Law of Unintended Consequences Number Eleventy-Zillion and One

Guest essay by Phil Hutchings

Two days ago, charles the moderator showed us some dumb thinking from the UK‘s efforts to pursue clean power.

clip_image001

Down here in Australia, we’re pretty good at it too…..

Hydro Tasmania has just collected a windfall profit of $48 million from Australia’s soon-to-be-short-lived foray with a $23/t Carbon tax.

You see, Hydro Tasmania is Australia’s largest renewable energy generator. Three years ago, Hydro Tas saw the Carbon Tax coming. So it started a policy of holding back water in its dams to increase its future electricity production. It wasn’t hard to figure out that stored water would be worth a lot more with a tax than without.

But with Australia’s political opposition pledging to scrap the tax if elected, Hydro Tas knew it had a narrow window of opportunity to game the system. So it saved up enough water for almost five months of full production before the tax started on 1 July 20012. That’s 3000 GWh worth of electricity.

Figure – Hydro Tasmania Source saved up water for three years before the Carbon Tax

Source – Frontier Economics (reference below)

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Come July last year, Hydro Tas let that stored water flow, maximising its power output in the new world.

Once the Carbon Tax hit Australia’s coal fired generators, wholesale electricity prices jumped immediately. In Tasmania, they averaged $16/MWh higher in 2012-13 than in the prior year.

Net result:

· A cool $48 million of extra profit for Hydro Tas, thank you very much

· More coal burnt before the tax, and less afterwards – so at least it looks like the Carbon Tax is working …. and

· No additional long term renewable generation from Hydro Tas to show for it.

Frontier Economics has put this together, questioning whether the Carbon Tax has played any role at all in reducing greenhouse emissions in our electricity sector. Read on….

http://www.frontier-economics.com/_library/publications/frontier%20australia%20-%20impact%20of%20carbon%20price.pdf

Photo Credit – Australian Government (see below if needed)

http://www.licensinglinenews.com/Newsletter/Edition-50-October-2007/A-powerful-training-solution-for-Tasmania.aspx

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57 thoughts on “Law of Unintended Consequences Number Eleventy-Zillion and One

  1. Slightly picky I know, but that picture shows water going down spillways and not generating electricity.

    Hydro Tasmania is owned by the Tasmanian Government. So this is government gaming the carbon tax.

  2. While this makes a good story, the fact that Tasmania came out of drought and Hydro Tas was replenishing its storages from historically low levels needs to be considered as well. I think that this story needed a bit more research!

  3. ” I think that this story needed a bit more research!” – that would ruin it surely? A bit like the Murry Salby story. Poor Prof Salby now seems to have been abandoned by WUWT

  4. Alex Cruickshank says:
    August 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm
    _______________
    Oh? Do you have any data/evidence to disprove this story? If Hydro Tas were just the dutiful public servants which you allege, then why did they expend all of the excess stores which they were building up under your scenario?

    • Luther,

      Firstly, I alleged nothing except that the article has ignored an important fact. It did not also check to see if higher than average rainfall had occured in Tasmania like it has in Victoria in recent years, see http://www.melbournewater.com.au/content/water_storages/water_report/zoom_graph.asp

      Secondly, it is not necessary to disprove something that has not been proved.

      On the article, the graphic needs to show storage levels before the drought as well as levels after the drought to show that water was sequestered. By definition storages must be above the average level half of the time in a long term basis. One cycle of above average storage does not show sequestering, certainly not enough to assert gaming behaviour.

      Secondly, the use of above level stored energy to profit from high prices is what would be required of any corporation. You would need to show that the other two hydro participants in Australia (AGL Hydro and Snowy Hydro) did not also respond to the higher pool price.

      The evidence presented could have equally supported a heading of “Hydro Tas able to profit from higher rainfall and replenished reserves during high market prices”.

