Wednesday 30 December 2020

Covid Related Deaths more than Doubled during Second Lockdown

 The second lockdown began on 21st October and lasted for six weeks. Deaths due to Covid-19 during that period rose from 1,868 to 2,086. 

In the six weeks to 21st October beginning from 7th September deaths rose from 1,777 to 1,868. 

This means that deaths rose at a rate of 11% during the lockdown as opposed to 5% prior to that. 

So covid related deaths more than doubled during the second lockdown. 

The policy of locking down everybody every time there is a spike in cases should be abandoned but the pandemic is now more about hysteria than evidence.

All data from government official website -

Sunday 27 December 2020

The Financial Wonderland of Covid-19

According to economic experts, Ireland does not have to worry about paying back the massive borrowings that were needed to fund the endless lockdowns : 

“Government debt does not have to be paid back, particularly the kind that sits minding its own business in the vaults of the ECB” - Chris Johns, Irish Times

 The problem with that is Article 123(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU :


 This means that it is illegal for any Member State to use the ECB as a bank overdraft facility.  The only reason why we can afford the luxury of endless lockdowns is our access to lots of free money. The Irish government have already borrowed €20 billion interest free this year and they plan to borrow another € 20 billion next year.   This is in addition to around €35 billion borrowed at very low interest rates since 2015 from the ECB's PSPP programme, prior to the covid "pandemic". So the free money bonanza that has enveloped the EU is not a new thing as some commentators have argued. 

All this free money being created by the ECB has resulted in the ECB becoming the largest single creditor of the member states in recent years. The German Council of Economic Experts have warned that this could present a threat to monetary policy independence in the long term.

In 2008, after the banking crash, the debt laden on to the backs of the Irish was paid back through taxation. This makes the situation at present different as there is no pressure to increase taxes. 

The natural effect of all this free money is massive inflation but we have not seen any sign of that yet (it may help to reduce government debt by de-valuing the euro). What is the most likely outcome - my guess is that we will see some inflation next year but more importantly negative interest rates will skyrocket so that most of the extra cash lying around on deposit will be recouped.   

There is already a similar precedent for this in the EU banking system, when deposits were confiscated in Cyprus in 2013 in what became known as a bail in. 

So as Mr Johns maintains, the ECB may well continue to play ball by printing infinite quantities of free money but the price will be an eradication of savings, either through inflation or negative interest rates or a combination of both. It will also mean that the EU will once again bend and mold its own laws laid down in it's treaties. This further erosion of the rule of law will sow yet more discontent within the union. 

Saturday 26 December 2020

Electricity Prices have gone Bonkers ! rightly point out that Ireland has one of the highest electricity prices in the EU :

 But they fail to point out that this was not always so, an assumption one would make from their second tweet. If Ireland was always an island, then surely we always have had high electricity prices ? (Yes, I also hear you say but surely we don't have to import as much fuel now with all the windmills we've built - unfortunately does not address this point either)

It's just a fact of life, they say, everything is expensive here in Rip Off Ireland ! 

Well the truth is that during the 1990s and early 2000s, Ireland had comparatively cheap electricity, even cheaper than the UK as economist Colm McCarthy has often pointed out.  Irish wrote this back in 2009 :

What puzzles me, however, is that Irish electricity costs were not always particularly high relative to our trading partners. In fact, a chart (figure 3) in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment paper shows that electricity prices for industrial users in Ireland were well below those paid in the EU-15 for most of the 1990s, and were still no higher on average than in the rest of the EU-15 in 2002-2004. Yet in 2008 Ireland was the second most expensive country for industrial users in the EU-15. According to IBEC, Irish companies have seen industrial electricity prices rise by 70% since 2000.

We can see that Richard Tol and Colm McCarthy have been proved correct in the comments underneath the article :

Richard Tol

The fuel costs of wind are indeed zero. The capital costs are not. Without subsidies, wind barely competes — even in Ireland where the climate is favourable and other electricity is dear. Wind also has negative externalities for other power generators, first and foremost in its demand for reserves but perhaps also in higher cycling costs. 

colm mccarthysays:

The main things that have changed between the 1990s and the 2000s/2010s is the construction of 4,000MW of wind farms and supporting network infrastructure, funded both directly and indirectly in electricity bills, carbon trading and the growth of energy hungry data centres.  We are now paying the price for all of these ideological policies which have been implemented without any cost benefit analysis. There was also the change to the euro. 

