NSW Government Offers Subsidised Infrastructure for Renewable Energy, Overwhelming Response

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The NSW government has offered support in the form of improved grid infrastructure and streamlined approvals for new wind farm projects in designated renewable energy zones.

Government renewable energy investment program swamped by support

By Peter Hannam
June 23, 2020 — 12.00am

Plans to open up the Central West of NSW to more renewable energy have generated overwhelming investor interest – topping $38 billion, or nine times the government’s available capacity.

The government program is designed to attract investors to build 3000 megawatts of new wind and solar farms worth an estimated $4.4 billion in the state’s first renewable energy zone around Dubbo, but has instead drawn proposals for 27,000MW in so-called 113 registrations of interest, the Berejiklian government said.

The state government identified the Central West region as one of its three priority areas for luring clean energy investments. All three – including in the Riverina, near Hay; and New England, around Armidale – benefit from having good wind and solar resources but also proximity to existing transmission links and population centres.

“I want NSW households and businesses to have some of the cheapest and cleanest electricity in the world and this [zone] will bring in the low-cost solar and wind to do that,” Mr Kean said.

The tumbling costs of new solar and wind farms mean such plants can be built at as little as half the cost of new coal- or gas-fired power stations, and typically much faster.

The challenge for governments, generators and regulators is increasingly how to integrate the largely intermittent sources of new electricity while maintaining grid stability.

Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/government-renewable-energy-investment-program-swamped-by-support-20200622-p554uo.html

The NSW government FAQ suggests they are trying to copy the Texan renewable energy zone programme.

The Texan renewable programme has not exactly covered itself in glory when it comes to maintaining grid stability. From August last year;

Texas Heat Wave Exposes Energy Grid Challenges

Electric grids across the U.S. are facing the apparent impacts of climate change as they’re being reshaped by wind, solar and inexpensive natural gas.

By Alan Neuhauser Staff WriterAug. 19, 2019, at 12:01 a.m.

TWICE IN ONE WEEK THIS August, and for the first time in five years, the owners of power lines and distribution networks across Texas found themselves in an electric game of chance as sweltering, near-record temperatures prompted an energy emergency. 

As the temperatures climbed, demand from air conditioners soared and winds slowed, the state’s grid operator found itself with a shrinking margin of reserve power. And when the amount of spare capacity dipped below a tripwire of 2,300 megawatts (less than 3% of the state’s energy needs) on Aug. 13 and again Aug. 15, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, was forced to take action.

Power plants rushed to ramp up their outputs to take advantage of prices that briefly soared past a state mandated cap of $9,000 per megawatt-hour – up from about only $19 hours earlier. The companies that own transmission and distribution systems, meanwhile, hurried to reduce consumption by their customers, knowing that the rates the companies will pay next year are based on when demand is highest.

Read more: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2019-08-19/texas-heat-wave-tests-electric-grid-underscores-challenges-for-wind

I’m not sure how New South Wales energy intensive industry feels about the prospect of USD $9000+ / MWh electricity and aggressive demand management, but it is probably not something they are looking forward to.

Some processes like Alumina smelting cannot simply be switched off when electricity prices spike or power supply fails. A sustained power failure at the wrong time can do expensive damage to alumina smelting plants.

Like Texas, NSW has some impressive heatwaves. Heatwaves in Australia are often accompanied by strong, blistering hot winds blowing straight from the Australian desert, but not always.

94 thoughts on “NSW Government Offers Subsidised Infrastructure for Renewable Energy, Overwhelming Response

  1. Eric,
    “NSW Government Offers Subsidised Infrastructure for Renewable Energy, Overwhelming Response”
    The article says nothing about “subsidised”, and with good reason. The government is simply performing a government function of building a grid, as they did for coal-fired electricity too.

    “I’m not sure how New South Wales energy intensive industry feels about the prospect of USD $9000+ / MWh electricity and aggressive demand management, but it is probably not something they are looking forward to.”
    They are only affected if they want to be; those are spot market prices. Big users have contracts. But the article goes on to say why this is hype (Texas is not a forest of greenies):

    “Other experts aren’t so sure. Power prices in Texas may have soared by close to 57,000% during the heat wave, they concede, but the spike only lasted a few minutes as the owners of power plants, transmission lines and distribution networks rapidly ramped-up output and drew down consumption. Both energy emergency declarations ended about three hours after they were announced.

    “So far this week, what’s happened, given the scale of the numbers, is that everything is happening as designed. So this is a good news event,” says William Hogan, a research professor in global energy policy at the Kennedy School at Harvard University who worked on the pricing mechanism for ERCOT. “When you consider the demand-side flexibility, then the concern that the renewables are now putting us in a situation where we have problems is, I think, premature.””

