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Hello from Renewable World where companies go broke, sack people and customers have no money to spend

Businesses are closing, customers are cutting back spending, company bosses are all suddenly spot trading experts in the energy market, or planning to become their own electricity supplier. Meanwhile scouts from the US have arrived to poach companies who want cheaper energy (and tax cuts).

Happy New Year Australia. These are all headlines and stories in The Australian from yesterday and today.

Cut power bills or lose more jobs: ACCC chief’s warning on energy costs

Glenda Korporaal writes:

Australia’s competition regulator, Rod Sims, who has been tasked with finding ways to cut power bills, has warned that high energy costs will force more plant ­closures and job losses as prices continue to increase.

“Energy affordability is Australia’s largest economic challenge,” the chief executive of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission told The Weekend Australian.

“We have already seen jobs lost, investment reduced, plant closures (because of high energy prices). Unfortunately, we are going to see quite a bit more.”

Some businesses will be OK – like those that are not involved with fertilizer, paper, glass, steel, bricks, telecommunications or refrigeration:

He said the biggest pressure would be on manufacturing companies that used gas, including those involved in making fertiliser, paper, glass, steel and bricks. High energy prices were affecting sectors such as telecommunications companies, services that used refrigeration and farmers using irrigation.

They were also affecting retailers, whose customers’ budgets were hit by rising electricity costs.

Other businesses that will be OK are those that don’t need customers:

The executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, Russell Zimmerman, this week blamed the high cost of energy as a factor in holding consumers back from spending in the post-Christmas sales period.

 2017 was one of the worst years in Australian retail:

Eli Greenblatt writes:

As 2017 closes it will be remembered as one of the worst years for the $300 billion retail sector, which was hammered by a long line of high-profile collapses — including Topshop, Rhodes & Beckett, David Lawrence and Oroton — driven by the lowest growth in household income for decades, mortgage stress and rising energy bills.

“Weak wages, flat house prices and a smaller fall of the household savings rate suggests weak consumption ahead,’’ warns UBS economist George Tharenou. [He] said household cash flow collapsed to a record low in 2017, with discretionary retail spending “taking the hit”.

…the country’s biggest department store, Myer, issued a profit warning on the back of worsening sales ahead of Christmas.

A funny thing happened to the growth of consumption spending as the RET percentage rose.

Australia, graph, spending, disposable.

It appears the RET (Renewables Energy Target) takes money from customers and gives it to solar and wind power investors instead.

Qenos lay-offs start as energy costs hit

Just another company mentioned in the news today:

Manufacturing company Qenos is being forced to lay off 15 per cent of its 700-strong workforce as it battles to cope with higher energy prices, chief executive Stephen Bell said yesterday.

Mr Bell said Qenos, which has polyethylene plants in Altona in Melbourne and Port Botany in Sydney, had been battling hard to boost productivity following increases of up to $60 million a year in its gas and electricity expenses, but was now being forced to lay off staff.

It’s so bad, Australian companies want to spot trade or generate their own electricity

Years ago, [Rod] Sims says, most chief executives did not know much about energy. “Now you find when you are talking to company executives, all of a sudden you are talking to ­energy experts.” Some of them are now buying electricity and gas off the spot ­market,” he said… “You will be chatting with them and they have half an eye to their phone, looking at what the price is doing.”

And we all know how live spot-trading-in-a-volatile-market helps soothe, relax, and hone the focus and creativity of our business leaders.  Why didn’t we ask CEOs to do this before? Will Australian companies lead the world or what! And the answer is or what, or maybe watts.

The rising prices of electricity and gas have ­become such a worry for some of Australia’s major companies they are having to take the situation in their own hands. An increasing number, Sims says, are looking at ways to generate some of their own electricity or “self-supply” as he calls it. “I have spoken to at least 50 companies ­recently on the subject of ­electricity and I can’t remember one which didn’t talk about self-supply,” he says. “It’s quite extraordinary.”

Too bad Australian companies don’t have many choices. They can take the subsidies and go solar, buy a diesel, or build a nuclear plant (as if). But they can’t band together and build a coal station to supply themselves without also paying the RET.

US state of Pennsylvania spruiks power to entice Aussie firms

The state of Pennsylvania has sought to poach Australian companies with a promise of “abundant’’ energy, sparking renewed warnings from Australian business leaders that the nation risks losing jobs to offshore rivals unless it tackles its energy problems. A high-powered delegation from the Pennsylvanian government, headed by Dennis Davin, the state’s Secretary for Community and Economic Development, visited Australia seeking out large and medium Australian businesses and plugging his state’s energy advantages.

The week-long trip early this month, with stops in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth,…

The Pennsylvanian delegation has fanned fears that Australian firms are considered “ripe for targeting’’ by offshore rivals with ­offers of low-cost, reliable power.

The actual price of electricity in Pennsylvania isn’t cheap. Presumably they are expecting ours to go higher, or theirs lower, or both.

The average price of electricity per megawatt ranged from $76 to $123 in 2016-17 in Australia while the average commercial electricity rate in Pennsylvania was advertised at about $121.90 a megawatt ($US94.40).

However, I bet gas is a lot cheaper in the US. Still, some companies might prefer to pay high gas prices, and feel good because they live in a state that bans gas exploration.

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Hello from Renewable World where companies go broke, sack people and customers have no money to spend, 9.7 out of 10 based on 62 ratings

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124 comments to Hello from Renewable World where companies go broke, sack people and customers have no money to spend

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    C. Paul Barreira

    Are not these developments precisely what so many want? A lower standard of living is essential to green ideology (recall the debate between Ian Plimer and the holder of the chair of climate change at Adelaide University, name forgotten and source lost; it was the latter’s final argument, having lost everything else). And industry, likewise. Governments, not least in South Australia, have pronounced themselves post-industrial—with academic and media support. Indeed, the SA government must be greatly relieved that General Motors among others no longer manufactures vehicle in their own state as well as over the border. The end may or may not be nigh but it is visible—and then things start all over again, for there is no end, there are no solutions, just continuity. Perhaps if some cultural development occurred that overcame today’s infatuation with novelty some improvement in the standard of living might be possible. But it is unlikely in a throw-away society in which repairs are no longer possible (electric kettles in the kitchen are a case in point: very short-lived). No hope resides in the present.

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      Manfred

      Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the credo of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its only virtue is the equality of misery. Winston Churchill.

      Are not these developments precisely what so many want?

      The trouble is that hardly anyone knows what they want, only what they don’t want. Consumed by the nightmare of consumerism, they blindly buy what they told they want to buy, inevitably something they don’t need. It’s as pathetic as it is a desperate. Addiction is the glue of a secular World bereft of spiritual values and from any perspective, morally, socially, economically and environmentally unsustainable.

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    John F. Hultquist

    The average price of electricity per megawatt ranged from $76 to $123 in 2016-17 in Australia while the average commercial electricity rate in Pennsylvania was advertised at about $121.90 a megawatt ($US94.40).

    This sounds confusing. Seems not enough difference to entice a firm to move to PA.
    PA is a nice place — I was raised in the western part — or was, until I left in 1965.

    Firms that want to sell to international markets might consider moving. An OZ firm selling mostly to OZ folks will not see any reason to move.

    Relatives still live in Pennsylvania.
    As I type, Bradford PA is -12°C.
    I should mention PA, once called Penn’s Woods, has trees.
    No deserts.

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      Phil R

      Maybe slightly OT. I was born and raised in VA, but both my parents came from PA (NE and N-central part) and we used to go up every year on vacation to visit my cousins. Always loved PA and consider it my second home.

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      James

      I flew into Bradford for my cross country flight training. There is a very nice airport there with a restaurant in the terminal for lunch. Also a nice display of local stainless steel products that are manufactured there.

