Political Climate
Nov 14, 2019
Redundancies, Bankruptcies, Unrealistic Power Contracts: The Wind Industry Crisis Deepens

John Constable, GWPF

Redundancies at Enercon, the ongoing saga of the Senvion bankruptcy, and growing unease within the wind industry itself at the extremely low power prices being contracted, suggest that in desperate efforts to maintain a lucrative market position the sector has put itself in danger.

Presumptious Maid! with looks intent
Again she stretched, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between.
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smiled.)
The slippery verge her feet beguiled
She tumbled headlong in.

(Thomas Gray, “On a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes")

Eddie O’Connor, the founder of Airtricity and Mainstream Renewable Power, is one of the most notable entrepreneurs in the wind industry and is consequently regarded with awe. His personal success speaks for itself, and if he chances to add anything further, obiter dicta, people pay attention. Speaking at the Reuters Offshore and Floating Wind Europe 2019, which was held in London on the 11th and 12th of November this year, Mr O’Connor seems to have dropped a bombshell. Reports claim that he shocked his audience by describing the wind sector as “on its knees” and in a state of “failure”, because “cut-throat” competition has driven contracted power prices to levels so low that wind is no longer “profitable”.

No objective observer will disagree that the wind industry overall appears to be struggling. Enercon, the Mercedes Benz of turbine makers, has just announced 3,000 redundancies in its home town of Magdeburg, and admitted to a $220m loss in 2018, with worse to come in 2019 ("Thousands to lose jobs as German wind crisis hits Enercon” 11.11.2019).

Indeed, in a measure quite incredible for a flagship German firm, Enercon has explained that it can no longer afford to make wind turbine blades in Germany, and will perforce attempt to preserve its viability by manufacturing overseas, presumably in locations where lower energy costs mean that labour is much cheaper.

Senvion, another troubled German manufacturer of wind turbines, entered into self-administered bankruptcy/liquidation in April, but has subsequently struggled to deliver reassuring news to the markets. On the 1st of November, and in the light of the fact that Senvion had not provided financial reports since beginning of the year, Moodys withdrew all its ratings from both Senvion S.A. and its subsidiary Senvion Holding GmbH, adding that it “continues to expect a meaningful loss to the current noteholders”.

It is clear that the problems summarised in an earlier Energy Comment post for this blog, “Is the Long Renewables Honeymoon Over” (11.05.19), are very far from diminishing and indeed seem to be growing still more serious.

Cutting through this miscellany of industry difficulties Mr O’Connor went straight to the heart of the matter, profitability, with his emphasis on contracted power prices. As is notorious, there has been a strong tendency in recent years for the wind sector in general to justify earlier generous subsidies on the grounds that costs had, as a result now fallen. Offshore wind projects, for example, are claiming dramatic (and implausible) capital cost reductions, backing up such claims by signing contracts to supply electricity at surprisingly low prices, even at so-called Zero-Subsidy levels. In the UK the latest instance of this is the Round 3 Allocation of Contracts for Difference, which announced strike prices of 40 pounds/MWh for about 4.5 GW of capacity at five gigantic projects. This appears to be below the likely wholesale price, let alone below the fundamental price needed to deliver a return on investment for the wind farms themselves.

Mr O’Connor clearly has a point, and though he did not add that Hughes, Aris, and Constable were right in their study for GWPF in 2017, Offshore Wind Strike Prices: Behind the Headlines, his remarks are consistent with the view that those authors took, namely that the CfDs issued in that year were at unrealistically low levels and could only be understood either as mistakes, which seems unlikely, or more probably as complicated options and high risk gambling, a view that Professor Hughes has developed in a subsequent paper for GWPF (Who’s the Patsy? Offshore wind’s high-stakes poker game).

Nevertheless, the logic of the wind industry’s public relations agenda forces it to maintain its position and indeed to go beyond it. Bizarre though it may seem, analysts close to the industry such as DNV GL are now suggesting that future contract bids will be negative, in other words that wind power developers will actually be willing to pay for contracts in order to secure the option for development (When Will European Offshore Wind See Negative Bids?).

But such tactics are clearly hazardous. Andrei Utkin of IHS Markit is quoted in the same source as sounding a warning note:

In a way, when we compare the French and U.K. winning bid levels with forward prices, we already see negative bids: forward baseload prices for year-ahead delivery are above those levels. [...] More and more renewables coming onto the grid will result in more curtailment and lower wholesale power prices. (...) As a result, the price that renewables will be able to capture in the market will decrease as well, going below their levelized cost of energy and potentially triggering the need for government support.”

