Aussie Liberal Press Notices the Importance of Reliable Electricity

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

How important is reliable power? Australia seems to be suffering more blackouts recently, as coal plants are decommissioned and shiny renewable installations fail to deliver. Trendy urbanites are starting to notice.

When the power goes out, so does civil society

You don’t need to be one of those wild-eyed doomsday preppers who bury steel containers in their backyards and fill them with canned food to recognise we’re a stalled power plant away from chaos.

Tony Wright

The power went out at our house and across our suburb around dinner time on Wednesday.

Outside, neighbours returning home sat in their cars in a street as dark as a tomb, their garage doors refusing to answer their electronic clickers.

We searched for candles with the light of mobile phones, discovering only that we’d burned them to nothing at dinner parties.

We weren’t prepared for this return to an unfamiliar era at all.

No serious investor or bank, mindful of the world’s concerns about climate change, is going to provide funding to save ageing coal-fired power plants forever. One by one, they’re going to wind down.

Wind and solar haven’t had the national support to build a big enough network to take up the slack yet, and despite Elon Musk’s promise to establish the world’s biggest battery in South Australia – which will hold off a blackout for all of an hour in the worst case – it isn’t enough.

Enterprises trying to exploit potentially endless geothermal and tidal power haven’t received anywhere enough government support to make their efforts worthwhile. Malcolm Turnbull’s promises to boost the Snowy Hydro will still take years to be met.

Gas remains the would-be saviour, at least for the present. But in the mad rush to flog off Australia’s national resources, we’ve contracted to sell vastly too much Australian gas, too cheaply, to other nations.

You don’t need to be one of those wild-eyed doomsday preppers who bury steel containers in their backyards and fill them with canned food to recognise we’re a stalled power plant away from chaos.

A few years ago when Cyclone Yasi laid waste to a fair stretch of the north Queensland coast I was holed up in Townsville.

It was a wild night, but the next days were worse. And it was because the power supply went off.

Tempers frayed as air-conditioning sputtered out in the tropical heat, food went rank in refrigerators, parents became desperate as baby’s milk heated and soured, vehicles were stranded because fuel stations couldn’t pump petrol, and a lot of people couldn’t buy anything because ATMs weren’t operating. Pockets of looting were reported and signs went up that business operators were prepared to shoot. When an ice factory kicked in with auxiliary power, several fights broke out between large men elbowing their way to get blocks of the stuff that might otherwise have cooled tempers.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/when-the-power-goes-out-so-does-civil-society-20170803-gxoi3i.html

Tony Wright works for the Sydney Morning Herald, and regularly champions green perspectives.

But there is nothing like a small dose of reality to wake people up to the impending Aussie energy supply disaster. The government AEMO warned back in March that Australia faces looming energy supply problems.

The problems are self inflicted. It is ridiculous that Australia is facing an energy supply crisis – we have some of the most abundant energy resources for our size of population in the world. But as JoNova pointed out a few weeks ago, in just a few short years, Australia went from having some of the cheapest energy in the world to the most expensive.

Shutting down cheap coal plants and directing investment towards expensive, unreliable renewables likely had something to do with this unpleasant, economically damaging price inversion.

This energy price and reliability disaster could easily have been America’s story. But thanks to President Trump, the USA is turning away from economically catastrophic renewables, and re-embracing reliable energy and economic growth.

When the Aussie and European energy reliability crisis really start to bite, the US example of how to get it right will help save the rest of us. In the meantime, lets just say my household backup generator just got a major upgrade.

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111 thoughts on “Aussie Liberal Press Notices the Importance of Reliable Electricity

  1. Chickens coming home to roost, as it were! Unfortunately, however, the reflex reaction on the “green” side is to berate people for not investing enough money in renewables fast enough rather than accepting wholeheartedly that those renewables (plus the breakneck rush to remove good old coal & other sources of CO2) are the actual source of the problem, in the first place!

    However, it brings to mind that quotation that “men…. go mad in herds, while they only recover slowly, one by one”. Perhaps, we should, therefore, take this article as a good sign……..

    • “… rather than accepting wholeheartedly that those renewables … are the actual source of the problem, in the first place!” No one is fast to admit their belief system is in error without first advancing all possible rationales.

    • another “sign” about SA at least…today behind have to pay wall on adel advertiser is??
      seems eeeelon has some issues with the plan ditherall the numbnuts premiers got in mind
      conveniently just before its getting signed?
      and
      i see eeelon is having some issues with sales of sparky car # 3 prebuyers not buying now?
      and hes fund raising madly
      hmm?
      im amused;-)

  2. They aren’t liberal, they’re socialists. Try reading the Canberra Times. It’s so partisan, it’s stopped even trying to pretend otherwise.

      • True Marxists….the statement in the article “…haven’t received anywhere enough government support…” points to a “government-first” approach to solving all problems and addressing all needs.

      • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/19/climate-philosopher-demands-a-tax-on-children/comment-page-1/#comment-2281977

        Marxists come in many packages with many labels – for example:
        Trotskyites, Leninists, Maoists, Stalinists, Shachtmanites, etc.

        When I was at McGill in the 1960’s. there were about a dozen different Marxist groups – so many that their group names were extremely long – just to differentiate them.