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    This has got to be fake news.

    We have been told time and time again that renewable energy is now as cheap, if not cheaper, than conventional energy sources such as coal.

    On another note, my wife is an ambulance community officer (ACO) and yesterday she was called out to take a young child to hospital. Latrobe Valley hospital couldn’t take any patients because they were without of power. Leongatha hospital couldn’t take patients because they were without power. Warragul Hospital took the patient, but then lost power for however long.

    This is a portent of things to come.

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      Mall

      All foreseeable.

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      Greg Cavanagh

      I thought hospitals of all places were guaranteed supply (if any was available), or would have generators (at least feeding critical locations).

      As Mall says, all perfectly foreseeable, and we stated it here many times.

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        James

        Medical tourism from Australia to places where the energy is reliable? You do not want the heart and lung machine stopping in the middle of open heart surgery!

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        shannon

        I worked for a major hospital in NSW.As far as I know ALL hospitals have emergency backup, large generators. They were frequently tested to “cut in” in case of electricity disruption ie storm outage etc
        Surely Victorian hospitals would have the same.??

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        Rereke Whakkaro

        New Zealand has some very good private surgical hospitals, and some very good surgeons. I have attended on several occasions, but don’t ask.

        There is a lucrative medical tourism opportunity in the offing, if anybody wants to explore it.

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      yonniestone

      The only thing fake about it is the elected officials posing as leaders, government should be shut down before any hard working business.

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        Rereke Whakkaro

        I guess you get to elect the best of a bad bunch of officials, each wearing a hat with, “Potential Leader” written on it?

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    Phillip Bratby

    A few years ago people would have said “you couldn’t make it up”. Nowadays we realise that the people were wrong. What has happened is truly unbelievable.

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    RobK

    It appears the RET (Renewables Energy Target) takes money from customers and gives it to solar and wind power investors instead.

    Pretty much sums it up, as those investors then proceed to up-end what came before them in a manner that is difficult to reverse without more expenditure. Our prosperity has been taken.

    260

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    Another Ian

    Somewhat O/T

    “Delingpole: 30 Trillion Reasons Why the Green Blob Must Die in 2018″

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/12/28/reasons-global-warming-green-blob-must-die-2018/

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    Dennis

    Several years ago the directors of an Australian private company manufacturing defence industry components here requiring substantial electricity supply for electric furnaces and other equipment became concerned about the Labor Government Carbon Tax and Renewable Energy Surcharge (plus GST) and the direction this country was heading with Renewable Energy Target etc.

    The directors decided to investigate relocation of the factory to another country and discovered that India offered the ideal location with lowe cost electricity. But the exercise revealed much more, low rental for premises, lower wages for employees, lower and fewer government regulations and related compliance costs, and more. The costs involved in relocation were well and truly offset by the estimated increase in operating profit. The business is now located in India.

    A couple of years ago the Australian Financial Review published an article revealing the total cost comparisons for skilled labour, total cost being the cost of all operating expenses by employee, not only wages. The cost rounded off was for Australia A$600/day and for the US it was A$400/day with India being A$200/day.

    As the price of electricity continues to increase and reliability of electricity supply worsens Australia will lose many more businesses and related jobs, tax revenue and economic prosperity.

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      The sad thing, is that once a company has moved manufacturing off-shore, it rarely comes back again. The really sad thing is that the intellectual knowledge, and creative drive, also tends to follow the manufacturing, thus the intellectual property rights also tend to move off-shore, leaving an outline of where the shadow used to be.

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    What about Aluminum, which requires an electricity intensive production process which is also a significant source of beneficial CO2 as the oxygen in aluminum oxide is usually removed by oxidizing carbon.

    Isn’t Australia the leading producer of bauxite? Do they ship it to China who uses cheap coal electricity to produce the metal? With cheap electricity, there’s a lot more value added by converting ore to metal.

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      John Westman

      A good deal goes to Iceland-I don’t have the exact figures-because Iceland has abundant and cheap energy available from geothermal sources. Bauxite refining is very energy intensive: In todays environment I would be inclined to regard this industry as another sacrifice to the altar of the Godless green energy charade.

      Turnbull and the state governments have an awful lot to answer for. Many people have, and are in the process, of losing their jobs.

      We once had 7 processors of bauxite but that number has dwindled. I understand that Gove and Kurri Kurri have closed while Gladstone is reducing production.

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      RickWill

      An increasing proportion of the bauxite is being shipped overseas as the Australian smelters become uneconomic and close.

      Aluminium smelters were encouraged by State governments a few decades ago by an offer of electricity at close to marginal cost. It was a win-win situation with the State getting more value from existing generating assets plus good jobs while the smelters got low cost electricity. Providing guaranteed income in addition to priority dispatch to wind and solar generators has been a game changer. Gas plants had to be installed to cater for the rapid changes in intermittent generation and coal generation has to increase unit cost so it can recover costs from reduced production. Increased gas usage has forced up gas prices, while wind and solar get the benefit of this increase plus the guaranteed income that comes from all customers.

      Electricity prices are destined upward with afterburners already ignited. With regard to aluminium smelters, will Tomago close before Boyne? This depends on how aggressive the States are in pursuing their wind and solar objectives. Given that Liddell is to close I would back Tomago to go first.

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        TdeF

        Everything is being shipped overseas as raw. Bauxite, Iron ore, Coking coal, gas. We are back to the bad old days where we shipped cream to England and it came back as butter. All the achievements of half a century wiped out in a few years by Gillard, Rudd and Turncoat. We haven’t built a dam in fifty years, but we have imported French desalination plants, Chinese windmills and now we are importing a million cars a year. Can anyone see a pattern here as Australians are being turned into beggars at the table, rich beggars who can do nothing for themselves. All based on saving the planet. Now that’s a joke. All our raw materials are simply being sent overseas.

        We get to keep the sheep and wheat and cattle though. Land is harder to export, but we can always sell the farms to the Chinese. Meanwhile Malcolm Turncoat talks about being agile. He is. Like all bankers. The Banking Royal Commission should start with an investigation into the role of the profiteers Goldmann Sachs behind the GFC. Are they behind Global Warming too as billions are sent overseas with the mysterious RET?

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          scaper...

          There was a dam constructed in Qld about six years ago. The Wyaralong Dam near Beaudesert. Here’s the kicker…they expected the dam to take five years to fill so there is no infrastructure in place to connect it to the water grid. The dam filled within six months of completion. I’m starting to say…”Only in Qld!”

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      TdeF

      Henry Bolte invited Alcoa to Victoria. We had cheap electricity, especially at night. Aluminium (aluminum) is basically 90% electricity. You make it where electricity is cheap.

      Now that we have, thanks to our visionary Premiers and Malcolm Turnbull, the most expensive electricity in the world, who is paying to keep Alcoa open. It was bad enough when Alcoa was sited in Portland, 1000km from the geneator, just to win votes. We had to build a $250Million powerline just to enable it. Then half the electricity was lost in transmission. It didn’t matter, we had plenty.

      Now the genius Daniel Andrews is banning gas. Tripling the cost of coal (our free coal) and has forced Hazelwood to shut, how much are we paying to pretend to make aluminium profitably. That is impossible.

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        TdeF

        Sorry, 500km. In China the aluminium smelters are always next door to the coal power stations.

        I also do not know why we do not increase electricity output at Yallourn, use our desalination plant and send the water north, through the $800million pipe line we were forced to build? Is no one thinking in the Andrews’ government?

        Sorry, silly question.

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        Yonniestone

        When Alcoa Geelong (Point Henry) was closing down the Vic Labor government and Greens were publicly Gloating about a renewables futures and closing dirty power production while they still purchased cheap electricity from Alcoa’s Anglesea coal plant to keep consumer prices stable until the next election.

