Fossil Fuels, Enemy or Friend? Divine Design in the Carbon Cycle

A Rebuttal to David Jenkins’s “Are Climate Scientists Ignoring God’s Design?”

by E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., Christian Post, October 28, 2013

Despite disagreements on some specific questions, I was glad to get acquainted with David Jenkins through his article ”Are Climate Skeptics Ignoring God’s Design?” … Jenkins and I clearly share commitment to many of the same principles ….

Most of his mischaracterizations involve transforming my nuanced positions into all-or-nothing views. …

For instance, having mistakenly said I believe “an infinitely wise designer would not create something so fragile that mankind can mess it up,” he then reasons, “… From the beginning, man’s actions have had a profound impact on the earth, both good and bad. According to the Bible the first instance of human sin, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, resulted in profound ecological changes.”

Yet there is a difference between God’s cursing the ground because of man’s sin of eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:17–19) and land’s becoming barren because people strip it of vegetation and its topsoil washes away, or a lake’s becoming fish-free because people dump enough toxic wastes into it to kill them all. In the former case, God supernaturally causes ecological harm in judgment of human moral failure that had no physical link to the harm. In the latter case, a physical link exists. …

These … points lead to the real issue on which Jenkins and I disagree about anthropogenic global warming: whether the warming caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is likely to be good, indifferent, or harmful to humanity and the rest of earthly life, and if we think it’s going to be harmful, what would be our best response? How we answer those questions depends significantly on things embedded in what I just said about bacterial infections.

First, … [just] as infection by a few bacteria may be no threat and by stimulating the immune system may even strengthen someone, so also the addition of a tiny amount of carbon dioxide to the earth’s climate system (even doubling it from pre-industrial times would leave it at only 54 thousandths of 1 percent of the atmosphere) might pose no threat of dangerous warming and might even make it better for humans and other life. Just what it does is a question that must be answered by careful empirical research, not by guessing. …

How much warming will come from added CO2 in earth’s climate system depends far more on feedbacks than on the basic physics of CO2’s heat absorption and re-radiation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relies on computer climate models that assume that overall climate feedbacks (and there are hundreds, and the IPCC claims only poor understanding of many of them) are strongly positive—raising CO2’s initial warming by anywhere from 1/3 to 3-and-3/4s times.

But those models grossly exaggerated the amount of warming that occurred from 1980 to the present, as this graph prepared by University of Alabama climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer, illustrates. …

screen_shot_2013-10-29_at_356_11_pm__2

Further, the models utterly failed to predict the complete absence of statistically significant warming for the past 16 to 23 years (depending on what dataset one trusts). …

I’ll conclude by turning from the scientific to the theological focus of Jenkins’s article. In contesting my belief, based in part on the parable of the talents, God intends us to use fossil fuels to human benefit, he writes, “One must be careful when ascribing intent to God, especially when the claim appears to run counter to His design.”

I agree wholeheartedly! But I’m not convinced that, with regard to fossil fuels, he’s discerned God’s intent or God’s design better than I have. …

I want to ask three—okay, four—questions: Has he rightly described the “carbon cycle”? Has he rightly identified the “intended resting place for a significant amount of that excess [And how, incidentally, does he know it’s excess?] carbon” as “deep in the ground”? And does his vision really better fit “God’s design” than an alternative one?

And here are my answers:

No, he doesn’t rightly describe the “carbon cycle.” Rather, he describes a carbon dead end—a one-way street, into the ground. …

No, he hasn’t rightly identified the “intended resting place for a significant amount of … carbon”—or rather, at least, he hasn’t given us any particular reason to think deep underground is God’s intended resting place for it. (Neither does he know it’s “excess”; that’s the very point in debate ….)

No, his vision doesn’t better fit God’s design than an alternative one: a vision of the true carbon cycle. Here’s that vision:

Energy from fossil fuels—whose energy density is vastly greater than that of wind, solar, wood, dung, or biofuels, and therefore vastly more affordable—has been one of the key instruments by which such great strides in human wellbeing have been achieved. Quite literally, these fuels have been crucial to the vast increase of human life—in both numbers (from perhaps half a billion in 1700 to perhaps 7 billion today) and longevity. And they’ve also benefited the rest of the biosphere, as environmental economist Indur Goklany points out: “By lowering humanity’s reliance on living nature [wood for heat, feed for animals for transportation and other work], fossil fuels not only saved humanity from nature’s whims, but nature from humanity’s demands.”

How did the fossil fuels get where they are? They are the remains of trillions of dead plants and animals, buried under vast layers of sedimentary rock and transformed by heat and pressure into coal, oil, and natural gas. … All (but the humans) were innocent. They were not sinners. They bore God’s judgment on a sin not their own.

They died. They were buried. And now they are being lifted out of the ground and transformed from matter into energy, leaving a gas, carbon dioxide, as a byproduct. Carbon dioxide is essential to all life. … For every doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere there is, on average, a 35 percent increase in plant growth efficiency. Since all other life depends on plants for food—either directly or indirectly—this boon to plants is a boon to the rest of life, too. The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration over the past sixty years or so seems likely to account for some 12 to 15 percent of the increase in average crop yields per acre during that period—contributing some $3.2 trillion worth of food, helping the poor more than anyone else.

Stop and think for a moment: Innocent creatures die, are buried, are brought up out of the ground, and bring life to others. Haven’t you heard that story before?

Of course you have. It is the basic summary of the gospel: Christ (who knew no sin but became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him; 2 Corinthians 5:21), died for our sins according to the Scriptures; He was buried; He rose again from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. At death the human body “is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4, 44–45).

Rather than seeing fossil fuels as permanent carbon sequestration, we see them, when transformed into energy, as both literally giving life—long and healthy life—to billions of human beings who are not carbon footprints but the footprints of carbon, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, beautifully picturing the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May we think not of the carbon dead end (Jenkins’s vision) but of the carbon life cycle? Why, if we recognize and celebrate the beautiful design of the water cycle, ought we not also to celebrate the beautiful design of the carbon cycle? And might I even venture that this could be one way in which the Book of Creation points to the gospel in the Book of Scripture, and that by embracing this understanding we might not only bring enormous benefit to human health and prosperity to the world’s poor but also increase our effectiveness in reaching some of its lost and dying people? [Read the whole article.]

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European Economic Stability Threatened By Renewable Energy Subsidies

James Conca, Forbes

See also this report

The stability of Europe’s electricity generation is at risk from the warped market structure caused by skyrocketing renewable energy subsidies that have swarmed across the continent over the last decade.

