Living where we do and having only electricity connected, the price of which keeps rising insatiably, I get very frustrated when reading about all the supposed benefits of renewable energy, which never seem to eventuate. Once upon a time Australia had the cheapest energy in the world, but then things changed. For several decades now, we have heard how renewable energy is (or will shortly be) competitive with or even cheaper than traditional energy sources such as coal, gas or hydro, but we never see any tangible evidence of this happening. But what we do see are ever increasing power bills as cost effective sources of power disappear. Every year more wind and solar installations are approved, sustainable only due to taxpayer subsidies, yet no one seems willing to say enough is enough and that it’s time to exist without subsidies or admit that it’s not cost-effective and simply a boondoggle.
When all of this ‘renewable’ stuff started, it involved subsidies for domestic solar panels where those lucky enough to afford such received generous payback from state and Federal governments, thanks once again to taxpayers. No one questioned the iniquity of these subsidies, where it was really the well-off that were able to have solar panels installed (much the same as it is today) and those who were renting, living in areas where solar was impractical (lots of tall trees like us) or those struggling with a mortgage, were subsidising those who were far better off. Many a time did I hear from the latter, who benefited from solar subsidies, crowing about how they were receiving substantial cheques, rather than paying a cent for their electricity. South Australia seemed to have the most generous rebates of any state at the time, but times do thankfully change.
Now I’m by no means against whatever form of energy proves to be effective, efficient and genuinely non-polluting, but there must be economic considerations applied to any such program else, in the long run, everyone will suffer significantly. There are many things that people consider essential, but cheap and reliable power must reside at the top of the list, as everything in today’s world exists directly or indirectly due to the availability of reliable and cost-effective electricity. The very poorest of nations usually lack cheap and reliable electricity and suffer as a consequence, so do we really wish to emulate those nations? And with our rush to ever more so-called efficient and competitive renewable energy sources, the exact opposite of what is constantly advertised is being argued. I’m not sure how far we are prepared to go with ‘renewable’ energy before we admit that it’s a failure and simply not viable in its current form, subsidies or not. There’s always talk of low-cost, reliable, energy, but the devil is always in the detail.
We are already seeing the effects of forced (taxpayer subsidised) electricity on our daily lives and it’s going to get a lot worse. Energy Poverty, as it’s been named, has been affecting billions of people around the developing or third world countries for decades, but it’s also now affecting first world countries such as Europe and Australia. The effects on Australians is quite alarming, as it’s being reported that struggling families are resorting to candles for lighting and turning off hot water systems because they can’t afford the power costs. Then other sources are reporting that people are having to choose between food and paying power bills due to the high cost of electricity. Then we have further stories (one of many) where those reliant on wood heating have been banned from collecting firewood and can’t afford electric heating, yet the Clean Energy Finance Corporation wants to burn wood to generate electricity. At what point do we acknowledge that something has gone wrong?
In an apparent bid to reduce the reliance of local residents on red gum firewood — three-quarters of homes rely on wood heating alone as the district has no natural gas supply — pensioners were advised wearing more clothes and opening the curtains would reduce power costs and “keep them cosy”. The offer of an “energy saving” kit was also made: two hot water bottles, a low-energy light bulb, some draught-preventing foam tape and two “snake” doorstoppers.
And then we have the inevitable impact on industry. The closure of Hazelwood power station had a direct impact on jobs, but also an indirect impact on the local businesses that supported the power station and the workers and their families. The job impact of the Bald Hills project was just a blip on the jobs landscape (where are all these long-term Green jobs?), while leaving behind a blight on the landscape. This is just the tip of the iceberg as other industries, especially those that are heavily dependent on electricity are increasingly affected by the rising cost of electricity which, I’m sure, will lead to more of these reports. And while some suggest that renewable energy is cheaper than established forms of power generation (as the latter gets mothballed), I suspect what it really represents is the fact that we’ll just become accustomed to higher prices and in time forget that there were cheaper options available. And, once again, independent, peer reviewed, analysis indicates that 100% renewable energy is far from feasible. Unfortunately, most people never hear the other side of the debate because the media never report on it and those that may filter through (PDF) are usually dismissed without debate (vested interests of Big Oil and all that).
Several businesses reported a doubling in energy prices over 2016, while others reported a staggering 200% increase (or tripling) in energy costs. Much evidence collected by Ai Group (particularly in the Australian PMI®) suggests that energy costs for businesses have been rising over much of 2016 and some businesses considering reducing their workforce or even questioning their ongoing viability as a result. Initially this evidence mostly came from South Australian businesses, but such reports have become commonplace across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. At a time when margins are already under pressure in an increasingly competitive business environment and limited ability to pass on rising costs, rising energy prices are causing businesses further pain.
So where are we really headed, an Age of Enlightenment, or another Dark Ages? Given that Australia’s impact on global climate is minimal, no more than 1.4% of that of the rest of the world, why are we so eager to destroy our wealth and wellbeing? The politics and the money involved in the climate change industry appears to have completely overtaken any reasonable discussion about what really needs to be done and by whom. Opinions such as this will be stridently ridiculed and rejected, simply because it would unravel the entire industry built around climate change.
There have been two conflicting responses to Trump’s decision – often heard from the very same person.
On one hand, we are told that the move imperils the planet. Former US Vice President Al Gore says that Trump is damaging “humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis.” Business leader Tom Steyer says the Paris accord is “essential to leaving a healthy, safe, and prosperous world to our children” and blasts the president’s “traitorous act of war.”
On the other hand, we hear the defiant suggestion that Trump’s decision might not be so important, because renewable energy is already becoming so cheap that a future without fossil fuels has nearly arrived. Gore claims the planet is in the midst of an “inevitable transition to a clean energy economy,” and Steyer recently said that the time when “renewables plus storage is cheaper than fossil fuels” has already arrived.
Not only are these arguments mutually contradictory; each also happens to be wrong. Abandoning the Paris agreement does not risk our planet’s future, because the agreement itself does little to solve global warming. And green energy is far from locked in as a cost-effective replacement for fossil fuels. Fooling ourselves on these points means failing to address climate change effectively.
Update 1. And here’s an interesting article about the unintended consequences of solar panels (much like the issue with fluorescent light bulbs that took over incandescent light bulbs):
Environmental Progress investigated the problem to see how the problem compared to the much more high-profile issue of nuclear waste.
Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.
If solar and nuclear produce the same amount of electricity over the next 25 years that nuclear produced in 2016, and the wastes are stacked on football fields, the nuclear waste would reach the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (52 meters), while the solar waste would reach the height of two Mt. Everests (16 km).
In countries like China, India, and Ghana, communities living near e-waste dumps often burn the waste in order to salvage the valuable copper wires for resale. Since this process requires burning off the plastic, the resulting smoke contains toxic fumes that are carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect-causing) when inhaled.
Update 2. Well that didn’t take long (climate change indeed):
Solar hot water panels have fallen victim to this weekend’s cold snap, bursting, splitting and leaving home owners with plumbing bills in the thousands.
“There’s a device on solar panels called frost valves. They allow a bit of expansion in the panel itself by allowing water to drip out of the panel. But we’ve seen panels with frost valves installed where it’s still happening.”
“I don’t think it’s a quality issue. It’s more or less I don’t think anybody expected for Melbourne to be so cold. They really aren’t made for our changing climate.”
Update 3. And when the wind don’t blow, the electricity don’t flow:
In 2011, CSIRO predicted that climate change would help wind farms:
“The findings were significant for wind-farm developers as they meant increased productivity….”
Although the CSIRO’s research on wind speeds is good news for wind-power development, supportive government policies will continue to provide the strongest incentive for the industry.
Last week, New Zealand wind power company Tilt Energy, which owns the Snowtown 1 and Snowtown 2 wind farms in South Australia, issued a $10 million-$12m pre-tax profit downgrade because of the lack of wind.
It followed a $9m-$12m downgrade for the same reason the previous week by Sydney-based Infigen Energy.
“Production from Australian assets for June will represent the lowest month of production since the full commissioning of these assets in 2008 and 2014 respectively,” Tilt said…
Update 4. Where it started and where this whole boondoggle may well begin to unravel:
Penn State climate scientist, Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann commits contempt of court in the ‘climate science trial of the century.’ Prominent alarmist shockingly defies judge and refuses to surrender data for open court examination. Only possible outcome: Mann’s humiliation, defeat and likely criminal investigation in the U.S.
Update 5. That said, it may well be too late for Australia as we seem to be heading on the road to economic destruction:
The Finkel review learned nothing from these disastrous outcomes, which have transformed Australia’s electricity from the cheapest in the world to among the dearest. Instead of seeking to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to high cost, low reliability wind and solar, the report calls for a fourfold increase in subsidised renewables by 2030.
Many reports over the past 30 years have proclaimed we are on the cusp of an era when renewables’ costs will fall below those of coal. This allows supporters of renewable energy to fantasise that the substitution of wind for coal based electricity will see prices gradually fall.
But the report’s confidence in this is insufficient for it to recommend the removal of the supposedly unnecessary renewable energy subsidies! And Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, has shown that, even with token reliability back-up, renewables require an electricity price of $108 per MWh.
The Finkel high cost, low reliability regime would see the economy deindustrialised as energy intensive businesses close.
