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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Global bullies strike again: Economist Dr Fisher’s house egged by climate activist

The Climate Cult wears the Fake Badge of Science, but when people don’t agree with them, they give up persuasion and just throw insults and eggs. Yesterday Dr Brian Fisher’s home was targeted after Simon Holmes a Court (son of one of the wealthiest men in Australia once) published Dr Fisher’s personal details on twitter.

Dr Fisher used to manage ABARE — The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics. He’s also been an IPCC reviewer, and served under the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments as a chief adviser on climate policy. He released modelling of costs of both Labor and Liberal climate proposals in February, accusing both sides of politics of “engaging in a dishonest debate“.

Climate economist Brian Fisher’s home egged

Rosie Lewis, The Australian

An unnerved Brian Fisher is considering walking away from ­future independent economic modelling after his analysis of Labor’s climate policy led to his family home being egged when prominent clean energy activist Simon Holmes a Court posted his address online.

The managing director and chairman of BAEconomics, who has worked as a bureaucrat for Labor and Coalition governments, told The Australian yesterday it appeared ­“extreme­ly difficult” to have ­rational, economic debate about climate change in today’s political environment and his family felt disturbed by what had happened to their Canberra­ home yesterday.

The devastating numbers – a third of a million jobs lost:

Labor at war over cost of climate policies

The West Australian

The internal woes for Bill Shorten came after economist Brian Fisher on Wednesday released modelling that showed up to 333,000 jobs could be lost — including 32,000 from WA — and up to $542 billion could be wiped from the economy by 2030 as a result of Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target.

Bill Shorten replies with calm analysis of the productivity benefits of the Labor plan… Wait, no, with the dirtiest empty smear he can think of:

Mr Shorten brushed off the report saying Dr Fisher’s work was akin to a doctor tobacco companies hired in the 1970s to promote the health benefits of smoking.

But the Opposition Leader was still unable to detail the full impact of his climate change policy or reveal if his party would put a cap on international permits if elected.

Labor’s shadow Minister at least argues the assumptions are wrong, but spot the irony:

Mr Butler said Dr Fisher made false assumptions in his modelling.

“His costs of carbon abatement are 2000 per cent higher than the cost Scott Morrison’s Government is paying right now,” he said.

Poor Mark Butler. Looks like he’s referring to Tony Abbott’s direct action plan — which is so much cheaper than anything the Labor Party has to offer?  Nothing beats the bargain basement $14/ton price instead of the high cost, obscenely expensive option of their subsidized wind and solar preferred options. Only in February, Butler called the Direct Action plan a failed climate policy that “pays money to polluters”.

These people have no shame.

Holmes a Court has taken the original tweet down but in an unapologetic tweet that effectively explains how to find the address.

Good one @simonahac.

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UK declares Climate Chastity Vow (it’s a Groupthink Emergency)

In a win for the Summer Fashionthink Parade,  the UK Parliament has declared a Climate Emergency

UK FlagIt’s has all the legal meaning of a Chastity vow, has no scientific definition and was not voted on. It’s purely symbolic — as such its main role is to add social pressure on weak minded M.P’s and be a shot-in-the-arm for green-group fundraising. It’s a PR achievement, a worthy footnote in Marketing 101, but what it isn’t, is democratic, rational or the voice of the people.

This is what you get when you let 16 year olds dictate national policy.

What does it mean? Whatever you want:

What is a climate emergency?

Prof Chris Turney (of the $2.4m  Antarctic stuck-ship fame).

While there is no precise definition of what constitutes action to meet such an emergency, the move has been likened to putting the country on a “war footing”, with climate and the environment at the very centre of all government policy, rather than being on the fringe of political decisions.

Nearly half a million Britons died in World War II. So far, man-made climate change has killed no one. The worst storm in British history was three hundred and sixteen years ago. The population is booming. Food is bountiful to the point of being a health hazard. The biggest climate problem Britain faces is the indoor one — whether the poor can afford the kind of safe efficient electric heating that no one had one hundred years ago.