        In general, we observed that they fit into two groups:
        1. The make-love-not-war, dope-smoking Harpo Marxists,
        and
        2. The nasty, angry, violent Groucho Marxists.

        Most climate alarmists have embraced a Harpo Marxist approach and a few are Groucho Marxists – they just do not realize it – they think they are “Progressives”.

        Regards, Allan :-)

      • “2. The nasty, angry, violent Groucho Marxists.”

        It seems like we have more Groucho-types in recent years. Maybe it is because they perceive they are losing after Trump won the election and turned their world upside down.

        We went from heading full-bore for a Socialist Paradise, to Trump slamming on the brakes, reversing, and returning to emphasizing personal freedoms, free enterprise and national security. The shock has driven the Left temporarily (we hope) insane and created a lot more Grouchos since the election.

      • The person who can not open the garage door manually when things go wrong is probably a Marxist.

      • Hi TA – here is my take:

        The Groucho Marxists are the leaders – they want power for its own sake at any cost, and typically are sociopaths or psychopaths. The great killers of recent history, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot. etc. were of this odious ilk – first they get power, then they implement their crazy schemes that do not work and too often kill everyone who opposes them.

        The Harpo Marxists are the followers – the “sheeple” – these are people of less-than-average education/intelligence who are easily duped and follow the Groucho’s until it is too late, their rights are lost and their society destroyed. They are attracted to simplistic concepts that “feel good” but rarely “do good”. George Carlin said: “You know how stupid the average person is, right? Well, half of them are stupider than that!”

        One can easily identify many members of these two groups in the global warming debate – and none of them are skeptics.

      • This is a terrible slander on the Marx Brothers. They brought lots of happiness to people. Those who you compare to the Marx Brothers don’t bring happiness.
        Actually, their goal is to bring unhappiness (i.e. religion is the opiate of the masses) so people will be miserable and can be led or pushed to the Marxist goals.

        I think I’ll watch Duck Soup, now.

    • Nothing to do with Marxism or socialism. They are social deconstructionists out to destroy our customs and traditions simply because they can. Our jellyfish parliaments (brainless. gutless and spineless) are too afraid to stop them.

      • JB – Read Patrick Moore as follows:

        Excerpted from “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement”
        written in 1994 by Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace

        The Rise of Eco-Extremism

        Two profound events triggered the split between those advocating a pragmatic or “liberal” approach to ecology and the new “zero-tolerance” attitude of the extremists. The first event, mentioned previously, was the widespread adoption of the environmental agenda by the mainstream of business and government. This left environmentalists with the choice of either being drawn into collaboration with their former “enemies” or of taking ever more extreme positions. Many environmentalists chose the latter route. They rejected the concept of “sustainable development” and took a strong “anti-development” stance.

        Surprisingly enough the second event that caused the environmental movement to veer to the left was the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suddenly the international peace movement had a lot less to do. Pro-Soviet groups in the West were discredited. Many of their members moved into the environmental movement bringing with them their eco-Marxism and pro-Sandinista sentiments.

        These factors have contributed to a new variant of the environmental movement that is so extreme that many people, including myself, believe its agenda is a greater threat to the global environment than that posed by mainstream society. Some of the features of eco-extremism are:

        · It is anti-human. The human species is characterized as a “cancer” on the face of the earth. The extremists perpetuate the belief that all human activity is negative whereas the rest of nature is good. This results in alienation from nature and subverts the most important lesson of ecology; that we are all part of nature and interdependent with it. This aspect of environmental extremism leads to disdain and disrespect for fellow humans and the belief that it would be “good” if a disease such as AIDS were to wipe out most of the population.

        · It is anti-technology and anti-science. Eco-extremists dream of returning to some kind of technologically primitive society. Horse-logging is the only kind of forestry they can fully support. All large machines are seen as inherently destructive and “unnatural’. The Sierra Club’s recent book, “Clearcut: the Tradgedy of Industrial Forestry”, is an excellent example of this perspective. “Western industrial society” is rejected in its entirety as is nearly every known forestry system including shelterwood, seed tree and small group selection. The word “Nature” is capitalized every time it is used and we are encouraged to “find our place” in the world through “shamanic journeying” and “swaying with the trees”. Science is invoked only as a means of justifying the adoption of beliefs that have no basis in science to begin with.

        · It is anti-organization. Environmental extremists tend to expect the whole world to adopt anarchism as the model for individual behavior. This is expressed in their dislike of national governments, multinational corporations, and large institutions of all kinds. It would seem that this critique applies to all organizations except the environmental movement itself. Corporations are critisized for taking profits made in one country and investing them in other countries, this being proof that they have no “allegiance” to local communities. Where is the international environmental movements allegiance to local communities? How much of the money raised in the name of aboriginal peoples has been distributed to them? How much is dedicated to helping loggers thrown out of work by environmental campaigns? How much to research silvicultural systems that are environmentally and economically superior?

        · It is anti-trade. Eco-extremists are not only opposed to “free trade” but to international trade in general. This is based on the belief that each “bioregion” should be self-sufficient in all its material needs. If it’s too cold to grow bananas – – too bad. Certainly anyone who studies ecology comes to realize the importance of natural geographic units such as watersheds, islands, and estuaries. As foolish as it is to ignore ecosystems it is adsurd to put fences around them as if they were independent of their neighbours. In its extreme version, bioregionalism is just another form of ultra-nationalism and gives rise to the same excesses of intolerance and xenophobia.