Update 6. Unfortunately, it gets worse:
Paul McArdle of WattClarity goes through each state looking at quarterly trends and prices, and remarks that things are going “off the chart”. We had some electricity crises in Australia in the last 12 months, and 2016 was a significantly more expensive than all previous years bar the major drought year of 2007. But ominously, prices haven’t come down in what should be a “normal” quarter. In Tasmania when dams ran dry last year, and the undersea Bass cable broke, but prices now, when there is no crisis in Tasmania are only $3.20/MWh lower than the crisis levels of Q2 2016 despite water in dams and a working cable to Victoria. Something has gone seriously wrong with our electrical grid and market. In both Victoria and South Australia prices are higher on average than any previous April-June quarter in the 19 year history of the National Electricity Market. In Queensland and New South Wales, prices are at the “second highest”.
Update 7. And it’s articles like this that makes me wonder what the government isn’t telling us:
The world’s No. 2 seller abroad of liquefied natural gas holds so little in reserve that it can’t keep the lights on in Adelaide—a cautionary tale for the U.S.
Resource-rich Australia has an energy crisis, one that offers lessons for America as it prepares to vastly increase natural-gas shipments abroad.
Liberal MP says people will die of cold because renewable energy drives up fuel prices
Kelly, a Liberal backbencher, said the deaths would be caused by people not being able to afford to heat their homes in winter. He blamed rising fuel costs on the government’s renewable energy target.
Kelly, MP for Hughes in New South Wales, cited recent reports that one-in-four Australian households this winter will be frightened to turn on the heater due to high power prices. He also said the World Health Organisation has made it clear that winter mortality rates increase if people can’t afford to heat their homes.
…but Labor’s calling the comments ‘appalling’ and says policy uncertainty, not renewable subsidies, are the culprit for higher prices.
Update 9. And is South Australia being utterly duped?:
On Twitter, Musk had made an attractive, but guardedly qualified price estimate of $250/kw-hr for installations larger than 100 MWhr. He quickly admitted that price does not include shipping, installation, taxes or tariffs. He failed to state that the price likely does not include site specific engineering, site appropriate cooling systems or site specific grid connection infrastructure.
Indeed. What we do know is that of all the places in the world that have been royally screwed by the Enron economics of green energy none has taken a more vigorous and painful rogering than South Australia.
Our findings show that temperature is responsible for advancing a substantial fraction of deaths, corresponding to 7·71% of mortality in the selected countries within the study period. Most of this mortality burden was caused by days colder than the optimum temperature (7·29%), compared with days warmer than the optimum temperature (0·42%). Furthermore, most deaths were caused by exposure to moderately hot and cold temperatures, and the contribution of extreme days was comparatively low, despite increased RRs. The study was based on the largest dataset ever collected to assess temperature–health associations, and included more than 74 million deaths from 13 countries.
Update 11. And while South Australia fetes the Electric God:
Some Wall Street observers remain skeptical of Tesla’s high stock value, given the potential volatility of the taxpayer subsidies that help sustain the automaker. And that’s a sore point for Tesla’s Elon Musk.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that it drives Mr. Musk “crazy” when critics argue that his company is the creation of government subsidies and handouts. Perhaps he reacts so strongly because he knows they may have a point.
Indeed, the company – which received more than $1 billion in tax breaks to build its Nevada battery factory – has long depended on California emission credits, which it sells to other automakers, as a cash source. The company would yet to have a profitable quarter without the revenue it earns from such credits.
But if it makes Mr. Musk “crazy” that he’s seen as the poster child for corporate welfare, he could certainly take a break from the public trough. Because there are plenty of taxpayers who aren’t very happy about it, either.
Update 12. This is what happens when renewable energy subsidies are removed:
…the renewable energy industry is withering away and dying. It can only survive through government enforced subsidies or bribe-incentives. Once those dry up, so does its trade.
A tiny minority – Elon Musk; Dale “Dog on a Rope” Vince; etc – get very, very rich. But the ordinary folk forced to use their “clean” energy (whether they like it or not) just see their bills go up or, in the worst cases die in fuel poverty, even while the planet we’re supposed to be saving gets carpeted in bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes and bird-frying solar arrays.
While Germany has succeeded in increasing the share of wind and solar in German electricity production to over 30 percent, the average German household spent 50 percent more on electricity in 2016 than 2007. German firms open new manufacturing facilities not in Germany, but in Slovakia and other countries with much cheaper electricity.
Update 13. Think battery technology will be our saviour? One day maybe:
You may have read headlines over the years shouting about batteries that can make your mobile phone last for weeks and charge in seconds. Battery breakthroughs — they’re coming, we’re told.
‘Battery life holy grail discovered’, ‘Charged in 30 seconds’, ‘Battery breakthrough offers 30 times more power’ — these are all headlines from three to four years ago.
So where are they?
Update 14. It takes time, determination, an open-minded audience and a questioning government, amongst other things, for the reality of the true cost of renewables to be accepted, but we are still a long way from achieving that goal:
How should electricity from wind turbines and solar panels be evaluated? Should it be evaluated as if these devices are stand-alone devices? Or do these devices provide electricity that is of such low quality, because of its intermittency and other factors, that we should recognize the need for supporting services associated with actually putting the electricity on the grid?
Wind and solar are not really stand-alone devices when it comes to providing the kind of electricity that is needed by the grid. Grid operators, utilities, and backup electricity providers must provide hidden subsidies to make the system really work.
This problem is currently not being recognized by any of the groups evaluating wind and solar, using techniques such as LCOE, EROI, LCA, and EPP. As a result, published results suggest that wind and solar are much more beneficial than they really are. The distortion affects both pricing and the amount of supposed CO2 savings.
Update 15. So a loan to the Adani coal mine is considered a risk to Australian taxpayers, but free handouts to renewable energy companies is not (note the instigators of the study):
A $1 billion concessional loan to the controversial Adani Carmichael mine project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin could expose taxpayers to a high risk of losing their money, according to an independent business analysis.
The assessment was done by the business consulting firm, ACIL Allen, and commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Update 16. We should be calling it Ruinable Energy and not Renewable Energy:
An iconic Brisbane fishing business that last month announced it would shut down after 97 years, will remain open for a little while longer to fill an influx of orders.
“Electricity has doubled in the time we have been open,” he said.
“We get a $5,000 bill a month, but the part that irks you is that $600 is for electricity and the rest is fees and government charges.
“Any other industrial client is the same, we’re hearing about a plastic recycler who’s had his electricity charges gone up from $30,000 a month to $80,000 and they have to close as they can’t pay their power bills.
“It’s a terrible system we’re in at the moment.”
“The business will probably go overseas because the costs here in Australia are killing us,” Mr Alvey said.
The home of former vice-president and climate change activist Al Gore burns 34 times more electricity than the average American household, a report from National Center for Public Policy Research has revealed.
According to the report, Gore’s energy use at his 10,070-square-foot Colonial-style home in the upmarket Belle Meade neighborhood of Nashville averages 19,241-kilowatt hours (kWh) a month, compared to the U.S. household average of 901 kWh per month.
Update 18. I guess closing industry is a sure way to ensure energy security. We could go the whole hog and close all energy intensive industries and our power problems would be solved and then we could live the idyllic life of another island nation:
Holden closure will help Energy Market Operator manage SA’s blackout risk, report finds
The exit of a once powerful manufacturing sector will see the state using less electricity, particularly during the all-important summer peak.
Update 19. I thought I’d put this thought up. This morning, 9 Aug 2017, Sunrise had a segment where they discussed the future of jobs and what people would be doing in 20 years time. No one on the panel raised a question about the elephant in the room – Green jobs. So then I did a bit of a search to see what Google would bring up about future job trends and there were no surprises. After hearing for the last 10 years, at the very least, that renewable energy would be where future jobs lay, not a mention is made of this in any job related website. And it must be a topical subject, as the ABC also has an article about job automation, but no mention of Green jobs.
Update 20. And could Australia follow the folly of the UK?
Imagine a sausage factory – the luckiest, most profitable sausage factory in the world. Its machines crank out their sausages, and lorries carry them to supermarkets. So far, so normal.
But this particular factory makes as many sausages as the management and staff choose. If they feel like taking the day off, the lorries and shelves stay empty. If they want to go a bit wild, they sometimes make so many sausages that there aren’t enough lorries to take them away. Or they carry on cranking out sausages even if the shelves are already full.
And here’s the really amazing thing: even when the lorries can’t cope or there is no demand for sausages, the factory gets paid. Indeed, they get paid more for not sending the sausages to the shops than for sending them. This is such great business that the factory is actually building an extension, so it can threaten to make even more unwanted sausages.
Does all that sound completely mad? Of course it does. But it’s what happens in the British electricity industry – where the blackmailing, money-printing sausage factory is a wind farm in Scotland.
Update 21. You can never really be certain as to what you’re getting when it comes to some solar installations:
William Holdsworth’s solar panels were on his roof for five years before he realised they were never connected to the grid.
Six months ago, his son took a closer look at the most recent electricity bills for his home on the outskirts of Melbourne.
He found no savings had been realised in five years, because a crucial Certificate of Electrical Safety, required to finalise the connection, was never received by Mr Holdsworth, the retailer or the distributor.