      Regards

      Alex

  5. Alex: The drought recovery doesn’t explain the sequester of water above the average coupled with the massive release, that just happens to coincide with this tax scheme. Follow the money…

  6. yeah the drought recovery line would work if they didn’t do the massive release… After all according to the doomsday cultists drought should be more common. Thus in turn this dam should be building up its reserves and holding even higher then past normal records.

  7. Nyq Only says:
    August 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    ” I think that this story needed a bit more research!” – that would ruin it surely? A bit like the Murry Salby story. Poor Prof Salby now seems to have been abandoned by WUWT

    Don’t know about that. But Peter Gleick is sticking to you like a fart in a phone booth.

  8. If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck . . . .
    Sure – it could be an evolving swan:
    – but where does the smart money go?

    Something on both sides- well, maybe – but – if it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck . . . .

    Why do our gallant politicians, business folk, and state [or quango (interesting - spell checker offered me 'guano' for quango)] functionaries realise that?

    Auto

  9. Here in the BC interior the hydro utilities empty their reseroirs by generating at max before the freshet every year. This is to allow the maximum capture of the spring melt. I have never seen water carried over from season to season. That would cause a risk of flooding and waste reservoir capacity.

  10. Let’s face it the Government of Australia painted a “kick me” sign on the back of its pantaloons. Did they really think no one would read the sign and take them up on it? I say bravo for Hydro Tas for underscoring the idiocy of the Carbon Tax with a drop kick from 25 out, right thorugh the uprights.

  11. “·No additional long term renewable generation from Hydro Tas to show for it.”

    Ummm.. I think you will find a significant increase in wind turbine numbers on the upper west coast of Tassie.

  12. Even Labor dismiss the power of the Carbon Tax. then Minister for
    Climate Change, the Hon Greg Combet dismissed the carbon tax
    playing any role in the plant’s (Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter- single biggest electrical user for its grid, NSW) closure, citing instead that low aluminium prices combined with the strong Australian dollar as the reasons for decision to shut the plant. -Access Economics

  13. Alex Cruickshank:

    re your post at August 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/07/law-of-unintended-consequences-number-eleventy-zillion-and-one/#comment-1383892

    You are ignoring the simple truth that Hydro Tas would have been incompetent if they had not gamed the system in such an obvious way. The company gained $48 million of extra profit with no additional cost.

    That Hydro Tas did game the system is to their credit. And it is to the discredit of the Government which established the Carbon Tax in the manner it did.

    Richard

  14. HI Billy.
    ———–
    Billy says:
    August 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    Here in the BC interior the hydro utilities empty their reseroirs by generating at max before the freshet every year. This is to allow the maximum capture of the spring melt. I have never seen water carried over from season to season. That would cause a risk of flooding and waste reservoir capacity.
    ————
    The Australian hydro systems all have to do double or triple duty, providing irrigation and drinking water storage as well as generation capacity. In addition, the country is prone to droughts (just out of a 10 year one!) and therefore all (except the Rocky Valley system) are multi-year storages.

    You are correct, though, that all systems need to empty out sufficient space to absorb the expected inflows for any year to prevent “over-topping”, which is a waste.

    Regards

    Alex

  15. Alex Cruickshank says:
    August 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Sorry to be pedantic, but the platypus is not a marsupial. It’s a monotreme, along with the four echidna species.

    Marsupials can’t be aquatic. Their joeys would drown.

  16. All solar power owners who are getting more back from feed-in tariffs than they pay for mains power could also be accused of rorting the system – at the invitation of our green-blinkered governments. Fortunately, I was in a position to take advantage of this largesse and have made several $000s profit over the past 3 years (of course, accruing this to be able to pay for power in the future /sarc).

    Whilst these schemes are pushed on the populace, people and organisations will take advantage of them. The problem is the short-sighted thinking of the politicians who think they know how we as individuals as well as businesses will react to their plans. My State Government (SA in Oz) budgetted for <10,000 house-hold solar systems – the last I heard is that we have reached 140,000 systems. Of course, they changed the tariffs far too late to keep the financial burden to the amounts they budgetted for.

