Reported Plunge in Renewable Costs Prompts Aussie Government to Pull Subsidies

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Australian government is so impressed by the alleged plunge in renewable and battery storage costs they think it will no longer be necessary to subsidise renewables.

Coalition rethinks need for clean energy target as renewable cost plunges

The Turnbull government is rethinking the need to adopt a clean energy target, believing the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy means there may no longer be a requirement for subsidies.

In the keynote address to The Australian Financial Review National Energy Summit, federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will highlight the falling costs of wind and solar energy, including battery storage capacity, as he stresses emissions reduction cannot come at the expense of reliability and affordability.

It is challenging but possible to simultaneously put downward pressure on prices and enhance the reliability of the system, while meeting our international emissions reductions targets,” he will say at the start of the two-day summit that begins on Monday.

The speech will signal a possible shift away from plans to design and implement a CET from 2020 onwards, in the belief emissions reduction can be achieved without such a scheme.

Mr Frydenberg will place great emphasis on reliability. Apart from already flagged reliability measures such a strategic power reserves over the next four summers, and the push to keep open the Liddell coal-fired power station, Mr Frydenberg will flag the introduction of “day-ahead commitments” to apply to the renewable energy industry.

Currently, a wind farm, for example, produces power on the same day it sells it into the market. Under the change, it would have to commit to provide the power the day before, meaning it would need either back-up storage or an agreement with a gas generator, for example, to meet the commitment should the wind not be blowing.

“It is against this backdrop of a declining cost curve for renewables and storage, greater efficiencies that can be found in thermal generation and the need for sufficient dispatchable power in the system that we are considering the Finkel review’s 50th recommendation to which we’ll respond before the end of the year,” he will say of the plans for a CET.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/politics/coalition-rethinks-need-for-clean-energy-target-as-renewable-cost-plunges-20171008-gywjfc

Sadly existing subsidies will be maintained for now, but at least at face value this announcement by the Australian federal energy minister appears to provide a roadmap for the eventual complete elimination of renewable subsidies, and a normalisation of the relationship between renewable providers and other energy providers.

If this announcement is followed by swift action to axe all renewable subsidies, and remove all special privileges for renewables in the marketplace, it pretty much eliminates my objections to renewables. All I ever demanded is that renewables compete on a level playing field. If renewables businesses are now able to compete due to plunging costs of renewable installations and energy storage, good luck to them.

Of course, if claims of renewable and energy storage cost parity with fossil fuels all turn out to be a pack of marketing spin, with market normality restored most existing Aussie renewables businesses will die by the invisible hand of Adam Smith.

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186 thoughts on “Reported Plunge in Renewable Costs Prompts Aussie Government to Pull Subsidies

    • So you subsidize batteries, wind and solar and big biz invests in same. Guv is surprised by rent seeking.

      Stop subsidizing stuff and lower taxes.

      • Ya know what your problem is Geoff…You are trying to mane sense…Stop that and drink the Kool Aid
        :wink:

      • in this case it is not just subsidies. the cost of providing reliable power must be added to the renewables that enter the grid. as it is the renewables get the best of both at the expense of coal/gas and the end user. there should be a figure attributed to the cost of security per kWh as well as no subsidy.

      • Hey! I got a half priced solar array and a ton of batteries paid for by you and your friends! It’s not my fault you guys don’t do it too. Free stuff!

    • You still only get one kWm^-2 max for sun vector oriented areas, and there are NO plans to increase that allowance any time soon.
      Of course, you actually get only 20-25% of that as grid electricity; if you are lucky; excuse me that’s if you are damn lucky.

      With global cloud cover typically at 60% according to NASANOAA, you can’t even count on that much.

      Yes there are higher efficiencies available from Triple Junction Triple Band Gap solar cells; something north of 43%, but that is with concentrator cells and Non-Imaging Optics (NIO) collectors (fully steerable).

      Please note that fully steerable arrays are known to cast shadows as the sun moves around the sky; so each steerable element in such an array uses a ton more land area than just the mirror area alone; pretty much as bad as windmill farms if you think about it.

      Also note that ” a ton ” is NOT an SI unit of land area.

      G & g

      • I just heard a radio interview with a guy living off the grid on Majorca. It sounded idyllic. He would wake up, dust off the solar cells, check that the rain water was going into the right barrels, think seriously whether or not he needed a light, make sure there was no other electric load if he wanted to use the washing machine, make coffee over a butane stove, and go outside to sit and drink the coffee.

        The interviewer asked, “What about someone living downtown in a flat?” The answer was, “Mumble, mumble, mumble, you can’t do it. It’s the fault of the zoning regulations.” (my paraphrase)

        If you want a functioning economy, the majority of people can’t live off the grid. People need to go to work and they don’t have the energy at the end of the day to do all the wonderful eco friendly stuff that’s “just so easy to do if only you tried.”

        It’s currently possible to have a net zero house which supposedly produces as much energy as it consumes. It’s still connected to the grid and funny accounting is involved to prove that it’s really net zero. The trick seems to be to build a house that’s so well insulated that the body heat of the occupants keeps it comfortably warm in the winter at -20F in Fargo.

