Green Lunacy: Fossil Fuel Mandates, to Stabilise Mandated Renewable Electricity Supplies

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova – A government green idea so stupid even Tesla is worried; The South Australian Government, the world’s renewable crash test dummy, plans to implement fossil fuel mandates to halt the loss of baseload capacity caused by their renewable mandates.

Tesla, energy companies concerned prices won’t drop under South Australian Government’s plan

By political reporter Nick Harmsen

Battery giant Tesla has joined power generators, retailers, major energy users and experts in voicing concerns about a central component of the South Australian Government’s $550 million energy plan.

The Energy Security Target (EST) was one of six key measures announced by Premier Jay Weatherill in March.

Submissions about the Government’s policy range from urging caution because it may not lower wholesale prices, to killing off plans for a new interconnector to feed power into the state.

The SA scheme operates in a similar way to the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET). But instead of incentivising new renewable projects, it would require retailers to source 36 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from gas generators and other synchronous power sources.

According to the scheme’s designer, economist Danny Price, the energy security target would create more wholesale market competition and put downward pressure on prices, offsetting the direct costs of the scheme.

But renewable energy companies have voiced concerns about the EST saying it would create an effective cap on the volume of renewable energy within the state and lock out renewable generators.

‘Lower wholesale prices may not be achieved’

Tesla, which has won money from the Government’s energy plan to build the world’s biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia, is concerned the scheme will favour traditional generators over batteries.

“We do not feel that the draft regulations and supporting consultation paper are representative of the current South Australian position as leaders and innovators in the renewable energy space,” Tesla’s Mark Twidell wrote in a submission to the Government’s plan.

Read more:,-industry-says/8786308

The energy security target is command economy idiocy at its finest.

Consumers are currently stung when grid operators have to pay a premium to purchase as much renewable power as they can.

If this new target is implemented, fossil fuel generators will not only be able to play the same game, it will be their duty to shareholders to squeeze every penny they can out of the uncertain remaining life of their assets, just in case the government suddenly decides to shut them down. Short term strategies, squeezing their captive market for every possible dollar, skimping on plant maintenance – it would be irrational to do anything else.

If the government steps in and imposes price ceilings, nobody has to supply power at the government mandated price. If the government tries to force providers to supply power at their price, fossil fuel operators will abandon their generators – as many have already done so.

If the government fully nationalises the industry, takes direct control – they already tried that, it didn’t work out. Government owned utilities are a playground for militant union activists.

The golden age of Australian electricity, when different providers bid on the open market to supply power at the best possible price for consumers, seems a very distant memory.

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August 9, 2017 5:10 pm

Courtesy of the leftist loons:comment image

Tom Halla
August 9, 2017 5:16 pm

Command economics appeals to some politicians with a very narrow view of self-interest.

george e. smith
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 9, 2017 7:48 pm

Well just think; with all of that excess wind farm electricity, they will be able to dump the extra into some of those windmills to make wind when there isn’t any. They are truly double duty fan farms, and will help keep it cool when they need to.

Reply to  george e. smith
August 9, 2017 7:57 pm

in Canada they even have some that do …. NOTHING… The blades spin around under brakes and provide a show for environmentalists.

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 9, 2017 8:54 pm

Command economies have never worked. They only give government bureaucrats more power to screw things up. Crash Test Dummies indeed.

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 10, 2017 6:55 am

Unfortunately there will always be a group of people who consider themselves so smart that they have an obligation to run the lives of those around them.
Disagreement is just proof of how dumb you are.
The rest of the world calls these people academics.

August 9, 2017 5:35 pm

I’ve already seen this movie…next comes the Electric Generators Equalization Plan. When that fails, its on to Directive Number 10-289 (see Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand for more details).

Reply to  Ricdre
August 9, 2017 5:48 pm

We are headed that direction, aren’t we?

Reply to  Sheri
August 9, 2017 6:04 pm

It’s funny that governments never choose Option A, repeal the bad law but instead always choose Option B, create another bad law to try to repair the problems created by the first bad law. This inevitably leads to the creation of more and more laws none of which ever fix the problem the first law was supposed to correct.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Sheri
August 9, 2017 7:15 pm

Ricdre ,
There is an old saying in sales that should also apply to government.
“Never confuse activity with accomplishment”.
The U.S. Senate has been doing this for years. Debating, giving interviews, writing and rewriting bills and a myriad of other activities than never go anywhere but look like they are doing “something”.

Reply to  Sheri
August 10, 2017 1:42 pm

Tom in Fl.
“a myriad of other activities than never go anywhere but look like they are doing “something”.”
Spot on.
A whole host of governmental – and private industry – bodies feel this heat – and dismiss it as – largely – the south-going emanations from the southern end of a north-headed bovid, probably male.

