JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Australian electricity price doubles: CEO explains prices up due to lack of coal power

LaTrobe Valley Coal Plant

LaTrobe Valley Coal Plant

There’s been mayhem quietly running on the Australian electricity market this month. Shh. April used to be an easy month on electricity markets — it’s not summer and not winter, and nothing is stretched. At least not in theory. But this month prices have been running at $150 – $250 per megawatt hour. This is a big rise, even from last month when prices were often $70 – $120 in the big three states. To put that in perspective, six years ago in March, wholesale electricity prices were a tiny $30 – $60.

Last month a couple of units in a Victorian plant suffered a fire. Then on April 1, a single coal turbine at Liddell was retired, and then there was a wind drought, and now, lo, behold “we have lift-off”! Prices are now consistently running at $200-$300 per MWh, and often spend most of the day above $100.  Hey, but it’s only been a few weeks.

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch

AEMO Australian Electricity Prices.

Prices are cooking …. AEMO  (Click to Enlarge)

Don’t blame Russia: Less coal, means more expensive electricity.

The headline makes it sound like coal outages are to blame, when really the only thing keeping electricity prices down in Australia are the coal plants:

Domestic gas prices spike in April as coal outages put pressure on markets

Nick Evans, The Australian

…EnergyQuest chief executive Graeme Bethune said the sharp spike in domestic prices was not the result of additional exports of gas from the east coast.

“The spike in domestic gas prices does not appear to be due to any increase in LNG export volumes. In February Gladstone shipped an average of one LNG cargo per day but slightly less at 0.9 cargoes per day in March and in the first half of April,” Mr Bethune said.

“Nor do increases in electricity prices appear to be closely correlated to coal prices. Newcastle thermal coal prices reached a record $US430/tonne in March but were $US276/tonne by mid-April.”

Instead, outages at key coal-fired power plants in Victoria and NSW appear to have caused the spike in both power and domestic gas prices, along with a seasonal fall in solar generation as autumn rains set in across the NEM.

In late March a fire at a coal storage facility at EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn power plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley took two of its four generators out of service, stripping 700 to 750MW of power from the system. On April 1 AGL took the next step towards the eventual closure of its Liddell plant in the Hunter Valley, retiring a 500MW unit from the facility.

Mr Bethune told The Australian the winter outlook for east coast gas prices very much depended on the stability of the coal-fired fleet in the NEM.

Remember when Hazelwood closed? Australian energy prices have never been the same.

On an unrelated note: There’s a war. Why do Australian gas suppliers have spare gas to sell?

“If Japan wishes to replace Russian cargoes and the US and Qatar focus on replacing Russian gas in Europe, there is certainly an opportunity for Australia to go a long way towards replacing Japan’s Russian LNG,” the report said.

Don’t most of the Northern Hemisphere want to “get off Russian gas”? Aren’t they supposed to be beating a path to other gas suppliers?

10 out of 10 based on 81 ratings

79 comments to Australian electricity price doubles: CEO explains prices up due to lack of coal power

  • #
    Saighdear

    Maybe too early for the 1st post and slight OT – but anyone else noticed how inother parts of the world, there are take-downs of refineries / powerstations / food stores and production facilities with little after-thought ….. “NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG NOW” keeps giving me ear-ache. – partly because of the Silence of the windNILLS. Sorry about plugging this thing about the Heron and it’s Pals at the empty fishponds. Fishermen spend FUEL to go find fish – fish does’t come to them at the Pier end anymore. Only renewable energy coming by the house back door is Water which we can collect and use / store for power. Politicians are the only reliable source of wind, but I don’t think they are capable of storing it for very long – and then when it is released….. not only verbal diarrhea or the other unpleasant stream. …. Easter is over, what lies ahead ?

    370

  • #

    I have been reporting on this since mid-March. Qld prices seem to lead the way higher and OpenNem showed clear signs there were attempts to cap prices at $300.
    Check my charts
    Update AEMO monthly electricity prices Govt seems unaware 16March22
    http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=6883
    There are 2 charts showing 9 years of monthly AEMO wholesale prices.
    The first to 15March which is fully annotated – and down at my last comment a chart updated to 8April.

    140

    • #

      Thanks Warwick, Sorry I missed your posts. You are so right about something going on at $300. Obviously the prices are flattened

      See this chart from April 6th
      AEMO Chart April 6th 2022 Expand.

      100

      • #

        Thanks Jo – I am inclining to view that it is the boom in world thermal coal prices that is the main driver in this. My charts show Qld is leading the price path higher and the other States are fast catching up now.

        There may be some coal fired generators that get coal from a dedicated mine and might be insulated from the world price for a time. No idea just speculating.
        I thought the statements by EnergyQuest chief executive Graeme Bethune above were misleading — beating up minor matters of no import to the main issue we see which is that Qld prices have been rising since October/November and this has fed into all other states in the NEM now.