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        Jonesy

        TdeF…think of it this way…Bolte attracts Alcoa to Portland. Good deep water port and now with a 330000HV power connection to power new industry in the area. I do not know what came after Alcoa but not a small town is Portland. How much growth can be attributed to cheap power?

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      sophocles

      Aluminium can only be refined by electricity. The equation is simple:

      0 electricity = 0 aluminium.

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    ScotsmanInUtah

    London had to urgently turn to Russian gas targeted by US sanctions due to supply outages.

    Renewables provide more than half UK electricity for first time.

    This despite the recent news that the UK press declared that over 50% of our energy came from renewables.

    a contradiction , or simply lying .. the UK media have a lot to answer for

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    RickWill

    Australia has a network designed for centralised generation. Attaching dispersed generation using ubiquitous energy sources to that same network, in a word, is nonsense. The cost of electricity at the customer premises has to be higher than the cost of generation due to the cost of maintaining the network and the losses in the network. It should be blindingly obvious that it will be lower cost to locate the generator at the customer and dispose of the network as there is little to no economy of scale with wind and solar generation.

    The NEM was destined to die a slow death the day that intermittent, non-despatchable generators were permitted to connect to the grid.

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    Another Ian

    On the question of the contribution of renewables to Canadian power

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/2017/12/we-dont-need-no-668.html

    And comments

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    Robert Rosicka

    Hospitals are also big users of electricity and gas .

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    Delta

    John #3

    “The average price of electricity per megawatt ranged from $76 to $123 in 2016-17 in Australia while the average commercial electricity rate in Pennsylvania was advertised at about $121.90 a megawatt ($US94.40).”

    Yes I agree that this statement doesn’t make much sense. And presumably I am to interpret it to mean price per MWh and not MW (typical sloppy journalism). Anyway it’s pretty easy to check the available electricity rates in PA. And the cheapest rate (for my search for a small business) is US 7.59 c/kWh which would be about Aus 9.7 c/kWh.

    Currently I am aware of a couple of large industrial customers in NSW (on high voltage supply) who last year paid between 12 and 15 c/kWh. Small business customers in NSW are paying anything in the 20 – 25 c/kWh and they’re doing well. All can expect further price rises this year of at least 20%!

    Back to the Australian article – the average price (in Australia) ranged from $76/MWh – $123/MWh. Hmm the higher rate would have been possible for a large customer (12.3 c/kWh) but as for the lower price – perhaps the BHP steel works as a guess but it would have to be a very large customer considerably larger than a 10MW site as I see it. And there is inaccuracy in the stated PA price. Everything considered, there are clear advantages for energy prices in PA compared to here.

    I actually attended the presentation in Sydney and had a lengthy chat with several of the representatives from PA. The talk was excellent and overall it was a refreshing example of what can be done when a government assists industry and development. Of particular interest was that many major businesses in PA are using the abundant cheap natural gas to supply all their energy needs – CHP.

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      TedM

      “And presumably I am to interpret it to mean price per MWh and not MW (typical sloppy journalism).”

      Not just sloppy journalism Delta. most journalists wouldn’t know the difference between a MW and MWH, Or between a volts, ampere, watt or coulomb. Despite this they publish as if they were techsperts.

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      Chris in Hervey Bay

      On the 10th of August this year, I came back home to Australia, and before I left Newtown, PA. I paid up all my bills as I won’t be returning until May next year.
      The cost on my electricity bill was calculated at 9c/kWh with a total of $120 for 3 months.
      Car registration, a Honda Civic, was $47.
      I actually sent Jo a copy of the invoices for reference.

      170

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        James

        Does PA do rego for 2 years like NY? I pay that in NY for 2 years. Insurance is separate. 3rd Party bodily and property liability insurance costs about 450 per year for 2 cars. I am paying about 11 to 13 cents per kwhr including the fixed connection fee and a few other charges included,

        20

    • #

      BHP no longer mskes steel. In fact BHP is now solely a miner, iron ore, coal, copper, uranium, oil & gas. They sold off other mines in Souths, They closed Newcastle, and sold off iron & steel in Wollongong and Whyalla.

      20

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    grahamd

    and in the meantime-
    Josh Frydenberg- energy minister, being provided with the power of ever adaptive energy excuses, manipulated by organ grinder Malcolm, slowly, turning that handle backwards and forwards, to suit his personal beliefs.
    UN -Australian, yes you have guessed it, a federal leader totally confused, fixated by the defunct UN- so for how many more years, will he committing us here to every illusion they can create?, while they are still wallowing in their overpaid fantasy land!
    But thanks to he, with base balls, the home run is nigh, the swamp is finally being drained. Snow is finally returning to the Americas.

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    Roy Hogue

    Learning happens two basic ways.

    1. By thinking about the past, the present and what the future will look like if various available alternatives are chosen. This way works… …most of the time

    2. By default when method 1 isn’t used. This way works eventually too. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

    It appears that Australia is going down the default path. It will teach the relevant authorities what they need to know eventually or see them replaced. But at what cost?

    As things have gotten worse and worse I’ve been stunned by the intransigence of government in Australia. I wish I had words to offer that would help. But of course I don’t because there are none I can offer.

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      Greg Cavanagh

      We need a university degree for political wannabe’s for state and federal politicians, which covers the following subjects:
      Mathematics, statistics, history (of empires, how they prospered and why they failed), philosophy (specifically fallacies), accounting and critical thinking.

      They pass this degree before they even get a look in.

      The current crop of idiots in charge, are self-appointed emperors who know “Jack-S*” about anything.

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        joseph

        Who is Jack Schitt?

        Many people are at a loss for a response when someone says
        “you don’t know Jack Schitt”.

        Now, you can handle the situation.

        Jack is the only son of Awe Schitt and O. Schitt.
        Awe Schitt, the fertilizer magnate,
        married O. Schitt, the owner of Knee-deep Schitt, Inc.

        In turn, Jack Schitt married Noe Schitt and the deeply religious
        couple produced 6 children:
        Holie Schitt, the twins Deep Schitt and Dip Schitt,
        Fulla Schitt, Giva Schitt and Bull Schitt, a high school dropout.

        After being married for 15 years Jack and Noe divorced.
        Noe later married Mr. Sherlock and because her kids were living with
        them, she wanted to keep her previous name.
        She was known as Noe-Schitt-Sherlock.

        Dip Schitt married Loda Schitt and produced a cowardly son.
        Chicken Schitt.

        Fulla Schitt and Giva Schitt were inseparable throughout childhood
        and consequently, married the Happens brothers in a dual ceremony.
        The Schitt-Happens children are Dawg, Byrd and Horse.

        Bull Schitt, the prodigal son, left home to tour the world.
        He recently returned with his new bride, Pisa Schitt.

        Now, when someone says
        “You don’t know Jack Schitt”
        you can correct them.

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          TdeF

          Its a German name. I can list the embarrassing ones but they would not pass the filter.
          This harkens back to Anglo Saxon English, short words which said a lot. Then longer and Latin and the French.
          So you can say situpon, derriere and backside, but not b*m. They were not Fokker aircraft. 7,000 people work for Sick.

          40

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            Manfred

            “Phartingly funny”. In Honour of my God Father who said it, Emeritus Professor at the University of Rochester Medical School and Eastman Dental School.

            Happy New Year to One and All. May 2018 be the page after the turning point.

            20

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        Allen Ford

        Nice idea, Greg, but you would first have to populate universities with academics who possessed these intellectual skills.

        I don’t see that happening any time soon.

        70

      • #
        Leonard Lane

        Greg, I would add private and public financial analyses courses, ethics courses, philosophy of science, and an overview of laws for private and public organizations.

