Climate Activist Aussie Politicians Leap to Rescue Vital Coal Power Plants

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Waza; That hilarious moment when coal haters realise their necks are on the block if the power grid fails repeatedly during Summer heatwaves.

Australia proposes revenue top-up scheme to keep Alcoa Portland smelter open

MELBOURNE/BENGALURU (Reuters) – In a push to keep Alcoa Corp’s Portland aluminium smelter open, Australia’s government has offered to ensure the smelter earns at least A$76.8 million ($57.9 million) through June 2025 for reducing its power usage and helping to prevent blackouts.

Alcoa has long said the smelter needs cheaper, more reliable power to stay open beyond 2021.

The smelter in the city of Portland is the biggest single power consumer in Victoria, accounting for about 10% of state consumption. It plays a major role in balancing power supply and demand during heatwaves and other disruptive events.

The smelter has suffered from power disruption in recent years as the grid struggled with transmission problems and the unreliability of ageing coal-fired plants as well as weather-dependent wind and solar power generation, especially during heatwaves. Still, such is its demand that its closure could have knock-on effects across the power generation industry.

If Portland were to close, it would risk the reliability and security of the grid, and may lead to the early closure of one of the coal-fired generators the state relies on for much of its power,” Education Minister Dan Tehan, who represents the region where the smelter is located, said in a statement.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/news/australia-to-step-in-to-support-alcoas-struggling-aluminium-smelter/ar-BB1bTxu4

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, one of the sponsors of the rescue package, wasn’t nearly so supportive of aluminium smelters and coal when he spoke of the need to transition in February;

Liberal frontbencher Dan Tehan dismissed the idea of there being a divide over climate change on his side of politics.

“I think we have got a clear path going forward,” he told Sky News.

Everyone knows that the economy has to transition.

That transition must protect the economy and jobs.

“We all know that if we tank the economy … that reduces emissions but it would destroy jobs,” he said.

Read more: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6621100/coalition-still-infighting-on-climate-alp/?cs=14231

What a mess. Successive governments have subsidised renewables and created a hostile business environment for coal and energy intensive businesses.

Yet when coal plants and energy intensive businesses take a rational decision to depart, because they no longer feel welcome, suddenly politicians realise then need them, and fall over themselves to hand out even more subsidies to convince them to keep operating, at least until renewables providers solve their reliability issues.

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Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 2:41 pm

This might also have something to do with the fact that China are not buying our iron ore any more, and we should probably be making more steel ourselves from now on.

Editor
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 3:11 pm

Not sure about that. My understanding is that China is bullying Australia on everything except iron ore, because China is dependent on Aussie iron ore. To my mind, a way to fight back is to add all the Chinese penalties from the other goods onto the charge for the iron ore (or, better maybe, to cut iron ore exports to China by the same or a greater amount).

Mike
Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 15, 2020 4:37 pm

That was my first thought but there’s something to be said about ”keeping your friends close and your enemies closer”

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 15, 2020 5:09 pm

I stand corrected. I thought they were refusing to import it and boats were piling up in Chinese ports. That must have been done other commodity.

ColA
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 7:59 pm

Hey Zig Zag , the CCP is blocking Aussie suppliesof barley, seafood, wine, wood and now some coal as well but not iron ore the price for that has gone up and they are paying through the nose!
But I’m not sure why you mentioned iron ore as Alcoa Portlnd plant is an aluminium smelter??

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  ColA
December 15, 2020 11:30 pm

Looks like I got everything back to front. I’ll step out of this one… 🙂

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 16, 2020 4:03 am

yeah its COAL ships theyre stalling unloading
CCP is supposed to have told buyers to not use auscoal
well if they want lower grade dirty coal they have options I guess
they dont give a rats re pollution anyway

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 16, 2020 4:01 am

yeah they cant get ore from sth america cos the Vale plant accident last yr stuffed production for some time
so Aus is THE go to for it
and yes id say slap some hefty charges on to retaliate but WA govt wont do that as theyre reaping a lot of fees n tax profits right now
be nicer if a lot of other nations pulled supplies/added tariffs to goods for china in support

BC
Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 16, 2020 4:10 pm

… a way to fight back is to add all the Chinese penalties from the other goods onto the charge for the iron ore …

That is what politicians who represent the interests of their people would do. For example:
https://www.newsmax.com/us/tariffs-tradedeal-tradewar-covid/2020/10/08/id/991052/

Trump pointed to China’s targeting of American farmers in trade, noting he worked to help farmers amid the de facto trade war, giving the struggling industry a $28 billion bailout paid for by the tariffs on Chinese goods and having “tens of billions” left over.
“I gave all of the money to the farmers and we had tens of billions left over, which goes into the Treasury,” Trump added to host Maria Bartiromo.