It certainly has nothing to do with the importing of fossil fuels, most of which has been very cheap throughout much of the 2010s. 

Solving the Riddle of Zeno's Paradox

The ancient Greek Zeno posed a number of paradoxes on motion. In the dichotomy or the racetrack, Zeno argued that a runner will never reach the stationary goal line on a straight racetrack. The reason is that the runner must first reach half the distance to the goal, but when there he must still cross half the remaining distance to the goal, but having done that the runner must cover half of the new remainder, and so on. If the goal is one meter away, the runner must cover a distance of 1/2 meter, then 1/4 meter, then 1/8 meter, and so on ad infinitum. The runner cannot reach the final goal, says Zeno. There is also another version which states the inverse, namely that the runner cannot even take his first step because the first step can be infinitely divided up. 

Aristotle, in Physics, said of the Dichotomy that it is possible for a runner to come in contact with a potentially infinite number of things in a finite time provided the time intervals become shorter and shorter. Aristotle said Zeno assumed this was impossible, and that is one of his errors in the Dichotomy. However, it was not until the invention of calculus that a mathematical theory, which enabled the computation of the finite amount of time, could provide the detailed solution and it is calculus that provides the detailed Standard Solution to Zeno’s Paradox today. The sum of the series of path lengths or segments ½+¼+⅛+.... converges to 1 and not infinity. 

A far simpler solution could in fact have resolved the Paradox even without calculus. The runner is also composed of infinite units, so infinity divided by infinity equals 1. This means the runner does not have infinite space to run but has absolute space of equal parts in the same proportion to the runner’s sprint that sums to 1. At each point that his foot touches the ground, the same infinite units that Zeno recognises in the ground exist in the athlete’s foot and therefore the distance to be covered at each step is no longer Zeno’s infinitesimal decimal units but one unit. This allows the runner to complete the distance to the finish line within a certain amount of time depending on his sprint. Infinities are cancelled out by the existence of infinities within both the runner and the track. 

Infinity is the background noise to the universe, it is the commonality for everything. Zeno went wrong because he attributed infinitesimal qualities to only one part of matter and space and then set up a false Dichotomy. Because it is a commonality, the infinite quality of matter can be ignored, and what remains is the proportional relationship between objects and between objects and space i.e. ratios.

So the answer to Zeno’s Paradox is that infinity also lies within the athlete's foot. 

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Amber Alert With More Generation ?

 Eirgrid warned this week of an Amber Alert due to high peak demand, a loss of a number of generators and low wind generation :

“There were a number of reasons that gave rise to Wednesday’s alert. Firstly, two of the three units at Moneypoint, the country’s largest power station, suffered technical failures and were not available. This resulted in the loss of 570 megawatts of electricity.

“Generation at Whitegate power station in Cork totalling 450 megawatts was also unavailable due to technical issues. A 243 megawatt generator at Tarbert power station was called up but could not respond due to technical problems. 

“The electricity market was set up for Ireland to export renewable energy via the two interconnectors (EWIC in the South and Moyle in the North) linking Ireland and GB.

“Following the issuing of the amber alert we were able to reverse the flows on the Moyle Interconnector and on EWIC shortly after that. There was also a drop in wind generation greater than was forecast prior to the alert being issued.

“There was no loss of electricity during the alert which ended by 6.20pm on [Wednesday],” the spokesman explained.

 Apparently the last time we hit such a demand was back in 2010 but there was no mention of an alert back then. In 2010 there was 1,405MW of wind installed on the grid. In 2019 this reached 4,235MW (+2.8 GW). The 500MW EWIC interconnector was commissioned in 2012. 

So the question has to be asked, how is it that with 3.3GW of additional generation equipment, we are now struggling to meet demand? 


Saturday 12 December 2020

Have A Green Green Christmas !

 Blackouts on the Way ?

