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New renewable energy technologies can never compete with conventional generation

Bryan Leyland's picture
Consulting Engineer, LCL Ltd

Bryan Leyland MSc, DistFEngNZ, FIMechE, FIEE(rtd), MRSNZ.  is a New Zealand-based electrical power engineer with world wide experience In power generation, power systems and electricity markets....

  • Member since 2007
  • 70 items added with 10,242 views
  • Feb 10, 2016

Because of the widespread belief in dangerous man-made global warming governments all over the world have decided to provide subsidies for wind solar and other so-called "renewable" power sources. They have also poured large amounts of money into wave and tidal power even though there is no evidence that they will ever compete with conventional generation.

According to the satellites – which NASA recognises as the most accurate – the world has not warmed measurably for the last 18 years. If you believe the recently heavily adjusted surface temperature records then 2015 was marginally warmer than previous years but world temperatures are still something like 0.5°C below the temperatures predicted by the IPCC climate models. Yet concentrations of carbon dioxide have continued to climb steadily.

So we can be absolutely confident (a) that dangerous man-made global warming is not happening and (b) the climate models that predict continued and rapid warming are worthless. Many serious scientists who have studied past climate cycles predict that there is a high probability that the world is about to cool.

During the Little Ice Age, starvation, disease and civil strife were endemic. During the Middle Ages warm period – warmer than it is now – civilisations thrived.

Given that carbon dioxide driven dangerous man-made global warming is not happening there is no reason to curtail the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel reserves are sufficient for more than 100 years – and a lot more if submarine methane hydrates are included.

But there is always nuclear power and the world has huge resources of uranium and sufficient thorium to provide all the power we need for hundreds of years.

Nuclear power has proven to be remarkably safe – much safer than any other major form of power generation. The United Nations Committee On the Effects of Nuclear Radiation has st consumer Fukushima has not, and will not, cause any deaths from radiation. The panic driven closing down of perfectly safe nuclear power stations caused power shortages and the forced evacuations of people from areas with safe levels of radiation killed thousands.

Wind and solar power cost between three and five times the cost of conventional generation. Wind power costs seem to have more or less levelled out and cost reductions are now driven by economies of scale, rather than technological advances. Solar power costs need to decrease by a factor of five or so – which puts the price well below the cost of the raw materials and labour for installation. Looked at as means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, they are one of the most expensive. Nuclear power and converting from coal to gas do it for virtually no cost.

The subsidies for wind and solar power are mostly added to the cost of electricity. So poor people, who cannot afford to install solar cells pay more for their electricity so that rich people can benefit from the subsidies. I find this quite scandalous.

donn dears's picture
donn dears on Feb 14, 2016

Excellent article that tells the truth about wind and solar.

Bryan Leyland's picture
Thank Bryan for the Post!
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