Renewable Failure Claim: The Policies were Not Aligned


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

WUWT recently reported how a disastrous attempt by South Australia to rely on renewables resulted in peak spot prices of $14,000 / MWh (up from $100 / MWh). Now we have an explanation why – the policies were not aligned.

The electricity price hike blame game: a sad product of a dismal climate change debate

The high prices in South Australia should serve as a warning to all. This is what happens when climate change policy is not aligned with energy sector policy.

Recent news reports highlighting that the price of generating electricity in South Australia has increased three to four times its historic levels have left politicians, commentators and renewables advocates in an agitated state. One side of the debate blames renewables, the other argues vociferously that it’s the fault of evil fossil-fuel generators and that renewables actually reduce the price of electricity.

This blame game is a sad product of the dismal debate Australia has had about climate change and the transition to a low-emissions electricity sector over the past decade. Transitions tend to be painful. The challenge for policy makers is not to avoid the transition because it’s painful – running away at the first sign of high prices does not make a brave politician. It is to make the transition as painless as possible.

But a debate about how best to make the transition is not the debate the country has been having. Instead we have oscillated from arguing that climate change does not need a substantial response, to introducing policies such as Direct Action that have no perceived impact on consumers and limited impact on the environment, to advocacy for an immediate transition to cheap, job-creating renewable electricity. The result is a policy mess, with no clear direction forward.

The high prices in South Australia should serve as a warning to all. This is what happens when climate change policy is not aligned with energy sector policy and when state policy is not aligned with federal policy. Setting a 50% renewable electricity target in South Australia appears foolish when it is not clear that the electricity system can handle that level of intermittent wind and solar power.

Read more:

Sadly the rest of the article doesn’t explain how the policies should be aligned, to make renewables viable, to allow the electricity grid to handle intermittency – though the author does demand an urgent review of policy with a view to achieving this goal.

The direction has been given – planning the implementation is someone elses job.

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July 21, 2016 12:19 am

Oh, the Guardian. Does anyone still read the Guardian?

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 21, 2016 12:31 am

It is useful though – when it is in Guardian, you know the opposite is true.

Cheryl Davies
Reply to  Hlaford
July 21, 2016 1:00 am

Stopped reading it ages ago. I’ll never get why people link to it. Shoots your credibility to Hell.

Norbert Twether
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 21, 2016 2:52 am

Yes – the BBC spends over £600,000 per year on them …….
Note; The BBC broadcasts anything it reads in the Guardian as “true facts”, …. and the Guardian prints anything broadcast by the BBC as “True facts” ……. this is a “positive feedback cycle” on any topic …. er, e.g. CO2 and the “greenhouse effect”

Reply to  Norbert Twether
July 21, 2016 5:49 am

That’s called “peer review”

Ian L. McQueen
Reply to  Norbert Twether
July 21, 2016 6:21 am

And on our CBC (Canadian) The Guardian still gets quoted regularly. Isn’t it heartwarming to see that its predictions regarding climate are taken seriously?

Reply to  Norbert Twether
July 21, 2016 2:07 pm

More importantly, the BBC advertise all of their jobs in the Guardian – and almost nowhere else!

Evan Jones
Reply to  Norbert Twether
July 21, 2016 4:27 pm

That’s called “peer review”
It is a castle built on sand. Fiddling with peer review or pal (or poor) review is a loser’s game.
There is no grade inflation in independent review. And anyone can play.
Peer review just gets you into the arena. Independent review is when you get to take on the dragon. We are seeing a lot of papers falling headlong and flat just off the gate. Bad peer review let them down.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 21, 2016 3:12 am

Always worth knowing what the other side thinks. Some quite perceptive comments get through sometimes.

Don K
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 21, 2016 4:58 am

Note that this article is not written by climate “reporter” Dana Nuticelli who seems to understand virtually nothing about climate or energy and appears unlikely ever to learn anything. It’s (properly) labeled as an opinion piece and is written by a couple of guys named Tony Woods and David Blowers who actually seem to know something about solar energy and who seem to acknowledge many of the problems — current and future — associated with its use. see

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 21, 2016 6:40 am

The Graudian (as it is still known in the UK because of an earlier appalling and very long lived spelling issue) really is as bad as those here suggest. It also is currently adopting a policy of preventing – or at best limiting – on-line comments, presumably, one must conclude, in order to suppress criticism. Recent articles frankly seem deliberately commissioned so as to present illogical and as here, incomplete articles unworthy of sensible thinking – presumably to fill the pages in the so called ‘silly season’. Yet we STILL have it quoted by all those like the BBC who to many always over-support left wing ideals.

Bernard Lodge
Reply to  Patrick
July 21, 2016 11:27 am

Also known as the Grauniad

Alan Bates
Reply to  Patrick
July 21, 2016 3:14 pm

Also known as the Garundia.
I wonder how many “sensible” variations there could be …

Reply to  Patrick
July 21, 2016 4:39 pm

It’s The Grauniad.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 21, 2016 9:48 am

My budgie gives it his full attention every day, often commenting succinctly on the editorials in particular.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 21, 2016 9:10 pm

It’s the GOOD, RIGHT and SMART thing to do. The main “scientific” arguments?