        10

    • #

      The problem is the media here. Too little competition. Too much state-funded agitprop.

      Even if pollies had science degrees that just makes them political versions of John Cook.

      If the media published the best of both sides, pretty soon one side starts to look sillier, and as the public swings, the pollies discover wisdom.

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        Yonniestone

        Exactly like the idea of open debate early in the declarations of Global Warming Jo, after tangling with the likes of Dr Spencer and Ball the warmists quickly decided “argumentum ad authori” was the best approach to instil the psyche and sway public opinion, the alternative of “scientia potentia est” was an unthinkable fight for the mentally untrained.

        32

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        James

        Breitbart needs to set up an Australian news office. I asked an Australian commenting on Breitbart if there was an Australian equivalent. The closest thing he could refer me to was your website!

        40

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      Roy,

      As much as I respect your judgement and knowledge and experience, I am going to have to disagree.

      1. The past is ossified, it will not come again.
      2. The present presents itself as a fait accompli. It would not be the present, if it were not so.
      3. The only way that people learn is by trial and error, and particularly by error.
      4. The people will therefore attempt multiple trials, to see if the error can be frightened into submission. This rarely works.
      5. The people will also try something extremely avant-garde. The results are often spectacular, but not entirely helpful.
      6. “As things have gotten worse and worse”, the intransigence of government in Australia increases.

      Ergo, the problem is Government, and it’s failure to govern for the benefit of the people. It is not a question of science, but one of incompetence in the face of “science, that is all dressed up for the ball”, that is not science.

      It appears that Australia is going down the default path. It will teach the relevant authorities what they need to know eventually or see them replaced. But at what cost?

      As things have gotten worse and worse I’ve been stunned by the intransigence of government in Australia. I wish I had words to offer that would help. But of course I don’t because there are none I can offer.

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        Peter C

        1. The past is ossified, it will not come again.

        Suppose that we built a new generation of supercritical coal fired power stations and enjoyed the world’s cheapest electricity and once again became the “lucky country”.

        I suppose that would not be the past, but a future where the lessons of the past were recognised.

        I don’t suppose it will happen but I still cling to some pathetic hope.

        60

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        Roy Hogue

        Rereke,

        You’re one of the sharpest contributors to this blog. But if you’re suggesting that past experience can’t or doesn’t provide insight into how to decide things for the future than we must agree to disagree.

        If we go forward only by trial and error we’re making what is to me a very bad mistake.

        As I look at our last presidential election, it was enough voters looking at the past, asking themselves what worked well and what didn’t and then comparing that with what Donald Trump said that got us President Trump. In his first year the people in this country who have been willing all along to make the effort to pull their own weight have become much better off. My holdings are up 15% for the year for the first time in a long time. And all Donald Trump ever proposed was a return to what he could plainly see had been working in the past. I don’t like his big mouth or his twittering finger and I never thought he would amount to a hill of beans because he picked unnecessary fights and so on. But now that he’s in office he’s the poster boy who proves my point.

        By the way, I voted for him only because he was the only alternative to Hillary by the time I could cast my ballot. I was dead wrong about him. He’s being guided by what worked in the past plus a lot of sharp thinking about how to take what worked in the past on into the future.

        Also by the way, I said method 1 works most of the time. It’s impossible to get everything right all the time. No one has ever done it and I don’t expect anyone to do it in the future either.

        :-)

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          Roy Hogue

          That government has gotten so much so wrong for so long is because the people have not paid attention to what their government is doing and not doing. Last year’s election changed that for the first time since ronald Reagan. It was a very narrow victory in spite of the big Electoral College win. And if the people begin to become complacent again. We’re back in trouble. But that won’t change the basic facts I stated.

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            Roy Hogue

            I always recognized that Trump was talking about our real problems and was proposing good solutions. I just didn’t think he could pull it off. And his (and our) political enemies are trying like I’ve never seen before to bring him down. In the meantime, he’s got things started on the right track. Certain things from the past have pretty much always worked well.

            PS: I’m past worrying about those who aren’t willing to try to pull their own weight. You want to eat? Good! So work for your daily bread or go hungry because I can only carry so many people on my back.

            Let’s do what actually works for those who pull their weight or make a credible effort at it.

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          Rereke Whakkaro

          Roy,

          I am sorry – I dropped off, “The Matrix”, for a while and didn’t see your comment. My life does that every so often. It is the price I pay for being, “A man of mystery” ;-)

          In re-reading what I wrote, and in the light of your response, I think I am actually agreeing with you; at least in the main.

          I don’t see any serious evidence of plans to “build a new generation of super-critical coal fired power stations”. The words “coal” and “carbon”, are political anathema in Canberra.

          If you’re suggesting that past experience can’t or doesn’t provide insight into how to decide things for the future than we must agree to disagree.

          In a contest between past experience and current political and/or financial expediency, experience tends to be the loser. The recent General Election in New Zealand will bear witness to that.

          As for your election, I am interested in knowing whether people voted for Trump, or whether people decided to reject Clinton, and the dynasty she stood for, or were just fed up with the Democrats in general? I don’t seriously expect you to answer that question.

          So far, Trump appears to be doing OK, against a raft of hostile functionaries. But he is a volatile personality, so I am investing in pop-corn futures. It promises to be an interesting ride.

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    Leonard Lane

    Here are some electricity rates from the US listed in kwh. Scan through them and you will see why Idaho is our fastest growing state (growing from a small base of population) and why Texas (among the largest land are and population) is where industry and people are flocking. Then look at poor California. But, things will get worst as California wants to get rid of fossil power within a few decades.
    https://www.electricchoice.com/electricity-prices-by-state/

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    toorightmate

    Solution: SIMPLE
    The CO2 horsesh*t has to stop.

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    Dave

    The last three decades of state and federal governments have sold all our major critical assets out. Two examples are Lithgow and the Hunter Valley in NSW.
    The Defence industries (SAF) in Lithgow in the late 1980s reduced to about 20% of its workforce and sold to an overseas company. (FED)
    Our freight trains and workshops sold off with our jobs. (State)
    Our state owned coal mines who supplied cheap reliable coal to our reliable electricity commission power stations all sold way too cheap and are now foreign owned.
    Our ports are sold or leased to overseas investors.
    Kurri aluminium smelter shut because the state Goverment wouldn’t commit to a power contract, as the new buyers didn’t want it I with the sale. ( Tomago will probably be next)
    All of the above were built and run buy our hardworking parents and grandparents to secure a safe reliable Australia.
    The prime ministers and premiiers have been selling us down the road for decades and the green movement with their sun gods and wind ferries just finished us off.
    That’s just two areas in nsw.

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    David Maddison

    This had to start happening sooner or later. Cheap energy used to be one of Australia’s competitive advantages, now electricity is among the most expensive in the world, destroying industry. Australian companies will be now lured away by those that have cheap energy such as the US.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/us-state-of-pennsylvania-spruiks-power-to-entice-aussie-firms/news-story/e874806a92c931a5ed9fa855a5b46f73?lf-content=227148265%3A762655389&hubRefSrc=facebook

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    wal1957

    Whilst we have political parties of ‘like’ thinking, we have a problem.
    I think it is long overdue that we stop voting for ‘the lesser of two evils’, and do a bit of research. So, we have to ignore the Libs, Labor and the greens.
    Find the party that best reflects what you expect out of government and vote for them. Change is not going to happen unless the voting lethargy of Australians change.

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      el gordo

      ‘Change is not going to happen unless the voting lethargy of Australians change.’

      Too late me thinks, these days I vote informally.

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    SMS

    “The average price of electricity per megawatt ranged from $76 to $123 in 2016-17 in Australia while the average commercial electricity rate in Pennsylvania was advertised at about $121.90 a megawatt ($US94.40).”