This sentiment was echoed a week ago by the CEOs of Europe’s largest energy companies, who produce almost half of Europe’s electricity. This group joined voices calling for an end to subsidies for wind and solar power, saying the subsidies have led to unacceptably high utility bills for residences and businesses, and even risk causing continent-wide blackouts (Géraldine Amiel WSJ).

The group includes Germany’s E.ON AG, France’s GDF Suez SA and Italy’s Eni SpA, and they unanimously pointed the finger at European governments’ poorly thought-out decision at the turn of the millennium to promote renewable energy by any means.

The plan seemed like a good one in the late 1990s as a way to reverse Europe’s reliance on imported fossil fuels, particularly from Russia and the Middle East. But it seems the execution hasn’t matched the good intentions, and the authors of the legislations didn’t understand the markets.

“The importance of renewables has become a threat to the continent’s supply safety,” warned senior global energy analyst, Colette Lewiner, referring to a recent report by a Europe energy firm, Capgemini.

“We’ve failed on all accounts: Europe is threatened by a blackout like in New York a few years ago, prices are shooting up higher, and our carbon emissions keep increasing,” said GDF Suez CEO Gérard Mestrallet ahead of the news conference.

Under these subsidy programs, wind and solar power producers get priority access to the grid and are guaranteed high prices. In France, nuclear power wholesales for about €40/MWhr ($54/MWhr), but electricity generated from wind turbines is guaranteed at €83/MWhr ($112/MWhr), regardless of demand. Customers have to pick up the difference.

The subsidies enticed enough investors into wind and solar that Germany now has almost 60,000 MWs of wind and solar capacity, or about 25% of that nation’s total capacity. Sounds good for the Planet.

The problems began when the global economic meltdown occurred in 2008. Demand for electricity fell throughout Europe, as it did in America, which deflated wholesale electricity prices. However, investors kept plowing money into new wind and solar power because of the guaranteed prices for renewable energy.

Meanwhile, electricity prices have been rising in Europe since 2008, just under 20% for households and just over 20% for businesses, according to Eurostat.

Since renewable capacity kept rising and was forced to be taken, utilities across Europe began closing fossil-fuel power plants that were now less profitable because of the subsidies, including over 50 GWs of gas-fired plants, Mr. Mestrallet said.

I’m a little confused, isn’t gas supposed to be the savior along with renewables? You can’t have a lot of renewables without back-up gas to buffer the intermittency of renewables since gas is the only one you can turn on and off like a light switch.

I understand that Germany is building new coal plants that can ramp up and down faster than ever before, but the replacement of so much gas with renewables means Europe may not be able to respond to dramatic weather effects, like an unusually cold winter when wind and solar can’t produce much.

Exhaust plumes rise from the new Neurath lignit coal-fired power station at Grevenbroich near Aachen, southern Germany. RWE, one of Germany’s major energy provider, invested in new coal conducted power plants that will buffer wind energy as well as replace reliable base-load nuclear. The wisdom of this decision remains to be seen. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

In a warped parody of free market economics, some countries are building gas-fired plants along their borders to fill this void in rapid-ramping capacity, and that scares the markets even more, since gas is so expensive in Europe, that the price for electricity will climb even higher (EDEM/ESGM).

As the European Commission meets this week to discuss the issue, a parallel threat looms in America as a result of a similarly well-intentioned maze of mandates and subsidies over the last decade. It has been kept at bay only by our much larger energy production and our newly abundant cheap natural gas.

Americans may not be aware that natural gas is not cheap in Europe like it is in America. America’s gas boom has occurred in the absence of a natural gas liquefying infrastructure, which is needed for import/export of natural gas to the world markets. Thus, the more expensive global prices do not affect the price in the U.S.

Yet.

But that will change. We’re building LNG infrastructure at an amazing pace to exploit the huge gas reserves laid bare by advances in fracking technologies. Within five years, the U.S. will be the major player in the world gas market. Of course, gas prices will double or triple in the U.S. because, like oil, the price will now be set by the global market, not by the U.S. market. And like oil, it doesn’t matter how much you produce in your own country, you pay the global price. Period. Just ask Norway.

So when natural gas prices double, what happens to the price of electricity since gas is so intimately married to renewables? State mandates and renewable production tax credits will still require us to buy renewable energy, even if it’s double the price. We’ve already seen this occur here in the Pacific Northwest in battle between expensive wind and inexpensive hydro (Hydro Takes A Dive For Wind). Hydro lost.

That’s fine when gas is cheap. It won’t be fine when gas is expensive

The Great American Wind Power Fraud

By Alan Caruba

In July the Fairhaven, Massachusetts Board of Health voted to shut down the town’s two wind turbines at night between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. after dozens of residents had filed more than 400 complaints. Testing had demonstrated that the turbines exceeded state noise regulations and those specified in their operating permits.

In July the Heartland Institute’s Environmental & Climate News reported on the announcement by Nordex USA, a manufacturer of wind turbines that had accepted millions of dollars in subsidies while promising to create 750 jobs that it had shut down its Jonesboro facility. In 2008, Gov. Mike Beebe (D) had given Nordex $8 million from the Governor’s Quick-Action Closing Fund and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority had given Nordex another $11 million. The decision, said the company, was its uncertainty about receiving federal subsidies. At the time, only fifty people were employed there.

In early October, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthcare, and Entitlements held a hearing on the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) was there to argue for an extension of the subsidy. According to lobbying disclosures, in 2012 the AWEA had spent more than $2.4 million to protect the subsidy which was set to expire, but which received a one-year extension as part of the deal struck to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

Arguing that wind energy is an important element of the mix of energy provided by coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities, the facts are that in 2012 coal accounted for 37 percent of total generation, natural gas represented 30 percent, and nuclear contributed 19 percent. Wind power accounted for just 1.4 percent of U.S. energy consumption in 2012 and only 3.5 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.

Since the PTC was first enacted two decades ago, it has cost taxpayers $20 billion dollars.

One of the primary arguments for wind energy is that it is “renewable” and does not contribute to the so-called “greenhouse gas emissions” that are the cause of a “global warming.” However, the latest warming cycle ended some fifteen years ago. Not one student in our nation’s schools has ever experienced “global warming.”

Wind energy is “green” say its supporters, but it is hardly “green” to kill an estimated 573,000 birds every year, including 83,000 birds of prey according to a study published in the March edition of the Wildlife Society Bulletin. It also kills countless bats, a species that reduces the vast number of insect pests that prey on crops and transmit diseases.

A permit is being sought by the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, California, that would grant it the right to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period despite their protected status under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

So wind energy is justified as reducing greenhouse gases that are not causing global warming which does not exist, is receiving millions in subsidies, and wants to kill protected species, an environmental objective. This is hypocrisy on a galactic scale.

