Green Policy Drama: Political Clash at a Federal News Conference

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

High Drama in Australian Green Politics – The Premier of the failed energy state of South Australia has publicly clashed with Federal Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg at a joint news conference, accusing the Federal minister to his face of being part of the most “anti” South Australian government in living memory.

Watch SA Premier Jay Weatherill shirtfront Josh Frydenberg over energy policy

By political reporter Jane Norman

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill have clashed during a bizarre press conference that descended into a slanging match over energy policy.

The Federal Government has been relentlessly attacking South Australia’s approach to energy and its over-reliance on renewable sources, since last year’s state-wide black out.

Mr Weatherill this week announced a half-a-billion dollar plan to shore up the state’s fragile power supply, which was dismissed as a “$550 million admission of failure” by Mr Frydenberg, who accused the state of trying to “go it alone”.

In Adelaide to launch a federally funded “virtual power plant”, Mr Frydenberg found himself seated awkwardly between Mr Weatherill and South Australia’s Treasurer, Tim Koutsantonis, and then conducting a joint press conference with the Premier.

Read more:

The video of the clash;

Regardless of your views on renewable energy, I can’t help feeling none of this would have happened if South Australia’s grid was sourced from reliable, dispatchable energy sources.

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john karajas
March 15, 2017 10:13 pm

Jay Weatherill is an outrage!

M Seward
Reply to  john karajas
March 16, 2017 1:26 am

If he wasn’t one of those made for media, Jerry Brown/Obama types he would be but unfortunately he is just the sort of political cockroach that has evolved to optimise its opportunities courtesy of the glare of the MSM.

Weatherill is the new normal. Trump is the outrage, thank God.

That doesn’t mean that Weatherall isn’t an airheaded idiot.

increasingly skeptical
Reply to  john karajas
March 16, 2017 2:42 am

Jay is an outage

Reply to  increasingly skeptical
March 16, 2017 6:43 am

hes a unit for sure

March 15, 2017 10:31 pm

Tasmania continues to operate as a failed state, in a fashion, due to a significant portion of its energy needs being supplied by hydro projects, built in better days when rational thinking was more prevalent.
Unfortunately, South Australia is now a failed state as well, but without the luxury of hydro power. All they have is wind, both natural and anthropogenic.

John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia
Reply to  Asp
March 16, 2017 12:07 am

Weatherill (oh the irony of his name) is such a bag of wind he should let it out the next time of an energy emergency to keep those windmills turning.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia
March 16, 2017 9:01 am

Unfortunately hot air rises, so it’s not likely to be of any help.

Ben D
March 15, 2017 10:36 pm

What’s a “virtual power plant”?

Reply to  Ben D
March 15, 2017 10:47 pm

A thousand houses each with batteries, powering the State with Unicorn farts.

Reply to  TimiBoy
March 16, 2017 5:10 am

I am in favour of anything that helps the unicorns.Sign me up.

Stephen Greene
Reply to  TimiBoy
March 16, 2017 6:27 am

My daughter just told my that…, “Daddy, that’s just plain silly, everybody knows that Unicorns don’t fart (she actually said toot).”

Ben D
Reply to  Ben D
March 15, 2017 10:48 pm

I see….

Found this def…A virtual power plant (VPP) is a system that integrates several types of power sources, (such as microCHP, wind-turbines, small hydro, photovoltaics, back-up gensets, and batteries) so as to give a reliable overall power supply.

Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 12:06 am

A virtual power plant is the energy sector’s eqvivalent to the Great Leap Forward where China, under Mao, tried to become a great economy through steel production in backyard furnances in the country side. It failed then, and it will fail now.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 12:53 am

Joel, you are inspiring me.

It is the Great Leap-Frog forward. The idea is that if you already have someone on their knees before you, coal power, you can use it/them to power ahead to a place that is otherwise unattainable – the front of the line.

Once you have leap-frogged forward, you quickly realise there is no way to get farther. This is akin to building a solar/wind generating system using cheap Chinese coal to create even the first leap. You cannot leap-frog yourself. You need to get coal to move ahead, just as you did, then you can create a new batch of ‘renewables’ using cheap coal power again – the next leap.

What could go wrong?

Coal in the long run is unsustainable. Solar/wind is already unaffordable. If the solar/wind system were to be expanded using only power from itself, the equivalent of leap-frogging over oneself, it would be both unsustainable and unaffordable. Solar/wind made from solar/wind is both, so in the long run it is a lost cause.

We need another solution. Maybe feeding beans to unicorns is the answer.

