JoNova

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


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Mystery: Australian electricity costs rise six times faster than wages – up another 12%

More bad luck for the renewables industry. Despite providing free energy from the sun and wind, electricity prices keep rising relentlessly, shockingly fast. Even doubling in wholesale costs in South Australia and Victoria.

It was supposed to be cheap to collect low-level-energy across hundreds of thousands of square kilometers. Who knew that subsidized, unreliable energy would induce volatile pricing, allow the players to game the system, create obscene spikes, drive out the cheapest providers, require expensive battery storage, more frequency control, more maintenance, just as much back up supply, $400 million dollars worth of extra diesel generators (and the rest) and extra long transmission lines? Who knew? — Probably thousands of engineers.

Spot the pattern? Every other nation with lots of renewables has expensive electricity and our forward market says there’s more price rises coming.

Australian electricity prices rising six times faster than wages are growing

Sydney Morning Herald

Electricity prices have jumped by six times the rate of the average pay rise, new figures reveal, as family wallets are increasingly squeezed by essential services such as education, utilities and fuel.

The most significant price rises were electricity, up 12.4 per cent, fuel up 10.4 [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Ideas that don’t belong…

Eucalyptus trees cope fine with extreme heatwaves, defy climate models, survive 50C temps

What happens to a poor tree when you withhold rain for a whole month, then hit it with four days in a row of 43C temperatures? It was so hot, some of the leaves on these trees got close to 49-50 °C.

In at least one gum species in Australia, the answer is “not much”. They suck up lots of water from their deep roots and sweat it out til the heatwave passes. The trees become evaporative coolers “siphoning up” water. They cope so well, that not only did the trees not die, but their trunk and height growth were unaffected. Indeed, only about 1% of the leaf area even exhibited browning.

Whole tree chambers in Richmond, New South Wales, Australia. Twelve 9-m-tall chambers in a field setting (a) enclose the canopies of individual Eucalyptus parramattensis trees rooted in soil (b). Two heatwave chambers can be seen on the left of the infrared image, along with several control chambers (c; temperature in °C).

But with global warming running at a heady 0.13C per decade, you might wonder how many years will it take for the trees to adapt?

From the paper — “one day”:

The gums rapidly [...]

Political Vandals: Victoria, the diesel state, bans, hides, cheap cleaner gas, blames fuses, air conditioners

How much do we hate Lignite Gas?

Victoria is suffering the largest rises in wholesale electricity prices in the country, as it sits on large gas fields that it won’t touch. Why — geniuses hope to reduce global droughts and floods and sea level in 2100.

Robert Gottleibsen savages the state governments that conducted the renewables experiment without mentioning the real costs or the cheap alternatives.

If Victoria allowed its gas to be developed the energy scene in Australia would be transformed, as would the outlook for the nation.

But that’s not much consolation for those in vast areas of rural NSW and Victoria plus suburban Melbourne and small areas of South Australia who suffered blackouts or reduced power on Sunday night. It’s true part of the outages were caused by fuses, but the outages were too widespread. It’s another smokescreen.

If similar conditions are repeated on weekdays and/or extend over several days the blackouts will be devastating as a result of the political vandalism. Government spin doctors and others are desperately trying to conceal the truth about the damage governments headed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (plus her predecessors [...]

Melbourne: 42,000 homes in dark, no fans left at Kmart. Power outages due to “secret” air conditioners?

Melbourne Skyline at night…Image: Alfred Glickman

The temperature reached 38C in Melbourne (100F) on Sunday — something it has probably done most summers since 10,000BC.

CitiPower, Powercor and the United Energy spokeswoman Emma Tyner said that as of 9.25pm, about 41,190 homes were without power across those three networks. – Sydney Morning Herald

Now why would that be? Ms Tyner puts a lack of supply in the nicest possible way:

“The extreme heat has significantly increased electricity use and this has resulted in localised power outages,” Ms Tyner said.

It’s not that governments didn’t plan energy policy — it’s the users who wanted too much (i.e your fault.) Though Victorians used to use more power than this.  On Sunday, peak electricity demand was 9,124MW, about 13% less than the all time peak of 10,496MW in 2009. (In case you are wondering, Hazelwood (now closed) produced 1600MW or about 25% of Victorian baseload power.)

Mr Armstrong from Ausnet Services (another power company) blamed unreported air conditioners:

“There are a lot fuses blowing in the hot weather and a significant power pull with people having put in air-conditioners they didn’t tell us about,” Mr Armstrong said. — The [...]

Trump landmark Davos speech “unleashes hell” on vampire squid, crony, self serving globalists

Trump — speaking Truth to power. Creating 2.4million jobs. The networking parasites will hate it.

The full text of his speech at Davos.

UPDATE: Worth watching. He is quite the statesman. He could have used the economic success to laud himself, to scorn those who mocked him, but instead he is saying — This is what we’re doing. It’s working brilliantly. You can do it too. He’s talking about how tax cuts and lower regulation have created a flood of investment to the US.  In the audience are a group of people who may well mock him, but they are quietly thinking, “how do we catch up”. Trump has created a race, and all the investment that flows into the US is coming from all the nations sitting in the audience.

h/t Martin Clarke

James Delingpole marks the Trump appearance as historic, inspirational:

Apocalypse Trump Is Unleashed on Davos We knew something apocalyptic was coming in Davos today. Those tactically released photographs of President Trump arriving by helicopter with his entourage were the giveaway: the silhouetted choppers strung out in extended line in the orange-yellow light above the mountains.

Why, if you’d listened carefully, you might almost have [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Sorry, busy today.

South Australia blows up cheap electricity, jobs, wealth, in ideological anti-coal quest

Today the South Australian government destroyed the smoke stack of the Playford B Plant, one more part of what’s left of the cheapest base-load electricity generators in the state.

For about $8 million a year over three years, they could have kept some coal power going and wouldn’t have needed to spend $400 million on emergency diesel generators they don’t want to use, and over $100 million on a battery that can supply 4% of the state for one hour. They also would’ve paid less than $120 million for two days of electricity last week.

On the upside, they can feel good and pretend to be “world leaders”. Virtue signalling is expensive, eh?

….

The plant employed 185 people, the coal mine 200. Other businesses in the town, who knows? People are leaving.

SA, a star in the race away from being a competitive, powerhouse rich state. Creating wealth and jobs in China.

Last South Australian coal-fired power station demolition nears completion

The Australian, Luke Griffiths:

The concrete and brick structure at the 240MW Playford B power station, named after long-serving South Australian premier Sir Thomas Playford and mothballed in 2012, leaves only [...]

Lewandowsky’s genius solution to Fake News — Ban it and do cheap smears!

Our old friend Stephan Lewandowsky has had a brain wave:  h/t to Geoff Chambers and Barry Woods.

 This Bristol academic thinks he has the solution to fake news

A Bristol professor has told MPs they have the power to put a stop to fake news appearing on Facebook and other social media platforms.

It is possible for a regulation or law to be passed that tells those IT giants how to behave,” said the cognitive scientist,…

Knock me over. Who would have thought of that – apart from every dictator and tyrant for the last 5,000 years?

His big new idea has been done before:

…libraries in the Soviet Union were repeatedly purged of all books deemed “harmful”. … between 1930 and 1932, libraries lost sixty percent more of their stock that was already purged at least three times.

So Lewandowsky has turned up to the UK Parliament to tell politicians what politicians have known since 3,000BC.

But his new job title is oh-so-apt:

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, an expert in “misinformation” at Bristol University, said MPs could bring in laws to prevent anything that amounted to “hate speech” – a move already [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

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