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

Books

Hands up! Your fish or your electricity. Macron threatens to cut interconnector to UK

The UK wants to get back its fishing rights as part of a Brexit deal. The French aren’t too happy about that, but since the UK is heavily dependent on French interconnectors Macron can and is holding the UK electricity grid hostage.

Green Energy puts the UK in a much weaker negotiation position.

The French interconnectors under the Channel are needed both to import reliable nuclear power and to sell off the excess fluffy green kind of unreliable electricity that UK wind power makes at random times. The “value” of energy sales is more than the value of the fisheries (at least in hard currency). But UK imports are larger than the exports, and the UK electricity grid is so fragile it fell over last year leaving people stuck in underground trains for hours, and cutting off a million customers in an instant. The biggest weakness of all is probably the reliance on a foreign power to just keep the lights on. The cost of unplanned blackouts would trump everything else. And could the French “Break” the UK grid with plausible deniability and some inconvenient outage? Sorry but the interconnector had a fault?

I know they might not play that [...]

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

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

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.

The 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 [...]

Thanks to wind and solar power, Australians have to drive to work to save the planet

Australians used to have an electricity grid that gave them the freedom to work from home

For years they told us to work at home to help the environment. But thanks to a decentralized unreliable grid, Australians are now being warned that it will be a “disaster” for the grid if they stay home and work with their air conditioner on in summer.

Now we better drive to work so the solar-windy-grid doesn’t fall over:

Why working from home could be a disaster for Australia’s electricity grid this summer

Emma Elsworthy, ABC

Air conditioners could send Australia’s power grid into meltdown this summer, as roughly one third of the workforce do their jobs from home, experts have warned.

According to research company Roy Morgan, more than 4.3 million Australians are working from home…

But warmer weather has come with a warning that increased use of air-conditioning in homes could lead to more blackouts and higher electricity bills.

“Air-conditioning is what drives our maximum demand in Australia,” said Peter Dobney, the former founding chairman of the Energy Users Association of Australia.

“We can expect higher prices, in fact, I [...]

SA: Still at risk of blackout, one third of solar PV “switching off” to save state, needs $1.5b interconnector bandaid to NSW

A $1,500 million dollar emergency line is needed to rescue South Australia from renewable blackouts. Image: Marcus Wong Wongm

 

Why do so few see the enormous subsidy cost of keeping the South Australian electricity experiment alive?

Having got too much intermittent, unreliable electricity, the state is still in danger of another statewide blackout. One third of the solar panels on homes are being switched off automatically because the electricity they provide is not just useless, but dangerous. What the state needs is baseload power, but the solution we’re told is to spend another incredible $1.5billion dollars on an interconnector with NSW, presumably so SA gets a lifeline to the reliable coal power in Queensland.

That’s a $1,500,000,000 repair bill for an unreliable system that cost a fortune to build, but is unsustainable without a giant bandaid.

Price rises coming in NSW and QLD:

As more unreliable generation and random green electrons infect the NSW and Qld grids, their cheap baseload providers will also find it harder to compete. The increased downtime will chew out some of their profit margins, but their costs will be almost the same. So, as sure as the sun rises, they will have to [...]

Desperate signs: Australian companies will be paid to use less electricity

Another hidden renewables tax buried in complexity

Here in Renewables World we now have to pay companies to make less of the products we want. It’s a sign of how fragile and dysfunctional the Australian grid is.

“Big energy users like factories and farms will be able to earn money by saving energy during heatwaves and at other times when electricity prices are high,” the Australia Institute’s energy lead Dan Cass said.

They call it “wholesale demand response”. We call it planned blackouts. All over the country equipment will be switched off when its needed most so that our green grid doesn’t fall over, or create billion dollar price spikes.

With some of the most expensive electricity in the world, there is already a strong price signal driving companies to use electricity efficiently. This new “price signal” drives them to be less efficient. Because the grid is now incapable of providing regular reliable electricity whenever it’s most useful to companies, the government is adding a whole new layer of complexity to try to squeeze out the spikes they can’t handle.

This move will mean more people will have to be employed in account-management, but the products made will [...]

Oopsie solar-battery fail? Cloud causes System Black event at Alice Springs affecting thousands

Welcome to the new complexified energy grid where a cloud can cause a system black event — knocking out power for as much as nine hours. This affected the hospital for 30 minutes and the prolonged problems caused many businesses and supermarkets to close. Alice Springs is an island microgrid servicing about 29,000 people in the centre of Australia. It was 38 degrees C yesterday when the power went out. Shame about those fridges and air conditioning units.

Alice Springs is a mini version of larger grids showing how fragile these new complicated systems of multiple generators based on weather events and batteries can be.

Looks modern, sometimes has electricity too. Alice Springs | Photo by Stefano, Wikimedia.

Yesterday: Thousands impacted by Alice Springs power blackout*

Steve Vivian, ABC News

Thousands of residents in Central Australia went without power yesterday afternoon, with some experiencing blackout conditions for up to nine hours.

Electricity was cut across the Alice Springs region around 2:30pm yesterday and was not restored in some areas until 10:47pm.

Today: Inquiry called, and explanations garbled — NT Chief Minister announces review

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner told ABC Darwin [...]