Val Martin reports on what we predicted many years ago would happen as unreliable wind energy became a major energy source in the grid:

There are a number of unusual events occurring at the same time this winter :

  • On the 10th December, peak demand exceeded that of 2010:

  • Two peat power stations have been closed down by the Greens, a loss of 228MW
  • Whitegate power station is offline due to a forced outage, a loss of 440MW
  • Indaver waste to energy plant is offline due to a forced outage, a loss of 17MW
  • The forced outage rates has increased every year for the past four years, which tends to support the theory that higher levels of wind energy leads to excessive cycling and ramping of generators which they were not designed for.
  • Increased reliance on UK interconnectors, a country that has trouble itself with keeping the lights on.
  • the all-island winter capacity margin has reduced every year over the past five years mainly due to increasing demand, dispatchable generation exiting the market and increasing generator forced outage rates. The capacity margin is the spare capacity available to meet peak demand. It is now at its lowest in recent times :

Source: Eirgrid Winter Outook

Wednesday 9 December 2020

128% Increase in Oil Generation Last Year

 While there was much hullabaloo recently in the media about a 4.5% reduction in emissions last year, there was no mention at all about the reversal in the trend of oil generation.  Oil generation was  mostly phased out of electricity generation in the 2000s and replaced with efficient ccgt gas generation. However, 2019 saw a 128% rise in oil fired electricity generation, mainly due to Tarbert power station in Kerry which runs on heavy fuel oil. 

With Moneypoint coal power station running much less last year (almost 70% less),  the official story is that wind and gas were able to fill the gap left by the loss of Ireland's largest power station, but in truth Tarbert power station only 2km away across the River Shannon, was also important in keeping the lights on. 

Oil fired generators are fast acting, they can be switched on very quickly, but are less efficient and more polluting than modern gas power stations. This blog predicted many years ago, as did  experts like Pat Swords, that more wind energy would result in more fast acting generators such as oil to balance the grid. Hence, emissions savings from wind would be offset by increasing reliance on oil. 

The 128% figure comes from a new EPA report, page 11 :

Some Christmas Reading


Electricity in the USA is already half the price it is in the EU. Therefore, by 2050 in the EU, it is highly probable we just won’t have any viable jobs and disposable income left to spend, as it will have all gone to the energy bill to eliminate the fossil fuels currently forming 72% of the energy mix. 

Charles MacKay in his 1841 book ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ pointed out: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one”. How on earth did we get to this situation, in a so called intelligent modern society? Were laws broken? Is there something wrong with the weather or do we just have a political crisis with respect to incompetent management? If for example you are paying serious amount of hard earned money for pollution, which is not occurring, can you get your money back or is there going to be even more of the same? [Pat Swords - 2020]

Pat Swords has written a new book on energy and other related matters which can be downloaded for free here :

 The Polluter Pays, but to Whom, How Much and On What Basis – Science or the Cult of Witchcraft ? 

It takes a look at the EU's mad panic to reduce carbon emissions and the negative consequences of doing so without conducting a proper assessment. 

I have also written a book but not energy related, about motion and perception, which includes a collection of articles on Einstein, Descartes, Newton, Empiricism, Mathematics, Ancient Greeks and Galileo and attempts to solve some of the paradoxes of motion and perception that they presented. It will also be free and if you want a copy send me an email. 

Saturday 5 December 2020

"Wet Pubs" - Is There Evidence that Incidence Rates Rose in Counties where Pubs Reopened ?


 Counties where so-called "wet pubs" reopened at the end of September experienced an increase in the 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 ten days laterA data analysis survey carried out by Ernst & Young (EY) and provided to Government stated that this increase was not seen to the same extent in Dublin, where wet pubs were not permitted to reopen. The report noted, however, that the reopening of pubs on 21 September - everywhere except the capital - also coincided with the opening of universities and specific sporting events.

 "Wet" Pubs in Dublin closed on the 21st September while in the rest of the country they remained open. What were the Covid incidence rates 10 days later ?

As you can see, Dublin had the third highest rates in the country, dropping from first place. This seems to be the sole reason for concluding that opening "wet pubs" results in higher incidence rates. But statistically speaking, there is no reason to draw this conclusion. Dublin rates are still increasing, as most counties are. 23 counties have lower rates than Dublin. If  almost 90% of counties still have lower rates than Dublin, 10 days after opening all of the pubs in Ireland except Dublin, then the problem is not "wet" pubs. 

What appears to be the case is that when "wet" pubs close, house parties increase, and with more people crowded into smaller spaces in the latter, the incidence rates rise faster. 

The evidence shows that "wet" pubs should be opened immediately. 

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Covid-19 Nine Times Less Deadly during October


In this graph from the CSO we can see that the second covid wave was nine times less deadly than the first in March. 

In March, mortality rates were at 48 per 1,000 cases which reduced to 5 per 1,000 in October. 

