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Only 10% of power allowed from solar in Broome WA to stop grid “fluctuations”

When too much solar is more than enough

The WA government-run electricity provider (Horizon Energy) has called a halt to new solar installations in Broome, a town in Northwest WA that is not connected to the national grid, or even the main WA grid. (It’s 2,000km north of Perth). About 10% of the town’s power comes from solar* but apparently the little grid can’t handle the fluctuations, so the early birds got the subsidies, and the rest got grumpy.

June 3rd, ABC:

Broome residents tire of cap on solar power installations

  • Horizon Power only allows 10 per cent of the town’s power to come from solar due to issues with grid fluctuations
  • This leaves some residents unable to install a solar system that connects to the grid
  • Horizon is trialling battery storage technology in other WA towns and hopes to expand this to Broome

Residents in the Kimberley town of Broome have said they are fed up with being prevented from accessing solar power despite living in one of Western Australia’s sunniest towns.

State-owned energy utility Horizon Power allows just 10 per cent of the town’s power to be generated from solar to protect the grid from fluctuations during periods of high and low light.

Small business owner Cameron White has been trying to switch to solar for two years in a bid to reduce his power bill but said he has been blocked at every turn.

“We’re in the sunniest place in Australia, probably, but we can’t use it,” he said.

Tell me how this helps the poor or the environment…

How fair is it when a government can offer subsidies on a first-in first-served basis? Here the costs of the first subsides are so large and unsustainable, that electricity prices are forced up on the rest of the owners, but they can’t partake of the same scheme. The random benevolence of government.

Time to talk about the hidden costs of solar and wind power — battery storage.

UPDATE: Government subsidies for installing solar are around $3,600 for a 5KW system.  That doesn’t include feed in tarriffs (Energy Buyback schemes).

UPDATE: #2 TdeF in comments explains that while the Government mandates these subsidies, the money doesn’t come from tax dollars, but from payments forced on fossil fuel suppliers, which in turn pass the charge on in electricity bills.

Tdef  October 27, 2017 at 5:54 am

There is no government subsidy. That is a popular misconception. The ‘government’ pays nothing. The LGCs and STCs are Carbon Certificates which are theft from fossil fuel electricity retailers and so from all the other electricity users. This is the RET scheme. It is buried in everyone’s electricity bills. Even those who use solar. So is the pay in tariff for unwanted lunchtime solar. Plus it is marked up.

The greatest ripoff in the world. For this you do not get electricity. Just the right to buy electricity, 90% from power stations already built and coal we already own.

Government Subsidies? No such thing. Theft. $3billion a year goes overseas. As much again to reward private companies in Australia. For nothing. When you do get the ‘free’ renewables, you pay again. Will people stop talking about Government subsidies. Weatherill has not paid for one windmill.

*EDITS:  Was — About 10% of the town “put solar panels on their roof”. Looking at the Google satellite image, there are hardly any solar panels on houses (though more on the largest houses in Cable Beach). The wording in the ABC article mentions “10% of the town’s power”, but doesn’t specify, indeed, the only hint is in the caption to a photo of a house with panels, that it is a “limited number of homes”. Where is that solar coming from? The title of this post was also tweaked: “Only 10% of people power allowed to use from solar in Broome WA to stop grid “fluctuations””. Hunting for the solar power turns up a trial by the Government run Water Corp in August 2016 to power “Solar Diesel” pumps for water bores and an undated Solar PV Trial involving only six homes now, and six later. BTW Tom Harley lives in Broome and has a photo of the Gas Plant.

Horizon Energy has a page here where regional residents can find out if their house is eligible for a rebate.

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129 comments to Only 10% of power allowed from solar in Broome WA to stop grid “fluctuations”

  • #
    Ursus Augustus

    Easy, peasy, make them install batteries just like the wind ‘power’ mob should.

    Gas/Coal/Hydro all have implicit storage. Gas/Coal/even wood store energy in the feedstock at 30 to 40 megajoules per kilogram. Even the best batteries are just approaching 1 mJ/Kg as I understand it.

    Make the bludgers pay to install storage/smoothing capacity or else piss off.

    300

    • #
      Ursus Augustus

      PS

      This ‘free energy’ sort of crap has been around in principle since Satan was offering ‘free fruit’ and that ended really badly as you may recall.

      291

      • #
        David Maddison

        Nothing is truly free. Ultimately they always want your soul.

        141

      • #
        Leonard Lane

        I agree David. And the gist of this article is we are calling government imposed costs to the consumer subsidies when they are not.
        All the baloney about using the wrong terms merely tries to hide the fact that the government imposes extra costs on the consumers through feed in tariffs, penalties for not using renewables, penalties for using renewables and together these government imposed costs give public funds to the solar and wind scammers and take money from the public utility users and fossil fueled power generators. When renewable energy (solar and wind here) are included in a grid the costs to the consumers of electricity always goes up. Highly variable and unreliable renewables drive up electricity costs.

        50

    • #
      AndyG55

      “Easy, peasy, make them install batteries just like the wind ‘power’ mob should.”

      And make them PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES !!!

      141

    • #
      Bulldust

      Solution is far simpler than that. They can simply disconnect from the grid and live on their own power generation. What’s that? They don’t want to come off the grid??

      140

  • #
    King Geo

    “Only 10% of people allowed to use solar in Broome WA to stop grid “fluctuations”.

    I feel for the BROOME residents – this RE, I mean PAURE, is not resulting in SWEEPING changes to their mode of energy use.

    P = pathetic; A = and; U = unreliable; RE = renewable energy.

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    • #
      Peter C

      If only they were all allowed to hook up their solar cells and connect to the local grid. Then we would likely see SWEEPING CHANGES to their energy use.

      Like now power at all unless the sun is shining. Airport and hospital and most businesses closed for the rainy season. Those who fit batteries see their power drained away within an hour of sunset by all the other households without batteries.

      Because Broome is an isolated experiment it should be allowed to proceed to its ultimate conclusion, just to prove what will happen.

      90

  • #
    Planning Engineer

    Interesting post. Some of the basic issues associated with intermittent inverter based generation become become clear earlier on a small grid. The large bulk grid can hide a lot, especially when growth is not uniform and areas can lean on their neighbors.