M Seward
Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 1:28 am

A VPP is a complex device that needs careful, realistic analaysis and balancing of constituents parts to work. About as far removed from Green Left policy as possible.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 1:56 am

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek March 16, 2017 at 12:53 am

Apparently, there is enough coal in the ground for hundred of years, oil for and gas for 3oo yrs. They are of course wishy washy estimates but there is enough time to stop erecting windturbines and solar panels and research and develop the next generations of nuclear

Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 7:32 am

Out of those the only ones that are useful are microCHP & small hydro. Small hydro is 24×7 provided it isn’t so small that the stream that feeds it doesn’t dry up in summer. The combined heat & power is basically a Sterling engine on your furnace to lower your electrical consumption.

You would think that working out how to integrate all these things would have been done FIRST but hey I’m just an amateur who thinks that the cart shouldn’t be in front of the horse.

Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 7:46 am

So did the energy minister point out that “broken” market refers to the sabotaging of the market by crazy climate fanatic policies?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 2:45 pm

So a Virtual Power Plant produces virtual power with virtual reliability?

DC Cowboy
Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 4:14 pm

To give virtual heat and light virtual lightbulbs

Reply to  Ben D
March 15, 2017 10:50 pm

Following the link;

“The VPP is an initiative of power company AGL and involves solar panels and battery storage at hundreds of properties being linked together to form a five-megawatt virtual solar power station.”

So, distributed solar power + batteries. five megawatts @ 20 million dollars = 4 dollars per watt of capacity.
And we know solar provides no power at night or during cloudy days. How long will the batteries last?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  LarryD
March 16, 2017 12:02 am

The VPP is the federal scheme that Frydenberg came to spruik. It isn’t Weatherill’s.

South Australians vote in Federal elections too. I don’t think SA Government members would have been comfortable watching that press conference.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  LarryD
March 16, 2017 12:04 am

Opps, sorry, got that one wrong. It is Weatherills. Got the terminology mixed.

Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 2:00 am

A “virtual power plant” is an incredibly complex and hard to co ordinate mess of technologies all jammed together and destined to fail.
The sole purpose of such a device is to get a politicians privates out of a political crack by seeming to actually do something about an emergency caused by said politicians incompetence.

Reply to  Felflames
March 16, 2017 3:07 am

How does this VPP get activated? the grid is still 230-240 50 cycles. So far with these blackouts, once the grid goes down, only a conventional turbine, gas, coal fired, spinning at 3000 rpm can get the grid running again Takes a while to get 60 tonnes up to that operating speed.

Reply to  Ben D
March 16, 2017 8:00 pm

It is not a power system designed and built by real Engineers. It is designed and built by far-left political hacks.

March 15, 2017 11:01 pm

Knowing how spineless the federal government is, they’ll let this rubbish pass through to the keeper without swinging the bat. Frydenberg should’ve got in his face and told him where to shove his green pipe dream.

Reply to  craig
March 16, 2017 1:15 am

He should have told him that this “anti-South Australian ” government has promised SA a 50billion dollar project building submarines which would be much cheaper to build elsewhere because the SA government is too useless to manage any kind of industrial infrastructure.

Reply to  gnome
March 16, 2017 4:11 am

I laughed when I heard they were going to build submarines in Adelaide for the next 50 years. Manned submarines will not exist in 50 years. What they are building in Adelaide will be obsolete in a few years as manned submarines are replaced with smaller, more effective drone submarines. Able to hibernate off the coast of some beligerent country for years until needed.

Any investment into manned weapons is a waste of money. The country with the fastest thumbs is going to win the next war.

Reply to  gnome
March 16, 2017 4:28 am

Beat me to it gnome. So sick of paying extra tax to bail out basket case states and territories. Its time the federal government cut the subsidies that support Sth Oz, Tasmania and NT. And ACT as well for that matter.

Gerry England
Reply to  craig
March 16, 2017 1:56 pm

I think he was doing well not to burst out laughing. He nearly lost it at one point.

March 15, 2017 11:20 pm

What has gotten into the water in Oz? I always thought the were a logical, pragmatic, survival type of community, Is the kool-aid that sweet?

Reply to  asybot
March 16, 2017 1:18 am

You could be onto something there. Adelaide is famous for that fact that it is one of two places in the world where ships do not take on water. Maybe long term use does lead to dementia and other disorders of the mind.
South Australia probably lead the way down the Progressive Green Left road to nowhere, starting with Don Dunstan in his pink safari suit, and ending (hopefully) with the current bird-brained Canary in the Cage.

Reply to  Asp
March 16, 2017 4:32 am

Eric must swim in some pretty horrible swimming pools.
I have NEVER seen swimming pool water that brown.

M Seward
Reply to  asybot
March 16, 2017 1:30 am

The water in SA is utter crap, the worst in the country. But you are right, they top it up with kool ade to disguise the rotten taste.

feed berple
Reply to  M Seward
March 16, 2017 2:22 am

Dung, added liberally does wonders for the taste of SA water.