The ICU rate was 27 per 1,000 in March reducing to 3 per 1,000 in October. 

So for both mortality and ICU rate, that's a reduction of nine times. 

In the six weeks up until the end of October, the number of deaths from Covid-19 was around 21 per week. That works out at about 1,092 deaths per year at that (lower than first wave) rate. Compared with the number of deaths from pneumonia and other respiratory diseases for the year 2019, that's 3.5 times less (total deaths from diseases of the respiratory system in 2019 was 3,807 or 73 per week).

Which means the pandemic is well and truly over. 

Saturday 28 November 2020

The Great Electricity Rip-Off

 Joe Duffy's show on Friday did a great job of highlighting the expensive electricity bills that many people are facing now :

Irish Energy Blog, Wind Aware Ireland and The Academy of Engineers have all been proven right, we warned long ago that society would be locked into high energy costs for many years because of the mad rush for wind energy at all costs.

And it's not just because of the PSO Levy, wind energy drives up all of the system costs of electricity, such as network costs (more here).

The impact from high energy bills during a freezing winter may have a worse impact than Covid-19. 

Wednesday 25 November 2020

EPA - Increasing Population and Consumption are a Threat to the Environment

Buried within the new EPA report on the state of the environmentamidst the usual references to climate change and the Green Deal, are the actual reasons for the deterioration of our environment - the growing economy and the resulting increased population. Although they stop short of mentioning immigration as the link between the two. 

These economic and population changes have inevitably brought about changes in our natural environment. The increasing population and increasing levels of unsustainable production and consumption place pressures on water quality, air quality, biodiversity and land, and this is largely at the root of the continuing deterioration in environmental quality since the previously published integrated assessment of Ireland’s environment in 2016.

The government's 2040 plan of increasing the population by one million is therefore in direct conflict with their climate goals. 

The report makes for pretty scary reading and spells out a crisis arguably much worse than Covid-19 :

  • 85% of our listed habitats are now in “unfavourable condition”
  • The number of ‘pristine’ rivers has fallen from 500 to 20 in just 30 years
  • We generate more than one million tonnes of food waste every year

Regrettably no mention was made of the damage wind farms have done to the environment. 

Friday 20 November 2020

2,000 Covid Deaths Milestone - A Time for Perspective

Yesterday it was reported that total deaths due to covid in ireland had passed the 2,000 milestone.

Now is a good time to try to get some perspective :

   • 93% of those had underlying conditions. 

  • 6,000 people die in Ireland every year from smoking related illnesses. 

We don't punish the rest of the population for smoking related deaths. Instead society takes a risk acceptance based approach, we highlight the dangers of smoking, the risks to your health and to others around you and the risks during pregnancy. Society accepts these risks and the hospitals deal with the 6,000 plus sick patients every year as best they can. Smokers are not ostracised nor are they locked into their homes but are treated as equal members of society, individuals with the freedom to decide what's best for them. 

While governments can be excused for over reacting to a virus we now know is 3 times less deadly than smoking, it is now time to adopt the same risk acceptance based approach to Covid-19 and return to normal living. 

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Wind Farm Built to Supply Amazon Data Centres Causes Landslide


One would think that the planners and authorities of Ireland would have learned their lesson from the Derrybrien Wind Farm landslide that occurred in 2003. Sadly not, as another landslide has occurred during the construction of a wind farm, this time in Donegal at Meenbog.  

In 2003, a mass of peat was dislodged from an area under development for the wind farm polluting the Owendalulleegh river, causing the death of about 50 000 fish and lasting damage to the fish spawning beds. 

The Irish State has being fined € 10.5 million so far by the European Union as a result of the Derrybrien disaster. Perhaps the money would have being far better spent on re-training those working in An Bord Pleanala who gave the green light to Meenbog wind farm despite warnings from locals that it's construction could trigger a landslide.

The video above shows the scale of the recent landslide with hundreds of thousands of peat sliding into the Mourne Beg River and it's tributaries and surrounding rivers. The smaller rivers are spawning grounds for brown trout and salmon. The River Mournebeg is a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). The Mournebeg river is also a tributary of the River Derg SAC. Despite these designations, both the developers and Amazon who were to use the energy from it for their data centres, got their way. So you might well say - what is the point of having protected sites at all if they can still be developed on ? Isn't the whole point of designating sites to prevent developments on or near them ?