    With this blowout of solar systems and the most wind generator (rated) capacity in OZ, coincidentally SA also has the highest electricity rates in Oz. These rates are blamed on the maintenance/replacement costs of the poles and wires, rather than the monies being paid out for green dreams.

    • Gary Pearse wrote at August 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm
      Were customers able to use the surge in power, or was it wasted, too?
      ———–
      Hydro Tas is connected into the Australian National Electricity Market, which covers eastern Australia and South Australia. The energy would therefore have displaced other generation and been fully used. It would have had the effect of (slightly) lowering the pool price from its carbon price inflated value.

      Alex

  17. This is astonishing. Where does the $48 million come from? Which companies pays into the pool to enable $48 million to be transferred for this scam?

    Can the companies that must pay into the carbon pool raise their prices to pass the carbon tax costs onto consumers?

    • William Astley said at August 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm
      This is astonishing. Where does the $48 million come from? Which companies pays into the pool to enable $48 million to be transferred for this scam?

      Can the companies that must pay into the carbon pool raise their prices to pass the carbon tax costs onto consumers?
      ————-
      William, all energy generated is sold into the NEM pool and purchased at the spot price by retailer, who on-sell it to customers. As I alluded before, the $48 mill would have come at the expense of other generators and, if anything, the cost to retailers would have been slightly lower.

      The real scandal in the Australian scene is that:
      1. the carbon price has inflated the energy costs for customers (yes, it is passed through on average) but most (possibly all) of the income from the tax is being spent on compensation and other give-aways. It is a real wealth transfer between some generators to others and from people earning average of better wages to others.
      2. the impact on carbon dioxide output is minimal (even if CO2 was significant in the scheme of things!)

      Regards

      Alex

  18. Alex Cruickshank, Your gaming WUWT nicely. Are you enjoying the windfall from your carbon tax scam? ALP takes long walk in the outback next month LOL!!!

    • Sunup commented on Law of Unintended Consequences Number Eleventy-Zillion and One.
      Alex Cruickshank, Your gaming WUWT nicely. Are you enjoying the windfall from your carbon tax scam? ALP takes long walk in the outback next month LOL!!!
      ——————-
      Again, poor research. Facts only people! (although we both hope for the same election outcome!)

      Alex

  19. The Law of Unintended Consequences sometimes produces surprisingly positive results!

    A few years back, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus, the Sierra Club and other misguided Luddite types succeeded in forcing the closure of the small coal fired plant that powered the UW-Madison campus.

    Then Wisconsin Governor Doyle (since retired by the electorate) decided to convert it to a ‘renewable biofuel’ power plant, ostensibly to be fueled by crop residues, wood chips, and old wood pallets trucked in from area farms and businesses. The citizens were assured this would only cost $251 Million and would establish Wisconsin as the leader in ‘coal to biofuel’ conversions. …. Or not. It would have required at least 2.3 times more tonnage of ‘biomass fuel’ to achieve the equivalent BTU yield of coal. This would have required a much larger plant footprint to accommodate storage of the larger pile of ‘biomass’ fuel as well as for local and regional trucking access to deliver the new fuel. The plant would have had to burn 20% natural gas along with the biofuel, to assure reliable combustion. As the story link below highlights, citizens of greater wisdom began to question the true viability of the plant.

    http://dailyreporter.com/2009/05/20/more-cheaper-biofuels-needed-for-power-plant/

    This spawned several new examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences. The irrational environmentalism that was the driving force behind closing the coal fired plant and conversion to a ‘biofuel’ power plant became a small but significant negative for Gov. Doyle in the WI gubernatorial race of 2010. He was defeated by Scott Walker, who immediately scuttled the ‘biofuel’ conversion and made it a 100% natural gas fired power plant, with minimal conversion costs to the taxpayers and the next lowest fuel cost to coal. Gov. Walker also ushered in balanced budgeting for the state, much needed reforms to public employee union contracts, defunded the construction plans for the 90 mph max. ‘high speed train’ boondoggle, and ended many other inefficient and out right stupid state spending projects.

