Palm Oil and Wind Turbines

Billothewisp regards chopping down virgin rain forest to grow Palm Oil palms as an act of criminal stupidity. (See Another Green Energy Scam Here)

But he also finds the curious double standards of wind turbine supporters rather puzzling.

Ruining the countryside in Malaysia so we can generate electricity with approximately a 25% smaller CO2 footprint than by using traditional hydrocarbons is, essentially stupid, and is, to be fair, usually opposed by those who are pro-wind.

But really, Palm Oil is no more (or less) stupid than ruining the country side in (say) Dorset so we can generate intermittent and pitifully uneconomic wind energy.

If you consider things like:

-The 200 tons of concrete in the base,
-The mandatory spinning reserve (that is to cover no wind, not breakdown - that's extra),
-Cycling up and down the CCGT backup so the turbines can actually do something once in a while,

The amount of CO2 saved by wind generation is actually less than that saved by stupidly inefficient Palm Oil generation.

The little spat going on between Greeny palmoil advocates and Greeny windpower advocates can at times reach a state of high farce. It is after all, a serious clash of dogma, and bizarre fashion statements. A bit like communism versus fascism but without the manifestos and military parades. Or a clash of religious dogmas, but without the incense and hymns.

Although comedic it is also a tragedy for the poor bloody common folk who have to put up this narrow minded hyprocisy, whether they are in Malaysia or Dorset.

Of course with both of these mad schemes it is likely that after a full audit of the gains and the losses the only profit will be to the land owners and operators.

The unthinking supporters of both schemes ensure that the mountain of gold being drained from the common folk in both Maylasia and Dorset gets ever higher. Meanwhile the countryside (either rainforest or Purbeck farmland) goes to hell.

So in finality here are two picture of different groups of Nimbys, one in Malaysia and one in Dorset.

While they may be culturally different they are both fighting for the same cause - protecting their local heritage and countryside. Both groups are often despised and villified, referred to as Nimbys by those keen to spoil the environment for their own gain, either political or financial. But the Nimby label, whether worn in Malaysia or Dorset should be worn  with pride.

After all, if you don't look after your own back yard, how can you ever help to look after anyone else's?

All Billothewisp can say to both groups is: Good luck, and keep up the good fight.

One day this lunatic obsession with Palm Oil and Wind Turbines will abate.

But it won't be because it is finally realised by their supporters that both schemes are next to hopeless in preventing pollution.

It will be because the next fashionable "cause" will come along and displace them.

Hi Ho Hum


Anonymous said...

At last I can congratulate you on your stance against Palm Oil.
But sadly there are a couple of points I have to take you to task on.

1. there are no Greeny Palm oil advocates. Anyone who cares enough to look into it, knows that Palm oil production is, in 90% of cases, a very bad thing.

2. the energy payback time of the installation and operation of a wind turbine (including all that concrete) is less than 1 year and sometimes as little as 6 months (depending on location).
The idea of spinning reserve is really a red herring, the effect of any variance in predicted wind values is easily coped with by the grid operator who is having to keep much larger reserves on standby in case a major power station trips out, as Sizewell B nuclear facility is often inclined to do. In effect, this means that any power generated by wind is directly reducing the demand on fossil fueled power stations, thereby saving harmful emissions.

BilloTheWisp said...

Actually there is a whole raft of stuff that has been pushed forward as part of the Kyoto protocol.. google "Clean Development mechanism" and "Flexible mechanisms" This was all vigorously campaigned for and promoted in the late 80's 90's and early 00's. It is also the bedrock of the Palm Oil scam. Now of course, it is less fashionable.

Unfortunately I cannot remember exactly when, but I can remember as clear as day about 15 years ago a glassy eyed member of FOE (or Greenpeace?) on Question time extolling how we should "grow" ourselves out of a crisis using palm Oil.
Hi Ho Hum.
It would be nice if people 'fessed up when they got it wrong rather than denying there ever was any complicity.

But I am glad you and I share the same opinion of the palm Oil scam.

As for Wind, I won't bore you with the figures, they are all in my other posts (and linked posts from other) but it is intermittent unreliable and wildly expensive. It is only really of any use if you are getting paid the ROC.

Sizewell B dropped out once in 2008 and had a problem which shut it down for a while in 2010.

i.e. It broke down.

That is what spinning reserve is for. It is not there in case Sizewell B ran out of fuel, like wind turbines regularly do.

You cannot use the normal spinning reserve to supplement wind. Normal spinning reserve is solely there as emergency back up.

It is not there to top up when the wind does not blow. Wind requires its own individual spinning reserve + the existing reserve in case there is a grid failure.

p.s. can you use a pseudonym or google ID, otherwise all the anonomie blur into one.

Old Tom said...

"But really, Palm Oil is no more (or less) stupid than ruining the country side in (say) Dorset so we can generate intermittent and pitifully uneconomic wind energy."


