GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – Green Party rule risks ruin for Labour

22
1176
Late Stage Capitalism

Last week I penned a piece on hydrogen being promoted at the G7 as an alternative energy source for Europe.  My conclusion was: Europe would do itself as massive favour if it accelerated the supply of Russian gas via North Stream. 

In this article I clinically debunk the myth that power generators: solar, wind and batteries, are the solution to protect the environment.  In fact, I demonstrate that these, “Green Machines” will cause massively greater environmental damage than is the unfortunate by-product of the mainstream providers of power.  

Some basic physics: there are limits on the natural sources which cannot of can’t be exceeded.

Best conversion rate of sun photons to electrons is 33%   We achieve 26%

Best wind conversion is 60%   We achieve 45%

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Therefore, we are close to maximum capture of energy from these sources – providing the sun shines and the wind blows.

The solution some say is batteries.

Taking Tesla’s battery factory in Nevada – the world’s biggest; it would take 500 years for that factory to make enough batteries to satisfy energy consumption of one day in the USA.

This begins to explain why, that after 20 years and billions of dollars subsidies, solar and wind only produce 3% of world electricity needs.

Putting aside physics and economics, if your mission is to protect the planet with solar, wind and batteries; as always: Be Careful for what you wish.

Solar, wind and batteries are built from non- renewable materials.

A single electric car battery weights about half a tonne.  To build a battery requires moving and processing about 250 tonnes of earth – somewhere on the planet.

To build a single 100 mw windfarm to power 75,000 homes requires some 30,000 tonnes of iron ore, 50,000 tonnes of concrete and 900 tonnes of non-re-cyclable plastic for the huge blades.

The cost to get the same power output from solar, the amount of cement, steel and glass is about 150% greater.

Other elements required include rare earths materials.  To satisfy current plans for production of solar, wind and battery power, the world will need a 200 – 2000% increase in mining for elements such as in cobalt, lithium and dysprosium.

These materials will largely come from China, Russia Brazil – and will require intrusion of earth-shattering machinery into biodiversity areas which as yet have not been disturbed.  If your quest is to protect the environment of natural nature, the reality of earth destruction of natural resources, may cause you to recalibrate your thinking.

The mining process will require massive amounts of conventional energy.  Then there’s the energy use for refining and factory processing and distribution.

And then then there’s the more deleterious issue of – waste.

Solar, wind and batteries have relative short life – 20 years.  

Machinery for conventional methods such as gas turbines lasts twice as long before replacement required.

IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) calculates by 2050 the worn-out solar panels tonnage will almost double the weight of the total of current plastics wastes.  Worn-out wind turbines and batteries will produce millions of tonnes more of waste.

The probability that child and or virtual slave labour will be a feature of some aspects of mining the raw materials for batteries, might be a consideration for the humanitarian among us.

To briefly juxtapose current costs of energy against the costs projected in this article if we go down battery alley:

  • It costs about the same to drill one oil well as it does to build one giant wind turbine.
  • Yet, while the turbine generates the equivalent of about one barrel of oil per hour, in the same our, the oil rig produces 10 barrels per hour.

At a time, the current government is, in its surreptitious style, signalling banning petrol cars by 2050 (1), it may well fall to the next government to get back to the basics of physics and review imposition of a regime which may well see New Zealand taking the wrong turn.

For doubters as to the integrity of content and as a matter of personal academic integrity, my source for the above is:  Mark Mills senior fellow Manhattan Institute, Prager university,

  1. https://www.driven.co.nz/news/nz-government-looks-at-banning-fuel-burning-cars-by-2050/

Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland police spies; currently Honorary consul for an African state; Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in NZ and has international business interests.

 

22 COMMENTS

  1. Or we could go nuclear? If we actually trusted the science (sic) this is where the world would head for it’s energy into the next 50 years.

    Question – is anyone on the left going to answer the critical question of how we get the power from the South Island to the North Island to charge our fleet of Nissan Leafs without either:
    a). Increasing transmission capacity across Cook Strait
    b). Rolling black outs; or the best still
    c). Importing more and more coal from third world countries to power up Huntly

    LOL

    • Or why James Shaw and Megan Woods won’t listen to the argument for making Biofuels at Marsden Point( using existing infrastructure)from our extensive waste resources Note to Mike JOY we DO NOT need to grow crops to make biofuels in NZ. We have tallow from the meat industry and wood waste for isopropyl alcohol and ethanol from the Dairy industry. And no one in government is listening. We not need unaffordable electric vehicles we need to biofuel hybrids. Less electricity required and we have the ingredients and technology already. Shaw and Woods are dangerously inept, incompetent and uninformed.