        · It is anti-free enterprise. Despite the fact that communism and state socialism has failed, eco-extremists are basically anti-business. They dislike “competition” and are definitely opposed to profits. Anyone engaging in private business, particularly if they are sucessful, is characterized as greedy and lacking in morality. The extremists do not seem to find it necessary to put forward an alternative system of organization that would prove efficient at meeting the material needs of society. They are content to set themselves up as the critics of international free enterprise while offering nothing but idealistic platitudes in its place.

        · It is anti-democratic. This is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of radical environmentalism. The very foundation of our society, liberal representative democracy, is rejected as being too “human-centered”. In the name of “speaking for the trees and other species” we are faced with a movement that would usher in an era of eco-fascism. The “planetary police” would “answer to no one but Mother Earth herself”.

        · It is basically anti-civilization. In its essence, eco-extremism rejects virtually everything about modern life. We are told that nothing short of returning to primitive tribal society can save the earth from ecological collapse. No more cities, no more airplanes, no more polyester suits. It is a naive vision of a return to the Garden of Eden.

      • The radical enviros are the same “useful idiots” who used to call themselves Marxists, until they were discredited by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the FSU. They then took over the environmental movement. Some call them watermelons.

  3. The vast majority of the population is not willing to make any specific sacrifices to save the planet from global warming. link They might agree with the idea of saving the planet in general, but when you ask them specifically about actually paying more right now …

    A good greenie might be willing to change her lifestyle to cope with irregular power but she’s in the minority. Can people cope with irregular power? Sure, they do it all the time in war zones and failed states. In many underdeveloped countries a lot of people don’t have electricity at all. Most people who have the choice won’t tolerate living like that though.

    Electricity is an issue that will motivate voters. It should put fear into the hearts of the guilty politicians.

    • Intermittent electricity in an industrial economy will be an economic disaster, a political calamity for whichever side gets the blame, lead to social unrest…rioting and looting and chaos…which in some places and certain times will be immediate, widespread, and severe, and will occur for no good reason and no benefit to anyone except those who profit from such chaos and upheaval.
      Businesses will fail, and people will lose jobs, homes, and their lives.

      • Germany is an industrial country with 35% renewable electricity in the first half of 2017.
        Its grid is very reliable.

        The UK and Spain are 2 more industrial countries with high levels of renewables and no grid instability as a result.

        The problem in Australia is mismanagement of its grid.

      • Griff
        The German Grid is only stable because of the interconnectors so it can sponge of its neighbours and the inconvenient fact that most of its power is still generated by steamers.

      • Griff…

        As pointed to you on another post recently, when you trotted out the same vacuous statistic, Germany, Spain & Australia also have the dubious honour of having the most expensive electricity in the industrialised world….exceeded only by Denmark, in first place because it has an even higher penetration of “renewables”.

        Also, you neglected to mention that Germany has a higher installed capacity of renewables than it does conventional power sources yet the renewables generate less electricity than the thermal stations. The reality is that Germany currently gets most of its electricity from burning low grade, high sulphur, lignite coal and imported hard coal. Oh! And not to forget burning biomass. 40% of Germany’s domestic timber production goes to make wood pellets for power station consumption. How green and environmentally-friendly is that, pray tell?

        Finally, I would suggest a significant part of Germany, Spain & the UK’s grid stability is due to transnational grid interconnectors (to France, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, etc.) that are used to balance supply and demand, when the sun goes down or the wind doesn’t blow at the appropriate speed. If you can please explain to us how Australia can make effective use of such transnational interconnectors to neighbouring countries to improve its grid management, we’re all ears. Thanks!

      • Griff
        Spain sent itself bankrupt with this foolishness and cannot repay it’s debts. It has 20 percent unemployment and 45 percent youth unemployment. Socialism doesn’t work.

      • Phil Rae, Tasmania is the answer – lots of hydro power waiting to be flogged into the ‘market’. Cue Clark and Dawes ‘it’s the market’ skit.

      • Germany’s wind power is TOTALLY UNRELIABLE

        As can be seen by the graph below, it produces LESS THAN 20% of nameplate for around 60% of the time.

        50% of nameplate is basically unheard of.

        It really is a “WHY BOTHER” technology that can only exist under socialist style subsidies and mandates..

      • Intermittent electricity in an industrial economy will be an economic disaster,

        “Oh, good,” is the eco-activists response to that, “just what we’re aiming for!”

        Until we can convince enough of the people who “matter” that economic disaster is not an unfortunate by-product of the environmentalists’ drive for renewable energy but their primary reason for going down that route then we are doomed to suffer at their hands.

        Climate change has nothing to do with it and neither, at bottom, do CO2 emissions. If they did the activists would be supporting fracking as a way to reduce emissions (as the US has done by switching from coal) and more importantly backing nuclear generation as the ultimate source for “cheap, reliable” — and also clean — electricity. It is their rooted opposition to nuclear that gives the game away. Shame our politicians can’t see it!