Reply to  Ricdre
August 10, 2017 6:57 am

If they ever actually solved the problem, then the people who’s living depends on solving the problem, would be out of work.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  MarkW
August 10, 2017 10:45 am

You nailed it in one sentence.

Reply to  MarkW
August 10, 2017 1:43 pm

+ Shed loads of large buckets of shedloads.

August 9, 2017 6:07 pm

The “Golden Age of electricity in South Australia was during the Thomas Playford datys, , 27 years of Gerrymander rule. He established the State owned” Electricity Trust” with the same labour rules as private enterprise..
It worked, so why not go back to it. The snag with private enterprise is that there is in Australia very little if any competition..and the govgernments, both of them, , , obsession with poor CO2 has done the rest. A state of complete chaos
Only now is tjhe Media at last startiing to talk about the effects, , with , businesses closing , and high unemployment, plus our previous high stardard of living now going downhill fast.
Only when the lights start to go out at frequent intervals will we see common sense come back.. again, and CO2, possibly with President Trumps help, be treated as a essential for all life on earth. and the climate can go back to doing what it always does, It CHANGES

Reply to  Michael Elliott
August 10, 2017 12:23 am

“Only the lights start to go out at frequent intervals will we see common sense come back”. Hmm. I wish I were that optimistic. Politicians always seem to double down on their mistakes. Likewise bureaucrats.

Reply to  JohnOfEnfield
August 10, 2017 7:00 am

The politicians blamed greedy capitalists when the politicians schemes cause electricity rates to skyrocket. Likewise, they will blame greedy capitalists for failing to spend the money necessary to keep the plants running.
The sad thing is, that about 40% of the population will believe this every time.

Reply to  Michael Elliott
August 10, 2017 4:10 am

i see ditherall and mr K have flogged off the lands titles dpt to private ent for a “windfall” profit(NOT) of 1.6mil
so i guess hes going to buy, he thinks, votes n favours
and i grew up inSA and am disgusted by the sell off of what WAS once a functional affordable power supply that was reliable for this green crap.
that said Victorias looking to be just as stupid if not moreso unless the labor mob get turfed here soon.
god help us all cos we dont have enough sane men in positions to DO anything to stop the lunatics! ;-(

August 9, 2017 6:17 pm

“If this new target is implemented, fossil fuel generators will not only be able to play the same game, it will be their duty to shareholders to squeeze every penny they can out of the uncertain remaining life of their assets, just in case the government suddenly decides to shut them down. Short term strategies, squeezing their captive market for every possible dollar, skimping on plant maintenance – it would be irrational to do anything else.”
The current Federal Government RET (Renewable Energy Target) is already doing this. The SA version is just a more extreme version.
South Australia government “revenue” is dependent on business. The RET is destroying business. it’s a poor California.
The Labor Party (democrats) used to represent the unions and workers. Now it represents the communist manifesto and Greens. The opposition, the Liberal Party, remains transfixed, a liberal Republican rump. Conservative. who actually make up the majority of the members, are not proportionately represented in the numbers of parliamentarians.
Meanwhile the lights are going to go out this summer (January). There is no time to prevent this outage. Its all up to the weather. No wind, no power. The SA State Government is already blaming the Federal Government and now the Banks. The Treasurer and Premier of SA have accused the banks of financing terrorism. What that has to do with electricity is a mute point. Everyone hates banks and there is an election in SA in March next year.
The only amazing thing is that no-one is blaming Donald Trump. Maybe that is next. A nuclear crisis means the SA government is not responsible for power in SA. Makes sense if you are a Green Communist.

Reply to  Geoff
August 9, 2017 6:50 pm

Renewable Energy Target? What is the shot grouping?

Reply to  M Simon
August 9, 2017 10:50 pm

Its a shotgun approach….

August 9, 2017 6:52 pm

The penny is beginning to drop at long last with even Aunty beginning to get it-
Yes leftys, your taxpayer subsidised lifestyle was all built around cheap, reliable fossil fuels and when it goes you go too.

August 9, 2017 7:17 pm

Dear god, the cliff edge must simply be a mirage in the distance by now and still this government is yet to hit bottom.

Roger Sowell
August 9, 2017 7:34 pm

How strange.
One would think that the Aussies would look across the pond and just a bit north for an example of how it’s done.
Somebody tell the Aussies it’s spelled C A I S O.
Where Generators are mostly independent power producers, the State runs the grid, and renewables are mandated at substantial levels.
And power prices are cheap cheap cheap. And blackouts are so rare it’s essentially non-existent.
C’mon over, mates. We’ll throw a shrimp on the barbie.