And there is this, from 2017:
https://www.smh.com.au/national/premier-daniel-andrews-in-emergency-talks-over-alcoa-20170113-gtr66n.html

Alcoa has refused to commit to a future in Portland following a major power outage in December that damaged its 30-year old plant and has cost the company about $1 million a day since.

Lank
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 3:22 pm

Actually, they are still grudgingly buying OZ iron ore – and at high prices not seen for many years. But since Fe ore from WA makes up over 60% of China’s imports it would devastate their building industry if the supply was cut.
The Chinese are stalling on Australian coal and not offloading current shipments.
I suggest Aussies keep the coal and iron ore and fire up their own home-grown steel business. Export the steel to other markets and provide new job opportunities to replace the workers put off by the extraordinary taxes the CCP have placed on Australian wine and other agricultural products.

LdB
Reply to  Lank
December 16, 2020 2:15 am

It is the shear volume that makes it near on impossible for China to play with iron ore.

Australia exports 870 Million tonnes of iron ore last year to put that in perspective look at world reserves. Australia has 52 billion tonnes, Russia 23 billion tonnes, Brazil 23 billion tonnes and then China with 21 billion tonnes (but lower grade). Any other country trying to export that volume can expect to run out of iron ore in less than 27 years for Australia its around 60 but Australia also has many unproven prospects.

OldGreyGuy
Reply to  Lank
December 16, 2020 1:37 pm

The Greens would have a cow!

Alan
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 3:39 pm

Oh yes they are (at the current time anyway)

RickWill
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 4:40 pm

Iron ore is close to record price in AUD terms at AUD184/t and volume will likely exceed 800Mt in 2020. It is the main reason Australia has a handsome current account surplus.

China is trying to redress its trade imbalance with Australia by making other commodities less attractive to the Chinese market:
https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/australias-trade-goods-china-2020
But iron ore is so fundamental to their economic activity so is not a commodity they want to interfere with.

December 15, 2020 2:43 pm

“We all know that if we tank the economy … that reduces emissions but it would destroy jobs,” he said.

A clear concise summary of energy choices, as only an Aussie could articulate. Well said!

Derg
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 15, 2020 3:41 pm

Why do they want to reduce emissions?

DonM
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 15, 2020 4:34 pm

Why does it even need to be said? The economy is jobs.

(We all know that if we don’t feed our kids … that keeps them from needing to poop but it would destroy the kids.

I’m not an Aussie, you’ll have find some other reason to pat me on the back for the above genius statement.)

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Phil Salmon
December 15, 2020 6:41 pm

Tangenting slightly, but under the wonder of the English language one might say that the best way we make sure we don’t tank the economy is to tank the economy.

Or, if you really want to be annoying, you could suggest that all industry move to produced fully tracked armoured fighting vehicles, then you could that you are going to tank the economy to tank the economy so we don’t tank the economy.

I’ll… ummm… go now.

Philo
Reply to  Craig from Oz
December 17, 2020 7:50 am

Stay! Stay! Stay! We NEED serious commentary on economic problems!

Keith Harrison
December 15, 2020 2:51 pm

Now Australia subsidizes renewables, industry and coal fired generation.

Question: What doesn’t Australia subsidize?

jpm
Reply to  Keith Harrison
December 15, 2020 4:29 pm

KH What subsidies do coal fired generators in Australia receive? They don’t qualify for any! The subsidies are for renewables not for fossil-fueled generators! Do you know something that the rest of us don’t?
John

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  Keith Harrison
December 15, 2020 4:30 pm

Basic rule: any business that needs a subsidy is not viable. Unfortunately government climate regulations make viable businesses unviable so they end up having to subsidize an ever larger percentage of business. This is one of the reasons why centralized, government controlled economies fail. But also unfortunately, politicians do not have learning curves.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Keith Harrison
December 16, 2020 4:05 am

farmers!

