Aussie Government: “we don’t need a [carbon] price because renewables are too cheap”

According to The Guardian, the Australian Government is “more concerned with the impact of short term electricity price rises on a small number of highly energy-intensive manufacturers” than solving the climate crisis.

Our world is facing irreversible destruction – and still there’s no urgency in Australian climate policy

Lenore Taylor
Mon 5 Oct 2020 17.00 AEDT

For Australians, the national trauma of fires burning through 18 million hectares of bushland earlier this year is raw and ongoing. But since then the US west coast and Siberia have also burned. China,Bangladesh, India and parts of Africa have suffered catastrophic flooding. Death Valley recorded possibly the highest ever temperature on Earth, at 54.4C. In February the Antarctic temperature rose above 20C for the first time. In March the Great Barrier Reef suffered its third mass bleaching in five years. In June it was 38C inside the Arctic Circle.

None of these events can be attributed entirely to global heating, but scientists are clear that their frequency and ferocity are signs of impending climate catastrophe, of irreversible destruction. What they have warned of for decades is coming to pass.

But there’s still nothing urgent about Australia’s policies on climate and energy. We persist with the great pretence that we can continue to power industry and manufacturing with our abundant fossil fuels, ambling along with plans for a “transition” at some unspecified future time.

But federal policy appears more concerned with the impact of short term electricity price rises on a small number of highly energy-intensive manufacturers, businesses the Grattan Institute calculated between them employ about 1,000 people.

As energy analyst Tristan Edis wrote in Guardian Australia recently, this government used to argue against a carbon price because renewable technologies were too expensive. Now that solar and wind are clearly the cheapest means of new electricity generation, they say we don’t need a price because renewables are too cheap. Instead they insist we need government-funded research into other technologies, ones that might reduce the emissions from continued use of fossil fuels, to some extent, some day.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/05/our-world-is-facing-irreversible-destruction-and-still-theres-no-urgency-in-australian-climate-policy

I don’t understand why The Guardian author Lenore Taylor is complaining.

The Aussie government is right. If Solar and Wind are the cheapest form of energy, they no longer need government assistance. A rapid transition will occur without further government intervention, driven by the self interest of investors.

120 thoughts on “Aussie Government: “we don’t need a [carbon] price because renewables are too cheap”

  1. Seems at odds with my energy bill. But, BoJo (UK PM) says the WHOLE of the UK will be powered by wind by 2030.

    • The problem for the greenies is that they’re stuck by their own propaganda. They will endlessly tell you how cheap wind power is in spite of the fact that your electricity bills always go up as they add more wind power. So, what happens when we take them at their word.

      The government says, “Hey, renewable power is the cheapest power there is, therefore we don’t need a carbon tax.” And the greenies say, “But, but, but …”.

      Instead they insist we need government-funded research into other technologies, ones that might reduce the emissions from continued use of fossil fuels, to some extent, some day.

      This is delicious. The only thing that will make renewable power viable is a very cheap way of storing huge amounts of electricity. The whole greenie house of cards relies on a technology that may, or may not, eventually be developed some day.

      The government’s stance forces the greenies to admit that they’ve been lying all along or at least that they have been dreaming in technicolor.

      • C Bob says, “The only thing that will make renewable power viable is a very cheap way of storing huge amounts of electricity. ”

        A good post like most all of yours, but I must debate the above. There is another way to make renewable power viable; elevate the cost of conventional so that it is equally expensive. And this is what they are doing as theur regulations handicap convential with forced increases in operating costs and forced decreases in production and revenue. They are also looking to do this in other ways such as legal costs, lawsuits, advertising costs, carbon tax etc…

      • There is no cheap, environmentally friendly, energy storage technology around the corner. Their hopes are fantasy, or dreams, more aptly nightmares.

        There is fission power. The half-life of thorium-232 is 14 billion years. Which is pretty lasting as far as energy storage tech goes.

    • Boris can say what he likes because:
      (a) he is a proven liar; and
      (b) he will be gone by next Summer – voluntarily or pushed

    • Saw the news item on wind generation , and despite all of the lies , what was actually said was a 10% increase in wind generation ” Capacity “.

      It is physically impossible to run the whole grid on unreliables generation , & any wind power is extremely expensive , so I suppose just a 10% increase is pandering to the Green lobby at a huge cost for the normal taxpayers .

    • He actually said UK homes will be powered by offshore wind… i.e. domestic electricity only… so some weasel words there. But that seems inherently possible, as the offshore wind pipeline of building and approved projects is already 30GW and 10GW is in operation…

    • Griff , I realise your job is probably to act as an ” Agent Provocateur “, and by posting ridiculous things to get others on here to reply & boost the postings number .
      But sometimes your posts are so unbelievable as to be plain stupid .

      The UK grid is all 1 system , there is no difference in where the generation has come from for domestic or industrial use so there is no such thing as domestic electricity only .
      The total amount of unreliables on the grid is about 22% over the year , & Boris,s latest claim of wind power increase will be about another 10% on top of that , so a total of about 25% all in .
      But as the costs of wind generation are so high , [ Hornsea 1, was biggest wind farm in the world when it started , costs over £162 per MWh which is over 4 times what the average cost per unit is from conventional generation , ] so the price for the customers will keep rising .

