Guest essay by Eric Worrall
South Australia’s catastrophic renewables policies have been endorsed by former Vice-President Al Gore; Gore considers South Australia to be a climate world leader.
Donald Trump ‘isolated’ on climate change: Al Gore says rest of world moving on without US President
7.30 By Callum Denness
The United States will meet or exceed its Paris Agreement emissions targets despite an increasingly isolated President Donald Trump withdrawing from the accord, former vice-president Al Gore says.
In Australia to promote his latest film, An Inconvenient Sequel, the climate campaigner and one-time presidential candidate said Mr Trump was out of step domestically and internationally.
“The country as a whole is going to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement, regardless of what Donald Trump says or does,” Mr Gore told 7.30.
Disputing the argument renewable energy is less reliable and more expensive than conventional power sources, Mr Gore praised South Australia’s recently struck deal to build a battery storage facility with Tesla.
“The electricity from both solar and wind continues to come down every single year. And the new historic development is battery storage is coming down significantly in cost,” Mr Gore said.
“And this historic announcement that South Australia is leading the entire world with the installation of the largest battery in the world, it will be the first of many to come.”
The escapades of South Australia, the world’s renewable crash test dummy, regularly appears in WUWT. But for people suffering blackouts, surging electricity costs, economic hardship, and inane political excuses for their ongoing misery, South Australia’s botched energy policies are no laughing matter.
Will the new battery pack help? The South Australian grid typically draws around 800Mw-2Gw of electricity.
100MWh is not a lot in the context of 800Mw-2Gw of power demand.
The cost of the battery is not clear – estimates range between AUD $33 million to $240 million.
Yes the battery might give a few minutes of breathing space to fire up a backup gas generator, if clouds cover the sun or the wind dies. No the battery will not help if the vagaries of seasonal weather deliver several months of unusually low wind, as just recently occurred in South Australia.
South Australia could solve their problems almost overnight by restoring baseload capacity. They don’t even have to go for a fossil fuel based solution. South Australia has one of the largest deposits of Uranium in the world. One large nuclear reactor could easily produce all their energy needs without emitting CO2. Nuclear power is frequently proposed in South Australia. Nuclear power works – you can build a stable, competitive economy on the back of zero emissions nuclear power.
Instead the South Australian government persist with hideously expensive, unstable, and untested solutions, with using their people as guinea pigs to see what breaks first – the South Australian electric grid, or the South Australian people’s patience with their blundering politicians.
South Australia’s policy in my opinion represents a patchwork bandaid approach to power grids. Too much instability? Add a battery. Unseasonably slow winds? Add more solar or wind. Even slower winds? Add even more solar or wind. Better add another battery to cope with all that extra solar and wind.
It seems very unlikely that such a patchwork effort to create a power grid could ever approach the stability of a grid which offers true weather independent baseload capacity. No matter how much extra renewable capacity is added, plausible intermittency scenarios exist which lead to grid failure. And we haven’t even considered the load of all the electric cars South Australia expects to be able to attach to their grid the near future.
Why should anyone care about what happens in South Australia – other than South Australians of course? The reason is that what happens in South Australia will have repercussions elsewhere.
If South Australia declares victory over renewable instability, regardless of how unjustified or premature their declaration, it is likely the South Australian template for grid chaos will be attempted elsewhere, maybe in your home state. I think from Al Gore’s words of endorsement we can reasonably conclude that South Australia’s nightmare electrical grid problems are Gore’s template for the entire world.