July 21, 2016 12:26 am

Many people I know have difficulty managing energy units and money past the $100 limit. Therefore, they’d just nod approvingly to any number between $140 to $14,000. Articles like this just make their heads hurt.

Reply to  Hlaford
July 21, 2016 2:34 am

Don’t you know that $14,000 is only a few dozen more than $140? You are so illnumerate.

July 21, 2016 12:30 am

an immediate transition to cheap, job-creating renewable electricity.

I think I see part of the problem. Some people are trying to produce electricity while others are trying to catch unicorns.
And of course, the solution this person seems to be pushing is for government to step in and force the ones producing electricity to help catch the unicorns.

Reply to  schitzree
July 21, 2016 4:55 am

Whenever I hear the “job-creating” argument for doing something, my mind immediately conjures up a vision of 2 men, one with a shovel digging a hole and a second one with a shovel filling it back in. Voila! 2 jobs created.

Reply to  Trebla
July 21, 2016 5:30 am

I have a problem with the oxymoron: “cheap, job-creating”. Still, some people believe it.

Reply to  Trebla
July 21, 2016 6:19 am

Or giving them spoons and forks-
Green economics 101

Reply to  schitzree
July 21, 2016 5:46 am

cheap, job-creating

I have a little trouble* seeing how reducing productivity (more people to produce the same amount of electricity) can reduce the price. Must be something about “wind is free,” which seems to imply “but you can’t transport it,” which in turn implies you have to convert it to some other form of energy that can be transported.
*: I have no trouble being sarcastic about such claims.

Reply to  Ric Werme
July 22, 2016 6:05 am

“wind is free”
so is coal lying in the ground. just like wind what costs the money is extracting energy from the coal.

Reply to  Ric Werme
July 22, 2016 6:23 pm
July 21, 2016 12:33 am

At $14k you turn of your household electricity and disconnect the fuses at the meter. The factories all close. The solution to this is to stay the course according to this flake. Up is down. Zero is one. Fire is ice. Renewables lower electrical costs. It is the mental construct of a parallel world some are comfortable with, and as the world changes, their reality won’t.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
July 21, 2016 2:50 am

Yep, that’s $14 per kWh. Wholesale. Run a small 2kW air con for an hour – $28.
Boil the kettle -$1
Have a short shower – $5
This is modern-way-of-life-killing stuff.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
July 21, 2016 2:59 am

Obviously though retail users are charged some kind of “average price” plus transmission distribution and profit, but ultimately the $14,000 per MWh does get passed on in much higher electricity costs.

Reply to  AP
July 21, 2016 5:24 am

It is not all that long ago that we all used to laugh at billion dollar bank notes in Zimbabwe.

July 21, 2016 12:41 am

The Artful Dodger needs a some aligned pockets to pilfer.

Dermot O'Logical
July 21, 2016 12:54 am

Quote: “The direction has been given – planning the implementation is someone elses job.”
That at least seems to be aligned with our illustrious Brexit campaigners….. /stillraging

Colin Porter
Reply to  Dermot O'Logical
July 21, 2016 3:31 am

Dermot O’Illogical July 21, 2016 at 12:54 am
You seem to be confusing the outcome of a referendum with that of a general election. It was only ever the job of the Brexiteers to demonstrate the problems of staying in and the virtues of leaving and to suggest some ways that implementation could be achieved. It is the job of the government to implement the democratic will of the people. It is unfortunate that the opportunity to have a Brexit lead government was stitched up in the name of party unity and also in order to water down its implementation by the ruling elite within the Tory party with a May/Johnson deal in the manner of the Blair/Brown and Cameron/Osborne arrangements, leaving Gove and Leadsom out in the cold to fall on their swords.
If you are still raging with the outcome as you appear to be, you could vote for Owen Smith in the upcoming Labour Party leadership contest, who, if he wins, promises to ignore the will of the people and have another referendum. Or a more constructive action would be for you to lobby the Taoiseach to join us in leaving the EU.

Reply to  Colin Porter
July 21, 2016 4:30 am

Ahem, the British who run the government are all Bilderberg conspirators… these traitors meet yearly or more and met just last week in Germany to SECRETLY discuss how to stop democracy from happening, they are freaking out as outsiders gain political power as the system falls off a cliff.

Dermot O'Logical
Reply to  Colin Porter
July 21, 2016 9:45 am

Didn’t say I wasn’t going to go along with the result. That’s the decision – best now to make the best of it, but I don’t have to be happy about it as well! I’m a Remainer, now at risk (in an absolute sense, whatever the likelihood) of loss of rights / services as I exercised my rights to “freedom of movement”. That my current rights will soon be “part of” the negotiations is very unsettling.
I’d just have thought that those rousing for Brexit and knowing all that was wrong with the EU would be interested in perhaps leading or taking ownership of some of the consequences to ensure that we got the best deal possible out of the negotiations and left us in a better state than we were. But no. I haven’t heard any suggestions from them for “ways that implementation could be achieved”. They’ve set the course, left the bridge and excused themselves from all consequences, whilst also generally being personally immune from all consequences.
// Gets coat, sets direction to the local administration, and applies for residency rights.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Dermot O'Logical
July 21, 2016 11:53 am

Yes, sound observation Dermot. Fail to plan – plan to fail. The failure to have an exit plan is leaving a vacuum where those who still can’t take losing the referendum can see a way of engineering a failure to exit the EU by producing a tissue of lies to obscure our sensible exit path. Had an exit plan been put forward there would not be this opportunity. Adding to this is the wilful ignoring by those in the bubble – on both sides – of the only plan to leave, The Flexcit.