      Costs of electricity for customers has doubled in the last ten years ,and if they keep building more unreliables , then the costs will keep going up , just like Germany .

  2. If you want to have lights on at night and cook dinner, you need something other that solar panels and Wind Turbines. How about nice cheap Nuclear Power? How about concentrating on real problems?

    • Well it isn’t that cheap – Hinkley nuclear electric is 30% more expensive than power from offshore wind.

      • Even if true Hinkley outputs power on demand as and when needed … you aren’t comparing like for like.

      • A huge percentage of cost overruns and escalation on nuclear construction is delays deliberately caused by green lawfare.
        The greatest single cost of erecting a nuclear plant is combatting the green blob.
        Hinkley Point “C” has been beset by protest action and bureaucratic delaying tactics by the Greens – completion date is now pushed out to 2025-2027
        Toshiba have scrapped a started project in Cumbria after spending some U$2 billion and Hitachi have abandoned plans for a nuclear power station to be built in Wylfa – Wales.
        Both have blamed “project uncertainty” (including Brexit fears) but were clearly exasperated by lack of legislative certainty or unequivocal government support in the face of incessant legal challenges
        That’s why nuclear is expensive Griff

        • The choice of the EPR design at Hinkley is already a huge concession to green lawfare and politicking. The EPR is the way it is because the German Green Party minister for energy, Jürgen Trittin, had to approve it. After basic approval had been negotiated they realized, that with so many safely boondoggles added, their design was now uneconomic. So they ramped the size up by another 50% to try to get an economy of scale. Thereby shooting themselves in the foot; as it seems they can’t hardly build it.

      • Well, Griff,
        You will be able to reference the economic study that shows just that, you know, the one that includes all of the operating costs like the cost of backup when the wind does not blow at night.
        I know of no such comparative study. If you do, genuinely, there is a need to know about it. Geoff S

      • The current problem with nuclear is that it is constant. It doesn’t ramp up and ramp down depending on load. So, we currently use fossil fuelled generators to make up the difference between the base generation and the peak load.

        Suppose that we wanted to replace the fossil fuelled generators with big batteries. We’d need enough storage to carry the demand for a few hours.

        If we switch from nuclear to the much cheaper wind power, how much storage would we need? We’d need weeks of storage because of the intermittency of the wind.

        So, nuclear power is indeed 30% more expensive than wind power, but the storage requirements are two orders of magnitude less.

        Batteries aren’t cheap. Once you count the cost of the batteries, wind power is completely non-viable. In fact, the Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) is so bad that trying to rely on renewables blasts us back to the dark ages and probably reduces the human population by 90% in a very unpleasant way. link

        There are nuclear technologies that do ramp up and down. Using those technologies obviates the need for storage. Renewables can’t work. Nuclear can. Period.

        • Nuclear power comes from nuclear fission

          Nuclear power plants heat water to produce steam. The steam is used to spin large turbines that generate electricity. Nuclear power plants use heat produced during nuclear fission to heat water. In nuclear fission, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, releasing energy.

          Combined cycle gas

          Combined-cycle systems areusually found in newer gas-fired plants. … This type of system works by using the hot gases released from one gas turbine to power another turbine. The hot gases are used to generate steam by heating water, and the steam is then used to power up the second turbine to create more electricity.

          Coal generation

          Coal-fired plants produce electricity by burning coal in a boiler to produce steam. The steam produced, under tremendous pressure, flows into a turbine, which spins a generator to create electricity. The steam is then cooled, condensed back into water and returned to the boiler to start the process over.

          So nuclear generation is similar to CC gas 2nd unit and Coal in that it uses Steam to turn a turbine generator. Nuclear energy is equally as controllable rampable as Gas and Coal

          • Whether a power plant is “rampable” depends on how the source that generates the heat is constructed, not on whether it uses that heat to boil water.

            For example, a coal plant tends to have a lot of thermal mass. Ramping output causes temperature changes in the burner. Rapid temperature changes puts stress on the physical parts of the plant.

          • One can ramp nuclear power. But not efficiently. It saves no money nor resources when you ramp it. In other words it costs less to make more nuclear electricity than it costs to ramp less. Because ramping less is an intervention, which costs money.

      • griff
        October 6, 2020 at 12:38 am

        Yes griff, good point there.

        The more expensive lot in energy production happens to be the non CO2 lot.

        Good point griff. 🙂

        cheers

  3. Tristan Edis will protest outside the Chinese and Indian embassies in Canberra this weekend.
    Actually none of that’s true because he’s a bullshit artist . . .

  4. If wind and solar is SO cheap here in Australia and they keep crowing on how it’s replacing ‘fossil fuels” … why is my electricity bill powering upward whilst kW consumed is going down ?

    • I have asked this very question many, many times to dolts like Griff, Simon, and Loydo. I’ve never had an answer yet.

  5. If renewables are that cheap, we should get away from the RET used to subsidize them. The sooner the better. But I think that opening – or re-opening – one or more of the closed coal fired power stations would be better for Australia. More CO2 = more plant growth, and better able to support the growing population.