Reply to  asybot
March 16, 2017 2:04 am

SA water flows from as far away as northern Queensland and the Northern Territory.
So you can imagine what it picks up along the way.

Reply to  Felflames
March 16, 2017 4:31 am

Yep….all the usual ingredients that keep mushrooms feed.

Reply to  asybot
March 16, 2017 3:18 am

Adelaide water used to come from the Murray River & had an awfully muddy taste (and colour) because of the turbidity of the river. Since the 90s, every suburb of Adelaide has had filtered water & it is just as clean & clear as anybody else’s. So no more ill-educated cracks about Adelaide water, please.

Reply to  Hivemind
March 17, 2017 6:22 am

I strongly suspect that South Australia will no longer require water from the Murray River.
They will have solar and wind water.

Jeffrey Mitchell
March 15, 2017 11:30 pm

If South Australia elects their premier, then I’d say let them solve the problem themselves. If they’re going to make the decision to go completely renewable, let them learn their lesson the hard way. If the Feds bail them out, they won’t learn.

The same should happen to California. If they’re going to skip maintaining their infrastructure to build a train to nowhere, then we should leave them be and not bail out the maintenance projects like the Oroville dam. I don’t want to pay for that train boondoggle they want to build. Since money is fungible, I think our Feds should leave them alone to fix their problems. If we bail them out, they won’t learn and the rest of us pay to throw money into a bottomless pit. Let them have the fruits of their mismanagement.

Reply to  Jeffrey Mitchell
March 15, 2017 11:38 pm

The FED can use the money saved to build a large fence.

Kalifornia Kook
Reply to  Jeffrey Mitchell
March 16, 2017 11:28 am

We’re kind of under-incentivized to maintain our dams. FEMA is picking up 75% of the repair bill, so we’re not out as much as maintenance would have been. If we lose the dam entirely, we could consider re-negotiating our agreement with the Fed, who uses 40% of our water supply to entice salmon to our rivers, and to protect about 200 delta smelt. If we had that water now, we wouldn’t have droughts. 200 delta smelts are more important than food (they are, after all, natural, and we’re invaders), and the salmon are pretty. Everyone likes to watch them swim up river to lay eggs. And the smell a few days later is intoxicating. It should attract more tourism. Maybe enough to pay for the train, now that the new taxes aren’t bringing in the cash expected. (Strangely enough, people changed their buying habits.) “I wasn’t expecting that!”

Chris in Hervey Bay
March 15, 2017 11:35 pm

And the ones in the south say we are all crazy in Queensland ! At least we have some monster power stations sitting right on the coal fields.
Let ’em eat cake.

Nick Stokes
March 16, 2017 12:38 am

Here is the policy Josh Frydenberg’s government took to the electorate last July:


The Turnbull Government will double large scale renewable energy in Australia over the next four years.

Under the Renewable Energy Target, more than 23% of Australia’s electricity will come from renewable energy by 2020. We are supporting large scale projects, while at the same time making solar more affordable for households.

We are encouraging new technology to assist in the transition to clean energy, through the $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund. This Fund will target projects such as large-scale solar.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 16, 2017 12:48 am

And only won by one seat. Taking this policy along with others cost the federal government seats and now we have a basket case of a parliment.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  craig
March 16, 2017 12:53 am

“And only won by one seat.”

Well, here is the policy of the party that nearly beat them:

What is Labor’s plan?

Labor wants to see 50 per cent of our electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030. This includes not just large-scale renewables but small and industry based generation. We want to see solar panels become the norm on the roof-tops of Australian homes and businesses, with millions more to be built and installed over the next 15 years.

We want to see battery technology continue to improve so that electricity from solar panels can be stored in most homes and small businesses to lower power bills. We want to make sure that investors in windfarms and other renewable energy generators can be confident about investing.

Reply to  craig
March 16, 2017 9:08 am

I honestly feel sorry for Australians. They get the ‘choice’ of voting for the party that wants to shoot itself in the foot or the one that wants to go all out and shoot itself in the head.

I figure it’s only a matter of time before enough Ausies get fed up with it and we get another Trump/UKIP.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  craig
March 16, 2017 9:31 am

So, it’s just how fast the handcart gets to hell, not the final destination, that’s different.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 16, 2017 12:48 am

Meh! Government policies change all the time. The LNP has found something that is greener, more reliable and already in use. That’s a win for me over ugly and unreliable wind turbines & solar panels.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 16, 2017 2:03 am

Yep, and isn’t it the most moronic anti-science , anti-progress anti-CO2 piece of junk you have ever seen

No wonder Turncoat lost so many seats.

The very best solution for Australia would be to SCRAP the RET, and build a large HELE coal fired power station in each state that has quality coal supplies.

Gas or hydro expansion also where possible.