Wind farms are a hysterical reaction to the perceived threat of climate change. And like the Polynesian tribes of Easter Island, the building of these tall structures must proceed at all costs and no matter the environmental disaster that they instigate.   There won't be any days off school to protest the destruction caused by wind farms and there wont be any extinction rebellion rallying to protect the fish, birds and bats that they destroy. 

The real environmental disaster goes on unhindered and unopposed and most disturbingly under the guise of environmentalism. 

Sunday 8 November 2020

Greencoat Renewables Purchase Another Poor Performing Wind Farm

Greencoat Renewables have purchased another poor performing wind farm in Tipperary, Cnoc Wind Farm, which made a loss of €897,000 in 2019. Its debts exceeded its assets by €1.1 million which is an indicator of insolvency although the accounts state that up front losses are a facet of wind farm development during the operational stage. The wind farm did trade during the year however with turnover of €1.4 million. Included in the loss is depreciation of € 872,000.

Irish Energy Blog previously showed that many wind farms in Ireland are making losses.

Brookfield Renewables have today indicated that they intend to sell the remainder of their Irish wind platform.


Friday 6 November 2020

Trump will be the First Incumbent President to Lose Despite Gaining More Votes

Only four incumbent presidents since 1912 did not win re-election but in all cases they lost with less votes than in the previous election. President Taft's votes collapsed from 7 million to 3 million,  Hoover's from 21 million to 15 million, Carter's from 40 million to 35 million and Bush Senior's from 48 million to 39 million.

Trump will be the first incumbent President to gain votes, almost 7 million, and still lose re-election.

But not only that, in all the key battleground states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Florida, Trump increased his vote from 2016, in some cases considerably. In the case of the other four incumbents, their vote decreased in all of these key states.  

Sunday 25 October 2020

£5 billion Wind Subsidy Scandal in Northern Ireland

David O’Neill, Secretary of West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines writes on the latest energy scandal to hit Northern Ireland, this time involving £5 billion wasted on wind farms.

So, Sam McBride is currently the journalistic hero for his reports last week on what was essentially a denial of funding to hard pressed public services that could have done with this people sourced money. The funding went in part to some local land owners, but also to faceless outside investors who have honed their subsidy harvesting skills by re-engineering to smaller rotors or altering outputs to lower levels to make them look smaller.

I noticed however that this was almost immediately on the release of the NI Auditor General’s publication of the investigation into subsidies in the wider energy field. It was good that he reported this, but was he merely reflecting the AG’s (and possibly others) work? Let’s not forget that he also reflected on a Daily Mail report by Sam Greenhill on small wind, who in turn was assisted by the research efforts of Dr John Constable and his team at the REF. Dr Constable is painfully aware of bad energy policy with stakeholder influence acting in union to obfuscate the real and meaningful figures. His report is thanks to the development (hard work) of largely markets based database systems. Also deeply concerned about fuel poverty and security of supply; he keeps his other eye on UK grid data. Incidentally he does not attribute the EWIC to much by way spinning inertia. He is extremely busy but has found time to work with Professor Gordon Hughes, leaving me with no doubt of more revelations to come.

Coronavirus Numbers not in the Media

 The basis for the second lockdown is on numbers, numbers that are broadcast everywhere everyday. But only certain numbers get media coverage. Testing is supposed to uncover new cases giving an indication of the impending threat but in reality it does not matter if 50% or 100% of the population have the virus. All that matters are the numbers in hospital and the numbers who have died as only these numbers reflect the threat to the nation.

As of yesterday, 315 people were in hospital with the virus, which is 0.0064% of the population of Ireland. It seems preposterous that we cannot handle this without locking down the entire country.

According to the WHO, around 10% of people have or have had the virus, so about 490,000 in Ireland. Total deaths are 1882, which is a death rate of 0.38%. Once again, this doesn't seem like a very frightening number. 

Covid-19 is more mass hysteria than pandemic at this stage. 


Monday 19 October 2020

Transition to Renewables will require a 10-fold Increase in Mining Materials

 The following is an extract from a new paper by Irish scientists Michael and Ronan Connolly and Willie Soon et al which shows the true environmental and social cost of the Renewables revolution. Full report here.

