Monash Forum’s Renewables Revolt: Australian MPs Demand End to Subsidised Wind & Solar

Common sense rarely needs an advocate. But when the subject is Australian energy policy, common sense left the building years ago.

Now, it’s returned with a vengeance: 30 Nationals and Liberal MPs have formed the Monash Forum, to demand an end to the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time: massively subsidised, utterly unreliable and completely chaotic wind and solar power.

The Forum’s front men launched their campaign with the kind of discipline, shock and awe that their hero perfected on the Western Front in 1918, at Hamel and elsewhere.

The connection between Engineer/Soldier Sir John Monash and reliable and affordable electricity was pretty obvious.

STT had directed attention to the role Monash played in turning his home State of Victoria into a manufacturing and industrial power house months ago. Here’s an extract from our post on 12 February: Blackout Nation: Insane ‘Reliance’ on Wind Power Delivers Pure Power Chaos

Alcoholics call it a ‘moment of clarity’. In wind powered South Australia and Victoria, hitherto fans of renewables call it a ‘mass blackout’.

In 1919, after Engineer/Soldier, Sir John Monash returned to his home town of Melbourne from the Western Front, to a hero’s welcome, he set about establishing an electricity grid that would serve his home State, and the coal-fired power plants located in the Latrobe Valley that would power it.

Immediately after the Armistice was struck with the Germans on 11 November 1918, Monash sent officers to infiltrate German coalmines near Cologne and elsewhere to get an understanding of how the Germans managed to achieve the successful use of their brown coal reserves, similar to those found in the Latrobe Valley. Armed with knowledge of the German’s techniques and engineering, Monash drove the development of those reserves and their exploitation, and Melbourne and Victoria never looked back: the State Electricity Commission delivered reliable and affordable power for all Victorians, fuelling manufacturing, industry and the rapid growth in wealth and prosperity, almost unparalleled anywhere in the world.

That part of Monash’s extraordinary life appears in ‘Monash: The Soldier Who Shaped Australia’ (Grantlee Kieza, HarperCollins, 2015). It’s well worth a read, not just because Monash was a giant of a man, but because it paints a picture of a Country once driven by real endeavour, common sense and compassion; rather than narcissistic ideology.

Given what’s being done by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews and his fellow eco-loon travellers to Victoria’s once cheap and wholly reliable power supply, Monash must be turning in his grave.

Monash, a maths genius with a head for figures, would have been gobsmacked if presented with the graphic above (depicting the output during January from every wind turbine connected to the Eastern Grid, with a notional capacity of 4,360 MW) and told that it represented a system of electricity generation.

Monash (indeed, anyone that’s reached the age of reason) would have spotted the problem in an instant: a generation system that throws 2,000 MW into the grid over the space of minutes, without warning, and collapses by the same margin over the same time-frame, again without warning, and irrespective of the demands of users, is not a system, at all. It’s chaos.

Now that that chaos is repaying wind and sun worshippers with mass blackouts and forced load shedding across two States, slowly but surely the proletariat is reaching the same conclusion.

STT knows for a fact that the Monash Forum are avid STT followers. But we’re not here to take all the credit for the most monumental shift in Australia’s energy policy in the last 20 years. That goes to the Liberal and National MPs with the wit and temerity to drag Australia out of its self-inflicted renewable energy calamity.

Here’s The Australian reporting on their opening salvo.

Backbench test for Turnbull on energy policy
The Australian
Greg Brown and Joe Kelly
3 April 2018

Malcolm Turnbull faces a challenge to his signature energy ­policy from a group of Coalition backbenchers, including Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz and Kevin ­Andrews, who have formed a lobby group to promote government support for the construction of new coal-fired power stations.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly and Nationals MP George Christensen yesterday claimed more than 20 government MPs had joined the newly created Monash Forum, named after World War I military hero John Monash, a key figure in opening Victoria’s ­Latrobe Valley to coal production.

The Australian was told last night that Barnaby Joyce had thrown his support behind the new informal political faction along with up to 11 other Nationals. The former deputy prime minister did not respond to ­requests for comment.

