South Australia Demolishes their Last Coal Power Station

NPS West Coal Bunker and Tower Demolition

NPS West Coal Bunker and Tower Demolition. Source Flinders Power

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

While Federal politicians bicker, South Australia, the world’s renewable crash test dummy, has wasted no time demolishing their last viable coal power station, to lock in their pursuit of an energy free future.

Senate inquiry sparks ideological fight over Australia’s energy supply and climate change

By political reporter Angelique Donnellan

A Senate inquiry report into Australia’s electricity supplies has descended into a slanging match between members, prompting questions about its value for taxpayers.

The Select Committee into the Resilience of Australia’s Electricity Infrastructure in a Warming World heard from 60 witnesses in Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne, including major energy generators, retailers and industry regulators.

But in the committee’s draft report released today, Federal Greens senator and chairwoman Sarah Hanson-Young took aim at the Coalition and its policies.

“The introduction of a market-based carbon trading scheme would effectively end the decades-long subsidy that coal has received in the electricity generation market,” she said.

South Australia’s last coal-fired generator at Port Augusta shut down last year and is being demolished.

“Coalition senators reject the proposition contained within the chair’s report that the Coalition Government is responsible for the ill-informed and misguided decisions of the South Australian Labor Government in destroying the supply of cheap energy for households and businesses in that state,” they said.

Read more:

Alinta Energy offered to give the Port Augusta coal station to the South Australian government for free. The offer was rejected.

Port Augusta power station giveaway ‘a bad deal’, South Australian Treasurer says

By Tom Fedorowytsch

Updated 30 Mar 2017, 3:12pm

It has been revealed that Alinta Energy offered to give away the Port Augusta coal-fired power station for free.

The company approached the South Australian Government to take ownership of the plant under a “walk-in, walk-out” basis during negotiations in 2015, where it had also sought $25 million in subsidies to keep it running until 2018.

Alinta’s offer is referred to in a letter from chief executive officer Jeff Dimery in 2015, obtained by the ABC.

SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said despite the apparent free deal, the Government would have taken on huge costs.

“Alinta would have walked away without having to pay any of the money for the clean-up of the mess that they had incurred and legacy liability they had taken on which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said.

“So it’s not free, it’s actually hundreds of millions of dollars.”

He said the price of taking on the plant’s liabilities would not have cancelled out the impacts of job losses or the cutback of thermal, baseload power.

Read more:

My heart goes out to the power engineers, including those who run the power companies.

For decades they thought their job, their responsibility, was to deliver stable, reliable power to the people.

Now their job has been made impossible by idiot politicians whose future energy plans are based on harnessing sunbeams and unicorn farts. The reward for years of service in often hazardous conditions is utter disdain and contempt from green fanatics who despise them as planet wreckers, green fools who never pause to think about what makes all the modern conveniences they take for granted possible.

It would not have caused any harm to leave the coal plant intact for a few years, to delay the demolition and cleanup, just in case.

Go with grace guys – what will happen next is not your fault.

281 thoughts on “South Australia Demolishes their Last Coal Power Station

  1. Of course the South Australian politicians have no liability for the results when they fail to deliver reliable power. When is the next election in South Australia? There should not be enough Koolaid drinking greens to keep them in office given their performance thus far.

    • That happened under the Labour lead federal Govn’t lead by Rudd, Gillard, Rudd. Made the car making industry leave SA almost instantly. I suspect the aluminium smelter will go soon, so will the last person to leave SA for any of the other states please turn the lights out. Actually, they won’t need to bother, they’ll be off anyway.

      Australia, the dumbest country!

      • The car industry left South Australia under the liberal government. Holden is 6 months away and Mitsubishi only held on till a few months after election in 2007. Their production volume had withered away as their single model lost favour.

      • nc April 10, 2017 at 11:12 pm

        In Canada we have our own SA called the province of Ontario and Alberta playing catch up.

        I wonder how the polls are in SA. In Ontario the Liberal government is so low in the polls that it would lose official party status if an election were held today. link

        Three-quarters of Ontario respondents (74 per cent) describe their household energy bills as “unreasonable” … link

        The previous Liberal premier shut down the coal plants and was involved in a scandal about moving a partly built gas fired plant at great expense to the public. Kathleen Wynne has doubled down and done some grindingly stupid things. Regardless of the mess she inherited, she has made things much worse. Compared with that, Rachel Notley in Alberta is doing really well. 🙂

      • South Australia has a 54/46 gerrymander. It is hard to get rid of a leftist government.

        The other problem is that there is no effective opposition as the “conservatives” are a captured organisation.

        We have a saying: we’ve got the Labor party, and the “Labor Lite” party.

      • “duker April 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm”

        The very first car maker to leave Australia, I don’t care what state, was Ford under Labor citing energy and labor costs as factors in their decision. That sent ripples through the industry. Who was in power at the federal level is irrelevant after that, car makers were saw the signs. Ford and GM Holden cited that, IIRC, it costs 4 times as much to build a car in Aus than in Asia and 2 times as much as a car in the EU zone. GM got the jitters because Abbott hinted that the subsidies were going to be drastically slashed, and pulled out.

      • Ontario’s problem is that the Real cause of our electricity problems is Not being discussed by any political party (except the tiny Greens):
        – NUCLEAR supplies 61%!
        – the failed CANDU technology is costly to refurbish (always over budget), and
        – we should be buying surplus from Hydro Québec (as does our competitor New York State) when our generating stations reach their Bad After dates.

        Wind barely provides 5%.
        Solar is <1%.
        Gas is ~2%

        Ontario has a Nuclear elephant:
        – unaffordable
        – uninsurable
        – undisposable

        The USA has 50% of its states with Mercury air, water & soil pollution warnings from … Coal.
        Yes, it's cheap but wouldn't be if health costs weren't subsidising it. Since Ontario provides public, single-payer, basic health insurance (Medicare) from taxes, It was therefore worth our while to shut Nanticoke, the largest coal-fired generating station in North America to be replaced by conservation and renewables.

        How was Coal subsidised in South Australia, in addition to the specifics noted in the above article?

        Unfortunately, our Liberals have made a mess of their Green Energy Act with
        – poor design
        (No community support as in Germany & Spain)
        (No mandate that every new building should incorporate Solar where possible)
        – political meddling
        (With every protest, they made a change; those prevented offshore Lake Ontario wind farms will cost us millions under a recent NAFTA challenge)
        – corruption (feeding friends: just ask T Boone Pickens)

      • Australian motorists face, to put it mildly, an uncertain future. What major car company will be willing to produce a very small number of vehicles cars that are designed to be driven both upside down and on the wrong side of the road?

      • “Chris Riley April 11, 2017 at 4:21 am

        Australian motorists face, to put it mildly, an uncertain future. What major car company will be willing to produce a very small number of vehicles cars that are designed to be driven both upside down and on the wrong side of the road?”

        I am sorry, but even up-side-down, we *DO* drive on the right side of the road.

      • Lorne White, what a pile of neo-progressive bullocks. Ontario’s Nuclear is the only thing keeping our electricity prices even remotely affordable. The green-power-acolytes have driven 60,000 Ontarian s into energy poverty all based on the cAGW climate-change-fear-narrative

      • Lorne White, You think that the cancelled wind farm off the Scarborough Bluffs would be able to replace the 61% of generation we get from nuclear power plants? What sort of fantasy world are you living in?

      • …worth our while to shut Nanticoke, the largest coal-fired generating station in North America to be replaced by conservation…

        I had a great plan to lead a life of leisure. First, I quit my job, replacing the income with poverty. My car was replaced with “staying home.” Food was simply replaced with hunger. Easy!

        Of course my wife left me. But I quickly replaced her with loneliness.

      • “In Canada we have our own SA called the province of Ontario and Alberta playing catch up.”

        The sooner Ontario becomes unliveable, the better. They’re dragging the rest of Canada down into the abyss.

        And the Alberta government will be out at the next election. Every Albertan I know hates them, and they only won because the opposition was too divided for one party to get a majority.

      • History tidbit – ‘Will the last person leaving….’ was originally coined in Seattle, after the demise of Boeing’s Super Sonic Transport (SST) pilot project:

        I was a very young lad during these events, but they are still a part of my memories growing up in the area.
        A bit of a sidetrack to the original post topic, but gives a bit of background to the expression used in the post by Patrick MJD 10 APR 17 @ 9:10 pm…



      • PMJD,

        You said, “I am sorry, but even up-side-down, we *DO* drive on the right side of the road.”

        And here all along I thought that Aussies drove on the LEFT side of the road! How can the left side of anything be the correct side?

      • @Michael C. Roberts at 8:50 am
        I grew up in Denver, son of a “missile-man”. Everyone who spend their careers getting things off the ground knew of that “lights off” billboard.

      • The USA has 50% of its states with Mercury air, water & soil pollution warnings…

        Freddie Mercury? Pretty sure he’s been dead for a long time.

      • Lorne White: “The USA has 50% of its states with Mercury air, water & soil pollution warnings from … Coal. Yes, it’s cheap but wouldn’t be if health costs weren’t subsidising it.”

        That’s misleading. Read Willis Eschenbach’s “Mercury: The Trickster God” (2012) at:

        Also, search in the search box for “mercury” to find more.