    Dudley Horscroft

  6. It looks like Rebekha Sharkie’s (unfortunately, my local member for Mayo) dream has come true.

    Rebekha remains supportive of renewable energy as part of the energy mix, and as battery technology improves, the grid stability issues are being managed more effectively. Although it’s not there yet, our office remains confident that technological progress will ultimately overcome the remaining issues regarding stability.

    However, I should make it clear that the transition to renewables is occurring regardless of any individual politician’s views, >b>driven by the economic reality that renewable energy is much cheaper – and getting cheaper still – relative to fossil fuel energy.>/blockquote>

    From a response to a question from me regarding renewables (my bold)
    /sarc

  7. Having inexpensive “access” to wind power, does not guarantee that the wind will be blowing. It may be cheap (doubtful), but at a grievous cost if you are scheduled for surgery and the lights go out!!!

  8. To think that a scientifically unresolved academic debate about human CO2 emissions effects on climate(s) could spook the political, bureaucratic and media classes into promoting such arrant nonsense as grid-scale solar and wind power just boggles the mind.

  9. “but scientists are clear ”

    Typical Guardian article, never any reference cited (except, sometimes there is a reference to another Guardian article which cites nothing).

  10. Lenore appaently knows about global temperatures since the beginning of time, and here was silly me thinking we had only been measuring with any accuracy (especially daily peaks) for a tiny window of time. Go her! I wonder what else she “knows”?

  11. Regarding ‘irreversible destruction”, the only thing facing that is the credibility of the likes of Lenore Talyor and the other ‘global warming’ alarmists. I am sure that kool ade is a very popular drink in certain circles but its effects are not healthy. Group think is a mental condition in one sense but a complete oxymoron in another.

    Lenore Taylor, the Grauniad and the rest of the warmista rebellion mob are all tip and no iceberg. It looks like an iceberg, is shaped like an iceberg , seems to float like an iceberg but up close its just a huge pile of styrofoam, synthetic science with some basic chemsitry (carbon based no less) but mainly just air or is it CO2?

    • Oh! That’s the best analogue of the warmista “science” ever.
      Looks like an iceberg, but doesn’t float quite like an iceberg without the facts to support it.

    • Styrofoam floats even better than ice, since it’s lighter.
      Perhaps a concrete iceberg, that only appears to float because it is propped up from below.

  12. Renewable wind and solar energy scam of course go along with the Climate change scam. One depends on the other in coupled dependency.

    Now of course you could have a real climate change emergency. But if that were indeed the case, reliable emission-free nuclear power would be the answer to couple with a real climate change emergency from emissions. Nuclear power meshes with the ever higher energy density sources of mankind’s history of evolution to the next stage (whatever that is).

    And that in a nutshell is how everyone should know that the climate change emergency is worse than a scam, it is a coming biblical-level calamity on humanity if allowed to play out.
    Wind and solar are huge energy density steps backwards from oil, coal, and natural gas, and most especially nuclear power. In real effect, the climate change scam is about taking humanity back to before circa 1800 when coal began to be dug in quantity for the industrial revolution.

    So just say “NO” to the climate scam and its promoters. Call them out at every chance to ask them why they are not promoting nuclear power solutions for electricity.

  13. I have had rooftop solar in Melbourne Australia for just on a decade. It has been very attractive because it pays 66c/kWh for exported power. I literally do not have a household energy bill. Surplus electricity pays for gas cooking and gas water heating. I have a wood burner for house heating.

    This September is the first time I have seen the system going into overvoltage shutdown through the middle of the day. The cause is the State government incentive for rooftop solar encouraging a lot more solar panels. A few neighbours have installed 6kW systems; the maximum permitted; and the locale is going into over voltage during the day when the sun is cranking.

    The problem of over voltage has existed in South Australia for a number of years. There is so much rooftop generation in SA that Sunday lunch demand is almost entirely fed by rooftops. That makes controlling the system near impossible.

    The surplus of lunchtime energy potential will foster the installation of home batteries. Batteries still need to fall in price before solar+battery is cheaper than grid power but the cost impositions of handling WDGs in the grid is forcing the price up and more people will make the choice to install solar and then batteries as the grid can no longer use lunchtime power.

    Rooftop generation in SA today is exceeding the output of all the grid generators:
    http://nemlog.com.au/gen/region/sa/
    This now occurs on any sunny day and SA has a lot of those.

    At present there is no central control of rooftops and they get a fixed price for output so are always on unless limited/shutdown on overvoltage. Grid scale WDGs are constantly curtailed as seen by the faint orange dotted line on the linked chart above. There is no point installing more grid scale solar in Australia as it competes directly with rooftops and rooftops have priority access. The production window for wind generators is getting narrower so their returns are now fading. Wind projects must assess the financial risk of competing with rooftops.

    If anyone wants low cost electric power in Australia in the future they need to be making their own. The grid is cactus!

    • “RickWill October 5, 2020 at 11:37 pm

      This September is the first time I have seen the system going into overvoltage shutdown through the middle of the day.”