        Lots of things are ‘possible’. The devil is always in the detail. Could I live comfortably in a solar powered house? Sure, it’s ‘possible’ … under the right conditions. I’m retired so I could move to Majorca. :-) For my young friends who still have to work and live in apartments … and commute to work … not so much.

      • Bob, where I live we have several islands and a lot of boats that are off the grid…..it’s very expensive and time consuming….and the guy that delivers diesel lives in a huge expensive house that’s on the grid

      • There’s no end to the money people spend on research for cheaper solar cells; and they mean cheap.
        There is no solar cell technology conversion efficiency that is too low; if it is cheap enough.

        There are programs at all of the University of California campuses researching weird materials that seem to show some sort of Physical response to exposure to solar rays; and maybe give a trickle of electric current.

        The end goal is a material that you put in a can on the end of your garden hose, and spray it on your house; the roof, the walls; maybe even the wooden fence, and somehow it generates electricity that feeds into the grid. So it’s 3 1/2 % direct overhead sunlight to DC power; but it’s cheap; really cheap.

        Sorry; but in PV solar cells pretty much nothing but the conversion efficiency matters.
        I can remember almost 40 years ago now, when the cost of building a structure in California reached $100 per square foot. A colleague was building a nice house on a one acre lot in a great area, and about the time, all of the exterior was done, somebody torched the place. So he still owned the land, and he decided to rebuild. I can remember that the contractors quoted him $112 per square foot; he was totally floored; and this was circa 1980.

        So even if you have a solar cell technology that you can spray on your front lawn when you water, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is because, they aren’t making any more land area.

        G

      • Floating solar….really? have these morons though much past sunshine?
        Will they be supplied with the anti-bird rotating whirly gigs? If not how long before these are covered in sea gull crap? And I would really like to see how these floating installations fair with any rough seas or storms?
        JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD!

      • Whazamatta rocketscientist? Afraid of new technology and innovation? Look up: Longyangxia Dam Solar Park

        That Mark hasn’t any fracking clue about.

      • How does Dish Network keep their LNB’s working?

        Bwahahaha
        You’re kidding right?
        BTW, I was likely the first person in the world, who didn’t work for Hughes, or RCA to see HughesNet gets poor reception due to bad weather.

      • They are simple, low power and many are not mounted to a +150F roof. The circuits themselves are not large, minimizing both thermal expansion and mechanical flex. Oh, and there’s 1 of them.

        While commercial solar farms are going to contain 100’s of millions of large, hot panels, that get vibrated in the wind, thermal cycles over 100F/day which causes significant expansion and contraction, are exposed to moisture which drives corrosion.

        As I mentioned, this is about as bad an env for electronics as it gets. Failure rates are strongly influenced by temps, thermal cycles, vibration and contamination. This is why “burn in” became an important part of reliability screening and testing for high reliability electronics, which none of the solar panel mfr’s are doing.

        All those “good” clean energy jobs? Are going to be washing and replacing failing panels Woot Woot

      • Bad weather does not cause the electronics to malfunction, it’s loss of signal due to what is between the antenna and the transmitting satellite. For proof of this statement, when the bad weather subsides, the reception improves. So, answer the question. How does Dish do it?

      • The LNB’s and the panels are both in the same environment. Oh, and the “electronics” of a panel are not that complex….in fact each roughly 4″ square in the module is just a simple diode. If you can keep a LNB working in that environment, it’s not difficult to keep a bunch of series connected diodes working also. Oh, by the way, have you seen the industry standard warranty that module makers provide?

    • and the position of the european wind industry in it’s lobbying of Brussels is – Give us the Same Subsidies to Replace end-of-life turbines that are no longer in subsidy or we can’t afford to replace them.

      At the same time renewables PR is being pumped out claiming that renewables are competitive with conventional power generation and costs have fallen by 50% ……..

      https://windeurope.org/wp-content/uploads/files/policy/position-papers/WindEurope-Repowering-and-Lifetime-Extension.pdf

      • and of course the ‘Subsidies’ come from Higher electricity costs charged to industry and consumers … and applying those subsidies from Higher Electricity Charges are apparently what makes Electricity Generation 50% Cheaper for the Consumer and Industry .

        Politicians who refuse to apply, or are too stupid or naive to be able to apply commonsense have chosen to swallow this fantasy and are complicit in the destruction of their nation’s economy.

        In Australia there has been a massive rise in electricity costs because renewable energy is so expensive, not to mention unreliable. Australian consumer spending continues to fall as a direct result, energy intensive industry and jobs are exported and the Australian Dollar is seeing it’s exchange rate hit hard. (recent article in The Australian covers this well)

      • That’s an interesting link. It’s almost amusing that they can’t bring themselves to use the word ‘subsidies’, preferring instead ‘revenue stabilisation mechanisms’. I guess they regard it as good PR to disguise their true intent by the use of fancy phrases.

      • Of course fossil fuels get huge subsidies from those big tax deductions for actual cash expenditures. These oil and gas companies wouldnt even be profitable without those subsidies. At least thats what the science as posted at skeptical science says.

        In the meantime – government mandates to buy renewable / solar/wind generated electricity first is not a subsidy.
        sarc

    • However, if they simply refuse to let non-wind and non-solar to compete and face the market to use just their preferences, the public will go bananas. Unfortunately, the government might very well ignore the will of the people.

