Friday, 7 August 2015

Two Economists' views on Wind Power

Gary Johns received a Bachelor of Economics and a M.A. from Monash University. Ross McKitrick is professor of economics at the University of Guelph, Canada. Both have opinion pieces re Wind Power.

Gary's was in the Australian. It was a follow up to the opposition leader's pre-election promise to have Australia create 50% of our energy using renewables by 2030

Wind farms use fossil fuels for construction and operation
Bill Shorten should have asked a couple of questions before committing Australia to a 50 per cent renewable target. Can you build a wind turbine, or start a wind turbine, without fossil fuels? 
The answer is no and no, you cannot. So what is the point of saddling Australia with an increasing load of wind turbines? (Much is also true for solar.)
AS this blog has noted before, "belief" in (man-made) climate change is a religious term and not a scientific term. Gary lays aside the issue of whether one "believes" in climate change then adds:
...what is the point in spending hard-earned dollars on expensive and inadequate-for-purpose technology? 
The energy density of wind power is a little over one watt a square metre. As Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper author Robert Bryce tells, if all the coal-fired generation capacity in the US were to be replaced by wind, it would need to set aside land the size of Italy. Hydrocarbons are denser energy sources than wind. There is nothing that can overcome that fact.
James Hansen, the former NASA climate scientist, wrote in 2011: “Suggesting that renewables will let us phase out rapidly fossil fuels is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter bunny.” (see P5- here)
Johns refers to: