Claim: “Action on climate change is action on the cost of living”

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to the Climate Council, climate action will solve Australia’s skyrocketing cost of living. The facts say otherwise.

Action on climate change is action on the cost of living

When Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered his first economic update to the new Parliament this week, he confirmed the worst fears of Australians eyeing rising household bills and shrinking budgets.

The Treasurer flagged life is set to get even more expensive in the months ahead, as inflation keeps rising towards an expected 32-year peak by the end of this year. Even once we get over that hump, Treasury is forecasting inflation will run well above the decade-long average for much of 2023.

These forecasts come on the back of June CPI data showing households have already copped a 6.1 per cent rise in the cost of living over the past 12 months – the biggest increase since the early 2000s.

Fuel prices are one of the main drivers, with people paying over 30 per cent more at the pump than they were a year ago – even with the federal government’s temporary cut to fuel excise.

Widespread flooding across Queensland and New South Wales has wiped out crops and stopped farmers getting new plantings into the ground. This has led to sky-high prices for staples like cucumbers, broccoli and the infamous $11 lettuce.

With Australian family budgets under so much pressure, governments are rightly focused on getting the cost of living down. As they do, there’s an important opportunity to rapidly cut our national carbon budget at the same time.

That’s because action on climate is action on cost of living – making the transition to a zero-emissions economy can save Australians cash on their power bills, at the petrol pump, in the supermarket and more.

Read more: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2022/07/29/climate-change-cost-of-living/

This is obviously untrue, but lets pick it apart.

For starters, the transition, even if it worked, would do nothing in the short term to address immediate problems.

A better plan to alleviate immediate cost of living stress would be to build new coal plants. The Australian government plans to spend $13 billion on new grid capacity, enough to build 4 new coal plants. If this money was instead spent on coal plants, and the coal plants were sited next to coal fields, the coal costs would be pretty close to zero – the coal just has to be dug up and shovelled into the plants. If the planning approvals were fast tracked, and construction started immediately, within 2-3 years Australia would have a flood of cheap energy hitting the home consumer electricity market.

So renewables are already behind the cost of a conventional network upgrade, just on the cost of the network upgrade they would require.

Then there is the cost of the battery backup. The Australian solar battery index suggests the cost of battery + inverter costs $1200 (AUD) / KWh.

According to the Australian Government, Aussies consumed 265,232 GWh in 2020.

Divide by 365 gives an average 726 GWh / day, or 726,000,000 KWh / day.

Multiply 726,000,000 KWh / day by $1200 / kWh, and the cost of a single day battery backup is $871 billion dollars.

Of course Australia would need more than a single day of backup, Australia experiences widespread wind droughts like everyone else. If we assume 7 days, we already have a cost of $6 trillion dollars, just for a week of battery backup.

Batteries don’t last forever, so if we assume an average life of 10 years, that is $600 billion Australia has to come up with every year, just to maintain that $6 trillion battery pack.

And we haven’t even started building and maintaining the required solar panels and wind turbines – at 20% loading we would require renewables capable of producing 726GWh / day + whatever additional power was required to cover battery losses and transmission line losses.

Oops I almost forgot – power use goes up in winter, just as renewable output drops. So the real figures for battery backup and renewable capacity are probably a lot higher than my rough calculation.

I’ll leave that cost to your imagination.

Oh I almost forgot – the Climate Council also wants us all to switch to EVs, so we need a lot more power. Australia consumes around a million barrels of oil per day, so convert to GWh.

1700 KWh / barrel of oil x 1000000 barrels of oil = 1,700,000,000 KWh / day, 0r 1,700 GWh / day, which has to be added to the 726GWh in the original calculation. If you think EV batteries could stand in for battery backup, think again – people need their EV charge to drive to work or whatever. So we really need at least $20 trillion dollars worth of battery backup, and $2 trillion per year to maintain it.

Does this still seem like the low cost option, climate council? People who are struggling to pay their energy bills don’t have the spare cash to buy an EV.

Obviously you can play with these numbers, assume the government would get a good bulk deal on batteries (though with Lithium prices skyrocketing, maybe not).

President Obama once explained that the cost of the renewable transition would cause energy prices to skyrocket, because that cost will be passed on to ordinary consumers. But he never made it clear just how unaffordable it would be.

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Tom Halla
July 30, 2022 6:08 pm

Their attitude is that peons should freeze in their mud huts. Or swelter. Remember, to them, you will always be peasant scum.

