BusinessGreen reports:

The renewable energy industry is this morning considering lodging a complaint with the Press Complaint Commission (PCC) over reports in the Sunday Times yesterday accusing “feeble” wind farms of failing to deliver as much power as expected.

A misleading story in The Sunday Times? You can guess who is responsible. Leake tries to make a case that wind farms are a “feeble” source of electricity by cherry picking the ones that perform the worst:

The analysis reveals that more than 20 wind farms produce less than a fifth of their potential maximum power output.

Nowhere does Leake report the average load factor for wind farms in the UK. Businessgreen reports the number that Leake would not and which show that average wid farm performs well:

While some older wind farms have delivered relatively low levels of efficiency, recent government figures show that overall load factors for British onshore wind farms adjusted for new wind farms coming online during the year stood at 29.4 per cent in 2008. Load factors for offshore wind farms were higher still at 34.9 per cent.

The Sunday Times then uses Leake’s article in an editorial to argue:


As we report today, however, a detailed study of some of Britain’s onshore wind farms suggests they do not come remotely near providing an efficient and reliable source of supply.

This does not follow at all from the report.

James Murray comments:

Why did the Sunday Times fail to offer a more balanced view, providing similarly in-depth information on the wind farms that are working well and delivering an increasing proportion of the UK’s energy mix?

And remember how the Telegraph plagiarised an earlier Leake story? Well this one was blatantly plagiarised by Rebecca Smith at the Telegraph and also by Fiona Macrae at the Daily Mail.

Comments

  1. #1 FJM
    March 25, 2010

    I’m utterly astounded at the freedom this man gets when blatantly distorting the words of others to support his own world view. He desperately needs to experience serious repercussions from those he has misrepresented.

    He is, of course, entitled to his own opinion on subjects, but when he is writing columns that will influence public opinion, and deliberately distorts to fit his needs, it crosses the line from journalistic freedom to propaganda.

  2. #2 JamesA
    March 25, 2010

    This could be interesting. Unlike academic scientists, the green energy industry actually has things like money and lawyers they can bring to bear in this sort of situation and moreover, a business incentive to do so. Part of me is daring to hope he may actually get a genuine slap over this one.

  3. #3 ben
    March 25, 2010

    Is there a way to make wind farms look good without cherry picking? Seriously, how many windmills would it take to provide 20% of the power needed by the USA, given a reasonable loading estimate? How much of our land would be wasted with these giant hulking eyesores?

  4. #4 Paul UK
    March 25, 2010

    ben:
    >Is there a way to make wind farms look good without cherry picking? Seriously, how many windmills would it take to provide 20% of the power needed by the USA, given a reasonable loading estimate? How much of our land would be wasted with these giant hulking eyesores?

    1. They aren’t eyesores. The fact I state that, means the issue isn’t scientific, it is a matter of taste.

    2. The use of energy in the US is tremendously inefficient.
    For similar productivities as other developed nations the US uses 4 times more energy per capita.

    3. Even with lowish load factors, wind turbines still manage to outperform or equal fossil fuels on carbon footprints and energy ratios.

  5. #5 Paul UK
    March 25, 2010

    Looking at load factors for coal fired power stations in the UK, they vary a great deal, ranging from (in 2003) as low as 10%, upto a max of 78%.

  6. #6 MikeH
    March 25, 2010

    ben @3 Clearly pollution spewing coal fired power stations are much more attractive than wind farms.

  7. #7 Andrew
    March 25, 2010

    [Ben](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/03/leakegate_leake_caught_cherry.php#comment-2378559),
    The point is not about the aesthetics or the the contribution of wind farms to the energy mix.

    It is about serial misrepresentation.

  8. #8 ChrisC
    March 25, 2010

    Ben @ 3

    Use the google, rather than making inane statements. The [20 percent by 2030 project](http://www.20percentwind.org/) is pretty easy to find.