Reply to  Roger Sowell
August 9, 2017 7:52 pm

How do you deliver mandated resources that are unobtainable?

Tom Halla
Reply to  M Simon
August 9, 2017 7:56 pm

And Roger Sowell claimed California electric prices are”cheap, cheap, cheap”. Perhaps compared to Germany or South Australia. 18 cents plus is in the upper third of US prices.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Roger Sowell
August 9, 2017 9:23 pm

Californian Electricity Consumption (Energy Information Authority):comment image

Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 10, 2017 1:35 am

Chris H,
So over that term 2001 to now, natural gas plus nuclear is still over half of all electricity production – more if it comprises a substantial part of out-of-State as expected.
The trends from your graph seem to maintain that 50% for another decade yat, if you trust projections (I don’t here because out-of-State is out of direct control).

Reply to  Roger Sowell
August 10, 2017 1:28 am

Across the pond and up north a little would place you in the sea. The pond is traditionally the Tasman Sea, between New Zealand and Australia. When you go North from there, the first reasonably sized chunk of land you meet is the Kamchatka peninsula, a long way away. I am trying to puzzle out what it has to teach us about National energy frameworks.
What thinking Australians do know about their own country and its geography is not penetrating the political fog well enough yet. Penetration is happening, with the dawning realization that renewables are a pig in a poke, that nuclear should now be an option on the table and that, contrary to the statements of the Board of major energy company AGL Energy, we should NOT be getting out of coal now. The 1600 high efficiency coal plants soon to turn on globally should be 1605, with that increment of 5 being in Australia.
The swing to comprehension is under way. It is being led by engineers and some scientists (like me, though without as much clout as I had before retirement). One aim in this mini reformation is to sideline and neutralize the abundance of people only too willing to speak without comprehension of the problems, which are technical rather than legalistic and ideological.
Indeed, given the large part that lawyers have played in writing model acts and regs with little technical knowledge and the harm they have done, they are good people to avoid.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Roger Sowell
August 10, 2017 1:13 pm

Cheap, cheap, cheap??!! You are stark, raving, mad! You should be confined for your own good and that of the public.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
August 10, 2017 2:52 pm

Rog is referring to the average monthly electricity bill, not the rates.
People in California use less electricity due to the very temperate climate and very, very high electricity rates.

Robert B
Reply to  Roger Sowell
August 10, 2017 3:43 pm

I think Roger might be referring to how natural gas is being used in the states to provide 50% of the electricity cheaply.
South Australia sells it overseas much more cheaply than it provides it locally for electricity.

August 9, 2017 11:53 pm

Another ‘socialism’ victory!

Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
August 10, 2017 1:12 am

I get, reading between the lines, that they in SA *really do* believe they can change the weather
They are certifiable. Genuine Nut-House & Loony-Bin material

Reply to  Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
August 10, 2017 4:14 am

you wont get an argument on your summation from many at all
only the certifiably bin material supporters and theyre getting a bit quiet lately for some reason;-)

August 10, 2017 5:03 am

The biggest indication that all of this is basically fraudulent is the idea that they want “renewable” generation, rather than “carbon free or low-carbon” generation. “Renewability” has no intrinsic connection with low carbon and excludes the most plentiful low carbon power out there (nuclear).
Renewability is also a rather meaningless characteristic, unless one is staring in the face of no-longer-available non-renewable fuels, which we are not, and which , due to the enormous energy contained in available Uranium and Thorium, we never will . Not in the next 100,000 years, at least.
Australia is trying to stitch together disparate and mostly incompatitble power technologies,.
I love the unintentionally stupid remark by Elon Musk that he considers his batteries equivalent to
a gas powered generator. Hey, Elon, stick to building electric cars, something you are pretty good at (well, the engineers you hired from other companies are good at).

Gary Pearse
August 10, 2017 7:07 am

When is Weatherhill’s term up? The vote will double as an IQ test. If they don’t turn this whole government out and reach as far to the right as they can…. The I Q test they had in France showed sensible people must have exited the country in droves.

Dave Vought
August 10, 2017 8:09 am

Spot on Geoff, build the 5 and keep them in our hands. (Taxpayers). State mines feeding State electricity commission power stations equals cheap reliable electricity.
Stopping the pollies from selling them off would be the hardest part of it.

August 10, 2017 6:46 pm

Re. the possible selling off of new fossell fuel power ststions b y later governments, create a “Trust” framework with a two thirds majority in both houses of Parliament before it can be sold. . It can be done, Here in SA just about all the family silver has already been sold off, so now its borrow money. Anything to aviod taxing us, as that means we will kick them out of office.

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