Electric Dreams: Energy Minister Pushes Coal-Powered Cars

Signalling ‘green’ virtue by plugging into coal.


Those virtuous few driving all-Electric Vehicles are bound to ignore the fact that their cars really run on coal. A few posts back, STT covered Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg’s latest flight of fancy: Fossil Fuel Renaissance: Australia’s Energy Minister Promotes Coal-Powered Cars

While there’s nothing wrong in theory about all-Electric Vehicles, if they really were a sensible substitute for petrol or diesel-powered vehicles, they’d already be jumping off the shelves. Except, for some strange reason, they aren’t.

Trevor St Baker is the founder of ERM Power, an energy retailer and generator. Here he pokes the groovy ‘green’ bear by stating the bleeding obvious: all-EVs run on coal.

We’ll need a lot of coal for electric cars
The Australian
Trevor St Baker
12 March 2018

The energy renewables zealots and their calls for the closure of coal-fired power stations — ­expecting solar and wind to meet Australia’s electricity demands — are all the more naive when you consider the increasing needs of a fast electrifying world.

Those needs were on display recently during the US National Governors Association meeting in Washington, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull led a significant business delegation looking to seize future trade opportunities between Australia and the US.

A key opportunity was the “Electrify America” program and the US Department of Environment national pollution reduction fund, which combined will result in more than $US5 billion ($6.3bn) being spent to create a charging station network for electric ­vehicles and other pollution ­reduction schemes.

Anyone who believes this level of change can be achieved in an Australia reliant on sun and wind for its increasing electricity requirements has rocks in their head.

The closure of more baseload power stations without full ­replacement at comparable low-cost-of-production capability and peak power generating capacity would be economic vandalism and threaten Australia’s economy, jobs and our standard of living.

The multibillion-dollar subsidising of solar and wind generation, which is well ahead of any other ­island country without baseload hydro or nuclear power generation, is threatening our place in an increasingly electrified world.

Even the Queensland Labor government’s 50 per cent renewables target by 2030 relies on schedulable, dispatchable and affordable baseload coal-fired generation for the other 50 per cent.

The closures of the Northern power station in South Australia and the Hazelwood power station in Victoria have resulted in the tripling of wholesale electricity ­prices in those states and the near tripling of commercial and industrial electricity prices to businesses.

The only possibility of restoring internationally competitive prices for businesses and the public is an open, competitive fuel-and-technology neutral bidding process to replace the low-cost baseload ­electricity generation lost with Hazelwood.

Such a process should pit proponents of base-loading wind and solar generation with pumped storage and batteries against high efficiency and low emission coal-fired power generation on a non-discriminatory basis. This would establish whether the sun, wind and battery proponents can match the 8c/kWh (at 2017 prices) that HELE proponents claim is possible for a ­Latrobe Valley Hazelwood baseload power replace­ment, with one-third lower greenhouse gas emissions than Hazelwood.

HELE proponents claim they can achieve such internationally competitive wholesale electricity generation costs, subject to having long-term, non-discriminatory ­access to debt funding and a technology-neutral and fuel-neutral open competition with any other source of baseload schedulable and dispatchable electricity in ­Victoria or NSW.

As director of a fund that has $200 million invested in electricity-reliant new-start businesses and technologies, Australia’s ability to keep the lights on and power the industries of tomorrow is a primary concern for me.

I am also associated with companies that would be active bidders in a competitive process as ­described to restore affordable electricity manufacturing viability in Victoria and, via interconnectors, to South Australia also.

While in Washington with the Prime Minister, I promoted the work of Brisbane-based EV charging-station developer and manufacturer, Tritium, which I chair.

I met with the governor and policy director of Nevada, with whom Premier Palaszczuk signed a sister state co-operation agreement, and with Electrify America, to discuss its infrastructure challenges and how Tritium’s world-leading ultra-fast EV charging stations could solve them.

