Renewables Disaster Killing Australian Industry: Big Users Forced to Shut Down In Calm & Cloudy Weather

Endangered species: thousands of well-paid jobs threatened by eco-zealots.


Australia’s enviable prosperity isn’t due to sunshine and breezes, it’s down to iron ore, coal and a bevy of other minerals including copper and uranium.

Australia also has an abundance of bauxite which, when a reliable and affordable power sources is added, turns ‘NT road-gravel’ into aluminium – a high-value metal used in all manner of applications, from mobile phones, window frames and hipster bicycles.

Australia’s remaining aluminium smelters and thousands of jobs are now under mortal threat. Thanks to an obsession with heavily subsidised, intermittent and unreliable wind and solar.

The same goes for a range of energy hungry businesses and the jobs and wealth they currently create.

The fastest way to destroy any businesses’ bottom line is to keep cranking up energy costs. Which is exactly what’s happening in Australia.

Already suffering the highest power prices in the world, the last 12 months has seen power costs to business jump between 20% in NSW, 24% in SA and Victoria and a whopping 28% in the ACT. The ACT is run by green lunatics who set a 90% renewable energy target, for which its constituents must be forever grateful.

With no relief in sight, and the likes of PM Malcolm Turnbull and his gormless sidekick, Josh Frydenberg still wedded to the wind and solar delusion, business leaders are beside themselves.

Renewables rush a risk to industry, warns Tomago
The Australian
Ben Packham
15 June 2018

Australia’s biggest aluminium producer has warned that the ­nation’s industrial base will be at risk unless Malcolm Turnbull’s signature energy policy guarantees 24/7 power at internationally competitive prices, declaring that renewables are unable to deliver reliable and affordable power to energy-intensive users.

Tomago chief executive Matt Howell yesterday expressed ­concern that the nation’s baseload capacity had been “hollowed out”, with coal generation ­replaced by unreliable energy sources that could not be economically “firmed” with gas or battery storage.

The NSW-based company, which produces 593,000 tonnes of aluminium a year, last week experienced a high-risk shutdown of three potlines because of a sharp fall in energy availability.

Mr Howell told The Australian the national energy guarantee must reverse the threat to baseload power.

There are concerns inside the Coalition partyroom that the ­energy plan will freeze out coal-fired power.

“We cannot, in our approach to this transition, lose sight of the fact that there are 24/7 baseload energy customers,” Mr Howell said. “And we have to make sure our grid can still provide energy to those customers at competitive prices, irrespective of the ­weather.”

Manufacturing Australia chief executive Ben Eade, who represents some of the nation’s biggest employers including Tomago, BlueScope Steel, CSR, Dulux Group, Brickworks, ­Adelaide Brighton, Cement Australia and Rheem, said the NEG should “aim to reduce the shock and risk” to the nation’s biggest power consumers.

Mr Eade backed the government’s work to address the “trilemma” of reliability, price and carbon emissions through the NEG, but added: “When you are a large trade-exposed industry, you need to be able to produce product that is competitive with the price of imports. So there is a sensitivity to anything that moves your key input cost higher than that of your trade competitor.”

Mr Howell, whose company directly employs 1100 workers, said renewables were threatening the business model of conventional thermal generation, without an affordable option to “firm” the unreliable power sources for big users on overcast or windless days. He said battery storage was not viable for big energy users, noting that South Australia’s Tesla battery “would power us for about eight minutes”. The cost of energy from gas-fired peaking plants was also “way out of the ballpark”.

“So our question is: in the ­absence of wind and solar and ­commercial reliable storage for energy-intensive industries, where does the energy come from for industries such as ours that need it every minute of the day? Where does it come from when the intermittent generators are simply not providing?”

The Tomago plant, in the Hunter region, is Australia’s biggest single-point energy user. It has a long-term energy deal with AGL to supply the majority of the plant’s 970MW load until 2028.

The smelter was forced to power down a potline on Tuesday last week, and two more on Thursday, when about 3800MW of coal-fired generation capacity was unavailable through planned and unplanned maintenance, coinciding with low solar generation and higher than usual demand from domestic energy users.

Any shutdown of an aluminium smelter was risky, while unplanned outages could be catastrophic, Mr Howell said.

“Something had to give, and that was us,” he said. “Now that is no way to run an energy system.”

He warned that AGL’s scheduled closure of its Liddell power plant in 2022 would leave a shortfall in the volume of power available to the grid. “The concern that we have is the energy volume from Liddell in megawatt hours is not being replaced by an equal volume of energy in renewables,” he said.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan, a supporter of coal-fired power plants, said coal remained the cheapest and most affordable option to deliver baseload power.

“What we need is an approach that treats all energy sources equally, and then what the market will then deliver is the cheapest power to meet those reliability needs,” Senator Canavan said.

“Now whether that is coal, solar gas or whatever, that will depend on the technology. But right now coal is the one that is the cheapest and most affordable, and that’s why we need to have a system that allows it to at least have a chance.”

The central Queensland senator said if Labor won the election and introduced a 45 per cent cut to carbon emissions, coal would be unable to compete. Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, the architect of the NEG, would not comment yesterday on concerns raised by major manufacturers.
The Australian

PM and Minister for the Destruction of Australian Industry.


Tomago’s CEO Matt Howell couldn’t have made industry pleas for mercy any clearer or simpler:

“And we have to make sure our grid can still provide energy to those customers at competitive prices, irrespective of the ­weather.”

True to form, faced with such an obvious conclusion, Australia’s Federal Energy Minister went into hiding like a petulant teenager sulking in their room.

The lack of leadership and direction from the PM and Frydenberg is gobsmacking.

It’s almost as if they want to destroy thousands of well-paid jobs, like the 1,100 jobs provided directly by Tomago, not to mention the thousands of other jobs that support the smelter.

The choice is pretty simple really: either Australia has industry, jobs and the wealth and prosperity that follows; or we continue to throw caution to the sun and wind.

As to the latter, here’s what that’s capable of (the output of every wind turbine connected to the Eastern Grid during May – thanks to Aneroid Energy).

When Matt Howell talks about obtaining power “irrespective of the weather”, he’s talking about what’s depicted below. Power output collapses of between 2,000-3,000 MW over the space of minutes is no way to power industry; it’s no way to power anything.

Welcome to your wind powered future!

8 thoughts on “Renewables Disaster Killing Australian Industry: Big Users Forced to Shut Down In Calm & Cloudy Weather

  1. You don’t need electricity to grow Avocados, so what’s the problem.
    It’s all over there isn’t one person anywhere in Australia with any power to do anything positive who understands the problem coming on the next express train.When the Indian’s start boarding Air India flights at Australian airports going to Delhi we will know that the end is nigh for Australia.
    What a sad joke Australia has become.

  2. We now have Turnbull and Frydenberg’s response – make Tomago responsible for its own reliable power, at the same time fine them up $100 million if they exceed emissions targets! Manufacturers are not electricity providers and in a modern society cannot expect to be – Turnbull and Frydenberg are certifiably insane or else committing treason. Further, it is impossible to solve the so called ‘trilemma’ which includes emissions reductions without just using nuclear powered generation – gas reduces emissions if used on its own but not when it is used as peaking plant backup for wind and solar.

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