      • Lorne
        I assume you are advocating German style abrupt closure and demolition of all Ontario’s nuclear power stations, and replacing all this capacity with wind and solar?

        Please, Please, PLEASE do this!!!
        Please get all your watermelon friends to make this happen.
        Then we can sit back and watch the show (at least in the day we will be able to see something).

        Please say that you’re going to make this happen!? 🐶

      • “Compared with that, Rachel Notley in Alberta is doing really well.”

        What you should have written is – Compared with that, Rachel Notley in Alberta is doing really well [for Notely]..

      • Let’s see, solar in Toronto with a capacity factor at 13.6% and a cost of 39¢ per kWh over 20 years? Ontario the dumbest Province??

  2. Watching that demolition I wonder how many people could have worked there to DISMANTLE it piece by piece and recycle the material ? Just as the greens always champion?? And not caused that huge air pollution just this small explosion created!

    • Sounds a good plan. But you obviously know nothing about demolition.
      A team of men working on a tower of uncertain residual strength, at height, lowering components to the ground one by one, risking coal-dust fires if they use hot cutting? An absolute safety nightmare! Far more risky than erecting new steel.
      And quickly blowing dowing down causes a minor cloud of coal dust which will fall to ground within the site boundary.
      Dismantling safely will take for ever and cost a fortune.
      Recycling? Every fragment will be recycled to new steel.
      The recycling needed is of ignorant, hubristic politicians. Let’s try a few technically and economically literate people who have earned a living in the real world.

    • It would have been interesting if a coal dust explosion had occured. Ideal conditions shown in the video. I doubt they considered the possibility.

      They might have got much more “bang” for their buck!

      • The dust cloud occurred after the demolition detonations, but if there had been an ignition source, the explosion would have been spectacular. It’s incredible that the site safety engineers let the coal dust build up that thick. They should have been continuously rinsing off the structure.

      • Mike, coal dust settles into areas that cannot be cleaned easily. Also, note that the films of the incident show water had been applied and was being applied. Not apparent but likely, the whole area was wetted before demolition.

      • The safety point here is that the dust shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Of course my only experience is following a safety engineer around grain elevators.

      • And you always get less power out of a battery than you put in, thanks to the Thermo2 taxman. Portability, not storage, is the chief advantage of batteries. Building a battery too big to carry defeats the purpose. 😐

      • The pain would set in quicker than the current trend. Now that fanatics rule the process of conversion to perfection will continue – first coal is banned, then what? Another fossil fuel? Or dams that interfere with natural flow? (yep, I needed a /sarc with the first comment)

      • Every “source” of power is “stored energy”.
        Fossil fuels – stored chemical energy…hydro – stored gravitational potential energy….solar – stored nuclear.
        All we manage to do is siphon off some of that energy to perform useful work as we convert it from one form to another.

  3. Hard to fix stupid. To actively destroy a perfectly good generating asset under present circumstances should be a crime, and as you mention, why not put the facilities on care and maintenance until a long tern solution is available?

    It is ignorant politicians such as these in SA that completely ruin things for the entire people of the state, but hopefully this example shows to the majority that you most certainly never, ever, want leftist ideologies implemented by dead brain politicians who have never worked an honest day in their life. Good riddance to these aholes next election. And if you don’t kick them out this time, then you probably deserve them.

    • It’s doesn’t matter who, Labor, Liberal/National, Green, Independent, is voted for in Australia, they are all cut from the same corrupt and stupid cloth.

      • Maybe Conservative? Hopefully they have some middle of the road sane quasi right wing party that can stitch back some common sense into things. Not that familiar with SA politics, but seems they are itching to become a third world country very soon. I keep reading about insane polices in OZ about lots of stuff, but particularly in SA. Is there maybe something in the water?

      • Ron, the Liberals are the conservative party in Australia, sort of. They are (or were) classical Liberals in the mould of 19th century British Liberals, who were conservatives in the modern Anglo-American sense and they were called Liberals because they objected to the reactionary policies of Ancien regime Europe, as does every American Republican.

        It is important to remember that the people who call themselves Liberals in the U.S. aren’t liberals in any meaningful sense. For the most part those who call themselves Conservatives aren’t conservative either. The terminology has become totally detached from reality, making accurate political discussion impossible, and in ways which consistently benefit the left.

      • You have to remember, there are two factors involved in every election, besides politicians running for office. You have the financial sources that have there own distinct concerns, and are willing to “buy” the politicians that are for sale. On the other hand. you have an electorate, people that are supposed to be concerned with their governments, what they are doing, and who is and who is not “for sale.” When you have both parts functioning properly, the governed are, in fact, the government.

        When the second group is too lazy to do their “homework,” and it really doesn’t take that much time to get to understand the people that are running for office, or stay home to watch the TV while the first group continues to function at peak performance – and they will – you end up with corrupt, stupid politicians, regardless of party affiliation. The only people that can ever be blamed in a “democracy” if they have a non-representative government, are the people that vote or not vote.

        Australia is not unique in having an electorate too absorbed in their own circumstances to be bothered with insuring the direction their government takes, we in the US are probably worse and most of the “western world” is their with us. We care more about sports, movie stars, and TV than what is really important in our lives. At least the rich that buy their government pay attention to detail – like feeding us BS on the TV, and dumbing us down with movies, toys, and “recreational possibilities.”

    • Western civilization is at war with itself. The premature destruction of this generation facility is a clear example of the scorched earth strategy being employed in that war.

    • Was that plant still viably operational, or was it past the point of diminishing returns? If the previous owners were willing to “give it away” one should question the value of such a plant. The real crime arises from not having plans to replace the facility as it aged.

      • To put it more clearly, it was viable until the regulations were deliberately changed with the sole purpose of making coal uneconomic.

        • .. it was viable until the regulations were deliberately changed with the sole purpose of making coal uneconomic.”

          Yes. Julia Gillard was honest enough to say so. (Actually, not so much honesty as brazenness. Talk about a fish-wife!). There is a lot wrong here but one of the things that has got lost in the debate is that Australia’s coal burned domestically is mostly brown coal which really does cause awful pollution – and I don’t mean CO2. The two issues of pollution and CO2 have been conflated. You see the same in respect of green energy in China or even Malaysia or Indonesia. China wants to reduce pollution as a higher priority than reducing CO2 emissions. Conflating them enable China to appear virtuous in fora addressing CO2 reduction.Some green measures achieve both even if not either in an optimal way but conflating these issues frequently suits the green campaigners and those who use them as useful idiots.

  4. That’s sad to see on so many levels.
    On the bright side, eventually we will have to have the Chinese build new ones. They seem to be pretty good at it. When sanity returns to the self appointed guardians of the earth.
    Every time I talk to them, I think they are, umm, nuts. I had an exchange with one today, and I have to make mental note… don’t talk to them. I fear for the planet. Not from warming, from the loose marbles rolling around on it. Oh, good idea blowing up a functioning power plant. We won’t need it if it ever gets cold. Om , permanent drought, Om permanent drought…

    • The Chinese are giving up on building coal power plants… 133 cancelled in the last year, substantial overcapcity still remains

      • They scheduled 2100, cancel 133. And from this Griff concludes that the Chinese have given up on coal.
        1) Yes they currently have overcapacity, which is why they have slowed down the rate at which they are building new plants.
        2) Demand is still growing.

        • Seriously, I do not see why you are arguing with Griff. He wants to think Coal is dead. The facts show otherwise. Since he is an alarmist, he is seeing what he wants to see. So let him!

          The market will decide when Coal is dead. Not Griff. If he wants to cherry pick the facts, that is fine. It still will not change the market. Alarmists do not realize that tampering with the data does not change reality. Only their claims on it.

      • Hey, Griff is right! (He just left out a minor, unimportant detail. In many ways, this is also the story of climate science activism/alarmism.)

      • PhilJ

        The market for US coal is dead…

        How many coal power plants building in the US?
        How many new ones announced this year?
        How many scheduled already to close by 2020?
        How many of those closures announced this year?

        • Griff, your pronouncements are worthless. You can declare the moon is made of green cheese, but that does not make it so. if you had even BOTHERED to read what I said, the market will decide. not you, Not any pronouncements from me. The market. You have proven that you are totally ignorant of basic economics, so please excuse me if I ignore your hand waving.

          If you are so sure the market is dead, short it. But you will not. For 2 reasons. You have to have money to do that. And you have to have confidence in your opinion. Neither of which is evident from your apparent lack of familiarity with the English Language.

        • And 10 years ago, no one was building windmills.

          The market changes Griff. And no one is telling it to. It does due to changing circumstances. The market is not a Ferrari. It is more like a freight train. 90% of what you are seeing today was planned a year ago when Obama was actively killing it. A year from now, that will be less than 50%. And in 5 years, Obama’s EOs will have the effect of Dodos on chickens.

          And we are already seeing activity in the market.

          Get government out of the way and then see which players win. But even with onerous burdens, coal is still around and viable. And nothing you say can change that.

          • “And 10 years ago, no one was building windmills.”

            Not true. I first went to Perth, WA, in 1986 and saw for my first time a full-scale wind power generator. As an engineer I was excited by it but I cannot remember now whether it was built by CSIRO or the WA State Energy Commission or a joint project. Obviously there are much bigger and better now, but they definitely existed and were built to investigate wind power generation.