  9. #9 jakerman
    March 25, 2010

    >*Is there a way to make wind farms look good without cherry picking?*

    Sustainability, CO2 production, Cost vs CO2 production and
    [EROEO](http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/10/17/18478/085).

  10. #10 Paul UK
    March 25, 2010

    I’ll do a Johnathon Leake…

    Some shoddy calculations that are a Leake-ism:

    Ferrybridge C coal fired power station in 2003 had a min load factor of 10% and a max of 59%

    That gives an average load factor of 39.5%, it doesn’t of course because we need more data, but it’s good enough for a Leake-ism.

    So I reckon based on that poor maths and the fact I looked at one power station, that must prove coal fire power stations are rubbish based on the one load factor.

  11. #11 jakerman
    March 25, 2010

    And add energy security to post @9, with the potential peace [dividend](http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030702846.html) that follows.

  12. #12 truth machine
    March 25, 2010

    Use the google, rather than making inane statements.

    That would be quite a change for ben, who says elsewhere that

    Journalists have been biased and dishonest since there’s been journalism. Same with judges. Same with Politicians. Same with… just about everyone. and I don’t care about the media misrepresentation because I don’t trust those lying sacks of shit anyway. So they can misrepresent all they like

    So he’s not likely to believe any source you give him. This may explain why he doesn’t know anything.

  13. #13 James Wimberley
    March 25, 2010

    Ben: ¨how many windmills would it take to provide 20% of the power needed by the USA, given a reasonable loading estimate?¨

    Amazingly, the numbers can be found if you actually take the trouble to look for them. Average US consumption is about 1 Terawatt. At a load factor of 1/3, you would need 600 GW of installed wind power. At 2 MW a turbine, that makes 300,000 turbines. For reference, US industry produced 75,000 airplanes in the single year 1944, objects of roughly similar complexity. It´s entirely doable. Iberdrola, the Spanish utility, has 58 GW of wind projects in its worldwide pipeline.

    Sources for US land wind potential here: actually over 3 TW. http://www.samefacts.com/2007/08/energy-and-environment/texan-green-socialism/

  14. #14 davidk
    March 25, 2010

    Ben calling them “windmills” says it all really, he’s still living in the old days.

  15. #15 John Mashey
    March 25, 2010

    Speaking of the Times, people may want to take a whack at:
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=410938&c=1

    Also, maybe somebody would do us the service of enumerating “interesting” material in each of those newspapers.

  16. #16 ligne
    March 25, 2010

    but windmills are [so kyoot!](http://webpages.charter.net/letssenddevintoeurope/images/windmills%20-%20netherlands%202.jpg) i love to look at them while wearing my clogs, for a walk down the side of the canal. and having a toke of course, but lets not go there…

  17. #17 Mike
    March 25, 2010

    Good to see Leake coming under even further scrutiny. Of course the denialists will scream “censorship”. Or perhaps they can’t given Lord Monckton’s repeated attempts to bring claims against New Scientist et.al. for articles he did not like. The spotlight should be kept on to illustrate just how they distort the news.

  18. #18 Other Mike
    March 26, 2010

    I’m getting more and more curious about Leake.

    Did he ever finish high school?

    Anyway, as others have already pointed out, spruiking energy “efficiency” numbers can be highly misleading. They really need to be carefully considered in context before leaping to conclusions. But then, I’m preaching to the “at least of average intelligence” crowd here, of which Jonathon Leake is not a member. Maybe I should try that line at WUWT.

  19. #19 Michael
    March 26, 2010

    Now you’re really gunna pay for reading Leake’s rubbish….no really, you’ll have to pay.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/26/2857564.htm?section=justin

  20. #20 Paul UK
    March 26, 2010

    Good or bad news??

    The Times and Sunday Times will be charging £1 a day or £2 a week for accessing their web sites come this June.

    I can’t decide if it is good or bad.

    1. It’s good if it means that free forums and blogs can no longer reference junk reports.

    2. It’s good if Leake will get fewer visits.

    3. It might even be good if all the media do the same thing?

  21. #21 David Duff
    March 26, 2010

    Cherry-picking – Shlock-Horror!

