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Even AEMO head admits solar panels are a big “disrupter” in Australia – fears big players may abandon grid

The land of the sunburnt country finds that the rapid uptake of solar is a headache, disrupting the grid, adding variability, making management more complicated. Read right through. The head of the AEMO gives an upbeat talk, but the ominous message is that solar panels are flooding in, there are lots of problems, and not only are baseload generators leaving the market, but there may come a day when things are so ludicrously expensive that big energy customers leave to generate their own too. Is that what the death of a grid looks like?

 

Audrey Zibelman is the head of the AEMO – Australian Energy Market Operator – which has the responsibility of managing the electricity and gas market and grid stability for all Australians. To hear her, you’d think the future is renewable, the transition is not being artificially forced on the market, and there is no alternative to alternative energy.

Zibelman tosses out pat free-market lines with a straight face, saying at 17:20 that we never really want governments to “pick a technology”, ignoring that this whole transition, all of it, is only happening because governments “picked a technology”.

Listen at 21:30 to get an idea of the diabolical complexity of trying to craft new price signals to make up for the damage done by dumb artificial price signals. This octopus of conflicting price signals would never occur in a real free market. If players could do the deals they wanted, they would pay for forward contracts on cheap electricity that they could guarantee next week, next year, every hour and every day. The other ten people in Australia that wanted to buy weather-changing-electrons would be free to pay ten times as much. I say “let them!”. That’s what freedom means.

I’d like to be free not to buy solar panels, and free not to pay for everyone else’s.

This is all spun as a world-leading success along the lines that disruption is a mark of success — mobile phones worked, so solar panels will. Hello? The government didn’t force us to pay $600 a household for other people’s “transition” iphones.

Glenda Korporaal, The Australian:

“Australia has the biggest pick-up of roof top solar anywhere,” Ms Zibelman said in a speech to the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney. “We are seeing the equivalent of a power plant being built every season with people putting on more and more rooftop solar.”

She said the increasing role of solar power in Australia meant the energy market could suddenly lose 200-300 megawatts of power if the sky clouded over in a major city.

Actually, it’s not just cities losing power, it’s the whole national grid, which lost 1,000MW one day due to widespread cloud along the eastern seaboard.

Too much solar power doesn’t just make supply more unpredictable, it means demand is more variable too. The peaks are steeper and the troughs are lower.

In the past there was a gradual increase in demand for energy during the day, but with the increasing role of solar power there were now often spikes in demand in the evenings.

“It is a very variable system that we have to manage which is very different than before,” she said. “It’s a big disrupter.”

So let’s add 20GW of headaches and complexity and see what happens?

Wrap your head around these numbers. Apparently right now the AEMO are dealing with requests to consider adding another 20,000MW of unreliable, intermittent, subsidy-sucking energy to the Australian grid. This is the same grid that has a total peak summer demand in the order of 35,000MW. The total generation capacity of the grid is 54,000MW, which already includes more wind and solar than any nation built on a coal-gas-and-uranium quarry needs. How are any unsubsidized sensible baseload providers going to survive in this socialist market where crazy-brave squads of new entrants are still being drawn to fill gaps that aren’t there, weren’t there, and aren’t projected to open up soon? To everyone who says that renewables are nearly competitive (so sayeth Audrey), I say axe the next twelve years of Renewable Energy Targets then.

Windpower doesn’t make electricity cheap or reliable, so lets do more of it?

Australian wind patterns mean our entire wind generation across millions of square kilometers crawls to a near standstill roughly every ten days.  What are the odds that extra wind turbines will change the prevailing wind patterns?

Sometimes one high pressure cell crashes our whole wind generation:

Wind power generation in Australia, highly variable. Graph.

Wind power generation in Australia dropping off every week or two.

Wind power, Australian Weather Patterns. Map.

Sometimes a high pressure cell crashes our wind generation.

Sometimes clouds crash our solar power:

Cloud cover blocks 1000MW of solar power across Australia. Satellite image.

Sometimes clouds blocks 1000MW of solar power across Australia. Satellite image.

 

Likewise, adding more solar probably won’t add more hours of sunlight, nor change the clouds. But then, I could be wrong.

Not all of those new 20,000 disruptive megawatts will be built. Phew!

As Zibelman says at one point — (to paraphrase) when demand was 1000MW during the day, solar has reduced that demand to 500MW. But if your coal power station is more than 500MW, how do you keep that in business? Indeed. The answer is — with uber-complex government regulated pricing schemes apparently.

Worked for the USSR.

It’s so bad, big-players may abandon the grid

Ms Zibelman says we need to send the right “provide the right price signals” and the “market will respond”. The bad news is that the market is already responding, the price signals are a dog’s breakfast, and even diesel looks like the fuel of the future now.

Her big fear now is that the big players might get so fed up they go “off grid”. Oh No. No more cash cows:

Ms Zibelman said one of her biggest worries was the potential for “uneconomic bypass” in Australia, where major energy users could start leaving the existing energy system because they found it too expensive, instead using their own energy supply systems.                                                       — [Listen at 36:30]

The “uneconomic bypass” has already happened –  it was back when Australian governments thought it was a good idea to use our power stations to change global temperatures. Now our whole grid is an uneconomic bypass.

Things could spiral downhill:

She said this could lead to the cost of electricity having to be borne by a decreasing number of customers.

–it’s a good thing for the individual when they disconnect. Horrible for the rest of us…

Zibelman talks of free markets but doesn’t seem to realize the market she runs is so unfree it has been screwed inside out. For the last hundred years people were not “better off” if they left the grid. Other customers didn’t care if big players left to do their own thing (more supply, less demand, lower costs, right?). Big players stayed because mass electricity production in centralized generators was so bountifully, beautifully cheap that nothing else could beat it.

Australians are putting panels on their roofs in desperation

Ms Zibelman puts the nicest spin possible on everything, saying that the rapid uptake of solar panels is due to “the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy” that makes it the  “preferred investment”. She didn’t say that almost no one is paying the full and fair price for solar panels and the government orders other customers to pay thousands for each installation.

She didn’t say that because electricity is obscenely expensive, even subsidized, uncompetitive renewables look appealing to bleeding customers.

Think of solar panels on roof tops as a form of palliative care for a dying grid.

Watching Zibelman, you might also think that complexity has no price, simplicity has no value, and the Bureau of Meteorology has an important role in driving our energy policy.

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Even AEMO head admits solar panels are a big "disrupter" in Australia - fears big players may abandon grid, 9.6 out of 10 based on 73 ratings

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202 comments to Even AEMO head admits solar panels are a big “disrupter” in Australia – fears big players may abandon grid

  • #

    Intermittency and subsidy,
    an energy cat-ass-trophy.

    160

    • #
    • #
      Geoff

      So just what, if anything, is our “leader” going to do about it?

      80

      • #
        toorightmate

        Our leader is capable of making this bad situation infinitely worse.

        150

      • #
        WXcycles

        What’s a leader?

        20

      • #
        Tom O

        “So just what, if anything, is our “leader” going to do about it?”

        Line his pockets while he can, and put in backup generation at his home to protect him from his handwork, what else? He’s not stupid, only pretends to be, and the real stupidity comes in when voters vote for the same people and expect something different.

        If I was a large enough industry, I would build a nice industrial park with its own generation system capable of supplying a lot more power than I need, and invite other industries into the industrial park where as a group, they live off their own power. Leave the “public grid” behind. Perhaps that would help save Australia’s industry, and allow the public grid to malfunction with the least amount of damage to the nation.

        50

  • #
    Pauly

    It would appear that the AEMO’s strategic plan has nothing to do with what the consumers want, but everything to do with pushing the hype that renewables can be added to the electricity grid without engineering consequences like destabilising the entire grid:
    http://aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Electricity/NEM/Planning_and_Forecasting/ISP/2017/Integrated-System-Plan-Consultation.pdf

    At no point is there an explanation of the cost to consumers, as Jo points out. The impact of disruption in supply to low cost energy production is obvious, as is the impact to industry of skyrocketing prices. No mention of the damping effect on our nation’s GDP though. Compare that to the outcomes being achieved by the Is energy policies under the new administration:
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/04/23/president-trump-energy-strategy-yielding-massive-geopolitical-and-economic-benefits/

    140

    • #
      Pauly

      That last bit was meant to read “US energy policies”.

      60

    • #
      toorightmate

      AEMO – chief cook is a a septic tank
      AGL – chief bottle washer is another septic tank.
      I presume that they would both bow to the God of Energy Stupidity, Oh Bummer.

      171

      • #

        Aloha! Could you be so kind as to explain what a “septic tank”is to a yank from Hawaii? Lol!! Whats next BAZZA PULLS IT OFF???

        00

        • #
          Annie

          We have one as we are not on the mains sewage system. The tank is underground and drains eventually into a ‘field’ of pipes. Our pipes total about 100 metres spread in a herringbone pattern. Bacteria in the tank deal with what goes into it and then the liquid overflows through the field. We used an ‘activator’ to start off the process when it was new. The tank itself is about 350 litres and it had to be filled with water (dam water!)

          00

  • #
    TdeF

    Solar crash and burn in Germany without ‘subsidies’.

    “In December 2017, for example, Germany experienced a total of just ten hours of sunshine in the whole month. So while theoretically its installed solar capacity – a huge 40 gigawatts – is almost enough to power half the country at lunchtime on a sunny day, most of the time it is next to useless.”

    In case it has escaped anyone’s notice, the big companies in AUstralia are building their own power plants. The submarine company spent $30Million. Whyalla (Liberty Onesteel) has their own coal mine. These companies which are the steady backbone of the grid are vanishing from the grid, destroying the basic economics of sharing. Of course even Weatherill’s public service is building their own, so that while no one else has a job, they can ride bicycles to work and collect taxes from the unemployed.

    The whole concept of National Grid, of National politics taking over state power is fundamentally a power grab and it is a disaster in a country the size of Australia. At least Western Australia is far enough away not to be tied to the basket cases of South Australia and Tasmania, except they take all of WA’s GST. The greed of Canberra for cash and power knows no limits.

    Now our faux PM is in Germany lecturing Merkel on how to control your borders, taking credit once again for something Tony Abbott did and for something Tony Abbott was criticized roundly for saying three years ago when it was prescience, not hindsight. Can we please have our real PM back, not this smirking sock puppet?

    331

  • #
    TdeF

    Having bought and read all the Clayton Christen books on Disruption, the word is now used in a meaningless way. Disruption means the replacement of an old and tired and inefficient system with a new, cheaper, more productive and attractive system, disrupting the old. This new Federal grid is an imposition based on ideology not economics or value, the opposite in every sense of the positive disruption say by UBER of taxi companies or ATMs of bank tellers or computerizing the stock exchange.

    This Federal disruption of state power has had no benefit whatsoever and the massive unfair stealing of money directly from the people without taxation is unprecedented in Western democracies. Our money is being taken to give to people who indulge themselves in windmills and solar panels which they get to own and then charge us again for their output. Can no one else see this is not a ‘subsidy’ but simple theft?