    It appears to me that whoever put this together is comparing apples to oranges. The price for Pennsylvanian power appears to be retail and the price for Australian power appears to be wholesale.

    In South Australia I’m paying 42 cents per kwh (approximately 30 cents US) plus another 90 cents daily charge, in the states I pay about 13 cents per kwh plus a few taxes.

    And it is my opinion that Australia, especially South Australia, is cutting its own economic throat. Australia needs a cadre of business people to lead the government and damn the lawyers.

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    • #

      Thanks SMS. In Australia large electricity users get special rates which are closer to wholesale. But those deals now include “demand management” clauses where they have to switch off at short notice. So even flat rates are not comparable necessarily — it’s the sub clauses that can cost millions. Plus our system is evolving into volatile spiked pricing. The average rate hides both these things. Plus the cost of gas is itself a very important thing. Plus as I mentioned in the post, the forecasts for AU are rising prices (see Goldman Sachs estimates).

      But I would like to get to the bottom of this.

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    NB

    Welcome to Green heaven, where nasty capitalism is overwhelmed with input costs, and we can all live in villages and have our own chickens. Those of us who survive, that is. Gaia will be pleased.

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    pat

    ***who at News Corp decides to insert these anti-coal activist pieces into articles posted online, such as this one?

    29 Dec: Courier Mail: Adani boss says it was ‘blindsided’ by Queensland Government loan veto
    by John McCarthy
    But the company’s Australian boss Jeyakumar Janakaraj yesterday vowed it would not be beaten by environmental activists’ relentless campaigning and that the central Queensland project would go ahead.
    “There is no way they will win,’’ the defiant chief executive said…

    ***VIDEO: Queenslanders rally against the $1 billion Adani megamine loan

    “It has not affected the credibility of the project because that is delivered on its worth, on its economics, its fundamentals and coal demand,’’ Mr Janakaraj said…
    He would not comment on the financing, but said the overall target to produce the first coal in 2020 had not changed and the company now had about 800 people working for it.
    Adani’s Indian-based parent has invested $3.3 billion in the project so far, and earlier this year allocated $400 million to get early works started…

    ***PHOTO: Adani protesters outside of Queensland’s Parliament House last month

    Adani has also been boosted by analysts stating that coal demand was going to rise in India and southeast Asia despite the growth of renewables.

    And while Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is pushing for Aurizon to receive NAIF funding for its own Galilee Basin rail line, Mr Janakaraj said using that scheme was not part of Adani’s thinking or planning.
    The NAIF veto was another challenge in a long line of hurdles thrown in front of Adani. It would have been producing coal next year on its original timeline but it has faced continued legal challenges to its approvals.
    He said business in Australia had to be made simpler. “It does matter a lot that things should be more stable,’’ he said…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/adani-boss-says-it-was-blindsided-by-queensland-government-loan-veto/news-story/7eb24ffee801c099369fee84fd99bd7a

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    pat

    ???

    30 Dec: Lithgow Mercury: Western NSW leads the way in renewable energy
    by Mark Rayner
    A total of nine wind power projects will generate more than 2750 megawatts of electricity that will flow into the grid, while 23 solar projects will generate a further 2033MW.
    NSW Renewable Energy Advocate Amy Kean said the state was experiencing a “solar boom”, with 30 new large-scale solar proposals entering the planning system in 2017 alone.
    “This boom is happening right across regional NSW, which is supporting jobs and investment in regional communities while diversifying our energy mix,” he said.
    “The NSW renewable energy project pipeline has never been stronger, with around 12,000 MW of large-scale projects either approved or seeking planning approval.”…

    Wellington is a contender to become the renewable energy capital of the state with seven projects that will generate a total of 2235MW.
    By comparison, Lithgow’s Mt Piper coal-fired power station generates 1400MW.
    The increased interest in wind and solar power has added benefits for consumers, with the Australian Energy Market Commission predicting energy prices will start to fall from mid-2018…

    “Prices rose sharply this year by almost 11 per cent on a national basis as consumers felt the impact of Hazelwood and Northern coal-fired plants retiring and the lack of replacement investment, combined with high gas prices,” AEMC Chairman John Pierce said.
    “But we expect these price rises will be reversed over the next two years as around 4,000 MW of Renewable Energy Target-funded wind and solar generation enters the system.”…

    ***Western NSW may be able to benefit economically from its renewable energy uptake in the long-term, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency suggesting Australia could export clean energy as a replacement for coal.
    http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/5137642/western-nsw-leads-the-way-in-renewable-energy/?cs=356

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      Delta

      All we have to do is wait for the grid to fail because there are times when no wind power is available right across eastern Australia. Perhaps at that time, some good engineered solutions will be adopted. Inconveniently, the sun doesn’t shine at night and solar panels don’t generate power when there are clouds. So when there is a shortfall in intermittent “renewable power”, conventional generators have to be dispatched to supply the demand. Also wind generators have to be feathered under high wind conditions. And now AEMO is curtailing some renewable generators and dispatching conventional generators out of merit order to ensure that there is enough inertia on the system in the event of a major system disturbance such as the loss of a major generator or transmission line.

      This process is to ensure that the system can be maintained until the conventional frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) can be activated. In addition, AEMO recognises one additional problem that low inertia creates: a very fast change in frequency when a system disturbance occurs, i.e., the ROCOF (rate of change of frequency) is too great so they have installed “the battery” in SA to provide super fast FCAS. Some recent reports indicate that is has worked but there is still the catch that as more and more wind and solar generators are imposed on the grid, the system becomes even weaker with the initial ROCOF becoming even faster. When that occurs, I say that no super fast battery or other system will be able to stabilise the grid.

      But what an absolute disgrace that management of the electricity grid has got to this state. Read the linked story and weep! Just think about the future – say 5 years from now! And even if the grid can be made to work it will be at yet greater cost all passed on to the end user as are the current additional costs of dispatching (mostly) gas fired generators in SA out of merit order. The way things are progressing is that we will run out of sufficient dispatchable generators to dispatch.

      Another problem occurs with low inertia on the grid (and it is with us now) is that the protection systems may not always work as designed or they may not work at all!

      There are other issues with so called renewable generators on the grid such as the poor power quality that they provide and the associated stress imposed on electrical equipment. Remember that all renewable generators receive a subsidy of $80 – $85/MWh under the renewable energy scheme up to 2030, all paid for by the end user! Insane – unless you favour national suicide like our politicians.

      Enough for now.

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        Delta, excellent comments. There is huge importance in the factors you mention, but unfortunately the significance of your points will be well beyond the grasp of any politicians, (unless they also happen to be a power system engineer).

        Your point about “the battery” and some saying that it has “worked” need careful moderation. While it did “work” on the occasion when the grid lost almost 600 MW of generation and the frequency decline turned around as the battery injected its contribution of 7 to 8 MW. An analysis of the system inertia, and the frequency fall and rise rates (df/dt = deltaP/M) would show the ‘contribution’ from the battery would only have been around 1% of that needed to arrest the falling frequency and turn it around. Have AEMO advised where the other 99% came from?

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          Delta

          Robin,

          I have looked for a report by AEMO on the recent events with the battery but as yet none is available. I await AEMO’s report with interest because only then can we ascertain just how useful it is but I’d say you’re likely correct about its contribution.

