Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fascism in America today wears a green cloak

In a peer-reviewed paper put out by the American Institute of Biological Sciences titled “Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges” (available ahead of print), to be published in the march 2013 edition of BioScience, a group of well-known scientists calls on government and scientists to start with the planned social engineering of “norms” and “values” in regards to environmental policies.

The objective, according to the authors, is that these engineered “norms” must work their way into existing ones so finally environmental policies will be accepted without reserve. A sustained campaign, in other words, with government and scientists working together as to gradually create changes in behavior so environmental policies will be more easily accepted over the course of some time.

“Life scientists could make fundamental contributions to this agenda through targeted research on the emergence of social norms”, the group asserts.

“Substantial numbers of people will have to alter their existing behaviors to address this new class of global environmental problems. Alternative approaches are needed when education and persuasion alone are insufficient.”

One of these proposed alternative approaches include more environmental regulations from the top down with the aim of conditioning the public to accept an increasing governmental control over personal behavior. The paper continues by saying that the best way to alter existing behaviors is through persuasive government regulations “such as penalties, regulations, and incentives” in order to “achieve significant behavior modification.”

“Effective policies, then, are ones that induce both short-term changes in behavior and longer-term changes in social norms”, the authors indicate.

Anticipating that regulatory interventions by government are sure to create resistance among the target population, the scientists express confidence that their recommendations “can be carried out in a way that abides by the principles of representative democracy, including transparency, fairness, and accountability.”

The way government may go about it, they argue, is by on the one hand “managing norms” through “such things as advertising campaigns, information blitzes, or appeals from respected figures”. The other aspect involved is the use of financial incentives and disincentives:

“Fines can (…) be an effective way to alter behavior, in part because they (like social norm management) signal the seriousness with which society treats the issue.”

By extension, the authors asses that behaviors and values will “coevolve” alongside increased government control in the form of state regulations and “fines”:

“A carbon tax might (…) prove effective even in the face of near-term opposition. What needs to be assessed is the possibility that behaviors and values would coevolve in such a way that a carbon tax—or other policy instrument that raises prices, such as a cap-and-trade system—ultimately comes to be seen as worthy, which would therefore allow for its long-term effectiveness”

“The probability of a boomerang effect from such appeals is low (except in the most avidly antiauthoritarian subpopulations).”

After the paper continues listing examples of past “information blitzes” which have proved to be a success, they stress that government (and the scientific community) should “move beyond” public consent when it comes to top-down regulations imposed on the American people:

“Some have argued that regulations are inherently coercive and cannot or should not exceed implied levels of public permission for such regulations. An alternative viewpoint is that governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation”.

The paper is concluded with three distinct recommendations to scientists and governmental agencies:

“(1) the greater inclusion of social and behavioral scientists in periodic environmental policy assessments; (2) the establishment of teams of scholars and policymakers that can assess, on policy-relevant timescales, the short- and long-term efficiency of policy interventions; and (3) the alteration of academic norms to allow more progress on these issues.”

By admitting they are willing to “move beyond existent levels of public permission” to push ahead with draconian environmental policies, these prominent scientists (among whom we find two Nobel laureates and one Paul Ehrlich) have proven their willingness to deceive the American population in order to fulfill an international agenda.

Wind farms SUCK IN conventional power

Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined.

Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. At the facility in Searsburg, Vermont, for example, it is apparently not even metered and is completely unknown

The manufacturers of large turbines -- for example, Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon -- do not include electricity consumption in the specifications they provide.

Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:†

* yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) -- the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine

* blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)

* lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.

* heating the blades -- this may require 10%-20% of the turbine's nominal (rated) power

* heating and dehumidifying the nacelle -- according to Danish manufacturer Vestas, "power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds"

* oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox

* hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)

* thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) -- 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost

* magnetizing the stator -- the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a "large" amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous "cage rotor" that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine's rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more

* using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not, particularly during important site tours) -- it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind

Could it be that at times each turbine consumes more than 50% of its rated capacity in its own operation?! If so, the plant as a whole -- which may produce only 25% of its rated capacity annually -- would be using (for free!) twice as much electricity as it produces and sells. An unlikely situation perhaps, but the industry doesn't publicize any data that proves otherwise; incoming power is apparently not normally recorded.