    “Some processes like Alumina smelting cannot simply be switched off when electricity prices spike or power supply fails”
    Well, they can, for an hour or two, but more to the point, they can reduce to maintenance level indefinitely. And they don’t do it for love; they get compensating benefits under the contract.

    “Heatwaves in Australia are often accompanied by strong, blistering hot winds”
    And lots of sunshine for those panels.

    • … The government is simply performing a government function of building a grid …
      Yes, but renewables need a lot more grid per unit of energy than more concentrated sources of power.

      … They are only affected if they want to be; those are spot market prices. …
      Someone ends up paying. Big industrialists who thought they might make profit from an unanticipated increase in the size of an order, domestic users who all switch on their aircon, forcing distributors to find the extra power or face a blackout. Fear of the spot market will at the very least have a chilling effect on economic flexibility.

      (Alumina smelting being suspended) – Well, they can, for an hour or two, but more to the point, they can reduce to maintenance level indefinitely.
      Clearly this didn’t work out for Portand whom I cited in my link. And I suspect even maintenance level sucks a fair bit of power, increasing the final commitment to complete the pour, forcing smelters to either increase their contingency, or go to the spot market. Before you say “but they could sell that contingency”, the answer is not necessarily.

      Heatwaves in Australia are often accompanied by strong, blistering hot winds” And lots of sunshine for those panels.
      Sure, sometimes.

      • “renewables need a lot more grid per unit of energy than more concentrated sources of power”
        ??? A watt is a watt. An amp is an amp. In fact, the three designated zones are close to existing grid; the Riverina is on the track of the NSW-SA interconnector.

        “Someone ends up paying.”
        Someone pays, someone makes money. It is a transfer payment.

        “Clearly this didn’t work out for Portland whom I cited in my link”
        Yes, it did. Your link mentions no actual damage to the smelter. It seems it had 3 hrs with no power, as a result of storm damage (not renewables)and then half power for a while.

        ” increasing the final commitment to complete the pour”
        You have a strange idea of how aluminium smelters work

        • ??? A watt is a watt. An amp is an amp. In fact, the three designated zones are close to existing grid; the Riverina is on the track of the NSW-SA interconnector.
          Don’t be obtuse Nick – diffuse power = more grid infrastructure.

          Someone pays, someone makes money. It is a transfer payment.
          That’s an expression of the broken windows fallacy – paying to repair deliberately broken windows is just a “transfer payment”, just like paying someone to dig ditches then fill them again is just a set of transfer payments. But the damage is still done to the economy.

          Yes, it did. Your link mentions no actual damage to the smelter.
          They survived, barely. They saved the pots somehow after an expensive all hands on deck exercise, second time in 3 months. My guess is the workers piled insulation around the pots to keep them from freezing.

          You have a strange idea of how aluminium smelters work
          If you have to suspend the pour and hold the melt at maintenance level, you need additional energy to hold the melt at maintenance level on top of whatever energy you originally needed to complete the smelt. + there is time lost, wages which have to be paid even when the plant is not producing. All adds up to additional expense. In the highly competitive world metals market, a delay can turn a profit into a loss.

          • “That’s an expression of the broken windows fallacy”
            No, that is a fallacy. A repairer gets money, but has the cost of materials and time (opportunity cost). When a spot price spikes, the same amount of electricity is still transferred as it would at a normal price, and it does the same work. All that happens is that the buyer pays the seller more money.

          • Having to pay more for the same good or service is wealth destruction Nick.

            The broken window fallacy explains why “stimulating” economic activity by deliberately breaking windows leads to wealth destruction, even though the glazier spends the money they make repairing windows.

            Breaking factories with brutal electricity price spikes wreaks the same kind of destruction – unexpected costs have to be borne. You can’t just dismiss that as just being a transfer payment.

            The party who got reamed on the spot market has to set aside greater provision against the risk of another wild price excursion. You better believe they will pass on that cost, to whoever pays them for greater price stability than the market can deliver. In the end everyone pays, as the premium required to cover the risk of wild and totally unnecessary price excursions is dispersed throughout the marketplace.

          • Nick has just admitted that these outages are a HUGE cost to smelters.

            Well done.. for once you are correct. !!

          • Eric,
            “The party who got reamed on the spot market has to set aside greater provision against the risk of another wild price excursion.”
            That is easy – most simply sign a contract with a prescribed price. People who choose exposure to the spot market do so because they expect that the low prices during energy glut balance the cost of high prices during these short peaks. They are big boys, and can let it balance out. This doesn’t cost anyone anything. In fact it is a benefit, because it brings price elasticity into the market.