      That is your line operator. Ausgrid do the same here in Sydney.

    • Western Australia is running into same problem with solar power destabilizing the grid. They have tried microgrids and batteries but it has all failed to solve problem. Western Australia has walked away from it’s renewable targets to make them aspirational of 26%-28% reduction target by 2030 and 0% by 2050 but no-one remotely believes either will happen. Last year our emissions rose and they are likely to for next decade. Don’t be surprised if WA net increase is 15-20% by 2030.

    • Your grid still has to supply every expected Kwhr in the evening once the sun starts to go down. You are paying for two electrical generation systems, with very little to zero reduction in CO2 emissions (when fossil fuels needed to manufacture your solar PV panels are considered on a 20-year rooftop solar installation it is probably net positive emissions).

      What is really happening on the grid with reactive power I’m starting to investigate on my own here in sunny Southern Arizona where lots of solar PV supplies the grid during the daytime. I suspect there’s lots of reactive power (i out of phase with v) that is flowing “backwards” in the system here due to so much solar PV during the day and so many inductive loads (a/c compressors and industrial demand running). I plan on doing some monitoring setups to see what happens at various times during the day as solar PV power comes online and big turbine gas generators are idled.

      Based on what I see in just the RPMs in just simple fans running during the day vs evening, I think the impact of reactive power flowing through the grid here is substantial and probably harmful to the life of home a/c compressors and blower motor units.

      • Most Australian energy supply companies organize power factor correction on larger supplies as it costs them money in line losses. There is also a degree of mandated power factor correction on the easier smaller targets like fluro lighting and small motors. I would be surprised if it isn’t the same in USA.

      • In many parts of Asia, their power quality is so low for various reasons, they have a majority Inverter DC fridge and A/C split units now. It takes in dirty sketchy grid power and transformers to DC and then further efficiently run the pumps variably on its own stable DC voltage. It can take a beating on the low quality power input and is fused for any initial failures. They are ubiquitous there for those reasons and also much more efficient so cheaper to run. Millions are sold annually. I suspect that NA will go more this route to get around low quality power profiles with the increase of ‘ruinables’ dumbing down the grid quality. It’s already happening here with rising sales, but more for energy efficiency than dealing with a dirty grid. If I was buying new appliances, I would go with the DC inverter tech.

      • So what should one do. The CAGW scam has driven my electric bills to as high as 300 plus a month. For 17,000 minus a Damm federal rebate, call it 13k, I can save most if that, call it a bit less then 3k a year; payback in under 5 years. While I don’t agree with it, I also don’t agree with the government driving up my cost to double what it should be. I am in Calif, and only see future costs increasing perhaps dramatically. Should I install solar? What is the right thing to do?

        • I installed rooftop solar because I get an above-market rate for my excess production and I expect (experienced judgement) politically-regulated utility rates to continue to rise unreasonably. It is me betting against the judgement of politicians and bureaucrats. The lack of judgement on the part of politicians and bureaucrats in the U.S. Federal government is the primary reason I left a management position after only 11 years of employment.

    • RickWill:
      It has been very attractive because it pays 66c/kWh for exported power.

      Wow. So some poor sap who would normally be paying 10c/kWh for coal or hydro power has to buy YOUR power for 66c/kWh. Wow. I can see why YOU think that’s a good idea.

      The people who don’t have the option of their own rooftop solar… are paying for yours. Is that fair?

      • I’m a bit of a misanthropist but I’m not a c(o)unt like that. He’ll be the first to complain that everything he buys costs more and doesn’t get that he and his ilk are the root cause of it all.

      • I was in the first 100MW of rooftop solar in Australia. The technology was of interest to me and there was an attractive incentive to get the ball rolling.

        Is it fair? – I am white, male. tertiary educated and old. I am used to privilege. If I was black, female, high school dropout and young, it would just be fairer I guess. On the other hand I have paid way more in taxes over a lifetime than most but never intentionally paid more than the law required. When the government offers me a nice incentive I am not going to turn it down.

        There is a mandated requirement in Australia to meet the Paris accord for 2030. I figure it is more sensible to have solar on my roof than grid scale WDGs in some remote location requiring long, expensive transmission lines. The energy is ubiquitous so the collection should be at the load.

        Coal fuelled generation produces the lowest cost electricity in Australia but there will be no new coal fuelled stations – the people have spoken on that matter. Solar panels on roofs make more economic sense than solar panels in the outback or wind generators on a remote shoreline. About 35% of Australian homes have solar panels so owners represent a powerful lobby.

        NextEra has just overtaken ExonMobil as the highest valued listed energy producer in the world:
        http://www.nexteraenergy.com
        WDGs are not going away soon. There is simply too much hype as well as money behind them and they are saving the world from CO2 and all the evil things that it causes! It is fair!

          • You name it and it does it – more devastating forest fires, more devastating floods, more devastating droughts, more devastating hurricanes/cyclones/tornados and so on; all things bad – CO2 is the devilish monster of modern times. The world is building millions of shrines to appease the climate gods in the hope of better weather. Who would not want a slice of that. It dwarfs Catholicism at its peak.