The lobby group could threaten the Prime Minister’s national energy guarantee (NEG) as he ­attempts to secure support from state and territory governments for a new national framework later this month.

While not ­opposed to the NEG, the Monash Forum aims to test Mr Turnbull’s assurances to the Coalition partyroom that the government framework is “technology-neutral” by aggressively pushing for more coal-fired power stations.

One member of the new group said: “Some of us see ­energy as being the only ticket to ride in the next election and the NEG is clearly not going to cut it for us.”

The backbench lobby group push comes as Mr Turnbull faces pressure over his leadership, with the Coalition on track to trail Labor for 30 consecutive Newspolls — the benchmark Mr Turnbull used to oust Mr Abbott as prime minister in September 2015.

The Australian understands the new ginger group is based on the Lyons Forum of the early 1990s which was made up of conservative Liberals who played a vital role in facilitating John Howard’s leadership ascension in 1995.

The Lyons Forum, dubbed the “God squad” by some commentators, included Liberal MPs Mr Andrews and Senator Abetz.

The Monash Forum is understood to have its own mission statement or policy manifesto, which was given to backbenchers when parliament sat in Canberra last week. Some MPs were ­encouraged to sign documents to confirm their support.

“It says the government is building a Snowy 2.0 so why can’t it build a Hazelwood 2.0,” Mr Kelly said of the manifesto.

“The group wants to see the ­replacement of Australia’s existing coal-fired power fleet with new high-efficiency, low-­emissions (HELE) coal-fired power stations.”

Mr Kelly and Mr Christensen said yesterday they expected more than 30 MPs to join the forum, which would be more than half of the backbench. Mr Christensen said 10 Nationals had formally joined the group and another two had verbally told him they would join.

The Australian understands that as well as Mr Abbott, Mr Andrews and Senator Abetz, South Australian MP Nicolle Flint and Nationals senator John Williams are among the new group’s members. Other MPs linked to the group are Mr Joyce, South Australian MP Tony Pasin, Tasmanian senator Jonathon Duniam, West Australian MPs Rick ­Wilson and Ian Goodenough, and Queensland Nationals MPs Ken O’Dowd and Barry O’Sullivan.

New LNP senator Amanda Stoker said yesterday she had made “no commitment” to the Monash Forum after being named as a member. Nationals MP Michelle Landry denied knowing anything about the group after being linked to it.

Mr Christensen last week sent a message to Nationals MPs asking them to join.

“We are setting up a new group called the Monash Forum encouraging the government in the promotion of and ­facilitation of and/or construction of coal-fired power stations,” he wrote. “Why Monash? Because he opened the La Trobe coal reserves and oversaw the construction of coal-fired power there.”

Mr Christensen said there needed to be more federal government support for coal-fired power. He said the government should “secure” Liddell power station in the NSW Upper Hunter and then expand the baseload network.

“I think that there is a strong desire within the backbench for the government to get more actively involved in the construction of reliable, around-the-clock baseload power,” Mr Christensen said. “Most of us haven’t bought into the great green lie that that is going to be achieved by solar with batteries or wind power. Those products have their place but they do not supply affordable, around-the-clock, secure, baseload power. The only thing in the Australian market that does that is coal-fired power.”

When asked if the forum’s requests would be possible within the framework of the NEG, Mr Christensen said: “We are told the NEG is technologically neutral … within those parameters the best solution currently available to us is coal-fired power”.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said yesterday the government’s policy was technology-neutral.

He said independent modelling by the Energy Security Board had suggested coal would make up more than half of the energy mix in 2030. In its advice to government in October, the ESB said renewables were likely to reach 28 to 36 per cent of the energy mix by 2030 under the NEG — with wind and solar providing 18 to 24 per cent.

The NEG is aimed at guaranteeing energy reliability, while lowering costs for consumers and delivering on Australia’s Paris Agreement commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 levels. It will put an obligation on electricity retailers to buy power at a set level of emissions intensity each year to meet a 2030 reduction target — set by government — for the power generation sector while also forcing retailers to meet a percentage of demand from reliable power generation.
The Australian

Colonel John Monash and his officers inspecting the 13th Battalion.