          • Utter nonsense Nick. You don’t just magically fix the price with a contract, you have to pay someone to take the risk they will be out of pocket if the price they agree is less than the price of electricity at the time the contract has to be fulfilled.

            Even renewable providers take a risk issuing this kind of contract. They can’t be sure they will be able to provide the electricity agreed at the time agreed. If they can’t, they have to buy the electricity on the spot market and sell it at the agreed price, potentially taking a huge loss. Nobody takes that kind of risk for free.

          • Eric,
            “You don’t just magically fix the price with a contract”

            I’m sure you do it. I do. The large majority of the market is contracted. It doesn’t cost anyone anything; it worked that way long before the spot market came along.

            The spot market is a gamble. It goes up and down.
            Most players break about even. Some buyers come out ahead; some sellers do. Playing is optional.

            “Even renewable providers take a risk issuing this kind of contract.”
            So they probably don’t.

          • Risk costs money Nick. A contract is effectively an insurance policy. If the volatility of prices increases thanks to renewables, people who have to cover that price volatility will demand a higher premium for insuring against price volatility.

          • Nick what color is the sky in your world with all these free resources and time?

            Holy Hanna I shake my head at your brain.

          • Now Nick is claiming to be an expert on economics as well.
            Imagine that, for hundreds of years, those who believed that the broken windows fallacy was a fallacy are wrong.
            It must be so, Nick has declared it.

    • Nick, having shown yesterday that he was willing to outright lie to defend Green policy on bushfire encouragement, now turns his misdirection towards denying basic engineering.

      Let us take one of his misdirections – “And lots of sunshine for those panels”

      So what Nick is actually confessing is that some days the wind won’t perform, so solar will be needed to backup the wind.

      But, you ask at home, what happens when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine? Well I am going to make the assumption that Nick will either claim that it is always sunny somewhere (haha) or that we can simply use battery backup.

      Yes… magical batteries, made using child labour. Here in South Oz we have a big magical battery. Musk fleeced our last Premier with it. It is massive and can back out our state for just long enough to beg Victoria for some electricity.

      So that in adult discussion brings us back to baseload power, for the days when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow. Which means in Nick South Wales we are going to need wind, cause renewables, and solar, to allow for the days that have no wind, batteries, for windless nights and baseload (coal, gas, nuclear, burnt witches et al) for the windless nights after the batteries run flat.

      Or… we could cut to the chase and just go baseload.

      Nick is either allergic to STEM or deliberately lying (again) on behalf of his paymasters.

      • “Musk fleeced our last Premier with it.”

        In fact, the battery has been hugely profitable for SA, and is being upgraded:

        ” It has brought down grid stabilization costs, by some $40 million according to consultants Aurecon in its first year of operation alone.

        At the same time, Hornsdale generated roughly $50 million in revenues in less than two years through the provision of both Contingency and Regulation Frequency Control Ancillary Services (C/FCAS) and through arbitrage trading – buying electricity when wholesale prices are low or even negative and selling when prices are high. “

        It cost $90 million.

        • The battery is a solution for a problem inflicted by government policy. No surprise the government makes money when they rig the rules.

        • The Hornsdale battery is hugely profitable for its operators performing frequency support because this requirement has massively increase with the penetration of renewables in the South Australian grid.

          What it does not do at all is to fill in the voids and peaks of power generation from renewables vs the grid demand (the alleged arbitrage component) since it is only 100MW in output capacity and 120MWh in storage capacity. These amounts are pittances in the scheme of a 3 GW grid like South Australia’s (although that has shrunken from the past with many industries having left the state due to the expensive and unreliable electricity supply).

          In fact, most of the capacity and storage at Hornsdale is used for FCAS and only small portion is reserved for “supporting the grid” when there is a large generation shortfall. In such an event, this small amount gives the grid operators a few more minutes to shed load (selective blackouts) and then get the gas and diesel peaking plants ramped up before the grid totally collapses.

        • “In fact, the battery has been hugely profitable ”

          That’s because it spends so much time trying to stabilise the grid.

          That is its job, and it is having to do LOTS of it.

          Proof positive of the enormous problems caused by wind non-energy. Thanks. 🙂

          You do know that the battery doesn’t actually produce any electricity, don’t you Nick?

          • As a side note, think about where the money that pays for the batteries and their operators is coming from.

        • Nick read the article you linked it is actually very funny as to how it made money … try hard and see if you can understand it … absolute classic 🙂

          • Nick is starting to resemble Griff, who became famous for linking to articles that actually refuted the position he (Griff) had taken.

      • You need to build enough solar cells to power 100% of the economy for when the wind doesn’t blow.
        You need to build enough wind mills to power 100% of the economy for when the sun doesn’t shine.
        You need to build enough fossil fuel plants to power 100% of the economy for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

        Yet for some reason, those who’s brains don’t function, insist that the above is way cheaper than just building the fossil fuel plants alone.