The aim of the Climate Chastity Vow is pure psychology:

The UK Parliament has approved a motion which mandates nothing:

ABC: ” …the declaration on its own does not mandate action on climate

BBC: “This proposal, which demonstrates the will of the Commons on the issue but does not legally compel the government to act, was approved without a vote.

The Independent: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for the motion to set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe”.

The man who tabled it hopes other governments might do the things his own nation isn’t agreeing to. This makes it kind of like a global chain letter, then?

It appears the aim is to fool people into thinking that action is happening and momentum is building at a time when electricity bills are really the issue and the momentum is in electing right wing parties. The real protests are not the ones obedient school children do but the tens of thousands of grown ups who’ve been protesting by the thousands every week for months.

On twitter this is #ClimateEmergency

See also: The GWPF Statement On The Proposed Net Zero 2050 Emissions Target

h/t Serge. Pat, Peter Fitzroy. David.

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Bill Shorten sells emissions cost: “like chubby people giving up Big Macs”

Bill Shorten wants us to give up cheap electricity because it’s bad for our health. History will show he’s the guy from the ’70s telling us to give up eggs for thirty years for no good reason at all.

Renewables are the margarine of electricity grids: artificial goods propped up by good intentions. They both fail at high temperatures and were Generally Recognised As Safe — when no one had done any studies. But trans-fats causes heart attacks, and artificial transitions cause poverty.

Eating vegetable oils with no cholesterol sounded good at the time. Just like “free wind” and “free solar” sounds like a free lunch, but turns out to make the whole system chaotically inefficient and horribly expensive. We pay less for fuel but more for capital, wages, infrastructure, stabilizers, and storage.

Free wind and solar are the fake diet foods of the 21st century.

This is Bill trying to explain why we don’t need to mention any numbers.

Saving the planet like giving up Big Macs

Andrew Burrell, The Australian

Having repeatedly dodged questions about the actual cost of Labor’s grand environmental plan, the Opposition Leader yesterday dismissed all the fuss, likening his emissions-reduction policy to stopping “chubby” people eating burgers.

“You know what, mate, you are a great athlete,” he said to the radio show’s morning host.

“But if you had a friend who was perhaps on the large side, the chubby side, and they had 10 Big Macs a day … there’s a cost to not eating the Big Macs. But in the long term it’s an investment isn’t it? ”

I predict he dumps this analogy like a radioactive potato.

 

 

Commenters at The Australian:

David
Bills analogy is pretty spot on.
If all Australians give up Big Macs – MacDonalds goes out of business
If all Australians adopt Bills policies – Australia goes out.of business
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Join me in Sydney at the Friedman Conference 2019

Jo Nova, speaking, keynote. Photo.

Jo Nova, speaking, keynote.

The 2019 Friedman conference is on, bigger than ever from May 23rd – 27th. I had a fabulous time last year. This year there is a big international combination with people from Brexit and the US teaparty as well. See the Speakers list. I’ll be updating the latest How To in Grid Destruction as the world watches The Crash Test Dummy Downunder!

To get a 10% discount off tickets use the code: NOVA2019

Tickets are available just for cocktail parties, gala balls and wine and wildlife tours too.

Thanks to those who do, as I get a commission from those sales. Student scholarship applicants can mention they were referred by me in the “Additional Comments” section, thanks.

Website   | Facebook PageFacebook EventTwitter Page   |

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Climate Council pleads “censorship” and calls billions of dollars “a lack of action”

The Climate Council (the rebadged Climate Commission) has launched a 60 page cherry picked list of one-eyed, self serving conspiracies and half-truths subtly called CLIMATE CUTS, COVER-UPS AND CENSORSHIP.

The headlines:

 ”Federal government accused of ‘false’ climate claims” [Newscorp]

It doesn’t matter how much money Australian’s pour into the climate vat, it’s never enough

When is $5 billion a year a lack of anything?