 

What the Monash Forum stands for has sent renewables rent seekers into apoplexy; the mainstream media that do their bidding, were equally incensed. Andrew White and Matt Chambers, who write for The Australian pumped out a series of propaganda pieces, claiming that wind and solar really are the future. The boys over at the Australian Financial Review switched to denial mode, chanting mantras about the ‘inevitable transition’, and otherwise sought to avoid the reality which has been seized upon by the Forum: if wind and solar really worked, after more than 30 years of trying, they wouldn’t still need mandated targets, fines and penalties, and $4 billion a year in government guaranteed subsidies drawn from power consumers: Australia’s Endless Renewable Energy Nightmare: Subsidies Worth $4bn a Year Run Until 2031

A point picked up on by Judith Sloan.

All power to Monash Forum
The Australian
Judith Sloan
4 April 2018

Groupings within parliamentary parties are not uncommon. Labor has its factions. The Coalition also has its factions, although they are looser than Labor’s. Within the Liberals, there is Christopher Pyne’s Black Hand group.

In the past, there was the Lyons Forum and the Modest Members. In this sense, the Monash Forum is just part of that tradition.

Mind you, Monash is an excellent choice by which to name this new forum. He was an outstanding military man and he drove the ­development of low-cost, brown-coal-fired electricity generation in Victoria.

Now Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg would claim to share the objectives of this new forum: to ensure ­affordable and reliable electricity for households and businesses.

But both men place a higher priority on the electricity sector meeting the Paris climate agreement commitments (26 to 28 per cent cut to emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels) that they enthusiastically embrace. Let’s be clear, the emissions cuts drive the policy ­options, not the need for affordable and reliable electricity. No doubt the Monash Forum members have worked that out.

Now it’s all very well Frydenberg telling us that coal will still be part of the electricity generation mix in 2030 — at maybe 60 per cent. Duh, we all say: some coal-fired power stations will still be chugging out low-cost electricity at that point.

But there won’t have been any new coal-fired power stations built between now and then, even the high-efficiency, low-emissions ones favoured by Japan (41 new ones), China (more than 100) and other Asian countries. The members of the Monash Forum will have worked that out too.

Also, don’t believe Frydenberg’s guff about his beloved ­national energy guarantee being technology-agnostic. It’s no such thing. It favours low-emissions technology over higher emissions technology given the need to meet the Paris commitments.

And don’t accept that nonsense about there being no more subsidies for renewable energy.

The Renewable Energy Target continues until 2030 and the states and territories are handing out subsidies to new renewable projects at an incredible pace (think: states’ own renewable energy ­targets, reverse auctions, Victoria’s own trading scheme, feed-in tariffs for household solar installations and subsidies for batteries).

It is estimated that households with solar panels are being subsidised to the tune of more than $1 billion a year; this figure is ­expected to rise.

And where does Snowy 2.0 fit in? Nothing technology-agnostic about that. It’s a clear case of a government trying to pick a winner that will only work commercially if wholesale electricity prices remain high and volatile.

It’s hard to square the Prime Minister’s ­embrace of this project with electricity prices coming down.

It may be that, in the end, the national energy guarantee comes to nothing as the ACT government digs its heels in to oppose the scheme. But let’s not forget that the guarantee is a gift for the large gentailers (retailers and generators).

And among those gentailers, AGL is playing the government like a violin by maintaining its ­determination to close the coal-fired Liddell power station in NSW while offering up little in return — and all high cost and unreliable.

Given Turnbull’s dithering on this, don’t expect him to do anything. But the obvious solution is either to ensure the continuation of Liddell or its replace­ment with a coal-fired high-effic­iency low-emissions plant on the site. Now that’s something significant for the Monash Forum to discuss.
The Australian

Yallourn: it took a legend to build, but idiots to destroy.