Testifying before the congressional committee, Dr. Robert Michaels, a senior fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, noted that the subsidy which was supposed to end by now has been renewed five times. The wind industry is essentially non-competitive when it comes to energy generation from traditional sources and has also been around long enough to amply demonstrate that. In a market economy, such industries are allowed to fail.

The wind industry, however, doesn’t even need to be competitive because utilities in some thirty states are required by law to include it in their “renewable portfolio standards” that set quotes for its use. This mandate is expected to see the installation of more than 100,000 renewable megawatts over the next twenty years and wind, said Dr. Michaels, and “seems certain to get the lion’s share.”

Adding to the idiocy of wind energy is the need for such production facilities to have a back-up from traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear facilities because wind is not available with any predictability. The consumer not only pays for the electricity these facilities provide to ensure that they will always have electricity, but pays in the form of the subsidies the wind industry continues to receive.

There is no need for renewable energy mandates. Both wind and solar are unreliable sources of energy and produce so little as to lack any justification for their existence.

The wind industry exists because it spends millions annually to convince legislators that it should not only be subsidized and because many states require its use. Take away the interference of government entities and the industry would have no real basis to exist. It is a fraud.

‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ Blamed for Mysterious Symptoms in Cape Cod Town

Sue Hobart, a bridal florist from Massachusetts, couldn’t understand why she suddenly developed headaches, ringing in her ears, insomnia and dizziness to the point of falling “flat on my face” in the driveway.

“I thought I was just getting older and tired,” said the 57-year-old from Falmouth.

Months earlier, in the summer of 2010, three wind turbines had been erected in her town, one of which runs around the clock, 1,600 feet from her home.

“I didn’t put anything to the turbines — we heard it and didn’t like the thump, thump, thump and didn’t like seeing them, but we didn’t put it together,” she told ABCNews.com.

Hobart said her headaches only got worse, but at Christmas, when she went to San Diego, they disappeared. And she said the same thing happened on an overnight trip to Keene, N.H.

“Sometimes at night, especially in the winter, I wake up with a fluttering in the chest and think, ‘What the hell is that,’ and the only place it happens is at my house,” she said. “That’s how you know. When you go away, it doesn’t happen.”

Medical mystery: 19 teens develop Tourette’s syndrome-like symptoms.

Hobart and dozens of others in this small Cape Cod town have filed lawsuits, claiming that three 400 feet tall, 1.63 megawatt turbines (two owned by the town and one owned by Notus Clean Energy) were responsible for an array of symptoms. A fourth, much smaller turbine, is owned by Woods Hole Research Center, but it receives fewer complaints.

The wind turbines have blown up a political storm in Falmouth that has resonated throughout the wind energy industry. Are these plaintiffs just “whiners,” or do they have a legitimate illness?

In 2011, a doctor at Harvard Medical School diagnosed Hobart with wind turbine syndrome, which is not recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The name was coined by Nina Pierpont, a John Hopkins University-trained pediatrician, whose husband is an anti-wind activist, criticizing the economics and physics of wind power. Pierpont, who lives in upstate New York, calls wind turbine syndrome the green energy industry’s “dirty little secret.” She self-published “Wind Turbine Syndrome” in 2009, including case studies of people who lived within 1.25 miles of these “spinning giants” who reportedly got sick.

But her wind-turbine research has been criticized for improper peer review (Pierpont reportedly chose her reviewers), and for its methodology — small sample size, no control group and the fact that she did not examine her subjects or their medical records but interviewed them by phone.

Neither Pierpont nor her husband, Calvin Luther Martin, responded to ABCNews.com’s request for comment.

Hobart and her husband, Edward, filed a nuisance claim last Feb. 5 in Barnstable Superior Court against Notus Clean Energy and its owner, Dan Webb. According to the Hobarts’ lawyer, Democratic State Rep. Brian Mannal, they are seeking between $150,000 and $300,000 in damages for loss of value of their home, and for medical bills.

They filed an earlier nuisance complaint against the town in July 2012, but the judge granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on Dec. 3, 2012.

“The heart of the issue is that they have been pushed off their land,” said Mannal. “They have erected these enormous industrial-scale turbines — larger than a 747 — in close proximity to residences. They have had to leave their house because they couldn’t live there anymore.”

Mannal, who took on the Hobarts’ suit before running for public office, said he “had a feeling about this case since it first came to me that this is one of the most important things I will do in my professional life. These are people who have been put upon and are suffering under this thing with no avenue for escape.

“This is an industry that has pushed to make wind happen, and I am not against that, but you do it responsibly,” Mannal said. “It goes all day and night. My initial take was that [she] was being a hypochondriac, but I went to their house two years ago with a little skepticism and within 10 minutes of being in the house, I could feel it and hear it. … It acts like a drum and pounds on the house.”

In its answer to the court on May 20, Webb’s attorney, Michael J. O’Neill, denied all of Hobart’s allegations, saying that Notus’ application for an operating permit was “subject to rigorous review” by Falmouth’s Zoning Board of Appeals. O’Neill also said that Notus had submitted a “thorough noise assessment by a qualified consultant in support of its application,” and that the wind turbine project had complied with all applicable standards and regulations. “Scientific research and studies have shown that wind turbines such as Notus’ do not cause a nuisance or adverse health effects,” said O’Neill in the court filing.

Webb did not comment on the Hobarts’ lawsuit but defended wind energy in an email to ABCNews.com, saying that its wind turbine generates approximately 5 million kWh of electricity annually.

“In three years of operation, it has prevented emissions of more than 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide from conventional generation plants,” he wrote. “The nearest home to the Notus turbine is approximately 1,700 feet from the turbine. The minimum setback distance recommended by a state model bylaw is three times tip height, or a distance of 1,197 feet. So our setback distance to homes is substantially greater than specified in the state model bylaw.”

Neil Andersen and his wife, Betsy, were big fans of alternative energy, but when two town-owned turbines arrived within 1,320 and 2,320 feet of their house, they, too, said they developed symptoms.

Andersen, 60, said that within a week and half, he developed a “very uncomfortable feeling.”

“First, it was pressure in my ears — they were just popping as I was standing out in the front yard doing landscaping,” he told ABCNews.com. “Within two months, my ears started ringing with tinnitus, and now I have clenching of my teeth — bruxism.”

He said he had headaches, shortness of breath, sensitivity to sounds and heart palpitations.

“At times, I even have confusion over what is the pulse of the turbine and which is my heartbeat,” he said.

He said his wife had suffered migraines so severe that she wrote in a journal she keeps on her symptoms and the wind turbine operations “Never stops, never stops. Headache. HELP.”