The council released a new report this morning saying the government’s lack of action on climate change was a defining feature of its 10 years in power as it fights to extend its tenure at the May 18 election.

The Coalition Government hasn’t lacked action, it’s done far too much

Australians are adding more renewables per watt per person than any other nation. We now have targets that are possibly the severest in the world given that we are a small distant population in sparsely populated country with one of the largest per capita immigration intakes in the west. Making it worse, we are one of the only countries on Earth that looks like reaching our target. Our major export earner is coal, our major source of power is coal, and we are an industrial mining quarry far from most markets. The only continent that could justify a higher per capita emissions than Australians are the thousand permanent residents of Antarctica.

If the Climate Council were serious about reducing emissions they’d endorse the Coalition all the way — the Labor Party has grand ambitions, but they pick the most socialist, and thus least effective and most expensive ways to achieve anything. The Gillard Govt managed to spend $5,000 per ton of carbon saved. Tony Abbott’s plan cost just $14 per ton. Which begs the question, are the Climate Council concerned about carbon emissions or are they just an industry lobby group for the $25 billion Australian renewables  sector?

Australias carbon emissions per capita are still falling

Australian total emissions are rising, but not as fast as our population is. The Climate Council could campaign to reduce immigration which would be a large simple step to reduce the national emissions.

Check the latest inventory of Australian emissions – per capita.

Australian CO2 emissions, Department of Environment and Energy, Greenhouse office, graph, 2018.

Dept of Environment and Energy, 2018 Report.

Censorship? Seriously?

Millions of dollars have been spent advertising an imaginary climate crisis and yet the Climate Council want us to believe they are censored? Their great “censorship timeline” is full of non-event fillers like the election of prime ministers. As if the election of Abbott and Turnbull somehow censors the climate petals. Things are so banal that bringing a lump of coal to parliament apparently rates as an act of censorship — as if it were some kind of kryptonite that expelled all the little solar and wind voices. They’re so desperate to think up excuses, they list the government offering $4m to fund the Bjorn Lomborg “consensus centre” as act of censorship. Did they forget that all our academic institutions ran like rats at the thought, terrified that some trolls would call them a climate denier? Who exactly is censored when even four million dollars is not enough to overcome that fear? The list is a parody.

The real censors are those who use namecalling and threats to sack, evict, blackball,   terminate, punish, vilify and generally be intimidating to people, not to mention blowing up their kids (as a joke) or throwing a RICO investigation at them. If the Climate Council want to talk censorship, bring it on. Peter Ridd was sacked in part for writing the banal “for your amusement” to a colleague. Then he was ordered not to tell the world, or even his wife, how his university was silencing him. Skeptics are even subject to censorship of their censorship.

Wait for it:

The Federal Government has repeatedly released greenhouse gas emissions data when it is unlikely to draw significant attention, for instance, during football finals or at Christmas.

That would make it exactly like the revamped Emissions Trading Scheme that Australians voted against twice that was brought in quietly under the name “Safeguards Mechanism” by Malcolm Turnbull on the last sitting day before Christmas. Did the Climate Council protest that, or is deception fine if it’s “for the sake of the renewables industry?”.

 Is that all?

Keep reading  →

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Midweek Unthreaded

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Renewables — the $300 billion dollar vested interest that hardly anyone mentions

Imagine there was a $300 billion dollar industry that depended almost entirely on a pagan belief that cars cause storms, and coal caused floods. Imagine this industry produced nothing that consumers would voluntarily buy unless the government banned cheaper options. Now imagine how much money these investors might be willing to donate to lobby groups, Superpacs, and activists in koala suits. Purely hypothetically…

Global clean energy investment[1] totaled $332.1 billion in 2018, down 8% on 2017. Last year was the fifth in a row in which investment exceeded the $300 billion mark, according to authoritative figures from research company BloombergNEF (BNEF).

Global new investment in clean energy, graph BNEF, Bloomberg.

Global investment in renewable energy, 2018  | Bloomberg.