THAT is the policy that any reasonable, sensible government should adopt. !!

These unreliable, intermittent so-called “renewables”, with their absolutely necessary subsidies and feed-in mantra, are nothing but a total drag on the electricity supply throughout the developed world.

Reply to  AndyG55
March 16, 2017 2:06 am

” the most moronic anti-science , anti-progress anti-CO2 piece of junk you have ever seen”

Apart form the ALP/Green fantasy that Nick espouses.

That is by far the most MORONIC anti-development piece of fantasy ideology that one could ever see.

No wonder fairy-tail Nick thinks it is worthwhile.!!

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 16, 2017 2:40 am

The 23% renewable is a compromise that the Liberals worked out with labor and greens. It was the Labor party and Greens who were the ones pressing for a 50% and higher renewable target.

Turnbull today announced plans for a project to expand the Snowy Range hydroelectric system. The economics look a lot better for Turnbulls hydroelectric project than those proposed by Weatherill and his project in SA.

Would you like to exchange billing rates with those in SA? I think those who are in favor of renewable wind and solar should pay the cost of their choice and those of us who are in favor of fossil fuel electric generation should pay those rates. Once the shift in rates is made I think you will see the support for renewables fall away.

Lets face it; Weatherill is an idiot and covers his stupidity by throwing a hissy fit for his base. He is a “nothing-burger”.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 3:08 am

D’Accor –

Would you like to exchange billing rates with those in SA? I think those who are in favor of renewable wind and solar should pay the cost of their choice and those of us who are in favor of fossil fuel electric generation should pay those [ fossil fuel electric generation ] rates.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 3:15 am

“The economics look a lot better for Turnbulls hydroelectric project than those proposed by Weatherill and his project in SA.”
Yes. SA does not have Snowy mountains. Nor decent coal, and their gas is being sent to Sydney, and now to Asia. It’s fine or armchair critics, but SA has always struggled with electricity generation. Weatherill is looking for feasible solutions.

Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 3:24 am

“Weatherill is looking for feasible solutions.”

Would you please remind me which state government forced it’s last coal fired power plant to close, then dynamited it’s chimney stack so it couldn’t be restarted?

That’s right, SA did it. Not the most feasible solution, was it?

Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 3:57 am

Nick, If gas companies were allowed to drill and exploit coal seam gas, there would be no need to send SA gas out of state. It is because of the policies of the greens that halted fracing and coal seam gas exploitation that there is the problem.

There is plenty of gas available in SA, just put on another compressor at Moomba. And if you really want more gas, just raise it’s price and see how much gas gets developed. SA and the rest of Australia are not immune to the pricing and supply/demand curves for products.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 4:09 am

“Nick Stokes March 16, 2017 at 3:15 am

…but SA has always struggled with electricity generation. Weatherill is looking for feasible solutions.”

Since when? Ahh, since Weatherill. He’s looking for a scapegoat…and he’s not having any luck looking outwards and pointing fingers. He should start looking in a mirror, and then resign and let an adult take over.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 4:28 am

Weatherill is trying to loadshed BLAME! Ha!

Peter Miller
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 16, 2017 3:04 am

What the ecoloons do not understand is that it is simply uneconomic to build conventional power stations, which are only used when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, unless they have guaranteed prices (which means massive subsidies, or huge cost increases to the consumer).

Closing down existing fossil fuelled power stations only exacerbates the problems.

Rolling blackouts, during periods of very cold, or very hot, weather are going to become the norm for much of the western world in the near term.

Building giant batteries, using today’s technology, as proposed by South Australia’s ecoloon government is shear insanity. Australia is littered with failed, very expensive, ecoloon projects, as can be witnessed by all their defunct desalination plants.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 16, 2017 8:49 pm

Well yes the Liberal -National Party Coalition government ( explanation for non- Aussies” Liberal” =Conservative while “National” = Country as in rural Party) did join in this craziness with their Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 23%- but then again there are degrees of madness down under.

The Australian Labor Party hairy chestedly seeking to show they care more promise 50% renewables ( read wind and solar ) by 2030 -while the Greens who are genuine nutters say -no 100% renewables ( and damn the expense)
None of these parties foresaw that given that sometimes the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine there would be need for backup sources of power sometimes in big licks.

This can mostly come from non renewables either fossil fuel coal or gas fired stations supplemented by largely yet to be built pump storage- and in desperation- strings of batteries

Batteries are ok for household PV electricity storage but at present technology are not economic for large industrial scale use so Elon Musk’s offer to build a battery farm for South Australia is a good PR exercise but wont touch the sides of their problem the next time the wind does not blow for several days at a time and 1200MW of power goes missing with the distinct possibility that neighboring state Victoria will no longer be able to provide SA with brown coal generated electricity over the Interconnector line because at the end of this month its Hazelwood 1600MW brown coal station ( quarter of its current capacity) will be de-commissioned.