      • Note to all: you can’t claim the German grid is unstable because of renewables, then turn round and also claim lignite makes it stable.

        and it is supposed to get/share power across W Europe through interconnectors… everyone benefits from that. Germany is currently connecting to UK and Norway, UK is connecting to Netherlands and Norway as well and additionally to France (and so on)

        Look up ‘single EU market for electricity’

        Germany exports more electricity to France than vice versa.

        I still can’t find any evidence Poland supports the German grid (perhaps they do: I can’t find any)

        spain went bankrupt due to, er, spanish practices and 2008 crash. Not renewables.

        you know they are now building new wind and solar again?

      • Griff – your understanding of high levels of renewables in the UK and mine are obviously quite different. Here is the current UK generation data. When I looked at 1pm today wind and solar were contributing less than 7%.

      • “If you can please explain to us how Australia can make effective use of such transnational interconnectors to neighbouring countries to improve its grid management, we’re all ears. Thanks!”

        I detect a flaw in Griff’s plan.

      • As Griff has pointed out, it doesn’t matter how expensive German electricity gets, since the people can’t afford to use it anyway.

      • Griff: “Germany exports more electricity to France than vice versa.”

        Interesting. At what price differential relative to average rate in each direction?

        For example, is France paying up to get Germany’s excess, i.e., is Germany is making a killing by having all that renewable power to sell into an electricity-poor France? Or, as I suspect is the case, is France getting a bargain price taking excess renewable generation off Germany’s hands, while saving their own resources by dialing back their nukes?

        Or it could be somewhere in between, I suppose. Still, I’m betting the French are happier than the Germans with the result of their leaders’ choices.

      • I quote fmassen from a previous thread (The Roger Sowell piece)

        fmassen on August 5, 2017 at 9:23 am
        As so often in the discussions on wind energy the problem of intermittency is neglected or thought to be easily solvable with electricity storage (which until now does not exist at a realistic scale and cost). I strongly recommend the German report titled “Windenergie in Deutschland und Europa” published in the VBG Powertech Journal in June 2017 (link: https://www.vgb.org/vgbmultimedia/PT201706LINNEMANN.pdf).
        This report shows that the German extraordinary high increase in wind turbine installations between 2010 and 2016 did not decrease the need for backup capacity, and reduced the overall contribution of traditional power stations only by a miniscule 100MW. Also, and not expected, the power delivered at minimum wind did not increase between 2010 and 2016. As a consequence in 2016 the German specific CO2 emissions were 425 gCO2/kWh, to be compared to 35 gCO2/kWh for (still) nuclear friendly France.

    • In a world of looting, civil war or other violent unrest, murder, and lack of common law, the thing that goes first is environmentalism. Environmentalism is for the rich, not the desperate. Environmentalism is a byproduct of wealth. Are people concerned about theories? NO. The planet does not have enough money to respond to every doomsday theory. For example, we have had 6 extinctions in the fossil record likely linked to volcanoes and asteroids. In response, it would seem reasonable to have an asteroid defense system. Why not, only costs a few trillion. Then a volcano suppression system. Why not, it only costs a few trillion. Then an earthquake detection or prevention system. Why not it only costs a few trillion. Then some way to stop superbugs. On and on it goes. We only have money to stop todays threats. Okay, today, how many millions died of climate change and where are they? All right, there were zero. So this is not a priority. We budget realities, not theories.

      • Some hypotheses posit that there is a cause and effect relationship between the impact of large asteroids or comets and some of the massive volcanic eruptions which seem to be temporally coincident.

      • Excellent comment. Those who advocate for mobilizing the entire world’s disposable income toward the single vague and theoretical threat of “climate change” are not properly practicing the “precautionary principle” at all. They should be doing a full threat assessment considering likelihood and severity and cost-effectiveness, and come up with a rationale for where the next available dollar would do the most good. This is what the Copenhagen Consenus under Bjorn Lomborg has been doing. Their conclusions are that there is far more good to be done in reducing disease and improving nutrition and access to energy, than in expensive and inneffectual initiatives such as biofuels, renewable energy, or demonizing coal. We are all much better prepared to survive climate change, asteroid impact, super volcano eruption, or super bug outbreak if we have an abundance of cheap energy and access to the wealth of modern energy services that it provides including pure water, plentiful food, climate-controlled shelter, intensive agriculture, modern medical care, mass-transit, universal telecommunications, etc. We should be commissioning two nuclear plants a week to meet the world’s electricity demand of 2050.

      • “Some hypotheses posit that there is a cause and effect relationship between the impact of large asteroids or comets and some of the massive volcanic eruptions which seem to be temporally coincident.”

        A fascinating subject. It’s amazing to think that an asteriod shockwave can perpetrate itself through the Earth and cause eruptions on the opposite side of the world from where the asteriod hit.

    • Politicians are elected and enter office as temporary occupants. While there they formulate policies that are in conformance with their particular dogmatic fantasies about how the universe works. Then when they leave office they bequeath the miserable mess they created with their dogmatic fantasies about how things should work. And, oh, then they find someone else to blame for the fact that their fantasies failed to over-ride and/or amend and modify the laws of nature. In politics talk is cheap. In the real world, talk can be deadly.

      There is a reality and there is just one version of reality.

