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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The Battery of the Nation disconnected for two months – Basslink cable inoperable again

For the last year everyone has been calling Tasmania the “Battery of the Nation” — Turnbull, Hydro Tasmania, government departments, the ever hopeful green press. It’s an official plan. The bright idea is to add “Pumped Hydro Storage” to the large dams already on the island state, boosting the only reliable renewable type of energy. But right now, as far as mainland Australia goes, Tassie is a No-Volt Battery.

Even Hydro Tasmania is calling itself the “Battery of the Nation”

The dirty secret is just how fragile the link is. Not only did it break for six spectacular months in 2016 — leaving the “green” state flying in squads of diesels – but its now quietly out of action again and it’s projected to be out for two months all up. The 290 km undersea cable known as Basslink is the second longest of its type in the world. It broke on 24 March 2018. It is not expected back in action til May 31. It was an accident of routine maintenance at one end.

“The equipment was damaged by a third-party contractor during routine works. There is no damage to the cable itself.”

 

[...]

Forget Megawatts, ABC invents new unit of power — “size of Tasmania”

Outback couple build solar farm to prove fringe-of-grid power generation needs

Building a $14 million solar farm is an expensive way to send a message about electricity prices, but Doug and Lyn Scouller said they were left with few options.

In Normanton, 500 kilometres north of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, the Scoullers built a solar farm big enough to power an area almost twice the size of Tasmania, in a move to prove to stakeholders the benefit of positioning power generation sites at the end of the grid.

In old fashioned terms, the “farm” produces five-megawatts. But yesterday, Tasmania didn’t use 5MW it used 1,072 MegaWatts. So this solar farm would have supplied 0.2% of the houses and businesses on an area “twice the size of Tasmania”. The only Tasmania-sized-areas that would be functioning on 5MW are in the empty desert or the Great Southern Ocean.

And we wonder why some Australians think solar power is a no brainer. If this little farm can supply 120,000 km2, we just need another 60 like it, and we could do the whole continent!

ABC journalists are not good with numbers. If only they had a billion dollars a year [...]

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 [...]

Climate control gone wrong: Tasmanian Hydro seeded clouds before disastrous floods

Greedy Green Hubris gone wrong? It took months of bad choices to achieve this Gold-Star Moment in Bad Management:

Tasmania’s state-owned Hydro-electric power generator could face legal action for damages after admitting it cloud-seeded in or near water catchments the day ­before disastrous flooding, although heavy rain was forecast.

Tasmania  shut their only fossil fuel power plant in August last year, and relied on renewable energy and one sole Basslink electricity cable to mainland Australia. The cable was supposed to be a back up supply but was bringing in 40% of Tasmania’s electricity, and it broke in December. But a green and greedy approach in Tasmania meant that the state had already run its dams down to 26% levels by selling too much electricity to the mainland at high “renewable” subsidized prices. That was a low level at the start of summer, normally a drier season in Tasmania. After the Basslink cable broke, the dam levels fell to a precipitous 13%, so fast that the green state had to bring in diesel generators just to keep the lights on. They also switched back on the Tamar Gas plant in late January. So much for being the “100% [...]