    Sometimes the Law of Unintended Consequences has real, positive results!
    MtK

  20. Alex Cruickshank said @ August 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    The real scandal in the Australian scene is that:
    1. the carbon price has inflated the energy costs for customers (yes, it is passed through on average) but most (possibly all) of the income from the tax is being spent on compensation and other give-aways. It is a real wealth transfer between some generators to others and from people earning average of better wages to others.

    I am a self-funded retiree living in southern Tasmania. The financial year that finished a little over a month ago showed that I earned a gross income of ~$AU10,000. AFAICT the carbon tax means almost everything I purchase costs more. According to the government, since I don’t qualify for the OAP, or unemployment benefit, the compensation I receive is exactly nothing. Nil, zilch, zero, nada, diddly-squat… And you have the gall to refer to this as “real wealth transfer … from people earning average o[r] better wages to others”.

    Also, FWIW, my last electricity bill was $AU515.63 for 1,533 KWHr, or $AU0.34/KWHr, According to the bill, some 5.8% ($AU29.91) is carbon tax. I seem to recall the treasurer, Wayne Swann, referring to people who claimed that the carbon tax had increased the cost of doing business as “liars”.

    • The Pompous Git commented on Law of Unintended Consequences Number Eleventy-Zillion and One.
      According to the government, since I don’t qualify for the OAP, or unemployment benefit, the compensation I receive is exactly nothing. Nil, zilch, zero, nada, diddly-squat… And you have the gall to refer to this as “real wealth transfer … from people earning average o[r] better wages to others”.
      —————–
      You are correct, I over-simplified that bit. Please amend that clause to “from people who have to pay the higher prices without any or sufficient compensation to those who have been fully or over-compensated”.

      In general, though, you and I are on the same page in that the tax just increased costs for no real benefit, harming some and benefiting others.

      Regards

      Alex

  21. What a political con job. The captive consumers pay the tax as the cost is passed along. Obama never really gave up on this approach but his party ran away in shock from the grassroots outrage.

  22. Tasmania – subsidised by everybody else, highest jobless in Australia, economy that make Haiti look good! The greens just love it – the rest of us are sick of it!

  23. Taking on board what Alex Cruickshank has commented on here I have looked at the Hydro Tasmania data available here: http://www.hydro.com.au/water/energy-data

    From looking at the historical data that is available two of the 13 monitored areas show water levels being allowed to fill up significantly over the 6 years of data. One of them covers Great Lake and the other covers Lake Gordon. Both of those are operated by Hydro Tasmania as ‘major storage’ with the time it takes to fill up measured in years.

    Great Lake and Lake Gordon represent the bulk of the increase in stored energy over the 6 years, and also the bulk of the release after the carbon tax came in. Neither lake has come close to overspilling. Great Lake has an operating range of 21m and the most recent reduction in water levels began when the lake was still 11m from overspilling.(pdf) Lake Gordon was closer to being full but still had spare capacity when the reduction there began – it has an operating range of 52m and was 8m from overspilling.(pdf) Here is a rough chart done by me to illustrate the energy storage of the 13 columns of data.

    IMO it looks like a mixed bag. The water storage filling up doesn’t look all that suspect if the main reason for levels rising is the biggest lakes taking years to fill. The release of that water does look odd and relatively sudden – it is a large amount of water to let out even though neither of the two biggest lakes were full. Unfortunately the data doesn’t go far enough back to see what they did last time Lake Gordon and Great Lake were filling up.

  24. CRS, DrPH said @ August 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Not widely discussed by the climate crowd is the negative environmental impact of hydroelectric power.

    I would say the concept of negative impact from CO2 and CH4 are discussed on WUWT quite frequently. CO2 is plant food that enables the biosphere to increase in mass. CH4 is oxidised to CO2 quite rapidly in the atmosphere. The impact of these gases is negative only for those who have fear and loathing of the biosphere.

