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Australians: destroying their grid faster than any country on Earth

Australians are the Renewable crash Test Dummies

As I said for free and two months before the ANU,  with a 50% annual growth in renewables, Australia is ramping up unreliable power faster than anywhere.

Now comes a paper: Australia: the renewable energy superstar showing that, per capita, Australia is installing unreliable generators in a blitzkrieg pace, more than twice as fast as Germany is, and 4-5 times faster per capita than the EU, USA, Japan and China. No other dummies are even in the race. The largest coal exporter in the world is working harder than anyone to destroy its largest export earner — which would be noble if only there was more to it than being a magical spell to ward off storms.

This is a legendary paper and very helpful. Save the link, copy the reference, send it to your MP, your friends, your newspaper! Why not head to the launch at ANU at 5:30pm, 14th Feb?

Never again can anyone get away with national flagellation for “not doing enough”. Henceforth Green and Labor M.P.’s will stop calling us a national joke, a pariah, and a disgrace. (Though, actually, all those things are true, for the opposite reason. China is laughing at us, and we are a disgrace to our children for blowing up national assets, squandering resources and teaching them witchcraft.)

Per capita, Australia (all shades of red) is installing renewables

Australia is installing renewables so fast it’s even faster than the second top country which is also, Australia.

Apparently the net cost of adding renewables is zero according to the experts at the ANU. In a consistent world this one document would also immediately end all subsidies. No more RET, SRES, LRET, low interest loans, tax breaks, forced market rules or golden interconnectors.

Except, of course, they’re totally wrong on the cost. Australians have the most expensive electricity in the world for a reason. Somehow Chinese hackers or a renewables marketing team must have snuck into the ANU to write most of the report. Of the six summary conclusions, the first two are obvious and the last four are fantasy. They are only “straight-forward” or “sustainable” if you have $10 trillion dollars to spare and you can’t think of anything better to do with it.

The full gloss PR story:

Australia: the renewable energy superstar


The net cost is zero?

The net cost is only zero if you ignore the glorious subsidies, the extra transmission lines, the rising FCAS bill, the blackouts, the emergency demand management, the damage from surging voltages, the wasted capital expenditure, the squads of flying diesels, synchronous condensors, and the burden that unreliable energy dumps on the whole grid. In the US windpower makes gas power $30/MWh more expensive. Blakers et al might think this is a part of the gas bill but obviously it’s a hidden renewable cost. We can argue the toss with cherry-plucked analysis of wholesale price bidding games, but the end result is a retail price and on that, history is devastating. Coal gave us 30 years of falling prices, and renewables wiped all those gains out.

Renewable energy saves on fuel, but wastes infrastructure, land, labor and resources. How can that be cheap?

Like an infection, unreliable power damages the efficiency and economics of every other generator. And even though solar energy is semi-reliable, it still wrecks havoc on the grid: see the Duck curve, the 1000MW generator that goes AWOL and the warnings. For most of the year solar energy is the extra energy that arrives when we know we don’t need it.

Plus the rise of subsidized unreliables pushes out the unsubsidized sector leaving the market ripe for bid squeezes that cost nearly a billion dollars a day.

One of the world’s fastest sustainable rates of emissions reduction?

What’s sustainable? Not the price, our industries, or our 50Hz supply. Not our lifestyle.

We can have sustainable rates of carbon reduction but we can’t have a sustainable civilization at the same time.

The world can readily follow the Australian path?

Sure if they happen to be a first-world nation with vast empty space that’s 15 degrees from the equator, in the roaring 40s, and with $100 billion to throw away. Sure.


h/t Marc Morano, ClimateDepot


Blakers, A., Stocks, M., and Lu, B. (2019) Australia: the renewable energy superstar, APO Analysis and Policy Observatory,  ANU, [PDF]

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