Wind & Solar Rewind: Victorian Labor Promises to Repeat South Australia’s Renewable Energy Disaster

Ignoring neighbouring South Australia’s wind & solar debacle, Victoria’s delusional Labor Premier Daniel Andrews is determined to repeat it.

Despite some recent propaganda efforts suggesting that South Australians are currently enjoying 1970s power prices, Australia’s renewable energy capital still pays the world’s highest power prices – thanks to its ludicrous 50% Renewable Energy Target.

SA’s 50% RET was the product of an unhinged state Labor government; its Federal counterpart wants to bring the South Australian ‘experience’ to every other state in the Commonwealth, with a 50% RET to be enforced nationwide.

Keen to replicate the SA disaster, Andrews and his equally unhinged Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio have launched a ludicrous plan to add 1,000 MW of heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind and solar to the Victorian grid.

Having killed off 1,600 MW of reliable and affordable baseload power, once happily produced by its Hazelwood plant, Andrews and D’Ambrosio now want to kill off their entire State.

Victoria is (for the time being) connected to the Nation’s Eastern Grid which links Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. The Eastern Grid is on the brink of collapse, with serious reserve shortfalls in dispatchable capacity. Widespread blackouts across the entire Grid – of the kind South Australians have grown accustomed to – are a dead-set certainty this summer.

Victorians got a taste of the South Australian way of life back in January this year, when demand spiked, wind power output collapsed and major businesses and hospitals had their power cut, en masse: Australia Closes Coal-Fired Power Plants: Hospitals Forced to Cut Power Use & Power Prices Rocket

Keen to bring Victorians much more of the same, Dan and Lily have a cunning plan.

Victorian green power drive ‘to push up prices’
The Australian
Samantha Hutchinson
12 September 2018

Victoria has agreed to build six massive renewable energy projects in a bid to increase the state’s power supply and meet its renewable energy targets, in a move ­experts warn will scuttle plans for a consistent national approach to energy generation.

As federal Coalition MPs scramble to formulate a policy to replace the dumped national ­energy guarantee, fears are growing within the sector that states “going it alone” on power generation will lead to a “hodgepodge” of schemes.

Some experts say energy networks that are overly reliant on renewable generation could be ­exposed to the risk of blackout during extreme weather, when demand for stable baseload power is highest.

They also warn that a spike in investment in renewable power sources could lead to higher prices in the long run by pushing the price of power below viability for baseload generators and putting them out of business.

Premier Daniel Andrews was in Ararat yesterday, where he ­revealed the government had underwritten three new wind farms and three new solar farms, which together produced 928MW and could power up to 646,273 households and cut electricity sector emissions by 16 per cent by 2035.

Frontier Economics managing director Danny Price said the plan pushed the prospect of a cohesive, federal energy plan further from reach. He urged the federal government to take action before state schemes became too ­entrenched to co-ordinate.

“It’s going to be virtually impossible to come up with a federal energy plan because once these schemes are entrenched in these states, it will be impossible to get them out again,” Mr Price said.

“We’re well and truly on the path to a hodgepodge of schemes around the country.”

The energy expert who formerly led NSW’s energy operator warned that similar schemes in other states would ultimately push prices higher by pushing baseload generators out of business.

“The problem is that the more renewables you push in, the less economic the remaining thermal generators will be, and power stations like Yallourn (in Victoria) are already on the brink of viability,” Mr Price said.

“With this amount of new generation, you’ll see existing coal generators go in the next four or five years. We consume energy in big, wild cycles and we need generators to respond to that; by pushing in more renewables, we’re pushing the generators capable of riding those swings out the door.”

Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood agreed, saying the Andrews government plan and the influx of new, renewable energy would push prices down to the point it would make coal-fired power production unviable. ­

“Prices will come down, but the reason that happens is that existing generators will make less; the companies that make that energy will close sooner than they otherwise would. The consequence of that, as we saw with Hazel­wood, is that prices will go up again.”

He called for the federal government to revive talks on a ­national energy plan that ensured that the costs of renewables and subsidies weren’t just shifted on to existing suppliers and taxpayers.

“These states are operating in a vacuum at a federal level … but we’re back to where we were 10 to 15 years ago. We need a commonwealth government that can put together a credible energy policy that drives investment in renew­ables as well as baseload.”

Mr Andrews said the appetite from companies keen to build renewable energy projects in Victoria has “smashed” the govern­ment’s initial expectations.

The Andrews government in March opened up a reverse auction to source up to 650MW of renewable supply, but strong interest from new and existing renewable energy providers prompted the government to take up 928MW of supply.

Under the plan, the Andrews government has approved wind farms at Berrybank near Geelong, Mortlake and Dundonnell near Warrnambool, and three solar farms near Benalla, Cohuna near Echuca and Cawarp near Mildura.

“It’s simple — greater supply of renewable energy means lower power prices and more jobs for Victorian families,” Mr Andrews said. “We’re making Victoria the capital of renewable energy and supporting the thousands of local jobs it creates.”

In the past month, the government has rolled out a pre-election campaign handing out more than $1.34 billion in subsidies to help households buy solar hot water, rooftop solar panels and batteries.

Mr Andrews yesterday announced a $40 million program giving away half-price solar batteries for up to 10,000 Victorian households that have solar panels. This the third leg of the program giving away half-price solar panels for 650,000 households and $1000 off the cost of solar hot water units for 60,000 homes.

The Coalition has attacked the program for shifting the high cost of electricity and new renewable infrastructure on to the taxpayer.

“If Victorian taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidise this, then it’s not really cheap energy at all. It means Victorian taxpayers are paying for this extra electricity twice,” opposition spokesman for energy David Southwick said. “Having helped to push up electricity prices by forcing the closure of Hazelwood, Daniel Andrews is now looking to taxpayers to help buy his way out of political trouble.”

The wind farms announced yesterday will be built in the safe Liberal electorate of Polwarth, bringing more than 200 turbines to the dairy country about two hours southwest of Melbourne.

Farmer and agronomist Will Moloney in Mortlake lives on one of the few farms in the area with three-phase power, while most farmers in the region don’t have an adequate supply to run modern farming machinery.

He isn’t concerned about the turbines so much as the transmission lines that connect the wind farms to the grid.

“There’s no overall planning and no co-operation between the wind farm companies and we’re seeing these huge towers just crisscrossing the place,” he said. “They’re a blight on the landscape and a fire risk too.”
The Australian

All part of Victoria’s inevitable wind & solar ‘transition’.

 

Just like his hero Jay Weatherill, Daniel Andrews has already conceded defeat, shipping in his very own fleet of diesel generators to keep the lights on when the wind stops blowing and the sun sets: South Australia’s Renewable Energy Fiasco: Wind ‘Powered’ State to Run On Diesel-Fuelled Jet Engines

Oh, the irony!

Diesel generators to back up summer power supplies in Vic
The Australian
Samantha Hutchinson
14 September 2018

A Victorian power company will install 11 diesel generators this month to shore up affordable ­energy supply on the Mornington Peninsula to cope with surging ­demand over the holiday season.

As the Victorian government proceeds with a renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025, the general manager of ­privately owned United Energy, Mark Clarke, denied the move was a response to the reliability of the state’s energy supply, saying it was part of a broader “demand management” program designed to keep costs low when demand for energy spikes.

He said similar mechanisms in countries including the US had grown to provide as much as 7 per cent of peak demand.

“This is not about the security of supply of electricity. It is about the capacity of our network to distribute electricity on a few peak days of the year when demand is highest,” Mr Clarke said.

The company said the move was an alternative to conducting a $30 million upgrade of the grid on the Mornington Peninsula, which carried higher costs for consumers.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio did not comment, while local MP and federal frontbencher Greg Hunt said the state government was not doing enough to shore up the supply sustainably.

“This is a complete admission of failure from Daniel Andrews,” Mr Hunt said.

“He shut down the energy sector in Victoria and now he can’t keep the lights on. His ­solution to his own failures is to place emissions-heavy diesel generators into the back yards of our community.”

The move comes two days after the Andrews government unveiled a billion-dollar plan to underwrite six solar and wind farms, powering up to 650,000 homes, as it chases one of the most aggressive renewable energy targets in the country.

United Energy said the diesel generators were unlikely to have ­adverse environmental effects because they would run for only a short period of time on hot days.
The Australian

Danny’s diesels: clearly cleaner and greener than it looks!