  4. I have a gas powered generator plus gas bottles, heat my home using heating oil from a large storage tank plus a wood burning stove and a large log store. I keep a large stock of candles and gas-powered lamps and camping stoves. Lastly I have well-stocked freezers and a large larder. I wouldn’t trust the Government, with its crazy energy policies, to keep the lights on and keep society safe.

    • Philip,
      Are you in the People’s Republic of Highbury and Islington?
      Here in South London, I have a couple of torches, some candles, and a cloth to throw over the freezer.
      Oh, and electricity and mains gas.

      Auto

  5. Oh, not this again!
    We have been all through this before!
    It simply is not true…it won’t work no matter what.
    It does not matter what the voltage is, or how long you leave it plugged in first either…there is simply no way to turn the chunk of coal on. Complete waste of time.
    Oh, and just in case…trying it the other way…plugging the extension cord into the coal…that don’t work neither…not even enough current to tickle a titmouse’s tushy.

  6. For years the Warmistas have gotten away with murder because there were no visible problems coming from their insane policies. Now, at last, there are real problems becoming visible to the general population in the energy sector relating to cost and reliability of power supply and the Warmistas have no place to hide anymore. The wheels are falling off their bandwagon.and people will quickly tire of walking.

  7. Don’t you ever wonder why Electricity catches so much flak from the greenies?
    In this story, in Germany and everywhere.
    Overall, folks use a shed more ‘greenhouse gassing’ energy than what goes to make electricity they use in their homes – surely THE most important place to most folks.
    We’re talking home-heating, transport and not at all least, the industry that makes things.

    Electricity is so versatile, convenient and clean. It does sooooooooo many things and many of those are hardly do-able without it.

    So why pick on domestic electricity so much?
    Given a minute or 2 to ponder that, you might consider something really rather sinister is going on.
    A further second or 2 of thinking might suggest that it is not *actually* intentional – maybe our ‘green’ leaders are seduced by Good Intentions.
    Quite effectively removed from reality inside a Magically Thought out bubble.

    Or the *really* cynical and worldly-wise might ask, just what is it about (laboratory) rats?
    You know, the experiment when you force more and more of them into a single cage and there comes a point when (suddenly) they go from nice & sociable to just plain eating each other…….alive. (Not the eaten ones)

    Or is it just ‘boys being boys’? Constantly ‘pissing on seat’ so as to spoil it for the ‘other guy’ – a pathetic attempt to be Alpha Male (mating strategy) where if you cannot be Alpha, you spoil it for the other guy.

    ‘taint working though is it…………… Not in any sense.
    Not for anybody.
    Destruction and spoilage just for the sake of it – back to the rat-eating-rats.

    And that’s before anyone gets onto the subject of (ever rising) tax. Again= spoiling it for the other guy.
    In a successful economy, tax rates will be stable or even fall.
    They patently do not. Anywhere

  8. At the moment a power station running 24×7 can be underbid at any time by a supplier of intermittent power. It has the effect of enabling one business to set the price another business can sell its product.

    The natural consequence is that the 24×7 supplier will either charge monopoly prices on the occasions where the intermittent suppliers are not supplying or demand subsidies for doing what the intermittent supplier can’t. Either way the consumer loses.

    One solution is to require all producers of power to supply 24×7. You want to bid to put intermittent power on the grid? Fine, but arrange for supply from another source when your intermittent power is off the air.

    • forrest

      your scenario reminds me of an episode from ‘Only fools and horses’ that great british comedy of wheeler dealer chancers.

      In it Del boy, for reasons forgotten, had a surplus of seasonal vegetables. He tried to sell it to a wholesaler who eventually agrees, to Del’s delight. But the punch-line was that the wholesaler only wanted a year round supply, not just a supply on the odd occasions when the Trotter family had a temporary surplus, and would only sign a contract on that basis.

      Seems like a good metaphor for renewables, who want to pick and choose how much and when they supply and at a premium price, , leaving others to work out how to supply the goods on a daily basis throughout the year at a low price.

      tonyb

      • Contracts for difference. The mechanism is being used to subsidise the French State to improve its skillset at building nuclear reactors to the detriment of British industry — paying three times the price for electricity and pricing UK business out of world markets — and is perfect way of ripping off the poor, the sick and the old for the benefit of the wealthy. Who just posted tha… Ah, OK. Might have known.

        The UK system costs £150 per year for the average consumer. It gives no incentive to lower prices, to be competitive or to increase efficiency. It is a subsidy from the poor to the rich. It’s going up to nearly £500 in the next few years. Still, it’s just the old, the poor and the sick. No-one’s speaking up for them. Or British industry.

        JF

      • griff doesn’t give a rat’s a**e about people struggling with energy poverty.

        His minders will look after his needs.

      • Julian, the Hinkley plant is a useless, too expensive white elephant, however paid for.

        and everyone knows it in the UK except apparently the handful of govt ministers who approved it.

      • I’m just explaining what there is, forrest.

        I’m not sure it is intended to level the field, just to ensure that what fossil fuel is needed is available.

  9. We don’t have many media outlets that point out the folly of renewable energy , most are die hard left wing green , even in the country with local papers it’s all biased towards the CAGW narrative .