Peter K
Reply to  Keith Harrison
December 16, 2020 9:44 pm

The Australian government will not subsidize coal fired power stations. One of the last Coal fired power stations built was Mt. Piper. It was designed as a four unit station, but only two were built, with space for 2 more units later. As far as subsidies’ go. The owners of Mt. Piper are better off buying 11,000 acres and installing 2 GW of solar panels, in lieu of installing an additional 2X1GW units at Mt.Piper. The 11,000 acres of solar panels will produce around 2GW for a few hours a day, where as 2X1GW units at Mt.Piper will produce 2GW 24/7.

BoyfromTottenham
December 15, 2020 3:01 pm

???? Eric, the title of this post does not relate to the content. The title is about ‘coal plants, but the article referred to is about Aussie aluminium smelters. Which topic were you trying to address?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
December 15, 2020 3:21 pm

Perhaps think it thru. The AL smelter is the biggest single load on the Victoria grid. Itbis supplied by old coal. If the smelter throttles back (possible if planned) then old coal can support the grid when renewables falter.
But smelters need to run flat out to compete globally. So they will just close. Then old coal will close (lost biggest grid customer) and the Vic grid loses what remained of its reserve and subsidized renewables will crash the grid. Politically bad.
Solution, subsidize the smelter to continue acting as a grid capacity reserve. Completely hosed up.

Loydo
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 15, 2020 10:08 pm

No, what is nuts is describing anyone on our right-wing government’s front bench a climate activist. That means we all are.

Hotscot
Reply to  Loydo
December 16, 2020 1:55 am

Loydo

“Right-wing”

Don’t make me laugh.

fred250
Reply to  Loydo
December 16, 2020 2:55 am

WRONG AGAIN, Loy

The current Federal Government is a semi-rational center-left government.

There are several climate apologists in the Federal Liberal Party.

Your problem is that you can anyone not to the far-left of Mao, right-wing !

You bare not a “progressive”, though…..

… but very much a devolving, life-hating, regressive.

BoyfromTottenham
December 15, 2020 3:05 pm

BTW, note the use of the word ‘transition’ by Dan Tehan – a nicely vague word that could mean anything in the context he was using. Some might classify it as a ‘weasel word’.
‘What Are Weasel Words?
“Weasel words” are a colloquial term for words or phrases used to avoid being forthright. Weasel words are used when the speaker wants to make it seem like they’ve given a clear answer to a question or made a direct statement, when actually they’ve said something inconclusive or vague. Fortunately, weasel words are easy to spot.’

John in Oz
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
December 15, 2020 4:06 pm

I’m surprised that you are surprised that a politician is using weasel words.

observa
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
December 16, 2020 5:38 am

Here in South Australia we’ve been doing all the heavy lifting with transitioning. A unicorn Tesla Big Battery and 9 diesel generators on expensive standby that can consume 80,000L/hr of refined fossil fuels. Now it’s time for the Portland Smelter to do some serious transitioning and share the load.

Meanwhile over in islanded Western Australia they’re trying to deal with the solar duck curve. Patience people patience our time is coming with these climate changers. Just get in the tar and feathers.

markl
December 15, 2020 3:27 pm

Another unintended consequence rears its’ ugly head to bite them in the butt. I’d like to say they are getting better at uncovering the obvious but this is a purely defensive move to squelch the already maddening crowd. Like in California and the recent power outages caused by high winds during fire season (that’s actually a season in California!). The state allowed the utility companies to be sued for not protecting private property owners from fires caused by downed power lines and fed by dead/uncleared undergrowth (thanks to the ecoloonies) so now they just turn off the power. Fixed that problem! No mention of the fact that years ago under Governor Moonbeam they were denied funds to put the power lines underground to circumvent the problem.

TEWS_Pilot
December 15, 2020 3:32 pm

How many of them must regret THIS stupid decision?
comment image

rd50
Reply to  TEWS_Pilot
December 15, 2020 5:34 pm

Maybe the first just started how stupid this was as given in the link below. Now how many more will follow is the question. There is a start:
https://www.fidelity.com/news/article/company-news/202012140130RTRSNEWSCOMBINED_L1N2IT0MI_1
As stated in this link:
“If Portland were to close, it would risk the reliability and security of the grid, and may lead to the early closure of one of the coal-fired generators the state relies on for much of its power,” Education Minister Dan Tehan, who represents the region where the smelter is located, said in a statement.
We have an EDUCATION MINISTER telling us the truth about energy!!! Maybe the Greens will believe him, an EDUCATION MINISTER may be better than an engineer to get the Greens to start thinking.
I hope so!

gowest
December 15, 2020 3:36 pm

Very careful language from Dan – One of the few liberals in Victoria… economy has to transition to subsidy free power Dan but you have to keep sucking up to the other Dan. Power outages are predicted for summer, just like California.