 

Wind cult central, the ABC trotted out a couple of disgruntled descendants of Monash who claimed that Monash would have been a huge fan of intermittent and unreliable wind and solar, and horrified that his name was being used to promote coal-fired power.

Familial connection is no qualification when it comes to assessing how a meticulous engineer like Monash would have responded to (pathetic) attempts to run on nature’s wonder fuels, the wind and sun. Particularly, given the abysmal failure that bears the name South Australia.

Anyone interested in how Monash would have actually reacted, need look no further than Grantlee Kieza’s brilliant biography (referred to above and extracted below).

In preparation for battles, Monash would spend days going over plans, having his officers go through full dress rehearsals; enormous maps were laid out on the ground in front of his Château base; the coordination of artillery, tanks, aircraft and infantry was not only meticulous, it was second to none, and was so effective it became the model for Hitler’s ‘blitzkrieg’ lightning war.

Monash’s attention to detail was fastidious, both as an engineer and Australia’s greatest soldier. He abhorred the unnecessary loss of soldiers’ lives, would fret during sleepless nights before every major battle, and planned with great thoroughness to avoid that prospect. He saw himself as a grand military conductor (Monash p448):

A perfected modern battle plan is like nothing so much as a score for an orchestral composition, where the various arms and units are the instruments, and the tasks they perform are their respective musical phrases. Every individual unit must make its entry precisely at the proper moment, and play its phrase in the general harmony.

When hostilities ended on 11 November 1918, Monash, under instructions from Victoria’s State Electricity Commission organised a roving reconnaissance of German coalmines and coal-fired power plants (Monash p559):

Monash has one of his best men from his corps, Major Edric Noel Mulligan, a mining engineer from Double Bay Sydney, assemble a squad to infiltrate the Fortuna mine outside Cologne and other German coal centres. They are told to beg, borrow or steal, if they have to, everything they can on new technologies.

Mulligan comes through, and even brings back a working model of a machine to make briquettes. Monash writes a report on the operation, and that November the commissioners recommend using brown coal reserves at Morwell to fuel a power station. The Victorian Parliament approves the idea and brown coal becomes the prime energy source in the State.

In 1920, Monash took up the challenge of creating a reliable and affordable electricity supply in Victoria, with the same moral conviction, dedication to detail and furious energy that had made him Australia’s supreme commander in France.

At the time planning commenced for the coal-fired plant he championed in the Latrobe Valley, the Victorian Hydro Electric Co was pushing a hydroelectric scheme at Kiewa (something Monash’s descendants might think clean and green?) However, when George Mitchell, the consultant pushing the hydro scheme (a close friend of Monash) claimed that Monash had misled members of a Parliamentary committee over the true costs of brown coal power generation versus hydro (Monash p577):

Monash squashes his old friend like a tank hitting a machine-gun post. The old general is a ‘brainy Hercules’, says committee member Frederic Eggleston while Mitchell becomes a ‘blinking timid scholar’. Monash stands over the softly spoken scientist ‘like a colossus’. After a verbal pummelling that lasts less than 30 minutes, Mitchell has no argument left.

Monash hardly sounds like the kind of shrinking violet that, these days, avoids mentioning coal-fired power in public, in case the PC crowd go berserk.

To get his SEC up and running, Monash went to war with the Melbourne City Council, which had its own tiny power generation plant (used to run its trams, with some surplus power delivered to Melbourne’s wealthiest families), and which did not want any competition from Monash’s proposed plants in the Latrobe Valley. Its committee launched a full-scale propaganda war, attacking Monash personally. But Monash, rather than wilting, goes on the offensive, yet again (Monash p580):

Again Monash sees them off, with another select committee backing the SEC and Monash’s claims that present electricity supply in Victoria is an exercise in wastefulness.

The committee finds that Monash and his staff are ‘evincing the keenest interest to ensure that the country districts will be enabled to benefit by the undertaking at the lowest possible price, and at the earliest date’.