            In 2220 -” Mummy what are those big rusty towers used for?”

      • He’s not unless he votes for the people who set this insanity up. The government mandate that the power company pay him an absurd amount for his surplus solar is what makes electricity expensive.

        Refusing to take the money or install solar would be pointless virtue signaling, the system would be just as rotten and he’d be paying rather than being paid.

        If my next car is a plug-in hybrid or electric, I will take the subsidy, and I will continue to drive on roads paid for and maintained by money from ICE car owners. If the local utilities offered me $0.66/kWh for solar electricity, I’d be buying rooftop panels tomorrow, failing to do so is simply throwing money down a rat hole.

        I have in fact donated extra money to the government (our state has a checkbox to donate your refund, prior to my marriage I checked it every year). But I also take my deductions, even ones I consider to be a horribly bad idea.

        • Douglas I reckon the only reason that people install rooftop panels is in the hope that some time in the future, after paying them off they might be lucky enough to reduce their electricity bill.

          We did it last year before I knew much about the ugly side of solar. Anyway we put in a 6.6kw system only to be told that our maximum output would be capped at 5kw. I know you’ll find this part funny too, we thought we were doing well to receive 12c/kWh, I have a friend in northern NSW who is only getting 8.

          Well, a couple of months ago our tarrif was reduced to 10c/kWh and our electricity prices have gone up. Bloody scam. For anyone to be on 66ckWh these days, well they must have been overlooked when those sort of tariffs were reduced years ago.

          All subsidies for solar, rooftop and utility should be scrapped. If this form of power is supposed to be some good then let it stand alone. That goes for wind turbines too.

    • RickWill – How long do you think they will allow you to abuse their system – sooner or later they will discontinue paying you for a surplus they don’t need and then they will charge you a connection fee and a demand charge.

      Unless you can actually live off the grid, you’re going to get screwed sooner or later – even then they will recoup their “losses” via a rates or tax hike.

      Meanwhile enjoy your free lunch while it lasts.

      • I have been running a little under half my household load off grid for 8 years now; that enables me to increase my export. I export about 80% of what the grid connected solar produces. My generous FIT expires in 2024. I plan to replace the existing 5kWh battery in 2024 or sooner if it dies with one of the commercially available batteries now. I will do the economics at that time to determine whether I disconnect or whether there is still value in exporting.

        Electricity is viewed by most as essential and most will pay whatever it costs. Australia is getting close to the point where making your own is the lower cost option because the cost of grid power has risen so much.

        • Question: Will they allow you to “disconnect”?

          In everywhere I know of in the US with a monopoly electric power company, you cannot “disconnect”. You will be required to pay the “service” fee, regardless of electrical power usage.

          • In Australia the only recourse at this stage is to cut off power. If it is already cut off then they have no way of you being indebted.

            All of the distribution assets in Victoria are privately owned. My particular provider is 19% Singaporean and 32% Chinese plus public ownership in Australia. They would be in real strife getting legislation through to extract a service fee from me without being connected.

            It could be on the cards if a lot of people do it and the costs become astronomical but that becomes a house of cards for the asset owners. The State governments in Australia have all moved out of electricity distribution ownership.

    • “It has been very attractive because it pays 66c/kWh for exported power.”

      In other words you are making hay with other people’s money, and telling them how good it is for them.
      Hypocrite from the word go.

    • Relax, Rick. The utility lobbyists will ensure rooftop solar becomes uneconomic. It will no longer get above-market payouts and its priority access will be eliminated.

      I installed rooftop solar here in Las Vegas, NV. The insane NV legislature ensured I would get above-market payouts, essentially in perpetuity (grandfathered in). I know those people are insane because, as the CEO/GM of an electric utility developing a renewable resource, I lobbied the he!! out of them for special considerations.

      • As stated above my generous FIT ends in 2024. It was offered for 15 years. And has already paid for itself twice over. Solar systems were expensive in 2010 – $4000/kW before purchase subsidy and $3000/kW after. With present subsidies in Victoria a 6.6kW system costs AUD2600.

        My panels still peak at 10% above rating on a cool, sunny day after 8 years. My output is likely going to be down on previous years because neighbours have installed 6.6kW systems and are pushing the local voltage to the cut out level. There is a lot of incentive for the retailers to pay a premium above the wholesale price in Australia for rooftop because they get slugged 4c/kWh above wholesale price to meet RET target.

        I have been assessing LiFePO4 batteries for over 8 years now and they have operated flawlessly. The offgrid system is one I put together. In 2024 I will assess the economics of consumer batteries. Having sunk costs in solar panels, the investment in a bigger battery is likely to be attractive. Nothing will beat 66c/kWh but investing in a battery could be lower than paying 34c/kWh for electricity when there is no sun.