More than 45 Falmouth residents have complained to the town’s Board of Selectmen, which curtailed the hours of its two turbines at night. The board said it’s the pressure of infrasound — sounds with frequencies below 20 Hz — which are on the low end of audible for humans.

But others say many who live near the wind turbines suffer no ill effects, and there’s research that suggests these unexplainable symptoms could be psychogenic, or “contagious.” In a phenomenon known as the nocebo effect — the opposite of the placebo effect — people can convince themselves that something is producing harm.

One 2013 study on the wind turbine effect published in the journal Health Psychology examined the power of suggestion and concluded it may have caused the reported health problems.

In the study, researchers exposed 60 participants to 10 minutes of infrasound and then silence. Beforehand, half the group was shown television footage of people who lived near wind farms and were recounting the harmful effects. Within this group, the people who scored high for anxiety developed symptoms, even if they were exposed to sham infrasound.

“Some people are more suggestible,” said Dr. Elizabeth Bowman, a psychiatrist and adjunct professor at Indiana University, who is not familiar with the Falmouth cases. “This is not conscious, it’s unconscious.

“What can happen across time is people think maybe this is real, my neighbor’s got it,” said Bowman. “They start to tune in more to their bodies and amplify and misinterpret normal body sensations.”

Andersen, however, said he had no idea his neighbors were suffering when his symptoms began.

“Just come in to my house and feel the walls shaking,” he said. “They say it’s the nocebo effect, but people who sit on my front porch have to leave within a half hour — they felt it. Early on, I had a financial adviser sit in my kitchen and within five minutes he was complaining about ear popping.

“Something is going on here, and it’s affecting a lot of us physically and mentally,” explained Andersen, who said he could no longer work in construction.
“They don’t believe us,” he said. “It’s a very sad situation.”

ABCNews.com called the town of Falmouth several times and sent emails, but the calls were not returned and the emails were not answered. The town’s lawyer, Frank K. Duffy, also did not return calls.

According to Kim Fish, who is Duffy’s paralegal, there are “just so many lawsuits.”

The clerk at Barnstable Superior Court confirmed there were numerous lawsuits against the town and its Board of Health.

The Andersens have filed three lawsuits. The one in Barnstable Superior Court alleges the town violated the zoning bylaw, did not go through the proper permitting process for installing the wind turbines and did not hold “one single public meeting.”

The second is a nuisance complaint that was initially denied by the building commissioner, but that decision was later overturned by the zoning board of appeals. “We are in the middle of proceedings for an injunction to stop the turbines until the case is heard,” Andersen said.

A third private nuisance lawsuit was filed in federal court in Boston.

The Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health recently commissioned a panel of experts to analyze existing research on the effects of noise, vibration and flicker of wind turbines on health. They concluded that wind turbines present little more than an “annoyance” to residents, and that limited evidence exists to support claims of devastating health impacts.

Earlier this year, the selectmen voted unanimously to take down the wind turbines as “the right thing to do,” but when the town put the measure to a vote in April, it didn’t pass, according to the Cape Cod Times.

Many Falmouth residents said they’re baffled by the complaints.

“My neighborhood is 4,000 feet from the big ones, and we have zero effect,” said Tom Stone, who spoke on behalf of the Woods Hole Research Center, where he is a scientist emeritus. Woods Hold Research Center owns the smaller turbine, which has not been the subject of lawsuits. “Houses are being sold on my street, and new houses are being built. It’s not an issue.

“My son has been house-sitting one of the families who complained, and it doesn’t bother their children but bothers their parents. I don’t know what to make of it. Is it one of these things that bothers you if you are sensitive to it, or is it a stress reaction?”

One woman complained about the turbine at the research center, said Stone, but the turbine was not even in operation at the times she logged her symptoms.

Wind turbines are the most popular form of new energy in the United States and are seen widely not only in coastal Massachusetts but throughout California, Texas and Wisconsin.
The American Wind Energy Association, which represents the industry, said that wind power was “an inexhaustible resource,” which did not harm the environment and provided a “direct health benefit by reducing air pollution and related health impacts, including asthma.”

Spokeswoman Lindsay North, who did not comment on the Falmouth cases, said health complaints were “rare.”

A 2010 study by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council found no negative effects from wind turbines.

But Dr. Steven Rauch, director of the Balance and Vestibular Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the doctor who diagnosed Sue Hobart, said he was “unwilling” to rule out wind turbine syndrome as a real medical condition.

Rauch said he had diagnosed only one other patient besides Hobart, but he believed infrasound was a “plausible” explanation for their complaints.

“We don’t know enough about it to totally accept it or blow it off,” he told ABCNews.com. “When these patients came to me I could not find any other abnormalities to explain their symptoms. I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.”

Hobart, who was referred to Rauch by Pierpont, said she saw him in July 2011, after she had left her house and was living with a friend.

He did a full otology exam and checked on her gait and hearing, she said, and recommended physical therapy for her gait problems but prescribed no medication.

“He said I was recovering well and to just stay away from the wind turbine,” she said. “It was a huge relief to have a doctor of his caliber affirm my situation.”

Rauch said he consulted with Pierpont and Alec Salt, an otolaryngology specialist at the Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory at Washington University in Louis who suggests the level of infrasound generated by a wind turbine one mile away could be harmful.

“He tried to lay out the scientific basis for low-frequency pressure affecting the inner ear,” said Rauch. “It seems to do something to other parts of the body, and it persuaded me, that at least in animal research, there is proof. We know that animals are pretty good models of differential susceptibility to noise exposure.”

The big question is why some live near wind turbines with no ill effects, and others are crippled by symptoms, such as debilitating migraines.

“Migraines alter the way the brain processes sensory information — light, stimulation, sound touch, bellyaches and sleep disturbances,” said Rauch. “If you put someone with migraine disturbances in an environment with throbbing low-pressure pulse, that affects the autonomic nervous system or inner ear balance organs. It may be likely that those patients, because of general susceptibility, have intensified distorted reactions.”

Rauch also cautions against those who say complaints are psychological in nature.

“That’s a slippery slope, blaming the patient in medicine,” he said. “I am not a wind industry businessman or a policy maker. I am a doctor, and I take care of my patients.”

As for Sue Hobart, she has had to give up her floral work and now lives miles away from Falmouth’s wind turbine towers in neighboring Bourne. Her house by the wind turbines is up for sale, she said, but because she disclosed her health problems to potential buyers, its value has dropped by half. . “We tried to keep our house — we built it ourselves,” she said. I had six acres, planted trees and flowers and bought a bobcat and a backhoe and built the rock walls myself. It was my pride and joy. Every time I think about it I cry.”
Hobart’s headaches are gone, but depression has set in.