“There’s no compulsory requirement for these companies to be part of an ombudsman scheme,” said policy officer Jake Tilley.
“This is because regulation isn’t keeping up with new products and services … people are buying what they think is energy service, but the reality is it’s not covered by the protections available in the traditional market.”
While there are 550 business and 4500 installers listed within the Clean Energy Council member base, just 47 retailers have voluntarily signed up to the council’s Solar Retailer Code of Conduct.
“We’ve heard multiple stories of door-to-door sellers making ridiculous claims, often dishonestly claiming that a household will never have to pay for energy again if they get solar panels.”
Update 22. This is an excellent article explaining exactly why our electricity prices have skyrocketed Over the last decade, ‘The Magic Pudding Electricity Theory‘. The graph is the most telling thing of all, showing the effect that renewables has had on prices since 2005 and here we really do have a genuine ‘Hockey Stick‘:
“As the graph clearly shows, real electricity prices have doubled since the turn of the century, with almost all the increase occurring since 2005, and with that increase highly correlated with the increasing proportion of intermittent power generation (i.e. wind and solar), which has also brought us massive threats to our power supply since they don’t work when the sun is not shining and the wind not blowing (or blowing too strongly, as South Australia discovered).”
Update 23. And this is what you get with renewable energy, ‘Australian Households pay highest power prices in the World‘:
South Australian households are paying the highest prices in the world at 47.13¢ per kilowatt hour, more than Germany, Denmark and Italy which heavily tax energy, after the huge increases on July 1, Carbon + Energy Markets’ MarkIntell data service says.
When the eastern states’ National Electricity Market was formed in the late 1990s, Australia had the lowest retail prices in the world along with the United States and Canada…
Update 24. A favourite program of mine is Restoration Man, a British program about people renovating old and often derelict buildings in the UK, and which features on ABC TV. I was watching one of the reruns (as they all are) about a couple restoring an old school in Wales that was to become the most sustainable house and training centre in Wales. However, without a taxpayer’s grant of 67,000 pounds from the local council, this would never have come to fruition. Why is it that everything ‘sustainable’ always requires taxpayer grands?
Update 25. This is truly staggering, climate fraud, yet you won’t hear about it from any main stream media outlet:
All of recent U.S. warming has been faked by NOAA.
Update 26. No one saw this coming; let’s blame it on not having renewable energy certainty (this is but the tip of the iceberg):
Hospitals and health services are being slugged with massive power cost increases as they struggle to balance budgets already under strain.
The cost of electricity has almost doubled for some services after a new 24-month contract came into place last month.
From January the health sector will be hit with another rise in utilities bills when the current gas contract expires.
Update 27. But nothing will stop tragic individuals from blaming every natural disaster on evil oil and gas. And yes, it is insensitive, especially because the assertion is so ludicrous:
Yes, Houston, you do have a problem, and – as insensitive as it seems to bring it up just now – some of it is your own making.
…as the self-styled “world capital of the oil and gas industry”, there’s a connection between rising global greenhouse gas levels and the extreme weather now being inflicted…
Houston and its surrounds are home to some 5000 energy-related firms, 17 of which are counted among the Fortune 500 list of largest US companies.
Update 28. I simply cannot stop pointing out the obvious. If renewable energy is so cost effective, why do we have to keep subsidising renewable energy? Surely be now it can mange on it’s own feet:
TAXPAYERS, not consumers, will bear the burden of the Victorian Government’s drive to subsidise a multi-billion dollar investment in renewable energy.
In developing the scheme the Government had originally proposed the “scheme costs will be recovered via either electricity distribution businesses, the state’s privatised transmission business, or electricity retailers, and ultimately passed through to customers’ bills. To enable this, a regulatory obligation will be levied on one of the above parties”.
However Ms D’Ambrosio’s office said the Government had now decided to fund the scheme from the Budget, but would not be revealing the amount.
China 583, India 217, Indonesia 145, Turkey 71, Vietnam 84, Japan 43, Australia 0. To a total exceeding 1500.
Update 30..The ABC does an analysis of keeping open the Liddell power station and come to staggering conclusions:
Why does AGL want to close Liddell power station?
The short answer is that it is unreliable and expensive to run.
Who would pay to keep Liddell open?
That’d be you and me.
At the minimum, you’d be looking at several hundred million dollars to keep Liddell running longer. And there’s no way AGL would commit shareholder’s funds for that.
Why focus on a coal-fired station when Australia wants to cut emissions?
Australia has agreed to cut greenhouse emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030. The chief scientist has called for a Clean Energy Target to help meet that.
What is baseload generation and why is it important?
Coal-fired power stations like Liddell provide baseload — or a constant and predictable supply of power.
I’d like to point out some things that the ABC journalists overlooked. AGL sees more money (profit) from the rising cost of electricity and the subsidies renewables bring in (subsidising renewables costs $3 billion a year and rising, and guess who pays for these rising costs and subsidies – that’d be you and me). When you allow something to run down it will become unreliable and expensive to maintain and run (but what better way to go where the money is?). If we stopped exporting all of our natural resources (which are counted against us), the reduction of our greenhouse emissions would the envy of the world (we’d also be a economic basket case, but a small price to save the world while the rest of the world does nothing). Finally, if the wind don’t blow, the electricity don’t flow. No country can survive on renewables alone.
Update 31. The ABC once again suggests that ‘…soaring power prices: wind and solar not to blame’. Very well, if that genuinely is the case, then there is no argument as to why we should not remove subsidies on all electricity generation. The experts are effectively saying that subsidies are not required, so why isn’t the government listening to the experts and removing subsidies? How much clearer can it be:
Wind and solar are much cheaper. Not only is the fuel free and faces no regulatory risk — in the form of a carbon price — but the technology is simpler and quicker to install.
Wind still came out cheapest, with solar only marginally more expensive than black coal.
Update 32. And the ABC is once again pedalling somewhat disingenuous suggestions that the need for base load power is a furphy, but when facts are checked, it’s clear that base load power ie fossil fuel power, is the major source of our electricity stability (and electricity supply overall):
Base load power is a term we’re hearing a lot in discussions about our energy future. But what does it mean, and is it really relevant?
Because wind and solar are intermittent, the argument goes, we need a constant power source chugging away in the background to cover supply when the sun goes down and the wind stops.
The ‘base load’ concept is misinterpreted and outdated
Demand varies hugely and energy production needs to be responsive
Hydro can be used to balance intermittent solar and wind
But energy researchers say the term is a “dinosaur” that has been misunderstood, and that it no longer applies to our dynamic energy market.
Update 33. The ACCC has produced a report on electricity pricing and Alan Moran has analysed what it means and made the same observation as I and many others have. In a nutshell:
The increase in costs from generation and from retail is all due to the renewable energy program increasing costs of doing business and forcing out low cost coal generators. It is these measures that have led to the wholesale price of electricity rising from under $40 per MWh in 2015 to $90 per MWh today.
The wholesale component of household bills is about one third. So this cost increase has led to as much as a $400 per household increase on top of the $100 directly paid in green energy subsidies. The wholesale price effect is far greater for business customers where the energy component can be up to 60 per cent of costs.
The only solution to the regulation-induced crisis we face in energy involves abandoning immediately all subsidies, a solution championed by Tony Abbott, One Nation, the Liberal Democrats and Cory Bernardi.
Update 34. Foodbank has just released its latest report where they state that financial stress is pushing millions of Australians into food insecurity. We were once called the Lucky Country:
A shocking 3.6 million Australians, or 15% of the population, have experienced uncertainty around where their next meal is coming from in the last 12 months, a new report from Foodbank Australia has revealed.
Now in its fifth year, the report surveys charity agencies and recipients of assistance, exposing “bill shock” as a major factor driving the growing need for food relief in Australia.
Foodbank Australia’s CEO, Brianna Casey, said, “The report exposes how increasing numbers of people are falling into food insecurity simply due to the rising cost of life’s basics – like rent and power bills. Financial pressures create difficult choices, such as choosing between heating and eating. Two in five food insecure Australians (41%) have not paid bills in order to have enough money to buy food.”
Update 35. This is likely to become the norm in Australia unless sanity begins to prevail and Australia stops trying to save the world with expensive and ineffective renewable energy while the rest of the world increases their use of efficient and cost effective coal fired power. More than 120 Victorian electricity and gas connections cut off every day:
Energy companies reported disconnecting residential power and gas 46,122 times in the previous financial year.
Victorians raised their energy issues with the ombudsman 3411 times in 2016-17.
Energy and Water Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert said those contacting her office were in much more difficult financial positions than those of previous years.
“What we are seeing is customers in more dire situations,” Ms Gebert said.
“It’s not unusual to see customers coming to us with thousands of dollars in outstanding debt in both electricity and gas. Previously we weren’t seeing the arrears we are now.
Update 36. I’m not sure when I might stop adding to this list, but almost every week another story comes along that simply beggars belief. Flinders Island going for green with renewable energy hub, farewells dirty diesel, except that it’s not:
In December, Hydro Tasmania will flick the switch over to its Hybrid Energy Hub, which will enable the island to be powered by 60 per cent renewable energy on average.
When conditions are right, diesel generators will be switched off and the island will run 100 per cent on renewables.