    • I should add that there is no real, tangible reason for these costs to have decreased as much as claimed. Either there is money under the table or they are counting on being able to abscond with millions as the various companies fail. Solyndra had enormous treasure missing after it collapsed.

    • I am with you Warren. I trust the idiots about as far as i could kick them. But maybe they are calling the renewables bluff. Many people have been arguing recently, usually without any form of evidence, that renewables are now more cost effective. Perhaps our govt could develop some backbone and remove all subsidies. If the renewables argument is true than it will all work out fine and renewables will give us lower cost power. And pigs will fly!

      • the subsidies are not just the discounted panels and FIT etc, the largest one is the ability for renewables to feed in when they want. you cant just remove the fixed subsidy, there must be some added cost per kWh to reflect the costs to the grid/anyone relying on the grid, which is almost everyone.

    • When I was a little boy (70 years ago ) in New Zealand, an idiot was refereed to as an “Aussie. living next door we smelt it first!
      See, nothing changes.

  1. Even if they remove subsidies for renewables, we will still have the requirement that power retailers must take solar and wind generated power first at any price, leaving coal stations to bid in for the left overs, and I don’t think that will help investment.

  2. Looks like Fake News generated by Oz itself (the Oz Gov lives on subsidies from the EU an UN).

    Back in the day this would be called disinformation.

    Let The Good Times Role!

    • JBom You have no idea. the Oz govt gives far too much of OZ taxpayers hard earned to the UN. The EU bullies our markets with their subsidised industry and particularly primary produce. We pay our own way and a few other countries as well.

  3. You just never know – if the subsidies are pulled they will have to become efficient or die. That is very motivational.

  4. I have lately been reading (and hearing) about the “plunging” costs of renewables (wind & solar), but I have never encountered an explanation exactly what costs have been reduced. Is it labour or materials, or are windmills and solar panels now way more efficient and reliable? Can anyone explain the logic behind this, or what they think the logic might be?
    I live in the province of Ontario that is continually adding unnecessary additional wind and solar capacity. May I expect, at some point, a reduction in the KWH price that has more than doubled since 2006? That’s when the Liberal government started shutting down coal-fired generating plants and replacing them with windmills, solar and 19 (at last count) gas-fired “peaker” plants. The Output of windmills, in Ontario, over the last 1-1/2 years I’ve been tracking is ~26% of Capacity. Solar is ~19%.

    • Means China is charging less for you to buy renewable equipment.

      Chinese companies Trina Solar, JA Solar and Hanwha Q Cells are the largest Solar cell providers by number with Canadian Solar going down to 4th. On wind turbines China’s Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology was the largest supplier but was narrowly beaten to 3rd this year behind Vestas from Spain and GE 2nd. Overall companies manufacturing from China dominate both markets.

      Pretty easy to become the cheapest manufacturer when your currency isn’t floated and the rate is pegged to a fixed rate of 8.28 yuan to the US dollar with a small trading range. Find a market analysts who will tell you it isn’t undervalued to make manufacturing and exporting much more competitive … good luck with that.

    • > I have lately been reading (and hearing) about the “plunging” costs of renewables (wind & solar)

      One of the people in my office is a fully converted disciple of the church of renewables and he keeps stating this as well. The only explanation I get from him is that the wind and sun are free. This is the same fellow we never trust to complete a cost estimate for anything as he is always leaving things out. The only reason we keep him is that the customers like him and he seems to keep the support systems moving along.

    • 3c worth: Take heart! You’re about to get a reduction (on top of the PST reduction) via a loan that will be repayable by you at some future date (with interest). See? No problem with high rates! The

    • The main thing to remember is these people are dealing with a totally nonskeptical audience that wants desperately to believe every claim they make. So, nearly 100% of positive claims about wind/solar are heavily exaggerated. Because the only people that will ever question this stuff are a few malcontents on WUWT. The other main truth is that so long as wind/solar have a guaranteed market….every other energy source subsidized them when they don’t produce.That makes most cost comparisons totally faulty.

      I’m shocked at those claims about Ontario wind/solar btw. Source?.

    • +1 LdB
      Trouble is, the cost of solar panels is now ~10% of the cost of the whole installation, so, even if it turns free anytime soon, it will still be too expensive.

  5. “means there may no longer be a requirement for subsidies.”

    And the far-left wailing and screeching begins !! :-)

  6. Interesting. The Australian government has gone up in my estimation.

    They are now at -999,999,998 which is up 2 from my previous rating of -1,000,000 (the maximum negative rating). Barring further stupidity they should reach around -990,000 by the time they lose office.

    • Forrest Gardener
      October 8, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Interesting. The Australian government has gone up in my estimation.

      They are now at -999,999,998 which is up 2 from my previous rating of -1,000,000 (the maximum negative rating). Barring further stupidity they should reach around -990,000 by the time they lose office.

      Something is “out” by three decimal places here. But I get the idea.

      SteveT

  7. It’s clever politically. The green lobby has used the argument that renewables are more cost effective than fossil fuels without realising the obvious consequence of their argument. (Of course, thinking about consequences is not easy for them, or leftists in general.) They can’t now change their argument and say renewables are not more cost effective and therefore require on-going subsidies.