And, from his tireless efforts to build the SEC from scratch, against plenty of bitter (and self-interested) opposition, Monash hardly sounds like a character who would have tolerated insanely expensive and ridiculously unreliable wind and solar power; the inevitable consequence of which is driving businesses and whole industries to the point of bankruptcy; and depriving tens of thousands of Australian households of power, simply because they can no longer afford it.

Monash promoted his coal-fired plant with tremendous enthusiasm, hosting tours for MPs, VIPs and journalists, one of whom, Charles Brundson Fletcher from the Sydney Morning Herald was suitably impressed, he wrote (Monash p581):

For an hour and more I heard him giving facts and figures which paralysed the imagination, but he made no more of them than to convey certain definite conclusions. The mind which had grasped at the certainty of victory on the battlefields of France in 1918 was now … demonstrating the assurance of victory on a vast scale in Australia along the lines of peaceful development. It was the man of action grappling with a great practical problem. This, then, is the man who came back to Australia to be slighted by political leaders for whom he was too strong, but to be held in respect and esteem by returned soldiers everywhere. Now that I have seen him and spoken with him, have asked questions and received answers, have watched him with his subordinates, and have studied his ways with ordinary folk, I am quite satisfied. Australian problems on the largest scale have at least one man capable of solving them; and his energy and resource ought to be our greatest immediate asset.

And so it was. Within the space of five years, Monash’s SEC was powering Victorian industry and businesses, and lighting the homes of not just a few well-to-do Melburnians, but Victorians across the State. A great man’s vision was realised.

Is it any wonder that Sir John Monash has been called into service for his Country, once more?

Here’s what the Monash Forum is all about:

Join the Monash Forum

The Monash Forum is named in honour of our greatest general who was also one of our greatest engineers. Sir John Monash is best remembered for his work as the commander of the Australian Army Corps in the Great War and his contribution to “all arms” warfare: coordinating infantry, artillery and armour to break the deadlock created by trenches, barbed wire and machine guns.

But he was also the man who brought reinforced concrete to Australia, the designer of some of Melbourne’s early bridges; and, post war, the man who turned the La Trobe Valley into an electrical powerhouse that made Victoria Australia’s industrial capital.

Our country today is more in need than ever of reliable, affordable electricity. That’s what Monash gave Australia in the 1920s and that’s what the Monash forum wants to promote almost a century on.

We’re not opposed to renewable energy provided it’s economic without grants or mandatory targets and provided it doesn’t prejudice the reliability of supply. We accept that, in time, coupled with more efficient and larger scale batteries, renewable power is likely to form a bigger proportion of Australian power generation. But that time has not yet come, and were sceptical of the claims made for the viability of renewables that requires continued mandatory use or taxpayer grants.

As well, we want to see our country’s resources put to good use. For the best part of a century, Victoria’s vast reserves of brown coal have powered much of southern Australia and should continue to do so. The coal that we gladly export and that generates much of the electricity used in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and India should continue to generate power here too. If it’s right for other countries to use our coal, how can it be wrong for us to do so?

Yet the political risk caused by emissions reduction policies, especially the extreme ones implemented or proposed by the Labor Party, means that no private company is likely to build another coal-fired power station here in Australia, even though coal continues to be our lowest cost source of reliable base-load power. This is not so much market failure as government failure.

Although well-regulated markets are normally the best way to optimise the production of goods and services, they sometimes fail: because the task is beyond private investors or because investors have lost confidence in a particular markets stability. Once, government intervened to give our country the generating capacity that the private sector was reluctant to build; now, government needs to intervene to overcome the political risk that it has frightened investors away or driven them into profitable (because subsidised) but unreliable renewables.

We support the Turnbull government’s decision to explore the construction of A snowy 2.0, pumped hydro scheme to generate 2000 MW of power. It makes sense to use cheap off-peak power to pump water uphill that can then flow downhill generate peak power. Even so, cost estimates are $4 billion and climbing and that’s before the extra transmission capacity is built to get this extra power where it’s needed.

In the 1920s, Australia’s greatest military leader, Sir John Monash, oversaw the development of the coal deposits in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley and the building of the power stations that underpinned the industrial progress of Australia.

