JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Within 5 minutes a wave of hot water systems switch on in SA adding 250MW of demand to the grid

We are creatures of habit. Look at the spike caused at 11:32pm as something like 27,000 hot water tanks in South Australia suddenly switch on to use cheaper off-peak electricity. This spike is entirely due to pricing plans. It’s entirely avoidable too, but at least it’s predictable. “Scheduled”.

This peak, allegedly, is only a problem if SA is “islanded” — meaning if it can’t rely on the coal generators in Victoria.

Yesterday people were asking why the South Australian demand was peaking at 1am (and why two hours were strangely missing from that graph). “Hot water” is the answer (at least to the first part).

SA Hot water systems add sudden 250MW of demand at 11:30pm. Graph.

This graph comes from the AEMO report in Feb 2016. What follows is their electro-nitty-gritty:

Based on previous experience, and as demonstrated in a separation event on 1 November 2015, maintaining the SA power system in a secure operating state is challenging if there are large changes to the supply-demand balance during a period of islanding.

There is a risk of automatic under frequency load shedding if SA is being operated as an island during the hot water demand peak, [...]

Rooftop solar destroying baseload profitability and proud of it

What other heavily subsidized industry brags about its ability to provide a product for one quarter of the time it’s needed? Vale sunny-day-solar!

Pick a day, an hour, and what are the chances solar will be there for you? A lot less than one in four, because last Monday’s peak in South Australia was an all time record. Every day in the last year was worse.

And so much for cheap… the price when solar power peaked was still close to $50/MWh. Compare that to most of the years of the national electricity market operating when average prices were $30/Mwh.

The price dip at 6am (the black-line bottomless gully), has nothing to do with solar, but was caused by wind power. Far from being useful, essential, or productive, solar and wind power are playing havoc with a normal market, destroying the chance for cheap, reliable energy to find a place. As long as we force the market to accept this non-dispatchable  supply, we are actively punishing reliable power. What investor in reliable energy would look at this and head to South Australia?”

 

Giles Parkinson was excited at Reneweconomy: Rooftop solar provides 48% of South Australia power, pushing grid [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Poor BOM: Dangerous deniers, amateurs, attacking Australian Bureau of Meteorology, debilitating it by asking questions.

Excellent news. Obviously we are getting to the BoM.

This week, Jen Marohasy and I were mentioned by Maurice Newman in The Australian.“Smoking Gun demands Grilling for the BoM”. In response, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has unleashed a double dummy-popping effort in The Guardian.

The BoM could have answered the questions in The Australian, of course, but it’s so much easier to whine, bluster, raise the conspiracy flag and avoid the questions that matter at the-ask-no-hard-questions-Guardian.

Bureau of Meteorology attacks pushed by ‘fever swamp’ of climate denial

Graham Readfearn

Former weather bureau chief says agency debilitated by climate deniers’ attacks

Michael Slezak

It really is an extraordinary rant as the former head of the BoM admits skeptics are “debilitating” the BoM with these “attacks”. The Guardian is so starved of real news, it runs the one-sided name-calling excuses and another separate story discusses it as if it was actually news. While The Australian asks the BoM for a reply and would publish it, The Guardian didn’t ask a skeptic. One of these newspapers acts like a newspaper…

How debilitating are we skeptics? Jennifer Marohasy tells me she sent the BoM questions in 2015, but hasn’t [...]

Advert in The Australian describes what real climate change looks like

An advert today describes the real climate change we should afraid of, discusses how past CO2 levels did not cause dangerous global warming, and extra CO2 has a smaller and smaller effect, then connects failed climate models with rising electricity bills.

Click to enlarge.

The text….

[...]

Latest, belated admission the models were “too hot” is all PR and politics, nothing to do with science

Spot the political PR paper pretending to be science: the global carbon budget just got a whopping — four –  times — bigger, but instructions on how to follow the carbon religion are 100% identical.

It’s become too obvious to everyone that the climate models have been complete failures. Thus, the global leeches were facing a crisis as their credibility and motivation drain. So the new paper in Nature Geoscience is just a retweak of the models to produce a number that isn’t so mock-worthy. There is no scientific reason offered, no new understanding of the climate. No one is even pretending that these modelers can explain the way our climate works any better than they did last year when they were utter failures. It’s all a charade. There is no honesty here — if there was, they’d admit the skeptics are years ahead of them.

