Aussie Chief Scientist: Renewable Energy Push Hurts the Poor


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has strongly criticised the impact of renewable energy policies on the poor, working class people and migrants.

Renewable energy push to hit Labor’s heartland

The Australian12:00AM December 29, 2016

MICHAEL OWEN SA Bureau Chief Adelaide @mjowen

Dr Finkel, who is conducting a review of the electricity market for the federal government following the statewide blackout in South Australia in September, said people who rented properties or lived in apartments were limited in their ability to install new technologies.

Migrants with limited English, people with poor financial literacy and those struggling to make ends meet were at risk of paying ­increased costs to subsidise households or businesses able to invest in new technologies. Passive or loyal consumers who were not ­engaged in managing their electricity demand and costs were vulnerable too, Dr Finkel added.

The danger was that, as more consumers took greater steps with the aid of technological ­advance­ments to rely less on the grid, the cost of building and maintaining the network would be spread over a smaller number of “vulnerable” users.

The Australian Energy Market Commission has warned that electricity prices are set to surge during the next two years, largely driven by the ­close of coal-fired power stations in South Australia and Victoria and ongoing investment in wind generation.

Australian Stock Exchange data showed yesterday that base future contract prices for March were highest in South Australia, which yesterday had its third major blackout in four months. For companies to buy a megawatt of electricity in March, it would cost South ­Australian buyers almost $152.91, compared with $100 in Queensland, $63.75 in NSW and $54.50 in Victoria.

South Australia, under Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, has a renewable energy generation mix of more than 40 per cent, the highest of any state. The state’s last coal-fired power station closed in May.

Climate Institute head of policy Olivia Kember said there was a real risk of large numbers of households leaving the grid, which likely would be the result of ongoing policy failure by federal and state governments. “It’s not just a problem for lower-income households, but also apartment dwellers and large industry that needs grid-based power,” she said. “Currently we are seeing coal stations close with only six months’ notice, and no signals to tell the market what is needed to replace them.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said all consumers ultimately would want to be connected to the grid, even as a form of back-up, ­although there was a risk more would be less reliant on it. “The ­reality is if we are going to have a decarbonised system that is going to be reliable, it will cost more and we’ve seen that in South Australia — it is living proof,” he said. “There are a lot of inequities in the system and they are difficult to answer. The inequities can get worse.”

Read more:

With a major coal plant closure scheduled in Victoria for March 2017, which up until now has been South Australia’s fossil fuel backup buddy, the situation can only get worse.

Victorian consumers, already suffering the cost of their state government’s multi-billion dollar desalination plant fiasco, are likely in the near future to have to pay for South Australian style energy price rises.

Australia is on negative credit watch with international ratings agencies, because of ballooning public debt levels. Forced energy price rises, and the rapid deterioration of Australia’s baseload generation capacity, is unlikely to impress. The financial shock of a downgrade would hit every level of Australian society.

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January 2, 2017 1:20 pm

In CA the solar duck forces nuclear into unprofitable operations, meanwhile the state pays Nevada Power $.08 kwh to take CA’s excess. Insane.

Walter Sobchak
January 2, 2017 1:22 pm

Our own Willis Eschenbach demonstrated that ever additional KW of “renewable energy” capacity costs consumers 2 cents a KW on their electric bill.
Obama May Finally Succeed! • August 3, 2015

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
January 2, 2017 1:26 pm

That should be .02 cents, and the capacity measure is per capita. My apologizes to all.
Please Mr. Watts, can we have an edit function?

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
January 2, 2017 3:27 pm

Hello Walter,
This information was true some years ago – I have not heard that it has changed.
In Alberta, we pay electric power producers about 4 cents/KWh for reliable, dispatchable power from fossil fules, and 20 cents/KWh for unreliable, non-dispatchable wind power.
The wind power generators get their 20 cents whether or not their wind power is needed. IF not needed, we give it away to Washington or British Columbia, reportedly for free.
Best, Allan

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
January 2, 2017 5:59 pm

I lived in Ft McMurray for one year and found that there is little wind in the Winter, thank God. That may not be typical of other areas of Alberta, but I wonder if there are areas where there is a source of reliable wind in the Winter? Clearly Solar would be foolish given the short number of daylight hours!
I could never understand why any sane person in Canada would worry about global warming given the bitter cold winter temperatures.

Reply to  Allan M.R. MacRae
January 2, 2017 6:27 pm

Hi Catcracking,
And a big hello to Ft Mac – I used to take care of Syncrude for one of the owners and was there twice a month.
The wind quality in southern Alberta near Pincher Creek is very good by world standards, because the wind pours through the Crows Nest Pass to the west, However, I have seen calm days with no wind, and no wind power.
Even there, wind power requires huge subsidies and is not close to being economic.
Regards, Allan

January 2, 2017 1:28 pm

Queensland is promising to follow South Australia’s example. I should be totally off grid this year. I have a nice little petrol generator to back up my system. When I started to move off grid, doing it in stages, I never expected for the system to pay for itself. I am moving to an isolated beach shack, in the tropics.
My University student daughter recently have a $700- power bill in South Australia. With price rises in Queensland, my system will be more reliable, and pay for itself.
I fear for my country (Australia) with the Greenie nuts in charge.