    • Or why James Shaw and Megan Woods won’t listen to the argument for making Biofuels at Marsden Point( using existing infrastructure)from our extensive waste resources Note to Mike JOY we DO NOT need to grow crops to make biofuels in NZ. We have tallow from the meat industry and wood waste for isopropyl alcohol and ethanol from the Dairy industry. And no one in government is listening. We not need unaffordable electric vehicles we need biofuel hybrids. Less electricity required and we have the ingredients and technology already. Shaw and Woods are dangerously inept, incompetent and uninformed.

    • Huntly used to run on NZ coal, that is why it was built there, it sits on a coal field. The problem is the commercial model imposed on the electricty sector and the NZ public. The company running Huntly needs imported coal to make their mix of generation resources “profitable” when competing artificially with the other companies resources. The best model both for low cost efficientl electricity and in future dealing with climate change was the old centrally managed one. Too late now, Turkeys voted for xmas. Devil is in the detail. We came up with solutions such as the interconnector after we were told it was impossible. We dont seem to be as smart as we used to be but I am sure we have a lot of people in NZ who are capable and are growing tired of the sideshow that passes for policy delivery these days.

  2. Correct on all points Ross. Wind & solar cannot save us here in NZ.
    Solar has a capacity factor of 14%
    And wind has a capacity factor of 40%
    (Where ‘capacity factor’ is the power generated over time divided by its theoretical rating – it’s nameplate output)
    So at only 14%, solar isn’t even a starter in the Land of the Long White Cloud (the clue is in the name) while wind generation would require literally thousands of additional wind turbines and some means of storing the energy for days when there is no wind. The only practical technology for storing such vast amounts of energy currently available is pump storage. This entails doing another ‘think big’ hydro scheme somewhere in the north island where the largest electricity demand is.

    The current government is so willfully stupid I’m on the cusp of thinking that they’re now just gaslighting us for the fun of it.

    • Right on Andrew, to your points and to those of Ross.
      The simple fact is we just do not have enough “renewable’s” to run every thing now. Huntly going back to three boilers on full noise and no doubt the fourth being scoped to get back on line for next winter all burning imported coal.
      With this real evidence why would anyone invest in “all electric” seeing impending shortages already on the table? We do know some can’t see!
      That said, if the Government truly wants a wholesale move to a renewable only economy then deal to that first.
      Government must commit to building the Lugatt and Queensbury dams on the Clutha (planned to follow the Clyde dam way back in the days of Keith Holyoake), allow the flooding of a few hundred hectares of Doc land on the West Coast to actually give consumer confidence that more electricity is coming on stream. Coupled of course with the start of building a new transmission line from Manapouri up the South Island, across Cook Straight , and on to Auckland to get the electricity to the consumer. AND / OR dust off the proposal for a nuclear plant at Helensville.
      Will any of that happen? no it won’t. As Ross points out none of that fits the Green narrative.

      Now I’m no Climate denier, the Frans Joseph Glacier has retreated 3km since it was discoverd by Juilius Haast in 1865, so its real,
      However if it is to 1 or 2 degrees warmer if we do nothing, and you live in Taihape or Invercargill, bring it on!!
      and for this reason alone there is no enthusiasm by many across the country to do anything particular to halt warming. These practical people are all branded climate deniers by the idealist zealots who want to save the “big” world when in fact the practical people are realists in their own “small” world.
      Fairly much all commentary is about how bad climate warming is for us all concluding with “We must stop this change at all costs”
      The simple fact is it isn’t all bad, if officials some time looking at the advantages and how to utilize them then some common sense could prevail.
      Those that accept climate change and adapt to it will survive, those that put all their energies in to trying to prevent it will wilt and perish. The story of evolution.

      • Yeah…right. Go tell it to polar bears…in person preferably.

        The sooner more corporate humans (if they are) adopt a ‘less is more’ approach to the many facets of our current extravagant existence on this finite planet and begin truly sharing the not so radical ethos of restraint and true cooperation, then maybe, just maybe, we as a conscious global collective might be able to hold back the tide long enough to affect meaningful change toward a world which we we might be proud and happy, beyond the current ‘norm’ of conflict and greed, in which to live.

        Imagine if you will, or can even begin to consider the possibility of, an innocent alien conversation happening maybe all too often in our solar system.
        One night in passing on the Milky Way Hyperspace highway an extraterrestrial family casting a glance toward Earth saying…
        ‘Look son.’
        ‘Where.’
        ‘Back there boy, that blue dot receding into the event horizon, that’s where I used to hang out back in the day. Whoo! That was a time, but man, what a shit hole they’ve turned it into. Apparently now they’ve concocted some strange logical fallacy about a thing called religion. It’s used to control the dull overpopulation whilst also greatly assisting in the selling of a shit fuck quantum tonne of weapons of mass delusion. Crazy as it may seem on that tiny wee planet they just can’t stop reproducing their number far beyond their limited means. And listen son, they also appear blindly unable to register this as their main problem. Edjyits!
        ‘Look Dad! is that the beach on Alpha Centauri you were telling me about? Lets do a troposhere slingshot flyby and rark up all the locals with our depleted uranium supercalifristic howsyourfather motherlovin’ afterburners!’