    He’s been investigating those dendrologists for too long!

  22. #22 "GrrlScientist"
    March 26, 2010

    i am not a fan of wind power for conservation reasons (they tend to chop up a helluvalot of birds and bats and their damages are compounded because wind farms tend to be located on or near major migratory stop overs for these animals.)

    but that said, this weasel, leake, is an embarrassment to his profession. and to think that there is a big freaking controversy when i complain about lack of access to embargoed literature, when no one questions the access that is awarded liars like leake.

  23. #23 Sou
    March 26, 2010

    From the ABC article linked above, about having to pay for the Times:

    “The Times and Sunday Times will launch new, separate websites in early May which will be free to registered customers for a trial period.”

    Given that Leake articles are worthless, they might still be given away for nothing, if there are any takers.

  24. #24 psweet
    March 26, 2010

    @22 — I remember reading an argument that the number of birds and bats lost to wind farms is probably smaller than the number lost to loss of habitat, etc. likely to occur due to climate change. In that article, they were specifically talking about the eastern US, and pointing out that loss of shorelines along the Gulf Coast will mean longer overwater flights, and a significant increase in migratory deaths as a result.

    Here in Illinois, there’s actually someone at DNR whose responsibility is examining new wind sites for wildlife issues — apart from endangered species concerns, I’m not sure how much he can actually do to influence the process, but at least the state recognizes the issue.

  25. #25 iambilly
    March 26, 2010

    I have a suggestion for the wind turbines which would negate the ongoing ‘eyesore’ argument — why not mount them down the medians of superhighways? Think of the benefits — no road building into remote areas, a right-of-way for power transmission already exists, the land is owned by the state and leases could be a source of revenue, ease of maintenance, and the superhighways themselves are alread a freakin’ eyesore (in my opinion). The downside is the possibility of ice chunks flying of but, seriously, how hard would it be to but electrically heated de-icing boots on the propellers (okay, probably not that easy but I’m sure some entrepeneur could get rich on that project); then again, in most of America, the days when icing is a danger is a small fraction of the year so you just shut them down during dangerous times.

    Keep in mind, I’m a public historian (labour and steam technology) not an engineer. If there really are good reasons why not, I’d like to hear them.

  26. #26 Rob Monkey
    March 26, 2010

    @psweet: I heard the same thing, I also heard that since we have been making larger-bladed turbines that moved slower, the problem isn’t as bad as it used to be.

    @iambilly: often thought that was a good idea myself, but would the wind from the cars moving down the highway make a difference? I have no idea, but if not, all the bullshit claims about turbines being ugly will be quickly silenced, as there’s not too many ways to make a billboard-covered highway uglier. At least I wouldn’t be so annoyed at all the energy being used to light up a sign for the nearest Wal-Mart all night.

  27. #27 hankroberts
    March 26, 2010

    Is this guy Leake just a newspaper creature whose output is managed by his employer’s editors, or does he have an independent existence as someone who gets asked by others to comment on matters as a pundit or expert? Does he also show up on television or radio shows in guest spots, for example?

  28. #28 Lee
    March 26, 2010

    Here in the Bay Area of California, loss of migratory raptors in the wind turbine blades was a major issue.

    But ti turns out that by mapping WHERE bird remains were recovered, rather thanj ust counting them, they were able to map the losses to a couple dozen out of the many hundreds (thousands?) of turbines, and shut those few down. End of raptor losses.

    I dont know if this experience can be extended to other species or other locations, but it does hint that the bird loss issue can perhaps be mitigated with careful planning and monitoring.

  29. #29 ben
    March 26, 2010

    Wind Turbines are eyesores. Nuke plants are not. That’s the most viable short term solution in my opinion. Long term, fusion is pretty much the best and only way to go.

  30. #30 luminous beauty
    March 26, 2010

    >Wind Turbines are eyesores.