Reply to  Peter
January 2, 2017 2:42 pm

I thought they voted in a new government based on stopping the greenie nuts. what happened?

Reply to  Shelly Marshall
January 2, 2017 3:13 pm

There was a protracted point and shriek exercise over stuff being sold off to reduce the debt etc, and the nutters got back in again.

Reply to  Shelly Marshall
January 2, 2017 3:17 pm

Even James Delingpole has had to mock Australia in his recent podcast. Australia is in effect a One Party Socialist Utopia and is fast running out of other peoples money.
The Parliaments are full of beady-eyed solicitors loyal to ‘The Party’ and, beholden to Party pre-selection for their station above their worth in life.
The solution is to stop paying Politicians and to end the funding of Parties out of the public purse. Democracy isn’t a science and should be returned to the wham, bam and crash of community chook raffle style fund raising. This is the only way to return control of our country to representatives with some exposure to the effects of the Laws they introduce.

Reply to  Shelly Marshall
January 2, 2017 7:32 pm

Damn well said, Broadie.
I think part of the problem is the way preferential voting has panned out, putting tiny minority parties into balance of power positions.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Shelly Marshall
January 3, 2017 9:19 am

When Australia is reduced to a Venezuelan type lifestyle perhaps it will be possible for the people being taxed to support the green debacle will be able to regain sovereignty by a massive uprising. Unfortunately the people were foolish enough to give up their main weapon for stopping the frog march toward their Socialist Utopia in 1996.

Horace Jason Oxboggle
Reply to  Peter
January 2, 2017 9:50 pm

I cannot help contrasting the success of last century’s Snowy Mountains Scheme with the lousy returns from fashionable renewables (solar, desal, wind turbines, hot rocks, etc). Also, I’d like to see a comparison of the remuneration received by the head of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, adjusted for inflation, with the remuneration received by the head of Australia Post, or the top ten NBN executives. Aah, but the Snowy Mountains Scheme delivered – the others, not so much!
Yet we like to think we have made progress! Really?

Andrew Pearson
January 2, 2017 1:34 pm

In the UK people have been told that if they want electricity guaranteed 24/7 they will soon have to pay a premium. Who do you think will suffer? The poor will freeze in the dark – in a manner of speaking.

Reply to  Andrew Pearson
January 2, 2017 10:52 pm

Or, perhaps literally.

Robert from oz
January 2, 2017 1:46 pm

Don’t forget that Victoriastan paid one billion not to build a road , Labor have always been big spenders with no regard to paying it back , like all good socialist movements there’s no problem that throwing unlimited money at that can’t be fixed .

Curious George
Reply to  Robert from oz
January 2, 2017 1:54 pm

Robert, that sounds intriguing. Could you please provide a link?

Robert from oz
Reply to  Curious George
January 2, 2017 2:34 pm

Just type “east west link” into your browser .

Mark from Oz
Reply to  Robert from oz
January 2, 2017 2:02 pm

Robert, you are being unfair with the billion dollar road comment. The previous Govt signed the contracts for the road 3 months prior to an election in a cynical move, knowing full well the opposition at the time were not going to support the plan if they won power. The finger should be pointed at the Govt of the time. It was an expensive exercise in political point scoring. I’m more concerned that in Victoria they are going to turn on our white elephant desalination plant when our dams are quite full.

Reply to  Mark from Oz
January 2, 2017 10:57 pm

On the contrary, it was an important road that needed to be built immediately. The Melbourne is still suffering from it’s lack. The reasons the new Green/Labor government cancelled the project (at enormous cost), was partly because they didn’t invent it, but mostly because it didn’t pay proper homage to public transport. Note the billion-dollar abomination the Green/Labor government is building in Canberra.

Robert from oz
Reply to  Mark from Oz
January 3, 2017 12:10 am

Disclaimer I hate Melbourne and live in the country , go to the big city maybe once every five years and the congestion /traffic snarls are horrendous.
Even I know the east west link was a good idea , Comrade Andrews did say he would back out of the deal but also said it wouldn’t cost the taxpayer a cent .
As for surplus I seem to recall the sale of a public utility recently by the commissar and he is raking it in with stamp duty on house sales so it doesn’t paint the true state of vics finances .
I’m lead to believe he is also raking it in from fines etc to non unionised truck drivers who are being targeted at his and the unions bequest.
Labor are and have always been big spenders and just love wasting money if there is a surplus they directly had no part in it .

michael hammer
Reply to  Mark from Oz
January 3, 2017 12:17 am

Hmmm; you mean like Obama is doing right now in the USA ahead of Trumps inauguration?????