      • Griff, so what?
        In your world, economic projections are always 100% accurate and conditions never, ever change?
        regardless, reducing the number of projected plants because economic growth rates haven’t matched projections is not evidence that the Chinese are abandoning coal.

      • As always, Griff continues to claim that any trend that exists at the moment, must extend to eternity.
        At present, they aren’t building any coal plants. The the Grifter, this is proof that no coal plant will ever be built, anytime in the future.

  5. The LIGHTS go out for South Australia.

    The politicians should be liable for all and any tragedies that result from this stupid decision.

    • I wonder how many pensioners will freeze when the next big storms come up from the nearby Antarctic. You can only stay in your bed for so long.

  6. This is the power station I mentioned in another thread yesterday that was shutdown last year because “It could not compete with renewables” as was stated on a newscast last night.

    Yay! Go Australia!

    • That gives you the intelligence level of the new media, if you average report has an IQ above the average I would be surprised. My guess is even the “bright” one would top out above 110.

      • That is a misdiagnosis of the problem, I’m afraid. The human tragedy is that intelligent people are MORE likely to believe in ridiculous ideas. Intellectuals like to “rise above” the practical, and are more adept than the less intelligent at justifying bad ideas in a plausible manner.

        • “Thus, the gun culture is actually a cause of the loss of freedom . . .”
          Project much?

          “I am an English conservative”
          And I thought American conservatives were lame . . .

      • Once universities started accepting around 50% of all youngsters, the game was up.

        Right now, the IQ level in civil/ mechanical/ electrical/ aeronautical/ chemical engineering courses is so much lower than it was 40+ years ago that almost anyone can qualify. In these classes, the guys (they are still nearly all males) who are most vocal and most sure of their rightness tend to be those who don’t spend much time studying. The smart ones are heavily outnumbered and tend to keep quiet and avoid confrontation with the idiots. Many of the smart ones are Asian and confrontation is not a part of their culture.

        The idiots also go into student politics, run the student union, the newspaper and the clubs.

      • @alfredmelbourne

        Intelligence and stupidity are not two ends of a continuum; it is often the case that the intelligent are stupid;
        or, put a better way:

        “Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it.”
        Stephen Vizinczey, An Innocent Millionaire

      • hence, Nassim Taleb’s IYI designation of this modern “intellectual yet idiot” class of left-wing elitists first deciding/setting policy and then paying (on the taxpayer’s dime) for the NASA-NOAA–Academic climate pseudoscientists to churn out the junk science to justify it.

      • Parlington,
        I long ago concluded that the major difference between Mensans and the rest of society was that Mensans were far more capable of articulating their rationalizations for their irrational behavior.

      • “The human tragedy is that intelligent people are MORE likely to believe in ridiculous ideas.”

        In my experience, it’s the midwits who are most likely to believe ridiculous ideas, because they’re smarter than the average bear, but not smart enough to realize how little they know.

        • ““The human tragedy is that intelligent people are MORE likely to believe in ridiculous ideas.”

          In my experience, it’s the midwits who are most likely to believe ridiculous ideas, because they’re smarter than the average bear, but not smart enough to realize how little they know.”

          It’s the art of sophistry. For masters of philosophy only. I like this quotation from Isaac Asimov: “People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”

      • Intelligence has nothing to do with common sense. There are some incredibly smart people around today who still believe the earth is flat and astronauts didn’t go to the moon. It seems emotion still trumps most other stuff going on in our brains, including reason.

  7. First they take away the guns.
    The Left says it is for your safety.
    – The people are silent.

    Next they take away your reliable elctricity.
    The Left says it is to Save the Planet.
    – The people remain silent.

    Next they will come for your Free Speech. Your internet blogs.
    The Left will say it is for the truth.
    -Will you remain silent?

    • While Americans were clinging to their guns the U.S. government used legislation and IT to undermine their freedom in ways which guns cannot counter. Thus, the gun culture is actually a cause of the loss of freedom because it distracts Americans from what is really going on and creates false comfort that you have an effective means of protecting yourself against state power.

      (I am an English conservative, btw.)

      • Disagree.

        Throughout the history of man, state and government collection of and banning of weapons from the hands of freemen have always been the first steps of a depotic government. While many people regard our 1st Amendment as our most representative ideal of our Founding Fathers, it was the 2nd Amendment that was and is the most audacious and empowering. That is why the Left in the US are so rabid it their attempts to first destroy the 2nd.

        And thesimple loss of privacy to the collection state is worrisome, yes. But the real power is the power to silence. And to silence means to control. What they cannot control, they cannot silence. At least in the US, we are a long way, way, way, away from that now. Especially with the newly seated JusticeGorsuch now on our Supreme Court, and more like him likely to follow.

      • An English Conservative is somewhere to the left of Billary and to the right of Bernie. When I hear the right honorable Theresa May repudiate AGW I’ll revisit my assessment.

      • There have been times in English history when it was compulsory for all men to train in martial arts, especially archery. I have always thought the armed population kept the aristocracy in check. yes/no?

      • WRT my comment @April 11, 2017 12:25 am: let’s try that again – sometimes I misread numbers when I get annoyed, and few things annoy me as much as sanctimonious anti-gun blather . . .

        “Thus, the gun culture is actually a cause of the loss of freedom . . .”
        Project much?

        “I am an English conservative”
        And I thought American conservatives were lame . . .

      • The first rule of totalitarianism, disarm the people! When a guvment fears its people, one has democracy, but when the people fear its guvment, one has tyranny!

      • “Thus, the gun culture is actually a cause of the loss of freedom . . .”

        “War is peace.
        Freedom is slavery.
        Ignorance is strength.”
        ― George Orwell, 1984

      • “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams.

        Here is the real reason for the divide between the left and right over guns. The right is still, for the most part, a moral and religious people. The left cannot say the same. That is the simple reason why the United States Constitutional freedoms threaten the left.

      • glad to hear warnings from someone who doesn’t have freedom of speech and or freedom to protect himself … tell us all about how you lost those freedoms …

      • When I had no power after 010911 , I started reading Churchill’s memoirs of WWII . A pervasive worry thru a number of chapters in the first volume is worry about the the ship getting thru with the first lend-lease deal , a million WWI Springfields with 10 rounds each to arm the population along the coasts .

        What a change in the relationship between the State and its people just since then .

      • “Thus, the gun culture is actually a cause of the loss of freedom because it distracts Americans from what is really going on and creates false comfort that you have an effective means of protecting yourself against state power.”

        I don’t really have a fear of the state becoming totalitarian, especially now that conservatives are back in the driver’s seat. Any political danger would come from the violent Left. They are the facists, not the Right.

        What I would want a gun for is to put it on my nighttable where it’s handy in case some idiot decides to bust through my door. I actually had that happen once. The idiot walked up my hallway to my bedroom and turned around and ran away just as fast as he could when he heard me cock my handgun. I didn’t even have to shoot him.

        One of our Supreme Court Justices (Breyer) says he doesn’t think Americans should be able to keep a gun on their nighttable. I would have to disagree vehemently for very practical reasons. And also, because the U.S. Constitution says I can have one, no matter what Breyer thinks.

      • One thing private ownership of guns in the U.S. does is serve as a deterrent to other nations who might otherwise plan to try to enter U.S. territory in an act of conquest, imo. Americans will defend themselves, and they have the means to do it thanks to the U.S. Constitution.

      • Breyer and his family currently have an armed Federal Protection Service detail 24/7. Even after (if) he retires from the court, it’ll return if he gets threats.
        He has no concerns that many Americans live with everyday.

      • Parlington,
        Only time will tell if your assessment is correct. However, I have given much thought to the attempts by the American Left to demonize and ban firearms and the only conclusion that seems to make sense is that they fear a future revolution where the average citizen is armed nearly as well as the military. Hence, they lie and exaggerate (Where else have we seen that?) to try to convince the public to support disarming everyone except those employed by the government. It isn’t too surprising that the kind of cultural mindset that would allow the government to confiscate Australian’s firearms would also look the other way when the last coal-fired power plant is demolished.

      • TA:

        George Orwell warned about totalitarianism in his novel titled 1984 and he illustrated it with a description of a far-right (i.e. fascist) government overseen by a Fuhrer known as Big Brother and which asserted

        War is peace.
        Freedom is slavery.
        Ignorance is strength.

        You say

        Any political danger would come from the violent Left. They are the facists, not the Right.

        Clearly, Orwell’s warning was correct.


      • Funny thing, Orwell himself said his warnings were about left wing governments.
        I get the impression that socialists are taught from birth that anything bad is right wing.

      • Socialism is the belief that if you take money from people who work hard and give it to people who don’t, that will make everyone better off.

      • Sorry about that, richardscourtney. I forgot you are a little sensitive about how people define “fascism”.

        My main point is that the only internal violence the U.S. has to fear will be initiated by the radical Left, not from the Right. The Right won’t initiate violence, although I wouldn’t expect them to stand passively by if being attacked violently. But it will be initiated by the radical Left, if it happens at all.

      • Animal Farm and 1984 were about political positions, views and ideology. Care to identify which book (Story) with which ideology?

      • Brians356

        May’s government was part of the G7 countries which stuck to their climate change guns at this week’s meeting.