KcTaz
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 30, 2022 6:51 pm

I’ve tried multiple times to give you an Up vote, Tom, but it won’t let me. A few minutes ago I tried to give an article a 5 star rating and it wouldn’t let me do that, either. WUWT has gone rather wonky lately. These are not the first problems I’ve had with this site lately.

Reply to  KcTaz
July 30, 2022 7:35 pm

Hm. Works perfectly for me? Try again – if it still doesn’t work, start looking at your browser and security settings.

FlaMark
Reply to  KcTaz
July 31, 2022 6:53 am

It started at 35. It may be maxing out at 35. It lets me give a down vote to 34 and upvote back to original 35.

Oldseadog
Reply to  FlaMark
July 31, 2022 8:57 am

I just made it go from 40 to 41, so I guess something wrong at your end, Kc.

ATheoK
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 31, 2022 10:59 pm

Agreed, Tom Halla!

That’s because action on climate is action on cost of living – making the transition to a zero-emissions economy can save Australians cash on their power bills, at the petrol pump, in the supermarket and more.”

Translation, when people can no longer afford these necessities, they will stop buying them. They will be cold when it’s cold, hot when it’s hot, unable to travel or to afford decent foods.

Ergo, saving money!

Ron Long
July 30, 2022 6:22 pm

These Climate porn purveyors are a bunch of Carnival Barkers. The problem is that reasonably intelligent persons willing to lie to idiots can get more votes than someone telling the truth. Wake Up, Australia!

Alexy Scherbakoff
July 30, 2022 6:31 pm

Idealism before reality.

KcTaz
July 30, 2022 6:47 pm

I know math is hard but has no one in Australia (or, elsewhere) done the math on this and realized it is, to use the CAGWers favorite phrases, Unsustainable and Unaffordable?
At some time in the not so distant future, is it not going to be quite difficult for these politicians to claim, “They didn’t know?” It’s their job to know before they do things like this, is it not?

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  KcTaz
July 31, 2022 7:22 am

When governments began speaking about implementing restrictive covid measures in March 2020, my engineer son asked: “Where is the cost benefit analysis?” Twenty seven months later we have yet to see one in Ireland or even a critical evaluation of the government response. One was done early in the Netherlands but craftily hidden from public scrutiny till an engineer after many months of searching dug it out but it seems the media were not interested. The same holds true for all the mad climate schemes. This is also why I have more confidence in the Clintel Climate Declaration because so many engineers have signed the declaration.

a happy little debunker
July 30, 2022 6:57 pm

Thank god Labor settled the ‘climate wars’ with their historic win in May.

That they never campaigned on climate change policies is immaterial.
That they failed to win an outright majority of the vote is immaterial (32% of first preferences).
That the vast majority (80+%) did not vote for any climate change boondoggles is immaterial.
That Australia has and will likely always be a net carbon sink is immaterial.

I, for one, am glad they have ended these ‘climate wars’ and now we can move on to more pressing matter by entrenching RACISM into our constitution…

observa
Reply to  a happy little debunker
July 30, 2022 9:35 pm

Wait until you read the bureaucracy they have planned for a yes referendum win-
Final Report | Indigenous Voice (niaa.gov.au)
ATSIC Mark II will all be different this time around (trust them) but you’ll immediately note the monotonous repetitive touchy feely buzzwords being hammered with the demand to be permanent/irrevocable plus well funded but definitely no responsibility for service delivery.

The usual suspects are lining up for snouts in the taxpayer trough wanting to be consulted on everything and anything before the other 97% of citizenry spit but no responsibility whatsoever for any real outcomes.

LdB
Reply to  observa
July 31, 2022 3:30 am

When the referendum fails to get up it will be because we are racist not because the Labor politicians fouled up and don’t understand the mistrust of them.

Not Chicken Little
July 30, 2022 6:59 pm

How can you trust anything from people who don’t know the difference between carbon and carbon dioxide, and who believe with all their little minds that both are bad and both are pollutants?

Last edited 7 days ago by Not Chicken Little
DonK31
Reply to  Not Chicken Little
July 30, 2022 11:56 pm

I always wondered what climate extremists had against pencil lead and diamonds.

Sara Hall
Reply to  Not Chicken Little
July 31, 2022 12:26 am

As far as I’m concerned, if someone misses out dioxide in a discussion about the climate, their credibility level on matters scientific will plummet. This unfortunately still applies to most of my circle of family and friends, making me feel so alone sometimes. Thank heavens fir sites like this one!

