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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Who would have thought? Nations with more renewables have more expensive electricity

The Mystery: The most resource rich nation on Earth has the highest electricity prices?!

Ask anyone and get confused: It’s poles and wires, gaming of the system by capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, privatization, and record gas prices. The CleanEnergy Council  tells us that Australia has one of the longest electricity networks in the world — we need lots of poles! And so we do. But once upon a time Australia had the cheapest electricity in the world and we still had lots of poles. Not only were miles of poles and wires, there were also capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, and privatized generators. There were wild gas price spikes too, (during which we probably just burned more coal).

Evidently, something else has changed. Something seismic that wiped out all the bids below $50/MWh. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the 2,106 turbines in 79 wind farms that on random windy days might make 4,325MW that didn’t exist in Australia in 1999 when electricity was cheap and our total national wind power was 2.3 megawatts?

Another clue might be the 1.8 million new solar PV installations, which theoretically generate 7 gigawatts of electricity at noon on cloudless days if all [...]

Renewables rise and Australians are getting poorer — “Bill Shock” and falling living standards

Strangely, the more free, clean, green energy we get the more household incomes fail to keep up with inflation. Who would have thought that using inefficient energy in an artificial government-picks-the-winner market could possibly reduce our living standards?

Of course, this is not all due to electricity efficiency and pricing. Bill Shock only affects things that need to heat, cool or move.

Bill Shock as Standard of Living Slumps

David Uren, The Australian

Australians have endured their longest period of falling living standards in more than a quarter of a century as growth in costs outstripped earnings for the fifth consecutive quarter, leaving households worse off than they were six years ago.

After allowing for inflation, taxes and interest costs, average household incomes dropped 1.6 per cent in the year to September, capping a sustained fall in ­living standards that has not been seen since the 1990-91 recession.

Economists say more than half the cost increases for households are being driven by electricity, rent, health, new housing and tobacco, while modest wage rises are being partially absorbed by workers being pushed into higher tax brackets.

 

 

Energy prices feed [...]

ABC renewables fantasy island “farewells diesel” (except for 40% of its power)

Flinders Island is in the Bass Strait North of Tasmania.

If there is a heaven for renewables, this island should be it. But instead, even on Flinders Island, renewables aren’t cheaper than diesel generators. This is a dismal reality, yet the ABC promotes it as a fantasy poster-isle, interviewing only vested or “no idea” people, asking no critical questions, doing no counter research and telling us renewables will be “more reliable” and implying they are cheaper too. The ABC is a three-million-dollar-a-day advertising outlet for other government agencies. Instead of serving Australians it appears to be there to help shake down the taxpayer.

ABC renewables hype strikes again: Rhiannon Shine reports Flinders Island as a showcase of the brave new renewables world. Let’s translate that spin and see just how pathetic it is. If anywhere was going to be totally renewable, Flinders Island would be it — a first world island, tiny population, massive subsidies, no access to cheap coal or gas power, government support at every level and placed in a handy wind stream known as “the Roaring Forties”.  Yeah! This is one of the last places in the first world (short of Antarctic stations) where renewables [...]

Some days one thousand MW of solar vanishes in Australia

The Australian national grid stretches from the tropics to the cold temperate zone from 16S to 43S. You might think that along those 40,000 kilometers of transmission lines there is always somewhere somewhere sunny at midday, but some days you’d be wrong.

James Luffman at WattClarity,  noticed this extensive cloud arrangement affecting solar on Friday May 19th. On that day, a one thousand MW generator wasn’t there when it was expected to be.

Cloud patterns on Friday 19th May 2017 – leading to a day of low Solar PV output, NEM-wide

By James Luffman | Published Fri, 25 August 201

Cloud cover over Australia, map, preventing solar PV generation.

How often does this happen? Hard to say, since data on rooftop PV has only just started to be released. It may not be as often as wind turbines, which simultaneously flounder across the whole Australian grid every 10 days or so.

This kind of comma-shaped band of cloud is relatively common over eastern Australia, when you have moisture from the Coral Sea area feeding into a trough with a low-pressure system near SA or VIC.

In this particular case of 19th May, the band of [...]

Rudd’s last minute gift to renewables -industry $7 billion extension til 2030

Apologies to foreign readers as we rake over the Stupidest Energy Policy on Earth. This really takes the cake.

Back in 2010 Rudd signed off on an extension of subsidies to renewables generators that would apply from 2020-2030, long after he would be gone.  Effectively this decision will take up t0 $300 per Australian over that decade –  in the order of $1000 per family –  and gift to the renewables industry. Naturally, in the public arena, an issue this big was decided with major, some, no discussion at all.

The ABC investigated the intricacies of who knew what and when in the knifing of a first term PM, but billions of dollars — who knew?

Dennis Shanahan raised it today in The Australian

Rudd renewables extension upped power bills $7.5bn

Electricity customers face an extra burden of between $3.8 billion and $7.5bn in “windfall” subsidies for renewable power generators in the next decade ­because of the stroke of a pen in the last months of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership.

Against advice from consultants, energy companies and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Rudd government in 2010 extended the phasing out of the renewable subsidies for existing operators from [...]