    • Many of those taking up roof-top solar did not know about the inequity of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and its effects on the lower income group of our society and therefore could not have taken that into account when they purchased roof top solar. However, most of the ones I have talked to are uninterested!
      The RET, as this document explains (https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1314/QG/RenewableEnergy), forces electricity users to subsidise inefficient, intermittent and very expensive renewables as there would be very few renewables about otherwise. This has the effect of increasing the price of electricity as electricity users must pay the subsidies forced by the RET. Of course increasing the  price of electricity is a large part of the aim and it has certainly achieved that. It is unfortunate that lower income groups are disproportionately affected, many left in energy poverty. Many have had their electricity cut off as they could not pay their accounts. We saw how hard being without electricity was to put up with during the recent bush-fires (NSW south coast).
      Businesses, commercial and industrial users have been affected, many closing as a result. The high price of electricity makes them unable to compete with goods produced overseas. Some, very big users of electricity like the Aluminium plant in south western Victoria which uses 10% of the states electricity, are near collapse because of the price and unreliability of the electricity.    
      The effect of roof top solar is much worse still. Each household with them is reducing the electricity purchased from electricity retailers, from the grid. This means that there is a smaller amount of electricity being sold to spread the cost of the subsidies among and that drives up the unit price of electricity increasing the total bill for all users without solar.
      It is even worse than that though. Those on low incomes, renting accommodation or like myself refusing to buy roof top solar on ideological grounds must therefore bare a disproportionate amount of this unnecessary burden. I have stated that I would not purchase roof top solar on moral grounds. That is true as have known about this for over 12 years and it would have been reprehensible on my part to do so.
      The RET with its subsidies is driving our reliable generators, mainly coal-fired, out of the market gradually leaving the inefficient unreliable renewables a larger and larger share of the market. The retail price of electricity has doubled, in real terms taking inflation into account, over the last ten years, mostly due to the RET. I have electricity accounts going back 10 years and they show that the unit price of electricity has tripled, not taking inflation into account.
      When in 2017 the Victorian Hazelwood coal-fired power plant was closed down years earlier than necessary due to the huge advantage that the RET gives renewables, the wholesale price of electricity went up over night by 3 times in Victoria and in NSW by 2 to 2.5 times. There have been rolling blackouts in Victoria and some in NSW as a result. It must be very pleasant when stuck in a stopped train in Sydney with the temperature close to 40 degrees C during such an outage. The problem causes trains to back up through the network inconveniencing many more commuters.
      In South Australia where they have huge uptake on roof top solar, solar farms and wind farms the price of electricity is much more expensive than ours and they regularly have rolling blackouts at certain times of the year. Poor commuters!
      That is why I state roof top solar was not for me. By the way this is not idle speculation, there is plenty of proof. The RET document is a great part of it.
      John

      • John I’m guessing you know the cradle to grave story of renewables, batteries and EV’s. The waste of resources associated with them is astronomical. They keep talking about sustainability in regard to this infrastructure and that is impossible. None of it was ever thought through, they make it up as they go along! Recycling is now looming as a serious problem and that isn’t even mentioned when they talk about how ‘cheap’ this form of energy is.

        Australia is now spending 13 billion dollars a year for renewables, batteries and necessary infrastructure, by way of subsidies and loans and whatever it takes to prop up this industry and that doesn’t even take recycling and rehabilitation of lands into consideration. Our population is only around 25 million, this is absolutely ludicrous!

        They can’t put ‘sustainable renewables’ and a healthy manufacturing industry in the same sentence. That’s simply an oxymoron.

        Regardless of whether or not you believe that rising CO2 is in some way problematic, nuclear energy is without a doubt the best option to power a growing global population.

  14. No the Australian government is more concerned about voters … ask Julia Gillard what happens if you do a back door deal with greentards to try an impose a carbon tax without voter approval. There are very Australians who think that Australia doing emission control will do anything other than cost money and jobs because we are 1-2% of world emissions. We vote our politicians in to do the right thing by us not citizens of other nations.

    Green and leftards will argue that we have one of the highest emissions per capita but few Australians buy into the world social justice junk. Even our hard refugee policy which gets under the skin of leftards is very popular within the population. Bluntly put half the world hates us and would enslave us given half a chance and you expect us to believe in one world socialist ideals … sure you go convince our enemies and come back when they agreed.

  15. Boris Johnson’s latest mutterings about wind powering the entire UK grid by 2030, has caused me to look again at the long term impact Covid 19 can have on the brain.
    In the past, long before he acquired Covid delusion syndrome Mr Johnson said “wind power could not pull the skin of a rice pudding”
    That period of scientific understanding, also happened to be before he met up with his current partner and mother of his latest child, Carrie Symonds. She happens to be a self confessed left wing advocate and an active Green disciple.
    You don’t think she is putting something in his tea, do you?

    • Most politicians have no idea about engineering, they tend to see engineers as nitpickers in need of firm guidance. It never really crosses their minds that some of the things they are demanding are impossible.

      To be fair, there are plenty of engineers who are happy to feed their delusions. I once asked a senior wind engineer I knew why he did what he did, even though he knew it was a crock (though he never quite admitted this – it was a running joke). He said “pays the bills”.