If the government can intervene to build a Snowy 2.0, why not intervened to build Hazelwood 2.0 on the site of the coal-fired power station in Victoria that is now being dismantled? All the transmission infrastructure already exists; all the environmental permits have already been obtained; and a new, lower emissions coal-fired power station can certainly be built but no more than $4 billion.

There may be other good sites for new, expanded or refurbished coal-fired power stations. There is a strong case for keeping NSW’s Liddell power station open beyond its current closure date of 2022, as the Turnbull government has recognised. But nothing is going to happen without government intervention, as AGL’s rebuff to the government over Liddell clearly indicates.

On Anzac Day 2018, Sir John Monash will be honoured by the opening of the Monash Centre behind the The Australian War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in France. His part in winning the Great War (and that of the soldiers he commanded) should never be forgotten. Generations of Australians will henceforth be reminded of this on their pilgrimages to the World War One battlefields.

But his peacetime legacy is scarcely less important and even more relevant given the challenges we now face just to keep the lights on. This Forum is dedicated to honouring his work as an engineer and, in particular, to building on his legacy of coal-powered power stations to generate jobs and industries here in Australia. Cheap power was once Australia’s chief comparative advantage in the manufacturing sector and we can’t abandon it if we are to remain a country that makes things. That’s why all Australian governments must overcome their current coal-phobia and ensure that coal-fired power stations continue to be built.

We, the undersigned, agree to be foundation members of the Monash Forum and we invite our liberal and national Parliamentary colleagues to join us: in seeking to give today’s Australians the affordable and reliable power that their parents and grandparents had, largely thanks to Sir John Monash.

Australia’s greatest Soldier serves his Country, once again.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    There is something that is being forgotten in this mess. Electricity is in todays world an ESSENTIAL SERVICE and if we were at war then the Government would step in and take control of its supply.
    What is being missed is we are at war we are at war with the companies most of whom have vast amounts of foreign ownership, they like AGL are holding this nation to ransom, they are putting their profits before common sense. They prefer to see us begging for a secure supply of energy at a price to ensure individuals and businesses can operate to their full potential, thus making this nation once again a great one for people to be able to prosper in.
    What is wrong Mr Turnbull why are you not taking control of this ESSENTIAL SERVICE.
    The Paris agreement should never have been signed when it was so obviously destined to destroy our Nation, yes cut emissions but not at all cost. Signing of any agreement that has not been thought through thoroughly, that does not take into account all outcomes is destined to destroy more than it saves. The Agreement left us open to rorting, it left it open to companies to push their way into peoples lives without ever having to justify or address in full not only the social effects but the environmental effects.
    Looking back it could be considered that those behind the push for this Agreement were probably those with their money behind the wind industry – this industry was ready to go with all its internationally agreed on rhetoric and hard sell procedures.
    The saddest thing is that countries like Australia, Canada, UK , USA were blind to this hard sell and fell over themselves to garner the lead in adoption of something that is and was always so blatantly wrong.
    Mr Turnbull, abandon the agreement and take back control of this Nation, let us see you doing something for us and not for the so called renewables industry. There are other forms of energy production that should be used that will ensure this country is again a place for people to prosper and live in with all modern conveniences at a cost they can afford.

  2. If you remove emotion and climate change from the debate, there remains the simple fact that around the world, there are a large number of old coal fired power stations that will need to be replaced. In my opinion, renewables backed up by the band-aid solution of batteries and other storage suggestions are NOT the answer. Rather an expensive distraction.

    The task at hand is not an easy one however. But if a HELE Coal Plant can produce reliable and affordable base load electricity, and with a reduced environmental impact when compared to an old coal fired power station such as the now closed Longannet Power Station in Scotland, then it should be built as soon as possible.

    I have included the Wikipedia entry below for Longannet power station. It illustrates some of the problems we face. We must avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The coal industry is going to have to clean up its act. If HELE is the answer, then build it quickly so that the old coal fired dinosaurs can be closed down in an orderly manner.

