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Environmentalists tell us that America is about to be hit with unparalleled climate and weather disasters due to its use of hydrocarbon fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas. The solution, they say, is a mass conversion to solar and wind power, backed up by batteries, pumped storage, or stored hydrogen to provide power when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. The goal is to get the U.S. to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at the latest.
This week’s guest, New Zealand-based energy expert Bryan Leyland, explains that every element of this plan is impossible. Wind and solar are too expensive and intermittent to provide for our energy demands and will not get us net zero anyway because of the need for backup power, usually in the form of open-cycle gas turbines. Furthermore, the technology is not available to store large qualities of power in batteries, no matter how much money is spent on them. Significant pumped storage is only feasible in a very limited number of regions where huge, relatively close reservoirs at greatly different elevations are present. Hydrogen storage, besides being dangerous, is also impractical because of the large losses in the system between creating the hydrogen, storing, transporting, and eventually using the gas as an energy currency.
The obvious answer is nuclear power, which is clean and, at least in the Western world, extremely safe. Despite the fears of environmental activists, no one has ever died in the Western world from a nuclear power accident.
There is, however, one major energy source that is a ticking time bomb that, unless serious action is taken, will cause huge problems in centuries to come. Surprisingly, Mr. Leyland explains, it is large hydro dams, many of which are already nearing the end of their lifetimes across the U.S., as silt builds up at the intakes to the turbines. Generally speaking, no plans or funds have been arranged to handle this problem, and operators also have no serious plans to eventually dismantle the dams when they become dangerous over the next centuries.
Bryan Leyland is a consulting engineer with vast experience in renewable energy. He has been responsible for designing numerous small hydropower schemes and has acted as an expert witness for many people opposing wind farms in New Zealand. He was a member of the Expert Advisory Group for the world’s largest tidal power scheme at Kalpasar in India. He is the 2006 Life Membership Award winner of the Electricity Engineers’ Association in New Zealand. He is a founding member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and the International Climate Science Coalition. He serves on the board of the not-for-profit International Climate Science Coalition – Canada.
Tune in this week to hear Tom Harris and co-host Mary-Jean Harris interview Mr. Leyland to learn what is really threatening America and what is not!
References relevant to this show:
- Bryan Leyland’s website
- “Small Hydroelectric Engineering Practice,” book by Bryan Leyland
- “Storage: the Achilles heel of wind and solar power,” By Bryan Leyland
- Bryan’s 2023 articles in The Telegraph (U.K.)
- “The wind and solar power myth has finally been exposed,” May 11, 2023, by Bryan Leyland, published in The Telegraph (U.K.) and The New Zealand Herald
- Bryan’s other articles in The New Zealand Herald
- “Global Temperature follows the Southern Oscillation Index (El Nino effect),” analysis by Bryan Leland
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