        110

        • #
          New Chum

          I would have thought coal fired Power Stations would have long term contracts for coal and not buy on the spot market.
          The Queensland Government has Power Stations in Queensland and this is one http://www.csenergy.com.au/content-(42)-kogan_creek.htm
          If you scroll down to the site map and check Corporate Governance https://www.csenergy.com.au/who-we-are/corporate-governance

          30

          • #

            Re: The coal price — I would have thought that the cost of coal was only a small part in the total cost of running the generator. We see that when wind and solar force coal plants to be intermittent, so they use less coal, and fuel costs would be lower, but the cost of production goes up per MWh — all the other costs are bigger and need to be recovered in a smaller time — capital, maintenance, staff, insurance, compliance, etc

            Maybe TonyfromOz can calculate what part the cost per MWh of the coal is? How many tons does it take to make a MWh?

            40

            • #
              Dean

              I had 20 years in the thermal coal supply industry and the rule of thumb about power station costs was about a third for capital, third for fuel and a third for maintenance.

              This was a while ago so could be quite different now?

              60

        • #
          RickWill

          There may be some coal fired generators that get coal from a dedicated mine and might be insulated from the world price for a time. No idea just speculating.

          The coal generators will set their bid blocks to at least get scheduled at minimum output. They will have some energy priced near the floor price to ensure they stay producing when the rooftops kick in. Most evening peaks, coal generators bid in below gas price.

          In Queensland, coal sets the scheduled price about 50% of the time but this is not linked to an individual station coal price. They determine their bid price based on maximising income. So if gas prices increase, the average price will increase.

          The generators aim to maximise their income. Scheduling is not based on merit order. If merit order was the basis then solar and wind would always be scheduled but the coal generators have learnt they can force grid scale W&S to curtail by pricing some of their energy negative in the knowledge they can recover those costs during evening peaks..

          In Q4 2021, solar set the price for about 10% of the time in Queensland. That price would have been negative around -$30/MWh. Just enough to make money with the contribution from the LGC produced.

          31

        • #

          There may be some coal fired generators that get coal from a dedicated mine…..

          Some of those coal fired power plants are constructed at the site of the mine itself, and the owners of the plant also own the coal mine, eg Bayswater and Liddell. and Mt.Piper I think.

          In Queensland, the State Government owns the power plants under two State Government entities, Stanwell Corp. and CS Energy. The State Government also owns the coal mines which supply all of the power plants in both operations, and the Queensland Government also own the rail infrastructure that transports the coal from the mines to the plants. Only Millmerran and Gladstone power station in Qld are NOT owned by the State Government, and even Gladstone has a deal with the Government that all power generated NOT being consumed by the Aluminium plant is sold by the Government.

          Tony.

          150

        • #
          Ted1

          Callide C4 is slated to return to service in April 2023.

          With the market corrupted as it is, I am cynical enough to ask is, does the Callide event, and indeed every breakdown of a coal fired generator, involve sabotage?

          10

      • #
        Hannibal

        The $300 price capping is related to an historic artefact of the early days of the market. Standard 2 way ‘swaps’ and or base futures are the most used contract products sold into the market by Base load, ie mostly coal, generators. For dispatchable generation with limited fuel and or high operating costs, eg, OCGT, liquid fuel (diesel, jet fuel) fired gens, they are typically unable to support a sold position structured around ‘swaps’, therefore they sell one way ‘caps’, which are more likely to cover the cost of their fuel, start up costs, etc, as well as limit their risk to running out of fuel by having to cover their sold position(generate) for long periods of time. Typically the pool prices are above the cap strike price for shorter periods of time and therefore the generator with a sold cap position does not need to run for long.

        At market start and for the early years the cap strike price with most liquidity were the $300 ‘caps’. This was because at the time the short run marginal cost of a typical diesel fired generator, which supplied a lot of the ‘super peak’ generation in the early market, ie Diesel price x heat rate, was close enough to be $300/MWh and this was what was required to allow a diesel gen set to turn on and run profitably. The sale of the ‘caps’ earns a premium and this was enough to bank the operation across the year where prices would only be above $300 for s short time, and therefore high enough to turn on those generators, for relatively shorter spikes.

        Despite fluctuations in the oil prices over the short term and in fact the longer term, as well as changing market dynamics and loss of a lot of the traditional cap selling generation plant, the $300 caps have remained a standard product and now provide a risk management product for both generators protecting their sold ‘swap’ positions against outage risk, renewable generators protecting their sold positions against no wind/sun and market speculators taking various views or structured position protection.

        00

    • #
      Strop

      Thanks Wazz for your info.

