Malcolm, Josh Grow Up, Kill the Renewable Energy Target & Go Nuclear

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

Australians are fast growing up to the fact that running a country on sunshine and breezes is so much childish nonsense.

Like most childish things, watching giant windmills flailing in the breeze is apt to titillate, but obscure what’s really going on.

From the very beginning, the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers pretended that wind power was free; involved no subsidies, whatsoever; powered millions of homes, around-the-clock; and generated thousands of groovy green jobs in hard pressed rural communities.

Now that Australian power consumers have been hit up with the true cost of subsidised wind and solar and, in places like wind powered South Australia, experienced what it’s like to live without power at all, petulant, adolescent demands for renewable energy have given way to frustrated adults trying to take charge.

The most mature of those appear to be Australia’s National Party, which during its annual conference last weekend finally started to stop speaking like a child.

National Party votes to remove all subsidies for renewable energy
Sydney Morning Herald
Eryk Bagshaw
9 September 2017

The Nationals have voted to remove all subsidies for renewable energy providers over a five-year period and to freeze them at their current level for the next year.

The vote at the party’s federal conference in Canberra on Saturday marks the start of a new campaign among party members against renewables, as energy policy gets set to dominate Parliament again when it resumes this week.

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are set to receive subsidies of up to $2.8 billion a year up to 2030, according to research by economic consultancy BAEeconomics commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia.

The Australian Energy Market Operator is forecasting a crippling 1000 megawatt energy shortfall in 2022, as Australia’s coal power plants begin to shut down, potentially leading to power shortages and rising prices for consumers.

The Turnbull government is considering investing in AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station to keep it open five more years.

“We have no problem in coal fire power,” Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce told the party faithful to loud cheers at the QT Hotel.

He warned summer was coming and air conditioners around the country were about to go on, putting an extra strain on the energy market.

“Business will stop, and we will get to see what it’s like to live in 1880,” he said.

Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, who has stood down from the Turnbull government’s front bench over dual-citizenship concerns, spoke strongly in favour of the motion.

“We have taken all the subsidies away from our farming sector and now the biggest racket going around is the renewable energy sector,” he said.

Nationals MP George Christensen said the motion did not go far enough.

“The fact is that for the last decade we have had the government interfering at the expense of reliable energy,” he said.

“We should also be talking about targets, renewable energy targets,” he said.

“The reality is when we moved from one form of technology, say the horse and cart to the car, there wasn’t a government in place taxing, regulating or subsidising the car.

“It happened because it was a new form of technology that was better and ultimately it became cheaper and more cost affordable.”

The Nationals also voted in favour of pressing the Government to look at building a new “clean coal” plant on the now de-commissioned Hazelwood site in the Latrobe Valley, in Victoria.
Sydney Morning Herald

Finally, Barnaby Joyce and his National Party starting to sound like adults.

 

Of course, growing up is never easy. Especially when your parents are prepared to open their wallets, with no strings attached.

Whether it’s rent-seekers rolling out solar panels or spearing giant windmills across the countryside, for as long as there is a gullible and beneficent ‘parent’ ready to pick up the bill, no one need face adulthood – the fun and games, at someone else’s expense, can continue well past bedtime.

One character who cannot be accused of speaking or thinking like a child is The Australian’s Adam Creighton. In this sharp little piece, Adam spells out the obscene cost to power consumers of the subsidies directed to large-scale wind and solar; and points to the obvious, and only, solution to Australia’s energy woes, if carbon dioxide gas really is the bogeyman it’s made out to be.

Solar farm burns money
The Australian
Adam Creighton
8 September 2017

Imagine putting $100 in the bank and getting back a guaranteed $83 a year for four years, and then $59 a year for the next decade — all taxed at a maximum rate of 30 per cent. Your 2.9 per cent high interest saver account, taxed at 39 per cent, isn’t looking so good.

Courtesy of Australian electricity users, and the stupidity of the commonwealth government, Saudi Arabia’s Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, which bought Spanish solar farm builder Fotowatio in early 2015, has indeed struck such stellar returns.

In 2014 the Australian Renewable Energy Agency proudly made a $101.7m grant to the Spanish company for a $164m solar farm about 10km out of Moree, comprising 250,000 solar panels. An enthusiastic Clean Energy Finance Corporation chipped in a $47m loan to help, leaving Fotowatio with only $15.3m to put towards the project itself.

With a capacity of just under 150,000 megawatt hours a year, the solar farm, up and running, will generate about $12.8m in revenue a year for the next few years, based on the current Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGC) price of $85.

Assuming that price falls to $60 on average between 2020 and 2030, the farm will provide a tidy $9m a year to the Saudi owners.

All up, over the 14 years, the $15.3m investment would have reaped about $140m for the owners, a return of more than 900 per cent, which, by the way, is quite a bit better than the typical super fund.

