Extension cord to rescue renewable South Australia will now cost $2.4 billion

It’s another hidden subsidy for “Green Power”.

Interconnector, NEM, Australia, Photo by Jo Nova

Big-Bandaid: Unreliable generators need thousands of kilometers of extra transmission lines.

The totally non-essential new interconnector between NSW and SA will now cost nearly a billion more than was expected. It will add no new baseload generation but allow the random energy surges from South Australia to interfere with New South Wales supply. Surges of subsidized energy will break the balance sheets of cheap baseload infrastructure in NSW, making them less profitable, and driving them out of business unless they charge more for the fewer hours they operate. Both states will spend more on electricity but be less self sufficient, and more dependent on other states.

Why aren’t NSW generators complaining? Because they know prices will rise, not fall. Ask AGL — the more coal plants it can close, the more profits it can make from the gas and unreliable generators.

South Australia, SA, MapThe extra interconnector won’t solve the real issues — it “probably” won’t change the massive high pressure weather systems that stop wind towers working in both states simultaneously. The magical transmission lines “probably” won’t stop the sun setting in Adelaide one hour after it sets in Sydney either. But it will make some property developers rich.

The $2,400 million dollars won’t fix the real problem which is that low density energy sources are inefficient and intermittent, and productivity gains from the generation of green electrons are zero, or less. It’s just physics.

But that kind of money would pay for a lot of HELE Coal power. A gift for generations to come.

Project EnergyConnect SA-NSW interconnector to cut $100 off power prices, says ElectraNet

Chris Russell, The Advertiser

Opposition Energy spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said the increase in costs was “staggering”.

He was concerned the interconnector would force SA’s gas-fired generators to close, losing the state’s capability to power itself.

The death of the entire Australian Aluminium Smelting industry is a mere sideline in the modeling:

Revised modelling has taken into account lower projected energy demand, including assumed closures of the Tomago, Boyne Island and Portland smelters.

The economic comprehension of electricity markets is childlike:

Increased generation from more renewable energy projects would lift supply. Less demand and more supply would lead to lower wholesale prices.

If only electrons were bananas, it might be true. But the last decade in Australia shows that electrons are not priced like tropical fruit. In the last ten years Australian demand for electricity has declined while renewable generation has been added like fairy floss, but prices went wildly up, not down.

The modelling suggests SA households would pay $10/year to fund the interconnector but receive $110/year cheaper power – delivering a net $100/year benefit.

The modeling will deliver whatever the modeler wants.

As usual, the Labor Party gets it exactly backwards.

In a Budget reply speech on Thursday night, Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said if the ALP was elected it would invest $20bn on creating a Rewiring the Nation Corporation which would build national transmission lines.

“As more renewable energy gets built, we need the transmission network to support it,” Mr Butler said.

To which, Jo Nova says: We don’t need the transmission lines at all. The renewables industry needs them.

When will the Labor Party start acting like they serve the people instead of the Renewables Industry? When will the ABC?

When will the Liberal Party grow a backbone and say the obvious?

Photo: Interconnector, La Trobe Valley, Victoria, Australia, Photo by Jo Nova

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43 comments to Extension cord to rescue renewable South Australia will now cost $2.4 billion

  • #
    Tim C

    No way will it cost 2.4 billion, more like 4 billion. Destroying Australia’s aluminium industry is only part of the plan, steel and cement will be next, its called demand t”management”. One wonders where SA and Vic would be, power wise, if the car industry remained – either in semi-permament darkness or renewableless. Almost time to start researching diesel generators, which ultimately will become the cheapest way to power our homes.


  • #

    ‘When will the Liberal Party grow a backbone and say the obvious?”

    Answer: NO!


  • #


    Whitlam Federal Labor Government.

    United Nations Lima Protocol/Agreement to transfer most manufacturing industry to developing nations, example China.


  • #

    So, South Australia is going to ‘prop up’ the rest of Australia with its surplus wind power when it’s high.

    Overall power consumption in the AEMO coverage area.