    • “… the obvious consequence …”

      Once, at work many years ago, someone justified their proposal by claiming massive time savings. The manager calculated that would amount to three full time people. The proposer nodded enthusiastically. So who would we be able to lay off, asked the manager? Consternation and crickets was the stern reply.

      • At my last job, I occasionally suggested that I receive as a bonus 5% of the salary of anyone I made redundant. No one ever seemed to take me up on it.

    • Indeed, the expression is:

      “Once you lie, you must continue to lie.”

      And the always descriptive:

      “They’ve painted themselves into a corner”.

  8. Hooray!! Now we’ll see a plunge in “the most expensive electricity tariffs in the world”, won’t we? Won’t we? Oh! so any reduction in costs will be taken by the providers and not passed on to the consumers. I’m so surprised.

  9. I don’t know if this has been posted on WUWT before, if not, This is Tony Seba on the rapidly changing situation with battery and solar costs and his expectations for the next few years.

    • Let’s take California as an example (since they want to convert to electric vehicles only by 2030).

      Charge a Tesla 85 KWh.

      California vehicles – 30 million.

      Charge 30 million vehicles for 365 days per year – 931 GWh

      Total California electricity production in 2016 – 198 GWh

      How are they going to increase electricity production by 500%???

      Pipedreams are more clear when a person actually does the math. That is why I always default to it.

      • The range of the Tesla is 310 miles. Average annual driving in CA is 13,636 miles/year, or 37 miles per day. Call it 40. So a Tesla will need to be charged once per week, not once per day. So the annual energy capacity required to support 30M Teslas, is 931,000 GWhrs/7 = 133,000 GWhrs per year. Not a pipedream at all when one does the math properly.

      • That’s range under ideal conditions with no other loads on the batter.
        Since that never happens, most Teslas will be charging more frequently than once a week.

      • That’s only under ideal conditions.
        Ideal conditions are rarely found in the lab, and never found in the real world.

      • ChrisL So, continue your calculations. That is 133 TWh that is currently (pun intended) not being generated. What is going to supply that?

      • Steve Fraser, 15 million houses each with 25m^2 of solar on the roof would do it. At 30c/W for solar cells that’s $2500 per house (plus installation batteries)

      • To generate an additional 133 TWh of electricity to power the electric Teslas, …

        California would need another 128,000 Windmills (13,000 currently generate 13.5 TWh).

        The average cost of a windmill is $300,000.

        So, California would need investment in windmills of $38.4 trillion dollars over the next 12 years..

        Total GDP of California is $2.45 trillion dollars per year.

        So, the investment needed would need to be 15.7 years of GDP over the next 12 years.

        The annual capital cost (principal and interest) of $38.4 trillion dollars at 6.0% IRR over a 15 year average lifespan of a windmill is almost exactly double the annual GDP of California (maybe only 175% per year once the fossil fuel costs are eliminated). Sounds like another Venezuela experiment.

        Where are the government economists and financial analysts in this government??? What is this Tony Seba economist talking about???

      • Bill Illis, as you obviously haven’t watched Seba’s presentation you’re not qualified to comment on it.

      • Mr Illis,

        We Californians have been told that the rule is no new ICE cars or light trucks after 2029 – not total conversion. And I haven’t heard a whisper from what passes for a Government here as to their plans for heavy trucks, buses, etc. So, the switchover will take a while. I intend to buy a super-reliable ICE car in 2027 (if this idocy is still in force), and keep it until I no longer need transportation. ‘Course, I’m assuming that there will be gasoline available.

      • Andrew Worth,

        I am just doing the math.

        While I am a math guy, the main reason is that math tells basic truths, it gets to the core of the matter. It is not an emotional reaction. It cuts the BS out and makes a person truly informed.

        Electric cars get a person from point A to point B as long as they close by, but we need to more than double electricity production to fuel these cars. Why is that such a big number? Because fossil fuel gasoline is extremely efficient. It costs less than water but can move you and your car 10 kilometers for $1.0 dollar. It can’t be beat.

      • Andrew Worth October 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

        There probably aren’t 15 million houses in CA.

        The state’s population is around 40 million. No one can say precisely how many people live there, with so many illegals, nor what the average occupancy rate might be. But many residents dwell in apartment buildings rather than houses.

      • Bill Illis, you have to allow for the rapid fall in the production costs of batteries and solar panels, Seba mentions a current price of 30c/W for solar panels, which is far below the cost of just 5 years ago. California gets about 1/6 of the rated power out of those panels once you take into account cloud and day/night, so $1.80 capital cost of cells/W actual production ability (if I can put it in those terms) produced. Each year $1,000 worth of those panels produce 333 x 1460 Whr = 486kWhr.

        Obviously there are other costs (batteries and installation) but using more localised production transmission costs can be substantially reduced.

      • Andrew Worth, even if solar panel were free of charge, that won’t much change the price, because it is mostly transport and installation already right now. Which is why the 0.3$/W panel bulk out of China turns into a 1$/W panel for the western customer, turning into a 2$/W complete material (with converter, fixation etc.) and 4$/W installation. Rule of thumb, this means a ~0.4$/kWh. far from competitive. Even more so that you have it only when the sun shines.