    Odd that a putative aeronautical engineer and [firearm affectianado](http://images.ucomics.com/comics/db/2010/db100324.gif) would have such a selective aesthetic sensibility.

  31. #31 Fran Barlow
    March 26, 2010

    Ben @29 said:

    Long term, fusion is pretty much the best and only way to go.

    That’s because having it in the short and medium term is excluded on technical feasibility grounds.

    I’m strongly in favour of nuclear power, but if you are going to claim that some not yet technically feasible technology is the “only way to go” in the future, you can say “as soon as they overcome the intermittency and storage problems, wind/wave/solar will be the way to go”.

    Humans live in the present, so when things are available is a key metric.

  32. #32 John McManus
    March 26, 2010

    Re:wind turbines on highway median. Try and find some of BBC Canada episodes of “top Gear”. There are great shots of turbines along highways in Holland, Germany , Belgum etc. They look sculptural and majestic.

  33. #33 Paul UK
    March 26, 2010

    >Long term, fusion is pretty much the best and only way to go.

    Fantasy technology that is at least 100 years away, assuming the vast number of problems can be solved.
    Just producing enough tritium sustainably will be a miracle and it will be a miracle if fusion actually produces low amounts of radioactive waste.

    Engineering the cycle of tritium production and feeding it back into the reactor, plus extracting the heat etc, hasn’t even been attempted.

  34. #34 Paul UK
    March 26, 2010

    >Does he also show up on television or radio shows in guest spots, for example?

    No.

    I don’t think many people knew much about him until recently, unless you read a newspaper regularly (I don’t).

  35. #35 Brian D
    March 26, 2010

    @GrrlScientist #22:

    i am not a fan of wind power for conservation reasons (they tend to chop up a helluvalot of birds and bats and their damages are compounded because wind farms tend to be located on or near major migratory stop overs for these animals.)

    I’m by no means an expert in this area, but I’d be interested in seeing the numbers on this. The last time I checked, according to the US Forest Service, for every 10,000 bird deaths attributable to human activity (other than hunting, which was left out due to being regulated differently), less than one such death is from wind turbines. Building collisions are by far the most prevalent, and even housecats kill more birds than turbines do, by a factor of 1000. (I agree siting is an issue, but see also @Lee #28. I’ve also been told that a lot of this discussion was based on the older radio-antenna-styled cage towers instead of the single pillar masts now used, but I can’t verify this.)

    Unless you’re aware of research I’m not (which is a very real possibility), opposition to wind turbines due to bird deaths would imply vehement opposition to housecats. Which is, itself, alarmingly reminiscent of Monckton (the second, not the more infamous third), and seems somewhat out of character (based on your blog).

  36. #36 Brian D
    March 26, 2010

    @ben #29:

    Long term, fusion is pretty much the best and only way to go.

    Strictly speaking, on the long term, unicorns on treadmills are better, so let’s set public policy today on the care and breeding of the majestic beasts.

    All jesting aside, fusion is very interesting, but is also completely and utterly undeployable without some form of a breakthrough. John Mashey likes to quote the (former?) Bell Labs motto, and I believe it’s completely relevant here: Never schedule breakthroughs.

    If something comes up, we’ve got a game-changer and should go all-out on it (depending on the nature of the breakthrough, of course). Until then, I’d rather not keep my eggs in one basket, especially a mere basket in potentia.

    To do otherwise seems rather rapture-ish to me, and that kind of wooly thinking tends to encourage people to ignore their responsibilities today because something out of their control will make it all better at some undisclosed point in the future (but don’t ask them to prove it). Exactly the wrong kind of attitude to have in public officials or reflected in public policy, wouldn’t you say?

  37. #37 psweet
    March 26, 2010

    Regarding bird deaths and turbines, I believe recent work puts it at roughly one bird/year/turbine, and about 1.4 bats. I haven’t seen the studies myself, so I’m not sure how they handled the detectability issue — how many birds are eaten before they’re found, or simply flung too far away to be located later.