        May’s government still is keeping to UK CO2 reduction targets.

      • I really like the scientific content in this blog, but the cartoon polysci gets irritating.

        Most people would agree that bazookas should not be made available to the general public including inner city gangsters and the mentally ill. Most people would agree that an elderly person should not be reduced to begging in the streets just because she was bilked out of her life savings by a scam artist like this one: Most people would agree that a child with curable leukemia should not die because her parents are afraid to take her to the doctor because they can’t afford it (or because of their immigration status). Most people would agree that society (via the government) has an obligation to prevent these eventualities. Most people would agree that there are practical limits and difficult trade offs in the government’s role too. It’s a matter of degree. Enough of the simpleminded black and white talk about the evils of “socialism”.

  8. We are in the process of dismantling nuclear plants with decades of useful life in California so I guess this craziness is widespread.

    • lights are going out world wide because stupid is the order of the day. stupid people deserve everything they don’t get.

  9. Hmmm, no comments from Eric about the $25M in subsidies Alinta had asked for to keep the plant running? No comment about the 100s of millions in liabilities associated with the plant, that the government would”ve taken on?

      • gnomish, shur nuff, t’was a brilliant deduction of ….. “if it can’t pay its way, let it go away.

        Brilliant because that was one of Obama’s “slogans” that he employed in his promised quest to “fundamentally change America”.

        Obama et el levied so many new “restrictions” on ALL coal fired generator plants in the US that their owners could NOT afford to implement any retrofitting and still be profitable, thus they were forced to close down.

        And that’s exactly what Obama et el and Hillary et el wanted.

        gnomish, was new “restrictions” the same reason that Alinta Energy was asking for a government subsidy?

    • The relevant issue is the subsidies provided to the “renewables” industry. The conventional power stations are unable to compete with these subsidies; hence their request for subsidies to level the field.

      As a side issue: who is going to pay for the removal and site remediation when the wind farms reach the end of their service lives?

      • Certainly the wind farm developers should be on the hook for removal and site remediation. The same logic should apply to all power sources. Coal fired power would be far more expensive if the operators included site cleanup costs and remediation in their consumer pricing.

      • Chris, You did read the bit where it was from budget papers? So one could ask which budget papers? But I seriously doubt the Minerals Council’s budget papers would include power subsidies. 😉

      • The power companies own the coal plant sites that must be remediated to be saleable. Wind and solar are largely on leased land, so that would be largely subject to the lease terms. In either case, the utility has established a grid interface which could accommodate future input. The difference is that the grid connections at the site where the coal plant was are usually closer to their service areas and greater in capacity. The rent seekers might get the shaft from the utilities if the govts quit financing renewables.

        Here’s another twist, what about the offshore “pinwheels of peril”?

      • Lee. How can coal generators be considered subsidised in Australia when they have to purchase a REC (renewable energy certificate) at around $93 AUD for every Mw/hr they despatch. I believe these REC’s are gifted to renewable generators for every Mw/hr they generate?

      • Chris. I personally know the lady who prepared the report. I think you should apologise for what you have implied. This person is above reproach.

      • So…..Who provides the money that is used to subsidize power generation? If it is to be sustainable, the source of the money must be from some number of economic enterprises who doubtless use some amount of electrical power that is being generated by making use of some driving energy. At its most fundamental level, money is a proxy for energy. Without fossil fuels, will subsidies still be available for providing sustenance for renewables?

      • I love the way liberals argue. They attack the source rather than the numbers.
        It’s a round a bout way of admitting that the numbers are accurate and can’t be countered.

      • That figure for wind is way too low. It must be deliberately ignoring the RET subsidy, which is gigantic.

    • so spending a BILLION on a crappy battery system that might power a few thousand homes for an HOUR is a better deal?
      alintas “deal” or govt total retake over would still have been the best option for the state
      not only the power co workers but all the jobs from Leigh creek coal the rail and the rest also gone
      the fallout is massive

    • No comment about the only reason it needed the subsidies was because the govt required the grid to take wind and solar first, leaving the coal plant to cycle power load dramatically and run at very low efficiency levels.
      As always, liberals create a problem, and then cite the fact that others aren’t able to handle the problems the liberals created as an excuse to shut them down.

      • That is indeed the signature of how liberals operate in business. Create a problem by destructive interference in an organisation or business, then use the problem they created to justify their pre-planned agenda.

        I worked for AEA Technology plc in Harwell, Oxfordshire, before they went bankrupt. This organisation originated as the UK’s atomic energy civil service laboratories but was then turned into a private company by politicians (with predictable results). I worked in the medical research section, a small group that had formerly researched health effects of radionuclides but following the end of government funding for this, it re-targeted its lifescience expertise to pharmaceutical drug trials and contract research for Universities. This lifescience research involved rats and mice as animal models.

        Business was going ok and we were bringing in contracts, around the year 2000. But then Andrew McCree joined the board of AEAT and he was ideologically opposed to medical research with animals. So when a couple of large study contracts came in, he withheld authorisation for them to go ahead. So the customers had to go elsewhere. Then he told our manager “your order intake looks so bad that I’m giving you six months notice of closure of the medical research section.”

        This reminds me of how Germany in 1939 got their invasion of Poland 🇵🇱 started. They took some male prisoners, clothed them in German army uniforms and shot them dead. Then they filmed their bodies for the news near a border post and claimed that an armed incursion from Poland had killed German soldiers. The rest is history.

    • “…no comments from Eric about the $25M in subsidies Alinta had asked for to keep the plant running”

      It was nothing compared to the billion that was lost in the state-wide power blackout.

  10. This is actually an excellent piece of news. The sooner South Australia gets frequent and prolonged power-outages, the better. Already, the electricity bills for consumers have risen dramatically. When it hits consumers in the pocket and in job-losses, they will get rid of the current crop of politicians and their advisers.

    Here are 3 websites which have data that is constantly being updated which can inform readers of the current situation in Australia:

    1- Live Generation (by state and by type)

    This illustrates the massive dependency on wind and solar in South Australia. Yesterday, there almost no PV in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. It was very windy and many wind-farms seem to have been turned off – presumably so as to prevent them getting damaged or destabilising the grid.

    2- Australian Energy Market (map)

    This shows the individual large-scale generators and their level of activity.

    3- Australian Energy Market Operator Dashboard

    This shows the wholesale electricity price in the fake “market”. It seems to fluctuate wildly in South Australia – depending on wind and solar conditions.

    • Check out the “Medium term Outlook” button on that AEMO Dashboard for SA and Vic. Next summer is looking like a disaster. You can’t say we have not been warned.

    • Agreed. Facts and reason don’t work in politics. Only the experience of a big, big failure of all those things that even ardent “greens” take for granted will shake people out of their complacency. I mean the aircon (in SA), the washing machines, the cooker, the TV, the smartphone charger … etc etc. I am personally glad this is happening in SA, and not Old England, where power system failure means no heating in winter (even gas and oil burners having electric control systems). But we are running close, as astute observers may know, and getting worse, under the influence of our delusional Climate Change Act. Big time power system failure in SA, followed by the necessary political corrections, might just make it through the censors of the BBC and give us some advance warning. Sorry about SA.

    • I have been saying this for a while. Until we get constant blackouts our politician masters are safe. But when the electricty price skyrockets needlessly and power is intermittent the populace will understand the lesson better than anything else. So the sooner this crisis happens the better for all of us.

  11. A suggestion: Henceforth the term ‘Renewable’ to be replaced with ‘Intermittent’.

  12. As long as the other Australian States – Queensland, NSW, Victoria & (the other basket case) Tasmania can turn off the switchs on the “extension cords & double adaptors” when they need their own power for themselves, all is well.

  13. South Australia is now totally dependent on brown coal generated power from Victoria for base load requirements.
    The previous Australian Energy Market Operator (now deceased) warned that if the current energy policies in SA Victoria Queensland and nationally are pursued, that “the system must collapse”.
    At the same time Australia is the largest global coal exporter by volume accounting for 30% of global coal trade and second to iron ore in value to the economy.
    “Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat”.

    • Are the revenues from the coal exports that are being used to subsidize generation of “clean” electricity in South Australia? How ARE the subsidies being produced and are they from a sustainable source? At its most basic level, money is a proxy for energy.

      • Tom
        Oz has a Renewable Energy Target which is a de facto tax on coal and gas power producers. That RET generates $3 billion per year of which $2.8 billion was handed directly to the wind and solar producers as a virtual gift.

        In the case of the SA power station, it was producing power for about $40/MWh and as a fossil fuel producer it was forced to pay a minimum of $85/MWh to wind farms for the right to sell that coal power. In other words coal pays a 200% tax directly to wind and solar. Wind farm operators can just sit back and watch the cash roll in even if their turbines are not spinning. The more electricity coal power stations sell, the more cash they are compelled by law to hand over to wind / solar farms, supposedly to offset coal emissions.

        This RET is why Oz power is in such a fragile state now and why our power prices are going through the roof. It was designed to force coal and gas producers out of business and that is exactly what is happening. It is why base-load power stations are becoming unviable. This applies across the country, not just in SA.

        • “It was designed to force coal and gas producers out of business and that is exactly what is happening. It is why base-load power stations are becoming unviable. This applies across the country, not just in SA.”