The new paper is just about “staying the game”, a desperate injection to keep the dying movement alive. All the political messages remain untouched. It’s got everything to do with PR and nothing to do with science.

The numbers change (and nobody ever cared about them anyway) but PR meme is a carbon copy: [...]

Abbott vows to cross the floor against any new renewables subsidies — most of Parliament should be with him.

Democracy in action.

Fully 62% of Australians don’t want to pay a pitiful $10 a month for renewables. They are already paying more, therefore at least two-thirds of our parliament should be voting “No” on this. Why is Turnbull even toying with this?

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has threatened to cross the floor of Parliament and vote against any move to introduce a clean-energy target, describing as “unconscionable” any move to wind back support for coal in favour of renewables.

In his first interview with his former chief of staff Peta Credlin on Sky News’ Jones & Co on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott described climate change as “very much a third order issue”.

He suggested Liberal MPs had “extremely serious reservations” about the government’s clean energy target, and said last year’s power blackouts in South Australia had influenced the attitude of Liberal MPs to renewable energy.

“I think there is no chance that our party room will support any significant increase in the amount of renewables in our system.”

Asked whether he would support an attempt by Mr Turnbull to legislate for a clean-energy target, Mr Abbott replied: ”It would be unconscionable, I underline that word unconscionable, for [...]

Alan Kohler dreams of banning combustion engines in cars in Australia

You have to hand it to The Australian – they will publish both sides. Take this (please, take it): “Our energy policy still stuck in coal country”. This is Alan Kohler, bless him, who doesn’t get it and dreams of a nation of motor-heads “going electric”. But, wow, ouch, watch how he reasons it out… not with numbers and graphs (he’s the numbers man on the nightly finance report) but with pop psychology?

The idea of an Australian government banning petrol and diesel cars to promote public health seems especially remote right now: we can’t keep the lights on as it is, having closed a few fossil fuel power stations.

But you can bet that the Coalition government and its media supporters will argue that the electrification of transport makes it even more necessary for there to be more “baseload power” from coal-fired power stations — how could we possibly charge millions of cars, and run millions of airconditioners and fridges if we let Liddell close in 2022?

And you can fix that Mr Kohler, how?

Wait for it…

This is the underlying reality of Australia’s energy debate: a majority of the government does not actually [...]

Taxpayers give $300m to Saudi billionaire for solar plant that makes 2% of old dying coal plant’s power

It will only take 50 plants like this, and $15 billion spare dollars, to replace the Liddell coal station (8,000GWh), now slated for closure in 2022.

$300m handout to Saudi tycoon for solar farm

Australians are set to pay $300 million in subsidies to an outback solar farm owned by a Saudi Arabian billionaire in a new test of the federal government’s looming energy reforms, escalating a dispute over whether to cut the handouts to keep coal-fired power stations alive.

AGL’s controversial Liddell coal power station in the NSW Hunter Valley generates 50 times as much electricity as the Moree solar farm in the state’s north, which stands to gain big subsidies from households from higher electricity bills until 2030…

But we need more chinese-built glass panels that make green weather-controlling electrons.

Lucky solar power is so competitive. Look at the money roll…

The Moree solar farm generates 150,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year, about 0.08 per cent of the 200 terawatt hours produced on the national electricity market every year. The project is forecast to collect about $50m in payments over the next four years and $90m in the following decade under the existing [...]

Former NASA GISS climate scientist reveals incompetence, junkets, best model called “jungle” of code

Dr Duane Thresher who worked seven years at NASA GISS describes a culture of self serving rent-seekers, mismanagement and  incompetence. These are the top experts in the climate science field that we are supposed to accept without questioning. Those who say they are working to “save the planet” care more about their junckets than they do about the data or their “best” model.

NASA GISS’s most advanced climate model is run from the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Thresher recounts a story from someone on the inside:

“NASA GISS’s climate model — named Model E, an intentional play on the word “muddle” — is called the “jungle” because it is so badly coded.”   I know this to be true from my own extensive experience programming it (I tried to fix as much as I could…).

Thresher writes about how the team was happy to take taxpayer funds and spend it on unnecessary conferences which were “loads of fun” while they scrimped and saved on things like data security and incompetent tech staff. Secretaries and mail boys were hired for jobs they were not qualified for. At one point data was lost when exposed plumbing leaked in the [...]