A further self-inflicted problem is that under the National Electricity Market (NEM) rules the lowest pricing producers have their electricity production taken first into the national (east coast ) grid.
As renewables (wind and solar ) have their capital costs heavily subsidised under the RET scheme and their unit “fuel” costs are very low they can and do out bid the fossil fuel power stations.

This particularly makes coal fired power increasingly uneconomic while the politicians of both major parties had earlier encouraged gas producers to export now resulting in a domestic shortage of gas as back up power for electricity generation when the wind does not blow and as coal fired plants are progressively retired (now none in South Australia )
Not only that but several state premiers have banned exploration and development of on shore natural or coal seam gas further restricting supply.

What you see now is the panic stricken responses from state politicians who face increasing likelihoods of blackouts when the next summer (starts around October ) places peak demands on electricity grids.

So we see the previously pro -renewables Premier of SA ordering up large on diesel generators and proposing to build a gas powered station ( both of course fossil fuel driven ) in an attempt to meet looming shortfalls
As we say in Australia “fair dinkum you wouldn”t read about it” to describe a truly man-made shambles of energy policy in which the idiot Green Zealots have had undue influence yet carry no responsibility.

Robert from oz
March 16, 2017 1:19 am

Nick in oz were forced into a selection of two main parties each one trying to out green the other one , while Pauline Hanson was there as a choice and did well in the senate we don’t really have the luxury of a Trump unfortunately.
While you may like to vote green , our greens are nothing but communists with some fairly sick and disturbing policy’s , they won’t even come clean about all the policy’s they have .

charles nelson
March 16, 2017 1:30 am

The guy mouthing off is actually the guy who CAUSED the problem!

Stephen Richards
Reply to  charles nelson
March 16, 2017 1:58 am

I think that was the point made by th Sth Aus premier

Cranky Old Crow
Reply to  Stephen Richards
March 16, 2017 2:25 am

The guy mouthing off was the premier.

Michael darby
March 16, 2017 1:58 am

Amory Lovins. Mao Tse-Tung and Paul Ehrlich provide the inspiration for South Australian energy policy.

Reply to  Michael darby
March 16, 2017 5:06 am

Lovins is different than the other two. He has demonstrated that, if you have a pile of money, you can build a house that doesn’t require a heating system (in a place where it can be -30°F at night) and doesn’t require a grid connection. link

For a desert climate, Burt Rutan’s old house is interesting. link

Burt Rutan is an amazing aeronautical engineer. He has been working on “An Engineer’s Critique of Global Warming ‘Science’”. Here’s a link to Version 4.3.

• Not a Climatologist’s analysis – a view from a flight test engineer who has spent 45 years doing data analysis/interpretation/presentation.
• A focus on how the scientific community has handled the ‘global warming due to fossil fuel burning’ theory.
• A review of the climate data, then a study on how the results are selected, presented and promoted.
• The focus is on an Engineering Approach – where data are critical and there are consequences for being wrong; not the Scientist approach – where a theory is the product and it can be right or wrong
without repercussions.
• A presentation of climate data the way an engineer would show it – present all the data, then do analysis without bias to any proposed theory.

Well worth reading.

Michael darby
March 16, 2017 2:00 am

The war on coal is a war on civilisation

March 16, 2017 2:10 am

So did the energy minister point out that “broken” refers to the results of crazy climate fanatic policies?

Johann Wundersamer
March 16, 2017 2:42 am

Australia is lucky to have a

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg

March 16, 2017 2:56 am

Was just listening to Bolt and heard the report that progressives in Australia are trying to keep Australian coal from being shipped to India by it’s own companies. Progressives would rather see Indians die from COPD than prevent these deaths by providing cheap electrical energy.

Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 3:26 am

They aren’t progressives, they’re greens, ie repressives.

Nigel S
March 16, 2017 3:07 am

‘Shirtfront’ (in Australian Rules) an act of charging into an opponent’s chest, typically so as to knock them to the ground.

Today’s new word, a good one too!

March 16, 2017 3:11 am

Here is part of my email just sent to the Federal Minister Frydenberg after that news conference and after he sent some people an email praising his own government’s energy plans for the Snowy River hydro upgrade.