          And Julia Gillard is from Cardiff where the steel producer almost closed last year thanks to similarly misguided green energy policies in Wales. You’d think she would would have thought about this a bit more. We had the Welsh Wind-Bag in UK and Australia got the Welsh Witch. Should there be a ban on the export of Welsh politicians?

      • “Peter Gardner April 11, 2017 at 7:34 pm

        And Julia Gillard is from Cardiff…”

        She is from Barry right next door to Barry Island, where old steamers go to get scrapped.

    • Chris Hanley, unfortunately this has been the constant theme in Australia for decades right across industry. There is no Australian team. There are numerous little empires, not just the states and federal organsations. I’ve made a longer comment expanding on my experiences.

  14. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    South Australia accounts for about 0.15 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
    If we shut down the state and evacuated it, the annual emissions saved would be eclipsed by China’s emissions growth within a few weeks. You desert the state forever, leaving it to become a future Angkor Wat, and it would make not the slightest difference to global climate trends.
    Yet in order to claim some kind of climate virtue, justify the odd trip to Paris and delude themselves about leading the world, SA’s policymakers have sacrificed their state’s cost of living, undermined its struggling manufacturing base and enfeebled its energy security.

    South Australians have the most expensive electricity in the nation by an average of about 40 per cent, yet the power can go missing when they most need it — when especially hot or cold weather triggers high demand.

    Tuff times ahead for the SA taxpayer thanks to green centralised planning based on “save the planet” climate virtue singnalling madness.

    • Climatism “a future Angkor Wat”

      Someone with great foresight will come to the rescue. Jurassic Park NOW!

      There is another option: cede South Australia to Israel. It would be up and running in a year or two.

  15. Can’t say for sure but wasn’t there a lot of Press about how the EU members suddenly did not have excess to supply into the grid during some cold periods this Northern Winter. That is “… look after ourselves Brother….”.

    Well you take ~20% out off the real power base (Hazelwood Coal Fired Power Station) and expect it to have no effect well you are crazy or incredibly lucky.

    Victoria (the Australian State in which Hazelwood operated) will battle during this quickly coming Southern Winter. Maybe we won’t have anything to assist the other States on the Grid???

    The chances of this happening are good but the pain, apart from harming those least able to deal with it, might just be worth it to illustrate this madness.

  16. The stupidity of the left ideology before practicality one can only hope jay will get voted out

  17. Robert Gottleibsen in The Australian:

    “The looming crisis is much worse than I expected. Three state governments, Victoria NSW and South Australia, have vandalised our total energy system. The Premiers of each state clearly had no idea what they were doing and did not sit down with top engineers outside the government advisers to work out the best way to achieve their objectives — whether that be an increase in renewables or gas restrictions.


    I have been alerted that in the 1995 Federal Criminal Code under Section 137.1 in Chapter 7 there is a section entitled ‘Good administration of government’.”

    • Given these people wrote the “laws” I am sure they included escape clauses, or if not, their teflon coated shoulders and expensive lawyers will prevent anything from sticking.

  18. Australia’s Energy Luck Runs Out

    By David Fickling

    April 9, 2017

    With its abundance of mineral wealth and sun-kissed shores, Australia takes pride in thinking of itself as the “lucky country.”

    That sounds good until you consider the full quote from which the phrase is derived — a warning that this natural endowment was being squandered by the second-rate way the nation is governed.

    Politics lies at the heart of Australia’s current energy paradox: How can one of the world’s largest exporters be having trouble keeping its lights on?

    Clearing Out

    Australian wholesale electricity prices have doubled since the closure of the Hazelwood coal generator was announced



    Wholesale electricity prices in Victoria have more than doubled since Nov. 3, when Engie SA announced plans to close its 1.6-gigawatt coal-fired Hazelwood power station. More shocks will follow: About 3.6 GW of coal generation capacity is scheduled for closure at present, rising to 7 GW by 2030 according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


    Such changes shouldn’t cause this degree of difficulty. The U.S. has shut about 39 GW of coal-fired capacity since the end of 2012 without significant upsets, while the U.K. closed about 8.4 GW in the five years through 2015. Australia ought to be able to handle 1.6 GW dropping off the grid.

    Part of the explanation is different trade dynamics. Thanks to its greater exposure to global export markets, gas in Australia has failed to undercut coal on price in the way it has in the U.S. and U.K.

    Indeed, the country’s LNG plants are so hungry for volumes that they’ve been in direct competition with local generators. Since the closure of Hazelwood was announced, domestic gas prices have reset to match the regional spot LNG market:

    Liquid Market

    Australian natural gas prices have reset above those in the Asian LNG market


    Rising fuel costs have been so damaging for the economics of gas-fired electricity that the Australian Energy Market Operator expects such generation to decline by about 15 percent between 2016 and 2021.Where coal is being replaced, it’s with renewables: Almost 70 percent of the additional planned capacity in the national electricity market is for wind-power plants, with a further 13 percent going to utility-scale solar.

    It’s worth recognizing that this is good news. Faster withdrawal from fossil fuels is clearly better for the global climate, and the volume of wind and solar set to hit the market means there’s little risk of outright shortages over the next five years or so.


    One challenge remains. If coal-power retirements accelerate, solar and wind will be unable to fill the gap quickly enough, especially given the way their variability can undermine the stability of the grid. The government’s plans to add 2 GW of hydroelectric capacity in the mountains southwest of Canberra will help, as will battery-storage proposals like the one Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has offered for South Australia. They won’t make the problem go away altogether.


    Bloomberg Gadfly

    I just love how “Gang-green” can contradict themselves without missing a beat.

    Faster withdrawal from fossil fuels is clearly better for the global climate, and the volume of wind and solar set to hit the market means there’s little risk of outright shortages over the next five years or so.

    One challenge remains. If coal-power retirements accelerate, solar and wind will be unable to fill the gap quickly enough, especially given the way their variability can undermine the stability of the grid.

    Priceless irony notwithstanding, Australia’s energy plight is indeed “good news” for both U.S. coal and natural gas producers…

    Provided we don’t do anything stupid, like demolishing coal-fired power plants, we can competitively export natural gas and coal without causing our electricity rates to “skyrocket “

  19. So now it will import its electricity from Victorie and NSW coal plants. Posing hypocracy

  20. Finally! Now I have seen a real tangible “Tipping-point” for the Climate. At least for the in-door climate when the black-outs will shut the ACs down.

  21. An amazing video: Firm evidence that climate extremists are at the end of the day destructive parasites feeding off the productivity of the world. The policies that climate extremists impose wreck the environment by industrialist the open spaces. Their policies wreck the economy by chasing away real jobs. Their policies hurt consumers and businesses by destabilizing the power grid and driving up prices. And their policies do nothing at all to change the climate. Blowing up a perfectly useful power plant seems to be a fitting tribute to the climate extremists.

  22. Hopefully with the introduction of smart meters electricity distributors will be able to shut off power to green voting electorates first thus eliminating the need for general load shedding.

  23. Sarah Sea Patrol thinks coal is subsidised?? Wow. So Hazelwood produced power at 4c/kWh for 5 decades in an undistorted market and was profitable enough to be sold for $$$ – then when the grid price increased 5 fold and they received subsidies they went broke?

    That’s what happens when you drink the bong water.

  24. Who cares? Really. This tiny demography uses 12TWh pa, a tiny area of an almost uninhabited continent that survives by being an easy access continental size mine far. far away. Who cares how mad /ignorant/corrupt and self harming they are? Why does any one care about the energy science denial by the green energy zealots of Southern Australia? They are irrelevant, even as crash test dummies, because what they do is simply irrelevant to industrialised economies. Not even relevant dummies, we have Germany and Denmark. Denmark was an obvious warning to S.Australia, OK their is more Solar PV, but the renewable prolem of intensity and unreliability and depndenec on capable supply via overland grid was the same. As was the easy greed of undeserved subsidies for what can never work in fact, because of its enrgy source limitations. Simple fraud on the science facts. We have better dummies. Am Bestern, Deutschland.

    Germany is much bigger crash test dummy, and uses c.600TWh pa. They have relied on renewables and no nuclear (not really, they still get 14% of their electrical enrgy from nuclear, and replaced 10% or so of nuclear with – COAL! Most of the time, when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine (Winter). So much for climate change, really all they did was try to replace capable zero carbon nuclear with weak intermitent renewables, energy science denial which isn’t working well.

    Now have the most expensive electricity around and NO net CO2 reduction per their government figures, if that really matters (saying it is is real science denial, no one can ever prove it, and there are better candidates for the flip flop from long term glaciation with short warm snaps we are curently in during the most circular part of of our orbit around the Sun, etc. But that’s not my subject.)

    If they are treated as an independent energy Island,… as I read they are on a isolated position on their empty continent, South Australians own subsidy greed and technical ignorance can only deliver energy faminethat will starve them of adequate enrgy when needed if persisted in, as with other such superstitious civilisations that could not change from their flawed beliefs, Southern Europe’s Catholic science deniers, the Moche Indians who believed mud Pyramids = rain, etc., etc.