    • Nick, could you please show us/me how this is going to change a) global climate and b) Australian climate with the accompanying math(s).

      Thanks in advance, and take the time required. I’m here all week.

    • Dear Mr. Stokes,

      Sorry to say, but to build and maintain a grid is a government function in a central planning (socialist/communist –> marxist-leninist) economy, and not in a free market economy. The so-called “renewable energy” could not survive without substantial state subsidies (from taxpayer’s money) in a free market economy. Seemingly you don’t have any practical experiences with such central planning economies and socialist/communist systems. However, I lived in East-Europe, and after 45 years practical experiences it was crystal clear for the east-european people, that such central planning economy combined with socialist/communist regimes lead to total bankruptcy. Additionally, for very simple natural laws the “renewable energy” can not be supplied in 7x24x365 mode at competitive prices. A very good example is Germany with exorbitant high energy/electricity prices due to the introduction (and positive discrimination) of the “free” renewable energy. It turned out (in the practice), that the “free” renewable energy is the most expensive energy. From customer point of view the renewable energy means a significantly reduced quality of service, and much higher prices. Sorry, but this approach can not be qualified as “development”(a step forward), but as more steps back. What do you think, who would select with only a minimal common sense voluntarily such an approach? If there are fans with the hobby renewable energy, it would be OK. However, these fans should pay the bill for their hobby from their own money, and not to force the whole population to pay the bill for the hobby of the greens. The renewable companies should pay themselves the costs of a new “modernised” grid to distribute their product.

      • “Seemingly you don’t have any practical experiences…”
        I have lifelong experience in a country where governments build and operate the grid. Well, for the last twenty years they have licensed operation to AUSNET.

        • “I have lifelong experience in a country where governments build and operate the grid.”

          Yes, Nick, but as usual you haven’t answered the question. We all have “lifelong experience”, but _practical_ experience?

        • You have life-long experience in a country which has demonstrated to the rest of the World the utter futility of Renewables. Well done!

          PS: I’m still waiting for your response on the Wind Energy in Scotland thread.

        • Building a grid that never transports any energy is simply a nett social loss (a total waste of taxpayer or customer wealth).

          Building a grid to handle on average 20% of its capable load vs the more usual 90% for non weather dependent energy sources is a ±70% nett social loss.

          Pull the other one Nick – it’s got bells on!

        • In other words, since the government has run the grid for your entire life, you consider this to be proof that only the government can run the grid.

    • Right now at 6pm
      NSW electricity production is
      9gw coal
      1.3gw hydro
      0.9gw wind
      0.4gw natural gas
      Zero rooftop solar
      Zero grid solar.
      Solar provides electricity only about 6-8 hours a day.
      Wind in NSW is currently running about 50% which is pretty good.
      But it can regularly drop to 5% like South Australia is right now.

    • I did not know building a grid is a function of government. Do they also do the maintenance? Is there a special tax for paying all of that?

    • The state built and owned the grid at a time when the electricity production and distribution were state owned.
      Likewise, now, whoever generates electricity and wants to distribute it and sell it, should build the grid at their cost.

  2. “Plans to open up the Central West of NSW to more renewable energy have generated overwhelming investor interest – topping $38 billion”

    A positive aspect of the insane rush to renewables is diversification. The energy infrastructure, like all other essential infrastructure and like your long term stock market investments, should be diversified. But, as in stock market investments, known losers added to the portfolio for diversification’s sake is probably not a good investment strategy. Both performance and diversification must be evaluated in investment strategies. IRR data are available from studies (3% to 11% IRR) in the UK but they are not constrained by current market price and they are not constrained by timing and delays. Wind projects can take three years before they deliver their first watt. They also don’t take into account the impact of abandoned projects. Abandoned projects are simply just fogotten.

    • Abandoned projects are probably not such a big issue for Australia, Australia has a lot of empty wasteland.

      My main objection to renewables is the preferential treatment they receive, which drives up prices for everyone. If they had to stand or fall on their own merits I wouldn’t have a problem with “diversification”.

      • ” …. vastly greater area of abandoned coal mines …. ”
        LOL. The mines that have been abandoned are UNDERGROUND. What you see is the open-cut operation.
        The known reserves at Collinsville amount to about 196 million tonnes. It’s coking coal. Mostly shipped abroad. The stuff you need to make steel, for reinforcing those enormous wind turbine bases, frames for all those solar panels.
        I like Collinsville. I sometimes get to do design work there. Visiting a place where people still do REAL work has a positive effect on me. Just watch out for those trucks rolling around with 2m high wheels. Best to pull off the road if you see one coming. Not the place to start gluing yourself to the pavement either.