      Looking at Vic average wholesale prices (because that’s where I live), they were approx $50 in 2013-2016, then $100 in 2017-2019, and now $50 2020-2022. Seems now we’re back to old prices of 9 years ago. But my retail bill charge rate is a significant 50% higher than it was just 2 years ago.

      The chart shows a rise for Vic in the lead up to Hazelwood’s closure but not after. On the basic chart review it does not seem like Hazelwood caused the increase.

      Why did prices rise leading up to Hazelwood closure?
      Why did wholesale prices fall again to now be at same level as 9 years ago?
      Why are retail prices significantly higher in contrast to wholesale?

      50

      • #
        RickWill

        Why did wholesale prices fall again to now be at same level as 9 years ago?

        The marginal cost of W&S in Australia is negative. The more that gets connected, the lower the wholesale price. The wholesale price trend is going down as more W&S is connected.

        However the wholesale price does not include:
        FCAS charges – generally on a steep upward trend.
        RERT – this is the precursor of the capacity payment to ensure there is reserve capacity.
        Dispatch orders – dropped a bit since the synchronous condensers started operation in SA.
        All the new transmission lines to all the new S&W farmers
        Upgrading of inter-regional connectors so all the intermittency can be evenly shared rather than just dominating SA supply.
        Upgrade to the capacity of distribution networks to handle reverse power flows.
        Forced generation curtailment due to system constraints

        The wholesale price has a declining trend as more W&S is connected. The wholesale price would have risen even more with coal and gas price increases if there were no W&S.

        Retail prices are on a never ending upward spiral as more W&S energy extractors are connected.

        42

        • #
          Strop

          The wholesale price would have risen even more with coal and gas price increases if there were no W&S.

          Retail prices are on a never ending upward spiral as more W&S energy extractors are connected.

          So wind and solar works to reduce the wholesale price. But Wind and solar increases the retail price.

          Based on my billing the latter is clearly the most significant. In addition to my extra payments through taxes paying for the renewable subsidies, grants, and rebates.

          It’s all worthwhile though given our power generation emissions have reduced by far more than China’s have increased and the planet feels cooler already.
          (sarc)

          40

          • #
            RickWill

            Based on my billing the latter is clearly the most significant. In addition to my extra payments through taxes paying for the renewable subsidies, grants, and rebates

            Yes – retail prices are spiralling up. The are disconnected from wholesale price and will continue to be so; albeit if wholesale prices do go up then they will reflect that increase as well.

            There is very little in the electrical supply chain that comes from general revenue. Basically no more than seed money. Victoria and SA have direct subsidies for rooftops and batteries that are small change. The cost of new transmission lines is already factored into your retail price. As are the costs of about half the FCAS, the cost of distribution upgrades, the cost of emergency reserve, the cost of synchronous condensers. No matter where the generation goes, the cost recovery for the add ons are already factored in and appear in the retail price. Wait till the cost of Snowy 2 hits the retail bills.

            The wholesale price could very well end up negative before the LGCs disappear in 2030 but the retail price will never come down. There is so much more infrastructure to pay for.

            Interestinly, batteries can make money because the intermittency creates so much price volatility. In the 2 weeks that SA was separated from Vic in early 2020, the SA battery recovered about half its cost – mostly in FCAS. SA is indicative of the future for the whole of Australia but much worse because there is no “Victoria” for Australia to leach off like SA does with Victoria.

            The thing about electricity in Australia is that there is a choice for many of us – on-grid or off-grid. Nothing that governments are doing will lower the retail price of electricity despite all the $100/yr here and $200/yr there that the various agencies come up with. None of the add ons to make intermittent viable will be stranded assets. Their cost recovery mechanism is set in stone. The $10bn for Snowy 2 will be recovered through retail prices – particularly the transmission line. It is still a low cost battery but it has high turn-around losses and that will eat into its revenue from price arbitrage. It will attract the dispatchable capacity payment and achieve a slice of FCAS revenue.

            The current view is the it would be best to stop Snowy 2 right now. The cost blowouts are 3-fold and that means it will probably require some cost recovery mechanism outside of the transmission infrastructure recovery and the normal electricity market mechanisms.

            20

            • #
              Strop

              for those who don’t know Rick’s acronyms, like i didnt until i googled, here’s some info to save you googling too

              FCAS is a process used by the energy market operator to maintain the frequency of the system within the normal operating band

              LGC – Large-scale generation certificate
              Under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target, the general formula, set out in Regulation 14 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity​) Regulations 2001 (REE Regulations), is used to work out the amount of eligible electricity generated by an accredited power station. It applies continuously over each calendar year from the date a power station is accredited.
              One large-scale generation certificate may be created for each megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible renewable electricity generated by an accredited power station above its 1997 eligible renewable power baseline.

              RERT – Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader
              The Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) is a function conferred on the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to maintain power system reliability and system security using reserve contracts.