    This has much in common with Scottish subsidy farmers the National Oz government will subsidise for votes, and they will need a large interconnect and capable reliable capacity from gas, nuclear or coal elsewhere to get away with that, because it can’t work on its own w/o capable support from 24/7 despatchable base load generation elsewhere, as with Denmark now. Simple. Soy th Australians don’t need to destroy their energy economy to prove a point made in larger economies elsewhere. If Solar PV is good value. Don’t subsidise it. Cut the fast, massive and easy regressive susbidies and see how Solar PV works in a rational enrgy market.

    nb: Nothing wrong with non real time solar thermal, water heating, which offsets the use of expensively generated pure electrical energy for heating, which is daft (Using the primary energy directly is vastly more efficient and economic). Same for using coal fired electricity to heat water, Just have a coal boiler, 2.5 times as efficient. Gas less so, 60% effient CCGT vs 90% + in condensing boilers for clean natural gas.

    Not only is all this delusional and greed fuelled, but it’s reallystupid in a developed educated society. Anyone with basic AS Level physics can quickly understand why renewables can’t deliver as advertised, subsidies don’t make the energy source more intense or controllable. Not enough energy when needed.

    They can deny energy generation reality through interconnects for a bit, but not forever. Then they get real or revert to 3rd World economy status..

    I’d cut the interconnects to make the point, as I would to SCotland if they leave the UK, or charge Southern Australia renewable energy rates for interconnect energy so the cost of their stupid renewable science denial at least matches the cost of their subsidies..

    FACT: Any energy physicist knows what works best, and expert officials. It’s not climate science, its proven. The delusionals don’t like what works best, and especially not what that is after fossil use is ended, the most sustainable, zero CO2, renewable, cheapest new build and safest of all clean energy source. But the decisions are made by cynical politicians in the short term though, for their lobbyists, and they know what makes the most subsidy profit from the beliefs of the indoctrinated or science denying Solar PV subsidy loving voters. Good luck with that. CEng, CPhys, MBA

    PS CCS. The almost uninhabited but coal filled counter continent would be a great place to develop what could be very useful zero carbon energy source while we transition to nuclear longer term, over a few hundred years, CCS coal fired power that Sir David MacKay FRS, DECC Chief Scientist from 2008 -2014 was so strong on, carbon may well be securely held in the geologocal stratas of what I beleve to be very ancient and stable geology. Here is his master calls on energy reality before his untimely death in 2016. If the facts are of interest, his science covers CCS and the place of solar PV in hot countries, BTW..

    • “Who cares? Really. This tiny demography uses 12TWh pa, a tiny area of an almost uninhabited continent ….”


      I have a longer list of places I do not care about, UK, Germany, Spain, ect. It is because I do not live there.

      I find policies that work far more interesting. For example, modest mandates in Texas during Governor Bush and windfarms in the Pacific Northwest balanced by BPA hydro.

      Of course both of my examples are about adding modest amounts of renewables and not tearing out existing power plants that are still needed.

      • Obviously wrong on the facts anyone can check. We don’t need Scottish over priced renewable energy at 100% and 200% premium if we have enough baseload unsubsidised energy, and a bit of our own overpriced technically BS renewables. But Scots are increasingly dependent on low duty cycle renewables (48%?) so rely on our cheap base load energy from nuclear and fossil generation when the wind doesn’t blow to avoid massive power cuts.

        Why Poland and Czeckoslovakia have put asymentric thyristor connections on the grid between themselves and Germany, so they don’t get dumped with Germany’s unwanted surplus renewable energy, most of it, and can export their reliable coal and nuclear fired energy to renewables over-dependent Germany when the wind isn’t blowing, sun not shining much or at all.

        Your statement is simply wrong on the facts of the obvious energy science on the grid, and economics. Putting more chronically intermittent renewables on the grid and locking in their 70% fossil backup instead of replacing coal with clean low carbon gas and gas with zero carbon nuclear AFAP is making CO2 emissions avoidably and expensively worse by law, on the facts rather than the science denying deceit of renewable lobbyists for easy profit and greenshirt zealots for … what exactly? Hatred of poor people in growing renewable energy poverty? As Sir David MacKay FRS, Chief Scientific advisor to the DECC 2008-2014 and author of the globally respected “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” famously said,”do the arithmatic”. And “renewables (in the UK) are an appalling delusion” . But that’s only the proven and costed physics, not the regressively deceitful remewable clap trap for a fast buck for lobbyists, politicians and senior civil servants, locked in for 20 years by laws they made. And dumb people simply believed the justifications for, all of which are made worse by renewable subsidies in the joined up facts of the grid.

  25. JB “smart meters”

    Reading the electricity generation trade journals in the early days of the smart meter roll out “easy disconnection” was seen as a major benefit to cash flow. Previously it took quite a bit of time for the electricity company to send out a person to disconnect your power for non-payment. it could drag on for months. With smart meters the power is cut automatically from a central office accelerating your pain and scrounging to pay the bill. Cash flow thereby enhanced. Since very few people have fully or even partially networked appliances in their homes so there have been few other benefits of smart meters.

    Of course they may come one day. We guess that they will. Maybe. For now its been all pain to the most vulnerable consumers. Green but not human friendly.

    • the attorney general office declared the ONLY benefit to smartmeters was TO the suppliers
      our service charges rose sharply and are now fully 1/3 of the bill.
      and as for supposed ease of dis and re connecting
      well ,a friend moved house and the company took the same time to sort out new owner and connection timing. lot more peeved people since the were forced on us.

  26. If this coal plant had been in operation and there were no wind farms at all, SA would still have had a blackout when the power lines went down.

    If SA had set the trip on its windfarms as they do in Germany, they would NOT have gone offline and the grid (that part of it not blown down) continued to operate.

    When it has the new grid storage in place for frequency response, it will be far les likely to have any blackouts.

    • Do you mean frequency regulation Griff? That is what is hampered by having many small generators trying to stay synchronized to the power grid. In a 60 Hz grid, the frequency of each input device must be maintained to prevent automatic disconnection and power loss. Disconnected generation due to loss of sync causes voltage drops, causing amperage spikes and brownouts for customers until automated protections drop out the area drawing the high current at low voltage. This is often remediated within minutes by increases of base loading as the tripped transformers in the field auto-restore. Without large base-load generators to compensate for input interruptions, the grid will fail more often.

        • What “grid scale storage”? The only practical storage on that scale is pumped hydro, which is not practical in South Australia. Not quite generators running on unicorn farts, but close.

      • Don’t expect Griff to know what he’s talking about. He just copies what’s on the notes his handlers have given him.

      • Tom, Griff is planning on spending a few trillion dollars (Or whatever that works out to in Austrailia’s currency) to buy enough batteries to keep the country running for the half hour or so that it will take for the wind to start blowing again.
        If it takes longer than that, it’s just proof that the consumers are being greedy and demanding too much power.

    • IF –
      “If you can meet with triumph and disaster
      And treat those two imposters just the same …”
      (Rudyard Kipling)

      Well Griff you’ve ticked that box already.

  27. A chart showing SA electricity rates since the adoption of renewables may be helpful. I believe that this undergirds the arguments being made around the edges of debate. A very real scenario “why cant I get a raise this year” answer “electricity costs were up 10%. We are unable to pass the increase through to our customers”

    • It becomes very easy to understand how the bankrupt basket case I saw in Leningrad in 1992 comes to be . The arrogant willful stupidity of statists is the most dangerous force in our lives .

      Thanks be to the electoral college system which saved the population of 84% of the counties won by Trump from domination by the disconnected-from-reality urban drones .

      • “The arrogant willful stupidity of statists is the most dangerous force in our lives .”

        The only thing big government is really good at is making really big mistakes.

  28. From the article: “South Australia, the world’s renewable crash test dummy, has wasted no time demolishing their last viable coal power station, to lock in their pursuit of an energy free future.”

    I think that is a perfect summation of the situation, Eric.

    The inmates are running the asylum in Australia. They think they are so right, but in reality they are so wrong. Completely blind to reality. Unfortunately, they are in charge.

  29. No doubt Griff will spend the next 6 months touting this action as proof positive that wind/solar are cheap and dependable.

    • if wind and solar is so cheap and reliable, governments should pull the subsides. That’s what Griff is saying right? Aren’t they upside down on usage? rather than demanding energy from solar and wind first, shouldn’t it be from the least cost provider? How can they say its cost effective? Is this a state monopoly or establishing monopolies? Its an involuntary tax. Not voted on. Perhaps somebody could put a cap on the unlimited costs. That’s what Public utility commissions used to do in the US. While they are at it, before they destroy more power plants, demand that the power be as reliable as the power they are supposedly replacing.
      Putting people out of jobs through infrastructure changes is a good thing? That’s what I see happening in SA.

  30. I’ve recently been falling to sleep with Outback Truckers which is now on Netflix .

    As a rather rural American I’m astounded by the lack of even the most minimal infrastructure shown . It makes one wonder about those storied prison winnowed genetics .

    They don’t even seem to know how to make trivially small bridges and culverts and instead get stuck in streams and rivers and bogs submerging the dirt tracks season after season .

      • So’s the western USA . These infrastructure problems are too trivial to excuse . They bring in graders and dozers to pull our road trains when a few days work with the same equipment could have built a culvert to eliminate the problem . Instead they just seem to be content to let the streams run across the road year after year . I’m sorry , but they show chronic situations which just look retarded .