    A lot of criticisms calling for “smart grids” and labelling existing grids as using “third world technology” are motivated by the desire to make the grid more friendly to inverted based generation (wind and solar). The idea is to hide the costs among grid expenses and not tie the cost to renewables. If you demand more of Broome grid it could likely handle more solar, but it would be at a large cost and it would be more transparent what was driving those costs.

    360

    • #
      John Watt

      Could also indicate that whichever govt. dept approved the solar installations did not understand the impact of the intermittent and fluctuating nature of the solar input on isolated network. WA Govt, instead of getting upset about Milo, should spend time investigating more gas turbines. Re the smart grids …won’t these be hackable and prey for some form of “power ransom”?

      50

  • #
    cedarhill

    So the folks are upset that they don’t get to share in the boondoggle of solar when they should be outraged at their paying exorbitant amounts for power. A good example of why socialists always win.

    281

    • #
      Sceptical Sam

      But they don’t. They just run out of other people’s money. Then, Venezuela here we come.

      No one’s winning there. Nor in Zimbabwe, or Cuba, or Laos, or North Korea. They didn’t win in USSR or East Germany or Poland or Romania and all the rest.

      Socialism is the losers ideology. Just watch what happens in NZ now they have a Commo PM and socialist Labor (minority) government.

      272

      • #
        Tom O

        Don’t confuse communism and socialism. They are not the same. As for the countries you named, for the most part, their systems were victimized by “sanctions,” not socialism. That and outside interference. Pre WW2 Germany was proof that socialism works just fine, which was another reason for WW2 in the first place.

        As in all things, a lack of education and understanding tends to get in the way of progress. What the people in Broome want is solar power. That is something that they should not be denied. Let them put solar panels on their houses and detach them from the grid while they are producing power for the house. That is the way solar should be anyway. Batteries to store the excess produced during the day, an inverter to convert it back to use in the house into the evening, and a relay that allows the house to switch onto the grid when the batteries are depleted. They use what they produce, don’t sell it at a premium, and pay only for the power they need to buy when they aren’t supplying their own. Under those circumstances, most that “think” they want solar would opt to forget it since it won’t save them any money over time.

        1211

        • #

          Pre WW2 Germany was proof that socialism works just fine, which was another reason for WW2 in the first place.

          I would beg to differ. Read “The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism”. The war was necessary to paper over the failure and permanent state of economic crisis that the German pre-war flavor of socialism created. The Nazis couldn’t deliver prosperity and consumer goods, and they needed to launch the war for three reasons
          a) they hoped that the plunder from their conquests helped undo the annually decreasing standard of living their policies were creating
          b) the desire for Germans to assume “their rightful place” as rulers of Europe
          c) the war created a powerful and difficult-to-rebut claim that the party’s power should be expanded and that people who were opposed to its policies should either be quiet and fall in line or be ruthlessly suppressed:

          A similar rationale was operating in Italy as well:

          “The so-called radicals in the fascist Party bureaucracy,” the Italian friend replied, “are jubilant about this war. They expect the economic difficulties in wartime to strengthen their authoritarian control of the so-called conservative forces. These will be weakened by further measures of expropriation. Those who still have privileges and property rights will live in fear that they may lose everything and that they will perish too if the dictatorship should break down.”

          80

        • #
          Ken Stewart

          TomO,
          I asked a local supplier here in Rocky for a quote/ advice on installing the system you describe. They told me to forget it. After the subsidy, the cost would be upwards of $30,000 and could NEVER pay for itself. Also, on our house no solar installation could ever pay for itself, because we don’t use enough electricity to be viable.

          140

        • #
          Kneel

          ” Batteries to store the excess produced during the day, an inverter to convert it back to use in the house into the evening, and a relay that allows the house to switch onto the grid when the batteries are depleted. ”

          If you have the batteries, then tying into the grid and selling them VARs, synchronising power and “spinning reserve” instead (grid stability) would be possible. The inverter control to do this would be tricky for a distributed system at the retail level, but possible. Probably sounds uneconomic, but such technology would be a saleable system, maybe they could make it back selling this tech overseas…

          40

  • #

    Broome is a town with a measly 615 mls of rain annually and an average annual max of 32. It’s at latitude 17+.

    Of course you can find a use for solar in Broome. Duh. Even in humid country at 32 latitude I can find a use for solar. But grid chaos and money-soaking schemes are not “use”.

    God send us some adults. Soon. Please.

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    • #

      Our electricity in Broome is superb, very rare to have any blackouts, and not so expensive that you can’t afford at least one air conditioner on 24/7, or an occasional heater during a few cold winter nights.
      The gas is trucked from the Pilbara to a storage site on the outskirts and piped to the power station sitting next to the old diesel shed.
      Just 30 km out of town, most properties use solar panels and batteries, as no grid serves the area there.
      Here is what the power station looks like: https://pindanpost.com/2012/07/05/solar-fail/

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      • #
        Graeme#4

        What type of gas generators are used Tom? Very handy being close to the Pilbara gas fields.

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      • #
        Peter C

        Thanks Tom,

        That is the cleanest power station I have seen. Not even a hint of black CO2 pouring from the multiple chimneys.

        Bad luck that the Tom Price point onshore gas plant did not go ahead. Then there would have been even cheaper gas for decades to come.

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  • #

    In Qld. you can have rain water tanks but you are not allowed by law to connect the tank water to to the supply from the water utility if there is one.If you want to use rain water for example for toilets one has to have a separate system with no connection (our tank is used only for the garden). That is what should happened to all domestic solar. If you want solar there should be separate circuits to the utility supply and no connection. If “greenies” want to be self sufficient they could buy a property large enough to have a sewerage system (septic or pump out to water the garden, have solar with batteries and diesel backup, and have sufficient rain water tanks. It has worked for many in the country. No need for utility connection. Even no need now for phone connection or cable internet with mobile phones and wireless satellite connections. Of course the “greenies” want other people to pay for their wants and receive a free pension to allow them to live in comfort as well.