              SA – South Australia…. but I haven’t googled to confirm 😉

              30

      • #

        Strop asked [Why did wholesale prices fall again to now be at same level as 9 years ago?] Ok you are asking about Vic wholesale prices. In early 2020 they fell to + or -$50 under the influence of the “Great Covid low demand price depression”. Except for a bounce influenced by the Qld Callide B Hydrogen explosion at Biloela which forced prices higher for a few months – your Vic wholesale prices stayed +or-$50 till this month. Now they are booming higher with all States in the NEM.

        20

      • #

        Strop asked [Why did wholesale prices fall again to now be at same level as 9 years ago?] Sorry Strop my previous reply was too short. If you go back to my 9 year 5 State monthly AEMO wholesale price chart dated 15March22 – you see in late 2016 Vic prices were under $50 – see my annotation “Xmas-New Year Syncronised Prices Jump” and Vic prices jumped to nearer $100 at a time of summer price spikes in other States – then after summer Vic prices increased to over $100 for 4 or 5 months when Hazelwood closed Autumn 2017 – then fell back to $75 zone in the 2017 cooler season. Note from there through to the Summer spikes of 2019 Vic prices never fall below the “$75 Zone” – and at times hit as high as $250 in summer spikes. Starting Autumn of 2020 Vic prices fell again to below $50 levels during the Great Covid demand depression. The rest I have already mentioned.

        00

    • #
      Graham Richards

      When coal fired energy disappears, so too, do the subsidies for renewables.
      That’s when energy prices will quadruple or worse. If you don’t like it you’ll simply have to sit in the dark!

      When does that tipping point occur?? I have a feeling it’s not far off. After all both major political parties are in favour of net zero emissions & subsequently a net zero growth economy . Poor fella our country!!

      220

  • #
    Wet Mountains

    As long as leadership is unaffected by the decisions they make, they will continue to make poor decisions. When there is no expectation of outcome, it does not matter the outcome. If I am making millions each year off my investments in alternative energy companies and my electric bill goes up $1000 a month, so what. It’s still a net gain.
    How do you post a picture here? I shaved my mustache.

    210

    • #
      PeterS

      That’s the point some of us keep making but they fall on death ears. We the people elect our representatives in government but nothing changes because no one is held to account for the stupid policies they keep producing. It’s like being in a time loop. We might be able to break out of it by stop voting for the majors. It might not work but it’s certainly worth a try. Otherwise, just sit back and watch our once great nation crash and burn before our very eyes.

      220

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      That’s got it neatly and concisely there “Wet”.

      Former Government responsibilities for basics like water for drinking and irrigation, basic medical treatment, pharmaceuticals, transport and a hundred other things like basic records of births, deaths and marriages have been devolved, compexified and sold off as business opportunities to the ultimate detriment of society.

      The fact that politicians “may” partake in these new business opportunities always adds further to increased cost base.

      There is never any reduction in staffing by the government organisations which devolved their responsibilities and a huge assessment and shakeup of this situation is urgently required.

      The situation of government employees doing less and less work for more and more pay is at cricise point and urgently needs attention.

      230

  • #
    b.nice

    If this is what happens when just a couple of coal turbine go down, just imagine what will happen when they intentionally get rid of several more of them !

    310

  • #
    Erasmus

    We are governed by idiots and left ideologues, and the forces for destruction of western civilisation are not just hard at work in the USA.

    240

  • #
    Sean

    I remember a time only 20 years ago when generators and system colluded to create shortages of electricity (in California no less, by Enron). Lawsuits followed. Now the government colludes with the people who supply electricity to turn it green. High fives all around.
    Oh, and that Russian gas and oil is finding buyers in Asia, China a India but likely at a discount. Nord Stream 1 is still sending Russian gas to Germany because the Europeans refuse to develop their NG resources. American and Australians LNG will make a killing selling into Europe while electricity and fertilizer prices rise. Our bumbling president will blame Putin for the high price of meat while he increases the ethanol content in gasoline from 10-15%.
    The West pats itself on the back as it deindustrializes through CO2 emission reduction while it supports the further industrialization of Asia.
    And when its all said and done you look at the consequences of the various shifts in resources and manufacturing you realize that your all your efforts to control the weather and the behavior of tyrants was equivalent to squeezing a balloon. You moved a few things around but the balloon still has the same amount of air inside.

    220

  • #
    David Maddison

    Last month a couple of units in a Victorian plant suffered a fire.

    The Left will use this as the sole excuse for the higher prices and demand even more random energy generators.

    And is Australia the only country in the world stupid enough to immediately destroys reliable generators that have been prematurely shut down because random energy is more profitable for producers, rather than mothballing them?