With 100% of their income at risk of evaporating if the voters pick the wrong person, or if public faith in the pagan religion starts to wane, these investors have a reason to create a PR campaign that called anyone who questioned the faith an idiot denier, funded by fossil fuels, out of touch, old, white and unfashionable.

Fossil Fuels, on the other hand, wouldn’t need to worry. They’ve tried the solar and wind research already. They know how uncompetitive they are and how people will be using coal and oil for decades to come.

Imagine if every time someone said “fossil fuel funded”, someone else said, “or a target of a $300 billion investment industry 100% dependent on government rules and a pagan belief?”

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Huge bang and house burns to the ground — just an e-bike battery mishap

World made 0.000001°C cooler, but house made 600°C hotter

Remember The Precautionary Principle: something about “no House-B”?

An Orange Flash and then Melanie’s House Burnt Down

Melanie Sandford was sitting in bed on a rainy Sunday morning listening to a podcast about enlightenment when she heard a “huge bang”.

“A nanosecond later, there was an orange flash that ripped down past the bedroom door,” Ms Sandford said.

All signs point to the lithium ion battery of Ms Sandford’s beloved eZee Sprint e-bike as the culprit.

The firefighters arrived promptly – “I’m told it was four minutes but it felt like three hours” – but it was too late to save her home.

Another hidden battery cost?

GlowWorm Bicycles said eZee has recalled some faulty batteries, but lists these Handy safety tips for all e-bike batteries: Don’t charge them unsupervised, don’t overcharge, undercharge, charge near flammable things or charge overnight, and have a fire safety plan.

B A T T E R Y       S A F E T Y

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Weekend Unthreaded

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Australia’s $25b renewables bubble set to bust: ABC starts promo to prop it up

Is this the peak of Australia’s renewables bubble?

A Crash Test Dummy Update: Last year our renewables capacity grew 50%. We have more renewables per capita than any other country on Earth. Investors spent $25 billion in just one year, and that doesn’t include the cost of the rampant uptake of home solar PV or presumably, all the subsidies. Our 56 gigawatt grid now includes six gigawatts of unreliables. But Lordy, lo, look what’s coming in the next three years in the table after this graph … potentially another 30GW. How many billion will we burn on this pyre?

In the graph below, note how dependent investors are on government rules and largess. Kevin Rudd started at the end of 2007. Abbott won in mid 2013. Turnbull took over in mid 2016. Investors came and went, not with demand, but with politics.

The headline: “Renewable energy investment looks to be going from boom to bust as prices collapse”

by Stephen Letts, ABC News

Renewables bubble, Australia, 2019, solar, wind, generation, graph.

Figure 1: RHS Renewables investment (the dotted line). LHS Energy generation by Wind and Solar (columns).

 

Uh-oh. Look at what’s coming:

How big is the oversupply that’s on the way? Check out the ominous table hidden at the bottom of the ABC story.

Extra committed and contracted renewables by 2020-21 across NEM (MWh)

2018 2020/21 2021 vs 2018
Hydro 16,704 15,000 -1,704
Rooftop solar 8,148 13,419 5,271
Solar farm 2,122 14,486 12,364
Wind farm 14,164 28,869 14,705
Net total extra supply 30,636

Source: Green Energy Markets

But the bust is on the horizon the ABC warns:

Apparently investors have noticed a problem coming.

  • Long-term power purchasing agreements for large scale renewable generators have fallen 30pc in the past 5 years
  • AEMO has slashed the prices paid to many more remote renewable generators
  • A wave of new projects, equivalent to two Hazelwood plants, will start in the next two years leading to a large oversupply imbalance

Would you like propaganda with that?

Now with the first hints that our latest wild bubble might bust, the ABC is not warning us about rushing in too fast, too soon, instead they’re running a soft ad campaign to prop up this pointless industry longer. Author Stephen Letts interviews only Green industry hacks and phrases it all as a “problem” to be solved. It’s almost like he works for the industry?

Having burst out of an investment black hole at warp speed, the renewable energy sector’s massive building boom looks likely to hit an uncompromising wall.

