Power Consumers’ Punishment Continues, as Energy Giants Chase Phoney ‘Green’ Dollars

Hypocrite Heaven: AGL’s Yallourn coal-fired power plant.


Green virtue signalling among Australia’s energy giants is now a ‘thing’. However, dig a little deeper and it’s clear that the thing is all about making money from a gullible proletariat, aided and abetted by a witless media. Fortunately, Terry McCrann isn’t among them.

BHP displays suicidal tendencies in support of green policies
The Australian
Terry McCrann
30 September 2017

Let me explain something rather important to the new chairman of BHP, Ken MacKenzie, which the head of the company’s operational Australian core, Mike Henry, seemingly doesn’t understand.

MacKenzie might think he’s taken the chair at the world’s biggest diversified resources group. On the surface that’s certainly true, but BHP in a more fundamental, more pervasive way is in the business of emitting carbon dioxide.

Without the emission of CO2, BHP simply could not exist. Across the group it emits CO2 in the extraction, processing and delivery of its minerals and its oil and gas. Self-evidently, you would think, CO2 is emitted when the coal it produces is consumed either in power generation or in steel making.

But the really critical point is that every single tonne of what it produces can only be put to use, in some form of process, with a coincident emission of CO2, either directly or proportionately in terms of the power used across an economy.

And that will continue to be the case for so long as the planet uses the carbon-rich oil, gas and coal that BHP produces — to state the obvious, precisely why BHP produces them.

And the planet will continue to do until either we repeal the basic laws of physics or the first unicorn takes its place in the field for the Melbourne Cup, whichever of course comes first.

You would have assumed that the BHP board and management would understand that joining the coal-and-CO2 demonisation chorus was not a sensible foundation for a long-term corporate survival strategy. Even if they could not comprehend the broader truth of global warming hysteria: our 21st century version of a 13th century Gaia-worshipping religious cult.

At a more immediate and more basic level, one might also have thought that BHP, both board and management, would have received a much keener appreciation of the benefits of coal-fired power generation from the experience, exactly a year ago, when the “wind did blow but unfortunately blew too hard” and South Australia went all North Korea black.

And as a consequence, BHP’s Olympic Dam copper and gold and (just quietly) uranium mine lost over $150 million of output.

Now that figure would have been considerably higher but, again, for Victoria’s coal-fired generation. SA could not kickstart its power network using just the windpower that under its Premier Jay Weather-dill it had totally committed to. Without Victorian coal-fired power, SA — and BHP — could have stayed North Korean “pure” for days, if not weeks.

You would think this would have given BHP some appreciation of the importance of coal-fired power generation, if not to keep pensioners warm in winter at reasonable cost, and for the rest of Australia, at least in its own narrow financial self-interest. But apparently not, because Henry, on behalf of BHP, wants to see all the existing coal-fired stations close as their operational lives expire and no new ones built to replace them.

How else to interpret his leading of the Minerals Council to sack its chief executive, Brendan Pearson, for advocating the case for new HELE (high efficiency, low emissions) coal plants, and his/BHPs support for a so-called Clean Energy Target that would make impossible any new coal-fired stations?

Ah, but in the fantasy world in which BHP has long lived, out would go “dirty” coal and in would come “clean” or, at least, “cleaner” gas; while everyone would “look the other way” as BHP continued to ship hundreds of millions of tonnes of “dirty” (but dirty “somewhere else”) coal and billions of tonnes of iron ore that are only of use when combined with, well, you know what, but BHP apparently believes we can all pretend otherwise.

Sorry, Ken, and your semi-namesake Andrew, and of course Mike, read a bit of history: the Gaia-worshipping Green zealots and their political and business facilitators are coming most directly after coal-fired power generation at home right now.

But like all religious zealots of every generation, they want to root out all “evil”. So all coal is the target: have you noticed the unrelenting opposition to the Adani mine, and not a single tonne of that coal is intended to be used in Australia?

To the extent that gas might get a pass — as BHP and others quaintly, ludicrously, pathetically believe — as an intermediate stepping stone to that wonderful (unicorn world) of all-renewables — it would be temporary and ephemeral.

And after the direct CO2-emitters that must be culled — and that covers a fair proportion of BHP’s portfolio — comes all the remaining CO2-emitting minerals “facilitators”. Bye-bye BHP, bye-bye: death by suicide.