    This abuse of the concept of disrupting the old and inefficient system is just being abused by the overpaid public servants in Canberra to justify their dismantling of working systems to justify their own existence. No one is better off. Even the private owners of solar panels end up paying more at night and when the clouds come than if they did not have the solar panels in the first place. Then in case no one has noticed, Australia is rapidly shutting down. Canberra will be the last to close.

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    • #
      TdeF

      Professor Clayton Christensen, guru of Harvard University in marketing is the inventor of the term disruption. His analysis of the failure of hundreds of companies from Nokia to Blockbuster video has revealed that giant companies fail in the same way, managed carefully into oblivion but replaced by something beter. He would be aghast at the misuse of his terms to justify disruption of working companies and structures for Green ideology, socialism masquerading as environmentalism, destruction presented as enlightenment.

      We could at least learn from the Germans who have half their grid in solar but only receive 10 hours of sunshine a month in their long winter. This is a country thirty times smaller in area but ten times the population and economic power of Australia. Do we really have to learn the same lessons while being lectured on disruption as if it was a good thing?

      220

      • #
        PeterF

        Germany keeps on investing in wind and solar. 7 GW of wind and 3 GW of solar in the last 15 months. We have far better wind and solar resources than them and yet we have about 1/10th of their wind and solar installations, why are we so slow
        There was an economist called Schumpeter who talked about creative destruction long before Christensen. The new destroys the old just like the smart phone destroyed Nokia

        115

        • #
          beowulf

          I think you forgot the SARK tag Peter. The only slow ones are those deluded souls who still believe wind and solar can power a modern industrialised nation. The smart ones (most of the world) are building coal power stations and completely culling subsidies to renewables.

          You are correct however in ascribing destruction to renewables. Everywhere they are built they destroy once reliable, cheap power grids. Thank you for pointing that out inadvertently.

          120

          • #
            PeterF

            UK no new coal plants coal fallen from 42% generation to 7% since 2012. US none ordered since 2010 260 closed, Germany 6 built a dozen closed none ordered since 2010, France, Italy,Spain all countries with 2-10 times as much industry as us – none. Korea new for old declining share, Japan, a whole 600 MW in the last three years. India, closed more coal than it opened in the last 6 months. So where are these countries that are expanding the coal share of generation. Vietnam, Indonesia and even they are scaling back their plans.
            On the other hand the UK is building about a dozen new offshore wind farms, England has almost twice as much solar as the whole of Australia. China installed more solar than all the combined coal gas and nuclear, last year and in the first two months of this year installed more solar than Australia’s total over the last 20 years

            06

            • #
              Graeme No.3

              PeterF:

              The rush for lower CO2 emissions has led to more gas plants and desperate measures such as burning forests in what were coal fired plants on the specious claim that the latter emissions don’t count. It is not surprising that under these conditions a number of old coal-fired stations are shut down and there should be some hesitation in building new ones, as well as hesitation about the economics of new small nuclear plants.
              But if the “new nuclear” can’t deliver then either gas or coal fired stations are necessary for cheap electricity so those countries keen to expand their economies will have to build new ones.
              You could bolster your argument by quoting the capacity of those installed and those shut down, as one new ones tend to be much larger. And if you think that 100% renewables are possible because a few batteries will soon be at work then you are deluding yourself.

              70

              • #
                Kinky Keith

                Graeme,
                He’s a paid plant.
                Did you notice he started work early this morning at 8:57 am?
                Maybe a staffer for the lady in the video clip.

                50

              • #
                PeterF

                Well I could quote coal generation in the US has fallen from 52% of annual supply to 39% in 2014 to less than 30% now. UK 42% in 2012 to 7% last year, Germany 47% in 2013 to less than 40% this year. China 78% in 2014 to 62% in 2017

                02

            • #

              We know there’s a war on coal. The question is should there be a war on coal, especially a war boosted and even funded by coal’s chief competitor, Big Oil. Especially, we need to ask should there be a war on domestic consumption of coal by the country with the best coal resources over all.

              Big Green = Big Oil/Gas. It can’t be said often enough. All green roads lead back to the good ol’ boys and their sheikh mates.

              The other day there was gossip about oil tankers detained by Houthis in the Red Sea region. In these times of press censorship/conformity by both left and right of the mainstream it’s always hard to know what is really going on in the ME. The point is that our coal is potent, domestic, abundant. Its domestic consumption involves us in no hot wars, cold wars, pipeline disputes or sea lane disputes. (You can see why globalists hate coal.)

              Non-hydro renewables are absurd, clunky antiques which cost too much. Hanging them off the grid as afterthoughts will take thousands of Audreys standing behind pompous logos to make them seem efficient and intended…and still nobody will be convinced outside the corporate/luvvie bubble.

              Of course, those who inflict these mutton-dressed-as-lamb contraptions on our power supply know full well that they are in the oil business. Maybe their shills really believe that they are in the planet hugging business, but oil has been at the heart of geopolitics since Britain converted its navy to diesel and Germany wanted to do likewise. Now we are looking at the farce of the US pushing its fracked gas on Europe at huge cost to stop Russian pipeline power. It’s even willing to buy Russian gas and re-brand it!

              The War on Coal is a giant folly for Australia. It is fought in many ways with many different pitches and motives. It is a war that coal has to win, for our prosperity and for our peace. Australia-negative leaders like Turnbull, Frydenberg and Bishop couldn’t care less. Shorten…gawd, don’t get me started on that lot. So it’s up to us punters and how loud we can shout for our coal.

              Much closure of coal plants o/s is simply because newer coal plants are coming on stream. But there is indeed a war on coal and its pointy end is right here in Oz, where domestic consumption of coal should be a no-brainer. As I’ve said before, it’s like we’re sitting by a stream of fresh water and we’re being forced to buy an imported fizzy drink in a plastic bottle to quench our thirst. It’s that crazy. A globalist would understand.

              80

              • #
                PeterF

                I agree with you that big oil has joined the war on coal, every argument has fellow travellers particularly if there is money involved but why are the middle eastern countries building the world’s biggest solar farms if it is all for show.
                As for grid disruption why are the Republican states in the Southwest power pool saying they have coped with 60% wind or Texas with 52% wind without storage and little hydro and they are both accelerating wind installations.
                Surprise surprise we don’t have the world’s biggest or best coal. The US, Russia and China all have more coal than us and US mines in the Powder river basin deliver coal at $11/ton. Name a black coal plant in Australia that can match that

                01

              • #

                Check out Oklahoma’s wind scheme, bigger than that of Texas proportionately, and highly sweetened. Some think tank (sort of like Audrey Zibelman and mates, but propagandising and spinning the other way) has worked out that non-wind states are boosting the wind states massively. It puts figures out which I won’t quote because I find such think tanks no more reliable than Audrey’s logo show. But the figures would only need to be half true to show the long term problem, which I experienced in Spain post GFC. It’s all about the sweeteners at the start, but the kissing finally stops.

                When state subsidy plus federal subsidy are good enough, and some marginal farm can cop 7,500 per turbine, there will be uptake, especially in an age of soaring debt and invented money. The question is not whether the war on coal, like uptake of non-hydro renewables, is happening. It is happening. It just shouldn’t be happening at all in coal/uranium/gas rich Oz.

                Australia’s Sydney-Gunnedah-Bowen-Surat-Galilee Basin complex of Permian black is the no-brainer resource I’m talking about. If some region can match it for access, position, quantity and quality, I’m happy for it. It’s not the Powder River Basin.

                30

            • #
              Serp

              Drax converted from coal to imported pelletized american forests. Make sense of that in emissions budgeting.

              60

          • #
            PeterF

            I didn’t leave out the sark tag, you just have difficulty with facts

            03

        • #
          PeterS

          The fact is Germany is investing in coal to keep on track to phase out their nuclear power stations while also being supplied by power from other surrounding nations that use nuclear and/or coal. That’s not as stupid as the same situation we find ourselves where the eastern states support dumb states like SA who want to achieve much higher proportions of renewables. Get it through your thick skull – no viable nation or region can survive without a significant proportion of its power being generated by coal and/or nuclear power stations.

          90

          • #
            Leonard Lane

            PeterS. Thanks, you are right. But I hate to see gas used for power plants. It is far too important for the base stock of everything from fertilizer to plastics, medicines, clothes, etc.,etc..

            30

          • #
            PeterF

            Germany is completing a single one GW coal plant that is 5 years overdue. In the last two years it has closed 3.7 GW of coal plants. Its energy generation from coal is continuing to fall from 256 TWh in 2013 to 215 TWh last year. In the meantime net exports increased from 35 TWh to 53 TWh
            Year to date coal generation is running about 8% below last year.
            By the way the AER website will tell you the Eastern state of NSW has been a net power importer for the last 20 years while SA is now a net power exporter, because unlike NSW and Victoria it has combined cycle gas plants which are much cheaper to run than those states OC plants and as every power system operator in the world knows coal plants alone are not flexible enough to cope with the load swings on a modern grid

            06

        • #
          cohenite

          Wind and solar will NEVER work because:

          1 They are inherently unreliable and unpredictable
          2 They can’t make themselves because their effective EROEI is < 1
          3 They produce power at frequencies which are not compatible with grid frequency
          4 They require continuous backup by fossils, nuclear and hydro (to a much lessor extent).

          People who advocate renewables are either:
          1 Deluded
          2 Making a quid from them
          3 Hate our society and want it destroyed
          4 All of the above.

          150

          • #
            PeterF

            You love to make statements unsupported by facts.
            1. Renewables have at least as high availability factors as coal plants. The do have lower capacity factors but their statewide output can be forecast at least as well as demand. That is why Texas has actually reduced its spinning reserves since it introduced 20 GW of wind.
            2. EROI of wind plants is between 50 and 100 solar 14-20. Tar sands about 6
            3. They produce power either as DC which is converted to AC at far more accurate frequency than coal or gas plants or variable frequency AC which is synced exactly to the grid with far less phase error than a coal or gas plant.
            4. All plants need backup. What happens when a nuclear plant is offline for 6 weeks every 3 years for refuelling or 72 hours for a restart after a minor repair

            01

  • #
    Yonniestone

    Zibelman uses the logic that if she ran the ministry of housing investing heavily in blankets and pillows that were thrown on the ground for people was an acceptable form of dwelling as long as the new policies said it was so.

    111

  • #
    manalive

    I have no problem with individual households going solar so long as they are cut off from the grid, no leeching off neighbours no disruption of the grid and no feed-in tariffs.
    It’s equivalent to allowing every Tom Dick and Harry use their own motorised carriages on a railway system whenever they like while trying to maintain regular services for most.

    170

  • #
    Robber

    One of her biggest worries was the potential for “uneconomic bypass” in Australia. And that should be a big worry for governments as industry bypasses Australia – as they are already doing in South Australia, and if they can’t bypass, pushing up prices for small businesses and us plebs. We are certainly being “disrupted”, leading not to a brave new world but to economic ruin. And all our public “servants” do is spin. Thanks for nothing governments.