BoyfromTottenham
Reply to  gowest
December 15, 2020 8:57 pm

Yes gowest – lots of wriggle room there for Tehan by saying ‘the economy must transition’ (but not to what). Lots of people (and the ABC) failed to ask the question…what a game.

Alan
December 15, 2020 3:42 pm

And then there is this for Western Australia
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-16/wa-government-power-market-trial-to-protect-grid/12986348
Can’t supply it when needed ha

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Alan
December 15, 2020 6:13 pm

Alan
“ The latest proposal comes as the Government tries to revamp WA’s electricity system to ensure it can cope with the dramatic shift toward renewable energy.”
Now there is your weasel words.
All of this is to compensate for the already installed renewables
Destabilizing the grid as we knew it would.

Anyone who works an evening shift and does all their home living from 9m thru 3pm next day will be laughing

90% or more are simply screwed

Bruce Cobb
December 15, 2020 3:57 pm

Smelter? I hardly knew her!

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 15, 2020 5:11 pm

….. said Sleepy Joe

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 6:14 pm

He smell by touch

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 16, 2020 3:32 am

Bzzzzztttt! The reference, of course, was to the character Michael (Steve Carell), star of the show “The Office”. Not everything is about Biden. Morons.

Sara
December 15, 2020 3:57 pm

May one ask if this is one of those moments when someone, some slightly brighter bulb in the bin, realized that the “OOOPS!!” moment was not just facing them, but about to zoom past them?

Mr.
December 15, 2020 4:01 pm

This would be like the “oh shit!” moment when you go to your garage one morning and running late for an interview, only to find you forgot to plug your new EV in to charge overnight.

Worse, you sold your 2nd ICE car recently because you weren’t using it much, can do without it.

You call Uber, but there’s a 40-minute wait for a car in your area.

And on and on it goes . . .

The moral of the story – when you’ve already got your shit together, don’t do anything that could undo it.
(Such as “transitioning to renewable power supply”)

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Mr.
December 15, 2020 5:13 pm

This would be like the “oh shit!” moment when you go to your garage one morning and running late for an interview, only to find you forgot to plug your new EV in to charge overnight.

Or indeed, if there had been no wind overnight, and the power company had needed to drain your car’s battery to feed the grid…

Mr.
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2020 5:51 pm

It just gets worse, doesn’t it?

Gunga Din
December 15, 2020 4:06 pm

“Everyone knows that the economy has to transition.“
“Transition” is the hardest part of any change.
A heroin addict decides to “come clean”. Tough road.
A smoker decides to quit “cold turkey”. Tough road.
But those roads are worth the effort because the goal is worth it.
Real, personal, benefits ridding oneself of something harmful.
There are lots of claims but no proof, non-political-scientific proof, that using fossil fuel to produce power is harmful.
“CO2 is a green house gas!” So? I’m thankful for it and all the other GHS’s (like clouds) that keep all of our “little spots on the globe” from being under a mile of ice. And more CO2 means more plants which means more food (and, unfortunately, dandelions in my lawn), more O2 that we can’t live without for more than a few minutes.
And Man’s CO2 is such a miniscule amount compared to what nature adds (and recycles back into LIFE, along with out CO2).
Who needs this energy source painful transition?
H2O is a much, much stronger” green house gas.
Should we “transition” away from Di-Hydrogen Monoxide?
(Some actually signed a petition to ban it at an “Earth Day” some years ago! )

Paul Johnson
December 15, 2020 4:21 pm

Politics crashing headlong into reality…never a pretty sight.

eo
December 15, 2020 4:23 pm

Australia should look at the Chinese trade war as an opportunity to diversify its foreign trade relations. Australia is often called the lucky country and one of its luck is close to one large market starting from UK (far in distance but close in relationship as part of the empire and later the commonwealth), then Japan after World War II and then China. Australia had a big shock when UK joined the EU and losses its privilege access to that market. Its time for Australia to diversify its market and may even come up with some policy to limit the share of one particular market in a particular export or import for the sake of national security.