Hydro Tasmania hybrid energy solutions manager Ray Massie said the project would reduce emissions by 60 per cent and put downward pressure on future power prices.
“This will reduce emissions down to about 40 per cent of what has traditionally been generated from the power station,” he said.
“The use of diesel is a large expense. The overall price for their electricity won’t be going down but it will put pressure on future prices.”
If renewables can’t provide cheaper electricity on a small windy island with no cheap competitor, where can it compete?
Update 37. It’s well known that plants thrive in high CO2 environments and many greenhouse operators introduce CO2 to increase plant growth in greenhouses. Now it’s been revealed that ‘Plants release up to 30 per cent more CO2 than previously thought‘:
ANU researcher Owen Atkin said plant respiration was previously thought to account for five to eight times the carbon compared to human activity.
However the new findings suggested that number could be much higher.
“Each year the burning of fossil fuels releases around 5 to 8 billion tons of carbon … so the respiration by plants is somewhere approaching 11 times that in our new estimate,” he said.
Could it be that plants actually want more CO2 and ever in natures way, they are designed to increase atmospheric CO2 for their own benefit ie, to thrive. And perhaps this happens after an ice age, when the world begins to warm and plants accelerate that warming. Maybe, just maybe, humans really don’t have much influence on the climate afterall.
Update 38. Elon Musk’s giant lithium ion battery completed. $50 million would have bought each of those 30,000 homes a 4-6KVA diesel generator that would have run as long a fuel was added. And ‘Elon Musk Cons South Australia out of $50 million‘. I’m surprised that the SA government hasn’t put out a tender for the supply of Fairy Dust.
South Australian taxpayers will spend up to $50 million subsidising the 100-megawatt battery.
The new battery will produce enough energy to power about 30,000 homes for a little over an hour.
In return, the SA Government will have access to some of the battery’s output to provide stability services to the grid.
The plan (Premier Jay Weatherill’s $550 million energy plan) also included a fleet of diesel-powered backup generators, which have already been installed ahead of summer.
Update 39. And while this is not directly related to the subject, it is very relevant, as it’s used as an excuse for what questionable renewable energy, How to cope in the heat:
Globally, more people die from heat than from bushfire. How well prepared are we for another scorching summer?
The reality is that more people die globally from cold than heat. I well remember school days back in the early 60s when we’d have a week of temperatures over the ton (over 100F or 38C) and then have to go to school where there was no air conditioning or even fans. We seemed to survive. Now they issue severe temperature warnings for the likes of Tasmania when they expect a week of 25+C.
Update 40. Here’s an excellent article by Alan Moran in the Spectator, explaining where we are headed with renewable energy, ‘AGL: impoverishing the nation to boost its bottom line‘:
The supporters of renewable energy continue to claim – as they have for the past 30 years – that wind/solar is or soon will be cheaper than energy from coal generators. Even so, renewable energy supporters continue to lobby for ongoing subsidies, which today provide $85 per megawatt hour on top of the spot price of $80.
Australia’s wholesale electricity price doubled with the closure of Victoria’s 1600 MW Hazelwood Power station which supplied 4-5 per cent of national demand. Hazelwood was made unprofitable by subsidised intermittent wind being able to displace it and force it off the stable output levels for which it was designed.
As a result, Australia has lost its pole position in electricity competitiveness. The gradual increase in subsidised renewable energy in forcing out coal plant has transformed the Australian industry from perhaps the cheapest in the world into, on some measures, one of the most expensive in the world.
Update 41. Some news from Germany where it’s Dark Days For German Solar Power, Country Saw Only 10 Hours Of Sun In All Of December!:
Germany’s more than 40 gigawatts of installed solar capacity barely produced anything in December 2017.
This past December in Hanover the the sun shined a mere 10 hours over the entire month. In Lüdenscheid the sun was seen less than one hour!
Update 42. Here’s an update on how well renewables are working to reduce energy costs. As I pointed out, renewable energy is akin to Socialism; neither have ever worked anywhere in the world, yet people keep believing that the problem is that it hasn’t been implemented properly. There’s always an excuse:
Ask anyone and get confused: It’s poles and wires, gaming of the system by capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, privatization, and record gas prices. The CleanEnergy Council tells us that Australia has one of the longest electricity networks in the world — we need lots of poles! And so we do. But once upon a time Australia had the cheapest electricity in the world and we still had lots of poles. Not only were miles of poles and wires, there were also capitalist pigs, excessive taxes, and privatized generators.
Evidently, something else has changed.
Update 43. And the blackouts begin. Tens of thousands of Victorian homes are without power after scorching heat crippled the state’s power distribution network. And it now appears that we have to start advising power companies of installed air-conditioners. What next? A list of all appliances in the home?
“The extreme heat has significantly increased electricity use and this has resulted in localised power outages,” Ms Tyner said.
“There are a lot fuses blowing in the hot weather and a significant power pull with people having put in air-conditioners they didn’t tell us about,” Mr Armstrong said.
Update 44. There has to be something in the water, ‘SA to Oz: Follow our clean energy lead‘, or perhaps South Australians want everyone to live in misery:
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN voters want to see the rest of Australia follow in the state’s clean energy footsteps, with new polling showing that 57.6% of respondents believe the rest of the country should switch to renewable energy and storage in the next 5 to 10 years.
Update 45. More blackouts, ‘Thousands of houses in Victoria without power‘ and something of greater concern, ‘Surgery affected by ‘distressing’ power outage glitch at Royal Adelaide Hospital‘, and while the incident wasn’t due to a general power outage, it was perhaps an indirect result of greater worries about backup power availability in an increasingly uncertain environment:
Two operations were disrupted when a software failure left part of the Royal Adelaide Hospital without power for up to 20 minutes yesterday morning.
Associate Professor William Tam was in the “middle of a quite complex procedure” on a 97-year-old patient when the power cut out for what he estimated to be about 20 minutes.
“The anaesthetic machines still had access to power, but I was totally in the dark without any information about what was happening to my instrument which was still inside the patient,” Professor Tam said.
Update 46. And when renewable energy and other related activities are based on Science or silence?, you have to wonder when the truth will emerge and sanity prevail.
Update 47. Energy poverty is now being normalised, ‘How Electricity Became a Luxury Good‘. We are already going that way, but how long before it becomes far worse? And when it comes to that sacred cow of renewable energy, the lid is firmly planted to prevent information and facts escaping.
Germany’s agressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power has come with a hefty pricetag for consumers, and the costs often fall disproportionately on the poor. Government advisors are calling for a completely new start.
Consumer advocates and aid organizations say the breaking point has already been reached. Today, more than 300,000 households a year are seeing their power shut off because of unpaid bills. Caritas and other charity groups call it “energy poverty.”
Lawmakers, on the other hand, have largely ignored the phenomenon. In the concluding legislative period, the government and opposition argued passionately over a €5 increase in payments to the long-term unemployed. But no one paid much attention to the fact that those welfare recipients would subsequently see the extra €5 wiped out by higher electricity bills.
Until the issue comes up in the next legislative period, Environment Minister Altmaier prefers to send consumers on their way with some money-saving tips: “When I cook, I try to keep the lid on the pot.”
Update 48. ‘Electricity prices fell for forty years in Australia, then renewables came…‘. This is something everyone should know about:
Update 49. How long before Australia is a similar situation? ‘Here’s Why Russia Is Delivering Loads Of Natural Gas To This Deep Blue State‘:
Massachusetts’ anti-fossil-fuel policies are the primary reason why the state has relied on natural gas imports from a Russian oil company the Department of State sanctioned during the Obama-era.
Environmentalist groups like 350.org and Greenpeace are organizing online campaigns to oppose every new coal, oil, and natural-gas project in the country. Greenpeace, for one, has etched out the position that the only good fossil fuels are the ones that are left in the ground. The Sierra Club, meanwhile, claims the U.S. is ready for 100 percent green energy.
Update 50. And a very interesting follow-up here, ‘Russia was feeding Green anti-Frack campaigns so it can get rich selling gas to snowflake nations‘:
Today, Russia is waging another active-measures campaign. But this time Russia’s target is fracking. The facts are clear. Fracking, which is revolutionizing energy politics, offers a cheap, new source of global power. But that’s not all. In offering Europe independence from Russian energy exports, fracking poses a direct challenge to Russia. Because Putin depends for revenue on his oil and natural gas-exports, fracking’s cheaper alternative presents him with a big problem. Indeed, lower oil prices are already driving Russia’s economy into recession.
Facing this threat, Russian intelligence has implemented a three-pronged strategy.
First, Russia has ramped up covert payments to environmental groups in the West. By supporting well-intentioned environmentalists with hard cash (often without their knowledge), Russian intelligence gains Western mouthpieces to petition Western audiences in its favor. Based on Russia’s prior record, we can also assume that Putin has funneled money through intermediaries to sympathetic Western politicians.
Second, the Russian SVR (CIA equivalent) has directed its spies to gather intelligence on the American energy industry….
Finally, Russian intelligence’s biggest cover operation — its RT “news” outlet — is undertaking a massive propaganda campaign against fracking….