    120

  • #
    robert rosicka

    It’s unfortunate, needless and a waste of money but the only way sheeple will learn the true value of intermittent power generation is when the lights go out and stay out for days on end .
    Then and only then can we start to fix the green sabotage inflicted upon us but on the plus side there will be some old fashioned Tar and Feathering and the only stocks worth buying will be out the front of every court house with rotten fruit supplied .

    111

    • #
      Robdel

      Totally agree. The only question is when this will happen

      60

      • #
        William

        It will be interesting over the next few months as long range forecasters are predicting a much colder than usual winter here in Australia – that will mean more people turning on their electric heaters to try and keep warm. Who knows, it might be sooner than we think and that is a good thing as the longer it takes, rectifying things will take even longer.

        80

        • #
          Graeme#4

          Do you have any links to long- range forecasts for WA? Just interested, as I thought our winter would be warmer, as per last winter.

          10

          • #
            William

            I read about this prediction some time ago and just googled it – and it is still being predicted. Not sure about WA though.

            00

      • #
        PeterF

        About when the Rapture occurs. Perhaps you forgot that wind blows stronger in winter, coal and gas plants are more reliable and produce more power in winter and that peak demand is in summer not winter

        04

        • #
          Annie

          The wind blows stronger in winter? Not around here, we have days on end of dreary cloudy and/or foggy days with no wind whatsoever. None the less, the local climate loonies want a solar micro-grid, for ‘independance’ from the grid they say, but then admit the system will ‘hire’ the grid for distribution and for back-up to charge batteries for when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow.
          Wilful ignorance or total stupidity?

          50

    • #
      PeterF

      But you have been predicting blackouts for years. When will they occur. At the moment with almost no wind we are still only using 1,700 MW of the combined 14,000 MW of East coast gas and hydro

      011

  • #
    KenE

    NSW is currently producing 87 MW of wind power with a demand of 5687 MW. The question I can’t get answered is where is the power going to come from to pump water uphill for Snowy 2.0? We keep hearing the vast benefits of the power provided by Snowy 2.0, but I have not heard one comment on what they expect to charge the “battery” with. I would like someone to look at the AEMO graph and then explain clearly (without bull) and without using coal, how it is going to work.

    160

    • #
      robert rosicka

      Ken it will be done using fairy dust and unicorns .

      81

    • #
      Robber

      Ken, When we have three as many windmills, and the wind is blowing hard in the middle of the night, there will be surplus generation that will be used to pump the water up the hill. Current wind nameplate capacity 4,900 MW, add another 10,000 MW and compared to the overnight baseload demand of 18,000 MW there will be surplus capacity as unsynchronised wind cannot provide more than about 70% of demand (AEMO regularly has to step in to regulate South Australia by running gas generators and sending surplus power to Vic). Of course don’t ask what this will do to electricity costs. Ms Zibelman says we need to send the right “provide the right price signals” and the “market will respond”.

      70

      • #
        KenE

        Thank you for your wise reply’s Robert and Robber. I have worked it out on my own. We put a ring of windmills right round Canberra and harness all the hot air blowing out from that hallowed place. Now we can provide power for all Aus. and probably export no NZ as well. I don’t know why nobody thought of it before.

        However my first question was (and still is) supposed to be a serious one.

        61

        • #
          David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

          G’day KenE,
          I suspect the reason your question hasn’t been answered here, is that no one thinks there’s a feasable solution. My (ironic) guess is : Tumut 1.
          Cheers,
          Dave B

          30

        • #
          William

          Perhaps they plan to use clean hydro energy to pump the water back up and then use it to create more clean hydro energy to pump the water back up, and then use it to create more clean hydro energy to pump the water back up etc etc etc.

          40

    • #
      PeterF

      While I think I agree with most people here that Snowy II is a white elephant, pumped hydro has been a valuable part of power systems around the world for many years particularly France, the US and Japan because it can respond much better to sharp peaks than coal and it can store excess power from any source sometimes even run of the river hydro which would otherwise be spilled.
      It would also be very useful in SA, Queensland and Victoria but in small projects close to the existing grid with 6-12 hours storage. There are 4 projects under investigation in SA between 200 and 400 MW, they are all close to the grid so don’t need new transmission lines. There will be times like 13-15 of April where wind averages almost 70% for about 60-70 hours which will mean that the pumped hydro isn’t used but there will be days like the last 5 where it will be used every day

      02

      • #

        There will be times like 13-15 of April where wind averages almost 70%…..

        They always jump up and down excitedly when wind power has two good days.
        Take the next six days.

        Monday 16th April – 44% Capacity Factor.
        Tuesday – 18%
        Wednesday – 16%
        Thursday – 11%
        Friday – 12%
        Saturday – 14%

        On those same two days with Wind Power at almost 70%, well, 65% anyway, coal fired power had 6 Units off line for maintenance totalling 3420MW (more MW off line than wind was generating in its totality) and coal fired power alone was still delivering FOUR TIMES that high total being delivered from wind power.

        Sometimes, perspective adds a whole new point of view eh!

        There will be times like 13-15 of April where wind averages almost 70% for about 60-70 hours which will mean that the pumped hydro isn’t used but there will be days like the last 5 where it will be used every day

        Take for example, umm, the largest pumped hydro in Australia then, Tumut 3 at 1650MW, same six days when wind was low.

        Monday 16th April – 110MW for quarter of an hour across the whole day
        Tuesday – 250MW for 5 hours (one of 6 Units operational)
        Wednesday – 250MW for 2.5 hrs (one Unit)
        Thursday – 250MW for 3 hrs (one Unit) and 1650MW for 2 hrs (all 6 Units)
        Friday – 250MW for 6 hrs (one Unit) and 500MW for 6 hrs (two Units)
        Saturday – 250MW for 5 hrs (one Unit) and 500MW for 4 hrs (two Units)

        So, 6 days X 24 hrs, 144 hrs all up, and pumped hydro was operating at capacity for 2 Hours, and for 31 hrs with only one or two Units in operation. Sounds like constant use to me!!!!!

        Same six days and coal fired power averaged 15,500MW for the whole 144 hours.

        Sometimes, perspective adds a whole new point of view eh!

        Tony.

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        • #
          PeterF

          As there is 23 GW of coal capacity in Australia why would it not produce more power than 4.9 GW of wind. If eastern Australia was to be mostly renewably powered it would need about 30-35 GW of wind, about the same as Texas and Oklahoma combined or the UK & Ireland have now and then some storage may be necessary. It may be small pumped hydro units, it may be thermal energy in the form of hot water and ice or even molten salt or silicon, or even behind the meter battery storage in VPP’s it is very unlikely to be Snowy II.

          What part of my comment that there will be days when storage would not be needed and others like the last 5 where storage would be used every day did you not read.

          Re pumped hydro statistics. You are confirming what I said. More pumped hydro in the Snowy is not necessary for years and may never be necessary. It may be very useful in South Australia

          09

          • #

            Oh look, I know I shouldn’t bite, but this really does require a response.

            If you actually believe what you wrote, then we really are in trouble.

            If eastern Australia was to be mostly renewably powered it would need about 30-35 GW of wind…..

            Let’s even take that upper figure you quote there, so 35GW Nameplate of wind power, considering we now have 5GW.

            35GW at the average 30% Capacity Factor brings that down to 10.5GW.

            Hydro is around 10% to 12% of current generation.

            Even then you’re still way way short of the ABSOLUTE Base Load minimum of 18000MW (18GW) let alone Peaks up to and beyond 30GW.

            That’s with the average 30% CF for wind. What do you plan when wind is down below 10% for days on end. That’s down to 4GW. There goes the three main States, NSW, Victoria and Queensland which consume just short of 90% of Australia’s power.

            Then there’s the cost. Let’s base that on the most recent large scale wind plant, Macarthur at 420MW and costing $1.2 Billion.

            So, an extra 31GW of wind means an extra 74 Macarthur’s so, there’s $88.6 Billion right there, and that’s just for the wind power you quoted, lat alone the extra hydro, Batteries, and large scale CSP you mentioned.

            Wind power would need to become a helluva lot cheaper, and, umm, doesn’t Macarthur sort of blow that ‘cheaper’ meme out of the water.

            Then, there’s the time frame for the allocation of that sort of money.

            You can believe whatever you want to, but trust me on this, what you quoted will NEVER happen. It’s just a green pipe dream.

            Tony.

            100

            • #
              PeterF

              But you did bite and display your ignorance yet again. I just love it when you do that, because if you are the best the anti-renewables brigade has got its all over for your cause.
              Current NEM demand is around 195,000 GWh per year. For the majority to be delivered by renewables that is 100,000 GWh of which about 14 is from hydro leaving 86,000 GWh+ from wind and solar, if it is half from wind and half solar then wind has to deliver less than 45,000 GWh. To put that in perspective this year Texas will deliver around 70,000 GWh from wind, Last year wind in the UK delivered about 50,000 GWh and Germany has already delivered 41,000 GWh from wind in the first third of this year
              Lets take current figures not 2013. Stockyard Hill 540 MW will deliver 1,900 GWh per year for $700 m investment. Wind is already generating 6.6% or roughly 13,000 GWh so we need to find another 30,000 GWh or 16 Stockyard Hills or $11 bn, roughly the cost of two new Hazelwoods which would deliver 17,000-19,000 GWh per year or 60% of the annual generation of the wind plants for the same investment and 2-3 times the annual operating cost.

              Trust me on this if you were so right why has Trump’s USA got a record 30 GW of wind under development and closing a coal generator roughly every 6 weeks. Why is the US erecting a new wind turbine every 2.5 hours. Why has Germany installed 7.4 GW of wind in the last 15 months or Europe a record 16 GW in 2017. Why did China install 15 GW last year.

              Of course you may be right most power is used during the day and around the world solar installations are now running about 60% higher than wind. Updating and converting studies by Deloittes in the Netherlands and NREL in the US, Australia could generate all its electricity demand from rooftop solar and if storage gets much cheaper we may just do that, backed up by wind and hydro so wind may not supply 40 TWh. But if little old Scotland can supply 5,300 GWh from wind in the last quarter there is a reasonable chance that the NEM which covers 15 times the area might be able to manage 10,000 per quarter

              04

              • #
                Geoffrey Williams

                PeterF,
                Your such a smart fellow so let us all know how you would supply the Australian Coast East with electrical power of 18,000MW baseload under the following circumstance;
                1. You have closed down all coal fired power in Australia (so that we are really green with zero Co2 emmissions)
                2. You have installed wind turbines to your satisfaction across Australia. Confirm how much wind power that you have installed).
                3. You have installed storage systems to you satisfaction. Confirm type and amount of storage.
                4. You have also closed down all gas fired power because it too produces Co2 emmissions. (and any case you have no gas available in Australia as it is all being exported overseas).
                Now lets say it is 3 o’clock one fine morning and the wind down the east coast of Aus drops dead calm. No predicated wind power for the next 12 hours.
                What would you do next?
                I realise this is a hypothetical situation but one I feel has to be addressed. Bear in mind the huge challenge that such an event would be, many lives will depend on the infrastructure that you have in place. Remember homes and hospitals, industry and commerce etc etc all requiring power.
                I should love to hear from you.
                Regards GeoffW

                40

              • #
                Annie

                For your info PeterF, Scotland and the rest of the UK had no sun and wind for weeks on end in that very bad winter 09/10…fat lot of use all your ‘ruinables’ are, no matter how extensive, in those conditions. Tidal is pretty well pie-in-the-sky at present and very, very expensive where experimental projects have been tried. Pumped hydro is only good where there is a surplus of electrcity to push the water back up the hill.