July 21, 2016 1:21 am

Well, there is really only two ways to handle a large proportion of intermittent “renewable” power in a system if you don’t have a lot of hydropower – which South Australia hasn’t. They are diesel and single-cycle gas-turbine powerplants. It isn’t unlikely the Guardian writer understands this – thus this vague “alignment” waffle, but of course he can’t actually say it, it would be quite literally swearing in the climate church.

Reply to  tty
July 21, 2016 2:53 am

I disagree. You give a Guardian journalist far too much credit.

July 21, 2016 1:41 am

The article like many written about things the writer doesn’t understand makes no sense to a reader because it doesn’t provide the background. The pricing being discussed is the cost between utilities which is the NEM or STEM price for all Australian States except Western Australia it is $14,000 per MWh which is the market price cap and a minimum spot price of minus $1,000 per MWh which is the market floor price.
Western Australia has a very different STEM price hard set to $300/MWh for gas fired and $550/MWh for liquids fired energy.
When you buy power as a retail customer from that utility you will pay some sort of average cost + company profit + grid maintenance and supply charge. So it is very hard to equate that cost directly to an end customer cost unless the energy utility is having to buy a lot of the peak power cost.
You may wonder why Western Australia got such a good deal and the answer is they don’t that number is very deceptive which is the same problem as the article itself.
Their was an attempt in Western Australia to force the large companies to use renewable power by pricing mechanisms from the public grid controlled by the state government entity. It completely backfired as big users either installed there own power generators or they approached independent power generation companies and struck deals to buy power including running their own direct power lines getting around the public grid price control. That is the reason for difference as most of Western Australia large power users are now inside the IMO framework.
Looks like a good deal for WA doesn’t it, but it doesn’t work like that for Mr Joe Public because he has to pay a cost for transmission which includes maintenance on the grid. With the big power users now hiding inside IMO arrangements with the power generators and their direct coupled lines they maintain. Mr Joe Public has to pay a vastly increased delivery charge to the government supply company because the big users no longer help pay for the grid network maintenance.
So the big power user companies actually get their power cheaper now but the public pays more for their power which wasn’t quite what the greens had in mind. Their is also no real usage by the big users of renewable energy again completely opposite to what the greens hoped.
So the warning is be careful using the stick rather than the carrot when trying to adjust markets.

Gary Hladik
Reply to  LdB
July 21, 2016 10:45 am

I’d say the warning is more like “Don’t use the carrot OR the stick.” In other words, don’t “fix” what isn’t broken.

July 21, 2016 2:29 am

Its a bit sad actually. All this is realy simple arithmetic and the CAGW crowd cant even see that.
I seem to remember a scene in Owells 1984 where the interrogator holds up some fingers and changes the number system to suit. Rings a bell somehow. :s

Reply to  rogerthesurf
July 21, 2016 3:32 am

Roger , one of the Freeview channels here in the UK was repeating a documentary about the unique wildlife of New Zealand . Amongst the images of the beautiful scenery was a short report on the earthquake in Christchurch and the resulting devastation and loss of life .
The amount needed to repair the city was quoted at the equivalent of £17 billion, and yet preference and money seems to be given by the Green leaning local Govt to protecting Christchurch against a sealevel rise that will never happen . Auckland , the programme makers also pointed out , is built over a known volcanic region , yet the Govt worries about 1.5C temperature rise per century (if that ).
Does not make sense to me , unless of course the rebuilding of Christchurch is now complete and there is indeed a large pot of money available to spend on CAGW mitigation.

Reply to  mikewaite
July 21, 2016 3:49 pm

You are quite correct in that there is not a lot of sense in things here.
I can tell you with some authority, because I am a citizen of Christchurch New Zealand that the rebuilding of Christchurch is far from complete. I can also tell you that the CBD is still bascally deserted because the code our local government is imposing on the CBD is making the buildings too expensive and therefore the rents are proving too expensive for normal purposes.
Incredibly the local government initially wanted to demolish at least two privately owned, fully repaired, occupied and functioning substantial buildings in aid of its Agenda 21 serving “Recovery Plan”.
Although the Local Council owns almost NZ$1 Billion in assets, such as the port and airport, they seem to think these tax payer owned assets, which originally were justified as a hedge for any disaster, are inviolate and it is not correct to liquidate them in order to repair the Christchurch infrastructure, (which in many places is enduring its third excavation and repair).
There is no real money to spend on CAGW mitigation, (except property rates increases), although the Local Council has somehow snapped up significant land in the CBD, “in order to effect its recovery plan no doubt”, and a significant number of CBD property owners, some I know personally, have collected their insurance and reinvested in places like Auckland.
I really need to photograph the city for my blog. Where the government has neglected, these parts are fully rebuilt and thriving. Where the much vaunted plan is effective, there is a Detroit desert atmosphere peppered by half finished buildings and a prominent number of finished buildings advertising for tenants.
See my blog at I deal with the imagined sea level rise there as well.

