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James Delingpole : Recycling Silliness

I think somebody should take James Delingpole quietly to one side and have a little word in his ear about the ineptitude of recycling silly stories :-

“What Dave and his chum Barack don’t want you to know about green jobs and green energy : By James Delingpole Politics : March 6th, 2010 : Green jobs are a waste of space, a waste of money, a lie, a chimera. You know that. I know that. We’re familiar with the report by Dr Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain which shows that for every “green job” that is created another 2.2 jobs are LOST in the real economy…”

Here Mr Delingpole, you are on the shakiest of grounds from my point of view. Your writing suggests that in the field of Energy Engineering you have even less knowledge about the technological and economic data than you do about Climate Change Science, and what you have acquired is apparently deeply misinformed. With only the briefest of Google searches, you could have discovered what the Huffington Post uncovered on 2nd May 2009 :-

“House GOP on Clean Energy: Lights, Camera, Inaction! : Josh Dorner 2 May 2009…This traveling circus (a Heartland tour is supposedly in the works) gets underway next Tuesday. In addition to the usual set of dirty energy defenders, do-nothing denialists, and Big Oil be[a]sties, the proceedings will include conservatives’ latest and greatest star: Dr. Gabriel Calzada Alvarez. Alvarez, who has ties to ExxonMobil and other groups at the center of the climate denial machine, is the author of a widely-discredited “study” that says green jobs actually just destroy other jobs and are generally a bad investment. Conservatives have been touting it left, right, and center (well, mostly right), despite even the Wall Street Journal noting that it was quite light on actual data. You know, that stuff that is the basis for most studies. Not that these folks ever let the facts get in the way…”

And see this :-

“Debunking The Spanish Study on The Dire Result of Green Jobs Creation – Tracey de Morsella : Updated May 5, 2009 : President Obama has framed part of his recovery plan around the creation of new jobs. He has used Spain and other European countries’ green jobs creation endeavors as inspiration. However, a recent study , entitled “Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources,” by researchers at Spain’s King Juan Carlos University questions whether “green jobs” are worth the public investments. Lead author, Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, uses Spain’s investments in such jobs during the past decade as a case study to demonstrate that sustainable energy investment destroys jobs and the economy…there are numerous flaws in Calzada’s study. In this update, we have Spain’s response to his claims, proof that his data was falsified, an explanation of how the renewable energy investment did not have the major negative impact on business that Calzada claims, that his analysis was too simplistic to be applied in any real world model, and what most economists believe is the cause of Spain’s high unemployment rate. I will also bring to light extremely relevant facts, that Calzada fails to mention or factor in to the study…”

Then, there’s this :-

“Fox News pushing questionable Spanish study on green jobs : April 15, 2009 2:12 pm : On April 14, Fox News Supreme Court reporter Shannon Bream cast doubt on President Obama’s proposal to fund green energy by touting a Spanish study showing that “for every green job created [in Spain], 2.2 jobs are lost.” Fox News host David Asman stated that the study is evidence that “green jobs could actually kill other jobs.” However, Bream, who appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Your World, and Special Report to report on the study, identified the study’s research director, Gabriel Calzada Álvarez, only as “an economics professor from Spain.” She did not note that Calzada is reportedly a founding member of the Prague Network, which, according to Radio Prague, is “an international grouping of institutions aimed at countering panic connected with global warming,” or that Calzada is reportedly a fellow at the Centre for the New Europe, an organization that has reportedly received funding from ExxonMobil…”

Here’s the original propaganda, for reference :-

James Delingpole goes on to assert :-

“…We also know that alternative energy is a fraud – only viable through enormous government (ie taxpayer subsidy) and utterly incapable of answering anything more than a fraction of our energy needs…”

Alternative Energy is most certainly not a fraud. Why, even as long ago as yesterday, Wind Power produced 19% of all the electricity in Texas :-

“Setting Wind Power Records in Texas : By KATE GALBRAITH : Texas, the nation’s wind-power leader, set a new record for wind generation this morning, when — at 6:37 a.m. — about 19 percent of the electricity on the state’s main grid was supplied by turbines…”

I often hear people say things like “if Wind Power is so good, why aren’t we doing it already ?” to which the answer is, “we are doing Wind Power already – because of the excellent economics. After the deployment investment is paid off, the “fuel” is free, and therefore the power generated is free.”