Is there some vast conspiracy spanning the worldwide industry from manufacturers and developers to utilities and operators? There doesn't have to be, if engineers all share an assumption that wind turbines don't use a significant amount of power compared to their output and thus it is not worth noting, much less metering. Such an assumption could be based on the experience decades ago with small DC-generating turbines, simply carried over to AC generators that continue to metastasize. However errant such an assumption might now be, it stands as long as no one questions it. No conspiracy is necessary -- self-serving laziness is enough.

Whatever the actual amount of consumption, it could seriously diminish any claim of providing a significant amount of energy. Instead, it looks like industrial wind power could turn out to be a laundering scheme: "Dirty" energy goes in, "clean" energy comes out. That would explain why developers demand legislation to create a market for "green credits" -- tokens of "clean" energy like the indulgences sold by the medieval church. Ego te absolvo.

(One need only ask utilities to show how much less "dirty" electricity they purchase because of wind-generated power to see that something is amiss in the wind industry's claims. If wind worked and were not mere window dressing, the industry would trot out some real numbers. But they don't. One begins to suspect that they can't.)

Wayne Gulden has analyzed the daily production reports of a Vestas V82 1.65-MW wind turbine at the University of Minnesota, Morris, from 2006 to 2008. Those records include negative production, i.e., net consumption, as well as daily average wind speeds. The data suggest that the turbine consumes at a minimum rate of about 50 kW, or 8.3% of its reported production over those years (and which declined 2-4% each year).

'In large rotating power trains such as this, if allowed to stand motionless for any period of time, the unit will experience "bowing" of shafts and rotors under the tremendous weight. Therefore, frequent rotating of the unit is necessary to prevent this. As an example, even in port Navy ships keep their propeller shafts and turbine power trains slowly rotating. It is referred to as "jacking the shaft" to prevent any tendency to bow. Any bowing would throw the whole train out of balance with potentially very serious damage when bringing the power train back on line.

'In addition to just protecting the gear box and generator shafts and bearings, the blades on a large wind turbine would offer a special challenge with respect to preventing warping and bowing when not in use. For example, on a sunny, windless day, idle wind turbine blades would experience uneven heating from the sun, something that would certainly cause bowing and warping. The only way to prevent this would be to keep the blades moving to even out the sun exposure to all parts of the blade.

'So, the point that major amounts of incoming electrical power is used to turn the power train and blades when the wind is not blowing is very accurate, and it is not something the operators of large wind turbines can avoid.

Environmentalists exaggerating extreme weather

Environmentalists have been pointing to intense storms and Extreme Weather to urge lawmakers to immediately address climate change, but some researchers contend this trend has been exaggerated.

The U.S. is in an “intense hurricane drought,” according to Roger Pielke, Jr., environmental studies professor at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“Climate change is real and has a significant human component,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “But that does not justify exaggerating the science associated with extreme events and disasters. One reason is that such exaggerations are not in line with current science.”

Pielke told TheDC News Foundation that an “intense hurricane drought” means the the country is currently in the longest stretch between intense hurricanes — Category 3,4, and 5 — ever documented. When the next hurricane season starts on June 1, 2013, it will have been more than seven years since the intense hurricane hit the Atlantic coast.

Pielke notes that there has not been such a prolonged period without intense hurricanes hitting the U.S. since 1900. In fact, hurricane landfall intensity and frequency has not increased in the U.S. for at least more than a century.

Climate activists and even President Barack Obama, however, have been using the destructive hurricane as well as other “extreme weather” events to justify swift government action to address climate change.

“Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense,” Obama said in his State of the Union Address. “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.”