Reply to  mikewaite
July 24, 2016 4:05 am

The Christchurch Council projects sea level falling over the next 100 years. This is because tectonic activity is causing New Zealand to continually to rise relative to the sea level.

Tom Halla
July 21, 2016 2:55 am

It is someone’s responsibility to make our policies work other than the people who set the policy? Is that a fair read of the Guardian’s conclusion?
Perhaps policy should take technology constraints into account, but I am naive in being a proper green.

Chris Wright
July 21, 2016 3:01 am

Every day I check the UK’s wind output here:
Something surprising happened yesterday (Wednesday): the total UK wind output fell to a big fat zero.comment image
It doesn’t look like a data glitch, the curve is perfectly smooth. When I hovered the mouse over that point it reported a value of zero.
It may be a bit difficult for the greenies to understand, but the truth is very simple: when the wind doesn’t blow wind turbines don’t work.

Reply to  Chris Wright
July 21, 2016 3:52 am

But, surely wind turbine surely contain AC generator units which could be configured to run in reverse.
Why do we not power up half of them as fans – such that the remainder are driven by the slight breeze thus created.
A complex system of subsidies could be created which made this activity profitable for those who embraced it.
Why do the people here on this blog not recognize that with sufficient gullibility policy makers can create a totally dysfunctional energy grid whilst still filling their trouser pockets with other people money?
Human stupidity is a limitless resource just waiting to be exploited for cash profits. (possibly contains sarc.)

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 5:40 am

“Why do we not power up half of them as fans …”
You are not Chinese, are you?

Gary Hladik
Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 10:52 am

“You are not Chinese, are you?”
BWAHAHAHAHA! Thanks, graphicconception!

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 11:45 am

It says all you need to know about the technical competence of the MSM, that the “Wind powered car” was run as a straight news story by many outlets. It was even run as a straight news story on some techie outlets like ZDNet.
This is mindboggling and hilarious, but sad.
The next time you see a “global warming” story – check to see how the outlet initially reported on the “wind powered car”.

July 21, 2016 3:17 am

For – “Setting a 50% renewable electricity target in South Australia appears foolish when it is not clear that the electricity system can handle that level of intermittent wind and solar power.”
Read as – Setting a 50% pink unicorn target in a land far far away appears foolish when it is not clear that reality has been taken into consideration.
Don’t worry though – we just need a Chairman Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot, who can skillfully mandate that such targets must be met irrespective of the concerns of self-styled “realists” or “pragmatists” or “skeptics” and such vermin.
Failure to meet the targets only demonstrates that the system is being undermined by skeptical infiltrators set upon disrupting the utopian progressive cause.
Evil oil industry funded skeptics who have planted doubts in the minds of the populace regarding the usefulness of solar power during the hours of darkness.
We must all rise up together and invest our dreams in our great leaders and the power of belief and fortitude against adversity.
Even if the great leader demands that the electricity system is converted to run on magic pixie dust then it can only be the narrowness of our vision that prevents us from dreaming the impossible dream.
Let us set all doubts to one side, purge the skeptics from our ranks and march ever onwards toward the triumph of pure ideals divorced from this artifice called “reality”.
Yes, transition will be painful. But a heavy price must be paid by this generation such that the next can live in the perfect utopian dreamworld, where every day will be mildly warm but not excessively hot or cold.
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!!! Three cheers for the great policy makers who have legislated three impossible things before breakfast.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 6:10 am


Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 11:48 am

A windmill is a 50% renewable target since you can’t shoot at the front and back of the windmill at the same time.

July 21, 2016 3:19 am

You can always rely on politicians to do the right thing with public money…..
“Cheque Mates: Gillard, Bishop and Hillary”

Greg cave
July 21, 2016 3:21 am

The problem is not just when the wind doesn’t blow it also won’t generate when it blows too hard

July 21, 2016 3:33 am

Wow, the Guardian admitting that the 50% renewabulls target was “foolish.” Someone’s career is over.

Reply to  Andrew
July 21, 2016 3:57 am
Robert from oz
July 21, 2016 3:34 am

But I’m sure the sales company said just put up this many wind farms and hey presto 50% of your power will be renewable , clean and green . Just sign here and this month you get a bonus bag of magic beans ,but only while stocks last .
What’s that effiency now don’t worry about that it’s all green power .

Reply to  Robert from oz
July 21, 2016 4:02 am

It’s not just green power. The wind and the sun are free. So – it’s free energy.
That’s how the economics stacks up in the minds of the brainwashed.
So what if it’s intermittent. Just buy more. After all – it’s free. Simples. Problem solved.

July 21, 2016 4:02 am

This reminds me of some of the history of Daoism.
According to early Daoist researchers, there are two things that don’t change. You can do almost anything to gold and you can get gold back. Same thing for mercury. Any scholar could see that potions made of gold and mercury are the key to eternal life. The Daoist researchers tried all kinds of things which mostly led to early death. They kept doing this kind of things for a long time because the theory was solid and, obviously, the people who died early simply didn’t get it right.
It took a long time for the Daoists to give up on external alchemy. I expect that we will need quite a few renewable energy fiascos before the warmists give up on it.
The timeless message is simple: The theory is solid, any failures are the result of improper application.