The reckoning is likely to be sooner rather later, as a nasty confluence of factors keeps mounting up.

To ABC staff, this is a “a nasty confluence of factors”. To skeptics it’s a dose of reality.

The AEMO may have cruelly “slashed prices” but it’s just as true to say they’ve been overpaying remote generators for electricity that was being lost in long transmission lines.

As for new projects being “equivalent to two Hazelwoods” — hello DisneyWatts! 4,000MW of random, asynchronous, unreliable generation is not remotely equivalent to 16 centralized turbines honed through decades of engineering efficiency to run at 90% capacity non stop for 50 years. On any given day the unreliables may only be producing 100MW, not 4,000.  We need a 98% back up. What do you call the spare car you can only rely on to drive at 2% of the speed limit? Useless.

Holy Cash Cow, this is so unfair!

Coal is still cheap

This might be the only time the ABC have admitted how cheap coal power is — in the middle of a story about why renewables need more help.

Clearly a problem for utility-scale renewable growth at these prices is that old, debt-free coal-fired plants operate profitably at $40/MWh.

What a problem eh? Cheap, debt free, competition that works when we need it!

They [coal plants] also keep churning away when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, a trait retailers are prepared to pay for.

 As they say in the industry — “thermal plants burn fossil fuels, renewables burn cash” …

(Poor baby renewables!)

The answer naturally is to shut coal down. So the ABC interviews a Green Industry spokesperson who offers the obvious solution:

“We can have lower power prices, but for them to be sustained we need a policy framework in place that allows us to steadily build replacement capacity in advance of coal plants retiring.”

– Green Energy’s Tristan Edis

Translated: my industry wants guaranteed money from the government and rules that get rid of competition.

Yes, don’t we all?

Notice he dangles the classic sales line “We can have lower power prices”. Sure. We could legislate to make electricity 10c per kilowatt hour. But the money’s got to come from somewhere or the lights go off. Is that through tax? Connection fees? Energy Levy payments to Tesla?

If the ABC served the other half of the nation they’d interview an electrical engineer or two, or maybe a dumb blogger who’d tell them the answer was to let the free market work and get the government out of the way.

The article also somberly discussed fantasy figures like costs of $55 per MW hour. As readers here know, they are not worth analyzing because they are wholly cherry picked delusions based on bids from generators that don’t have to pay for their wildly long transmission lines, their back up, their unreliable product, or the inefficiency burden they dump on the whole system, or the houses they burn down. And in Australia, they get the RET subsidy, and often low cost loans, as well as access to a 1 billion dollar free advertising agency called the ABC too.

The only numbers that count — the number of states with lots of solar and wind and cheap electricity. That’s Zero.

h/t Peter Fitzroy and Dave B.

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Another socialist boom and bust in solar in Victoria

Solar Panels
Behold, the Victorian Govt are proving yet again that Soviet-style electricity management can crush lives, hopes and wallets. The free market is never as cruel and destructive as one run on “good intentions” or the desire to win virtue-signaling fashion parades.

The invisible hand of the market was replaced with Daniel Andrews whimsy. This might work if he was smarter than the collective brains of 5 million people. Apparently Andrews assumes serfs people don’t understand the true value of solar panels and the benefits of creating jobs in China, so he has mandated glorious subsidies in the hope of getting nice weather one day, and the desperate punters took them up in droves. The industry boomed. But now they’ve temporarily halted the free gifts, orders have disappeared as the free market returns to accurately valuing solar installations. So the workers are being sacked. The rebates will come back again in July, so business-owners somehow need to get a different income stream for two months, survive the turmoil, and then the golden gravy will run again.

As per usual ABC policy, no free market voices were harmed, interviewed or asked to provide comment:

Victorian solar company reeling after popular rebate scheme halted temporarily

An award-winning Victorian solar company has laid off just over half of its staff after the Victorian Government placed a temporary freeze on a solar panel rebate program.

The $1.3 billion solar homes package started last August and has been so popular that the rebates for this financial year have been fully subscribed.