                20

              • #
                Annie

                Added to which, ‘Little Old Scotland’ is now utter blighted by myriads of the wind turbines polluting just about every view of what was wonderful scenery. Just try driving from GLA down to the border with England and through what was lovely Cumbria. Perhaps you haven’t seen the Solway Firth lately? Awash with the wretched things. It disgusts me.

                20

              • #
                Annie

                The last time I flew into GLA we passed over wind turbines present en masse. They weren’t turning. If you fly into Newcastle over the North Sea there will be giant ones,larger than an Airbus A380, if a new proposal comes about. If you fly into Manchester, more of the wretched things. If you drive towards the Vale of York down from the Dales, yet more of them over towards Middlesborough. If you go to Cyprus and land at Larnaca, yet more of the horrors. They are visual pollution…far more than any fracking operation would be.

                30

            • #

              It’s funny how the people who make stuff (they’re up there, somewhere north of this continent!) don’t get the point at all…

              https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinese-firms-to-build-700-coal-plants

              Well, this helps explain the Minerals Council report that “the latest trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates the strength of coal exports in 2017 which were valued at $56.5 billion, 35 per cent higher than 2016. This is the highest ever annual value of coal exports – the previous record was $46.7 billion in 2011″.

              So, to all those who thought that Asia was using our coal for art installations…sadly, they’re burning it. The good news is that, unlike the source country, they don’t waste Australian coal by burning it in old clunkers. Like I said, these are people who make stuff. Our stuff. With our stuff.

              Luckily for people who need stuff, not everyone wants to be Great White Virtuous Bwana. Somebody is still producing, with the coal and LNG that Bwana owns. You’d think Bwana would want to use his own products, at least to keep the lights on…but that would make him look bad when he goes to the fashionable Green Bar at the Bwana’s Club.

              30

  • #
    RobK

    Thanks Jo,
    Very good analysis. Frustrating but good.

    60

  • #
    yarpos

    What gets me about Zimmerman is that people believe her and she gets trotted out as an “expert”

    Its all very Flannery-esque

    171

  • #
    Bruce of Newcastle

    I’d like to be free not to buy solar panels, and free not to pay for everyone else’s.

    Many electricity retailers will let you choose to buy exclusively “green electricity”.
    I want an electricity retailer who will offer to sell me exclusively coal fired electricity.
    I would switch to that electricity plan in an instant.

    270

    • #
      PeterS

      In a real democracy that would be achievable but unfortunately we live in a society more akin to an oligarchy when it comes to power generation and climate change.

      70

      • #
        WXcycles

        According to our current globalist “Democracy Rating” Australia currently comes in 8th on the planet of the most democratic (which means a ‘good’ thing, btw). Apparently we have one of the best political systems and governments on earth. Wag to go, Mal, Bill and Joules!

        Obviously the rating is a meaningless crock of sh|t, but I do feel sorry for the rest of the world, if this is (much allegedly) as good as government tends to get.

        You lucky, lucky b@st@rds!

        30

    • #
      PeterS

      Of course it could all be changed if enough voters supported a party that opposes the “oligarchy” of power generation and climate change. The obvious one would the ACP. The power to change these things rests with the voters, not the government.

      80

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    This reminds me of an old saying that was no doubt intended to cause a little thinking instead of jumping to conclusions.

    Fools rush in where even angels fear to tread.

    But wisdom isn’t in style anymore.

    60

    • #
      PeterS

      Wisdom rarely ever was in style. That’s one reason why mankind keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over and over.

      50

  • #
    RickWill

    It is becoming very clear that the national grid is dead but still standing.

    As far as subsidies are concerned right now, LGCs going to the foreign investors are three times the unit cost of STCs going to your neighbour or you if you put panels on your roof. Under current legislation the cost of STCs are diminishing each year and will be zero by 2030. The LGCs will be the market price till 2030; currently $85/MWh.

    I working toward being off grid by 2024 when my attractive FIT runs out.

    50

    • #
      PeterF

      There is a significant difference between LGCs and STCs. The STc are paid up front at a known price. LGCs are only bought annually for the amount of LGCs a retailer is short so AGL will not have to buy LGCs for Silverton wind or Nyngan solar etc. All the plants contracted to the ACT government give their LGCs to the ACT government who surrenders to them to the Commonwealth without payment. So only some of the large scale plants earn the LGC revenue. Further if you look at futures prices for LGCs they are down to $50 by 2021 and by law zero after 2030 so many wind and solar farm builders are now accepting a fixed long term price of less than $9 for LGCs now rather than risk the market

      08

      • #
        RickWill

        The ACT Government is a retailer so they have a RET obligation that is being easily met through their generation contracts. They have an excess of LGCs that will force prices up. They can sell them at any time and make a tidy profit as others have done.

        The supposed 100% wind and solar generation for the ACT is more damaging to the grid than South Australia because it is leeching entirely off the dispatchable generation in the NEM from other States. At least South Australia has its own gas plants. This delusion is why the grid is already dead economically.

        The simple facts are that there are no benefit of scale with solar and little benefit of scale with wind. Grid scale wind and solar generation is hobbled by the retail price being 110% higher than the wholesale cost due to the transmission/distribution/retail charges. That means that 100% from grid scale wind and solar cannot compete with correctly installed rooftop solar.

        The fortunate feature in all this is that the grid scale generation is mostly owned by private companies so they will be the ones holding stranded assets when the demand dies.

        10

      • #
        truth

        A generator receives one REC for every MW it generates.

        The retailer must buy the RECS at the set price from the generators they purchase electricity from..or pay a fine for not doing so.

        AGL’s a gentailer and has a PARF fund which holds the RECS from Silverton and Nyngan et al….so in that way AGL doesn’t have to handle them.

        Complexity on steroids.

        00

        • #
          PeterF

          1. The generator receives one LREC for every MWh not MW
          2. The retailer must surrender certificates representing a proportion of their generation currently 16%. If their own renewable generators do not supply 16% of their sales they can buy LRECs in the market at whatever the market price is currently about $85. If they are way behind their renewable commitments they can even buy LRECs for future years in the market 20121 LRECs for example are priced at about $50.
          3. Almost all retailers have some of their own generation eg AGL already has seven large wind and solar plants so they don’t have to buy any certificates to cover that generation, almost all major retailers have some renewables so it is not true that all renewables attract $85/MWh subsidy.
          4. If the retailer buys power from a third party generator they can buy the LRECs as well or buy them in the open market. Some retailers are choosing to go the open market route. Others are offering to give arms length generators a fixed price for 10-15 years for power + LRECs. Thus Origin is buying the power + the LRECs from Goldwind at Stockyard Hill for $55 total. Goldwind has judged that at the current rate of installations LRECs will be worth very little by 2022 or thereabouts and the wind farm will run till about 2045 so they have decided that a contract to take all their power + LRECs at a fixed rice is better than gambling on the power price and the LREC price for the next 12 years, so the total cost to Origin is $55, there is no other cost to Origin or subsidies to the wind generator.
          5. If you look at the AGL announcement re the contract with PARF, AGL gets the power and the LGCs bundled together for $65 so again there is no further subsidy.

          In summary Truth while I agree with you statement that it is complicated the price hat generators are paying now for new contracts generally includes RECs they are not additional

          00

  • #
    PeterS

    One way to destroy a nation is to have a society where the two major parties keep making electricity too expensive for the masses who in turn keep voting of the very same parties that keep making it more expensive. Talk about a lunatic asylum where people keep repeating the same thing expecting a different result. Before most voters whine about electricity prices they should first look in the mirror. Of course I can also see a future government say to the complaining voters “let them eat cake”.

    80

    • #
      Kinky Keith

      She stands there and talks.

      Those important enough to have been invited, sit there and listen.

      The media records and publicises this received wisdom and indeed an audience sits and listens in awe, so it must be important.

      Our excess electricity costs are hidden from all but those who tap the flow coming from the golden pipelines, lest the serfs become aware that they have been enslaved.

      And a little boy innocently cries:

      “THE EMPORER HAS NO CLOTHES!”

      100

    • #
      PeterF

      Germany and Denmark have higher power prices than us yet both have trade surpluses in manufactured goods and industry is 3-4 times the share of the economy than it is here so your thesis is not backed up by real world evidence

      011

      • #
        PeterS

        You are being very unfair and selective. Europe has many other problems that we don’t share, not yet anyway. That would be the last region to use as an example of “best practice”. What you are effectively saying is having even higher electricity prices is better for us. You got to be kidding.

        80

        • #
          PeterF

          No
          I am simply saying that you made a statement about high power prices destroying nations. You made the statement, where is your evidence to support it. I picked the countries with the highest power prices and there is no evidence that that this is a major problem for their societies

          00

      • #
        robert rosicka

        Ahh now I know what the “F” stands for !

        50

  • #
    PeterS

    Turnbull keeps promising his plans will bring down electricity prices. Only a fool will believe that, not just because a politician generally tells falsehoods but also because his very actions directly and indirectly cause the opposite to happen. Anyone who believes otherwise is much worse than a fool. The truth is electricity prices will keep rising substantially under a government headed by either major party. Hence voters for both major parties are fools or worse. Anyone who really thinks we will ever build a new coal fired power station as long as the people keep voting for LNP or ALP+Greens are delusional to the extreme. In fact it’s now becoming just as likely we will build a coal fired power station as we would build a nuclear powered one. In other words it won’t happen. Stop whining and just get ready as best you can for the crash and burn scenario in the years ahead. Then perhaps China takes over and we can expect to see coal and nuclear power stations whether we like it or not. Face reality.

    60

    • #
      PeterF

      My retailer sent me an email reducing my prices 5% without even asking. You could also look at AEMO monthly average prices and see that so far in 2018 they are well below 2017

      010

      • #
        Kinky Keith

        Peter

        Electricity is way over priced: 200% above what it would be in a sane world.

        If you were paying $600 per quarter prior to the new discount you would now be paying $570.

        In the real world, the cost of your power would be $200 a quarter.

        They are skimming, or rather shoveling, $370 a quarter off to the Bahamas and can keep doing it became they have a guardian angel who looks after people just like them.

        Aren’t renewables suppliers lucky.

        So I hope you can understand why I don’t like open markets™, renewable power and politics.

        I look forward to a better world.

        KK

        70

        • #
          PeterF

          Keith we could have a debate about markets and I completely agree with you the NEM and associated “markets” are a disaster, but renewables are a minor part of it.

