Even heads of green institutes are telling Australians not to go too green too fast
The IEA is the kind of organization that runs global summits selling carbon capture. That’s a process so fantastically inefficient it wastes 40% of the electricity a coal plant makes while it stuffs a useful fertilizer in a hole in the ground. With that context, I note that even the IEA is warning Australia not to get too carried away in its Speeding Green Transition. Presumably Faith Birol, IEA head, is worried The Renewable Crash Test Dummies might actually crash.
First, the other news today of how fast we are adding unreliable infrastructure:
About 3400MW of solar, more than the capacity of Victoria’s twin Loy Yang coal-fired plants, is expected to be installed this year in Australia with a further 4300MW next year, according to the Clean Energy Regulator.
— Perry Williams, The Australian
To put that in perspective, our total grid is 56,000MW. We only had 4,000MW or so of unreliable power in December last year and were already struggling. Now we have 6,000MW and look like adding another 3,400MW of solar — in the next year. And that doesn’t include the extra wind power. The Crash Test Dummies go double or nothing?
The IEA not only calls this an “avalanche” which we need to back up, but also warns we shouldn’t add a carbon price on top:
As Labor looks to revive the government’s now-abandoned national energy guarantee — underpinned by a 50 per cent renewable energy target — the Paris-based International Energy Agency says Australia needs to ensure an “avalanche” of clean energy supply is backed up by firm generation to keep the lights on. It also cautioned Australia about the perils of introducing a carbon price out of step with other developed nations as Labor mulls over its policy on the issue in the lead-up to the election amid a renewed campaign against a “carbon tax” by the Morrison government.
Bill Shorten, Labor opposition leader, is even scaring the green establishment players?
With a Labor win looming in our next federal election (6 months away) it appears even some eminent Green fans are worried Bill Shorten might drive the Australian grid and economy right off the rails. Presumably if we get too far ahead of the other trainwrecks-in-action they might balk at the flaming spectacle ahead?
The ideal process, apparently, is to all get wrecked at the same speed.
Neoen, owner of the giant Tesla battery in SA has jumped on that bandwagon too. Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s head says the IEA is right. —“Renewables rush poses risks to reliability of energy supply: warns Neoen”. But how much is he concerned about sensible policies and how much is he concerned that the goldrush for renewables is also attracting fly-by-nighters?
“The national government and the state government should be very careful about who is in charge of developing renewable energy projects,” Mr Barbaro said. “At Neoen we have proven we can deliver, but that’s not the case for all of our competitors.”
Barbaro translated “Give us your money”.
Would you like $79 billion of useless infrastructure with that?
Now pair up these two statements. One estimates in the next 22 years Australia will spend $79b on infrastructure that doesn’t work much, and just $2b on old coal plants that do:
It is estimated about 90 per cent of the $88 billion forecast to be spent adding power capacity in Australia until 2040 will be outlaid on clean energy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Just 2 per cent will be spent on coal, with that investment more likely to keep existing, ageing plants running rather than bringing in new coal-fired power stations.
The next paragraph tells us that those cheap old coal plants make 75% of our electricity:
That influx of cheap but intermittent supplies of wind and solar threatens to undermine ageing baseload coal generators in the national electricity market, which currently produce about 75 per cent of generation on the nation’s east coast. — Perry Williams, The Australian
And the $79-billion-dollars-of-part-time-generators will be driving the cheap reliable part out of business.
Would you like to buy a second hand car that works two days a week (but you can never predict which day)?