  38. #38 ben
    March 26, 2010

    Odd that a putative aeronautical engineer and firearm affectianado would have such a selective aesthetic sensibility.

    It’s the outdoors person / hunter in me that hates the waste of land and ugly metal/composite hulks out in the woods. As for the comic, I don’t open carry, as it’s not a good idea to scare the white people. I did get a snazzy new “don’t scare the white people” holster though, ordered last year and finally arrived today.

    To the naysayers of fusion, do some reading before you spout like a twit:

    The University of Washington Aeronautics department does a significant amount of research focused on fusion, and I have had many conversations with the researchers there. According to these fine folks, the main problem with fusion isn’t the unicorn and fairy factor, it’s the cost. This cost is about twice as high per MW of electrical power as any other source. That’s the price now. Economies of scale and technological advance would eventually fix this.

    They have technology that works, they can build the reactors, the limiting factor in the whole thing is money, nothing more, nothing less.

    Now, if AGW is really that important, paying 2x for energy isn’t really that much, is it?

  39. #39 himThere
    March 26, 2010

    Regarding wildlife deaths from wind turbines – it is not just birds that are affected. An audio report from the ABC [here (starts at 32.32 minutes and runs for about 4 minutes)](http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2009/11/ssw_20091107.mp3) presents some far more troubling aspects related to wind power that all stakeholders in the community need to work to resolve.

    Urgent global action is required to solve issues such as this before wind power can be considered to be truly environmentally sustainable.

  40. #40 Dave
    March 26, 2010

    > They have technology that works, they can build the reactors, the limiting factor in the whole thing is money, nothing more, nothing less.

    This is really not the case as far as I’m aware.

    Yes, fusion is great, and personally I think we should go all out to get it – but there are several *speculative* approaches to building a viable fusion reactor, all of which are still at the R&D stage, and none of which is likely to be viable for actual power generation before 2050, even with billions in investment.

    And I’m not holding my breath – fusion has been 50 years away for the last 60 years or so.

    Fusion is what we want to be moving to, but I don’t see it happening until the second half of this century , and unfortunately, we need something now.

  41. #41 frankis
    March 26, 2010

    himThere: you need to give us a reason for taking the trouble to listen to an audio anything, especially what in this case seems to be an all-or-nothing mp3 podcast.

    ben: I think your friend is just dreaming aloud in your direction, so next time would you please ask her/him for a reference to the literature? Supporting science as we do here I think we all understand that waiting around decades for fusion to come true and save us from our carbon emissions is … not an option.

  42. #42 zoot
    March 27, 2010

    @39: You seem to be pointing us to a story on river ecosystems in the top end (of Australia).
    What does it have to do with wind power?

  43. #43 himThere
    March 27, 2010

    @41 & 42 – In the pod cast there is a short, entertaining and amusing piece about wind turbines and wildlife in Gippsland (southern Victoria). As I indicated, it starts at 32 minutes into the pod cast and runs for about 4 minutes.

    Sorry that it is a bit complicated to get to, but I am not the author and do not own the copyright, so I am not free to repackage it in a more convenient form.

    I hope that you enjoy it.

  44. #44 John Mashey
    March 27, 2010

    re: R&D, fusion

    1) When I was in high school (early 1960s), I was interested in going into fusion research. I still have a book from that time: “Project Sherwood”. I don’t have it here, but as I recall, writing around 1960, they thought that with luck, 30 years. Thank goodness I got entranced by computing by the time I was a a Senior in college.

    2) In 2005, I heard a talk by Burton Richter, long-time Director of SLAC, and a Nobel Physicist. His talk said: “fusion, no sooner than 50 years”. p.25.

    Just to be clear, “no sooner than 50 years” does NOT mean:
    a) In about 50 years OR
    b) Sometime between 2050 and 2100
    Of course, he could be wrong, or his opinion may have changed. His book appears in April so we’ll see.

    3) “Never schedule breakthroughs” was explained at Dot.earth posting that AndyR kindly promoted to an article.