Reply to  Robert from oz
January 2, 2017 5:05 pm

Curiously they are still running a billion dollar budget surplus

Mark from Oz
Reply to  yarpos
January 2, 2017 8:47 pm

Wow, that would surprise me…..labor and surpluses are rarer than science that actually proves that climate change exists…..

Reply to  yarpos
January 2, 2017 11:01 pm

Surpluses are easy to manufacture, particularly in advance. NSW used to count borrowings as if they were income. In the KRudd government, they used to predict surpluses all the time; if they turned into gigantic deficits by the end of the year, well you couldn’t blame that on the government; it was always somebody else’s fault.

January 2, 2017 2:15 pm

Undertaking the study after the fact and making these statements now amounts to a lab rat study on manipulated subjects. It did not take a nation’s top scientist to predict this outcome BEFORE the policy adventure.

January 2, 2017 2:35 pm

The Finkel Review appears to me to be one of many that are designed to keep “The Transition” going, after grid stability problems showed up in South Australia, part of what appears to be a bit of a govt panic that votes may be lost, and “The Deplorables” may benefit. One particular weakness of the coal-must-close agenda is that the “firm” capacity of wind and solar is being misrepresented, and no mention is made of the precarious position of South Australia, which simply cannot lose any more conventional supply, no matter how much more wind/solar are added:

January 2, 2017 2:39 pm

Finkel was tasked to examine the reliability of energy supply considering the extra renewables coming on line. His report somehow suggested that an emissions trading scheme would be a good thing.
The whole exercise was a waste of time and money, but a good indication of how useful Finkel is as a government adviser.

Reply to  gnome
January 2, 2017 11:02 pm

In plainer words, he was a useful tool.

January 2, 2017 2:41 pm

Why do Australians elect these fools who keep costing them more money? Australians ought to be out marching in the streets in protest of their climbing electric bills. These Leftwing/Green politicians are unbelievably misguided. How long will it be before someone figures this out?

Reply to  TA
January 2, 2017 3:54 pm

‘Why do Australians elect these fools who keep costing them more money?’
Dunno! Perhaps it’s a mutating virulent virus doing the rounds globally and we’re all doomed-

Reply to  TA
January 2, 2017 4:10 pm

‘There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.’
Something to do with Gummint Grants and the Divine right of Kings I suspect

Reply to  TA
January 2, 2017 4:12 pm

The last time Australians marched in the streets was to demand the government impose a carbon tax so let’s not do any marching for now.
The good news is we are one election away from a brexit/trump result. The old two party monopoly us all but gone in fact rumour’s have it the conservatives in the “conservative” party are going to split create a true conservative option.
Could get interesting over the next 12 or so months.

Reply to  Crakar24
January 2, 2017 5:52 pm

“The last time Australians marched in the streets was to demand the government impose a carbon tax so let’s not do any marching for now.”
That’s discouraging.

Reply to  TA
January 2, 2017 4:38 pm

Why do we keep electing these idiots? Because we only have idiots to vote for!
On the rare occasions we get anyone sensible or not corrupt (never seen both) they get chucked out by their party or have to resign because of silly nistakes like forgetting a gift of sone expensive wine (like fatty obarrel, causing baird, who is a world class corrupt idiot, to replace him)

Reply to  TA
January 2, 2017 5:08 pm

I’m Australian, and I didn’t vote for them -however there are limited choices. We need a Donald Trump to “drain the swamp” downunder, not likely though sadly;-)

michael hammer
Reply to  xyzzy11
January 3, 2017 12:22 am

I could be wrong but I think Malcom Roberts may be worth watching. If you have not done so, listen to his maiden speech.

January 2, 2017 2:55 pm

Greg Hunt wants to fund a new power station through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, gas fired of course.
Its all about the Alcoa smelter going down and the ramifications. Haven’t seen any report on why the other line failed, it seems to be a conspiracy of silence. Who exactly owns the poles and wires, and do they use Chinese steel?

lyn roberts
January 2, 2017 3:13 pm

Another family in the process of going off grid, what i fear though is they are going to charge us for the lines going past our property.
We have a friend in a remote area who constantly got bills for electiricty provided, dispite numerous phone calls to say he was not connected.
Eventually the linesmen arrived to dis-connect him, he said go ahead, had not been on the grid for years, they seemed very puzzled that there were no lines running from the mains to his house, duhhhhh.
He walked away the left them to it, after about 2 hours they left.
Also that seemed to end the bills.
He has a mix of wind power, solar panels, battery bank, and a generator if needed.