Since the freeze on new applications came into effect, the work for solar installation companies like Sky Energy Systems of Melbourne has dried up.

The business’s directors, Sam Kent and Ross Howard, said they had no choice but to cut staff when customers started cancelling their orders.

Twenty-five people have been told to finish up work on Friday and another 15 staff could go in two weeks’ time.

Live by government handouts, die by government handouts. Oh the pain:

“Having no sales is like having no oxygen. You can’t breathe. There’s no business so it’s devastating,” Mr Kent said.

What’s a company that “follows a rebate” — another labor voter

As long as businesses are allowed to earn a living entirely dependent on government largess they are a form of “public servant”, a wing of big government with all the entitlement that doesn’t deserve and none of the obligations:

No sales, no business

A petition has been launched on the change.org website calling on the Victorian Government to reconsider the temporary rebate halt.

“Because consumers know that the rebate will return on July 1, they will be holding off making a purchase,” the petition said.

“For these small businesses to survive 15 weeks without sales is unlikely.”

Mr Kent said many other solar companies are based interstate, and use subcontractors in Victoria.

“They’ll disappear interstate until the rebates comeback. They are companies that are basically rebate-based so they follow the rebates,” Mr Kent said.

Making money in Australia increasingly means being a better lobbyist for government masters, not being a better producer of things Australians need or want.

h/t Dave B

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Invisible costs of renewables: “Staggeringly high” $125b for US electricity consumers

A major new “nail in coffin” study shows the more renewables we force onto the market the more expensive electricity gets.

Solar Panels

Everyday someone tells us renewables are cheap, but these estimates come from flawed “LCOE” method (at best) supposedly the lifetime cost, but without many indirect costs. Granted, it’s hard to figure out what the bill for renewable energy is. But what really matters to every man and his dog, is the cost effect on the whole system, not a cherry-slice comparison of a few sunny-windy hours a day which doesn’t take into account the effect that renewable energy has on the rest of the 24/7 electricity grid.

Greenstone, McDowell and Nath have analysed all 29 states in the US where there are laws demanding a certain percentage of energy be renewable. On average a 4% increase in renewables led to a price rise of 17% and the impost was wildly high compared to any remotely sensible cost-benefit analysis. Renewables are the car insurance bill that costs 3 times as much as your car. Any serious environmentalist would hate renewables.

Michael Shellenberger, Forbes

The cost to consumers has been staggeringly high: ”All in all, seven years after passage, consumers in the 29 states had paid $125.2 billion more for electricity than they would have in the absence of the policy,” they write.

Greenstone et al analyze the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards) in the US. This is like the RET in Australia and the Renewables Obligation in the UK. Like any market destroying rule, it ensures the system finds a more expensive way to supply electricity.

The low estimates ignore the cost of building and running a gas station that just sits around a a spare wheel, randomly earning no money some of the time. They ignore the vast land area wasted and the long transmission lines. One study by Edison Electric in 2011 estimated that 65% of all planned transmission lines in the US were primarily going to be built for renewables. In the US that’s another $26 billion cost tossed on the invisible renewables BBQ.*

Greenstone et al look at retail prices state by state in the US as these RPS requirements came into action and followed them for the next 7 years.

They found three things: A 4% increase in renewables led to a price rise of 17% and the impost was wildly high compared to any remotely sensible cost-benefit analysis

1. Electricity prices rise after the RPS rules come in. After 7 years the prices are 11% higher, and after 12 years they are 17% higher.

2. The addition of renewables does reduce the “carbon intensity” of the system. But the cost is exorbitant. Across the 29 states and after 7 years it costs somewhere from $130 – $460 per ton of CO2 “saved”. In Obama’s reign the social cost of carbon was wildly overestimated at around $50 per ton, so the intermittent energy generators are orders of magnitude more expensive than doing nothing. Compare that to the Australian Dutch auction process called Direct Action (by Tony Abbott) which reduced carbon for under $14 a ton. The relentless push to use wind and solar to save the world looks like a late-night infomercial for the renewables industry. Even if the IPCC were right, and if there was a global carbon market to reduce CO2, no one would want to use renewable energy to do it. It’s too expensive.