“I didn’t know anything about wind turbine syndrome,” she said. “It made me abandon my house. I had everything I ever wanted and I can’t live there.” GMA

‘How Government Is Making Solar Billionaires’ – ‘How Gore & billionaires profiteer on taxpayer subsidies for solar energy’

How Gore & billionaires profiteer on taxpayer subsidies for solar energy

SolarCity has never recorded a profit, but powered by subsidies, its stock price is $57 a share.

By ALLYSIA FINLEY

WSJ.COM 10/21/13: Welcome to SolarCity, the latest booming green company that has never recorded a profit. The startup’s stock price has soared by 600% since its IPO last December—it closed on Monday at $57 a share—and spiked after the company announced a couple of weeks ago that it expects business to grow by 70% to 90% next year. Yet the company, based in San Mateo, Calif., and specializing in deploying rooftop panels, ended the first six months this year $61 million in the red.

Ordinarily, that sort of number might disconcert investors. But SolarCity’s business model is powered by government subsidies, which also fueled the 500% stock run-up and turn to profit this year of the electric-car maker Tesla. Steering both companies is Elon Musk.

In addition to being the chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla, Mr. Musk is the largest shareholder in both companies. The increase in their stock prices has raised his net worth by more than $5 billion over the past year.

SolarCity’s second-quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission notes that the company’s “ability to provide solar energy systems to customers on an economically viable basis depends on our ability to finance these systems with fund investors who requireparticular tax and other benefits” (emphasis added).

The company’s base is a 30% federal tax credit that accrues to investors who provide upfront financing for the rooftop panels that SolarCity installs for customers at no charge. Customers “lease” the panels from SolarCity by paying for the solar power they generate, which is priced below their utility’s retail rate. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and Chairman of SolarCity

Customers, however, must sign a contract agreeing to cede “any and all tax credits, incentives, renewable energy credits, green tags, carbon offset credits, utility rebates or any other non-power attributes of the system” to SolarCity. The tax credits are passed on to its investors, which include the venture-capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL Investors and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management LLP.

A thick layer of state and local incentives also supports SolarCity. California, for example, has allocated $3.3 billion in rebates for solar installations through 2016 and compensates residents between $0.20 and $0.35 cents per watt of expected performance (about 5% to 10% of the total cost of installation). San Francisco, which has a 100% renewable goal, provides additional rebates ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 per residential installation.

Meantime, school districts in California have received a total of $400 million this year for energy-efficiency projects, including window-glazing and solar-panel installations. SolarCity has contracted with school districts in Barstow, Simi Valley, Los Angeles and other cities.

SolarCity also benefits from “net metering” policies that 43 states, including California, have adopted. Utilities pay solar-panel customers the retail power rate for the solar power they generate but don’t use and then export to the grid. Retail rates can be two to three times as high as the wholesale price of electricity because transmission and delivery costs, along with taxes and other surcharges that fund state renewable programs, are baked in.

So in California, solar ratepayers on average are credited about 16 cents per kilowatt hour on their electric bills for the excess energy they generate—even though utilities could buy that power at less than half the cost from other types of power generators.

SolarCity and its competitors also implicitly benefit from energy policies like renewable mandates, fracking moratoriums and greenhouse-gas regulations that drive up electricity prices and enable the company to charge its customers more for solar power. Indeed, in its latest SEC filing, SolarCity warns investors that “a reduction in the price of natural gas as a result of new drilling techniques or a relaxation of associated regulatory standards” could harm its business.

The company could also suffer if some of the solar incentives that investors “require” were to be withdrawn. But reducing the subsidies will be difficult because of their growing constituencies.

Consider the fight shaping up in Arizona over the Arizona Public Service Co. utility’s efforts to scale back net-metering policies that would make solar customers pay their share of the grid’s fixed costs. The advocacy group Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed, or TUSK, is likening net metering to “school choice” because it provides ratepayers an alternative to the utility monopoly. Meanwhile, the Alliance for Solar Choice, founded by SolarCity and its rooftop competitors Sungevity, Sunrun and Verengo, has run commercials denouncing a proposal by Arizona Public Service to reduce net-metering subsidies as a “solar tax.”

Support for the solar interests has also come from the Obama fundraising outfit Organizing for Action, which has sent emails warning that utilities are trying to shut down an industry that is helping “families and businesses to lower their energy costs.” Progressive organizations Presente.org and Other98.com have posted a satire on YouTube that features a utility president warning that “rooftop solar threatens our industry’s entire business plan, which is to force you to buy dirty energy from the dirty power plants that poison poor communities.”

Unwinding government programs—particularly those that purport to benefit the 99%—is inordinately tough, as evidenced by lawmakers’ reluctance to roll back ethanol subsidies or enact entitlement reforms. No wonder investors see a bright future for SolarCity.

Germany’s Green Energies Lead To Skyrocketing Electricity Prices – Feed-In Rates Increase More Than 10-Fold!

By P Gosselin on 18. Oktober 2013

Always more expensive, never cheaper– renewable energy feed-in tariffs to climb to 6.24 cents in 2014
By Rudolf Kipp, Science Skeptical (Translated, edited by P Gosselin)

“Payments for renewable energy will cost each household on average about 1 euro per month – that’s as much as one scoop of ice cream.” That’s what Jürgen Trittin, former Federal Environment Minister, Green Party, said in July 2004 when Germany’s EEG renewable energy Feed-In Act) was enacted.

“Now it costs as much as every item on the entire ice cream menu,” said Peter Altmaier, current Federal Minister of Environment, September 2013 at the 8th German Energy Congress “Energy Economy in Transition”.

German feed-in rates skyrocketing

Recently a press release from power grid operators 50Hertz, Amprion, TenneT and TransnetBW (link) was issued. Here is what it announced:

(…) The EEG feed-in levy is to be paid for each kilowatt-hour consumed by all end-consumers. That means that the consumers will have to pay 6.240 cents per kilowatt hour in order to support renewable energies. Thus the costs for the EEG feed-in will increase almost 20 percent compared to a year earlier (5.277 cents per kilowatt-hour).

For the year 2014 another considerable increase in the generation of renewable electrical energy is projected. The increase of approximately 15 terawatt-hours(from about 135 TWh in 2013 to almost 150 TWh in 2014) is mainly from onshore wind, offshore wind, and photovoltaic.

The following chart depicts the cost development for consumers from the EEG feed-in tariff, from 2003 to 2014, (eeg-kwk.net):

The next figure shows the electric power price development in Germany (Statista):

Index of the electricity price development for households in Germany from 1998 – 2013 (1998 = 100). Source: statista

So much for renewable energies staying affordable, as politicians promised us just some years ago.