      • Previous response disappeared. The “vastly greater area” is open-cut, still viable, proven reserves of 196 million tonnes. The Bowen Basin is one of the biggest reserves of high quality coal in the world. Google can’t see the abandoned mines because they are underground.

    • “Plans to open up the Central West of NSW to more renewable energy have generated overwhelming investor interest – topping $38 billion”

      Plans to open up the Central West of NSW to more subsidy farming have generated overwhelming investor interest”

      Fixed it for you

  3. This is the fundamental problem with wind and solar. You have no control over how much (if any) power is going to be delivered. The maximum load occurs after the solar peak. While it is true that the fuel cost is zero, the cost of the infrastructure and the cost of backing up the green energy with natural gas very rarely appears in any economic analysis.
    Green energy is anything but green and anything but cheap, if you include all costs, infrastructure, and subsidies.

  4. ” …. overwhelming investor interest …. ” Translation: this is such a crazy idea that even more than the usual suspects have their hands out for free money. They are not investors, they are wannabe recipients. These proposals are for subsidy farms. The eventual outcome is large tracts of derelict land, the only benefit might be the extensions to the grid.
    I have extensive experience in the reclamation of coal and dolomite mines. There are plenty of flora that will grow in coal waste. Clearing up the mess left after wind and solar subsidy farms is potentially more problematic. The tower bases are probably best left in place and the land reprofiled to hide them, using the soil excavated for burying the non-recyclable blades and panels, provided Darcy’s Law (permeability) is carefully applied.

  5. They repeat and repeat this cheaper than natural gas chestnut and nobody here says anything. Is this the creative accounting that early projects used? I expect that the cost of windpower would come down with experience and whatever innovations there could be. Sure 80 cents per kWh (all-in) might have been even reduced to a third. Is that what this confident statement refers to?

    And then they bemoan ‘subsidies’ paid for oil and gas. If we’re comparing apples to apples, lets take the whole number including what the OG industry pays in taxes to two or three levels of government to even up this picture. The cost of switching to renewables includes foregoing tax income from OG which means that with this impoverishment of government the other taxpayers need to cough up this deficit. That certainly is a direct cost to society.

  6. By next year I will be happily backed up by a gas generator. The unreliability of Wind Energy has finally made the investment worthwhile here in Texas. Of course I will be running it periodically just to test it, and then when ever there is a power failure – so much for reducing my carbon footprint – they have increased it. They always seem to result in increasing carbon footprints… The Greenies are just idiots who play at being god.

    • I bought a big diesel but its too noisy, ongoing project to build a sound box and encase it in mass loaded vinyl, while blowing enough air through to keep it cool.

      • Think about a buried 44 gallon (oops! 205 litre) drum as your expansion box. I heard that has possibilities but never had the need to try one.

  7. The costs of tearing down and environmentally disposing of the spent turbines and photovoltaic panels should be included in the building costs so that ratepayers and/or taxpayers won’t be left holding what comes out of the back-end of the subsidy hag of a race horse. At least with an old horse, one can make glue, etc.
    Any civic boards that approve these phantoms of grandeur should require these costs up front.

  8. The challenge for governments, generators and regulators is increasingly how to integrate the largely intermittent sources of new electricity while maintaining grid stability.

    Nothing that can’t be handled by building another 50 coal fired power stations and running them at 10% load factor and 15% thermal efficiency.

    Copy the Germans…

  9. Eric I read this post and it makes me want to sob. We bought our very small acreage two years ago here in the Central West. Our town is an historic gold rush town, and is heritage listed. We knew that the coal mines weren’t too far away but given that the towns around here were born out of mining it was all part and parcel really, and it was our choice.

    The scenery is rural, rolling hills, sheep, cows, kangaroos and the occasional emu. It can be harsh here during the drought but to me it maintains a rugged beauty. When the rain finally arrived in January it was like a magical transformation. The saying ‘just add water’ held a new meaning to me. Land that had become pretty much a dust bowl for months sprouted lush green growth almost overnight. It was as pretty as a picture, and we built our dream home here. There are lots of wineries and craftspeople here too so it’s a popular tourist destination.

    About the time we ‘settled’ on our property we discovered that solar industry had been approved less than 5 kilometers from us. That was when I first started to research renewable energy. I figured that if it was going to be so close by I needed to know more about it. I almost wish I hadn’t, I could be like one of those ignorant folk who ‘trust the science’, because I was too lazy to do a bit of research.