January 2, 2017 3:16 pm

Ever notice some of the biggest promoters of the” earth has a fever” scam are the places that are the most fiscally screwed up . California , Ontario and the USA Federal Government for example .
Global warming alarmism is a deflection strategy that preys on the general publics lack of scientific knowledge aided and abetted by most of the same types of media geniuses who thought Hillary was going to be the slam dunk winner .
At it’s sickest level fuel poverty death’s are caused by failed “renewable ” power agenda and the rip off of
tax payers , many who are poor already , so that pals of government can be subsidized . Usually completely screwing tax payers . This is organized theft on an international scale and civilized genocide
cloaked as saving the planet . It must stop .

Andrew Pearson
January 2, 2017 3:52 pm

In the UK people have been told that if they want electricity 24/7 they will soon have to pay a premium. Who do you think will suffer? The greens don’t care if the poor freeze in the dark.

January 2, 2017 4:03 pm

This article seems to imply that you have coal fired power plants shutting down because they have been replaced by renewables. I’ve been telling folks that hasn’t happened yet anywhere that I know of. Most of the shut downs are because they can’t make money under the renewbal mandates and requirements to cut production when the wind blows so the windmill electrons get sold first. Some are because natural gas has become very competitive economically. Have there actually been Australian coal plants closed because their capacity has been replaced?

Reply to  DMA
January 2, 2017 4:28 pm

Reality….yes SA built 1.5 gw of wind so they could shut down 500 mW of coal that was driven out by a skewed power market designed to do exactly that.
Fake news…….coal plant closes because wind is soooooo cheap it could not compete.
Reality……gas is too dear so we don’t run our 1.2 gw thermal gas so instead we import thermal brown coal power from Victoria as its cheaper and because our wind plants don’t produce enough energy sometimes we don’t get enough coal power and we get blackouts/ load shedding.
Fake news…..we are building more wonderful wind plants and are one step closer to our utopian dream
Reality…..the SA government is scrambling to cut a deal with NSW to build an interconnect so we have access to their black coal and the Chinese want to build a gas plant here.
You could not make this shit up

Reply to  DMA
January 2, 2017 6:47 pm

“coal plant closes because wind is soooooo cheap it could not compete”
No, the coal plant closed because it was so expensive, that it couldn’t compete even with gas (if properly costed). It required maintaining a mine and town in the desert; railing the low-grade coal 250 km to another town and generator on the edge of the desert; then wiring the electricity (with fragile pylons) 300 km to Adelaide.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 9:00 pm

NIck, If the energy generated by wind and solar is mandated, therefore it is not necessarily cheaper. Repeat,it’s mandated
The Pt. Augusta plant was most likely generating power much cheaper than the wind and solar facilities on the South Australia power grid. They just could not compete with the more efficient power plants burning coal and gas that are on the same system and are their head to head competitors.
Those of us living in South Australia are paying some of the highest power costs in the world, and it’s because of renewable energy mandates. South Australian power used to be the cheapest in the country.
As businesses leave (due to the high power costs) and the power demand decreases the mandated power remains and the cheaper power gets shut off; driving costs even higher and driving more businesses out of state.
We are screwed.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 9:14 pm

” They just could not compete with the more efficient power plants burning coal and gas”
That is my point here. Pt Augusta would have closed regardless of renewables. As Kwinana in WA was switched from Collie coal to gas in 1985.
But renewables aren’t mandated in the market. They are just unbeatable in market bidding because they have no marginal (fuel) cost.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 10:39 pm

NIck, you live in a different world of economics. Renewables made the cost of power in SA nearly the highest in the world. It is chasing manufacturing away.
You don’t seem to understand that Pt. Augusta produced power much cheaper than renewables like wind and solar. If they produced power at a tenth the cost of renewables, they were priced out of the market by being 10% higher than the next closest fossil fuel power plant. Wind and solar could cost 20 cents/kwhr, Pt Augusta 2 cents per kwhr and the nearest fossil fuel plant competitor 1.8 cents/kwhr. 1.8 cents/kwhr is still a lot cheaper than 20 cents/kwhr but that did not matter to the Weatherill government.
As a resident of SA, I get kicked in the groin and Weatherill get re-elected.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 11:13 pm

Nick, you don’t understand the evil that is inherent in the words “Renewable Energy Target”. The electricity suppliers must provide power from “renewable sources”, no matter how uneconomical they are.
And yes, the coal fired power stations were a constant emarasment to the government. They could produce power at a tenth of the cost of the unreliables. That’s whey they had to be destroyed.