 

Victorian plans to limit price swings ‘will threaten supply’
The Australian
Samantha Hutchinson
13 September 2018

The day after announcing a decision to underwrite six major ­renewable energy projects, the ­Andrews government says it has a struck a deal that limits its expos­ure to wild swings in energy pricing, but will not reveal how much it will ultimately pay to underwrite the projects.

Victorian Labor announced on Tuesday it would back the building of three massive wind farms and three solar farms in a bid to shore up the state’s energy supply while also working towards a ­renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025.

The decision comes at the end of a reverse auction in which the government solicited offers from renewable energy providers and infrastructure builders to provide a given amount of energy each year for 15 years. Under the plan, the government is understood to have guaranteed a sale price for the electricity of between $53 and $57 per megawatt hour across the solar and wind projects.

The deal works on the basis of contracts for difference, in which the government pays the company if the energy price falls below the $53 to $57 threshold and the ­energy company pays the government if the price rises above it.

A government spokesman told The Australian there were limits in place that would cap the government’s ­exposure if the price of energy fell below the threshold for an ­extended period, but said the details were commercial in confidence.

“The competitive auction system helps achieve the best value for the Victorian taxpayer,” Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said. “We’re creating the investment certainty needed for renewable energy projects to thrive.”

The government spokesman said because the scheme relied on contracts for difference, the actual value of the government support would vary with wholesale electricity prices. He said the total liability of the government to the power companies that built the projects was capped over the life of the agreement, which had been ­negotiated for 15 years.

Discussion of the price of the plan comes as more energy experts say it would lead to higher electricity prices in the long run, ­because the influx of renewable ­energy would hasten the retreat of larger, cheaper producers of baseload energy, which in the long run would reduce the supply.

Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Daniel Wild described the Andrews government plan as dangerous for local energy security.

“It’s a bad policy and the reason why is because it’s going to see the market flooded with extra energy supply, which will make coal ­uncommercial, which will then push coal out of the market and then end up increasing prices,” Mr Wild said.

“The second issue is that wind and solar are far less reliable than coal and you’re reducing the share of energy that’s coming from ­reliable sources.”
The Australian

Lily and Dan: bringing the South Australian debacle down home.

 

Victoria chasing South Australia in wind folly
The Australian
Editorial
12 September 2018

For almost a century Victoria has been Australia’s lignite (brown coal) capital but now it wants the renewable energy mantle. “Victoria hosts 430 billion tonnes of brown coal, representing a significant proportion of the world’s brown coal endowment,” a government website says.

In recent years the state’s Labor government increased royalties on coal and welcomed the closure of the huge Hazelwood coal-fired power station even though it pushed up electricity prices. Now, on the cusp of an election, Premier Daniel Andrews is throwing more taxpayers’ money at his aim of creating the nation’s renewable energy capital. He has pledged to boost the state’s renewable share from 16 per cent to 40 per cent by 2025.

Never mind that South Australia’s rush to a 50 per cent target has led to its coal-fired power stations closing, prices rising to some of the highest in the world and the first statewide blackout, and has left it heavily reliant on Victoria’s coal-fired power when the wind doesn’t blow. If SA is at 50 per cent and relies on an interconnector to a state with 40 per cent renewables, a few days in the doldrums could spell disaster for two states — unless there is sufficient investment in gas-fired back-up generation or long-term storage such as pumped hydro.

With all this duplicated investment being required, the real cost of these climate-driven strategies becomes clear. This is why taxpayers are paying so much and consumers are being hit with price rises.

Mr Andrews has approved six new wind farms that he says will power 650,000 houses — when the wind is blowing. He also has announced the latest stage of a $1.3 billion renewable subsidy package: a $40 million program to subsidise half the cost of batteries for up to 10,000 households with solar panels.

The Andrews government previously has announced a scheme for half-price solar panels for 650,000 people and a $1000 subsidy for solar hot water units on 10,000 houses. In SA, the Liberal government has flagged another large-scale battery subsidised by state and federal funds, as well as a $100m scheme to provide “smart” batteries to 40,000 homes.

Eye-watering public spending and subsidies continue. The batteries and solar panels are designed to ensure the grid doesn’t go dark when the wind dies down or the sun doesn’t shine, yet everyone still needs to be connected to the grid to pump power out or receive it when they need it.