R Taylor
December 15, 2020 4:24 pm

“at least until renewables providers solve their reliability issues”

Eric, you don’t seem to understand, reliable renewables are the energy sources of the future, and always will be.

R Taylor
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 15, 2020 5:05 pm

I should have known the setup was too good to be true.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 15, 2020 5:53 pm

See Poe’s Law.

fred250
December 15, 2020 4:29 pm

Pretty much as I explained in the previous thread. 🙂

You can only have a decent reliable supply if you have a decent reliable load, and visa versa.

The whole grid is a massive balancing act.

Get rid of a large load and a large supply, and things can get out of balance much more quickly.

Mike
December 15, 2020 4:35 pm

People who use ”transition” as a verb…..They are a certain type.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Mike
December 15, 2020 5:55 pm

I see what you’ve done there.

n.n
December 15, 2020 4:46 pm

They do have a legacy of aborting the baby in pursuit of Green/renewable funds, social justice, prophecy fulfillment. Wicked Solutions are part and parcel of social progress. Oh, well. Playing with a double-edged scalpel produces excess victims and collateral damage.

December 15, 2020 4:49 pm

Cimate Alarmists love to subsidise ‘renewables’ and bring about a business hostile environment for real usable energy sources. When energy intensive businesses decide to leave because of increased costs, the Alarmists realise that they needed them to prevent widespread unemployment and have to subsidise the threatened industries to avoid public blame for unemployment. It is all like the Carousel of the Idiots.

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tomo
December 15, 2020 4:54 pm

A cold snap in the UK and our profoundly stupid government will be in the same position.

– if it happens – of course “our” BBC will say – it’s happened because “we don’t have enough renewbabbles”

Pitchforks and flaming tar torches might yet make a return to the UK’s political arena.

RickWill
December 15, 2020 5:23 pm

Aluminium smelters were all subsidised in some way into Australia when State Governments were building large-scale centralised power stations. The smelters enabled value adding to Australia’s near limitless bauxite resource and low cost energy from near zero cost fuel – coal – by providing baseload so the coal plants kept ticking over night and day. Power cost was near zero but they employed people and improved the balance of trade; one of the few successful raw material processing endeavours in Australia.

WDGs are progressively destroying base load. Once power demand in Australia was reasonably constant through daylight hours. Now lunch time demand is often the lowest demand interval of the day. If wind generators are cranking in the wee hours then coal plants were being forced to shut units down but they now game the system by bidding a block of energy at large minus prices to ensure the WDGs back off before they have to take units off line. The coal plants can make heaps of money when demand is high and gas is setting the price.

So the charge to WDGs in Australia has pushed smelters beyond their use-by date. Electricity price is simply too expensive. The capital employed in power generation in Australia is very poorly utilised. About 30% of the houses have solar panels. They have got to the point where they are shutting down through the middle of the day on system over voltage; meaning their utilisation is falling. My neighbour’s 6kW system plus my 3kW system takes our street voltage to the max for about 4 hours each day now.

Wind plants are often curtailed because they cannot bear the negative prices. Household solar often forces grid scale solar into curtailment and the grid scale solar cannot handle negative prices either. Coal plants are operated to some degree by the the tune of the WDGs so their volumes are gradually being eroded. Another one will eventually fall off its perch.

Gas plants are still needed to fill the gaps because the guaranteed output of WDGs is precisely ZERO.

Then there are the diesel generators installed by the States to serve the market on the 3 days a year when the WDGs go missing in the hot calm weather. Then there are the private diesel generators installed because of recent rolling blackouts; a two hour blackout in a super market destroys all their frozen food and one loss would have paid for a diesel generator in the basement carpark.

Then there are the additional power lines to interconnect the geographically dispersed WDGs. Then there are the additional controls like synchronous condensers to stabilise the grid when WDGs are cranking and not much fossil generation connected. Then there are the orders for gas and coal plants to keep connected to offer spinning reserve so they get compensated for sending power out at a loss.

Then there is the increasing administration cost to send out all these orders and price adjustments on a minute-by-minute basis (this is no longer trivial in Australia). Managing the east coast network becomes a white knuckle task way more often than it used to be.