Quite. But can the industry survive the transition period to renewed subsidy and will that subsidy actually be forthcoming? Mr O’Connor’s instincts, and he must have excellent instincts for such things, are that the industry’s position is perilous. Wind power may well be in desperate need, on its knees in fact, but sympathy is likely to be in short supply:

Eight times emerging from the flood
She mewed to every watery god,
Some speedy aid to send
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirred;
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
A Favourite has no friend!

Dr John Constable: GWPF Energy Editor.

Oct 31, 2019
The Liberals’ Covert Green Plan for Canada - Poverty and Dictatorship

Note: See the new release: THE REAL CLIMATE CRISIS IS NOT GLOBAL WARMING, IT IS COOLING, AND IT MAY HAVE ALREADY STARTED here By Allan MacRae and Joseph D’Aleo, October 2019


Update by Allan MacRae

As I noted below:

“The clear intent is to use the global warming smokescreen to restrict economic and political freedoms by transforming Western countries into tightly controlled totalitarian states.”

Economist’s article published Oct.3, 2019

“Economist Charles Steele explains how Democratic candidates for President are pushing energy socialism and why the attempt to meet their physically impossible goals, would require totalitarianism.”
Excerpted from here.


By Allan M.R. MacRae

A highly credible gentleman wrote me as follows, concerning his recent conversation with an Ottawa insider.

The insider, he said, had been working on an advisory group to the Trudeau government. The group was not formed to discuss policy for the 5 year horizon that governments are usually interested in but to develop policies for the further future, 20 to 40 years out. The implication was that the group had concluded that the present economic model was flawed and had to be replaced. “Unregulated consumerism was unsustainable and people would have to learn to make do with less. The government would have to have more control over people to enforce their austerity and the wealth of developed nations would have to be redistributed to help undeveloped nations.”

These are not new ideas. For decades, intellectuals and politicians have argued that our consumer society, based on individual market demand, is a flawed system that generates waste, excess and environmental degradation.

The insider’’s assessment also reflects the current underlying motivation behind the rise of climate change as the defining issue of our time.  The words reflect the motives of environmentalists and climate activists who are using the climate “emergency” as a front for larger political and ideological ambitions.  What they are pursuing as an economic revolution ushered in through the back door. They are yelling fire and then using the resultant fear to impose a new economic and political order.

In a recent Washington Post report, one of the leading players in the rise of New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal let the cat out of the bag. Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff for Ocasio-Cortez, said: “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal, is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all… Do you guys think of it as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

Naomi Klein, in her new flamethrower, “On Fire, The Burning Case for a Green New Deal”, also makes it clear that the climate is a “powerful motivator” to overthrow capitalism. “The idea is a simple one: In the process of transforming the infrastructure of our societies at the speed and scale that scientists have called for, humanity has a once-in-a-century chance to fix an economic model that is failing the majority of people on multiple fronts. ...  Challenging these underlying forces is an opportunity to solve several interlocking crises at once.”

The clear intent is to use the global warming smokescreen to restrict economic and political freedoms by transforming Western countries into tightly controlled totalitarian states.

The idea that climate alarmism can be the foundation for radical economic change has a long history.

Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace provided an early warning of this covert socialist campaign in “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement - The Rise of Eco-Extremism”, in 1994: “Surprisingly enough, the second event that caused the environmental movement to veer to the left was the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suddenly the international peace movement had a lot less to do. Pro-Soviet groups in the West were discredited. Many of their members moved into the environmental movement bringing with them their eco-Marxism and pro-Sandinista sentiments.”

Justin Trudeau has stated that he admires the Chinese “basic dictatorship”. He said: “There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say we need to go green, we need to start, you know, investing in solar.”

Trudeau’s deeply flawed climate and energy policies have already done enormous harm to Canada. Governments have adopted costly, ineffective policies based on false global warming/climate change alarmism, the greatest scientific fraud in history. The foreign-funded green anti-oil-pipeline fraud has cost Canada over $120 billion in lost revenues, an enormous, needless loss. Living costs are increasing rapidly and living standards are falling.

On September 23, 2019, Justin Trudeau committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 if re-elected.

