Renewable Energy Fails as Demonstrators Call for More Renewable Energy – Video

Batteries charged by wind and solar couldn’t handle tiny task

Madison, Wisconsin – Demonstrators gathered outside the Public Service Commission to protest against a requested rate structure change by the local utility company. During the protest, they decried the use of “dirty coal” and called for more renewable energy.

To make their point, they had a blow-up coal power plant that was running on a fan powered by wind and solar charged batteries. Before the protest was over, however, the batteries died and their solar panel could not produce enough energy to keep the power plant standing upright.

Thanks to Laurel for this video

28 thoughts on “Renewable Energy Fails as Demonstrators Call for More Renewable Energy – Video”

  1. While it’s funny, it’s also simple math. Not enough wattage in, and a static rate discharge. I admittedly use solar power for charging my gadgets while camping / hiking. It does have it’s uses, and it has been a benefit to many people in certain applications. I have a Citizen EcoDrive watch that I took with me on my first deployment to Iraq. It has solar panels built into the watch face to keep the watch going. I’ve never had to replace the battery and it keeps perfect time. I still have my very first solar powered gadget, a Casio SL-300F calculator. Still works like a charm, and probably always will.

    So, while it’s funny to laugh at this particular solar setup, it’s important to remember that solar power isn’t stupid. It’s a great thing that benefits a lot of people every day. The distinction to be made here is whether a particular application of solar panels makes sense. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

    • Agreed Brian. I have a solar powered house, completely stand-alone, with batteries for night time power. This was a necessity because there was no power to my property when I bought it, and the nearest grid power is too distant to be feasible.

      However, I’m not blind to the problems that come with solar power and have generators which I can use to run the house and/or charge the batteries as needed. I have enough solar panels to be able to largely never have to run them, and to make sure they still do run, I use them to power my washer and dryer. But there still are days when they are necessary. Solar isn’t the be all and end all that the eco warriors would have you believe!

    • Very rough rule of thumb, that doesn’t always apply is, small scale, probably yes, large scale, probably no.

  2. I think the fan drew 1 KW for inflating the structure and the solar panel was rated at 100 watts. No idea what the batteries were rated but it sure looks to me that there is failure on several levels here.

    • Progressive types don’t do math , because ,

      “it’s a tool that the neo-fascist anglo patriarchal oligarchy use to oppress women and ethnic minorities by forcing them to comply with a non-feminist and culturally insensitive reality”

      At least that’s what I was told by a “save the bears” type when I pointed out that polar bear numbers had increased from 5,000 in 1950 to 25,000 in 2009 and changes have been made since then to the way the bear density/population areas are calculated . These changes to calculations SHOULD be giving us a lower result for total numbers of bears but are , in fact giving us the same result as 2009 .i.e. 25,000 .The only way this can work is that numbers must have increased by about 2000+ bears since 2009 .

    • Probably 1 kw of solar panels was cost prohibitive, so they went with a tenth as much power as they actually needed, and made themselves look foolish.

  3. While I’m all for the proper application of renewable energy. If you can’t properly engineer the solution, then you really don’t solidly know what you are protesting about. You belong back on the bench fixing the problem, not demanding handicaps on conventional sources in order to bring them down to the same economic/power density levels as alternatives. I even posit that the batteries these folks were using were of the lead acid variety, and not the more environmentally friendly NiCAD/NiMH batteries that are often called for. Of course, that would have meant using a small box truck to carry the required ampacity. LOL.

  4. Like electrical lines fueled by gas, coal and oil don’t fail all the time as well. Give me a break. This is where this web site is just plain silly. Fortunately you’re main thing,ridiculing global warming, is valid. But being apologists for fossil fuels at the expense of new and better technologies puts you in the category of the New England whalers who didn’t want to switch from sperm whale oil to Pennsylvania crude. The writing is already on the wall.

    • This isn’t an example of a failure of solar/wind , this is an example of solar/wind working as normal , i.e random outputs at sporadic intervals , it IS an example of the failure of econuts to comprehend that .

  5. I keep wondering why the hell they started using the constant fan input blowup castles etc
    whats wrong with old style blow it up and SEAL with a plug as we used to use?
    a reservoir “bubble” would allow for kids jumping to displace air without actually losing pressure etc.or risking split seams .

    the clip above showed underpowered maths as well as the setup of choice.
    pity no ones managed a low input to make “greener” battery for storage

    something I DO find very strange is BP solar, who made THE best ever deepcycle gel storage batteries for solar systems STOPPED making them some years if you wanna be off grid n green..BP isnt going to help you do that anymore

  6. Why was the power plant, that powers most of the country, painted black?

    Maybe wind mills and solar panels should be painted RED since that is the impact on anyone’s budget.

    • RED paint is also very appropriate for Wind Mills, A.K.A “Bird Choppers” which kill 100’s of thousands of birds each year. But the Eco-Saboteurs that want to save the planet and all of nature (except humans) turn a blind eye when Green Energy is involved.

  7. They’re too stupid to figure out energy requirements for something this simple; yet they’d like us to believe they’re the ones who’ve got the big picture figured out.