Then there is beefing up of local distribution grids so they can handle the large reverse flows. There needs to be an automatic tap-changer closer to me so I am not at maximum voltage every sunny day; and about 30% of households have the same gripe.

This may give some insight into why the term Weather Dependent Generators (WGDs) is far more apt then describing such things as “renewable” – such imbecilic and deceptive use of language.

This is all probably a little more optimistic than reality because I have some affinity for solar/battery systems that I hope may ultimately make grids superfluous for residential and small rural communities over much of Australia – the place is blessed with abundant sunshine.

RickWill
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 15, 2020 7:44 pm

I run fridge and freezer off grid to increase my grid solar export. I get 66c/kWh for export so very attractive to maximise export. At that price, I can make money out of the separate solar/battery. It has now paid for itself twice over.

This year was the first year in the last three that I had to go over to grid supply for the battery. We had some consecutive days of low sunlight. In the 8 years prior there were three days when I reverted to grid power.

I have determined that in Melbourne, Australia to supply 3kWh/day on average requires 3kWh of solar panels and 5kWh of large format lithium battery storage. That provides power better than 99% of the time to the 2.5 to 3kWh/day load. Fortunately winter demand is less than summer demand.

Last year I installed a wood burner. My lowest account balance with my household energy supplier was $34 this year. I am currently almost $300 in the black and accumulate at $150/month over summer and early autumn.

I expect that in 2024 when the attractive FIT expires, I will install a new larger battery of well known brand using a government subsidy. My neighbour installed his 6kW solar system at a cost to him of $3000; thanks to both federal and state subsidies.

I have two friends who followed my recommendation to install solar systems back when the FIT was at 66c/kWh. One gets an income of about $2000 a year from his electricity retailer. The other almost breaks even on his household energy while still using gas heating. Their systems were both 4.2kW.

ianl
Reply to  RickWill
December 15, 2020 11:32 pm

Rick Will

Whenever I see this type of exposition on subsidised installation of panels, batteries etc etc (and by the way, cloud cover from La Nina’s does not help your weak case), I notice that what is not listed are the household power appliances routinely run off your extremely expensive batteries at night. You have a frig and a freezer … golly.

Now – TV, stove, hot water, winter heating, computers, lights, NBN, power tools, hifi, summer cooling … or perhaps, just a hermitage ? Total wattage and amperage, please ?

Subsidised by poorer people who have no choice in the matter. The very definition of egalitarianism.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  RickWill
December 16, 2020 4:17 am

yeah and YOU getting 66c a kwh payments forced the price up for the consumers who cant afford or install pv even subsidised
good on ya!
I think of people like you with every price hike massive service/supply rise n blackout

observa
Reply to  ozspeaksup
December 16, 2020 6:11 am

To be fair RickWill like me was an early adopter with original FIT (mine’s 59c until mid 2027 and it was all about tax free returns). We lovely pioneers are to be congratulated for kickstarting the rooftop solar revolution like early Tesla S buyers and now you get to enjoy a Model 3. Something like that and somebody had to do it if you had the spare readies and a modicum of arithmetic so why not moi- homo economicus.

The early panels were dear but as the cost of power rose with the impact of ever more unreliables of course the home consumption became ever more valuable and the returns even better just as later non guaranteed FIT returns tumbled. It’s the fallacy of composition writ large of course as the laggards piled on with declining panel costs and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Popcorn time because I know what real crap regularly shows on my inverter display and battery storage will never cut it.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  RickWill
December 15, 2020 7:45 pm

Solar panels and ‘powerwalls’ degrade relatively rapidly and need to be replaced say 20 – 30 years for panels and 15 – 20 years for batteries.
Without breakthroughs, any future developments in panel and battery technologies are limited due to diminishing returns.
Last time I looked it was $20,000 + for off-grid installation.
The energy efficiency of solar PV + batteries is the lowest of all:
http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph240/kumar2/images/f1big.gif
As all the materials are mined, transported, manufactured, installed, maintained, dismantled, transported and safely disposed by fossil fuel energy, in the long run I’m not sure much in the way of CO2 emissions are circumvented, merely exported.