Zero-carbon means huge changes for society. Prof Sir Ian Boyd, the government’s chief environment scientist, said the public had little idea of the scale of the challenge from Britain’s “Net Zero CO2” emissions target. Roger Harrabin of the BBC wrote: “People must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the government’s chief environment scientist has warned. ... We will all have to accept big lifestyle changes - travel less, eat less, consume less. But eventually some form of compulsion or rationing will be necessary, if climate targets are to be met. The Science and Technology Select Committee… officially announced “In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation”. When they ultimately find themselves being told what they can and cannot consume, where they can travel and what foods they are allowed to eat, they will be furious about the way they have been misled.”

But these radical changes to society have even more catastrophic consequences. The socialists want total control, and have a history of extreme incompetence, environmental destruction and violent repression of dissent.

Radical green extremists have cost society trillions of dollars and millions of lives to date. Their 30-year effective ban of DDT and opposition to golden rice have blinded and killed tens of millions, mostly children under five.

Costly, ineffective green energy schemes have destabilized the electric grid, damaged the environment and squandered trillions of dollars of scarce global resources. Properly allocated, these wasted trillions might have ended malaria and world hunger.

The number of shattered lives caused by radical-green activism rivals the death tolls of the great killers of the 20th Century - Stalin, Hitler and Mao. Radical greens advocate similar tightly-controlled totalitarian states and are indifferent to the resulting environmental destruction and human suffering......and if unchecked, radical environmentalism will cost us our freedom.

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”
-H. L. Mencken, American journalist, 1880-1956

Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., is a retired former Professional Engineer and energy expert, who has conducted business on six continents, including several current and former Communist countries.

Oct 30, 2019
Is it climate socialism - or eco-fascism?

By Paul Driessen

Green New Deal climate alarm socialism is really intolerant, totalitarian eco-fascism

They deliberately and deceptively talk about “carbon pollution.” Carbon is soot - what our cars, factories and power plants now emit in very small quantities. The honest, accurate term is carbon dioxide: the colorless, odorless, invisible gas that we exhale and plants need to grow, by using the tiny but growing 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere that is CO2 to grow faster, better and with greater resistance to droughts.

They are climate change deniers, who say Earth’s climate is stable and can be kept stable by controlling minor factors (human carbon dioxide and methane emissions) and ignoring water vapor (the dominant greenhouse gas) and fluctuations in solar energy, cosmic rays, clouds, oceanic circulation, volcanoes, planetary orbits and other powerful natural forces that have brought climate changes throughout history.

They insist that even another half-degree increase in planetary temperatures since Earth emerged from the Little Ice Age (1350-1850) would be cataclysmic. That’s absurd. They also rely on computer models that project rapidly soaring temperatures - but already claim average global temperatures should be 0.9 degrees F higher than they actually are, according to satellite and weather balloon measurements.

Climate Crisis True Believers say tornadoes and hurricanes are becoming more frequent and intense. In reality, from 1950 - 1984, the US averaged 55 violent (F4 to F5) tornadoes every year; but over the next 33 years (1985-2018) only 35 per year. And in 2018, for the first time in recorded history, not one F4-F5 tornado touched down anywhere in the United States. (Is this due to rising atmospheric CO2 levels?)

Similarly, from 1920 through 2005, fifty-two Category 3 to 5 hurricanes made US landfall (1.6/year on average). And then, from October 2005 until August 2017 - a record twelve years - not one Category 3 to 5 hurricane struck the US mainland. Harvey and Irma ended that hurricane drought in 2017, but were hardly unprecedented in their intensity or rainfall. (Was that drought due to rising atmospheric CO2 levels?)

The Washington Post reported that “The Arctic Ocean is warming up ... and in some places seals are finding the water too hot.” That was in 1922, and explorers wrote about Arctic ice cycles long before that. “We were astonished by the total absence of ice in Barrow Strait,” Sir Francis McClintock wrote in 1860, whereas at this time in 1854 it was “still frozen up.” As to continental USA weather, a commentator said “Snows are less frequent and less deep, and the rivers scarcely ever [freeze over] now.” That was Thomas Jefferson, in 1799. The 1970s manmade global cooling scare was replaced by today’s warming crisis.

After rising some 400 feet since the last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago, oceans are rising at 7 to 10 inches per century. That’s a minimal threat to coastal communities, some of which are more seriously threatened by land subsidence - including Chesapeake Bay lands (Maryland), Hampton Roads (Virginia), Houston and Miami. There has been no increase in the rate of sea level rise in more than a century.