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    • #
      Dennis

      However, when town water supplies were provided home owners were “encouraged” to remove water tanks.

      40

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Have you tasted tap water? Its thick, awful muck…..even in sydney…

        Pouring good rainmwater on a garden is a waste….if youre worried about teeth, swill with a fluoridated mouth wash….you dont need fluoride in water for teeth. People freak out about me having an RO filter at home, I said toothpaste has 1000 ppm fluoride anyway, way higher than water and fluoride should only be applied topically anyway.

        Teeth *might* need remineralization, but your body doesnt need stacks of extra chemicals, which is what you get when you drink chlorinated, fluoridated, “town” water.

        No thanks….

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      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        The rain water tank thing is controlled by local Councils, at least in QLD.
        So, at various locations at various times; it becomes mandatory to optional, to encouraged to discouraged.

        At one point some years ago the Labour government mandated all new houses must have a tank for water supply. I’m not directly involved so I don’t know the details. It increased the cost of a new dwelling, and for the smaller lot sizes today, it made it difficult to fit it in the lot’s footprint. Tony Abbot didn’t remove the law, but altered it so that it read (to the effect) “If any Council wishes to mandate rain water tanks, they must demonstrate to the QLD government a net benefit”. Councils still can mandate them, but they have to get that through the State Government first.

        40

    • #
      RickWill

      Allowing wind and solar to connect to the grid in the first place was the beginning of the end for grid power.

      What very few have awakened to is that there is no benefit of scale with solar and limited benefit of scale with wind. Any benefit of scale or location advantage is rapidly wiped out by the cost of transmission.

      The grid end game is when grid power is too expensive for heavy industry, which was attracted to Australia by State governments offering low cost base load generation to lower the cost of grid power across the board. The centralised coal generation benefit hugely from scale making power low cost for everyone connected.

      Australia is now in the end came. Low intensity consumers can be served economically from solar/battery/fossil that generates locally. All existing heavy industry without captive generation is on government life support.

      Westfield shopping centres could very easily be selling power to local consumers as well as providing retail outlets for the same consumers:
      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/australia-solar-car-park-canopy-mb0110/
      Adding solar panels to car park canopies is not a huge additional cost. Solar panels work out at relatively low cost roofing. Of course adding batteries and diesel generation in the facility adds cost but now cheaper in SA than buying low grade grid power.

      33

      • #
        Griffo

        I wonder what a hail storm, which we experience quite often in Sydney,would do to a roof top solar array? A damaged panel could still produce electricity, leave until nightfall.

        50

  • #
    Crakar24

    This problem is easily fixed, Broome has some of the largest tidal flows in the world obviously they need to build wave generation to provide much needed a stability

    63

  • #
    Pauly

    I’m assuming installation of solar PV panels in Broome is done to the same building codes that new structures are required to meet in the cyclone zone. Wouldn’t want those big flat panels letting go in a Cat1 storm. Do they come with automatic shut down systems in the event of accidental damage, as in the case of being hit by flying debris? As a final point, I hope they are set up with proper earthing to minimise the risk of lightning strikes during the wet season.

    All this is pretty basic engineering, but I’ve already heard news stories of firemen being put at risk in emergencies by live solar systems that cannot be turned offf.

    160

    • #
      PeterS

      You are being a realist like me. Leftists in Australia are thirsty for more and more renewables in as short a time possible so are not realists; they are ignorant and don’t care about such circumstances, and have taken over much of the high positions in business and politics with little or no resistance, thanks to the media and the silent majority who are asleep. This is happening only in Australia. All other nations recognise the importance of base load and so are continuing to build more and more nuclear and/or coal fired power stations as well as adding more renewables. We are alone and we are for whatever reason committing economic suicide, unless there is a complete turnaround very soon.

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      • #
        OriginalSteve

        All hard core socialists care about is wrecking society – they have a warped view of reality and a pig headed stubborness insisting that paralytic socialism can help.

        Those of this ilk I have met, are control freaks and cant handle being told “No” which I do as a wind up sometimes just to watch them become incandescent. A couple times I was wondering if I’d have to “handle” myself appropriately in case they erred in judgement and preferred fisty-cuffs, but I’m fairly large so they realized once I’d fixed them with a stare and set my jaw, they werent going to win, and reatreated shouting all sorts of leftist nonsense…. which is about normal.

        Hard core Socialists should never under any circumstances, have political power of any description.

        From experience, they are like a bad tempered wounded dogs, and will circle around behind you and have a crack at you, from my experience…..

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  • #
    Geoffrey Williams

    Simple solution; just disconnect from the grid and stop whinging. Yeah, go it alone man.
    Regards GeoffW

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    • #
      observa

      You’re a hard man Geoffrey. How do you expect all these virtue signallers to have a warm inner glow without the reshiftable power bills?

      111

  • #

    UPDATE: To put a fine point on it, in Australia the subsidy for solar is almost $4,000 for the installation and purchase of a 5KW system.

    https://www.infiniteenergy.com.au/about-solar-power/govt-incentives/

    1. Reduction in purchase price
    When you install a solar system, you generate Small Technology Certificates (STCs), which are sometimes referred to as a ‘Government Rebate’. You’ll receive 1 STC for every Megawatt of energy your system is expected to produce until 2031.
    For example, a 5kW system (approx 20 panels) will produce around 96MWh worth of electricity over the 14-year period until 2031, meaning you are entitled to 96 STCs.
    Once your system has been installed and the STCs have been registered, they can be sold to recover a portion of the cost of purchasing your solar PV system. Given the complexity surrounding creating and selling STCs, it’s common practice to assign the right to create the STCs to your solar provider, in exchange for an upfront discount off the full, or ‘true’, system price. 
    STCs currently trade for around $38 each, which means you’d receive a $3,650 discount off the full, or ‘true’, cost of a 5kW system.
    Infinite Energy will quote a price to you that is inclusive of the STC discount. This is the final price of your system.

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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      15.6% efficiency implied. And $38 a MWh subsidy. I suggest that “renewables” subsidies under the RET all be cut to $38 as well (until they can be abolished).