January 2, 2017 4:06 pm

Hello, only when the Liberal come National i.e. (Conservative) Parties finally bites the bullet and admits that CO2 is a good gas, essential for all life on Earth, and certainly not a pollutant , which the Opposition Labour Party still keeps on telling us it is, will we see sanity and a end to all subsidies to renewable energy.
Then coal will again be able to compete price wise and new power stations would be built.
In effect the Labour States taxed the coal fired power stations out of existance, as their idology still says that coal is BAD, Bad, Bad. Yes in their thinking they seem to be quite MAD.
And to think that once the Labour Party stood for the working class men and women, and especially the poor.. Today Labour seems to be run by the Elites and the Green, mostly the same people. Lots of watermellons, Green on the outside and very red inside. . .

michael hammer
Reply to  Michael Elliott
January 3, 2017 12:28 am

Michael Elliott: Amen to that

Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 4:15 pm

Dr Finkel is simply pointing out a problem. Solar is becoming cheaper. It is attractive for increasing nubers of people to install their own, and reduce reliance on the grid. That means that an increasing numbr of poorer people, who don’t have that option, will be those that have to rely on it.
So what can be done. Only really three options:
1. Laissez faire. The poorer are slugged with the costs of maintaining and powering the grid, while others install solar. It costs them more, with possibly decreasing reliability.
2. Forbid or discourage the use of solar. That enlarges the pool of people who use and maintain the grid. It is a form of tax on those who would prefer solar, and are denied the benefits.
3. Allow solar, but accept, as has been the past custom, that maintenance of an affordable grid is a social responsibility, so taxpayers contribute.
I can see who would prefer 1 and 3. But who likes 2?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 4:23 pm

What should not be done is to subsidize wind and solar, with their horrific environmental impacts both installed on site and during manufacture in China. Not to mention the economic lunacy of not selling clean, high BTU American coal from “death trains” to China, which instead burns its crummy, dirty coal, spreading “black carbon” in the Arctic.

Reply to  Chimp
January 2, 2017 4:24 pm

And of course S pollution, as is now blanketing Beijing and other cities in lethal fog reminiscent of London’s Great Smog in Dec 1952.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Chimp
January 2, 2017 5:51 pm

” not selling clean, high BTU American coal”
The Chinese are free to buy Australian coal, which is probably better. And they do, but they are choosy.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Chimp
January 2, 2017 7:36 pm

“Nick Stokes January 2, 2017 at 5:51 pm
The Chinese are free to buy Australian coal, which is probably better. And they do, but they are choosy.”
Choosy about price, and the Chinese are looking at cheaper options in Africa. So when Asia and India drop Australian coal watch the mining boom pop…oh wait!

Reply to  Chimp
January 2, 2017 11:57 pm

In Australia, solar is still being marketed by various companies as being with significant government incentives … haven’t heard of any government incentives for ‘normal’ power ! Facts of the matter are that electricity prices are artificially hiked to assist paying for the “incentives” for renewable sources.

Reg Nelson
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 4:39 pm

Or how about:
4. No subsidies for solar (or wind), and if they run out of sun (or wind) then they suffer their own predetermined fate, no evil fossil fuel back up for for them — let them live Green day and night until for the rest of their days.

J Mac
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 5:06 pm

Let’s consider:
Accept home installed solar electricity with no subsidy support and buy surplus electricity from solar home owners at 40% of retail rate, to provide utility revenue needed for grid improvements and back up base power production induced by the unreliable solar energy production.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  J Mac
January 2, 2017 5:47 pm

Yes, you could do that. But it doesn’t answer Dr Finkel’s problem, which is that reducing costs will make solar attractive with or without subsidy – currently about 30% here, but self-regulating, so if it does become as widespread as he envisages, the subsidy will have reduced a lot. It seems you are suggesting that solar providers should subsidise the grid by being offered a low price. But the problem seems to be that they won’t need to sell, because of batteries. So we’re still stuck with – who then pays for the grid?

Reply to  J Mac
January 3, 2017 12:00 am

Batteries … are still substandard despite all of the claims. Feel sorry for the poor saps that buy batteries (heavily subsidised of course) that crap out after 5 or 6 years. NiCad is NiCad is NiCad …. etc., etc.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 6:31 pm

“saying that there are only three options”
By all means add any more that you can think of
“The complications emerge when some people become consumers and producers “
But this may simplify. Dr Finkel envisages when solar systems have batteries, so users don’t need to sell; they just generate what they need.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 7:41 pm

“Nick Stokes January 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm”
Nick readily forgets one major hurdle, according to the last census, most people in Australia now live in and rent apartments. That prevents the option to install “renewables”, crikey, we can’t even put up picture hooks without permission. So, we “renters”, effectively subsidise those that can install solar/wind etc.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 3, 2017 12:01 am


Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 2, 2017 11:15 pm

“Solar is becoming cheaper”: Sorry, Nick but the apparent reduction in price of solar is actually a large increase subsidies from my pocket (the taxpayers), into the hands of various rent-seekers.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Hivemind
January 3, 2017 1:40 am

Here is a Wiki plot of prices reducing in recent years.comment image
The reductions far exceed any level of subsidy (not included here). Price with subsidy in 2009 is more than price without subsidy in 2012 (on Australian subsidy levels).