    270

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      No, the UK destroyed some coal-fired plants after shutdown. Fortunately they didn’t destroy the last few and so got some working again, enabling coal to generate more than wind. With (wholesale) electricity now costing about 4 times more than 2 years ago coal-fired is quite profitable.
      Germany, for all their publicity about being Green, seem to have been more intelligent and was able to boost electricity generation with more coal-fired when the wind turbines didn’t deliver, and they are running around 25% on coal.

      190

  • #
    David Maddison

    There is a very good reason the world got rid of random wind and semi-random human and animal power as soon as a reliable steam engine was invented.

    Now, thanks to the Left, we are reverting to those power sources.

    270

  • #
    Serge Wright

    You can see by the numbers why the energy companies are so eager to dump coal. Once they get rid of the 24/7 cheap baseload, enter Russian Roulette where prices spike up to crazy levels with the weather and the energy companies make a motza.

    140

  • #
    Neville

    I think Aussies are heading for a very poor future if we don’t change course and start to build new reliable base-load power stns ASAP.
    How we accomplish this seems to be an insurmountable problem but I’ll be voting for a small Conservative party at number 1 and I’ll also make sure the Labor/ Greens loonies are placed at the bottom of my ballot paper.
    And that means both for the House of Reps and the Senate.
    If anyone has any better ideas I would be interested to read about them.
    Alas we have no hope now of changing anything before the 21st May, but we’ll be heading for disaster if the Albanese loony and his Greens allies take control next month.

    240

    • #
      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      G’day Neville,
      Don’t forget you can now just vote for 12 candidates “below the line” in the senate election. Even though finding 12 reasonable recipients of your vote may be difficult, you can at least leave out all of those you really don’t want anywhere near the seat of power.

      In the reps I’ve decided to put the Greens last, FFGs next, Labor, and above them Nationals, possibly an independent, with some uncertainty about the top 3.

      FFGs False Flag Greens. Includes “Climate200”, but not restricted to them.

      Cheers
      Dave B

      10

  • #
    Ronin

    Why aren’t the companies responsible for selling into the grid fined when they can’t make good on their contract, that would quickly smarten up their game.

    60

    • #
      wal1957

      Unfortunately they are not obliged under contract to supply a stated amount of power.
      They are in a win win situation. No other industry would survive doing this.

      60

    • #
      RickWill

      when they can’t make good on their contract

      Generators are frequently fined for not complying with the energy market rules. The bidding/pricing cycle is now 5 minutes. If a dispatchable generator agrees to supply a service and/or energy in a 5 minute block and cannot then they are fined. Semi-scheduled generators are not held to the same standard and, in fact, pay some of the FCAS costs because they cause the need.

      There is currently a panel of Reliability and Emergency Reserve Traders who are prepared to offer additional reserves at short notice for a big lump of money – about $10,000MWh. They get short term contracts on mutually agreed terms in an emergency. The current panel has an available capacity of about 1.5GW.

      In 2025 there will be a dispatchable capacity payment that should give greater certainty than the RERT. It is still being formulated. It envisages something like 19GW of capacity payments. The details are supposed to be sorted by the end of 2022. It will be added income for any dispatchable generator and not part of the wholesale price that batteries, gas plants, hydro and coal will get. They will have a minimum guaranteed income for just sitting around and doing nothing other than being able to produce if needed. It will make batteries significantly more attractive because they will get this in addition to the FCAS and price arbitrage income they currently get. Batteries are well suited to a grid dominated by intermittent generators.

      10

      • #
        RickWill

        I noticed Visy is on the RERT panel. They have cogen plants that produce power for internal use and export. They must be prepared to curtail some of their normal site consumption and send it out for a payment of $10,000/MWh. It appears the demand side reduction from smelters is priced much higher; up around $40,000/MWh.
        https://aemo.com.au/-/media/files/electricity/nem/emergency_management/rert/2021/rert-quarterly-report-q2-2021.pdf?la=en

        A capacity payment should result in a lot more batteries. Batteries can get paid FCAS for just sitting there without anything spinning. They can get income from price arbitrage and negative excursions are now normal rather than rare. The capacity payment will be additional income for just sitting there in a charged state. Batteries will probably cap the capacity payment. I expect coal plants will continue to struggle even with a capacity payment. It may delay their exit though.

        10

  • #
    Zigmaster

    You have to be pretty dumb not to realise that if outages at coal fired power stations cause a spike in energy prices that the prospect of permanent outages as such plants are closed down will be catastrophic for prices. And what’s more frightening the high prices will not be the biggest problem, blackouts and power rationing will be.

    270

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    When I first started working in the early sixties, any factory manager or business manager who did not aim for and achieve efficiency of operation; quality output at minimum cost, would have been “let go” and replaced.

    The same applied, perhaps a bit looser, even to the various levels of government looking after our interests.

    But things change, and people see opportunities.