Dear Minister Frydenberg,
As one of the few scientists who has studied global warming science since the 1990s and found the quality of climate ‘science’ to be so poor as to be useless in many cases, might I please put some reality before you.
1. You are critical of Sth Aust because – one might infer – they are being led by zealotry, being global warming adherents.
2. Then you announce the Snowy upgrade, which is touted as a need to back up future renewables like SA has.
3. In doing so, you express zealotry of the same type for which you lambast SA. Let us take all zealotry out of consideration and stick to science, engineering and economics. Goodbye Greenpeace.
Some obvious solutions to Australian future energy needs are –
4. Drop all barriers to investors wishing to install nuclear plant. This includes all preferences, explicit or implied, for renewables, such as the Renewable Energy Target and all assorted “carbon taxes’’. Encourage investment. Your only barrier is the anti-nuclear zealots whose arguments are discredited by operational experience in many countries. Use recent Chinese figures for the cost of building new nuclear plant relatively free of silly social costs.
5. Ditto with coal-fired electrical generation. Look at the economic ball park figures to assure yourself that coal generated electricity is 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of the best renewables schemes you can model.
6. Keep Hazelwood, Loy Yangs and other end-of-life coal generators going on a low maintenance basis instead of putting money into more renewables, until new coal-fired plant is built.
7. Forget about techniques that do not yet work commercially, such as large scale batteries, carbon capture and storage, etc.
8. Publicise the modelled cost per unit of electricity from the Snowy upgrade and compare to existing cost of Hazelwood electricity. Make the figures and calculations public.
9. Listen to potential investors from industries such as metal refining and bauxite to alumina, to heavy forging of metals and general heavy industry. Re-establish the principle that such companies are very reluctant to invest in countries with intermittent and/or costly energy. (They cruise the world looking for cheap, reliable electricity. They can be wooed. The Snowy upgrade should emphasise this promise, not renewable back-up capacity).
But mainly, ABANDON all schemes that evolved in response to alarm generated in the name of global warming. The hypothesis of global warming is scientifically discredited. It never was shown to be credible.

We are tired of ”appeals to authority” such as inquiries by high-level scientists with little experience of climate matters, or high-rank economists with that look of idealism in the eye.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 16, 2017 4:17 am

We have a multi-hundred year supply of cheap, life-enriching coal in our backyard, which we seem to be handing over to China and India for peanuts, even while we pay the 2nd highest price on Earth for an increasingly unreliable supply of energy.

And now you want foreigners to build expensive, over-complicated nuclear plants to make up for the shortfall resulting from our stupidity? No thanks! Much easier and cheaper to burn coal and gas, which we would have plenty of at very low cost, if we weren’t instead selling it to foreigners at a much lower price than locals are forced to pay.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Khwarizmi
March 16, 2017 4:26 am

China too pays less for LNG than in Australia. Criminal? You bet! The Australian carbon tax effectively pays for emissions, and exported jobs, from other countries.

Reply to  Khwarizmi
March 16, 2017 7:51 am

We are promoting nuclear because of fundamental advantages like low fuel cost, high energy density, near absence of unplanned intermittency, top safety record and as ,China is showing cost competition of new plant builds more free of inflated social costs than fossil-fuelled.
Not because it is almost free of CO2. That is a free bonus incidental for those worried by it.
All our major plant including the original Snowy was essentially built by foreigners and I praise their efforts.
(Please be aware that the blog The Conversation is a low quality reference, with the expressed science subject to emotional distortion and moderation that bans significant corrections and dissent. It continues to prop up the failed global warming hypothesis.)

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 16, 2017 4:21 am

I hope you not expecting anything other than a “Thank you, but just shut up and we’ll keep taking tax right out of your earnings!” letter?

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
March 16, 2017 4:35 am

The CO2 horsesh*t has to stop.

Johann Wundersamer
March 16, 2017 3:17 am

In germany was the offer to switch to sellers of Green, ‘ethical’ energy. After some 3, 4 months, the customers could no longer pay the electricity bill and went into private bankruptcy.

Following all private households were forced to pay the higher electricity bills.

Tom Halla
March 16, 2017 3:25 am

At least South Australia has a smaller population than California, as it seems to have similar politicians, and will be less expensive for the respective federal governments to bail out.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 16, 2017 3:28 am

It also has no industry any more, so no need to keep the power on for them.

Johann Wundersamer
March 16, 2017 3:27 am

In germany was the offer to switch to sellers of Green, ‘ethical’ energy. After some 3, 4 months, the customers could no longer pay the electricity bill and went into private bankruptcy.

Following all private households were forced to pay the higher electricity bills.

That is: higher electricity bills including the higher costs for industries because industries of course were exempt from higher rates.

So you get a lot of households living on the society; paying ‘normal’ energy bills.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
March 16, 2017 4:32 am

And you’ve hit on a problem that plagues all progressive politicians and activists. They are incredibly stupid and know not what plagues their policies bring.

As with any product tax, they are regressive in nature. Whether a petrol tax, utility tax, food tax or carbon tax; they all unfairly target the poor.

This is a simple idea that all progressives fail to grasp; companies do not pay taxes. Companies pass on taxes to their customers. Only the individual pays taxes. When governments institute a tax for a product we all use, that tax is paid by rich and poor in equal proportions yet these taxes are disproportionate to our incomes. The poor will pay a higher percentage of their income for gas and food taxes than someone who has a high income.