        Aah well. Life was mostly good while it lasted. Was it not?

      • Good history here Clifford.
        As I recall you provided to my blog about which NZ leader sold NZ beef to America in return for Kiwi lives in Vietnam.
        They who don’t read or don’t know, are doomed to repeat.

  3. It’s the population growth that usually screws up everyone’s theories. If your requirements are 1000 calories a day and you’re only producing 1000 calories a day then you’ll die relatively quickly so energy efficiency I believe will always be below 1. So we are now back to the same level of energy per person than in the 60s and shows a genuine stale in the rate of growth simply because we are moving away from highly energy efficient oil and coal to what ever alternative.

    No matter how hard we try people are going to go and do there in thing. I believe we can get a richer society if the theory of energy and production can relate to the labour force, that makes it possible to deal with the waste already produced.

  4. A cynic would say the geographical location of known lithium deposits predict the escalation of military conflict.
    https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-World-map-of-lithium-brine-deposits-red-dots-B-Detail-in-South-America-C_fig2_259265327
    Driving the demand to mine rare earth minerals is an act of aggression. (just in: government drops the price of EVs under $80,000 by $8695 ) One of the reasons we drive dirty old cars is the dark web trade in parts, because internal combustion engines are built to last. Watch Scotty Kilmer on youtube and he’ll tell you things like,’if you disconnect the battery in your EV, the circuit will fail and the car’s computer will have to be reset.
    ‘If ‘woke’ means throttling an existing industry in favour of war and fake security, I’m asleep.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autocars_Co.
    https://theintercept.com/2021/05/03/car-surveillance-berla-msab-cbp/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=The%20Intercept%20Newsletter
    thank u Ross

  5. Puts it all into perspective Ross doesn’t it!
    As people might have noticed I don’t accept the popularly held predominant role that is being attributed to CO2 among the multitude of factors that contribute to the world’s climate.
    However , and I wonder if this is what is really driving the climate disaster narrative, They aren’t making any more oil. All the problems for the world you identify here are going to confront us sooner or later quite apart from “climatgate”.
    There are some that suspect Covid and mRNA vaccines are the solution.
    D J S

  6. Sorry you are completely wrong on this!

    But I guess you are touting for your “Honorary consul for an African state; Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in NZ and has international business interests.”

    • Apply your thought to dealing with the message which is considered and well presented
      Rather than exposing you contempt for messager

      • In your opinion, considered and well presented. However, factually incorrect. An opinion I have, after working in the renewable energy sector for many years (having built a turbine and photovoltaic panel or 3). It is easy to convince the less informed when you appear knowledgeable.

  7. The responses here just reek of climate denialism (including your article Ross) and massive, entrenched ignorance and fear of change.

    Lithium is not a rare earth element, there’s a shit ton of it around and mining is ramping up. New batteries like Lithium Iron or Lithium Nickel don’t even need rare earth metals (which btw are not all rare like the name says, its a victorian historical name).

    And Ross, I suggest you read the Jacobson report that shows for 143 countries they can displace 99.7% of fossil fuels with renewables. Of course the dino industry got out in force to trash this through their usual paid professional liars, but it’s stood the test of time and is now considered credible. Here’s a good primer:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/12/20/100-wws-part-1-jacobsons-new-study-displaces-99-7-fossil-energy-with-massive-savings/

    Also read about Wrights Law/Learning Curve. Car batteries are now cost competitive with dino cars at $100/kwh and will soon be lower than that, pushing down the cost of EV’s dramatically. Solar and wind just keep getting cheaper every year due to the same law, and will approach 1-2c/kw unsubsidised in the next few years. At that cost, you can just keep building out renewables where and whenever you like and power will just get cheaper and cheaper, as will the batteries to store it and do demand shifting.

    Re wind – just because the wind stops blowing in one place doesn’t stop it elsewhere. NZ is ideal for moving to only wind and hydro plus some battery storage, and the Cook Island interconnect is not the issue, the real issue is more wind and solar in the North Island, and more cheap solar on rooftops because this changes the whole demand/supply curve to use what will become close to $0 / watt dispatchable power as its generated, then the money will be made storing that in batteries etc and releasing it when needed e.g. nighttime. At these sorts of rates the whole ‘peak’ issue, winter issue etc just goes away.