Seawaters cannot become “more acidic.” They are slightly alkaline. They may be getting slightly less alkaline, depending on where and when pH levels are measured. But they are not becoming acidic.

Coral bleaching can result from pollution but is mostly natural, caused by coral animals ejecting their symbiotic zooxanthellae single-celled dinoflagellates, when seawaters become warmer or colder. Corals replace them with new species better adapted to the new temperatures - and then recover their former color and glory, as they have in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii’s reefs and elsewhere. Corals also grow as seas rise, just as they have since the last Pleistocene Ice Age, creating today’s splendid reefs.

Polar bears are at their highest population levels in memory: as many as 31,000 of them. They’ve survived multiple ice ages, interglacial periods and warming episodes. They are hardly endangered.

We face no climate crisis, no unprecedented warming, climate or extreme weather threat - manmade or natural. Equally important, proposals to replace fossil fuels with biofuel, wind, solar and battery power would be far more ecologically destructive than their climate crisis - and would severely harm food supplies, nutrition, jobs, living standards, health and life spans, in rich and poor countries alike.

For the United States alone, replacing 100% of US gasoline and petrochemical feed stocks with ethanol would require some 700 million acres of biotech corn. That’s four times the land area of Texas turned into biofuel corn plantations - or soy/canola farms for biodiesel - leaving little land for food and wildlife.

Let’s suppose we’re going to use wind power to replace: the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours of electricity that Americans consumed in 2018, coal and gas-fired backup power plants, natural gas for home heating, coal and gas for factories, and gasoline-powered vehicles. We’ll also use wind turbines to generate enough extra electricity, every windy day, to charge batteries for just seven straight windless days.

We’ll also account for electricity loss along lengthy transmission lines, and every time we charge and discharge batteries. As we erect turbines in steadily lower quality wind locations, instead of generating full nameplate power maybe 33% of the year, on average, they will do so only 16% of the year.

Instead of the 58,000 we have now, the United States would need some 14 million 400-foot-tall turbines, each one capable of generating 1.8 megawatts at full capacity, when the wind is blowing at the proper speed. Each turbine would need about 120 acres of open space and access roads, as at BP’s 50,000-acre Fowler Ridge wind energy factory in Indiana. That would total 1.7 billion acres - ten times the area of Texas… or most of the Lower 48 United States! Plus thousands of miles of new transmission lines!

Their bird-butchering blades would wipe out raptors, other birds and bats across much of America. Would Extinction Rebellion go apoplectic? or not give a spotted owl hoot, since wind turbines are “eco-friendly”?

Manufacturing those wind turbines would require something on the order of 15 billion tons of steel, copper, rare earth metals, concrete, petroleum-based composites, gravel and other raw materials. Extracting them would require a hundredfold increase in global mining: removing hundreds of billions of tons of earth and rock overburden, and crushing and processing tens of billions of tons of ore.

Imagine the cumulative land use, eminent domain, property rights, environmental and wildlife impacts.

Using batteries to replace coal and gas-fired backup power plants for intermittent, weather-dependent wind facilities would require some one billion 100-kilowatt-hour, 1,000-pound lithium and cobalt-based Tesla battery packs - and still more mining and raw materials. And that doesn’t include extra battery storage for the cars, trucks and buses that Green New Dealers want to replace with electric vehicles.

Climate Crisis True Believers proudly proclaim themselves environmental socialists, while obstinately ignoring and suppressing these climate and energy realities. They certainly promote a political-economic system under which central government controls the means of production, while limiting private property rights or replacing them with communal ownership. That’s classic socialism.

But what they really want is eco-fascism: an even more extreme and intolerant system under which an authoritarian national or international government does not own businesses and industries outright, but dictates what they can make, do, sell and say - while redistributing wealth and property, employing laws, intimidation, and Antifa-style violence to control people’s thinking, speech and access to information.

Along with Google, Face Book, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, universities and the “mainstream” media - they try to censor, marginalize, ostracize, disinvite, shadow-ban, electronic book burn, and algorithm-eradicate differing, alternative, contrarian evidence, analyses and viewpoints on energy and climate.

They got Dr. Peter Ridd fired for exposing fabrications about the Great Barrier Reef’s demise - and Dr. Susan Crockford cashiered for daring to challenge bogus claims about polar bears. Robert Kennedy Jr., Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and others even want climate and energy dissenters prosecuted and jailed.

We must keep speaking truth to power - to ensure that our future is not compromised by climate lies.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of many books, reports and articles on energy, climate and environmental issues.

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