These Australian-made products will probably lead the way in America, just as they are doing at home with Fast Cities Australia, a company working with the EV Council and motoring organisations to install a national “backbone” of ultra-fast chargers from Cairns to Perth. The impending success of the first stage — Cairns to the NSW border — will hopefully incentivise governments across Australia to extend the charging network on to Perth, which will accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and electrify the transport sector in Australia.

This would deliver a whole range of national benefits, including reduced health costs as a ­result of the reduction of petrol ­exhaust pollutants, national foreign exchange benefits from ­reduced fuel imports, a greater-than-Paris proportionate reduc­tion in the GHG emissions being projected for the transport sector, and a significant jump in national GDP — the bulk of ­financial benefits in the pockets of EV car owners and public transport users. But it all relies on reliable, ­affordable power generation.

Australians who want these ­advancements must open their eyes to the need for a reliable supply of energy that is available 24/7 and is not subject to the vagaries of the weather. It is vital to do so to safeguard a future where Australia takes its rightful place in a fully electrified world market, typified in part by the rapid take-up of electric vehicles and other green technologies capable of revitalising our environment and our economy.
The Australian

Coal power: what gives electric cars that virtuous hum.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. In order to sensibly control the numbers of vehicles on fast-charge at any time, and thus even out the load on the grid, the grid managers will be able to remotely switch on and off the charge current to any single user, and perhaps draw current from that user.
    Who will control the grid managers?
    You can be sure that in the event of power shortage the approved people will be given priority.
    And if any section of the deplorables get stroppy then they will have to walk to their demonstration.
    The government would not think of doing that? Would they?

  2. Klaus Ebeling says:

    The green people and many of those infected people have their Brains to think and that is their Result.
    God forgive them

    15,000 charging stations

    The Federal Ministry of Transport is providing around 300 million euros with the federal charging infrastructure program to build 15,000 charging stations nationwide by 2020.

    For the Geiselwind station, E.ON and CLEVER have already taken into account future developments in electromobility and designed the station for a total of four charging stations with a capacity of 150kW to 350kW. With the construction of this first commercial ultra-fast charging station, E.ON and CLEVER take another step in building a network of ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles across Europe. At these stations, batteries of next-generation electric vehicles with a range of 400 kilometers can be recharged in just about 20 minutes; in the future with 350kW power even faster.

    very small below was the following:

    This news release may contain certain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by E.ON Group management and other information currently available. Various known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors may cause the actual results, financial position, development or performance of the Company to differ materially from the estimates given here. E.ON SE does not intend or assume any obligation to update such forward-looking statements and to adapt them to future events or developments.

    For Safety, if all the Nonsense flies around their Ears.

    If the necessary batteries were converted in Germany alone with, for example, lithium-based storage technologies, several orders of magnitude more lithium would be required than is known in all deposits in the world. At today’s cost of lithium storage would have to spend in Germany alone the unimaginable sum of 100 trillion euros, which is 30 times the German gross national product.
    The German Chancellor would then say: Germany first, the rest of the world follows us on foot.or drives hereby

  3. No chance! The ‘greenies’ have well and truly stuffed the electricity network in OZ. What is really needed is a meltdown of the SA power grid. Then people may well ask a few rather obvious questions. Even then though, the zealots will not listen.

  4. Now for socialists, Greens and once conservatives who have lost the plot like Josh Frydenberg who we wouldn't expect to grasp it but there is almost no country of earth where plug in electric cars have any chance of being economically competitive on a level playing field basis with petrol or Diesel powered vehicles.  And don't even think of driving your coal powered electric out beyond the tram lines, unless of course you tow a trailer mounted Diesel generator complete with fuel supply behind or you or can afford the "arm and a leg" cost and the time for the call-out of a mobile electric car charging (rescue) service.

    • Jackie Rovensky says:

      The green brigade would be happy to stop us from exploring beyond town limits, so they are unconcerned battery vehicles would not be able to go any further. Concrete towers for us to be crammed in living like lab rats and roads lined with battery chargers and bicycles is their dream for our future. Fresh air and enjoying our beautiful outdoors/outback is scary for them as they know nothing of it – living in the cities.

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