John F Hultquist
December 15, 2020 5:44 pm

I suggest your readers search-up, using images:

Peacock Coal

If we are going to look at a lump of coal, let’s go with the pretty stuff.
Such make great holiday stocking stuffers.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  John F Hultquist
December 15, 2020 7:02 pm

That’s beautiful
Too late now but that would have made a great gift idea for some that I know

Warren
December 15, 2020 9:53 pm

China & Melbourne’s outer East electricity prices:
Infrastructure GOLD PLATING was done and dusted years ago. Now there’s a new game in town . . .
In 2020 the Victorian Government screwed Melbourne’s outer East to benefit Asian interests.
They used the Victorian Default Offer (VDO) to line the pockets of AusNet.
Now they’ve done it again!
For 2021 the Victorian Government just awarded AusNet a VDO 37.5% – 50% higher than the other four distributors.
33c/kWh is near the highest business electricity price (net of tax) in the industrialised World.
https://www.esc.vic.gov.au/electricity-and-gas/prices-tariffs-and-benchmarks/victorian-default-offer/victorian-default-offer-price-review-2021

China & renewables:
Victorians are paying for China and its renewables games.
AusNet is the major player awarded a price-gouging VDO to cover renewables imperatives dictated by Labor’s Belt & Road commitment.
An example of what we’re paying for:
Batteries . . . “consortium commissioned by Victorian Government”:
1. AusNet Services controlled by State Grid China & Singapore Power
2. EnergyAustralia owned by China Light and Power
3. Fluence owned by Siemens & AES funded by China Investment Corporation
4. Spotless run by Peter Tompkins Dan Andrews’ mate
https://www.ausnetservices.com.au/en/About/Projects-and-Innovation/Battery-Storage

China & Victoria’s distribution network:
2020 Victoria has five electricity distributors.
1. AusNet Services Electricity Distribution = 20% China
2. Jemena Electricity Distribution = 60% China
3. United Energy Electricity Distribution = 34% China
4. CitiPower Electricity Distribution = 51% China
5. Powercor Electricity Distribution = 51% China
+ Mt Mercer wind farm transmission link = 50% China

China & political (donations) bribes:
Chinese don’t give money away for nothing . . .
ABC investigation of political donations reveals Chinese businesses are the largest foreign-linked donors to both major parties.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-21/china-australia-political-donations/7766654?nw=0

Bob in Castlemaine
December 15, 2020 10:05 pm

A few years back the gormless Dan Tehan showed himself to be totally indifferent to the plight of his rural constituents suffering both economically and health wise because of wind farms championed by their local member of parliament.
Could it be a dose of karma has finally caught up with the hapless member for Wannon?
https://stopthesethings.com/2015/05/04/disappointing-dan-liberal-mp-becomes-wind-industry-spruiker/

griff
December 16, 2020 3:01 am

‘It plays a major role in balancing power supply and demand during heatwaves and other disruptive events.’

Yes, they have to turn the smelter off at times of peak/excessive demand, e.g in heatwaves. If the plant closes, they’ll surely have that extra power all the time? Or not need the coal plant?

fred250
Reply to  griff
December 16, 2020 12:24 pm

The ignorance of griff, to the fore as always

No dumb-nuts.. If there isn’t that requirement for a continued large load, it is likely that suppliers of RELIABLE electricity would become financially non-viable.

Then , when there is no wind

You are left with NOTHING.

Basic comprehension is one of you many zero-skill areas, isn’t it griff-fool. !

Zigmaster
December 16, 2020 4:15 am

The best policy is to force the changes now , allow the smelter to close, bring about a collapse of the energy system and cause mayhem with blackouts and rising energy costs. When confronted with the reality of the truly insane policies that influences all governments is the only way the message that the voters have been telling them for the last 4 elections will sink in. The majority of people don’t agree with all the climate change alarmism nonsense and unless the government is prepared to listen to them they will find someone who will.

TonyG
December 16, 2020 8:41 am

OT: has anyone else been having problems receiving emails, specifically on gmail? I haven’t gotten one from WUWT in about 24 hours, even thought I’m subscribed to 3-4 active articles.

Posting this as a test to see if I get the “confirm” email.

TonyG
Reply to  TonyG
December 16, 2020 9:16 am

Did not receive it.

Mike Lowe
December 16, 2020 12:04 pm

A similar situation could be created by oil companies, by suspending fuel deliveries to those areas ruled by the Green madmen (and madwomen). Just a 7-day suspension should be enough to see the whole population suddenly in favour of realism and against the Green idiots. I’d love to see that, and who could blame the oil companies after years of uninformed criticism from the technically incompetent?

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