“The project would not be possible without the unwavering support of the local community, Moree Plains Shire Council, the federal Members for Parkes, NSW state government, all the people who have dedicated many hours to development of the project, and last but not least, ARENA and the CEFC who have provided funding for the project,” said the Fotowatio regional manager for Australia. Full marks for honesty, at least.

Before you get jealous though, rest assured the project will, ARENA said, create about 100 jobs, and provide electricity for 15,000 homes.

This has been a fantastic outcome for our Spanish and Saudi foreign investors, but it’s far from clear it’s a good deal for anyone else. The 100 jobs that have supposedly arisen have come at a cost of almost $1.5m each, including the grant and the government loan.

And the 15,000 homes could have sourced their electricity from other, far cheaper sources. Too bad those cheaper sources are gradually shutting down.

What about carbon abatement you say? According to Fotowatio, the farm will avoid 102,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. So that works out at between $88 and $125 a tonne, based on the LGC prices assumed above, which is up to five times more expensive than Julia Gillard’s carbon price of $23 a tonne.

Surely though, despite all this excess, households will be enjoying lower power prices?

After all, that’s what the modelling provided by the renewable energy sector and the army of consultants who work for them keeps telling us: more renewable energy will ultimately lead to lower wholesale electricity prices, which will be passed on to consumers.

Unfortunately, this sort of modelling has a major flaw. It assumes the owners of coal power stations keep them running, incurring huge losses every day they can’t sell their electricity into the power grid because it’s windy or sunny.

In reality, these stations inevitably choose to close, as Alinta’s Northern coal-fired power station in South Australia and Hazelwood in Victoria have already done. Liddell in NSW is next. That will leave a greater share of the grid’s capacity supplied by intermittent solar and wind.

My Energy Australia power bill arrived yesterday, for the three months to August, showing a 15 to 23 per cent price increase per kWh of electricity between June and July. The bill came to $527 for three people in a small house who are barely home.

A cynic might hope for blackouts across the eastern states this summer, to show voters the consequences of years of kneejerk, feel-good energy policy: extremely expensive, even absent power.

And it’s hard to see the cost of power falling or the level of reliability improving. Because of the RET, electricity retailers like Energy Australia are forced to buy power from renewable energy providers such as Abdul Latif Jameel when it is available. This year they are buying around 28 terawatts, rising to 33 terawatt hours a year by 2020.

For the massive sums Australians are forking out via their power bills and taxes to build solar and wind farms and provide juicy returns to foreign investors, we could have built multiple small nuclear reactors, which would, by the way, generate a lot more than 100 jobs each.

If we’re going to splurge on unreliable, emissions-free power, why not do it on reliable emissions-free power instead. A kilogram of coal can light 100 light bulbs for less than four days; a kilo of uranium would do the same for more than 1140 years.

Australia is the only country in the G20 to have banned nuclear energy, which is completely bizarre, rivalling the RET itself for stupidity.
The Australian

They did away with their childish things … and grew up.

 

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    Should anyone like to hear how ridiculous alternative energy really is listen to the following:
    Towards 2050: Renewing Energy Expectations – World Science Festival Brisbane 2017.
    Broadcast as ‘The path to zero carbon energy’ 2/09/2017
    A gushing Robyn Williams of the ABC’s Science Show started by referring to an Economist article stating “…we have modern technology but 19th century infrastructure & politics…

    The main message to come from this Festival is that as Science
    representatives they are in a confused mumbo-jumbo of costly
    interrelationships to the extent of almost totally ignoring the elephant in the room that would solve all the problems – nuclear energy.
    There is a distinct ignorance of where the science of that technology is at; being modular, transportable or permanent, with a continuance throughput cycle of no waste, with helium cooling.

    So why bother with all the rest of the complicated interrelationships?
    This is one case where it makes sense to have your eggs in the same basket and continue to fusion energy and the fusion torch to solve the waste problem.
    All the renewables in the world can’t solve the waste problem, including the problem posed by its own disposal.

    At least if windmill blades are turning they appear to be doing something, but solar panels are like poker machines: Are they working correctly, is it for, or against you?