  25. “Alex Cruickshank says:

    August 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    The real scandal in the Australian scene is that:
    1. the carbon price has inflated the energy costs for customers (yes, it is passed through on average) but most (possibly all) of the income from the tax is being spent on compensation and other give-aways. It is a real wealth transfer between some generators to others and from people earning average of better wages to others.”

    You are correct. Hydro Tasmania is on the list of the top ~250 “carbon” polluters. My 3rd quarterly power bill conveniently starts in July my bill was ~6% more expensive in the quarter starting July 1st 2012, when the carbon tax, at AU$23/tonne CO2, started, than the previous year with slightly less usage. I don’t qualify for compensation even if I did the revenue from the price on carbon falls short to the tune of ~$420mil after compensation. The carbon tax has been massively successful in sending industry and jobs offshore! And it rose to AU$24.15 July 1st 2013.

    Fortunately, there is a federal election in September. I found out just the other day that being a British subject and was registered on a Commonwealth Electoral Roll prior to January 1984, I am eligible to vote in Australia. I will be using my vote to speed the ALP/Green/Independent coalition ejection from Govn’t. The only real issue I have is I don’t believe a word any other politician in any other party says and trust them even less.

  26. To be nice.Could it be that hydro Tasmania actually believed the hype that our dams would run dry a la Prof Flannery, Climate Change Commissioner, and took steps to conserve water.
    The unintended consequence being a stag profit.

  27. Michael says: August 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Even Labor dismiss the power of the Carbon Tax. then Minister for Climate Change, the Hon Greg Combet dismissed the carbon tax playing any role in the plant’s (Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter- single biggest electrical user for its grid, NSW) closure, citing instead that low aluminium prices combined with the strong Australian dollar as the reasons for decision to shut the plant. -Access Economics

    So we should look forward to this plant now being recommissioned seeing as that out $ has lost 20% of its value in as many days ?

  28. Goldie said @ August 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Tasmania – subsidised by everybody else, highest jobless in Australia, economy that make Haiti look good! The greens just love it – the rest of us are sick of it!

    Tasmania has the most regional and dispersed population of any state in Australia, with almost 60 per cent of the population living outside the capital city. That is, a very large proportion of the population was, until recently, employed in the rural sector: actual farming, forestry, mining and delivery of services that of course cost more to deliver than to dole bludgers living in a Fitzroy high-rise.

    My now deceased brother used to rant about Australian farmers being even more heavily subsidised than those in the USA and Europe, but I have never been able to find any evidence for this. Such statements are what make me very suspicious of what anyone living in Canberra has to say (pace johanna). From what I can gather, Tasmanian farmers have the highest cost of compliance of any business by a factor of around 100% above their nearest rival. Additionally, they must compete against produce from China, Europe and other places where governments really do heavily subsidise farming.

    A Tasmanian dairy farmer I know has not only had to suffer a recent 20% increase in operating costs largely caused by the carbon tax, but also the ongoing blockade of imports of his product to the mainland on the ferry.

    Apropos the Greens, the most recent political surveys conducted in Tasmania indicate that the general populace is sick of the Greens, the Labor Party and the Coalition! It was the Greens who claimed that Tasmanian apple growers were poisoning the crop with Alar, a material never used (because it wasn’t needed) by Tasmanian apple-growers!

    Finally, most of Tasmania’s larger business enterprises are operated from interstate. That is, the head offices are mostly in Melbourne and Sydney. Consequently, the revenues they earn in Tasmania are allocated to Victoria and NSW respectively.

  29. Since Hydro Tasmania is a publicly held company I’m sure that the taxpayers will all get a cut of those profits.

  30. Hydro Tasmania would be generating vastly more ‘green’ power and export lots to the mainland if the greens hadn’t stopped the dam building program in the eighties! The law of unintended consequences at work!

  31. Indigo said @ August 7, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Hydro Tasmania would be generating vastly more ‘green’ power and export lots to the mainland if the greens hadn’t stopped the dam building program in the eighties!

