the first application has run its course (ie. several years). There’s an idea that companies have been filing applications that they have no real intentions to follow up on. It’s simply about staking out bits of ocean, and stalling to stop others moving ahead in those areas.

    Would like to learn more about this, and how much of an effect it might be having slowing the whole thing down, and possibly forcing companies to move out into deeper water areas of the zone to make their claims…

  47. jumpy

    JEEBUS!! I hope this is not a hoax.

    http://dvice.com/archives/2012/01/e-cat-household.php

  48. Jess

    Apropos of wind farms and f_ckin ridiculous planning laws: “Science on wind turbine illness dubious, say expertsconfidential briefings given to the state government by NSW Health”

    Documents obtained under freedom-of-information laws show that health officials repeatedly warned ministers last year that there was no evidence for ”wind turbine syndrome”, a collection of ailments including sleeplessness, headaches and high blood pressure that some people believe are caused by the noise of spinning blades.

    But the department’s advice contrasts with the view of the Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, who was responsible for draft guidelines, released in December, that significantly tighten the approvals process.

    “I take the view that the jury is still out on the health impacts from wind farms,” he told the Herald last night. “When it comes to people’s health, I’ll take a precautionary approach every time.”

    Right, so it’s completely altruistic eh Hazzard?

  49. John D

    Just as a matter of interest, how many wind farms will actually be affected by the new NSW rules? Worth asking too where the 2 km figure comes from? (I walk at a reasonable pace yet it takes me about 30 minutes on a graded track to walk 2 km.)
    Worth asking too whether winglets, humpback knobs and other action to improve efficiency also reduces the noise level?

  50. Nick

    “Interestingly, once an application has been submitted for a wind farm in the German EEZ zone, no other company can file for …”

    That’s what I get for skimming. A more detailed read of my source went on to explain that this law was actually abolished several years ago precisely because of the anti-competitive behaviour it led to…multiple companies can now file applications for the same patch of water, whoever gets licensed first gets it…

  51. Jess

    jumpy: Given that nickel is on the fissile side of iron in the periodic table it’s definitely a hoax. There’s no way (short of suspending Maxwell’s laws of electromagnetism) to generate hydrogen + nickel fusion anywhere in the universe.

    Ok, yes we do have copper in the universe but it occurs by beta decay from heavy nickel isotopes, not by adding protons to light nickel isotopes.

  52. jumpy

    I’ll take your word on that Jess, thanks.

  53. Chris

    JohnD @ 53 – there was a wind farm proponent on radio the other day who said that although it depends on terrain, the noise from the turbines can’t be heard from about 2km away. So perhaps that is where they got the number from.

  54. Keithy

    Those wave powe gadgets that fit on the base of existing sea based wind turbines are an eample of the sort of lateral thinking that Is going to save our sorry arses.
    <<

    Sounds like a case for HYBRIDISATION MAN!!

    ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS THE MANTRA FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, NO DOUBT!

  55. jumpy

    Keithy yelled,
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS THE MANTRA FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, NO DOUBT!

    No dude, Sustainable

  56. Huggybunny

    Keithy,
    There are good hybrids and really dumb hybrids. The serial hybrid EV is far better than the first Hybrids.
    Huggybunny

  57. el gordo

    Wind farms are visually exciting, quiet and efficient if you live in a major city away from them.

    And you are probably on green pills.