Some have noted that the transition to these technologies would require a huge increase in the mining of limited resources, with Mills (2020) arguing that, “Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average, a 10-fold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy”

Because of this 10-fold increase in quantities of minerals required by green technologies relative to those driven by hydrocarbons, Mills cautions that any significant expansion in green energy will create “an unprecedented increase in global mining”, which would radically exacerbate environmental and labor challenges in emerging markets, and dramatically increase the vulnerability of America’s energy supply chain.  Capellán-Pérez et al. (2019) underscore the concern that the extraction of the minerals required for the proposed transition to renewable energies is likely to intensify current socio-environmental conflicts associated with resource extraction. As we will outline, this gives rise to concern regarding potential uncertainty of supply. In contrast to the concerns about hydrocarbon peaks outlined above, projected mineral requirements seem likely to exceed current reserves within the very short time frame to the year 2030. This concern appears particularly pressing with regard to e-vehicles, which we discuss next, followed by related concerns regarding solar and wind energy.

Electric Vehicles

The projected production of electric vehicles (EVs) to replace vehicles powered by fossil fuels requires the consumption of a new range of metals, as outlined in a letter from a group of geologists and other earth scientists to the Committee on Climate Change in London who had recommended increasing the percentage of the UK’s cars that are electric or hybrid from 0.2% in 2017 to 100% by 2050. Herrington et al. warn that in order to replace the UK’s fleet of cars (currently 31.5 million) entirely with EVs, it would require “just under two times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production during 2018 [ . . . ] If we are to extrapolate this analysis to the currently projected estimate of 2 billion cars worldwide, based on 2018 figures, annual production would have to increase for neodymium and dysprosium by 70%, copper output would need to more than double and cobalt output would need to increase at least three and a half times for the entire period from now until 2050 to satisfy the demand”. They further note that this proposed transition for the UK would also lead to a 20% increase in electricity usage for the country, due to the extra power generated needed for recharging the vehicles.

Even under its modest “New Policies Scenario”, the International Energy Agency’s projections to the year 2030 indicate that cobalt and lithium reserves are inadequate to meet EV needs (see figure below). Modeling on the assumption of a shift to 100% renewable electricity by the year 2050, with lithium-ion batteries accounting for approximately 6% of energy storage and 55% of energy for road transport being accounted for by electric vehicles, Giurco et al. (2019) consider that the cumulative demand for both cobalt and lithium is likely to exceed current reserves unless recycling rates are improved. They consider that the annual demand for cobalt for EVs and storage could exceed current production rates by around 2023, and that the annual demand for lithium could exceed current production rates by around 2022. Although they consider that high recycling rates can keep cumulative demand for cobalt and lithium below current resource levels, they caution that there is likely to be a delay before recycling can offset demand until there are enough batteries reaching end of life to be collected and recycled.

Increased annual demand for materials for batteries from deployment of electric vehicles by scenario, 2018–2030. Green dots indicate current supply. NPS = New Policies Scenario. EV30@30 =30% sales share for EVs by 2030. 

From extensive field research, including expert interviews, community interviews with miners and traders, and observation at 21 mines and nine affiliated mining sites, Sovacool (2019) documented displacements of indigenous communities, unsafe work environments, child labor, and violence against women in communities near cobalt mines. Because most of the world’s cobalt is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the major increases in demand arising from global interest in EVs have created a rise in the number of local “artisanal” mines extracting cobalt. Several journalists have warned that these are often poorly regulated and sometimes involve the use of child labor. These socio-environmental issues give rise to further concern regarding security of supply. 

Capellán-Pérez et al. (2019) identify the technologies most vulnerable to mineral scarcity to be solar PV technologies (tellurium, indium, silver, and manganese), solar CSP (silver and manganese), and Li batteries (lithium and manganese). The transition to alternative technologies will also intensify global copper demand by requiring 10–25% of current global reserves and 5–10% of current global resources. The authors report that “other studies considering a full transition to 100% RES and considering the material requirements for transportation of electricity reach higher levels, e.g., 60–70% of estimated current reserves”. 


Solar Modeling on the assumption of a shift to 100% renewable electricity by the year 2050, with solar PV accounting for more than one-third of capacity and the remainder being generated by wind and other renewables, Giurco et al. (2019) calculate that to generate one-third of the world’s energy from solar power by 2050, this would require ~50% of the current reserves of silver. They consider that increasing efficiency of material use has the greatest potential to offset the demand for metals for solar PV, while recycling has less potential because of the long lifespan of solar PV metals and their lower potential for recycling. They also caution that declining ore grades may have a significant influence on energy consumption in the mining sector, associated with polymetallic ore processing and the mining of deeper ore bodies. They note that, although silver has an overall recycling rate of 30–50% almost no recycling of silver from PV panels occurs, because most recycling of PV panels focuses on recycling the glass, aluminum, and copper. 