Reply to  commieBob
July 21, 2016 4:10 am

You can still buy products based upon Mercury Sulphide as “medicines” on eBay.
The world has not changed as much as you imagine.
People are still turning up at hospitals with mysterious illnesses which are determined to have been caused by the intentional consumption of such medicines.
I found an ayurvedic medicine producer in India which boasted that it had processed over a ton of mercury into tablets in the last few years.
That’s a lot of poisoning.
Here’s an example – take a look at the stated ingredients:

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 5:38 am

I don’t know beans about ayurvedic medicine. Apparently the problems with parada (mercury) are from contaminants, though this list from doesn’t inspire much confidence. 🙂

Parada Dosha (Natural impurities of Parada)
Treatise on Rasashastra mention about the eight natural impurities or doshas of Parad. They are
Naag (lead)
Vang (Tin)
Guru (unduly heaviness)
Bhushail (Jalaj (water impurities), Bhumij (stone, mud, gravel), Girij(minerals etc))
Chapal (instability, fickle nature)
Mala (endogenius, exogenius waste like excretea)
Agni(intolerance to heat)
Vish / Garal (poison)
Parada consumed with any of these impurities causes ulcer, leprosy, burning sensation, eruptions, loss of reproductive power, dullness, loss of consciousness and death respectively. Hence Parada needs to be free from these natural impurities before its use as medicine or for other alchemical purposes.

Reply to  Ric Werme
July 22, 2016 3:39 am

I understand quite fully Ric Werme – why you have failed to appreciate the real meaning of the information that you have encountered. Because the truth is more shocking than most minds would be ready to accept.
When you encountered miscreants discussing “impurities” in Rasa Shastra or Rasa Sindhura or such-like – what you are seeing is often a diversion.
If a medicine is Rasa Sindhura (or Sindhoor) then IT IS mercury sulphide in high dosage of several milligrams per tablet.
When these nitwits divert the topic to contaminants they are attempting to blame the frequent failure of treatment or catastrophic long-term consequences on poor preparation or contamination.
So – Rasa Sindhura (mercury sulphide) might be contaminated by lead oxide.
Or – Naga Bhasma (lead oxide) might be contaminated by mercury sulphide.
This contamination is quite probable since both these medicines are likely prepared using the same pots and kilns and grinding and tablet forming equipment.
BUT – ignoring the contaminants, the actual medicine is high dosages of known heavy metal poisons.
Discussing contamination is a diversion.
The ayurvedic industry had been on a campaign to take over the internet with diversions and falsehoods in order to save face and deceive.
It is doing this by using a process of dilution of good information.
And also by submitting cargo-cult and pseudoscience passed off as top-notch medical papers.
Sound familiar?

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 8:47 am

Ric Werme: Mercury is toxic. It should not be ingested in any form. Impurities in the preparation of mercury compounds for ingestion may also be toxic, but the purest possible preparation of a Mercury compound is still toxic. Impurities are a distraction.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
July 22, 2016 3:55 am

Thanks Walter – I have only just read your clarification having posted a similar note of my own.
Please read my almost identical comment.
Whether ingested Mercury Sulphide is contaminated by trace quantities of lead or arsenic, is hardly the issue.
The mercury sulphide in Rasa Sindhura medicine is the principle constituent.
It is not a contaminant.
And the same applies for the other heavy metal based medicines. And for compounds of lead, mercury and arsenic.
This scam had been running for a couple of thousand years at least.
What is interesting, is that it proves profitable for the medical practitioner, because a patient with an initially mild complaint my start to return with increasing frequency over the following years with increasing more serious problems.
Including a slow slide into total madness.
The fraudster responsible can simultaneously pretend to be saving the victim from the condition which he is creating.
A significant percentage of indian population take these “medicines”.
And they are available now for sale in the west.
This should be receiving far greater attention.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
July 21, 2016 9:35 am

Read a report a few years ago where a man was in the hospital (funny how these mopes want modern medicine when it suits them…) suffering from an unknown, but very bad ailment.
Seems he had been ingesting “medicine” that was basically ground up sea shells that had a HUGE mercury content. Too late for his liver, too late for him. Another great victory for TCM (not Turner Classic Movies, but Traditional Chinese Medicine – which in Ontario, Canada is now covered by our universal “health” care – along with chiropractic).
As they say: stupidity should be painful. Too bad, though, that to much of this crap isn’t. We just all pay for it in other ways.
Alternative medicine is neither alternative or medicine. If it works, it isn’t alternative. If it doesn’t, it isn’t medicine. And outside of psychosomatic belief, it doesn’t work.

Reply to  CaligulaJones
July 22, 2016 4:01 am

Both Traditional Chinese and Indian medicines have widely included mercury sulphide as a specific ingredient.
So – it is possible that the sea shells were not the primary source.
The real situation is so terrible that people seem to refuse to accept what they are being told.
The mercury and lead in most of these medicines is not an accidental contaminant. These are often the principle ingredients.
And such medicines are produced on an industrial scale.