  10. An interesting development in the U.K. today:

    Oxford professor Dieter Helm has been chosen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to carry out an inquiry into energy costs, which he said will “sort out the facts from the myths about the cost of energy”.
    The choice of Helm will be controversial to some because of his criticism of wind and solar power. On his website he has said wind farms and solar technology were “expensive” and highlighted the “sheer cost” of electricity generated from renewable sources.

    • Helm has been told not to comment on environmental levies. Which kind of ties his hands. And his feet. And stuffs a gag in his mouth.

      Typical civil service ploy. Inquiries are for having not for providing answers, according to Sir Humphrey — I can’t remember the exact quote. Ministerial fig leaf and a means of shoving the blame onto energy companies. It will backfire on the UK government when a hard winter kicks the number who have to choose “eat or heat” through the roof. It will happen soon.

      • and according to news reports there is a list of about 20 other things he’s not supposed to look at either.

        Including why prices go up as wholesale fuel prices go down.

      • Griff: “Including why prices go up as wholesale fuel prices go down.”

        That’s probably directly related to the restriction on investigating renewables. Chances are the answer is that the percentage of renewable power on the grid has been increasing. You have noticed that renewable power, despite the massive government subsidies making it financially feasible to provide, has nearly everywhere raised the price of electricity in proportion to the extent it’s been utilized, have you not? Seriously, have you not noticed that?

      • @Griff
        I’m not sure how it works in the UK, but here in the US there are two parts to the electric bill. One part is for infrastructure, all the costs required to deliver the electrons to your meter. The second is the actual electricity costs. As publicly regulated utilities, power companies have a legally mandated rate of return based on their costs, fixed and variable.

        In the UK, if wind goes up in production, the providers are forced to accept it, no matter the demand, and pass along the feed in tariffs, etc to the customer. So, even if wood chips or coal or whatever gets cheaper, if more wind is part of the bill, the bill goes up. If it’s like the US, they also get a rate based on the cost of capital. If you idle that capital due to renewable preferences, they still get the return, even for idled assets. So, wind makes fossil fuels more expensive that way as well. A one-two punch for the consumer.

      • Rod Everson

        August 7, 2017 at 7:03 am
        “Griff: “Including why prices go up as wholesale fuel prices go down.”
        “That’s probably directly related to the restriction on investigating renewables. Chances are the answer is that the percentage of renewable power on the grid has been increasing. You have noticed that renewable power, despite the massive government subsidies making it financially feasible to provide, has nearly everywhere raised the price of electricity in proportion to the extent it’s been utilized, have you not? Seriously, have you not noticed that?”

        Rod,
        Please don’t expect Griff to notice that – he would lose his job.
        Griff is rational, and doesn’t want to lose his job.
        So he will not notice “that renewable power, despite the massive government subsidies making it financially feasible to provide, has nearly everywhere raised the price of electricity in proportion to the extent it’s been utilized”.
        Indeed, he will, very carefully, not notice that.
        His job appears to be a well-paid (if unpopular) sinecure, pushing the watermelons’ belief system regardless of facts.
        I think there is a quote somewhere that is apposite.
        Too late at night to chase.

        Auto

  11. What a very strange place the Western world has become. Pretty much all of the even remotely conceivably electable political parties belong to the howling insane self-serving political elites club who have no intention of ever doing anything in the interests of the people who voted for them. Virtue signalling amongst themselves has become infinitely more important than fulfilling the most basic requirements of government – regardless of the inevitably ensuing catastrophic chaos and suffering caused by the insane policies.

    Any who stand and oppose the madness and attempt to organise politically are ruthlessly put down by the elites and their propaganda machines and the general public appear to be docile, indoctrinated and brainwashed to truly Orwellian levels.

    And then there’s Trump who appears as a violent rend in the madness continuum while the elites hysterically swarm to try and patch it. Trump wasn’t supposed to happen. Trump’s emphatic withdrawal from the literally gibbering insane Paris Accords and goal of American energy independence is for me a fulcrum point which has at least the potential to lever the West’s public out of their stupefied political Armageddon and finally do something about it. Although I’m not at all sure that Chancellor Merkel’s grip in Europe hasn’t by now manufactured a totalitarian grip so pervasive that opposition is effectively futile. Under these circumstances a coup becomes the only way out. Interesting times.

    • There is another way out and the way that I think is most likely: Implosion of national governments and abject failure of the nation states leaving the countries and the people to try to recover and rebuild from whatever may not be so F. U. B. A. R. as to be beyond usefulness.

      • Thomas: See Venezuela. Your answer will be coming shortly. What it will be, I have no idea, although the very persistence of the Castros in Cuba is not encouraging.

      • Most Western nations are going to split into much smaller communities that don’t allow lunatics to destroy them in this way.

  12. …But in the mad rush to flog off Australia’s national resources, we’ve contracted to sell vastly too much Australian gas, too cheaply, to other nations…
    This article is from The Sydney Morning Herald. The capitalist Luvvie paper which has never encountered a socialist issue that it could not drool over.
    That there is is some implied criticism of our energy situation is amazing but…
    it is an article that …in full…finds reason to criticise Mr Abbott …and must add the oft cited notion that Australia has flogged off all its gas at some ludicrous price to overseas interests.
    There is some merit that we were less than careful in this matter BUT…
    ‘…Australia steps up gas fracking bans despite supply crunch…’
    Reuters. Aug 16. 2016
    The State of Victoria has not only banned Fracking but has a ban up to 2020 in regards conventional gas mining!
    …Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has called on the states and territories with moratoriums on gas exploration and fracking to lift their bans, saying increased gas extraction would lead to greater energy security and job creation…The Australian February 3, 2017

  13. Eric

    The ABC foundations must be cracking.