    NSW – 35%
    QLD – 30%
    Vic – 25%
    S.A. – 6.3%
    Tas – 3.7%



  • #

    That photo exposes a fundamental problem!
    Why only three wires!
    When I was a kid transmission lines had at least SIX!
    Three, and one fails and NO power!
    Six and one fails and 50% power!
    Simple Stupid!


    • #
      Peter C

      Actually I see two sets of towers; each tower has 3 sets of 4 wires. Total 24 wires.


    • #
      Robert Christopher

      In the UK, we transport bulk electricity using high voltage three phase AC supply. Do you?

      Each phase has one cable/wire, and they all share a return wire, which makes four. This is because the alternating voltage in each phase is 120 degrees ( PI*2/3 ) out from each other which results in zero, or near zero, current flowing through it. This halves the heat losses during power transmission, and means two less wires.

      Several thin cables are better than one thick one with the same cross-sectional area as the alternating current travels mostly near the surface, but Economics usually play a part in the design as well! 🙂


  • #
    Tom Haddon

    “When will the Labor Party start acting like they serve the people instead of the Renewables Industry? When will the ABC?

    When will the Liberal Party grow a backbone and say the obvious?”

    Never. Because left-wing greenies believe in Magic.


    • #

      A few do but the vast majority are either silent or are in effect with the ALP+Greens to reduce our emissions. Given that bias by the LNP, it’s impossible as a whole for it to grow a backbone. Now, if we had a new leader who proclaimed a change in direction to support coal and stop pussy footing around the issues then we might have some hope.


  • #

    Electronomics 101: Unreliables must be 100% backed up by dispatchable generators.
    And then double all the network infrastructure to get the unreliable generators able to sometimes deliver power down the wires.
    Shutdown all the unreliables and the lights will stay on.
    Yet still we have Vic and Qld Governments and now Federal Labor promising at least 50% unreliables.
    To deliver 50% electricity on average from unreliables means that at times they will deliver 100% of demand, and at other times essentially zero.
    Shutdown all the reliables and …….. the lights will go out.


  • #
    Old Goat

    What about transmission losses over that distance – it increases over distance. Being powered by unreliables will also create havoc with the system as this will mean fluctuation in frequency and voltage (at supply side at least). Energy policy – the blind being led by the visually impaired….


    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Perhaps that’s why Electranet is installing synchronous condensers at a cost of $160 million. Provides the service that coal fired plants do regarding grid stabilising except that the coal fired plants DELIVER electricity.

      I have given up hope of SA avoiding more blackouts. Last night the Premier was on TV spruiking the interconnector and saying it would allow more renewables to be installed. Quite how he thinks a State that has to import electricity will be able to send extra over at least a 1,000km. distance escapes me. The entire SA State cabinet seems to have thick PYNE heads.


  • #
    Ronald Bruce

    The unreliables industry must pay the costs of their required infrastructure, they must guarantee an ammount of electricity that they will supply continuously, no fluctuations allowed, there will not be any subsidies for supply of electricity. Unreliables cannot meet these requirements and supply electricity at the same price as coal gas or nuclear. Unreliables never generate in their lifetimes as much energy as goes into their construction and operation so without fossil power they can’t even be built because they cannot replace themselves.


  • #

    Doncha’ mean umbilical cord?


  • #
    Another Ian

    Getting to be an expensive hobby to support this South Australia isn’t it?


    • #
      Kalm Keith

      How is the NSW State government able to get away with dumping the cost of this on its citizens.

      They’re fully involved in the rort.


  • #
    Steve Richards

    As a brit in the UK, this is so sad. Seeing the beginning of the end of a fine country.

    When did politics become place where imbeciles could come up with outrageous plans without any technical consideration?

    Electrical generation is not hard! We learnt how to control fire, high pressure steam and synchronizing many hard years ago.

    The clever ones learnt from past mistakes and it is quite trivial (at the politicians level) to order up a working electrical system, or to expand a working system.

    When did is go so wrong.


    • #
      el gordo

      In Article 3.3 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN-FCCC, 1992) it is stated that: “The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.