      70

      • #
        RobK

        Graeme,
        The small scale certificates are less than large ones because they are paid upfront and supposedly have an allowance for sub-optimal installation (orientation and ventilation) and the fact that they may not last for 15 years.

        40

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          RobK:
          And how long do wind turbines last?

          30

          • #
            RobK

            Graeme,
            Large scale certificates are paid annually on measured energy produced. If the large scale certificate turbine dies it gets no more certificates. It’s a pay as you produce scheme.

            00

    • #
      ivan

      Ouch!!!

      That being said I have no objections to solar power at all Provided certain conditions are met.

      1) I am NOT PAYING for it in any shape or form – no direct or indirect tax via power bills.
      1a) there are no government grants/subsidies for the installation – that comes from my taxes.

      2) it is NEVER connected to the grid.

      3) those that have it DO NOT get any reductions in their power bills – they pay the same as everyone else for any power they use from the grid.

      4) those that have solar farms get no preferential treatment over fossil fuel plants.
      4a) solar farms must have sufficient auxiliary generation capacity that their power output is constant 24/7.

      If they meet those conditions then I’m all for solar. Unfortunately small and large solar does not meet any of those at the moment.

      30

  • #
    Yonniestone

    This is very upsetting as everyone knows how easy it is to attain 100% renewable clean energy but responsible people are being victimised by greedy capitalism………

    81

  • #
    Tdef

    There is no government subsidy. That is a popular misconception. The ‘government’ pays nothing.

    The LGCs and STCs are Carbon Certificates which are theft from fossil fuel electricity retailers and so from all the other electricity users. This is the RET scheme.

    It is buried in everyone’s electricity bills. Even those who use solar. So is the pay in tariff for unwanted lunchtime solar. Plus it is marked up.

    The greatest ripoff in the world. For this you do not get electricity. Just the right to buy electricity, 90% from power stations already built and coal we already own.

    Government Subsidies? No such thing. Theft. $3billion a year goes overseas. As much again to reward private companies in Australia. For nothing. When you do get the ‘free’ renewables, you pay again. Will prople stop talking about Government dusidies. Weatherill has not paid for one windmill.

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    • #
      Kneel

      “There is no government subsidy. That is a popular misconception. The ‘government’ pays nothing. ”

      Oh – so similar to the “subsidy” for rainwater tanks then. They give you the “subsidy”, then charge you for “water storage” on your property. You get the “subsidy” once, the fees on on-going. Nice little earner for them AND they get to boast of the subsidy!

      40

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        I havent heard of this, how does that little “deal” work?

        They charge you to have water on your own suburnban property? Or is it a rural thing only?

        20

      • #

        TdeF, thanks, that’s very useful. I’ve added your comment to the post, and changed the wording as I dig deeper, noting the edits at the bottom of the post. I had mistakenly thought that 10% of the houses had solar, but looking at the Google satellite image, there are hardly any solar panels on houses (though more on the largest houses in Cable Beach). The wording in the article mentions “10% of the town’s power”, but only describes it as a “limited number of homes” in a caption at the side. Perhaps the google image is out of date?

        Where is that solar coming from? Suggestions welcome. I found a trial by the Government run Water Corp in August 2016 to power “Solar Diesel” pumps for water bores. I found an undated Solar PV Pilot plan which was for only six houses now, six later.

        50

  • #
    PeterS

    So what happens as the whole country moves to more and more renewables while at the same time letting our base load generation systems run down and destroyed? Won’t we have the same problem forcing a similar restriction everywhere?

    100

    • #
      RickWill

      Yes – It is already happening in South Australia. The 1700MW of installed wind capacity is limited to 1200MW even when the demand is greater. That is to maintain voltage and frequency stability plus having the inertia to ride through faults.

      The registered rooftop solar capacity is now up around 800MW in SA and the base demand is only 1200MW so the grid load can drop to about 500WM on a mild sunny day. I suspect there are locations on the network where the solar inverters are shutting down on over voltage already. Voltage regulation is definitely an issue for AusNet in Victoria where there is high take up of solar energy.

      To get reliable supply from 100% wind and solar the overcapacity needs to be somewhere between 5 and 7 times the average demand. That is with present cost of battery storage. With negligible cost of energy storage the overbuild drops to about 3 to 4 in SA, basically the inverse of the capacity factor.

      30

      • #
        RickWill

        I found this article on SA voltage regulation:
        https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/sa-power-networks-shonky-voltages-causing-headaches-adelaide-solar-owners/

        I’m getting reports that lots of solar owners in Adelaide have seen their inverters shut down over Christmas.
        No, the inverters are not taking a break to eat mince pies and open their presents – they are shutting down because the grid voltage seems to be regularly going higher than 257V. Many inverters are designed to shut down when the grid gets this high, in order to protect the inverter electronics.

        That was 2014. I expect it happens more often than Christmas Day now.

        40

        • #
          RobK

          Rick, you are right of course. The problem with distributed supply like domestic solar with feed-in tariff….the inverter pushing out to the highest voltage sells more of it’s surplus energy to the grid. It’s a problem as the monitoring is done at the substations. It’s also a problem that intermittent clouds over solar systems surge demand from the grid then as the sun reappears the demand plunges and is replaced by a surge of distributed supply….havoc.
          You may have seen series gravity wave clouds, alternating bands of cloud and clear sky, on air photos. Imagine the havoc the generator in a town like Broome faces cycling loads minutes at a time for hours. Very hard to stabilise voltage under such conditions.

          50

  • #
    TdeF

    Consider in Broome that they are not connected to the grid, so they are not connected to the source of all money, the poor people of Australia who are paying the world’s highest electricy prices. So the people of Broome, unlike the people of Adelaide, have to pay for their own solar and wind. The electricity company cannot hide the cash in their bills without producing outrageous fees, the highest in Australia. For ‘FREE’ electricty. South Australia is getting billions in ‘free’ windmills by a tax on everyone else in Australia.

    So it is not about ‘grid fluctuations’ in Broome. The electricity company cannot afford to charge everyone else to pay for everyone to put in solar and everyone wants solar. Think it through. No one then pays for anything.