    It might help if you got your history right! It was Bob Hawke’s federal Labor government that put the kybosh on the Franklin dam.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_v_Tasmania

    The Greens have never held power in their own right. The sate government referendum in Tasmania on the dam issue was badly flawed. It gave the option of either Gordon-below-Franklin, or Gordon-above-Olga. There was no option for either No Dams, or Some other river, or even “why doesn’t the Hydro use the thermal powerplant it built at Bell Bay?”

    I wrote a document at the time suggesting that since there was no obvious need for the electricity to be generated by the sexual activities of Gordon, Franklin and Olga, the Hydro should consider converting its Moonah workshops to manufacture solar hot water panels and sell them to the public. My idea was loudly derided because “Tasmania’s too cold for solar HW”. These days the panels are imported from overseas and work very well in the second sunniest state capital.

    We seem to have never needed the extra dam(s), or in fact the thermal power station at Bell Bay. This latter was sold off to private interests for considerably less than cost. It’s also well to remember that the Hydro wasn’t about generating “vast amounts of power” as these dam projects were very small beer indeed.

  32. Gene L said @ August 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Since Hydro Tasmania is a publicly held company I’m sure that the taxpayers will all get a cut of those profits.

    Profits from a government managed enterprise? You must be joking! Traditionally, the Hydro sold bulk electricity to favoured large consumers for very low rates in very secret contracts. The below-cost electricity was subsidised by SMBs and domestic consumers. It’s all a bit more complicated now with generation, distribution and retailing being managed by separate enterprises, each with its own board of directors. A big advantage of the new system in these times of infrastrucure being used beyond its useful life is that everyone in these separate enterprises can blame the others for the failures and shortcomings.

    Oh to have been here in Franklin in the 1920s when it had the state’s only hydro electricity scheme. It was so cheap to run, the supply wasn’t metered and everyone left their lights on all the time. Other denizens of the Huon Valley used to come to Franklin on Friday nights to shop and admire the magnificence of the street lights. The state government promised a railway link to Hobart in return when they compulsorily acquired the Franklin electricity scheme. It should surprise no-one that we are still waiting for it a hundred years later!

  33. There is blood on the hands of this these jerks who though up this global warming fraud crap do we know how many people have been burnt to death by trying to heat and light there house up using candles and burning paper ?

  34. As indicated, Hydro Tasmainia knows how to game the renewables subsidy racket. In recent times they have teamed-up with Shenhua (China’s largest coal miner) in a plan to cover one of Bass Strait’s idilic, island bird havens with at least 200, 3MW industrial wind turbines. That this project will likely render the island uninhabitable is obviously of little concern when HT stands to pick-up millions of dollars worth of subsidised LGCs (Large-scale Generation Certificates) payable under the Australian RET (Renewable Energy Target) legislation another “electricity tax” we pay here.

    The critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot is a regular visitor to King Island although it can’t be claimed that it visits in large numbers. However, the island does teem with other bird life such as the iconic Cape Barren Goose.

    Financial sweeteners were offered by Hydro Tasmania to the King Island community, before a community survey vote to help establish whether the 200-turbine project would be built. Hydro Tasmania has promised $1 million every year to the community if their project goes ahead. Subsequently, despite their “survey” having fallen short of the 60% benchmark set by Hydro Tasmania the company still intends to proceed with that feasibility study?

    Shenhua Group, China’s largest coal producer, is behind Hydro Tasmania’s push to build the 200 turbine, industrial wind factory (IWF) on King Island. Many people are probably not aware that while Hydro Tasmania has been plying the people of King Island with its “30 pieces silver” and extolling the planet saving virtues of the proposed project, the Shenhua Group in China is busy in China building a $10 billion coal to liquids plant (CTL). In addition to producing oil, CTL plants produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

    I don’t mind Shenhua profiting from its Chinese CTL plant while creating plant food (CO2) as a byproduct. However, I can imagine there may be folks who find it just a teeny weeny bit hypocritical that this same company can collect hundreds of millions of subsidised dollars in Australia on the pretext of removing a small percentage of that same CO2 from the Bass Strait air?

