Wind and solar power’s hopeless intermittency has forced rent seekers to engineer yet another fraud: hydrogen gas – which is to be purportedly produced using wind and solar’s occasional and chaotic output. Where wind and solar have never made any sense, the hydrogen proposition is completely bonkers.
Defying the laws of physics and thermodynamics – just for starters – the economics would make hydrogen gas produced using already heavily subsidised wind and solar the most expensive energy in human history.
And yet, the same class of dimwitted politicians are signing up in feverish earnest, as if they’re about to back a surefire Melbourne Cup winner.
As with wind and solar power, it’s the same too-good-to-be-true pitch directed at the starry-eyed, gullible and naïve. All, of course, in the name of obtaining a stream of taxpayer back subsidies that will outlast religion.
STT, always ready to rain on the renewable energy rent seeker’s parade, is delighted to present the following interview between former South Australian Senator, Cory Bernardi and Professor Ian Plimer.
Professor Plimer is an Australian geologist, professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, and the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companies. He has published numerous scientific papers, 7 books and is one of the co-editors of Encyclopedia of Geology. And is the author of The Climate Change Delusion and The Great Electricity Ripoff’ – available from Connorcourt Publishing by clicking here.
Not for the first time, and not for the last time, Ian Plimer brings reality to bear at a time when delusion reigns supreme.
Bernardi interviews Ian Plimer on Energy
Cory Bernardi and Ian Plimer
5 March 2021
Cory Bernardi: Welcome back. This is Bernardi. Now, back in the 8th century, one of the earliest rent-seeking energy scam artists cooked up a perpetual motion machine. He called it the Magic Wheel. Now, since then, there’s been a succession of energy miracles being proposed and promised, including, if you can believe it, a self-blowing windmill. Now the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris got fed up with all this nonsense, so in 1775, they said they’re not going to accept or deal with proposals concerning perpetual motion anymore. Since then, the various grifters have evolved on to other forms of energy solutions. And don’t get me wrong, these miracles still always require other people’s money to make them apparently viable. But they’ve found a new traction amongst a new bunch of wide-eyed zealots, you might know them as renewable energy aficionados. Most notably, those peddling wind and solar power is a solution to all our problems.
We’re constantly told they generate power for free, and we’ll save the planet from carbon dioxide, fossil fuels and global warming. Unfortunately, the truth is far from that. But let me acknowledge right from the outset, yes, we can generate electricity from solar power and wind, however, these supplies can only be delivered with huge start-up and ongoing subsidies from you, the taxpayer. The number of times we’ve been told, they are now cheaper than old fashioned reliable power plants. And it’s somehow the new projects don’t get off the ground without the benefit of someone else’s cash. Back in 2016, a company chaired by perpetual energy spruiker and loser of the unlosable election, Dr. John Hewson, claimed that we’re going to build the cheapest and most efficient solar thermal power plant in the world at South Australia’s Port Augusta. We were told the initial stage would be completed within a year, and it would require no government funding to support its, „conservative business case.“ Well, five years later, we’d still be sitting in the dark if we were relying on that project to light up our lives.
But the advocates for renewable energy continue to blow wind up investors and taxpayers wallets with turbines of terror, also known as windfarms. Even green evangelist, Dr. Bob Brown doesn’t want them in his backyard, while the likes of Zali Stegall, do you remember her? She’s elected on a platform of green promises. Hasn’t yet sought to have them erected on the Northern beaches of Sydney, despite a petition for her to do so. Perhaps you can go and sign it.
But that’s hardly surprising you see. As according to a website, this global warming evangelist is still waiting for a „suitable electric car“ and she doesn’t want a windfarm in Warringah. Well, here’s a tip, most people don’t want them in their backyard either. But it’s not just the lack of cost competitiveness and poor reliability of these technologies that make them a folly. The cleanup after this somewhat useful subsidised life is done, is hardly ever mentioned. This is the dark side of clean energy. It’s that their production and disposal creates more pollutants than the fossil fuels they’re designed to replace.
You see, solar panels are filled with noxious chemicals and toxic metals. And they’re often dumped in third world landfills because we don’t want them in this country, where the poisons then leach into the water supply. Not only are these developing nations being denied, reliable and dispatchable power from coal and gas, they’re now being poisoned by the very technology claiming to save them. But there is hope on the horizon so we’re told, hydrogen power is being touted as the next best thing. And it’s attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in government money. See hydrogen is abundant, the technology apparently works. It’s clean and it is the answer to our future energy demands. Or is it?