So when Weatherill increases the prices charged for power in Adelaide, he is punishing the lower income families with a regressive tax. And right now SA has the highest power prices, and all due to the SA Labour party.

George Lawson
Reply to  SMS
March 16, 2017 11:19 am

There is no doubt that the greens are being seen more and more for what they are; a bunch of idiots whose policies have been forced upon governments and the population at large, causing havoc at massive cost to world economies. The world has been duped by these unthinking but loud mouthed people for too long, and more and more we see their authority and silly demands being discarded in favour of common sense thinking, or at worst treated with more scepticism than they have done over the past twenty five years. We must all work hard to bring publicity to their many failures over the years, and strive to completely eradicate the Green movement and their ill thought out demands once and for all. They should be shown up for what they are, a massive blight on the world’s progress and populations. ‘Green policies have failed completely’ should be the clear message that we should all put out to anyone within and without the media who is prepared to listen. We should bring their many failed policies to the attention of voters in political elections in all countries, and take a very positive role rather than sitting back and letting it happen. The total demise of the Green movement will then enable this beautiful world to develop into a better place for all of us, enabling the resulting huge monetary savings to be spent on helping and feeding those who are starving across the world – some as the direct result of Green policies – and whose plight is not of their own making. We are already helped massively with the election of Mr Trump as President and his scepticism will give us our greatest support. Let us all give him our positive support in return. I am quite certain that in time, we will all look back at the years of the late 90s and early 20s and say ‘what the hell were we all doing to allow such an ill judged set of policies, forced upon us by the ridiculous Green movement to be adopted by governments which set the progress of the world back 30 years or more’

Johann Wundersamer
March 16, 2017 3:49 am


One CAN have reliable electromobility; if the highways supply charging of electro cars WHILE driving.

Whether via current supply from the roadway or permanent magnetic fields etc.pp.

Again the question of infrastructure.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
March 16, 2017 4:17 am

I think you have been reading too much sci-fi.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 16, 2017 4:20 am

I leave it to you to present better solutions.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 16, 2017 4:39 am

“Johann Wundersamer March 16, 2017 at 4:20 am”

I suggest you have little understanding of remote charging networks and the voltages and currents involved.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 16, 2017 3:02 pm

One is not required to present better solutions in order to recognize poor ideas.

Patrick MJD
March 16, 2017 4:15 am

According to SBS news here in Australia, Weatherill’s rant was calculated rather than a brain implosion. Really?

March 16, 2017 4:33 am

When left policies fail, it is never the fault of the left! It is always someone else’s fault.

lyn roberts
Reply to  philjourdan
March 16, 2017 4:54 am

Watched this and laughed, just like my grand childen, saying I didn’t do it, he did pointing at his brother, and the screech from the brother saying you are lying.
My mother used to have the right answer, and we learn’t very fast, as children, you had better tell the truth because the punishment was going to be even worse when she found out the truth, and she always found out the truth.
We are being returned to through political nonsense to life without electricity, just like our grandparents. and great grandparents.

March 16, 2017 5:12 am

To be fair to Jay Weatherill it is not entirely his fault that the state is lacking electricity.
He is not a scientist or electrical engineer so how could he have known that dynamiting a power station was going to affect its output?

March 16, 2017 5:51 am

Blimey, I thought that it was only the UK that was nuts.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Graham Jackson
March 16, 2017 11:14 am

No, Germany, the US, Canada and a few others are or have recently been run by ecoloons who have friends (supports) who benefit from the scam.

Timo Soren
March 16, 2017 6:33 am

Oz is just shooting itself in the foot. More of this to come when they realize that the billions and billions they are/have wasted won’t come back and brown outs and black outs become common with sky high electrical prices and industry in the dumps.

Pamela Gray
March 16, 2017 6:51 am

There are places one should not live in. Maybe good for dry land agriculture, but not housing developments. People who CHOOSE to live in an area not suitable for utility-hog cities should bear the burden of their choice. That is not to say they should not be allowed to live there, but an off-the-grid ability is necessary.

Mickey Reno
March 16, 2017 7:30 am

That press conference (and all of Australia) needs a good healthy dose of Alex Epstein.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Mickey Reno
March 16, 2017 7:45 pm

BTW, are duels illegal in Australia? The insult to Frydenberg seems to require a good slap, and pistols at dawn. Then the Feds who pushed S. Australia to build wind mills need to slap the locals who allowed the blackouts. Then the locals need to slap the remaining Feds, and everyone needs to slap J. Gillard and challenge her to a belated duel.

Then after all their offenses have been resolved, the poor South Australians can lock up the last survivor and then build 4 or 5 cheap, reliable coal fired generating stations.