Reply to  commieBob
July 21, 2016 5:08 am

Be gentle. Even Isaac Newton got sucked in to the alchemy thing.

Reply to  Trebla
July 21, 2016 6:37 am

Given the level of knowledge available at the time, there was nothing wrong with the alchemists.
It was the research done by the alchemists that led to better theories of matter and ultimately to the modern science of chemistry.
Early astronomers thought the earth was the center of the solar system, yet it was their careful observations that led to disproving that theory.

Pat Frank
Reply to  commieBob
July 21, 2016 9:31 am

commieBob, I believe you describe the thinking that also led to the Chernobyl disaster.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 22, 2016 4:16 am

Absolutely Eric. A naive observational and anecdotal compilation of beliefs will have lead to deeply flawed conclusions regarding the utility of, and safety of these “medicines”.
Because mercury is powerfully anti-bacterial and so, after an initially massive dose – there may well be an apparent or even real revival of health in a person suffering from a threatening infection.
Of course, the problems regarding long-term poisoning, potential organ failure or the slow slide into madness are not so visible and so the negatives had the ability to creep up on the victims unobserved.
This aspect of mercury and arsenic therapies seems to have resulted in at least a couple of thousand years of total bafflement.
And so, it was long believed that mercury consumption had the ability to generally promote health or extend life.
Thankfully we now have the full picture and therefore in a sensible world there should be moves to bring an end to long-term treatments using mercury and arsenic.
Unfortunately for the good people who have devoted their time attempting to raise this issue – the traditional medicine industry has great power, wealth and influence.
It seems for now that there is more interest in promoting the continuation of mass poisoning – than there is in bringing it to a sensible conclusion.

Coach Springer
July 21, 2016 5:12 am

Yes, one might expect a high degree of disconnect between a responsibility to produce cheap, plentiful and reliable and a policy to do the opposite.

July 21, 2016 5:15 am

This will continue until someone in a really high office has a ‘light bulb’ moment and realises that: everything they have been told about global warming, cheap and really renewable electricity is a lie or half truth and that they have been lied to and taken as a fool.
When that light bulb moment arrives then we shall see some action.

Reply to  steverichards1984
July 21, 2016 6:39 am

If it’s not a CFL or LED lightbulb, I’m sure he will be fined.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  MarkW
July 21, 2016 8:55 am

CFLs are horrible. But, LEDs are wonderful. Now that prices on them have reached a reasonable level — Sylvania 60W Equivalent (8.5-Watt actual) 2700K, standard A19 Medium Base Dimmable Soft White Indoor LED Bulb is $5 @ Lowe’s — I am replacing all the bulbs that burn out in my house with them. They are practically immortal Rated life: 25,000 hours.

Curious George
Reply to  MarkW
July 21, 2016 9:30 am

Rated life: 25,000 hours. Rated, not guaranteed. 25,000 hours is 3 years.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  MarkW
July 21, 2016 5:08 pm

I follow my wife around the house and turn off lights when she is not in the room.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  MarkW
July 21, 2016 8:02 pm

Walter, says “I follow my wife around the house and turn off lights when she is not in the room.”
Strange. I follow my wife around and turn off the lights when she is in the room.

Javert Chip
Reply to  steverichards1984
July 21, 2016 10:07 am

steverichards 1984
What you describe is both highly desirable and highly unlikely. This is no longer simply an educational issue.
CAGW climate stuff has transmogrified into religion. For the devout, this goes almost DNA-deep, impacting all kinds of other decisions (vegan, anti-vaccine, anti-GMO, etc).
If CAGW climate stuff isn’t working as foretold by the prophets (Gore, Mann, etc), it’s the fault of the great right wing conspiracy. Even under the best circumstances, only a teeny tiny minority will see the light and convert.
This is literally a generational problem; essentially the whole crowd needs to die off (literally) before CAGW angst goes away. Even then, scattered covens will struggle to keep the flam burning (so to speak).

July 21, 2016 5:36 am

The first thing these folks can do is to question the viability of wind and solar and dump those primitive technologies. I’m sure these folka are so nuclear ignorant they have noclue as to the currrent state of nuclear power or the very promising and right-around-the-corner molten salt technology, which eliminates any and all objections to nuclear power. There is no logical reason for rushing to reduce carbon, especially when a technology as .advantageous as molten salt reactors are relatively close at hand – they will be in mass production well before the decade is out. Decisions are being made in a cloud of ignorance and will fail miserably.

July 21, 2016 6:26 am

“Sadly the rest of the article doesn’t explain how the policies should be aligned”
The global warming elite aren’t interested in solutions.
They view their job as telling the rest of us what to do.
Figuring out how to do that, is our problem.

Bruce Cobb
July 21, 2016 6:32 am

Yes. This foolish arguing about “climate policy” must stop. The myth that man has control of our climate must be recognized as just that; a myth, and nothing more. It is time for the adults to take over the conversation, and in that way can the proper reality and common-sense-based energy policy be aligned with what is true instead of a childish myth.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 21, 2016 3:50 pm

It’s not a myth, it’s a delusion.