    Currently we are in a big mess that needs a giant enema.

    World public serpents are now going to scare us with the rampant inflation resulting from their latest CV19 Project and pose as heroes when they solve the problem again with the swish sounding remedy, Quantitative Easing.

    Go Inflation!

    Our governments have us by the short and curlies; don’t move.

    KK

    190

  • #
    David Maddison

    The fact that Australia has not had many large-scale grid-outage events is not due to good planning but due to the fact that huge amounts of power are being “saved” due to the shut down of industry and the reduction of consumption due to the high price of electricity, people just freeze or boil instead (energy poverty).

    But even getting rid of most industrial amd a lot of domestic consumption has its limits, which we are now approaching.

    I fully expect there to be regular grid-out events and/or power rationing. And why the push for “smart electricity meters” which were made compulsory in the more oppressive states like Vicdanistan? It allows them to turn off your electricity remotely.

    The Left will blame conservatives for resisting the building of more random generators. “If only you would have let us build more and complete our green masterpiece…”

    170

    • #
      b.nice

      “people just freeze or boil instead”

      Thankfully, most of Australian live in a climate where people can exist without the real “need” (as opposed to “want”) for heating and cooling.

      Rugging-up in winter, and t-shirts and shorts in summer (plus plenty of liquid of choice) is quite viable in most places along the east coast where the largest populations are found.

      We have just got a bit “soft” is all. 😉

      140

  • #
    Lawrie

    Prior to seeing this post I sent Matt(the Green) Kean, NSW Treasurer and minister for energy, a snapshot of Rafe’s widget showing about 12% wind yesterday when the demand was low because of the holidays. I asked how his ridiculous “more wind and less coal” plan for electricity is going to work. Kean is an idiot. Maureen on 2GB just said he has such a narrow view of life he can look through a keyhole with both eyes. More of those commenting here must be contacting their reps and prospective reps how they will keep the lights on when they are so keen to get rid of coal.

    210

  • #
    Ronin

    QLDs power consumption runs a close second to NSW, where is it all going to. ?

    60

    • #
      b.nice

      I think I noted a couple of weeks ago that on occasions, Qld consumption can be significant highly than NSW.

      Very unexpected.

      70

    • #
      Strop

      They don’t have daylight savings so have to keep the lights on an extra hour at night 😉

      10

  • #
    Neville

    The King Island system seem to be up to the usual under performance as usual.
    Diesel seems to be 80% to 95% and S & W are ZIP real difference than most nights.
    Yet this is what our stupid pollies + most journos + many so called scientists think will keep us safe and prosperous as we close down our reliable coal and gas generators.
    Funny thing is that China, India, Russia + other developing countries don’t seem to be convinced by the same crazy ideas.
    I wonder why they refuse to waste so much time and money on the S & W lunacy?

    110

    • #
      David Maddison

      I wonder why they refuse to waste so much time and money on the S & W lunacy?

      Because the ultimate objective is the destruction of Western Civilisation and freedom. Destruction of cheap, reliable energy allows a wind-back of the fruits of free enterprise to more feudal times.

      In fact, the Left are trying to destroy all values of The Enlightenment such as liberty, scientific reason, democracy, freedom of expression (tolerance of alternative viewpoints), free enterprise, ongoing progress, limited government power, freedom of action as long as you harm no others, equality of opportunity (i.e. all born equal), universal rights, the state not being ruled by theocrats, etc..

      110

  • #
    Ross

    Australia has already lost the bulk of heavy and manufacturing industry. All sorts of reasons why, but initially when industries were encouraged to establish in Australia one of the enticements was cheap electricity. It’s hard to prove a negative but as our power prices have risen over the last 30 years our country has probably lost many opportunities for companies set up new here. Even Toyota wanted to retain car manufacturing in Australia, but eventually pulled out like GM and FORD. Certainly their finally reasoning was due to an uncooperative work force but just imagine if our energy prices had remained low. It’s possible that may have swung their decision to stay. These latest increases in wholesale prices will just put more pressure on any industry left in this country. Then we will probably have the ridiculous policy of subsidies for those industries. Which is effectively what has recently happened to our 2 remaining oil refineries- one which includes VIVA Energy in Geelong Victoria. VIVA and Alcoa are the biggest industrial users of electricity in Victoria. When we have had rolling outages in the past, those 2 are always the first requested to stop production, which is terribly costly.

    90

    • #
      David Maddison

      Even with subsidies to offset the high electricity price, the Portland Aluminium smelter (Alcoa) in Vicdanistan may close after the present subsidies run out.