      • Australia is a similar size to the USA, with 1/10 of the population. It’s not such a big problem in the heavily populated areas, because they’re concentrated around the coast. But most of the country has very few people.

        • “Australia is a similar size to the USA, with 1/10 of the population. It’s not such a big problem in the heavily populated areas, because they’re concentrated around the coast. But most of the country has very few people.”

          True. But for wind energy to be viable the system needs to be able to draw power from anywhere in Australia. The diversity of weather across Australia used to be one of the arguments supporting the case for wind. There are many factors hindering the development of an integrated robust system, but without it, high dependence on wind, even locally, isn’t viable.

  31. As a mature (old) Air Quality Control Engineer in the Power Industry it has been very frustrating and disturbing to watch the industry that gave me a rewarding career and that I care so much about crumble. Not because the industry was not successful, not because it was not complying with laws but because environmentalists and politicians decided to destroy it as a sacrifice to the environmental gods.

    As I stated above I work in the air quality control arena and the coal fired plants have undergone amazing transformations to reduce the impact on environment. Engineers like me have help remove millions of tons of pollutants like SO2, NOx, particulates, mercury and others to make coal fired plants cleaner. The industry also responded to concerns about what to do with air pollutants that were removed. Instead of wastes the removed air pollutants are now used in the wallboard, cement, concrete, cinder block, and fertilizer industries to name a few. Reclaiming areas where removed air pollutants were placed before the negative impacts on the ground water was known is well under way. Those reclaimed areas will eventually become sites for industry, homes or other uses. But, you do not hear about these amazing advances, just the downside.

    Then the bogey man manmade climate change reared its head. A coal fired power plant generates a lot of CO2 due the nature of the fuel. If it is required for a coal fired power plant to remove CO2 it becomes uneconomical to run or build new plants. That was the final death knell for coal fired plants. It is so important to have a serious debate on CO2 and manmade climate because so much is at stake. We are in the process of shutting down a major supplier of electricity because of something that may or may not be true. Billions and billions of dollars in equipment will (is) be(ing) left to sit idly by as we enter a period of an unstable electric grid.

    It would be nice to have news coverage that is accurate and truthful, but that is asking too much. So many people have no idea how complex power plants are and what it takes to operate them. Or how the industry has responded to demands for more environmentally friendly plants.

    New technologies are now available to make any new coal fired plant very safe, environmentally friendly, more efficient and competitive with plants burning other fuels. However, until the political climate changes, there will not be another coal fired power plant built in the U.S.

  32. I was wondering how credible Loren White’s anti-nuke rhetoric might be since my nuclear expertise does not include CANDU reactors.

    “The USA has 50% of its states with Mercury air, water & soil pollution warnings from … Coal.”

    ‘Warnings’ are generally politically motivated scare tactics issue during debates for new regulations.

    For example, Washington State issues a ‘warning’ about eating fish containing mercury caught in state waters. This was immediately followed by a national ad campaign claiming a 50% increase in US waters with ‘warnings’ about mercury from coal plants.

    Since Washington State has only one coal plant, I was skeptical. I found the study. Two lakes in Washington State have legacy mercury contamination but it has nothing to do with coal. Furthermore, mercury levels are going down. It is virtually impossible to catch and eat enough fish with mercury to cause oneself harm.

    100% bogus warning!

    Furthermore, the US Center for Disease Control monitors for environmental pollutants such as lead and mercury. Not one American was found to have have blood or hair samples indicating mercury levels above the threshold of harm. Not true for lead but it is getting much better since removing lead from gasoline.

    The correct method evaluating pollution is to compare actual levels to standards based on the level of harm. As hard as I look, I can not find a US coal that is causing harm to people. I do find lots of contrived wild leaps of logic (aka, lying) in models based on bogus unproven theories.

    My conclusion is that Loren White is not credible.

  33. What’s wrong with people !

    Comforts derived from sources with which those enjoying them have no clue whence such comforts come are destructive comforts. In other words, fragmented knowledge is a bitch.

    Think I’ll swing by a fast food place in my new, gas-guzzling SUV, before I hitch up my pricey boat to take it to the lake, after which I’ll have a nice relaxing cup of coffee at a coffee shop, where I will compose my next manifesto condemning fossil fuels, on my sleek, latest-model iPad.

    • “whence”

      Really! What a load of crap. Clearly Robert does not have a clue. I find Robert has a mindset that is typical of inside the Washington DC beltway.

      Somehow being out on the water enjoying the environment is somehow bad for the environment.

  34. I must admit to having an amusing, voyeuristic interest in watching and waiting for the South Australian train’s full-steam-ahead appointment with the Bridge Over the River Kwai. Germany and Ontario have 100% (or close to it) duplicate capacity. South Australia has no intention wasting effort even considering such options. It’s committed. “More steam! Keep shoveling Casey. We need more steam!” Whoo Hooooo!!

    • When the major blackouts occur will be the equivalent of watching the bridge blow up. Waiting to see the train engineers apply emergency braking, followed by the train plummeting over the edge and into the chasm will be spectacular.

  35. Still these numpties are Hell bent on trying to disprove a fundamental tenet of engineering that you can’t build a reliable system from unreliable components-
    We’re up to 50% of unreliable electrons now and Hazelgrove in Victoria has closed. Third world power here we come.

  36. Any experienced folk in the field here care to comment on this discussion of the problems with managing these disperse and fickle generators?

    • What a smart young man ! I remember the snapped shaft generator case. I was doing rotating machine theory & practice in the 70’s as part of my degree course (Elec Eng). Transmission grids look, to those outside the profession, as simply a bunch of wires interconnecting things together but even pre “renewables” were hugely complicated a.c. circuits with thousands of reactive components. Pretty impossible to model perfectly and so the actual behaviour under any fault or abnormal condition was “data gold”. A vast percentage of the physical grid assets are of course many decades old so you have, as he says, a system designed in a different era to do something different to what we are asking of it now. Stability IS degraded. I liken it to snipping little bits off the edges of your car seat belt. For 99.999% of your journey to work the snips make no difference whatsoever but one day you need the whole 100% of the belt as originally designed. Unfortunately it’s not there. The result is predictable, the timing of the result is not.
      A catastrophic grid collapse and destruction of significant grid assets may occur in 3 years, 10 years, 20 years or never. If it does occur recovery will take time and be quite painful. I predict economic loss in the e unlucky first country to exceed any recession they have ever seen, deaths attributable to loss of electricity for weeks to be in the thousands and significant civil unrest. Anyone fancy a sweepstake on which country is going to fall into the pit first ?

  37. They had a great prime minister, tony abbot . Australia is suffering from the “US” disease, wholesale corruption of those who are paid to serve the people.

    Who is going to awaken the dead!

  38. C’mon everyone, this is history in the making. We will get to see what it was like in medieval times first hand.

  39. We Germans were the forerunners of renewables and anti-nuclear.

    The result?
    – Electricity prices have tripled from 20 Pfennig =10 €ct in 2000 to 30 €ct/kWh today.
    – CO2 output did not decline for the last 8 years, last year it went up.
    – Until 2022 we will dismantle all nuclear power plants = another surge in CO2.
    – El Prices will rise further because:
    – New high voltage transmission lines are required, (under soil, with six times higher costs.)
    – New highflex gas turbines are required for following intermittent RE.
    – 2.5% of primary energy consumption is from wind power.
    – 1% of primary energy consumption is from PV solar power.

    The complete scenery would have flopped, but luckily we have Switzerland and Austria for Hydro power and oil power plants, Poland for coal power plants, Czech Republic, France and Belgium for nuclear power plants and Netherlands for gas power plants, if there is no wind and sun.

    If you like to check our power generating system, check here for the actual data:

    This is a must-see! Very often we have nearlay no Renewables at all! You can insert any date of click for last week, last month or last year.

  40. Crazy is what crazy does… and this IS crazy. This station could have been mothballed ready to be useful, in the event reality demands it. Oh wait… maybe it’s stupid is what stupid does… GK

  41. You should feel sorry for these poor folk.
    Remember, it is “not their fault” if you lose power.

    Also, just as they were born,
    their mamas had the doctor “slap their butts”.

    and then, like all, good city folk/city hospitals
    ….the babies were placed in an “isolation chamber” and
    ……fed by automatons
    …….(err, folk dressed up that way)
    for at least a week, maybe two!
    Just go to look at pictures of “hospital nurseries”!

    These poor folk, handicapped since birth, what do you expect?
    Besides, they have to “save the world”
    …but don’t get hurt, don’t confront, don’t this, don’t that…
    they had a real hard childhood being “good”.

  42. Troublesome sight.

    And teeny tiny Switzerland is lining up right behind, as it is going to vote in May on wether we want to ban the possible building of new nuclear power plants (in some distant future) and shutting down any that come to need repair, turn off our lights (save energy, because electricity prices are too low) and search for the abundance of vast land needed to further our native (! not my word) renewable energy sources such as plant for biofuels, wind parks, solar parks and water.

    I hope the people still have some sense.

  43. In one way, it’s a positive. The eventual new replacement coal stations will be the latest technology for clean and economical burning.
    We still have enough coal to make several more generations of efficiency gains in power generation worth the effort.

    • I think it’s irony that what they are doing hasn’t any provable positive global effect, yet the folks who live in S. OZ have been subject to noticeable negative impacts.