Then there’s the general “penetration” of Wind into national grids :-

“Wind power the best kind of mirage : 06 de marzo de 2010…utility system operators in Germany, Spain, Denmark, Portugal, or Ireland, or for that matter any of a number of regions of the U.S., all of which have successfully integrated wind farm penetrations of around 10% up to 20% and beyond. Ireland, for example, is at approximately 10% wind penetration, and its government recently completed a study concluding that there are no major technical barriers to reaching 40% wind turbines penetration. That is especially noteworthy because integrating wind energy onto the grid is more challenging on a small island than it is on a large interconnected power system like we have in the U.S. Denmark currently stands well over the 20% wind mark and is working to increase that amount several times over. At the very moment that I am writing this (the evening of March 4), wind is providing over 20% of the electricity being used in Texas. In these places there may be some costs to operating the power system differently than it would have been operated without a large amount of wind, but any wind integration expert would laugh at that the idea that there is a “magic number” ceiling on the amount of wind that can be integrated with the power system…”

And exactly how much Wind Power could the UK generate if it so minded ? How about out to sea ?

Is Wind Power reliable ? Yes.

And here’s a little piece I edited for Claverton Energy :-

Yes, Wind Power needs a little backup occasionally :-

But not even 25% if you seek reliable advice :-

Wind Power has a definite “capacity credit” despite what its detractors continue to snidely claim :-

As for the subsidies argument, let’s look at some figures…let’s start by looking at the global subsidies for Fossil Fuels :-

“Some $300 billion a year is spent worldwide to subsidize fuel prices, boosting demand in many nations by keeping prices artificially low and, thus, leading to more emissions.”

And of course, Nuclear Power receives a hefty backhander :-

“Subsidies disguise the real cost of nuclear power : Published: January 12 2010 : From Dr Gerry Wolff : Sir, It is not correct to say that nuclear power is “the cheapest large-scale low-carbon electricity source” (“A nuclear Britain can lead the way on emissions”,, January 8). The report “Nuclear Subsidies” from the Energy Fair group shows how the real cost of nuclear power is disguised by several subsidies. Without those subsidies, the price of nuclear electricity would rise to a level that would make it deeply unattractive to investors. There are more than enough alternatives that are cheaper than nuclear power, quicker to build, and with none of the other headaches of nuclear power…”

The trouble with Wind Power is…it’s not all built yet, so it’s going to cost some investment money to do that. And the best way to get the turbines up is to subsidise and make cheap loans available.

Yes, it’s a subsidy, to create an entirely new Energy infrastructure that we sorely need as the future will have less Fossil Fuels in it, one way or the other, due to Peak Oil, Peak Oil Demand (BP) and/or Climate Change Carbon Control.

One last quotation from Delingpole :-

“…and another one [report] from Denmark on the inefficiency of wind farms…”

Here it comes again, the old “wind turbines are inefficient” chestnut.

Yes, the wind does not blow all the time. That means that the power generated by a wind turbine does not match its rated capacity. Yes, we know that.

If we’re going to say that we should not have Wind Power because the turbines only capture 30% of their rating, perhaps we should also point fingers at the “conventional” power sources, you know, how many nuclear power outages have there been in the last few years ? How many sudden drops in power output from Fossil Fuel stations ? Exactly how “reliable” are conventional ways of generating electricity ?

The point about wind turbines is that they are not “inefficient” : if they don’t make power and stand still awhile, it’s because there’s currently not enough wind.

And again, they don’t “waste” anything : if they don’t operate and they fail to capture wind, well, it didn’t cost anything anyway, that wind. This is in contrast to “conventional” thermal power stations that waste a considerable amount of the energy in the fuel as heat, straight up the cooling towers.

“…4. Myth: Wind farms are inefficient and only work 30% of the time. Fact: A modern wind turbine produces electricity 70-85% of the time, but it generates different outputs depending on the wind speed. Over the course of a year, it will typically generate about 30% of the theoretical maximum output. This is known as its load factor. The load factor of conventional power stations is on average 50%…”

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