Update 51. If you care for wildlife and your life, understand this, ‘6 New Papers Unsheathe A Hushed-Up ‘Green’ Reality: Habitats Are Being Destroyed By Wind Turbines‘:
“We show that the construction of wind turbines close to households exerts significant negative external effects on residential well-being …”
“Wind turbines impact bat activity, leading to high losses of habitat use …”
“Living in habitats affected by wind turbines may result in an increase in corticosterone levels in ground dwelling animals …”
“…the construction and operation of wind farms have both potential and known impacts on terrestrial vertebrates, such as: (i) increase in direct mortality due to traffic collisions; (ii) destruction and modification of the habitat,…”
Collision mortality, displacement, and habitat loss have the potential to cause population-level effects, especially for species that are rare or endangered.”
“Results from our surface water extractions and aerial surveys suggest that the wind farm has negatively affected redheads through altered hydrology and disturbance displacement.”
Update 52. The insanity does not end, ‘Victoria to turn to Tesla battery power in time for next summer‘:
Two large lithium-ion batteries will be built and connected to the grid in regional Victoria this year, giving the state’s west a significant renewable energy boost in time for next summer.
It follows a missed attempt by the Andrews government last year to switch on two, large-scale batteries by January 1 to help compensate for the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station.
Instead, it will team up with the Turnbull government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency and contribute $25 million of its own to the $50 million project.
It will be big enough to power 20,000 households for an hour during peak demand periods.
Update 53. Finally the effects of renewable energy are being felt and admissions made, ‘Victorian power bills soar after Hazelwood coal plant closure‘:
Power bills for Victorians have soared one year on from the abrupt closure of the ailing Hazelwood power station but the state has managed to dodge large-scale blackouts and greenhouse gas emissions have dived.
Average household power bills were up almost 16 per cent this financial year, from a year earlier, to $1275, the Australian Energy Markets Commission said.
Prior to its closure, the plant’s access to low-cost fuel nearby helped make Victorian power prices among the cheapest in the National Electricity Market that supplies eastern Australia.
Update 54. If this is true, ‘Falling renewable costs ‘chilling’ for fossil fuels‘, can we finally get rid of subsidies for renewable energy? Come on Australia, let’s get rid of these subsidies now, if in just two years time, the price will; fall to $50/megawatt hour:
Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics at BNEF, said the rapidly falling cost of renewable generation and battery power is changing the game for the electricity sector.
Wind and solar are proving cheaper because their cost of electricity has fallen significantly, while that for coal, gas, nuclear and large hydro projects has only slightly decreased.
The Australian National University forecast future prices of new renewable energy generators would fall to $50 a megawatt hour in the 2020s.
Update 55. This is what you get with renewable energy, unaffordable energy and ‘48,000 Brits dead after worst winter in 42 years‘:
It is estimated that 20,275 Brits more than average died between December 1 and March
An additional 2,000 deaths more than average were expected due to cold conditions between March 23 and 31, this winter’s average death rates show.
Campaigners have called the deaths a “national tragedy” as cold weather victims fatalities could be prevented – especially in the elderly.
According to the Office of National Statistics, one in 10 cold weather deaths are among under-65s, one in 10 among 65-75s and eight in 10 among over-75s.
Update 56. I thought the following illustrated very clearly what’s driving the panic over climate change and our destruction of cheap and efficient energy, ‘David Bidstrup: “Climate change”: All pain and no gain.‘. The first graph is what is always shown to validate the panic over climate change, a graph that maps climate variation over a number of decades within a scale of approx 1 degree C. The second graph maps the changes over a more reasonable temperature scale (note that 60F is less than 16C). Would you really get into a panic over the second graph?
Update 57. When common sense (which is not all that common) fails, you get this, ‘Hardwood forests cut down to feed Drax Power plant, Channel 4 Dispatches claims’:
Huge areas of hardwood forest in the state of Virginia are being chainsawed to create ‘biomass’ energy in Britain as the government attempts to reach targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to tackle climate change, an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches has found.
A key part of government efforts to hit its green energy targets is to switch from generating electricity from burning coal to burning wood – or so-called biomass. It’s a policy that is costing taxpayers more than £700 million per year through a levy on their electricity bills.
The biomass industry and government argue that because wood is a renewable source of energy and trees can be replanted to reabsorb carbon dioxide this policy is good for the environment.
Update 58. An excellent article questioning the cost of renewables, ‘David Bidstrup: Money for nothing‘:
…my research on average wholesale power prices in $/MWh for Q1 2018 shows the following:
Cheapest: QLD $72.16
Next: NSW $73.65
Middle range: TAS $91.18
Second most expensive: VIC $120.71
Most expensive: SA $147.21.
Can someone explain to me how this happens in a market that is supposed to deliver electricity at affordable prices?
Update 59. How’s that renewable energy going in Germany? Germany’s solar industry has crashed and burned after the government drastically cut its subsidies.
In 2012 over 7000 megawatts of new solar capacity were added. But in 2012 the boom ended abruptly as new laws on feed-in rates were enacted in order to keep the solar energy supply from going out of control. In 2017, only 600 megawatts of new capacity were expected to be added. That’s a 90% drop!
Update 60. How’s that renewable energy going in Australia? Even AEMO head admits solar panels are a big “disrupter” in Australia – fears big players may abandon grid:
Audrey Zibelman is the head of the AEMO – Australian Energy Market Operator – which has the responsibility of managing the electricity and gas market and grid stability for all Australians.
Ms Zibelman said one of her biggest worries was the potential for “uneconomic bypass” in Australia, where major energy users could start leaving the existing energy system because they found it too expensive, instead using their own energy supply systems.
She said this could lead to the cost of electricity having to be borne by a decreasing number of customers.
–it’s a good thing for the individual when they disconnect. Horrible for the rest of us…
Update 61. How much worse can it get? ‘NOTHING GREEN IS EVER ANY GOOD‘:
Big banks accused in the financial services royal commission of ripping off customers have raked in more than $1 billion in taxpayer money to fund green energy schemes, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
The companies have been handed millions for everything from electric cars to switching to energy efficient lighting and installing more stairs in their own buildings by the Turnbull Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The big four banks — CBA, NAB, ANZ and Westpac, and finance company AMP – have been beneficiaries of the green funding, delivered either as equity investments or as corporate loans.
Update 62. When will we follow suit ‘Bloodbath in the German solar “industry” — without subsidies 80,000 solar jobs are gone‘? And we will face similar issues with the eventual disposal of household solar panels etc:
After the German government decided to reduce subsidies to the solar industry in 2012, the industry nose-dived. By this year, virtually every major German solar producer had gone under as new capacity declined by 90 per cent and new investment by 92 per cent. Some 80,000 workers — 70 per cent of the solar workforce — lost their jobs. Solar power’s market share is shrinking and solar panels, having outlived their usefulness, are being retired without being replaced.
Wind power faces a similar fate. Germany has some 29,000 wind turbines, almost all of which have been benefitting from a 20-year subsidy program that began in 2000. Starting in 2020, when subsidies run out for some 5,700 wind turbines, thousands of them each year will lose government support, making the continued operation of most of them uneconomic based on current market prices. To make matters worse, with many of the turbines failing and becoming uneconomic to maintain, they represent an environmental liability and pose the possibility of abandonment. No funds have been set aside to dispose of the blades, which are unrecyclable, or to remove the turbines’ 3,000-tonne reinforced concrete bases, which reach depths of 20 metres, making them a hazard to the aquifers they pierce.
Update 63. And Europe seems to be leading the way with renewable energy. ‘WIND FARM LIFETIME EXTENSIONS AND REPOWERING: MANAGING THE DEATH SPIRAL‘:
New academic research on whether to repower or extend the lifetime of an obsolescent wind farm in Europe reveals that without new subsidies for repowered sites, low cost lifetime extensions focused on maximising return before decommissioning are more probable, with a potential to affect about half the wind turbine fleet in Germany, Spain and Denmark. In the absence of new subsidies, we could be looking at the beginning of the end for the wind industry in Europe.
Update 64. An interesting article, Delingpole: Global Warming Has Rotted the Brains of the Political Class:
Wood is ‘sustainable’, we were told. It gives off less CO2 than any other heating. It will help us save the planet and meet CO2 reduction targets under the Climate Change Act.
As a result of these persuasive arguments, about 1.5 million British homes have wood-burning stoves and 200,000 more are sold every year.
Millions of tonnes of wood pellets are now needed by Drax [Britain’s largest power station] every year, and since it is impossible to supply that quantity domestically, vast amounts of pellets are shipped 3,500 miles to Yorkshire from the U.S., where forests are destroyed to supply them.
Yet a series of studies has confirmed what should have been obvious. It takes decades to grow a mature CO2-absorbing tree to replace a CO2-producing tree that can be cut down in seconds. Far from cutting Drax’s CO2 emissions, the largest power station in Britain gives off even more CO2 than when it just burnt coal.
Update 65. The Chinese are now doing what everyone should be doing, ‘China: solar stocks plummet as solar subsidies cut to “make electricity cheaper”‘.
[Capital Watch] Chinese regulators said Friday they were unexpectedly suspending construction of new solar panel farms and cut subsidies to the industry, sending solar energy companies’ stocks plummeting Monday.
Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said the policy will curb the fast growth of PV power bases, amid efforts by the central government to make electricity cheaper for consumers.