        You cannot have both more localized production and chinese costs, if things are done in China that’s precisely because it cost more to produce locally

    • His solar (PV roof-top) numbers seem to be way off. Just put up 8.03kWh PV system costed $30K before subsidies; $20K after here in PG&E land Calif (current average kWh cost of 27c/kWh; worst in the land, or at least ‘main-land’). 6.7yr payback (actual production will be close-to 12MWh/year. Even with net-metering (costs redistribution to the poor people), at 10 years my cost is $0.17/kWh – still 42% higher than the nat ave (0.12/kWh) and 80% higher than Mom in Coal Electricity Country. If my system requires no maintenance and makes it to 25 years (Warranted Lifetime), i get to $0.07/kWh with 30% federal capital subsidies and the poor paying for about half the rest thru ‘net-metering’ slight of hand. I suppose i could get the government to buy me a 20-30kWh Battery via subsidies and i could arbitrage the net-metering scam,… but it still doesn’t get me to ‘nirvana’ in a couple of years. Flashy foil flipping is too fast without assumptions well documented. Just the ‘neat “S” curves’ and extension of Moore’s law to where it doesn’t belong.

      • I’m finding prices around $1200/kW on the net for complete system, retail price, uninstalled, I assume his figure of $0.30/W are for current manufacturers prices for the cells only. So his figure x 4.

      • Right. I see the 365W LG Panels for ~$400/panel or about $1/Watt. BUT, you have to add a Inverter aggregator and optimizers OR microInverters for each panel. And you have to pay someone to go up on the roof to install etc. All in System installed is ranges from $29 – $35K for a 8kWh system. That’s $4/w DC. (When moved to AC you lose ~7%). Anyway,.. PV does NOT run on Moore’s Law. Although it’s silicon, when you ‘shrink’ cells you actually ‘lose light’. PV is about 25% efficient in capturing the irradiance of the Sun’s (watts/meter ^2). It’s economic growth – more Watts/M^2 captured is more like 15-20%/yr with the support hardware (racking/inverters, etc) showing slower ‘cost learning’ Installation Labor, installer profit margins are “fixed” unless they are mandated to pay for more ‘social welfare’. So,.. I don’t see how roofed residential gets to $0.30/watt or 1/13th of current market prices. His ’10x’ is upside down.

      • Those figures are about my expectation, though the panel cost has dropped faster than DB’s estimate, I’d expect $1.60/W total for 2017 or back to the $1.20 I’m finding retail plus ~$0.40 for installation.

      • The biggest problem in the solar debate is that we have:

        – Tera, Giga, Mega, Kilo and 1 watt measures;
        – per hour, per year, at maximum solar radiation of the daytime measures;
        – 5 or 10 or 15 year lifespans;
        – basic panels, panels with installation, panels with installation and electricians; with batteries;
        – with government subsidies or not;
        – with resale back to the utility or not;
        – cloudiness is rarely taken into account, even by the biggest solar investors;
        – nobody says in average conditions throughout a 24 hour day;
        – what about winter.

        The average consumer cannot tell what is economic or not. The average government decision-maker can easily fall for a sales pitch given all these variables.

        At the end of the day, the physics is converting photons into electron flow. They are completely different things which most people do not understand.

  10. Of course… once you have driven the cost of energy from the “non-renewable” sources high enough, you can cut the subsidies for renewables since they now look “cost competitive”. That was the plan all along…. drive up the cost of energy and force the populace to live with less while paying more to support the Progressive agenda. In California for instance, we are forced to turn off our air conditioners when it is “hot” outside or our heaters when it is “cold” outside because of the Progressive “Flex Alert”, or pay extremely punitive energy prices. Now, if renewables can compete with the true price of coal and natural gas electric (ie 10c a kwhr delivered to the customer which is was in the 1900s) then I’m all for renewables.

    • Adam Smith already turns fast enough, he can account for the whole global warming since 1850, when socialism began to gain enough traction to be noticeable. Coincidence? I think not.

  11. In Oz we still have the situation where the wholesale cost of electricity has risen from only 4.6 cents/Kwhr two years ago to 9.7 cents today. In addition to that price which all generators receive, wind/solar generators get to sell certificates worth 8 cents/KWhr. Competitive with coal or gas? I think not. But let’s stop the extra payments and find out.

  12. I cannot understand why ‘renewable’ generation companies were able to get away with not supplying continuous power. If they tout that their wind farm will generate xMW then they should be held to this, rather than other sources backing them up at no cost to the wind farm.

  13. More important than the subsidy issue is the paragraph

    Currently, a wind farm, for example, produces power on the same day it sells it into the market. Under the change, it would have to commit to provide the power the day before, meaning it would need either back-up storage or an agreement with a gas generator, for example, to meet the commitment should the wind not be blowing.

    If the situation where there is low or no wind for a week then the renewable operator will either have to commit to selling someone else’s electricity or not supply. If the someone else charges more than the going rate for that power then the renewable company has a problem If the renewable company decides not to supply then the grid operator may not come back if let down too often. Either way good news for the consumer I think.

    Pity the day in advance wasn’t 3+ days that way the renewable operators would have a difficult life.

    • “Pity the day in advance wasn’t 3+ days…”

      One day will suffice at the start. The important part is the concept, i.e., that if you promise power, you’ll provide it. At first the promise will be for one day and we’ll see if there are any renewable sources able to survive under that regimen. Maybe none will and that will be that (and we’ll be able to see a lowering of the cost of electricity as we return to stable sources again.) But if they can survive, it will be relatively easy to increase the number of days guaranteed from one day to two days, etc.