  35. Bob in Castlemaine:

    At August 8, 2013 at 3:31 am you say

    I don’t mind Shenhua profiting from its Chinese CTL plant while creating plant food (CO2) as a byproduct. However, I can imagine there may be folks who find it just a teeny weeny bit hypocritical that this same company can collect hundreds of millions of subsidised dollars in Australia on the pretext of removing a small percentage of that same CO2 from the Bass Strait air?

    I fail to understand how any body could rationally think it “hypocritical”.
    It seems like good business practice to me.

    And it also seems to me that the Australians are stupid to give Shenua the “hundreds of millions of subsidised dollars”. I can see no reason (financial, ethical or moral) for Shenhua to refuse to take the money.

    Richard

  36. richardscourtney says:
    August 8, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I guess Richard many of those who support wind generation as a concept are those we know affectionately as “greenies”. So I don’t think we would expect that too much that happens in that space would pass for rational thought.

    As for Shenhua making ship loads of money on account of the stupidity of the Australian government, to some extent I guess that’s their good fortune. But as to flogging off a product (wind turbines) known to be not only completely useless as a means of generating electricity, but is also guaranteed to make the nearby population suffer needlessly, then I think ethics and morals probably should come into that equation.

  37. “Bob in Castlemaine says:

    August 8, 2013 at 3:31 am”

    Bob, do you have any official information on this? If you do, and have links, please publish. I am quite happy to spread it about a bit. I wonder how many other “projects” like this are on the back of the RET legislation? What would be interesting to discover is if Bob Brown (Former Greens leader) has ties to any of these businesses and projects. Could be a factor in his early departure from politics.

    In many forums, as I am sure you are aware, here in Australia there is stunningly strong support for the price on carbon. I wonder how many of those supporters have ties to the renewable energy industry sectors?

  38. Bob in Castlemaine:

    In your post addressed to me at August 8, 2013 at 5:04 am

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/07/law-of-unintended-consequences-number-eleventy-zillion-and-one/#comment-1384398

    you say

    As for Shenhua making ship loads of money on account of the stupidity of the Australian government, to some extent I guess that’s their good fortune. But as to flogging off a product (wind turbines) known to be not only completely useless as a means of generating electricity, but is also guaranteed to make the nearby population suffer needlessly, then I think ethics and morals probably should come into that equation.

    It seems we have to disagree.

    For clarity, If you read this item

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    then you will see I am strongly opposed to windfarms for a variety of reasons including those you mention.

    The Australians are buying windfarms and Shenhua are selling windfarms to them.

    This provides is no ethical or moral considerations for Shenhua unless you wish to equate sale of windfarms with drugs dealing or armaments sales. Personally, I think that is ‘a bridge too far’.

    Richard

  39. richardscourtney says:
    August 9, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Correct Richard “It seems we have to disagree.”

  40. Patrick says:
    August 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Patrick my initial lead on the Shenhua connection came from an article by David Archibald on WUWT. From a bit of websearch the contracts check out, as does the well publicised link between Shenhua and Hydro Tasmania. David notes in his essay that:

    Shenhua is China’s largest coal company. The Shenhua website doesn’t mention the Shenhua Ningxia CTL project which would have a capital cost of the order of $10 billion. In fact the company’s news section on its website hasn’t been updated for a year. It seems that news on CTL projects in China has gone dark.

    Good luck in your endeavours and remember:

    “Bob of the Franklin” had his “day in the sun” at a time long since past, the sad thing is he didn’t recognise when it was past.