  16. Lenore Taylor is widely considered a fool by anybody with even a basic scientific education. To add to that as a journalist she is stupid. She misses the contrariness in her own argument. In one sense however she is right. The Australian government is concerned with the fact that Australia is one of the largest producers of bauxite in the world which we still process into aluminium ingots and if the price of power because of the idiocy of solar and wind keeps going up it will cease to be economic to produce in Australia. At that point we will properly have given everything to China. Wewill simply ship our bauxite directly to their processing plants and then have to buy it back at inflated prices. Lenore Taylor may think that’s a great outcome. The people of Portland and Tomago where those smelters are located don’t have the privilege of inner-city living at inflated wage rates like the Lenore Taylors of this world. They actually produce real stuff which earns real income which pays taxes so that Taylor can live off them. If renewables are so cheap why do they require subsidies still?

    • China doesn’t just covet your bauxite, but also your coking-grade coal, iron ore and massive uranium deposits as well.
      A 35 to 1 population differential and such a large land mass is what makes your Australia such a prize.

  17. All, do keep an eye out for the UK PM’s expected speech today in which he announces a massive programme of offshore wind power in the UK… that’s the way modern nations do it…

    • What we find confusing Griff is – why does the government have to announce such programmes? Why don’t they just get built anyway?

    • off shore wind power is stupid power. The average UK household is going to be driven into energy poverty. Guaranteed. Whilst you cheer it on Griff, the UK average rate-payers will be headed for unaffordable electricity and cold dark winter nights. Bravo for you Griff.

      And the emissions reduced will be entirely inconsequential for any effect on climate change.
      Rule Fool, Britannia!

    • “griff October 6, 2020 at 12:29 am

      All, do keep an eye out for the UK PM’s expected speech today in which he announces a massive programme of offshore wind power in the UK…”

      Every household powered by wind by 2030? That speech? Good luck with that BoJo.

      • Silly question, Griff (only because you won’t answer it): For every MW of power from wind there will need to be nearly as much backup from coal, oil or gas. If BJ wants to go totally over the top – while being honest to the electorate – he should announce that wind farms should pay for their own backup and grid connections or suffer SEVERE costs if they ever fail to deliver contracted power. And you say…?

      • Hmmm… I have to say my admiration for Mr Johnson is rather limited in scope.

        I am trying to point out to Watts readers that renewable energy is major mainstream stuff now, even amongst the European right (outside their coal mining areas)

        • My Mum always told me that I don’t have to jump off bridges just because everyone else is.
          I guess griff’s Mum was more of a joiner, and less of an independent thinker.

        • Griffiepoo: I’ve asked you several times to explain why electricity is so expensive in Germany and Denmark, the countries with the largest proportion of Unreliables like Wind and Solar. I’m still waiting for an answer.

          While you’re at it, perhaps you could point me to some actual, empirical evidence that atmospheric CO2 levels control Earth’s temperature, and not vice versa.

    • I’ve always been fascinated by the way progressives actually believe that moving into the past makes one modern.
      Be it a return to wind power, or their desire to bring back feudalism.

  18. Lenore writes:

    “For Australians, the national trauma of fires burning through 18 million hectares of bushland earlier this year is raw and ongoing.”

    Well yes, if the Greens had allowed my house to be burnt down and then denied blame I would still be pretty pissed off too.

    As for the actual bush? It grows back. Australian bush does that. Australian bush is so used to being regularly burnt that some plants ONLY release seeds after major fires.

    “China,Bangladesh, India and parts of Africa have suffered catastrophic flooding.”

    Bangladesh floods because a significantly large percentage of the nation is basically a low laying river delta.

    Also which parts of Africa? Africa is a big place. What were the other parts of Africa doing? You had better hope, Lenore, that none of those parts were enjoying perfect pre-industrial temperatures or I will be cross.

    “In March the Great Barrier Reef suffered its third mass bleaching in five years.”

    Yawn. Looks like the reef is dead then. Utterly dead. Not coming back. Best will remove it’s protections and start strip mining it for all the rare earths needed to make solar panels and wind turbines.

    “What they have warned of for decades is coming to pass.”

    Well keep extending your tipping point deadlines and anything could happen.

    Still, got to admit, the Guardian IS entertaining. Certainly got a smile from trolling this one.

  19. Has anyone noticed the mainstream media has largely dumped “global warming” and “climate change” and now is talking about “global heating”?

    This is from the editor of the Guardian today:
    The Guardian’s climate promise: we will keep raising the alarm
    Katharine Viner
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/05/the-guardians-climate-promise-we-will-keep-raising-the-alarm

    Global Heating: The Vital Statistics
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2020/oct/05/climate-data-dashboard-carbon-atmosphere-sea-level-arctic-ice

    Why the sudden name change?

    • It is a sinister conspiracy to distort the truth from rabid left wingers…

      That’s what you want it to be, right?

      When of course the US Republican right provably changed the original term because it was too alarming.

      • “provably” Show your proof.

        Actual quotes, etc., not references to articles without direct reference to proof please

        Thank you in advance for your prompt response.

        sarc/off We all know griff, he of a “modern nation” who, due to it’s inept national health care system is seeing covid destroy their economy and the health of 10s of thousands of people. And such a modern nation’s bureaucrats can’t even use Excel without screwing it up.