    Next generation nuclear power should also be a part of the energy mix.

    Wikipedia

    Quote…

    Longannet power station was a large closed coal-fired power station in Fife. It was the last coal-fired power station in Scotland. It was capable of co-firing biomass, natural gas and sludge. The station is situated on the north bank of the Firth of Forth, near Kincardine on Forth.

    Its generating capacity of 2,400 megawatts was the highest of any power station in Scotland. The station began generating electricity in 1970, and when it became fully operational it was the largest coal-fired station in Europe. At the time of closure it was the third largest, after Belchatow in Poland and Drax in England, and the 21st most polluting.

    After failing to win a contract from National Grid, Longannet closed on 24 March 2016. The station was opened in 1973 and operated by the South of Scotland Electricity Board until 1990 when its operation was handed over to Scottish Power following privatisation.

    The station is a regional landmark, dominating the Forth skyline with its 183 m (600 ft) chimney stack. Longannet lacks cooling towers, having instead used water from the River Forth for cooling.

    History
    The station was designed by Scottish architects Robert Matthew, Johnson Marshall & Partners. Consulting Engineers were Merz and McLellan. Construction began in the mid-1960s, 4 km (2.5 mi) downstream of the existing Kincardine power station. The station was constructed on 30 hectares (74 acres) of land reclaimed from the Firth of Forth using ash from the Kincardine station. It began generating electricity in 1970, with a design lifetime of 30 years, and was in full operation by 1973. At the time of its completion, the station was the largest in Europe.

    The facility was operated by the South of Scotland Electricity Board until 1990 when the electricity industry in the UK was privatised. After that it was operated by Scottish Power, a subsidiary of Iberdrola. It paid £40m per year in connection charges to National Grid due to its distance from South England.

    The plant opted in to the UK Transitional National Plan, placing limits on its sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides and particulates emissions. The plant tested additional technologies that could have permitted it to operate beyond 2020 under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive. The station closed on 24 March 2016.

    Design and specification
    Longannet had an installed capacity of 2400 MW and a declared net capacity of 2304 MW due to plant overheads. The station produced 9,525 GWh of electricity in 2012, an increase on the 9,139 GWh produced in 2011.

    Electricity generation
    The station consumed up to 4,500,000 tonnes (4,400,000 long tons; 5,000,000 short tons) of coal each year. Coal was delivered either by road or rail to the station’s coal store, which has the capacity to hold up to 2,000,000 tonnes. It was then fed from the coal store to the boiler house by a conveyor belt capable of carrying 3500 tonnes of coal per hour.

    Each of the four boilers was serviced by eight pulverising units each capable of processing 40 tonnes of coal an hour. The front-wall-fired Foster Wheeler boilers could each burn around 250 tonnes of coal an hour at full load. There were two forced draft and two induced draft fans on each boiler. Each boiler provided around 1800 tonnes per hour of steam at a pressure of 168 bars (16,800 kPa) and a temperature of 568 °C (1,054 °F) to two 300 MW General Electric Company turbo generators. The thermal efficiency of the plant is around 37%.

    Coal supply
    Coal was originally supplied directly by conveyor belt from the neighbouring Longannet Colliery, until it closed in 2002 after a flood. Around half of the coal used was Scottish, and the rest had to be imported, the majority via the former British Steel plc ore loading facility at Hunterston Terminal in Ayrshire. Onward transport was by rail and the level of traffic required to supply Longannet’s fuel demand caused congestion on the Scottish rail network. An alternative route, the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link, at the mouth of the river Forth was reopened in 2008, and was also used to deliver coal.

    Cooling system
    The chimney is 183 metres (600 ft) tall; the station does not have cooling towers, instead using water drawn from the Firth of Forth at a rate of 327,000 cubic metres (11,500,000 cu ft) per hour for the station’s cooling condensers. The water is passed through coarse screens and then circulated by four electrically driven pumps. Once circulated through the station’s condensers, the water was discharged into a mile long cooling channel, where heat was dissipated before the water reached a wide part of the Forth. Water used by the boilers was on a different cycle, and had to be deionised. Losses from this supply were made up by a plant capable of treating 218 cubic metres (7,700 cu ft) of water per hour.