Finally, a few points on AGL’s “proposal” to replace its Liddell coal-fired power station.

First, it’s a lie, on two levels.

AGL is proposing a mixed-assorted grab-bag of generation and storage to replace only 1000MW of generation capability. Liddell could — with appropriate renovation — operate at 2000MW.

But even AGL’s 1000MW is, to use a polite term, “dodgy as”. The biggest and only remotely baseload component is — that dodgy qualification — “up to” 750MW of gas-fired generation.

Then there’s the big, big, 250MW battery to “guarantee” 50MWh of power.

So assuming it starts fully charged, if after five hours and it’s gone flat and the wind hasn’t started blowing again and the sun isn’t shining …?

Plus “demand management” — presumably pensioners turning off their heaters in winter and their airconditioners in summer.

AGL must be required to give an absolute commitment that it will be able to generate at least 1000MW of power 24/7, 52 weeks a year from the closure of Liddell. And generate it from new dedicated capacity, not diverted from other wind and solar.

(Another new) chairman Graeme Hunt and chief executive Andy Vesey should put their money where their mouths are. They should willingly agree to forgo all remuneration from this point if at any time the replacement plant fails to be able to provide 1000MW into the grid.
The Australian

Another great effort from Terry McCrann. However, as we pointed out in our recent post about the fake gas ‘crisis’, AGL has no intention of replacing Liddell with efficient power generation plant.

To the contrary, its plans involve building a massive peaking power plant, using Open Cycle Gas Turbines.

OCGTs are just about the most inefficient way of generating electricity at scale, short of hooking up millions of 7KVA portable petrol generators.

They’re cheap to build, but ridiculously expensive to run, for any length of time. However, for vertically integrated generator/retailers like AGL, Origin and EnergyAustralia, OCGTs allow them to gouge extortionate prices from the grid manager, whenever their subsidised windmills and solar panels down tools.

With sunset a near certainty, every day, and wind power output dictated by the whims of Mother Nature, AGL & Co are perfectly geared to profit from that kind of weather dependent chaos, as their OCGTs can be fired up in a matter of minutes, in response to that chaos.

AGL are probably quite happy to ‘guarantee’ the delivery of 750 MW of gas-fired generation after it shuts Liddell. However, AGL is going to generate it using highly inefficient OCGTs, and the exorbitant cost of doing so will simply be added to Australian power consumers’, already rocketing, power bills.

Australia’s power consumers haven’t seen anything yet. Sad to say, but the worst is yet to come.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Thanks Terry, Great article. Pure logic to all except the people who should know but refuse to see.

  2. Deaths associated with heat waves, however sad, generally fall within normal trends over time. During the EU heatwave in the early 2000 heat related deaths rose as the deaths old the vulnerable were bought forward. After the heatwave death rates dropped , overall it just stayed on trend.

    • It gets hotter and stays hotter for longer in Australia. Europe doesn’t suffer state wide blackouts and load shedding like South Australia. When ACs go down along with respirators and other life supporting equipment in SA homes this summer, there will be unnecessary deaths. You might call it a trend, but we doubt that those burying loved ones will take that view.

  3. Based on the articles you refer to here I almost want to subscribe to The Australian..but not quite. The quality of the postings here just out does them. Well done, thankyou, please keep this site going.
    Amazing how quiet the ABC is on these issues… so much for ‘balanced journalism’.
    Just how do we turn the court of public opinion around on this 3 wheeled flaming wagon before it drags generations over the financial cliff? I wish I knew..
    It’s a much needed discussion…

  4. Peter Pronczak says:

    Either government legislates for the public benefit, welfare and support, or, it implements the Malthusian policies amplified in the 1950s by the Congress for Cultural Freedom. As based on the psy-ops (psychological warfare) and ‘perception management’ that has continued to the present day.

    That James Hardie Industries did an assisted runner, much as BP Solar did when its German manufacturing plant caught fire, also spreading carcinogens, then perhaps the Nuremberg test ‘known or should have know’ that decisions would lead directly to the deaths of innocent people, should be applied to government decisions.

    The 2009 heatwave is believed by the Institute of Forensic Medicine to have killed more than 370 people in Victoria alone.
    Government knows this & as much as God made little green apples, there will be another heat wave, & for the GW true believers, they can only get worse.

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