      The single most important factor for locating an aluminium smelter is access to cheap electricity. There is no point having it otherwise. The subsidies are pointless. There only purpose is to artificially prop up jobs

      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-19/portland-aluminium-smelter-deal-state-federal-governments/13261804

      https://www.aigroup.com.au/news/media-centre/2021/portland-smelter-rescue-a-sign-to-redouble-not-relax/

      The following reference mentions 500 jobs saved for $76.8 million over four years so $38,400 subsidy per artificial job.

      https://www.manmonthly.com.au/news/500-jobs-secured-portland-aluminium-smelter/

      60

      • #
        KP

        “The subsidies are pointless. There only purpose is to artificially prop up jobs ”

        A major Govt past-time in any Western country! Look how many years the car manufacturers went for while running at a loss covered by the taxpayers.

        ‘The People’ should have veto on any Govt legislation, a good way to stop the profligate wastes of money that pork-barreling brings.

        70

      • #
        Ross

        The crazy thing is that when you visit the Portland Alcoa smelter the production line is virtually automatic. Run mostly from a control room. So, very minimal actual ” hands on” workforce. So, when they say the subsidies are boosting jobs they have to go to great lengths to justify the $. The Vic Labor govt would actually love the smelter to close down. It would free up electricity for domestic use and almost justify their green energy splurge. It’s a LNP state and federal electorate with minimal workers. So, politically no biggie for Labor Andrews or even the unions. ( but I suspect you know all this already)

        20

        • #
          Dean

          That’s only the operations side of things. Its the same with the coal fired power plants. Bayswater power station runs with a crew of 8 to 12.

          Then you go to the maintenance side of things…..

          10

  • #
    SimonB

    Congratulations Australia, after all that education, you are the dunce in the corner of the room!
    Could have been worse……um…..nup…..scaring 10 year olds with the end of the world certainly worked on the elected officials of the same IQ as a 10yo!
    At least the 10yo’s had an excuse, they only know what their activist ‘teachers’ spew at them, we’re supposed to be led by a conservative government elected by a majority repudiating climate fear!
    What choice is their really in May?

    160

    • #
      David Maddison

      What choice is their really in May?

      List of pro-freedom parties in alphabetical order:

      Australian Values Party (Heston Russell)
      Bob Katter’s Party
      Federation Party
      Great Australia Party (GAP)
      Informed Medical Options Party (IMOP)
      Liberal Democrats Party (Libertarians)
      Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
      United Australian Party (UAP)

      100

  • #
    Ronin

    “What choice is their really in May?”

    It’s a toss up between worst and least worse.

    60

    • #
      SimonB

      David is right, putting the majors last and choosing and preferencing alternatives is the only clear message in a compulsory system.
      Australians have to stop deluding themselves that the 2 1/2 majors are the only option. They do not represent the core values of the country, or even the party THEY chose to join! The number of bed wetting conservatives publicly disrespecting COLLEAGUES in an election campaign is gob smacking. It’s sabotaging their own chances and telling the potential voters that they don’t believe in the platforms they are touting.
      That’s obvious now with the LibNats nett zero after winning a climate change election, but the active criticism of colleagues shows they’ve plumbed new depths.
      That can’t be ‘rewarded’ with seats. Both majors are toxic and need to be shown you need to stand for core values, not 5 minutes of trashmedia cheerleading.

      10

  • #
    Neville

    Now some of our former diplomats and elite loonies are warning Aussies that we will soon have tax penalties imposed on us if we don’t do more to fight their climate change.
    It seems the EU and USA have threatened to take action against us if we don’t agree to their demands.
    I’m sure Albanese and the Greens loonies will rejoice at this news and insist that we must close down our reliable coal + gas generators ASAP. And ditto the Matt Kean loony and other suitably invested quislings who’ll be only too happy to join in with more of their BS and fra-d.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/04/17/diplomats-for-climate-action-demand-australia-kowtow-to-the-eu/

    80

    • #
      David Maddison

      And our globalist politicans, both Alba-sleazy and SloMo will do it because they’ll say “we had no choice”.

      Same BS as with not giving unvaxxed Australians an exit visa to leave the country.

      110

    • #
      KP

      haha! Lets see how Russia plays out first. Europe may be more interested in geiger counters and iodine pills…

      Other problems that may occupy their attention- Sweden had riots and Police cars set on fire over Easter as their 3rd-world immigrants disagreed with right-wing demonstrations. Germany had Ukrainian ‘refugees’ setting fire to cars owned by Russians who moved to Germany when the USSR broke up in the ’90s.

      …and My Putin may yet turn the gas tap off over the re-payment of Russian loans using the money the West has stolen from Russia.

      We live in the end times!

      40

  • #
    Mark Allinson

    Slightly off topic:

    World’s Largest Carbon Removal Facility Designed to Fight Global Warming Suffers Major Setback After Arctic Blast Freezes Machinery

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/04/worlds-largest-carbon-removal-facility-designed-fight-global-warming-suffers-major-setback-arctic-blast-freezes-machinery/

    70

    • #
      David Maddison

      Hilarious!

