Guest opinion by Viv Forbes
Solar power only works while the sun shines – it is part-time power.
Wind power only works when suitable winds blows – also part-time power.
Batteries only work when charged – part-time power again.
Hydro fails in droughts – more part-time power.
And using full-time power like natural gas to fill the inevitable supply gaps from part-time power forces backup gas to operate like part-time power.
Moreover, on sunny windy days, wind and solar generators spew out electricity at little extra cost. These erratic surges of part-time power drive electricity prices so low that even low-cost full-time producers like coal cannot operate profitably at those times. They are throttled back and forced to operate as yet another part-time power plant.
24/7 electricity users such as hospitals, trains, factories, refineries, fuel and water pumps, cash registers, infrastructure and mines cannot operate on part-time electricity.
Moreover, every part-time power producer (using sun, wind, batteries, hydro, gas or coal) consumes money full-time for operations, standby, maintenance and replacement. Each also has to fund its own specialised generators, transmission lines, access roads and workforce. Electricity becomes both unreliable and expensive, and consumers suffer.
Using taxes, subsidies, dictates and mandates to replace a full-time power producer like coal with up to five part-time power producers only makes sense in the part-time minds that inhabit Greentopia.
Government cannot improve any of this with more laws and regulations – they must REPEAL all the legislation, regulations, subsidies and taxes that created the mess in the first place. State governments too should repeal their silly energy laws, and stop shutting and destroying power stations. More laws and regulations can only make things worse.
Viv Forbes is director of The Carbon Sense Coalition