    Electrostatic precipitators and sulfur trioxide conditioning
    The station was fitted with electrostatic precipitators (ESP) to reduce the station’s particulate emissions. In the late
    1980s the station’s units were fitted with sulfur trioxide (SO3) conditioning equipment to lower the fly ash`s electrical resistivity. This was to ensure the station maintained allowable particulate emissions. Between 1989 and 1994 the station’s ESPs were given a major refurbishment. This meant that the SO3 conditioning equipment did not need to be operated as frequently to maintain the allowed level of particulate emissions. This was beneficial as SO3 is hazardous.

    NOx reduction
    In 1994, the station was awarded funding from the European Commission under the THERMIE Demonstration Programme. With this money, Unit 2 at the station was retrofitted with Gas-reburn Technology. This was the largest scale application of this technology in the world. In this process, natural gas is injected into the boiler. This cut NOx emissions from Unit 2 by 50%, as well as giving a reduction in CO2 and SO2 emissions. In 1996, all the station’s boilers were fitted with Low NOx burners. This reduced the station’s NOx emissions by 40%.
    The blend of coal fed to each unit was intended to minimize emissions of sulfur.

    Carbon capture and storage
    The UK’s first ever carbon capture and storage (CCS) unit was commissioned at the station in 2009. It closed in 2011 after it became clear that it was not financially viable. Plans for a UK Government funded project to convert Longannet to CCS were abandoned in 2011 and no further plans for CCS at Longannet were announced.

    Environmental and health impact
    In 2003, Longannet was named as Scotland’s biggest polluter in a report by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The station produced up to 4,350 tonnes of ash per day. This was piped to ash lagoons surrounding the nearby Preston Island. This was then landscaped and used to reclaim the land from the Firth of Forth.

    To improve environmental emissions, Longannet was fitted with ‘Low-NOx’ burners to limit the formation of oxides of nitrogen and a ‘gas reburn system’ that used natural gas to convert NOx into nitrogen and water vapour. Longannet used to burn up to 65,000 tonnes of treated and dried sewage sludge per year, which has a similar calorific value to low-quality brown coal. In 2005, a judge ruled the burning of sludge as illegal, but the SEPA continued to allow Scottish Power to burn the sludge illegally as part of an agreement which originally required Scottish Power to construct, and have in operation, a biomass plant in 2010. All burning of biomass at Longannet – including waste-derived fuel and sawdust pellets – ceased in April 2012.

    End quote.

    The full article can be found here…

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

  3. An excellent post.
    Worthy of regular repetition and wide disemination.

  4. The question will be, ” Can Turnbull ignore the Monash Forum?” With 30+ back benchers on board, it may well be political suicide to ignore it! But then, he is wedded to the unicorn fantasy of renewables being the future.

  5. wal1957 says:

    ALL the Gerbil warming fraternity will say that coal is too expensive. Why? Because their ABC, MSM and the so-called ‘experts’ say so!

    You don’t have to be an expert to work out which power generation can deliver cheap, reliable power…24 hours per day…
    every day… 365 days per year! Try doing that with your bloody unreliables!

  6. What practical engineers do best, get down to work to achieve the best practical, economic outcome.  Monash was undoubtedly one of Australia's greatest.

  7. Terry Conn says:

    Finally the battle has left the lounge rooms of Australians suffering the idiocy of the RET and REC schemes supported by all governments and many academics and senior officers of our voluminous and impregnable public service. Abbott will be on his bike through the Latrobe Valley next week – I wish I could be there to cheer him on and I urge all Australians to do so for the sake of our nation’s future – there is no other issue more important to the survival of our nation then getting back to a position of cheap affordable and reliable electricity- the Monash story described here by STT describes the undeniable truth that without it there is darkness for all except the very wealthy (like Turnbull) – empirical based data confirms such power is not now and never will be supplied by intermittent renewables, especially wind farms.

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