  44. Have no fear, SA, Elon Musk has graciously offerred the use of his PowerWall$ and BatteryPack$, to fix your electricity problems in 100 days, or it’s free. This is from his Dominoes Division of course.

  45. “South Australia, the world’s renewable crash test dummy…”

    I’d add an s, ‘renewables’, ’cause I don’t think the dummy is renewable, Eric.

  46. The energy crisis in Australia is fundamentally typical of Australia. I have conducted several studies for state and federal governments on the competitiveness of Australian industries and exploitation of technological developments in order to assist policy makers to assist. Such reports fill the archives of state and federal governments and a theme that runs constantly through them going back to WW2 is the inability of Australians to get their act together and form an effective single entity to compete internationally, a team that combines the strengths of its individual players. Typically there would be five or six Australian partial bids competing with one JV from UK, one JV from Canada and so on. It’s the same in government and public bodies. Take fire-fighting, management of the Murray-Darling, just about anything, and you find a chaotic and non-sensical mess of competing parochial interests fighting over their turf. The overriding priority is the jealous guarding of the local empire.

    I remember reading reports on green energy some years ago (15?) arguing that wind power would be great because Australia was big enough to have diverse weather so there would always be good wind somewhere in this vast continent for it to be the bees knees. All that was required was to join up the systems and hey presto. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Join up the systems? In Australia?

    The great academic Michael Porter characterised Australia as a niche player. And it is true. It produces highly talented entrepreneurial individuals, first class engineers, doctors, and so on. Small business proliferate, many driven by an individual with a bright idea and a can-do attitude. Its industrial profile is strong in natural resources and what used to be called Elaborately Transformed Manufactures (like Cochlear), with a hole in the middle where Value Adding and integrated industries enable widely capable companies to form. Car manufacturing is something of a ‘Mars Bar’. Very difficult for Australia because success depends on a wide variety of specialist companies, each competitive in its own right, but which can also support the sophisticated integration into a competitive integrated product, not just once but sustain it over generations of product. Australia’s success was therefore, for example in manufacturing engines, in SA as it happens, for some of GM ‘s range of cars.

    Coming back to energy, the crisis in SA is not surprising. It was almost guaranteed, given the way politics and government in general work in Australia. It is called the lucky country, not because as most people believe, it is a wonderful paradise on earth, but because its richness of natural resources has been enough to save it from the incompetence of its own governments. Despite it all, Australians are deeply patriotic in a way I think Britain would do well to emulate. It always amuses me to watch Australian political debates escalate through the inventory of standard insults, like scumbag, gutter, blatant sexist, neanderthal, knuckle dragger, etc etc until reaching a climax when someone is accused of being ‘un-Australian’, leaving nothing more to be said.

  47. Patrick MJD you might drive on “the right side of the road” but here in Sydney we drive on the left.
    It really is another country down there.

  48. ” decades-long subsidy that coal has received in the electricity generation market”

    Is this verifiable? Can anyone help me here?



    • It’s like this-
      and as well the Greenies like to tot up all the normal business tax deductibility, particularly depreciation allowances for energy companies and miners and the like and count them as fossil fuel ‘subsidies’. Naturally you don’t count that with truly subsidised renewables, solar panel manufacturers, etc. That’s how the watermelon hive mind works.

      • Most Greens can’t tell you the difference between a deduction and a tax credit anyway and the huge value difference. Count that as another detail they never get into because of some mix of shallowness and message management on the part of their handlers.

      • observa,
        Well the calculation of these subsidies is certainy hard to understand, which may imply that they make actually very little practical sense.
        My conclusion from your link is that the OECD calculates as a subsidy, the difference between the “world price” of fossil fuels and the price they are sold in any particular economy.
        The problem of this calculation is that there is in my opinion – NO WORLD PRICE FOR FOSSIL FUELS – in fact any student of economics 101 would understand that in a free market, prices move depending on the supply and demand.
        For instance, no one sells oil at a loss for any significant length of time. A losing oil supplier will shut things down pretty quickly if this happens, and of course this will cause the world price of oil to rise. Should there be a large supply of cheap oil – ie oil that is cheap to get out of the ground – the world price of oil will drop.
        It seems the OECD has some notion of a fixed price of oil and any supplier selling below that price is termed as subsidising the market, in spite of this supplier being able to turn a reasonable profit – if he wasn’t he would shut down.
        I appears that in some countries, governments allow tax discounts for fossil fuel suppliers which would further increase the gap between this fictitious “world price” and this is also counted as part of the “subsidy”.

        Contrast this with the subsidies given to “renewable” energy. Cash straight out of the tax payers pocket and no tax payable.
        Well what ever BS is promulgated by these agencies, in the long run the market will win. This means that if the real subsidies – ie the ones on renewables – are continued with, we will see economies crashing and a lot of poor and agrieved citizens.

        This is my take on it.



  49. Just had a week in South Australia. Stayed for a few days with friends at the southern end of the Barossa Valley. He’s a mechanical engineer graduate of the Munich Technical University and about the finest engineer I know. On the day the Port Augusta power station was shut down he bought a 3.5 KW petrol standby generator. Some people aren’t stupid.

    • @Mike

      “3.5 KW petrol standby generator. Some people aren’t stupid.”

      That is stupid! So Mike how would you know if someone is a good engineer?

      I can explain why having a standby generator is stupid. I had this conversation a few years back with an engineer at work. We both worked in nuclear power and were x-navy nukes. You know you are a good engineer when the navy lets you operated a nuke plant. After our discussion he did not buy a generator.

      Reason one is safety. Handling gasoline and carbon monoxide during power outages are sending stupid people to emergency rooms.

      Reason two is reliability. Standby generators owned by stupid people are less reliable than even the most unreliable grid. It will not work when you need it.

      Reason three, it to big and not big enough. My wife and go off grid in our motor home. Her job is to make sure we do not run out of food. My job is to make sure she does not get too hot. I have two generators. A small 900 watt two stroke generator that I can lift with one hand to charge batteries. A 6.5 KWe propane generator that will run the AC. Of course I can always start the diesel engine that has belt driven alternator and AC.

      Engineers like their toys. Mike’s friend may have been looking for an excuse so his wife would let him buy a generator. I personally find ICE generators irritating. My toy has sails. It would appear that toys that make noise are popular than those that do not not.

      • You need to keep up with portable generator technology at Aussie prices-
        That can keep your fridge running plus lights and PC plus telly and gadgets (and the gas stove that won’t run without power to the igniters) but I take your point they can be too small or too large and the question of fuel use but for goodness sake some of us do manage to fill our lawnmowers and whippersnippers without burning down the neighbourhood. Diesel stores better than petrol but since most have petrol cars we could cycle the fuel through them occasionally to keep it fresh and there’s always the car tank to access. In SA we’ll probably be looking at rolling blackouts soon so the ability to tide over the basics during that time can make good sense.

    • A steel mill in every backyard. … Mao a great leap foward. (Sarc)

      Then when that happens, they’ll ban portable generators or the fuel or tax it so high to put us back in the dark ages.

  50. Australians won’t have any trouble getting cars that drive on the left side of the road with the driver in the right hand seat. The Japanese drive on the left side of the road and make the best cars anyway.

    • Just have issues with “European” controls or “Japanese” controls, often turn my wipers on when I really want to indicate a turn.

    • “Mike Borgelt April 12, 2017 at 3:45 am

      The Japanese drive on the left side of the road and make the best cars anyway.”

      I worked for Honda in the mid 1990’s, and yes, they do pay attention to quality. Holden in Australia, not so.

      • That was before the bad CEO wrecked quality and was fired for it after a lot of damage was done to buyers and with mpg lies to boot.

  51. “goodness sake some of us do manage to fill our lawnmowers”

    Observa, can you explain the difference between outdoors and indoors with respect to an ICE.

    Next question, where are you using your gadgets? What precautions should you take?

    • Just saying if in SA we’re to experience hours of power being out it can make sense to have a backup genny like the one I pointed to. It’s a manouverable, recoil start genny that can run the basics as I said and bear in mind here when the State experienced a complete blackout at 4pm on a workday and it went on for hours after dark a lot of folks got a rude awakening. You know, stuck in lifts, told to finish work early, no traffic lights, no petrol pumps, no shops and home to a dark house with nothing working. Now we all have the odd torch or two but it’s amazing how you keep walking into rooms with them and flicking the 240V light switch out of habit.

      OK so if you want to get serious and run everything including airconditioning you’re up for a serious diesel or town gas (I’m all electric) fired genny wired in like these at 6+Kva that will fire up on demand-
      However the problem with those as you point out is will they fire up when they’re needed? With intermittent use the starter battery will go flat and diesel go stale and if you don’t have a diesel car to rotate it through you may be wasting diesel.

      That’s where in my circumstances and should the need arise with more regular blackouts I’d opt for a largish recoil start petrol genny like that Yamaha and filling it safely with petrol from stored jerry cans is the least of my worries. Nevertheless it’s not ideal and why my ancestors built large power stations and the grid for their convenience and economies of scale as they weren’t stupid like the current lot.

  52. Let the entire system crash. These people are just bat crazy
    I make the presiction there will come a time where they will be building brand new coal plants in Australia again.

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