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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Snowy 2.0, twice the cost, half the value, wastes a quarter of the energy, and wrecks the environment

The Snowy 2.0 Scheme is a $10 billion bandaid to make up for Wind and Solar’s unreliability. Hydro storage is an anti-generator that destroys 20-30% of the electricity fed into it. It turns out it also destroys three quarters of the money fed into it, and some of the environment as well. What’s not to like?

by Steve Hunter. h/t StopTheseThings

Today a Who’s Who of Australian engineering are scathing about Snowy 2.0 in The Australian

The mammoth pumped Hydro scheme is a $10 billion dollar disaster that will never pay for itself, is already being superceded by battery technology, and will scar the land, infect pristine alpine lakes, risk critically endangered species, damage fishing grounds, and breach the Biosecurity Act in a National park. (Where are the environmentalists, Tim Flannery? Does anyone care?)

Pumped Hydro doesn’t even work on a small scale. Projects like it are being junked around the country before they get built and there has been only one other pumped hydro project “committed” in the last 20 years.

On the revenue side, the output of Snowy 2.0 from 2025 to 2042 is now forecast to be less than half the business case estimate, [...]

Tasmania wins Freeloader Climate Fashion Award for aim to “be 200% renewable” by 2040

The Tasmanian Government has just announced they will be “200% renewable” by 2040 — a feat only possible because they have an umbilical cord to hostages in the mainland who have to pay for irrelevant surges in electricity that arrive when they don’t need it. The same hostages will send back fossil powered electricity every week to keep Tasmania running when the wind and sun stop and the water is worth more in the dam than out of it. Not to mention container-ships of GST cash to support the state with the second highest unemployment in the nation.

This is the same state that went 100% renewable for three months in 2015 and launched itself into an electricity crisis. They decommissioned the last fossil fuel power station, just in time to get islanded by a break in their umbilical cable and thence had to order flying squads of diesel generators to keep the lights on at a cost of at least $140m. They also had to restart the same plant they just closed. The state lost half a billion dollars in the crisis – nearly twice the cost of the newish gas plant which had only built in 2009.


Quick! Tell the PM: Pumped Hydro is not a “generator”. It’s a $2 – $4b energy chewing “renewables” bandaid.

No more excuses for sloppy, inaccurate language. How can you run a country with falsehoods?

Hydropower is a generator. Pumped Hydro is giant appliance that sucks electricity and gives you back some later. In a system with reliable baseload generators it is superfluous, redundant, and entirely unnecessary. It is an expense we don’t have to have, didn’t need, and don’t want to pay for. It can only make things more expensive than the system we used to have. Not only do we have to pay for the giant infrastructure, every day it operates we also throw away 20 – 30% of the electrons (so to speak) that go through it.

Scott Morrison says it’s only $1.4 b from the taxpayer, but the total cost may be $4 billion, and as Judith Sloan says, someone’s got to pay — if not through taxes, it will be added to electricity prices. The Snowy Corp may “self fund” it (a deceptively nice way to put it), but they won’t be donating the money.

And the Snowy Corp couldn’t “self-fund” it from electricity bills if they weren’t already so ridiculously high.  If we had enough coal power to keep electricity as inexpensive as it [...]

Gates on renewables: How would Tokyo survive a 3 day typhoon with unreliable energy?

Make no mistake, Bill Gates totally believes the climate change scare story but even he can see that renewables are not the answer, it’s not about the cost, it’s the reliability.

He quotes Vaslav (possibly Vaclav Smil?):

Here’s Toyko, 27 million people, you have three days of a cyclone every year. It’s 23GW of electricity for three days. Tell me what battery solution is going sit there and provide that power.

 As Gates says: Let’s not jerk around. You’re multiple orders of magnitude — … — That’s nothing, that doesn’t solve the reliability problem.

Bill Gates on renewables (part 1). I’ve never seen him so animated. His Tokyo in a cyclone scenario is interesting.

— David Michie (@dmichie66) December 9, 2018

h/t Craig KellyMP

During storms clouds cut solar panel productivity (unless hail destroys it) and wind turbines have to shut down in high winds.

The whole interview was part of a presentation at Stanford late last year:

Cheap renewables won’t stop global warming, says Bill Gates

The interview by Arun Majumdar, co-director of Stanford Energy’s Precourt Institute for Energy, which organized the conference, can be watched here.