    Then the electricity company does not exist, no one has a grid and the electricity only works well at midday and not at 6am and 6pm when everyone wants it. There is no daylight saving in Broome. The RET only works by stealing from the poor who cannot afford solar, as directed by a caring government.

    I believe the RET is legislated theft, the worst law in the history of Australia and probably would not be supported by the High Court. It survives and trades on ignorance and the fantasy that the ‘Government’ is paying. No, the government receives no cash and pays no cash. In this way the government can say, there is no Carbon Tax, when in fact we have the highest carbon tax in the world, 10x as high as Europe. And it attracts all the rent seekers and blow flies, now selling us giant batteries to try to make it all work. Musk’s battery would carry Adelaide for 4 1/2 minutes. That’s not enough time to make tea.

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    • #
      TdeF

      Then our Emissions Tax PM is going to build a $6Billion water battery. Work has already started. No cost study. Forget feasibility. $6Billion in borrowings from merchant banks with Australian bonds. Cash like a river to make a river run uphill. A dream from the head of Goldmann Sachs Australia. That is your money again.

      The government has no money. It only has your money. When the Snowy scheme was built, it harvested free energy of water falling downhill. There is no free energy in pumping water uphill. We as a nation are being exploited by our own government.

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      • #
        Dennis

        Snowy Mountains Scheme plan that was abandoned years ago for very good reasons.

        100

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          I emailled the Snowy 2 people asking them basic info like efficiency, how long will it run, how much power will it provide, what do you do in droughts…..etc

          Silence…..

          90

      • #
        PeterS

        We as a nation are being exploited by our own government.

        Slight correction – We as a nation are being exploited by big corporations endorsed and encouraged by both major political parties.
        We are doomed to failure as an economy sooner or later, unless there is a major change in the political landscape.

        60

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Excellent comments TdeF, renewable solar clearly clearly is a rip-off of the those poorer people in Australia who cannot afford the upfront cash for a rooftop solar system. Totally, totally unfair and who do we have to thank for this? Who else but ‘the people’s very own Green Party of Australia’
      GeoffW

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      • #
        TdeF

        Geoffrey, sadly the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2001 was a John Howard Act. Both parties are supporting this and neither mentions it. Tunrbull, Abbott and Shorten fight about introducing more actual taxes, like the Emissions Trading Scheme. Rudd extended the REA (RET) by another 10 years. Politicians either do not understand it themselves or they are pretending it does not exist. Even front page news in the Australian that $3Billion a year is going overseas is hardly mentioned. They talk of ‘subsidies’. Wind being cheaper than coal. Renewables.

        All make believe, diversion. Even Abbott talks about phasing out subsidies. What subsidies? This is highway robbery, of the poor by the rich, the banks and the polticians.

        Repeal the RET and electricity prices would go down overnight. Then talk about what Australia is going to do to change world Climates. Perhaps ask the CSIRO how they can help in the Climate Crisis where we are possibly 0.9C warmer in a century? I would have thought no one could make this stuff up, but I would be wrong.

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          Geoffrey Williams

          TdeF,
          As usual you are well informed and I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said.
          It seems to me that in Australia the two sides of politics collude together to suit their own individual ends.
          The minority left are in for their ideological gratification, while the main parties have other motives ie making money for big business, and the Climate gravy train, either here or overseas. All paid for by hard working Australians, and meanwhile the leaders of these parties bask in the warm glow of political correctness. What will it take people wake up to this scam!
          Regards GeoffW

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        RickWill

        Wind and solar energy all get strong support from ACOSS and the various state bodies representing disadvantage people. This is a statement from VCOSS.

        It was great to be in a position yesterday to voice the Victorian Council of Social Service’s support for Victoria’s Renewable Energy Targets.

        Hours earlier, the Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced that the targets—to generate 25% of the state’s power by 2020 and 40% by 2025 from renewable sources—would be enshrined in legislation.

        This is bold, ambitious and important policymaking. It’s what leadership looks like.

        VCOSS also voiced concerns about the impacts such a scheme might have on vulnerable or low-income households. As Victoria’s peak social welfare and advocacy body, these are real concerns.

        As The Age put it in today’s editorial:

        It will be important to monitor prices to prevent those least able to afford power from carrying a disproportionate cost. Again, the move to renewable energy is not optional, so there should be consideration of policies to relieve the burden on those on the lowest incomes.

        My bolding.

        http://vcoss.org.au/blog/vret-assuranceas/

        Australia is rapidly moving away from electricity supply as a service. It is becoming more like transport with various governments maintaining the network and individuals and businesses responsible for their own generation and storage. It like owning a car and using the roads installed by various governments. Unlike roads there is really no need to venture out because it is possible to be self-sufficient on your own property.

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          Manfred

          Pre WW2 Germany was proof that socialism works just fine, which was another reason for WW2 in the first place.

          The German economy or lack thereof was proof that Socialism does not work “just fine” or at all. Indeed, the current diktats present in the power sector of the Australian economy bear more than a passing resemblance to features of pre-WW2 Germany ‘centrally administered economy’.

          “Germany experienced hyperinflation in 1923 and chronic high unemployment throughout the 1920′s as a result of the inability of the governement to cope with the problems of Germany effectively. When the unemployment rate jumped in 1930 as a result of the onset of the Great Depression the support for the Weimar Republic drained away.”

          “National Socialist Germany” truncated article

          Walter Eucken was a professor of economics at the University of Freiburg, Germany and an architect of the economic reforms that led to the Economic Miracle. In this article Eucken wanted to explain the problems and weaknesses of centrally administered economies such as that of National Socialist (Nazi) Germany and the Soviet Union.

          The Nazi economic system developed unintentionally. The initial objective in 1932-33 of its economic policy was just to reduce the high unemployment associated with the Great Depression. This involved public works, expansion of credit, easy monetary policy and manipulation of exchange rates. Generally Centrally Administered Economies (CAE’s) have little trouble eliminating unemployment because they can create large public works projects and people are put to work regardless of whether or not their productivity exceeds their wage cost. Nazi Germany was successful in solving the unemployment problem, but after a few years the expansion of the money supply was threatening to create inflation.