3. That many of the states already had renewables (I’m guessing hydro) so the targets were already partly met. So the net increases in renewables were smaller than the gross target suggests. These targets were very small, averaging around 2% extra renewables after 7 years and 4% by 12 years.

Clearly, it doesn’t take many intermittent renewables to wreck the grid.

 

Renewable total and net requirements per state, USA. Plus the Australian RET target (red). | Click to enlarge.

To put this in perspective, the RET target in Australia in 2020 will be 23.5% of Australia’s electricity generation.

That would be the gross figure, not the net gain.

RPS Requirements, percentage, rising retail electricity costs. Graph.

 ABSTRACT

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Midweek Unthreaded

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Solar Power at $70 is still twice the price of brown coal

More fake news: Miners are only switching to solar because they can’t get access to cheap coal fired power.

“Miners switch on to renewables”

A better headline would be: Renewable targets make electricity so expensive miners are forced to switch to renewables.

The money quote:

Emily Alford is a principal consultant at Oakley Greenwood …  [she] told The Weekend Australian that solar generation cost about $200 a megawatt hour five years ago, and had dropped to about $70-$80 now.

Compare that to 53 year old Hazelwood coal power which was selling electricity for $30/MWh in it’s last month of operation. When brown coal stations set the price in Victoria they were winning bids at prices like $13/MWh.The cheapest electricity in the world comes from 30 year old brown coal plants.

The $70-$80 estimate is artificially low. Unreliable power makes the other baseload generators more expensive, adding $30/MWh to gas generators for example. Because the back up generators have to be there, not earning money while solar feeds in, they have to charge more to recoup those costs in a shorter working period. Doh. So add that cost to solar, not the gas.

Compare the real costs and weep:

I’ll repost those graphs from a year ago from the AER report on the closure of Hazelwood:. These are the price setting winning bids by different fuel types. It’s a better way to understand the real cost differences.

The following graphs show the percentage of time power stations located in various regions of the NEM were involved in setting the 5 minute dispatch price in Victoria (vertical bars) and the average price of the offered capacity which was involved in setting that price. -- Appendix C, AER, 2018

Brown coal:

AER Graph, 2018, prices set by black coal power.

Brown coal bid setting winning bids. The AER report on the closure of Hazelwood:

Bayswater coal plant used to be able to win bids at $40/MWh (or it used to have to bid that low to win). Thanks to the RET (Renewable Energy Target) destroying some of the cheapest power, that’s not happening any more. Costs are up and competition is down.

AER Graph, 2018, prices set by brown coal power.

Black coal, winning bids from The AER report on the closure of Hazelwood:

One gas plant. Not cheap to start. Not cheap to finish.

AER Graph, 2018, prices set by gas power.

Gas power, winning bids from the AER report on the closure of Hazelwood

As I keep saying: Solar power reduces fuel costs, but makes capital, staff, maintenance, and land costs more expensive.

Solar looks “cheap” when compared to expensive alternatives. Nobody mention coal:

Ms Alford says an initial push to justify installation of renewable energy generation on the grounds of pure carbon abatement, as part of the miner’s social licence to ­operate, has been overtaken by the cost benefits of adding solar or wind generation to the mix.

“We’ve got to a stage now with renewables where the commercial benefit outweighs any social licence consideration. Renewable generation is becoming a commercial no-brainer from a cost and economic point of view,” Ms Alford said. “If you’re burning diesel you’re burning cash, and on the east coast if you’re burning gas you’re burning cash.”

Solar power is only a “no brainer” economic choice because the electricity market has been brainlessly wrecked by the Renewable Energy Target and a host of other subsidies.

All journalists need to be reminded of the invisible elephant in the room. As long as they are not comparing a generator to brown coal, they aren’t looking at all the options.

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