      As I said, the important part is the concept: if you promise power, then deliver power.

    • Well, he has his money, so why not? If the SA Govn’t is fool enough, fools will be parted with their money before the door closes behind the foolster!

  14. I notice Tesla’s SA battery build is proceeding at record pace…

    (UK new solar and German offshore wind bids have both come in subsidy free in the last few months.)

    • Griff … everything Tesla does is at “record pace” until it isn’t & then reality strikes and like their recent announcement that Model 3 production is missing the target by almost 82% the truth comes out. Fortunately true believers like yourself have made up their minds and won’t allow themselves to get confused by the facts and so Tesla (and the other green cons) move on the to the next scam.

    • Say griff, please explain to us how they will recharge that battery when they only have wind and solar and NO FF backup whatsoever.

    • Griff, again, comments on something he knows nothing about. How can Musk be 50% into building summat he has only just signed to build?

      • “How can Musk be 50% into building summat he has only just signed to build?”

        Getting it signed up was half the battle? ;)

      • Not at all. I think it was a “done deal” from the initial announcements by the SA Govn’t and Musk. The locations for a start is remote, 200Kms from CBD Adelaide. Why? Out of sight, out of mind!

      • The locations for a start is remote, 200Kms from CBD Adelaide.

        I reckon that is just outside the perimeter of the blast zone.

      • “Griff October 9, 2017 at 8:16 am

        It is physically 50% built Patrick.”

        Before the contract was, publically, signed Griff, BEFORE THE CONTRACT WAS PUBLICALLY SIGNED. Something dodgy is going on with the SA premier. He wants this to happen regardless of the consequenses. It’s a political stunt, nothing more, nothing less. I hope SA voters respond next election.

      • Griff, one of those photos looks very much the existing Mira Loma installation. I doubt that the SA installation has reached that stage yet.

      • Ah! I see your confusion… yes, he appears to have started building before the agreement finally signed. seems a bit hasty… but there it is.

        I can’t find the article with the nice picture of the thing, alas..

    • “wind bids have both come in subsidy free”

      Deceptive little [pruned], aren’t you.

      The only way funding could be found was through ironcast contracts at stupidly high prices.

      Just another BIG SUBSIDY, just paid in a different way.

      I and bet you knew that, so your comment is just your usual low-level DECEIT

    • When you are the first to do something, everything you do is a record.
      That’s not to say that anything you are doing is actually worth doing.

    • But UK offshore is highly subsidised, something you didn’t mention Griff. UK Solar output will be low for the next 6 months subsidised or not.

      Offshore wind farms receive a greater allowance of ROCs than, for instance, onshore wind. This is intended to reflect the higher costs of the former. Most offshore operations now receive 2 ROCs per MWh.

      In total during 2016/17, offshore wind farms were awarded 30,753,577 ROCs, worth at current prices £1401 million. This equates to £86/MWh.

      On top of this subsidy, of course, the wind farms also get paid for the electricity they produce, for which the current market price is £46.40/MWh.

      https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/affordable-offshore-wind-the-real-facts-greenpeace-dont-want-you-to-know/#more-30311

      • German offshore bids this year came in without subsidy. UK offshore will likely follow.

        UK onshore if permitted would likely come in without subsidy now.

        UK solar without subsidy is a reality.

    • @Griff: Did you actually read that link you provided from http://www.abc.net.au?

      “……..It will store up to 129 MWh of electricity, meaning at full power it will last for a little over an hour.

      Construction of the battery was announced in July, in response to an expression of interest process run by the South Australian Government.

      The Government has set an operating deadline of December 1 for the battery along with 250 megawatts of temporary diesel generators, to help address expected shortfalls across the summer period…..”.

      By “full power” I assume they mean when the batteries are fully charged. Wow, a whole hour after the sun goes down….I am impressed….not. And the batteries will last how long….5 to ten years? Will the SA govt spend the money to replace them every five to ten years? Maybe not? Strike two. And will they spend the money to replace the panels every 20 to 25 years? Will the solar array hold up when another one of those storms which knocked out power back in September goes barreling though SA again? Strikes thee and four. When we play baseball here in the U.S., three strikes means you’re out.

      And guess who’s on the way to give Elon Musk a run for his money? Ummmmm…..the Chinese maybe?
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-28/china-is-about-to-bury-elon-musk-in-batteries.

      Whatever Musk tries to do, the Chinese can more of and cheaper. Surprise surprise, eh Griff?

    • A record setting pace for? Building humongous battery packs? Seeing as NONE have ever been built before…If he finishes it, it will set the record.
      Please leave the hollow hyperbole at the door.