      And once again the Left/warmists indicate they don’t know any chemistry. There is no carbon in the air, it is carbon dioxide.

      And the energy cost to remove carbon dioxide from the air must be tremendous.

      A coal fired power plant is a real CARBON REMOVAL machine. It takes carbon in the form of coal, removes it from the ground, oxidises it to create carbon dioxide and energy and releases it into the atmosphere to be utilised by plants as part of the carbon cycle.

      100

    • #
      Gary S

      Have to love the fact that this white elephant (frosted white that is) is powered by geothermal energy, which is one of the few things doing it’s best to actually warm the planet.

      10

  • #
    Lance

    RE people often tout LCOE to “prove” that RE is cheaper. What they leave out of the LCOE calculation is:

    The cost of

    transmission lines to connect the RE to the Grid.

    Voltage support: is assumed to be Always available and Somebody Else’s Problem.

    Frequency Support: Again, Somebody Else’s Problem.

    Backup Generation when the Sun doesn’t shine and the Wind isn’t blowing: Somebody Else’s problem.

    RE LCOE is nothing but sham economics that lie about what they can produce and what it costs when they can’t produce.

    The ONLY thing that RE can do, at best, is offset fuel costs at a thermal generating plant, and often they can’t even do that.

    Without the thermal generation, RE is impossible to implement at grid scale. AU is beginning to see that.

    100

  • #
    STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    What that CEO is admitting skiting is that coal-fired power generation has been deliberately crippled so that the cost of electricity can be dramatically increased.

    80

  • #
    David Maddison

    If something can’t be produced on demand, it has to be stored.

    Anything that has to be stored by necessity has extra costs associated with storage. With perishable food, for example, there are energy and equipment costs associated with cold storage (among others).

    Electricity is no different. If it can’t be produced on demand as with coal, gas, nuclear and proper hydro (not Snowy Hydro 2), it has to be stored. This is the case with unreliable solar and wind power.

    It turns out that storage costs for electricity are extremely high, so random generators are ALWAYS going to cost more than on-demand reliable generators, apart from the fact that the unreliables consist of thousands of small scale machines as compared to reliable generators which consist of only one single large scale facility giving economies of scale.

    90

  • #
  • #
    Cynic of A

    My power account for three months ending February, had Tariff II at 19.782 cents per KWH.
    20 cents per KWH X 1000 to bring it to MWH, and divide by 100 to bring it to Dollars.
    So, I’m paying 200 dollars per MWH.
    That’s not a bad little markup when wholesale is $200. 100%.
    So, am I to expect that I will be paying 500 dollars a MWH when the wholesale is 250 dollars a MWH?

    10

  • #
    Ronin

    “By the end of the decade, in fact, the project’s capacity is expected to reach as much as 1 million tons of carbon dioxide.”

    Project Orca, that would be equal one small Aussie bushfire or 5 minutes of an eruption.

    20

  • #
    John Connor II

    Solar panels that can generate electricity at night have been developed at Stanford

    While standard solar panels can provide electricity during the day, this device can serve as a “continuous renewable power source for both day- and nighttime,” according to the study published this week in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

    https://www.npr.org/2022/04/07/1091320428/solar-panels-that-can-generate-electricity-at-night-have-been-developed-at-stanf

    00

  • #
    RoHa

    Teeny niggle:

    “Less coal, means more expensive electricity”

    should be

    “Less coal means more expensive electricity.”

    If there is no adverb or subordinate clause between the subject or subject clause and the verb, there
    should never be a comma between them.

    00

  • #

    Russia’s natural gas is substantially delivered by pipeline.

    Germany for example, has no significant LNG terminal on the North Sea coast, just two on the Baltic initially (it seems) intended to buffer NordStream pipeline flows from Russia. LNG that comes by ship, is delivered to (IIRC) via the Netherlands which then pipes it into Germany. They’re working flat out to add two terminals on the North Sea coast, but the supply chains have to adjust. The Saudis, for example, have advised German ministers that it will take at least 2 years to change LNG allocations from their production; and there are no LNG tankers to spare!

    Germany is doing none of the smart things. They could be extracting domestic shale gas this year with known reserves estimated to fuel the country to the end of the century; with no more gas imports at all. The wise and wonderful leadership instead bans new domestic shale gas extraction. FWIW, Germany first used hydraulic fracturing to increase natural gas extraction in the 1950’s. Domestic supply limited to just 2% of domestic demand.

    If you think that that’s dumb, look to Australia with a strategic fuel reserve at about 18 of the required 90 days; because “Governments” of all flavours have deemed that we be dependent on external energy providers. Domestic resources that are not “on tap” could fuel the country for many centuries, independent of imports that finance tyrannies and conflicts.

    10

  • #