“This year’s government work report clearly stipulated that 2018 electricity prices will be lowered by 10 percent. But the PV subsidy comes from continuous hiking of electricity prices in the past, which was paid for by ordinary consumers,” Lin told the Global Times on Sunday,
He added that with the need to cut electricity prices, the PV subsidies must now be scaled back.
Update 66. We can only hope that ‘Climate Change Has Run Its Course‘;
Climate change is over. No, I’m not saying the climate will not change in the future, or that human influence on the climate is negligible. I mean simply that climate change is no longer a pre-eminent policy issue.
A good indicator of why climate change as an issue is over can be found early in the text of the Paris Agreement. The “nonbinding” pact declares that climate action must include concern for “gender equality, empowerment of women, and intergenerational equity” as well as “the importance for some of the concept of ‘climate justice.’ ”
The descent of climate change into the abyss of social-justice identity politics represents the last gasp of a cause that has lost its vitality. Climate alarm is like a car alarm—a blaring noise people are tuning out.
Update 66. Germany enjoys renewables success, ‘Green Nightmare: Germany’s Clean Energy Flops While Global Fossil Fuels Boom…‘:
The Energiewende has the goal of making Germany independent of fossil fuels in the long term. Coal, oil and gas were to be phased out, allowing drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. However, these goals have not even begun to be achieved.
The Energiewende was only driven forward in the electricity sector, which, accounts for only one-fifth of energy consumption. There were hardly any successes in the heating/cooling and transport sectors. And so carbon dioxide emissions in Germany have been rising since 2009, even though well over a hundred billion euros have been spent on the expansion of solar and wind energy over the same period.
The financial obligations undertaken in the process will continue to burden taxpayers for another two decades and will end up costing German consumers a total sum of around 550 billion euros [ed: $850 billion]. Despite this enormous effort, security of supply is increasingly under threat.
At the same time, people and the biosphere are suffering; wildlife protection has become subordinated to climate mitigation, even though the possibility of achieving the goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions is becoming increasingly distant and the measures for the energy transition seem to become more and more questionable from a constitutional point of view.
Meanwhile, fossil fuels – especially the most hated one of all, coal – are experiencing an unlikely boom.
Update 67. And here we are, ‘Renewables Fail: fossil fuels, coal, same dominance of our energy mix as 20 years ago‘:
Global demand for coal and gas to generate electricity was back on the rise last year …
Most striking had been the failure of renewable energy to make an impact on the fossil fuels share of power generation, BP group chief economist Spencer Dale said.
“Despite the extraordinary (global) growth in renewables in recent years, and the huge policy efforts to encourage a shift away from coal into cleaner, lower carbon fuels, there has been almost no improvement in the power sector fuel mix over the past 20 years,” he said.
The share of coal in the power sector in 1998 was 38 per cent, exactly the same as 2017.
“The share of non-fossil fuel in 2017 is actually a little lower than it was 20 years ago, as the growth of renewables hasn’t offset the declining share of nuclear,” Mr Dale said.
Update 68. Sadly, this is one aspect of renewable energy that’s generally ignored, ‘RESEARCHERS SPEND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS TO STOP WIND TURBINES FROM KILLING EAGLES‘. And note that this is but the tip of the wind turbine in wildlife deaths worldwide from this planet saving technology:
Researchers at Oregon State University were awarded a 27-month, $625,000 grant from the Department of Energy Wind Technology Office i n May 2017 with one goal in mind: Develop a system that can prevent wind turbines from killing golden eagles and other birds. Wind energy technology — despite being touted as an environmentally-friendly source of renewable energy — is estimated to kill well over 100,000 birds every year. With new wind farms being built across the U.S., that number is only expected to rise.
“It is critical to help the species survive,” Oregon State University associate professor of mechanical engineering Roberto Albertani said in a statement to the Associated Press. Albertani is on the team at OSU looking for a solution.
Update 69. Perhaps an new Age of Aquarius is upon us, ‘NEG: Standing Fast on a Sinking Ship‘, but sadly Australia is still living in another era:
With the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), Australia is locking itself into more and more intensive greenhouse gas emission restraints, when the Paris Convention that is the supposed framework for such action is falling apart.
Of the nations which signed on to the Paris Convention, only the developed countries have any commitments to take emission restraining measures, at least for the next 12 years. Led by China, at 30% of emissions, the developing countries, including India, the Middle East oil producers and the former USSR, account for some two-thirds of emissions.
Almost half of the emissions being restrained under the agreement are from the US. But the Trump administration has revoked the US signature and is dismantling programs that favour renewables or discriminate against coal. Last week, Canada’s biggest province, Ontario, elected a government with an overwhelming conservative majority. The new provincial government’s policy is to dismantle all the emission control measures that its Liberal predecessor put in place.
For its part, Japan (after the US and EU, the largest emitter entering into meaningful restraint “commitments”) has adopted a policy of pure pragmatism, and having opened eight new coal power plants in the past 2 years is planning for another 36 in the coming decade.
Cracks are even appearing in the EU, which along with Obama was responsible for the Paris Convention.
Moreover, all the green politicians, public servants and subsidy-seekers maintain that soon — if not already — renewables will be cheaper than coal.
We are, therefore, reintroducing the carbon tax as a price on carbon and adding a new complexity into the electricity market. Unless renewables have a sudden fall in costs — pigs might fly too — the average price to households and businesses will increase.
Update 70. And our so-called experts still have no idea, ‘CSIRO calls for ‘citizen scientists’ to map energy use, save on bills‘. If you want to reduce power bills and avoid blackouts, simply get rid of subsidies for renewables and let the industry work it out without government interference. We once had the cheapest and most abundant electricity in the world, now we are searching for hen’s teeth:
The nation’s peak science agency is recruiting “citizen scientists” to map the way households use energy and ultimately help cut power bills.
Data collected by the CSIRO Energise app will help plan for periods of peak demand to avoid blackouts, while also making recommendations to households on how to reduce their energy use.
Update 71. Perhaps the pendulum is starting to swing back, ‘$312 Billion: Green Energy Makes Ontario the Most Debt-Ridden Province on Earth‘:
With the election of Doug Ford as premier of Ontario, the province has joined the world trend toward populism. As in other countries and regions, particularly the United States, it is part of a trend away from collectivism and globalization. Besides a growing distrust of politicians, people are starting to realize that the costs of communism, socialism, or unbridled liberalism are too high.
The argument that we will do it properly this time around isn’t convincing anymore.
To fix the province’s woes, Ford and his advisers must first understand the primary causes of the problems. A major issue has been crippling energy and environmental policies. It began when, in 1992, then-premier Bob Rae appointed businessman and former UN Under-Secretary-General Maurice Strong to be chairman of Ontario Hydro. At the time, Ontario was a prosperous, economically sound province. Strong changed that when he applied the energy and environmental policies he proposed for the entire world.
In so doing, he stopped nuclear programs, closed coal plants, and diverted funds to alternate energies that were already shown not to work.
Update 72. Can we take some lessons from ‘Germany’s “Ticking Time Bombs”…Technical Experts Say Wind Turbines Posing “Significant Danger” To Environment!‘ and we have barely given any thought on how to dispose of untold numbers of solar panels when they reach the end of their lives:
As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age, the list of catastrophic collapses is growing more rapidly. The turbines are now being viewed by technical experts as “ticking time bombs”.
As the older turbines age, their components and electronic control systems are wearing out and beginning to gravely malfunction. And according to Wetzel, these turbines are not even subject to strict technical monitoring by Germany’s TÜV(Technical Inspection Association), which provides inspection and product certification services.
The number of wind turbine disasters is mounting, reports Wetzel. Wind energy opposition group Vernunftkraft keeps a list, which has grown to be pages long. But the German Association of Wind Energy (Bundesverband Windenergie) downplays the incidents, calling them “isolated cases”.
Yet the situation has in reality grown so serious that TÜV is now urgently calling for rigorous inspections and regulations in order to assure operational safety. TÜV expert Dieter Roas says that we dealing with “ticking time bombs.”
Update 72. When someone says renewables is the future, ask them in which century. ‘Turn off all wind and solar at 6pm peak time — makes no difference‘:
At peak time intermittent renewables often make less than 2% of total Australian electricity
When power is required the most, wind and solar are missing almost entirely. This isn’t cherry picking of one time — peak time is the most important time on the grid, when the most power is required. The almost non-existent contribution from renewables is so common it has occurred now for seven days out of the last 14 days.
Update 73. This is how renewable energy works, ‘Australian energy policy driving us on the road to Venezuela?‘:
Today we saw the release of wind farmer Infogen’s annual report. Reported revenue is $200 million this year. $120 million of this is subsidies [my emphasis] and much of the rest boosted by subsidy-forced plant closures. Directors paid themselves $11.2 million in 2017.
And the Clean Energy Finance Corporation annual report out today illustrates the degree of wasteful malinvestments the taxpayer is shouldering in this nefarious body’s activities. In the 12 months to June 2018, new commitments were $2.3 billion ($1.1 billion in renewable energy). At 30 June 2018, total CEFC investment commitments since inception exceeded $6.6 billion. In five years of investing, CEFC commitments have now contributed to clean energy projects Australia-wide, with a total project value of $19 billion. Not only a waste of resources but negative value as the program is undermining the electricity that can be commercially supplied at one third that which renewables get.