Santa’s arrived! Australia drops new Renewables Targets, will meet “Paris”, stop blackouts, reduce costs

This is good news but Turnbull still wants to have the Paris cake and power the fridge with the crumbs

Faced with national bill shock, dismal Newspolls, and even leadership rumors, Turnbull is, at last, dropping the deadweight Finkel Clean Energy Target. The biggest poisoned-band-aid will not be plastered on, though mini bandaids will be.

Too much regulation is never enough and the energy market is still being micromanaged.

Cabinet dumps Clean Energy Target for new ‘affordable, reliable’ power plan

[ABC news] A Clean Energy Target recommended by Australia’s chief scientist will not be adopted, with the Federal Government instead proposing a new plan to bring down electricity prices.

The details have not officially been released, but the ABC understands Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will argue his policy will lower electricity bills more than a Clean Energy Target (CET), while meeting Australia’s Paris climate change commitments.

And they wonder why no one wants to build a coal station here, despite finding 1,600 other places to build them in 62 other countries:

Cabinet is also keen to adopt a generator reliability obligation, which requires three years’ notice of closing a power station, in order to [...]

Renewable energy pollutes London but what’s a bit of smog if you’re saving the world?

Managing the global climate is a tough thing. Sacrifices are required.

The last 100 years has been a success story of cleaner air in London. But air pollution is on the rise again. The fear of carbon is partly responsible for over a million people returning to burning “renewable wood” instead of clean gas and turning around a century long trend. Welcome to the “progressive” 21st century. Too bad about about the dusty lungs and razed trees.

As much as a third of small particle pollution is due to wood fires.

Wood-burning stoves are increasingly popular in middle-class homes and hotels, with 1.5 million across Britain and 200,000 sold annually. Old fireplaces have also been opened up in many houses and can cause greater pollution than stoves. Wood burning is most popular in the southeast, where it is done in 16 per cent of households compared with less than 5 per cent in northern England and Scotland.

Between a quarter and a third of all fine particle pollution in London comes from domestic wood burning. During a period of very high air pollution in January, it contributed half the toxic emissions in some areas of the [...]

Some South Australian farmers going fully diesel for electricity

Maybe they’ll get one like this one? Circa 1934.*

Green management of the South Australian grid scores another big success for the environment:

SURGING power prices are pushing South Australian dairy farmers such as James and Robyn Mann to go off-grid.

The Manns’ electricity costs have more than doubled in five years, from about $200,000 per annum to $500,000.

Due to the high prices, the family will this summer switch to diesel power to run their 116-stand rotary dairy and 14 irrigation centre pivots at Wye in the lower south east of South Australia.

The Manns are among Australia’s top 10 dairy producers, in terms of volume, milking up to 2300 cows and producing 19-21 million litres annually.

If only South Australia had more “cheap” solar and wind power, their electricity might be as low cost as the coal-fired Victorians:

Their move comes as South Australia’s dairy lobby has calculated the state’s dairy farmers paid about 40 per cent more for power than their Victorian neighbours last season.

The Mann’s are definitely going diesel this summer, but may set up a mixed solar-diesel-battery plan in the long run:

Taxpayers give $300m to Saudi billionaire for solar plant that makes 2% of old dying coal plant’s power

It will only take 50 plants like this, and $15 billion spare dollars, to replace the Liddell coal station (8,000GWh), now slated for closure in 2022.

$300m handout to Saudi tycoon for solar farm

Australians are set to pay $300 million in subsidies to an outback solar farm owned by a Saudi Arabian billionaire in a new test of the federal government’s looming energy reforms, escalating a dispute over whether to cut the handouts to keep coal-fired power stations alive.

AGL’s controversial Liddell coal power station in the NSW Hunter Valley generates 50 times as much electricity as the Moree solar farm in the state’s north, which stands to gain big subsidies from households from higher electricity bills until 2030…

But we need more chinese-built glass panels that make green weather-controlling electrons.

Lucky solar power is so competitive. Look at the money roll…

The Moree solar farm generates 150,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year, about 0.08 per cent of the 200 terawatt hours produced on the national electricity market every year. The project is forecast to collect about $50m in payments over the next four years and $90m in the following decade under the existing [...]

62% of Australians don’t want to pay even $10 a month for renewables

The Money Question trumps

Three quarters of Australians may believe climate change is real (so the ABC keeps telling us) but only 13% of Australians are willing to pay $1 a day or more to save the world. Anyone can tick the box “Don’t pick on me, I believe in *Climate$%@$#Change*”. But if people believed it was a threat they wouldn’t balk at paying $100 a year, which is what 62% of Australians did in the latest Newspoll.

87% of Australians think a dollar a day is too much. But hey, it’s only the planet at stake.

Most Australians don’t want to pay anything more for renewable power.

The survey is still biased. There was no option to pay “less than zero”. How much are you willing to pay to get rid of renewables?

The sad thing is that most Australian’s don’t realize they’re already paying so much more.

For starters, The Australian calculated that the bill for federal renewable subsidies would be $60 billion by 2030. That’s $2500 per Australian. In a house of four, that’s $10k over 20 years or $200 per year. And that’s only the federal subsidies and schemes, it’s not the state schemes, nor [...]