          I could add another issue. Most if not all wind and solar generators supply power at unity power factor to maximise their revenue. In turn this causes the main dispatchable generators to provide or take up all the reactive power requirements in the system whilst providing minimum real power. I have been told, but have not been able to confirm, that this has resulted in many generators operating at about 0.65 power factor. Think of a lightly loaded system on the weekend with long transmission lines. This mess will cause voltage problems. So what is SA doing – well (the rent-seekers are) installing more wind turbines. The South Australian renewable energy and energy storage boom is already evolving, with 26 new large-scale projects proposed by 2020
 totalling 4,956 MW; $8.4 billion to be invested in renewables; and, importantly, the creation of 4,500 renewable energy jobs.

          Someone should write a book, “How to destroy a well designed operating national power system” by politicians of all political colours.

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            sophocles

            Delta wrote:
            politicians of all political colours.

            I would amend that to:
            politicians of all political odours.

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            C. Paul Barreira

            How much of this mess, especially in South Australia, is the fault of elected politicians? And how much is the doings of the bureaucracy? Think of schooling: have functional linguistics ever been the subject of an election campaign? No. Yet they provide the foundation for teaching literacy as we have it here (ignorance is now self-replicating). One could repeat the question in many fields affected by government. Any change for the better in SA will depend not only upon a new generation of politician (of whom there is no evidence) but radical surgery among the bureaucrats who are now but an extension of the Labor Party.

            Radical change requires keeping the lower levels of the bureaucracy; the Bolsheviks after the coup on November 1917 (new calendar) removed the top two or three layers of the bureaucracy and kept the rest. The same question arose for the National Socialist German government in 1941-42 when overrunning Ukraine. Radical change keeps awful company. Hence my earlier conclusion: there is no hope in the present.

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      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      Thanks Dennis,
      You beat me to it. I notice there’s no mention of any previous occurrence. Is this a first in 50 years? Or completely unprecedented?
      I bet if was found pre-cooked some sort of record would have been claimed.

      Cheers,
      Dave B

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    Too bad Australian companies don’t have many choices. They can take the subsidies and go solar, buy a diesel, or build a nuclear plant (as if). But they can’t band together and build a coal station to supply themselves without also paying the RET.

    Nuclear is VERBOTEN is Australia. Because making use of one’s natural energy resource advantage isn’t fair; or something.

    Even climastrophic Germany permits large plants to generate their own electrical power without having to pay the renewable energy subsidy.

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      AndyG55

      Its not as if there aren’t plenty of places far away from anywhere to put nuclear power stations. !!

      But we should be using our “A” quality coal, and helping build the atmospheric CO2 level for the plants.

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      sophocles

      No, it’s not that it isn’t fair. It’s deemed Unsustainable.
      But don’t worry, Bernd. The UN pledges, in its Agenda 2030, Transforming the World through Sustainable Development that no one will be left behind … in the race to the bottom.

      Agenda 2030: another fifteen year Unsustainable Flop Blackwards”. It’s scary, it really is.

      All the electricity network and generation problems have this subtle stench, that smell of not too long ago dead animal, about it. One has to wonder if it’s straight out of Agenda 2030.

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    “Weak wages, flat house prices

    Flat?

    It’s dismal in the Perth outer metro. area; house prices dropping quicker than the principal on the loans. Looks like prices for established houses in older suburbs about to sink through the $200,000 in the coming months. New excrementbuilds are sub-$300,000 in blandsville estates.

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    Extreme Hiatus

    On the bright side, Australia will continue to lead the world in the production of marsupials.

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    pat

    30 Dec: Astralian: Turnbull should dump Snowy 2.0 for clean coal
    On the basis of the material released on the feasibility of the Snowy 2.0 project, an extension of the pumped hydro project that is already part of the Snowy Hydro scheme, it looks like a complete dog. Dog is the term used in commercial circles for something that will never stack up — the costs are too high, the revenue is too low, the returns are too uncertain.

    Mind you, the chief executive of Snowy Hydro Limited has decided to hold back three chapters of the feasibility study, citing “commercial sensitivities”. These chapters cover the key issues of commercial projections, business modelling and cost estimates. Mate, we, the taxpayers, own Snowy Hydro. We have a right to know.

    The Prime Minister was wont to bang on about Snowy 2.0 costing $2 billion. If you thought that was a scary number, the reality is that he was simply making it up. The true cost of the project is probably closer to $3.5bn to $4bn…
    The co-owners of Snowy Hydro, the Victorian and NSW governments, seem disinclined to support the investment. In this case, the federal government may be forced to buy out the other parties, which would drive the overall costs to considerably more than $10bn, although in that case the federal government would own the asset outright…
    For that sort of money, we could have two or three high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power stations without the additional cost of transmission…READ ON
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/turnbull-should-dump-snowy-20-for-clean-coal/news-story/a85049d3928c2666e30a6237a4e0fd5c

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      They complain loudly about the so called enormous cost of a large scale HELE USC coal fired power plant, and yet, this supposed Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro will probably end up costing even more than one of those.

      And as I highlighted in the reply comment below, that new coal fired plant WILL actually CREATE new power.

      So, the hydro plant has to charge enough for the power to repay the capital, cover the costs, and turn a profit, and the only way it CAN actually do that is to sell its power when the cost is really high, and try and pay for the reverse, the pumping of the water back up the Head, when cost of power is low.

      How that makes for cheaper power sure beats me.

      Tony.

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        Antoine D'Arche

        agreed, but it doesn’t have to actually work or make cheaper power, just satisfy the vast majority of people in the middle of the argument that is easily satisfied with a “solution”. PM says he is building a big new hydro thingy, so, job done. And it’s a neat 2 min media segment.
        We live in a world of people who neither think nor read. And they are the majority.

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      sophocles

      Pat, a simple but surprisingly accurate RoT [Rule of Thumb] for any politically proposed project, is to multiply its cost estimates by 2.5 for every decade it takes from when first mooted.

      Never believe or accept the advertised costs.

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    pat

    sorry, Judith Sloan…they’re not listening:

    29 Dec: Daily Telegraph: Australians set to get a more affordable, reliable energy system
    Josh Frydenberg
    Fifth, storage.
    As the energy system changes and more renewables come online, the issue of storage becomes critical. This is why the federal government is investing in battery and pumped hydro projects right around the country, the biggest being Snowy 2.0.
    A game-changing, nation-building renewable energy project, Snowy 2.0 will create 350,000 megawatt hours of power, enough to support 500,000 homes.
    To put it in perspective, South Australia’s big battery produces 129 megawatt hours of power.

    When it comes to energy policy, it’s clear the lessons of the past must be learnt if Australians are to get the energy system they deserve…
    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/australians-set-to-get-a-more-affordable-reliable-energy-system/news-story/e730545db46be2534c56ec9b5f871779

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      Snowy 2.0 WILL CREATE 350,000 megawatt hours of power

      What!

      CREATE.

      It will not create anything because the damned thing is a net consumer of power.

      Tony.

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      Okay, here’s some perspective.

      The same Nameplate HELE coal fired power plant will generate (actually CREATE) 15,340,500MWH, just under 44 TIMES the power of Snowy Hydro 2.0

      Go on. You guess which one of the two can generate their power more cheaply.

      Tony.

      PS – Something about Josh’s Maths is out of whack here is my guess. 350,000MWH for 500,000 homes is just wrong. The average home here in Oz consumes around 6MWH a year, (at the greenie best case scenario of 16.5KWH per day) so 500,000 homes would consume around 3,000,000MWH a year. Methiinks Josh is poorly informed, or is reading the autocue incorrectly. Don’t you just hate it when pollies understand so little about what they are talking about, they get it all muddled up.

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        Oddly, no billionaire in Australia is putting their money where Tony’s mouth is.

        Is it possible that Tony is totally *not* across the economics of generating electricity?

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          Rereke Whakkaro

          Oddly, no billionaire in Australia is putting their money where Tony’s mouth is.

          Why should they, when the Government is acting as their proxy?