Simonsays
July 30, 2022 8:11 pm

Chalmers has been softening up the Australian public all week about how bad things are going to get. The reason being he knows inflation worldwide is only going one way and that is up. And it’s by design, the IMF wants it, the World Bank wants it and so do all the major western economies especially the US. Reason being inflation is the fastest way to wipe out the covid debt. The world’s debt has jumped to over $300 trillion, most of that because of the surge in public debt which is at record levels not seen since WWII. It can never be paid off, so they use inflation to wipe out its value.

Lark
July 30, 2022 9:33 pm

No lives, no cost of living. Simple.
No wonder “climate action” seems a perfectly reasonable final solution to people like the Communists Climate Council.

Doonman
July 30, 2022 9:38 pm

making the transition to a zero-emissions economy can save Australians cash on their power bills, at the petrol pump, in the supermarket and more.

We had a president who said under his plan Americans would save $2500 per year on their health premiums. But that never happened or I would have $25,000 in the bank by now.

Do they just print more money anytime in Australia too? In America that’s called borrowing it from yourself. Of course the result is the cost of everything never goes down, so maybe not.

another ian
Reply to  Doonman
July 31, 2022 2:31 am

Seems to be hard to run a profitable pub if you own it and are the major customer

jono1066
July 31, 2022 12:16 am

I`ll say one thing for President Obama :- he told the truth as he saw it and was prepared to say it just like it was, no smoke, no mirrors.
Its a shame the media failed to pick it up and run with it.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  jono1066
July 31, 2022 9:50 am

Well, yes, but only on this one occasion. Let’s not forget “if you want to keep your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and ‘your health costs are going to go way down’.

RickWill
July 31, 2022 1:26 am

The immediate action to reduce the cost is to eliminate the legislated theft from the poor to the less poor by eliminating all payments for LGCs and STCs.

The next step would be to limit the exposure of Australian coal and gas to international prices. Either through controlling exports or increasing access to known resources.

Rusty
July 31, 2022 2:44 am

When people are made poorer, by their politicians, to the point they struggle to afford the basics they riot.

e.g. Sri Lanka

When the electricity goes off that’s what will happen. It’s only a matter of time. The “elite” will hide behind their gates and security, but at some point even that won’t save them.

Hungry and cold people are desperate people with nothing to lose.

Jit
July 31, 2022 4:12 am

My version of that figure – I think using data on prices from 2nd half of 2020. Of course it could do with an update with first half 2022 prices…

comment image

Andrew Wilkins
July 31, 2022 4:26 am

The idiot who wrote the article in the New Daily, Dr Jenniffer Rayner, makes the claim that in Australia ACT has been running on 100% renewables since 2019. It’s an out and out lie that even the greentards at the Conversation admit isn’t true:
https://theconversation.com/a-100-renewables-target-might-not-mean-what-you-think-it-means-an-energy-expert-explains-160619
She also claims that floods and fires are becoming more frequent and intense. This is simply not true, yet she is allowed to spew yet more lies.

Andrew Wilkins
July 31, 2022 4:40 am

In one tweet, this guy pulls apart the idiots at the Climate Council who Rayner shills for. One minute they’re claiming Aussie power bills are becoming cheaper because of renewables. Ooops! Power bills have got more expensive!
https://twitter.com/DavForbes/status/1552821835791642624

Last edited 7 days ago by Andrew Wilkins
It doesn't add up...
July 31, 2022 5:06 am

Of course it’s action on the cost of living….driving it up.

July 31, 2022 5:29 am

Switching of cause and effect is a signature of the narratives of totalitarian systems. It’s foundational to the climate alarm narrative also. But this is astonishingly brazen even by their standards.

Green activism and fossil fuel divestment have directly, proximally caused the energy price inflation. A much bigger cause than even the Ukraine war. So what do they say? The cause can be the solution? Green junk can reduce energy prices? That’s throwing petrol on a fire.

Gerry, England
July 31, 2022 5:29 am

What is a ‘known unknown’ is just how much lithium prices will rocket when every insane country is trying to use batteries to cover for using unreliable electricity generation and use batteries for vehicles. The costings here could be low by a huge amount. A sane person would fairly soon realise that is unaffordable and consider that we can adapt to any changes in climate as has happened for centuries for much less.