Australians forced to pay $60b for expensive “green” electricity

The cost of Going Green, The Australian, Cover,  September 1, 2017.

The Australian calculates the total bill will be in the order of $60b for green electricity.

It’s not like we could have done something better with that.

Read it all (if you can), then write to your MP and Senator. Ask why — if they are serious about helping reduce CO2 — we don’t have a USC coal plant like so many other countries, and why we don’t have nuclear power. Then ask why, if they are concerned about the poor, about health, about education, we are wasting $60b dollars to try to change the weather in 2100 that we could be spending on these critical areas right now?

Taxpayers hit with a $60bn power bill

The Australian,  Adam Creighton

Taxpayers will have paid more than $60 billion through federal renewable energy subsidies by 2030, about twice what the crumbling car industry received over 15 years and enough to build about 10 large nuclear reactors.

The government’s large and small-scale renewable energy ­targets, which will compel energy retailers to buy 33 terawatt hours of wind, solar and hydro energy by 2030, will [...]

The backlash against offshore wind, and the big-money, tax dodging backers of Wind.

It’s a very well written article: Bonackers vs. Big Wind by Robert Bryce. h/t Andrew. The good news is that opponents of wind power are having a lot of success onshore. The bad news is that the renewables industry is pushing offshore instead, but fishermen don’t want them either, and families that have been fishing the same areas for 300 years are up in arms.

“The South Fork fishermen are fighting to preserve their access to some of the most productive fisheries in the world.”

Some eye-opening numbers:

Obama set a target of 10GW of offshore wind power by 2020. But right now there is only 30 MW. It’s 9,970MW short. The offshore push is on. To replace a single nuclear generator will take 45 offshore wind plants. Offshore generation costs as much as three times what gas power costs per KWh.

They face big money renewables proponents — not just rich beachfront homeowners, but large corporations who want tax credits worth millions, and groups like Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA, plus the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Governor Andrew Cuomo has a goal of “producing 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by [...]

Wind disappears in South Australia, costing wind-industry millions, BOM blames climate change even though models predicted faster winds

The wind fizzled out over the South East slab of Australia during June. Predictably, that meant the wind industry lost millions, and wholesale electricity prices went up. When the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) was asked where the wind had gone, Darren Ray, expert climatologist, said it was due to a high pressure system over the bight, which, he explained, was linked to “climate change”. Thus, as the world warms, wind farms will be progressively more useless in South Australia. Perhaps the BOM should have mentioned that before SA became dependent on wind farms? I don’t think he had thought this one through.

Perhaps the BOM is hoping that the masochistic sacrifice of South Australia will stop global warming before global warming stops the wind farms?

You might think that if the global climate models could see this coming they would have suggested that wind farms weren’t a good idea. Or maybe, since climate models predict every equal and opposite outcome in unison, the models are always right post hoc, but not so useful in projections?

Climate models predict climate change causes faster and slower winds over Australia

In 2017, Darren Ray, BOM expert, said the decrease in winds was due [...]

SA govt to spend $100m on diesel generators (but could have spent $8m keeping coal plant instead)

I’d like to thank South Australia for so selflessly showing the world how well renewables work. (And thank we West Australians for paying for it).

To get ready for the shortfalls next summer, the SA government is said to be ordering in 220MW of diesel generation at an expected cost of $114m.

The government has contracted privately owned South Aust­ralian electricity distribut­ion company SA Power Networks to obtain and install 200 megawatts of back-up generation across the state before summer. But despite promising a “detailed costing” would be provided in last week’s state budget, Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis did not offer any such details.

The opposition said the budget had allocated $114m for operational costs in 2017-18 from the $550m energy plan, “indicating the diesel generators are going to be very expensive”.

This $106m sacrifice is expected to reduce global temperature by 0.000C, but will save the premier from being called a climate denier at dinner parties:

“Eighteen months ago the Tasmanian government spent $64m in leasing, site establishment and operational costs for 220MW of diesel generation for three months when a combination of drought and repairs to the Basslink left it short of electricity,” [...]

Finkel: Turn the whole country into South Australia by 2030 — 42% “renewable”

In one of the most massaged spin-doctor sales messages in Australian history, the Finkel Report is here to “take the politics out” and solve our energy instability and out-of-control prices. But it’s actually an aggressive green-left weather-control program where cost and stability are secondary to the unspoken but main aim which is to slow storms in 2100. If Finkel were really aiming for stability and price control he’d let the free market run, get the government out of our electricity grid and look at the evidence that shows that solar-panels and wind farms don’t, won’t and can’t work as global air-conditioners for us or our grandchildren.

Australians, read this line and weep:

“Modelling for the Review estimates that by 2030, 42 per cent of electricity demand will be met by renewable generation.”

This is where South Australia is currently at, but it has a lifeline to coal power in Victoria whenever it needs it. What happens when the whole National Grid needs a lifeline? Pull out your wallet…

How much does an undersea cable to New Zealand cost? It’s only 2,000km.

For the same price we might be able to afford a new ultra-supercritical coal plant and catch [...]