          Somebody has to generate the energy. Somebody (under the humongous battery idea) has to store that energy until it is required. And somebody has to distribute the energy to the location where it is required, when it is required. And somebody has to undertake the maintenance on all that infrastructure, on an ongoing basis.

          To any entrepreneur, that looks like a bad deal. It ties up capital assets that could be used to generate profit elsewhere.

          I suspect that it is Craig Thomas who is so totally *not* across the economic investments of what is being proposed.

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    pat

    thanks TonyfromOz for your comments on Sloan and Frydenberg articles.

    here’s one you will love:

    29 Dec: WashingtonExaminer: Coal to the rescue as record cold grips the East
    by John Siciliano
    Coal-fired power plants are king again as sub-zero temperatures sent demand for heating and electricity soaring on the East Coast Friday in the largest energy market in the nation.
    Coal outpaced both natural gas and nuclear power plants in the PJM market, which extends from the Midwest to Washington, according to real-time updates provided by the grid operator PJM Interconnection.

    Coal provided nearly 20,000 megawatts more electricity throughout the day Friday than its primary rival natural gas and over 10,000 megawatts more than nuclear power plants.
    One megawatt of electricity can provide 750-1,200 homes with power, depending on how much demand there is on the system, according to experts.

    The PJM breakdown looked like this: Coal at 45,842 MW; nuclear power at 35,514; and natural gas at 25,927. Renewables provided 3,086 MW. Coal, nuclear and natural gas are the three dominant sources of 24-hour power on the grid.
    The surge in coal electricity production is expected to remain high going into next year because of a bump in the price of natural gas, which has become the dominant source of electricity in recent years.

    The current cold snap could provide a much-needed boost for the Trump administration’s proposal to provide market-based incentives in PJM and other markets to ensure coal plants are not pushed out of the market by natural gas.

    The proposal is being considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which intends to vote on the proposal in January. The proposal was supposed to be approved this month, but the commission’s newly appointed chairman, Kevin McIntyre, said he required an additional 30 days. The plan is being adamantly opposed by scores of industry groups from the oil sector to renewables.

    Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who sent the proposal to FERC, cited the January 2014 cold snap, called the “polar vortex,” to underscore the need for the coal plant incentives. He often recalls that if it were not for coal, the grid would have failed during a critical time when natural gas supply became constrained.

    Adding to the administration’s support for the coal industry, new federal data released Thursday showed that coal ended on a high note during the last week of 2017.

    U.S. coal production for the year totaled 760.4 million short tons, which is 6.4 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration’s last weekly coal report for 2017. The agency is the Energy Department’s statistical and analytical arm.
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/coal-to-the-rescue-as-record-cold-grips-the-east/article/2644591

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      sophocles

      It’s so sad to see reality intrude into day-dreams.

      I hope the US and the rest of the world takes these lessons about coal truly to heart. Without it …

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        The reality being that the coal industry is calling for “incentives” a.k.a subsidies?

        Why would they need that, do you suppose?

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          Why would they need that, do you suppose?

          Hmm! The phrase ‘level playing field’ comes to mind.

          Renewables get subsidies at the front end from both Federal and State Governments in the form of covering more than half the construction cost.

          They then get the further subsidies in the form of the Government paying them an agreed amount for every MWH of power they generate, independent of the sale of that same power to the retailers. They then get the proviso that retailers MUST purchase all the electricity that they generate no matter if it’s needed or not needed. They then get subsidies in the form of the RET and LGC etcetera.

          The supporters of renewables cry for level playing fields in every other form of life, and yet when it comes to something like power generation, they scream if non renewable power generation ask for any consideration at all.

          Hypocrisy writ large.

          Tony.

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          Kinky Keith

          In the real world, and on an absolute basis of comparison, coal can produces electricity better, in all ways, than wind or solar.

          It has lower CO2 output than renewables per kWh.(If that was at all relevant).

          It is cheaper than renewables.

          It is less “polluting” than renewables.

          If you placed a HELE Coal plant next to a solar plant and added a wind turbine to the mix you could run a test of capacity to produce.

          There would be an obvious winner in every respect, and it ain’t renewables.

          Politicians got around this problem with renewable energy by cobbling all outputs together.

          Your comment implies that renewables aren’t being subsidized. Really.

          You’ve got to be joking Micheal.

          KK

          The is

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          Rereke Whakkaro

          Besides, if I was to be told by a Minister of the Crown, that Government funding was available as “incentives”, in regard to creative solutions to various problems in the coal industry, then the coal industry as a whole would be stupid not to apply.

          Saying that they are “calling” for them, or simply “applying” for them, is a matter of semantics. But you knew that Craig, didn’t you. After all, it is your modus operandi, is it not?

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    NB

    Well, it finally happened. The resources curse has hit Australia. It is all downhill from here. Argentina, Venezuela look out, because we are about to join your club.
    The saddest thing is it is the electorate that will drive us to the bottom. Shameful.

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    RAH

    SW Pennsylvania and SE Ohio is the place the US ceramics and porcelain industries concentrated in the US for two reasons.
    1. Cheap and locally available sources for natural gas to fire their kilns
    2. Navigable rivers for the economic transport of the bulk raw materials needed.

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    To see what happens to an island overrun with [snip] innocent of the definition of energy, see Puerto Rico.
    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=88796
    My birthplace looks and smells like an unlit open sewer, with solar panel fragments and bits of bird-chopper blades scattered across the landscape. The only thing standing between Puerto Rico and epidemics & starvation are two nuclear submarines hooked up as power generators. The infallible Pope iv Rome’s prayers for “renewable” energy have not so much as caused a voltmeter needle to flutter for a fleeting instant.

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    No competent economic analysis is blaming Australia’s ridiculous energy prices on renewables.
    The electricity retailers in this country have 3x the margin than they do in, for example, the UK. They are quite simply ripping us off.

    This article lays out the essence of the scam the electricity companies have pulled on us:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-10/hill-the-great-energy-con-that-is-costing-us-billions/6924272

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      Rereke Whakkaro

      The electricity retailers in this country have 3x the margin than they do in, for example, the UK. They are quite simply ripping us off.

      Why do you blame the electricity retailers? I would assume that the retailers were selling at cost plus margin. Now, since you don’t tell us what the retail margin is, no further comparative analysis is possible, in that regard.

      But the real thrust of your comment is based on the ABC news item which says:

      As Australia becomes a leader in solar and battery power, our electricity bills will continue to skyrocket thanks to a massive over-investment in the network that we didn’t ask for and will never need,

      This is farcical.

      At one time, people did need electricity, and to get that electricity, they were happy to underwrite the cost of the generation and distribution network. That cost needs to be amortised.

      Somebody should take Jess Hill, of The Drum, to one side, and explain to her, in words of one syllable, the basic principles of economic investment in infrastructure.

      Perhaps Craig, You should also sit in on that discussion, since they might explain how the Australian Energy Distribution Network, with its long distances, cannot be compared with the UK Energy Distribution Network, with its comparatively short distances.

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      Kinky Keith

      Craig, you’re missing the point.

      The whole point of renewables, indeed the whole point of modern government, is to enable selected clients of that government to Rip Us Off.

      And they are doing very well thank you.

      Redistribution of a nation’s wealth to acquire votes is scam as old as time itself.

      Just think CO2, or Desalination.

      KK

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      AndyG55

      Poor Craig, you keep showing your complete lack of understanding and knowledge.

      The primary problem with renewables is intermittency.

      The secondary problem is lack of grid inertia.

      The first can be solved by standby dispatchable backup — at GREAT cost, essentially buying capacity twice, and it must be maintained even when not in use, just leaving it sitting idle is expensive.