Well joining me now is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences, Ian Plimer. Ian, we’re being promised the green dream, but is it a mirage?
Ian Plimer: Here they come again for your money. Firstly, it was wind, then it was solar. Now they’ve put the two together and it’s hydrogen. And what they’re trying to do is to skin us alive for ever. Now your previous segment on education reminded me of politicians, but totally and absolutely scientifically illiterate. It’s equivalent to a politician not being able to read or write. So let me say a few things for an illiterate politician. You need electricity to make hydrogen and you have losses when you do that. And then with the hydrogen, you need to make electricity, again you have losses. And so you get about 30% of the energy by that process, the rest gets dispersed. Unless legislation can change the laws of thermodynamics, you are in a loss, loss, loss situation. Loss because we taxpayers get skinned alive, loss because we redistribute energy and loss because we cannot replace that energy.
This madness was tried a 100 years ago. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. Now, if we look at planet earth from space, we can see a number of really interesting things. Firstly, if you squint and look very hard, you actually can’t see that the planet’s got a gender. Yet we call the planet a female. Her. The second thing is when you look and you’ve got spectroscopic eyes, you’ll actually see hydrogen is leaking out of the planet. You cannot hold hydrogen, it leaks from the core of the earth through the mantle, through the crust and into space. You cannot hold hydrogen in pipelines or in steel containers.
So if you were to make hydrogen, you’ll lose a huge amount of energy doing it. Then you’ve got to compress it to only 700 times atmospheric pressure, and that requires a huge amount of energy. Then you’ve got to liquefy it down to minus 283 degrees Celsius. That requires a huge amount of energy. And then you’ve got to transport this hydrogen in a truck or a pipeline, and that is a mobile bomb. That hydrogen will leak out through the steel in pipelines or in a truck, just the same as it leaks out from the earth. That hydrogen weakens the steel and so what have you got? You have got a bomb waiting to go off. Hydrogen is well-known to be extremely explosive. And when it explodes, it puts the most powerful greenhouse gas back into the atmosphere. And that gas is water vapour.
Cory Bernardi: For the benefit of myself and our viewers. I’ve read a lot about hydrogen fuel cells, and apparently there are hydrogen filling stations in some States in America like in California. Do these have the same inherent flaws or is there a different technology than perhaps what you’re talking about?
Ian Plimer: A slightly different technology with the same inherent flaws are there. For those of you that want to do a web search, go and call up the explosion at a Norwegian hydrogen fueling station (see below). It is fabulous, except there’s an enormous explosion because of hydrogen leaking and eventually igniting. Yes, you can store hydrogen in fuel cells, incredibly expensive and incredibly dangerous. We have extremely good technology now where we can convert fossilised sunlight into energy. And that fossilised sunlight is called coal. We have extremely good technology to convert compressed energy in a big atom, like uranium into steam, which then goes into electricity. That’s been around for a long time. We’ve had hydrogen around for a long time, it still hasn’t worked. So if you have massive subsidies and you have people that live in cities, then hydrogen is used by woke people. I’d much rather be living next door to a nuclear reactor than a hydrogen refuelling station. It’s far safer.
Cory Bernardi: That was actually going to be my next question. The NIMBYs will of course be saying, „I don’t want it in my backyard because of the potential or inherent risks.“ But what about if you’re driving around in a vehicle, a hydrogen-powered vehicle, for example, in the event of an accident or a collision, there would be a heightened risk there too, I would presume.
Ian Plimer: We have the DNA skills now to identify a person from a tiny little piece of meat. And that’s what would be left if you have an accident in a hydrogen-driven vehicle. This is-
Cory Bernardi: I shouldn’t be laughing. I shouldn’t be laughing Ian, but you’ve got a way with words, that’s for sure. Tell me this though, how are so many people throwing money into this? Just like they did with wind and solar, and government; I understand the Australian government has put $400 million in already into claiming this is going to be the future of Australia’s energy independence.
