Wednesday, 12 September 2012

An insidious law ...

The 'Law of Unintended Consequences' is just such an insidious law, one might almost say it is an immutable law, one which will always create the opposite effect of what was intended. A copy of an article forwarded to me recently suggests that the effects of this 'law' are beginning to make themselves apparent as 'Green' policies for energy begin to bite. To quote the article -

"Around the world dysfunctional energy policies are forcing large electricity consumers to fend for themselves to keep the lights on."

The author goes on to state that -

"Germany, with its extreme 'Green' credentials, is the canary in the coal mine."

The main problem is that the drive to make countries reliant on "renewable" energy sources, such as solar or wind generators, has eroded the capacity to produce energy by other means. Massive subsidies for wind and solar farms has also hidden the true cost of these alternatives, and opened up a new opportunity for fraud. One Spanish solar park was found to be producing a massive amount of electricity even at night. Investigators found the operators were running diesel generators as their operation was paid according to the Mega Watts delivered and the diesels boosted generation ...

There are two problems with the 'renewable' energy schemes. The first is that the windmills are not close to the user. This means a fairly sophisticated network of powerlines, booster stations and distributions stations is needed to get the energy to the user. Current networks can't do it, so there has to be a massive change in the infrastructure to make it even marginally efficient. The second problem is that the wind is not constant, so the supply can be erratic. That is not good news for those who need a constant and reliable supply. Anyone running computer systems for example, or any operation that requires steady voltage. Current surges in a domestic supply can be costly, take them into industries where sensitive electronic equipment is used and suddenly you have the potential for ruin.

The article mentions the fact that the organisers of the London Olympics were so concerned that there might be supply problems from the electricity grid, they have installed massive emergency generating capacity at all the venues. There were even measures in place to blackout parts of London so power could be diverted to the Games. Many businesses are now finding it expedient to install their own power supplies for coping with outages and suppliers of emergency generators are reporting skyrocketing sales.

In Germany the over hasty closure of the nuclear plants has had to be reassessed. It is too late to reverse the closures, but now the government has had to approve the rather hasty construction of a new generation of coal burning power plants. These will be fitted with all sorts of new technology to ensure 'carbon capture' - more correctly, the filtering out of CO2, SO2 and a several other 'greenhouse' gases - and their storage deep underground. According to the author of the article, this will still result in an overall increase in CO2 emissions of 4% and it probably doesn't end there, even if the writer of this piece hasn't taken the new technologies into account. Germany already has the highest electricity prices in Europe thanks to all this 'greening' of energy, but it isn't reducing demand and it certainly isn't reducing emissions.

One reason is the introduction of "Electric Autos." These need their batteries charged up, which they do by plugging in to national grid outlets. So we simply transfer the exhaust gas from the car to the power station.

So it would seem that the drive to reduce energy consumption is in fact driving it up, while at the same time, reducing the supply. I think the next few winters here could be very interesting especially if, as all the old timers are predicting, it looks like being colder. Last winter Germany's electric grid came rather too close to blackout a couple of times for the government's comfort. This year they seem to be praying they can keep it going until the new power stations come on line.

Perhaps time for the Monk and Mausi to go out and buy our own little stand-by generator ...

1 comment:

  1. Shocking. How could we possibly have seen THAT coming?

    Oh wait...