          But now new renewables are cheaper than new coal or gas, we have a NEM grid that is 4 times the area of Germany with 2/5ths of the demand. Wind and solar power availability per square km is more than double theirs and therefore we can generate wind and solar power for at least 30% less than they can. Peak hydro capacity is 25% of peak demand whereas in Germany and the UK it is less than 6%. Our peaks are on sunny windy afternoons, theirs are on dark still winter nights so we need far less storage than they do further increasing our advantage

          111

          • #
            RobK

            PeterF,
            In both cases, of Germany and Australia, you fail to acknowledge that for every miserable, low grade MWh of RE, there is a massive subsidy which is the fundamental cause of destabilization of the grid. You say RE is competative but in Australia each MWh of RE is gifted $85 directly from coals profits (more than it costs coal to produce at $40/MWh). The grid will need constant redesign as RE penetration increases. Germany has close neighbours where it can sink surplus RE(thanks to swedens hydro) and draw power (thanks to France and Sweden etc). Dump the subsidies and see how you go.

            131

            • #
              Kinky Keith

              Rob,

              Germany can’t dump renewable energy onto nearby countries just like that.

              Most of the “near by” countries are fed up with the disruptive interference caused by ad hoc renewable electrons arriving at their back doors and have closed the door.

              It just doesn’t work.

              KK

              50

              • #
                PeterF

                It doesn’t dump it, it sells it. If they don’t want it they don’t buy it. In fact Poland, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Czech republic and even France, buy power from Germany and since 2010 exports have risen to 80 TWh from 58 TWh while imports have fallen from 51 TWh to 27 TWh. It appears the neighbours ae heartily sick of relying on Germany

                02

              • #
                Graeme No.3

                Norway and Sweden are very happy to take German electricity surges. They get very cheap electricty and just shut down their hydro.
                Poland has stopped German exports to protect their black coal based supply. So too the Czechs with their nuclear. France and Holland are following.
                And why are there supply surges in Germany? Could it be variable renewables? Yet the coal fired base has to continue running to cover for the wind dropping.
                And if the wind isn’t being dumped why are there cases of NEGATIVE prices? OK for those with subsidies but eventually will force coal fired base load into bankruptcy.

                10

          • #
            Kinky Keith

            Complete.

            And Utter.

            Rubbish.

            61

      • #
        PeterS

        PeterF, yes price discounts do occur but so what? You neglect the trend and the eventuality when more and more of our base load power stations are closed down. If you don’t understand the consequences of that then you are alone in the world scene because the rest of the world including many European countries do understand that base load is critical to the economic survival of any nation, be it nuclear or coal based.

        90

        • #
          PeterF

          It seems that at the current state of the art and depending on how much hydro you have, coal, nuclear or gas is still necessary but there are only three nuclear and three coal plants being built in the whole of western Europe, however they are vastly outweighed by the number of coal and nuclear plants that are closing. There are no coal plants being built in all of North America and in this decade 260 have already closed and a further 26 GW have announced closure. Similarly 10 nuclear plants will close and 3 open. So it can be seen that in advanced economies the coal and nuclear share is falling.
          The NEM has 28 GW of coal and baseload gas plants supported by 15 GW of hydro and peaking gas plants. The Base Load is 18 GW, the peak load is 33 GW and falling, we have plenty of capacity, the problems are market structure, fuel price and reliability. 54 major power plant trips occurred over summer.
          Jo talks about a loss of 1,000 MW of solar on a cloudy day, this was forecast and easily managed by more gas, coal and hydro. Last week Kogan Creek went offline and dropped 750 MW in less than 4 seconds how do you forecast that.
          Last year Europe installed a record 11.7 GW of new wind and no coal or nuclear. The US installed 17 GW of wind and solar and no coal or nuclear. China installed 80 GW of renewables but only 38 GW of coal and nuclear. The trend is similar in India.

          05

          • #

            Last week Kogan Creek went offline and dropped 750 MW in less than 4 seconds how do you forecast that.

            Hmm! Let me see now.

            Kogan Creek went off line at 8.30PM, you know, after the evening peak had passed, and with the low power requirement of the coming weekend meaning less power was needed.

            Say, could that not have been a shut down for planned maintenance now? (as with nearly all of the 54 major power plant trips you mentioned)

            And you wonder how they can forecast that eh!

            In the four hours immediately prior to Kogan Creek going offline, five gas fired plants came on line to supply an extra 600MW of the soon to be offline 750MW from Kogan Creek.

            I guess that’s how you forecast a drop like that, eh!

            Tony.

            50

            • #
              PeterF

              If it was a scheduled outage it would have ramped down. You are guessing and even your guess doesn’t even make sense. The 54 trips I mentioned were the unscheduled outages

              02

      • #
        destroyer D69

        Same here… The SCAM is that it is only a discount on the SUPPLY… Not on the total bill. The supply and access charges are by far the greatest part of my bill . Contact them and you will be able to negotiate a reduction of the entire bill. I got 12% on the total with only a small amount of haggling. Go for it..

        20

  • #
    Gordon

    So wind and solar are solving the worlds energy problems? Everything is fine and in just a few years oil will be gone along with coal. Peter Diamandis is hyping solar and wind. It is cheap, very cheap. It is becoming so cheap we will have free energy in a few years. Disruption! Why do I not believe any of this? Overall energy use around the globe is increasing, so how are we getting rid of fossil fuels? Am I missing something?

    80

    • #
      PeterS

      You have to understand there are many people who are delusional. Getting rid of our oil based industry in general and fossil fuel based power generation specifically is economic suicide. That is fact. In theory we could replace all our coal based power generation systems with nuclear but I doubt the CAGW alarmists will support that! Sometimes I wonder who are more dangerous and more stupid, the renewables cult or the flat earthers.

      60

  • #
    Graeme#4

    I know that I’m being pedantic, but it’s NOT a “national” grid, and being in WA I’m glad we aren’t attached to this grid. At 27c/kWh, I only hope that the current Labour Govt leaves things be as they are. Our main power station at Collie is located right on a coalfield, and we have steady reliable sources of gas at negotiated prices that gives us certainty of both supply and cost. Everything that the “national” grid doesn’t provide. I also realise that it’s not that difficult to connect us to either the electricity or gas grid, but being selfish I don’t want this to occur.

    60

  • #
    DaveR

    AEMO is being run by an activist without (or appearing not to have) a complete economic understanding of the issues. There is no place for blind politicisation in such important national infrstructure.

    Previous AEMO head Matt Zema was much more of a realist, and understood the economic clearly.

    There is significant ongoing economic danger to Australia from Ms Zibelman continuing in the top role. She has to go now (along with Frydenbeg).

    110

    • #
      PeterF

      You are completely correct, no place for politicisation or blind activism, that why the new operating rules from AEMO have maintained supply through summer with only NSW going anywhere near capacity limits and the emergency diesels in Victoria and SA going unused. Perhaps you also noticed that in SA average wholesale prices since Dec 1 are 30% lower than last year and even in Victoria in March and April they have fallen since last year although still much higher than 2016

      08

    • #
      truth

      I agree Dave R!

      Matt Zema expressed concern and alarm just before he died suddenly. He said the subsidies paid to RE could only result in ‘system collapse’

      Within months, Turnbull rushed to ratify Paris when he didn’t have to…. because he knew the US was pulling out.

      He wanted to lock Australia in before Trump’s pullout bore fruit.

      Turnbull HAD TO KNOW in doing that he was massively exacerbating the danger to the system that Zema had warned about…he had to know there would be a gold rush for subsidies by the world’s carpetbaggers..the talk of it had already started as soon as he stole government and reversed the mitigations Tony Abbott had tried to implement.

      The RE CULT was over the moon at Turnbull’s coup and that’s when the rush began—Turnbull’s son getting on the gravy train by buying in to INFIGEN.

      In his latest speech Frydenberg said there’s no place for ideology in energy, but ideology is what the catastrophe he and Turnbull are visiting on Australia is all about…GreenLEFT Socialist ideology…with everyone Turnbull’s surrounded himself with, being of that persuasion …ESB..his own PMO…Finkel…Zibelman’s AEMO….and it tracks exactly the result Rudd’s guru David McKnight['former' Communist] foreshadowed and hoped for… when he advised the Labor party that CAGW was the great vehicle for a resurgence worldwide of Socialism.

      McKnight said Socialists should use the unprecedented disruption and dislocation…the massive prices and turmoil the move to RE would inevitably cause ..the chaos.. from which to build a new more powerful Socialism.

      Turnbull was so much in sync with Rudd at that time …2009..on his CPRS…that he must have been aware of and influenced by… the academic’s exhortations to the LEFT. He certainly didn’t repudiate them when he tried to force the Liberal party into a bipartisan agreement on Rudd’s scheme.

      How the Liberal party now allows such a creature …[who was hell bent on throwing the Liberal party into bed with a scheme for worldwide Socialist resurgence ]…to hurtle the country towards de-industrialization and social and economic suicide … is enough to boggle the mind.

      And my view of John Howard has gone from hero to worse than zero for whatever insanity caused him to foist such a destructive venal idiot on Australia by persuading Turnbull to stay after 2009…and sinking the boot into Australia even further by tacitly endorsing the coup and just recently putting the mockers on any moves to dump the parasite.

      It’s incomprehensible.

      60

  • #
    PeterF

    For all those who like to quote Germany’s disaster look up energy-charts.de There you will find that wind and solar installations are increasing, coal capacity is closing faster than new plants have opened. The wind and solar share of generation is increasing from 21.5% in 2015 to 27.4% YTD. Based on current trends and past seasonal patterns, by the end of the year renewables will generate 42% of annual generation and coal will be under 40%
    Yet exports are now 4 times imports and wholesale power prices are half ours, seems like a hell of a failure to me.

    09

    • #

      One can spend like mad on anything and get some kind of result. Germany remains critically dependent on its coal, especially brown, and on imports of oil and gas. If solar panels at 50+ degrees N were a game-changer (rather than an expensive fetish) we would not be looking at NATO/EU tensions over North Stream 2 and expansion of LNG facilities as a possible (dubious) counterweight to Russian gas dependence.

      The tragedy of non-hydro renewables is that they are old ideas which are soaking up all the cred and resources due to any real alternatives that may come along in the future. In a hundred years time we will be doing things differently. We need to stop stifling that future by inflicting a Jetson version of the future on the present. Whirlygigs and big batteries are cornball. Your Jetson technologies are already Flintstone.

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      RobK

      From statistica:
      This statistic shows the electricity prices for household in Germany. In the first half of 2016, the average electricity price for households was 29.69 eurocents per kWh. This increased to 30.48 euro cents the following year.
      France is 75% nuclear power.

      • Germany: Electricity prices for households 2010-2017 | Statistic

      https://www.statista.com › statistics › elect…

      And fromhttps://en.selectra.info/energy-france/guides/electricity-cost#structure-electricity-bill-France

      “France enjoys one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe; at 14.72 eurocents per kWh, the average cost of electricity in France is 26.5% cheaper than the EU average (20.02 euro cents per kWh).”