What follows are more famous quotes from politicians and hustlers, all telling the consumers how renewable energy would stay cheap and affordable for every German. You be the judge on whether or not they were truthful.

2004 Greenpeace:

….The costs to be paid by consumers for the Feed-In Act (EEG fees)) will remain practically constant compared to the current level.”

2005 German Environment Ministry:

The increase in the EEG feed-in tariffs will reduce in the future and will not cost more than 3 euros a month, even with a very dynamic expansion. The feed-in rates will then start to go down by the middle of the next decade.”

In 2005 the EEG feed-In fees were only 0.68 cent/kwh. This year Germans are paying more than 250 euros per year.

2006 Engineering Office for new energies:

As a whole the current EEG feed-in cost of approximately 0.54 cents/kwh will increase to a maximum of 0.93 cents/kwh by 2017.”

Already in 2006 the EEG feed-in tariff was 0.88 cents/kwh. In 2014 it will 6.24 cents/kwh, i.e. 7 times higher!

2007 Solarportal 24:

Already today consumers are saving significantly more than they are paying for the EEG feed-in act. The huge supply of energy from wind, water, sun, bioenergy, and geothermal is leading to a dampening effect on the price of electricity, this according to the Federal Association of Renewable Energies, BEE.”

German Environment Ministry:

Because of the EEG feed-in act, the feed-in cost for electricity will rise a bit. According to the law that applies, it will increase to a maximum of about 1.4 cents/kwh by the year 2015, after which it will again drop.“

In 2013 the EEG fee will rise to a whopping 6.24 cents/kwh, and there is no end in sight for the spiraling costs.

2009 Federal Association of Renewable Energies:

The EEG feed-in will reach its maximum of approx. 1.4 cents/kwh by 2013/2014.”

Today we know that figure will rise to 6.24 cents/kwh next year with no slowdown in sight.

2010 German Ministry of Environment:

The EEG feed-in cost for 2011 according to a current study of the German Ministry of Environment (BMU) will be about 2.8 cents. The study looks at the ‘long-term scenarios and strategies for the expansion of renewable energies in Germany while taking the development in Europe and the globe into account’, and also sees no exploding EEG feed-in costs for the coming years.”

Reality: costs have exploded.

2011

Angela Merkel on September 6 in a government address:

The EEG feed-in costs must not rise more than today’s levels; today it is at about 3.5 cents/kwh. Over the long-term we want to significantly lower the payment for electricity coming from renewable energies.”

2012

Eicke R. Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems:

The expansion of renewable energies will lead to very little price increases for the consumers.

(…) After 2020, however, we expect renewable energies to become an important share and will stabilize the prices, and thus we will experience a dampening in electricity prices.”

The EEG feed-in cost will surge to 6.24 cents/kwh next year. There are no signs of a price slowdown.

2013

Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier:

We are not paying for the transformation over to renewable energies from petty cash.”

– See more at: http://notrickszone.com/2013/10/18/germanys-green-energies-lead-to-skyrocketing-electricity-prices-feed-in-rates-increase-more-than-10-fold/#sthash.oIPiKmvE.uy41o6y2.dpuf

Dismantling the West’s Energy-Climate Paradigm

By Peter C. Glover, Energy Tribune

Good governance is a rare thing. Government acting in the best and common interest of the people is nothing less than the highest democratic ideal. And yet, as history plainly reveals, government all too easily loses sight of its ‘representation of the people’ mandate, diverting instead down the path of elitist, theoretical and ultimately self-serving policies bereft of any sense of realpolitik. Take the West’s prevailing energy-climate paradigm.

All the signs are, when it comes to the fundamentally key national issue of energy security, that the world’s leading Western economies have forsaken the best interests of the people. They have done so by confusing (energy) reality and (climate) theory as being of the same magnitude. As Einstein put it, “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.”

Former UK Chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson put his finger on the nub of the matter writing in Parliament’s The House Magazine recently. Lawson pointed out that when he was Secretary of State for Energy some 30 years ago “the purpose of energy policy was to ensure a reliable supply of energy, for business and households alike, at the lowest possible cost.” Today, as he rightly observes, “the sole purpose” of the UK’s new Energy Bill – “the worst within living memory” – “is to enable the UK to reach the ambitious decarbonisation targets enshrined in Labour’s Climate Change Act.” In pursuit of compliance with EU directives, we might add. But Lawson’s observations could just as easily apply to the inherent contradictions endemic in the energy-climate beliefs of Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and the (unelected) elites at the European Commission or the United Nations.

30 years ago, when Lawson was UK Chancellor, the climate science consensus theorized that the planet was set on a course for a new ice age via global cooling. Today, the consensus has reversed believing we are inexorably – thanks to man’s carbon emissions – set on a course of global warming. In both situations energy security remained an ever-present practical reality for government. Climatology was then, and still is today, in the baby-science phase of theoretical possibilities. One can only wonder then at the crass stupidity that ranks energy security and climate theory as of equal import and as equally influential.

The UK even has the DECC, the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Well you can’t expect the planet-threatening issue of climate change to be left in the hands of the BBC Meteorological Office screw-ups, can you? Isn’t it far better putting it in into the hands of ideological politicians?

So how then are we doing at dove-tailing the policies within the energy-climate paradigm. Well here’s a quick summary of the contradictory results the attempt has wrought.

In the United States, despite the anti-hydrocarbon policies (including no Keystone pipeline) of the Obama White House working in tandem with its EPA regulatory ‘attack dog’, it is shale gas and shale oil that has singularly impacted the US economy and revitalised American manufacturing. The switch from coal to gas-fired power stations has also contributed to the American domestic energy user now paying just one half of that being paid by their European counterparts. While the US coal industry has been badly hit, US coal exports have now found a lucrative new market – in Europe where high green levies, fracking bans and a reluctance to pursue domestic shale interests have seen European heavy industry switch from using high-cost gas to low-cost American coal. This change has also caused US carbon emissions to fall further more than in any other Western country. Meanwhile the bureaucratically regulated EU emission credit schemes have largely collapsed.

The dramatic net result has been to see the United States supplant Russia as the world’s leading producer of natural gas. As for oil the United States is now the world’s largest producer and has let China to become the world’s largest importer. The shale gas and oil revolution is the singular reason why the United States has stabilised more quickly than the mostly anti-shale industry, pro-renewable energy European nations. Ironically, it will almost certainly be the anti-hydrocarbon incumbent in the White House who will claim the political kudos for the fossil-fuelled economic recovery.