    • Even the leftwing, alarmist journal Telepolis https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Quo-vadis-Windenergie-3804237.html (german) writes about the real reasons why some desperate companies bid too low for (future) contracts.
      Plus, even the windmill-manufacturers’ trade-association speaks out against the obvious deception going on there, as do leftist and green politicians.
      95% of all preliminary accepted wind projects are „citizen-owned“; these asssociations are spared many environmental obligations and requirements. In reality, most of the „citizens“ are employees of big contractors who just want to circumvent the law.
      Furthermore, only a small minority of the accepted projects has already got all necessary aprovals. Any failure or delay in getting them will create problems for the whole supply chain.
      On top of that, the new projects cluster in the north and north-east. Even now all wind-energy from there cannot be transported to the south, where it will be needed after the closure of nuclear-plants , because it is just too much (if and when the wind blows).
      New (underground) transmission lines will cost the electricity-customers dearly. Even now avg. grid-costs of 7.5 c/kwh are the biggest part of the residential electricity price, followed by customer-borne subsidies (6.88 c). The power-stations charge less than 5.7 €-cents for electrical energy – one fifth of the retail price.

      Consider that; then admit that you earn a little verbal pushing around.

  15. The Australian government is so impressed by the alleged plunge in renewable and battery storage costs they think it will no longer be necessary to subsidise renewables

    Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

  16. Me thinks celebration is a bit premature. Our “wonderful” leader here in South Australia is pushing for all of the states to introduce their own CET independent of the federal government. Jay and his “mean green ideological taxing machine” will not be swayed by any sensible talk of reducing subsidies.

    Still, it is nice to see some movement in this direction.

  17. Yes we are being told and told and told that the price of renewables if falling/plummeting. What will fascinate me is when the renewables need renewing. I am tipping that the economics do not stand up so just who will be paying for the new wind and solar farms??? No prizes here folks.

  18. Something like this should be the standard: all world citizens should be able to enjoy electricity at no more than 0.12 US$kWh. The goal should be to reduce that to 0.10 US$/kWh by 2020, and 0.05 by 2030. Anything else seems to be a re-ordering of carts and horses.

  19. Electricity is the “opium” of society. Like MS O365 subscriptions, once hooked, hooked for life, literally. So, energy suppliers, with Govn’t help, make energy “scarce” and thus increases price. But we are all hooked, and need a “fix”. The fix is available, but twice the cost now. Crime increases. Supply is restricted, demand increases. Does this sound familiar? The Kennedys made their fortune this way (With alcohol).

  20. Didn’t I read somewhere that there’s a limit to wind turbine performance- somebody’s law- which cannot be beaten by ‘advances in technology ‘ ?

    • Betz’s law (see wikipedia).
      However, this is not really important. What matters is the cost, otherwise, there is enough wind on Earth to provide all our needs.

  21. Just removing subsidies is a long way from assuring a level playing field. Any and all power providers to the grid should be required to be under the control of the grid operators and able to provide power on demand.
    For some strange reason, renewable folks have hypnotized themselves into believing that batteries, a storage device, can transform an unreliable renewable power source iinto a reliable power source. A small
    amount of investigation should reveal the problems with this myth- where does the power stored in the batteries come from? How much power are you storing, in terms of hours, days, weeks? How do the batteries get recharged ? If batteries are depeleted and then renewable power resumes, how fast can those batteries be recharged with renewable power? If you are expecting fossil backup for recharges, then what’s the purpose of the batteries in the first place? The answer, obviously, is that the main benefit of the batteries is to transpose power from one time of the day, when renewable power greatly exceeds demand, to a later time of day, when renewable power disappears but demand still exists, as it always does. But wind doesn’t lend itself to this strategy very well. The best situation would be a desert, where the sun shines with great reliability (I assume) and you can count on a certain amount of power collected, and available, regardless of the time of day. That is in line with our Energy Dept’s requirement that commerical solar farms should only be located in deserts of the Southwest. Sorry about the rest of the country. But the main complaints of renewables is their complicated and Rube Goldberg contortions, plus the toxic visuals presented by humungous windmills, whose propellers turn and cause psychological discomfort, and which require enormous tracts of land – their geographical footprint is astoundingly huge. A really crappy and primitive way to generate power (18th Century style), especially when one looks to the obvious alternative – nuclear power. Especially the revolutionary (and revised) molten salt reactors, that occupy a tiny spot of land, that can be located absolutely anywhere – there are no requirements for a body of water for cooling (they are air cooled) and they can load-follow (act as baseload AND peak load generators – little or no need for fossil fuel peak generation). Thus the supposed advanatge of solar roof generation (non-centralized generation) is also
    present to a large extent in molten salt small modular reactors – in fact far better for a city’s power supply – the reactors can be lcated within the city itself. Or right next to a power distribution center. Their geographical footprint is tiny. In a sense, these reactors are not new, conceptualy, and proptotypes have operated
    over most of the past 70 years. It is the new materials and some bright ideas that has made these ultra-safe, ultra cheap reactors now practical. They will produce power cheaper than any other generation technology and can be built in factories, and installed with minimal site preparation required. Rushing to install windmills and solar farms and not waiting the few years before these molten salt reactors are commercialized is a really big mistake. There is no purpose nor reason from rushing into a bad energy strategy – nothing whatsoever is to be gained by any emission reductions that might be realized in these next few years.
    What is incredible is to read all these silly estimates of the future that take as their premise that no new
    zero emission energy technology will arise in the next 50 years!!! Do these experts live on Mars? That’s where Elon Musk wants to go.

  22. “Currently, a wind farm, for example, produces power on the same day it sells it into the market. Under the change, it would have to commit to provide the power the day before, meaning it would need either back-up storage or an agreement with a gas generator, for example, to meet the commitment should the wind not be blowing.”