Update 74. Here are the results of renewable energy, ‘Volunteer knitters in high demand as soaring power prices leave people cold‘:
A national army of knitters is in desperate need of more volunteers to help them meet the growing demand for winter woollies.
Knit One Give One (KOGO) founder Ros Rogers said the organisation has already donated more than 55,000 items this year.
“The need has gone up, definitely,” she said.
“This year we’re having trouble keeping up with the demand for two reasons; we’re becoming better known so people are asking for us, but the other thing is that there’s just more demand.
“With heating and other costs of living hurting more Australians, we hope KOGO and its thousands of volunteer knitters keep up their wonderful work. [It’s] appreciated by so many.”
Update 75. Hey, it’s just a 30% chance, ‘Action urged as Victoria faces summer blackouts‘, and as the price of electricity keeps going up, it’ll soon be so unaffordable that only the very wealthy will be able to enjoy it, so problem solved:
The electricity grid operator says there is a one in three chance of power failure in Victoria this summer unless immediate action is taken.
“There remains a relatively high forecast likelihood – a one in three chance – of some unserved energy (load shedding or blackouts) this summer without further action,” the Australian Energy Market Operator said.
To avert these potential load-shedding incidents, the Energy Market Operator is working with the Victorian government and major power users to ensure greater control of electricity during peak usage times.
Update 76. I knew it was bad, but this bad, ‘Wind farms vs wildlife‘? This is from 2013 but many more bird and bat chompers have been installed around the world:
Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms. They kill roughly twice as many bats as birds.
Because wind farms tend to be built on uplands, where there are good thermals, they kill a disproportionate number of raptors. In Australia, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle is threatened with global extinction by wind farms. In north America, wind farms are killing tens of thousands of raptors including golden eagles and America’s national bird, the bald eagle. In Spain, the Egyptian vulture is threatened, as too is the Griffon vulture — 400 of which were killed in one year at Navarra alone. Norwegian wind farms kill over ten white-tailed eagles per year and the population of Smøla has been severely impacted by turbines built against the opposition of ornithologists.
Update 77. It looks like Germany, the poster child of renewable energy, is having some second thoughts on the whole issue:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected on Sunday a proposal, floated by the European Commission last month, of setting new, stricter CO2 emissions cuts targets, saying EU countries should focus on meeting the targets they have already set themselves. “I’m not particularly happy about these new proposals,” Merkel told ARD public television. “I think we should first stick to the goals we have already set ourselves. I don’t think permanently setting ourselves new goals makes any sense.”
Update 78. A renewable energy future awaits, along with the poverty that it brings, ‘Engineers warn 55% renewables will add $1400 to electricity bills in Australia‘:
Engineers warn of bill shock under green energy surge
Adam Creighton, Economics Editor, The Australian
Electricity bills will soar and gas and coal-fired power stations will close if the share of wind and solar generation increases dramatically, engineers have warned after analysing the nation’s energy supply.
It found bills were likely to soar 84 per cent, or about $1400 a year, for the typical household, if wind and solar power supplied 55 per cent of the national electricity market.
The AEMO scenario of 65 per cent renewable energy by 2040 would reduce emissions at a cost of $365 a tonne of carbon dioxide, the study estimated. Replacing coal-fired power generation with nuclear power would reduce emissions by a far greater amount at an abatement cost of $27.50 a tonne. The Gillard government’s ill-fated carbon tax envisaged a tax of $29 a tonne. [Jo notes that the Gillard Labor carbon price ended up being $5310 per ton. ]
Update 79. Climate change becomes climate finance (it was always about the money), ‘Bangkok meet fails to finalize draft on climate change rules‘:
BANGKOK – An international meeting in Bangkok fell short of its aim of completing fruitful preparations to help an agreement be reached in December on guidelines for implementing the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.
There have been notable disagreements over fair financing for implementation of the rules by developing countries, and the technical details of their reporting on progress.
“On the core issues of forward-looking climate finance and the degree of flexibility developing countries should be given on the information and reporting requirements for national commitments under the Paris Agreement, negotiators were stalemated in Bangkok,” said a statement from Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a U.S.-based activist group.
Update 80. A very pertinent article by Alan Moran, ‘The Bitter Fruit of a Bad Green Marriage‘:
Mainstream Australian politicians are responding to a dominant scientific paradigm that says reductions in carbon dioxide emissions will save the world. The science is settled and all that. Only a quarter of these emissions result from electricity production, so it’s not as if the sector’s transformation to renewables could ever be a solution in itself to the planet’s alleged peril. Yet these measures are widely represented by politicians and lobbyists alike as key. Abatement policies remain in place notwithstanding the trivial effect that Australian reductions might have, especially when the developing world is taking no action and the US has withdrawn from Paris.
Politicians’ climate alarmism is fuelled by scientific self-interest (grants) and commercial self-interest (subsidies). Economists will always be around to provide, for a fee, the forecasts that constantly “prove” more subsidies to renewables will bring down prices as we “transition” to a low carbon economy, when no subsidies will be necessary. The past’s disappointing outcomes…are forgotten when the next thought bubble’s killer policy emerges. As always it will deliver “clean” energy at lower cost than provided by those archaic fossil fuel generators or their demonized nuclear alternative.
Update 80. Blind Freddy could have seen this coming, ‘Renewable power darling Carnegie Clean Energy hit by a wave of shareholder discontent‘. There’s only one group of winners when it comes to renewable energy, bankers, financiers, globalists:
The home-grown technology of Carnegie Clean Energy to harvest the power of waves has, until now, been irresistible to politicians of all stripes, along with thousands of small investors.
But a storm has hit the Perth-based renewable energy darling, leading many once-loyal supporters to question whether it is time to stop pouring money into the dream of wave energy.
The ASX-listed company is also struggling financially and has long been dependent on shareholder capital, as well as tens of millions of dollars of government grants and tax breaks, to fund its research.
Many of its once-faithful investors have become angry at the company over the loss of shareholder value and what they allege have been failures in due diligence and misleading information about projects.
They include Gold Coast investor Paul Quirk, a true believer in a renewable energy future who, until this year, was excited about the long-term potential of Carnegie and its CETO technology.
He sold all his shares in early July, losing tens of thousands of dollars on a company in which he first invested almost a decade ago.
Update 81. If the facts don’t fit your narrative, change the facts, ‘THE CLIMATE MEASURE THAT NO LONGER MATTERS‘:
“Let’s get the record straight,” roared terminal climate bore Greg Jericho in 2014. “On total emissions, we’re coming about 8th or 9th out of 36 nations in the OECD (if you include Russia and the Baltic states).”
On a per capita basis, however, we zoom to the top and on a per GDP basis we come in second, above other mining-rich nations such as the US and Canada.
So Jericho has suddenly decided that per capita is a really stupid way to measure carbon dioxide output:
The prime minister, when asked about the figures on ABC’s Insiders program parroted the inane media release that accompanied the data. Rather than focus on the overall increase in emission, the prime minister boasted that: “We’ve got emissions per capita at the lowest level in 28 years.”
Whoop dee fricken doo …
Not only is it a worthless boast, it says nothing about the impact on the environment. The atmosphere doesn’t react on a per capita basis, it reacts to the total level of CO2 emissions [our emissions are about 1.4% of total world emissions – ed].
Update 82. Why we are, where we are, ‘Climate Science: Have Stats, Will Doctor‘:
Development of the internet has facilitated the propagation of delusions to a global scale with the threat of climate change being among the first of such events; and, unlikely to be the last. As a mass delusion climate change has a lot going for it. It claims to be scientifically certain, but only by ignoring or dismissing all opposing science. Regardless of actual academic credentials, it affords an open invitation for any third-rate academic of no distinction to publish something supporting the “threat” and thus be accorded immediate recognition as an expert (with ready access to generous funding for research).
We have also gone from having some of the least expensive and most reliable electrical power in the world to among the highest priced with increasing blackouts. In addition, and over a bit longer time, we have gone from having among the most abundant, low cost, high quality food to among the most expensive, with climate change initiatives playing a major role in this as well.
Fortuitously at this time, Germany’s Federal Audit Office has just concluded an audit of their massive Energiewende program and has found it to be a colossal and hugely expensive debacle. If nothing else, it should be seen as clear evidence of what can be accomplished with a massive commitment to renewable energy by one of the world’s most technologically advanced economies; and, what we can look forward to in Australia if we really try.
As for the Paris accord, it is a farce we don’t need, can’t afford and achieves nothing useful. Obsessing over our emissions and saddling ourselves with what is now among the highest electricity and food prices in the world is beyond stupid. The physical, technical and economic obstacles to a significant decrease in CO2 emissions through increases in solar and wind power is simply a mass fantasy of a large sector of the populace with little awareness of the technological reality on which their existence depends.