Hurricane Sandy was estimated to be the second costliest cyclone to hit the U.S. since 1900 — causing nearly $50 billion in damages. That was due to the storm’s massive size, as it was still a Category 1 hurricane.

However, Pielke aregues that the costs of weather disasters “are not a proxy for trends in climate phenomena.”

According to Pielke, flood magnitudes in the U.S. have not increased in over a century, possibly longer, and a report from 2008 found that “droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century.”

Pielke also points out that there has been no evidence of an increasing incidence of tornadoes, especially high-damage ones, in the U.S. since 1950.

Pielke worries that over-hyping extreme weather events is dangerous because when “people are convinced that we’re are seeing worst-case scenarios, they may actually be unprepared for worse disasters to come — which are in the cards regardless of the climate change connection.”

“During long periods with no disaster, we build more, people move to the coast, our wealth accumulates,” Pielke told TheDC News Foundation. “So even comparing past storms to what is possible will leave us underestimating potential impacts. History is not a good guide to what the future holds — which will inevitably be worse disasters than in the past.”

Bronte heritage put before green energy in key British wind turbine ruling

The literary significance of the “Bronte” moorlands has been used for the first time to curb the onslaught of wind farms, in a key victory for campaigners.

The brooding West Yorkshire countryside that inspired classics such as Wuthering Heights has been protected from plans for more turbines because of the importance of the famous sister writers.

It is believed to be the first time the literary significance of an area has been put before the need for green energy.

It comes as the High Court will this week hear a separate case brought by leading heritage groups hoping to protect historic sites from wind farm development.

Bradford Council has rejected plans for a 15m turbine at Hardnaze Farm, Oxenhope, Keighley, less than two miles from Haworth, where Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte grew up.

Councillors ruled the scheme would do little to boost renewable energy – while creating a blot on Bronte Country.

The area is already a focus for green energy with turbines twice the height of Nelson's Column due to replace existing ones at the Ovenden Moor Wind Farm four miles away.

More than a dozen applications for turbines have been submitted to Bradford Council in the last year, on top of the Ovenden Moor redevelopment plans approved by neighbouring Calderdale Council.

The area attracts visitors from around the world wanting to see the moorland views that inspired much of the Bronte's finest writing.

Sally McDonald, chairman of The Bronte Society Council, said the decision “gives support to the Bronte Society's argument that this is a special and unique landscape and that this landscape needs to be protected”

“Visitors journey from around the world come to see the wild moors of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and want to see high waving heather – not high waving turbines,” she said.

"I am delighted by this decision and that all future applications will have to take into account 'the importance of the historical and literary associations of the area.

"In making this decision, Bradford acknowledges for the first time the importance of the unique landscape to the area.

Campaigners will now turn their attention to plans for four 328ft turbines flanking each side of the Brontë Way on Thornton Moor.

The planning ruling said: "The proposed development would introduce an incongruous and widely visible vertical element into this sensitive upland landscape, whose historical and literary associations are also central to its wider economic value in tourism terms.

"The proposed turbine would be seen from a number of vantage points and would result in significant harm to the character of the landscape that would outweigh its limited contribution towards overall renewable energy targets."

Bronte Society Heritage and Conservation officer Christine Went said: "It is good they have acknowledged the importance of this heritage landscape, and internationally renowned heritage area.

"A woman who came to Haworth to write about the Brontës recently said 'It's not worth coming here because it's all turbines'."

Britain is building more wind turbines than ever before, with more than 1,200 turbines due to start spinning throughout the countryside and around the coast over the next 12 months.

The "dash for wind" has been prompted by a cut in subsidies due this year and an apparent relaxing of the planning rules.

Last year the approval rate for wind farms went up by 50 per cent, according to industry group Renewable UK.