    Re nuclear: that’s the worst way to remediate climate change. It now takes from 10-20 years to build a new nuke plant, and even if you can get permission to build one, no private money anywhere in the world will finance it and insure it. This is not because of meltdown risk, but because you cannot predict the cost to build and run it because they consume so many resources and the price of them fluctuates so much. Nuclear power will always be massively more expensive than just building solar and wind, not to mention that nuclear has very high running costs and renewables have almost zero running costs.

    And wtf is this ludicrous statement about: “Watch Scotty Kilmer on youtube and he’ll tell you things like,’if you disconnect the battery in your EV, the circuit will fail and the car’s computer will have to be reset.” Oh, like if you disconnect the battery in your modern dino car the same thing will happen. That’s just a ridiculous argument – is that seriously what you think is an argument against EV’s?

    Really people, read some more about this stuff. Climate change and the renewables revolution are happening right now and NZ runs the risk of being left behind if we don’t embrace the low carbon future and the massive benefits this tech delivers.

    • Yeah, well, not many people in NZ know anything at all about science or technology. It seems that the default position on what passes for the left in this country “wait till industrial civilization collapses, and then we can all go back to self-sufficiency.” Either that or neoliberalism. And neither any threat to the other.

  8. Great insight Ross. Like always I guess ‘follow the money trail’. A lot of people are currently getting rich pushing ‘alternative’ energy sources. It would seem to me that with available current technology the only solution is to reduce energy demand.

    • No Ross. The money trail leads back to big oil. They are the ones that have spent decades and hundreds of millions of dollars on an army of paid professional liars in a campaign to deny, obfuscate and confuse the population with a series of lies they have been pushing on us to make us:
      – believe that climate change is a lie, and when that failed
      – that there’s nothing we can do about it, and when that failed that
      – it’s all down to personal responsibility (all while they shifted into making more and more plastic as it uses oil, and pushing that on us without our consent)
      – and now into
      – 1. renewables can never meet our needs and have a huge hidden environmental footprint, so
      – 2. hydrogen is our saviour (made via natural gas of course)

      All of this shit is a lie. A big fucking nasty lie. Paid for by psychopaths who don’t give a shit about anything else except money. And facilitated by a large pack of psycho professional liars who get off on fooling people like you Peter and Ross. And you suck that shit up because you either can’t be bothered researching what’s going on, or can’t emotionally grasp that things have to change and when they do, we will all be better off for it.

      Also, somehow despite being immensely profitable, the oil industry has conned governments into giving them literally hundreds of billions in subsidies and kickbacks every year, more than 10 times what is spent to subsidise renewables. There’s your fucking money trail right there.

      Ross, you state that ” It would seem to me that with available current technology the only solution is to reduce energy demand” But we currently piss away more than 60% of our energy in useless waste – see the Jacobson report, read it and see that what you believe is totally untrue.

      https://cleantechnica.com/2019/12/20/100-wws-part-1-jacobsons-new-study-displaces-99-7-fossil-energy-with-massive-savings/

      Renewables can easily power the world, remove this energy waste, remove pollution, with less environmental footprint.

      And Ross, I don’t think you understand the first thing about companies and economics. I bet during the transition from wood to coal then oil you would have been right up there saying “oh those nasty coal/oil people are ripping us poor wood burners off. Follow the money, wood is the only way…”.

      This is called an energy transition. When any industry shifts from one set of good and services to another, there are winners and losers based on the decisions those companies make – do they want to play in the new world or live in the old world until it’s gone away?

      BP is a case in point: they saw this coming, changed their corporate logo to Beyond Petroleum, invested a lot into solar, then got cold feet due to their management and shareholders. They missed out on the massive ramp up of solar production. They could have been a player, made shit loads of money, and taken some measure of control of a truly massive industry, but they CHOOSE not to. Now the Chinese basically own this industry, because the West GAVE UP COMPETING because governments and the oil/plastics industry were do in bed together it wasn’t in their interests to change.

      The economics of renewables are so fucking clear it’s astonishing we in NZ still debate this shit. Again, we need to get on the train or be left behind, it’s that simple.

      • Except that our government has NO PLAN for transition.No plan for fuel security , no plan for infrastructure improvement ( transmission lines upgrade ) to power the North Island. No plan for job creation for those made redundant in the energy sector, no plan for skills education for the technology required, no plan to support and use existing infrastructure to transition,no plan for solar power development, no plan for the utter chaos when the fuel supply is disrupted in 2022/ 23. Personally I am looking forward to Auckland running out of fuel. As Beijing decides our energy policy now we have no say any more in the major decisions affecting NZ.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.