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      Graeme#4

      Sounds like you’re quoting renewable nameplate capacity. What would the figures be based on Capacity Factors?

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      • #
        PeterS

        People like PeterF wouldn’t understand the difference. One could quote any nameplate figure for any power source but unless it can provide anything near that figure 23×7 then it’s meaningless. That’s the problem with wind and solar – without large scale base load power generation systems like coal and nuclear they can’t deliver anything near 24×7 even with battery backups.

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        • #
          PeterF

          Sorry Peter but if you read my posts I do know the difference. The figures I quoted for Germany are annual generation not nameplate. If you also read a bit beyond the headlines you will find that wholesale prices in Germany, upon which industry prices are based are actually 30% lower than France and about half ours and by the way their grid is more reliable in frequency, voltage and lost connection hours.
          No power plant delivers power 24 x 7. All of them need maintenance. No grid needs constant power 24 x 7 so some plants have to be able to be switched off at low demand and ramp quickly when demand spikes or another plant trips or a power line goes down. That’s why we had 53 GW of coal gas and hydro to supply 24 GW average demand and 36 GW peak. The system always had storage and it always had fast response plants and it always had spinning reserve.
          When you understood how power systems worked you would not make such uninformed criticisms

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    • #
      manalive

      Wind and solar percentage share of Germany generation is stuck below 30% and has been partly achieved by ever pricing electricity higher enough to reduce consumption despite subsidies with resulting energy poverty, illnesses and premature deaths.
      The ‘current trends’ that PeterF refers to are the Energiewende ‘targets’ that look in trouble.
      Germany exports electricity only when there is excess wind generation.
      Without nuclear, which is being closed down, Germany will be in trouble, without coal (black & brown) it is in very deep scheißen.
      It has all been futile, there has been no reduction in CO2 emissions because wind and solar have simply replaced older nuclear plants that are being closed.
      But don’t tell PeterF, let him dream on.

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  • #

    Never mind the reality, feel the logo.

    Let’s go the whole hog on self-important twaddle. Let’s have Centre for Excellence for Independent Studies for Imposing White Elephants on Populations Farmed for Globalism and Crony Capitalism. The CEISIWEPFGCC (did I get all that right?) should of course have its own .org website and it should be headed by a powerful, empowered, empowering, confident, assertive woman like Audrey, who’s so powerful, empowered, empowering, confident and assertive that she’s able to by-pass the common functions of thought and reason.

    White elephants. You know you want them. Audrey has them.

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    KenE

    ALL of the Eastern states are producing a TOTAL of 71 MW of wind power at the moment, while demand is over 20,000 MW. The AEMO graph is so obvious that it is hard to argue against, much easier for them to just completely ignore it and spout the warmist faith.

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    • #
      PeterF

      And last week for three days 4.4 GW of east coast mainland wind produced more energy than 14 GW of gas and hydro combined.
      Or at this moment 5 GW of solar in the same regions is producing 2,100 MW of power and 10 GW of gas is only producing 1,470 MW.

      What is your point?

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      • #
        KenE

        Hi PeterF

        I would like to see where you got four figures from. All I have to go on is AEMO graphs and figures and Windfarm Performance graphs. They both show that wind power is producing very little electricity over the last weeks in particular and no matter how many times you multiply it, it still will not power Australia. I am trying very hard to see both sides of the story but it is not easy. I would like to have a discussion but will not turn it into a slanging match.

        Also, can you explain what power will be used to pump water uphill for Snowy2?

        Cheers
        Ken

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          PeterF

          The Australian figures come from Aneroid and NEM Watch both of which source their figures from AEMO and AER. Wind in the last week or so has averaged between 10 and 20% capacity factor but from the 13th to 15th was about 65-70%.
          You don’t have to use wind to pump water up hill, you can use it to preserve water in the dams. Our annual capacity factor for hydro is only about 20% so if you can replace some hydro with wind when the wind is blowing then you have more water for when you need it. In the future it is probably cheaper to enlarge some of the hydro generators and increase peak power than build complete pumped hydro systems

          As for Snowy II the power can come from anywhere that is cheap, excess wind at night, excess solar during the day, coal plants that can’t afford to ramp down at night, even in rare occasions full dams in other areas that are spilling water rather than make hydro power that is not needed in the market. However I am not a fan of Snowy II it is too big, too inefficient and needs too much spent on transmission upgrades and it will probably be obsolete before it is built

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          • #
            Graeme No.3

            So you are advocating a cap on subsidies for renewables? That is the only way they would become cheap, although they would soon shut down.

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            • #
              PeterF

              Just in case you hadn’t noticed. There is already a cap on renewable subsidies, any large scale renewables between now and 2030 that exceed 33,000 GWh per year will not get RECs. After that there will be no subsidies even if the plant lasts til 2050. Similarly STCs are falling every year and FITs have fallen to 6-10c from 60c. In addition many distributors are limiting exports. The combined effect is that total payments to a new rooftop solar system over its lifetime are not much more than a tenth of what they were at the peak subsidy level.

              On the other hand there is no coal plant in Australia that would get an operatng certificate in China the US or Europe because their emissions of particulates, heavy meatals, SOx, NOx etc are to high, so the community bears $4-8b per year in health and pollution costs caused by the mines and power plants. Other than Kogan Creek coal plants use about 1.3 ML of water per GWh. at current irrigator water prices that is about $200 per GWh.

              I would be very happy to suspend all subsidies to renewable plants the day that coal plants meet international standards for local pollution and pay the same price for water as farmers

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    • #

      Ken, I do get your point. 71 versus 20,000. Today. I get it. Of course, if we could live in last week…at least, on the right day last week…or next week, depending…

      Maybe when Elon’s done his Mars thing (he moves to new projects pretty quickly) he can do a time machine thing. Last Thursday’s wind power today!

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      • #
        KenE

        Hi Mosomoso

        You are on to something. If the whole Southern Hemisphere hibernates through winter (like bears do) we can use all the electricity saved to run the country all summer when the wind is not blowing. Problem solved. Just tell the politicians.

        Do I NEED TO PUT “sarc?”

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  • #
    PeterF

    Disruption is not necessarily bad. This website would not exist without the disruption of the internet. Mobile phones have disrupted the telecoms market, Canals disrupted wagon transport, trains disrupted canals and trucks disrupted trains, Steam disrupted sail etc etc etc.
    Leaving aside global warming completely. New wind farms are selling power and the RECs for $55 /MWh fixed price for 15 years, solar farms for a little more, the interest and depreciation on a new coal plant is more than ths, before it is staffed maintained or fuelled.
    Batteries are thousands of times faster than coal plants at responding to grid disruption. That is why in Germany, Korea, Japan and the UK even coal and gas plants are installing batteries to improve their efficiency and flexibility. The batteries can be charged from wind, gas, solar, hydro or coal whichever is the cheapest, but they discharge at peak demand helping the coal/gas plant owner make more money

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    • #
      Graeme#4

      Coal powered energy sources don’t have to respond, they just supply energy reliably 24/7. And batteries don’t generate energy, they are only storage devices and darned expensive ones at that, and they aren’t needed to prop up coal energy sources, only wind and solar. And the only reason wind farms can supply energy at that price is because they rely on heavy subsidies. Remove the subsidies and their business cases fail miserably.

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      • #
        Annie

        Batteries not only do not generate energy but they actually waste energy both on charging and discharging. Why are people so wilfully stupid?

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        • #
          PeterF

          As to you question I really don’t know, perhaps you could tell us why from first hand experience.
          Kogan Creek tripped last week dropped 750 MW in less than 4 seconds. Other coal plants can increase output by about 0.5-2% per minute for a short period, so to replace that power in 20 seconds you would need about 130,000 MW of coal plants already running, that’s why we have hydro (i.e. storage) and gas plants for fast response.
          On the other hand by the end of next year there will be about 800 MW of batteries in front of and behind the meter on the NEM and they can ramp up to full power in 2/10ths of a second. That is why gas plants in the UK and coal plants in Germany are putting in batteris so they can respond faster to changes in grid demand, cause less stress on their generators and make more money

          05

          • #

            Thanks, Peter. We’ll keep the battery gizmos in mind when we restore domestically consumed coal to its rightful position at the centre of the Australian economy. Maybe.

            As a conservationist I like anything that’s good for coal. Hate the fact that we burn ours in ageing clunkers, and will go on burning it in ageing clunkers. Countries who buy our black coal (aka people who make stuff) know better than to waste it. Those new Hitachi plants are to die for.

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            • #
              PeterF

              Sorry to burst your bubble no-one with money is interested in new coal plants anywhere in the Western world, even less so in a country such as Australia which has such excellent wind and solar resources close to the load.

              04

              • #

                Just as well you said “western”. That Asia place, where they make your stuff and my stuff, even the hardware for wind and solar…I wonder what they do with all that Australian coal they import. As mentioned already, a record dollar year for Oz coal in 2017 has to lead one to suspect that someone somewhere is burning a lot of Australian coal. Of course, I could be jumping to conclusions, but I just don’t think that much coal is going to landfill or art installations.

                Oh well. I’m sure Audrey people have got some good spin for that. It’s what they do.

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              • #

                Thought for Today:

                ‘A fool and his $,$$$,$$$
                …[coal] are soon parted.’

                20

              • #

                Shssssh. Don’t mention the Asia.

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              • #
                PeterF

                If you follow these links you will find that thermal coal exports to China, Japan and India are falling. it is easy to get confused between three factors, price, tonnage and the met coal/thermal coal mix

                http://blogs.platts.com/2018/04/20/thermal-coal-china-imports-india/
                https://www.platts.com/latest-news/coal/newdelhi/indian-power-utilities-annual-coal-imports-down-26944980
                https://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL3N1S32CD

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              • #

                Some fluctuations and some new import restrictions in China? China took record Australian coal imports for the year 2017 with a full year rise of 5 per cent to 1.075 billion tonnes. And if they had taken less than the previous year, or just the same…well, you get that when you’re selling stuff. (Btw, I do realise that tonnes aren’t dollars, or even yuan. I came up in that hard era when we had to distinguish apples from oranges just by looking.)

                If you haven’t noticed Australia’s massive coal export industry with Asia or you think it’s been nixed by recent dips here and there in the last few months…you get a gold Audrey for spin!

                Really, Peter, some things are just too big and too tangible to spin away. There’s a brontosaurus in this phone booth and it’s called Australian coal exports to Asia.

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          • #

            See 16.1.2.1.1 for how that Kogan Creek plant shut down was most effectively handled, umm, before the shut down occurred.

            Tony.

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            • #

              Kogan Creek is such a hoot. Over a hundred million of corporate and govt money was tipped into the Kogan Creek Solar Boost project seven years ago. The basic idea was equivalent to putting a candle next to an outdoor barbecue light. Presumably, you can turn down the barbecue light if the candle doesn’t blow out. Or something.

