The Electro-pyre conflagration escalates.
The cost of electricity on Thursday in two states of Australia reached a tally of $932 million dollars for a single day of electricity. Thanks to David Bidstrup on Catallaxy for calculating it.
As Bruce of Newcastle says “ “Three days and you could buy a HELE plant with the money wasted.” That’s a power plant that could last 70 years, and provide electricity at under $50/MW. (Forget all the high charges for 30 years to pay of the capital (in red below), we could just buy the damn thing outright, paid off in full from day one.)
Burned at the stake: $500 per family
In Victoria, per capita, that means it cost $110 for one day’s electricity. For South Australians, Thursday’s electricity bill was $140 per person. (So each household of four just effectively lost $565.) In both these states those charges will presumably be paid in future price rises, shared unevenly between subsidized solar users and suffering non-solar hostages. The costs will be buried such that duped householders will not be aware of what happened. Coles and Woolworths will have to add a few cents to everything to cover their bills, and the government will have to cut services or increase taxes. No one will know how many jobs are not offered or opportunities lost. This is the road to Venezuela.
If Hazelwood had still been open, the whole bidstack would have changed, quite probably saving electricity consumers in those two states hundreds of dollars. Eight million Australians could have had a weekend away, gone to a ball, or bought brand new fishing gear. And this is just one single day of electricity. If Liddell closes, things will get worse, no matter how much unreliable not-there-when-you-need-it capacity we add to the system. Indeed, the more fairy capacity we add, the worse it gets. NSW will soon join the SA-Vic club.
This is what happens when an electricity grid is run by kindergarten arts graduates who struggle with numbers bigger than two.
This is utterly and completely a renewables fail
The socialist Labor-Greens are already trying to blame it on coal, but we ran coal plants for decades without these disasters. Right now, no one is investing in coal because of bipartisan stupidity. What company would pay the maintenance fees on infrastructure so hated by the political class? The coal plants are being run into the ground. Maintenance is even being delayed to keep the plants running through peaks like this.
No country on Earth with lots of unreliable renewables has cheap electricity. How many times do I have to repeat it? This is my mantra for 2019.
In Australia when we had mainly coal and no renewables our electricity was cheap and reliable. Now we are still mainly coal, but all it takes is a poisonous small infiltration of subsidized unreliable renewables to destroy the former economic incentives, the whole market, the system: our lifestyle.
The Liberal Party needs to grow a spine
This is surely a crisis. As long as the Liberals are a Tweedledum version of the Labor party, they can’t solve this and deserve to lose. New renewables installations must be stopped immediately — put on hold indefinitely — until they no longer need forced subsidies, until the RET is gone, the carbon taxes, the hidden emissions trading scheme and we have a proper free market. Then new renewables can be permitted to compete with all generation alternatives, though all new generators will also have to be responsible for paying for extra transmission lines, back up batteries, and any other frequency stabilization required. On net a generator must be able to guarantee that when the people call on it, it can provide, lets say, 80% of total nameplate capacity. When that day comes (thirty, fifty, years from now or maybe never) I will be happy to support renewables. Until then, we are global patsies handing over glorious profits to energy giants, renewables companies, Chinese manufacturers, and large financial institutions.
Lets have a plebescite: How many Australians would rather have a weekend away with their family or make the world 0.00 degrees cooler in 100 years in a symbolic display to assuage the Gods of Storms?
Happy Australia Day!
h/t to Ian B
*Added the word unreliable post hoc. It’s more accurate. We are talking about Wind and Solar, not Hydro. h/t Claude.