JoNova

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


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Solar boom to bust in China: worlds largest solar PV projects drop 43% as subsidies cut

The advantage of communist autocrats is that they can create government havoc so much more efficiently.

The Chinese solar boom was so big it became the world’s largest solar market. It was so big it pushed up global “clean energy” investment to a record high. China became the veritable show pony of the solar spruikers: “leading the world in clean energy investment”. Mashable tells us it was so big “the solar boom could be seen from space“.

But the star advertisement for renewable glory was all based on subsidies:

The Chinese solar boom was “pretty significant”

A couple of months ago the Chinese government admitted they were cutting the subsidies to make electricity cheaper again for consumers. That hit the stock market. Now projects are being cancelled and orders are drying up for the hapless manufacturers.

The free market might be telling us something China’s solar industry is at a crossroads

“Without subsidies there’s no return on investment for over a decade, so investors and property owners aren’t interested in distributed solar. With subsidies it only takes seven years to recoup the investment,” he adds.

China’s solar manufacturers are unhappy with recent government policy changes [...]

“No bias here” says Aust Energy Market chief while planning 100% for unnecessary, pointless renewables transition

Pull the other one.

No Bias — Audrey Zibelman,

Audrey Zibelman, the improbable green-lawyer manager of our National Energy Market claims her advice is not biased towards renewables. This is the same Zibelman who tells us that “resisting the energy transition is like trying to resist the internet.” As if governments had to legislate “An Internet Target” and mandate we do 16% of our shopping online. The same Zibelman believes  “we’re the last generation on earth who can really do something about climate change.” She thinks she’s changing global weather with our power grid. By 2100 historians will have people rolling in the aisles with that one. What were they thinking?*

Her bias is so all encompassing she can’t imagine a world twenty years hence which still runs on coal and gas and views the temporary experiment with unreliables as a disastrous, predictable mistake, a historic dead-end. Renewables are the B-size-batteries, the hydrogen-filled-air-ships and the X-rays for shoe shops that didn’t take over the world. She assumes that the forced “transition” to renewables is inevitable, natural and necessary. What if it’s an artificial, uneconomic, unnecessary accident of profit hungry industry rent-seekers and  fatuous virtue signaling fools?

Hands up who [...]

The Crash Test Dummy speeds up: our Renewable Target is 16% and rising, so are our electricity prices

The Renewables Lobby subsidy and handouts are still growing. In 2018, Australia must get 16% of all our electricity from “renewables”, up from 14.2% last year.

That’s 28,000 Gigawatt hours of magical green electrons from generators that give us nice weather as opposed to generators that cause droughts, floods, cyclones and spread crocodiles, dengue fever, cause wars and change butterflies.

Welcome to modern Australia where our grid is designed by witchcraft, run by superstition, and panders to every whim of the Giant Renewables Industry Lobby.

The noose tightens in Australia.

Renewables must supply 16% of our electricity in 2018, and even more in 2019.

Source: 2001-2030 Annual Targets and renewable power percentages, Clean Energy Regulator.

Prices are rising too: Could there be a connection here?

Even the ABC now says “Something has gone terribly wrong with our electricity prices”. Prices went off the ranch from 2007, rising much faster than the CPI. This is also the point Australia started ramping up the intermittent renewables. Before that the Snowy Hydro Scheme –the only reliable and cost effective form of renewable power — had been operating for decades. Correlation is [...]

UK: smart meters are expected to save a whopping £11 annually

No one needed a smart meter when we had smart baseload.  Beware Australians, despite the promises and threats, smart meters may or may not make UK customers a paltry saving. When all is said and done it’s not even clear the benefits outweigh the costs.

 People who have smart meters installed are expected to save an average of £11 annually on their energy bills, much less than originally hoped. A report from a parliamentary group now predicts a dual fuel saving of £26.

Customer pays, but energy firms save more:

Customers have financed the smart meter programme by paying a levy on their energy bills, while suppliers have frequently blamed the levy for rising costs. However, the report claimed most of the eventual savings would be made by energy firms, rather than consumers.

It is an £11 billion programme. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears the country would be richer if the government just gave back £170 to each person instead.

Smart meter looks like a dumb elephant:

The report also said that:

More than half of smart meters “go dumb” after switching, meaning they stop communicating with the supplier [...]

Ten years late the ACCC says rooftop solar deals must stop

The ACCC is a powerful body created to protect consumers in Australia. Now, after ten years of poor people being forced to pay for middle and upper class solar panels in a kind of semi-secret subsidy-tax, NOW, it says maybe it is time to stop?

Go ACCC.

Competition watchdog calls for solar subsidies to be axed

Ben Packham, Sam Buckingham-Jones, The Australian

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s electricity affordability report reveals the huge cost of environmental schemes across the National Energy Market, including the large-scale renewable energy target, the small-scale renewable energy scheme and solar feed-in tariffs.

The schemes add a combined $170 to household energy bills in South Australia, $155 in Tasmania, $109 in NSW, $93 in Victoria and $76 in Queensland.

 The ACCC waffles some reasons:

The ACCC said the costs associated with the LRET were expected to fall significantly after 2020, and did not recommend any action to wind up the scheme before its 2030 end date. But it said the SRES, which cost $130 million in 2016-17, should be wound down and abolished by 2021, almost a decade ahead of schedule, to reduce costs for consumers.