The extent and complexity of the investments — and lack of national plans — are worrying. These developments run the risk of making customers, large and small, more vulnerable to interruptions because of inclement weather or a lack of wind. The scale of public and private investment and cross-subsidies means consumers will pay through higher prices and their taxes. Victorians and South Australians have suffered and will suffer most because Mr Andrews and SA’s former Labor government have been overly focused on renewables for ideological reasons. It could all become much worse given federal Labor leader Bill Shorten promises a national 50 per cent renewable energy target.

Scott Morrison formally has killed the national energy guarantee, which was designed to drive down emissions. The Prime Minister says he will focus only on driving down prices. For more than a decade national climate and energy policy has been shambolic.

As a nation we contribute a declining 1.3 per cent of world carbon emissions. While we endure economic and political pain to make relatively small reductions, global emissions rise substantially. At some stage we need a serious debate about what we are doing and why.
The Australian

Adelaide: wind power capital of the world – circa 1836?

 

Victoria’s renewables folly
The Australian
Editorial
15 September 2018

So far new Energy Minister Angus Taylor has had little flesh to put on the bones of his mandate to get electricity prices down. But with the national energy guarantee declared dead and buried by Scott Morrison, the Council of Australian Governments partners who did most to kill it have been freed to run off on a renewable energy frolic of their own. Who could have imagined that South Australia’s shambolic renewable energy experiment would be a lesson adopted by Victoria and Queensland which, unlike South Australia, have long enjoyed the fruits of cheap and abundant coal?

Both states have announced generous subsidies for household solar and batteries. And with an election due in November, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews this week paid his dues to GetUp, announcing a dramatic boost for wind and solar. Flooding the market with renewables may well drive down spot prices in the first instance but experience has shown more reliable forms of generation are forced out of the market.

As the National Electricity Market becomes more connected, dumping excess renewable energy at times of peak supply is likely to play havoc across the board. Extended periods of doldrum wind conditions and overcast skies provide the real test. Warnings have been sounded by engineers who built the system that served consumers well for decades. The remedy, they say, is the immediate construction of modern fossil-fuel generators that can guarantee dispatch.

Mr Taylor must continue the work started by Josh Frydenberg to free up gas supplies to lower prices, something Victoria has refused to co-operate with because of its bans on onshore exploration. The Prime Minister has signalled a willingness to consider a royal commission into electricity prices. This could extend to price-gouging by market bidders, the allocation of federal funds to renewable energy schemes, and any cosy relationships between the renewable energy industry, Labor and union-backed superannuation funds.

As events in Victoria this week demonstrate, South Australia’s global renewables experiment has morphed into a national scheme. The tail is wagging the dog, making a diabolical challenge more difficult.
The Australian

In the first article from The Australian Samantha Hutchinson reckons that:

three new wind farms and three new solar farms, which together produced 928MW and could power up to 646,273 households…

Existing on paper only, the putative wind and solar ‘farms’ haven’t ‘produced’ a nano-watt.

Then there’s the ultra-weaselly “could power up to 646,273 households” – the sign of a lazy journalist, only too happy to regurgitate the hackneyed mantra handed to them by RE zealots and rent seekers.

When, Samantha? Precisely when? How about after sundown on 20 February 2019 or 2020 or 2021? Or before sun-up on a frosty, dead-calm morning in June? When? On all of those occasions, or none of them?

STT strongly doubts that any one of those 646,273 householders are keen to do without electricity 70% of the time.

As a three-year-old knows, that big fiery ball in the sky drops over the horizon every single day; and, with it, the output from every shiny solar panel, no matter how well subsidised. So, sunset is likely to dash the prospects of any one of those households being powered by that lucky old Sun, as will cloudy and inclement weather.

Then there’s the fickle old wind. [Note to Ed: even if they put a million wind turbines up in Victoria, when the wind stops blowing, aren’t you just left with useless, enormous hunks of fibreglass and steel?]

Set out above is the combined output of every wind turbine in South Australia and Victoria during January this year, a period when power rationing and load shedding hit both states. No prizes for guessing why?

Victoria’s current notional wind power capacity is 1,660 MW – SA has a notional wind power capacity of 1,810 MW.

Set out below, thanks to Aneroid Energy is some of the ‘performance’ of Victoria’s current fleet during May and June.

Pay attention, Samantha. The following is aimed at you and every other hack who trots out the line that the Cockatoo Gulch wind farm will power 100,000 homes.