          The Nazi Government reacted to the threat of inflation by declaring a general price freeze in 1936. From that action the Nazi Government was driven to expand the role of the government in directing the economy and reducing the role played by market forces. Although private property was not nationalized, its use was more and more determined by the government rather than the owners.

          The prices of 1936 made little economic sense, particularly after Germany was at war. So there economic calculations using the official prices were meaningless. In particular, the profitability of a product was of no significance in determining whether it should be produced or not. Losses did not result in a factory ceasing production; the control offices made sure that it got the raw materials and that the workers got rations of necessities.

          Because of the mistakes and failures of Centrally Administered Economies there are often black markets operating. Although the authorities typically persecute people for dealing in these markets the reality is that such markets are essential for preventing a collapse of the Centrally Administered Economy.

          Production decisions may be made on political criteria that are economically foolish, such as locating a factory in a region to benefit the supporters of some political figure. Even aside from such corruption of the decision process the centrally administered economy suffers from major weaknesses. The centrally administered economy can mobilize resourts quickly for big investment projects but there is no guarantee that there will be a balance of investments. For example, there may be big programs to build railroads but not enough trains to make use of those railroads.

          Although Centrally Administered Economies may appear to be efficient and effective initially their errors and inefficiencies accumulate and eventually result in stagnation if not collapse. Often the apparent successes of such economies are just illusions. Outsiders who do not know how such economies really work are often fooled by these illusions.

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      RobK

      TdeF,
      The rebates apply in Broome as anywhere else in Australia, it’s a Commonwealth scheme. It’s just that in Broome it distributor is controlling intermittent supply.

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    TdeF

    Consider this year that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews tripled the price of coal to Hazelwood. Hazelwood promptly closed. That was our coal and the money went to our government on our behalf. What do we get now? Nothing. So what was the purpose of tripling the price? Simple. Close Hazelwood. When asked by it tripled, the energy minister said it had not changed in ten years.

    At what point do people realise their governments are not acting in their interests, as if that was not obvious enough in Victoria. Even the Liberal party were happy to pass the ban on gas exploration, so gas prices have gone through the roof. At present these rapacious irresponsible governments across Australia are the problem while the individual MPs like Julie Bishop openly party around the world. Australia’s Black Hand clique run the country and control the Liberal party through lobbyists like Photios. Then Labor are far worse as in Victoria where the tens of thousands of fire fighters are targeted to be force to pay to join the union. To pay annual fees to risk their lives fighting fires.

    Between Turnbull’s banker friends and Andrew’s, Shorten’s and Gillard’s Union friends, we the people of Australia are seeing our wonderful and adequate power system torn down. In the name of Climate Change where an allegedly disastrous change of less than one degree in a century is supposed to mean the end of the world. Greed and fantasy.

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    TdeF

    Remember, we are the open cut mine for the world. Importers of coal and iron ore want their money back, so we are being forced to buy windmills and solar panels and sell bonds for cash. Our debt is now $750Billion and climbing rapidly.

    Is it an international conspiracy to force down prices, retrieve cash and make Australia a dependent state which manufactures nothing and serves coffee? Of course. Like Saudi Arabia and Iran, rich on paper but having to buy absolutely everything from overseas whiles merchant banks like Goldmann Sachs make a percentage on everything.

    So we are into every crazy scheme. Batteries in the sky. A Very Fast Train. New airports we don’t need. Thousands of useless windmills. All with the happy cooperation of our political elites who are doing very well, when they don’t get caught lying on statutory government forms with criminal implications. We will see how that goes today.

    Government subsidies? Now that’s a joke. Firstly it’s not true. Secondly, where did they get the money?

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  • #
    Mark M

    Tell me how this helps the poor or the environment…

    Carbon farming could be worth $8 billion to Queensland by 2030

    https://mysunshinecoast.com.au/news/news-display/carbon-farming-could-be-worth-8-billion-to-queensland-by-2030,52066
    . . .
    How much carbon (sic) must Queensland farm before Queensland prevents its first bad weather?

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    • #
      David Maddison

      Idiots!

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      Greg Cavanagh

      My God, who the bloody hell comes up with this stuff?

      They have never heard of “The broken window fallacy”.

      “Carbon farming involves activities like fire, soil, animal, and vegetation management to store carbon or avoid greenhouse gas emissions being released. It is one of the simplest measures for reducing Queensland’s (and the world’s) carbon pollution levels.”

      Do they think trees live forever?

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    robert rosicka

    This begs a question if you scale up the solar panel installs to the eastern states , how many does it take to upset the grid ?
    I know we had a 5kw max limit .

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      RickWill

      Voltage regulation is already a problem across Australia. The solar inverters cut out when the voltage gets above preset levels so that limits their output. On a sunny day some systems may generate a lot less than they could because the voltage in the area is too high.

      South Australia will encounter the serious problems before other states. It appears no other state has learnt any lessons from SA so they could have the same problems but in the future and with greater consequence. I do wonder why the Labor governments have become renewable zealots. The current structure seriously disadvantages those who cannot afford rooftop solar.

      The grid in Australia is already cactus as an economic entity. Adding grid scale wind and solar and allowing rooftop solar to connect was the start of its demise. The grid will likely stay for a long time in some form but supported from general revenue rather than being able to generate income from electricity sales. If connection fees increase to cover the real cost of grid maintenance then that accelerates the uptake of household batteries.

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    David Maddison

    DEBT UPDATE Last Friday the total government debt hit the magic $750 billion mark. Now, one week later it is almost $751.5 billion. The vermin have blown another $1.5 billion in just 7 days. This is not going to end well.

    http://www.australiandebtclock.com.au/

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    • #
      Dennis

      That figure is of course the total combined government debt, federal, state, territory and local government.

      However, not shown because the debts are hidden in government owned private company accounts, are the debts of NBNCo and various others.

      I believe the national public debt is at least $100 billion higher.

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    Dennis

    There is a new call for the Prime Minister to move from his Harborside mansion into the already taxpayer funded official residence Kirribilli House. The official residence is already serviced and protected and now unused apart from occasional functions held there. But to provide the services and security to the Prime Minister’s family home at Point Piper is costing an extra few millions of dollars a year.