Richard Bell
March 16, 2017 7:59 am

The irony is that the big blackout in SA was accelerated by the large fraction of wind power. In an ideal world, wind turbines would provide both real and reactive power. In a possible (not necessarily feasible) world, a wind farm would connect to the grid with the reverse of a Ward-Leonard set (each turbine has a DC generator connected to the bus that powers a DC motor driving a synchronous generator tied to the grid. The excitation of the DC generators and the DC motor keeps the synchronous generator at the right speed), but this requires a large, massive, and expensive piece of rotating machinery.

In the real world, wind farms are connected to the grid by a large amount of power electronics excited with reactive power from the grid. The grid pulls real power from the wind farm as the wind farm pulls reactive power from the grid. During an episode when there is more demand than supply, all of the spinning machines directly tied to the grid start slowing down. As the frequency drops, less reactive power is available to pull real power from the wind farm and the consequent drop in power to the grid accelerates the frequency decrease. As there is less energy going to the grid, all of the wind turbines at the wind farm speed up. Although capable of running at maximum the wind velocity will allow, the wind turbines cannot get that power to the grid, so they hit their over speed trip and the wind turbine operators share the impotent rage of the power dispatchers as available power drops off the grid.

The rotational inertia of the Ward-Leonard system would power the grid for longer than a power electronic connection.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Richard Bell
March 16, 2017 3:10 pm

You do realize that none of the greenies that even bothered to read your entire (excellent) comment even understood it? Which is too bad, because this is one of the key reasons why wind and solar are not appropriate for grid-scale base-load power production.

March 16, 2017 10:28 am

I am not Australian so please forgive the ignorance here, but I am assuming the gentleman talking in the video is Mr. Weatherill and the one standing next to him is the Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg. If that is not the case please feel free to correct me.

What I find most interesting/entertaining is the straight face kept by Mr. Frydenberg. You could tell the entire time he is standing there repeating the words “don’t laugh, he’s being serious” in his head. I have been to stand up comedian shows that were less funny to watch. The only way to top it off would have been for Mr. Frydenberg to hand Mr. Weatherill a sucker and pat him on the head.

March 16, 2017 12:23 pm

perhaps the voters of south Australia should read this

A ClaytonPower 400Ah Lithium-ion battery will store 617 kJ/kg
= 617 KW-sec/kg
= 0.171 KWH / kg of battery.
or 7.1 KW-Day per TON of battery.

We need 140,000,000 kg of 400Ah Lithium Batteries just to store 1 GW-day.
That would be the mass of about TEN coal unit trains.

1 coal unit train, filled from Black Thunder and delivered to St. Louis costs about $300,000.
A lithium-ion battery bank big enough to store a GW-day would cost $60,000,000,000. [Note 1]
From: June 30, 2013 “Getting Energy from the Energy Store”

1 GW-day boils down to the electrical energy provided by a 100 car coal unit train, which are quite common.

It is also fun to think about how BIG this battery bank would be. Volumetrically, purely packed closest spacing, it would be the size of 14 coal unit trains filled with Li-ion batteries. Add space for wiring. Add A LOT of space for fire suppression and containment.

Note 1: The $60 billion figure was derived with a 2013 Wikipedia price reference of $2.50/whr. Four years later, we can make a justifiable $0.30/whr for wholesale gigawatt scale battery banks. This drives the price of a GW-day Li-ion battery bank down to only $7,000,000,000. On the order of 20,000 times the price of the cheapest on-demand electrical energy storage on the planet — a ton of coal.

Ok, you say. you can only use the coal ONCE. All too true. But you cannot use a Li-ion battery bank for ever either. It is still good for about 10,000 cycles — provided you don’t drain them totally. So, every 30 years or so, you must replace the entire bank.

March 16, 2017 4:16 pm

This political so called ‘green’ tug of war between the States and Federal is only going to result in one thing, a continuing increase in the costs of electricity – simply put someone has to pay for all of this and its either the tax payer or electricity consumer (or both – there is no escape from people spending others people’s money).

Myself I’m watching the whole solar battery home storage section very closely, although at the moment no off the shelf solution is financially viable on its own merits (see my link) – but it won’t take much for an increase in prices to tip into being viable I reckon; combine that with the decreasing costs of the batteries (as the manufacturers that survive achieve scale; Aquion just went to the wall and took $190m of VC money with it, some of it Bill Gates..) and its looking viable I reckon within a year…

March 16, 2017 6:44 pm

Geoff Sherrington,

I’m well aware that The Conversation stinks.
But a scientist judges each argument on its merits, not on the source.

Australians DO PAY MORE than Chinese and Japanese for OUR OWN GAS, regardless of your dismissive ad hominem.

That’s an anti-Australian racist policy.

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