      The second can be solved by installing synchronous condensers — essentially generators without the driving turbines or enough battery storage to actually be usable for more than a few minutes. — also at GREAT added cost.

      This is why increasing renewables penetration with capacity factors below ~35% ALWAYS drives electricity prices up even if the renewables themselves were free.

      Cold hard reality of reliable grid engineering.

      Add on top of that, making it uneconomic for those solid reliable supplies like coal and gas because they are forced to run inefficiently, even having to pay carbon fees to the wind and solar intermittent suppliers.

      The big question is, what happens when you force the closure of enough that solid reliable dispatchable supply !.

      Not long now until we find out.

      I hope wherever you live bears the brunt of the blackouts, CT.

      Try to catch up some day, CT..

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      AndyG55

      And seriously.. are you still using the totally biased ABC as a source of your mis-information.

      You really are deep in a ditch, aren’t you CT.

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      Graeme No.3

      Craig;
      Yes like the Qld. Government putting $700 million in Government debt into the 2 suppliers (both owned by the Qld. Government) and demanding that they pay off the debt and interest but not reduce their dividends to the Qld. State Govt. How do that but by increasing the retail rate?
      Or the Victorian government tripling the royalties on brown coal mining with the stated intention of forcing the coal fired stations out of business, which worked in the case of Hazelwood.
      And don’t forget that the retailers margin includes the SUBSIDY under the RET for renewables, which is sneaked in there to make renewables look cheaper.

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    PeterS

    Well now that China has eliminated tax for foreign companies investing in China a ti for tat move after Trump reduced their tax rates, the day Australia’s economy has collapsed due to over taxation is one step closer. Thank you Turnbull, and in advance thank you Shorten. Who needs enemies when we have parties like LNP and ALP+Greens?

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    • #
      Dennis

      Shorten Labor want to raise taxes if elected to government.

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      • #
        PeterS

        Yes I think everyone knows that. Still it won’t stop a large part of the voting public from voting ALP or Greens. Just goes to prove there are a lot of stupid voters here, more so in proportion than in virtually the rest of the world for whatever reason. The vast majority of the rest will vote LNP, which is almost as stupid. A thinking voter really has only one choice – Australian Conservatives. They are not perfect but then which party in the world is? AC is streets ahead of the two major parties in terms of policies that will avoid this nation going over the cliff into the abyss under either major party.

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    kneel

    “It appears the RET (Renewables Energy Target) takes money from customers and gives it to solar and wind power investors instead.

    Pretty much sums it up, as those investors then proceed to up-end what came before them in a manner that is difficult to reverse without more expenditure. Our prosperity has been taken.”

    You missed the bit where the RET vampires send some percentage of their ill-gotten gains back the politicians, completing the circle.
    Seriously, I reckon if you told the story without any reference to “climate change”, “climate” or “weather”, 99% of readers would be outraged and demand action to remove the corruption. But stick that “climate change” bit in there, and peoples brains turn off so they can blame a non-existent problem on the source of the great strides in human health and wellbeing we had over the 20thC.

    No fossil fuels? Sure, no worries! Tell your wife she will need to wash clothes by hand on a wash board, with water she carried from the local creek then boiled in a bucket over an open fire; that she’ll need to cook exclusively using charcoal and wood; that she won’t be getting those fresh oranges and strawberries from the USA and will need to wait for stuff to be in season before she can get any; that the price of beef, lamb and pork will be going up because of “emissions abatement” policies, at the same time she has less to spend on food an groceries anyway, because of the need to pay the extra on utilities etc, and that she will have to walk to the shops and hand carry the groceries home.
    In short, try living by 19th C methods and see how far you get: transport by animal effort (or “shanks mare”); human effort required for everything we CAN now do with a machine; no refrigeration; no air conditioner; no clothes dryer; no electricity unless you are prepared to pedal a stationary bike to get it – that should get you started. No room for feminist/LGBQWERTY bullshit, no equal pay, no anti-discrimination etc etc.

    Backwards – that’s where this takes us. And somehow, a significant proportion of the population seem to agree we should do it – of course, they don’t see it as “backwards”, but that’s what it is. The left-biased media, led by Their ABC, have been saying that “cheap as coal” ruinables are “real close now” – but neglect to mention that this has been achieved by raising the price of coal energy, not by reducing the price of the ruinables. At the same time, we reduce our own import tariffs while our major trading partners – with a very few exceptions – continue to “duty” our potential exports to the point they are not competitive.

    And when, as it must, the brown stuff hits the turning thing, watch the pollies duck and cover with the best of them.
    “It’s what the experts told us!”
    “Put them against the wall, not us!”
    There simply won’t be ANY politicians that are prepared to say “The buck stops here – I screwed it up”
    There will be no apologies to those who have been slandered by the wamanistas – you’ll be hard pressed to find them, but even if you do, not one will offer an apology to those they deliberately ruined the career and lives of. Not a peep – at least, I don’t expect one. It’ll just be more “Look! Squirrels!” crap.

    PS – Jo if you are reading, should have an SD card image for R.Pi data logger ready for you in 3 weeks or so. Sorry for the delay, but when this got put “on the shelf”, I decided to do something “better” and like always, this is turning into a monster!

    Looks like specs will be:

    1. 2 samples/sec (fastest) to 1 sample/11 days (slowest) in 100mS intervals
    2. 1,3,5,7 or 9 samples “burst” collected at specified interval, option to save all, or min, max,avg, “centre” reading or closest reading to avg
      (the above 2 will interact somewhat because of the time required to obtain the samples over serial)
    3. samples obtained by several “standard” means (serial port, eg) but can easily accomodate custom capture needs – you just need to return some text with the reading, don’t worry about exactly what, as long as you can specify with a regular expression where the data “is”
    4. date/time stamp from logger, optionally measurement device timestamp (space for both)
    5. optional scale and offset (“calibration”) of samples – linear transform, with full details of transform (and/or changes to same) in every report
    6. multiple sensors (mainly limited by 2 things – time to collect data, and ability to “get” data)
    7. full change logs (inc any changes – ie edits – to data, even when edited outside main program)
    8. web/windows file share (local) or email (remote) reports with digital signature to verify contents
    9. web-based configuration – with pages configurable via templates and a config file for content/layout

    Potential upgrades:
    Live reporting via custom TCP socket connection and/or database replication.

    I am testing on a R.Pi model A – so only 1 CPU and only 512MB of RAM. New R. Pi (3) is dual (quad?) core, 1GB RAM. So if it runs on the A, it will have no issues on a 3. Only using about 5% CPU on data collection at 2 samples/sec (dummy “source” device).
    Using about 6.5GB of space on the SD card ATM – leaving about 1.5GB free for data on an 8GB card. If concerned re: space, a USB memory stick can be added, so say 32GB space for data on that (that’s a hell of a lot of data, even at 0.5 second samples and 200 bytes/sample = 5/1k = 5k/MB = 5M at 1GB = 160M samples in 32GB = >900 days!)

    Kneel – Thanks for both above. Yes I am listening. Well said, and well done! – Jo

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    kneel

    PPS: I am writing a full user guide as well!

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    DonS

    So? Isn’t this what all 3 levels of Australian government have been driving us towards for the last 20 years?

    Australia is to become a “clean” green tourist economy to service the super rich Chinese and Indians who come from countries free to expand their fossil fuel power generation at any cost, all with UN approval. Our kids can look forward to lives as chefs, waiters, housekeepers etc. scrambling for the tips from our well heeled visitors in mega resorts powered by wind and solar (with gas backup, just in case).

    We will have no one else to blame but ourselves for continually electing peanuts to positions of power. One bunch of buffoons replaced by an even worse bunch of goons seems to be the pattern will follow forever. May 2018 be the year we wake up to ourselves.

    Happy New Year to all.

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