      • Don’t be bashful, Griff, old chap. It’s all yours, conspiracy-wise. You are the mentally-challenged ones who need a slogan that can feed into the proles’ psyche. ‘Global Heating’ is all yours. And you can shove it – as I think the phrase goes.

  20. The description is irrelevant. I have been reading the climategate emails and I cannot believe that it has come to this. That Michael Mann and his cohorts are among the main players in this travesty. That they have essentially got away with a total con without having to prove their theory, and they are trashing the planet. They are the gatekeepers, they even influence the peer review process. Mann is giving talks here in Australia!

    We are fools. We deserve everything that we allow to happen to us. China is allowed to have free reign in regard to their emissions. They are regarded still, as a developing nation. They have the highest number of billionaires in the world. They own large swathes of of land and infrastructure here in Australia and globally. They have arguably one of the largest military in the world. They have a sophisticated space program. They do whatever they please.

    We are eager to embrace renewable energy and the batteries that go with them. We are eager to destroy the great country we once were. We blindly follow the propaganda that the MSM feeds us on a daily basis, unquestionably.

    Bend over Australia, you deserve it!

  21. Australia is notable for a national policy that refuses consideration of nuclear-powered electricity generation and has done so for decades.
    In 1969, colleagues I joined soon after discovered the Ranger uranium deposits in the Top End of the Northern Territory. At the time, this was the world’s largest and richest known U deposit, by a long way, so we were thrust into the limelight of a nuclear Australia for some decades.
    Through this time, I have never been able to discover why Australia has this policy – or how and why it started. There are inaccurate accounts in places like Wiki that claim to answer, but they are written by people further from the source than i was and are usually full of speculation and attribution to a favoured Party, typically an anti-U NGO like Friends of the Earth or ACF.
    At present, I favour an explanation that a past senior minister or bureaucrat in the federal government – even a past Prime Minister – accepted a very large and hush-hush bribe to enforce this policy in the emerging years. It has been so well hushed up since then that it has become a “word that dare not speak its name” to borrow a phrase from Huckleberry Finn. Spare the embarrassment, do not let Australia go nuclear.
    Does any reader know the REAL history?

    • Geoff: It’s always the money (or sex). You are probably right in what you suspect. Put it this way, oligarchs are not restricted to Russia. And they are quite often not restricted to business acumen.

  22. “For Australians, the national trauma of fires burning through 18 million hectares of bushland earlier this year is raw and ongoing. But since then the US west coast and Siberia have also burned. China, Bangladesh, India and parts of Africa have suffered catastrophic flooding.”

    That’s the trouble with Gaia. Always out of sync but I have this theory we could change that. Just needs a modest grant and my computer model Global Adjustment of Gaia’s Antipathy would be fine tuned and ready for actioning.

  23. I’ve never understood why some astute politician does not suggest a large trial in some very progressive area of the country. Seems it would be win-win. If all goes well then it can be done on a wider scale, if it does not, keep encouraging them to work on it until it does.

  24. Let’s see, if you punish carbon, pushing its price up, and reward Expensive Unreliables with subsidies and mandates, and then pretend the other costs associated with introducing said energy into the grid (like needing extra backup power, new transmission lines, etc.) don’t exist, presto! Expensive Unreliables are suddenly “cheaper”. It’s like magic.

    • Bruce that’s what I find so frustrating. When we built our house in the country, we were happy to see that power was available. Just a small plot as they go at fourteen acres. It cost us $30,000 to have a transformer and poles installed outside our land so that we could connect to the grid, some people pay more.

      My question is, why is it expected that the government pay to upgrade a system
      to support a power source that is not even likely to be around in the long term. Let the developers pay for the upgrades, and while they’re at it they can plan for the not to distant future when they need to be decommissioned.

      None of this has been thought through even now, they just keep trashing the planet to supposedly solve a problem that is of pure invention. Absolute insanity.

  25. “government used to argue against a carbon price because renewable technologies were too expensive. Now that solar and wind are clearly the cheapest means of new electricity generation, they say we don’t need a price because renewables are too cheap.”

    That suggests to me that they are after the money as a power play that has very little to do with climate emergencies or need.

  26. This has been a great thread to read. RickWill has made the idiot scheme of the political class, and various rent seekers pretty clear. Pass a law paying an exorbitant and non-market price for exported rooftop solar. Non-rooftop folks must pay a high price for power. This leads to the entirely artificial view that off-grid is cheaper than on-grid — i.e. as RickWill says,

    Australia is getting close to the point where making your own is the lower cost option because the cost of grid power has risen so much.

    Surely an indentical scheme could make food, paper, clothing, and even steel cheaper to produce at home than to purchase from industry. It runs division of labor in reverse, undoing half a millennium or more of progress. Super! It shows at once why government mandated pricing leads to ruin.

    The way to put a stop to this madness is make rooftop solar participate in a day-ahead auction for electrical power delivery. Have the various small producers compete against one another. Then we will see just how much cheaper “producing your own” really is.

  27. “Why it will be too cheap to meter” – Proponents of nuclear power in the 50’s

    Why do promoters always hype the hell out of everything. LOL. Full circle.

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