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    TdeF

    “How fair is it when a government can offer subsidies on a first-in first-served basis? ”

    None of the money comes from the government. The money comes from everyone in Broome, as does the pay in tariff.

    The people of Broome cannot afford to pay themselves more money for nothing, making some rich at the expense of others.

    There is no generosity and it is not random. This is in a small town what is happening across Australia. Worse remember that Broome does not make solar panels. This cash leaves the town forever. Good thing they cannot afford windmills. If someone setup a windmill in Broome, or the good people of Broome would be forced to buy the power, even to pay for a giant battery to store the power. It never ends. They could always pump water uphill.

    Nothing to do with Government, subsidies, investment. There are no subsidies. Subsidies is a politicians word. Renweables do not need subsidies. The subsidies are too high etc. etc. There are no subsidies.

    Rather a giant ripoff of consumers ordered, enforced and administered by our Federal Government when they bought into the National electricity business in 2001. It just keeps getting worse.

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    old44

    This bit I love:

    Queensland.
    A Voluntary Electricity Retailer contribution of up to 6.38c is paid for units exported to the grid.

    How much do they charge for it when they sell it to your next door neighbor.

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    • #
      TdeF

      As it works with LGCs over $80, the 6.38c means the retailer gets 8c of value for this, even if they cannot use it, which is likely. LGCs and STCs are not about providing power. They are about a mandated payment for the fact of generating non fossil fuel power. This is a carbon indulgence of 8c. For this you get nothing but you are obliged to buy them from providers. For the home user, this $6.38 is on top of the 15 years carbon tax in advance, which paid half the cost of purchase and installation.

      The whole scheme works on the idea that no one understands it. So far, it is working fine.

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        RobK

        TdeF,
        Domestic feed-in tariffs are paid by the States, not Fed. The retailer can’t claim any certificates because all the small scale installations are already paid out up front. The retailer does however sell the input at the going retail rate and for-goes having to purchase from a reliable wholesaler at spot price.

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        • #
          TdeF

          Thanks. I am not across the pay in rates. The cash they receive is 15 years of Carbon tax in advance. Pay in rates are another matter. It is hard to see how it works in a free market, unless the relevant authority is Government as in the case of Broome. However as long as the pay in rate is lower than the sale rate and you do not have to buy credits/certificates, you can make a profit. The real problem is selling electricity at lunch time when the real needs are 6am and 6pm.

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      Sceptical Sam

      A Voluntary Electricity Retailer contribution of up to 6.38c is paid for units exported to the grid.

      6.38 cents/unit is a half truth. The truth is that it’s a lot less than that. A lot less.

      Take Perth for example:

      In Perth the FIT is 7.1/kWh.
      The daily Service Charge is 88 cents.

      Assume a 5.0 kW solar system giving 20 kWh/day
      Assume daily domestic use of 16 kWh; with a 50/50 grid/solar split.

      Total feed-in units sold to grid and consumption bought from grid = 20 kWh (12 sold/8 bought)

      Pro-rata Service Charge per unit = 8.8 cents/20 = 4.4 cents.

      Real FIT then is 7.1 – 4.4 = 2.7 cents.

      The next door neighbour?

      Well, he gets your feed-in kWhs sold to him for 29.5 cents/kWh (25.1 + 4.4 – assuming his consumption is also 16 kWh/day).

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      • #
        Sceptical Sam

        That’s 88c/20 = 4.4 (not 8.8)

        And the neighbour?

        Well he gets your kWhs for 29.5 cents that you were paid 2.7 cents for. That’s a 993% mark up.

        That what’s called Synergy! Go long Synergy.

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    David Maddison

    The whole scheme works on the idea that no one understands it. So far, it is working fine

    No doubt the scheme was dreamed up by a very evil person tasked with the destruction of the Australian economy as part of the overall plan to destroy Western Civilisation in general.

    One of the only countries to be saved from this plan is America under Trump and he was not meant to get elected according to the plans of the elites.

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    David Maddison

    O/T Latest SCARY STORY

    This item was in the news.

    Climate change might be worse than thought they claim.

    https://www.rt.com/news/407877-ocean-temperatures-climate-change/

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    robert rosicka

    OT but I thought SA was warned about relying too much on wind power on days that damaging high winds were forecast , seems to me that they need more lessons in how to blackout a state .

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    • #
      Dennis

      Feeder lines from wind turbine sites to the electricity grid were below standard design specifications and approved by the SA Labor Government as a cost reduction measure for the business owners.

      40

    • #
      TdeF

      SA should shut down all their power to prevent blackouts when it’s too hot, too cold or too windy. People should be paid not to use energy. Stay home. Don’t go to work. Get firewood. Hunt for rabbits. Avoid refrigeration. Then blackouts will not happen and no one will have to pay too much for power. The poorest people will make money, eliminating poverty for ever. See, everything solved by logic and socialism.

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    TdeF

    Previous claims that the water was 15C hotter 100 million years ago might be completely wrong? So being wrong (maybe) makes everything much worse today because our heating is more significant than previously thought, which makes it worse than it was?

    New stuff claiming that previous made up stuff was completely wrong but now they know for sure? Things are therefore perfectly right until the next person declares them completely wrong. When does this stop?

    How does tiny CO2 heat the oceans and not the air? No one even bothers to explain the logic behind all these Armageddon predictions. Be afraid. We were really wrong. Things are far worse than we ever thought. Send money.

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    oz_fred

    Perhaps it is time that the subsidies for new PV panels are phased out (over three years?) And perhaps even limit the amount (or timing) of small scale renewable power being sent to the grid.

    OTOH, I would feel a whole lot more positive if the efficiencies of the traditional grid supplied power were more “customer focused”. In WA the lack of regular maintenance (e.g. of power poles requiring massive catch-up replacements) and interesting work practices (four trucks and at least ten men to replace a “rural” transformer hit by lightning) do little to ensure low cost power supplies. And WA’s choice of rural 480v power (versus three phase – a long time ago) and limited high voltage distribution capacity is now costing $$ and economic opportunities in regional WA.