When [...]

Hydro storage is an anti-generator that destroys 20-30% of the electricity fed into it

We’re planning to spend $5,000 million on something to smooth out the bumps from unreliable generators. It is entirely unnecessary in a system where coal supplies the baseload and we have not created artificial rules forcing people to use green electrons in preference over stable and predictable ones. Most estimates of costs from wind and solar ignore the hidden costs — the destructive effect on the whole grid.

Wikipedia on Pumped Storage Hydroelectricity:

“the round-trip energy efficiency of PSH varies between 70%–80%,[4][5][6][7] with some sources claiming up to 87%.[8]

h/t Peter Rees, Michael Crawford, Ian Waters.

Even after Snowy Hydro 2.0, power will cost $90/MWh

Joe Kelly, The Australian last week:

Energy project financier David Carland — the executive director of Australian Resources Development Limited — argues that once the Snowy Hydro project is operating it will provide only partial back-up energy at a high cost.

Using Snowy Hydro’s modelling assumptions, Dr Carland’s calculations show the “levelised cost of energy” — or unit-cost of electricity over the lifetime of an asset — will deliver power significantly in excess of $90/MWh, after allowing for the cost of storage, cycle losses and the initial cost of buying energy at off-peak [...]

Spent $1.5 billion on an interconnector to get a tiny cut in obscenely inflated electricity bills!

What costs $1,500m, makes no electricity, but “saves money”?

South Australia has used federal subsidies to build more wind power than it can use. They’ve spent half a billion already on diesel powered jet engines and a  battery that can power the state for “minutes”. For 139 hours last year the state produced so much wind power it supplied 100% of the states electricity needs and then some, and the problem of excess electricity is only getting worse as wind generation keeps increasing and solar PV uptake is rampant.

When government rules and regs have created an inefficient, expensive problem, what do we do? More of it. A new report suggests that South Australia needs a direct transmission line to NSW which will cost $1.5b. We could spend that on a reliable generator instead, or get the government out of the way and let the private sector do it for us, but instead we need to pay for another transmission line to connect up different zones-of-subsidy-rent seekers and hope we get $30 off the bill? It’s a savings in the statistic margin of error…

South Australia didn’t even have an interconnector til 1990. Now with decentralized and renewable power they [...]

Renewables Fail: fossil fuels, coal, same dominance of our energy mix as 20 years ago

Despite 20 years of non-stop propaganda and belligerent namecalling, strangely, expert green policies have achieved exactly nothing of what they said they aimed for. Coal provided 38% of our power in 1998 and it is still the same 38% in 2017. The non-fossil fuel sector has actually declined slightly as nukes decrease.

We spent billions doing exactly what was asked. Perhaps following the advice of people who think the debate is over and “denier” is a scientific term might not be the best national energy policy?

Fuel shares in global power generation for the last 20 years  |  BP Energy Review, 2018.

Long-term dominance of fossil fuels unchallenged

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Global demand for coal and gas to generate electricity was back on the rise last year …

Most striking had been the failure of renewable energy to make an impact on the fossil fuels share of power generation, BP group chief economist Spencer Dale said.

“Despite the extraordinary (global) growth in renewables in recent years, and the huge policy efforts to encourage a shift away from coal into cleaner, lower carbon fuels, there has been almost no improvement in [...]

Energy Crisis: NSW can’t keep coal plants, or aluminium smelters running, prices hit $14,000MW/hr

It’s not even summer.

NSW has been hit by clouds and a lack of reliable coal power. Prices are soaring.  In NSW the Tomago Aluminium Smelter consumes about 10% of the state’s electricity. It has been forced to switch off three times in the last week because there was not enough reserve power on the grid.

The boss of Tomago, Mr Howell, said Australia is “at a crisis point with our energy system”. 

“This is not summer with extreme demand. This is the likely future of our energy grid as once reliable baseload generators exit the [NEM] and are mostly replaced with intermittent wind and solar projects with no practical storage to speak of,” Mr Howell said. “Our energy debate should not advocate either renewables or conventional thermal,” he said.

– SMH, Peter Hannam,

Aluminum pot lines can only sit idle for a few hours before they cool too far and the damage becomes permanent and wildly expensive as the aluminum becomes solid.

Renewables-fans blame the emergency on the unreliability of coal

See @TheAustraliaInstitute. Suddenly Australia is the only western nation on Earth with coal resources that can’t [...]

Even in sunniest Queensland, solar can’t run without big subsidies — so big they have to be kept secret

Solar is so competitive that the Queensland government has to pour in money to keep solar developers from running away.

How much money? Who knows. Whatever it is, it’s so big, the government has to keep it a secret.

Queensland taxpayers kept in dark as they prop up solar firms

MARK SCHLIEBS, The Australian

The Queensland government is concealing its financial support for large-scale renewable energy projects, guaranteeing subsidies to solar companies that do not ­appear on balance sheets.

With an expert panel previously finding the government would need to spend between $500 million and $900m in subsidies to meet its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, there are now calls for spending to be made public.

The government has struck four deals with major solar-farm developers, under “contracts for difference”, with floor prices nominated for the sale of their ­energy in order to attract finance. When the market price falls below that threshold, the government has to make up the difference.

Luckily for Queensland taxpayers — who don’t know how to spot a good investment or the energy source of the future — the Government can spend their money for [...]