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Hivemind
January 3, 2017 1:46 am

Sorry, the wiki url didn’t include the captions. It’s here:comment image

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Hivemind
January 3, 2017 3:11 am

Wiki? LOL Nick, you are ex-CSIRO you MUST have access to a more reliable source?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Hivemind
January 3, 2017 10:20 am

“Wiki? LOL”
Wiki gives its sources. People here make assertions with no source or basis whatever. In this case, the Japan/US figures are from NREL. Here is their version. Note the factory gate reduction, by a factor of about 5, from 2007-2012. These reductions swamp any effect of subsidy.comment image

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2017 12:12 am

“Dr Finkel is simply pointing out a problem. Solar is becoming cheaper.”
He’s not pointing out the real problem at all. That is the disgraceful way Government is deliberately and actively promoting one of the purist forms of dumping ever devised (see comments)-
All electrons are not equal and as such no supplier to the grid should be allowed to tender any electrons they can’t guarantee 24/7 all year round. Keep them for themselves and only reliable electrons flow through the grid for all to use.

michael hammer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2017 12:31 am

Nick; option 4 – let those who want to go the solar route pay the full cost of that rather than offer them massive subsidies ultimately paid for by the poor.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michael hammer
January 3, 2017 1:42 am

Subsidies play a small role compared with the lowering cost of PV. And the subsidy issue doesn’t fix Finkel’s issue. People would be installing solar without subsidy, and that still leaves the grid financing issue.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  michael hammer
January 4, 2017 3:35 am

A workmate is trying to claim that AusGrid, the company responsible for the wires, poles and connectivity in Australia etc, is “creating” surges on supply lines causing inverters to fail. He claims that since connecting his solar to the grid, AusGrid, sends power surges to “kill” inverters, specifically his, expensive, inverters because that is what the error codes the inverters reports. The makers say it’s a surge issue. When I said to him that his solar is non-sychcronous, non-dispatchable, and inserting that into a synchronous grid can cause instability, like in South Australia, his eyes glazed over. This is the problem. He was only concerned about reducing his power bill, stuff everyone else!

4 Eyes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2017 3:49 am

Or 5. If you elect to use solar you are not allowed to connect to that every reliable grid for backup or if you do you pay the full true cost (poles wires interconnectors and their share of the full cost of the spinning generator that they will expect to deliver them uninterrupted power when all else fails) plus a premium. History is lost on some people. The reason that SA and Victoria managed to prosper was that early governments saw the economic value of fully connected grids with several high output generators (and the technical issues of synchronous speed). And Nick, every possible incentive was provided to get people to use renewables. You are plain wrong – renewables, wind for larger scale grid supply and solar for domestic users, were nowhere near economical compared with thermal generation. Don’t try to rewrite history. The green socialists from both SA and the national energy marketeers have got just what they wanted – the lignite plant has been made uneconomic by politics, not by market forces. The shrinking support base for grid power was predicted years ago but lefties just ignore practical realities that might spoil the utopian dreams.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2017 10:46 pm

easiest way to reduce the cost of power to the poor is to remove the mandated REC cost to generators and retailers.
solar, wind etc can fend for themselves. if indeed they are cheaper, then they can bid on equal terms with coal and gas. of course they would lose in an open market.

January 2, 2017 4:36 pm

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
Another example of how it is not supposed “Global Warming” that hurts the poor, rather the draconian “Green” policies, schemes and scams that bring misery, doom and gloom.

January 2, 2017 4:45 pm

Off topic but would one of you weather experts tell me if there are available data sets for hourly/daily temp and humidity for various US cities? thanks much.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  josephbleau
January 2, 2017 6:44 pm

Go to this site (once there you can ask for a different city)
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (KSEA)
On the right side of the page under the heading “More information” click on “3 Day History”
Note the times are often more than hourly.
To find where these data are stored, or even if they are, scroll to the bottom and contact the folks.

January 2, 2017 4:53 pm

Those living in poverty in Ontario, Canada, are having to choose between eating and paying their electricity bills. link
It’s the same story. The Liberal party has signed ruinous contracts with renewable energy suppliers. link The result is that Ontario has the highest electricity rates in North America. Not only are the poor suffering but businesses are leaving. That means fewer jobs and more poor people.

January 2, 2017 5:00 pm

Subsidised donestic solar gas been the biggest and most obvious transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich (I mean poorish to richish, not the cash grab by mega rich of solar and wind farms) that I’ve ever seen. The ones who can’t afford solar panels have to pay extra for those who can.
My only confusion is why so few people seem to realise this.

January 2, 2017 6:01 pm

The situation in Australia is ludicrous at many levels. But one thing seems clear to me: energy needs to be a federal rather than state policy area.