    The solar industry near our home that went ‘live’ last year was completed in around eight months. At 87 mw it takes up around 300 hectares. The panels come out of China, so the mining and manufacturing jobs went to the Chinese. Most of the work here is in construction, backpackers did most of that work, so little in the way of local jobs. Our miners earn good money, if you don’t already have a job in the country you move out. There isn’t any recycling and that terrifies me. As a Renewable Energy Zone wind and solar will be concentrated in our region! At this stage everyone seems quite happy to bury it at end of life. I don’t want that, how is that OK? We are going to have many millions of solar panels to dispose of, and large numbers of wind turbines too. The farmers who didn’t sell out to foreign concerns outright are thinking it’s money in the bank to lease their properties. One of the conditions is that they decommission and restore their properties. Who thinks that is going to happen? Have they even thought about how much that would cost?

    There is an additional 800 hectares of panels in the pipeline planed to be built next to the existing one just up the road, plus a 16 hectare plant that would be 600 meters from our beautiful historic town. We also found out recently that a 1000 hectare solar plant has been proposed seven kilometers away in a different direction. At this rate we will be surrounded by them. Our town will end up like that ghost town in Michael Moore’s movie Planet of the Humans! It’s just plain criminal.

    Our local MP’s won’t respond to my correspondence, they couldn’t be bothered reading the material. My husband did get a response from our federal representative, he said he’s noted that we don’t agree with renewable energy. I fear that there’s corruption going on, or they don’t have the guts to actually represent their constituents and actually try to find out what we’re on about and put it to the minister.

    On the matter of politicians, we no longer have a major political party right of centre. They are all left wing! There is no longer a major conservative party to vote for. Our current government has moved to where the Labor Party used to be, they’ve become extreme left and the Greens are communists. The Greens don’t need to gain power in their own right, they have already infiltrated ALL the left wing parties, even at top levels. How else could these obsurd policies be passed without looking at the details.

    One last thing. When you buy property in the country and they tell you that power is available, it isn’t simply a matter of hooking up to the power pole. We had to have a power pole ‘and’ a transformer put outside our property. Cost us nearly $30,000! The electricity company asked if we would like to be signed up to a deal whereby we would be paid for ‘planned’ power outages, we declined as a reliable source of power is important to us and we paid a lot of money for it.

    Since the rain returned in January and on dark cloudy days we have had four blackouts. The local solar plant supplies light rail in Sydney and we suspect that we were sacrificed to keep up their supply. You see, we are one of the many properties that fall in the same grid area as the mines. Now they may well have agreed to paid power outages and I assume that they have generators. We do not. We are on tank water and when the power goes out we have no water, our pumps run on electricity. So not only do we have an unreliable power supply (after spending all that money) our water is effectively cut off at the same time. We cannot flush the toilet, take a shower, wash our hands, wash the clothes.

    Sorry for the long comment but I wanted to give you an idea of the Central West Region. Real people live here in large and small vibrant communities, men, women and children. We hold festivals and host many tourists who come to see the wineries, arts, crafts, country shows and rodeos. We are not out in the middle of nowhere, we are a destination. We exist and we are worthwhile! We are not a dumping ground for unwanted future waste.

    I have learned much from WUWT, I know how wind and solar renewables come about and I know where they end up. I am soon to be surrounded by them and I am overwhelmed and I am devastated.

    • I’m so sorry Megs. This deserves more publicity. I don’t know if more publicity will make a difference, but IMO its better than doing nothing. If you are happy for me to do this please reply with a few links to publicly accessible pictures which you have taken which you would like published (e.g. facebook pic of your house with you guys standing in front of it, pic of renewables blighting the local countryside, maybe a local festival – must be pictures you have personally taken) and I’ll turn this comment into a new post.

      • I really appreciate your interest Eric. My husband and I have tried to communicate with politicians and the press, even tried to make contact with Andrew Bolt. I know that Sky are champions of our cause but they do get alot of stories and I think that the gatekeepers have choices to make. The politicians simply don’t care, I think they’ve lumped us in the ‘deniers’ category and left it at that. Having said that I know that there are a handful of politicians who have the courage to speak out and if any were willing to make contact then we would love to speak to them.

        We have only been living here for a year and our house was completed in September. We’re not on Facebook, but we do have photos of last year’s Henry Lawson Festival and the town’s Show (equivalent of the Royal Easter Show) including the rodeo. I am happy to name the town and take extra photos of the gold mining museum and such, and you would be spoilt for choice.

        Most country folk tend to ‘go with the flow’ and if you try to get into too much detail you can see their eyes glaze over. They were happy for us to act as spokespeople for a couple of causes, including the saga that is renewable energy and we have become ‘known’ to the local council and MP’s as speaking out against injustices. Brick wall really, and we’ve never been ‘activists’ before. I am happy to provide you with photos of the town, surroundings, the local solar plant and of course the festival shots. I’m a little nervous about our home and being personally identifiable to be honest. There is big money involved in all of this and I don’t want to be an easy target. We are a small town of population 2,700.