  2. Keith Staff says:

    Crispin ,—who bothers to read the U.K. Guardian ?
    [ I used to and then I grew up ]

  3. At this point, I wonder about the point of even trying to posit a solution. It appears that the National Party is finally starting to propose a sensible policy to a looming (if not existing) crisis. The Liberal Party is still desperately seeking a solution that doesn’t cost it votes, but it’s gone beyond that now. The Libs have a massive vacuum in leadership. Turnbull needs to be removed.
    I wonder about the backroom deals made with AGL. AGL holds the better hand with Liddell closure threats, but only while Turnbull and the Libs remain in charge. (The ALP has seemingly committed to an unsustainable electrical future should it likely be elected.) Turnbull can’t afford for Liddell to be closed and witness Sydney blackouts. The voter retaliation and backlash within Lib ranks will be enormous.
    My guess is that AGL is holding out for government subsidies to the disparaged coal generated electricity industry and it is likely to get it as 2022 approaches. The government will call the subsidies “investments” to dilute the hypocrisy.
    Should the “investment” eventuate, the Keystone Cops-like image of the Australian government will be complete, but I do not see much choice. New power stations are decades away. Expansions to existing power stations are possible, but time is running out.
    Perhaps the best solution is to elect the ALP, let the voters personally share the disease, identify with the sickness, amputate and cauterize the limb, and get this period of pro-renewable energy madness in our history over and done with as quickly as possible, rather than experience this ongoing economic gangrene that seems to be endemic throughout the Australian population.

    • Jackie Rovensky says:

      The voters are already sharing the disease.
      We don’t need the ALP, we need the Liberals to turn Turnbull out to pasture along with all those who sniff/track after him.
      We need a leader who can work through a method of getting things done when it becomes impossible to get agreement through Parliament.
      After all at the present time ShortON and those pushing him are only there to disrupt Parliamentary debate and prevent anything being done to prevent this Nation from going down the gurgler. Parliament is not working as it should – for the good of the people and Nation – it is being run like a bad comedy show with poor comedians at front of stage.
      You would think when a Nation hits a crisis like this these people who profess to have our interests at heart would join together and come up with a solution. Whereas even as individuals they are not able to come up with a solution because they are so far up each others back ends trying to get to the megaphone first they forget they are not only destroying us but the Nation as well.
      Stop any further building of turbines, get clean coal plants on the go, even begin to look into nuclear, but stop the RET, stop the rorting. Slap heavy taxes on the Wind Industry and prevent it from increasing the price of its end product, so we can recoup some of the misappropriated money they have received – they have never been able to show proof they have met their levels of production in a sufficiently effective manner, that the number of homes they claimed could be served by their plants have actually received uninterrupted wind energy at an affordable price. They have had some years to prove themselves and for us to see the benefits they promised including lower prices. They have defaulted on their building application approvals.
      The Government may need to offer grants or loans to companies to step back into the fray and build coal plants that will provide us with quality base-load power at a price we can afford.
      It will need a show of true leadership for companies to feel they will not be shut down or disadvantaged in anyway by an incoming Government.
      Initially all grants or loans should be offered to Australian companies only, and only to others if there are no Australian ones applying.
      Any foreign company who accepts the grants or loans should have to without any out clauses guarantee all profits will remain and be spent in Australia.
      We are a leaderless nation at the present time, while some MPs are hard working and trying to do the job they were elected to do others in leadership roles are stalling, playing games and allowing the Nation to flounder.
      Wake up Federal Parliamentary leaders and accept you are useless and have lost the faith the people.

    • Jackie Rovensky :Totally agree a Labor government with it’s 50% renewable target should be elected to show the Australian population what it is like to live without electricity. Being Australia and most Australians being of limited intelligence I think the spin doctors would win the day and the next step would be a 90% renewable target to prove it could be done.
      After listening to Leigh Sales and the CHRISTIANA FIGUERES interview where she said coal fired power didn’t work but in reality until renewables turned up worked very well and very cheaply and reliably I would say with fools like Sales and clowns like Figueres telling absolute lies and backed by the taxpayer funded ABC what hope is there for Australians??????

  4. Crispin Trist says:

    I see that the wind industry are up to their old tricks again in the UK trying to upset the apple cart.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/10/uk-windfarms-become-cheaper-than-hinkley-point-c

    However the CEO of the Nuclear Industry Association states in the article, and I quote…

    The nuclear industry argues that no single low carbon source could meet the UK’s power needs alone.

    “With two-thirds of the UK’s currently dispatchable generation capacity due to retire by 2030, including all but one of the current nuclear fleet, the UK will need the full range of low carbon technologies to provide the reliable, secure and readily available power for homes, businesses and public services,” said Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association.

    EDF said future new nuclear projects such as Sizewell C in Suffolk would be at a lower cost than Hinkley.

    …End quote.

    Also of note. The UK Guardian have posted a seemingly negative article featuring television presenter Noel Edmunds beneath the pro wind article. Noel Edmunds is a known anti wind farm advocate. He helped start the Renewable Energy Foundation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_Energy_Foundation

    Actual article link here.

    https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-guardian/20170911/281895888401661

  5. All these countries that swooped in to grab these deals must be saying to their constituents back home, Man we need to see what else these turkeys want to build because they are easily the dumbest nation ever …

  6. Surprisingly Nuclear power stations don’t last forever either and when they close down the expenses just keep going on and on. With all the arm chair experts wanting renewables or Nuclear is it any wonder that Australia is becoming the laughing stock of the world.

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