    ABC Rural Radio about 6:30 pm East OZ (I guess that is PM program) had the CEO of Tomago Aluminium on. He did a nice job of outlining the real world of power in Oz. I’d suggest you get a listen if possible

  14. Tony Wright is actually writing about a blackout in NSW that lasted for 10 minutes. There is no indication that it was due to any failure of power generation, and with such short duration, it is very unlikely. The other blackout that he writes about was due to cyclone Yasi.

    I notice that in part of N Carolina, they just had a blackout for a week. Not due to generation failure either. Stuff happens.

    “The problems are self inflicted. It is ridiculous that Australia is facing an energy supply crisis”
    As Tony Wright notes:
    “But in the mad rush to flog off Australia’s national resources, we’ve contracted to sell vastly too much Australian gas, too cheaply, to other nations.

    The revelation earlier this year that you can buy Australian gas cheaper in Japan than in Australia caused an embarrassed Turnbull to persuade gas exporters to quarantine more of the stuff for Australians.”

    • Your problem was that you made it unattractive for generators to commit to purchase gas in volume, because they could have no reasonable certainty of requiring a regular offtake, which justifies building pipelines and power stations. Meantime, with over half of Australian gas exported, you are turning down the opportunity for gas supply at US style prices. CIF Japan, the average LNG price last year was 7$/MMBtu, which nets back to of the order of 3$/MMBtu at the input flange of the LNG plant – the same as Henry Hub prices. That’s about 1 ¢/kWh of gas, or about 2¢/kWh turned into electricity.

  15. Clive Bond – you are partly right and partly wrong about Spain. Unemployment is high as you say (17.2% in Q2, 2017 – an 8 year low), but it was high and remains high through periods of conservative (Partido Popular) and left (Partido Socialista de Obreros Españoles) governments. The present conservative government is a minority government needing support from other parties.

  16. Even crises don’t open any eyes in this crowd. Did you notice I’m the article
    , for example, that we don’t have access to all that free tidal energy only because there hasn’t been enough gov’t intervention yet. If only the Wise Rulers would throw some more money out there we’d have that problem licked.

  17. Ah but South Australia is now installing the perfect energy storage solution. A fleet of mobile gas turbines with big diesel tanks. Gas coversion is proposed for two years time. Let’s hope for the customers’ sakes that they don’t have to turn them on too often.

  18. There is a socialist solution to every problem. It does, however, require absolute control of ALL the worlds resources and population. If only we stupid fools who think that free thought and free will are important would get out of the damn way.

    • I thought everyone in the Commonwealth drank their beer warm, and only clueless Yanks had it served cold to disguise the lack of flavor of domestic brews.

  19. The thing of it is that you can reduce the outages by building more renewable capacity, but in doing so you increase the cost because duplicative capacity cost money, regardless of how seldom that capacity is used and , what’s worse, just adding more 18th century technology windmills often simply means that more turbines quit when the wind quits. So now the greenies have the solution : batteries!!! But battery capacity is limited , whereas the ability of the wind not to blow is not limited and what recharges those batteries? And when? Renewables make everything a complicated morass. Australia: if you really want to reduce carbon and have cheap electricity and eliminate your (stupid) fears of nuclear power all in the same breath, simply sit back and wait a few years for the commercialization of molten salt nuclear reactors. Even diehard doomsday folks can’t argue that a few years can make any possible difference. Greenies are technological morons, living in the 18th century.

  20. It’s all because the government didn’t invest in more renewables! Ha how many socialist policies have to fail before people realize that they don’t work. It’s like The ACA here in the US it was supposed to lower rates by $2,500 per household and lower deductibles and slow the rate of premium rate growth, it did the exact opposite. Yet all we here is that we need more government to solve the problem. When are people going to learn, even when on rare occasion the government does solve a problem it invariably creates other problems that are worse than the first ever was. How many 2*4’s have to hit you on the head before you wake up. All we have is make bigger and more intrusive governments around the world and are things getting better on the whole? For everyone thing the government makes better 10 get worse. More often than not there were other options for fixing the one issue other than government control anyway.

    • It’s the laws of physics that is the cause of governmental inadequacy. The laws of physics prohibit the perpetual motion machines, devices, processes and systems that would make possible the fantastical. When any government does anything, additional cost is generated. When additional cost is generated, the cost has to go somewhere to become a part of the personal and household cost of living of someone or some household.