Ian Plimer: Well, the spruikers can see something that’s going to make them a lot of money. Firstly, it’s subsidised. Secondly, they’ve signed really long contracts, which they did for wind and solar. And thirdly, they know that politicians are absolutely totally scientifically illiterate. They know the bureaucrats are generally green and that they’ve barrows to push and are unelected and sending us broke and don’t have to worry about losing a job because they’ve got one forever. So they can see a big fish waiting to catch. This has got nothing to do with green energy. This has got nothing to do with the environment, it’s to do with the spruikers skinning us alive. They’ve done it with wind, they’ve done it with solar and now they’re doing it again. And my view on this is, beware of people trying to sell us what they call new technology and saying, „All of the old technology is hopeless.“
If we were to throw out old technology, we wouldn’t use the wheel. The best technology we’ve got for generating energy is where we use compressed energy in coal or in a heavy atom like uranium and convert that into steam, which then drives turbines, which then gives us electricity. That for more than a 100 years has been the most efficient form of energy, it still is. If we had no subsidies, we would be still running on coal, uranium and in peak times gas.
Cory Bernardi: Yeah. One of Australia’s great competitive advantages has been a low cost of power, a reliable energy grid and that’s been fueled by coal, clean coal basically, cleanest in the world. Now the government keeps making some sort of murmurs about maybe allowing a nuclear industry here. My position is they should remove the prohibitions on it. And if someone wants to fund a nuclear industry, if someone wants to do it with government consent, but not taxpayers‘ money, we should be opening ourselves to it. Don’t we have one of the world’s greatest uranium resources anywhere, and yet we’re allowed to export it, but we’re not allowed to use it.
Ian Plimer: Well, Cory, it’s even worse than that. We have our wind turbines made in China. We have our solar panels made in China. And by us having wind and solar electricity is sending us broke. So China doesn’t even need to invade us, we’re doing it to ourselves. Then if we have hydrogen, we do it again to ourselves. And by not using this concentrated energy in black coal and in uranium, we are again sending ourselves broke. We cannot in a country where wages are high, where our industrial legislation makes it very difficult to do anything, where we have huge amounts of concentrated energy which we export.
We cannot ignore using that energy. We are the only G20 country that doesn’t generate nuclear electricity. We could control the world’s uranium. The same as Saudi used to control oil. And that is mine it, make the yellow cake, make fuel rods, which we lease out, bring them back, clean them up, lease them out again, bring them back, clean them up.
And then we set up a high specialty industry whereby we employ engineers, scientists and very skilled tradespeople to run this industry. We don’t therefore try to compete with manufacturing industries in Asia, where people get paid $2 a day. We have highly specialised industry. We are poised to do it. All it requires is regulatory and legislative changes. Governments to sit back, get out of the way, get rid of the red tape and the green tape and just let business do what it’s good at. And that is helping build employment, helping build industry without government subsidies.
Cory Bernardi: Yeah. What a lot of Australians don’t realise is that we have a nuclear reactor in this country for research and medical purposes. It’s in the suburbs of Sydney. We store low and medium level waste there. I’ve been there, I’ve spoken to the chief officer there. And he said the new level pebble reactors basically would have to defy the laws of physics in order to create a meltdown or create a scenario where it’s Three mile Island or a Chernobyl. Technology has moved on, nuclear is actually the answer to Australia’s energy needs. Is that something that you think we need to get out there to the public as well as our politicians?
Ian Plimer: That 20 megawatt reactor at Lucas Heights save lives. Now, anyone who’s ever had cancer would have radionuclides generated from that reactor. You cannot object to nuclear energy if you’ve had cancer treatment, it’s just not possible to do it. That reactor was built in the bush. Now, there’s a suburbia around it, a suburbia has now crept up to it. It had to be built close to an airport so we can get these medical isotopes to nearby countries and to Western Australia and elsewhere in Australia.
That reactor is extraordinarily safe. We already have the people and the technology to run reactors. So if you want to object to nuclear energy, you have to say, „I am never, ever, ever going to accept treatment in a hospital for my cancer.“ If you want green power, then if you are on a life support machine, that machine should be turned off when there’s green power coming down the line. And if there’s coal coming down the line, turn it back on again. That is the hypocrisy that we see from these Greens sitting in cities, trying to finger-wag at us and tell us how to live our lives, or how much meat to eat or what gender our pet budgerigar should be.
Cory Bernardi: Ian Plimer, you’ve given us a lot to think about tonight. Thanks for joining me on Bernardi. I really appreciate it.
March 28, 2021 by stopthesethings