        I’m not sure how to send you the photos? I usually send everything by email so how would this work?

      • Eric I had a thought on how I could give you images of my town and it’s festivals and museums. Just Google ‘Gulgong’. There are links that will give you a treasure trove of photos, some may be subject to copyright but it will give you an insight into this town and the many mining towns in the region. The Central West is not a desolate and remote area, it is rich in history. I’m going to Google the solar plant too to see what I can come up with. It’s called Beryl Solar Farm.

      • Hi Megs, if you upload a photo to facebook or flickr you can copy the http address of the photo and paste it in a comment.

        I’ve been thinking, you’re really new in the area, so it might be worth hanging back on this for a bit, get to know people better, get a better idea of how other people in the community feel. If their eyes are “glazing over” maybe it is not an issue to them, or maybe they have mixed feelings or are not yet ready to share with you.

        • I’m not on Facebook Eric. I sent a further comment suggesting that if you Google the name of our town, and since you have subsequently posted it, you will see how vibrant our town and community is. Just Google Gulgong, and if you want to know about the local solar plant Google Beryl Solar Plant. That will be enough to make people aware, if they’re interested.

          We joined an action group last year Eric after being approached by affected residents. An example of people’s knowledge here, one of the group had arranged for ‘the press’ to meet with us to discuss our concerns. We were excited to have the opportunity to get our story ‘out there’. The journalist was from The Guardian! My husband and I were the only ones who had actual facts about the downside of renewables out of a group of ten. The only reference The Guardian made in regard to that meeting was to publish the names of both my husband and I and to imply that our main concern was about our property values being affected. Not only did they publish our names they gave out our address too, all but the number and there are only 20 houses in our street.

          Thanks Eric, I just don’t care anymore. I have suffered more than my share of life’s injustices and I thought that with a new start I had to stand up and fight. The truth is that life is just about greed and corruption. Most Australians are too lazy to give a damn. The world has gone to shit and everyone seems to be happy bend over and take it.

          • Meg, your story is similar in ways to what’s happened in rural Ontario, along the shores of our Great Lakes. Industrial scale wind companies and local politicians and even the Ministry of Environment agents who are paid to protect people from trespassing acoustic emissions have forsaken the residents who’ve somehow maintained the wherewithal to try to assert the fact that they did not consent to having the distress these massive turbines have caused….especially to their health. Imagine being a fourth generation farmer and having your home surrounded by clusters of turbines and a massive substation adjoining your land?
            There is plenty of documentation of all of this, but this aspect of industrial wind needs to be exposed thoroughly. Forced relocation is absolutely unacceptable.

    • Advertisement for the solar project is utterly filled with the usual crab adjectives.
      See the PDF:
      Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required to meet our energy demands
      Assisting the transition towards cleaner electricity generation
      Direct contribution to help in meeting the Renewable Energy Target (RET)
      Attract and grow expertise in renewable energy in NSW
      Produce enough electricity to power 28,000 average NSW homes
      Reduce 83,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year — the equivalent of taking about
      49,000 cars off the road
      Significant economic benefits to the region, through the creation of direct and indirect jobs
      Establishment of a community fund to help support the local Gulgong community
      Upgrades to the existing Beryl Road and Castlereagh Highway intersection
      Embedded electricity generation, to supply into the Australian grid closer to the consumption centres
      Utilisation of existing grid infrastructure

      • Usual BS Carl

        “Significant economic benefits to the region, through the creation of direct and indirect jobs
        Establishment of a community fund to help support the local Gulgong community”

        I know of no benefits to the region. There certainly wasn’t any jobs for locals during installation. I believe the site is run remotely, the only part time job I know of is mowing the grass, we have some since the rain returned in January. They need to keep it down because of the fire risk. The local bush fire brigade told us that if a fire started there they would let it burn. Our panels are the thin film variety that are highly toxic in a fire. Funny, I asked Nick Stokes on several occasions to answer the question about how firefighters would deal with a solar fire. He never did answer that question. Fire is fierce in this neck of the woods, (grass?) killed thousands of cattle and destroyed property north of here in 2017. The risk of fire obviously isn’t seen as a risk, weird because we were told two years ago by the bush fire brigade that it was imminent that the whole Gulgong area was to be declared a fire prone area and we needed to fit a special fire hose attachment to our water tank and keep ten thousand litres in reserve.

        If there was a community fund then I know nothing about it, there was talk of an education scheme to educate people about climate change and the great things that renewables can do. Got to get into the schools and teach them young. The power goes to Sydney, we only get the blackouts.