Kindly explain how a couple of wind farms will ruin the Dorset countryside.
All it will do is slightly spoil the view of some selfish numpty called Billothewisp.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Old Tom,
I will reply but not tonight. It is too late.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Tom,

A few turbines? No Tom. 180 turbines.

Actually the grand scheme was for 360 but even the zealots at RegenSW and DEG realised that 6 - 8 turbines on the outskirts of every village in Dorset was politically a bridge too far. So they backed it down to 180. They were still rather upset when that figure ran into a storm of objection. (surprise surprise)

Of course nationwide, Huhne now reckons he wants to build 32000 turbines. This in some desperate attempt to salvage his own arse in what is a criminal farce of a negligent energy policy.

So it is hardly "a few" turbines is it?

I can never get over how blindly fanatical some people are regarding wind turbines. It is a bit like a cult obsession. Scientology meets 1984.

All critics are evil and 2 + 2 really does make 5 - at least when it comes to wind turbine output.

Like you, many of them go out of their way to criticise the Palm Oil scam (which is laudable) Yet they are prepared to sell their own countryside and people down the river for what is a hopelessly ineffective though highly profitable and of course, a highly fashionable Scam.

When anyone mentions or describes how truly ineffective and non-dependable (let alone counter productive) these fashion toys are, all you get is the same old bad tempered denialist retoric and usually some accusation of a global conspiracy against you darling turbines. Probably run by /BigOil/Nuclear/DrugCompanies/CIA/Wallstreet (have I missed any?).

Personally Tom, while you may be willing to sell your own folk down the river so that the rich can get richer and force millions more into fuel poverty. I am not.

Neither am I prepared to support the desecration of the rain forest for Palm Oil, even if that means I am (temporarily) on the same side as you.

I will also (as far as possible) stand up for the Native American Campesinos in their often bloody fight in Mexico against their version of the wind farm scam . (Just more Nimbys to you Tom).

I will also support Chinese peasants (oriental Nimbys this time) who have lost their land and been poisoned in order for their dictatorship to mine Neodymium.

Neodymium is required, of course, so that the gear boxes on your fashion toys can last a little longer than 5 years before they burn out.

All these selfish Nimbys, all protecting their own families and back yards.

How dreadful that must be.

Old Tom said...

Oh come on, the 180 figure came from a consultation document, no one really expects 180 turbines to be crammed into a county covered with AONBs, SSSIs, Conservation Areas, retired generals and city escapees who think the countryside is a museum!

A wind farm is one of the most benign forms of power generation we have, no ones going to suffer other than having their view slightly interrupted.
To compare it to the struggles of the Campsesinos is yet another of your outragous and disgusting statements.

Oh and by the way, there are plenty of turbines that don't use Neodymium or gear boxes.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Tom,

I am glad you agree that the published consultation document was outrageous.

But what is that point of publishing proposals that are not meant to be implemented?

Some form of job creation scheme?

Come on get a grip.

You are dead right - most current turbines use doubly wound induction generators.

The generator needs to turn at 1500 rpm (+ about 5%)

That is why the gearboxes are virtually guaranteed to fail after 5 -7 years. Don't just believe me (fat chance) - look at post "The Elephant in the Turbine" it has a link to an article outlining the current severe gearbox problems experienced world-wide.

As for the Campesinos: They have been swindled robbed and dispossessed by greedy European wind farm developers.

I am sorry you feel the need to keep quiet about it to protect you precious heroes in the wind turbine industry.

As for being benign: Seriously Tom, you really have got the blinkers on. Maybe they would be less of a problem if they were set back 2KM as the Scots demand.

But building them on top of a scout camp (Alaska Wind farm) 250 M away from children when even Vestas tell their technicians to stay 400M away unless necessary is simply immoral.

P.s. My view won't be interrupted.

It is much worse than that.

My objections are based purely on the science, engineering and health aspects.

i.e. I ideologically oppose these things because they are useless resource sapping white elephants

They have only one purpose which is to rob the poor to pay rich. End of story.

Anonymous said...

I love wind turbines.

No pollution, no noise, you can farm right up underneath them and they look amazing.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Anonymous,

All I can say, is that there is no accounting for taste.


Old Tom said...

You miss quote me, I don't think the consultation document was outrageous, just over-ambitious considering the state of NIMBYism in Dorset.

BilloTheWisp said...

"just over-ambitious considering the state of NIMBYism in Dorset."

So, does that mean you think 180 turbines in Dorset is reasonable - just thwarted by the nasty locals?

So do you think 180 turbines in Dorset is "a few" turbines as you originally quote?

Make up your mind Tom.

Either this fanatical quest for carpeting Dorset in 180 turbines is reasonable or it is unreasonable.

Where do you stand Tom?

Do you stand with the boring bog standard average ordinary people whose lives would be seriously impacted by this extravagance? People who can barely afford their utility bills as it is.

Or do you stand with the trendy fashionistas and wealthy landowners who are using these things to live off the backs of those boring bog standard average people mentioned above.

I know where I stand Tom.

But fashion statements apart:

Where do you stand?