      “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures, taking into account that policies and measures to deal with climate change should be cost-effective so as to ensure global benefits at the lowest possible cost.”


    • #

      The answer to your question Steve is ‘when there ceased to be any engineers in parliament (its the same in the UK) only ignorant solicitors and their ilk’ – a sad state for any country to be in.


    • #
      John Watt

      I suspect in Australia’s case it was over the period of time when politicians sold public energy assets to balance the public budget but neglected the impact of the profit takers on our private budgets. We went from having some of the cheapest reliable energy in the world to the sorry overcharged, unreliable state we are in today …not to mention the impact on our once thriving energy intensive industries.
      Then came Gore and Thunberg …an unhealthy fascination with renewables. Subsidies and supply failures are now firmly implanted in the Australian energy landscape . (Though in Gore’s case he may well be in the “Black Rock category” covered recently in this blog and similarly in “Planet of the Humans”).


  • #
    Travis T. Jones

    When will Lib/Lab politicians grow a backbone?

    UN/CCP sockpuppets like Aussie elite pollies have a hand shoved so far up their backs that aint gonna happen.


  • #

    The final straw for me.

    I won’t vote for the imbecilic at Labor, but the Morrison Liberals are no better.

    Guess it’s one nation or independents, if we have any in our electorate that are reasonable. He really is little if any better than Turnbull.


    • #

      “Independents”.. are just that..INDEPENDENT.. and will never be able to replace or form a government.
      It has to be a “Party”that can eventually gain enough support to form government..
      So certainly not the Greens, or the 5ex party,… hence logically it will have to be the One Nation….dispite all their shortcomings and faults,..at least they have (currently) some common sense thinkers and realistic policies.
      But there is a huge set of established political skulduggery to smash through for it to happen !,


  • #

    Everything about renewables cost more than expected unless you are a sceptic. Then it costs more than everyone else expected . The concept that wind and sun is free is the biggest lie the renewables industry tells and gets no push back.


  • #

    You could build 8 200 MW natural gas plants for that (roughly, depending on assumptions). But that’s doable.


  • #
    Rafe Champion

    Be prepared for endless waffle about the holy trinity of transmission lines, batteries and pumped hydro.


  • #

    Watch Greens use lawfare to stop these transmission lines being built like they do with coal mines and coal power plants. Not.


  • #

    If success at decreasing so-called global warming gas like CO2, mattered, then do the opposite of failures like Germany and its step-parent, the EU.

    The USA succeeded without trying. Embrace the fracking revolution and get low energy costs and more manufacturing jobs for Oz. Win-win policy.

    All you need is powerful leadership to get out of the way to make it possible.


  • #

    Just use the money to go towards building a new HELE coal plant using coal from Leigh Creek mine. The infrastructure is pretty well in place.

    Of course this would horrify the anti science brigade in SA chiefly as it would provide 24/7 cheap energy….and bring down prices. We would just need the guarantee that all comers to the market have exactly the same access, with renewables not given first place. In which case a HELE coal plant with a number of individual units, and improved flexibility would see off most renewables providors. It would also render useless the planned pumped hydro investments which are only viable at todays killer high prices…


    • #
      robert rosicka

      According to the green “Nem watch” Facebook group South Australia ran on 100% solar today so no need for coal , wind or Gas .


      • #
        Graeme No.3

        The whole 24 hours????
        Ridiculous, especially the AEMO specifies an amount of certain reliable generation. That would mean that surplus solar was being exported to Victoria. (They need every ray of sunshine, don’t they).


        • #
          robert rosicka

          They just bragged about the state running on 100% solar which was absolute BS and pointed out .
          They don’t want to know about the details .


      • #

        This sort of idiocy and cherry picking is the staple of the green movement. This part of the year is the absolute best conditions for renewables before the weather heats up and drives up power demand by virtue of air conditioning and after the seasonally low output from solar in winter.

        Now after 6pm then 100% of demand would be coming from gas with maybe a touch of wind. Maybe the facebook group needs to publish that….but somehow I doubt that will make it…delusions abound…