In Germany the post-Fukishima knee-jerk decision to abandon nuclear power and pursue wind and solar energy has been a disaster. Squeezed in a pincer movement between decarbonisation targets and national green levies and regulations, the country’s energy giants are shrinking fast. RWE is shutting down 6 percent of its power generation capacity. EoN is considering following the same path. The dramatic loss of market share and market value has left them little choice. According to the Financial Times, RWE’s value has fallen by one-third since 2007, and Eon’s value dropped by 15 percent. The latter is seriously considering leaving Germany altogether. Citi Research suggests that neither will offer market growth until at least 2022. With green subsidies still in runaway mode, the whole issue of the switch to a green energy revolution has become a contentious political issue. All it will take to tip Germany into full reverse is for its over-stretched power generation to fail altogether in the coming winter.

Things are similar in the United Kingdom. Alone among its EU neighbours, the UK has green-lighted development of the continent’s potentially largest shale gas resource. Unfortunately, however, while George Osborne’s conservative-led Treasury is keen to reduce massive green subsidies (that have added ten percent to all household energy bills) and has granted significant tax breaks to the nascent shale industry, the strings of energy power are being pulled by the anti-hydrocarbon Lib Dem-led energy secretary at the DECC. While much noise is being made about pushing ahead on shale gas development, the DECC’s chief focus – and thus the UK’s – remains decarbonisation targets not economic energy security. In the winter of 2013-14 the UK power grid is expected to have a meagre four percent of extra capacity above expected needs directly due to the early closure of vital coal-fired power plants and an over-reliance on wind energy.

The bottom line is that, in all of the above leading economies, the policies associated with energy security realities and theoretical climate objectives are patently incompatible. Indeed, the European democracies still favour climate idealism and a focus on decarbonisation above economic welfare and energy security – while urgently attempting to diversify away from dependency on Russian gas imports.

Ironically, only in America, which alone refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty remember, has the free market accomplished – despite the attempts at Euro-style socialist engineering from the White House and the EPA – what the dead-hand of European bureaucracy and its various governments have failed to achieve: an economically viable switch to cleaner energy sources (in this case, shale gas) and economic recovery, with, for good measure, the world’s largest reduction of carbon emissions in any industrialised nation.

In the end, the needs of energy security and the impact of the free market will win out, just as they did when they forced the collapse of the stultifying policies of communism. But in Europe it looks as if it is going to take a whole lot of self-inflicted economic pain and power outages before the ill-conceived Western energy-climate paradigm – every bit as obscene as the Berlin Wall in its social effects – is finally dismantled.

– See more at: http://www.energytribune.com/79474/dismantling-the-wests-energy-climate-paradigm#sthash.9HBwBAQP.TapQTYmx.dpuf

Will Cooling Temperature And Economic Climates Finally Take The Wind Out Of Failed Energy Policies?

Larry Bell
Contributor Forbes

There can be no disputing the fact that despite rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, global climate temperatures have been flat for at least the past 16 years, and perhaps a good deal longer. And upon issuing its latest Summary for Policymakers Report (AR5), the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has finally been forced to admit that its climate models that predicted an impending global warming crisis have grossly overestimated climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, a trace “greenhouse gas”.

Such unwarranted alarmism has influenced colossally costly and economically destructive anti-fossil energy policies in the United States, Western Europe, Australia and other regions of world. The question now remains how long it will take before broad segments of these populations realize that they have been duped by unaffordable and unreliable climate benefit-premised “green energy” promotions.

Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, a socialist and one of the fathers of Germany’s environmental movement, is now one of many adamant IPCC report critics. Vahrenholt, who had headed the renewable energy division of RWE, that country’s second largest utility company, has co-authored a blockbuster book titled “The Neglected Sun Precludes Catastrophe” which challenges IPCC’s competence in general, and their gross (more than double) exaggeration of CO2 warming influence in particular. Now available in an English translation version, the book is currently the number one best seller in the Amazon climate category.

Dr. Vahrenholt’s lack of trust in the IPCC’s objectivity and veracity first took root when he became an expert reviewer for their 2011 report on renewable energy and discovered numerous errors. When he pointed out the inaccuracies to IPCC, their officials simply brushed them aside. Stunned by this, he asked himself “Is this the way they approached climate assessment reports?” Then, after digging into the IPCC’s climate report, he was horrified to discover that his suspicions were true.

When I queried Vahrenholt regarding what he thinks about the IPCC’s latest report finding their scientists to be 95% certain that humans caused most of the recent non-warming, he offered some advice: “If Mother Nature’s conclusions differ from IPCC’s tweaked calculations, then always believe your mother.” I’m 100% in agreement with him.

Fritz Vahrenholt recognizes great danger Germany faces if it continues down its present climate alarmism-premised renewable energy path. This is already costing consumers twenty billion euros every year (250 euros per household), which will increase to 300 euros next year. He points out: “On windy days we have so much power that wind parks are asked to shut down, yet they get paid for the power they don’t even deliver. And when the wind really blows, we ‘sell’ surplus power to neighboring countries at negative prices. And when the wind stops blowing and when there is no sun, we have to get our power from foreign countries. In the end we pay with the loss of high-paying industrial jobs because the high price of power is making us uncompetitive. ”

Dr. Vahrenholt concludes, “The agitators in climate science here in Germany have done us no favors. Renewable energies do have a big future, but not like this. It’s been a run-away train and it’s too expensive. We are putting Germany’s industry in jeopardy.”

German energy conditions will likely worsen following the re-election of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union which plans to continuously wean the country off of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Her popular victory is seen as a rebuff of those who have argued that she has pushed too hard for expensive “clean energy”.

As Fritz Vahrenholt told me, this shift from fossils to renewables produces a double subsidy whammy. He explains, “As the renewables replace the fossils, more and more gas and coal-fired stations are running out of profitability because their production times have to be cut. So the utilities are planning to close ten thousand Megawatts of fossil fuel plant capacity which are needed in the night and winter, when the sun is not shining, or when the wind is not blowing. Accordingly, the plan is to provide a capacity subsidy for the gas and coal plants. They would be paid for not producing when they are standing by.” The lesson in all of this, he said, is “if you destroy the market by a subsidy, you then need another subsidy to keep the systems from breaking apart.”

German households now pay the second highest power costs in Europe, as much as 30% more than other Europeans. Only the Danes pay more, and both countries pay roughly 300% more for residential electricity than we Americans do. Slightly more than 12% of Germany’s electricity now comes from wind (7.8%) and solar (4.5%). Biomass provides 7%, and hydro 4%. Since the government plans to increase that renewables proportion to 35% by 2020, and to 80% by 2050, most of that must come from wind and solar because biomass and hydro won’t grow.

Yet despite huge investments, German wind has produced only about one-fifth of its installed capacity. Ironically, since shutting down some of their older nuclear plants in response to the nuclear accident in Japan, they now have to import nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic.