Germany And Spain Throw Green Energy Under the Bus

Consumers in Europe are revolting against their countries’ green energy policies. For over a decade, the governments of Germany and Spain have been funding their subsidies for solar and wind energy by passing on large costs to the consumer. In Germany, an extra charge is added to household electricity bils, and that charge nearly doubled in January. Worried about the consumer reaction, Merkel’s government is now furiously backpedaling, according to the WSJ:

"Fearing a voter backlash from anger over the lopsided financing of green energy, Ms. Merkel’s government on Thursday proposed putting a cap on the green-energy surcharge until the end of 2014 and then restricting any rise in the surcharge after that to no more than 2.5% a year. The government also plans to tighten exemptions, which would force more companies to pay, and achieve a cut in green subsidies of €1.8 billion ($2.42 billion). The plan is a quick fix pending comprehensive reform after the election, government officials said."

Merkel hopes to gain votes by taking these measures to cap green energy subsidies. Meanwhile, Spain is following suit, cutting renewable energy subsidies in an attempt to push down energy costs. The logic is clear:

"Renewable-energy producers “are going to receive less revenue, but these measures are better for consumers” said Energy Minister José Manuel Soria.

What both countries are experiencing is the pain of trying to subsidize an industry that’s not ready for prime time. If renewable energy eventually becomes viable, it won’t need subsidies; capital owners who can make money off of it will ensure it’s put to use. But until then, these attempts to prop up struggling industries are foolish and painful to consumers.

Britain’s Green Energy Fiasco: Running On Empty

Britain, once the envy of Europe thanks to its North Sea energy riches, will lose nearly a third, 25-30 gigawatts (GW), of its generating capacity. If nothing is done, we could face decades lurching from crisis to crisis.

Ed Miliband steps up to the microphones. Looking drawn after an all-night crisis session with his Lib-Lab coalition cabinet, the prime minister clears his throat.

“The unprecedented cold spell has put our energy system under tremendous strain,” he says. “We are doing everything to ensure your lights stay on but the risk of power cuts is high. I am asking all citizens to switch off all non-essential electrical equipment.”

It is January 2017, four years hence. The harsh winter has pushed electricity and gas consumption to record highs. Britain’s antique power plants are struggling to cope.

The rocks under Lancashire and other parts of the country are thought to be rich in shale gas but exploratory work has been held up by community meetings and impact assessments. Plans for new nuclear power plants, the first for two decades, have been delayed by government reluctance to offer energy companies the guaranteed high prices they demand before stumping up the billions each one costs to build.

Faced with the prospect of having to impose part-time working, the government decides to risk angering Brussels instead. Miliband orders coal-fired plants, mothballed to comply with European pollution regulations, to be fired up again, even though it means hundreds of millions of pounds of fines for breaking our commitment to cut CO2.

Scaremongering? Not necessarily. Britain is caught in an energy crunch that is shaping up to be one of the most serious problems to face this administration — and the next. Nuclear plants that produce about a fifth of our energy began to be shut down last year. By 2023, only one — Sizewell B in Suffolk — will still be in operation.

Britain’s energy-generating capacity is shrinking fast
Britain’s energy-generating capacity is shrinking fast (Duncan Vere Green)

By the middle of this year several coal-powered stations, which have been supplying the equivalent of 6m homes’ worth of power, will be closed under EU agreements to reduce carbon emissions. Only a single gas-fired power plant is being built to replace them, and uncertainty over policy has paralysed the industry.

The lethargy is palpable. No fewer than 27 consultations are being carried out by Ofgem, the regulator, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change on different aspects of the industry. These include reviews of the Electricity Market Reform Bill, the government’s flagship legislation for its £200bn plan to replace old fossil-fuelled plants with expensive, and cleaner, alternatives such as nuclear and wind power. Why does it seem impossible to make a plan and execute it before it is too late?

By the early years of the next decade, Britain, once the envy of Europe thanks to its North Sea energy riches, will have lost nearly a third, 25-30 gigawatts (GW), of its generating capacity. At the same time, America is enjoying an energy bonanza. If nothing is done, we could face decades lurching from crisis to crisis.


Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


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