              After five years everyone realised it was a terrible idea – or everyone stopped pretending they didn’t think it was a terrible idea. No more Solar Boost, no more hundred million, all materials and work wasted. Nobody surprised. Do the tax write-offs and cart the white elephant away. Again.

              In sane times, the people behind such fiascos as Solar Boost, Oceanlinx, Kurnell Desal, SA Wind, Uphill Snowy etc etc would be…better not say it. But these are religious times, and any amount of waste and ruin is justified if the rune-sayers and temple priests give their consent.

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      • #
        PeterF

        They didn’t spend $100 m, they only spent $40 m before they realised that the technology they had selected was a dead end, just like many industrial projects that fail, like the Liddell power plant that has never delivered design capacity or Dateln coal plant in Germany that has some difficulty meeting ts 2013 opening date because it is now not expected to open until late 2018.
        Can you tell me how successful the US$9 bn that has been spent on Plant Summer nuclear plant has been, or the US$7.5 bn Kemper coal plant has been or even the $1.5bn Boundary Dam project

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        • #

          Areva was in on the KC solar action. Oh my god, Areva. Next we’ll be handing too much money over to Thales-related corporations for our defence. The things we do for France these days, and the naughty people we have to dance with to be good globalists! Lovely to hear that some of the KC millions survived, at least in accounting.

          Well, since we smashed our coal export record in 2017 (I know, I’m sounding like a climate-botherer with “record” and “unprecedented” but I couldn’t resist) no doubt a few forlorn souls up there in Asia are finding ways with our good black. I must say I envy that rejig of the Isogo Thermal Power Station. I know it’s only one of many new and efficient coal burners in Asia, but I’ve taken an especial shine to it. One of those for NSW please.

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            PeterF

            Even though I am a bit of a Francophile and have travelled extensively there I have to agree with you about how good they are at getting their snouts in our trough.
            And by the way not just us, they did a fantastic deal selling the Alsthom power business to GE just as the market for large scale gas and coal power plants crashed. If you love coal you will probably recognise that Alsthom is just as good as Hitachi at ultra-supercritical power plants

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    • #

      Peter, we may be talking different disruptions here. This is not about disruption where machine replaces muscle. This is disruption where you drop a spanner into a machine. That sort of disruption. You may not see non-hydro renewables as old, inefficient gizmos hung off the grid as a green afterthought. But the argument is about physically disrupting and complicating the grid, not about the desirability of new tech replacing old. (And, God knows, these renewables make Cliff Richard look young.)

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        PeterF

        The sources are published prices paid by AGL for Silverton @$65, Origin at Stockyard Creek Less than $55. Telstra et al $48.
        Perhaps you should check the Finkel report again because it is quoting an earlier Jacobs report. Solar with 12 hour storage is actually solar thermal with 12 hour storage a different technology altogether. In any case that price has been superseded by real contracts in the Middle east and Chile at around US$65/MWh and in SA at A$78/MWh

        As for Wholesale prices Dec 1 2016, Jan 2017, Feb 2017, Mar 2017, April 2017
        Queensland $67, $197, $239, $88, $94
        SA $97, $84, $179, $122, $119
        Victoria $29, $62, $86, $90, $108
        Dec 2017, Jan 2018, Feb 2018, Mar 2018, April 2018
        Queensland $71, $75, $71, $62, $63
        SA $97, $83, $109, $80, $97
        Victoria $84, $133, $97, $76, $74
        i.e. Prices in SA for the five months are below what they were the year before, prices in Queensland are down because the government ordered the generators to change their bidding behaviour and prices in Victoria for march and April are already falling back below the Hazelwood shock induced price but I agree still well above the previous year

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        • #
          Graeme No.3

          This is very generous of the renewables suppliers. According to Finkel
          Wind costs $92
          Solar PV costs $91 ($138 with storage) and
          Solar thermal $172

          Yet you were able to find lots of renewable suppliers supplying at less than cost.

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          • #
            PeterF

            That’s because Finkel’s costs were based on a Jacobs report that in turn was mainly based on 2015/16 data. The world has moved on. Wind has been contracted between US$18 and $30 in Canada, US and Mexico. Solar thermal in Chile and the Middle East about US$65 and Solar PV regularly below US$20. In fact in Arizona a 65 MW solar + 50 MW battery beat even cheap shale gas for a new peak power plant

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        PeterF

        Sorry
        My response was to the wrong comment.
        Much disruption is government mandated, the introduction of nuclear power was government funded all around the word to the detriment of coal. Most rural electrification programs are heavily subsidised and destroy the business of local fuel suppliers etc etc. After the first world war Victorian governments forcibly took over the electricity generation around the state. Sir Thomas Playford did the same in SA in 1946 etc.
        Even free state provided education disrupted the private school sector.

        If people were proposing filling the countryside with 1980′s solar panels or 1940′s windmills I would agree with you that would be stupid. The world’s first wind farm was installed in 1980 it had twenty 30 kW turbines generating 1,000 MWh per year. Silverton wind farm will have 58 wind turbines and generate 780,000 MWh per year and even it is not the state of the art. It has already been superseded before it is finished. Onshore turbines on order now for delivery in 2020 will deliver 35-40% more energy than Silverton. GE’s offshore Halliade X wind turbine for delivery about 2022 is designed to deliver 63,000 MWh per turbine per year enough for about 1,000 Australian domestic users.

        Similarly the 1980′s solar panels took more energy to make than they ever delivered in their lifetime. Modern solar panels deliver 15-20 times their embedded energy over their lifetime.

        Technology has changed, the world will change with it regardless of how fondly people love steam power and no matter how much I love traction engines and steam locos (one of the greatest thrills of my life was driving one, but I recognise that like rotary dial phones they are a thing of the past

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        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Australian domestic users need 63MW per year each? And they don’t mind not getting it when they want it?
          And where would this huge off-shore wind turbine be installed? In the middle of the proposed Great Australian Bight Marine Park?
          And, by the way, bigger turbines generate more by being taller. There is a limited amount that can be extracted by any wind ‘farm’ from each square kilometre, so a bigger turbine means the next one must be further away.

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          • #
            PeterF

            Sorry 10,000 and apparently one of the best offshore wind provinces in the world is in relatively shallow waters off Gippsland so not in a marine park and only 95 km or so from the HV grid. you can look up Star of the South wind farm
            Bigger wind turbines do have to be placed further apart as you say but that is not a problem. Scotland averages about 250 MWh/square km/yr from wind and is planning much more so their ultimate target is probably over 350. The area of the NEM is 1,200,000 square km so that suggests a wind potential of 400,000 GWh from wind across the NEM i.e. double our total demand. You might use Texas or Oklahoma which are targeting similar wind power densities.

            Another way of looking at it is that Germany has one wind turbine for every 12 square km. Germany has much higher forest, lake and urban coverage than we do so we could safely have a higher turbine density. However if we restrained ourselves to one 4 MW class turbine for every 12 square km of the NEM even running at 5% capacity that would supply 20,000 MW, topping that up with 8,900 MW of existing hydro, and 3,000 to 4,000 MW of new thermal and pumped hydro storage has the job done.
            Of course it would be wastefully expensive so that’s why you might keep some of the gas turbines possibly running on hydrogen generated by excess wind and use solar, solar thermal and a few batteries to smooth demand and get by with less than half the number of wind turbines

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    • #
      Robber

      PeterF, Please quote your sources for new wind farm costs. Dr Finkel in his report for the Australian government in 2017 cited levelised costs of production as:
      Wind without backup $92/MWhr
      Solar without backup $91/MWhr, with 12 hours backup $172/MWhr
      Supercritical coal $76/MWhr
      Gas Turbine $83/MWhr
      And perhaps you would care to explain why wholesale prices in Vic rose from $46/MWhr in 2015/16 to $94/Mwhr in 2017/18 per AEMO reports, while in Qld prices only varied from $60 to $73 with mostly coal generation, including exports to NSW. And of course in coal free windy/sunny/battery-powered SA the 2017/18 price is averaging $97/MWhr.

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      • #
        WXcycles

        PeterF would like to decline to comment, due to his arguments being much too highly enriched in methane and H2S.

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        • #
          PeterF

          You really know you are winning the argument when youhave nothing but crude insults, keep it up, every time you do it you just display your ignorance for the world to see.

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    • #

      Sometimes you really have to wonder about people who so strongly advocate batteries.

      They are huge, sorry, medium, sorry, small, sorry, positively tiny sources of SECONDARY electrical power delivery. They actually have to be charged up in the first place over long periods of time, so that they can deliver their tiny amount of power for a tiny amount of time.

      I wonder if those who support batteries so much have wondered that instead of diverting that original power to charge them, perhaps they could, umm, use that power instead as it is being generated.

      At any one discharge time, that battery in South Australia is supplying as much as, umm, 5% of South Australia’s actual consumption, but only for ONE HOUR at most, and South Australia only consumes 6.5% of Australia’s total power consumption. So 5% of 6.5%, or 0.33% of Australia’s power consumption, but only for one hour a day so 0.013% of Australia’s daily power consumption. (Quick, let’s build more of them)

      Tony.

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        Annie

        Tony, I think you can repeat that until you are blue in the face but some people simply do not want to know, understand or acknowledge that. It’s wilful ignorance as far as I’m concerned and they have a lot to answer for at the day of reckoning.

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      • #
        toorightmate

        And one A grade d*ckhead is a red thumber????

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      • #
        PeterF

        A broadly spread wind and solar system will deliver 70% of its power directly to the load just as it does now. If there is plenty of wind and solar it means that hydro will mainly run as backup to wind and solar. As wind is never zero and minimum wind will gradually increase with geographical spread increases and proliferation of low wind turbines that means that existing hydro + wind and solar will be able to guarantee a minimum summer peak of about 15 GW and typical summer peak of about 25 GW so by retaining existing gas generation capacity and 3-4 GW of existing landfill/biomass and new waste to energy and solar thermal there will be a need for between 5 and 12 GW of additional peak supply. 20% of customers with a 5 kW battery gives you 10 GW, a dozen Kidston size pumped hydro system another 3 GW so maybe we put in another 10-12 Hornsdale size batteries. No big deal really. Total cost of pumped hydro and on grid batteries about $4-5 billion as long as we don’t make the mistake of building Snowy II around 60-70% of the cost of replacing Hazelwood

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    • #
      el gordo

      ‘Leaving aside global warming completely.’

      Yeah its not happening.

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    Chad

    But industry and the public do not buy power at wholesale prices.
    Check out the actual retail costs.

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    • #
      PeterF

      The wholesale price is driven by generation costs which is driven by AEMO policies that is what the debate is about. New AEMO policies and more renewables have increased competition and therefore reduced generation prices

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      • #
        Graeme#4

        There are plenty of graphs that clearly show that Auatralia’s energy costs have significantly increased when renewables and their associated subsidies were introduced, do your statement about reduced generation prices is clearly wrong.