A marine biologist, Walter Starck has spent much of his career studying coral reef and marine fishery ecosystems
Update 83. And the unintended consequences, ‘NEW STUDY FINDS SOME MAJOR DRAWBACKS TO 100 PERCENT WIND POWER‘, followed immediately by a disclaimer (for self-protection?). Only those promoting renewable energy expect to have it both ways:
Should the country dramatically transition its generation industry toward large-scale wind farms, the average surface temperature of the continental U.S. would rise 0.24 degrees Celsius, according to a study published Thursday by two Harvard authors. Such a temperature increase would exceed the expected reduction in warming of 0.1 degree Celsius if the U.S. were to decarbonize its electricity industry. A separate report by the authors also found that a complete shift to renewable energy would require five to 20 times more than originally anticipated.
David Keith, a Harvard professor, and Lee Miller, a post doctoral research fellow who focuses on large-scale wind power, were the two authors of the two research projects. While the paper calls into question the environmental bona fides of wind energy, the authors note that the effects on temperature are immediate, with long-term implementation of wind energy still proving more beneficial than coal and gas.
Update 84. I’ve added this as it’s just so laughable and typical of The Age newspaper, ‘Electric cars would save lives and cut costs, but Australians ‘risk being left behind‘. The solution for these writers and their supporters is always more government intervention into people’s lives and subsidies for the wealthy, no matter what the consequences. And their arguments are always predicated on selective statistics (no surprise) that if analysed fully have more holes than a shark net. Note that in the totality of the European Union, 287,000 electric cars were sold in 2017 and yes, Norway was in first place. But that figure represents 0.15% of total European Union vehicle manufacture in 2017. Every so-called ‘fact’ presented in The Age article could be completely refuted once the real facts were analysed:
Deaths from air pollution would be prevented and the Morrison government would meet its pledge to make electricity more reliable and affordable if more Australians drove electric cars, but a lack of political will is holding back the benefits.
That is the widespread view expressed to a Senate probe into electric vehicles in Australia. Electric car maker Tesla, headed by controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk, is among those who assert that “government leadership” is the main barrier to increasing electric vehicle uptake in Australia, while the government’s own infrastructure adviser warned that Australians “risk being left behind” in the global transition.
Update 85. If you have a heart problem, don’t live near any wind turbines, ‘Wind Turbines Can Harm Heart, Says German Professor‘:
Interviewed in Allgemeine-Zeitung, Vahl said that the Low Frequency Noise generated by wind turbines can weaken the heart muscle and change the blood flow.
Citing the results, Prof. Vahl said: “The fundamental question of whether infrasound can affect the heart muscle has been answered.”
The wind industry is a massive class action suit waiting to happen. [Especially now that the World Health Organisation has confirmed the health risks – which, of course, just like Big Tobacco, Big Wind has been covering up for years] Indeed, of all the scandals to emerge from the great global warming scam, the wind industry is in my view the worst.
Update 86. This is another example of the unintended consequences of renewable energy. ‘Power bills up? Appliances burning out? You may have a voltage problem‘:
Richard McIndoe used to run one of the country’s major electricity retailers, Energy Australia.
“I was getting up once every three or four months to change light globes,” he told 7.30.
“And this is what led me to look at voltage.
“I’m being force-fed more electricity than I need,” he said.
But even he was surprised by the power usage in his home.
Energy Networks Australia, the peak body for Australia’s poles and wires companies, said managing voltage on the grid was a difficult balancing act
Mr Dillon said the rapid uptake of rooftop solar systems was a particular issue for the networks, because solar systems are supplying extra electricity to the grid, and boosting voltages.
There is one area where high voltage is definitely causing headaches, and that is for people who have installed rooftop solar systems.
Pensioner Paul Ryan installed solar panels on his house in the Victorian town of Warragul more than a year ago, but for much of that time they have not been working.
The system often has to shut off to protect itself from high voltages coming in from the grid.
“It turned out to be a bit of a white elephant in a sense,” Mr Ryan told 7.30.
Update 87. The latest claim is that by 2030, renewables will provide 80% of Australia’s electricity, ‘Renewables heading for 80 per cent of electricity market by 2030, putting pressure on future funding: report‘. The untold part of this story is that the 80% is based on the ‘nameplate‘ capacity of whatever renewable is being considered, wind or solar. The thing is that none of these systems can deliver that capacity continuously like a coal-fired power station can, 14/7. So many things affect the actual performance and output of electricity generation, that there is another term in use called ‘capacity factor‘ that describes the true output of any energy production system. The capacity factor of wind and solar is between 10-25%, meaning that while in theory wind and solar may have a theoretical capacity of say 1000MW output, in reality it’s only (at best) 240MW and at worst, 100MW.
Renewable generation installation has accelerated to such an extent it is on track to provide almost 80 per cent of the electricity market by 2030, according to research from consultancy Green Energy Markets.
GEM director Tristan Edis said the renewable energy industry has built itself up to such a significant scale that even 50 per cent by 2030, the renewables target being pursued by the Federal Labor Party, would involve a significant contraction in activity and employment in the industry.
Update 88. When the University of Sydney publishes a document decrying the state of affairs of our energy supply, something is clearly Crook in Tallarook, ‘It doesn’t have to be this way: Australia’s energy crisis, America’s energy surplus‘:
In discussing the prospects of investments both from and in the United States, Australian manufacturers repeatedly rated the United States as vastly more attractive for investment. They indicated that Australia was not a growth market for their businesses and that the United States figured prominently in their plans for growth and success. “Australian manufacturing is doing great”, one CEO said, “just not in Australia”.
And why? In a word: energy. The cost of electricity and gas for large, industrial consumers of energy is simply making Australia uncompetitive. Relatively high labour costs are more or less baked into the Australian social compact. But when another critical business input — energy — becomes as expensive as it has, many Australian businesses face existential threats.
Update 89. It’s interesting that The Age is writes that ‘Yes, you are spending more on your power bill‘, but fails to mention the reason why that’s the case. The reason being that we are spending billions subsidising inefficient and expensive renewable energy and getting rid of efficient and cheap conventional power sources. Just a cursory examination of why and how power prices have escalated of the last decade or so would easily explain the causes. And this is the cost to just household bills, the article completely ignores the cost added to every aspect of life, making the actual increase far more than reported. And if The Age thinks energy prices are high now, just wait, they ain’t seen nothing yet:
An update by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of the consumer price index shows a spike in the past 12 months in how much of an average Australian’s weekly spending is going towards electricity expenses.
As recently as 2005, just 1.6 per cent of a household’s spending went towards electricity. Last year this had climbed to almost 2.2 per cent.
Over the past 12 months, the share of electricity climbed by 17 per cent to now account for 2.5 per cent of household spending. It is the highest proportion of spending accounted for by electricity since it was separated from other sources of energy in records that go back to 1964.
“Energy became less affordable in 2017-18,” AER board member Jim Cox said.
He said the number of households being disconnected had also risen, with more than 72,000 households’ power being cut off across the east coast, excluding Victoria, after they failed to pay their bills.
Update 90. While the rest of the world is looking towards other energy sources in lieu of failed renewables, Australia ploughs ahead and a once esteemed research organisation keeps up the lie that ‘Renewables to be cheaper than coal even without climate policy, CSIRO says’, while omitting that renewables only survive due to huge subsidies and the need for conventional backup power due to the unreliable nature of renewables. And note the admission that everyone must suffer because of this:
The CSIRO and the energy market operator say existing coal plants are still one of the lowest cost forms of power but new wind and solar farms will soon be cheaper, even without a carbon price.
However, Mr Graham warned that as the levels of renewables rise there would need to be more investment in energy storage technologies such as batteries or pumped hydro to smooth out the intermittency of wind and solar power.
“Data indicates we may need additional flexible technologies – such as energy storage, demand management and peaking gas plants [how much of the last one? Plenty]– if the share of variable renewables increases beyond 50 per cent,” he said.
He said the energy network would also lean more heavily on households and businesses to not use their electricity during peak times.
Update 91. And while free money is being handed out left and right, no one thinks of the unintended consequences, ‘Tyranny of distance: The renewable power disconnect‘:
The renewable energy boom may be going to waste because the best place to put wind and solar is too far away to connect to the grid.
The large number of new renewables means many are either unable to connect to the grid due to the sudden congestion from excess power being generated at the same time or just a complete lack of transmission to push the power into the grid.
“Many new entrants – some are amazingly naïve – seem to be, on average, just assuming that transmission will be just rolled out to where they build and that they won’t have to pay the cost,” energy expert Paul McArdle said.
The generators, buoyed by the government’s Renewable Energy Target [read: free money] which encouraged more projects, are running the risks of becoming stranded or useless.
One potential project, the $8 billion, 2000 megawatt Star of the South offshore wind farm off Victoria’s coast – which could provide more power than the closed Hazelwood coal-fired power station – has no way to provide power to the grid yet is still rolling ahead.
Update 92. Are cracks finally beginning to appear in the renewables industry? With the issue noted in Update 91, there’s a new issue coming to light with renewable energy, ‘Solar home battery warning after Brisbane house fire‘. The unintended consequences are never fully considered in the blind rush to renewables::
Fire crews who battled a Boxing Day blaze in inner Brisbane have warned of the dangers of solar-charged home batteries.
Sixteen firefighters spent an hour bringing the fire under control and another hour to extinguish the flames.
The homeowner told reporters they had solar panels connected to lithium-ion batteries and suspected the fire started nearby, a view shared by firefighter Malcolm Muscat.