To help compensate for this shortfall, they placed their hopes on offshore wind which is less intermittent than onshore installations, but even more expensive due to much higher construction, maintenance and power transmission costs. While half a dozen wind farms are still being built in the North Sea, there are no follow-up contracts. As Ronney Meyer, managing director of Windenergie Agentur (EWE) based in the northern port city of Bremerhaven said, “The market has collapsed.” EWE developer Riffgat reportedly doesn’t plan to invest in any more offshore turbines.

Denmark, which allegedly produces between 20- 30 percent of its electricity from wind and solar (estimates vary), hopes to produce half from those sources by 2020. Why “allegedly? Because there’s a big difference between the amount of electricity produced, and the amount that makes a difference in meeting consumer demands when needed. To illustrate this, a 2009 study reported by CEPOS, a Danish think tank, found that while wind provided 19% of the country’s electricity generation, it only met an average 9.7% of the demand over a five year period, and a mere 5% during 2006.
Since Denmark can’t use all the electricity it produces at night, it exports about half of its extra supply to Norway and Sweden where hydroelectric power can be switched on and off to balance their grids. Still, even with those export sales, government wind subsidies cause Danish customers to pay the highest electricity rates in Europe.

In 2011, U.K. wind turbines produced energy at about 21% of installed capacity (not demand capacity) during good conditions. Under freezing winter conditions the output can be miniscule because very cold weather and high winds require turbines to be shut down to avoid damage. As in Germany, unreliability in meeting power demands has necessitated importation of nuclear power from France. Also similar to Germany, the government is closing some of its older coal-fired plants–any one of which can produce nearly twice more electricity than all of Britain’s 3,000 wind turbines combined.

If the European romance with increasing reliance upon renewables isn’t being strained enough by painful electricity costs, power blackouts are adding to buyer’s remorse. As millions of consumers turn lights and appliances on and off, power generators and grid operators must match supply to demand to ensure that current is moving across wires at proper frequency to avoid power failures, brownouts and other glitches.

This is much less of a problem when there are reliable backup sources such as hydropower, coal and nuclear plants to meet base load demands. Unfortunately, Most of Europe lacks the former, and is intentionally cutting back both of the latter. As the balance of supply shifts increasingly to intermittent wind and solar, so does the demand-response inequity problem.

The German energy industry group BDEW warns that the surge of renewables is increasingly clogging the power grid and eating into profits of large power stations.

The E.U.’s Network of Transmission System Operators President Daniel Dobbeni noted this issue in an April 17, 2012 letter to the European Union Commissioner Gunter Oettinger. He said that grid operators are “deeply concerned about differences in speed between the connection of very large capacities of renewable energy resources and the realization in due time of the grid investment needed to support the massive increase of power flows these new resources bring.”

Politicians are getting the message. Plans for a cap on electricity prices proposed by pro-business German Economics Minister Phillip Rosler and Environment Minister Peter Altmaier have made wind investors jittery. This could reduce existing guaranteed feed-in tariffs that wind operators require to prevent consumer costs from skyrocketing even more than they have already.

Speaking at a June 12 energy conference in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel had even called for reduced scaling back renewable energy subsidies to contain spiraling costs which have now reached around $27 billion per year. The chancellor noted that “If the renewables surcharge keeps rising like it did in recent years, we will have a problem in terms of energy supply.”

Signs of constructive change are far more apparent in Australia. In September, the right-of-center Liberal Party headed by incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott resoundingly defeated the Green Party-backed Labor Party following its six years in power. The election was broadly recognized to be a public referendum victory to dismantle and consolidate the myriad anti-carbon global warming-premised schemes spawned under the previous government. That bureaucratic apparatus currently consists of more than 30 programs under seven departments and eight agencies.

A carbon tax was widely blamed as a large contributing factor for record business failures and soaring costs, even for essentials. Chief Executive Mitch Hooke with the Minerals Council of Australia has said that it was costing the economy more than AUD$100 million per week. He also pointed out that a 30% tax imposed by the Labor party upon mining profits adds an additional unsustainable burden, particularly upon the coal sector, resulting in project cuts and job losses.

Lessons for America

As American Energy Alliance spokesman Benjamin Cole notes: “The results of the [Australian] election should be an instructive lesson for U.S. lawmakers who have yet to understand the economic consequences of a carbon tax”. He warns that “Given the results of Aussies’ election, U.S. policymakers who want to replicate the failed Australian experiment on the U.S. economy will do so at their own peril.”

Thanks to natural gas, coal and nuclear, America, unlike Europe, very fortunately has excess power generating capacity and generally adequate transmission and distribution systems. However, as our older nuclear plants are decommissioned and new Environmental Protection Administration regulations shutter coal-fired plants, states such as California that are increasing renewable requirements are likely to resemble Europe in more ways than even they wish to emulate.

According to 2012 EIA figures, slightly more than 42% of U.S. electrical power came from coal, 25 % from natural gas, 19 % from nuclear, about 3.4% from wind, and about 0.11% from solar. Since 2009 American taxpayers have shelled out $14 billion in cash payments to solar, wind and other renewable energy project developers. This includes $9.2 billion to 748 small and large wind projects, and $2.7 billion to more than 44,000 solar projects, which will add just 48 terawatt- hours of electricity.

Just as in Europe, without all that help, U.S. wind and solar wouldn’t have survived, and very likely won’t in the future. In December 2010 the Wall Street Journal reported American Wind Energy Association CEO Dennis Bode warning that without the extension of the Federal 1603 grant program investment credit, the wind industry would “flat line” or slope downward.

Those investments haven’t been trivial. Just since January 1, the Obama administration’s Department of Energy has awarded more than $1.2 billion in charity to 435 new renewable energy projects, including 381 solar awards. In addition, DOE is pressing ahead with plans to throw in $150 million more for renewable projects… money “left over” from a separate 48C tax credit stimulus program.

In June President Obama launched a sweeping new national campaign including tens of billions of dollars more in new subsidies for solar, wind and bio-energy projects. Yet according to results of a two-year-long a National Research Council study, those types of subsidies are virtually useless in quelling greenhouse gasses. They have done little or nothing so far, and are unlikely to do much more before 2035, the study’s research horizon.

If there is one central lesson to be gained from the European debacles, it is that wind, solar and other so-called “alternatives” aren’t alternatives at all in any credible sense. This doesn’t rule out special places and cases where they may eventually have legitimate, if limited niches in the national energy mix. But regardless how much money is spent to harness friendly breezes and sunbeams, the climate will continue to go on changing according to Mother Nature’s edicts, just as it always has over many millions of years before we showed up on the scene.