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Author Topic: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi  (Read 15921 times)

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #45 on: January 02, 2015, 10:38:27 pm »
Agelbert NOTE: This excellent article counters the fossil fuel industry inspired lies, deliberate distortions and mendacious myths about Renewable Energy. Yes, it is limited to Australia, but everything said here applies even more in the USA.

Myth Busters: the top 4 myths about renewable energy debunked!

By Marianne Graham on 18/11/2014 in Campaigns, Other Ethical Stuff

Here at Ethical Switch, we thought it might be fun to channel Adam and Jamie from the TV show “Myth Busters” and do some myth-busting about renewable energy. Unfortunately, I don’t get to have as much fun as they do on the show by blowing things up, but I have bravely and intrepidly scanned the internet for the most common myths about renewable electricity and condensed them into 4 assumptions that people use to put a dampener on renewable energy.

So here we go – The Top 4 Myths About Renewable Electricity, debunked!

1. Renewable electricity is more expensive than coal and gas fired electricity

This myth is probably the most common and the most damaging to the renewable energy industry so we shall tackle this one head on.

Most people think that if something comes from renewable (read: better for the environment), then it therefore must be more expensive than coal produced energy. This is actually not true. While, it does cost money to build the wind turbines or to produce and install the solar panels, as technology has improved, the cost of building these have reduced dramatically over the past decade.

But you don’t need to take our word for it. There have been recent studies done on the cost of renewable energy versus new plant coal-fired generation. A study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed that the cost of renewable energy is now $80/MWh versus the cost of new build coal fired generation of $143/Mwh and new build gas fired generation of $116/MWh.

Michael Liebreich, Chief Executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance stated “The perception that fossil fuels are cheap and renewables are expensive is now out of date”.

If you’d like to read more about this study, then click here

Why is this the case? Well, it seems that apart from the diminishing cost of wind and solar technologies, the financing cost of a new coal plant has increased as banks attach a risk-premium due to the reputational damage of emissions-intensive investments.   Additionally, the actual input cost of wind and solar is zero while fossil fuels still incur a cost to mine and transport it to the generator.

Add on top of this, any carbon emissions cost that will be imparted onto fossil fuel emissions and it is easy to see why this myth is busted! 

While the study does include the cost of carbon emissions, it showed that even without this cost included, the cost of renewable energy is still 14% less than new build coal and 18% cheaper than new build gas fired generation.

2. Purchasing renewable electricity doesn’t help the environment because you can’t tell where the electricity coming into your house is from.

This is probably the second most common question our intrepid team here at Ethical Switch gets asked, and the actual answer to this myth is…. it’s true AND false! How’s that for confusing?

It is true that there is no way to know what source the electricity entering your residence through the poles and wires is from, but this is only part of the myth so not the end of this story.

This myth is also false, because it still does assist the environment to “buy” renewable electricity – read on to see why.

The best way to understand the electricity industry in Australia is to think of the analogy of a swimming pool with 10 people standing at one end of the pool, each with a water hose, filling the pool and at the other end, 10 people taking water out of the pool with separate hoses.

In this analogy, the swimming pool and hoses are the transmission and distribution grid and the water in the pool is the electricity flowing through the grid. The 10 people filling water are the various generators – coal, gas, wind, solar, hydro etc. supplying electricity into the grid and the 10 people taking water out are the houses and businesses consuming electricity. As someone taking water out of the pool, there is no way for me to know from which hose (or energy source) the drops of water I am consuming come from as its all mixed up in the swimming pool.

Hopefully, that analogy made sense to you. On to the false part of this myth.

Although a customer doesn’t know from where his electricity is sourced, by buying renewable electricity, your dollars are going towards suppliers of renewable electricity, thereby encouraging more electricity production from these renewable suppliers.

Back to my pool analogy: If I am consuming water and only pay one of the people filling the pool for my water this means he has to put more water in – either by getting a bigger hose or increasing the speed of his water flow – for what he’s been paid. The same principle works for electricity.

By purchasing through Ethical Switch and putting money into a renewable electricity supplier, you are effectively investing into renewable generation, thereby reducing the need for coal or gas fired generation.

Since, the main part of this myth is about the benefit or purchasing renewable electricity, we have shown that overall; it is actually beneficial to purchase renewable electricity, therefore…

This myth is busted!

3. Renewable electricity is bad for the environment

This myth encapsulates the various complaints that people (often farmers whose land the wind farm is going onto) make about wind farms and solar panels.   These are the killing of bats and birds; noise pollution; land use and footprint of renewables.

When wind farms are planned, the environmental impact assessment and migrationary patterns of birds are researched so as to minimise any damaging impact.   This should also be looked at in the context of other sources of electricity. Research shows that fossil fuel and nuclear power both kill more birds than wind power generation. If you’re interested, see the link here.

Studies have shown that noise complaints, especially those related to wind farms, are often unrelated to actual noise. In most cases it was found that people were actually opposed to the farms on aesthetic grounds – which would be the same with coal or nuclear plants. It was also found that ‘noise’ complaints dropped off rapidly when local communities derived income from the renewable energy projects in question.

International experience has shown that wind farms do not affect land use and that livestock are completely unaffected by wind turbines and will graze right up to the base of the turbines. As for the footprint of renewable energy, unlike coal and nuclear energy, renewable energy pays off its carbon footprint relatively quickly.

4. Renewable electricity can’t fully supply the electricity demand in Australia 24/7

This myth is borne from the fact that obviously, both solar and wind power are dependent on their fuel sources being available – namely the sun and wind so at night and when the wind doesn’t blow, one might assume that we would always need to be reliant on coal and gas fired sources of electricity. 

Again, this myth needs to be busted. Germany is among a number of countries, currently increasing their reliance on renewable energy. During the first half of 2014, 31% of its electricity was produced from renewable energy (see source) and in one particular period in 2014, 75% of Germany’s electricity was produced by renewables.

It has been shown by international experience that diversifying the supply across various renewable sources and building wind farms at diverse geographic locations to obtain the most constant supply of wind, that it is theoretically possible to supply all of a country’s electricity demand from renewable sources. Other renewable sources that can be used to supply electricity include hydro, wind, solar, bio-gas, low-cost thermal storage and concentrated solar thermal power. These are just some of the ways that we would be able to supply our demand 24/7 via renewable sources.

Combine this with further efficiency improvements from the demand side, and there is no reason that, over time, we will not be able to supply Australia’s electricity demand via renewable sources.

A more in-depth article on this topic is located here.

So, once again we find that this myth is busted!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our little Myth Busting journey and it provides some eye-opening information for all our readers!

Now you know the truth, why not make the switch to renewable electricity in support of some amazing not-for-profits today?

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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