  21. Matt Chambers, Resources Reporter for The Australian (Aug 23 2017)-

    ‘The nation’s biggest coalminer and copper producer, Glencore, has called for the abolition of the renewable energy target and suggested delaying Paris climate commitments as Australian industry struggles under the weight of rising power costs.
    And in comments backed by big manufacturers, Glencore says Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s proposed clean energy target will not be enough to save heavy industry, which needs pricing concessions from policies designed to tackle emissions reductions.
    Speaking in Sydney yesterday, Glencore’s senior Australia-based executive, its global coal chief Peter Freyberg, said 10 years of poor policy development was coming home to roost.
    “Electricity prices have got to a level where many industries, both large and medium, are either suffering or are becoming uneconomic because of high energy prices,” he said. “Either we intervene now to protect those businesses or we let them go — that’s a government decision.”…

    “All we have is a renewable ­energy target that is seeing billions of dollars chucked into ­renewables and baseload power being shut down,” he said. “We are seeing the consequence of that in elevated energy prices and businesses going out of business.”
    He said that if something had to take a back seat in solving the so-called energy “trilemma” of ­affordability, reliability and emissions reductions, it should be emissions.’

    • ““Either we intervene now to protect those businesses or we let them go”

      What a fiasco the politicians have created for Australia! All self-inflicted. They only wake up after disaster happens.

    • “He said that if something had to take a back seat in solving the so-called energy “trilemma” of ­affordability, reliability and emissions reductions, it should be emissions.’”

      Every single time a businessman or a conservative (or sometimes both) refers to “emissions” they should add “especially since we’re talking about just a trace gas in the atmosphere that plants thrive on and that we ourselves exhale with every breath we take.” (or something similar)

      The greens refer to CO2 as “carbon” for a reason. It sounds dirty. People need to fight that nonsense on a daily basis or it inevitably takes hold. Every single time a news source, government official, or businessman, refers to “carbon” or “emissions” when referencing CO2 they need to receive letters, texts, emails, and phone calls by the hundreds, reminding them that it is essential to life on earth.

  22. Consumers (private and business) will respond to changing market conditions in the very short term – days, weeks or months. .

    Generating capacity responds only in the long term – somewhere between 2 and 20 years depending on the nature of the project, cost, local planning regulations, complexity etc etc.

    Energy companies like all businesses are driven by the short term – quarterly/annual results, share price, competitive pressures etc. They do not have long term horizons, and are largely unconcerned with peripheral issues – pollution, environment etc except to the extent there is a regulatory requirement or financial benefit. .

    Governments need to provide mechanisms to bridge the gap between short term pressures and long term requirements as neither business or private consumers will be remotely motivated. The goal of finding economic greener solutions to energy generation and consumption is entirely worthy – the only real question is whether the government has adopted the right strategy or whether it needs tuning.

    • Terry, your understanding of business is quite warped, and wrong. Talk to Google or Amazon or Netflix about thinking long-term. It’s all they do. Or check with any large oil company and see if they have a 20 or 30 year plan for developing their resources. Or talk to a person just starting a business and see if he has thought at all about where his business will be in five to ten years.

      Government needs to set rules for all to observe, while not excusing a favored few from following them (see windmills/birds/bats), and then stand back and let human ingenuity take us all to the next level of prosperity. Sadly, few in government share that view, even among conservatives today.

  23. “despite Elon Musk’s promise to establish the world’s biggest battery in South Australia… in just a few short years, Australia went from having some of the cheapest energy in the world to the most expensive.”

    It ain’t coincidence. When you see SolarCity and Tesla, it spells expensive energy and huge government subsidies.

    Dear Lord Government, give me subsidies and I will save the world

    • It’s official according to the local rag and we’ve now beaten the Danes with the world’s highest power prices.
      South Australia leads the world but would it be too much to ask if we’ve managed to save the planet for yo’all yet because nothing is being saved around here :(

  24. We have a couple of generations (mine and my children’s) that have never seen a world war, rationing, or other serious privation. I suspect it is this that allows the magical thinking which states we can wean ourselves rapidly off of fossil fuels and still enjoy all the benefits of modern civilization. It is sad that we may have to do so much damage to what has brought civilization to its current state of progress before we realize our own stupidity, but perhaps that is what it will take. Generations who truely suffered would not be so foolish as to squander the bounty of so much history.

    • My father’s generation went through the Depression and WWII. If a generation can have a motto, their’s would have been “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” You are right, relative comfort allows one to ignore wondering about things like “Where does my food actually come from?” Folks in OZ are likely to start considering such questions in a very serious way, but they will be only the first.

    • Very well stated!!!! I have lived without all the modern conveniences the vast majority of people take so for granted. You can not explain it to them, and far too many people seem determined to live through it, apparently to prove how virtuous they are. Deluded morons.

  25. ENCOURAGE THE WARMISTS TO PUSH HARDER! The US will benefit to not interfer with the global warming narrative. As Europe and Ausraila cut their economic throats driving the cost of energy through the roof, the USA will be back in the position it was after World War II, the only place business can thrive outside. If their is a cooling trend kicking in, Europe and Austraila are screwed, and the next 20 years could be a golden age in America. Thank you Al Gore and Michael Mann. :-)

  26. “…haven’t received anywhere enough government support…” tells me everything I need to know.

  27. Electricity operates on mathematics. Green ideology operates on unfounded feelings. A clash of “civilizations”.

  28. Here’s hoping that the voters in places like Germany and Switzerland (both of which voted to shut down their nuclear plants) will discover the magnitude of their errors while there is time to reverse the decision before all the plants are destroyed.

    I predict two, or more, repeats of what happened to Gray Davis after California started having blackouts.

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