    Many people have fantasy ideas about magic R&D producing breakthroughs on demand … but weirdly, the people pushing those ideas sometimes have never actually worked anywhere that did serious R&D and managed huge R&D project portfolios. [When I was at BTL, we had ~25,000 employees...]

    In particular, Bell Labs did create many breakthroughs, but we knew better than to try to schedule them. If you have to deploy something cost-effectively across a Million-person organization, YOU SHIP WHAT WORKS, knowing perfectly well that something better may come along before you finish deploying. The old Bell System was rather unusual in having 20-year plans, and some products expected to run for 30 years, and it was complicated.

    Redoing the world’s energy infrastructure is much harder, among other things, because there is no obvious equivalent of Moore’s Law for semiconductors…

  45. #45 frankis
    March 27, 2010

    OK you enticed me himThere and … thanks for that it was unexpected and entertaining, that being the respected Science Show and not April 1st or anything obvious :)

  46. #46 Paul UK
    March 27, 2010

    Ben:
    >The University of Washington Aeronautics department does a significant amount of research focused on fusion, and I have had many conversations with the researchers there… They have technology that works, they can build the reactors, the limiting factor in the whole thing is money, nothing more, nothing less.

    Complete bollocks.
    If you are spreading this muck around, then your opinions on other subjects are extremely doubtful.

    No one has a working practical fusion project.
    Even if this year the National Ignition Facility manages to get more energy out than they put in for a few micro seconds.
    Scientists and engineers still have huge amounts of work to turn that into an engineered system that can run 90% to 100% of the time.

    The problems are:

    1. A fusion reactor will have to run with a load factor of over 90%. No one has come anywhere near keeping fusion going for an hour, on a large scale and producing energy, let alone months or years.

    2. Tritium has to be produced on a large scale compared to the quantities produced today. This would be done by the fusion reactor, but it has never been done before and such a process has to be around 100% efficient in order to be self sustaining!

    3. Some significant engineering work has to be done to get the tritium produced and fed back into the fusion reactor. The same ‘jacket’ has to remove the heat and produce energy.

    4. No one knows if materials are robust enough to build a reactor that is commercially operated 24/7.

    5. There is actually no guarantee that the waste produced will actually be low level radiation (when compared to fission).

  47. #47 MobiusKlein
    March 27, 2010

    I suspect ben@38 confused Fusion and Fission.

    Remember, fusion fuses atoms together.

  48. #48 hankroberts
    March 27, 2010

    > Ben … 38
    Dang it, you convinced me to turn Killfile off and look.
    I should’ve known.

    Nope, Ben is quite clear about what he thinks. He points to a Wikipedia article about _fusion_, then reports he has friends who can build it for only 2x current generating costs.

    Ben is, from this evidence, from a different and far more advanced planet than Earth. He’s certainly not from here.

    Killfile ON.

  49. #49 luminous beauty
    March 27, 2010

    I had the privilege of touring the Shiva Project facility in Livermore (the progenitor of the NIF) in the late ’70s and witnessing a demonstration. It was quite impressive. Still not remotely practical.

    All the effort to produce a controlled fusion process has always struck me as slightly absurd, given that a natural stable fusion reactor exists a safe 150 million clicks off in space. The same with fission, since there is a reliable and usable thermal fusion process with a billion year sustainable shelf life going on no more than 11 clicks beneath our feet.

    And ben, knowing that there are paranoid rednecks running around with firearms under their shirts is so reassuring.

  50. #50 huxley
    March 27, 2010

    > Strictly speaking, on the long term, unicorns on treadmills are better, so let’s set public policy today on the care and breeding of the majestic beasts.

    I’ve heard that the Chinese have 280,000 unicorns on treadmills, we must not allow a Unicorn Gap!

  51. #51 Other Mike
    March 27, 2010

    @48. I checked out the UW website, the Aerospace faculty, the latest research going on there (including on nuclear fusion), the listed published papers, and so on.