July 21, 2016 7:22 am

“The high prices in South Australia should serve as a warning to all. This is what happens when climate change policy is not aligned with energy sector policy and when state policy is not aligned with federal policy. Setting a 50% renewable electricity target in South Australia appears foolish when it is not clear that the electricity system can handle that level of intermittent wind and solar power.”
It’s abundantly clear as SA became the windmill State and the notion that more interconnection to the NEM will solve it in future, will run equally smack bang into the fallacy of composition should the other States follow suit with more windmills as they’re promising to do. Furthermore wind energy is often in sync across SA, Vic and NSW as Jonova points out, as well as the variability-
Blind Freddy can see that currently and historically checking and unchecking boxes here-
These irrational Green idiots are in complete denial, or at best dealing in mumbo jumbo about more synchronisation with fossil fuelled power to cover their backsides now.

July 21, 2016 7:29 am

Aligned already…just not aligned with reality or fact checked science
July 20, 2016 10:54 a.m. ET
BRUSSELS—The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled binding greenhouse emission reduction targets for every European Union country from 2021-2030, including for the U.K., which could be out of the bloc by then.
The targets are part of a global deal struck in Paris last year and cover land transport, buildings, agriculture and waste management. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

July 21, 2016 7:51 am

The hard part about over reach is to have consequences showing up and getting in the way.

Jason Calley
July 21, 2016 7:58 am

It should be clear now why the prices spiked… You see, mistakes were made. Policies were not aligned. Consequences were unexpected. Nothing here to see, not really. No one to blame, certainly not the renewable plans themselves. No use looking backward and pointing fingers. We must all face the future together.
Move along. Move along.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Jason Calley
July 21, 2016 3:48 pm

No no! We must Learn by looking backwards while moving forwards arm-in-arm as one to another free to do as we wish you to do.

Bruce Cobb
July 21, 2016 8:28 am

In other words, there’s a disturbance in the Farce.

July 21, 2016 8:54 am

The low density “green” energy converters are large scale environmental disruptors, which either destroy or displace a large number of flora and fauna from their natural habitat. The windmill and solar farms are “green” as in greenback and naive, but do not live up to the green profile of their drivers.

July 21, 2016 9:22 am

“The Policies were Not Aligned”
Yeah just like the planets haven’t aligned yet and the alien space rays are interfering with the windmills and the synchronicity.
When you think about it this really is the end of the road for them. While they could slough off their Climategate emails and hiding the decline and mangled data with all their pal review and psych Cook-ups and morph from global warming to climate change and extreme weather, there’s no hiding from the immediacy of economics and obvious shortcomings with their pet renewables now. South Australia is the perfect science lab experiment and the results are in. We’re a microcosm of the inevitable that awaits at any macro level because the plain truth is solar driven energy is density weak on average as well as extremely fickle and thank God it is and we’re 93mill miles from the source.
Why have they reached their Waterloo? Well if they can’t produce anywhere near current electricity demand reasonably economically, but more critically reliably with their pet renewables, then that rules out trying to add electric transport to their existing power generation quandary right here and now. Storage to even out unreliable generation is a pipe-dream. Certainly when you consider the pitiful history of mankind’s ability with simply storing calories and pumping water uphill. Electrochemical storage is even more pathetic in the big scheme of things and we’re still using the same lead acid batteries Henry was plonking in the Model T (and the same reciprocating piston engines) Yep, they’re now scientifically and economically bankrupt, whatever computer models they want to cling to with their doomsday philanderings.
Walter Russell Mead had them all pegged years ago as simply noisy alarm clocks and it’s now the time for them to switch off just like their flaky wind and solar power does-

Reply to  observa
July 21, 2016 10:07 am

Well said. Farmers have a simpler version of the same thought. Chickens coming home to roost leaving chickenshit.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  observa
July 21, 2016 3:43 pm

Yeah just like the planets haven’t aligned yet and the alien space rays are interfering with the windmills and the synchronicity.
Get your Dual-Function Tin-Foil hat! Your DFTF hat fights global warming while ALSO preventing evil alien reality rays from penetrating your head! Buy now while supplies last!

July 21, 2016 10:31 am

The special interests were not aligned.

July 21, 2016 10:48 am

The socialists will stop at nothing to contrive new, plausible-sounding excuses for their failures when they can no longer convincingly lie and claim them as successes.

Svend Ferdinandsen
July 21, 2016 11:23 am

Give the politicians a crash course in the difference between kW and kWh.
kW is what you need here and now. kWh is what you have used or could use over a given time.
You have no use of 10kW supply the next hour, when you need it this hour.

July 21, 2016 11:42 am

‘Gunga Din’ threatens to proceed with climate witch hunt.
Elizabeth Warren Warns: ‘You Picked A Fight with the Wrong State’
Jul 21, 2016 at 2:14 PM | john

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  john
July 21, 2016 3:33 pm

I suggest oil companies boycott the state, no oil sold there.