Now, our question for Samantha Hutchinson is how many homes were being ‘powered’ by wind on the occasions above?

Samantha’s clearly never been sailing!?! Fire up the diesel, darl.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Gas generation alone produces about the same amount of harmless CO2 emissions as wind farms backed up by gas produce. Why is gas not given the same priority as renewables? Electricity retailers should be able to buy electricity from gas generators instead of wind farms if they want. If legislation was changed to allow this, we would see more gas generators being built and less new wind farms. Maybe some companies would make the sensible decision to sink some conventional wells and build generators right next to them so that they are not subject to varying gas prices – like has been done with coal generators next to coal mines.

  2. As I have been saying and predicting for years now there is no hope for a cheap reliable rational power system in Australia anymore now that the lawyers have taken over running the country. There has been many instances where disasters of a magnitude never before seen in Australia as the lawyers dismantle the country and it’s life blood industries and Utilities that they have not one cent of understanding of or about. The rot started with the Hawke government and then accelerated under keating with his “expert” understanding of how the Australian economy worked. Now Australia is reaping the fruits of all his policies, most large industries have left Australian shores and it would only take one stupid ideological policy from a state government banning coal, uranium, iron ore or some other export to bring the whole house of cards crashing down. As for the electrical generation and distribution system it is finished and will spiral into an unfixable mess. The end will come when the lawyer politicians produce some policies demanding with the threat of incarceration that the lights must be kept on by “someone”. There is no hope for Stralia, the loonie left and greens have been let out of the asylum to run the country.

  3. Reblogged this on "Mothers Against Wind Turbines™" Phoenix Rising… and commented:
    Stupid is, as stupid does!

  4. Most of the public do not understand that fossil fueled power stations are what keeps the lights on.
    They will only start to understand when the first blackouts hit.
    Bring it on, and the sooner the better!

  5. Surely Mr Malcolm Turbull must refer himself to the High Court in relation to section 44, as he sent Mr Greg Hunt to sign the Paris agreement at a time his son Alex was heavily involved with Infigen.

    It must be noted that the Cherry Tree hearing was extended to gain extra information in regards to health affects from wind turbines. The lawyers acting for Infigen, the proponent for the planning permit, paid Profesor Simon Chapman to give evidence that involved Ketan Joshi of Infigen. This was in regards to an article written in the Frontier Magizine co-written by Chapman and Joshi, that corrupted my submission to the senate inquiry in 2011.

    They corrupted the content of my submission, to make it appear I had an accident that resulted in a head injury and that I was having treatment when I become affected by the wind turbines, when none of the above was written in my submission. In this article Chapman changed the dates to make it appear our complaint was during the period Dr Sarah Laurie was active, when in fact Dr Sarah Laurie was not active until about 15 months after we were affected, and 3 months after the Dean report was released, making the claim of nocebo a nonsense.

    At the hearing, Infigen’s representative declared that any complaint of lack of sleep was not considered as a adverse health affect. This is in spite that the NHMRC reveiw July 2010 identified lack of sleep as a adverse health affect from operational wind farm turbines. This would make Alex Turnbull a person who has gained from his father’s actions. The permit application was approved with the use of corrupted information. The Paris agreement made Infigen worth more as a saleable item.

    This being the case Mr Turnbull would not be eligible to be Prime Minister under section 44, because his family has gained from his actions. Is this why Mr Turnbull has been so active to divert attention away from himself, by attempting to throw Mr Dutton under the bus?

  6. Well I guess the Victorian State election will decide the outcome of this reckless VRET (VANDALISM) target. Mathew Guy has stated that he will get rid of the VRET and get back to working on the Melbourne East West link. But the inner city Greens would rather have irate ‘rat runners’ in Brunswick and traffic jams only feet away from them as they sip their Cafe Lattes, instead of quiet streets and traffic passing smoothly beneath their feet, flowing from one side of the city to the other.

    As an example of this logic, I was astonished to hear a caller on ABC Ballarat’s Steve Martin radio show requesting that the local Council cut down the mature gum trees near her home, because they were blocking her solar panels!

    There was no hint of irony. She did not seem to grasp the lunacy of what she was saying.

    This is the idiotic situation we now find ourselves in.

  7. Hopefully we affected neighbors can win a class action and get them to shutdown at night weekends and public holidays. Suck that up AGL.

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