  41. richardscourtney says:
    August 9, 2013 at 12:07 am
    The sad thing about King Island is that it used to have a viable cattle industry and abattoir.
    The closure of the abattoir has meant that cattle will have to be shipped to Tasmania for slaughter, on one of the wildest seas around Australia.
    It goes almost without saying that a windfarm would have to be heavily subsidised to be built on the site.
    The collateral is that the agrarian lifestyle of the community will be impacted by enormous spinning blades, not to mention the faunal deaths.
    As Australia slowly reduces the renewable targets as common sense spreads, the mills will not be replaced as they burn out.
    On the survey of the locals, 60 percent were against the windfarms.
    The cost to the population may well be the abandonment of the mills in situ, just as has happened with the abattoir. An eyesore for all, a danger to some.
    In the feasibility study being undertaken by Tasmanian Hydro there must be a heading scheduling;
    Safe dismantling and total removal of all mills and associated structures and cabling;
    Return of all sites to original condition.
    Biological studies on endangered wildlife to be completed prior to erection of mills.
    Long term planning for rectifying loss of biodiversity.
    Estimates made of the cost of such works.
    A bond or guarantee against cost of rectification lodged with the authority controlling the land, invested in an Australian bank guaranteed investment or Government Bond.
    Otherwise, yes, there is a moral dimension.

  42. Lewis P Buckingham:

    Thankyou for your post addressed to me at August 9, 2013 at 2:44 am

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/07/law-of-unintended-consequences-number-eleventy-zillion-and-one/#comment-1385274

    Your post provides good information concerning King Island which supports some of the reasons for opposing use of windfarms which are explained in my item which I linked for you; i.e.

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    And your post concludes saying

    yes, there is a moral dimension

    I strongly agree, but that was NOT what we were discussing.

    All the issues which you raise are the responsibility of the Australian government and not Shenhua.

    So, the moral – also financial, economic, practical and ethical – error is the responsibility of the Australian government and not Shenhua.

    You claimed – and I disputed – that Shenhua has a moral responsibility to not sell the windfarms to Australia. As I said

    The Australians are buying windfarms and Shenhua are selling windfarms to them.

    This provides is no ethical or moral considerations for Shenhua unless you wish to equate sale of windfarms with drugs dealing or armaments sales. Personally, I think that is ‘a bridge too far’.

    I stand by that.

    Richard

  43. ‘Otherwise, yes, there is a moral dimension’.
    richardscourtney says:
    August 9, 2013 at 3:28 am
    Yes I am aware of the edict ‘judge not lest you be judged’.
    I do not have a dog in the argument about who is to blame.
    Your subliminal point that it is not what is made, but how people use it, is noted and taken.
    I was hopefully pointing out a wider moral dimension that if recognised, may lead to more than a Clayton’s feasibility study and environmental impact assessment and study.
    If ever built this thing will just become obsolescent for power production and being ultimately useless in halting climate change, will be discarded.
    The people of the island need to be protected from this, or they will bear the cost.
    If the company fails to place these safeguards in their feasibility study then that becomes the moral dimension.
    I accept that our Government has made many errors in the pursuit of climate control.
    I regard them as simply incompetent.
    They display this across the board,climate control being only one aspect of their poor governance.
    But remember it is written;
    ‘Forgive them Father for………….’

  44. “Lewis P Buckingham says:

    August 9, 2013 at 4:05 am

    I accept that our Government has made many errors in the pursuit of climate control.”

    I know I am picking one sentence from your post however, a serious question, do you believe Govn’t can control climate, or are you just highlighting the error of their way(s) (The error being CO2 is NOT the DRIVER of climate change)?

  45. Patrick says:
    August 9, 2013 at 4:28 am
    ‘also financial, economic, practical and ethical – error is the responsibility of the Australian
    government ‘
    I am writing in response to richardscourtney’s comments as above quoted and agreeing with them in as far as the errors are due to incompetence.
    As far as we know there are no tipping points or runaway greenhouse effect from the evaporation of water and its buildup in the lower atmosphere, triggered by any of the foreseeable rises in CO2 we may engender.That’s what the paleoclimate tells us.
    I have grave reservations about science being burdened by pronouncements that ‘the science is in’ made by our current PM.
    The incompetence is on many levels. It is OT to discuss the problems this Australian government has with the formulation of coherent policy and its implementation.
    However, as in human affairs, if you can demonstrate aptitude in one intellectual area, you probably have it across quite a few.
    This government’s approach to the process of scientific inquiry is a proxy for their other shortcomings.

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