  10. The exchange battles between Nick Stokes and Eric Worrall are highly entertaining. It is like watching a struggle between a donkey and a lion. In reality however the donkey would have more sense.

    • I feel the same
      Nick deals in half truths and non sequitors, claiming vast experience and credentials without ever providing backup.
      I’m sure if cornered he would claim to be my neighbor here in calgary as to how he just knows everything I say is wrong

  11. Solar PV + storage should be called renewable non-energy or in some areas of the world renewable anti-energy.
    In Northern Europe for instance based on empirical evidence solar PV + storage has been found to be an energy sink.
    The largest solar PV manufacturing plants are in Jiangsu province China:
    http://img.agropages.com/UserFiles/News/Big/19092711330.jpg
    I wonder why they don’t use solar panels to supply the energy?
    Anyway, Germany has 30,000 wind turbines with barely any reduction in CO2 emissions since Energiewende legislation was passed in 2010 and much of that little reduction is due to a drop in energy consumption
    https://www.juancole.com/images/2019/10/fig8-development-germany-primary-energy-consumption-1990-2019_0-750×530.png
    And that is the point, wind and solar are not meant to substitute for fossil fueled energy, the promoters cynically know that, they are meant to incrementally increase the cost of energy to drastically reduce overall consumption.

    • Chris Hanley, you write:

      In Northern Europe for instance based on empirical evidence solar PV + storage has been found to be an energy sink.

      I could almost believe it is an overall sink. Do you have at hand a reference to such a calculation?

      I see the negative power from PV+Acc as a very important argument, if it really is so 🙂

    • “And that is the point, wind and solar are not meant to substitute for fossil fueled energy, the promoters cynically know that, they are meant to incrementally increase the cost of energy to drastically reduce overall consumption.”

      So why do governments and central banks such a huge effort to stimulate consumption to keep the can rolling?
      Would be much easier to do by just bringing down energy prices.

      Or is it to destroy Western society ?

  12. unfortunately, this is behind paywall, but the public who are subsidising solar are none too happy, especially as similar situations exist in other States:

    Mass blackout risk sparks solar switch-off bid
    Adelaide Advertiser – 18 Jun 2020
    South Australia’s leading uptake of rooftop solar systems leaves the state
    risk of mass blackouts, a new report says, triggering a multimillion-dollar push for the power to cut them off as needed…

    • Right now
      South Australia the wind power poster boy is running
      94% fossil fuels
      5% wind
      Zero % solar

  13. Wind and solar have no chance in Australia.
    There is so much wind and solar “capacity” already in Australia.
    But when considering 1/2 hour blocks, I have observed many blocks per month when both wind and solar are below 5% ”capacity “

  14. Government has no money. People just don’t understand that if it says ‘government pays’ it means ‘you pay’.

    • Yes. If you want a good laugh read the link Nick gave above above at how the SA battery “made money” it is classic like a bad “yes minister” episode. Thankfully Western Australia will never join the other Australia States in the National grid (its okay we are used to not being part of the nation) 🙂

  15. Minister Kean is in a conservative (supposedly) government however he is greener than the most rabid Green. He is a menace and his hare brained scheme that does not work anywhere else and was an absolute failure next door in South Australia should be his political epitaph. Unfortunately when he fails miserably the rest of the State will be in penury.

    • Lawrence, Keane is one of the ‘conservative’ politicians I too referred to as deep green. We are doomed. I wonder how hard it is to learn Mandarin? Socialism here we come.

      I’ll go down fighting, maybe, is an informal vote considered fighting? I just don’t want to vote for a leftist Party, and let’s face it they’re all leftists now.

  16. Interesting to read all the discussion about renewables which I find tedious. If there was no such thing as global warming and CO2 fear renewables wouldn’t get a look in, both in terms of cost and reliability. For 50+ year coal has done its job very nicely and could do so for hundreds of years more into the future. A system that needs to be propped up by base load power can never be cheaper or more efficient than baseload alone.
    Politicians need to argue against the climate change indoctrination, audit the BOM , make Planet of the Humans compulsory re-education for school kids , and expose the scam that is being used to destroy our way of life.We need to endure a series of widespread blackouts to show people where we are heading with these policies.
    The thing that worries me about NSW is that these horrendous climate change policies are being undertaken in a conservative State. We can’t even democratically eradicate this insanity by voting for the other side.

    • I’ve said for quite a while that here in canada the gullible complacent middle won’t understand until they see their standard of living drop.

      Unlike Some gleeful greenies I think covid is a disaster as it gives everybody an instant idea of what is actually in store for them.

      If I was part of the climactically insane I would be lobbying hard to end the lockdown

      The frog won’t boil if he jumps out because the water heated up too fast

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