Wind Turbines

Several types of wind turbine, such as the permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG), require magnets that orient wind turbines into the wind. These magnets contain rare metals such as neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), terbium (Tb), and dysprosium (Dy). The estimated demand for Nd is projected to increase from 4000 to 18,000 tons by 2035, and for Dy from 200 to 1200 tons. These values represent a quarter to a half of current world output. There are also concerns over the amount of toxic and radioactive waste generated by these mining activities. Current research is focusing on lowering the dependence on these materials by reducing and recycling. The construction of extensive wind and solar energy installations will require large quantities of base metals such as copper, iron and aluminum, which will be unavailable for recycling for the lifetime of the installation, thus exacerbating scarcities.

Monday 12 October 2020

Random Sampling For Covid-19

The following is a letter by Val Martin which was published in the Anglo Celt newspaper. My guess is that by the end of October most people will have had the virus which is the natural course of events.  The best approach now is the Focused Protection one as advocated in the Great Barrington Declaration.


 We are told there is a test for Covid -19 and we receive daily reports on the media of the number of new cases. We have several behaviour and attitudes survey companies in Ireland which carry out statistical surveys on a wide range of topics, but in particular on how people are likely to vote in elections. They report a possible margin of error (usually less than 3%) and confidence limits showing how confident they are of the accuracy of their results. Red C and MRBI come to mind.

A minimum of 900 people are surveyed, but best results are obtained with 1,050, This gives us the likely voting intentions of the entire population and the method is soundly grounded on quantitative methods and principles of costing surveying tools acknowledged by universities world wide. They are not perfect, but are very good indicators of the feelings of the population. They are also used by marketing companies.

Why does our government not test between 1,050 and 3,150 Irish people selected at random and use the data from the results to extrapolate the likely number of people who would test positive if we all were tested? The results could be 100,000, 500,000, 1 million or (as I suspect) one and a half million are positive. If there are 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 positive, it would require a whole new approach to the present one. The present policy is to keep the virus out, originally it was to flatten the curve. If 25% to 35% of the population have or had the virus and would test positive, only special isolation of vulnerable people will work and those who are not as vulnerable can get back to some kind of normality.

It looks like everyone out and about will get the virus in the next few months and by then the horrific economic, social and health costs may destroy the whole country and plunge us into recession the likes of which we never witnessed before. The reason for not doing this obvious survey could be that there is no test for Covid -19 at all, just for a range of Corona viruses and the test is not reliable for Covid – 19. If there is no reliable test we should be told.

I do not trust our government or our mainstream media to be truthful and I fear the virus will be used to bring in other long term restrictions and take away our constitutional rights. 

Sunday 4 October 2020

Higher Electricity Prices and Higher Emissions

What consumers were promised :

"We are introducing structural changes in the electricity sector that will create a more attractive investment climate for existing and new players, deliver increased competition, reduce the cost of electricity and offer greater choice for consumers” - Minister Dempsey, 2007

Electricity costs will fall in the longer term. The wind is going to be free forever and a day — there is no cost on that — the only cost is getting the technology in place - Minister Ryan, 2008.

DOUBLING the amount of wind energy on the national grid is key to preventing higher electricity bills in the future according to Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, 2014

To date, developer-led onshore wind energy has been the most cost effective technology available to Ireland - Minister Ryan, 2020

What has happened in reality :

From 1st October 2020, electricity bills are to rise by almost €90 a year for more than one million customers. Electric Ireland will increase their prices by 3.4%, which will add €35 a year to the average bill, and PrepayPower will also be making a similar hike.

The PSO Levy will rise by 130% from about €38 to €88 per year. 

Electricity network operating costs and the cost of wind energy are the respective reasons cited for these hikes. Of course, the electricity network needs to be built out to facilitate more wind energy so this is an indirect cost of wind. 

And we are no better off as emissions have risen anyway :

Emissions from EPA 

I wont be advising you to switch energy supplier, the problem is a system problem, and switching just avoids us addressing the main issue here, which is our obsession with expensive and ineffective wind energy.