    As much sympathy as I have for the whole “natural” movement (natural foods, natural products, etc) and even granting that some sort of non-coal/oil/nuclear whatever energy source may someday be capable of providing our energy needs; people like this who simply want to shut down what we have because they think some other “green” power should be able to get the job done are simply morons. A bunch of idiots who’s most though provoking question to you aught to be: “Do you want fries with that?” needs to be exposed to the level of ridicule that would have been given a “real energy” demonstration who’s generator gave out because they didn’t realize it wasn’t sufficient.

    Perhaps that’s something the fight against the leftist morons should have; a simple label: “Real Energy”. Every time some idiot starts promoting “Green Energy” they should be challenged to show us “Real Energy”.

    Every “demonstration” from leftist morons wanting to “save the planet” from coal fired electric plants should be invaded by people holding up placards with pictures of birds burning in solar generation plants and killed by the blades of wind power turbines.

    Advocate that factories producing wind/solar or other “green energy” generators be run solely with those generators. We only have the capacity to produce such things exactly because we’re not dependent on them. If we were our entire energy infrastructure would break down.

  8. Maybe the EPA thought it was a real coal power plant and de-commissioned it.

    It’s funny, and frightening, that for all their political passion, the protesters couldn’t make something that is, in principle, fairly simple work in a real world situation.

  9. It would have only taken 5 to 7 thousand dollars of equipment to run that thing. If you Included solar panels, batteries, wiring, and an electrician that can hook it all up right. Can’t believe that they did not put out the cash for their cause.

    Highly educated ignoramuses.

    This is what the world has come to.


    • More like Highly educated Socialist Elitists who believe, without any factual data, that the world would be a better place if big business was simply replaced by big centralized government, run by ego-centric, elitists like themselves, who know what’s better for the rest of us.

  10. Hmmm…it looks like people will have to stop operating at such a dumbed-down level if the greenies succeed in blowing away the use of so-called “fossil fuels” for electricity to power our current lifestyle. I’m pretty sure that’s not their ultimate goal.

    In other words, if the greenies have their way, our current lifestyle will end. People will have to go back to paying attention to what they’re doing because they won’t have all the electronic gadgets to depend on. I’m pretty sure that will work against them.

    Sounds like a catch-22 situation to me!

  11. I have lived off the grid for 15 years, and I will be the first to tell you that for mass application, Solar will not do it. The politicos who push it have no idea that certain limitations exist, and you must adjust to living off the grid, and in some instances do without some things, like air conditioning. There is also the little item called batteries, that the boosters seldom mention. They are expensive, do wear out, and you have to have them for any power if no sun or at night. These fuzzballs probably go home, flip on the lights (often supplied by coal-generated power) and spread their vituperative slime about “dirty coal.” I went to solar because I value my independence from rate changes, power outages, and the prohibitive charges wanted by the electric “service” to run a line to my home.

    Solar and Wind Power have their places, but it is NOT as a major source of electricity for American Society.

  12. He’s lying about the “charging it up the night before with wind power”.

    If you look at the weather for Madison Wednesday night, wind was never above 4 mph and was calm for more than half the hours recorded.

    They charged those batteries with coal power too.

  13. There was a show called ‘Laugh-in”, maybe some here remember. Shortly after the EPA was created(which did do some very good work on true pollution)Rowan and Martin made a joke stating ‘if the EPA works as well as the AFCD (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) then we would have a lot of dirty poor people’. If the President’s plan works out as he envisions it then ‘we will have a lot of cold poor people’.

  14. We live aboard our catamaran in Panama, using sails and diesel for propulsion and solar panels to run everything else. We found two issues with solar – it needs lifestyle changes and it’s expensive. We have a small refrigerator, efficient laptop computers and don’t have air conditioning. We live a more social life a lot more like our ancestors and have found that to be quite pleasing. But this did not come cheap. Quality panels, MPPT chargers, an inverter, lithium batteries, and LED lighting cost more than a power line drop from a utility. We can’t see solar as the answer for industrial production or centralized distribution, but it can be the answer for domestic use, provided people are willing to positively modify their habits. Paying for it is becoming easier as new laws force up the cost of utilities and they become less reliable. If the price of components continues to drop, the initial investment required to build a reliable solar system will become more acceptable and a transition may occur without any outside pressure.

  15. The most economic, and efficient renewable power production comes from Hydro-Electric. But then since it is cheap energy, it can’t be environmentally sound. So I guess we’ll go on building massive eye sores, and destroying hundreds of thousands of birds every year.

  16. Try running any power-hungry device directly off the solar panel. There’s no “oomph” in solar PV panels and they always need a battery to be able to carry the load. Solar PV and wind are great for small domestic use and in isolated locations. Commercially both are dirty, expensive pipe-dreams. Wait till the recycling of these “power” sources kicks in and see how environmentally friendly they are; not to mention the hell on earth in the countries of origin.

  17. Ahhhh – Madison, Wisconsin – the center of Liberalism in the universe, with satellite offices in Boulder and Berkley.

    Solar PV according to the example in Howard T. Odum’s book Environmental Accounting, has an EROEI of 0.48. Solar PV is, by defintion, unsustainable.

    For the Libs out there, that means you are burning a little more than two barrels of energy to recover one barrel. But why should engineering and science get in the way of your alternative energy hopes and dreams?

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