Reply to  Peter Gardner
January 3, 2017 5:44 am

Right. So then one idiot in the Federal government can destroy the energy supply for the every state in the country.

January 2, 2017 6:14 pm

A friend of mine is receiving a 300 dollar credit every qtr for his solar set up and when I reminded him that won’t be a sustainable proposition for the company he is set up with with respect to potential loss of profit over time, he said, ‘couldn’t care less, ill sue the mother#######”s if they try and take my subsidy away’.
That’s what we’re dealing with. He thinks it’s a good thing that someone like me who is on-the-grid, is paying for his setup and as long as it’s someone else’s money, who gives a flying fig (sounds familiar……government?) This will only end in tears all around and we have only our government policy’s to thank for this absurd situation.

Reply to  craig
January 3, 2017 7:19 am

“This will only end in tears all around and we have only our government policy’s to thank for this absurd situation.”
You also have a bunch of dishonest scientists to thank for this situation. The scientists who purposely decided to manipulate the surface temperture record in order to promote the concept that humans, by burning fossil fuels, are causing the Earth’s climate to change for the worse.
Your local politicians wouldn’t be pushing for this insane energy policy, because they couldn’t justify it, were it not for the backing they get from dishonest and duped scientists who promote CAGW.

Gary Pearse
January 2, 2017 6:55 pm

Nick Stokes, avoiding fossil fuels and nuclear is a moral and technical disaster. Do a majority of Australians not watch the news or read what is happening in the rest of the world? Even if you believers in carbon dioxide doom were correct, and so far there is not a jot of evidence for it, shutting down your coal and gas entirely would not make the slightest difference to CO2 levels and your calculated warming. What it does do is put large proportions of populations at risk.
This is the first time that actual socialist voters in countries like Oz are the useful fools of the world. The so-called labor party’s constituency is outside the country in a new world order to be run by elites. They tell voters they’ll put a chicken in every pot, get their vote and then go ahead and serve a cadre of elites mainly outside the country. This the powers that be do until they can figure out how to get out of having a vote at all. It is already a cynical and dishonest exercise and not intended for these trusting, vulnerable folk. Trump is now the best bet for the rest of the world.
You may correct me on the party in power but that would be proof that you don’t get it. The parties you all think you are supporting don’t exist anymore! Nick, you are a smart guy and a good person to be an advocate to stir up the argument in science. I suspect you are also a very decent, empathetic and goodhearted character as well. Please open your eyes and realize that what is really happening is ugly and political. You must be a little suspicious. Use your demonstrated intelligence to do something for your desperate poorer compatriots. You don’t want the ‘Poms’ to have to show the way surely!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 2, 2017 7:43 pm

“Gary Pearse January 2, 2017 at 6:55 pm”
When sport is on, Aussies don’t care about much else on TV. I am a migrant to Australia and I can see the rot eating away at the Australian lifestyle. I am seriously considering migrating to South Africa or even Zimbabwe.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 3, 2017 9:05 am

Thanks Patrick. The rot comes from the same ugly cadre of global elites who designed a ‘sustainable education’ to make idiot dependents out of people so their meaningless vote can be secured. Abby Hoffman, a US activist of two generations ago, colourfully coined the term ‘designer brains’ to mock people whose education was even better than now. Look at campaign platforms that focus on local issues and then what they actually do once they have your vote.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 4, 2017 3:24 am

My wife, who is in Zimbabwe (Zim), contacted me urgently tonight needing money, Zim banks have no money and won’t accept anything other than cash. Run on the banks in Zim, like Greece? WFC Mk 2 approaching? Ford pulling out of Mexico and building new cars in the US *again* after Trump, will Trump make America great again?

John in Oz
January 2, 2017 7:42 pm

The issue of fewer users having to pay for the electricity network as more people become self-sufficient will be mirrored by the lack of fuel excises, currently around $040/litre, if electric vehicles become the norm.

John in Oz
Reply to  John in Oz
January 2, 2017 7:42 pm

OOPS! $0.40c/litre

Chris Hanley
January 2, 2017 11:00 pm

Just get rid of the state and federal ‘renewable’ mandates and the problem goes away — end of story.
For a country blessed with more energy resources than it will possibly need, a country whose major commodity export is high quality coal, the situation is beyond bizarre.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 2, 2017 11:25 pm

+ a million.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 3, 2017 2:34 am

We can’t do that. That “energy” has to be dug up, shrink wrapped and exported to somewhere else and then burnt. We here in Aus, we’re not allowed to do that…

4 Eyes
Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 3, 2017 3:59 am

I agree. They have interfered with a functioning system by using subsidies and now we have a huge mess which not a single pollie will want to sort out properly because going forward every solution is too hard to bear. Truly, beyond bizarre.

Leo Smith
January 2, 2017 11:23 pm

Just get rid of the state and federal ‘renewable’ mandates and the problem goes away — end of story.