    While they are doing interesting research into fusion, I could see no evidence whatsoever that UW researchers have discovered how to build a fusion reactor which could produce sustained fusion power at only 2x the cost of a current generation power station, output more energy than it consumes, and get the fuel to feed it.

    Ben is kidding himself. And if his pals at UW really told him that, they’re kidding themselves too. Power companies around the world would be beating a path to their door, as a 2x cost factor would easily be reduced with scaling and a little more R & D.

    PS, Great website link under Ben’s name. I like the picture of the 9 year old with the real live assault rifle daddy helped him assemble. Something you don’t usually see in countries other than anarchic failed African States and parts of the Middle East.

  52. #52 FJM
    March 27, 2010

    @ben

    As far as I am aware, no one has managed to demostrate a fusion reaction thus far that has yielded more energy than it cost. Perhaps you could point myself, and the many other that suspect what you’re saying is bollocks, to some… oh what d’ya call it… evidence!?

  53. #53 Dave Andrews
    March 27, 2010

    ben,

    Sorry, I have to agree that fusion power is ‘pie in the sky stuff’ that ranks alongside jakermans various nostrums.

  54. #54 guthrie
    March 27, 2010

    All this talk of fusion and nobody has mentioned the only real fusion power production project under way just now, ITER:
    http://www.iter.org/default.aspx

    The small snag is that if all goes according to plan, it will be the 2040’s before we see electricity going into the grid from fusion.
    Or we could jusst ramp up current renewables and energy efficiency measures, meanwhile recycling the old and inefficient wind farms which the Times thinks so little of.

  55. #55 jakerman
    March 27, 2010

    Dave Andrews I’m pleased you provide me with an opportunity to [cross link](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/bad_news_sea_level_rise_may_be.php#comment-2383594) to the lies you are using as your substitute for honest debate.

    I find people do get cranky with me when I [expose their lying out right](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/bad_news_sea_level_rise_may_be.php#comment-2367498). Your empty comeback is quite typical.

  56. #56 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 27, 2010

    The Audubon Society supports wind turbines. http://www.audubon.org/campaign/windPowerQA.html

    I’ve done the environmental assessment on potential wind farm sites out in BC. We used radar to map migratory flyways along the coast, and in the interior. Properly sited turbines will greatly reduced mortality, as will feathering the blades of less ideally situated turbines when migration is underway. Often there’s not much wind at night so power loss from feathering is minimal (according to some of the government reports which have crossed my desk–I haven’t checked the sources myself).

    The death rate of birds and bats per turbine is also variable from site to site with some having regular mortalities while others appear not to have any, so a death/turbine/north america is a metric that can’t be applied to specific locations.

    Regarding locating dead birds–no doubt the body count is underestimated. Several experiments have laid out a known number of birds and then compared that to the number of birds found by searchers. In some cases, it is less than a third of the birds found. Some of these correction factors are figured into the total count, so when reading about x birds,bats/killed/turbine, read to see if they’ve applied the correction factor or if this is based on an actual body count.

    Bats seem to be more at risk and disproportionately more bats than birds are killed by turbines. There are several possible reasons for this, but at this point we hardly even know what bats are present, and what they do on their foraging and migratory flights. So much to learn.

  57. #57 Paul UK
    March 28, 2010

    Guthrie:
    >ITER…The small snag is that if all goes according to plan, it will be the 2040’s before we see electricity going into the grid from fusion.

    ITER suffers the same problems I have already pointed out @40. eg. Tritium production, extraction of energy etc.

  58. #58 guthrie
    March 28, 2010

    Paul UK – aye, I just wanted to address even the most reasonable possible case, which would still put useful fusion power over 30 years into the future, and rather too late to make so much of a difference. Being the kind of project it is I expect there will be problems with exactly what you talk about.