    The discussion about Broome also highlights the need (opportunity) for expansion of the high(er) voltage distribution network. Where would WA be without the vision that created the water pipeline to Kalgoorlie or the Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline?

    I also have limited sympathy for people complaining about the capacity increases in regional facilities that live in the Perth metro area.

    Enough for today.
    Fred

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    philthegeek

    HC sittting.

    Roberts, Barnyard gone. :)

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    PeterS

    If the dead could walk, he would still be incapable of walking.

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    TdeF

    “fossil fuel suppliers”. No, they get nothing at all. Poor sods. They are supposed to close. They only supply reliable cheap electricity and no one wants that. They are the evil polluters and will be punished and driven from the planet.

    The middle men, the electricity retailers are forced to do all the dirty work for the government. If they buy $1 from an evil coal electricity supplier, they have to pay $2 to a windmill or solar supplier. Not for any electricity. $2 for the right to buy $1 of fossil fuel electricity, the dirty stuff. Then they have to buy so much wind power, another $2. It’s a lot easier and more profitable to buy wind, as AGL have worked out. It is no fun being a coal based producer. You do not even get steady income.

    They have to purchase these 1Mwhr certificates from some windmill or solar supplier for around $85 who keeps the cash for supplying nothing at all. An electronic piece of paper. Any electricity they produce and optionally sell is additional income for them. This is is all administered by the government, who never touch a cent. You have to find someone who has certificates to sell.

    So you, the electricity paying public actual pay for the purchase and installation of solar panels and windmills and powerlines, but you don’t get to own them! You get to pay again for the free power. You pay three times. Then being a middle man, the electricity retailer marks it all up. So 4c coal power becomes 40c earth saving power.

    All designed to destroy coal power. It’s working exactly as planned.

    What you have in Broome is a small version of the entire of Australia. At least the retailer (Horizon Energy) has said enough. We cannot keep taking money from one customer and handing it to another. This is insane. You cannot have everyone on solar. Who will pay for it all if everyone is a recipient of handouts from everyone else?

    Besides, who is going to light the streets at night? Is solar even strong enough to aircondition a town? Subsidies? No such thing. Theft. A heinous law designed to undermine our entire society.

    I doubt seriously that any politicians even understand what they are doing to the country, which is incompetence. If they did, it is really evil. The ‘target’ is a furphy, distraction politics. Make it 2000% renewables. It is the worst law in history, taking from the poor and giving directly to the overseas rich. Saving the planet? No.

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      OriginalSteve

      Heres the thing….we have to let some of the naughty kiddies be “lynched” by the ticked off kiddies…

      Then the playground will settle down….

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    TdeF

    What I find odd is that politicians claim they have no idea why electricity bills are so high, especially as we have plenty of coal. They have no idea why power stations are closing, except extreme age. That’s odd as factories and power stations never need replacing, just maintenance. and we have plenty of coal. Malcolm Turnbull said the closure of Hazelwood was a private matter. He said he could do nothing about the euthanasia bill. He did not intervene in the banning of gas exploration by Liberal governments or with Liberal party support in two states, a state matter.

    So it’s all a bit of a complex mystery and Turnbull is studying it closely.

    Rubbish. Repeal the RET. Whoever promises to do this will win in a landslide victory, but I keep forgetting our solemn obligations under the Paris treaty to devastate our economy on behalf of the people of where again? It’s very fashionable in Hollywood and we know how moral and caring they are.

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    Bulldust

    O/Topic

    Five of the seven were ruled out by the High Court on the citizenship case, including Barnaby Joyce. The by-election for his seat will be held on 2 December 2017. This also means hung Parliament in the meanwhile:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-27/live-blog-high-court-delivers-judgement-on-citizenship-seven/9085032

    Not that Government not being able to get things done is necessarily a bad thing.

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      robert rosicka

      I just loved the coverage their ABC had , a scrolling type in black letters against a yellow background which started with the word “emergency” .
      Now that’s alarmist .

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      Graeme No.3

      Bulldust:

      You raised my hopes until I realised that HUNG merely meant non-functioning.

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    OriginalSteve

    Why do 7 people in parliament all of a sudden find themselves unable to be parliamentarians and create in effect a nobbled parliament, which might stop rolling back key RET/CET changes?

    Its a last-gasp circuit breaker to throw….

    Just curious…..

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      TdeF

      What I would love to know is how professional lawyers can sign a document they did not understand, a document which had a single purpose, a document with 1 year jail sentence for misleading information. What I next want to know is how they can sit again, given that 1 year jail sentence, even suspended is enough to prevent being a member of parliament.

      These are the lawmakers who flouted the constitution knowingly and happily with the excuse that they did not know what they were doing, that being born overseas or with overseas born parents had implications they did not realise. Really? Perhaps they should have asked a lawyer?

      Hansen went to jail for such an offense and had paid the $250,000 for her party back. Some of the offenders have received much more, not a cent is going to be repaid for sitting illegally in parliament and even voting on laws when they were not even eligible to sit. Is it one law for major party parliamentarians and another for Pauline Hanson?

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        OriginalSteve

        It seems to be desperation politics…they are desperate to stop the roll back of the RET , IMHO….the best way to fdo that is to basically sabotage theior majority.

        Job done. Now the RET will be ( likely ) safe and destruction of Oz can continue.

        Climate Comrades in $10,000 suits…..

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    Macspee

    The same problem in Norfolk Island. The pre-takeover Administration offered incentives to instal solar on a system using diesel. Of course every man and his dog jumped at the idea and pretty soon the small system became unstable and they had to abandon it to the chagrin of those who missed out.
    I guess it is the law of unforeseen consequences except that anyone with a brain (that doesn’t include the alt-energy crowd) could, and did, foresee it.

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    Wayne Job

    If people want solar let them go off line,lots of panels and big battery storage, and an inverter. In Broome with the need for aircon it shouldn’t cost anymore than 40 thousand.

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    observa

    The bottom line is all these bozos trying to disprove a fundamental axiom of engineering, namely that you can’t build a reliable system from unreliable componentry. Where in the world did they ever witness such a precedent to engage in such folly? If your apprentice mechanic didn’t understand that axiom implicitly by his second year you’d have to fire him.

    00