If only. All these endless debates about how we can ‘fix’ the issues of renewables by ‘investing’ even larger sums of money in what is frankly a failed initiative are getting boring.
Instead if trying to learn to drive cars with square wheels, or developing expensive suspension to cope with it, perhaps we should just go back to round ones.

January 3, 2017 12:05 am

The failure of Germany’s “Energiewende” … Australia is NOT learning from this massive failure!
“If today’s German power grid sounds like a horror story of communist state-planned management, it is because it is in fact so. And unsurprisingly the whole industry is well on its way to a Soviet style meltdown.
For this we have former East German communist Angela Merkel to thank, in part, along with her spineless West German CDU cohorts, many of whom eagerly hopped on the gravy train and let the country be taken for a wild ride.”

January 3, 2017 12:08 am

I presume that when he says “For companies to buy a megawatt of electricity “, I presume he means megawatthour.

4 Eyes
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
January 3, 2017 4:08 am

Phillip, I presume he has no idea. We still see, on a daily basis, pollies, journos and greenies who have no idea what the difference between energy and power is, and the significant implications that difference has on the electricity supply debate.

Robert from oz
January 3, 2017 12:29 am

Nick why not do something crazy and suggest that Sa goes back to the drawing board and works out when the problem first started , when the blackouts began , when the prices skyrocketed and put everything back the way it was before .
Oh sorry can’t do that don’t want that nasty Co2 fertilising plants and greening deserts do we .

January 3, 2017 12:30 am

Australian politicians aren’t against burning cheap fossil fuels, they’re just against their fellow Australians burning cheap fossil fuels.
Make their lives miserable, just as they wish a diminished life on you.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Mark M
January 3, 2017 4:02 am

Aussi pollies won’t be back at “work” until Feb…after their long llllonnnnnng lllllllllllllonnnnnnnnnnnnggggg summer “retreat”.

Man Bearpigg
January 3, 2017 4:24 am

Is there another linke, the Aussie paper is paywalled.

Reasonable Skeptic
January 3, 2017 9:32 am

If we want to get to low emissions’ isn’t the best way to fuck things up so bad that our economies collapse? I think things are looking mighty good if this is the real objective.

Joel Snider
January 3, 2017 1:59 pm

It’s no coincidence that your big green energy supporters are at a comfortable six figures or better. They’re perfectly willing to others suffer for the warm fuzzy they get from saving the planet.
For thee, not me…

January 3, 2017 4:15 pm

The left only “cares” about the poor when they attempt to contrast themselves with non-liberals and proclaim that only liberals care. Any other time, the poor don’t exist for liberals. That’s part of the reason charitable contributions by liberals run only a fraction of the amount donated by non-liberals. Oh, and don’t believe me on that. Look it up for yourself. Liberals believe in being very charitable with other people’s money, not their own.

January 3, 2017 6:28 pm

From Kylar Loissikian in The Australian (Jan 4th 2017)-
“Electricity companies have begun hiking consumer prices around the country, blaming the closure of coal-fired generators and the increased cost of renewable ­energy for higher-than-predicted increases of more than $130 this year.
EnergyAustralia and AGL have increased electricity tariffs in Victoria by $135 and $132 on ­average for the year respectively — greatly exceeding state government modelling that concluded bills would rise by $27 to $100.
The Victorian price rises will flow from this week but the companies’ customers in other states, including South Australia and NSW, face a yet-to-be announced price rise in June.”
“The Australian Energy Council has warned the impact will be greatest in Victoria and South Australia, which face the biggest wholesale price increases.”
“The Energy Council’s corporate affairs general manager, Sarah McNamara, said the ­Victorian wholesale price increases were a “byproduct of the reduction in the state’s generation capacity by around 20 per cent, a direct consequence of the upcoming closure of the Hazelwood power station in March”. The Energy Council, which represents major electricity and gas producers, has repeatedly called for a national strategy to deal with supply issues and price volatility as older power stations are retired and an increasing amount of large-scale renewable energy is made available.”
“An EnergyAustralia spokesman said the average $11 a month increase in Victoria reflected “higher generation, general business and government green-scheme costs”. In that state, there was an increase in the cost of buying electricity for 2017 from about $40 a megawatt hour in January to more than $60 a megawatt hour in November, he said.
“The closure of the Northern power station in South Australia, increased demand for gas by large LNG projects in Queensland, reliability issues and … the market’s reaction to the closure of Hazelwood were among the main factors,” he said.
AGL, through a spokesman, said residential electricity prices would rise by $2.59 a week, on ave­rage, or a 9.9 per cent increase, while small and medium-size businesses would see costs increase by 13.4 per cent.”
Welcome to Nick Stokes and Co’s cheap Green energy folks.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  observa
January 4, 2017 3:18 am

And power prices are set to “skyrocket” across Aus as conventional coal goes end of life!

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