July 21, 2016 1:21 pm

The fallacy of wind turbines is revealed with simple arithmetic.
5 mW wind turbine, avg output 1/3 nameplate, 20 yr life, electricity @ wholesale 3 cents per kwh produces $8.8E6.
Installed cost @ $1.7E6/mW = $8.5E6. Add the cost of standby CCGT for low wind periods. Add the cost of land lease, maintenance, administration.
Solar voltaic and solar thermal are even worse.
The dollar relation is a proxy for energy relation. Bottom line, the energy consumed to design, manufacture, install, maintain and administer renewables appears to exceed the energy they produce in their lifetime. Without the energy provided by other sources these renewables could not exist.

Reply to  Dan Pangburn
July 22, 2016 6:31 am

produces $8.8E6, cost $8.5E6.
20 years of operation and you still haven’t broken even. no business in its right mind would invest.
but of course, this is the hidden factor – wholesale 3 cents per kwh – the wholesale price of electricity. fossil fuels deliver this for 3 cents per kwh, and consumers pay 10 cents per kwh. This provides the profit to invest, along with delivery and maintenance costs.
So by shutting down fossil fuel power plants, the price will rise until either people cannot afford electricity, or it will become profitable to install green energy, or people will start buying cheap coal which is no longer being used by power plants, and setting up power plants in their own back yards, selling surplus power to their neighbors at a fraction of the price of green power.

Robert of Ottawa
July 21, 2016 3:31 pm

This is what happens when government policy is not alligned with reality.

Robert O.
July 21, 2016 4:21 pm

Technically it is just not possible for 50% renewables in Australia, simply because of the intermittent wind speeds. On July 7 and also on Tuesday production from the wind turbines was less than 5% requiring substantial thermal back-up to keep the lights on. So one closes down the coal stations and then you have to rely on gas turbines or diesel generators when the sun is not shining nor the wind blowing.
And yet the governments of S. Aust., Victoria and Queensland are talking about 50% renewable electricity as well as the Federal Labor Party.
With every new wind farm or solar farm opening there is a speil about the number of houses it will provide electricity for and how many thousands of tonnes of CO2 saved, but rarely the amount of electricity that will be actually produced. And if there is the projection is never reached.

July 21, 2016 4:27 pm

Saying that deveopment of renewable energy resources ‘creates jobs’ is Owellian prose at its finest. We could just as well dictate that everyone sleep on straw mats and invest in R&D for efficient weaving technology for straw mat manufactue. That too would create jobs.
No. Engineers and techology managers have worked dilligently for 300 years since Neomen to make energy supply extremely efficient requiring very few jobs to produce very much benefit. Jobs from renewables is doing less with more!
Fewer jobs in the energy sector leaves more human resources for important stuff – like education, health care, ederly care, the arts, the sciences (just not CAGW), entertainment, etc.

July 21, 2016 5:46 pm

You didn’t have to convince the ancestors about fossil fuels and electricity-
But it gets a whole lot harder to get their switch flicking offspring to appreciate the fundamentals of EROEI-
“At the present time, our energy web comprises a myriad of different resources. The legacy supergiants – Ghawar, Black Thunder and Urengoy et al – are still there in the mix supplemented by a vast range of lower ERoEI (more expensive) resources. The greatest risk to human society today is the notion that we can somehow replace high ERoEI fossil fuels with new renewable energies like solar PV and biofuels. These exist within the energy web because they are subsidised by the co-existing high ERoEI fossil fuels. The subsidy occurs at multiple levels from fossil fuels used to create the renewable devices and biofuels to fossil fuels providing the load balancing services. Fossil fuels provide the monetary wealth to pay the subsidies. Society is at great risk from Greens promoting the new renewable agenda to politicians and school children whilst ignoring the thermodynamic impossibility of current solar PV technology and biofuels ever being able to power human society unaided. The mass closure of coal fired power stations may prove to be fatal for many should blackouts occur.”
If you’ve got any doubts whatsoever about that Green morons, just ask yourself where the South Australian Treasurer went a running when it looked like the punters were going to flick their switches and nothing was going to happen. Duh!

Reply to  observa
July 22, 2016 6:35 am

great quote from your reference material, and the value of fossil fuels:
A fit human adult can sustain about one-tenth of a horsepower, so a human would have to labor more than 10 years to equal a barrel of oil.
[A fit human adult can sustain about one-tenth of a horsepower, so a slave/farmer/craftsman/teamster/drover human had to labor more than 10 years to equal a barrel of oil. .mod]

NW sage
July 21, 2016 5:55 pm

Quickly scanned the comments to see if this had been covered – I didn’t spot any:
“…what happens when climate change policy is not aligned with energy sector policy.”
It really needs to be pointed out that climate change policy doesn’t ‘align’ with energy sector reality. When ‘policy’ comes up against that which exists – ie real science and physical laws, the policy had better match exactly.

July 22, 2016 6:20 am

this is what is ignored by politicians and zealots everywhere in their haste to implement “green” energy. supply and demand rule the market, not politics. When politics tries to rule the market, the market collapses and dies.
imagine that whenever a king or president gave an order, the people receiving the order killed themselves. No matter what the order. the kings says pay taxes, all the tax payers kill themselves. what value would the kings orders have? how would the king enforce anything?
this is how the markets react when politics tries to rule supply and demand. the market commits suicide.

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