  59. #59 Paul UK
    March 28, 2010

    There’s quite a good podcast at the Scientific American site about the issues of fusion:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=wheres-my-fusion-reactor-10-03-17

  60. #60 Dave Andrews
    March 28, 2010

    jakerman,

    If you read my posts I think you would have great difficulty in identifying anything I said as a ‘lie’.

    Quite different from your ‘pie in the sky’ nostrums.

  61. #61 ChrisC
    March 28, 2010

    Wind Turbines are eyesores. Nuke plants are not.

    Perhaps you’ve never seen a uranium mine, or had a good look at a tailings dam. I have, and I’ll take a wind farm any day of the week.

  62. #62 Neil
    March 29, 2010

    > > Wind Turbines are eyesores. Nuke plants are not.

    > Perhaps you’ve never seen a uranium mine

    Perhaps he’s just never seen a ‘nuke plant’, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BerkeleyPowerStation.jpg

    Or perhaps he’s getting them mixed up with the art-deco coal fired power stations built back in the 1930s.

  63. #63 ben
    March 31, 2010

    then reports he has friends who can build it for only 2x current generating costs.

    That’s not what I meant. What I meant is that once up and running, the cost of the electricity is 2x that of another source. The cost to build the plant, at the moment, is extremely high. The only way we’d have a chance to build something like this would be with an effort greater than the Saturn moon mission.

    As to the guys at the University of Washington, they’re more acquaintances than friends. You can call and ask them for clarification yourselves if you like:

    http://www.aa.washington.edu/research/HITsi/

    I’m just reporting what they told me, I’m not an expert. I thought you guys were all about government funded, peer reviewed scientists being the best thing since sliced bread. If you don’t trust these guys, why should I trust your AGW scientists?

  64. #64 frankis
    March 31, 2010

    Scepticism ben – we’d commend it to you.
    And, don’t quit your engineering day job for one in economics.
    In practical everyday life there’s no such thing as cheap electricity from an expensive powerplant.

  65. #65 jakerman
    April 1, 2010

    >*I’m just reporting what they told me, I’m not an expert. I thought you guys were all about government funded, peer reviewed scientists being the best thing since sliced bread. If you don’t trust these guys, why should I trust your AGW scientists?*

    Ben simple way to make the comparision you are trying to make; show us the peer reviewed publcations that back “what they told [you]“.

  66. #66 ben
    April 1, 2010

    And, don’t quit your engineering day job for one in economics. In practical everyday life there’s no such thing as cheap electricity from an expensive powerplant.

    Energy that is twice as expensive as all practical alternatives is cheap? frankis, you’d better not quit your day job either, whatever it is. At least be more careful in your reading.

  67. #67 frankis
    April 1, 2010

    It’s true I don’t read you carefully ben, just carefully enough to make no mistake in responding to you. My advice? – shoot for a greater degree of scepticism mate.

  68. #68 Lotharsson
    April 1, 2010

    Energy that is twice as expensive as all practical alternatives is cheap?

    Perhaps ben would have comprehended better if the original quote were “There’s no such thing as expensive electricity from an extremely expensive power plant”, or in other words that capital expenditure impacts operational pricing.

    For me the original quote made the point better.

  69. #69 ben
    April 2, 2010

    ?

  70. #70 Litmus
    April 15, 2010

    Predictable but nice to see Dr Jones vindicated. What is of far more interest is the outcome of an inquiry into who hacked into the CRU database, who published the hacked e-mails, for what purpose and who were the culprits associated with?

  71. #71 Fran Barlow
    April 15, 2010

    Neil @ 62 said:

    Perhaps he’s just never seen a ‘nuke plant’, for example:

    this one:

    El Diablo Nuclear Plant

  72. #72 aphexZero
    April 29, 2010

    ben: [QUOTE]How much of our land would be wasted with these giant hulking eyesores?[/QUOTE]
    What the hell? The population density of the US of A is about 32/km². There should be enough space to build them where noone will ever see them in their entire life!
    “Windmills”? I thought they where fans???

  73. #73 aphexZero
    April 29, 2010

    Ooops, wrong brackets, sorry…

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