Peta of Newark
July 31, 2022 6:14 am

Complete garbage and the UK right now tells us all why.
Because there is, effectively, a global spot market for energy.

As in the UK right now, the solar panels are working and the turbines also on occasion but they are doing nothing to reduce the cost of energy, simply because that cost is determined by the costs of the fossil fuel burners and the price they sell their product.

Thus, big solar & wind farms, also of course the biomass burners, will be laughing all the way to the bank right now – their ‘fuel cost’ hasn’t risen yet they’re selling into the spot market at the prices that the gas/coal determine. (Maybe the biomass burners are feeling a pinch, is anyone ‘up’ on the price of wood-pellets right now?

As a lovely measure of wrongness that that now permeates everywhere, it is actually the fossil burners that are going to be clobbered with a Windfall Tax

The same will apply to Australia

perfect. complete. madness

Powered by the love of money.
Aided abetted by an equal love for sugar & booze – because they are the enablers of Mendacity.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 31, 2022 11:11 am

Most biomass is selling on an ROC subsidised basis, getting more than market price. Also true of wind generation.

Michael in Dublin
July 31, 2022 7:10 am

If governments were under the same restraints as smaller private companies and had to budget and spend carefully most government ministers would be held accountable for their spending and performance and sacked. This is the reason smaller central government with limited power and spending reduces corruption. This would also destroy all the ambitious and extravagant climate schemes.

willem Post
July 31, 2022 7:20 am

New England power plants, all sources, plus imports from nearby grids, load about 125 billion kWh/y onto the NE grid.
Transmission loss is about 2.5%; to distribution grids 121.875 billion kWh/y
Distribution loss is about 6.5%; to users 113.953 billion kWh/y

Assume: 

1) Wind onshore at 12.5%, wind offshore at 12.5%, and solar at 25% of grid load, on an annual basis, at some future date; about 125/2 = 62.5 TWh/y, or 0.171 TWh/d, wind/solar loaded onto the NE grid.

2) Wind/solar generation is 15% of normal during a wind/solar lull lasting 24 hours; 0.15 x 0.171 = 0.02568 TWh/d wind/solar loaded onto the NE grid; shortfall is 0.171 – 0.02568 = 0.14555

3) Battery systems provide the shortfall, TWh.

To HV grid 0.14555
From battery system to step-up transformer 0.14700, at 1% loss
To back-end power electronics 0.15215, at 3.5% loss
From battery 0.15823, at 4% loss
To battery 0.16456, at 4% loss
To front-end power electronics 0.17032, at 3.5% loss
To step-down transformer 0.17203, at 1% loss

About 0.17203/0.14555 x 100% = 18.2% more needs to be taken from the HV grid for the battery system than is fed to the HV grid by the battery system.

Battery systems are rated at a level of power, MW, provided for a number of hours, MWh, such as 2 MW/8 MWh, as AC at battery voltage, which needs to be stepped up to HV voltage.

The US turnkey capital costs of complete battery systems in 2020, including land, fencing, lighting, step-up and step-down transformers was about $550/kWh, as AC at battery voltage. See URL 

Tesla recommends operating the battery system from 20% full to 80% full, for maximum useful service life, about 15 years

Tesla increased its 2021 Megapack MODULE pricing by 24.5% for 2022. See URL

The 2025 Megapack price likely will be much higher, due to: 1) increased inflation rates, 2) increased interest rates, 3) supply chain disruptions, 4) increased energy prices, such as oil, gas, coal, etc., and 5) increased materials prices, such as of Tungsten, Cobalt, Lithium, and Copper
 
comment image?itok=lxTa2SlF
https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/tesla-hikes-megapack-prices-commodity-inflation-soars
 
NOTE: After looking at several aerial photos of large-scale battery systems with many Megapacks, it is clear many other items of equipment are shown, other than the Tesla supply, such as step-down/step-up transformers, connections to the grid, land, access roads, fencing, security, site lighting, i.e., the cost of the Tesla supply is only one part of the total battery system cost on a site. 

BATTERY SYSTEM CAPITAL COSTS, OPERATING COSTS, ENERGY LOSSES, AND AGING
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/battery-system-capital-costs-losses-and-aging

   

Last edited 7 days ago by willem Post
July 31, 2022 3:35 pm

Action on climate change is not simply “action on the cost of living”, it is action that will greatly increase the cost of living for no useful purpose and cause social and political instability.

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