    Finally the penny is dropping with despatchability and a level playing field but you think only one day is going to cut it Minister?
    http://anero.id/energy/wind-energy/2017/june
    All suppliers of electrons to the communal grid should be restricted to that amount they can reasonably guarantee 24/7 all year round and they can keep all their fickle ones. Finkel recognised that with the recommendation for any investment in future unreliables but predictably he squibbed the political hard yards with retrospectivity to save so many red faces with the current mess. In my eyes that simply makes him a chief political scientist.

    • The electrons don’t get sold. What is sold is the work done by the field created by their back/forward movement in the AC circuit.

      • Figure of speech.
        Actually, the average customer pays for a right to use power AND, within this power limit, energy he uses (kWh), when he wants. The “when he wants” part is very important. Price would be very different in a “when the provider can” world.

  23. Actually, it’s about time. They were protecting the lesser players and throwing money at over-sized demonstration projects for too long. The sector leaders are still out there and have been ready and willing for some time.

      • Well, half the day see no sun at all, for sure. This is called “night”, you know.
        Tomorrow Griff will learn another word.
        As for the wind, the real question is, how many days have enough wind (but not too much, either)

    • You do realize they also have to about double the installed solar too, right?
      Can’t charge your batteries, while supplying an equal amount to the grid at the same time.

      And then your fail rate goes up 2x.

    • It’s like this Griff-
      “The key here appears to be the moderate temperatures of early spring, which meant few air conditioners switched on, combined with excellent solar output, with the state’s more than 700MW of rooftop solar producing 538.54 MW at the time of minimum demand.”

      and that’s the typical ‘duck curve’ with solar and just what do you think has to be up and running ready to ramp up for the 4-8pm peak demand period? Nice sunny spring weather with ideal panel temperatures with no summer or winter HVAC peak but rather than producing solar power at low midday households would be better investing in solar hot water storage.

      It’s like this Griff. We have the highest power prices in the world now and we haven’t stumped up for storage for despatchability when the coal goes.

      • solar output matches peak aircon demand… plus you now have the storage and CSP coming in SA to manage the evening transition from solar (plus all those domestic batteries helping out)

        I believe your prices were already high due to past over investment to meet demand which never materialised?

    • Imagining without a price term again..and again…and again. The no subsidy is not based on any labor-intensive rooftop or battery tech cases. It’s based on incremental cost reduction of PV line costs and deployed at large scale.

    • Skanky, you’re not just out of your depth, you’re right at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

      Now go and apologise to Dr. Crockford.

    • Malcolm Turncoat borrowed AU$500k to invest in OneTell. Sold all shares about 4months before OneTell went bust. AU$500 turned in to about AU$52mil. Insider trading springs to mind as almost all other investors got screwed. So he can afford solar on his multi-million dollar, sea front mansion.

      • “giffiepooed October 10, 2017 at 2:16 am
        I haven’t seen any figures refuting what I say from you, have I?”

        Many times.
        Making your refusal(s) to accept facts willful ignorance.

        giffiepooed’s utter fealty to false science, specious claims and absurd assumptions is simply paid trollop dependent upon the green funding scam.

      • “I haven’t seen any figures refuting what I say from you, have I?”

        YES!

        As have many other posters, and corrected your BS more times than can be counted.

        A more accurate question from you would be “Have you ever seen any figures that DO NOT refute what I say?”

  24. Email I received from GWPF in UK says they filed a formal complaint with government over exaggerated advertising claims by wind companies saying prices are plummeting 50%. These firms know theres little chance of pushback on their outrageous claims. Nice to see some are pushing back….with formal complaints and cutting off subsidies

  25. “The Turnbull government is rethinking the need to adopt a clean energy target, believing the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy means there may no longer be a requirement for subsidies.”

    Why stop there? Cancel all of the subsidies, including the fake fossil fuel subsidies!

    Then equalize solar and wind energy with all other energy producers!

    • Tax wind and solar energy producers, just as fossil fuels are taxed!
    • Include surcharges for road maintenance, electric grid maintenance and improvements.
    • Require bonds to cover the costs of repairing land used for wind turbines and solar.
    • Apply penalties when wind and solar fail to meet demand.
    • Penalize wind and solar for every animal injured or killed.
    • Penalize wind and solar for any negative effects on humans, wildlife and land.

  26. This is simply a cynical grab for some political credits. The govt has lost its way completely on energy policy. They dont want to upset any warmists by building another coal plant (yet the rest of the world seems to be able to do it), but dont know how to fix base load power provision issues. This also appears to be a way around the Renewable Energy Target (RET) for the govt who are meant to publicly announce an RET prior to the end of the year. The leftist opposition simply wont let the Govt get away without a nominating a target.

  27. The left are masters of deception. This whole thing sounds to me like a walking back on renewables. There has been no break through on these technologies. The deception that they are on a par with fossil fuels is based on the manufactured “fact” that they call legitimate business deductions for fossil fuel production a subsidy! Because fossil fuel production is an enormous business, deductions for costs are large and so is the enormous taxes they pay to governments. To compare ‘welfare’ energy to real, abundant, on demand, cheap fossil fuel to renewables is a GrouchoMarxist joke.

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