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        • #
          Graeme#4

          Let’s add some figures to backup my assertion.
          From 2003 to 2013, Aust. household electricity costs increased by 70%, while business costs increased by approx. 55%.
          Another graph shows that in the same time period (March 2003 to March 2013), the Aust. CPI increased by 15% while the retail electricity prices doubled!
          Now let’s look at other countries, from Pat’s recent post.
          Germany: from 2006 to 2016, their electricity prices increased by 51%.
          California: From 2011 to 2017, their electricity prices increased by 24%.
          Denmark: From 1995 to now, their electricity prices have increased 100%.
          Where’s the promised cost reduction with renewables? I don’t see it anywhere.

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          • #
            PeterF

            There is an old rule in statistics that correlation is not causation. Gas prices to Australian gas generators have risen from less than $2 in 2013 to $9 in 2016 so on that basis power prices should have increased 450%. NSW coal plants were privatised with coal at A$27/tonne now even medium grade coal is US$65/tonne and the coal needed for those high performance Japanese coal plants is US$105/tonne.
            Similar price increases have occurred in international coal and gas markets, that is why Denmark is switching away from imported coal and gas and their newish Conservative government which temporarily halted wind contracts has now awarded more included their biggest 600 MW plant is now planning an 800 MW plant.

            Even within Australia, the states with the lowest wind penetration NSW and Queensland have had the highest power price increases. How does your renewables cause high prices thesis explain that

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      • #
        Kinky Keith

        As I said above.

        Bizarre.

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        KenE

        NSW currently 10 MW from wind out of a total demand of 6522 MW. How many times do you have to multiply it to have any meaningful generation. Even with hydro it is nothing, and you can ignore solar because night is coming on. What am I missing that makes you so optimistic that renewables can replace coal?

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          Kinky Keith

          It would also be interesting to know just how much of that actually gets used by consumers.

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            Environment Skeptic

            As far as interest payments……..probably quite a lot!

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            Kinky Keith

            I’m not sure how that relates to what I said.

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            Kinky Keith

            I’m not sure how that relates to what I said.

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              Environment Skeptic

              https://www.pv-magazine.com/2017/05/05/spain-loses-its-first-renewable-energy-case-in-international-courts/
              “…………….pay €128 million plus interest [my bolding], according to a press release by the ……….”
              On the subject of ‘interest’……’Interest’…….as one financier said to another…..”this is interesting”.

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                Kinky Keith

                It seems my comment was doubled up.

                The link was interesting in that it shows just a little bit about how expensive the “Renewables” are now and how the tables may be turned legally on them.

                Removing old unworkable renewables from site is going to be a heavily contested area in the future. I hope that the public doesn’t get the bill for dismantling old solar sites and Wind turbines. There is one old wind turbine site in the USA that has just been left with 14,000 to demolish.

                The only good news about your story is that it highlights the fact that money is involved and the Spanish taxpayers and power users will foot the bill.

                KK

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              Environment Skeptic

              “It would also be interesting to know just how much of that actually gets used by consumers.”
              It’s all about “interest” You focused on “interest” and i agree with you!
              That is where the real power generation is. Interest payments, particularly where the interest-payment-generation is so high that it becomes un-payable.

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    Stephen Harper

    Jo,

    Score 100/100 and go to the top of the class (as if you weren’t there already). You post should be forced reading for every politician in the country. With a comprehension test held immediately thereafter. And if the pollie should fail the comprehension test? Well, despatch them to the rubbish dump quick smart. The sad thing is that your observation about sceptics joining the renewable party (and thus becoming a part of the problem) is bulls-eye accurate. I can attest to that as I make the uncomfortable decision to ‘go solar’.

    It is a crazy mixed up world, where the truth is inverted and the average mug punter does not have a clue. But in the end whenever these sorts of issues are canvassed and all the why?, why?, why? questions have been asked, invariably we always come to the same conclusion:” It’s the media stupid”. But that’s another story.

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    robert rosicka

    So Poiter “F” reckons we are getting cheaper electricity than last year and he also says no blackouts this/last summer ,then points out that for a few days wind was generating massive amounts of power .
    Delusional at best , tell me again why we can’t burn coal to produce cheap reliable baseload power I seem to have forgot ?

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      PeterS

      tell me again why we can’t burn coal to produce cheap reliable base load power I seem to have forgot ?

      I’ll remind you. The reason is because people like Turnbull and Shorten want to keep subsidising renewables causing a distortion in our “free” market to make coal-fired power stations uncompetitive because the same companies that generate our power cam make more profits moving to renewables. Simples. Meanwhile the difference we will make to the climate is zero. If that’s not dumb nothing is.

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    John Watt

    Clearly renewables have much to offer. Edge of grid locations in Qld and WA are prime opportunities for massive cost savings.However closer to the coast subsidised solar is playing havoc with utilisation of distribution networks. If the social welfare solar onslaught continues we are going to need a step change in sophistication and cost of control systems to maintain supply reliability. The existing distribution network could be reduced to nothing more than a very expensive standby supply source following a prolonged cloud event.
    Miranda Devine told WA about the Evans breakthrough some time ago. Now that she has an East Coast audience can we get her to inject some sanity into the Gore-infected babble that passes for Australian energy policy? We need a balanced, factual approach to these questions not a contest to stay popular with a largely misinformed public.

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      Graeme#4

      Disagree – Carnarvon is a prime example. Some sales genius went up there and sold lots of solar systems to the residents. This of course made the town’s diesel generation plant unviable, but they can’t do without the diesel plant. No idea what eventually happened, but the final result can’t be good for the town.

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        robert rosicka

        Coober Pedy is a great example of renewable versus traditional and I think they were diesel fired

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        beowulf

        I believe I’m talking about the same case. Even if I’m not, the lesson is generic for isolated towns.

        They had to ban any further solar installations and throttle back existing solar generation because it wasn’t just unviable, it was grossly de-stabilising their grid. As a micro-grid (of the kind AEMO’s Zibelman wants all over the place) it was even more prone to crashing than a national grid because it couldn’t ride out the wild surges caused by solar power. If a couple of decent clouds passed over the town they went from full power to near zero in seconds.

        Those who were further down the installation list were not happy at missing out on their panels as they were also missing out on the handouts that solar power brings with it. Obviously they needed a hundred million dollar battery AND diesel generators for when the battery was flat and the sun wasn’t shining. Yes, that’s a big SARK.

        Solar in remote areas is good for charging your phone while camping or powering an isolated phone box, topping up a caravan battery or running a tiny water pump, and not much else. If you expect to live a normal life based largely on solar power you will be disappointed with the reality. Ramping diesels up and down all day long to try to match solar variability is not going to save on costs either. There are other examples in Oz where wind power was supposed to save on diesel too, but failed miserably to produce the goods.

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      Kinky Keith

      John

      Renewables don’t have anything to offer.

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    Aloha! Do the greenies in Oz know how toxic solar panels are? It seems that the greenies in the USA haven’t a clue. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition puts out a scorecard every year showing the toxic nature of various global manufacturers use of hazardous elements. The Coalition also tracks the human rights abuses of solar panel manufacturers using either slave labor or prison labor and the abusive work conditions as well as environmental pollution in Third World countries. Naturally the material components of panels have to be mined from the Earth and that never happens downtown Sydney or in NYC. This has all been so neatly NIMBYied out of sight and out of mind by elitist global socialist liberals who never consider repercussions of anything. There is the toxicity issues during manufacture as well as the toxicity issues of disposal. Solar panels do not last forever. Where are they disposed and how are they disposed? Go to http://www.svtc.org

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      Geoffrey Williams

      Kaimu, whereas I endorse many of the views you have expressed in regards to the manufacture and use of solar panels, I cannot say the same for the site ‘SVTC’ that you have offered a link to. SVTC does not seem to be too sure about exactly what it’s message is saying, is it for or against solar panels (in third world countries). It seems to me that the peoples of Arican countries such as Malawi are highly vulnerable to the short term, temporary fix that solar panels offer. In order to change their lives for a more permanent, safer future they should be assisted in the production of electricity produced from coal or gas fired power stations. Full time ‘real’ electricity would enable them to develop their economies and to improve their living standards for the future in a meaningful way.
      GeoffW

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    Geoffrey Williams

    I dont need to listen to this woman (person if you like) for more than 60 secs. She is a climate change-(man made)-believer. She is an economic rationalist who will never deny renewable energy and thinks that people like het can ‘manage their way out of anythong’. She is full of double talk and it doesnt take long to sus her out. Basically we are done! Good and proper.
    There is no way Australia will ever build any kind of coal fired power again. And in all probability Liddel will be shut down in the near future. Anything else is false hope. For myself I’ve given up caring. Let them run the ship onto the rocks. After that who cares.
    Regards GeoffW

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      Kinky Keith

      Sadly, as you point out, there has been no hint that either of the two main parties is about to see the light.

      It’s all about the money.

      Our money going their way.

      If enough people were aware enough to make a voting statement by boycotting Labs, Libs and The Vegetation parti we might send a message.

      But that’s unlikely. Buy a Tilley lamp and a kero cooker, soon.

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    paul

    as much as I hate solar I like solar. I’m retired and like things technical. Only speaking for my self and understand a modern state cant run like this . My roof produces 8000 Kilowatt hours annually. I use 6kwh annually My bill prior as heading towards $3000 a year . I am going off grid . For 15 grand I think I can store power for a week using good old lead acid batteries.

    My 5kw system received $3000 subsidy but I will take it , my new house cost me extra 20 grand in stamp duty

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      Geoffrey Williams

      Good luck paul but must say I’m having difficulty understanding your situation; your roof produces 8000 Kilowatt hours annually and you use 6 kwh annually. So that you are in surfeit by 7992 kwh?. Also your bill has been headind towards $3000 a year. Have you left your Xmas lights on I wonder.
      En-lighten me please . . .
      GeoffW

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      Kinky Keith

      O.K. Got it.

      You are into things technical, lot of time on your hands, and Solar is your new hobby.

      No problem.

      Still not 100% sure you aren’t employed by the same guy who pays PierreF so if you pick up on my uncertainty, that’s the reason.

      All the best.

      KK

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    cedarhill

    For the home consumer, outages and irregular service ranges for annoyance to mild anger (depending on how many pints one has had). For business like aluminum processing (i.e., heavy to moderate industrial) it’s catastrophic. The Greenest industrial plant simply cannot afford the rebuilding every time the Greenies fantasy fails.

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    Dave Ward

    Even diesel looks like the fuel of the future now.

    Until the government outlaws privately owned diesel generation…

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      OriginalSteve

      If they do that, we will be officially a banana republic, no better than a 3rd world country.

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    RickWill

    If you can stand to watch till questions, the issue of so-called “economic bypass” comes up. In other words making the economic choice of leaving the grid. So it is clear that AEMO have recognised the inevitable. This is now a certain outcome of allowing run-whenever-you-like generation to infect the grid as South Australia is now demonstrating.

    The economics of the NEM are now broken and can never be fixed. Electric energy supply from your own roof is certain to be a lower cost option than buying from the grid.

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    OriginalSteve

    “…and the Bureau of Meteorology has an important role in driving our energy policy.”

    SO our energy policy has been “Rutherglen-ed” then?

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